From The Constitution, Wednesday, November 26, 1862 (volume 25, number 1300)
The news from the Army of the Potomac indicates that there will be a battle at or near Fredericksburgh. The passage of the army at that place is disputed by the enemy. Gen. Sumner had demanded the surrender of the city. His demand had been refused by the Mayor, who was evidently acting under the direction of the rebel military authorities. Preparations are being made to shell the city and the inhabitants were moving out of the place.
It is rumored that Stonewall Jackson was near Winchester in command of 40,000 men, but the general impression was that he was retiring towards Gordonsville.
An order has issued from the War Department directing the discharge of such as have been arrested for discouraging enlistments or opposing drafting in those states where a draft has been made.
Apprehensions are felt for the safety of Gen. Siegel, but it is presumed he has fallen back in good order. On Friday morning our lines were at Centreville, but the enemy have appeared in force at Bull Run. The Potomac cannot now be forded.
The situation of Burnside’s army was reported unchanged up to 1 P. M. on Sunday.
Iron Clads.—Six iron “Monitors” will be finished by December 1st. Gov. Andrew has submitted to the President the proposal for an iron-clad for Boston harbor. Massachusetts to build it if the Government will not.
The English Government has evidently come to the determination not to interfere in American affairs, at least for the present. One reason of this determination is without doubt the temper of the American people which will not submit to interference from England or any other foreign power. The universal feeling among all classes is that this is an affair of our own, and Europe must let us alone while we settle is in our own time and way.
Another reason why England is unwilling now to interfere is that the cause of the southern confederacy is too lame and hopeless. The most that Jeff. Davis’ army has done in this war is to successfully defend Richmond. No where have they gained a great and signal victory, or proved their ability to contend on equal terms with the national arms. At the present moment there is every likelihood that the rebel capital must fall before the powerful army of Gen. Burnside. The rebels are rapidly giving way at the west. The whole of the Mississippi must soon be in our possession, and on the Atlantic coast Charleston and Savannah will in a few weeks be at the mercy of our iron clads. The rebel cause is tottering to its fall, and by next spring there is every reason to believe that the Confederacy will have received its death blow.
Much as England would like to see this rebellion succeed, she will not interfere in so hopeless a cause. The rebellion must show a more promising record than it has thus far before it can enlist British influence and arms in its behalf.
Terrible Disaster at Jackson, Miss.—Forty Young Girls Killed.—The Memphis Bulletin of the 9th inst., records the destruction of the cartridge manufactory at Jackson, and comments on the disaster as follows :
“From a gentleman of this city, who was in that place on business at the time, we learn that the explosion was not in the powder magazine, where several thousand pounds of powder were lying, but in the cartridge manufactory, which is very near the magazine. It was among the powder taken into the manufactory to be made up. The immediate cause of the catastrophe can never be known. Girls were kept at work making cartridges, in the same way they formerly did at the corner of Third and Monroe streets in this city. From sixty to one hundred girls were usually employed ; it would seem by the telegram that the full set of hands were not at work on the day of the explosion. After the explosion the building burst into flames, and shocking to tell, nothing could be done to aid the sufferers, or rescue them from the fearful ravages of the fire that raged furiously through the shattered building ; for, among the finished work packed away to send off when called for, was a considerable number of shells. As the fire reached them, the awful instruments of warfare exploded sometimes one, sometimes two, three or more at a time, scattering masses of iron in every direction. No one could approach the fatal spot—the firemen stood far off with their engine idle, unable to lend their aid. The roaring flames pursued their devouring work uninterrupted, reducing to cinders the bodies of forty young girls, protected in its horrible fierceness by the exploding shells which appeared to be making war on their own account. The sight was horrible, but there was another scene still more harrowing, if that was possible, than the work of death—it was the sight of screaming women and maddened calling about for their children ! The loved ones that had left them at the noon meal, rejoicing in their youth and in the attractions of beauty like a holocaust of maidens, offered in impious sacrifice to the Moloch of war.”
The draw of the Charlestown, Mass., bridge was open on the morning of the 21st, when the way passenger train from Malden and other stations for Boston went through. The train consisted of an engine, tender, smoking car and three passenger cars. The latter were full of passengers. The weather was very dark and foggy ; the train was proceeding slowly at the time. The engine and tender plunged into the river, and were soon submerged out of sight. The smoking car, in which were forty or fifty passengers, was thrown forward with all the passengers in a heap. The remaining cars were uncoupled in time to avoid taking the plunge. Many of the passengers in the smoking car succeeded in making their escape by jumping from the windows and saving themselves by swimming, while to others planks were thrown, taken from the bridge. Four dead bodies have been recovered.
Departure of the 24th Regiment.—The regiment finally went off by the steamer Granite State on Tuesday evening. Their departure was marked by turbulence and disorder. Much dissatisfaction was felt by the men because they were not paid as they had expected to be for the two months they had been in camp. Some of them made this a pretext for disturbance on Tuesday afternoon. They refused to obey orders and insulted their officers. Lieut. Webb, U. S. A., the mustering officer, received some slight personal injury. Col. Mansfield exerted himself to produce order, and get the regiment on their way to the boat. About dark, they started from camp in a promiscuous kind of way—a few only in the ranks and the majority coming as they pleased. In this style they passed through the city to the dock. Several presentations had been arranged for the afternoon, among them a handsome flag for the regiment procured by the ladies of Middletown. Large crowds of people had assembled in Main street, and occupied the windows in the neighborhood of the Court House, and waited somewhat impatiently for the regiment to appear. At a little before six o’clock, they were rewarded with a view of the drum band and a fragment of the regiment. A few of the men made some threats before they went aboard the boat, but we have not heard that they carried out any of them. Several were left behind on Tuesday night, most of whom went down by the City of Hartford the next day.
A Rioter.—Philip Gallagher is the man who attempted to use a knife on Lieut. Webb, U. S. mustering officer, at Camp Mansfield just previous to the departure of the 24th regiment. He subsequently made an attack on Lieut. Colonel Allison, with a knife, and succeeded in inflicting a slight wound. This took place in Court street while the regiment was on its way to the boat. Gallagher was placed under arrest, and taken to Hartford in irons. His offence is by no means a slight one, and for the sake of law and order an example should be made such as will deter from a repetition of the disgraceful riots which have lately taken place in some of the Connecticut camps.
The Watch House was occupied to its utmost capacity, which is not very great, on Wednesday. Some of the stragglers of the 24th regiment had taken too much liquor aboard, were disposed to be noisy, and were therefore accommodated at this public institution. A few were deposited there that they might make no mistake about the hour when the boat would leave in the afternoon for New York. No mistake of the kind was made. When it was time to go, a guard was on hand which escorted them to the dock, and saw them safely embarked for New York.
On board the steamer Granite State, last week Tuesday night, a few of the riotous members of the 24th regiment tried hard to make trouble. They were drunk and noisy. Three or four police officers were on board, and were kept pretty busy. There were several attempts at a fight, in one of which Officer Billings had his head severely cut by a blow from a canteen.
FROM THE 24TH REGIMENT.
The following communication gives a graphic account of the presentation of colors to the 24th regiment from ladies in this city, and also narrates some incidents of interest to the friends of the soldiers.
New York, Nov. 22d, 1862.
To the Editor of the Constitution :
Some of your readers will no doubt be interested in an account of the presentation, by the ladies of Middletown, (through a committee of gentlemen delegated by them), of an elegant flag and guide colors, to the 24th Regt. Conn. Volunteers, as well as of their movements since their departure from your city. The regiment arrived at Williamsburg on Wednesday morning, partook of breakfast, marched to their camping ground at Centreville Course, Jamaica, Long Island, a distance of about six miles, arriving at twelve o’clock. Selecting the ground for their encampment they pitched their tents, and after dress parade sought as best they could, on wet ground, with only their blankets to cover them, the repose they so much needed. The following day, about thirty of those they left behind in the confusion attending their departure, arrived. The officers and men all appeared in good spirits, notwithstanding the inclemency of the weather, and feel that they have now fairly entered upon their nine months campaign.
The committee consisted of Dr. Cummings and Dr. Johnston of the Wesleyan University, and Benj. Douglas and W. S. Camp, Esqs. They arrived at the camp about twelve o’clock, but found the Colonel absent, he having gone to New York to report to Gen. Banks, to whose army corps they are to be attached. They were received by Lieut. Col. Allison and the other officers of the regiment, and all were delighted to see them, although but few were aware of the object of their visit. Col. Mansfield being expected in the course of one or two hours, it was decided to await his return before making the presentation. In the meantime many of the men improved the opportunity of communicating with their friends by writing letters and making remittances to their families, they having received their bounty money on the boat on the passage down, so that the delegation were kept busy receiving messages and imparting information in relation to their friends they had so hurriedly left behind.
At three o’clock, the Colonel still absent and their engagements requiring their return that afternoon, they concluded to make the presentation at that time, so the Lieut. Colonel ordered the roll sounded, and the regiment was immediately formed in open order to receive it. The adjutant escorted the delegation with the flags to the front, where Dr. Cummings made the presentation speech. His remarks were exceedingly appropriate to the occasion and were enthusiastically received. He said :
“The ladies whom they had the honor to represent, had delegated them to present this beautiful banner, as a token of their regard and of their appreciation of the sacrifice they were called upon to make, and the deprivations they were to endure, and had so nobly and willingly assumed, in this the hour of their country’s peril—and assured them, they placed it in their hands with the fullest confidence in their courage and bravery, and in their devotion to their country’s cause—and that they would defend it to the last drop of their blood. They were going forth to battle for right, and in defence of their government and its flag, which was being trampled upon by enemies to the cause of justice, and freedom, and their prayer for their success would attend them, and their best wishes would follow them.”
He made an eloquent allusion to the lamented General Mansfield, whose son was to lead them as he hoped, to victory and honor, and their deeds would shine in future years with a lustre equal to those heroes, who fought and bled in establishing our independence. He exhorted them to stand by the flag—that flag which no nation or power had dared until recently to insult, and it was to punish those traitors who had dared to insult it, and to restore it as it once was, bright and unsullied, that they were now in arms. He referred to the sacrifices their native State had already made in the cause, and said she had done her full share in the defense of her country, but was still willing to send her sons forth to danger and death, in the just cause in which they were engaged. Connecticut had been nobly represented in this conflict and wherever christian virtue, true bravery and patriotism, and all the qualities that adorn the christian soldier were appreciated, there the names of Mansfield and Lyon would live, as imperishable monuments. His remarks throughout were thrilling and eloquent, and after some beautiful poetic quotations, the flag was placed in the hands of the Lieut. Colonel, and was acknowledged by a salute from the music of the regiment. Lieut. Col. Allison replied in a modest but soldierly manner, thanking the ladies for the beautiful expression of their regard, and the interest they manifested in them, and closed with the solemn pledge of his regiment, that so long as life lasted, they would defend it, and that it should never be disgraced. The flag was then escorted to the colonel’s tent by the color company, after receiving the salutes of the several companies, and the delegation immediately left the ground receiving three cheers for the ladies, three cheers for themselves, and again three cheers for the flag. The greatest enthusiasm prevailed, and the presentation was no doubt more effective than if it had been made at the time of the departure of the regiment. The whole affair passed off very creditably to all concerned, and the ladies have cause to congratulate themselves upon having placed the matter in such able hands. It was a pleasant episode and relief to the tediousness and monotony of camp life, and the recollections of the 21st of Nov. at Centreville Course, will no doubt cheer, enliven and encourage the soldiers of the 24th regiment in many a lonely and trying hour. The flag was the stars and stripes, made of silk with handsomely embroidered stars and the name of the regiment embroidered upon it, and the guide colors to match—all made by Tiffany & Co. of this city.
Death of Josiah M. Hubbard.—A few weeks since, Mr. Hubbard was thrown from his wagon into the road, and the wheel of a loaded cart passed over him crushing one of his limbs in a fearful manner. Just previous to the accident he had received the sad intelligence of the death of his son Robert Hubbard, shot in the battle of Antietam. It was thought Mr. Hubbard would recover from his injury notwithstanding his age and the depressing news of his son’s death. He was apparently doing well until the beginning of last week, when he unexpectedly and rapidly failed. He died on Tuesday morning.
Results of Speculation.—It is poor business to attempt to speculate in soldier’s bounties. The student in Wesleyan University, who “tried it on” has found it to be so. His name is Eastman. He offered to go as a substitute for $350, which was agreed upon. Then he agreed with somebody else to go in his place for $200, pocketing $150 by the operation. On the strength of this capital he ventured to get married, but just as he was entering upon the culmination of his honeymoon, he received notice that his substitute had departed to parts unknown, and he must appear in camp. Sad news ! Two hundred dollars gone, connubial prospects blighted, a regular “sell!” Conflicting emotions tore his bosom. How could he serve his country and his Dulcinea ? He doubted, debated, hesitated, and finally decided. Dulcinea carried the day and the man. When he was wanted on military duty he was non est inventus, he wasn’t there. He had departed. His case should be a warning to other ardent young men, who have any mind to speculate in war and matrimony.