From The Constitution, Wednesday, January 28, 1863 (volume 26, number 1309)
Reports were current during the week of the advance of the army of the Potomac. It appears that preparations for an advance were made, and Gen. Burnside issued an address to his troops, which we publish elsewhere. The army is still this side the river, and Gen. Burnside was in Washington in consultation with the President. The advance appears to have been abandoned for the present. It is rumored that a portion of the army is to be sent west.
Gen. Grant is believed to be at or near Vicksburg, with a large force. A western paper says that Gen. Grant will lead the land forces against that city.
Headquarters Army of the Potomac,
Camp Near Falmouth, Jan. 20, 6:30.
[General Order No. 7.]
The Commanding General announces to the Army of the Potomac that they are about to meet the enemy once more. The last brilliant action in North Carolina, Tenn., and Arkansas, have divided and weakened the enemy on the Rappahannock, and the auspicious moment seems to have arrived to strike a great and mortal blow to the rebellion, and to gain that decisive victory which is due to the country.
Let the gallant soldiers of so many brilliant battle-fields accomplish this achievement, and fame the most glorious awaits them. The Commanding General calls for a firm and united action of officers and men and under the Providence of God, the Army of the Potomac will have taken the great step toward restoring peace to the country, and the Government to its rightful authority.
By command of,
[Official.] Major-General Burnside.
Lewis Richmond, A. A. Gen.
Edward M. Neil, Capt., and A. A. Gen.
Resignation of Gen. Burnside.
The important announcement is made that Gen. Burnside has resigned, and the command is given to Gen. Hooker. Gen. Burnside has issued a parting address to the army.
It is also reported that Gens. Franklin and Sumner have been relieved of their commands.
Northern and Southern Generals.
The Generals of the rebel army have been praised far beyond their deserts. In no case have they shown any generalship of the highest order. Not one of them has yet planned and conducted a campaign, and it yet remains to be seen whether they have the ability to do it. In every great battle which has occurred in the open field, where neither party were behind entrenchments, they have been beaten. They were beaten at Shiloh, at Antietam, and at Murfreesboro. At Manassas, at Vicksburg, and at Fredericksburg, they fought behind fortifications of the strongest kind. In some cases they have been driven from works which they had deemed impregnable, as at the battle of Fort Donelson. The war has demonstrated that in a fair field engagement our troops and our generalship are superior to theirs. With a single exception not one of their generals has dared to assume the offensive. Lee attempted it once in Maryland, when he was driven back ignominiously across the Potomac. Ever since the war commenced the most that they have had the ambition or the ability to do has been to defend themselves against our attack, and this in nearly every case behind strong stone walls or banks of earth. In this kind of warfare they have had the great advantage of moving on smaller circles and could concentrate large forces at particular points with greater rapidity than was possible for our generals.
If success is to be the standard of comparative merit, the question will admit of but one answer. The rebels have been completely beaten in Missouri, they have been whipped in Arkansas, they hold but two points in the whole course of the Mississippi, and they have been driven out of the south part of Louisiana. Kentucky has become a loyal state, and Tennessee is fast being purged of rebellion under the vigorous handling of Gen. Rosecrans.
We would not deny that many men of ability could be named among the military leaders on the other side. Lee and Jackson and Johnson are able men, but they are far from being first class generals. None of them can be regarded equal to Grant, or Rosecrans, or McClellan or Burnside. They are brave, they fight well, they are men of nerve and resources, but they have never shown that they possess abilities of as high order as have been exhibited by the national generals we have named. With the help of strongly entrenched positions and with a perfect knowledge of the country, they have been able to baffle the designs of our armies in Eastern Virginia, but whenever we have met these leaders on anything like equal terms, the superiority of our generalship has been proved beyond question.
A disposition was shown a few days ago in the Senate to find fault with the military academy at West Point, and some sharp things were said about the institution. We presume that West Point academy has fallen somewhat in public estimation since the war commenced. But did not the public expect too much of West Point ? Neither that nor any other institution can create such military geniuses as Napoleon or Wellington, or Washington. A great leader of armies is not made such exclusively by his military education, and West Point with all its superior advantages cannot make a great general out of poor materials. We owe much to West Point, and the institution ought not to be blamed for not having given us such a master of the art of war as the Duke of Marlborough.
Public attention is so directed to West Point that it is presumed some important and needed changes will be made.
The Court Martial in the case of Gen. Fitz John Porter found him guilty of all the charges preferred. The verdict was approved by the President on Wednesday and Porter was accordingly cashiered and dismissed the service. When he heard of the finding, it is said, he was greatly astonished and painfully affected.
A Sad Story.—Dr. Alvin Flint of East Hartford, well known for his speech-making power hereabouts, died about a week ago on board a transport coming from Aquir Creek to Washington. He was a private in the 21st regiment, in Capt. Martin’s company. His oldest son Alvin was a member of the 16th regiment, and was killed at Antietam. The patriotic old man was fired with a determination to avenge his death. His younges[t] boy, scarcely fourteen years old, had just enlisted in Capt. Martin’s company, and his father, in order to be with him, joined the same company, and though over 60 years old, was accepted.—We hear that the young boy recently died at Fredericksburg, and now the old soldier is gone to meet his boys. Of the family only a daughter survives.—Hartford Press.
The Knapsack Question.—Soldiers in the army are continually complaining about the inconvenient manner in which knapsacks are constructed, and have undoubtedly offered up many sincere prayers for relief from the burden. There is nothing that so incommodes a soldier on the march, or more materially interferes with his movements on drill or parade than knapsacks as they have been accustomed to carry them, the most prominent objection being the manner in which they are strapped to the back—the straps passing closely under the arms causing a strain upon the arms and back which soon becomes very tiresome to the bearer.
Colonel Baxter, of the Philadelphia Fire Zouaves, has produced an improvement which consists of two supports, composed of hickory wood, about one inch and a half in width and an eighth of an inch in thickness, that are fastened to the top of the knapsack by means of a strap, and hanging loose, extend down as far as the hip, when the knapsack is in proper position. These supporters partly rest on the hip, and relieve the back from much of the weight of the knapsack, thus balancing it very nicely and giving entirely free play to the arms. The supporters can be easily detached from the knapsack. The Fire Zouaves have adopted this improvement, which will doubtless meet with the favor of the whole army.—N. Y. Com. Adv.
Our Soldiers Eating Horse-Flesh.—A letter has been received in Washington from an unconditional Union lady, resident of Nashville, Tennessee, stating that when Wheeler cut off the supplies to Rosecrans’ army, our soldiers had to live on horse-flesh for forty hours. The cheerfulness with which these brave men submitted to this “military necessity,” and the courage with which they met Bragg’s army, is a triumphant refutation of the base slander that the soldiers desire peace on any terms.
Soldiers’ Remains.—Andrew Shrier, of Co. I, 21st regiment, died in hospital, and was buried on Farmhill cemetery.
Eugene Kenyon, also died in hospital, and was buried a few days since in Westfield.
Wesleyan University.—The college flag has been noticed flying at half mast for several days. This was on account of the death of William Henry Rice, a member of the Sophomore Class, who died in the National Hospital at Washington, on the 15th inst. His classmates will wear the usual badge of mourning in memory of deceased for thirty days. This is the second member of this class whose life has been given for his country in this war. Crosby was the first.
Another Soldier Gone.—Edwin J. Clark, son of J. N. Clark, of this town, Staddle hill district, and a member of Co. I, 21st regiment, died at Falmouth, Va., Jan. 2d. His death was caused by exposure. He was but 17 years of age. To the last, he was full of patriotic enthusiasm, and his last words were to ask whether our flag waved over Fredericksburg.
The Funeral of Corporal H. A. Lloyd was attended on Tuesday afternoon at the Universalist church. Rev. Mr. Bruce, pastor of the church, conducted the service, and made an address. A prayer was offered by Rev. Asher Moore, of Hartford. The Mansfield Guard, under command of Col. Starr, escorted the procession to Mortimer Cemetery.
Death of Sergeant Geer.—A dispatch reached this city on the 18th inst., conveying the unexpected news of the death of Sergeant Henry S. Geer of Co. D, 20th regiment, C. V., at Fairfax Station, Va., of typhoid fever. He was the only son of Abiel S. Geer of Cromwell. The remains reached here on Tuesday, and the funeral was attended on Thursday last at the Congregational church in Cromwell. The coffin was covered with the American flag, as was also the pulpit, which was festooned with black. The military were in attendance, and formed an escort to the grave, which was in Prospect Hill Cemetery. Three vollies were fired over the grave. Sergeant Geer was an able officer, and was highly esteemed by all who knew him. His age was 31. He leaves a wife and three children. …
George Vandenhoff, Esq., will be in this city again on Tuesday evening, and give another of his popular entertainments at McDonough Hall, for the benefit of the Soldiers Aid Society. Don’t fail to go and hear him. The cause which he comes to aid is one of the most important of those which now appeal to the benevolence of the American public. The Ladies’ Soldiers’ Aid Society of this city send their contributions to the Sanitary Commission, concerning which President Lincoln gives the following testimony in a note to Gen. Scott :
“The Sanitary Commission is doing a work of great humanity, and of direct practical value to the nation in this time of its trial. It is entitled to the gratitude and the confidence of the people, and I trust it will be generously supported. There is not agency through which voluntary offerings of patriotism can be more effectively made.”
The wife of Mr. Prosser Beecher, of Trumbull, was burned to death on Saturday 20th inst. Her clothes took fire by coming in contact with a stove, and she was burned to a crisp before assistance could be rendered her.
The calamities of life teach us more fully the value of friends and human sympathy. I should not do justice to my feelings if I did not thus publicly express my sense of the devotion of Rean Barnes and Charles H. Arnold, in their noble efforts to save my son, George, from drowning on the 20th inst. Had their endeavors been successful they could not have merited greater praise. To them, and to all others who kindly tendered their services on this painful occasion, I return my sincere and heartfelt thanks.
Middletown, Jan 26th, 1862.
Romance of the War.—A Southern Amazon.—A Cairo correspondent of the Tribune tells the following story in a letter of the 6th inst. :
“Quite a romantic incident was developed here to-day, and for the benefit of your readers who delight in tales of adventure it shall be related : A woman named Anne Clark arrived from Louisville this evening and proceeded to General Tuttle’s headquarters bearing in her hand a letter requesting transportation South. According to her story her husband joined the rebel army some time ago at Iuka, Mississippi, his place of residence, and she, being desirous of serving in the same cause, assumed male apparel and became a member of the Louisiana Cavalry, where she remained, doing the duty of a soldier, seven months. Becoming dissatisfied with her position, she resigned and joined the 11th Tennessee regiment, in which she also remained seven months. She was in all the skirmishes, and took part in the battle of Shiloh. While the army was encamped she frequently went over to her husband’s regiment to see him. Upon that memorable field her husband fell. She buried him with her own hands, but her attachment to a soldier’s life was not lessened. She continued with her comrades until the fight at Richmond, Kentucky, where she was taken prisoner. During all this time her sex was not discovered. It remained for a Yankee to do that. Soon after her capture she went to the provost marshal in Louisville for a parole, and while waiting she happened to sneeze. The wily marshal started at the sound, and declared no man ever sneezed like that. The truth was out, and she confessed.
As we stated before, she came here to-day, waited upon Gen. Tuttle, and expressed herself perfectly willing to occupy the barracks with the rebel prisoners, and share their fare. The gallant general could not endure to see a female subject to the rough treatment of male prisoners, so he informed her she could remain in better quarters, which would be supplied by Major Merril, provost-marshal, and he, the general, would furnish her transportation to Dixie in a manner befitting so heroic a woman. Mrs. Clark seems to be about thirty years of age, and has passed under the name of Richard Anderson.”