From The Constitution, Wednesday, September 18, 1861 (volume 24, number 1238)

Unconstitutional Acts

Some there are who are nervously sensitive to anything which looks like a violation of the constitution by the Administration. This is all very well. A free people ought to be jealous of its constitutional rights. But it should be borne in mind that what a Chief Magistrate could do and ought to do in a state of peace it is impossible for him to do in a state of civil war. If President Lincoln had from the beginning refused to do anything for which he had not positive authority in the constitution and laws for doing, we should by this time have had, neither constitution nor laws. In his message to Congress, the President said he had been compelled for the common defence [sic] to do some things for which he had no certain legal authority. Congress recognized the necessity, and fully justified the President. The people of the United States have confided the safeguard of the constitution and the laws into the hands of the Chief Magistrate. The destinies of the nation for the time are in his keeping, and the people look to him to use his utmost endeavors to shield his sacred trust. Everything depends upon his fidelity and patriotism. It was once in the power of Washington to pervert the almost unlimited authority which the young republic had committed to him. But Washington, though he was compelled to act the part of a military Dictator, was always true to his trust, and finally surrendered all his authority back into the hands of the people whence it originally came. At a time of imminent national peril, a Chief Magistrate must necessarily exercise extraordinary powers. And if he is a man of unquestionable patriotism, a generous people will confide in his judgment.

Latest News

The news this morning from Missouri is important. Col. F. P. Blair was arrested last Sunday by the Provost Marshal, on a charge of insubordination in communicating while a militia officer with the Washington authorities and using disrespectful language toward Gen. Fremont, with a view to procure his removal.

It is not believed that the removal of Fremont has been contemplated by the Administration.

Twenty-three negroes have been declared free under Fremont’s proclamation.

A special dispatch from Jefferson City, on the 16th, says that Gen. Price at the head of 15 to 20,000 men attacked Lexington Thursday. No particulars are given. The troops at Lexington were strongly entrenched.

The 28th Penn. Regiment at Jamestown, Md., were attacked by 450 rebels. The enemy was driven back and lost 8 to 10 killed, and several wounded. The nationals lost one.

In Western Virginia, the 13th Indiana had a severe skirmish with superior numbers on the 12th, and killed 10 or 12 with a trifling loss.

The British brig Mystery was seized on Sunday in New York. She had on board letters containing instructions to her captain relative to running the blockade.

The steamship Anglo Saxon, from Liverpool, arrived on Monday evening. The news is unimportant.

Important Letter of the President to Gen. Fremont

Rumors have been in circulation for some days to the effect that there was a difficulty between the President and Gen. Fremont which would lead to the resignation of the latter. It appears now that there was a difference of opinion with regard to the proclamation of the General which gave freedom to the slaves of all who had taken arms against the Government. The President objected that Gen. Fremont had in the terms of his proclamation exceeded the limits prescribed by the act of Congress, and requested that the clause causing the liberation of slaves should be modified. Gen. Fremont assented, and even expressed the wish that the President should make an order for the modification, which he has done in a letter dated the 11th of September, and which was published yesterday. It appears that there was no difficulty whatever between the President and Gen. Fremont, and there is no expectation that the latter will retire from his important command.

The policy which will hereafter be pursued in Missouri will be the same as that pursued in the other states, and is fixed by the law of Congress which liberates such slave property and such only, as is used or intended to be used to subserve the cause of the rebels.

Fight in Western Virginia

Rosecranz Fights Floyd

A battle took place about 3 o’clock Tuesday afternoon, near Summerville, Va. Gen. Rosecranz found Floyd’s army of 5,000 with sixteen field pieces entrenched in a powerful position on top of the mountain at Caunix Ferry, on west side Gauley River. The rear and extreme of both flanks were inaccessible ; the front was masked with heavy forests and close jungle. Col. Lyle’s tenth Ohio, of Benham’s brigade was in advance, and drove a strong detachment of rebels out of camp this side of position, the site of which was unknown. Shortly afterwards, his scouts consisting of four companies, suddenly discovered themselves in face of a Parapet Battery, and a long line of Palisades for riflemen, when the battle opened fiercely. The remainder of the 10th and the 13th Ohio were brought into action successively by Gen. Benham, and the 12th afterwards by Capt. Hartuff, whose object was an armed reconnoisance [sic]. The enemy played upon our forces terrifically with musketry, rifles, canister and shell, causing some casualty. Col. Lyle led several companies of Irish to charge the Battery, when he was brought down by a shot in the leg. Smith’s 13th Ohio engaged the enemy on the left, and Col. Lowe’s 12th Ohio directly in front. Lowe fell dead at the head of his regiment early in the battle by a ball in the forehead.

McMullen’s Howitzer battery and Snyder’s two field pieces meantime got into the best position possible, and soon silenced the rebel’s guns. The fire slackened at intervals but grew more furious as night approached, when the German Brigade was led gallantly into action by Col. McCook, but after a furious fight of three hours, the troops were recalled, and the men laid on their arms within a short distance of the enemy, each ready to resume the conflict the next morning.

The thief Floyd fled during the night, first sinking boats in the river, and destroying temporary bridges erected by him when he first occupied the position. Turbulence and depth of river, and exhaustion of troops made it impossible to follow him. He left his camp equipage, wagons, horses, large quantity of ammunition and fifty head of cattle.

Our loss is 15 killed and about 70 wounded, generally flesh wounds. Rebel loss not known, as they carried their dead and wounded, but it must have been serious.

Twenty-five of Col. Tyler’s men who were taken by Floyd at Cross Lane, were recaptured. Floyd’s personal baggage with that of his officers was taken. Gen. Benham’s brigade which suffered most was led by him in person, and McCook led his. Gen’ls Rosecranz and Benham, Col. McCook, Lyle and Lowe, Captains Hartuff, Snyder, McCullen, Burke and other officers displayed conspicuous personal gallantry. The troops which were all Ohioans, showed great bravery.

A despatch from Gen. Rosecranz to Gen. Scott confirms the above, and says that Floyd’s troops were punished severely, a number being killed.

Scott of Rio Janeiro

A hue and cry was raised some time since because the Administration saw fit to remove Robert G. Scott, jr., from being Consul at Rio Janeiro. It is now proved that this man who had sworn to protect the commerce of his country had furnished to the Confederate government a list of richly laden ships belonging to our merchants and the time when they would be on our coast. He did this in order that they might be taken by the pirates. It appears that he has also robbed his consulate of all its valuable property ; and to show the base nature of the man, he has stolen eight hundred dollars from a fund which had been charitably contributed for the relief of American seamen in distress ! Such a man is a libel and blot on human nature, as well as a disgrace to his country. He is a double refined traitor and the meanest kind of a thief. Scott belongs in Virginia.

What Has Become Of It?

Some anxious enquiries have been made within the last fortnight about the “peace” movement. What has become of it? The last that was seen of the thing was just before the capture of Fort Hatteras. Since then not a trace of it has been discovered. [B]efore that event scores of people were anxious to show the white feather. In fact, white feathers were so numerous that it appeared as if there had been a general and most untimely plucking of geese. But behold the white feathers have every one vanished. The wind from Butler’s cannon blew them away, and nobody wears them now but their lawful owners the ganders.

The Fall Elections in This State

The suggestion of the Republican State Central Committee, which is published in another column, is especially commended to the attention of our readers. In the midst of the crisis through which the country is now passing, old party lines should be forgotten, and but one sentiment should actuate every citizen. The fall elections are close at hand, and it is advised that in making their nominations the people look only towards a firm and united support of the General Government. Connecticut can now prove that she is patriotic to the heart’s core, and that her people can for a time forget all the minor differences and old political questions and rally unitedly in the common defence [sic].

Grand Rally To-Day in Hartford

To-day, Tuesday, there will probably be such a rally of patriotic Union men of all parties as has never before been seen in this State. Hon. Daniel S. Dickinson, of New York, Hon. Milton S. Latham, of California, and Capt. Thomas F. Meagher, of New York, are to address the people of Connecticut. It will be a memorable occasion. About a hundred of our citizens went to Hartford by the cars this morning, and several went up by the boat. The fare by the cars and boat has been reduced to half price. Griffin’s Band went up with the Middletown delegation to be present at the great gathering.

The Connecticut Regiments

The Seventh Regiment now consists of over seven hundred and seventy-five men. Col. Terry has appointed the following staff officers for the Seventh :–Grosvenor Starr, Yale College, Adjutant ; Adrian Terry, New Haven, Quartermaster ; Francis Bacon, New Haven, Surgeon ; Horace B. Porter of New Haven, and E. C. Hine of Plymouth, Assistant Surgeons ; George D. Sanger, New Haven, Sergeant Major ; Hemingway Smith, New Haven, Sutler. (New Haven can’t complain of not being well represented.)

The camp of the Ninth regiment has been removed from Hartford to New Haven. It is stated that there are 400 men in barracks in Hartford for the Eighth regiment and two companies in camp.

The notice that among the recruits in Capt. J. L. Stanton’s company, now filling up in Norwich and Windham county, is Mr. Chas. Evans, of the Willimantic Journal, who stops the publication of his paper while he goes to the wars.

With the Tenth, Connecticut will have seven regiments under orders, which would be her proportion of an army of two hundred and seventy-five thousand men.

The Sixth was to leave Monday and the Seventh to-day, (Tuesday,) to go to the camp of instruction at Hempstead, L. I.

The Fifth regiment, C. V., has moved from its former position to within a few miles of Washington. Col. Robert Tyler, of Hartford, assumes the command of the Fourth regiment this week.

Seizure of Seditious Papers

Last week Capt. David Dickerson, who has been appointed Deputy United States Marshal, made seizure of several bundles of the N. Y. Daily News. The seizures were made at three different times. On Wednesday he found them in the store house on the steamboat dock. On Friday afternoon he went down in the “City” to Saybrook where he went aboard the “Granite” and discovered that a package of the forbidden documents was in the care of the porter. He confiscated them in behalf of Uncle Sam. These bundles were directed to some person out of town and to be left at a hotel in this city. They were intended for private circulation here. Capt. Dickerson has acted with praiseworthy promptness in this matter. The publication of the News was suspended last Saturday by its publisher, Ben. Wood.

Deep River

A horse and buggy were found in one of the factory reservoirs of that place on Saturday afternoon. When found the horse was almost drowned. The team belonged in New Haven and was let to a stranger who evidently intended to kill the horse.


A young man named Hall, about 20 years of age, was feeding Holmes’ bone mill in Hadlyme last Saturday afternoon, when his hand was caught in the machine, tearing his arm from the socket. It is thought he cannot survive.


General Mansfield, with his Aid [sic], Captain Drake De Kay, returned to Washington last week, after a visit of about two weeks with his family in this city. He has been assigned to the command of a division in Virginia.

The Vice President

Is certainly a plain man. When at his home in Hampden, Me., he attends to his duties as a farmer. Since his return from the capitol, one of his neighbors called upon him, and the servant who ushered him in requested him to “take a seat, and she would speak to Mr. Hamlin.” Soon after Mr. H. came up out of the cellar and excused himself from shaking hands, remarking at the same time that his hands were dirty, for he had been picking over his potatoes.


‘Well, that’s always the way with the telegraph folks !’ exclaimed Mrs. Mellow, ‘the good news they send us one day is pretty sartin to be contradicted the next. Why, there’s our neighbor, Sally Shute, who got a story as how her husband had been killed in one of the battles, and the day after it was all upsot, for it proved to be another man ! Gin me the old mail stage after all,’ continued Mrs. Mellow ; if ‘twas slow, ‘twas sartin !’


A soldier in the first Connecticut regiment coolly remarked at the battle of Bull Run : ‘See how careless them fellers are—they are pointing their guns right at us !’