From The Constitution, Wednesday, August 7, 1861 (volume 24, number 1232)
On Monday morning a detachment of the New York 28th surprised a squad of rebels opposite Point of Rocks. They killed three, wounded five, took seven prisoners, captured their horses and re-crossed the river without loss. A considerable number of rebel cavalry were reported to have occupied Martinsburg on Saturday, and an attack was expected.
The new Governor of Missouri has issued a proclamation in which he calls upon the people to organize in defense of the State, and warns all forces of the rebels to leave the State, as he considers their continuance in it an act of war.
Brig. Gen. Pierce has published a defense of his conduct at the battle of Great Bethel.
The publication of news concerning army movements is prohibited.
The Facts of the Battle
We are beginning now to get at some of the facts of the late battle. Gen. McDowell’s whole army numbered 33,000 and not 45,000. Of these 8,000 were left as a reserve at Centreville—2,000 had been left to guard the camps—and 5,000 more were with Richardson at Blackburn’s Ford, two miles off, and had nothing to do with the fight. So that there could not have been more than 18,000 men in the action, and the number actually engaged was probably less than that. It is stated in the Richmond Enquirer, which ought to be good authority, on this subject, that the rebel army was composed of 45,000 men. Notwithstanding this fearful odds against them the national troops drove back the rebels from point to point, and took several of their batteries. If they could have been reinforced as the rebels were, they would have won the day.
The Richmond Enquirer says that their loss was four hundred killed and twelve hundred wounded, a total loss of sixteen hundred. By a careful estimate it is ascertained that our loss in killed does not exceed two hundred killed—which is but half the rebel loss. This result is remarkable, and reflects great credit on the bravery and fortitude of our soldiers. While the enemy fought behind intrenchments, on ground of their own choosing and which they were perfectly acquainted with, their loss in killed was double that of our men. In all essential respects the battle at Bull Run was a national victory, and could our brave soldiers have been supported properly they would have kept possession of the field. As it is the rebels have very little reason to congratulate themselves on the result of the battle.
The sensation newspapers have created some alarm through the country with regard to the safety of Washington. The public have been assured with all the power of big letters and exclamation points that the capital was in great danger. Gen. Johnson was going to attack Gen. Banks, Gen. Lee was somehow going to invade Maryland and co-operate with the secessionists in Baltimore, and Gen. Beauregard was to come upon Washington directly over Arlington Heights ! It was thought that all these attacks would be successful, that soldiers who have never yet fought outside of their intrenchments could walk over our men and batteries with the utmost ease. We read a thrilling paragraph in a New York daily a few days ago, from which we should judge that the writer had been among the foremost in the panic stricken crowd which fled from Manassas, and that he was still under a delirium of fear lest Beauregard should follow him to his sanctum in New York. That Beauregard will attack Washington is simply absurd. Gen. Scott only wishes he would try it. It was as much as he could do to hold his position behind his intrenchments against a force numbering but half his own army. To suppose that he is coming out of his stronghold to attack Gen. Scott in the national capital is an idea which can only spring from the brain of moon struck or panic-struck quill drivers.
Several needed reforms have been made by Gen. McClellan. The troops have been put under a more severe discipline, and greater care is observed in the selection of officers. The experience obtained by our army thus far has shown that the bravest troops can do nothing without efficient officers. A commission for the examination of regimental officers appointed from civil life has been constituted, and it is determined that none shall have the command of regiments who are not qualified. It is supposed that some officers will resign rather than undergo an examination.
General Army Orders
The following orders have just been promulgated at Washington :
Washington, July 31.
General Orders No. 12.
Searches of houses for arms, traitors, or spies, and arrests of offenders in such matters, shall only be made in any department by the special authority of the commander thereof, except in cases admitting of no delay.
By command of Lieut. Gen. Scott
E. D. Townsend, Asst. Adjt. General.
General Orders, No. 13.
It has been the prayer of every patriot, that the tramp and din of civil war might at least spare the precincts within which repose the sacred remains of the Father of his Country ; but this pious hope is disappointed. Mount Vernon, so recently consecrated anew to the immortal Washington, has already been overrun by bands of rebels who having trampled under foot the constitution of the United States, the ark of our freedom and prosperity, are prepared to trample on the ashes of him to whom we are all mainly indebted for these weighty blessings. Should the operations of war take the United States troops in that direction, the General-in-Chief does not doubt that each and every man will approach with due reverence and leave uninjured not only the tomb, but also the house, the graves and walks which were so loved by the best and greatest of men.
E. D. Townsend, Asst. Adj. Gen.
I am able to state that the message [that is, President Lincoln’s July 5 message to Congress] was written and completed before it was shown to a single member of the Cabinet, nor was any change other than merely verbal ones made thereafter. A characteristic illustration of Mr. Lincoln’s partiality for strong people’s phrases, may be mentioned in this connection. When the proof sheet of the message was under the Cabinet’s consideration, it was suggested to the President that the phrase “sugar coated,” in the paragraph where he speaks of the southern politicians having studiously drugged the minds of their people with the sugar coated heresy of States’ Rights, was not exactly diplomatic, and might provoke censorious criticism. He considered a moment and replied, “No, let it stand ; it is a word the people use ; they will know what it means.” And so it stood.—Wash. Cor. Cin. Com.
Death of Ex-Governor Trumbull
The Hon. Joseph Trumbull, formerly Governor of this State, died at his residence in Hartford on Sunday night. He was a grandson of the first Gov. Trumbull and a nephew of the second, was born at Lebanon, Dec. 7, 1782, graduated at Yale College and admitted to the bar in 1802. In 1834-5 he was a representative in Congress, and also from 1839 to 1843. He was governor of Connecticut in 1849. For his second wife he married a sister of the late Chief Justice Storrs. He was a man of most exemplary character, and was universally esteemed in Hartford, where he lived for almost sixty years. His funeral is to be this afternoon.
Arrival of the 2d Regiment
The Mansfield Guard
The second Conn. regiment arrived in New Haven on Monday morning by the boat from New York. The New Haven military turned out to receive them.
In this regiment is the Mansfield Guard, Capt. Dickerson. The company return with every man who left with the exception of William Rich, of Middlefield, who is thought to have been killed at the battle of Bull Run. Richard Taylor, who was wounded, has nearly recovered. He had a narrow escape with his life. The ball grazed his side, passing through his clothing and tearing his flesh. With these exceptions the company are all well, and are in excellent spirits. The best good feeling prevails between the privates and officers. It is not certain whether they will reach this city to-morrow or Thursday. The company will stay until the regiment is paid off, and all the members can come home together. It is intended to give them a cordial welcome when they arrive. The firemen and the Home Guard will turn out to receive them. An address of welcome will probably be given by Lieut. Gov. Douglas in front of the Court House. Our citizens will turn out en masse to welcome home out brave Middletown boys who in the battle were the foremost in the fight and the last to retreat.
The Courant of this morning says the regiment will probably not be mustered out of service before Friday.
We are pleased to learn that Mr. H. L. Kelsey proposes to open a Preparatory School in connection with the Wesleyan University. Mr. Kelsey graduated in the last class with honor. He has had much experience in teaching, and has always been highly successful. The school will be opened in one of the college buildings, and the students will enjoy many of the advantages of a college course without being actually in college. The whole is to be under the superintendence of the excellent President of the University, Dr. Cummings.
For our young men who desire to obtain a thorough literary or business education, this opportunity is unsurpassed.
A merchant of Hartford, on leaving town left blank checks in his desk for use in his business by the clerk. One of his sons raised $200 on one, packed his trunk and with a girl in another place, was about to have a fast time, when a brief interview with an officer changed his plans.
The regiment of sharp shooters, Col. Berdan’s, is to rendezvous at Weehawken, New York, each loyal state furnishing one company. The examination for admission is very strict. Many of the men shoot off-hand 600 feet better than at rest.
A ship built upon an entirely new plan and pronounced by the patentee to be unsinkable, has been launched at Deptford green. She is constructed with three decks, each being in itself a distinct ship, so that even if her bottom were destroyed, she would still float buoyantly.
During the whole of last week, the weather was intensely warm—the mercury ranging every day at noon from 85 to 90 degrees. Considerable rain also fell during the week. It was good weather for the season, an excellent growing time, but rather too warm to be comfortable.
The worm and weevil are making havoc of the wheat crop in some portions of Massachusetts.
The Rev. Mr. Eddy, who went out with the Connecticut 2d regiment, is supposed to be dead or a prisoner.
A German soldier writing from the army, speaks of their wants as follows : “We want officers who will stay with their regiment on the battle field, and not run away on horse-back if a retreat should commence.”
A young man in Lakeville, Salisbury, climbing a tree to ascertain the contents of a bird’s nest, was startled by finding a spotted adder four feet in length coiled within it, which “hissed him off the stage” short order. He killed the snake and found in the nest the mangled remains of several young robins.
By an order of the war department, escaped slaves are to be liberated and set at work upon the fortifications at regular daily wages.
Twenty tons of ordnance were shipped to the West from the Washington navy yard on Thursday.
Among the wounded at Bull Run is the name of John S. Evans, of the 8th N. Y. Volunteer Regt. While the surgeon was amputating his left arm, close to the elbow, a gentleman present observed, “You are done for fighting.” “That’s all that troubles me,” was the reply. Mr. Evans was formerly editor and proprietor of the Willimantic Journal.
A Scotchman named McMehon, 48 years of age, in the employ of Samuel R. Hill of New Preston, committed suicide on Sunday night the 28th, by shooting himself. He had been on a spree.
Mrs. Riley of Danbury made a second attempt to drown herself on Sunday. She still lives.
An artillery company is forming in New Haven under the new military law.
The Newburyport Herald states that a young widow married in that city a few days since to a soldier, being questioned as to the inducement to commit matrimony a second time, said she had in mind the bounty paid by the State to the families of volunteers, which would give her and two children three dollars a week to carry them through next winter, and possibly the husband might be shot, and she become a pensioner in her old age.
Daniel P. Dutton of Watertown, brother of Judge Dutton, was found dead in a field in Wolcott, 31st ult. Age 69 years.
Augustus Blackstone of Branford had a valuable pair of cattle killed by lightning on the 31st ult.