departure of discordant Elements of our population-- resignation of a U. S. Officer Roger A. Pryor — the pestilence at Old Point, &c.
[special Correspondence of the Dispatch.]
Portsmouth May 29th, 1861.We of the two cities on each side of the Elizabeth, are very much like the people of Athens, when Paul stood in the midst of Mars' Hill. We spend much of our time in not much else but either to tell or to hear some new thing. A collapse was induced after the unfounded rumors of the battle near Hampton, from which we are recovering, and we may now be said to be again upon the tiptoe of expectation. A large crowd of an undesirable portion of our population — chiefly women, and mostly Irish --was permitted to depart yesterday in a tug which bore them to Old Point, whence, it is presumed, they will be forwarded to their friends. This permitted hegira was in accordance with the request forwarded by the flag of truce from Old Point, alluded to in a former letter. Lieut. Winder, formerly of the Federal Navy, has resigned, and tells me he will leave to-day for Sewell's Point, whither he has been ordered. Yesterday afternoon I visited Camp Gwynn, which is outside and at the southwestern extremity of the Navy Yard, where the Georgia 3d Regiment, under Col. Wright, is tented. They are all able-bodied men, and eager for the fray. They paraded and revolutionized for an hour, when they were dismissed. As soon as this order was given, a loud and united call was sent forth from the ranks for ‘"Pryor! Pryor!"’ The popular and accomplished Colonel of the Third Regiment Virginia Volunteers, whose present post is at the Hospital Battery, was seated upon his gay charger and had witnessed the parade at a respectful distance.--He rode up to the rank, and taking off his cap, made a brief, eloquent and, patriotic response to the flattering call of the Georgia Volunteers. He thanked them in the name of Virginia for the prompt manner in which they had rushed to her relief and defence, counselled them to be patient and cool, and to repose implicit confidence in the able military men to whose direction her affairs had been wisely entrusted. In conclusion, he told them that in all human probability some of them would fall in battle, but that it would be honorable and glorious — that the daughters of Virginia would chant their praises, place the choicest garlands upon their graves, and transmit their deeds in grateful remembrance to their children. I merely give your readers an idea of the tone of his sentiments. Wm. Wakefield, another of the seventy-five, comes out in a card this morning in the Transcript, disclaiming disloyalty to Virginia. Hear him:
"Messrs. Editors: I see in your paper my name as one of the men that voted against secession. In voting against secession, I did not consider it voting against the State of Virginia--that I should be called disloyal to the State. In no single instance have I ever transgressed the laws of my nativity, and no man will do more to aid Virginia than myself. I am no supporter of Lincoln, having in the Presidential election voted for John Bell. Besides, I am a native-born Virginian, and have never been North to be imbued with Northern principles; neither have I ever read the Black Republican platform. I know nothing of their politics. "By giving this a place in your columns, you will oblige,
‘"Portsmouth, May 28, 1861."’ There is nothing more of public interest occurring here. Old Dominion P. S.--I hear that a large number of mattresses and bedding have been seen floating about Old Point. It is supposed that there is a pestilence — probably the small-pox — in the Fort, as reported some time ago. This may in some measure account for the large number of troops (said to be 5,000) tented through the woods at Newport News, and for the occupation of Segar's farm. If the floating about of this bedding be true, (and I have it from genuine authority,) the theory of a pestilence among the soldiery in the Fort gains strength. O. D.