From The Constitution, Wednesday, August 13, 1862 (volume 25, number 1285)
THE ARMY OF VIRGINIA.
Two Days Fighting.
Loss Severe on Both Sides.
Washington, Aug. 9.
Gen. Pope’s pickets being on the southern bank of the Rapidan, were attacked by a superior force of the enemy, and driven across the river. McDowell’s corps was ordered forward at once. Banks’ corps followed, and all moved toward the point where our pickets had been driven across the Rapidan, 10 or 12 miles from Gordonsville.
Headquarters, 6 miles beyond Culpepper, Va., Aug. 10.—A battle was fought yesterday between Gen. Banks and Stonewall Jackson. Gen. Bavard, of Gen. McDowell’s corps, with his cavalry brigade, had been engaged the day before in the extreme advance near the Rapidan river, skirmishing and maneuvering, taking some prisoners and ending with slight loss, baffling the efforts of a large force to surround and cut him off. Yesterday morning he was engaged some hours before Gen. Banks came up, and with four regiments of cavalry the 1st Penn., 1st Maine, and 1st R. I., delayed and embarrassed the enemy’s advance.
The rebels under Jackson and Ewell had crossed the Rapidan in force, and their advance guard, 15,000 strong, was attacked by Gen. Banks yesterday afternoon about six miles south of Culpepper C. H. The fight was almost wholly with artillery at first, but infantry became engaged about 6 o’clock, and a determined and bloody contest followed.—Gen. Banks’ right wing under Gen. Williams suffered severely. The rebel position was in the woods, while those attacking were obliged to cross open ground.
It was not until about 6 o’clock that it became evident that the rebels were attacking in force. Previously there had been a desultory cannonading. The whole rebel force suddenly attacked in overwhelming numbers. Nearly all their regiments had full ranks.
At 7 1/2 Gen. Pope arrived on the field from Culpepper, accompanied by McDowell and part of his corps. The battle was substantially over, Gen. Banks holding the same position he occupied at the beginning. After the arrival of Gen. Pope there was an artillery contest continuing at intervals till nearly 12 o’clock.
The night was unusually clear and the moon full. The rebels planted a battery against McDowell’s center where Gen. Pope and Gen. Banks were, bringing both of them under fire. The Generals and their staffs were so near the rebel lines that a sudden charge of rebel cavalry was made from the woods a quarter of a mile off, apparently with a view to capture them. The attempt was repelled by a vigorous fire from the rebels and their own troops. The fire of the rebel batteries was afterwards silenced.
Gen. Pope arriving sent fresh troops to the front to take the place of Gen. Banks’ exhausted columns. The enemy did not renew the attack, except by artillery. The troops were under arms and in position all night.
Gen. Banks was in the field throughout the action and was constantly under fire. His handling of his troops and personal gallantry are highly praised by his officers. The bravery and good conduct of the troops were conspicuous during a large part of the fight ; when overpowered by numbers, some regiments retreated in disorder.
The casualties among officers were very great. Several of the higher regimental officers were killed or wounded.
Col. Chapman of the 5th Conn. was wounded and taken prisoner. Lieut. Col. Stone of the same was killed. Major Blake of the same was wounded and taken prisoner. Col. Knight, Lieut. Col. Savage, Maj. Matthews and Adjt. Boyd of the 46th Penn. are all severely wounded. Col. Donnelly fatally, Lieut. Col. Brown severely, Maj. Cook, N. Y. 28th, killed. Gen. Banks is hurt severely, a cavalry trooper ran against him ; he remained on the field, and is on duty this morning. Gens. Augur and Geary are wounded. Maj. Pelonge, Gen. Banks’ Adjt., took command of a hesitating regiment, and gallantly led it through a galling fire. He received two pistol shots, and is severely wounded. Two of Gen. Pope’s body-guard were killed.
The 2d Mass. was in the hottest of the fight, and suffered severely. The 5th Conn., 28th Indiana and 46th Penn. are badly cut up.
The rebel Gen. Wilder was wounded. The losses are very heavy on both sides, not less than 2000 or 3000 killed, wounded and missing. On each side some prisoners were taken. Jackson and Ewell were both present in the battle. Reinforcements to the amount of 18,000 reached the rebels, last night, about the same time ours arrived.
Skirmishing in front is going on this morning, but the troops on both sides are so much exhausted by fatigue and intense heat that no serious encounter is expected, to-day.
Culpepper, Aug. 11.—The enemy, this morning, sent in a flag of truce asking permission to bury their dead. This shows that with all their superiority of numbers they were too badly cut up to maintain their position, and that falling back was from necessity. Our troops are engaged in bringing off our wounded and burying the dead.
Gov. Sprague on Arming the Blacks.
Gov. Sprague has called on the colored citizens of Rhode Island to form a regiment as a part of the quota of that State. In his order he says :
“Our colored fellow citizens are reminded that the regiment from this State in the Revolution, consisting entirely of colored persons, was pronounced by Washington equal, if not superior, to any in the service. They constitute a part of the quota from this State, and it is expected they will respond with zeal and spirit to the call. The Commander-in-Chief will lead them into the field and will share with them, in common with the patriotic soldiers of the Army of the Republic, their trials and dangers, and will participate in the glories of their successes.”
If it be true as stated that a deputation of western men called upon the President last week to tender the services of two regiments of colored soldiers, and he positively declined to put arms into the hands of negroes, because, as he says, it will be the signal for the Border States to turn against the Union, then Gov. Sprague’s new enterprise must fail. It is somewhat singular that Gov. Sprague, who has been a democrat of the old school, and who worshipped devotedly at the shrine of cotton and slavery before this war commenced, should, in a matter of this kind, be more progressive than President Lincoln whose real sentiments about slavery have hitherto been far in advance of the Rhode Island Governor’s. The deference which is expressed to the wishes of the Border States will hardly be appreciated at this crisis of the rebellion. Gov. Johnson of Tennessee and other leading loyalists of those States are understood to be in favor of making the best possible use of the loyal blacks, and of placing arms in their hands under certain circumstances. We have now reached that point in the progress of the war, when it has become absolutely necessary to use all the means in our power for crushing this rebellion. We cannot afford to be very nice about offending some people’s sensibilities and prejudices. There is one object before us and only one—the preservation of the Union—and we ought to be grateful for all the help we can get in this war for national existence.
Orders directing the time and manner of drafting the nine months troops have been received by the Adjutant General. The draft is to be made under the State law, and cannot be made before the 29th of August. The Adjutant General will accept all volunteer companies of State militia which may offer for nine months. Any person drafted is allowed to provide a substitute.
An important order was issued last week by Secretary Stanton, forbidding any man liable to a draft to leave the county, and authorizing their arrest if they should do so. Measures have been taken to carry out this order. The New York boats and the cars are subjected to close scrutiny.
The quota for Connecticut under the nine months call is 7,145, which is seven full regiments.
Departure of the Middletown Company.—This company was reported full on Tuesday night. On the last two days not far from fifty men enlisted, and the greatest enthusiasm was shown in the neighborhood of the recruiting office. Thursday morning the company was mustered on Main street by Lieut. Gibbons preparatory to their departure by the eleven o’clock train. It was as fine a body of men as is often seen. This was the first full company which had been raised in the state, and Middletown has the honor of being the banner town. At first our citizens moved slowly, but after we got agoing we outstripped all competitors in the rapidity of our enlistments. Mattabesset fire company and hose were to escort the volunteers to Hartford, and paraded with drum band. There was no speech making and no further demonstration made. After marching to the South Park the firemen and volunteers proceeded at once to the depot. A crowd of citizens went to the cars to see them off. Ex-Lieut. Governor Douglas, Postmaster Calef and a few others accompanied them to Hartford. On arriving there the company at once proceeded to the camp of the 14th regiment, passing through some of the principal streets of the city on their way. The fire companies returned home by the evening train.
Drafting.—The time when volunteer enlistments will be received will expire on the 15th, which occurs next Friday, after which a draft will be ordered in this state to raise the new levy of 300,000 nine months men, and to fill up the quota in such towns as have not raised by volunteers their proportion of the 300,000 three years men. Many of the towns in this county will raise their first quota by volunteering. In this town we have raised and sent out one full company, and we believe a sufficient number have since enlisted under Capt. Dickerson to make up our proportion, which is supposed to be something over 125. Those who volunteer now will receive a bounty. Those who are drafted get no bounty. No government bounty will be paid after Friday, except to volunteers joining regiments now in the field, and those who are liable to a draft and can go will do well to confer with Capt. Dickerson at his recruiting office.
There has scarcely ever been a time of such general ill-health as at present in this vicinity. No prevailing disease exists, but a multitude of the most distressing complaints seem to have suddenly made their appearance. Men who had been supposed to be in robust health, are unexpectedly discovered to be invalids. Those who never knew a sick day in their life, are at once revealed as chronic sufferers. Several very stout men have within ten days become consumptive. Quite a number of hearty and vigorous individuals have within that time become the victims of some incurable disease. Unless these disorders are arrested soon, we shall have a community of invalids. It is suggested that the moon may have something to do with it, and as it changes soon after Friday next, that there will be better general health after that date.
Doct. Jarvis’ house in Portland has become a modern Bethesda, a place of resort for blind, halt and withered folks, and there is a wonderful quantity of such kind of people for so healthy a neighborhood as this was supposed to be. Dr. Williams’ house in East Haddam has been thronged with applicants for certificates.
A man from Middle Haddam called upon Dr. Jarvis the other day to obtain a certificate. He stated his case, received what he came for, and started for home. About half way there, the wagon sent off a bank by the roadside, turned out its contents and the man’s leg was broken. If the accident had happened on the way up it would have saved him a quarter.
A sidewalk is being laid on the south side of Washington between Main and Broad streets. This will make a straight walk from High to Main streets and will be a great improvement.
Friday and Saturday were the warmest days of the season. At two p. m. on Friday the mercury rose to 92 degrees, and on Saturday it went up to ninety four in the shade, which was the warmest day we have had this summer. Saturday evening a thunderstorm produced a grateful change. The weather became cooler, and Sunday was one of the finest days of the season, with the mercury at 82 deg. at 2 o’clock.
… Aaron Beebe of the 10th C. V., advertises in the New London (Conn.) Chronicle that ‘Whereas, Mr. Andrew Peabody has taken my wife Calista M. Beebe since I came for a soldier, I respectfully request him or some one else to take care of her, as I forbid any one harboring or trusting her on my account after this date.’ …