From The Constitution, Wednesday, August 6, 1862 (volume 25, number 1284)

War News

On Thursday night, about one o’clock, the rebels opened fire from the opposite side of James river with two batteries of light artillery. The fire was directed at the headquarters of Col. Ingalls, and the shipping and encampments of Westover. Several heavy guns were immediately brought to bear upon the enemy, which put a stop to any further proceedings on their part. Four of our men were killed and five or six wounded.

Two rebel vessels, one of which was the new Merrimac and the other is supposed to be a ram called the Young America, made their appearance in sight of our fleet on James river on Wednesday.

Seven vessels of Com. Porter’s mortar fleet arrived at Fortress Monroe on Thursday.

Gen. Pope has advanced his lines beyond Warrenton. The enemy was ascertained to be posted in strong force in the vicinity of Gordonsville.

Six hundred men from the army of the Potomac crossed the river on Friday afternoon and destroyed the houses and woods on the opposite shore which had afforded protection to the rebels, and especially at the point where the enemy shelled our camp on Thursday.

Gen. Halleck is reported to have said that he had issued orders to McClellan to impress and use all the negroes he could get in any way in which he can make them useful, and that he was to pay no attention as to whether they were slaves or free. He also stated that he was and had been in favor of a thorough confiscation of all property of rebels, slaves included.

Commodore Davis’ fleet has been moved up to the mouth of the Yazoo, thus abandoning for the present the siege of Vicksburg.

Twelve or fourteen of the young men of the Shaker community at Canterbury, N. H., have gone to the war.

Officers just arrived from the army of the Potomac report the men in fine condition, the sick having been all removed.

Latest.

A draft has been ordered by the Secretary of War of three hundred thousand militia to be immediately called into the service of the United States to serve for nine months unless sooner discharged. It is also ordered that if any State shall not, by the 15th of August, furnish its quota of the additional three hundred thousand volunteers authorized by law, the deficiency of volunteers in that State will also be made up by a special draft from the militia.

A Fort Monroe letter to the N. Y. Post says that Burnside’s corps have embarked and are moving off. The gunboats and mortar boats are all under orders.

Orange Court House has been occupied by Gen. Pope’s forces.

On Sunday a successful reconnoisance was made on the south side of James river into the country to within fourteen miles of Petersburg.

The President’s Proclamation

The President has issued a proclamation based on the sixth section of the confiscation act warning all persons engaged in the rebellion to return to their allegiance within sixty days or suffer the penalties of a seizure of all their estate, property, monies, &c. No mention is made of the ninth section of the same act which makes free the slaves of all persons engaged in the rebellion as soon as such slaves shall come within the control of the government. Popular sentiment demands now that this confiscation act shall be carried into full effect, and especially that this ninth section shall be rigidly enforced. There was universal disappointment at the omission of the President in his proclamation of all allusion to giving freedom to the slaves of rebels. It is earnestly hoped that he will no longer delay in enforcing this most important provision, and that he will distinctly declare that the war policy of the government shall be in perfect harmony with the decisive action of Congress.

The New Militia Law

The new militia bill which passed the United States Senate on Tuesday, and the House on Wednesday, is very important. It provided that whenever the president shall call forth the militia of the states, he may specify in his call the period for which such services will be required, not exceeding nine months ; and the militia so mustered in shall serve for the time specified, unless sooner discharged. If, by reason of defects in existing laws, or in the execution of them in the states, or any of them, it shall be found necessary to provide for enrolling militia, the president is authorized to make any necessary regulations, and the enrollment shall in all cases include all able bodied men between the ages of eighteen and forty five, and shall be apportioned among the states according to the population, and when so enrolled shall be organized after the mode prescribed for volunteers. It authorizes the president to call one hundred thousand volunteers as infantry into the field, in addition to the number already authorized by law, for a period of nine months, unless sooner discharged, and every soldier who shall enlist under it shall receive his first month’s pay in advance, and also twenty-five dollars as a bounty, upon the mustering of his company or regiment into the service.

The act authorizes the president to accept such a number of volunteers as may be required for filling up the regiments of infantry now in the service, for twelve months, unless sooner discharged. All volunteers when mustered into the service shall be on a footing with similar troops, except as to service bounty, which shall be fifty dollars, one half of which is to be paid upon joining their regiments, and the other half at the expiration of the term of enlistment.

The section of the bill which will attract most attention is that which authorizes the president to receive into the service for the purpose of constructing entrenchments and performing camp service or any other labor, or any military or naval service for which they may be found competent, persons of African descent; and such persons shall be enrolled and organized under such regulations, not inconsistent with the constitution and the laws, as the president may prescribe. Whenever any man or boy of African descent who, by the laws of any state, shall owe service or labor to any person who, during the present rebellion, has levied war or borne arms against the government, or adhered to its enemies, shall render any such services as are enumerated in the section, he, his wife, and children, shall forever be free, any law or custom to the contrary notwithstanding. And where such persons owe service to loyal masters, provision is made for compensation.

Another Letter from Gen. Butler—Explanation of the “Woman” Order.

The following characteristic letter from Gen. Butler, explaining his reasons for issuing the celebrated order in regard to the women of New Orleans, has been received by a gentleman of Boston.

Headquarters Department of the Gulf,

New Orleans, July 2, 1862.

My Dear Sir : I am as jealous of the good opinion of my friends as I am careless of the slanders of my enemies, and your kind expressions in regard to Order No. 28 leads me to say a word to you on the subject.

That it ever could have been so misconceived as it has been by some portions of the Northern press is wonderful, and would lead one to exclaim with the Jew, ‘O, Father Abraham, what these Christians are, whose own hard dealings teach them to suspect the thoughts of others.

What was the state of things to which the Woman order applied ?

We were two thousand five hundred men in a city seven miles long by two to four wide, of a hundred and fifty thousand inhabitants, all hostile, bitter, defiant, explosive, standing literally on a magazine; a spark only needed for destruction. The Devil had entered the hearts of the women of this town, (you know seven of them chose Mary Magdalen for a residence,) to stir up strife in every way possible. Every opprobrious epithet, every insulting gesture was made by these bejeweled, becrinolined and laced creatures, calling themselves ladies, toward my soldiers and officers, from the windows of houses and in the streets. How long do you suppose our flesh and blood could have stood this without retort. That would lead to disturbances and riot, from which we must clear, the streets with artillery—and then a howl that we had murdered these fine women. I had arrested the men who had hurrahed for Beauregard. Could I arrest these women ? No. What was to be done ? No order could be made save one that would execute itself. With anxious, careful thought I hit upon this: ‘Women who insult my soldiers are to be regarded and treated as common women plying their vocation.’

Pray how do you treat a common woman plying her vocation in the streets ? You pass her by unheeded. She cannot insult you ! As a gentleman you can and will take no notice of her. If she speaks, her words are not opprobrious. It is only when she becomes a continuous and positive nuisance that you call a watchman and give her in charge to him.

But some of the Northern editors seem to think that whenever one meets such a woman, one must stop her, talk with her, insult her, or hold dalliance with her, and so from their own conduct they construed my order.

The editor of the Boston Courier may so deal with common women, and out of the abundance of the heart his mouth may speak—but so do not I.

Why, these she-adders of New Orleans themselves were at once shamed into propriety of conduct by the order, and from that day no woman has either insulted or annoyed any live soldier or officer and of a certainty no soldier has insulted any woman.

When I passed through Baltimore on the 23d of February last, members of my Staff were insulted by the gestures of the ladies (?) there.  Not so in New Orleans.

One of the worst possible of all these women showed disrespect to the remains of gallant young De Kay, and you will see her punishment, a copy of the order which I enclose is at once a vindication and a construction of my order.

I can only say that I would issue it again under like circumstances. Again thanking you for your kind interest,

I am, truly your friend,

Benj. F. Butler,

Major-General Commanding.

_________________________

Enlistments

The business of enlisting recruits has proceeded quite briskly during the past week. Lieut. Gibbon’s recruiting office is doing good service for the country. Up to the present time 90 recruits have been enrolled. The quota of this town will be about 125 men, which is some ways ahead of the number of those who have already enlisted. The efforts for enlistment should not be remitted, but should be greater than ever. The people of Middletown are not willing there should be a draft here. One of our most substantial farmers said to us the other day, he would rather give a hundred dollars out of his own pocket than have a draft. He is only one of many who feel precisely as he does and would do as much. Let our farmers, our manufacturers, our merchants and other men of influence take right hold of the work in this spirit, and the full quota of Middletown will be raised by volunteering before the 15th of August. Every man who can do anything towards raising recruits should feel that it is his duty to work for his country during the next week and a half.

P. S. The news just received of a draft ordered for 300,000 militia to serve nine months in addition to 300,000 volunteers, will make it necessary for such as prefer a bounty to enlist at once. Yesterday and this morning about forty have volunteered, making the whole number 90. At this rate our quota of 125 men will be raised perhaps before night. We believe the additional levy might be raised by volunteers if the right course if pursued.

VOLUNTEERS !

Only nine days remain for receiving enlistments. After that time, if the men are not raised, a draft will be resorted to. This town and several other towns in this county have offered a bounty of $100 dollars to volunteers. This will be available only until the 20th inst. Such as intend to volunteer will do well to enroll their names at once, if they would secure the large bounties which are offered. Now is your time.

Patriotic Ladies Moving

Mrs. Sarah Spencer of this city has procured two substitutes, one for herself and one for her niece, paying each fifty dollars bounty in addition to all others. Who is the next lady that will come forward ?

Sudden Death

We published last week under the usual head the death of Mrs. Ellen Elizabeth Cole, wife of Mr. Augustus A. Cole of this city which occurred on the 23d ult. The circumstances of her death were very unusual. She had been in health up to the morning of her death. At the ordinary hour of rising Mr. Cole went out to make the fire, and left his wife in the act of dressing. She appeared precisely as usual, and uttered no complaint of feeling unwell. After waiting some time for her to make her appearance, he went back into the bedroom to see what detained her. He found her partly dressed, lying across the bed, and apparently lifeless. All efforts to restore her were unavailing. She was quite dead. She must have died instantly a very few minutes after her husband left her, without a struggle and probably without uttering a sound. She was but 28 years of age.

Miscellaneous

A farmer, having made his fortune, moved into the city to enjoy it, but his old love clung to him, and he indulged in a small way in the agristic pursuit. Visiting his friends in the country, and relating his experience in city farming, he said : ‘I put outside my window a large box, filled it with mold, and sowed it with seed. What do you think came up ?’ ‘Wheat, barley, or oats ?’ ‘No, a policeman, who ordered me to remove it.’

Muggins was passing up street, one day, with a friend, when he observed a poor dog, that had been killed, lying in the gutter. Muggins paused, fixed intently at the defunct animal, and at last said : ‘Here is another shipwreck.’ ‘Shipwreck ! where ?’ ‘There’s a bark that’s lost forever.’ His companion growled, and passed on.

A saloon keeper in Cleveland, Ohio, issued tickets, as he supposed, ‘good for one drink.’ But the printer made a mistake and printed them ‘good for one drunk,’ and it has been rather a costly blunder for the poor saloon keeper.