From The Constitution, Wednesday, April 30, 1862 (volume 25, number 1270)
New Orleans, the emporium of the southwest, has fallen. The news comes from the rebels themselves, and is believed to be correct. Our forces passed Fort Jackson on Thursday morning. Martial law was put in full force and business was suspended in the city. All the cotton was burnt, and all the steamboats except such as were necessary to transport coin, ammunition, &c. At one o’clock on Friday, the telegraphic operator announced that the enemy had appeared before the city, and telegraphic communication was stopped. It is probable the city has fallen into our hands without much fighting.
Despatches from Gen. Halleck are very important. On Thursday an engagement took place between the advance guards of the two armies, in which the rebels were driven back towards Corinth. Our troops were within six miles of Corinth, and it is probable that another great battle has been fought, unless the rebels have thought it best to evacuate their position.
On Saturday, a spirited affair took place at Yorktown. An advanced field work of the rebels was carried by assault by a company of the 1st Massachusetts in the most gallant manner. Fourteen prisoners were taken, and the work was destroyed.
Gen. Banks had pushed a strong reconnoisance in the direction of Staunton, and it was reported that Staunton was already in possession of the national forces.
The iron-clad steamer Galena is at Fortress Monroe, in fighting trim, and ready for an encounter with the Merrimac.
The most intense excitement exists around Norfolk. Contrabands state that great fear exists of an attack by Gen. Burnside. Many citizens are leaving Norfolk. The fall of New Orleans is conceded by all.
Painful Scenes—An Army of Sextons—The Dead and Wounded – On Thursday, it was impossible to move without caution, as dead men were lying thickly everywhere for miles—sometimes a dozen in a space of as many feet. No such scene was ever before witnessed in America. The opponents lay as they had fallen, often the bodies of one heaped upon those of the other. Wounded men, mangled horses, crushed bodies, extended so interminably it was impossible to pass through them, and the visitor would finally be compelled to turn and retrace his steps.
Rains had soaked the ground and covered it with pools of water, and sometimes the wounded could be seen crawling on to the dead and lying there to keep off from the damp earth. Many had died in that position, and not a few of the deaths were caused by exposure. Physicians were busy, laboring nobly, but instruments became blunted and useless, and surgeons dropped with fatigue at their posts before a fiftieth part of the work had been done.
Numbers were drowned by being unable to crawl away from the positions where they had fallen, and in which the water rapidly collected. Your city readers can form some idea of the carnage by picturing a walk as far as from St. Louis to the Fair Grounds among dead and dying, stretched away out of sight on either side. The woods, far beyond our picket guards, are being now explored, and hundreds of injured, abandoned by the enemy on their retreat, brought in. Every house between here and Corinth is a hospital. We visited several of them and found the floors covered with poor wretches, lying in pools of blood, their arms and legs torn off. Days passed without any nourishment, and in half the cases death had outstripped the physicians and was coming to their relief. Certainly a greater scene of wide spread misery never existed. The first day or two the air was filled with groans, sobs, and frenzied curses, but now the sufferers are quiet ; not from cessation of pain, but mere exhaustion. We frequently a little to one side, where first the ambulances, afterwards the dead carts, had failed to find them, came across the bodies of men who had bled to death. Around them the grass was stained with blood, and often their hands was grasped convulsively on a few leaves, with which they had endeavored to stop the life tide, until growing fainter and fainter, they had given up in despair and laid back to die. One poor fellow, a boy who could not have been over fourteen, was lying against a tree, a knife in his hand, with which he had carved the letters John Dan–. The N was but partially finished, when death had compelled him to give up the gloomy task of carving his own epitaph. The terrible destruction caused by cannon balls was evidenced in the sight of three bodies mangled by the same shot. The latter, a twelve pounder, had struck a fourth man, while he was evidently in a stooping posture, hitting immediately on the top of the head, and driving the fragments of skull downward into the body, the shot remaining half hidden between the shoulders. I saw in three houses near our outer pickets, and two miles from the battle ground, four wounded rebel captains, and 30 of 40 privates. Beauregard, as he retreated, bore back with him his wounded, leaving them in houses, barns and fence corners by the way. It is thus they are strewn over so great a space. One of the officers was being carried to a waggon as we stopped, and in the height of delirium waved an arm above his head, cheering imaginary companies on to attack. It will be a week before all can be collected and taken care of, as the farther out our pickets go, the thicker they find them. Now the battle is over, it becomes a subject of wonder that the loss on both sides was not even greater. For two days the bullets flew without cessation, and passed like a storm of destruction through the woods and camp. We were unable to find over the entire area of hundreds of acres, where the sternest firing took place, a single tree that was not scarred. Some had thirty or forty bullets imbedded in them, while shot and shell had covered the ground with limbs and trunks.
Cor. St. Louis Republican.
The following extract from the letter of an officer, ought to be a sufficient answer to one class of the miserable detractors of Gen. McClellan.—[Buffalo Com.
Five Miles Southeast of Yorktown, Va.—We are encamped on the ground formerly occupied by the famous Cobb Legion of Georgia, and the 15th Georgia, Col. McClure. I called this morning at a house to get something to eat, and they told me this. I have been in a starving condition almost, having had nothing to eat since yesterday morning until to-day at half-past 1 o’clock. I began to feel sick. It was owing to our tents being detained, and baggage also.
Gen. McClellan is with us, and a better leader never led better men. The volunteers are well trained and drilled, and the regulars are ready for action. The troops perfectly adore him, and did politicians know that every stab they aim at McClellan strikes his troops also, they would desist. No calumny is believed by them, and no politico-abolition canard ever for an instant shakes the firm confidence of the Army of the Potomac in their leader and chieftain. The last words of his noble proclamation are still ringing in their ears, and they are ready to die for the Chief, whom they know “loves them.” Should you never hear from me again, I hope you may hear of me as standing by my post.
The Fight at Elizabeth City, N. C.
On Thursday, the 17th inst., Gen. Reno left Newbern and proceeded to Roanoke Island, from which place he took about two thousand men and proceeded to Elizabeth City, where a strong rebel force was reported to be intrenching themselves.
On Saturday an advance was made upon the rebels. The enemy opened fire with their artillery as soon as our troops made their appearance, and from all appearances thought they had us in a trap of our own making. Our troops immediately formed in line of battle, and charged on the enemy, who ran at the first fire. Our troops then immediately took possession of the town, and after remaining there for a few hours, retired to the main army.
Our force was about two thousand men, under Gen. Reno, and three boat howitzers, under Col. Howard. The force of the rebels consisted of a Georgia regiment, numbering eleven hundred men, a portion of Wise’s Legion, and two batteries of artillery. The enemy was totally routed, with a loss of about sixty men. Our loss is about twelve killed and forty-eight wounded. Col. Hawkins, of the New York Zouaves, received a slight flesh wound in the arm. The Adjutant of Col. Hawkins’ regiment was reported killed.
New York, April 25.—It is reported that the rebels, fearing an attack on Norfolk, have prepared obstructions in the channel of the Elizabeth river with vessels.
Information that is reliable places Gen. Lee in command of the rebels at Yorktown. Johnston did not remain. All rebel stores, ammunition, baggage, etc., have been moved three miles to the rear of Yorktown. Contrabands say that the rebels had near 200 killed and wounded it [sic] affair at Lees Mills. A gang of 3000 negroes who were at work on the dam, had a dozen killed by our shells and had to be forced back with the bayonet.
A report was circulated last week by the New York papers that Secretary Welles was about to resign his place in the Cabinet, that he was to accept the mission to Spain, and that Gen. Banks was to receive the appointment of Secretary of the Navy. The report was so circumstantial and positive that many believed it. The whole story was false, and was evidently got up by the enemies of Mr. Welles, who have long been anxious that he should retire and give place to some one of their own favorites. It does not appear that there is any present intention of making any change in the Cabinet.
The people of Moodus (East Haddam) had what was supposed at the time to be a specimen of Moodus Noises on Friday morning about 6 o’clock. A big rock, weighing about 200 tons, fell from the bluff and completely crushed the barn of R. W. Miller, with wagons, sleighs, &c., stored therein, while a horse tied in the barn escaped without a scratch. Loss $500, and no insurance.
The Rev. J. L. Dudley, pastor of the South Congregational Church in this city, (which pastorate he has held for the past 13 years,) preached on Sabbath evening last one of his most popular and finished discourses to a very large and crowded audience in his church, and on the Monday following surprised them by sending in to the Church and Society a letter resigning the pastorate to take effect at the expiration of the present month, making his last Sabbath evening’s sermon his farewell sermon. So ending his labors with his people, before in any manner signifying his intention of leaving them !
The Religious Herald says the reason why the First church in Durham have hired Prof. Foss of Wesleyan University as a stated supply for a year is that they are “unable on account of a debt and the embarrassments of business, at present, to settle a minister or pay a full salary.”
Resignation of Mr. Dudley
Last evening Rev. J. L. Dudley, pastor of the South church in this city, handed in his resignation to the Church and Society. The movement is very unexpected to the community, and many will learn of it with extreme regret. Mr. Dudley has engaged to supply the pulpit of the North church in Springfield for two months commencing next Sabbath. It is understood, says the Springfield Republican, “that if the church likes him and he likes the church, a call to the permanent occupation of the pulpit and its acceptance will be the result of the arrangement.”
For Our Soldiers
Never has so much interest and enthusiasm been manifested for the relief of the sick and wounded soldiers as was shown by the ladies of this town last week. Large quantities of valuable articles for the sick room were collected. Untold amounts of lint were prepared. Many nice delicacies to tempt the palate of the convalescent were sent in. And everything which the benevolent souls of our good people could think of was done. The fact is two companies in the 1st Conn. Artillery, now before Yorktown, went from Middletown, and many a family, many a wife, mother, and sister, felt as if they might have a personal interest in all these preparations. The articles were collected at the several houses which were designated last week, and then sent to Mrs. Tyler’s, where they were packed and dispatched to the Sanitary Commission at New York. Five hundred dollars in cash were collected by the ladies, besides one or two hundred dollars worth of useful articles.
Patriotism in the High School
On Friday afternoon, the usual exercises of the High School were omitted and the afternoon was employed by the scholars in both Junior and Senior Departments in preparing lint. It was an unusual and most interesting sight to see 150 children at work in this manner for the benefit of our sick and wounded soldiers.
A Hint For the Patriotic Women
A Philadelphia woman who visited many regiments of the Potomac army, distributing the comforts provided by the ladies’ aid society of that city, states that “concentrated chicken” has contributed to the recovery of many typhoid patients, who were apparently beyond medical aid, and that quantities of it should be put up at once, and forwarded to the hospitals. For the benefit of those who wish to make it, we give her directions : “Prepare the chicken as for stewing ; put it into cold water, just enough to keep from burning, and boil until the flesh can be stripped from the bones ; to the flesh add some water and salt and a little pepper, but no butter, and let it simmer for a long time, or until reduced as much as possible. Seal it up hot in cans.”