From The Constitution, Wednesday, December 28, 1864 (volume 28, number 1409)
The latest news from Gen. Thomas places his headquarters at Columbia, Tenn., with Hood crossing Duck River with the remnant of his army. He estimated that he has lost fully 20,000 men since he entered Tennessee, and that his remaining force is not over 20,000 cavalry included. The country around Nashville and Franklin is filled with deserters who are daily coming and delivering themselves up. The roads were bad and pursuit had become very difficult.
The news brought by the Columbia of the capture of the United States gunboat Sonora, is not true in some particulars. There is no gunboat of that name in the navy. We have the Sonoma, but she is attached to the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, and is probably at this time one of the fleet operating against Savannah, Ga. Naval vessels are not usually captured by one captain and six men. The Sonora is probably either a transport or a private merchant vessel.
Latest accounts from the front, locate Gen. Thomas’ headquarters at Rutherford Hill, eight miles this side of Columbia. Since that time our forces have crossed Duck river and moved to a point south of Columbia.
Our cavalry forces crossed at Hunter’s Ford below Columbia, and dashed into the town, the enemy meanwhile retreating without firing a gun. We captured about fifty stragglers.
The rebel force at last accounts was at Pulaski. They are probably some distance south of that place to-day. They were closely followed by our cavalry. No particular damage was done to the town of Columbia by the passage through it of the two armies.
At least one-third of Hood’s army were without arms and equipments. Everything which impedes their flight having been thrown away.
Rear Adm’l Porter, under the date of the 15th informs the navy department of the destruction of the blockade runner Petrel which was driven ashore at New Inlet, Cape Fear river. She was then fired upon and sunk and finally totally destroyed by a northeast gale. She had aboard a large cargo of arms and ammunitions of war, all of which was lost.
The Potomac is covered with ice, and the channel is completely closed up, so that navigation is expended, and boats do not attempt either to approach or leave Washington.—The ice at most places is between 2 1/2 and 3 inches thick. Several boats with troops which left yesterday, are ice-bound below Gresboro.
Admiral Porter also reports that within the last fifteen days the fleet has captured or destroyed $5,500,000 worth of the enemy’s property in blockade runners, about two-thirds of which covers captured property.
The navy department to-day received intelligence of the death of Acting Master Chas. Thatcher of Maine, commanding the Gazelle, attached to the Mississippi squadron. He was wounded by guerrillas.
A dispatch has been received by the President from Gen. Sherman. It is dated at Savannah, on Thursday, the 22d inst., and announces his occupation of the city of Savannah and the capture of one hundred and fifty guns, plenty of ammunition and about 25,000 bales of cotton. No other particulars are given.
An official dispatch from Gen. Foster to Gen. Grant, dated on the 22d inst., at 7 P. M. states that the city of Savannah was occupied by Gen. Sherman on the morning of the 21st., and that on the preceding afternoon and night, Hardee escaped with the main body of his infantry and light artillery, blowing up the iron-clads and the Navy-yard. He enumerates as captured 800 prisoners, 150 guns, 13 locomotives in good order, 190 cars, a large lot of ammunition and materials of war, three steamers and 33,000 bales of cotton. No mention is made of the present position of Hardee’s force which had been estimated at about 15,000.
The dispatch of Gen. Sherman to the President is as follows:
Savannah, Ga., Dec. 22.
To His Excellency, President Lincoln:
I beg to present you as a Christmas gift the city of Savannah, with one hundred and fifty heavy guns and plenty of ammunition, and also about twenty-five thousand bales of cotton. (Signed) W. T. Sherman. Major General.
The city of Savannah was occupied by the federal forces under Gen. Sherman on Thursday the 22d inst, and that officer offered the city to the President as a “Christmas Gift.” Included in the capture were one hundred and fifty cannon, over two hundred cars and locomotives, twenty-five thousand bales of cotton and several steamers. The bulk of Hardee’s army escaped. The prisoners are estimated at less than a thousand. The citizens were “quiet and well disposed.” This will probably close one of the most brilliant and successful campaigns ever recorded. The whole time occupied has been about forty days. Upon the news of the capture of the city, being received in this city, the bells were rung, and a salute fired of one hundred guns.
The St. Alban Raiders.
The policy pursued by the authorities in Canada, in relation to the St. Alban raiders, has convinced them that the United States will have redress for such outrages. The idea of placing robbers and murderers in confinement a month or two and then releasing them will not do. It only affords opportunities for such heroes as Gen. Dix, to immortalize their name, by issuing such orders as appeal directly to the heart of loyal men, and meet with a ready response. Another order which has the same ring: “If any man hauls down the American flag, shoot him on the spot,” has been repeated. If our towns and cities on the border are again visited, neutral territory will not be a safe refuge for the marauders. The only courts in which they will have their deserts guaranteed will be the United States Courts. If the Government at Quebec will do what is proper, award justice to marauders seeking safety within its territory, or hand them over to the United States, it will not be necessary to carry out the order of Gen. Dix.
Another Call for Troops.—Another call for 300,000 men for the military and naval service to serve for one, two or three years has been made by the President. If not made up by volunteering by the 15th of February, 1865, a draft will be ordered. The last call produced but fifty per cent. of the number required, and the new call is to fill the deficiency.
The United States Circuit Court, New York, has given a verdict of four thousand dollars to a person for damages sustained from a stage while crossing the street. The law is that pedestrians have the first right to the crossing of the street.
The latest illustrious Englishman who has visited our shores has given it as his opinion that our youths are smoking themselves to death.
A paragraph from a recent southern paper makes known the startling fact that the graves of the Union captives in the burial ground near Andersonville already number twelve thousand. This is a fearful mortality among a population of prisoners that never exceeded, according to the same authority, and aggregate of forty thousand.
The Quota.—We are informed by the first selectman, Sam’l Babcock, Esq., that the quota of this town under the last call of the President for three hundred thousand men is full. This result has been attained by the willingness of many of our young men to furnish substitutes, and by the promptness of the selectmen in carrying out the vote of the town to procure volunteers.
Military.—Lieut. Wm. J. Broatch, of this city, 10th U. S. Infantry, is now stationed with a squad of men at Buffalo, N. Y., watching for rebel emissaries who may attempt to cross the Niagara river from Canada.
Are You Insured Against Accidents.—L. Miami of this city, was injured a few days since, by his “donkey” forcing the wheel of his vehicle upon him, causing his confinement to the house and the employment of medical aid. He had fortunately taken out a policy in the Travellers’ Insurance Co., of Hartford, O. Vincent Coffin, agent of this vicinity, and received therefrom sufficient to defray all expenses besides the amount invested in the policy. We know of another case in this city, that of a sprain of the ankle from falling on the ice, which coming to the knowledge of the company, damages were immediately ordered to be paid. The company is a safe one, and meet their obligations promptly.
A valuable horse, “Frank Wonder,” owned by Chas. H. Alsop of this city, made its last “time” on Friday night last. While in charge of a young lad, passing down Washington street, he was struck by a whip in the hands of a person passing by, and taking things his own way, made direct for a tree near the carriage shop. The tree stood the shock better than the horse, the latter being the loser by breaking his neck. The hand that handled the whip was a cowardly one. The horse was valued at $400.
Poultry.—There was an abundance of poultry in market for Christmas. The price ranged from twenty to twenty-five cents.
Rev. J. E. Bruce, will give his seventh Lecture next Sunday evening, at 7 o’clock. Subject: “The Negro Question,” with special reference to the present condition of the “Freedmen.”