the Tribune's falsehoods — interview between
officers — Sounds from Munson's Hill, etc.
[special Correspondence of the Dispatch.]
Manassas Plains, Sept. 17, 1861,
The base falsehoods that the New York Tribune
recently published in relation to an interview between two Michigan
officers and Captains Thos. B. Massie
and John C. Porter
, of the 7th Virginia Regiment, ought to have choked the breath of its correspondent — whose rapid, almost instantaneous report can but remind us of Pollock
's description of the man in whom the spirit of slander had entered — who with ‘"heart black as death had legs faint with haste to propagate the lie his soul had framed,"’ They begged first for an interview with our officers and after imploring them to cease firing upon their pickets filled the mouths of their press with language as lying as Munchausen
himself could utter.
There were two meetings held with members of the Northern
army on the day mentioned by the Tribunes
reporter, to one of which your correspondent was a party and to the other a close observer.
They occurred about two miles below Mason's Hill, near the deserted houses of two abolitionists of the name of Barcroft
, one of which was then occupied as the main post of our picket forces in the vicinity, and commanded by Captain Massie
Associated, with him was Capt. J. C. Porter
The enemy, in apparently strong numbers, were guarding an adjacent hill, but had signified, by the display of white flags and handkerchiefs, an unwillingness to engage in an unprofitable firing — rendered completely so by the distance between the encampments.
Delighted with the peace that for a time prevailed, the Yankees
approached much nearer, than at first, and desiring to test the lungs rather than the muskets of our brave fellows, opened a loud conversation, attracted by both the novelty of it and a wise anxiety to discontinue a warfare where the enemy could bring to bear their long-range guns, Captain Massie
went forward, announced his name, rank and willingness to ‘"observe the peace,"’ whereupon, a running colloquy ensued, which was much enjoyed by all present.
Early the next morning, a party of two advanced, bearing a white flag and requested to see Captain Massie
at once determined to meet them within their lines, and thereby prevent the success of a suspected stratagem — to obtain information of our strength and location.
A reliable and courageous officer (Lieutenant A. C. Swindler
) was posted upon the top of a house to overlook the advance and give warning of any foul play or action threatening us with danger.
We than went forward, and were met by two intelligent privates, who informally announced the instruction of their officers, to give assurance to Captain Massie
of their determination to desist from all picket-firing, and to beg his concurrence." These men declared, in strong terms, their hatred of the war in which they had enlisted, their high admiration for the bravery of Southern soldiers, and happiness for never having fired a shot,
although they were in the great battle of Manassas
This interview, soon concluded, but directly another flag was observed approaching, whose bearers, when spoken to requested again to see our commander.
demanded to know if they were officers, and had business, determining to make each a sine qua non to another meeting, and received an affirmative answer.
They immediately went over, but as this was a mere repetition of the first, having for its object an agreement to cease the picket shooting, it was brief.
The two interviews were, of course, marked by the usual courtesies, of the profession of arms; but the statement in the Tribune
that Capt. Porter
declared no blood had yet stained his hands is an absurd lie. He and Massie
were in the bloody actions of the 18th and 21st of July, and their companies sustained no fire in whose hottest and thickest part they were not seen cheering on their men to the charge.
Information has been received by me of several other less public interviews with Yankee soldiers, the incidents of which it might appear imprudent to give.
A heavy firing of cannon was heard this morning from the vicinity of Munson's Hill, and this evening it is state that an engagement between considerable forces of the two armies had occurred, giving to us a victory, with twenty-five or thirty-prisoners.
The instructions to our officers and soldiers to hold every inch of ground they occupy; the daily cautions out firm advance towards the enemy; the concentration or drawing together of our troops; the removal of the headquarters of the First Corps to Fairfax
; and numerous other indications, tell plainly that the crouching iron has at last made sure, and is ready to plunge forward.