From The Constitution, Wednesday, March 2, 1864 (volume 27, number 1366)

War News.

The Memphis Bulletin has information from high military authority of Vicksburg, confirming the report that Sherman occupied Selma, Ala., which it says was gained by a severe fight. No particulars received. The Bulletin adds: It is understood the next point of attack will be Montgomery, the capital of Alabama.

The steamer Clyde, engaged in the cotton trade, was seized on the 13th, at Skipwith’s Landing, by the gunboat Louisville, for alleged violation of trade regulations. Her commander, Capt. R. Cook, is charged with having agreed to convey a rebel battery across the river for $5,000 in gold.

The ocean steamships Belvidore and Northerner arrived at Memphis on the 24th. When a hundred miles below Memphis, the captain of the Belvidore observed the steamer Pike holding communication with the shore, contrary to military orders. The Belvidore fired upon the shore, and the first volley started up about 200 guerrillas, who fled in consternation. The Pike was ordered to report at Memphis. The Memphis cotton market is flat. Good middling, 64.

From Plymouth, we learn that C. W. Flusher, the naval hero of these waters, commanding at that port, is, as usual, ready and anxious to see the enemy. Gen. Wessells, in command of the army forces there, who enjoys great popularity with his troops and the people, has sent word to Gen. Peck that he and Flusher can hold Plymouth against any force they may send.

Washington, so renowned for the famous siege of last year—the coveted point—will, doubtless, again be the theatre of a desperate contest. Acting Brig. Gen. McChesney, of the 1st North Carolina, (Union) who was Gen. Foster’s chief reliance during the memorable siege, and who is one of the most promising officers in the department, is in command of our forces at that place.

The recent expedition which left Plymouth under the command of Lieut. Col. Maxwell, and destroyed such a large amount of rebel stores, struck a severe blow at the enemy in that section, and frustrated their operations, and has secured for Col. Maxwell the thanks of the commanding General.

Intelligence has just been received that the enemy have hung fifty-one soldiers, captured by them in their recent attack on Newbern, all of whom belonged to the 2d North Carolina Union volunteers—white. It creates a great deal of excitement, and if the news is confirmed, the affair may result in the hanging of fifty-one rebels by Gen. Butler. Witnesses have arrived who saw three of these brave men shot by the enemy soon after their arms were taken from them.

By the arrival of the steamship Fulton, at New York, on Friday last, we have intelligence of a desperate battle on the 20th inst., near Sanderson, Fla., between Gen. Seymour’s forces and a superior body of rebels. After fighting three hours, Gen. Seymour was compelled to retire, although we are told that he brought off safely the bulk of the wounded—Our losses were certain heavy, as 240 of the wounded had arrived at Hilton Head; but the full details of the reverse has not reached us, as Gen. Gillmore, just previous to the sailing of the Fulton, seized the newspaper and other correspondence, including the lists of killed and wounded. The seventh Conn., regiment was engaged in the fight.

On the 18th inst., the sloop of war Housatonic, one of the blockading fleet off Charleston Bar, was blown up by a rebel torpedo, which approached within 60 yards before it was discovered. The Housatonic sunk in three minutes after the explosion, in 28 feet of water. Capt. Pickering was wounded, and two Ensigns and three seamen lost. The Fulton also brings news of a successful expedition in the direction of Savannah.

The intelligence from Gen. Grant’s Department is full of interest. It seems that on Monday of last week, Gen. Thomas’ army at Chattanooga, began an advance in force upon the rebels, posted at Tunnel Hill and Dalton, Ga. The force advanced without much opposition across the Chickamauga and through the Ringgold Gap, until they arrived within sight of Tunnel Hill.  Here a considerable engagement occurred, with slight loss to our troops, when the rebel flank being turned they were dislodged, and retreated in haste toward Dalton. Our troops moved on in pursuit. Tunnel Hill had been rendered quite formidable by breastworks of logs and other defences—Gen. Cleburn’s rebel division had been encamped there. Within three miles of Dalton the rebels were found very strongly posted in a mountain gorge, known as Rocky Falls. Through this gorge runs the common road and the railroad. Our troops came up in fine order and forced the first rebel line back upon their second, when night came on and operations ended. A dispatch dated Buzzard Roost Feb. 25, says that Gen. Croft, in a reconnoisance, found the rebels in full force in the valley beyond Rocky Falls, and awaits reinforcements. A Nashville dispatch says Dalton was probably occupied by our forces on the night of the 25th, and that a heavy battle in that vicinity was not improbable.

Advices from Gen. Sherman are confirmatory to his reported progress. Scouts who arrived at Gen. Grant’s headquarters report that he had struck the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, and that the people at Selma and Montgomery had become terror-stricken at his approach. Sherman is said to be subsisting upon the country through which he passes. A heavy naval attack upon the forts at Mobile is also reported as in full operation. Gen. Schofield’s troops, on the 20th, were advancing upon Longstreet, who was falling back toward Bull Gap, behind the French Broad River. His retreat was very rapid, and it was thought to be accelerated by a Union raid in his rear.

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The Repulse in Florida.—The Sunday Herald gives the following names of the wounded of the 7th Connecticut:

G. W. Malone, Co., G, right ankle; George Platt, Co. E, right shoulder; E. B. Field, Co. G, right hip; W. Muchford, Co. D, left thigh; B. Coppine, Co. K, left leg; H. M. Baldwin, Co. C, left hand and neck.

A private letter from Lieut. Bishop, dated Feb. 24th, on board U. S. chip Vermont, was received in New Haven, says the Journal:

From Surgeon Porter, 7th C. V., he learned that his regiment lost eighty men, which probably includes the total casualties. Lieut. Dempsey was killed, and another officer, name unknown, wounded. Among the wounded arrived at Hilton Head were fifteen of the 7th Conn. It was estimated that the total loss of the expedition in killed, wounded and missing, was about 1200.

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Richmond papers state that Jeff. Davis threatens to resign unless the opposition to him ceases.

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The Next President of the United States.

The New York Tribune has at length spoken on this subject, and I suppose “the rest of mankind” may now show their hand! So also it seems there are a few at Washington, who are trying to effect an organization, with the view of forestalling public opinion in favor of a candidate other than the present incumbent.

We may regret this; but there is nothing in it to complain of so long as an open and candid course is pursued, and no other then strictly upright and honorable means are resorted to. For myself, I think, with the Tribune, that it would have been well if the discussion of the question, who shall be our next president, could have been postponed a few weeks longer; but as good and loyal men—men even who have given the present administration a cordial support—have seen fit to propose another candidate than the present incumbent, I desire, as a humble individual, to give a few reasons why, in the opinion of very many, the present incumbent should be renominated.

1. It is very plain that the great mass of the loyal people of the country, both north and south, desire the renomination of Mr. Lincoln. The evidence of this is plain to all men who choose to open their eyes to the truth.  It seems there are a few who would prefer some other candidate, but it is abundantly evident their number is comparatively few. We will not deny the right of those persons to adopt this opinion; nor raise a question as to their honesty; and in due time, when the question shall have been formally settled against them, we shall expect their earnest cooperation in the reelection of “Old Abe.”

2. It is equally plain that the renomination of Abraham Lincoln is just what the rebels and their copperhead friends at the north do not desire! And for this there are the best of reasons. If his administration has not been without mistakes, it has been, on the whole, reasonably successful in its efforts to put down the rebellion, and bring to naught the counsels of traitors; and, if his reelection could now be made a matter of certainty, the war would not last three months longer! Every disloyal element therefore must, as a matter of course, be opposed to Mr. Lincoln, and his renomination.

3. Mr. Lincoln’s administration, on the whole, has been a successful one, and whatever difference of opinion there may be among good loyal men in regard to some of this measures, there is great reason to doubt whether those measures were not the very best that could have been adopted. It is true, we cannot always determine what a result would be obtained by taking a different course from the one adopted; but the great mass of the American people are fully satisfied that the whole course of the present President, in this awful struggle, has been at least unselfish and patriotic. And if there is a possibility that some other in his place might have done better for the country, there is, on the other hand, a possibility—nay, even a probability, that they would not have managed as well.

4. The loyal men of the country will unite on Mr. Lincoln more readily than upon any other man. It may be that by great effort in forestalling the public mind, success may attend the present effort to put in nomination Mr. Chase, or some other one—and in such a case I should hope that all loyal voters would unite in his support, but, at the same time, it would not be done with the same cordiality as if the man of their choice had been put in nomination.

I hold, therefore, decidedly, that Mr. Lincoln is the “most available” candidate that can be put in nomination. This single consideration has sometimes, in years past, been supposed of very great importance; and certainly now, when availability and excellent qualifications for the office are combined in the same individual, it would be madness to fail to profit by such favorable circumstances.

We rejoice to know that there are other excellent men, who might be selected for this honorable place—we are glad to admit that the distinguished individual who has so ably managed the finances of the country the past three years is a man of this character—but the people say we have tried Homely, Honest, Abraham Lincoln, in circumstances of appalling difficulty, and he has not been found wanting; and, while we hold in honor other faithful public servants, we are determined not to change our faithful leader for the present.

Citizen.

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There are now pending in the New York city courts 1695 suits against the city, growing out of the riot claims, ranging in amount from $7 to $207,000. Talk about the extravagance of the administration, it don’t begin with three days rule of “copperheadism.” The hard working, tax paying man sees this, and therefore will vote the Union ticket this spring.

Just the Difference.

The rebel Congress have just issued an address to the southern people, setting forth the causes of the war and the prospect before them. The report abounds with falsehoods and mis-statements, but throughout there is no intimation that they would like to return into the Union. The North they vilify and traduce. No language is too harsh or deed too dark for the Yankees. Yet, notwithstanding this feeling among the leaders of the south, the copperhead party at the north, would surrender all their manhood and honor, and accept terms with the rebels. The south proclaim to the world that they will fight it out and ruin the north. A prominent leader of the copperhead party said at New Haven last week, that he was in favor of “universal amnesty. The past should be forgotten. Every State should be received back into the Union on terms of perfect equality.” The difference is, that the slavery men at the south will not come back, while the copperheads are insisting that they will. Their machine is off the track and run into the ground. Meanwhile it is the duty of every American citizen to firmly support the government. Destroy the cause of this war which the southerners have labored for thirty years to bring about, and then every State will enter the Union on “terms of perfect equality.” Citizens of Connecticut! The campaign is opening. There is work, not only in the field but here at our homes!

Local News.

U. S. Income Taxes.—Tax payers are earnestly requested to read the advertisement of Mr. Jno. B. Wright, U.S. Assessor of the 2d District of Connecticut in another column, in reference to taxes. Last year estimates of income were allowed to be made in many cases. But this year the assessors will require in every case a clear and definite statement of the income. By making the returns now, when the business of the past year is fresh in the mind, tax payers will find it less difficult to make the returns accurate.

Mr. Bent, the Assistant Assessor of this the 8th Division, comprising the towns of Middletown and Cromwell, can be found daily at his office in the Custom House building where all necessary information and papers can be obtained.

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Body Found.—The body of an unknown person was found in the river near the fishing grounds, just below Fort Hill, on Monday afternoon. It had been in the water some time.

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Fire—Barn Burnt.—The barn belonging to F. W. Steuben, in Long Hill, was destroyed by fire on Wednesday evening, between the hours of eight and nine. Six cows, three yearlings and one horse, together with about eight tons of hay, and a large variety of farming implements were destroyed. The fire, undoubtedly the work of an incendiary, was communicated to the barn, directly over the place where the animals were, and when discovered had made such headway that they could not be rescued. There was an insurance of $500 at the office of the Middlesex Mutual, in this city, which company have offered a reward of $200, which has been increased to $300 by Mr. Steuben, for the detection of the incendiary. We hope it will be effectual in bringing the guilty person to justice. The loss is estimated, above the insurance, at about $700. Mr. Steuben was absent at the time, attending the session of the United States Court at New Haven.

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The Weather.—The last week in winter approached very mildly towards spring. The mercury was not below 18 degrees at sunrise. Friday it snowed hard; had the ground been better prepared, it would have made some sleighing. Average temperature of the week at sunrise was 30 degrees.

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The River.—The river opposite the city is nearly free of ice.

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The Metropolitan Washing Machine Company at Middlefield, together with their agents in New York, have made the magnificent donation to the Sanitary Fair of New York, of $3,500 worth of their “Universal Clothes Wringers,” to be sold at the retail price of $7.

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A Card.

I hereby wish to return my sincere thanks to my neighbors and friends, for their assistance and sympathy with reference to the burning of my barn in my absence.

F. W. Steuben.

Middletown, Feb. 29th, 1864.

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