From The Constitution, Wednesday, May 18, 1864 (volume 27, number 1377)
Official dispatches just received at Washington, dated 14th inst., 8 A. M., at the battle-field, near Spotsylvania Court-House. They state that during the night, Gen. Hancock marched from his previous position on our right and occupied the ground between Gens. Wright and Burnside; at daylight he attacked with his accustomed impetuosity, forcing the first and then the second line of the enemy’s works, capturing the whole of Gen. Edward Johnson’s Division and part of Early’s, together with Maj. Gen. Johnson, Gen. George H. Stuart and from thirty to forty cannon. The number of prisoners is not given, but it is to be counted by thousands. Gen. Burnside on the extreme left opened at the same time with Gen. Hancock, and advanced with comparatively little opposition. His right has formed a junction with Gen. Hancock, and his left is now actively engaged. Gen. Wright’s troops attached at seven o’clock, and are now at work.
Gen. Warren is demonstrating to hold the enemy in front of his lines. The rebel works at that point are exceedingly strong. A dispatch has been received from Gen. Butler dated “In the Field near Chester Station, Va., May 12—3:30 P. M.” It states that he is now pressing the enemy near Fort Darling and has before him all the troops from North Carolina and South Carolina that have got up. Beauregard’s courier was captured this morning going to Gen. Hoke, in command of Drury’s Bluff. He had a dispatch stating that Beauregard would join them as soon as the troops came up. Gen. Gilmore holds the intrenchments, while Smith demonstrates upon Drury and the enemy’s lines. Gen. Kautz, with his cavalry, has been sent to cut the Danville Railroad, near Appomattox Station, and can perhaps advance on James River. We have had no telegraphic communication with Gen. Sherman since Wednesday.
A dispatch from Lieut.-Gen. Grant, dated near Spotsylvania Court-House, May 12th, 6:30 P. M. It is as follows: “The eighth day of battle closes, leaving between three and four thousand prisoners in our hands for the day’s work, including two General officers and over thirty pieces of artillery. The enemy are obstinate, and seem to have found the last ditch. We have lost no organization, not even a company, whilst we have destroyed and captured one division, (Johnson’s) one brigade, (Dobb’s) and one regiment entire of the enemy.” Lee abandoned his position during the night, whether to occupy a new position in the vicinity or to make a thorough retreat, is not determined. One division of Wright’s and one of Hancock’s are engaged in settling this question, and at 6 1/2 A. M. had come up on his rear guard. Though our army is greatly fatigued from the enormous efforts of yesterday, the news of Lee’s departure inspires the men with fresh energy. The whole force will soon be in motion, but the heavy rains of the last 36 hours renders the roads very difficult for wagons and artillery. The proportion of severely wounded is greater than on either of the previous day’s fighting. This was owing to the great use made of artillery.
The Acting Surgeon General reports that of five hundred patients from the recent battle field, admitted into the Harwond Hospital, not one will require any surgical operation, and that in his opinion two-thirds of the whole number will be fit for duty in thirty days. Reinforcements are going forward to the Army of the Potomac.
The Commercial has details of news from Sherman’s army up to Thursday afternoon. The enemy’s position was held by the Corps of Howard, Schofield, Palmer and Hooker, and severe skirmishing had occurred for some days, resulting in a loss to us of about 800 killed, wounded and missing, the greater portion being slight wounds. The loss fell chiefly upon Geary’s division of Hooker’s corps, and Wood’s division, of Palmer’s corps.
It became fully developed that Dalton was almost if not altogether impregnable to a front attack. The flanking movement by McPherson was admirably conceived and executed, and secured a vital point at Snake Gap, opening upon Resaca, 15 miles in the rear of Dalton. No sooner was this done than Sherman shifted the main body of his troops to the right, following McPherson.
Johnston’s army is believed to be 60,000 strong, including some 15,000 militia.
John Morgan, the celebrated rebel raider, is commanding a brigade of infantry.
Sherman’s army is in magnificent fighting trim, and has abundant confidence in making a triumphant march through Georgia, or wherever else their leaders may direct.
Forrest is reported to have crossed the Tennessee river, to make a raid on Sherman’s rear, and there is note of preparation for him along the railroads south of Nashville. It is believed he will be well cared for.
The Navy Department has received the following dispatch from Admiral Lee. It is dated flagship Malvern, May 12, 6 P. M., and is as follows:
There is no information from Richmond.
Guerrillas keep the contrabands from coming in.
There is no change of situation unless the army moved forward this morning from its line between Point of Rocks on the Appomattox, and Trent’s Reach on the James river.—Raining last night and to-day.
The information received from the Army of the Potomac up to Sunday noon, is that Saturday they were still pushing on in Gen. Lee’s rear.
The wife of Mr. Valentine Hanson, whose husband was recently hung for murder in St. Louis, underwent her overpowering grief for seven days, and sought solace at last in matrimony, marrying another husband on the morning of the eighth.
Thursday night week, John McCarthy of Cheshire, his wife and child, came near meeting a terrible death by the bed taking fire from a lamp left burning.
Mr. Wm. H. Hudson, of New York, was instantly killed by the cars at Stamford, Saturday afternoon, when attempting to get on board while the cars were in motion.
Saturday, the cow-catcher of the engine on the Hartford train at Moosup, caught a four year old boy on the track and tossed him four or five feet from the track. The child was soon picked up, and although bloody, was but little the worse for his narrow escape from death.
Two millions in treasure have been received at San Francisco within the last ten days.
It is said that the official records of the military authorities show that upward of one hundred and fifty female recruits have been discovered, and made to resume the garments of their sex.
On the 2d of April, eighty of the convicts in the State prison at San Quentin, California, attempted to escape by overpowering the guard. After a desperate fight, in which four of the convicts were killed and eight wounded, the emeute was suppressed.
The claims for insurance on Colt’s armory, have been adjusted. The loss to be paid is estimated at 60 per cent. of the amount of the policies, which is but a portion of the whole loss. The share of the Hartford companies is $210,000, divided as follows; Hartford, Ætna, and Phœnix, $24,000 each; Connecticut, Merchants, and North American, $12,000 each; City, Charter Oak and New England, $6,000 each.
The following letter is from Capt. John G. Pelton, Chief Ambulance Corps, 2d Corps to his brother in this city.
Headquarters, 2d Corps,
May 11th, 1864.
Near Spottsylvania Court-House, Va.
Dear Brother:–This is the first opportunity I have had to write you, since the commencement of the series of battles which are now in progress. This is the eighth day of terrible fighting, and we have driven them handsomely at all points. The loss of the 2d Corps, to which I have the honor of being attached, I think will reach between five and six thousand. The 14th Regt. have suffered terribly. Among the killed and wounded, as far as I can ascertain, are killed Geo. S. May and Lucius Bidwell. Wounded, Lieut. Robert Russell, Edwin Stroud, five toes off; Wm. Hall, in ankle; William Taylor, in arm; all from Middletown. Undoubtedly, there are more, but not being with or seeing the Regiment very often, I am unable to give their names. The battle is still raging; will write again as soon as possible. Yours,
J. G. P., Captain and Chief of Ambulance Corps, 2d Corps.
Lieut. W. Murdock, of the 14th, is also reported wounded.
Accident.—M. B. Copeland, Cashier of the Middletown Bank, while riding horseback on Thursday afternoon, was thrown from his horse, and seriously injured. The horse was struck by a ball from the hands of some boys, and rearing, threw his rider with great force on the ground, rendering him unconscious.—His many friends will learn with pleasure that he is improving, and express the hope that he will entirely recover.
Sad Bereavement.—During the past week, William Hall and wife have been sorely afflicted. Their only children, Clara E., aged 6 years, and Walter S., aged 2 years, were, while in apparent health, taking with the prevailing disease, diphtheria, and died in a few hours.
A Needed Improvement.—A meeting of the legal voters of the Middletown City School District has been called on Monday evening the 23d inst., to consider and act upon a proposition to remodel the High School for a larger number of pupils. The District school houses in William and Pearl st., are out of repair, besides being altogether too small to accommodate the scholars. It is estimated that the needed improvements in these districts, would cost some two thousand dollars. The proposed plan of remodeling the High School is such, that 400 pupils can be accommodated, giving a larger number of square feet to each pupil than is now given, besides lessening expenses in various ways. The number that is now accommodated, is 228. The whole cost will be about $1,500. A plan of the school as proposed, has been drawn, which will be open to the inspection of all who feel interested in the matter. Let the citizens acquaint themselves with the facts in the case, attend the meeting on Monday next, and act as sound judgement shall dictate, in favor of the proposed change.
Thieving.—Great complaint is made by the owners of yards in the various cemeteries in this city, of the systematic thieving which is being practiced in taking flowers, boquets, &c., from the graves of friends. In one instance, a beautiful vase of flowers was taken in less than half an hour after left on the grave. Diligent inquiries brought to light the fact that a young Irish girl, living in Liberty st., was the thief in this instance. As the vase was returned, no action was taken.
Middlefield.—The Clothes Wringer Manufacturing Company are erecting an office building 28×70 ft. adjoining their works. An addition, 40×60 feet, is being made to the Episcopal church. Mr. M. R. Tyrell is erecting a first class Gothic house.
The following article is from the Pittsburgh Evening Chronicle. To show that Middletown is ahead, we mention that the letter of thanks stated that it was the “first article received.” Messrs. W. & B. Douglas have contributed in a similar manner to all the Sanitary Fairs held throughout the country.
“We learn from Mr. Edward Gregg, Chairman of the Hardware Committee to receive donations for the Sanitary Fair, that he has received from Messrs. W. & B. Douglas, of Middletown, Connecticut, a valuable cask of cistern pumps. The donation has been acknowledged, and the thanks of the Committee tendered to the kind donors. From this it will be seen that the people at a distance are taking an interest in the coming Sanitary Fair, and we trust our citizens and those in the surrounding country will be impelled from this fact, as well as a desire to aid the good cause and sustain the credit of our city, to come forward and contribute liberally.—Pittsburgh should not be behind other cities and towns, and we trust there will be no lagging back, now that the time for holding the Fair is so near at hand.”
A baby, not old enough to speak or walk, was creeping on the floor. By and by a ray of sunshine fell upon the carpet. Baby saw it and crept toward the dazzling object. She looked at it, and crept all around it, with the greatest interest in her sweet face, then putting down her lips, she kissed it.—Now was that not beautiful? The little sunbeam lighted up joy in her baby heart, and she expressed that joy with a sweet kiss.
Ben Wade, of Ohio, lately excused himself for carrying an umbrella on a sunny day, saying that he had heard that the army of the Potomac was in motion, and it always rained within twelve hours after that army made a move.