From The Constitution, Wednesday, January 4, 1865 (volume 28, number 1410)
Admiral Porter’s official report says that the attack on Fort Fisher was opened on the 24th, with all the iron-clads and heavy vessels of the fleet, the smaller vessels being held in reserve. Previous to making the attack a torpedo on a large scale, supposed to contain powder enough to explode the magazines of the fort was carefully prepared and exploded under the walls of the fort. Great results were expected from this experiment. The boat selected for the purpose was the Louisiana, disguised as a blockade runner. The explosion occurred at 1:25 A. M. on the 24th, but was nothing like what was expected.—At daylight the fleet moved in, and at 11:30 the attack commenced. The firing of the fleet was magnificent, and the fort was speedily silenced and the enemy were driven to the bomb proofs.
Two magazines were blown up and several buildings were set on fire. During the heaviest bombardment 115 shots per minute were fired. The enemy were silenced so quick that no one was injured aboard the fleet. Six 100 pounder Parrott guns on the fleet exploded, killing and wounding in the aggregate 44 officers and men. These explosions were on the Ticonderoga, Yantic, Juniata, Mackinaw, Quaker City and Susquehanna, and were attributed to the defective character of the guns.
On the morning of the 25th, the transports had arrived and a conference was held to decide upon the plan of attack. It was decided that the fleet should renew the attack while the army landed and made an assault. Seventeen gunboats were sent to cover the landing of the troops, who were rapidly thrown on shore. The shelling was resumed at 7 A. M. on the 25th, the firing being quite slow, with the design of amusing the enemy while the troops assaulted the fort. The enemy fired but few shots. The point of landing was five miles east of the fleet. About 3000 troops were landed and moved up within 600 yards of Fort Fisher, and one officer ascended the parapet and brought away the flag. A soldier led out a horse, killing the orderly who was riding him, and brought off his dispatches.
Another fired his gun into the bomb proof among the rebels, and several of our men were wounded by our own shells. Gen. Weitzel sent word that the assault was impracticable. The army landed about two o’clock, and commenced re-embarking at five o’clock, one brigade staying on shore during the night covered by gunboats. Sixty-five rebel soldiers surrendered as our troops landed, and 200 more gave themselves up to a small reconnoitering party. The loss of our land forces is not stated.
After the usual compliments to the officers, Admiral Porter closes by saying there are about 1000 men left on shore by the army who have not yet got off, on account of the surf on the beach. These will be taken off soon, and the soldiers will be then sent home.
The remains of Hood’s rebel army have escaped. His advance reached the Tennessee river at [?]orence, Alabama, on the 21st, and his infantry were arriving during the whole of the next day. From Duck river Hood retreated rapidly to the Tennessee, his main army not once making a stand. Our cavalry crossed Duck river in time to have an occasional brush with Forrest’s force, who covered the enemy’s retreat. No fighting of any consequence has occurred since the affair at Spring Hill.
The rebels have lost in this campaign in Tennessee, 10,000 in prisoners and 8,700 in killed and wounded—total 18,700. They have lost 17 general officers, killed, wounded, and missing, and 40 guns, besides many small arms. Hood has not over half his army left.
The St. Alban Raiders.—Three of the St. Alban raiders were captured in New Hampshire on Tuesday of last week. They had enlisted, received the bounties and were expecting to reach the South at Uncle Sam’s expense by desertion after they got in the field.
THE U. S. TRANSPORT NORTH AMERICA FOUNDERED AT SEA.
One Hundred and Ninety-four Lives Lost.
Left New Orleans on the 16th of December 1864, and Southwest Pass on the 18th, having been detained by fog. Had on board 203 sick soldiers, 12 cabin passengers, and a crew of 44 men. From the time of leaving the bar until the 20th, noon, had fine, pleasant weather. At 4 P. M., of that day commenced blowing heavy from south and southwest, with a heavy sea running—vessel laboring and straining greatly. 21st, a continuance of the same weather.
22d.—First part of the day weather moderating; at noon began blowing; heavy sea getting up. The Engineer reported ship leaking badly. 1 P. M., he reported the water gaining; changed our course to the westward. Took off the fore-hatches, and discovered the water running forward; cut away the ceiling to try to stop it; but could not; put blankets and a sail over the bow, but all to no purpose; water gaining very fast. At 2 P. M., a vessel hove in sight; bore away for her, and hoisted our colors, Union down—we being at the time in lat. 31 d 10 m N., lon. 78 d 40 m W. At 5:15 P. M., spoke the bark “Mary E. Libby,” Capt. Libby, from Cardenas, Cuba, for Portland. Informed Capt. Libby of our situation. He replied that he would remain by us, and take all on board if necessary.
At 2:30 P. M., the engineer reported that the water had put the fires out. Hailed the bark, and told Capt. Libby of it; he then hove the ship to, and prepared to receive our people on board; at the time we had four feet of water in the hold; commenced clearing away the boats; at 3:30 P. M., started the first boat, with the Chief Engineer in charge of all the lady passengers. We got six boat loads on board of the bark. The seventh boat left at dark, containing our Purser (Mr. C. Pettit) and eight men, and is supposed to be lost, as they never reached the ship. Night setting in, dark and blowing hard, with a high sea running, so that the boats could not get back from the bark to the steamer.
7 P. M.—Ship settling fast, having 12 feet of water in her hold. Prepared our last boat.
7:30 P. M.—Finding it impossible for any more boats to return to the steamer that night, I left the ship, taking with me my First and Second Officers and eight men.
9 P. M., arrived on board the bark; hoisted the boats on deck for the night; made sail, and proceeded toward the steamer; her lights all in sight, distance about six miles.
One P. M., lights all disappear suddenly; we suppose the ship to have gone down at that time. At daylight, nothing in sight except a water cask. Made all sail, and cruised all round, but did not see anything of her.
12 M.—Gave up all hopes; the bark made sail and proceeded on her course. Number of passengers and crew saved, 65; lost with the ship, 194. Total 259.
Oil Wells.—A gentleman of this city, who has recently visited western Pennsylvania gives us the statement of the flowage of one of the oil wells in that region. It is known as, the Sherman Well, and flows 100 bbls per hour, making 2400 per day, which is purchased of the proprietor without extra cost, at $12 per bbl. netting the handsome sum of $28,800 per day.
The natural development of the resources of our country have seemed to progress in proportion with the rapid inroads which the civil war in which we are now engaged has made upon our wealth and prosperity. At no time has capital been so actively employed in developing the natural resources of the country as at present. While the legislators of the country are devising ways and means to increase the taxes, the working classes are pushing on with all their strength, developing the hidden treasures of the earth. A few years since our countrymen were flocking to California, hoping to realize their bright dreams in gathering the glittering dust. Now there are the same anticipations from the Colorado territory. Within the last fifteen months, not less than $40,000,000 have been invested in the purchase of gold claims, and the erection of machinery, with a prospect of large returns. The oil districts of Pennsylvania, have proved an accession to our national wealth. During the last eleven months the exports of oil alone amounted to 30,000,000 gallons. Add to this the domestic consumption which is not less than 20,000,000 gallons, and we find as the result the neat little sum of forty millions of dollars per annum. The coal trade of Pennsylvania has greatly increased. New mines have been opened and the old again worked with large profits. In all this can be seen some of the sources by which we can eventually redeem ourselves from the burdens and taxations now flowing upon us. The country is rich in mineral wealth. Western Virginia, now free from the curse which has long been over it, has been found to possess resources which will eventually make it one of the richest sections of the country—those of coal and oil. So will it be with other portions when peace shall be restored, and the science and skill of the cute Yankee has been allowed free scope.
The Provincial Telegraph Company of Canada, have finished their line, and on Friday afternoon communication was opened between Hamilton, Toronto and Buffalo.
Fire.—The alarm of fire on Saturday morning last was caused by the burning of the building used for galvanizing purposes by Messrs. Wilcox & Hall, Pameacha Bridge.—Loss $100, no insurance.
The Ladies of the Alert Club will hold a Fair and Festival at McDonough Hall on Wednesday Evening, Feb. 1st, for the benefit of sick and wounded soldiers. The citizens of Middletown and Vicinity are invited to contribute such articles to the Fair as they can conveniently. As the work of the Club has claims upon every one it is hoped that all will feel interested in making the effort successful. The place for leaving contributions will be mentioned next week.
Runaway.—Mr. Rosman Brooks of this town, met with quite an accident on Thursday morning last. While driving towards the city on the Haddam turnpike in South Farms, his horse commenced running down the street and made direct for the steep bank near the store of the late Mr. Spencer. The horse passed through the fence, freeing himself from the sleigh and throwing out the occupants, one of whom was a young lady, who was severely injured, and made direct down the bank, jumping off a stone wall a distance of some twelve feet. This ended the contest, for the horse broke one of his fore legs and was knocked in the head. The young lady is still suffering from her injuries, attended by Dr. Baker of this city. Had not the reins broken, a different result might have been chronicled.
Death of Mr. Atkins.—Wm. H. Atkins, Esq., expired at his residence in this city on Sabbath morning. He was a native of Middletown, for many years and at the time of his death a merchant in this city. Although eccentric and peculiar in many things, he combined in his character moral traits which made him a valuable citizen and an esteemed friend. The last few years, he felt the hand of death by paralysis, slightly at first, but fatal at last. His age was 64 years.
Building.—Notwithstanding the cold weather with its storms of wind, rain and snow, the factory now in process of erection near the Sage Ammunition works, Fort Hill, progresses slowly towards completion of the outer walls. It will be three stories high, size 100×20, well lighted and in every particular well adapted for manufacturing purposes. The enterprise shown by the proprietors of that section, might well be an incentive to those who have in charge the building of the road recently voted by the town, to connect with the river road. The interests and prosperity of the town should not suffer from such delay.
A letter from a traveller in the new oil regions of Pennsylvania says: “We were paddled across the creek by an oil prince, aged 15, heir to a million, coatless and hatless, and with but one suspender to keep his courage and his trowsers up.”