From The Constitution, Wednesday, June 25, 1862 (volume 25, number 1278)
There has been very little news of importance the past week. The armies before Richmond are in close proximity to each other, but the great battle has not yet been fought, and the public are in daily expectation of stirring news from that quarter. It is stated that Beauregard had arrived at Montgomery, Ala., on the way to the rebel capital, and that a large part of his army would follow.
A dispatch from Corinth, dated the 19th, says that our army has ceased its pursuit of Beauregard, and returned from Booneville to a more northerly position. The railroads centering at Corinth were rapidly being put in a condition to be used.
The progress of Union sentiment in New Orleans is most encouraging. Business affairs were gradually improving.
A letter from the Richmond correspondent of the Charleston Mercury confesses a defeat in the battles in front of Richmond. The enormous loss of the rebels is fairly admitted, and the statement made that the city of Richmond is a “vast hospital.” The Charleston Mercury says it has sent its Hoe press to Columbia, afraid to risk it in the city during the expected bombardment.
The value of the British and other ships and cargoes captured by the United States blockading squadron during the twelve months past runs up to nearly $2,000,000.
Battle Near Charleston
Fortress Monroe, June 23.
The “Metamora” arrived from City Point late last night.
Richmond papers of June 21st contain a brief account of a bloody battle, Monday last, between 5 federal regiments and a battery of Parrott guns and parts of four confederate regiments and a battery. The battle lasted all day with heavy loss on both sides.
The Charleston Mercury feared the battle would be renewed next day, and expressed apprehensions for the safety of the city in consequence of the great exhaustion of the southern troops and the loss of many officers. Gens. Evans and Pemberton complimented the troops for their bravery in standing under the shells of our gunboats and batteries.
The fight was within four miles of Charleston, and from an editorial in the Mercury we should think the rebels had been cut off from their retreat from James Island by our gunboats. If this is so Charleston must soon fall.
The Richmond Dispatch says it can no longer be denied that Jackson is heavily reinforced, and the federal column must either combine or fall back across the Potomac.
A Walk Over the Battlefield
Fair Oak Station, June 6th, 1862.
I paid a visit to the battlefield of Saturday and Sunday, called by some the “Battle of the Seven Pines,” this morning. The camp of Casey’s division presented a sight which an artist might envy, and yet one of desolation. All around lay charred ruins, clothing, guns, cartridge boxes, &c., the property mainly of our own troops. The whole camp was just as level as the Russ pavement on Broadway. Here was where the enemy first made their appearance on Saturday, and where they so badly drove back our men. A little further on is a piece of woods, and by walking through water and mud knee deep, one is enabled to investigate its contents. The bark of nearly every tree is peeled off towards the roots, the rifle balls and canister fired into the forest by our men, having taken down the trees about as lively as they did rebels. Letters, guns by the dozen, both Secesh and Union, clothing enough to start half the Chatham street dealers in business, new made graves, yet unburied bodies, and all the minor indications of battle and death, form one of the saddest scenes ever witnessed on the Virginia Peninsular. In a swamp we found eight bodies of Alabamians close together, and in such a horrible state of decomposition that hardly a man saw them without turning away his head. Their clothes were on, but the bodies were so swollen, that they fitted as tight as the skin itself. In several cases the flesh had already been eaten off by vermin and the head and the skull lay bare. It was a disgusting scene, which some people might have seen with profit. But it ought to be added, that our people are burying the dead, just as fast as they can reach the remains.
I saw one body, which was evidently that of a rebel officer. His clothing was rather better than that of the large majority we saw, and other indications of rank were numerous. He lay concealed behind some brush, and had evidently been wounded, sought its shelter and there died. The limbs were contracted, but upon the face, there seemed to rest a placid smile. One hand held on to a fence rail near by, while the other was extended upon the earth. Like all the rest, the body was swollen to twice its natural size, and millions of vermin were fast devouring it. Calling some scouts, a grave was dug, and the decaying flesh was consigned to its last resting place.
Another body was found sitting on the ground, the back braced against a fence. The skin was peeling off the hands, and hung down from the fingers in shreds. One hand rested on the musket, whose contents had been discharged. The head drooped to one side, and the features were fearfully contracted, evidencing a dying struggle of a most painful nature. In his vest pocket there was a piece of paper, and curiosity prompted me to read it. There was some scribbling upon it, the distinguishable words being: ‘Eighth Ala. will never yield.’ ‘No sir, never.’ Then some poetical lines, of which amid the blood and dirt, I succeeded in deciphering the following :
‘Suppose we die upon the field ?
‘Twill prove that never will we yield ;
‘Twill show the foe that like a flood,
‘We’ll pour, for Southern rights, our blood.’
Below this were these words :
‘The woman who wrote that, a Southern man ought to marry ; a Northern one, she would spurn.’
A curiosity seeker might have collected a bushel of letters, in these woods so full of horrors, but I had not the heart for the task.
To show how desperate was the struggle in the heavy woods between Casey’s and Ward’s camp, I have spoken of the bullet marks upon the trees, of the dead and of their effects, everywhere seen. Another indication was the clothing, yet hanging upon low tree branches, fences, and lying upon the ground. An officer engaged in the battle tells me that when we pursued, on Sunday, the retreating rebels to the woods through which, on Saturday, they drove us, a desperate encounter ensued. Hundreds of men, on both sides, threw off all their superfluous clothing and went in, as we were told the 69th did at Bull Run, stripped almost to the waist. Those who had the opportunity, placed their coats where they would be preserved ; others with no time for that threw them on the ground, and lost them with their lives. Within a space of two acres there are ungathered arms enough to supply a New York militia regiment. In that small space nearly six hundred men were sent to their long account.
At Casey’s old camp there were no human bodies, as there it was an easy matter to dispose of them immediately after the fight. But hundreds of horses, torn by shot and shell, lay all around, the carcasses emitting a pestilential stench. On Sunday when we were again in possession of this field, men and animals lay close together—“Rider and steed in one red burial blent.”
The animals are now being burned, as that is the only way in which they can be disposed of, and the horrid effluvia removed from its too close contact with our camp. Upon approaching this spot, it requires considerable effort to lead a man to walk up to it, the reeking odor being so offensive. To-morrow its condition will be favorable enough for re-occupation. In a direct railroad line from this camp to Richmond it is just seven miles. “Fair Oak,” is the name of the station. A building near the switch is now used as a hospital, mainly for the rebel wounded, and right opposite are the headquarters of Gen. Meagher and his Irish Brigade.—Cor. N. Y. Ex.
Freedom for the Territories
Henceforth the territories of the United States are consecrated to freedom. Congress has passed a law prohibiting slavery or involuntary servitude in any of the territories now existing or that may hereafter be formed. This is a most important enactment, and will be hailed with pleasure by millions of freemen in the country. Below is the preamble and the law as passed by Congress :
“To the end that Freedom may be and remain forever the fundamental law of the land in all places whatsoever, so far as it lies within the power or depends upon the action of the Government of the United States to make it so, therefore,
“Be it enacted, &c. That from and after the passage of this act there shall be neither Slavery nor involuntary servitude in any of the Territories of the United States now existing, or which may at any time hereafter be formed or acquired by the United States, otherwise than in punishment of crimes whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.”
The Senate Committee on Territories, it is understood, is willing to admit West Virginia into the Union with the boundary marked out by her convention, if she will pass a law providing for the gradual abolition of slavery, by declaring free all those hereafter born children of slaves.
A Secesh Amazon
A private letter, which the Boston Courier copies, from Clarksburg, Va., tells of the capture of a secesh girl of rather a formidable character—certainly a very unsafe companion for a person devoted to the Union to sit up with. The letter says :
“We also captured a very desperate woman, by the name of Jenny Green, and sent her under guard to Wheeling. She is only about eighteen or twenty years of age, and not bad looking. She lived about thirty miles from here, and told Gen. Kelley that she cut all his telegraph wires when he was up the Kanawha, and she’d ‘be d—-d’ if she wouldn’t do it again. She has been in the habit of visiting the rebel camps, rides a fine horse, carries a pistol, revolver, and a handsome revolving rifle presented to her by some rebel officer, and with which she boasts the she has killed a great many d—-d Yankees. She is said to be an unerring shot, and can put a bullet through the ace of clubs at a distance of one hundred yards, nine times out of ten. She has been pursued many times, but has made her escape by the fleetness of her horse, and when cornered, where escape seemed impossible, would cause her horse to leap the most horrible ravines, and plunge over rooks where the soldiers dare not follow her. She was taken by strategy and sent to Wheeling once before and imprisoned, but by the intercession of some secession ladies there, Gen. Rosecrans released her on parole. When brought before the captain of the company who arrested her, the captain said : ‘Well, Miss Jenny, you are come to visit us again.’ To which she replied with a terrible oath, and snatched a rifle from one of the guards, discharging it at the captain in an instant : but he saw the movement, and struck up the muzzle of the gun, and the ball passed through his cap, just grazing his head.”
The Governor issued a spirited proclamation last week calling upon the citizens of Connecticut to fill up the ranks of the 14th regiment now forming in this State. He says ;
“The army needs reinforcements. The President calls for another regiment from this state, and for recruits to fill those in the department of North Carolina. ‘Tis your country’s call ; respond promptly. Organize the regiment quickly, and fill the ranks. Connecticut should be true to her early record of patriotic devotion to liberty and public order.”
A little daughter of Chester Goodman, of West Hartford, contrived during the absence of the family on the 12th to reach a phial of the oil of vitriol from a closet, and drank some of the contents. She lived thirty hours in intense agony.
During the thunder storm on Friday of last week, the house of Oliver Rathbun of Salem was struck by lightning. The family were at dinner at the time, but none of them were hurt, although a dog that was lying under the table around which they sat was killed by the shock.
The workmen in the employ of the West Haven Buckle Co. caught four and a half bushels of round clams Tuesday forenoon, and presented them to the sick and wounded soldiers in the hospital for a clam bake.
The steamboats find it very difficult to navigate the river above Middletown, and in one or two instances have found it impossible to reach the “head of sloop navigation.” One day last week, Wednesday we believe, the City of Hartford was under the disagreeable necessity of stopping here and discharging her freight in lighters. The Granite State has been delayed, and even the Mary Benton has found it hard to get through. Vessels will often be aground in the channel, and effectually block up the passage. These, together with low water have been found unfavorable to steamboat enterprise above Middletown.
Commencement occurs this year July 17, a month later than for two or three years past. The change is to accommodate the friends of the college, who can more conveniently attend in July than in June. The anniversary exercises preceeding commencement are as follows:
Prize Declamation, Friday, July 11th, at half past seven in the evening.
Baccalaureate Sermon, Sunday, July 13, at 10, 30, A. M., by President Cummings.
Address before the Missionary Lyceum, Sunday evening, July 13, by Rev. Isaac W. Wiley.
Address before Psi Upsilon Fraternity, Monday evening, July 14th, by Dr. J. G. Holland.
Meeting of the Joint Board of Trustees and Visitors, Tuesday afternoon, July 15.
Address before the United Literary Societies, Tuesday evening, by Rev. Samuel Osgood, D. D.
Business meeting and Anniversary of the Alumni Association, Wednesday morning July 16.
Address before the Phi Beta Kappa Society, Wednesday afternoon by Rev. Henry B. Ridgeway.
Alumni Festival, Wednesday evening.
The graduating class numbers nineteen.
On Thursday evening the ladies of the Methodist church will provide a strawberry festival at the McDonough Hall. There’s a chance for strawberries and cream. Don’t neglect it. The University Glee Club will be present for the purpose of giving a flavor to the strawberries with some capital songs.
Mr. James E. Bidwell has shown us a couple of lemons of his raising, both of which are remarkably fair and large. The largest of these measured twelve inches in its greatest circumference, and ten and a quarter inches in its smaller. The other lemon was not quite so large. Both of these grew together on one tree, and were nearly two years in attaining their present size. They looked much finer than the best fruit which we obtain from a warmer climate.
Another Chance for Barnum
The wife of Major Rodney Nutt, the father of Commodore Nutt, has just presented her husband with another nut. The little fellow weighed one pound and a half only.