The war in the South.
[from our army correspondent.
monotony of the hour — where's Halleck 7--Picked Skirmishes — our advantage over the enemy — sickness in the Federal army — statements of prisoners, &c.
Coriet, Miss., May 17, 1862.
Twelve o'clock M., and not a sign or sound from the enemy to-day.
The sun pours down its hot and scorching rays; the air is filled with clouds of excruciatingly fine dust, which, ceremony,
penetrates everywhere, the streets are almost deserted of beings, and men and animals move lazily about their tasks, as if they had yielded to the general languor.
Not even a rumor ripples over the surface of this army ocean, to break the monotony of its calm, and we who float on the tide are drifting towards inertness and indifference.
Oh! for some grand excitement, some sudden intelligence that shall flash along the wires of the heart, and stir this sluggish mass into its former life; something that will call out man and beast; set every foot in motion; fight up the world of human faces about us with the old enthusiasm, and make the air ring with the booming of the great guns, the rattle of musketry, the shouts of men, and all the wild up roar of battle.
Two days of quiet!
why, it's absolutely stagnating.
But, where's Hallack?
Has he left the river with his main body?
Beyond a doubt.
What's he doing?
Entrenching himself as he comes, and fortifying his trenches with heavy guns.
Then he means fight?
Undoubtedly; but net until he has exhausted both skill and strategy in getting has ‘"anaconda"’ into the best possible situation for a double emergency — i. e., attack or defence.
In the first plan, all depends upon his ability to prevent sudden movements on our part, by which his army may be out off or whipped in detail.
In his second or that which provides for defensive operations, having no redoubtable gunboats to scatter their big shell among us, he must compensate for their absence by erecting earthworks behind which he can successively retire as we press on, and possibly prevent an utter rout.
All this preparation is a matter of time.
is an old engineer--one of your ‘"book men,"’ and he is advancing ‘"by the card,"’ spading as he comes Perhaps a mile and a half a day, or even less, is his greatest speed.
His advance is already within two and a half miles of our entrenchments at certain points.
There they will remain until the rear forces are in position. --Fighting between their pickets and ours takes place daily, but, as at Mason
's and Munson's Hills on the Potomac
, with no significant results.
This is the ‘"small fry"’ of the campaign, and the parties engaged consider themselves fortunate in being thus relieved from the monotony of camp.
The great advantage we possess over the enemy is in our ability to move our entire army to a given point within three or four hours. Thus we can concentrate rapidly and effectively.
The Federals, on the contrary, are compelled to make long detours,
which occupy a day or more.
They also encounter obstructions in the shapes of water-courses, that have to be forded or bridged, new roads have to be out, and undry other arrangements have to be made by which they can move readily and conveniently from point to point.
In other words, they have to man on the periphery of an extensive circle with difficulties confronting them at every step whiles we altitude can felt about the centre.
Two prisoners brought in yesterday confirm wasn't stated in my last with reference to the diseased condition or the Federal Army
Thousands are confined to their tents with diarrhea, summer, and camp complaints, and the transports are daily loaded with the sick, destined for the Northern
hospitals, all suffering from had water.
They represent the men generally as being sick of the war, but nevertheless willing to fight when brought to ‘"the scratch" ’ They stated the important fact, also, that most of the soldiers had lost their confidences in their ability to whip us since the late battle, and probably would fight neither as long nor as well as before that event.
They seemed heartily glad to have been captured, and thus saved the risk of losing their valuable entities upon a bloody battle field.
Neither appeared to know anything concerning the designs or movements of the Federal
Speaking of water, we too are suffering terribly from this cause, though, as far as possible, wells are believe dug to replace the dry springs and branches.
With every pint of fluid one has to drink half an ounce of dirt.
You feel it scraps the throat as it goes down; and after it gets to the stomach it lays as heavy and indigestible as a bed of mortar.
If every man in the army has not a thoroughly McAdamised wind-pipe by the time this war is closed, certainly it will not be the fault of the grave he takes into it.
Everything possible, with the limited means at command, is being dons to assist in the sanitary renovation of the troops, but until this first cause is removed there is little prospect of improvement.
Ice is selling at Memphis
at three and five cents per pound; but not a pound have I seen here.
Vegetables also seem to be in abundance there.
On a late visit I enjoyed strawberries, asparagus, peas, beets, and various other agreeable culinary concoctions, yet nothing of the kind is sent to the poor sick soldiers here, only 90 miles distant, and several trains a day constantly in motion.
Recently, however, I learn that Beauregard
has given orders to purchase freely of vegetables and fresh meat, so that the needy portion of the army will be soon supplied.--Most of the sick have been sent away.
Whole regiments are indisposed and unfit for duty, but this is only a temporary illness, resulting from the causes above stated.
They could fight if necessary to- morrow.
Yesterday we sent through the lines one hundred and nine Federal prisoners, who have been paroled.
Probably the same number of Confederates will be paroled by the enemy.
--If anybody complains of the stupidity of this letter, tell the ‘"he, she, or it,"’ that your correspondent is on his back, platonically enduring the most perseveringly pertinacious of chills and fever, and that his head is at this moment buzzing like the inside of an overturned bee-hive.