From The Constitution, Wednesday, December 17, 1862 (volume 26, number 1303)
The Great Battle.
The great battle, so long anticipated between the two contending armies commenced on Saturday morning. On the night before our troops were rapidly pushed across the river, and every preparations made for a battle. General Franklin’s division crossed two miles below the city, while General Sumner’s troops occupied a portion of the town.
General Franklin’s line was moved forward at sunrise, with his right resting on Fredericksburg, his centre advanced a mile from the river, and his left resting on the river three miles below. Skirmishing commenced on the left about daylight. Soon after a rebel battery opened on our lines, and the 9th New York militia was ordered to charge, but after a fierce struggle was compelled to retire. The remainder of the brigade, under Gen. Tyler, then charged the enemy’s guns, when the fight became general on the extreme left.
About ten o’clock A. M., General Sumner’s troops engaged the enemy back of the city, since which time the battle has raged furiously along the whole line. The enemy, occupying the woods and hills, had a much more advantageous position, but were driven back on their right a mile and a half early in the day.
A dispatch from the field of battle dated at 10 o’clock on Saturday evening, says—
Along the whole line the battle has been fierce all day, with great loss on both sides. To-night each army holds its first position, with the exception of a slight advance of our left. Cannonading is still going on, and the musketry breaks out at intervals quite fiercely.
Generals Gibbons, Vine, Bayard and Campbell, are among the wounded. Gen. Bayard was struck in the hip by a solid shot while conversing with Gen. Franklin and his staff, and cannot survive. His right leg has been amputated, but the operation will only serve to prolong his life a short time.
Several hundred prisoners have been taken who report that Gen. Lee’s entire army is in the immediate vicinity. Gen. Hill’s troops were withdrawn this morning and started down the river, but afterwards returned. Gen. Franklin is to-night opposed to Stonewall Jackson.
It is impossible to form an accurate idea of the loss on either side, as the firing is still going on, rendering it extremely difficult to remove the killed and wounded.
The city suffered terribly from the enemy’s artillery, and is crowded with our troops, the front extending but a short distance beyond.
About dark our forces carried the right crest of the hill occupied by the rebels, driving them from the position with great slaughter.
This evening the rebels have been shelling Fredericksburg, endeavoring to drive our troops out of the place, but without success.
On Sunday there was no general engagement. The day opened without fog, the sun shining brightly with a strong breeze.
At daylight there was a heavy fire of artillery and infantry in front of the first line of rebel works, where Gens. Hooker and Sumner were engaged the day before. The fire slacked about one hour afterward, and was heard only at intervals till noon. The same occurred in front of Gen. Franklin’s division down the river. The object of both parties was evidently to feel the other.
During the night and morning the rebels considerably extended and strengthened their position. Large bodies of troops were to be seen where but few were to be found on Saturday. Our dead which were killed in front of the enemy’s works, still remained where they fell. When attempting their removal during the night, the rebels would open fire with infantry, but the wounded were all removed from the field, and all the dead obtained and buried.
Among the killed are Gen. Jackson of the Pennsylvania Reserves ; Gen. Bayard, Lieut. Colonel Dickinson, commanding battery 4th U. S. Artillery.
There is no evidence that any of our Connecticut regiments were engaged in the infantry charge upon the rebel works. No casualties are reported.
The account from the field of battle on Monday states—
There was considerable firing yesterday between the advanced troops of the two armies. At one time the rebels showed a disposition to move upon Gen. Franklin’s forces. Occasionally the rebels would throw a few shells among our troops, just to remind us that they were still there. With these exceptions everything was quiet.
There was some skirmishing this morning, with considerable artillery firing.
The body of Gen. Bayard left for Washington to-day. He was to have been married next Wednesday.
The Banks Expedition.
Philadelphia, Dec. 15.
The Washington correspondent of the Press, in a special dispatch from Washington, tells the following story, which give on his authority:–I have just received information from good authority that Gen. Banks has landed with 20,000 men at Winton, N. C., near the head waters of the Chowan River. Gen. Banks has assumed command of the army of the Blackwater, consisting of three corps d’armee, forming a grand division of the army.
Gen. Foster will command the left wing, three divisions forming a corps d’armee.
Gen. Peck will command the right wing forming a corps d’armee of three divisions—Gen. Augur will command the centre corps of three divisions. Gen. Emory will command the reserve troops composed of twelve trusty regiments, three batteries of artillery and two squadrons of cavalry. Gen. Banks is already advancing, having formed a junction with our troops at Suffolk.
St. Louis, Dec. 9.
To Major-General Halleck, General-in-Chief :–My forces of the army of the frontier united near Fayetteville in the midst of a hard fought battle. Gen. Blunt had sustained his position at Cane Hill until Saturday night, when the enemy, 25,000 strong, under Gen. Hindman, attempted a flank movement on his left to prevent the arrival of Gen. Herron’s forces which had been approaching for four days by forced marches.
On Sunday, about 10 A. M., the enemy attacked Gen. Herryn near Fayetteville, who by gallant and desperate fighting held them in check for three hours, till Gen. Blunt’s division came up and attacked him in the rear. The fight continued desperately till dark. Our troops then bivouacked on the battle field while the enemy retreated across the Boston mountains.
The loss on both sides is heavy, but is much the greatest on the side of the enemy, our artillery creating terrible slaughter in their little numbers. The enemy had greatly the advantage in position.
Among the enemy’s killed is Col. Stein, formerly Brigadier General of the Missouri State Guard. Both Generals Blunt and Herron deserve special commendation for their gallantry in the battle of Fayetteville, Ark. S. R. Curtis, Maj. Gen. Com.
Disgraceful Affair at Hartsville, Tenn.
A disgraceful affair occurred at Hartville Tenn., on Saturday last. A Federal brigade, consisting of the 104th Illinois, 106th Ohio, 108th Ohio, Nicklen’s Battery, and a small body of Indiana cavalry, all under command of Gen. Moore, were attacked by the guerilla Morgan. After a short fight, the Federals ingloriously surrendered when the enemy captured our camp, teams, and equipage, burning what they could not carry off. The loss on both sides, in killed and wounded, was small. The rebels are reported to be gathering in large force in the vicinity of Nashville. Gen. Joe Johnston is in chief command.
Nashville, Dec. 8.—We have no further particulars of the disgraceful affair at Hartsville. From all we can gather, it appears that the new infantry regiments fought little after relieving the 2d Indiana cavalry, except the Illinois regiment, which is said to have 80 killed. When the infantry came up the cavalry were being forced back, at which the infantry were seized with a panic and fled to camp again, where they were surrounded and taken. Our loss was said to be 40 killed and wounded.
Gen. Polk’s rebel corps was advanced up the Lebanon pike to Beard’s Mills twelve miles south of Lebanon while Kirby Smith’s corps is reported at Murfreesboro. These movements change the entire situation.
The Alabama Again—More Captures.
New York, Dec. 11.—The schooner Alice, from Point Petre Gaudaloupe, arrived. She has aboard the chief officers and crew of the ship Levi Starbuck, of New Bedford, Capt. Mellen, from New Bedford, five days outward bound to the Pacific, captured Nov. 2d, by the Alabama. She took all the clothing and nautical instruments, and set her on fire. Nov. 8, lat. 28 deg. 30 min., long. 58, she also captured the ship T. B. Wales of Boston, from Calcutta for Boston, 147 days, with a cargo of saltpetre and gunny-cloth. She took her captain and crew and set her on fire. The Alabama then proceeded to Martinique, arriving there at 8 A. M. the 17th, landing the captains and crews of both ships.
The U. S. ship San Jacinto arrived the same afternoon, and finding the Alabama in port, immediately got under way and proceeded outside the harbor to await the departure of the Alabama. On the 18th, at 10 P. M., the Alabama got under way and escaped, the San Jacinto laying off the harbor Nov. 22d. The captains of both vessels would take passage to Halifax. The crews came here in the Alice sent by the American consul.
Court of Inquiry.—At the McDowell Court of Inquiry last week, Gen. McClellan testified that the troops sent from his immediate command for the defence of Washington were 70,000 independent of McDowell’s corps.
Redemption of Postage Stamps.—By order of the Postmaster General, the Postmasters of Hartford and New Haven will commence the redemption of old postage stamps which have been used for currency on Thursday the 13th, and will continue to receive them for thirty days thereafter. Hartford and New Haven are the only two places in the state selected for the redemption of these stamps by the Postmaster General.
Private Shinplasters.—We are glad to notice that the kind of money which comes under the head of private shinplasters is falling into discredit. Merchants in the city do not like to take it, and in many cases it is refused at their counters. If you want change, be careful and get U. States money. Any one who will take private notes, cut bills or brass buttons does it at his own risk.
Robinson.—Mrs. Cynthia P. Robinson, of Durham, widow of the late Capt. Richard Robinson, died last week. She was the mother of the celebrated Richard P. Robinson whose trial and acquittal in New York for the murder of Helen Jewett more than a quarter of a century ago was more remarkable and produced a greater sensation than any similar trial before or since on this continent.
Middle Haddam.—Another soldier from Middle Haddam is reported dead. George W. Johnson, of the 14th Conn., died in hospital a few days since. Seven who enlisted from that place have died from wounds received in battle or from sickness.
Tax Payers are directed to a notice published this week by Mr. Burrows, Collector. Taxes are high enough this year without the “fees’” which latter may be saved by a prompt payment of the former.
The Warm Weather of the last few days has cleared the river of ice. The temperature this (Tuesday) morning was fifty-five degrees. One week ago this morning it was four degrees. Changeable climate this.
Christmas comes next week, and preparations for the festival have already commenced. Christmas trees flourish at this season, and bear all manner of fruit. One of these in full bearing condition will be found at the proper time to have sprung up for the benefit of the children of the Methodist Sunday School.
The Poor and destitute should be looked after during this inclement season of the year. Those who have abundance should remember those who are in want. Many families, no doubt, would be grateful for assistance, who much need it, but will rather suffer than ask for it. Are there not some soldiers’ families who need help, and who should be sought out ? Now is a time for active benevolence, and for exercising charity at home.
Contraband Clothing.—The collection of clothing for contrabands last week was quite successful. A large amount of old clothes, which can be made into good clothes for certain purposes and persons was got together. The collection is something of a curiosity, but is pronounced very useful. The stock on hand will be sent to New York, and there be disposed of by the proper authorities. On account of the hard times, it had been thought likely that we should all have to wear old clothes ourselves this winter. But the benevolence of our citizens has proved too much for their economy. As they have given away their old raiment, they will of course put on new garments themselves, which shows the practical results of alms-giving to the alms-givers.
Pay Up ! Pay Up !
Notice is hereby given to all persons liable to pay Town, Highway, School, State and Military Taxes, on the List of 1861, that if said Taxes are not paid on or before the 1st day of January, 1862, Fees will be charged.
Office over the Store of J. N. Camp.
W. F. BURROWS, Collector.
Middletown, Dec. 12th, 1862.