War Matters.[From the Correspondence of the Cincinnati Gazette, Cairo, Jan. 20, 1862.]
A refuge from the South--what he saw and what he Thinks.The following details are the observations of a ‘"shrewd Boston business man, of the orthodox Boston business conservatism and liking for Southern trade,"’ who lately made his escape from our lines to Yankeedom:
Now to get out of New Orleans.Let me premise that the gentleman went South with a letter from the Mayor of Boston to the Mayor of Louisville, which secured his passes through the lines; that he had many friends and acquaintances in New Orleans, and was thus enabled to learn much of the real feeling, which a stranger could not be expected to act; that he had spent a month in fruitless endeavors to get a pass to return; that finally he secured an appointment as bearer of dispatches from the Belgium Consul at New Orleans to the Minister at Washington, and on the strength of this procured a pass from Major General Loyell, of New Orleans, and that Major General Polk, at Columbus, after refusing for two days, at length reluctantly agreed to pass him through his lines, and furnished him with the following:
Headq'rs 5th division, C. S. A., Columbus, Ky.The bearer, Mr. A. M. C.--, of Boston, has permission to pass our lines into the United States. Fortified with this he walked out of Columbus, in four miles passed the last of their pickets, and in four miles more reached a column of our ‘"expedition,"’ making a reconnaissance toward Columbus. Col. Paine, commanding our brigade, was greatly disgusted at the pass, and exclaimed, ‘"Why, didn't the reverend old fool know you were in the United States at Columbus!"’
The blockade.Mr. C. represents the blockade as only effective enough to be provoking. During one week that he spent in Savannah four vessels ran the blockade and entered that harbor, heavily laden with Enfield rifles, army stores, and the more important necessaries. They have purchased large quantities of arms in Europe, and have got the greater portion of them safely in. Many articles are of course very scarce, such as the heavier classes of foreign imports, but he saw nothing of actual want more than is usual in large cities. The vessels which ran the blockade are mostly small, light-draught steamers, built solely with a view to speed, which clear from ports of the West Indies, with British papers, for some neutral port, sail under British colors, and, with the aid of the best pilots. run in under cover of the night. If they see the blockading vessels in the way at one port they stand off shore, run down to another and try again, and so on until they get in. The enormous profits of course pay for the delay and risk.
The Sumter not a Privateer.Mr. C. states that the Sumter is not now sailing under letters of marque, as has been universally supposed, but is regularly commissioned as a Confederate man-of-war.--The craft is thus relieved from the odium of piracy, and, according to ‘"belligerent rights, "’ has every privilege in a neutral port that a vessel of the United States Navy can claim.
Defences at New Orleans.New Orleans is represented as having been made almost impregnable. The shell road and every avenue of approach to the city are defended by very powerful batteries, sweeping them for miles, while on either side felled trees form an impenetrable abattis out into the swamp. And, to man the fortifications and aid in the defence, they have a force of no less than 50,000 men, under Major General Lovell.
The Port Royal Affair.Mr. C. was in Savannah at the time of the naval bombardment at Port Royal. A single regiment, in his opinion, could have taken Savannah, or the fleet could have run past Fort Pulaski and taken the city with more case than they reduced Hilton ad. The whole country side at once rushed down with miscellaneous weapons and no organization: and even after fifteen or twenty thousand had collected, they would only have swelled the slaughter on their own side, if an attack had been promptly made. But now everything has been lost, the fortifications have been strengthened, and the most efficient preparations have been made for a desperate defence. At New Orleans the people were much depressed over the loss of Port Royal island,-- Subsequently, however, they consoled themselves with the reflection that it was foolish for them to have ever thought of holding the islands against our powerful navy; but when we attempted to leave the cover of our men-of-war and attack them on the main land, they would be ready for us.
Mason and Slidell at once brought gold down from thirty-five to fifteen per cent, premium. Confidence in their Government increased as the prospect of war between the United States and England appeared, and they were jubilant accordingly. The subsequent release was a crushing disappointment, and under the depression gold mounted rapidly again to an exorbitant premium.
Their spirit — about our fighting.They have made up their mind that the North must be as well convinced by this time as they are of the impossibility of reconstructing the Union, and must, therefore, be waging the war as one of subjugation, Against this, former Union men will fight as readily as original secessionists, and it is this conviction which has, of late, produced such unanimity. They regard McClellan as a great General, but say it is a pity he should be compelled to deal with troops he is afraid to trust. The fighting at Belmont, they say, was about the only good fighting done in the war, on our side, and they are amazed that we did not make it a complete success. Mr. C. was three days in Columbus, but was not permitted to see much of the fortifications. In passing in and out, however, enough was seen to show that they are of the most formidable nature. The rebels, themselves, both there and in New Orleans, talked of them as impregnable, and expressed a desire to have us attack them there, but feared we would not. He saw some of the torpedoes with which they are filling the channel, and learned of an accident which would seem to show that they are rather more destructive than has been supposed.--During the gale, the Saturday before he arrived, their bridge of ferry-boats was blown down the stream, and one, happening to pass over one of these sunken torpedoes, was literally blown to pieces. There were about 30,000 troops at Columbus, and some 10,000 or 12,000 had been sent to Bowling Green within the last two weeks. They were established in comfortable log huts, and appeared well, though rather miscellaneously clothed. They spoke of our gun-boats with great respect; said they had complete plans of the Benton, furnished by one of the workmen engaged in building her, and thought Commodore Foots a very respectable antagonist. Mr. C. was convinced that if Columbus was taken it will only be after a most bloody and desperate struggle. He returns fully satisfied of the desperation of the South, and of the improbability that they will ever be finally subjugated.
Arrival of deserters from the rebel army — interesting details of their escape.
Three young men, named Charles Cox, Jesse Gilbert, and W. J. Morrell, deserters from the Southern army, arrived at the Tremont House on Monday night, having been forwarded from Cairo to this city by Geo. W. Gage, Esq., and other citizens, who were cognizant of their condition.
Cox, in company with Gilbert, Morrell, and a fourth party, named Gardner, who has remained in Cairo, are all strong Union men, who, prior to the breaking out of the war, had been engaged in various capacities at the South.
Upon the commencement of hostilities, they, in common with numerous other Northern men, were impressed into the rebel army.
Gilbert, who had formerly been connected with Rice's equestrian establishment, was compelled to join a Louisiana regiment, Cox, who was a compositor in the office of that rampant organ of Secession, the Memphis Appeal, was offered his choice — to enlist in a Tennessee regiment, or be confined in the laboratory and engaged in manufacturing cartridges.
He chose the former, as presenting the best opportunities for escape.
Morrell was also impressed into a Tennessee regiment, and Gardner into a Louisiana regiment.
The concentration of the Southern forces at Columbus brought them together, and their sympathy of feeling and sentiment soon discovered them to each other.
and they laid various plans of escape.
The battle of engaged, offering a favorable opportunity, they deserted and made their way into the woods; but were arrested seven miles below Cairo by Southern scouts, se.
curely bound and taken to Columbus, where, thrust into irons, they were tried before the reverend rebel and pious traitor, Gen Polk, and sentenced to be shot.
They were put into heavy irons and kept in the guard house until two days before the time of the proposed execution, when the unhappy quartette were made the happy recipients of a file at the hands of A friend.
With this instrument they filed off their irons, keeping them together for a time with a wire taken from their bucket, so as not to arouse the suspicions of the guard.
Upon the night of their escape, although a heavy force of sentinels was on guard, by means of a knife they cut through the floor of the guard-house and then forced their way through the dirt and rubbish, by means of the file, underneath four buildings, and emerged in sight of the picket guard, who were huddled together round a fire.
They crawled along upon their hands and knees and managed to elude the observation of the picket.
In this manner they proceeded until they reached the bushes, when they set off at a rapid pace, which was not slackened until they came within the lines of the Twentieth Illinois, Col. Marsh.
They represent that Columbus is strongly fortified, and that the troops are still at work day and night in the entrenchments.--They are in hourly expectation of an attack, and sleep at night — when they do sleep — upon their arms.
The forces at Columbus number some 40,000 men, composed of all nationalities, and mainly from Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
The Tennessee troops are well uniformed in ‘"niggen cloth,"’ and armed with improved muskets.
The other troops, however, are wretchedly armed with shot-guns, and poorly uniformed, many of them barefooted, but all seem hopeful, contented, and confident of ultimate success.
In the ranks are large numbers of Union men, who have been impressed into the service, and will seize the first opportunity to escape.
Columbus is defended by eighty pieces of ordnance, commanding the river, the largest a 128- pounder.
The submarine battery is planted three miles above Columbus, and rifle pits extend back from the river for a distance of three-quarters of a mile.
At Memphis business was comparatively prostrate, and large fires were of frequent occurrence.
[from the Chicago Tribune, Jan. 22
Gen. Cass--grieved and indignant — left Mr. Buchanan's Cabinet, Mr. Attorney-General Black was transferred to the portfolio of State, and Mr. Stanton, then absent from Washington, was fixed upon as Attorney-General. The same night he arrived at a late hour and learned from his family of his appointment. Knowing the character of the bold, bad men then in the ascendancy in the Cabinet, he determined at once to decline; but when, the next day, he announced his resolution at the White House, the entreaties of the distressed and helpless President, and the arguments of Mr. Black, prevailed upon him to accept. At the first meeting of the Cabinet which he attended the condition of the seceded States and course to be pursued with the garrison at Fort Sumter were discussed, Floyd and Thompson dwelling upon ‘"the irritation of the Southern heart,"’ and the folly of ‘"continuing a useless garrison to increase the irritation."’ No one formally proposed any course of action, but the designs of the conspirators were plain to the new Attorney General. He went home troubled. He had in tended, coming in at so late a day, to remain a quiet member of this discordant council. But it was not in his nature to sit quiet longer under such utterances. The next meeting was a long and stormy one, Mr. Holt, feebly seconded by the President, urging the immediate reinforcement of Sumter, while Thompson, Floyd, and Thomas contended that a quasi treaty had been made by the officers of the Government with the leaders of the rebellion to offer no resistance to their violations of law and seizures of Government property. Floyd, especially, blazed with indignation at what he termed the ‘"violation of honor."’ At last Mr. Thompson formally moved that an imperative order be issued to Major Anderson to retire from Sumter to Fort Moultrie--abandoning Sumter to the enemy, and proceeding to a post where he must at once surrender. Stanton could sit still no longer, and rising, he said, with all the earnestness that could be expressed in his bold and resolute features, ‘"Mr. President, it is my duty as your legal adviser to say that you have no right to give up the property of the Government, or abandon the soldiers of the United States to its enemies; and the course proposed by the Secretary of the Interior, if followed, is treason, and will involve you and all concerned in treason."’ Such language had never before been heard in Buchanan's Cabinet, and the men who had so long ruled and billed the President, were surprised and enraged to be thus rebuked. Floyd and Thompson sprang to their feet with fierce, menacing gestures, seeming about to assault Stanton. Mr. Holt took a step forward to the side of the Attorney General. The imbecile President implored them piteously to take their seats. After a few more bitter words the meeting broke up. That was the last Cabinet meeting on that exciting question in which Floyd participated. Before another was called all Washington was startled with a rumor of those gigantic fronds which have made his name so infamous. At first he tried to brazen it out with his customary blustering manner; but the next day the Cabinet waited long for his appearance. At last he came; the door opened, his resignation was thrust into the room, and Floyd disappeared from Washington. Such was the end of Floyd and the beginning of Stanton.
Col. Corcoran, of the New York 69th, writes two letters from his prison in Charleston to friends in New York. He states that his treatment is courteous and kind, though strict. He says: ‘ I have never yet been heard to utter a single word of complaint against any action of my Government, nor do I now wish to be classed among the faith finders; but while many of those who deserted their posts on the battle-field, and ran off from the face of danger to a place of safety, have been rewarded with almost unprecedented promotion, I think it is due to the officers and men who remained in the performance of duty faithfully to the last, and thus fell victims to a long imprisonment, that they should receive at least sufficient consideration to relieve them from the most disagreeable position that men can possibly be placed in. To the men who took advantage of my absence to break up the old Sixty-ninth for the advancement of their own sordid interest, under the mask of patriotism, I shall have something to say on a more favorable occasion. ’
Burnside's expedition.The following intelligence is culled from the Philadelphia Inquirer, of Jan. 22d: ‘ Rumors here seem to indicate that Gen. Burnside has abandoned the project of entering Pamlico Sound, and has gone up the Cape Fear River to take Wilmington, N. C. If this be true, it is quite probable that no demonstration will be made against Norfolk at present. An arrival from the expedition is now looked for with the greatest interest and anxiety. From Cairo, Ill., Jan. 19th, it is learned that the recent reconnaissance in force from Cairo was made in order to ascertain the strength and force of our position in Mississippi. The Yankee papers say it is soon to be followed up by a grand movement down the Mississippi river, both by land and water, and in half a dozen directions. Another object of the well supported reconnaissance was to threaten Columbus in the rear, to prevent General Polk from sending reinforcements to Buckner or Bowling Green, or from affording relief to the Confederates at camps Beauregard and Felicia. ’
Northern Railroad facilities.The Yankee Congress is engaged in considering the subject of increased railroad facilities between New York and Washington. One proposition is to construct a new road direct from Washington to New York; another provides for the construction of double tracts and sidings on existing routes. With a view to prepare a bill providing for the repair and protection by the Government of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad where it has been destroyed, and is now obstructed by the rebels, a resolution has been submitted by the committee asking information from the War Department as to the amount of military force, and the time when it can be spared for this purpose. The committee are prepared to show that the Government have incurred an expense of three millions of dollars on account of the obstructions to this thoroughfare.
Good at Figuring.The New York Herald says: ‘ The following table exhibits the Union force now in the South western part of Kentucky, from where we are in daily expectation of receiving some glorious news:
|Artillery, 19 batteries||3,000|