From The Constitution, Wednesday, June 18, 1862 (volume 25, number 1277)
Gen. McClellan’s army is now in such close proximity to the rebels that a battle is expected from day to day. On Saturday important movements were observed in the enemy’s lines. Large bodies of troops were being moved down towards the late battle field. Everything indicates that we are on the eve of a great and decisive battle.
It is believed the rebels are evacuating their fortifications at Cumberland Gap.
Gen. Benham is in command of the expedition which is approaching Charleston by way of Stone. He is not expected to advance upon the city until he receives reinforcements. His command is at James Island, well protected by the gunboats, which are in plain sight of Fort Sumter.
Affairs in Norfolk are rapidly improving. Trade is reviving, and cordiality of feeling towards the Union is increasing.
At the Port Republic fight, a week ago last Monday, between Fremont’s troops and the enemy, the number of the enemy’s killed is estimated over 600 besides officers who were carried away. Our entire loss in killed, wounded, and missing did not exceed 1000, of which number 156 were killed.
No military leader has been more prominent in the war than General Butler. It was he who won the first signal victory over the rebels. It was he who struck the first blow at slavery, and showed the country how the slaves were made free by our advancing armies. Without waiting to settle the law points of the question, he cut the knot with a single stroke of good sense, and the system which he adopted has been accepted by the country. Gen. Butler now occupies the proud position of having rescued New Orleans from the power of the confederacy. His name will be one of the great names of the war, and will have a place in history by the side of those of McClellan and Halleck.
Gen. Butler is a fine specimen of a New England patriot. He is a Yankee all over, by birth and by disposition. The peculiar energy of the New England character is manifested in all that he does. A resolute determination which stops at nothing, which conquers everything, which is cool and calculating and strikes just at the right moment, has been shown in all his military course by the present Dictator of New Orleans. He is not a man to stop for a legal quibble, or to hesitate long over a constitutional question at a moment when the constitution is in danger.
Gen. Butler’s course presents a noble example of patriotism and loyalty. Politically he was a Breckinridge democrat. He was the leader in Massachusetts of a party which hated the republicans, and particularly detested Abraham Lincoln. But no sooner did the schemes of the rebels culminate in open rebellion, no sooner had Sumter fallen and the call to arms issued from Washington, than Butler instantly cast aside all party considerations, and was ready for the war like Putnam after the battle of Lexington. Forsaking old associations and prejudices, he has given himself to the service of his country with a whole hearted devotion. There is no half way work about this matter with him. No consideration of a private or a public nature, no old ties of party, are permitted to weigh a feather’s weight in the scale against the paramount claims of his country. We point therefore to Gen. Butler as a noble representative of the loyal men of New England. His public life since the war commenced has been a bright example for others.
The New York Times very properly says that the female demonstrations in favor of secession in some of the southern cities have been treated with too much regard by our northern soldiers. Nothing was ever gained any where by contending with women. The game is not worth the powder, and any man who enters the lists against them is sure to belittle himself in his own estimation, and is apt to have his motives misconstrued by others. There have been times during the war when women have acted as spies, and have rendered aid to the enemy. In such cases it has been necessary to place them under restraint. But the cases to which we allude are of a different character. Their petty exhibitions of spite against the Union cause, their feminine methods of showing their dislike of our soldiers by making faces at them, turning their backs on them and other ways they have of showing their preferences can do no harm to anybody and are not worth minding. The best way to crush out these female rebel demonstrations is not to notice them, for a woman knows she is powerless the moment she ceases to attract attention.
The defeat of Jackson by Gen. Fremont on Sunday before last was a very severe one. Not less than five hundred of the enemy’s dead were found on the field the night after the battle.
Emancipation.—A colony of one hundred and fifty colored persons, mostly from Washington and vicinity, have embarked on a vessel at Alexandria direst for Hayti. This movement is quite encouraging to the agents of Hayti now in Washington.
General Carey’s division received severe condemnation from General McClellan immediately after the battle of Fair Oaks. McClellan has since changed his opinion on account of statements made to him by Generals Casey and Nayler. He says that portions of the division behaved well.
Utah.—Measures will shortly be taken to urge the admission of Utah as a state into the Union.
Sale of Negroes.—On Monday last, at Richmond, Madison county, Maj. Barry sold at auction two negro men—one, aged fifty-five, at $440, the other, aged forty-five, at $475, both carpenters.—Louisville Journal.
Another stabbing case took place in the state prison at Wethersfield last week. Mr. Buck, an officer in the prison, was stabbed in the abdomen by one of the convicts named Jones. The wound is a dangerous one, but it is thought he will recover. No cause is assigned for the act.
Died at Middletown, on the 6th instant, Hon. Thomas Dyer, aged 57. The subject of this notice was a native of this State, and up to 1836 resided here. Since that period he resided in Chicago, Illinois, and has been prominently associated with the commercial interests of that city and State, and has acted a prominent part in the politics of the country.
During the administration of Mr. Polk, Mr. Dyer was the Receiver of Public Monies in the Chicago Land District, and general depository of the Government monies for the Northwest, and during his term of office he administered its affairs with marked ability and the most strict faithfulness and integrity.
Since that period he has occupied positions of trust in his adopted city and State, having been a member of the Legislature and Mayor of the city, and acquitted himself in each position with honor and distinction.
Mr. Dyer was a warm personal friend of the late Stephen A. Douglas, and devoted much time and labor in promoting the political advancement of that distinguished statesman ; and having his confidence he was able to influence, to some extent, the patriotic course which so marked the latter days of that remarkable man.
When the rebellion broke out it found Mr. Dyer at the seat of government, and with the true spirit of a patriot he promptly rallied to the support of the Government and the Administration. He was one of the first to enlist under Cassius M. Clay for the defense of the Capital ; and when the dark days which hung over that city had passed away, he and his associates received an honorable discharge from a position which, for more than 89 days, imposed upon them the most arduous and dangerous service. He thus secured the confidence and special notice of President Lincoln and some of his Cabinet, and gained for himself the name of a true patriot and lover of his country.
He has passed away from life in the midst of his strength and usefulness, leaving a memory untarnished and cherished by many friends who have been associates in commercial and political relations, and who bear witness to the many noble and generous traits of his character.—Courant.
Hartford, June 9th, 1862.
Fire at Douglas Factory.—On Saturday morning, about eight o’clock, a fire broke out in the blacking shop of Douglas factory. One of the workmen dipped a piece of hot iron into a huge kettle of blacking which is composed of very inflammable materials, and the whole mass took fire, and the flames spread with great rapidity over the room. In a few seconds the whole of the inside of the structure appeared to be on fire. An alarm was given, and the fire engine belonging to the factory was instantly manned, and at once checked the progress of the flames. The city fire engines were also on hand. One was stationed at the reservoir near the Baptist church, and the other at the reservoir near the Methodist church, and with their hose sent two powerful streams over the burning building. Water has always been known to conquer a fire when there has been enough of it directed to the right spot, and that was just this case. The inside of the building was completely charred, but the outside was hardly touched by the fire. Two or more barrels of this blacking material were in the room and were rolled out while they were actually burning. The contents is said to be almost as combustible as gunpowder. All the patterns of the establishment are kept in a fire proof building adjoining the fire. They were of course untouched, but altogether too near to be agreeable. The loss sustained is not great, probably not over two or three hundred dollars.
Samuel Mansfield, son of Gen. Mansfield, was in town last week on a short visit home. He was a member of the class which graduated at West Point a few days ago, and occupied a high position in his class. He will at once enter upon active service in the army.
“Mike, my boy, tell me, will ye, why is Washington Park like an owl ?”
“An owl is it, an’ sure I donno unless because of them that fathered it.”
“Och, what a scandal ! and ye didn’t guess it neither. It is like an owl because it looks best in the dark !”
The contraband, William Thornton, gave his lecture, as advertised, on Thursday evening, at McDonough Hall. The audience was quite large. The lecture consisted of a narrative of passages in his life, with observations original and otherwise on the system of slavery. He is a fair speaker, and brings out some things with a food deal of humor and wit. He stated among other things, that he was the slave of his own father, an illustrative fact on slavery which needs no comment. Mr. Coan was present, and made some remarks. A collection was taken when the speaking was over, which resulted in a goodly number of three cent pieces and some other coins.
Eclipse.—Among the “local” intelligence of the week we notice the total eclipse of the moon which came off according to appointment on Wednesday night. Those who saw it say it happened precisely as the astronomers said it would, which shows the great punctuality of our satellite. It is reported also that there were several lunar eclipses that night all but one of which were caused by the clouds.
Flag-Day.—Saturday last was “flag-day,” the 85th anniversary of the adoption of the national flag. The day was observed by the display of the stars and strips [sic] from the numerous flag-staffs in the city.
Hospital.—It is reported that the buildings at the silver mines, near Butler’s creek, are to be used as a hospital for sick and wounded soldiers. We know not whether the report is true.
For the Constitution.
We learn that Mr. William J. Coite, son of Hon. G. W. Coite, State Treasurer, has been appointed acting assistant paymaster in the Navy.
Secretary Welles has made a very judicious selection from the many friends of the administration in this neighborhood for this responsible post. Mr. Coite is a young gentleman every way qualified and worthy of this honor. He is beloved by all who know him for his kindness of heart, manly integrity and many good qualities.
Mr. Coite has been performing the duties of Paymaster’s Clerk on board the U.S. gun boat Uncas & Sachem, until lately.
May success attend him in this his new position, and further promotion be his reward, confident are we that he will richly deserve it. He leaves home and friends to serve his country and our best wishes attend him. A.
Wm. H. Bell, of this town, Westfield Society, died last week. He was one of three who were tried in the remarkable murder trial many years ago, when Hall was convicted, and Bell and Roberts were acquitted.
The subscribers hereby tender their acknowledgements to the FIRE DEPARTMENT and Citizens of Middletown generally for the PROMPT and most EFFICIENT aid in extinguishing the Fire on a portion of their premises on Saturday morning last.
This renewed testimony of kindness and good will, shall be gratefully remembered.
W. & B. DOUGLAS
Middletown, June 16, 1862.