From The Constitution, Wednesday, March 9, 1864 (volume 27, number 1367)
Richmond papers of the 2d admit that Kilpatrick penetrated within three miles of the city, and relate how narrowly Gen. Lee escaped capture. Gen. Wise also had a narrow escape, being at the residence of the rebel Secretary of War, from whence he reached the city.
Four hundred more of our prisoners were shipped February 29th for Americus, Ga.—Nearly three thousand thus far have been sent. There are accommodations for 6,000.
Forty-six miles of the Mobile and Ohio railroad were destroyed by Sherman. The Southern road was destroyed from Meridian to Jackson. Eight hundred negroes were carried off.
The rebel account of the battle of Olustee, Florida, shows that their force consisted of eleven regiments of infantry, four battalions of cavalry, and three batteries of artillery.—Their loss was 800 killed and wounded.
Sherman was at Vicksburg on the 24th ult., and that he would soon start on another expedition is a mistake. None of his forces had reached Jackson on the 24th, and Vicksburg advices of the 27th make no mention of his arrival there or of any contemplated new movement. McPherson’s corps which reached Jackson since the 24th, will probably remain there some time, but another expedition is not likely to be made very soon. Parties from Gen. Grant’s front say it is not probable that any fight will take place there for some time.
The 23 soldiers hung recently in Kinston by the enemy, whose names were published in the Richmond papers, were all members of Col. Foster’s regiment—the 2d North Carolina. At this unheard-of barbarity, our native troops are exasperated beyond all bounds—They have resolved to take no more prisoners, the difficulties experienced heretofore by their officers to restrain them is by this barbarous butchery, made impossible.
The recent reverse which our arms have experienced in Florida, is but another repetition of the many defeats which we have experienced, resulting from our troops meeting with largely superior numbers. The Florida expedition has seemed to have been, from the outset, too small in numbers to accomplish a purpose so extensive as that undertaken by it. Much reliance, probably, had been placed by government upon the expectation of meeting with little resistance in a region so remote from the more formidable operations of the rebel armies. But where resistance was least expected, there it was found. It would seem as if this reverse would lead to increased vigilance and care, and show the necessity of making such demonstrations in force. Our whole loss will be about one thousand. The battle occurred on the 20th ult., near Lake City, Florida, and fifty-five miles west of Jacksonville. The country thereabouts is low and wooded, affording many opportunities of ambushing and surprising an advancing party. Our forces under General Seymour were small. Six regiments, probably not numbering more than three hundred and fifty men each, are reported as having been engaged. The rebels surrounded our forces, who after a severe fight, retreated, leaving in the hands of the enemy the killed, wounded, and one field battery, with horses, equipments, &c. By orders of Gen. Gillmore, all accounts of the battle were kept from the public, even to the retention of private letters. This hardly seems justifiable. It tends to increase exaggerated accounts, and magnifies a small reverse into a serious disaster.
The 7th Conn. regiment was engaged in the fight, and added new laurels to their name. A correspondent of the New York Herald says:
“Great praise is awarded by all to the Seventh Connecticut, Colonel Hawley, for their superb conduct in the advance, throughout the fight, as skirmishers. They did not falter or waver, but employed their Spencer rifles so accurately and effectively that the enemy will long have occasion to remember their presence on the field. They lost quite heavily.”
Advices from Mexico to the 15th and from Vera Cruz to the 20th indicate no active military movements. Tacatecas, which previous news stated was on the point of being occupied by the French, was still in possession of the Juarists. Juarez was at Saltillo on the 9th ult., where he was honored with a public reception. A large fire occurred at Vera Cruz on the night of the 9th ult., which destroyed a large quantity of French quartermaster’s and commissary supplies. The people of Vera Cruz  had celebrated for the second time, the acceptance by Maximilian to the throne of the Mexican empire.
The Spring Campaign.
The spring campaign has now fairly opened. The nominees of both parties are before the people, and upon them will devolve the task of deciding how the state shall stand in relation to the National Government. The opposition, copperhead or southern principle party, or whatever you may choose to call it, have nominated for their leader Origen S. Seymour, a man who has not since the war given aid or encouragement to the federal government, in maintaining our free institutions and sustaining our flag. The platform of his party, though from necessity milder than last year, is opposed to every measure pursued to subdue the rebellion. If they can prevent it the rebellion will never be subdued until the north is made to accept terms which would degrade any nation on the face of the earth. So much for the opposition. They have not honor enough left to give the soldiers the right of the elective franchise, but would deprive him of his vote that they may assume the power. So much for the copperheads. On the other hand, the man who heads the ticket nominated by the party who stand squarely and firmly in support of the government, is too well known to have a word of praise. The principles which he represents are those founded on truth and justice, and only by the maintenance of which can our country be guided safely through the storm. It is therefore necessary that every loyal man should go earnestly to work and ensure certain success for the Union Ticket this spring. We may perhaps feel certain of the election of our ticket, but we want such a majority as will put copperheadism forever out of sight. No time should be lost in effecting a complete organization. Let Union men work together in this contest with the rebellion in this State. Our opponents are unscrupulous, and will use every means to defeat us. When persuasions and honest conviction fail to procure them votes, money will not be wanting, and threats and falsehoods will be used when they will serve their purpose. Let the loyal men of Connecticut stand firm, and in a straightforward, manly way, defeat every insidious advance of the enemy. To do this a complete and immediate organization should be made. This is necessary in every town. To old Middlesex county especially, we made this appeal. Let her be true in the hour of trial. No time should be lost in getting into working order. Every town should be thoroughly canvassed and papers of the right stamp should be liberally circulated. Good speakers should also be sent out. The truth should come out. A full and intelligent vote by the people will be the death knell of all the hopes of the copperheads and friends of secession in this state. Shall it not be done?
The Legislature of Nebraska have unanimously nominated Mr. Lincoln for President and Andrew Johnson for Vice President. Nine tenths of the men in Grant’s army are in favor of the re-election of Mr. Lincoln.
Fugitive Slave Bill.
Senator Sumner presented last week a bill to the Senate recommending the repeal of all legislation in regard to the return of fugitive slaves, accompanied by an able report in which it is claimed that the constitutional compact does not require the free states to return escaped slaves to their masters. The report takes the ground that, granting the validity of the clause in the constitution which the acts of 1773 and 1850 pretend to interpret, Congress does not profess the right to legislate for the return of slaves. It also avers the unconstitutionality of the fugitive slave acts by their denial of the rights of trial by jury, and the grant of judicial powers by them to commissioners who are not judges. The arguments of the report are based upon principles sustained by precedents of the highest legal authority. The copperheads may assert that it is unconstitutional to repeal these acts. It may be added, that if the matter was constitutionally voted in 1850, it can with equal justice be acted on in 1864; that if Congress had the right to adopt them, it must also have the right to repeal them. The fugitive slave law has practically been dead for years, but its skeleton has been exposed to public view. Its defenders have disappeared from our congressional halls, and the task of giving it a burial devolves upon the man who has so long and earnestly fought against it.
Military.—Capt. John Broatch of the 14th Conn., now home on recruiting service, was the recipient this week, of a sword, sash, belt and shoulder straps, presented by some of our citizens. The note accompanying the presents was written by Hon. Ebenezer Jackson.
Our Quota.—Forty-nine men were received at the office of the Provost Marshal in New Haven last week, and credited to the quota of this town. About thirty more are required.
Moodus.—The ladies of Moodus connected with the Soldiers Aid Society, will give a sociable on Wednesday evening, the 9th inst., at Machimoodus Hall. Among the novelties will be the representation of an “old fashioned kitchen.” Tickets 25 cents, refreshments included.
National Bank.—A few citizens were invited to the office of Messrs. W. & B. Douglas Thursday evening last, to adopt measures to establish a National Bank in this city. Documents on the subject from Washington were examined, when it was voted to open a subscription for the above purpose with a capital of $100,000. The gentlemen present gave it a start by affixing to their names a sum amounting in the aggregate to about $30,000. On Saturday following the full amount was taken and a meeting held on Monday evening for organization.
Identified.—The body which we mentioned last week, as having been found in the river, has been identified as that of Samuel Chalker, of Westbrook. He had been summoned here as a witness on a case in court, in December, since which time nothing has been heard of him. The body was taken to Westbrook on Wednesday, by his son.
Police Court.—The following cases were tried before Justice Clark, on Saturday, the 5th inst. Abraham Crosley, Ruth Crosley and Patrick Ross, for resisting Sheriff Camp while in the performance of his duty, found guilty and fined with costs, amounting to $25, 54, which they paid up. On Monday, before the same, State vs Alexander Leroy—drunkenness; fined $1 and costs; for want of funds, sent to workhouse.
Gilmore’s Band.—Remember the concert this (Tuesday) evening, by Gilmore’s Band of Boston, under the auspices of the Junior Class of Wesleyan University. It will be one of the best with which our citizens have been favored this season.
Masquerade Ball.—The masquerade ball, given under the auspices of the E. O. E. R. W. R. Club, will take place on Friday evening.—Count Fulloffunsir, Prince Sorotogosoquick and other foreign gentlemen act as floor managers. The music will be by Colt’s band, A. J. Spencer prompter. Tickets $1. Spectators 50 cents. A good time may be expected.
The River is now free from ice from Saybrook up, and navigation will soon commence. The New York boat will leave for Hartford Wednesday afternoon.
From the Sandwich Islands.—We have our Sandwich Island files to January 7. There appears to be considerable dissatisfaction with the new Ministerial appointments.
‘The Ministerial appointments,’ says the Honolulu Advertiser, ‘are made and announced, and surprise, if not indignation, is pictured on every countenance. The people hoped for a liberal, able, and thoroughly Hawaiianized Ministry, instead of which public interests have been set aside and sacrificed, promising a four years’ rule in which partizan strifes, personal animosities, jealousies and hate will be fomented, where peace and amity might have been nurtured to bring forth its fruits.
Warren Goodale, Esq., has tendered his resignation of the office of Collector-General, to take effect whenever a successor may be appointed.
James Hunnewell, Esq., of Boston, has made the generous donation of five thousand dollars toward the endowment of Oahu College.
The election for Representatives passed off on the 6th ultimo without any unusual occurrence.
A new paper, the Kuokoa, of the same size as the Commercial and the Polynesian, appeared on the 2d of January at Hawaii.
Lady Clerks.—In regard to the employment by Secretary Chase of ladies as clerks in the Treasury Department, a correspondent of the Washington Republican says:–While half-crazed enthusiasts are talking about woman’s rights, Governor Chase has shown his desire to introduce the gentler sex into new spheres of usefulness, by appointing ladies as clerks in his department. Excellent clerks they make, too, actually talking less and writing more than some of their gentlemen associates. Some forty years ago, (so the old clerks tell me,) when William H. Crawford was Secretary of the Treasury, and a candidate for the Presidential chair, his amanuensis and confidential clerk was his daughter Caroline, afterwards Mrs. Dudley. She not only wrote his private letters, but, during a year that he was in bad health, signed his name to the many papers requiring his signature. There is said to have been a striking resemblance between Miss Crawford’s handwriting and that of her father, and the clerks in the department could not detect the difference in the signatures. Governor Chase may not be equally fortunate in having a private secretary, but he deserves high honor for giving employment to capable and deserving young ladies at this time, when able-bodied men are needed in the field. Let the Head of other Departments follow his example.