From Fredericksburg.--the surrender of the town Demanded.
We present this morning such particulars as have reached us of the condition of affairs around Fredericksburg
, which, within the past week, has been made the chief theatre of army operations.
Early last week it became apparent that the main body of the enemy's forces were in the vicinity of that town, and the fact was developed that Burnside
intended a movement from that quarter upon Richmond
It is needless to allude to the movements of our own army consequent upon these developments and imprudent to speak of the preparations made to arrest the threatened advance of the enemy.
On Friday a demand was made upon the Mayor
for a surrender of the place, and allowing citizen hours for the removal of the women and children.
Of this summons the following extract of a private letter from a prominent citizen of Fredericksburg
contains fuller information than we have derived from any other source:
Fredericksburg, Nov. 22, 1862.
You will have learned from passengers the brutal character of the summons we received yesterday.
At 11 o'clock Gen. Patrick
brought it over and handed it to the military, to be communicated to the Mayor
The delay in sending it to headquarters was such that the Mayor
read it at 20 minutes to 5 o'clock. He at once wrote a dignified remonstrance.
The summons stated that the town having afforded stores and clothing to the rebels, and the railroad offering facilities to our army, this state of things could no longer be suffered, and unless we surrendered by five o'clock P. M., he would give sixteen
hours to remove the aged and infirm, when he should proceed to shell the town.
It was signed by Sumner
, but stated to be by authority of Burnside
He promised when the town was taken to afford such protection to property and persons as the Government
of the United States
has now determined on. This is not the precise wording of the promise, but its substance.
We regarded it of course as a threat of harsh, rather than a promise of mild treatment.
Our reply stated the impossibility of complying with the request, from the short time allowed and from the fact that they fired at the cars our chief mode of removing the women and children.
We stated that we were authorized to say by the commanding General
, that no supplies should be conveyed to the troops — that the troops should not occupy the town, nor use the railroad depot for military purposes, but that they would not be permitted to occupy.
This was dispatched at 9 o'clock and at 2 A. M. we were informed that they accepted these conditions and would not shell at 9 o'clock, and invited another conference, which is taking place, and of which the train will bring you the result.
I have no idea they can cross, and my opinion is they may wish to embark on the Potomac
If not, their whole plans are entirely frustrated.
I am happy to say the town behaved with becoming firmness and dignity, and if the fates and the necessity of our cause demand the sacrifice of the only exclusively Virginia town in the Commonwealth
, we are prepared to make it without a murmur.
The conference alluded to in this extract resulted in an extension of time for the removal of the women and children, and others not connected with the defence of the place, until 12 o'clock yesterday. The work of removal was at once commenced and rapidly prosecuted, the trains arriving here on Saturday afternoon, being filled with those thus suddenly deprived of their homes.
Whilst the train which left Fredericksburg
about noon on Saturday was leaving the depot, the agreement entered into was broken by the faithless enemy by firing several shells at it, one of which exploded in close proximity to it.
Our latest advices from the town state that up to 1 o'clock yesterday the shelling had not commenced.
During yesterday it was alleged on the streets that the enemy were evacuating their position on the Stafford Heights
and moving back in the direction of the Potomac
, but our inquiries did not satisfy us that such was the fact.
There was also a report late in the evening that their gunboats had ascended the Rappahannock
as far as Port Royal, in Caroline county
, and that they shelled that place yesterday morning, but this also lacks confirmation.