Affairs on the coast.
movements of the invaders — how they get their information — Jacksonville — our Sharp.
Shooters at work — the policy of firing cities--Gen. Sidney Johnson, &c.
[special Correspondence of the Dispatch.]
Savannah, Ga., March 14
The news from Norfolk
and the West
has quite diverted our attention from the enemy hereabouts.
We have little worth recording, if we except some further attempts of the Yankees
to penetrate towards our outposts, with a view to reconnoitre doubtless.--The last attempt has resulted rather unfavorably for them, thought they returned the fire of our pickets without inflicting any injury whatever.
The late desultory movements in our neighborhood indicate an impatience on the part of the invaders which will cause us, no doubt, considerable trouble from predatory incursions.
Their fleet has dispersed along the coasts of Georgia
, and now are in the St. Johns river
, and doubtless in possession of Jacksonville
In my last letter I expressed the fear that they would ascend the river and succeed in destroying the foundry located there, and the Confederate gunboat being built by Mooney
under contract with the Government
It has been reported here by passengers over the road from Florida
that the town of Jacksonville
has been the scene of intense agitation on account of the near approach of the Yankee
Besides destroying the foundry and gunboat already alluded to, the citizens appear to have dealt summarily with some Yankees doing business there who attempted to make their way to the enemy; the punishment, though sudden, is not undeserved.
There are some dwellers along our coast. --though, thank God; they are not numerous — who set astride the fence, openly swearing by the Confederacy
, and yet ready at any moment to give aid and comfort to the cause which they secretly wish success to, but dare not assist from the pusillanimous fear of bodily injury.
That these men exist everywhere is admitted, and Georgia
is no exception to the general rule.
We are well satisfied that the enemy possess information which they could not have obtained by any other means than secret communication; their sudden advent at Fernandina
while the guns were all dismounted and the town in an unprepared state to resist, could not have been the result of any chance visit, but followed from secret information given the enemy.
It has been already declared in the papers that a fisherman was the medium of communication; and that these means exist everywhere, even in our midst, cannot well be doubted.
The lesson which the people of Jacksonville
had learned, and which they carried into effect, will keep the emissaries of Lincoln
in wholesome terror of a like visitation.
I have learned that three thousand of the enemy now hold the town, and no doubt will harass the few remaining citizens as long as they are permitted to stay.
They are on the main at present, and Gen. Trapier
has an opportunity to redeem his honor and teach the foe a useful lesson.
He has called upon the Governor
for twenty-five hundred men, and, with the force he has at present available, will be able to cope with the Yankees
They have not progressed as far as Jacksonville
without encountering serious opposition and loss.
No batteries were there to detain them; but the brave riflemen, who are accustomed to the chase in the woods and everglades of the flowery State, did not permit them to pass unassailed.
Many fell upon the deck, until the prudent regard for their safety compelled the remainder to take refuge in the hold.
people got rid of their Mayor
He counselled submission at once to the enemy in order to save the town, but it did not meet the concurrence of his liege subjects and they sent him adrift.
The Mayoralty is an important office at this time, and the incumbents seem to acquire new dignity to wear the robes of office and handle the rod of power with a more complacent air, just at the moment when inexorable fate is about to end their reign.
Unlike great monarchs, they strut about with pompous importance just as they have been made ‘"poor indeed" ’ by being stript of their magisterial honors.
The worthy Major
has declared his intention to hang to the lamp-post any one caught setting fire to his own or his neighbor's dwelling, in the event of the surrender of the city to the Yankees Our Mayor
is one of the right stamp; though I have not learnt that he designed any such extension of his prerogative.
I have understood that the expressed his determination to fight the fire which General Walker
had said he would apply to the city in a similar emergency — to fight it with water.
The question has been discussed seriously here to fire the city in preference to leaving it an asylum to the legions of blood thirsty vagabonds that Lincoln
has sent to subdue us. Many have entered seriously into the question but none, I venture to predict, that have aught to lose in the general destruction.
If any advantage could accrue to us by the destruction, or positive injury to the Yankee
, it would be well to make the sacrifice, and not one of the native citizens of Georgia
but would make it willingly — nay, bring other goods to feed the flame; but there is no shadow or benefit to arise.
It will not prevent the enemy from holding the position.
They surely can get but little supplies towards the support of their army.
All the means of manufacturing and preparing ordnance or warlike material should be effectually destroyed beforehand.
What advantage, then could result from the destruction of the city?
None whatever, and the citizens of Savannah
will be the first to defend their homes from wanton, ruthless destruction, from whatsoever source it may come.
This has been ascribed to General Walker
frequently, but I am not aware that the General
ever expressed any such opinion.
The discussion in Congress relative to the removal of Sidney Johnson
from the command in Tennessee
, does not find favor here, thought the President
may succumb to the violence of the opposition.
It has been suggested that the President
could relieve Gen. Johnson
from the cloud of sand-flies that now annoy him; he could save his friend; he could make many new supporters of his Administration; he could take advantage of the present ardor of the South
, and change the whole aspect in the West
by taking the field in person.
I believe such a movement would be of incalculable service to the country, and around his banner thousands would flock who have not yet been called to the field.
Nothing of any especial importance has occurred on our river.
Yesterday Commodore Tatnall
went down in the Savannah
, and, I understand, Gen. Lawton
, also, to reconnoitre.
They were saluted with about one hundred and fifty shot — in fact, during the entire morning the booming of great guns were heard from all parts of the city.
The enemy have now very formidable works on the river; not only by reason of the number of their guns, but of their range.
Seventeen guns have been mounted in batteries, and the passage of the river is an impossibility for any other than an iron clad battery.
The success of the Merrimack
, or rather Virginia
, (a better hame than that stream from which so much of Yankee
fifth flows into the ocean of Northern life,) has set all the people astir; but time will be required to effect anything of value.
We are very anxious to have full accounts of the battle in Arkansas
The loss of McCulloch
is greatly deplored.--McIntosh
— a name familiar to Georgians — is well known here, and his worth appreciated.
never cease his pursuit till the foe has been finally compelled to lay down his arms.