From The Constitution, Wednesday, February 5, 1862 (volume 25, number 1258)

General Burnside’s Expedition

Statement of Rev. Mr. Flanders, Chaplain of the Fourth Rhode Island Regiment

We find, in the Providence Journal, several interesting facts concerning the expedition of Gen. Burnside, furnished by Rev. Mr. Flanders, Chaplain of the Fourth Rhode Island Regiment. According to his statement, the disasters to the fleet were far less serious than it would appear from special correspondents. The Journal says :

“Mr. Flanders was on board the “Eastern Queen,” the vessel which carried the Rhode Island Fourth, and was an eye-witness of the furious storm and of the disasters which the expedition experienced. His statements therefore will be received with great interest, and may be implicitly relied on.

“Most of the vessels of lighter draft were successfully carried over the bar, The “City of New York,” however, in attempting to get over, unfortunately struck. She was loaded with an exceedingly valuable cargo, which proved a total loss. Everything on board of her went to the bottom. The sailors were unable to save even their clothes. After she struck it was seen at once to be impossible to get her off, and there she remained for two days, no boat daring, or at least attempting, to go to her assistance. Finally, however, her crew were safely landed, and the vessel abandoned.

Among other heroic acts to which the hazardous condition of the fleet gave rise, one in connection with the loss of the “City of New York” especially deserves mention. The second engineer, Mr. Showerman, was the last to leave the vessel. Lashing himself to the rigging, he remained there until all had left. Then mounting the mast, he cut down the flag, wrapped it around his body, and returning to the deck and thence on shore, bore it as a triumphant trophy of his daring heroism. Said he, ‘I meant either to die in its folds or bring it safely to land.’”

“It was the prevailing opinion at Hatteras that the “City of New York” was lost through the treachery of the pilot. Commodore Goldsborough declared to Mr. Flanders ‘that with the permission of the government, he would hang him that very day.’ The crew of the “City of New York” were also of the opinion that the pilot played the part of a traitor.

“The “Ciry of New York,” together with the “Pocahontas” and a small schooner loaded with oats, were the only vessels which proved total wrecks. The “Pocahontas” was comparatively a worthless craft. Her cargo consisted chiefly of baggage horses, to the number of 130, most of which were drowned. Their loss can be easily supplied. The statement that 90 horses attached to the Rhode Island battery were drowned, Mr. Flanders pronounces a mistake. When he left they had been safely landed. His own horse, however, and that of another staff officer, which happened to be on board the ‘Pocahontas,” were lost.

“Several vessels were driven on shore, experiencing, however, but trifling damage, and will undoubtedly be successfully got off. Among those driven ashore was the “Eastern Queen,” which carried the Fourth Rhode Island Regiment. But the troops were landed without the occurrence of a single casualty.

“In the opinion of Mr. Flanders, the expedition could not be much delayed on account of the storm and the losses which it had encountered, but would soon commence active operations. Gen. Burnside was full of hope, anticipating the most complete success. In conversation he remarked ‘that he had seen darker days than this,’ and that no disaster which the fleet had yet experienced disheartened him in the least. The soldiers place the utmost confidence in his judgment and abilities as a General, and wherever he will lead they are ready and eager to follow.”

Latest News

The House Committee of Ways and Means have very nearly completed the tax bill, and it will soon be reported in Congress. It is expected that by means of the taxes and the ordinary sources of revenue, an income will be secured to government of $150,000,000 annually.

Bishop Ames and Hon. Hamilton Fish, commissioners appointed by Secretary Stanton to go South and look after the welfare of our prisoners, are still in Washington.

The latest from the Burnside expedition is that it was preparing to move to its destination which was believed to be Roanoke Island.

It is rumored that Gen. Banks is to take the place of Mr. Welles in the Navy Department.

Snow has fallen heavily in Virginia. On Saturday, the troops on the Potomac were busy clearing their camps of snow to prevent the water coming into the tents.

In Missouri, Gen. Prentiss is advancing on Lebanon to unite with Davis’ forces, and there is prospect of a battle with Price.

Heavy firing was heard on Thursday in the direction of Roanoke Island, and it was believed Com. Goldsborough was hard at work.

Prof. Larned, of Yale College, died yesterday very suddenly.

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Fortress Monroe, Jan. 29, via Baltimore, Jan. 30.—Some negroes arrived here at seven o’clock this morning, having deserted in small boats from the opposite shore. They were cooks in the Third Alabama regiment, which is encamped in the vicinity.

The negroes report that the last of the iron plates for the Merrimac was put on yesterday, and that she was to be launched to-day.

A large steamer, reported to be the Merrimac, but probably erroneously so, made its appearance at Craney Island yesterday afternoon.

The troops at Newport News slept on their arms last night.

A flag of truce, to-day, brought from Norfolk, Lieutenant E. Connolly, of the Sixty-ninth New York, from Columbia.

The tug-boats James Murray and E. H. Herbert of Baltimore, and Joseph P. Levy, Alert, Alida and Campion, of Philadelphia, sailed this afternoon for Hatteras, to join Gen. Burnside’s expedition.

The Eastern State sailed for Hatteras this forenoon.

The Hartford arrived from Philadelphia the afternoon.

John McMahon, a recruit in Company F, of the Union Coast Guard, shot Michael Dolan, in the same company, this morning. The act was done deliberately. The motive is said to have been an old family grudge.

The Liberated Negroes

It is probably impossible to settle upon any permanent policy with regard to the treatment of liberated slaves. The most that can be done now is to adopt such plans as will answer temporary purposes. It is certain that they should be well treated and their wants should be supplied, and if they can be employed in any kind of labor either in connection with army operations or in cultivating the soil, they should be so employed. It is now time to begin preparations for the cotton crop for the present year, and the thousands of blacks within the national lines on the coast of South Carolina might be set to work in making the necessary preparations. It is far better to keep these people busy than to maintain them in idleness, and their labor might be made exceedingly profitable, for it is well known that the region where Gen. Sherman’s forces are entrenched produces the best cotton in the world. Nothing is more useless than to speculate upon what is ultimately to be done with these people. So long as the war lasts nobody can venture to predict. The only thing that can be done now is to provide for them, and use them to the best advantage.

Rebel Commanders

The commanders of the rebel forces have not been fortunate nor happy in their position. Davis and Beauregard have repeatedly quarreled, and the latter has once or twice come very near resigning his commission. To say nothing of Zollicoffer and Garnett who fell on the battle field, there is a General Cocke who blew out his brains, and Grayson who died a natural death. Then we have on the list of resignations Major General Twiggs, Brigadier General Walker, Pillow and Fauntelroy [sic]. It is now stated that the redoubtable Beauregard has been sent to Bowling Green, where he is to take a command subordinate to Gen. A. S. Johnson.

When this rebellion commenced it was believed that Beauregard was the commander of the rebel forces, and no doubt Beauregard thought he was himself. But for some reason or other, his star has of late shone with a diminished luster. His counsels have been overruled by Davis. He has been superseded on the Potomac. He now goes to Kentucky where he takes an inferior command. Beauregard, in common with other rebel commanders, appears to have had a hard time of it.

Drafting Suspended

By order of Gov. Buckingham the Adjutant General will notify the selectmen of the several towns throughout the state that the late order for drafting is suspended. The reason of this is that it has become apparent that further legislation will be required to make the law effective, and also that volunteer companies have so increased as to give encouragement that the number required by law may be secured without the service of men who have been drafted. Thus there is no need of any further apprehension on the part of those who have been drafted and those who have not. The present law appears to be in effect a dead letter.

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The same disease, lameness in the joints, which appeared in this town last week, has since appeared in Hartford. There it has almost become epidemic. It is remarkable that it appeared there as it did here immediately after the drafting for the active militia.

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Samuel Tudor, the oldest man in Hartford, died last week, aged 92. He was one of the original founders and for a long time a director in the Phœnix Bank, and also a director in the Ætna Insurance Company. He was a man of wealth, kindhearted, gentlemanly, and ever pleasant and cheerful.

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Messrs. Editors :–The following from an Ohio paper will no doubt be of interest to many of your readers, as Capt. Wetmore is a grandson of Josiah, and great-grandson of Capt. Seth Wetmore, one of the original proprietors of this town. Young Capt. Wetmore was a classmate of Samuel M. Mansfield, son of Gen. Mansfield.

Wetmore Battery.—Editor Journal.—I perceive the several dispatches from Somerset detailing accounts of the recent great battle at Mill Spring notice Capt. Whetmore’s or Whitmore’s Battery doing signal service.

The battery of flying artillery alluded to was raised by Capt. Henry Shepard Wetmore (not Whitmore) in Cuyahoga and Summit counties in this state. Capt. Wetmore resigned a Cadetship at West Point (where he was distinguished as a mathematical scholar and tactician) the past summer, in order to serve his country in the field, and that too when he could have been at the end of six months entitled to his diploma, and in line of promotion in the regular army.

Col. Hazen of the 41st O. S. V. knowing Mr. W.’s ability, invited him to raise a battery and join his regiment. The gallant part that Capt. W. and his brave men took in gaining that signal victory over Zollicoffer and his confederate allies, shows that Col. Hazen knew his man, when he selected Mr. W. to command the battery then to be attached to the “41st.”

Capt. W. is the son of Nathaniel D. Wetmore Esqr., of Cuyahoga Falls, and was born in Rochester, N. H., Nov. 23d, 1841. He is probably the youngest Captain in years in the service.

Earthquake

On Sunday evening about eight o’clock a shock which appeared to be that of an earthquake was very sensibly felt in this city. It was a tremulous motion of the earth, felt but a few seconds, very similar to what would be produced by a heavy explosion, but without any noise attending it. The shock was much more perceptible on the other side of the river than here. A gentleman from East Hampton said it was very distinctly perceived there, and fairly shook the walls of the buildings. It was at first thought that it might have some connection with the “Moodus noises” which used to be heard in Moodus, but we learn that it was as quiet as usual in that neighborhood.

A Chance for a Sleigh Ride

A sleighing party to Wethersfield will start from the Douglas House on Thursday, wind and weather permitting. What is going to happen in Wethersfield we are not informed, but on their return a supper will be served up by “mine host” at the Douglas House. After the supper there will be a dance. All who wish to enjoy a good supper and what comes after the supper, are invited to be present.

Icy Steps

Several tubsfull of boiling water poured in quick succession on the steps of our dwellings, in sleety weather, beginning at the top, and coming down, as each step is cleared, followed with a broom, and then wiped with a cloth, will clear a dozen steps in ten minutes ; the warmth imparted to the steps by the boiling water, dries up the dampness left by the cloth. Salt scales off the stone, while ashes, sawdust and the like are insufferably dirty.—[Hall’s Journal of Health.

A Useful Dog

Mr. Schenck, at [the Farms, has a dog which goes out near the railroad track every night, a few moments before it is time for the cars, and waits until they pass, then picks up the paper which is thrown off by the expressman, and carries it to his master. He is always on hand at the regular time and never fails to bring the paper when it is there. Monday night he came back without it, and so confident was Mr. Schenck that it had not been thrown off that he walked to Rockport, and there learned that another person had been on the rout [sic] that day, instead of the regular expressmen [sic], and had forgotten to throw it off. This same dog used to get the paper by the stage-coach, ere the cars commenced running, and never missed being at his post when the stage came along.—[Cape Ann Advertiser.