From The Constitution, Wednesday, December 23, 1863 (volume 27, number 1356)
We have advices from the Department of the South up to Tuesday afternoon, Dec. 15. Gen. Gillmore again shelled Charleston on the night of the 10th inst., which provoked a general bombardment from the rebel batteries, to which ours replied for several hours. A magazine had exploded in Sumter, doing considerable damage. A tremendous gale had been blowing for several days, and had been so severe that the rebel obstructions in the harbor of Charleston were very seriously injured, sufficiently so, it was believed, to render them ineffective against our fleet. Large masses of timber bolted together firmly with iron, were floating down the channel and washing ashore on Morris Island. The sinking of the Wehawken, is stated to have been the result of carelessness.
A dispatch from Chattanooga says that during the march of the column of reinforcements from Chattanooga to Knoxville, Gen. Granger’s corps got in advance of a train of ammunition belonging to Longstreet, while Gen. Howard’s corps was in the rear. There being no chance of escape, forty-two car-loads of ammunition, and two locomotives were run into the Tennessee River at Loudon.
From Cumberland Gap we learn that Longstreet’s forces advanced from Rogersville on Monday, the 14th, and engaged our advance at Beans Station. The fighting appears to have been continued at intervals, and the rebels were said to have captured twenty-two wagons laden with Quartermaster’s stores. Gen. Wilcox was at Tazewell, not far from Cumberland Gap.
The monotony of matters in the vicinity of the Army of the Potomac was considerably varied on Thursday night, during the heavy storm, by a rebel raid of quite an extensive character, upon the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, near Fairfax Station. One company of infantry, of the One Hundred and Fifty-fifth New York regiment, was guarding the bridge over Pope’s Run, and were attacked by a brigade of rebel cavalry, under Gen. Rosser, which came from the direction of Fredericksburgh. The company, however, made such a gallant stand that the rebels were finally obliged to decamp without doing any damage of any account. Gen. Corcoran at once sent cavalry in pursuit of the rebels. Our loss was only two. The rebels sent back three ambulance loads of wounded to Fredericksburgh.
The guerrillas appear to be getting very troublesome in the Mississippi River, below Memphis. An arrival at Cairo on the 16th, from New Orleans, reports the steamer Brazil as having been fired into and one man and three women killed and several wounded.
Richmond papers of the 19th publish the following telegram from Charleston:
The ironsides and three monitors, while attempting to pass the obstructions, became entangled and will probably have to be abandoned. Two monitors are also badly disabled.
It is said that the War Department has received information to the effect that there is little doubt but that the rebels have hanged the captain, 1st Lieutenant, and eighty men of a colored regiment, who were captured last June at Miliken’s Bend. The two officers were taken out at dead of night, and word given out that they had escaped. A few days after the other prisoners disappeared mysteriously, and there is little doubt but that they were secretly murdered by order of the authorities at Richmond.
For the Constitution.
Newport News, Va., Dec. 14, 1863.
Quite unexpectedly to us, we were called upon in the afternoon of the 10th inst., to pack knapsacks, and be ready to leave that evening. Rumors had been in circulation through the forenoon that we were under marching orders, but so many times before had we heard them, and they had proved to be mere rumors, that we were inclined to take but little notice of it. At noon, however, we were informed for a certainty, that we were to change our location, but not until a Regt. arrived to relieve us, which might be three or four days. Late in the afternoon the 27th Mass. arrived, and at seven o’clock we embarked on board the steamer George Washington, and bade adieu to Norfolk, where for three months we had enjoyed ourselves better than it is seldom the fortune of a soldier to experience.
That we left behind the regrets of many citizens, would be saying but little. Citizens and soldiers had to each other become attached, and it was to many, friend leaving friend.
The reason assigned for our leaving was, that our regiment was too small for the duty required.
We arrived at Newport News about 10 o’clock in the evening, disembarked, and marched to the camp of the 9th New Jersey, (they having taken possession of the camp recently occupied by the 27th Mass., intended for us, but now prevented by a misunderstanding,) and told to make ourselves comfortable for the night as best we could.
The quarters consisted of Libby tents stockaded, but the accommodations inside were anything but inviting. However, as a soldier is always at home we entered, and spreading our blankets, slept quite as well, for ought I know, as if we were upon good beds.
Since our arrival here we have received new A tents and have been busy stockading and making them comfortable.
Newport News presents a far different appearance from what it did when we left in March last. The barracks in which were quartered a part of the 9th A. C. have all been town down, and nothing now remains in the shape of dwellings save a few log houses occupied by the colored portion of its residents.
Let not our change of location hinder any who thought of enlisting from so doing, for though we are not so comfortably situated as at Norfolk, we are not at all behind other Conn. regiments, and should we in the future remain in the field, at the close of the rebellion our hearts will be made glad at the recollection that when our country was in peril we were ready and willing to so far as it lay in our power, crush the invader.
At the time of mailing my last to you, it was expected that a recruiting office would be opened in your city for this regiment, but as such is not the case, to those who are inclined to enlist, I would advise you to enroll your names with Lieut. J. F. Trumbull, New London, Conn. I remain
W. E. C.
Co. I, 21st Regt., Conn. Vols.
Re-Capture of the Chesapeake.—The steamer Chesapeake was recaptured on Thursday last by the U. S. gunboat Ella and Anna, at Sanbro harbor. The officers and crew, with the exception of three, escaped by taking to the woods. Lieut. Nickles, commander of the Ella and Anna, formerly resided in this city. He entered the navy when quite young, through the influence of Com. Tatnall, who was his friend and counselor. It seems, however, that when the war broke out they took divergent paths. He was appointed to the command of the navy yard at Charlestown, Mass., and afterward to take command of the Alabama, and search after her rebel namesake. He is an efficient officer.
Explosion in Waterbury.—Quite an explosion occurred at the factory of the American Flask Co., in Waterbury last week. One of the employees had just brought in from the magazine a bucket containing about ten lbs. of inflammable preparation which he set down about ten feet from the stove, and then stepped up to warm his hands. His gloves, which were filled with particles of the inflammable material, took fire, and throwing them from him, one of them fell into a quantity of caps, which instantaneously exploded. Part of them were thrown into another pile of caps on the opposite side of the room, which went off, followed by another, making three explosions. The windows of the building were all blown out, the sides torn off in several places, but strange to say, of seven persons at work in the room at the time, only one was injured, and he but slightly.
A Patriarch.—James Douglas, of Stony Creek, died on Wednesday of last week, at the extraordinary age of one hundred and ten years, four months, and sixteen days. He retained possession of all his faculties, and was smart and active to the last.
By telegraph from Leavenworth we have advices of a terrible snow storm on the plains, by which many lives are supposed to have been lost, and much stock has perished. The snow was fourteen inches deep at Leavenworth, and much drifted.
Navigation.—Owing to the mild weather the river has been open during the week. The steamer Parthenia, which was froze in at Essex, arrived in Hartford last Tuesday. She had as freight eighty-five hundred bushels of corn.
Cromwell.—A High School, under the management of Josiah A. Hunt, recently of the Grammar School in Greenfield, is soon to open in Cromwell.
Keep Out of the Draft.—A horse belonging to Chas. G. Arnold of this city, probably not relishing the idea of being out in the storm on Thursday last, determined to return to the stable, which he did to the detriment of harness, carriage and various hitching posts along his path.
Wesleyan University.—The winter term of this institution commenced on Wednesday of last week. A large gymnasium building is now being erected on the college grounds, which when finished promises to be one of the best in the state.
Recruiting.—Several volunteers from this place went to New Haven last week, but did not pass examination. So our quota was not reduced any. We hope to record better luck next time.
Police.—Before Justice Clark, state vs. Cornelius Carnes, jr.. for breach of the peace, being one connected with the row on Thanksgiving night; plead guilty, fined $1 and costs, which he paid.
State vs. Charles Dixon, was tried Monday before Justice Clark and Putnam, for theft in stealing a pocket book containing one hundred and fifty-four dollars and ten cents from George M. Davis. After a full hearing, he was acquitted.
The Weather.—Last week it was of the genuine kind. It had a little of every excitement and accident in the season, with the unusual one of thunder, last Monday. Thursday it snowed. Since Friday there has been possible sleighing, and the trees and ground make a beautiful appearance in the sunlight. The coldest morning was Monday, when the mercury stood at 14 degrees. Average temperature for the week at sunrise, 23 degrees.
Skiff’s Minstrels.—This celebrated troupe of Ethiopian delineators will give an entertainment at McDonough Hall this (Tuesday) evening.
Messrs. Ferree & Hubbard although having had a rush to their rooms during the past week still have a large variety of Christmas gifts left. Go early and avoid the crowds.
Christmas Eve.—Services will be held at the Episcopal and Universalist churches in this city on Christmas eve.
The Annual Ball of the employees of the Savage Fire Arms Co., will take place on January 1, 1864. Dodsworth’s Orchestra have been engaged. Tickets $2.50. A good time may be expected.
Christmas Dance.—A. J. Spencer will give a Dance at Eagle Hall on Thursday evening of this week. All the married couples, all that intend soon to be, and every one else that would like to have a good old fashioned dance are invited to be present. Tickets 75 cents. Dancing commences at eight o’clock.
Various Matters.—H. D. Hall’s Jewelry store is a good place to visit before you purchase your Christmas presents.
Collins & Pelton in their adv. informs person how to get rid of their colds, which are unpleasant articles to have about during the holidays.
J. S. Fairchild, corner of Court and Main st., has a fine assortment of jewelry, skates, pocket knives, &c., to dispose of.
The little ones will want to be up bright and early on Christmas morning; to avoid trouble in starting fires, lay in a good supply of Hubbard Bros. kindlings. Just the article this weather. …
A rare chance to procure Holiday presents for half the retail price, is at S. F. McFarland’s who has just opened the largest and most desirable stock of Bibles, Prayer Books, Photograph Albums, Gift and Miscellaneous Books of all kinds, Toy Books in great variety, which will be closed out during the Holidays without regard to price. Call at No. 122, Main st., before getting your presents.
Wm. J. and Sam’l J. Starr, publishers of the Sentinel and Witness, Middletown, will dissolve partnership, January 1st, and the junior luminary, Sam’l J., will run the copperhead machine alone—Sam’l Babcock and company probably furnishing fuel and fodder. Now, when Mr. Eaton takes snuff, only one Starr will sneeze.—Hartford Courant.
At Newport, R. I., a young man who joined the rebels, and has been taken prisoner, wrote from his prison to his uncle for aid in food, &c., and saying that the North brought on the war and ought to feed him. The uncle sent him a rope, with instructions on how to use it in elongating his neck.