From the West.
[Special Corresponding of the Dispatch.]
Memphis, Tenn., April 15, 1862,
Affairs here look unpleasantly blue.
The enemy are doubtless besieging Fort Pillow
, and with the fall of that stronghold the fate of Memphis
is likewise decided.
Yet there seems to be no excitement, no panic, no alarm such as has been experienced in every other city threatened with Federal occupation, and the people are grimly awaiting their doom.
The fall of Donelson
has made them callous, and not until the volcano has yawned beneath their feet will they be aroused to the critical character of their condition.
It is not to be inferred from these remarks that the Tennesseeans are not loyal to the Southern
On the contrary, no hearts are warmer or truer in the devotion to the Confederacy
Sixty companies have gone from the little city already, and to day even the old men are in arms.
But there are large domestic interests at stake.
Much valuable private property is in the balance, and as long as the Federal
respect this, the owners reason that it is better to remain and protect it than to remove with their families from the State
and give up all to ‘"one fell blow"’
A thousand absurd rumors are in circulation concerning the threatened advance of the enemy; and it is conceded that, with their iron plated gunboats, they can at any time pass Fort Pillow
and descend to Memphis
One of these statements is that word has been sent here to the effect that if the stores of sugar and cotton are burned, the city will be also burned.
Another is that the Federal
, if permitted to occupy Memphis
, will make no further demonstrations, and so on. All of these are, of course, pure fabrications, ‘"full of round and fury, and signifying nothing."’
Troops escaped from Island no.10
still continue to arrive here, and bring exciting accounts of their adventures by the way.--Some of them waded for miles up to their armpits in water; some have been drowned and last, and all the survivors are thoroughly worn down and exhausted by their terrible journey.
The names of some of the officers captured are: Col. Henderson
, Lieut. Col. T. Avery
, (formerly member of Congress from this State,) Col. Baker
, Col. Smith
, and Lieut. R. D. Baugh
, formerly Mayor
of one of the Alabama
regiments, who remained until Wednesday night, and then made his escape in the disguise of a farmer, informed me that he had a long in review with Gens. Pope
, in the course of which the former stated that he should be in Memphis
within ten days.
He said also that he could have taken I and No. 10 several days before, but that the retarded the bombardment for the purpose of prolonging the contest, and thereby preventing reinforcements from being sent to Corinth
The force of the Federal
now on the New Madrid peninsula
is sixteen thousand troops, consisting of cavalry, infantry, and artillery.
Our guns on the island were being unspiked, but the Federal Genera
's claim they have no use for them, as they have guns enough.
The shells thrown by the enemy in many instances weighed two hundred and thirty-four pounds. Upwards of ten thousand missiles were fired at us during the bombardment, the entire result of which was one man killed and a few slightly wounded.
The gallant Capt. Rucker
is safe in this city.
As soon as the Federal
army lauded, they commenced investigations as to the loyalty of the inhabitants.
All who were suspected of secession proclivities were immediately arrested, and their property given up to the soldiers, by whom it was either appropriated or destroyed.
All others were kindly treated.
Northern accounts of the recent tactics of Shiloh
have been received here from both Nashville
and St. Louis
The Federal there in acknowledge a total defeat on Sunday, and a drawn battle on Monday, with a loss of twenty thousand to them and thirty thousand to us. They confess also to a demoralization of the Federal
army, and that a long time may possibly elapse before another fight can take peace.
Our Federal prisoners when here made similar statements, and Prentiss
himself said that had he attack been followed up on Sunday night, we might have captured the entire force.
Nature, however, conspired against such a movement, and and we were obliged to forego the evident advantages which would have accrued from the demonstration.
There prisoners were all in the best of spirits, shouting and yelling with perfect delight, as if they revelled in the idea of exchanging their Northern servitude for a Southern prison.
Many of them were from Indiana
, and the general sentiment expressed was that if the Lincoln Government
attempted to carry out the scheme of emancipation that had been pronounced, at lease three-fifths of the Western
men would lay down their arms and refuse to serve.
They contended that they were fighting to restore the Union
, and not to subjugate our people or overthrow their institutions.
Some of the Federal
carried pikes, such as have been adopted in the Southern
army; but in the heavy growth of small woods which covered the field, they were found to be utterly useless.
Until of late, contrary to the general belief, the Yankee
army has not been well supplied with effective arms.
They have used the old guns that have lain in the London Tower
since 1815; but now they say they are fully equipped in this respect, and irresistible.
Previous to the fight on Monday many of our men were anxious to hoist the black flag and make it a desperate day's work, but they were restrained by the officers.
As it was, several took off their red shirts, and fought under them as sanguinary representatives of the battle-flag.
Great surprise was manifested by the prisoners at the number of boys and small men in our army, and one of them remarked that, ‘"for little fellers, they fought like the d--1."’ Somebody asked him what he thought of the battle generally.
‘"Well,"’ said he, ‘"if you'd stuck to us three hours more Abe Lincoln
might have called his roll in h--11, and he wouldn't have found one of us missing."’
Speaking of boys, it is not less true than remarkable that a large proportion of the army is composed of such material.
And they make the best soldiers.
They fight with vim
and daring, and, what is better still, never know when they are whipped.
One young Kentucky
lad of fifteen, whom I remember, fought all day in advance of his regiment, and never retreated.
Taking his position behind and creeping from bush to bush he kept up a steady fire from his rifle, until he had expended forty cartridges, and then robbed the body of a Yankee for a fresh supply.
His clothes were absolutely cut to pieces, and yet, with the exception of a slight scratch on the arm, he escaped without a wound.
Col. Preston Smith
, who fought so gallantly at the head of the -- Tennessee
regiment, has been brevetted a Brigadier.
Other promotions were made on the field by Beauregard
; and there has been, so it is said, a system of advancement adopted whereby the humblest soldier may, by meritorious conduct, rise from the ranks to the highest offices.
This is as it should be. Promotion made the French
army, gave Napoleon
half his strength and successes, and the sooner the rule is applied here the letter it will be for the common cause.
The wounded are generally doing well.--Several hundred are in the hospital here under the best of medical care, and attended by the ladies of the city.