From The Constitution, Wednesday, July 22, 1863 (volume 26, number 1334)
The attack on Charleston is progressing favorably. All the fortifications on James Island as far as Secessionville, are in our possession. Gen. Gilmore has commenced engineering approaches before Fort Wagner, and its capture is expected soon. It is reported that the iron clads made a breach on the south side of Fort Sumter on the 13th.
At Port Hudson, Gen. Banks took five thousand prisoners, fifty pieces of artillery, and small arms in proportion. The citizens of New Orleans had a torch-light procession and general jubilation on the night of the 11th.
There are important movements in North Carolina towards a reconstruction of the Union. The Raleigh Standard is in favor of a reconstruction on the basis of a gradual emancipation system.
Gen. Lee is making his way to Culpepper and Gordonsville with all possible speed. Our whole force is across the Potomac.
Gen. Lee’s Escape.
It was the wish of Gen. Meade to attack Gen. Lee’s army on the day before the latter made his escape across the Potomac. A council of officers was held on Sunday night, when the question was discussed whether an attack should be made on the succeeding day. It is stated that of the twelve officers present, five gave their opinions in the affirmative and seven in the negative. General Meade was among the former. Those opposed are said to be “the oldest corps commanders,” and they carried the decision. On the night of the very next day Gen. Lee escaped. An attack at the time proposed by Gen. Meade would have been at precisely the right moment, when the rebels were in the act of making preparations for crossing, were unprepared for battle, and might have been captured by our army. It is about time that some of “the oldest corps commanders” should be placed where they can do no more damage. This is not the first time that delay and old fogyism have stood in the way of the success of the army of the Potomac.
General Banks at Port Hudson.
General Banks has fairly earned the reputation of being one of the most successful and capable Generals of the republic. He has never yet failed in any enterprise committed to his care, although the means placed at his disposal may have seemed entirely insufficient for his purpose. His masterly retreat before Jackson in the valley of the Shenandoah marked him as a great General. It was equivalent to a victory. His administration in Louisiana was distinguished by surpassing ability, and his military campaign in that State was a complete success. When he undertook the reduction of Port Hudson, it was found that the place was much stronger than had been supposed, and that the forces at his command were in numbers apparently insufficient for the work. A large part of his army was composed of nine months men, and the time of their service would soon expire. But the army which encamped before Port Hudson were New Englanders—their leader was General Banks, and the rebel fortress was doomed. While Grant with an army of not far from a hundred thousand western man besieged Vicksburg, Banks with little more than one tenth that number sat down before Port Hudson, which was little inferior in strength to Vicksburg itself. The task at one time seemed impossible. But it has been accomplished : Port Hudson has fallen—thanks to the bravery of our New England boys and to the unsurpassed genius of their leader. If the fall of Vicksburg is an honor to the west that of Port Hudson is an honor to the east, and in this our own state has no small share.
The Seventh Connecticut.—This regiment had six companies in the attack on Morris Island. A dispatch from Washington, July 16th, says :
An assault was made upon Fort Wagner by a portion of the 7th Connecticut, which actually charged over the works and succeeded in spiking three of the rebel guns. They should have been supported by one New York and one Pennsylvania regiment, but they failed to come up in time, and the Connecticut boys were repulsed and driven out of the fort with the loss of about one hundred killed, wounded and captured.
The 7th Regiment.
In the list of casualties in the 7th Conn. before Charleston on the 10th and 11th inst., there are from this town and neighborhood reported
Missing—Corporal Thomas Tappan, Rich, Bidwell, Middletown ; Solomon Adams, Everett Bailey, Haddam ; W. Reeves, Oscar and William Smith, Frank Shult, Cromwell.
Wounded—Frederick Griswold, Portland, arm, slightly ; Horace Bill, shoulder, severely, and Corporal J. J. Cochrane, leg, severely, East Haddam.
The charge of the 7th Conn. on Fort Wagner is highly spoken of. Every man was a hero.
It is a great mistake to suppose that the riots in New York were on account of the conscription. While it is true that the first demonstrations were against those who were making the draft, it is equally true that the subsequent proceedings had nothing whatever to do with the enforcement of the conscription act. Comparatively few were concerned in the first riotous proceedings of Monday. It was after the draft had been stopped, the officers had been driven from their places and their books and papers scattered in the street, that the work of the mob commenced. The ease with which they accomplished their first purpose emboldened them to go on. The rowdies discovered that they were masters, and that for the time the law was powerless to stop them in any excesses in which they might indulge. Immediately on discovering this the rabble poured out by thousands from the cellars and garrets and grog shops of the city, bent on a mission of plunder and rapine. They were governed by a hatred of the wealthy classes; they burned their dwellings; they beat and robbed them in the street, and began a wholesale work of pillage and robbery. An indiscriminate attack was made on all whom they met. Men were knocked down and their pockets rifled. Houses were broken open and robbed of all that was valuable. Political feelings found a vent. The mob of New York have always been taught to hate the African, and negroes wherever met were knocked down and beaten. Many were hung and many more were beaten to death. A large orphan asylum for colored children was plundered and burned. Dwellings filled with negroes were surrounded, escape rendered impossible, and the buildings set on fire in order that the fiends might enjoy the shrieks and groans of the inmates. For a time it was perfect pandemonium, where the worst passions of the worst men had full sway in the largest city of the Union. It was a complete reign of terror. Law was powerless, and property was at the mercy of a raging mob.
The people of New York have now been permitted to have a full length view and to taste the quality of certain classes who have been flattered and petted by politicians, and whose votes have elected Congressmen and Governors. These are the aboriginal democrats who swear by Isaiah Rynders and Fernando Wood. Gov. Seymour knew who these rowdies were when he came down from Albany and addressed them as “my friends,” and promised they should have all they wanted if they would only go home quietly. The Governor, however, found that his soft words could not turn away the wrath of these “friends” of his, and soon saw the necessity of using bullets. It is to be hoped that the riots will have one good effect—that they will show the great danger of patronizing those classes who are the enemies of law and order, and making them a power in politics. New York has been heretofore disgraced by the rule of the patrons of these rowdies. It has now been doubly disgraced by the uprising of the rowdies themselves, who for several days were masters of the city. If this leads to a permanent reform in the matter to which we allude, these bloody riots, which will be ever memorable, will not be in vain.
Some of the New York rowdies visited Providence about the time of the draft and tried to excite a riot. But they made no impression whatever on the sober-minded people of that order loving city. They attacked one or two negroes, but got roughly handled themselves. They found they were in the wrong latitude for men of their ideas, and that Providence was a very different place from New York. It is very possible that Connecticut will be visited by delegations of these “roughs” during the draft, and attempts made to excite insurrection. If any of them come this way, let them be marked, and if they attempt to create disturbance let them be dealt with in the most summary style.
A Narrow Escape.—Ex-Governor Benjamin Douglas, of this city, had a narrow escape with his life in New York on Tuesday of last week. He was on board one of the ferry boats when a colored man from this town who happened also to be on the same boat asked him if it would be safe to go ashore. Mr. Douglas made some inquiry, and while he was doing this he was brutally attacked by some rowdies who attempted to drag him overboard. They would have succeeded in their murderous design but for the fortunate aid of two policemen, who succeeded with much difficulty in extricating him from their grasp. The colored man would probably have been killed on the spot but for the help of a cabman, who got him into his cab, shut him up close, and drove across the city to the New Haven boat.
The Draft.—A further draft was made in this Congressional district on Saturday, for two sub-districts in New Haven. As will be seen considerable time will be required to complete the draft in the whole district, and it may be two or three weeks, or even longer, before a draft is made in this section.
Various Matters.—The College Boys left town Saturday, for a trip to Niagara Falls,–On their way they stopped in Springfield and gave a concert Saturday evening.
Commencement dinner was at McDonough House. Baker & Reed provided handsomely for about three hundred guests.
The town long since voted an appropriation for completing Pameacha Bridge, and the contract was given out several weeks ago. The Bridge, however, remains as it was left last winter, nothing having been done towards finishing it. What is the reason ?
Whortleberries are plenty, and have been selling at twelve cents a quart.
Mr. F. J. Hackman is doing a good thing for the public and we hope for himself too. He runs a baggage express wagon to all parts of the city, and will carry trunks, bundles, &c., to and from the cars and boats. Orders left with him will be faithfully executed.
Rev. Mr. Smith, who has for some time supplied the pulpit of the Congregational church in Westfield, has resigned his charge.
Major S. Herbert Lancey, of this city, who was captured by Gen. Lee’s cavalry, is in Washington on his parole, and under surgical treatment for a severe wound in his foot. The wound is doing well.
A collection for the Middletown Orphan Asylum was taken in the North Church last Sunday.
Rev. Mr. Hubbell preached a sermon in the Methodist church on Sunday afternoon on riots.
A military company has been formed among the workmen of Savage Revolving Arms Co., as a home guard.
A New Professorship.—Wesleyan University has been fortunate. A few weeks ago we announced that a new Professorship had been endowed by Oliver Cutts, Esq. of New Rochelle. Last week Isaac Rich, Esq., of New York, guaranteed the endowment of another Professorship. This is to be called, at the request of Mr. Rich, the Olin Professorship. It is a generous gift, and shows that the University enjoys the confidence of men who are abundantly able to give it a rich endowment.
Two thousand dollars were secured last week for the purpose of building a gymnasium.
Election of Professors.—At the late meeting of the Join Board of Trustees and Visitors, Professor Foss tendered his resignation. Rev. F. H. Newhall was elected to the Olin Professorship of English Literature, Mr. J. C. Van Benschoten was elected Professor of Greek and Modern Languages, and Professor Harrington has the Professorship of Latin and History. Prof. Newhall is an alumnus of the University, of the class of 1846, and has occupied an important position as pastor of a Methodist church in Boston. Prof. Van Benschoten received his education at Genessee College, Lima, N. Y., has since studied in Germany and spent some time in Greece making himself familiar with modern Greek.
Library Fund.—The Library of the Wesleyan University has during the past year seen some changes for the better. The librarian, Prof. Van Vleck, has with much labor made an entirely new catalogue on an excellent plan ; and the arrangement of the whole library is very complete. At the late commencement, the alumni did precisely what was needed—they subscribed a library fund of six thousand dollars. The most of this amount was subscribed at the alumni meeting on Wednesday, and the remainder just after commencement dinner on Thursday. Two gentlemen subscribed $1000 each. The rest was in sums mostly of $100 each. The $1000 subscriptions were by Prof. H. A. Wilson, of the class of 1838, and Rev. J. Colder of the class of 1849. A few who were not graduates of the University subscribed as follows : Cornelius Walsh, $250 ; Henry Dekoven, D. D. of this city, $100 ; Rev. William T. Gilbert, of Yale College, $100 ; Rev. Edward Otheman, Brown University, $100.
The Middlesex Turnpike.
To the Editor of the Constitution :
Will you please inform the public again, that the gates belonging to the Middlesex Turnpike Company, at Rocky Hill, Middletown and Haddam were ordered open for free travel on July 11th. This order was given by the old commissioners on the refusal and neglect of the company to repair the road as ordered by them.
The President of the company, Orrin Freeman, refuses to open them and still continues to take toll, giving as a reason that new commissioners have since been appointed, and that they have taken no action in the matter. The order to repair the road was given by the old commissioners and the time to do it limited by them. The new commissioners if any are appointed, (of which there is a doubt) cannot act until they are officially notified of their appointment. No one has as yet, July 20th, received such a notice but myself. Of course they have not acted for the reason they have no power. Whenever they are officially notified I shall call them together to view the road, and I presume such orders will be given as will assure the proprietors of the concern, that they intend to do their duty to the public.
In the meantime, I trust every person who goes through these gates will refuse to pay toll, and those who have or may hereafter pay will do themselves and the public a favor by suing the company for the amount thus paid.
Let it be tested whether the company shall do as it pleases, or obey the law as required by their charter. In behalf of the Commissioners,
Augustus Putnam, Chairman.
The Weather.—Rain has fallen nearly every day during the past week. The weather has been warm and close. Average temperature at 6, A. M., 66 degrees.
The Troy Whig says different sounds travel with different degrees of velocity. A call to dinner will run over a ten acre lot in a minute and a half, while a summons to work will take from five to ten minutes.
Thirty pieces of artillery were captured from the rebels at Gettysburg.
A lady editor says if the men want their children to look like them, the fewer jaunts they make to California the better.
Judge McNair, a Mrs. Ballard, and an unknown commodore, all rebel spies, were arrested in New York on the 12th inst., as they were about leaving for Dixie.
Mrs. Burgett, the fashionable Chicago lady, whose shoplifting operations created such a sensation in the “good society” of the Lake city, has been sentenced to hard labor in the penitentiary for one year.
They mean to raise tall students out in Wisconsin. An exchange paper says “its Board of Education has resolved to erect a building large enough to accommodate five hundred students three stories high.”