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[334] 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. General Beauregard, 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 army.

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. In Virginia and Tennessee 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

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