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From The Constitution, Wednesday, December 9, 1863 (volume 27, number 1354)

War News.

Despatches from Washington give a rumor that Lee’s whole army was across the Rapidan and advancing upon Meade. Also that Lee had been reinforced by a part of Longstreet’s corps, which is quite improbable. It is also stated that notwithstanding the semi-official denials, it is believed the Army of the Potomac is going into Winter quarters on the line of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, this side of the Rappahannock.

The news from New Orleans is unimportant. Gen. Lee, commanding the Federal cavalry in Gen. Franklin’s column, had made a successful dash on a rebel camp near Vermillion Bayou, killing eight, wounding many, and capturing seventy. The New Orleans papers have nothing further from Gen. Banks.

From Arkansas we have intelligence that the Union men are making energetic efforts for the return of the State to its allegiance. Conventions are being held, loyal men are organizing for home defence, and a member of the National Congress has been elected. One of the Conventions voted in favor of Arkansas as a Free State after the war.

The Campaign in the Southwest.

It is probable that with the capture or expulsion of Longstreet from East Tennessee the campai[g]n in the south west will end. The withdrawal of Gen. Hooker from Ringgold and his destruction of the railroad, indicated that Gen. Grant does not intend to push an advance towards Atlanta at present. He probably has not supplies and transportation enough at the front to enable him to do it successfully. In a few days we hope to be in complete and undisturbed possession of the whole of East Tennessee, for while Bragg is busy in gathering together the remnants of his demolished army, Grant will direct his attention to Longstreet, and either capture or drive him into Virginia.

When we consider the work which Gen. Grant has accomplished and the short time it has taken, it seems an impossibility. When he took command the communications of the army at Chattanooga with the rear were very unsatisfactory. One of his first undertakings was to open the path and feed the army. Sherman, who was re-building the Memphis and Charleston railroad, was sent to the north side of the Tennessee river and hurried to the front. The army was furnished with full supplies; and just as Bragg was rubbing his hands in the delightful anticipation that Longstreet was about to bag Burnside and capture Knoxville, and that he himself was to take Chattanooga, he suddenly found his army attacked at every point by the Union soldiers, and himself forced to abandon his mountain intrenchments, while Longstreet’s only alternative was to run or be captured. The work which Grant has accomplished has truly been great, and the advantages derived incalculable.

That the rebels have strained every nerve to hold their position, is implied from the fact that all the rebel journals and even Jeff. Davis himself had confessed that the possession of East Tennessee was vital to them; that the loss of it and the defeat of Bragg would be the severest blow which could happen to them; that “everything must be made subservient to the occupation of East Tennessee.” Truly everything has “been made subservient,” and our brave Union troops will hereafter occupy that part of the country.

What Gen. Grant will do the coming winter it is not safe to predict. He is given to surprises. Even by holding his present position until spring, he will be able to begin operations in the rear and on the flank of the rebellion with great advantage. Our western friends said long ago, that they should capture Richmond coming by the way of the Mississippi. It looks as if they would keep their word.


Southern Feeling.—Judging from the tone of the rebel press, and from the speeches of prominent men, the rebels were never so despondent as at the present time. The recent victory of Gen. Grant has been a heavy blow and has dashed their high hopes to the ground. The masses of the southern people were deluded by the high sounding words and delusive hopes with which their leaders encouraged and led them on to open rebellion. When Sumter fell, and Jeff. Davis’ Secretary of War, Walker, announced to the citizens of Montgomery, “that it was the intention of the Confederacy to plant the “stars and bars” on the dome of the Washington capitol, and dictate terms of peace within the walls of Faneuil Hall,” his hearers thought it would surely be done, and that the North would have to succumb to their invincible legions, and that they should live in ease and splendor on the spoils of the country. But their tune has changed. If we take the opinion of one of their most prominent men, Robert Toombs, one of the most bitter secessionists, their cause is about ruined. At a speech made in the Georgia House of Representatives at Atlanta, Nov. 9, he thus pictures the condition of things at the south:

“Tennessee is overrun, and the Mississippi, from the Falls of St. Anthony to the Belize, is in the hands of the enemy, thus cutting in twain the great valley of the Mississippi.—The fall of Vicksburg inflicted this terrible blow upon us, and it fell with scarce a blow in its defense. A portion of Virginia has also been lost to us, our islands are lost, our coasts are ravaged and our seaports captured or threatened. The enemy besiege Charleston, and recently have set their vandal feet upon the soil of our own State.

“Our finances have fallen into disorder; public credit has sunk so low that the government avows itself practically unable to support it, with our military establishment, without a resort to methods of collecting supplies inconsistent with the fundamental law of the land, the inalienable rights of a free people, and, in my judgment, inconsistent with the public safety and dangerous to our cause.—Discontent is taking the place of enthusiasm, and distrust is supplanting confidence.

“Last year the rains were withheld from them. Sterility ensued, and old mother Earth seemed to forget her children. This year the frost has come, and in addition the foot of the invader has been set upon the land, and blighted the prospects of the agriculturists. Famine, war, and worse than impressment has laid its hand upon them. In addition to this, the impressing agent has gone around, and, in many cases, robbed the families of their meager support for the year.


Late southern papers give a summary of the recent message of Governor Brown of Georgia to the State Legislature. The message recommends the repeal of the substitute law and the employment of negroes as teamsters and in similar capacities in the army; that the pay of officers be increased twenty-five per cent, and that of privates to twenty-two dollars a month, and that the salaries of all State officers be increased; that cotton planting be restricted to one-fourth of an acre to the hand, and that every energy be directed to the production of food; that the militia be reorganized so as to include all between eighteen and sixty, and that the 10th day of December be observed throughout the nation as a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer. The Governor opposes loaning the credit of the State to the Confederate Government or the endorsement of its bonds.


Refugees from Georgia report that terror reigns throughout the State. Males of all ages are conscripted, and supplies of all kinds are impressed. Citizens are fleeing to the mountains. The dissatisfaction against Bragg is so great, that Jeff. Davis has been compelled to remove him, and has appointed General Hardee his successor.


The Richmond Dispatch wants to know:

If the army under Bragg could not hold Lookout mountain and Missionary Ridge, we are forced to ask ourselves what position there is between them and Atlanta, or the ocean, that they can hold?


The Market.—The Gold market on Saturday last, was comparatively steady, at 152 per cent. Money easy at 7 per cent. Breadstuffs generally cheaper. Cotton in moderate demand, with a fair inquiry for hay and fruit.


Capt. Benjamin S. Pardee has resigned his office of Provost Marshal for the Second Congressional District, to accept the colonelcy of the negro regiment now raising.


For some time a gang of men have been engaged in stealing horses in Maine and running them to Vermont, to sell, and on their return taking to Maine horses stolen in Vermont. Detectives who have been watching them arrested them at Bradford on the 23d inst.

Among a series of resolutions respecting fires adopted by the town of Providence in 1801, was one providing “that all able bodied male inhabitants repair immediately with the buckets belonging to their respective families to the fire; taking care, if in the night, to put on their clothes before they go out.”

Local News.

Now for Volunteers.—Six volunteers, from the Deputy Provost Marshal’s office, in this city, passed the examining board at New Haven last week, and four more go down to day, Tuesday. Now is the time to volunteer, and get the large bounties. The draft will surely come in January, and the chances for escaping are less now than before. The list of diseases for exemption, have been cut down. Loss of teeth will admit into the invalid corps, and so on. Therefore, keep the ball moving, and fill up the quota of the town. A few have volunteered at the recruiting offices in this city, to apply on the quota of town in this district. Persons wishing to enlist can do so, by applying at the Provost Marshal’s office, in the Custom House.


What is Wanted!—An urgent appeal is now being made by the U. S. Sanitary Commission to the patriotic people of the country, to furnish articles for the benefit of the sick and wounded soldiers. Their supplies are running low. The Soldiers’ Aid Society of Bridgeport propose to freight a vessel at that port, with things necessary for the comfort and health of our brave Connecticut troops. Contributions are asked from the various towns throughout the State, and we would call the attention of the people of this county to the subject. Let old Middlesex respond handsomely. Farmers are asked to contribute liberally of “potatoes and onions.” Woolen shirts, drawers, socks, blankets, quilts, coats, pants, boots and shoes, wine, pure lemon syrup, jellies, dried apples, pickles, codfish, buckwheat flour, canned fruit, butter, cider, corn meal, candles, cranberries, combs and brushes, pillows, towels, handkerchiefs, pins, knives, forks and spoons, books and games, are among the things most needed. Articles may be left with Hubbard Brothers, foot of Centre st., and will be quickly forwarded.


The following tells its own story:

New York, Dec. 3d, 1863.

Gaston T. Hubbard, Esq.: Sir : I have to acknowledge the receipt of another contribution from Middletown, Ct., yesterday, consisting of one barrel of very valuable woolen garments, &c., and a keg of pickles. Before the receipt of this generous donation, we had on hand only one box of flannel shirts, and that needed immediately in Washington. We are therefore peculiarly thankful for your kindness at this time.  Respectfully,

Gertrude Stevens, Mem. Ex. Com.


Didn’t Get Away.—Emmons, one of the young men concerned in the row on Thanksgiving night, was tried by the Superior Court and fined twenty-five dollars, it being understood that he would enlist. While in company with the constable and recruiting officer on Wednesday, he thought he would change his mind about enlisting, and started at a rapid pace down the street. Evidently, without forethought on his part, he dodged into the store of Messrs. Bradley & Treadwell, (formerly Putnam’s, a poor place for deserters,) where he was stopped. He showed fight, but it was of no use; and in the arms of four men, he was carried back to his old quarters at the watch house.


Police.—Two young b’hoys were tried before Justice Clark on Saturday last, for disorderly conduct on Thanksgiving night. Both were found guilty; one was fined, and the other bound over to the February term of the Superior Court.


Various Matters.—Spencer will give one of his social hops at Eagle Hall, this Tuesday evening. …

E. & F. Chaffee advertise new corn poppers, improved. …

A reform is needed in the conduct of the boys who congregate at the Post Office during the distribution of the evening mail.


There was an alarm of fire on Thursday morning, caused by a kettle of grease getting on fire, at an Irish house in Green street. No damage done, except loss of time to the members of the fire companies.


Internal Revenue.—Persons liable to taxes on carriages, billiard-tables, and gold plate, are referred to the adv. of C. Brainerd, Deputy Collector for this district.


The River.—The cold weather which we have had for a few days, is closing the river. Large quantities of ice are floating down. A day or two more of cold weather will stop navigation. The City of Hartford arrived at her dock this Tuesday morning at 1 1/2 o’clock.


The Weather was mostly pleasant last week. We are almost afraid to say that it rained at all, but we heard something very like a smart shower on Saturday evening. Friday morning the mercury was at 40 degrees. Monday morning at 8 degrees. The average temperature of the week at sunrise was 23 degrees.


Bookstore changes hands

The Constitution was a weekly newspaper in Middletown, Connecticut, published by Abner Newton.  The paper was solidly Republican, although the city was largely Democratic.

In honor of the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War, we have created this blog with excerpts fromThe Constitution to give a taste of the concerns and preoccupations of Middletown residents during this critical period in history.  Square brackets indicate additions that we have made.  ‘This city’ refers to Middletown.


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Wordle: Middlesex County Historical Society - Civil War in Middletown, CT
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