From The Constitution, Wednesday, October 30, 1861 (volume 24, number 1244)
The reports of the killed and wounded at the battle at Edwards Ferry make our loss over 600 men. It was an unfortunate affair altogether, and was the result of fatal and unpardonable blundering on the part of somebody.
The rebel commissioners to Europe, it is now stated, went from Charleston to Cardeace [sic].
Great News from Missouri
The tide of war has turned strong against the rebels in Missouri. Springfield was again occupied by the national troops on Saturday evening. The retreat of the rebel Price, with his army is then cut off, and he will be forced either to fight or surrender. Major Seagonie at the head of Gen. Fremont’s body guard charged the enemy 2000 strong, and completely routed them. Gen. Fremont writes under date of Oct. 26, that his loss is not great, and that “our advance will occupy Springfield tonight.”
On the Upper Potomac
The retreat of the national troops after the battle under Gen. Stone from the Virginia side of the Potomac has caused surprise and sorrow. Any such retreat in the presence of the enemy is far from encouraging. According to the latest accounts we have of this battle, it was a most disastrous affair. But little over 1800 men were engaged, and out of this number seven hundred were killed and missing!
Details of the Battle Near Leesburg
The forces which crossed the Potomac were as follows:
First battalion of the California Regt. 689
Massachusetts Fifth Regiment, about 1,000
Massachusetts Twentieth Regt., about 500
Tammany Regiment 200
The California Regiment took over of men and officers six hundred and eighty nine. The drowned are about fifty; the killed thirty; the prisoners three hundred, and the wounded one hundred and twenty-five; total five hundred and five; safe, about one hundred and eighty-four. Col. Cogswell, of the Tammany Regiment, was taken prisoner. Col. Devon swam the river. His lieutenant colonel lost a leg; his major was safe. The loss of the other regiments is unknown, but is said to have been heavy. These details are furnished by Capt. Francis G. Young, quartermaster of Baker’s brigade, who fought with great bravery throughout the action.
The engagement took place on the height above the landing, commencing at 4 o’clock, P. M., and continuing till dark. All through the day the enemy had been firing skirmishing shots. Our troops were drawn up on an open field of six acres, with thick woods on three sides, out of which came a constant, irregular firing from the enemy. Two howitzers and two field pieces of the Second Rhode Island Battery were also hauled up the hill and effectively handled during the fight by Colonel Baker himself, aided by Wistar, his adjutant general Hawly, Colonel Cogswell, of the Tammany, and Company G, Captain Berriel, First California.
Only the Rhode Island officers stood by their guns, the men retreating early in the fray. The enemy charged from the woods in all directions, converging upon our force. They were bravely met; but the slaughter of our best officers and men was so terrific that the federalists were at last obliged to retreat.
Col. Baker was killed by a horseman, who rode close to him and fired five shots from a revolver, all taking effect. The slayer was at once brought down in turn by Capt. Berriel. The same brave fellow recovered Baker’s body, heading a charge of his company for that purpose. Finally Col. Cogswell, just as he was taken, gave the order to retreat, and an individual rush was made down the hill to the river. Only one gun was brought away.
The scene at the river side was horrible in the extreme. The rebels came to the edge of the hill and fired down upon our retreating masses. The one boat filled and sunk, and those who did not attempt to swim across were forced to surrender. Many were drowned in crossing, and the rebels kept up a murderous fire on those struggling in the water.
The Disaster at Edwards Ferry
The federal surgeon in charge of Poolesville telegraphs that our wounded who are not coming to Washington are properly taken care of there and are doing remarkably well.
A letter from Edwards’ Ferry, from the agent of the sanitary commission, says there are 175 wounded in our hands; 47 dead were buried Thursday by permission of the rebels; probably 50 were drowned in attempting to cross the river, and 400 or 500 are prisoners to the rebels.
The war department is preparing an official list of our losses at the Leesburg battle. It will be published as soon as possible, but a great deal of difficulty is experienced in obtaining complete records of the killed, wounded and missing.
The latest reports received from Edwards’ Ferry state that all our forces which were engaged at Leesburg are now on the Maryland side of the Potomac, and in excellent condition.
The check encountered at Leesburg has not disheartened the government in the least, but it is believed that some sad blunders were committed.
New York, Oct. 24
A Key West letter of the 20th reports the arrival at Cardenas, on the 16th, of the rebel steamer “Theodora” from Charleston, with the French consul and family, and Messrs. Mason and Slidell, commissioners to France and England.
The steamer “Salver” from Havana, with contraband goods, was captured as she was entering Tampa Bay, by the “Keystone State” and towed to Key West.
Her cargo is said to have consisted of 600 pistols, 500,000 percussion caps, 600 hats, 8 cases of shoes, 400,000 segars and 400 bags of coffee.
Capt. Scott refused to give his prize up to the U.S. marshal for adjudication and to obey the order of the U.S. Court, and sailed with the prize for New York.
Consul Savage sent intelligence to Maj. French of the sailing of the “Salver” from Havana, and also that another vessel was loading with arms and munitions, which would leave on the 18th.
There being no naval vessel at Key West, she will undoubtedly slip into Tampa Bay, which is not now blockaded.
Gen. McClellan’s Cautious Policy
Before these lines meet the eye of our readers a great battle may have been fought on the banks of the Potomac. The position of the troops is such that a collision seems inevitable. Gen. McClellan has been slowly but steadily advancing towards the main entrenchments of the enemy, and if it has not already become necessary for them to fight or retreat, this necessity will very speedily be forced upon them.
One of the most prominent of the characteristics of Gen. McClellan is prudence. Thus far in the campaign he has refused to take any step of which he was not perfectly sure. His aim is never to be obliged to retreat or back out of a position which he was once taken. And therefore he endeavors never to take a position of importance without the most careful deliberation, and without making every necessary preparation to hold it against all assailants. His prudence was remarkable in his campaign in Western Virginia. Although surrounded with great difficulties and in a country peculiarly favorable to sudden attacks from the enemy, he was never found unprepared for any emergency and was never taken unawares. When he took command on the Potomac, he refused to move a step in advance until he had an army which he could depend upon. Three months were occupied in bringing his army into a state of efficiency, and not even the sight of a secession flag flying on Monson’s hill in plain view from the capital would provoke him to cross the Potomac before he was ready. And then when he moved across the river and took possession of Arlington Heights, it was very evident that the enemy could never again have possession of the hills above Washington. Fortifications were at once erected, and are now being erected, which will make his position there impregnable against the whole rebel army.
There are multitudes in the country who want to see the work of subjugation done up faster than the cautious policy of Gen. McClellan will allow him to do it. The “On to Richmond” cry is beginning to be revived in some quarters. But let these people think that it is essential now to the very existence of the Government that the Bull Run affair should not be repeated. Under McClellan’s management it will not be repeated. No possibility for such a catastrophe is left open. The existence of a nation depends upon the success of the army of the Potomac, and Gen. McClellan is just the man to be at the head of that army.
A little son of S. R. Whittermore of Union, N. Y., was burned Monday evening so that he died the next morning from dropping a fluid lamp which immediately exploded, the flames communicating to the child’s clothes, literally roasting him alive before assistance could be rendered.
Within a year past the plan of Haytien emigration has been decidedly gaining in public favor. It was a plausible scheme when first set forth, but the prejudices and objections which have always attended the African colonization enterprise, seemed likely to surround this. As time, however, has permitted it to be unfolded, and its advantages and merits have become better understood, it has gained in popular estimation, and promises now to become a favorite measure of African emigration.
It is not pretended that this any more than Liberian emigration, will furnish a solution to the question of what is to become of the negro race on this continent. This scheme has scarcely nothing to do with that question. The principal benefit to be derived is to Hayti herself, by giving her an energetic and enterprising population, who shall take possession of and till her rich soil, and make her one of the most fruitful countries in the world. It was never supposed that President Geffrard was particularly benevolent in his aims, when he held out inducements for colored emigration. He is working for Hayti. The idea is not emigration for the sake of providing for the emigrant, but for the sake of establishing a nationality which shall be the glory of every inhabitant of the country.
Extraordinary inducements are held out to emigrate to Hayti. The expenses of emigrants are paid, and then on their arrival they are provided for, and valuable farms are given them. With its beautiful climate and fruitful soil, Hayti might be made a perfect paradise for the agriculturist. And enterprising colored men who can leave home, who are willing to labor, and provide new homes for themselves, cannot fail to better their condition by moving thither. Large numbers have already gone, and thousands more will go. Last Saturday three hundred and ninety persons were to sail under the auspices of the Haytien Bureau of Emigration to join the American colony in Hayti. They are principally married people, with quite a large number of children. Most of the men are farmers. Two teachers and three preachers of the gospel accompany the party. The place of their destination is St. Marks, and on their arrival they will be placed in possession of land, upon which they are expected to settle and cultivate, with the agricultural implements which are necessary for its cultivation.
The annual muster of the Fire Department took place last Saturday afternoon. About 150 firemen were on the ground, and the sight of them and of their splendid performances must have been extremely invigorating to the insurance officers. First, they paraded with their machines in the principal streets, and received numberless praises for their fine appearance. They then formed in line in front of the Court House, when their machines were inspected by the city authorities, after which they were addressed by alderman Hackstaff, who spoke in high terms of their efficiency.
After the parade, they went through the “manual.” Russell Hook & Ladder Co. No. 1, E. Ackley, Foreman, started from the crosswalk opposite Ransom’s store, ran to the Custom House, unlimbered, put their tallest ladder against the building and a man went to the roof—all which was done in fifty seconds. Engine Co. No. 1, T. C. Canfield, Foreman, with Hose company, then started from the same place, ran to the reservoir opposite the Post Office, laid 300 feet of hose, and raised a stream in a minute and a quarter. Engine Co. No. 2, J. Dickenson, Foreman, went through the same exercise, except laying the hose, in one minute. A large number of spectators covered the sidewalks and filled the adjacent windows. After the performances were over, the firemen all went to the rooms of No. 1, and enjoyed a bountiful collation—appetites good—viands delicious. Our fire department is now in very efficient condition, and is ever ready to do good service whenever wanted.
Below we give the report of the judges:
Middletown, Oct. 26th, 1861
At the annual parade of the Fire Department this day, by order of the Chief Engineer, in which each of our Fire companies contested against time in a feat of running 200 feet to the reservoir, adjusting two lengths of suction hose to the engine and from the reservoir passing water through 300 feet of hose and short pipe, which hose was by the Hose company in the meantime to be unreeled, laid, uncoupled from the roll on the reel, and the short pipe coupled on; this feat was performed in one minute and fifteen seconds by Mattabessett Engine Co., No. 1, and Canfield Hose Co., who were the successful contestants.
We would further say that the lengths of the hose on the reel at starting, was 600 feet in one continuous length, and the 300 feet was uncoupled therefrom.
Julius Hotchkiss, H. D. Hall, Judges.
The weather now is cool and bracing. Last night there was plenty of frost, and considerable ice formed.
We mentioned last week that Mr. Ephraim Higby, of Westfield, raised a yellow pumpkin this season which weighed 40 pounds. We should have said forty-six pounds.
Just So.—The New Haven Palladium says that the reason why the recent Horse Fair was held in Hartford was not so much because of the peculiar excellence of the location of the ground as because they have there a Colt reported to be worth $2,500,000.
A Scotch paper speaks of a fox having been seen trying to spring a steel trap by means of a stick that he carried in his mouth. We knew a fox once that took a well-pole from the well and pushed a turkey off from the lower limb of a tree with it, and put the pole back in its place. At least, he got the turkey, and the pole was found all right in the morning.
A shoemaker was taken up for bigamy. ‘Which wife,’ asked a by-stander, ‘will he be obliged to take?’ ‘He is a cobbler,’ replied another, ‘and of course must stick to the last.’