From The Constitution, Wednesday, July 9, 1862 (volume 25, number 1280)
Tuesday last closed the series of battles which had continued for seven days, in which the rebels had vainly attempted to overcome the army of the Potomac. The fighting for the last two days was of the most terrific character, and the defeat of the rebels most complete. On the Fourth of July McClellan made an address to the troops complimenting them for their bravery in the successful repulse of the enemy, and assuring them that the army of the Potomac should enter Richmond. The present position of the army is one that insures its safety, and is finely adapted for future operations on Richmond. One point of the army rests upon the James river nearly opposite Fort Darling, and the other nearly touches it at Harrison’s Bar, making a front of eight or ten miles.
A brief dispatch from New Madrid, dated Saturday, announces that Vicksburg is ours. No particulars are yet received.
The news received last evening and this morning is that fresh troops had arrived at Fortress Monroe and proceeded up the James river on the 4th.
A skirmish took place on the morning of the 4th near the left wing of the army, which resulted in the defeat of the rebels. One thousand rebel prisoners and three small batteries were taken. Our cavalry then followed them till they passed beyond the White Oak Swamp.
The latest accounts from McClellan state that he had removed his headquarters, and the army had advanced some five miles towards Richmond. Gen. McClellan is reported pushing rapidly forward, driving the enemy at all points. The gunboats accompany his advance, shelling the woods and scattering the enemy while his main forces follow in support.
The correspondence of the Philadelphia Inquirer states that Richmond papers of the 4th acknowledge a loss of 30,000 men.
Gen. McClellan’s Address to His Soldiers
Headquarters Army of the Potomac
Camp near Harrison’s Landing, July 4, 1862.
Soldiers of the army of the Potomac ! Your achievements of the last ten days have illustrated the valor and endurance of the American soldier attacked by superior forces and without hope of reinforcements. You have succeeded in changing your base of operations by a flank movement, always regarded as the most hazardous of military expedients. You have saved all your material, all your trains and all your guns except a few lost in battle, taking in return guns and colors from the enemy. Upon your march you have been assailed day after day, with desperate fury, by men of the same race and nation, skillfully massed and led. Under every disadvantage of number, and necessarily of position, also, you have, in every conflict, beaten back your foes with enormous slaughter. Your conduct ranks you among the celebrated armies of history. No one will now question that each of you may always, with pride, say, “I belong to the army of the Potomac.”
You have reached the new base, complete in organization and unimpaired in spirit. The enemy may at any time attack you. We are prepared to meet them. I have personally established your lines. Let them come, and we will convert their repulse into a final defeat.
Your Government is strengthening you with the resources of a great people. On this, our Nation’s birthday, we declare to our foes who are rebels against the best interests of mankind, that this army shall enter the Capital of the so-called Confederacy ; that our National Constitution shall prevail, and that the Union, which can alone insure internal peace and external security to each State, “must and shall be preserved,” cost what it may in time, treasure and blood. (Signed)
Geo. B. McClellan.
The following endorsement of the eminent abilities of General McClellan is from the pen of John W. Forney, and is the more valuable since it involves the retraction of former opinions expressed unfavorable to the General.
“If General McClellan is able to hold his new position after his wonderful battles, running, with various success, through five long and bloody days, the cup of his glory will be full. But, whether he holds it or not, there can no longer be any question that he is a military chief of great and commanding ability, and that in a maze of unparalleled complications, and against a fanatic and fierce antagonism, he has exhibited patience, perseverance, genius, and courage. I say this much, not by way of praise, but as an act of simple justice to a man in whom so many great trusts have been reposed, and who has not disappointed public confidence. It may be said that in at least two of my former letters I expressed a different opinion. And it gives me as much pleasure to retract that judgment as it gave me pain to record it. It is unnecessary to recall the disputes that have excited politicians and parties on this subject. Enough for the present, that many who were early and determinately against General McClellan, have been frank and earnest in revising their criticisms, and in recanting their censures. As evidence in proof, among a number that might be cited, the testimony of the fearless correspondent of the New York Tribune, at the head of the column of General McClellan, may be named. That gifted gentleman, after realizing the onerous responsibilities and vexations of General McClellan, took the first opportunity to do him ample justice in the most public manner. Thousands of others will re-echo this deserved and manly tribute to a gallant and long-suffering soldier.”
FROM THE REBELLIOUS STATES.
The Enemy’s Account of the Fighting Before Richmond.
(From the Richmond Examiner, July 2d.)
On Sunday morning Generals Hill and Longstreet, with their divisions, crossed the Chickahominy, and late on Monday afternoon attacked the enemy about five miles north of Darlaytown and the Newmarket Road. The conflict was terrible, and by half-past 8 P. M. the enemy had been driven back a mile and a half. At half-past 9, being heavily reinforced, the enemy made another stand. The loss here on our (the Rebel) side was terrible. The situation being evidently hopeless against such overwhelming forces, General Hill slowly retired. At this moment, seeing their adversary retire, the most vociferous cheers arose along the whole Yankee line. The fight ended there for the night.
The division which went into the field of Friday fourteen thousand strong could only number six thousand men fit for duty on Tuesday, and that the loss of life exceeds that of any battle or series of battles yet fought.
About eight A. M., of Tuesday, Jackson’s and Huger’s divisions attacked McClellan’s left flank on the west side of the Chickahominy, seventeen miles from Richmond. Later in the day, Magruder fell upon his right flank. Fighting was going on up to nine o’clock Tuesday night. Heavy firing from the gunboats on James River was heard Tuesday morning. A number of Federal transports are in the river with reinforcements, supposed to be from Burnside, but they have not yet landed.
General Hunter has written a racy letter to the war department about the organization of his negro regiment. His statements are clear as a sunbeam and his style of writing is exceedingly rich. He says there are no fugitive slaves in his regiment, but that it is composed of the servants of “fugitive rebels.” The instructions he has acted under are of a general nature, but sufficient to authorize the course he has pursued. General Hunter speaks positively in favor of the military qualities of the negro soldier, and the demands which will be made upon our armies at the south make his testimony of great importance. Loyal blacks are freely employed in the naval service. Goldsborough and Farragut have both ordered that they be employed. If they can be employed to advantage at sea, there can scarcely be any valid objection to making use of their services on land, especially in such positions where the climate renders it unsafe for white men.
The President has called for another army of 300,000 volunteers. Such an army is deemed necessary to supply the losses we have sustained from battle and disease and to subdue this great rebellion. Connecticut will be called upon to furnish her quota. What say the young men of this State to this call ? A strong appeal is made to your patriotism. The safety of the nation demands that this army be raised. Unless an overwhelming force can be raised the rebellion promises to be long continued and to involve us in untold evils. In this state there are yet thousands of able-bodied men who can leave their homes and join the army. Let such not hesitate over the call which their country makes upon them, but let the regiments to be formed here be promptly filled. Connecticut now expects every man to do his duty.
Later accounts from the west state that Col. Pride, who we stated last week had been taken prisoner by the enemy on a railroad train, succeeded in effecting his escape, and had arrived safely at Corinth.
Samuel M. Mansfield, of this city, a graduate in the last class at West Point, has been appointed, and the appointment was last Thursday confirmed by the Senate, Lieutenant in the corps of Engineers. Lieut. Mansfield follows the example of his father, General Mansfield, who was also a member of the Engineer corps.
Isaac Arnold, cadet of the same class, is appointed Lieutenant in the Artillery. He is, we believe, from Haddam.
The body of Maj. O. Donahue, of the 88th regt., who fell in the late battle before Richmond, will arrive in this city this, Tuesday, evening. He was a native of this place.
A Burning Fluid Accident
Last Sunday afternoon the Irish woman living with the family of Mr. Wm. M. Ward, in College street, was fearfully burnt with burning fluid. The family were all at church, and she was making preparations for supper. By some means she brought the flame from a match into contact with a fluid lamp, the top of which had been left loose. The fluid caught fire, and she took hold of the lamp to remove it. By this movement some of the fluid was spilled over her arm, and the flames were immediately communicated to her clothes. After a useless attempt to extinguish them, she rushed out of doors and made her way into the other part of the house, which is a double one and occupied by two families. Here a lad of 12 or 15 year old nobly came to the rescue. He procured a blanket which he wrapped around her, and succeeded in extinguishing the flames. But she was dreadfully burnt, and it is doubtful whether she survives her injuries.
The colored people connected with the African church realized about ten dollars over and above expenses from their strawberry festival. It was a stormy night, or they would probably have taken more.
Man Missing.—Mr. Sewall Bonney of this city left his residence about the 13th of June, and has not been heard from since. Some time ago, he sent to his brother who lives at the west his tools (he was a cooper by trade) and wrote to him that he should never see him again. His conduct had been somewhat singular, indicating great depression of spirits. When last seen he was at the steamboat office just previous to the time of the arrival of the boat for New York, and may have gone aboard. His friends are anxious for his safety, and any information which may be had concerning him will be gratefully received by his son, Wm. S. Bonney.
A Steam Fire Engine.—Should we not have a steam fire engine in Middletown ? At the late fire it was with the utmost effort that the flames were prevented from destroying neighboring property. Had it not been for the favorable circumstances that a rain had fallen just before, and there was little or no wind, the destruction of property would probably have been very great, vastly greater than the cost of a good steam fire engine. We suggest that the subject be brought to the notice of our citizens in a city meeting.
Balloon Ascension.—It is the intention of the Messrs. Brooks to make a balloon ascension from Middletown before long. They are experienced æronauts, and made the ascensions from Hartford on the Fourth which were witnessed by many thousands of spectators.
Dr. Colton, the laughing gas man, gives an exhibition this evening, Tuesday, at McDonough Hall.
Warm weather has come at last. Sunday was the warmest of the season. At 2 o’clock the thermometer stood at 91 degrees in the shade.
‘Papa,’ said my bright-eyed little girl to me one day, ‘I b’lieve mamma loves you better’n she does me.’
I confess to doubts on that subject, but I concluded that it was not best to deny the soft impeachment. She meditated thoughtfully about it for some time, evidently construing my silence as unfavorable to her side.
‘Well,’ said she at last. ‘I s’pose its all right ; you’re the biggest and it takes more to love you.’
A poor Frenchman, whose wife aroused him from sleep with the cry, ‘Get up, Baptiste, there is a robber in the house !’ answered sensibly, ‘don’t let us molest him. Let him explore the house a while, and if he should find anything of value we will take it away from him.’
A Yankee soldier tells, in the ‘Bigelow Papers,’ how awfully he was scared on learning the reason ‘why bayonets is p’inted.’ The rebels fully realize the poor fellow’s sensations.
A wag rose from his bed on the 31st of August and exclaimed, ‘this is the last rose of Summer.’ Shocking.
A relative of Bushe’s, not remarkable for his Hindoo ablutions, once applied to him for a remedy for a sore throat that troubled him much. ‘Why,’ said Bushe, gravely, ‘fill a pail with water as warm as you can bear it till it reaches up to your knees ; then take a pint of oatmeal and scrub your legs with it for a quarter of an hour.’—‘Why, hang it man,’ interrupted the other, ‘this is nothing more than washing one’s feet !’—‘Certainly, my dear John,’ said he, ‘I do admit it is open to that objection.’