From The Constitution, Wednesday, April 5, 1865 (volume 28, number 1423)
All except two corps of the Army of the Potomac started early on Wednesday morning for a demonstration toward the Southside Railroad. Sheridan, with a heavy force of cavalry, took the advance, and early on that day was at Dinwiddie Court-house. Our advices represent no fighting of consequence up to Wednesday evening. The infantry crossed Hatcher’s Run without opposition and kept on until 3 in the afternoon, when the Fifth Corps had a pretty sharp encounter with the enemy on the Quaker Road, but lost in the affair less than 300 men, and drove the rebels nearly a mile, with loss to them, and captured a number of prisoners. At City Point, on Thursday, heavy cannonading was heard from 10 A. M. until 1 ½ P. M., but the reason thereof was unknown. It was guessed however, that the rebels were making an attempt to break our lines near Fort Steadman. Our last dispatches this morning brings a rumor of the evacuation of Petersburgh.
In a recent letter to his father at Covington, Ky., Gen. Grant says: “We are now having fine weather, and I think will be able to wind up matters about Richmond soon. I am anxious to have Lee hold on where he is a short time longer, so that I can get him into a position where he must lose a great portion of his army. The rebellion has lost its vitality, and if I am not mistaken, there will be no rebel army of any great dimensions a few weeks hence. Any great catastrophe to any of our armies would, of course, revive the enemy for a short time, but I expect no such thing to happen.”
The following dispatch is from President Lincoln, dated City Point, April 1st:
A dispatch has just been received, showing that Sheridan, aided by Warren, had, at 2 p. m., pushed the enemy so as to retake the five forks, and bring his own headquarters up to Fork Boysears. The five forks were barricaded by the enemy, and carried by Devlin’s division of cavalry. This portion of the rebel army seem to be now trying to work along the White Oak road, to join the main forces in front of Grant, while Sheridan and Warren are pressing them as closely as possible.
The annexed dispatches from President Lincoln are dated City Point 2d inst.:
Last night General Grant telegraphed that General Sheridan with his cavalry and the fifth corps had captured three brigades of infantry, a train of wagons, and several batteries, with prisoners amounting to several thousand. This morning General Grant having ordered an attack along the whole line telegraphed as follows: “Both Wright and Parke got through the enemy’s lines. The battle now rages furiously. General Sheridan with his cavalry, the fifth corps, and Miles’ division of the second corps, which was sent to him since one o’clock this morning, is now sweeping down from the west. All now looks highly favorable. General Ord is engaged, but I have not yet heard the result in his front.”
11 A. M. Dispatches are frequently coming in. All is going finely. Parke, Wright, and Ord, extending from the Appomattox to Hatcher’s Run, have all broken through the enemy’s entrenched lines, taken some forts and many prisoners. Sheridan, with his own cavalry, the 5th corps and a part of the 2d, is coming in from the west on the enemy’s flank and Wright is already tearing up the South Side railroad.
At 10.45 a. m., Gen. Grant telegraphs as follows: “Everything has been carried from the left of the ninth corps. The sixth corps alone captured more than three thousand prisoners. The 2d and 24th corps captured forts, guns and prisoners from the enemy, but cannot tell the number. We are now closing around the works of the line immediately enveloping Petersburg. All looks remarkably well. I have not yet heard from Sheridan. His headquarters have been moved up to Park’s house, near the Boydtown road, about three miles southwest of Petersburg.”
At 4.30 p. m., to day Gen. Grant telegraphs as follows: “We are now up and have a continuous line of troops, and in a few hours will be entrenched from the Appomattox below Petersburg to the river above. The whole captures since the army started out will not amount to less than twelve thousand men, and probably fifty pieces of artillery.—I do not know the number of men and guns accurately however. A portion of Foster’s division, twenty-fourth corps, made a most gallant charge this afternoon, and captured a very important fort from the enemy, with its entire garrison. All seems well with us, and everything is quiet just now.”
The re-capture of fort Sumter is to be appropriately commemorated on the 14th inst., by the restoration of the identical flag which was lowered by Anderson and his brave garrison. Rev. Henry Ward Beecher Sunday morning announced to his congregation, that he had been invited to deliver the address on the occasion. He and numerous Government officials and guests of the government will take passage for Fort Sumter some time during the present week. Such of the public who wish to participate in the joyous event will find the opportunity on board private steamers, of which, several are to make an excursion trip to the scene of the festivity.
Rebel News.—Some interesting facts about affairs in Richmond are given by a person who escaped from Castle Thunder a few days ago. He says that there were evident signs of evacuation; the assets of the banks had been sent off by the Danville railroad; the machinery of two percussion cap factories had gone in the same direction, and some of the machinery of the Tredgar iron-works had been packed up ready for shipment. There were not more than ten days’ supplies in the city for the army. The same person sold a gold dollar for one hundred in rebel currency. Tea was $100 per lb; coffee, $50; bacon, $18; beef, $15; and eggs rose in consequence of Sheridan’s raid from $12 to $35 per dozen. It was thought that Alex. H. Stevens had abandoned the cause of the confederacy. Several intelligent Georgians who visited the Philadelphia Inquirer office recently, say that the desertions from Lee’s army average over a hundred every day. In their estimation, the whole rebel force in front of Grant cannot exceed forty thousand men, and if it should be depleted at the rate mentioned, cannot long be available for evil. They say that Stevens left for the South immediately on his return from the late Peace conference, and refused to have anything more to do with the confederacy.
Miss Clara Barton has kindly undertaken to furnish information by correspondence in regard to the condition of returned soldiers, especially those in the hospitals at Annapolis, and also as far as possible to learn the facts in reference to those that have died in prisons or elsewhere. All letters addressed to Miss Clara Barton, Annapolis, Md., will meet with prompt attention.
The Platteville (Wisconsin) Witness notes the return home of a Miss Georgianna Peterman, who has been for two years a drummer in the Seventh Wisconsin Regiment. She lives in Ellenboro, is about twenty years old, wears soldier clothes and is quiet and reserved.
The slave pens in Louisville, Ky., like those of Baltimore, Washington, and New Orleans, have been broken up. On the 4th Gen. Palmer ordered the release of all the slaves confined in Louisville.
The rebel Legislature of Louisiana, which has been holding a three weeks’ session, in some unknown place, has just adjourned.—No account of their doings has been published; but it is fair to presume that two of the three weeks were devoted to the removal of the capital from place to place, as the miserable fugitives were stirred up by Union demonstration.
The new State Government of Tennessee was organized at Nashville on Monday of this week. A much larger vote, was thrown for the State ticket than was expected, and in many counties there was an unanimous anti-slavery vote.
George B. McClellan and lady are now travelling with August Belmont, chairman of the national democratic committee. Fernando Wood will soon join them, and it would not be surprising to hear that Jeff. Davis was following after Fernando. What a re-union of “old friends” will then occur.
The result of the election in this State has been most decisive for the Union cause. The State ticket has been re-elected by overwhelming majorities, while Congressmen and Senators have swept clean. Such a vote has never been known before. Even in the lower House there will be hardly enough of the opposition for seed hereafter. In Old Middlesex where from time immemorial they have claimed a standing foothold they now have only three towns. If other towns in the State have made the same gains, Buckingham’s majority will be overwhelming. Connecticut takes her stand beside her sister States of New England and strikes a fatal blow at disloyalty. In their strength the people have arisen, and have trampled treason in the dust, and emphatically say that the “Union must and shall be preserved.”
The Union men of this town have done nobly. They have carried three of the four districts. In the first district, where they had a majority last fall of over one hundred against them, they now have but 22. Middletown gives a Union majority on the State ticket of 127. Last fall the copperheads carried the town by 95. The slang and falsehoods of our opponents have not helped them. The people understand the issue thoroughly, and have given a glorious decision. Below is the vote of this town:
JUDGE OF PROBATE.
The News from the Army was received in this city on Sunday with general satisfaction, and as it came better on Monday morning the difference between the faces of the Union and copper’s was in direct contrast. Upon the receipt of the occupation of Richmond, the “little quaker” was brought out. At noon the bells were rung.
Political.—Thos. H. Gallagher of New Haven, addressed his copperhead brethren in this city on Saturday evening at the Town Hall. His style of argument, to use the expression of a respectable citizen, was “silly and disgusting.” Its effect was apparent on Monday, by the large increase of the Union vote. If Gallagher wishes to have the copperheads succeed here, he must either keep away or change his style of expression.
In consequence of the storm on Friday evening, the social hop which was to have been given at McDonough Hall, by A. J. Spencer, was postponed to this (Tuesday) evening. It is the last of the season, therefore the friends of the manager will make a note of it. Colt’s quadrille band will be in attendance.
The Army Moving !
It has been the earnest wish of the American people that the rebel capital should be taken by the soldiers of the Army of the Potomac. That wish is now gratified. During the past eight days movements have been in progress which have caused the evacuation of both Petersburgh and Richmond. A terrible battle lasting three days, in which the whole strength of both armies have been engaged has been fought, and the rebel leaders are driven from the field. It is the opinion of many that Grant found Lee endeavoring to get away, and therefore brought on the fight. Whether this is so or not we have the comforting assurance from the Secretary of War, that Richmond is now held by United States colored troops, under Gen. Weitzel, who says that the citizens received him with the most enthusiastic expressions of joy. What a transition from a state of despotism and tyranny, to the protection of the national flag, must it be to those of Union sentiment in that city. Unless he has already met retributive justice Jeff. Davis is now a fugitive in this country. All honor to the noble army who have accomplished that for which it was created. Disasters have not subdued or broken its spirit, but rather urged it on in heroic deeds. By their efforts and persistency the once proud army of the confederacy is now broken, and its opportunity for destruction entirely gone. The Waterloo of this country has been fought, and the old flag waves in triumph over the field. Our generals are closing around what remains of the rebel army, and it will soon cease to exist. Connecticut sends greeting to the brave soldiers. They have driven traitors from their strongholds, while she has driven their sympathizers to their holes !