We had a very interesting interview yesterday with an intelligent gentleman who was formerly a resident of Philadelphia
, but who has been living for some months in Richmond, Virginia
After many unsuccessful efforts, he was fortunate enough to secure a pass to enable him to reach the North
, and he left the capital of the Old Dominion on the 9th of July.
It was impossible at that time to travel on either of the direct routes, and he went to Bristol, Tennessee
, where he was arrested and lodged in jail overnight, but released the next morning, after an examination by the military authorities.
He then proceeded to Nashville, Tennessee
, where a similar fate awaited him; but, after some difficulty, he also obtained his release there, and, proceeding direct to Louisville
, met no further obstructions on his journey, via Cincinnati
, and Lancaster
, to Philadelphia
Among the causes which hastened his departure from Richmond
was the general belief there that every citizen capable of bearing arms would soon be impressed into the military service, and the alternative was presented to him of soon being subjected to great indignities, bearing arms against the North
, or escaping.
Some of the intelligence he communicated to us was of a very important character, and it was all full of interest.
He informed us, for instance, that great pains have been taken to fit out the steamer Yorktown
, which was formerly connected with a line running between New York and Richmond
, so that she may break the blockade, and commit fearful ravages as a privateer.
It was supposed that by this time she would be finished, and her crew is already enlisted.
They have razeed her down fore and aft, and put on board of her eight sixty-eight pounders, four forward and four aft. A space of thirty feet on each side of the wheel-houses is covered with five-eighth inch wrought-iron plates, and a protection has also been placed in front of the engine-house.
The floor of the deck is also protected with iron, and the pilot is secured as much as possible from danger.
But our informant believes that, notwithstanding these precautions, a shot fired into the beam will disable the engine.
This information may be of some service to our cruisers near Fortress Monroe
and on the Potomac
, who, we trust, will keep a sharp look-out for the steel-clad Yorktown
, and prepare to give a good account of her.
The total number of troops on the official muster-roll of the Confederate army in Virginia
a few weeks ago was 180,000, but it must be remembered that this formidable array embraces all those who have arrived from other Southern States, all the raw militia impressed into the service in Virginia
, and thousands of men who are heartily disgusted with, or deadly hostile to, secession, and who will embrace the first opportunity that offers to escape from the secession ranks.
It was supposed that at Manassas Gap and Manassas Junction
about sixty thousand troops were stationed, at and near Norfolk
about twenty thousand, in the vicinity of Richmond
about seven thousand; that General Johnson
had from fifteen to twenty thousand, exclusive of his recent reenforcement of five thousand; that in the neighborhood of Fairfax Court House there were at the time of his departure not more than from fifteen to twenty-five hundred.
The remaining troops are scattered at different points throughout the State
, embracing in part those who are under the command of Gen. Wise
, and those who were recently defeated in several battles by Gen. McClellan
Our informant visited many of the soldiers when they were quartered near Richmond
, for the purpose of obtaining an insight into their real sentiments, and though professing himself, for his own safety, to be a rank secessionist, he found many of them much dissatisfied, and they complained bitterly of the treatment to which they had been subjected.
Quite a number did not hesitate to declare, when they ascertained he was from the North
, that they would embrace the first opportunity to desert into our lines, and that if a great battle occurred, they would rather fire upon their own associates than upon the Union
many men were forced against their will to enter the Confederate army, three alternatives, as they expressed it, being placed before them--“to enlist, to go to jail, or to be hung.”
When it is considered that not a few of them have no sympathy with the secession movement, that they have received little or no pay, that their provisions are scant, it is not singular that they are anxious to desert.
It must not be inferred, however,
that these feelings are universal.
On the contrary, the prevailing opinion among the soldiers is that they will have an easy victory over the North
, and the officers do all in their power to inspire them with confidence.
, about the close of June, in addressing his troops, assured them that he had a strong hope that on the Fourth of July he would dine at Willard's Hotel, in Washington
; that he would then immediately march upon Philadelphia
, from which point he would proceed to New York, and there alone, on the banks of the Hudson
, dictate terms of peace to the Northern
The cry among all the ultra-secessionists that they seek no compromise, that they will ask for no quarter, and grant none.
Their troops strive to be armed to the teeth, as if they were bent upon a sanguinary contest.
Many of them have good arms; others are supplied with ordinary regulation muskets.
Some still use flint locks, some shot guns, and about eight or ten thousand have not yet been furnished with any guns at all. There is an immense number of bowie knives
and revolvers among them, and an unusually large proportion of their force consists of cavalry, mounted on very fine horses, branded “Va.
” on one of the front shoulders, and they are now taking particular pains to have their cavalry swords made very sharp.
Men are found in the ranks of almost every age from thirteen to sixty, and many of them are crippled or deformed, as they have no rigid inspection, and gladly accept all whose services they can obtain.
There is no uniformity in their clothing, and often members of the same company wear suits of different colors.
In conversing with troops from the South
, he expressed surprise that Fort Pickens
had not yet been captured, but they replied that it was now too strong to be taken, except with great loss of life, and there was little probability of its soon falling into their hands.
Of the capture of Fortress Monroe
the soldiers seemed more sanguine.
They said that when they were ready to march against it they would soon find means to force our troops to surrender.
Public sentiment in the city of Richmond
has recently undergone a very considerable change.
Some five or six weeks ago scarcely a man could be found who had not been carried away by the secession excitement, but now, among the masses and the working men, a Union feeling is rapidly being developed, and if a fair election could be held at this time, and public sentiment truly expressed, a very large Union vote would be polled.
On the other hand, the politicians and those who at present appear on the surface to control public sentiment are very loud and bitter in their denunciations of the North
, and declare that they will never be subjugated — that, no matter how large may be our force, or how many victories we may win, they will fight for independence until their last dollar is spent and their last man killed.
Great pains have been taken to fortify Richmond
, and it is the prevailing opinion there that even if our armies should, by any chance, approach that city, they would be unable to enter it. Several heavy batteries, mounted with a large number of sixty-eight pounders, have been erected--one in the direction of Acquia Creek
, another on James River
, another out by Howard Grove, towards Norfolk
; and the best pass towards the city, which is from the northwest, is well guarded, and they believe can be successfully defended against any is force we can muster.
Many of the negroes in Richmond
are at present idle, on account of the tobacco factories having been closed, and there is considerable uneasiness felt in regard to them by the white population.
The patrol and police force, which parade the streets day and night, have always their guns loaded, so as to be prepared for any emergency.
The negroes are kept well informed of the course of events by the colored waiters at the various hotels, where the officers, over their wine and whiskey, discuss military affairs with more freedom than discretion.
A short time ago three negroes were passing down one of the streets of Richmond
, when one of them complained to the others of the treatment he had recently received from his master, to which one of his companions replied, “Well, never mind; Massa Lincoln will be here soon, and den it will all be right.”
This conversation having been overheard, the negroes were arrested, and each received thirty-nine lashes.
On another occasion our informant saw a negro drilling, in the outskirts of the city, after the usual military fashion, some forty or fifty negroes.
He asked him what he was drilling negroes for?
to which he replied, “Oh!
everybody learnina to be soldiers now; why not de darkies too?”
Not satisfied with this answer, he repeated his interrogatory, when the negro said, “Well really, massa, I don't like to say.”
It is a general complaint among the whites that the negroes are much more impudent than usual, and but little disposed to cheerfully submit to the restraints which were formerly imposed upon them.
Provisions of some kinds are now becoming scarce in Richmond
, and command high prices.
The stock of bacon is very low, but this year's crop of wheat and corn is a very fair one, and there is little probability of any want of these articles in the South
during the coming season.
the yield has been unusually great.
Our informant saw in the former State one plantation containing 2,000 acres, and in the other 1,800 acres of first-rate wheat, and many excellent crops of corn.
The effects of the blockade are beginning to be seriously felt.
The stocks of salt and leather, and many other articles for which there is great demand.
are very low. Ice is
also very scarce, and can only be obtained at a price ranging from five to fifteen cents per pound, and then not without a physician's prescription.
For a glass of ice-water fifteen cents are charged at some of the hotels.
The cargo lately taken to that city by the St. Nicholas
, after her capture by the pirate Captain Thomas
, was disposed of by the State
taking half of it, and the other half was obtained by Mr. Crenshaw
, the proprietor of the Spottswood House
, where Jeff. Davis
and family are quartered.
Notwithstanding all the precautions which have been taken, goods of great importance to the insurgents are still occasionally forwarded to them from the North
On the Fourth of July thirty barrels of linseed oil
arrived there from the city of Philadelphia
, and was of great use to them in the manufacture of oilcloth for haversacks and knapsacks.
It was obtained by Purcell
& Co., of Richmond
; and it might not be amiss for our authorities to inquire what one of our establishments furnished it.
About six weeks ago buckles and sewing-thread, for the manufacture of military equipments
, became very scarce; but Mr. King
, of the firm of King
, went to Massachusetts
, by the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, and obtained a good supply, which he took back with him by the same route.
There is still plenty of employment for all who understand any trades useful in assisting in the equipment of the army, and they are kept busily at work.
The Union Manufacturing Company, which is under the superintendence of G. P. Sloat
, formerly of this city, has a contract to alter 5,000 guns from flint to percussion locks, which it is now doing rapidly.
When the war first broke out there was a scarcity of caps in Virginia
, and it was estimated that there were not more than three for each soldier in the Southern
A Mr. De Bow
then commenced to make a machine to manufacture them, and finally succeeded in constructing one capable of turning out 40,000 per day, without the fulminating or detonating powder.
The first efforts to make this powder were fatal to those employed.
, a chemist, after succeeding in manufacturing it, endeavored to continue the business in his house; but an explosion occurred by which his building was destroyed, his wife and children terribly hurt, his own eyes blown out, and such other injuries inflicted upon him that, after lingering a short time in great agony, he finally expired.
Undaunted by this disaster, another man was obtained to continue its manufacture, but in a few days a similar accident occurred.
His head was blown off, his arms torn from their sockets, and his assistant was also killed.
Notwithstanding this, another manufacturer has since been obtained, and the insurgent army is now being well supplied from Richmond
, and it is believed, by an establishment in Memphis
, with percussion caps
Mean-while, Mr. De Bow
is making three more cap machines--two to be used in Virginia
and one in North Carolina
. He is also busily at work at an infernal machine, to blow up forts and vessels.
It is connected with clock work, so arranged that, in any period after it is set, from five minutes to twenty-four hours, fire may be communicated to a barrel of explosive matter
. It is on an entirely different principle from the machine recently found by one of our vessels floating in the Potomac
, and the Richmond
secessionists seem to entertain great hopes of its utility in inflicting injuries upon us. At one time, there was a great want of powder in the South
, which is now being supplied by manufacturers in North Carolina
The machinery for the manufacture of arms at Harper's Ferry
has been removed to Fayetteville, N. C.
, where two hundred and seventy-five men have been sent to put it into operation.
The design is to chiefly manufacture there Morse
's breech-loading rifles, for which they have obtained all the necessary patterns.
The Tredegar Works at Richmond
are very busily engaged manufacturing arms for the rebel army.
They turn out two sixty-eight pounders and two six-pound howitzers, or smooth-bore cannon, and a great quantity of shot and shell every week.
, who is at the head of the establishment, has formed the operatives into a military organization, called the Tredegar Battalion
, of which he is the commander.
The currency of Richmond
is in a very disordered condition.
On the best bank bills a discount of from fifteen to twenty per cent. must be paid to obtain gold, and of ten per cent. for silver of the denomination of twenty-five cents or upwards, but five and ten cent pieces are very scarce, and cannot be obtained without paying a much higher premium.
The chief small currency are shinplasters issued by the corporations, which are worth about twenty per cent. less than the bank notes.
The bills of the Government
are paid in treasury notes, State scrip, or corporation money.
The people of Richmond
think it utterly impossible that our Government can obtain a loan of $250,000,000, and declare the effort of the Administration to do so to be absurd.
The public generally know comparatively little of what is transpiring in the North
, as their own papers do not attempt to give correct information.
Their military officers
, however, appear to be well informed, and one of their most important avenues of information seems to be the Baltimore Sun
, which is received there with great regularity.
There are occasional interruptions of a day or two, but these do not very often occur.
takes a ride in the evening through the city on a fine gray horse, and excites considerable enthusiasm among the citizens, with whom he is rather popular.
Alexander H. Stephens
was not in the city when our informant left there, but was expected soon.
All the secession Cabinet, and a good
many members of the Congress
, which is to meet on the 20th of July, had arrived there.
The secessionists expressed great indignation at the proposed secession of Western Virginia
from the eastern part of that State, and of East from West Tennessee
, which they thought entirely unconstitutional and rebellious; but when they heard that there was a disposition upon the part of Western Kentucky
to secede from the loyal portion of that State, they declared it to be a very righteous and perfectly legal movement.
As an evidence of the aristocratic tendencies of secession, and of the growing unpopularity of it among the working classes, our informant states that the Richmond Dispatch
earnestly advocates the establishment of a property qualification as a condition for the enjoyment of the right of suffrage, so that an aristocratic government may be created.
In many of the camps the measles and mumps were very prevalent, and many men had died of neglect and improper treatment.
At one camp in Tennessee
he saw two large tents literally crowded with the sick.
's South Carolina regiment, whose term of service had expired, had reached Richmond
on their way home.
The colonel tried to get them to reenlist and go back, but only sixteen out of the whole regiment were willing.
The men were nearly all mechanics, and were dissatisfied with the service.
and the other officer of the Pennsylvania volunteers captured on the Potomac
, had been at large on parole, in Richmond
; but on Monday of last week they were again put in confinement in a tobacco warehouse on Main street, near the Rockets, where about fifty other prisoners from our army are confined.
In passing through Tennessee
our informant learned that General Anderson
, in command of Nashville
, ordered two regiments on Wednesday to East Tennessee
, and two more were to go the next day, to overawe the Union
men in that region.--Philadelphia. Press
, July 18.