From The Constitution, Wednesday, April 27, 1864 (volume 27, number 1374)

War News.

The Chicago Journal of Tuesday, publishes extracts from private letters from members of the Chicago Mercantile Battery, dated the 12th, to the effect that on the day after the recent disaster to the 13th army corps, Gen. A. J. Smith with the 19th army corps engaged the enemy and defeated them, capturing 2,000 prisoners and 20 cannon. Refugees from Plymouth, N. C., report that fighting commenced there on Sunday afternoon. The rebels in force attacked Fort Gray, which is about a mile from the town, on the Roanoke road. They planted a heavy battery on Polk’s Island, about half a mile distant, and kept up a continuous fire, during which they succeeded in cutting away the flagmast at the fort, This was replaced, and the stars and stripes again floated defiantly in the face of the foe. The rebels then advanced slowly up to within a short distance of the fort, when they made an impetuous charge. They were received with a galling fire, which thinned their ranks and caused them to fall back. Again and again they rallied to the charge, and endeavored to take the citadel, but to no purpose. Each time they were repulsed with fearful slaughter. They retired, with their artillery still keeping up a fire. Their iron ram and four gunboats had moved down the river to the obstructions, within six miles of the town, to co-operate with the land forces. The rebel force is from 10,000 to 15,000 strong. The rebel cavalry are under command of Gen. Ransom. Gen. Wessells is in command of the Union forces. He has Plymouth well fortified, and pronounces it impregnable. In front of the town are stationed several of our gunboats. They have done good service, and will continue to do more. The gunboats have had to stand already much of the brunt of the engagement. The fire of the rebel artillery has been directed on them, and it is said several have been killed and wounded on the Bombshell. All the citizens have left Plymouth, and the most of them are quartered on Roanoke Island, and several rebel shells have fallen on the town. During the engagement the rebels captured a member of the 2d N. C. loyal regiment, who formerly deserted, they allege, from the 7th N. C. regiment, and it is reported that he was hung on the spot—without even a form of trial. It is rumored that the rebels have also made a demonstration simultaneously with this in the vicinity of Newbern. The rebels have a great anxiety to redeem the state, as they see that it is fast receding from their grasp. Though they may use exertions almost superhuman, they will find that the Union arms can compete successfully with any force that they can bring. The following information was received concerning the recent disaster at Plymouth: A rebel ram came down the river about 3 o’clock Monday morning. She floated down with the current and was not discovered until close under the bows of the Miami. Lieut. Commander Flusser rushed forward, sighted and fired the bow gun, loaded with shell, which struck the ram, rebounded and instantly killed him, a piece of the shell penetrating his breast. The ram then attacked the Southfield, and she sank in three minutes. The Miami was somewhat injured. The ram passed the guns at Plymouth without being discovered. She is 150 feet long, draws about eight feet of water and has two guns. Private letters received here from soldiers in Gen. Smith’s army this morning, fully confirm newspaper accounts of our victory.—Gen. Banks has countermanded his order of retreat to Alexandria, and Gen. Lee’s cavalry had been put in pursuit of the enemy. It is believed, says a letter from a staff officer, that our forces will occupy Shreveport this week.

Captain Weatherbee of the 23d Massachusetts regiment has just arrived from Roanoke Island. He makes the following report : Gen. Wessels surrendered to the enemy on Wednesday, the 20th inst., when the rebels took possession of Plymouth, N. C., after four days hard fighting. Our loss is 150 killed and 2,500 captured. The rebel loss is 1,500 killed.

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The Fort Pillow Massacre.—Recent reports from Fort Pillow fully corroborate the accounts of the inhuman barbarity of the rebels. The question now comes to us, what steps shall be taken to prevent their repetition. Having asked the blacks to fight our battles, we ought to extend to them the same protection as to the white troops, if they are subjected to the same perils and do the same work. They now form a large proportion of the men who garrison the forts on the Mississippi and the Atlantic coast, and our government must stand by them at all hazards. The emphatic declaration of the President in his speech at the opening of the Baltimore fair, that the massacre at Fort Pillow will not pass unnoticed by our government, will in some measure afford satisfaction to all loyal people. But let retribution, swift and sure, follow soon.

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Information has been received at headquarters that the main body of Longstreet’s veterans have succeeded in effecting a junction with Lee. Longstreet carried to East Tennessee 18,000 men, but returned with less than 12,000 : scouts just returned from within the enemy’s lines report that troops from Joe Johnston’s army and Charleston are arriving at Gordonsville. Rebel conscripts are coming in at the rate of a thousand a day.

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Dispatches from Washington give information of a wide spread conspiracy in the northwestern states to inaugurate armed resistance to the government. The object of this organization is to accomplish Vallandigham’s idea, and force the country into compromises with the southern rebellion. Crawford county, Ohio, has been placed under marshal law, and other counties in that state will probably soon be put in the same position. Ohio, Southern Indiana and Southern Illinois contain the principal portion of these incipient rebels, whose leaders only await a disaster to the national arms to give signal of revolt.

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The Chicago Tribune gives the following parallel, based upon a local incident of some notoriety:

“When you hear a copperhead bewail the expense of this war, and assert that it must be stopped to save an enormous war debt, tell the lamentable story of old Green, the Chicago banker who, most of our Chicago readers will remember, was tried for his life, on the charge of wife murder. The most frightful feature of his situation was the invasion of his cherished hoards. A new trial was granted him on technical grounds. He forthwith called a council of war in his cell, in the Chicago jail, and gravely discussed with his attorneys the probable cost of going on with the case. Thoroughly alarmed at the financial exhibit, he hanged himself in the cell the same night to save the expense! The peace demagogues would bring this Union to the same fate on like grounds.”

Local News.

Wendell Phillips.—This Prince of orators lectured last Friday evening before the Young Men’s Literary Union. He had a large audience and held them listening over an hour with easy interest. His subject was “Reconstruction, or The Pathway to Peace.” He said we had ended one stage of this war having proved which side was the stronger, and now there remained a second stage to find our way out of it. The times when this war would be over, and the struggle close, would be different periods. The struggle was between two civilizations—an oligarchy and a democracy. One must supersede the other before there would be union. The structure of his lecture was entire, distinctly composed. It was most suggestive of thought, often lighted up with striking illustrations. Mr. Phillips is the most single of radical thinkers. He led a few adherents, unpopular, to where the people meet him in a new phase of politics.

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The Superior Court, held at Haddam, adjourned Friday to Monday, the 16th day of May next, at two P. M., the adjourned term to be held in Middletown. The following cases were disposed of:

Amos S. Harvey vs. William Kelsey, resulted in a verdict by the jury for the plaintiff, to recover one hundred and twenty-four dollars. L. L. Phelps and S. Clark for pltf., Tyler and Culver for deft. L. L. Dickinson vs. Martha S. Hayes and others, after being partially tried to the jury, cases withdrawn and compromised, the defendents surrendering the premises to the pltf. Chadwick and Vinal for pltf., Tyler, Culver and Warner for defts.

Henry Potter vs. Maynehan and others. Verdict of jury for pltf., to recover $36 and costs of John Smith, one of the defts. The other defendents were discharged. Chadwick and Smith for pltfs., Tyler and Fowler for defts.

Charles G. Arnold vs. Edward Dennis resulted in verdict for pltf., to recover one hundred dollars and his costs. Tyler and Warner for pltf., Bacon for deft. Maria Habersham was divorced from Joseph Habersham; A. Hall for pet’r. Rosetta Stearns was divorced from Jonathan D. Stearns; Vinal and J. T. Clarke for pet’r. Maria Sterrett was divorced from Charles N. Sterrett; Tyler for pet’r. David Lyman vs. Middletown and Durham was argued to the Court on the remonstrance of Roswell Lee. The Court intimated the opinion that the proceedings were correct but held the case under advisement. Tyler, Warner and Vinal for pltf., Culver and Bacon for remonstrant. Wm. Dennison vs. Ira Twiss and wife, tried to the Court. No decision at present. L. L. Phelps and Warner for pltf., Culver and Vinal for defts.

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For the Constitution.

The vicissitudes of human life are sadly exemplified in the instance of an aged respectable French lady lately deceased in this town; whose latter years have been consoled by the charities of those of her own sex, to whom she owed even a grave. In youth, she moved in the first circles of society of her native island, Martinique, where she has danced in the same sett with Josephine de la Pageria, afterwards Empress of France.

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Theft.—The house of Richard Bailey, in Middlefield, was entered on Sunday last, and a sum of money taken. Suspicion was fixed on one Charles Curtiss. He was accordingly arrested, and is now awaiting trial.

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Accident by Fire.—A daughter of Charles Sage, living in the south part of the town, was badly burnt on Friday, by her clothes catching from a bonfire, near which she was standing.

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Almost a Fire.—A few days ago one of our citizens, while working in his garden, was attracted by the movements of a couple of children, who were under the barn in the rear of the Mansion House. The rear of the barn stands upon sleepers and around one of these the children were placing wood and light material. He watched them closely, and thought he saw one of them draw a match. He shouted, but in an instant a bright flame appeared. On his way to the barn he passed by a barrel of water near which was a pail, which he filled, and with it was enabled to extinguish the fire which was rapidly creeping up under the barn. It was a narrow escape from a large fire. The children on realizing the injury which they had inadvertently committed were greatly frightened, and we hope it will be a lesson to them not to handle edged tools.

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The Weather.—Last week nearly every morning the sun rose behind clouds and soon cleared them away by his brightness. There was much need of rain, for the dust in the streets was stifling. Saturday morning early a little rain fell. Monday it settled for the day. The weather is warm. Average temperature of the week at 6 a. m., 42 degrees.

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For the Constitution.

Mr. Editor:–It is well known to many of your readers, that I volunteered my services last winter to spend some time in Alexandria, Va., at the “Soldiers Rest,” and in the Hospitals, to labor for the spiritual interest of our brave soldiers. Connected with my labors, I initiated at the “Solders Rest,” (which is capable of holding 4000 soldiers,) the plan of collecting what money I could from the “boys,” and transmit it, by Adams Express, to their families. (Our soldiers stop at the “Rest,” in transit for the Army of the Potomac in front.) I am much gratified in being able to state that the amount collected and forwarded from Nov. 1863, to April 1, 1864, is $117,300, thus saving a large sum from being gambled away and squandered.

Being fully persuaded of the importance of having an “Army Missionary,” stationary at the “Soldiers Rest,” arrangements were made with the Rev. Morris Briggs, of N. Y., (who voluntary labored with me before I left.)—Having volunteered my services to collect a salary to sustain an “Army Missionary” at the said “Rest,” I desire to express my thanks to the several Ladies and Gentlemen of Middletown and elsewhere who have so cheerfully contributed to said object, also, to Messrs. Taylor, Russell, Duffield and Alsop fo the “Harmonie’s Minstrel Troupe,” for the sum of $50—being the proceeds of the Exhibition given March 29th, 1864, by said “Troupe” to be applied towards to support of said Missionary.

N. B. I can truly say from personal experience, that all funds contributed for the said object aforesaid is well appropriated and I shall be gratified by receiving further contributions.     Jeremiah H. Taylor.

Portland, April 23d, 1864.

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Mrs. Stephen A. Douglas denies, in the most explicit and emphatic manner, the reports that have been going the rounds of the newspapers, that she is employed as a clerk in one of the Departments of Washington.

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