From The Constitution, Wednesday, July 29, 1863 (volume 26, number 1335)
From Gen. Lee’s army and the Army of the Potomac there is no certain intelligence. One account is that the rebel army is completely entrapped by Gen. Meade and the retreat of the enemy to Richmond is improbable.
The capture of Jackson, the Capital of Mississippi, by Gen. Grant’s forces, is a much more important victory than has appeared from the brief dispatches heretofore published. It left in our hands the rolling stock of the New Orleans, Jackson and Great Northern, the Mississippi Central and the Mississippi and Tennessee Railroads, the motive power consisting of over forty engines.
The St. Louis Democrat of Tuesday says : “The steamer Continental, Capt. Patrick Yore—the first boat to load at this port for New Orleans since the opening of the Mississippi River—is advertised to leave for below immediately. The Continental received orders to load for New Orleans with Government freight yesterday afternoon. We are not advised as to whether passengers will be carried or not. The event marks an important era, and it is hoped will speedily be followed by the departure of other steamers, and a general resumption of business between this port and the Crescent City.”
General John H. Morgan is captured. On Sunday morning, Major Way with 250 cavalry forced him to an engagement near Salinville, Ohio, and routed him, capturing 240 prisoners. Morgan himself escaped with 300 men, but was captured with his whole band by Col. Shackleford. This is good news.
On the night of the 18th an assault was made on Fort Wagner by two brigades. The parapet was gained, but it was impossible to hold the position which had been reached. Lieut. Col. Rodman, of the 6th Conn., was seriously wounded. Our losses are estimated at about 1,500 killed, wounded and missing.
The latest accounts from the Army of the Potomac indicate that Gen. Lee’s movements have been baffled in several attempts to pass through the gaps of the Blue Ridge. It is believed that he is now moving rapidly toward Staunton, up the Shenandoah valley.
A draft is no new thing in this country. For fifty years we had no war which brought danger to our own homes. The Mexican war was scarcely felt throughout the country. A comparatively small army was required, and this was readily obtained by volunteering. Until this rebellion, the country had not suffered from war within the last half century. A draft, therefore, to fill up our armies may be new to the present generation, but it was resorted to in 1812 and in the war of the revolution. In this state a draft was made in the last war with England, but those drafted were not needed and were never called into service. It may be so with regard to the present draft. When it is completed, which will occupy some time yet, the rebellion may be so far subdued that it will not be necessary to cal the new levies into the field.
Draft Appropriations.—Special meetings have been held in Hartford and New Haven to act upon appropriations for drafted men. The subject is a difficult one, for it is clear that a direct appropriation by a town to pay the $300 exemption money for all or any number of drafted men would be illegal.
In the meeting at New Haven resolutions were passed that the Selectmen be authorized to pay to the proper U. S. authorities a sum not exceeding $300, first to those drafted persons upon whom others are depending for support, and whose removal would be likely to expose the town to charge on account thereof ; and second, to those drafted men who shall be unable to obtain the means necessary to procure substitutes. To carry these votes into effect the town treasurer was authorized to borrow such sums as may be necessary, not exceeding $200,000.
The Exemption Clause.
Much doubt has existed about the construction of the exemption clause in the conscription act. The Provost Marshal General has decided that if a drafted man furnish a substitute he, the drafted man, is exempt for three years. This is all fair and right. It is both just in itself and according to the obvious meaning of the law. But if a drafted man pay $300, is he exempt for three years? According to the present rendering of the law, it appears that while the furnishing of an acceptable substitute will relieve a man from any further demands during the period embraced in the call, the payment of the exemption money only releases him during that draft. This is obviously unjust, for there ought to be no distinction observed between one form of exemption and another. If by one method a men is free from a liability to a draft for a period of three years so he should be by the other method.
The $300 should be considered as equivalent to a substitute, and we believe the framers of the law intended it should be so considered. This money should be applied by the public authorities for procuring substitutes and for no other purpose. Unless it is so applied the requisite number will not be obtained, for a large proportion of those drafted will pay $300 rather than render personal service. A good deal of complaint has been made among the poorer classes who will find it difficult and often impossible to raise the money, at the injustice of a law which compels them to submit to repeated drafts because those who pay $300 are not counted in to the first draft. We hope the law will be so construed as to remove this cause of complaint. Every $300 paid should go towards procuring a substitute, and should invariably count one on the draft.
P. S. A communication from the office of the Provost Marshal General has just been published, stating that “the place of a drafted man, who has been exempted by the payment of three hundred dollars will not be filled by another drafted man.” This should settle the question satisfactorily.
Canadians.—The Courant says a large number of Canadians have arrived at Hartford to offer themselves as substitutes for drafted men. Over two hundred reached Boston on Thursday.
The draft for the towns of Branford, North Branford, Bethany, Woodbridge, Cheshire and Derby took place at the State House in New Haven on Saturday last.
Wethersfield by a vote of 3 to 1, Stafford by 202 to 84, has voted $300 bounty to each drafted man, in their respective towns.
No Disturbance.—The draft is now proceeding in the several districts in this state without disturbance, and it is almost certain that no opposition will be made in Connecticut. We are a law abiding people, and are not easily induced to oppose the operations of any national or state enactment.
The Governor has felt authorized to revoke the order for the formation of two battalions for state service. The military organizations in the several towns, forming a part of the state militia, are deemed sufficient for all necessary purposes.
Gen. Emery, at New Orleans, on the 4th of July, issued a call for three or four regiments to serve for two months in defence of the city. In just three days full negro regiments were raised, organized, clothed, armed and equipped.
The Riot in New York was thoroughly quelled after the first three days, and there has been no disturbance since. Most effectual means have been adopted to prevent the recurrence of any riotous proceedings. The draft will soon be resumed. Philadelphia has presented quite a contrast to New York. In the former city the draft is nearly complete. The best of feeling has prevailed throughout all the proceedings.
There was a riotous demonstration in Norwalk on Monday week. The military were called out.
On Saturday, an old colored woman, with her daughter and seven small children, crossed the river at New London in search of a home. They stated that they owned a comfortable home in New York, which was destroyed by the mob, and every thing they had taken.
Wm. C. Williams, of Norwalk, was one of the victims of the New York riot. His body was taken to Norwalk and buried on Friday.
Fifty-six of the persons killed in the recent riot in New York have been buried. Of these, forty-three were natives of Ireland ; five of Germany ; one of England ; seven of New York. The latter were all young, there being two ten years of age, one eleven, one twelve, one two, one six and one sixteen.
A company of State militia numbering 110 men, has been organized in New Britain.
Thurlow Weed gives $500 for the abused negroes of New York.
Ned Pratt was arrested in Boston on Saturday for inducing men to enlist, by promising them assistance in deserting, himself receiving a portion of the bounty.
The Baltimore city council have voted to expel from the schools all children who will not learn to sing the national airs. The council also voted to give to the Christian commission $500 and the cost of a salute, instead of burning powder over the fall of Vicksburg.
Various Matters.—W. & B. Douglas are putting up a new factory building on their premises. It is on the north side of William street, to be of brick, and will be quite a large building.
The Sunday School of the Episcopal church had a pic nic last Thursday at Alsop’s grove.
The public schools in this city commence their summer vacation this week, and the children have made arrangements to make the most of it. The vacation continues six weeks.
Look out for thieves. Rogues were around last week.
The Assistant U. S. Assessor in this city gives notice that the assessment will close on the 5th of August. Those who have not made their report had better read his advertisement this week.
Crops in this section are looking well. Corn was much of it thrown down by the late rains and wind, but on the whole will give a fair yield. Apples will be plenty.
This hot weather the best way is to take everything coolly. Don’t get excited, and don’t get into debt. If you happen to get warm over the draft, take a glass of soda or some ice cream. You can find these at Putnam’s or Ferree and Hubbard’s.
The South church Sunday school held their monthly concert on Sunday evening. The church was filled. The exercises, most of which the scholars participated in, were pleasant.
The recent rains have raised the river a good ways above low water mark, and navigation is easy.
The picnic of Mr. Lorenz yesterday got wet. Preparations had been made for having a good time in the afternoon and evening. Colt’s Band was here, and everything was going on finely at the grove when the rain came. It was a disappointment to many.
Police.—Two boys from Maromas, named David and James Matthews were arrested in Middle Haddam by Sheriff Bacon, on a charge of assault and battery. On the way up James went to get a drink, suddenly disappeared in the woods and was not seen any more. David was brought before Justice Putnam yesterday and fined fifty cents.
Another case was tried before Justice Putnam—State against Bailey and Tryon. Bailey was found not guilty, and the grand juror withdrew Tryon’s case.
Town Meeting.—At the request of the requisite number of voters the selectmen have issued a call for a special town meeting to be held on Wednesday of this week, for the purpose of considering the expediency of voting $300 from the town treasury to every man who shall be drafted. This is a matter of considerable importance, and concerns nearly all of our citizens. There should be a full attendance.
The Weather has been warm and sultry. On Sunday at 6 A. M. the mercury was at 70 degrees, on Monday at 74. At 1 P. M. on Monday, 86 degrees. In the afternoon there was a heavy shower. For nearly three weeks we have had a succession of heavy rains which have thoroughly soaked the ground, and removed all the apprehensions of drought this season.
Property Sale.—Capt. Anthony Thatcher has purchased the house on the corner of Court and Broad streets, owned by the late Capt. Henry C. Bacon, for $4,000. He is making some substantial improvements.
For the Freedmen.—A meeting was held last Sunday evening at the Baptist church in aid of the National Freedmen’s Association. Mr. Woolsey, an agent of the Society, addressed the meeting, and short speeches were made by Rev. Messrs. Hubbell, Dudley and Gilbert. Gifts are solicited not only of money but of clothes and especially of books. This is one of the most important missionary enterprises of the day, and an appeal of this kind to the benevolence of our citizens we are confident will not be in vain.