From The Constitution, Wednesday, April 22, 1863 (volume 26, number 1321)

War News

Gen. Foster has been relieved. A river steamer, with a regiment and supplies of provisions and ammunition succeeded in running the batteries on Tar river, and reached the wharf at Washington on the 14th. The enemy are still investing Suffolk.

A large Union meeting was held at Trenton, N. J., on the 16th. Strong resolutions were unanimously adopted rebuking the peace movement of the legislature.

The town elections in Illinois recently resulted very decisively in favor of the Union cause. The copperhead majority of last fall is entirely wiped out with a handsome preponderance on the side of the Union.

Gen. Kirby Smith is said to have detached a large number of men to erect fortifications on the Arkansas river, between Pine Bluff and Little Rock, in anticipation of a speedy attack by our troops.

Movements are going forward in Gen. Hooker’s army which indicate that something important is going on. Everybody is in the dark about the plans of the commanding general, but it is thought that a powerful blow will be struck in some unexpected quarter.

An engagement took place on the Nansemond river, near Suffolk, Va., on the 14th inst., between three of our gunboats and the rebels. They opened upon the gunboats with artillery and sharpshooters, the action lasting several hours. The enemy did not succeed in crossing the river. Our loss was five killed and eighteen wounded. Theirs is believed to be much greater.

It was reported on Saturday that a portion of Gen. Hooker’s army under Gen. Stoneman had driven the rebels out of Gordonsville, and occupied it. The report is not authenticated.

Gen. Foster has succeeded in passing the rebel blockade, and arrived at Newbern on the 15th. His force in Washington, N. C., is still there.

The latest news from Port Royal is by the Cahawba, which arrived at New York on Saturday afternoon. There is good reason to believe that Gen. Hunter will make early offensive movements against Charleston. It is the opinion of Capt. Worden that the Monitor fleet is able to batter down Fort Sumter, and in this opinion nearly all the officers concur. The Ironsides still lies off Charleston bar.—Gen. O. S. Terry arrived by the Cahawba.

Every preparation is making in Gen. Rosecrans’ army for a movement. Shelter tents have been distributed and the fullest supplies are rapidly concentrating at points of easy access.

The Attack on Charleston.

The news of the check received by our fleet at the entrance of Charleston harbor at first caused some depression and discouragement. A few journals launched out in lachrymose style, pronounced the attempt a disaster and a national disgrace, and declared that Charleston had become the Sebastopol of America. Wall street took the alarm, and the price of gold at once advanced. On all sides there were symptoms of apprehension. All this, however, was but for a short time. It was the first wave of disappointment. A calmer view of the affair corrected first impressions and revealed the fact that there was really no ground for discouragement. Although the cannonading was, for half an hour, perhaps the most fierce and terrific which ever took place, our forces suffered very little from its effects. Our iron-clads endured the pounding of three hundred guns, of the largest calibre and some of them throwing steel pointed balls. Such a storm of iron on a few small vessels huddled together in a narrow channel, has no parallel in the annals of naval warfare. It seems a miracle that they were not annihilated. And the fact that during this time they almost breached the walls of Fort Sumter, and when they retired they had scarcely lost a man, and suffered the loss of but one vessel, and that the weakest of the fleet, is itself nearly equivalent to a triumph. It shows the indomitable courage and the skill of our officers, and proves the great powers of the ironclads both for offensive and defensive warfare. Nothing but the submarine obstructions in the harbor saved Charleston, and nothing was wanted but a full knowledge of the nature of these obstructions in order to overcome them. The stone walls of Sumter cannot stand before our iron-clad batteries. Repeated attacks can be made, and it is believed will be made, by these little vessels, until all the defences of Charleston harbor shall be overthrown. Instead of proving as some […] at first asserted, that Charleston is impregnable, the fight proves just the contrary. It shows that we have the means for accomplishing this object, and that in time it must certainly fall into our hands.

One of the most remarkable characteristics of the battles in which iron clads are engaged is in the immediate results of these fights. Where they come in contact with wooden ships the result is a very summary one. But where they meet one another, or where they attack powerful batteries, the immediate issue is likely to be tame and indecisive! It was so in the battle between the Monitor and Merrimac. It is the same in this fight at Charleston. Men are not killed, and very few are hurt. There is scarcely more danger in going into battle in an iron clad than in taking a day’s journey in a railroad car. With wooden ships an hour’s hard fighting will decide the issue. But not so with iron-clads. While they can endure long continued assaults, they can make repeated attacks. They must gain victories by successive trials, by a bull dog pertinacity, by hanging on till he enemy is worried out and beaten.


Lawrence Washington, the nearest living relative of George Washington, has been arrested in Virginia, and is now in custody, charged with giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

The amount of internal revenue received up to Saturday 11th inst. was twenty-three million dollars.

The amount of money found in letters at the dead letter office during the last year was over $80,000, being an excess of $30,000 on the amount of the previous year. The increase is supposed to be principally due to the large number of soldiers’ letters, which, from misdirection and other causes, could not be delivered.

The legislature of California has passed a law authorizing the California volunteers serving in Utah and New Mexico to vote for state officers at the general election.

The Reason Why.

The copperhead papers of this State explain their defeat in this way :

Three thousand soldiers sent home on furlough who had agreed to vote for Buckingham.

All who would have voted for Seymour refused permission to come.

N. H. Register says two thirds of all the soldiers would have voted for Seymour : ergo, six thousand were refused permission to come home.

It follows with the conclusiveness of copperhead logic that if all the soldiers had voted Seymour would have had over three thousand majority !  This must be very galling to “T. H. S.” To think that he was defeated for want of votes is harrowing. But to think that six thousand soldiers were anxious to vote for one of Jeff. Davis’ best friends, and couldn’t, is absolutely excruciating !

Now why cannot the copperheads tell the truth ? They know that only about a thousand soldiers came home. They know too that there is the best evidence that not one in ten at most of all the soldiers could be persuaded to vote for Seymour. And they know too that if the twenty thousand soldiers now absent from the State had all been here, Buckingham would probably have had a majority of from ten to fifteen thousand votes.


Election Parade.—The people of Hartford think of having a good old fashioned election parade this year. That’s right. Gov. Buckingham should be inaugurated this year with “all the honors.” Election comes on the 6th of May, just two weeks.


Taken by the Alabama.—Elisha Hubbard of this town, son of Elisha S. Hubbard, Esq., was on board the ship Golden Eagle when she was taken by the pirate Alabama. It will be remembered that the Golden Eagle was on her passage from Howland’s Island in the Pacific to New Orleans, with a full cargo of guano. She was plundered and then burnt by the pirate, and her ship’s company were finally sent to England. Mr. Hubbard has written home, and gives some account of his treatment on board the Alabama. He says—

“We were allowed only one little small bag of clothes, and the moment we came on board we were put in irons and kept so all the time, and treated like dogs. If you had only seen the bread we had to eat ! Put a piece of it on deck, and it would fairly crawl with worms. We were kept on deck all the time. All our clothes were searched. Money, knives, and instruments were taken from us. When the officers of the pirate were through with us then the sailors would plunder us, and what little they left was small.”


Death of Samuel Cooper.—We record to-day under the usual head the death of one of our oldest and most respected citizens, Samuel Cooper, Esq. Many years ago he was a merchant doing an extensive business in foreign trade. He has been Collector for this port, and for a long time was Judge of Probate for this district. He was a man of strict business habits, great integrity, and has always enjoyed the confidence and respect of his fellow citizens. He had reached the ripe age of 82.


The Weather.—During the week we have had some warm days. The warmest was Sunday, when the mercury rose to 70 degrees in the afternoon. Average temperature at 6 o’clock A. M. has been 41 degrees.


Freshet.—There is a high freshet in the river. For several days the water has been rising, some of the time at the rate of two or three inches an hour. It appears how to have reached its greatest height. Yesterday it rose about an inch. It is about eighteen feet above low water mark. Water street is navigable for all sorts of craft, and so is the turn-pike road to Cromwell. The north meadows are turned into a lake of several miles in extent.


Various Matters.—There has been an unusual amount of sickness in town for the past two or three weeks, occasioned by the weather changes.

The street commissioner has made some needed improvements, and will find a plenty of places where he can make some more. He knows how.

Major Clark of this city has become Paymaster.


Launched.—The steam tug J. H. Inelee, which has been built at Belden’s yard, was launched by the freshet on Saturday, in the easiest possible manner. She is a neat and trim little craft, and rides the water like a duck.


Millinery Opening.—On Saturday Mrs. Brooks had her opening of millinery. The weather was favorable, though occasionally a few drops of rain fell, and the opening was well attended all day. The size of bonnets is the same as has been worn, with a straight front instead of the upward poke of last winter. The trimming is on the top, and in the inside is massed over the face as in the late fashion. Colored neapolitan will be the braid most worn this season. Silk bonnets are made in a new way much prettier than shirred. Chocolate color we understand, is to be the mode of silk bonnets. There are two styles of hats, the flat brim and the cocked hat. The latter with a feather stuck in the front and standing against the crown, is the jauntiest style that has been out. There are black lace veils to suit these hats, made necessary by the want of brim at the sides. When trimmed up one of them is a dainty as well as expensive little affair. Head-dresses seem to be as heretofore of all styles with the mass of ornament on the top. One of the newest is a cap or net made of lace bordered with flowers or rosettes. Miss Spaulding had some handsomely done up bonnets to show, although we believe it was not opening day with her. There was an elegant one of some very white braid trimmed with drooping sprays of flowers. Also a modest and beautiful one of grey silk and crape, with flowers and leaves of the same shade.


Ladies’ Dresses.—“The most earnest efforts looking toward dress reform, have had reference to the length of the skirt. May I be permitted a word on this point ? I think one of woman’s first duties is to make herself as beautiful as possible. A long skirt—a trail even—is in fine taste. Among the dress features of the stage, none is so beautiful as the trail. The artist is ever delighted to introduce it in his pictures of woman. I confess I admire it, and that I wish it could be again made common on all dress occasions. For the drawing room it is said that expense and inconvenience are involved. I ask, are they not in painting, etc.—When we meet on dress occasions, I cannot see why we may not introduce this exquisite feature.

“For church and our usual afternoon sittings, skirts which touch the floor seem to me in good taste and every way proper; but, for the street, when wet, snowy or muddy, for the active duties of housekeeping, which involve much running up stairs, etc., I need not argue with those whose brains are not befogged by fashion, that their skirts should fall to about the knee.—If Miss Fastidious suggests that the adoption of such a costume would expose the limbs, you have but to point to what may be seen in wet weather along the streets. The attempt to lift long skirts out of the mud displays the lower extremities much more than the short skirts. Nothing is more pitiable than the street exhibition, except, perhaps, a woman’s attempt to go up stairs with a candle in one hand, a baby in the other, and a bowl of catnip tea in the other.”—Dr. Lewis.

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