previous next

Late Northern news.
burning of Harper's Ferry.
operations on the Potomac.
Affairs in Alexandria.
&c., &c., &c.,

From our Northern files, of the 10th, we continue to make up the following summary of the news:

The burning of Harper's Ferry--Federal account.

Sandy Hook, Md., Feb. 8.
--On Thursday night, about 1 o'clock, Major Tyndall's pickets, stationed on the Maryland side of the Potomac, and along the village of Sandy Hook, were alarmed by a gunshot from the foot of Londoun Heights, just below the embouchure of the Shenandoah, followed by female shrieks of murder and cries for help--Colonel Geary, who was at the Major's quarters, immediately ordered a corps of riflemen to concentrate opposite the point whence the cries emanated, and fire continuously on the level of the road at the foot of the mountain, and on both sides of the house where the cries were heard. The order was obeyed, and when the morn broke it was learned that the house of the widow Slipes had been broken into and ransacked for salt, tea, and sugar, by a gang of eighteen or twenty men, supposed to belong to Captain Baylor's guerrillas; also, that the woman had been maltreated because a signal shot had been fired by her son.

About seven o'clock yesterday morning a flag of truce was displayed in a landing arch in the railroad wall, just above the recent Harper's Ferry Bridge, where an angular flight of steps led from the town side of the stone embankment, under the railroad track to the river. The person waving the flag and calling for a boat to come over was the only one in sight, and he was ‘"colored."’ A boat, with the ferry man and a gentleman named George Rohr, (a loyal Virginian, whose property had been destroyed because of his Union sentiments,) went over to respond to the summons of humanity. As the boat neared the arch Rohr remarked to the ferryman, that the man with the flag of truce was not a negro, but a white man painted; nevertheless it was decided to land and see what was wanted. The boat was pushed stern foremost into the arch, Rohr being seated in the stern. By the dim light it was discovered that the stairway was thronged with men, and before the boat could be started forward a man, pronounced by the deceased to be Capt. Baylor, fired a musket, the ball taking effect in Rohr's right thigh, passing through the leg, and coming out just above the knee. The wounded man, finding he had been entrapped, fired his musket into the recess, when a second ball struck him on the shoulder, and passing downward, came out below the right breast.

When it became known on this side that Rohr had been shot, our riflemen poured volley after volley into the landing arch, and such places as the enemy might conceal themselves. The battery on the Maryland heights opened on the houses in the rear, and the pickets in Sandy Hook discovered a squadron of cavalry and footmen pushing up the Shenandoah road in the direction of Charlestown. A squad of foot soldiers were also discovered on the Londoun side of the Shenandoah, behind the abutment of the burned bridge, but beyond the range of our rifles.

The buildings which had concealed the party of murders from view, and sheltered them from the riflemen, had long been the rendezvous, day and night, of the enemy's scouting parties, who were thus enabled to approach unseen and fire upon our pickets. Their destruction had heretofore been contemplated, but desisted from out of consideration of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company, who had a considerable interest therein. Col. Geary, however, ordered their immediate destruction by fire, and failing to ignite by shells, Major Tyndall detached Lieut. Greenwalt, of company ‘"F"’ of the 28th Pennsylvania regiment, with ten men, to proceed to the other side and set fire to them, which they speedily accomplished, bringing back several trophies dropped in hasty retreat by the murdering party, among which was a splendid Minnie musket, loaded, but not capped.

The houses fired were the Wager, Galt and Railroad Hotels, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad depot, the Winchester Railroad depot, Welch's store, the telegraph office, and the dwelling- houses of Mrs Wager, Mrs. Darin, Mrs. Ellen Chambers, George Chambers, and Wm. J. Stevens, none of which were occupied.

The destruction of the block now gives our pickets and battery men a view of the Shenandoah road from Charlestown, and will enable our men to protect the village in daylight from any clandestine occupancy by the eneemy's forces, as well as give them a warm reception if they should attempt to advance in force by their favorite and hitherto protected route. The conflagration was magnificent, the volume of smoke and flame almost concealing the surrounding mountain heights, and enveloping the doomed town. Occasionally a concealed shell or gun would explode in the burning buildings, and give a temporary relief to our cannoneers and riflemen by a hope that they were the guns of an approaching enemy.

The once populous town of Harper's Ferry now contains but seven families — all good Unionists — numbering perhaps forty souls, all told. During the shelling, these, as has long been customary, hung out white flags, and their domiciles were accordingly respected by our cannoneers.

When your correspondent ascended the Maryland Heights, in the afternoon, none of the rebels were visible except a squad of cavalry stretched across the road at a small woods behind Bolivar, nor were more than a dozen citizens seen in the three villages of Harper's Ferry, Camptown and Bolivar for several hours. Squads of the enemy's cavalry were occasionally seen on the read near Charlestown, but their numbers did, not indicate any important movement.

At five o'clock P. M. three of the enemy's cavalry came down the Charlestown road, and, dismounting, entered the ferry. A few moments later one made his appearance with a flag of truce on a platform car, standing directly over the landing arch, where his associates had committed the murder in the morning by the use of an emblem hold sacred in war, even by the most barbarous and debased nations of the earth. Immediately two hundred cocked Enfield rifles covered his form, and two twelve-pounders, loaded with Scriber's patent cartridges, (railroad spikes and iron slugs,) were trained to bear upon the same spot. The men were almost insane to revenge the death of their late comrade, but were prevented by a gesture from Col. Geary. The bearer of the flag come from Charlestown, and was sent to request that the body of young Carlisle, a deceased volunteer in the disunion ranks from Maryland, might be sent over for interment to-day. The Colonel responded that Maryland soil was no fit resting place for the bodies of traitors, and as the flag of truce had been violated in the morning, that game could not be played on him twice in one day. The flag responded that the act of the morning was unauthorized, and would be punished. Col. Geary responded that the first shot was fired by the officer in command, and that he had no confidence in any such assertions. ‘"I will give you five minutes."’ said the Colonel, ‘"to get beyond the reach of my guns. I have no more to say."’ The bearer of the flag and his companions were suddenly on the Charlestown road, and promptly at the expiration of the five minutes, one of the 12 pounders discharged its iron messengers in the line of their retreat.

It was subsequently ascertained that the bearers of the flag were Baylor's men; that it was Baylor who fired the first shot at Rohr, and the flag man was disguised and painted as a negro to decoy our boat into the trap.

Some time ago Rohr was driven from Harper's Ferry (where he owned a handsome property and was carrying on a flourishing carriage manufactory business) on account of his fidelity to the Union. His property was destroyed and confiscated, and he, after securing the retreat of his wife to this side, devoted his whole time to the Government in designating the Secessionists from the Union people who sought to cross into Maryland. He was highly esteemed and honored by all our officers. His widow, who is now destitute, is a Pennsylvania lady, and deserves the consideration of the Government and the Union people.

During the morning two of the enemy were killed outright by our shells, and others were wounded.

During the conflagration a man in citizens dress was seen walking to and fro between the abutment of the Shenandoah bridge and near the house of Widow Kipes. After witnessing his motions for some time, Colonel Geary ordered a squad of his sharpshooters to try the range upon him — the distance being not less than one thousand two hundred yards. At the first volley the fellow ran up the road and fell — he affected to rise and fell again — a cloud of smoke momentarily hid him from view, and when it rose he was nowhere to be seen. Near where he fell a fissure in the rocks was discovered, and a boat with six men crossed and went up the road at the double quick; arriving at the rock the man was discovered, unharmed, snugly ensconced in the opening of the rock, and the squad returned with him as prisoner. On being interrogated, he stated that he belonged to the Virginia militia at Leesburg and came up to visit an uncle Col. Geary, believing him to be a spy, thought he had better be turned over to Uncle Sam. He gave his name as Henry Demory. A deserter from Leesburg, named Samuel Cain, previously found his way to the river, opposite Sandy Hook, and was ferried over.

Yesterday morning a considerable body of foot and mounted men were discovered on the road at the east side of Londoun Heights, but they retreated without coming within range.

Jackson is reliably reported to be still at Winchester. On returning there from his late tour, he denounced his officers as a set of ‘"damned cowards,"’ his men as half traitors, and sent his resignation to Richmond. The authorities there requested him to withdraw it, and he will probably do so, under a promise of a higher position.

Brig. Gen. Lander, at last accounts received here, was at Romney with five thousand men.

The Alexandria slave pen — the difference between rebel prisoners and our own.

Washington, Feb. 9.
--The old slave pen in Alexandria, to the burning shame of our officers though it be, is still used as a guard-house for the soldiers. We visited it on Saturday morning again, with Mr. Lumley, the artist of the New York Illustrated News, who succeeded in making one of his usual accurate sketches of the bleak walls and iron gates. It is merely a square pen, made by four brick walls, about twenty feet high and two feet thick, covering a space of about sixty feet square.

There are no windows and but one door; no roof over it, except a narrow strip over one corner to keep off the pelting storm or cold and poisonous malaria that fills the air at night. A stream of filthy water runs through the centre, and the floor is of brick — always cold, damp, and dirty. Here the soldiers are placed who are arrested for any cause. If a man over- stays his time from camp, gets into a quarrel with another soldier or a Secesh, if he comes into town without a pass, or violates any of the orders, away he is marched into this den. The rebels used it as a place of punishment for slaves or a store-house for ‘"property, "’ alias negroes.--We deprecate their conduct for inhumanity, and then degrade our own troops by putting them upon a level with the ‘"property."’--We do not question the propriety of arresting the soldiers for divers offences, for it is absolutely necessary to maintain order and discipline; but why when rebel soldiers are taken, when Secesh emissaries and spies are arrested, are they taken to good quarters in clean houses and well provided for. There is a grievous wrong here that should be remedied at once. Gen. Montgomery and Col. McLean are men of kind hearts, and in whose breasts there lacks not the slightest sympathy for a Secessionist; but somebody is to blame for this inhuman state of affairs. We cannot learn who it is. Why tie up the hands of our officers whose whole souls are in the war?--Why dishearten and disgust our volunteers by such invidious distinctions? Last Tuesday night, a private of the New York Sixty, third was placed in this pen, intoxicated. He laid down on the only vacant space, in bed, snow and slush over three inches deep, and next morning, when the iron grate was swung open he was carried out a corpse. An inquest was held, and a surgeon testified that he died from drunkenness and exposure; but the surgeon in chief says he was frozen to death.

There are hundreds of nicely furnished houses all over the city, whose owners are in the rebel army. A number of the public buildings are unoccupied; why allow them to remain unused, while our soldiers are sleeping on the cold damp ground in this vile hole? If it is not a crime to wear the United States uniform; why use the men so? We hope that the new Secretary will see that our troops are put at least on a par with rebels.

A collector in Alexandria — protection to rebels.

A collector from the firm of Hoopes & Townsend, an iron manufacturing firm of your city, called yesterday, on a merchant in Alexandria, to buy some goods from his store, and offered him in payment a draft from their house for a bill due near eighteen months. Secesh informed him he would not pay it, but that the needed the money; he sold his goods to live on; that Abolitionists had made this war, and he thought they ought to suffer for it as well as he; that his business was broken up by it, &c. Collector wanted part of the very articles he had bought on credit, which he saw in a corner. Secesh grew defiant, and finally ordered him out, This man, we learn, is gradually selling our everything he has, and in a few months will be in Richmond with the proceeds in gold. He is open and bold in his treason; says he does not care; that there would never have been a dollar's worth of goods sold South only for the Yankee's love for money and excessive profits, and he is glad they have learned a lesson. Such is the position of debtor and creditor in a city where the flag of our country floats. How much worse is it in Richmond? None. There is no law in either place by which justice can be done. How long shall it be until Secesh has turned his property into gold to buy powder with which to drive the bullet to the heart of our patriot soldiers?

Gen. M'Clellan and his enemies.

The greatest indignation prevails here at the persistence of the New York Tribune and other shrieking journals day after day in publishing, in a variety of forms, the shameless falsehood that General McClellan has been reduced to the simple command of the Army of the Potomac. His position is wholly unaltered, nor has it been modified in any way whatever since the advent of Mr. Stanton to the Cabinet. The staff of General McClellan were not notified a week ago to bold themselves in readiness to move over the Potomac. Mr. E. M. Green, a worthy and highly respected private citizen, is not only not on Gen. McClellan's staff, but has no connection whatever with the army, nor is his errand to New York in relation to army matters. The remainder of the Times's story is equally a fabrication out of the whole cloth, and like that of the Tribune, is evidently intended to deceive the public.

There never has been a difference of any kind between the Commander-in-Chief and either the President or Secretary of War, as already stated in this correspondence. Their views have from the beginning coincided in every particular relating to the war. This last fabrication of the shriekers is regarded as the most impudent and desperate abolition dodge that has been foisted upon the community. The events of the next few weeks will abundantly demonstrate how properly the people have reposed confidence in the Administration and in the far-sighted young General whose energies are now directed towards the suppression of the rebellion.

The sole pretext for these various assaults is to be found in the fact that the new Secretary of War possesses a vigor and grasp of intellect, and force of will and energy, which are manifested in every bureau and branch of the department, but which made no changes of command and produced no conflict of views.

European Intervention.

The New York Express, of Saturday, says:

‘ The signs of European interference in our war with the Southern rebels, are evidently on the increase. It is evident, also, that the initiatory step will be taken not by England, but by France Thurlow. Weed, in whose judgment we all have confidence, and whose opportunities for observation are likely to be excellent, writes to a friend in Albany, under date of 21st of January, that the Emperor Napoleon would certainly announce to the Corps Legislating, on the 27th ult., his intention to interfere with the affairs of this country.

This is a startling announcement, but as Mr. Weed is not addicted to ‘"sensations, "’ or sensation writing, we should not be surprised if there was something in it. A few days more will tell. There is a steamer due off Cape Race that may settle the story this very day. In fact, Mr. Weed, it occur to us, but gives plain expression to the policy foreshadowed by the French Minister of State in his recent answer to the petition of the Lyons workmen for relief, and of which we have hitherto had something to say.

Importance of the Union Successes in Tennessee.

No one has manifested more delight at the news of our recent victories in Tennessee than Senator Andy Johnson, of Tennessee, and Emerson Etheridge, Clerk of the House of Representatives. They have been busy explaining to Senators and Representatives the strategic importance of the acquisition of Forts Henry and Donelson. The possession of these defences not only cuts off the communication between Bowling Green and Columbus, but opens to Federal authority and protection a tier of counties extending along the Tennessee river to Mississippi and Alabama--a corner in which large majorities were cast against secession, and where thousands of Union men are still loyal and ready, if provided with arms, to fight for the maintenance of the Union.

Gen. opinion of John. McClellan,

In a speech delivered at a supper in Wheeling, Va., on the 6th inst., Gen. gave many reasons why he has him as a student, and he had known him as a practical military man, and in both relations he excelled. He had always excelled whenever and at whatever he had taken hold — His capacity was undoubted. If any man among our public men was capacitated to wield our huge army, unprecedented as it is in history, it was, in his opinion, McClellan.

A New pontoon train.

A new pontoon train has just been completed and is now encamped near the Arsenal. It consists of a number of large flatboats rigged with wheels under them, so they can be transported rapidly and securely, and an immense amount of timber and planks upon trains of wagons built expressly for that purpose. This is independent of the train of Colonel McLeod Murphy, which is made of India rubber boats which are filled with wind.

Artillery at the Arsenal.

There is now at the Arsenal here over two hundred pieces of light artillery, all of which are ready for the field, and are held as part of the reserve, in case anything should happen to the four hundred now in the army of the Potomac.

New gunboat Pinola.

The United States gunboat Pinola, just finished at Baltimore, has arrived at Washington. She came past the rebel batteries, accompanied by the Revolute, without being fired at. She will here take on board her armament and stores. She is in charge of Lieutenant Commanding Crosby. The Pinola is a screw steamer, about 156 feet in length and 57 feet beam, drawing light about ten feet three inches. The engines (two) are beautifully finished, are about 500 horse power, and were built by C. Reeder, of Baltimore.

Sickness in Lincoln's family.

It was announced yesterday that the usual Saturday reception at the White House, and the eve on Tuesday, would be omitted, on account of the illness of the second son of the President, an interesting lad of about eight years of age, who has been lying dangerously ill, of bilious fever, for the last three days. Mrs. Lincoln has not left his bedside since Wednesday night, and fear are entertained for her health. This evening the fever has abated, and hopes are entertained of the recovery of the little sufferer.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Geary (6)
George Rohr (5)
McClellan (5)
Baylor (4)
Weed (3)
Tyndall (2)
Lincoln (2)
Welch (1)
Wager (1)
Unionists (1)
Townsend (1)
William J. Stevens (1)
Stanton (1)
Slipes (1)
Richmond (1)
C. Reeder (1)
McLeod Murphy (1)
Montgomery (1)
McLean (1)
M'Clellan (1)
Lumley (1)
Lander (1)
Kipes (1)
Andy Johnson (1)
Abner Jackson (1)
Greenwalt (1)
E. M. Green (1)
Emerson Etheridge (1)
Henry Demory (1)
Darin (1)
Crosby (1)
George Chambers (1)
Ellen Chambers (1)
Carlisle (1)
Cain (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
September, 2 AD (1)
August, 2 AD (1)
January 21st (1)
27th (1)
6th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: