Letter from the South.
(from an Occasional correspondent.)
Alabama River, June 5th, 1862.
Compelled to take the river route, I may have leisure to give you some report of matters and things seen and heard in this section.
Having concluded the statement of what I witnessed of the ‘"evacuation of Corinth
,"’ my correspondence must contain merely matters of less importance and interest.
It is said ‘"an active mind, like the Kollan harp, seizes even the vagrant winds and makes them music."’ The heat and fatigues of Corinth
have left neither mind nor body ‘"active,"’ and as for the ‘"vagrant winds,"’ there is not much air stirring to-day.
Here goes currents calami
--‘"current calamity"’ --although we are not moving up stream.
That reminds me that last night, about nine o'clock, a negro passenger attempted to draw a bucket of water, while the boat was in motion, but was himself drawn overboard and drowned.
The current swept him down so fast the small boat dispatched to his assistance could not rescue him. All thought of the accident seemed to vanish as quickly as the waters closed over their suddenly summoned victim.
One thing I was pleased to see, and the fact may teach a lesson: Although the steamer was full of citizens and soldiers, just from camps and cities, where all sale of liquor was prohibited, and the bar on the boat was kept open day and night, yet there was very little drinking, much less than was formerly indulged in. This shows that the rigid military closing of all drinking saloons has already worked a partial reformation.
The appetite, no longer constantly fed and ‘"growing by what it feeds upon,"’ has been weakened, and may be destroyed.
I am satisfied that if the whole system of ‘"retailing liquors"’ was prohibited perpetually for all time to come, it would be a blessing to the country; and this can and should be done.
The traffic benefits nobody.
Neither buyer nor seller are profited.
Destroy the facility of obtaining liquor by the drink,
and the crop of drunkards would soon be diminished and die out. In a journey of several thousand miles, I have seen but two bar-rooms open, and I am a witness to the good effect of this almost universal stopping the supplies.
is a great city.
When I was there a month ago, the apprehension of attack was imminent.
Yet the citizens, some from old Spotsylvania county, in Virginia
, were full of pluck, and declared the city might be shelled and every house destroyed, but they would not surrender.
Captain John Scott
, a member of General Gladden
's staff, wounded at Shiloh
in the eye, was determined the Yankees
should not get Mobile
He is a noble fellow, very popular, and from my county, Spotsylvania, Va.
Hurxthal, too, and others, prominent merchants, all talked and acted in the same spirit.
The city was game, though a little ‘"skeered."’ On my return I found the excitement had subsided, and the preparations were complete — the "ram, finished — and no danger apprehended or regarded.
The beauties of the city sickness prevented me from inspecting.
I almost got into a difficulty about the management of the Mobile and Ohio Railroad.
I was introduced by the Governor
to a Major as ‘"Colonel
."’ He promised my lost ‘"or mislaid"’ ear of stores should be found.
I suggested the hanging of a superintendent or agent weekly.
He responded that he was a superintendent.
I said I was talking of the superintendent at the other end of the road.
It is a good railroad, but overworked, and some of the officials have got reckless.
As far as my business was concerned, however, I ‘"headed"’ them.
When I was first in Montgomery
, a month ago, the alarm was considerable.
The apprehension of ‘"gunboats"’ up the Alabama river
Now, the bottom of the river having appeared at the top, Commodore Hollins
& Co. will have but little difficulty in obstructing the river navigation.
ought to have appointed, Matthew F. Maury Secretary of the Navy
It would have given us ‘"respectability abroad and security and confidence at home,"’ as Henry Clay
said of the treaty of peace with England
after the war of 1812.
At Columbus, Miss.
, I was glad to see that Col. Hunt
was a working man, establishing armories, factories, &c. To be independent, we must make
all we want.
We must supply material, and create sources and means of supply.
I don't mean to quarrel with our President
He is much criticised out here.
I try to smooth over matters by reminding others that he is mortal like us all, and erring like the best, and, with or without him, we cannot fail in the end. Sydney Johnson
's undeserved censure should be warning enough.
has patriotism, courage, piety and sense, and everything at stake — life, liberty, honor, home, and country.
I cannot believe him weak, and will not believe him cowardly or faithless, and I am as sure of triumph as that the sun shines. L.