The War Movements.

From a letter in the Alexandria Gazette, dated Harper's Ferry. May 9, we have the following detail of affairs as that place.

Yesterday, information was received from reliable sources that Federal troops were moving towards this point. Immediately the Maryland heights which command the Virginia hills and mountains in the immediate neighborhood were occupied by a large body of men. The Kentucky regiment and several companies of Virginia troops, comprised this force. As the Kentucky troops, raised to a high pitch of enthusiasm at the near prospect of a fight, with elastic step and head erect marched across the bridge and defiled along the mountain side, from every point of the which nature has formed around the place, thunders of cheers arose, coming along and reverberating among the numerous gorges of this wild and romantic pass.

The night, however, passed away without the slightest alarm, Harper's Ferry is now, I think impregnable. A seizure of the Maryland Heights is absolutely necessary before the place can be taken; and with a thousand foot soldiers, this point might be held against two times number. Situated at the mouth of a valley that extends to Pennsylvania, and being the only pass through the Northern portion of the Blue Ridge range of mountains, its military value is easily comprehended. At this point, too, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad crosses over into Virginia, and hence if the connection with the Ohio river is desirable the bridge over the Potomac, which cost an immense sum, should be in the possession of the Federal troops.

Last night about one thousand hogs and fifteen horses were seized while passing over the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad through this place.

This course, the authorities here have been compelled to adopt as retaliatory measures, to the action of the Federal troops at the Relay House.

An attack upon this place is confidently expected to occur within a few days. We are fully prepared.

A battery of four cannon commands the railroad at the Point of Rocks twelve miles below while the bridge across the Potomac here is commanded by another battery.--Scouting parties range the country for fifteen miles North, East and West, also, upon the slightest alarm can communicate by a system of signal agreed upon, with headquarters.

Another account from Harper's Ferry says:

‘ Detachments of volunteers were arriving at Harper's Ferry from Maryland, and especially from Baltimore, all anxious to join the armies of the Southern Confederacy, and to unite their fortunes with those of the State of Virginia. The Southern forces in the vicinity of Harper's Ferry were said to be daily augmenting.

The object of the Virginians in burning the underwood away on the Maryland side was to obtain a full view of any hostile effort, and to keep the slope unobstructed.

The reported laying of trains for the destruction of the bridge joining Maryland and Virginia, across the Potomac, is not credited, as the bridge could easily be destroyed by fire before any hostile force could approach by ordinary means.

The Baltimore Sun, of Saturday, in its notice of the Relay camp, gives some further particulars of the capture of the ‘"steam gun"’

About 11 o'clock A. M. some stir was manifest in the camp, and the 12 M. Ellicott's Mills train from Baltimore, in charge of Conductor Kenney, on approaching the Relay station, was taken possession of by order of Gen. Butler and impressed into the service of a company of artillery and infantry, numbering several hundred men, with two pieces of cannon. The train, after a short detention sufficient to embark the men, left for the Mills -- Then it was their mission became known to be the capture of the centrifugal steam gun of Mr. Dickinson, then reported to be on its way from this city to Ellicott's Mills, over the turnpike, drawn by six mules, and in charge of Mr. Dickinson, the inventor, and two men who acted as drivers. The gun, it was said, had been taken out for trial at long range. The train reached the Mills almost simultaneously with the gun, which was quietly taken possession of, with Mr. Chas. Dickinson and the men in charge of it, without resistance. The train then returned to the Relay, bringing the gun, which was drawn by the mules attached. The Relay camp was quite lively over the capture last evening, and the gun is the subject of much curious inspection.

It has been erroneously asserted that the centrifugal gun belongs to the city of Baltimore. This is not so. The gun belongs to the inventor, and if there existed any intention to carry the gun out of the city it was not known to the city authorities.

’ A letter from Fortress Monroe, which we copy, contains some information which will interest our readers:

‘ The steam-tug Yankee, of two guns, was sent to reconnoitre near the mouth of the James river, and was fired at from Cummings' Point, where the secessionists have a heavy battery planted. The shell passed over the steamer, and she immediately sought shelter under the guns of the Cumberland.

This Cummings' Point Battery is on the James river side, southwest from the fort, and at a distance of only five miles. The tents of the secession forces now line the whole bank of the river, and can be distinctly seen from the ramparts of Fort Monroe. They have 68 pounder guns in their battery, and appear to be constantly strengthening their position.

Commandant Dimmick is strengthening the land side of Fort Monroe, by mounting 10-inch Columbiads en barlette, which are to be protected by sand-bag entrenchments. They were filling the bags in large numbers on Tuesday. About one hundred men were at work in the forge shop, preparing for mounting guns. It requires 300 men to do guard duty at once, the fort being about one mile in circumference. A very large garrison is, therefore, necessary to properly mount guard and relieve. The ditch around the land side 1875 feet wide, and at high tide contains ten feet of water.

The narrow neck of land which connects the fort with the village of Hampton, is to be cut through, so as to allow the tide to have a natural channel-way. This will add materially to the natural defences of the place.

’ The following items are from the Washington Chronicle, of Sunday.

‘ Thirteen members of the Rhode Island Regiment were sent home on Friday night, in command of Major Slocum. This is done as a punishment for intoxication and disorderly conduct.

James Sheeby was arrested last evening by several United States soldiers for preaching secession, on the Avenue, and endeavoring to inflame the minds of the military against the Government. He was taken to the Central guard house where he awaits orders from the military authorities.

’ A telegraphic dispatch from New York, May 11th, says:

Daniel E. Sickles to-day telegraphed the Secretary of War, tendering the services of a brigade which he has raised, composed of New Yorkers and Philadelphians. The brigade consists of four regiments, including Col. F. P. Montgomery's regiment, of Philadelphia. The men will be equipped as regulars by the city of New York, and will take with them twelve steel rifled cannon, besides a battery of living artillery. Sickles is now acting as Brigadier General, and has his quarters at the City Hall.

’ The Montgomery Advertiser gives the following cheering news from Alabama:

‘ About one hundred and thirty-five companies have offered their services to the Governor of this State since he issued his first proclamation, calling for three thousand men.

In each company there is an average of one hundred men, which, in the aggregate, will amount to about 13,000. Alabamans are certainly manifesting something of the Spartan spirit in their readiness to defend their country.

’ The Memphis Argus, of the 10th inst., says:

‘ Soldiers who arrived from Randolph yesterday evening inform us that cannon are daily being mounted in their places in the fortifications, and are prepared to ‘"speak"’ whenever their voice is required. The ‘"boys"’ are well contented, are rapidly perfecting themselves in drilling, and seem to be ‘"spoiling"’ for a tilt at the hordes of abolitionism.

’ The Memphis Appeal of the 11th inst. says:

‘ A private letter received by us from a gentleman who visited Cairo a few days since, says he is assured that but few of the soldiers now at that place are disposed to fight the South, unless attacked on their own soil. Seventy-five recruits, he adds, refused to take the oath to act offensively against us.

The Paducah (Ky.) Herald says, that Paducah is now well armed, and if the ‘"order were given to drive the pirates and plunderers from Cairo, who have been depredating upon our commerce, that the Kentucky Purchase would turn out thousands of brave and true men, who would march as to a jubilee to the conflict"’ While they admit that ‘"Illinois has a right to occupy Cairo with her troops,"’ they regard the arrest of boats and plundering of property ‘"as an act of war, and the people of the Purchase will march to avenge the wrong."’

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Charles Dickinson (3)
Daniel E. Sickles (2)
Slocum (1)
James Sheeby (1)
Randolph (1)
F. P. Montgomery (1)
Kenney (1)
Dimmick (1)
Cummings (1)
Butler (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
November, 5 AD (1)
September, 5 AD (1)
11th (1)
10th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: