From The Constitution, Wednesday, May 11, 1864 (volume 27, number 1376)
The army of the Potomac crossed the Rapidan Tuesday night at Jacobs, Culpepper, Germinia and United States fords. Lee has been compelled to fall back from his strong position. A special despatch reports our army passed the “Wilderness” of Virginia emerging into open country. A letter received from Burnside’s headquarters at Warrenton Junction the 4th, locates the Corps there, but is expected to move on the same day. The government has unofficial advices that after a three days fight Lee’s lines were driven in two miles, and it was believed that Gen. Grant was in pursuit. Gen. Butler was advancing on Richmond in two columns.
The Secretary of War under date of the 6th inst., says: we have no official reports from the front, but the Medical Director has notified the Surgeon General that our wounded were being sent to Washington, and will number from six to eight thousand. The Chief Quartermaster of the Army of the Potomac has made requisition for seven days grain, and for railroad construction trains, and states the enemy is reported to be retiring. This indicates Gen. Grant’s advance, and affords an inference of material success on our part. The enemy’s strength has always been most felt in his first blows, and their having failed, and our forces not only having maintained their ground, but preparing to advance, lead to the hope of full and complete success, for when either party fails, disorganization by straggling and desertion commences, and the enemy’s loss in killed and wounded must weaken him more than we are weakened. Nothing later than my last night’s dispatch has been received from Gen. Butler. A dispatch from Gen. Sherman, dated at 5 o’clock P. M. yesterday, states that Gen. Thomas had occupied Tunnel Hill, where he expected a battle, and that the enemy had taken position, at Buzzard Roost Pass, north of Dalton. Skirmishing had taken [p]lace, but no real fighting yet. Nothing later from Gen. Banks.
The National Republican announces in an extra that official dispatches announce our complete victory over Lee. The rebel army it also says, is retreating in the direction of Spotsylvania and we pursuing. The Union Gen. Wadsworth is killed. Rebel Gens. Jones and Jenkins are also killed, and Gens. Pickett and Hunter wounded. Butler has whipped Beauregard and cut the Petersburg and Richmond railroad.
Latest.—Dispatches have just been received direct from Gen. Grant.
We have taken 2,000 prisoners.
Our army commenced the pursuit on Saturday. The rebels were in full retreat for Richmond by the direct road.
Hancock passed the Spotsylvania Court House at daylight Sunday.
Our headquarters at noon Sunday was twenty miles south of the battle ground.
The advance of our armies once more upon Richmond, began on Tuesday last. The army of the Potomac crossed the Rapid-ann, and on Thursday encountered the enemy. Lee made a terrible onslaught on our force, but was bravely met. On Friday Gen. Grant drove the rebels three miles, remaining master of the field. Gen. Butler has advanced and effected a landing at City Point, and destroyed railroad communication between Richmond and the southwest. Petersburgh is also said to be in his possession. Gens. Couch, Sigel and Averill are moving down the Shenandoah valley. Gen. Hooker is not idle, but is arriving at a vulnerable point in the Old Dominion. Gen. Sherman’s forces have passed Tunnel Hill, and Joe Johnson has retreated from Dalton to Atlanta. To sum it all up, not less than three hundred thousand men are closing around the rebel capital. A few days more will decide the contest. May it bring victory to our arms.
Fort Pillow Massacre.—The report of the special sub-committee on the conduct of the war, who went west to investigate the Fort Pillow massacre, was laid before Congress on Thursday. It fully confirms all the tales of barbarity previously received.
Monday, in the Senate, the national currency bill was taken up. The bill was put upon its passage, but no quorum being present the Senate adj. The House passed the bill appropriating over a million of dollars to indemnify citizens of Minnesota for losses sustained by depredations of the Sioux Indians.
Tuesday, in the Senate no quorum and adj. In the House, a bill passed increasing the pay of privates in arms from $13 to 16 per month, corporals 18, sergeants 20, orderly sergeants 24 per month, sergeant majors 26, clerks to paymasters $1200 a year.
Wednesday, in the Senate, the resolution concerning a quorum in the Senate was passed. In the House, a bill guaranteeing a republican form of government to rebellious states was considered. Mr. Cox made a speech against the bill.
Thursday, in the Senate, the national currency bill received some attention, when the Senate went into executive session. The House considered the bill to remunerate loyal states and individuals for monies advanced to repel the southern rebels. Passed by a vote of 70 to 59. A report was made on the Fort Pillow massacre.
Friday, in the Senate, an amendment was offered to the currency bill which was accepted, and adj. In the House, no business of importance was transacted.
The funeral of William D. Porter took place from the City Hall in New York on Wednesday, under the direction of the Committee on National Affairs. The city authorities and a large number of naval and military officers participated in the ceremonies.
The afternoon accommodation train from New Haven to Hartford Thursday, ran over a Mrs. McKinne at Meriden, injuring her so that she died soon after. She was upon the track below the depot, and though the whistle sounded repeatedly, she seemed to be unconscious, or bewildered.
As the freight train from Norwich to Willimantic was switching off at the latter place Tuesday afternoon, one of the cars ran over a man and cut his head completely off. The man’s name was Curry. He was about 70 years of age.
Onion seed, which before the war sold at 42 cents, now sells for $3 to $4 per pound!
To an application to allow a crinoline rebel sympathizer to go South, Gen. Sherman replied: “We haven’t enough transportation now to supply the army as speedily as we would wish. Two hundred pounds of oats at Chattanooga are worth more than any rebel woman and her baggage. She can’t go.”
The Governor’s Message.
The annual message of Gov. Buckingham was delivered on Wednesday last. It gives a full exhibit of the finances of the State, and condition of the various public institutions. The governor dwells at some length upon national affairs. The funded debt of the State at the present time is $6,000,000, and a floating debt of 1,349,660. The expenses the past year, incurred mostly by the payment of large bounties, was $4,897,815.72. There is a sinking fund for the reduction of the debt of $1,046,846.68.
During the present inflated condition of the currency, largely increased taxation is recommended, and in view of another requisition for troops, the re-enactment of the law authorizing the payment of State bounties to volunteers.
The General Government will probably allow the claims of this state, amounting to over one and a half million of dollars. The first claim of $621,700.28 has been collected.
The governor recommends the enactment of a law which will give strength and permanency to the militia system. Our active force at the present time is only 1,298. The past season 3,347 veterans have re-enlisted at a saving of $26,971.77 in bounties to what would have been paid new recruits. No new regiments have been organized with the exception of the 29th and 30th (colored); the 29th has gone to the field with full ranks. In regard to the treatment of these men, he says:
“They are soldiers fighting our battles, and we should give them a soldier’s pay and protection. The terrible scenes recently enacted at Fort Pillow and Plymouth, urge upon us the duty of securing for them the same treatment which we demand for all engaged in honorable warfare. It may require retaliation. That is a fearful remedy, justifiable only to restrain the barbarous practices of inhuman enemies.—When it begins, for the lowest soldier who should receive death in any way than in accordance with the laws of civilized warfare, we should take enemies highest in rank, man for man, life for life.”
The quota of the State under all requisitions for troops is 39,214, and the number actually furnished is 42,789, leaving a surplus of 3,171 to apply towards any future call.
Our railroads have prospered, and have a net income of more than half a million of dollars over the last year. Of Banks we have seventy-two for discount with an aggregate capital of $20,606,962. The deposits in our forty-eight Savings banks have increased $3,807,865 during the year, amounting Jan. 1st, to $26,954,802.
In regard to the proposed amendment to the State Constitution designed to give our soldiers in the field the privileges of the elective franchise, he says:
“No argument can be necessary to urge a measure which bears upon its face such evidence of its justness.
Freemen who sustain and protect a government by baring their bosoms to the deadly shafts of its enemies, should have an opportunity to express an opinion in respect to its policy and the character and qualifications of its officers.”
The several State agents who have been appointed to look after sick and wounded Connecticut soldiers have rendered efficient service, and it is recommended that they be continued.
The school fund amounts to $2,049,426.77. The attendance in 1819 public schools has been seventy-six thousand two hundred and seven scholars. The income for the past year has been distributed at the rate of $1.20 for each child within the prescribed ages. The condition of the schools has been greatly improved. There has been an increased attendance of pupils in the Normal School.
During the ten years that the State Reform school has been open there have been received six hundred and ninety-four boys. Two hundred and three are now in the institution. The earnings in the mechanical department have been about $7000 during the year. The institution is conducted with economy, and has been successful in improving the character of the boys.
The State Prison contains one hundred and thirty-nine convicts, being 20 less than last year. Good discipline has been maintained. Owing to the fact that no contracts have expired during the year, no advance in prices have been made, and the necessary expenditures have been $657.31 over earnings.
Sixty one persons have been admitted into the Retreat for the Insane during the year, and forty-nine discharged, thirty-eight of whom were recovered or improved.
The House naval committee voted on Friday, to locate the iron-clad navy yard at New London.
Charles Singleton, the young lad injured by the runaway in South Farms district, which we mentioned some three weeks since, died on Monday afternoon. He was a son of Samuel Singleton. He regained consciousness during the first week of the accident, which he retained until the last moment. He was 10 years of age.
A heavy shower, accompanied by sharp lightning and heavy thunder, passed over this city on Sunday evening last. The lightning performed a curious freak upon a tree in front of the residence of J. M. Hubbard, Main-st., striking it some 18 feet above ground, passing straight down, tearing off the bark about two inches in width, otherwise leaving the tree uninjured.
The Weather.—We feel the approach of warm weather at last. Some days last week were of summer temperature. Sunday was a warm day and culminated in several thunder showers in the evening. Monday morning the mercury stood at 58 degrees, at noon at 80. Average temperature of the week at 6 a. m. 50 degrees.
Pineapples, the first of the season, have been received by C. E. Putnam, where fresh and rare fruit can be found. His new soda fountain, (Dow’s best) is in full operation, and well patronized.
Trot.—The trot on Thursday between Chas. Douglas’ br. m. “Kate Kearney,” and George Carpenter’s b. g. “Billy,” resulted in the winning of the $50 purse by Kate Kearney in three straight heats. Time, 3.01, 3, 2.59. There will be another trot on Saturday between Chas. Smiths’ b. m. “Milkmaid,” and Geo. Carpenter’s blk. M. “Maud,” Purse $200.
The London Times has got entirely over the “raw head and bloody bones” of servile insurrections and massacre in this country, and now says that “the only result of this extraordinary war as yet visible, is the gradual subversion of that institution which, if it was the remote cause of the strife, was forgotten in the first hours of conflict,” “and the gradual elevation of the black race in social and political position.” It has quite a candid editorial on the subject.
Thus the light spreads.