From The Constitution, Wednesday, May 7, 1862 (volume 25, number 1271)
McClellan’s Army In Pursuit !
Capture of 71 Guns
Yorktown, which the rebels have repeatedly boasted could never be captured, is now in our possession, and the rebel army which lately occupied the intrenchments by which it was defended, are in full flight before the National army under Gen. McClellan. Various rumors have been in circulation during the past week, principally founded on the statements of deserters, that the rebels intended to evacuate the position, but it was hardly thought possible that the rebel leaders would risk such a movement. Evidence became very strong on Saturday, however, that they would do so, and on Saturday night the evacuation took place. Our troops immediately occupied the deserted works, and a large amount of camp equipage was found, and guns, which the rebels dared not attempt to remove, for fear of discovery. Gen. McClellan immediately threw forward all his cavalry and horse-artillery in pursuit, and took measures at once to embark troops on the York River, to be landed at West Point, on the railroad to Richmond—Gloucester, in the meantime, having also been occupied by our forces. Everything inside the former rebel lines was found to be in the most utter confusion, indicating that the flight was hasty in the extreme. Seventy-one pieces of heavy artillery were found in their works, spiked, together with a large amount of ammunition, medical stores, camp equipage, tents, and the private property of the officers. Persons left in the town state that a large amount of ordnance stores was also thrown into the river, to prevent them falling into our hands. Our gunboats passed above Yorktown, and shelled the shore on the way up. The best information received led to the belief that the rebels fell back to Chickacoming Creek, beyond Williamsburgh, where it was expected they would make a stand. They are represented to be much demoralized, however, and whether they can now be brought to face our army, remains to be seen.
The rebel steamer Merrimac Sunday came down below Sewell’s Point, but remained stationary there. It was supposed that she was there to endeavor to prevent any expedition up James River to cut off the retreat from Yorktown. No other steamers accompanied her.
Official from General McClellan.
Headquarters Army Potomac,
Yorktown, 9 A. M.
Hon. E. M. Stanton, Secretary of War—We hold the ramparts, guns, ammunition, camp equipage, &c. We hold the entire line of the enemy’s works, which the engineers report as being very strong.
I have thrown all my cavalry and horse artillery in pursuit, supported by infantry.
I moved Franklin’s division and as much more as I could transport by water, up to West Point to-day. No time shall be lost. The gunboats have gone up York river.
I omitted to state that Gloucester is also in our possession.
I SHALL PUSH THE ENEMY TO THE WALL.
Geo. B. McClellan,
Maj. Gen. Com’dg.
The following was received at the War Department Monday noon :
Headquarters, Army Potomac,
May 4th.—7 P. M.
Our cavalry and horse artillery came up with the enemy’s rear guard entrenchments, about two miles this side of Williamsburg.
A brisk fight ensued. Just as my aid left, Smith’s division of infantry arrived on the ground, and I presume carried his works, though I have not yet heard.
The enemy’s rear is strong, but I have force enough up there to answer all purposes. We have thus far seventy-one heavy guns, a large amount of tents, ammunition, &c.
All along the lines their works prove to have been most formidable, and I am now fully satisfied of the correctness of the course I have pursued.
The success is brilliant and you may rest assured its effects will be of the greatest importance. There shall be no delay in following up the enemy.
The rebels have been guilty of the most murderous and barbarous conduct in placing torpedoes within the abandoned works, near the wells, in the springs, and near the flagstaffs, magazines, telegraph offices, in carpet bags, barrels of flour, &c.
Fortunately we have not lost many men in this manner; some four or five killed and perhaps a dozen wounded.
I shall make the prisoners remove them at their own peril. (Signed)
G. B. M’Clellan, Major General.
A correspondent of the N. Y. Commercial Advertiser writing from Washington speaks in the following high terms of Gen. McClellan.
I am glad to assure those of your readers who have relatives or friends in the army before Yorktown, that everything there is going on in the most satisfactory manner.
McClellan stock has risen rapidly since the General commenced his operations before Yorktown. Men who up to that time seemed unable to grasp fully his grand design and to understand the steps towards its consummation, now unequivocally and in public avow themselves among the warmest admirers of the man whom at one time they were afraid fully to trust.
I have it on the highest authority—one that admits of no error or misrepresentation—that whatever may have been the bearing of certain members of the Cabinet hitherto towards General McClellan, they are now unanimous in giving to him an implicit confidence.
I may go further and say that the highest military authority in this city openly declares that Gen. McClellan’s demonstrations before Yorktown, which he had professionally visited and inspected, are those of a master in military strategy.
I hurriedly write these few lines, good fortune having put in my way the information they contain, because I think the knowledge of these facts, which you know are as authentic as I have represented them to be, ought to be diffused through a city and state that have so many sons before Yorktown, whose fate hangs upon Gen. McClellan’s generalship. Such may rest assured that the army will be handled with consummate skill and not a life be needlessly sacrificed.
The surrender of Fort Macon was not conditioned as the rebels would have us believe. After a bombardment of eleven hours, commencing at 5 ¾ o’clock on Friday morning, the fort was rendered wholly untenable, and the garrison was forced to yield on whatever terms Gen. Burnside saw fit to dictate. During the bombardment there were seven rebels killed, and quite a number wounded, while the National loss was but one man killed and eleven wounded. One of our batteries of breaching guns was established within eleven hundred yards of the fort, and our fire was so destructive that all but three of the guns bearing upon our batteries were dismounted, and all on the opposite side of the fort were placed in a like condition. The number of prisoners captured is 400, but it is stated that Col. White, who commanded the fort, with 150 of his men, were subsequently released on parole.
The career of the rebels in New-Mexico seems to have ended as suddenly as it began. The statement that they had evacuated Santa Fe is fully confirmed, and they are now said to be retreating as fast as they can from the Territory, destitute of all munitions and provisions, of which it is impossible for them to get a supply in any quarter. While at Santa Fe, they levied heavily on the merchants there, in some cases taking as high as $15,000 worth of goods and paying in Confederate scrip. Gen. Canby was expected to follow the rebels until they made their exit from the Territory.
The passage of the District Emancipation bill has placed the United States Marshal of the District in an awkward predicament. Since the law went into effect over a thousand slaves from the State of Maryland have flocked there. Their owners are sueing out writs for their apprehension under the Fugitive Slave Law. Numbers of these negroes have taken refuge in the military camps in the vicinity and become officers’ servants. The Marshal is bound under heavy penalties to execute these writs, and is empowered to call out the posse comitatus. The officers of the regiments refuse to obey the command to aid the Marshal to execute the writ, and forbid its execution in their camps.
Gen. Sherman was confirmed as Major-General on Thursday.
It has been sarcastically said that an American wants to do everything in about twenty minutes. But never was greater confusion exhibited by our nation than we now see in England, owing to the report of the contest between the Monitor and the Merrimac. The ministry is as much pestered with inquiries and suggestions and appeals as our cabinet has ever been. It was said of an old English-officer that he never went to bed except to dream of the French landing in Kent and marching to London. It would seem that the whole nation is now troubled with the vision of iron-clad monsters from our shores or from somewhere, coming up to London Tower to demand tribute of the city, or sailing along the coast demolishing all the fortifications which England has been building at so enormous a cost. On all sides the cry comes up to stop work on the wooden vessels and the fortifications. “Vote not another dollar for them,” is the command. “But build a fleet of invulnerable vessels, cost what they will.” John Bull growls over the tax bills, but he is always pretty willing to bleed freely, if he can only carry his point. The poor ministers, who must raise the enormous sums required, deprecate hasty action, try to persuade the alarmed people that nothing new was proved by the fight in Hampton Roads, and that it is best not to be rash. But they might as well talk to the whirlwind. Every one knows that it was conclusively proved on the 9th of March that there must be a complete revolution in the science of naval warfare and of coast defences. Precisely what form of vessels is best suited for the navy is not yet fully decided. But it seems quite clear that the expensive, leaky, unmanageable, vulnerable Warriors and Defences are not the best kind. Let England go on making such, if she pleases, for a couple of years, and she will then see whose navy rules the seas.—Prov. Jour.
Arrest of the Winsted Bank Robbers
Two of the Winsted Bank robbers were arrested in Providence, and were taken to Winsted on Thursday last. Over $7000 worth of the bills were found in their possession. The gold was left with an accomplice who absconded with it and went to Europe.
Dr. Nathan Bangs died at his residence in New York on Saturday morning, at 10 o’clock. He became a member of the Methodist church in 1800, and a preacher in 1801. He was born in Stratford in this state May 2, 1778. Dr. Bangs succeeded Wilbur Fisk in the Presidency of Wesleyan University, but resigned the position after a short time.
List of Articles Sent U. S. Sanitary Commission, New York, April 28th, 1862.
Editor of the Constitution : I send you the enclosed list of articles sent to the U. S. Sanitary Commission in New York, the 28th ult. You will remember that the meeting held for the purpose of devising ways and means to aid our sick and wounded soldiers, was held in McDonough Hall on the 21st ult. It being a very stormy night, a small attendance only were present. But enthusiasm of the warmest kind was manifested by all. The result may be summed up as follows: For four days work by the committee of ladies and gentlemen—
Cash raised, $600.00
Value of articles sent, 650.00 $1250.00
Every article was procured raised and sent to the packing room by Friday night. Cash ditto.
Perhaps we are a sleepy city, as the Hartford Courant said a short time ago, and as our Hartford friends like to have us appear; but if we don’t “blow our own trumpet” quite as much as they do, we nevertheless are not far behind them.
The above is only a tithe of what we are doing, and have done all through the war. Let us have credit when we deserve it. The ladies are deserving of all praise in this last enterprise, as indeed they are in all good works. In behalf of the committee,
A. Putnam, Chairman.
Colored Old Folks Concert
Something new is going to happen in Middletown on Thursday evening. There is to be an Old Folks concert, and the old folks are colored folks, and no burnt cork at all to be used. This company belongs in Hartford, and is composed of some of the most respectable colored people there. They have given successful concerts in Hartford and Springfield. If our citizens want to hear some old fashioned music by people who know how to sing, and want to see some ancient costume, they can do it on Thursday night at McDonough Hall for only a quarter of a dollar. A full house is expected.
There was sent a little more than a week ago, from this city a barrel filled with useful articles to the National Freedman’s Relief Association. Another barrel intended for the same destination is being filled, and will be sent this week.
An enormously big hole has been dug for a firm foundation for the north abutment of the bridge, and they are now driving spiles to make sure there shall be no caving in hereafter. People who go there to look on are curious to know where those long spiles go to and how far under ground they will be when the bridge is built.
In this city, May 5th, Samuel Russell, aged 72 years and 8 months. The relatives and friends of the deceased, are respectfully invited to attend the funeral at his late residence, on Thursday afternoon, the 8th, at 3 o’clock.
… Beadle’s Dime Base-Ball Player comprises the proceedings of the fifth annual base-ball convention, together with the rules and regulations for 1862. Persons interested in this game will want the book. For sale by A. Putnam, for one dime. …
Beauregard calls the recent battlefield “Shiloh.” We presume that his Secretary of State, Judah P. Benjamin, will abdicate now, for the prophecy of the patriarch Jacob was that “the scepter shall not depart from Judah until Shiloh comes.”—[Prentice.