From The Constitution, Wednesday, February 11, 1863 (volume 26, number 1311)
From the Rappahannock there is nothing of much interest.
We have now a clear account of the strange affair at Charleston. The blockade was not raised, even temporarily, our fleet was not driven off and none of our gunboats were sunk. It was apparently the intention of the rebels to recapture the Princess Royal, a prize steamer taken by our fleet. In this they failed. The ram Palmetto State partially disabled the Mercedita, which afterwards steamed to Port Royal for repairs. The ram attacked and disabled the Keystone State, but did not capture her. The other rebel ram was driven off by the Housatonic. The statement made by Beauregard that during the day, the 1st inst., no blockaders were in sight, is false.
Affairs are progressing well at Vicksburg. The ram Queen of the West ran the gauntlet of the rebel batteries on Monday. The canal project has been approved, and a large force will be kept at work upon it night and day until it is complete. Gen. Grant is at Vicksburg, and has assumed command of all the national forces in the vicinity.
The official dispatch concerning the affair at Fort Donelson states that the rebels numbered 4000 with eight pieces of artillery. Ours numbered but 800 men. The enemy was repulsed with heavy loss, in killed over 150 and in prisoners 300. Our loss was 12 killed and 30 wounded. Gen. Rosecrans has taken measures to intercept the retreat of the rebels.
Colored Troops.—The bill which passed the House of Representatives last week, authorizing the employment of colored troops, provides that the President may enroll such a number as he may deem necessary to suppress the rebellion, to serve for a term not exceeding five years, to be paid as other soldiers, to be officered by black or white officers, provided that no black officer shall receive authority over white soldiers. The bill excludes from service the slaves of loyal citizens in the states exempted by the President’s proclamation. Of the Connecticut representatives, Mr. Loomis voted for the bill; Mr. Woodruff against it, and Messrs. Burnham and English were absent.
Conservatism and Radicalism.
It has become exceedingly difficult to draw the line between conservatism and radicalism. The progress of events is now so rapid, and the necessities of the war are such, that patriotic men find themselves unexpectedly changed in all their relations to matters of former political faith and practice. They find themselves placed in entirely new circumstances, which compel them to act and to think in a very different manner from before. They have adopted new theories and discarded old ones. The war has opened their eyes to see some things as they never before saw them. They find themselves divorced from old opinions and prejudices, and adopting views which once they regarded as rank heresy. Conservatives have become radicals and radicals have become conservatives. Moderate men have become fanatical, and fanatics suddenly find themselves outdistanced and enjoying the unexpected reputation of being themselves a little behind the times. Men like Butler, most prominent of old conservatives, are ranked among the foremost of the radicals. Thurlow Weed has left his former associates and has become ultra conservative. Albert Barnes, even, has made peace with slavery, and prays that it may be let alone. Robert J. Walker, a representative man of the south, has become a special advocate of radicalism. So with Stanton, Holt, Dickinson, and a host of other leading men, once distinguished for their conservative opinions. Secretary Seward, once a radical, is put down now as a conservative. President Lincoln was elected with the reputation of moderate conservatism. He is now called a radical.
The question of conservatism turns on the question of how slavery is to be dealt with. There are two opinions on this subject. One is that slavery should be protected, that it has a paramount claim, and should be sustained in preference to the Union. The other opinion is that the Union should be sustained, and that it should be preferred to slavery, which has become its deadly enemy. A true conservatism will stand by the Union, and maintain that at all hazards. To conserve the Government against the assaults of rebels and traitors is the highest duty of every citizen. But it is a fact that in order to sustain the Government, it has become necessary to assail slavery in its most vital part. Not only must its political power be overthrown, but the institution itself must be overthrown. As the war has progressed, the real nature of the contest has become more apparent. The enemy of the Union is the slave power. The slaveholders of the south have said they would no longer abide a Union which they could not control. They are carrying on this bloody war to procure the establishment of an independent slave power on this continent. They have this single purpose in view, and have not been backward from the beginning to confessing their purpose. Alexander H. Stephens announced it from the stump, and Dr. Palmer proclaimed it from the pulpit. We have been slow at the North in comprehending this fact. Old prejudices against abolitionism have blinded, and almost paralized the nation. But it is waking up to a knowledge of the actual facts of this contest, and has begun to strike some heavy blows at its actual enemy.
To assail slavery in this war may be called radicalism. It makes very little difference what words are used. But when slavery assails the Union, and the question becomes a plain one which of these two shall be “conserved,” a loyal man will not hesitate to become a conservative for the Union, although he may thereby become a radical as regards slavery.
Wendell Phillips has never been a friend of the Union. He never took the oath of allegiance. He never cast a vote. He abstained from all the rights and privileges of citizenship. All this was on account of his hatred of slavery. In a late speech in Brooklyn he said :
“Now I would accept anything on an anti-slavery basis. I would accept separation. I would accept compromise. I would accept Union. I would accept peace, and pay the whole Confederate debt at par on an anti-slavery basis.”
In this extract Mr. Phillips is consistent with all his former professions. He is a thorough going abolitionist and radical, and would see the Union dissolved rather than that slavery should live. In his political creed there is no loyalty or patriotism. He shows no love for his country, he simply hates slavery, and would sacrifice every thing in order to destroy it.
These views are as far removed as possible from a pure patriotism, which leads one to cherish his country first, and protect its interests at all hazards.
The Emancipation Proclamation.—A Legal Decision at St. Louis.—In the case of Benjamin Williams, a black man indicted for grand larceny before a criminal court at St. Louis, the question whether he was a free man or a slave at the time of the larceny, the 6th of January, was argued at length the penalty in the former place being incarceration, and in the latter corporeal punishment. Evidence was elicited proving that he was born a slave in Mississippi, but previous to his arrival in Missouri, two or three months ago, he was the property of Major Holkaim of Arkansas, who at the time was a prisoner in the hands of the Union forces. Judge Clover has given an elaborate decision, declaring the said prisoner a free man by virtue of the president’s proclamation, and being once free he is forever free, the judge knowing no power or law by which a man being once emancipated, can again be enslaved.
Gen. Scott’s health is said to be fast failing him. He is confined to his apartment in the Fifth Avenue Hotel, New York, almost entirely helpless, and, what is worse, it is said that his mind at length is breaking down under the weight of years, and mental and bodily trouble. He receives but few visitors, and these only his most intimate friends.
League Island vs. New London.—A vote in the Senate this morning encourages the Pennsylvania lobby, which Gov. Curtin so ably leads, to hope that they secure the adoption of the mud-flat in the Delaware river as a naval station. This, too, in the face of the following resolutions, adopted by the board, sanctioned by Congress, and appointed by the Secretary of the Navy :–
Resolved, That in the opinion of the Board the public interests will not be promoted by acquiring the title to League Island for naval purposes.
Resolved, That the harbor of New London possesses greater advantages for a navy yard and naval depot than any other location examined by this board.
It will be rather remarkable of Congress [if it,] in the face of this evidence, sanctions the commencement of enormous expenditures at League Island. Yet a well managed lobby can effect wonders.
Cor. N. Y. Com. Adv.
Still Another !—The body of Sergeant Richard Robinson, whose widowed mother resides in this city, is daily expected. He belonged to a N. York regiment, and was in the battles on the Chickahominy, second Bull Run and Antietam, escaping with a few bullet holes through his clothing to finally die in hospital at Falmouth of dysentery. His body will be buried in Portland.
Major Clark, of the 14th Conn., has arrived in this city. He was wounded at the battle of Fredericksburg, and is quite lame.
FROM THE 14TH REGIMENT.
Camp of 14th C. V., near Falmouth, Va.,
Feb. 3rd, 1863.
Mr. Editor : Thinking it may interest you and some of your readers I send you a list of “promotions and appointments” recently made in this regiment subject to the approval of the Governor of the State of Conn.
1st Lt. John C. Broatch promoted to be Capt. of Co. A, vice Capt. Merritt, resigned.
1st Lt. James L. Townsend promoted to be Capt. of Co. B, vice Capt. Gibbons, killed.
1st Lt. Wm. J. Sherman promoted to be Capt. of Co. D, vice Morehouse, resigned.
2d Lt. Henry P. Goddard promoted to be 1st Lt. of Co. B [sic], vice Lt. Broatch, promoted.
2d Lt. James L. Simpson promoted to be 1st Lt. of Co. D, vice Lt. Emery, resigned.
Corp. Frederick B. Doten promoted to be 1st Lt. of Co. F, vice Lt. Stanley, killed.
2d Lt. Frederick B. Hawley promoted to be 1st Lt. of Co. G, vice Lt. Sherman, promoted.
1st Serg’t Edward A. Fox promoted to be 1st Lt. Co. I, vice Lt. Townsend, promoted.
2d Lt. James R. Nichols promoted to be 1st Lt. Co. K, vice Lt. Fiske, promoted.
John McCarthy promoted to be 2d Lt. Co. B, vice Lt. Canfield, killed.
1st Serg’t Lucius L. Dyer, promoted to be 2d Lt. Co. C, vice Lt. Simpson, promoted.
Serg’t Henry W. Wadhams promoted to be 2d Lt. Co. D, vice Lt. Vinton, resigned.
Serg’t Major John G. Pelton promoted to be 2d Lt. Co. E, vice Lt. Baldwin, resigned.
1st Serg’t John A. Tibbetts promoted to be 2d Lt. Co. F, vice Lt. Comes, killed.
Serg’t George A. Foote promoted to be 2d Lt. Co. G, vice Lt. Goddard, promoted.
Serg’t Wilbur A. Fiske promoted to be 2d Lt. Co. I, vice Lt. Nichols, promoted.
Corp’l Charles Lyman promoted to be 2d Lt. Co. K, vice Lt. Hawley, promoted.
1st Lt. Frederick B. Doten, appointed Acting Adjutant.
Serg’t James Gilbert, appointed Serg’t Major vice J. G. Pelton, promoted.
1st Lt. Samuel A. Fiske was recently promoted and commissioned Capt. of Co. G by Gov. Buckingham.
You will perceive, by the above, that some of our Middletown representatives have been receiving honors. Lieut. Broatch takes the Captaincy of Co. A, and Serg’t Major Pelton is assigned to Co. E, as 2d Lt., in accordance with a rule established by our Commanders “not to promote in the Company.” Lieut. Townsend, promoted to the Captaincy of Co. B, you may recognize as a former resident of Middletown. He is a competent officer and one with whom Co. B may well be satisfied.
You can understand from this list how sad are the changes war occasions—not six months away from Conn. and this is the third list of promotions, and yet there are vacancies.
I enclose to you also, Gen. V. V. Howard’s letter to the N. Y. Times, hoping you will give it to your readers if you have not already done so. Gen. Howard is our present Corps Commander. He is an able and brave officer, a true patriot and christian gentleman. He has proved his “love of country” by his faithful continuance in her service and by his frequent exposure to dangers in her behalf. He lost an arm at the battle of ‘Fair Oaks,’ led his command in the hottest of the fight at ‘Antietam,’ crossed the Rappahannock with his division on the 11th of Dec. last, and, with it was among the last to leave Fredericksburg at the time of the retreat of our forces Dec. 15th, and still he is, as he says in his letter, “facing the enemy.” Let the “appeal” of such a man be heard. By publishing it, Mr. Editor, you may help our precious cause. H. S. S.
[The letter referred to will be published in our next paper.—Ed. Cons.]
Died From Injuries.—Everett N. Turner, died a few days since from injuries received while at work in the factory of the Fire Arms Company. While adjusting a belt, he fell and struck a piece of iron on the floor which entered his thigh, causing his death. His widow was presented with a purse of about $100.
Fire Alarm.—A bright light was seen towards the west on Sunday evening about nine o’clock. It evidently proceeded from a considerable distance, but some of our firemen turned out with their machine. The fire was in Meriden, where a large three story brick building opposite the depot was burnt.
East Haddam.—On Tuesday morning, the 3d, the bark mill connected with the tannery of Ozinas Palmer, Esq., of East Haddam (Hadlyme) was burnt. There was no insurance. It is believed to be the work of an incendiary.
Public Nuisance.—For some time past our citizens must have noticed that more drunken men are to be seen staggering through the streets than formerly. Along in the afternoon these top-heavy individuals are sometimes quite numerous in Main street. It is getting to be decidedly a public nuisance, and requires attention from the proper authorities.
The Weather.—Last week will be memorable in weather chronicles. It commenced with a warm spring-like temperature, which gradually became cooler, and on Wednesday the mercury descended to 8 and on Thursday to 11 degrees below zero at sunrise. By Friday morning it had risen to 42 degrees.
The display of valentines at Putnam’s bookstore is quite engaging. He has enough to meet all demands, and suit all tastes.
A good assortment of these missives (missiles) can be found at Rockwell’s. Some of them are got up in fine style.
Valentine’s Day.—Next Saturday is St. Valentine’s day, and will be duly celebrated. In these times of modern civilization St. Valentine is compelled to take up his quarters at the post office, and charges about one cent each per favors dispensed. Unpoetical, very.