From The Constitution, Wednesday, August 5, 1863 (volume 26, number 1336)
Since the last unsuccessful assault on Fort Wagner, Gen. Gilmore has been reinforced in men and guns. He has received several Parrott guns, of two hundred and three hundred pounds, which will enable him to do some effective work. The federal forces were actively preparing for another assault on Fort Wagner. Gen. Gilmore has been busy training several heavy guns on Fort Sumpter. Deserters arriving at Port Royal report that Beauregard has received reinforcements from Lee’s army. Gen. Gilmore, in an official report to the War Department, puts his losses in all his operations thus far at 635 killed and wounded, and 350 missing. He will undoubtedly succeed in the capture of Forts Wagner and Sumter, and it is the general belief that the capture of the latter fortress will settle the fate of Charleston.
There is gratifying news from the southwest. The State of Mississippi is virtually abandoned by the rebels, and there is a growing sentiment in favor of a return into the Union. Gen. Herron’s division of Gen. Grant’s army has departed down the Mississippi, and is said to be intended for direct operations against Mobile. Gen. Grant has perfected a complete system of mounted patrols between Vicksburg and New Orleans, which with the gunboats affords ample protection to vessels. Everything was quiet at Port Hudson. The fortifications are being strengthened, and the enlistment of negro troops is rapidly progressing.
Two cotton-loaded blockade runners were captured off Mobile, and several others have been captured or destroyed off the coast of Texas.
It is ascertained that Gen. Lee has concentrated his forces near Culpepper, with his headquarters four miles southeast of Culpepper. Gen. Buford, with his cavalry command crossed the Rappahannock on Saturday on a reconnoisance. A fierce fight ensued, which lasted until dark, when Gen. Buford withdrew to a strong position east of Brandy Station.
The President has issued an order that every case of ill-treatment of our officers or men, held by the rebels as prisoners, whether black or white, will be retaliated in kind. For every U. S. soldier killed in violation of the laws of war a rebel soldier will be executed, and if a black soldier is taken prisoner and sold into slavery, a rebel soldier will be confined at hard labor on the public works, there to continue until the black soldier shall be liberated.
The latest news from before Charleston is to the 31st ult. Gen. Gilmore had succeeded in mounting three heavy 20-pounder siege guns within a mile and a quarter of Fort Sumter which were about to open fire on the Fort.
The most important news from New Orleans is the confirmation of the report previously received that Brashear City is again in our possession. Affairs were quiet at Port Hudson and at Vicksburg. The movements of steamboats on the Mississippi had already become quite brisk.
The Mississippi River is now open for commerce and travel through its entire length. Boats are advertised at St. Louis to leave regularly for New Orleans, and the route is considered pretty safe. Military authorities deem it safe even to send mails to New Orleans via the Mississippi river, but the postmaster general is unwilling yet to order this service.
The Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts.—The conduct of the fifty-fourth Massachusetts (colored) regiment before Fort Wagner affords additional proof of the good fighting qualities of the black race. Both in attacking the enemy and standing on the defensive when the rebels came on with the cry of “no quarter” they have proved themselves to be brave men and good soldiers. This regiment was formed in Massachusetts under the eye of Gov. Andrew, and is composed principally of residents of that state. It has been in service but a short time. The bravery displayed by the black soldiers at Milliken’s Bend and at Port Hudson had forever settled the question whether the African race will fight. It was apparent that they could and would and did fight with the steadiness and courage of veterans. In addition to these instances we have another decisive attestation to the good soldierly qualities of the blacks, furnished by one of the most hotly contested fights of the war before Fort Wagner.
There is a kind of retributive justice in sending a negro regiment from Massachusetts to fight before Charleston. A few years ago Massachusetts sent an agent to Charleston to look after some of its colored citizens who had visited that port as sailors, and had been ill-used by the public authorities. Mr. Hoar was the name of the agent. He was mobbed, and driven out of the country. Times have changed since. Massachusetts sends no more agents, but sends a regiment of colored men which cannot be mobbed nor driven out of the country, and which is bound to find its way into the city of Charleston.
Negro Property.—The great depreciation of negro property in Maryland is illustrated by a recent sale in Montgomery county of seven likely full-grown negroes, who brought in all but $126 or an average of $18 each. Before the war these same negroes were worth on an average $1,800 each.
Thursday next will be observed in all the loyal cities and states of the Union as a day of thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God for the great successes he has vouchsafed to our arms. A few months ago, the nation kept a fast day. It was when gloom over spread us and doubt and fear filled many hearts. But in the good providence of God the clouds have been rolled away. The season of darkness and doubt has been succeeded by light and hope. Confidence now prevails throughout the country, and there is the best of reason for believing that we have passed by the worst scenes in this terrible civil war. It is proper that at a time like this the nation should publicly acknowledge its dependence upon the Supreme for all its blessings, and render thanks for the signal deliverance which has been wrought out for us.
It was a remark of General Anderson not long since that whatever confidence we might place in our military leaders and our armies, a final reconciliation and the blessings of peace could only be ours through the interposition of the Most High. This truth should never be forgotten. While it is our duty as patriots and citizens to use all the means in our power to put down the rebellion, we are called upon to remember that the grand issues of this contest are in the hands of the Supreme Disposer of events. “Man proposes, but God disposes.” He has crowned our banners with victory, and given us the earnest of ultimate success. Let us join in the general thanksgiving for this. But at the same time let us remit nothing of labor or sacrifice that may be necessary to bring about the glorious consummation to which we are rapidly hastening.
A proclamation has been issued by a body of men who call themselves the “Council of Notabilities,” declaring that the Mexican nation has through them selected the empire as the form of government. What authority these “Notabilities” have in this matter is undoubtedly derived from Gen. Forey, the French commander, for it is absurd to suppose that in the four weeks which had elapsed since the conquest of the country, the nation itself could have been consulted or have had time to express an opinion on so important a subject. This is an arbitrary proceeding, and is without doubt the very thing which Napoleon has been aiming at from the beginning.
The person selected to enjoy the distinguished honor of being the successor of Montezuma and the puppet of Napoleon is Ferdinand Maximilian Joseph, Archduke of Austria, and oldest brother of the Emperor of Austria. He has not yet accepted the place. If he declines, the Notabilities pray Napoleon to nominate some one else to be Emperor of Mexico.
The Town Meeting held last Wednesday afternoon was attended by a large number, more than could be accommodated in the Hall. Doct. Charles Woodward was Chairman. As soon as the meeting was organized, and the object for which it had been called had been stated, a series of resolutions was introduced by Charles C. Hubbard, Esq. There was very little debate, and no opposition to the resolutions. When submitted to the meeting they were adopted without a negative vote. It will be seen that they propose to give a sum not exceeding $300 to every drafted man who shall be liable to service. The selectmen are authorized to borrow a sum not to exceed $40,000 for this purpose. Mr. C. C. Hubbard said he would furnish $1,000 for the use of the selectmen. It is stated in the Sentinel that the selectmen “can easily borrow the necessary amount from individuals in this town.” The following are the resolutions :
Voted, That a sum not exceeding forty thousand dollars, ($40,000) be, and the same is duly appropriated by the town of Middletown, for the purposes of defraying all the necessary expenses which may be incurred by said town under the provisions of this series of votes.
Voted, That Samuel Babcock, Timothy Boardman, and N. V. Fagan be, and they are hereby appointed a Committee to draw orders on the Treasurer of the town of Middletown, in sums not exceeding three hundred dollars each, in favor of such persons as may be hereafter drafted from this town into the service of the United States, under the recent act of Congress, “enrolling and calling out the National Forces,” to be paid to such persons after they shall have exhibited satisfactory proof to said Committee that they are able bodied, and liable to such service.
Voted, That the Town Treasurer be, and he is hereby directed to pay all such orders as may be drawn as aforesaid, by said committee.
Voted, That the Selectmen of the town of Middletown be, and they are hereby authorized and directed to borrow such portion of said sum of forty thousand dollars ($40,000) as may be necessary to carry out the foregoing votes.
The Draft.—The enquiry is frequently made—when will the draft be made for this town and vicinity? From the best information to be obtained, it is probable a draft will not be made here before the middle of the month, and perhaps not till the last of the month. Plenty of time to get ready for it.
The 24th Regiment.—The time of this regiment has now nearly expired, and they are expected home some time during the present month. A full list of casualties before Port Hudson gives the number of killed 14, wounded 53—total 67. Many of these are but slightly wounded. The 24th has taken a prominent part in the brilliant campaign of Gen. Banks, and has won for itself imperishable honor by its bravery and success. Its heroic conduct elicited the praise of the commanding General, and won the admiration of the whole army. The regiment has earned as high a reputation as any which has left this state, and the officers and men who compose it will always be proud that they belonged to the 24th Connecticut. They will receive a hearty welcome home.
The body of Corporal Samuel Huxham, of Co. B, 14th regiment, killed at the battle of Gettysburg, was brought home to this city on Friday. The funeral was attended on Monday afternoon at the Baptist church, Rev. Mr. Gilbert officiating. The pall bearers were nearly all comrades of deceased and members of the 14th regiment. He was about 30 years of age, and leaves a widow.
Various Matters.—The Long Island boat, Sarah S. B. Carey, resumes her trips this week. She leaves Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, stops at the river landings, and goes to New London and Sag Harbor. Now for the sea side.
Belden is building a schooner at his yard for Capt. Ezra Clark.
Rev. N. T. Root, formerly of this city, and a graduate of the Berkeley Divinity School, received the honorary degree of A. M. from Yale College.
Dan Rice’s great show comes to town next week Thursday. He has got out some of the biggest kind of show bills, such as can be read without the use of spectacles. It will be a great exhibition, and will draw a crowd. Dan himself is to be there. Read the advertisement.
The Universalist church in this city will be closed for the remainder of the month, and will be re-opened for public service on the first Sunday in September.
Letters received in this city on Saturday from members of the 24th regiment are as late as the 20th inst. They were making preparations to leave, and are now perhaps on their way home.
Deputy Provost Marshal Putnam arrested three men as deserters last week. Men who are anxious to keep out of Uncle Sam’s hands, don’t find it safe in this region.
Two boys were arrested on Saturday night for making disturbance, and put in the lockup.
Daniel R. Hopkins, of Portland, will be tried before Commissioner Ingersoll, in New Haven, on Wednesday. He is charged with helping Francis B. Hulbert, of Portland, of the 20th C. V. to desert.
There was a fight on board the steamer Granite State on her down trip Thursday between two colored waiters. One of them shot the other with a revolver.
The Post Office will be open on Thursday (Thanksgiving Day) only from 1 to 3 o’clock P. M., and in the evening from 8 to 9 o’clock.
School Discipline.—Samuel Babcock, Esq., of this city, has brought a suit for damages against Mr. Balcam, Principal of the High School, for expelling his son from the school. The case was tried yesterday before Justice E. W. N. Starr, and attracted considerable attention. Alfred Hall was counsel for the plaintiff and S. L. Warner for defendant.
Decision was reserved until this morning, which was in favor of the plaintiff. Damages awarded, $5. This was on the ground that the right of rejection from the public schools is with the committee.
The Weather.—The average temperature for the week at 6 A. M. has been 71 degrees. Yesterday, Monday, was the warmest morning, when the mercury stood at 74 degrees, and at 3 o’clock rose as high as 94. It was the warmest day this season. Sunday was nearly as warm, the mercury at 3 P. M. indicating 92 degrees. The lowest temperature for the week was this morning, 68 degrees. It rained every day until yesterday. There is now a prospect of clear weather.
The gates in Rocky Hill, Middletown, and Haddam, thrown open by the Commissioners, July 11th, are closed on and after Aug. 2d, the Turnpike Co. having made repairs as ordered.
A. Putnam, Chairman
Comm’rs Middlesex Turnpike.
Rat Exterminator.—Housekeepers who want something for exterminating rats more efficacious than traps or cats, should send and get “Costar’s” preparation. It will do the business. A rat that gets a dose of this will eat no more cheese.