From The Constitution, Wednesday, April 23, 1862 (volume 25, number 1269)
Com. Foote is hard at work on Fort Wright. The latest news from him is to Friday. The firing on both sides had been heavy. Gen. Pope cannot do much in aid of the Commodore, on account of the high stage of the water in the Mississippi, and the siege may be protracted. Fort Wright is seventy-eight miles above Memphis.
The news from Gen. Banks to the 18th is that his advance column arrived at Sparta, Rockingham Co., driving the enemy before him with artillery and cavalry charges. His advance is delayed by the destruction of the bridges by the enemy.
Gen. McDowell has made an important movement which must soon result in the occupation of Fredericksburg. After a forced march across the country, a portion of McDowell’s army were attacked by a regiment of rebel infantry, a regiment of cavalry and a battery of artillery. The enemy were driven across the Rappahannock, and our troops on Friday morning occupied Falmouth, opposite Fredericsburgh.
Movements in the vicinity of Pittsburgh Landing indicate that the enemy are making preparations for another great struggle.
Gen. Mitchel was at Iuka, Miss., having burned the bridges on the Charleston and Memphis railroad, across the Tennessee river at Decatur and Florence. Iuka is but 22 miles from Corinth.
The Fort was surrendered at 2 o’clock P. M. on Friday, the 11th inst., after a bombardment continuing thirty hours, during which, seven large breaches were made in the South wall by a national battery of eight Parrott guns, stationed at King’s Landing, which fired conical balls of such a formidable character that the work, notwithstanding its great strength, offered very little resistance to them. All the barbette guns on that side were dismounted, and three of the casemate guns, leaving but one gun bearing on our battery ; and three balls entered the rebel magazine making a clean breach in it. Besides all this, over one thousand shells were exploded inside the fort, and Col. Olmstead, who was in command there, telegraphed that no human being could stand upon the ramparts for even a single moment, so terrible was our fire. The losses on either side were very slight. The surrender was, of course, unconditional.
Fort Pulaski was, as we are informed, built under the supervision of Gen. Mansfield, then Captain in the Corps of Engineers. It is known to have been one of the strongest and most skillfully built forts in the country. It cost a million of dollars.
Washington, April 16.—President Lincoln has signed the bill for the abolition of slavery in the District. Many of the colored people who would have been freed by the law have been hurried beyond the boundaries of the District. The number left is not large. The free population of the District already amounts to about eleven thousand.
The President to-day nominated to the Senate James G. Berrett, Ex-Mayor of Washington. Hon. Samuel F. Vinton of Ohio, and Daniel R. Goodcoe, formerly of North Carolina, Commissioners under the act for the Abolition of Slavery in the District of Columbia, whose duty is to investigate and determine the validity and value of the claims presented.
Slavery Abolished in the District of Columbia
On Wednesday last, the President signed the bill for the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia. Not a slave now dwells within the District, and no one can charge the government of the United States with giving any support or countenance to the institution. It has been said, and probably with truth, that the slave power has been predominant at our national capital for almost half a century past, and that since the incoming of the present administration it has had a wonderful influence there. But hence forth this must be changed. Washington is a free city, and is surrounded with a free territory, and if slaveholders hereafter go there, they carry their peculiar wares to a foreign market. The 16th of April, 1862, will be a memorable day for the national capital and for the nation.
Kansas City, April 14th.—The Fort Union mail brings a confirmation of the battle of Apache Pass. Our loss is 150 killed, wounded and missing. The enemy acknowledge their loss to be from 300 to 400 killed and wounded. Ninety-three rebels were taken prisoners, 13 of whom are officers. Our forces captured and burned 64 wagons laden with provisions and ammunition, and killed 200 mules. The Texans attacked our battery four times, the last time coming within 40 feet of our guns, but were repulsed with a heavy loss.
Col. Slough is encamped at Bernal’s Springs, 40 miles from Fort Union. The Texans fell back to Santa Fe.
Ex-Secretary Cameron was arrested in Philadelphia Tuesday on a warrant issued by the Sheriff’s officers, on complaint of Pierce Butler, for alleged illegal retention in Fort Lafayette. Last night 100 citizens, headed by a number of public officers, visited the residence of Mr. Butler and regaled him with the noise of horns, fiddles and other discordant instruments. Mr. Cameron had made ready to start for Europe. Mr. Wall and friends, of Burlington, N. J., are in Philadelphia also waiting to castigate Cameron for the arrest of Mr. Wall last fall. The ex-Secretary is guarded by the United States Marshal, the District Attorney and others. For the present he declares his intention not to sail for Russia until the case is disposed of.
Some severe criticisms have been made on the conduct of Generals Grant and Buell at the battle of Pittsburgh. The sum and substance of the charge against Gen. Grant appears to be that he allowed himself to be attacked by an overwhelming force on the wrong side of the river ; and the charge against Gen. Buell is that he is a “slow coach” and failed to reinforce Gen. Grant in season. We apprehend that few will appreciate the force of these charges. Although Gen. Grant was attacked by greatly overwhelming numbers, yet the result proved that he was able with the help of his gun boats to hold his position, which he did, until reinforced. As to Gen. Buell’s being slow, those who are acquainted with the nature of the difficulties he had to encounter on his march are surprised that he reached there so soon. The bridges were destroyed and the streams were much swollen by heavy rains, which at the same time made the dirt roads almost impassible. Notwithstanding all these obstacles Gen. Buell reached the appointed rendezvous and formed a junction with Grant within a few hours of the time he was expected. If he had reached there a day earlier, it might have been better still. But we have the grand fact before us that the battle was won, that our arms were victorious, that Buell did arrive in season to take part in the conflict and overwhelm with defeat the best appointed army of the South. In war, the merits of a commander are decided by his success. We may find fault with his plans and criticize his movements, but if in the end he is successful, he has earned his laurels and history will embalm his name.
Great Flood in the Connecticut
The river has been rising for more than a week past, but the latter part of the week it came up quite rapidly. On Saturday morning it was about 14 feet above low water mark and was rising at the rate of two inches an hour. It continued rising at that rate through the day. On Sunday it kept steadily on the rise, though not so rapidly, and on Sunday evening it was about 23 feet above low water mark. Through Sunday night and Monday there was a gradual rise. On Monday evening it had risen two feet more, making twenty-five feet above low water. Here it came to a stand, and this morning (Tuesday) the water is falling.
In 1854, the flood was two feet higher than this year. That was the greatest flood known, when the water rose to a height of 27 feet. In 1843, the water rose nearly 24 feet above low water mark. The flood of 1801 was 9 inches higher than that of 1843.
No little inconvenience and some loss is caused by the flood. Some families have been driven out of their dwellings, and others take refuge in the upper stories. Fisk’s storehouse undertook to go off on a cruise, but was secured and made fast to a big tree. The bridge on the causeway to the Farms was kept in its place with difficulty. The roads in almost every direction are flooded, and it is almost impossible to get out of town except by water conveyance. We have had no mails for twenty four hours. Portions of the railroad track are under water, and there were no trains running in the afternoon and evening.
Warm for April
We learn that at the University the thermometer last Friday the 18th at 2 P. M. stood at 82 ½ degrees. This is remarkable for the month of April.
Arthur Danforth, son of John Danforth, formerly of this city, of the firm of Brewer and Danforth, but since of Hartford, was killed instantly by a shot through the breast at the battle of Winchester. He belonged to the 7th Ohio regiment.
John Comstock, a member of Co. K 8th Regiment, son of Aaron Comstock, of Centrebrook, came home on the Ellen S. Terry, on Tuesday. He went immediately home, but expired about five hours after.
As the sloop Apollo, of Mystic, Capt. Freeman, was passing off Faulkner’s Island on her homeward bound passage through the Sound, on March 30th, she was visited by a meteoric illuminator, which attached itself to every part of the rigging and sails, causing her to present the appearance of a vessel wrapped in a sheet of flame.
Too ‘Cute for ‘Em
A few days ago Mr. Samuel Clark, who lives on Low street, observed a bunch of nice hay placed on his premises in such a position as to be likely to attract the attention of his oxen, and yet where nobody with any good intention would ever put it. He examined it and found that a white powder had been sifted over it. His suspicions were excited, so he took a little of the white substance to Prof. Johnston of the University who found it to be arsenic.
What a spirit of diabolism is here manifested!