[correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch.]
Charleston, S. C., Feb. 1, 1861.
For the first time, I accompanied a party of gentlemen yesterday afternoon to the shipyard, where the"floating battery" is in course of building.
This battery is for war purposes, of immense dimensions, and at this time a skeleton of huge and rough timbers, and resembles what one might imagine the carcass or skeleton of the mastodon we read of, laid on its back; with its huge ribs curving inwards only the ribs of the buttery are bolted together with from, and are as close together as they can be placed.
What is to be its mission, no one doubts; but where destined, no one outside knows.
We had thought it was intended to scale Fort Sumter
, but I learn to-day from a gentleman who knows all about the matter, that it is not intended for that place at all.
We all begin to breathe easier here.
Money is a little more plenty; business begins to keep out from its dark recesses, and to inquire what's the news!
and, by the way, that question is oftener asked now than any other.
The Government of South Carolina
is paying out thousands upon thousands daily for expenses of all kinds, and the Commissary Department is kept busy all the time, and is well managed by Col. L. M. Hatch
, who, by the way, is a Northern man by birth, but a Loyal Southron.
It is more and more apparent to discerning men that Virginia
can end this strife — can prevent civil war and bloodshed at once — if she will only do it. If she secedes, I venture to say you will not hear a chirp again for‘"coercion;"’ and, mark my prediction now, if those men in the South
, who have advocated coercion; or even who are willing to stay with the Northern States
under any circumstances, are not hereafter regarded as were the Tories in the days of our old revolution; and the word "coercion will be classed with Patrick Henry
I see that you have had a most uproarious meeting in the African Church, in your city, to nominate to delegates to your Convention.
Certainly it was a disgraceful scene for even the ‘ "Five Points
,"’ much less for Richmond
, and that, too, in a house for divine worship.
I wonder that such a house — the house of God--should be allowed by its authorities thus to be desecrated.
I have no acquaintance with two of the gentlemen, (Messrs. Randolph
,) but suppose the latter gentleman the son of Maj. Sager
, late of Amelia
; if so, he has the right blood.
I do know, and ‘"he will do (in Southern parlance) to tie to."’ I did not see the Judge
whilst here, or I should have made myself known to him. He introduced me to the great Clay
the first time I ever saw him, in Washington
, in 1839.
Our batteries go on. No relaxing of effort at all. There are a number of planters on the different islands with all their negro men, who labor day and night to finish the forts and breastworks.
They are now erected all along the coast, from Georgetown
to St. Helena, wherever there is an inlet.
Our planters, merchants, mechanics, lawyers, doctors, Presidents
and Cashiers of Banks
, clerks, and negroes, are all, all hard at work, and many of these gentlemen, who at home live on the fat of the land, now take ‘"pot luck,"’ on the same bench, out of wooden trays, along with the laborers, and in many cases master and slave dipping from the same platter.
This is no fancy sketch — it is so daily.
And yet those silly Yankees talk about ‘ "coercing"’ such men. Why, they could never subjugate the little ‘"Game Cock
They might give us trouble, but what of that.
I have heard that Gen. Scott
said, after the war with Mexico
, ‘"Give me the Palmetto Regiment
, and I could whip the d--1."’ The same stuff remains here still.
Our cotton market is very brisk, and at advanced prices.
The panic about taking it for breastworks and fortifications is about over, and the receipts have largely increased.
The rice crop is large and fine, and selling at highly remunerative figures, and when the war panic is ever, confidence will be restored, and all will be well again; for the country was never so rich, the moneyed institutions never in a better condition.