Notes of the War.
Northern Comments on the battle of Hampton Roads
--Federal invasion of the coasts of Georgia
From late papers in our possession we make up the subjoined summary:
The battle of Bampton Roads.
[from the Philadelphia Inquirer, 11th.]
‘"The long expected rebel steamer Merrimac
has at length made her appearance."’ This is the initial sentence of the Associated Press
dispatch announcing the disastrous rain of the Merrimac
on Saturday last.
The formidable rebel was ‘"long expected,"’ and yet not the slightest competent preparation seems to have been made to resist her approach.
On the contrary, two wooden vessels, and sailing vessels at that, were left wholly at her mercy--one of them, it is reported, without a crew.
When everything should have been in readiness for a sudden and fierce onslaught by a mail-clad steamer, and all such dead wood as sailing vessels should have been cleared out of the way, we find, instead, a state of unreadiness and blind confidence of safety, and the unfortunate Corgress
so situated as to invite their sad fate.
As far as we have intelligence, the sacrifice of brave men on these two vessels in almost or quite as great and equally deplorable as at Ball's Bluff, which the scene at Hampton Roads
calls mentably to mind.
Who is to blame?--That is the angry question that on Sunday night and Monday rose instinctively to every lip. While no one was sufficiently informed to answer the question, the old distrust of the management of the Navy Department was actively revived.
It was argued that, with such ample notice as the entire public of the North
has had of the completion of so formidable an engine of naval warfare as the Merrimac
, there should have been full preparation by the Department to meet her, and to keep, all helpless sailing vessels beyond her reach.
And it was again argued that there was no reason to expect much foresight from a Department shown to be blundering and improvident by the Van Wych
The strong desire for a change in that Department, so freely expressed some months ago, has thus become as active as ever.
To nothing but the opportune arrival of the Monitor
are we indebted for escape from the loss of the entre fleet.
Who is to blame?
This event is, however, not without its valuable lessons.
It is demonstrated that the day of war vessels propelled by sails is at an end. Wherever they are in service on the coast, they exist only by a sort of sufferance.
The moment one of these rade railroad ironctad steamers, which the rebels have had the enterprise to build, can escape the sleepy blockade, all such fine old time-lumber will be sacrificed the Congress
and the Cumberland
These latter are as helpless in such case as an infant in the grasp of a giant.
The little John Smith
, which plies between Chesnut street wharf and the Island
, would be of more service, or at least have better chance of escape.
There is one other point.
The Monitor, which refrieved the fortunes of the day in Hampton Roads
, and upheld the honor of the old flag by beating off the powerful Merrimac
, was built in one hundred days from the date of the contract.
Congress has been nearly that long in session, so that if that body had gone promptly to work in the construction of a mail-clad fleet in the first weeks of the session, as it should have done, we would by this time be almost ready to station one at every point of danger.
But the bill appropriating the money for this purpose lingered for weeks in the Senate, because Senators
were reluctant to entrust the expenditure of the millions involved to the hands which had already so lamentably blundered the purchases for the navy.
Why should such a state of affairs be permitted to continue?
This is not a time for want of harmony or lack of confidence, or the absence of hearty co-operation between the several branches of the Government
There should be a clearing out, at once, of the dead wood of the navy and of the Navy Department.
News Telegraphed from Washington.
A skirmish took place on Sunday noon about four miles beyond Fairfax C. H. Fourteen of the Lincoln
cavalry charged on one hundred and fifty of the Second Maryland infantry, capturing eleven privates and one Lieutenant
, named J. H. Stewart
Several of our men were wounded slightly.
The rebel officer says he mistook our scouts for their own.
To-day information has been brought in from a variety of sources that the forrifications from Cockpit Point
, by the way of Centreville
, have been deserted.
No definite facts have been ascertained in regard to the terrs incognita
of Manassas Junction
, and opinions concerning it are divided in circles of the highest authority.
Some assert that the enemy has drawn his wings into closer connection with the centre, while others assert that a panic has pervaded the whole army, that has so long sat in impudent deflance in front of the Capital
In the deserted fortifications the huge guns are overthrown as far as was possible in the hasty flight of the rebels, while military stores and ammunition are strewn about.--There is no doubt, however, to night, that, as far as Gentrsville is concerned, there is no evidence of the rebels occupying that position, after a careful scrutiny of the earthworks which so lately harbored them.
Fears are freely expressed that the enemy will annihilate Burnside
as they march southward, while others predict a feint to fall with all their force on Banks
These fears are considered entirely groundless, and the best reason that can be given for the grand retrograde is the refusal of their soldiers to enlist at the end of their term of service, which has been so fraught with misery and hardships.
While the rebels are falling back, Yankee enterprise shows itself, and to-day seven miles of telegraph wires were erected and set to work in the direction of Richmond
Some thirteen years ago, A. Lincoln
, then a member of the House of Representatives, and H. Hamlin
; then a Senator, brought before those bodies a discovery of ‘"liquid fire"’ as a means of attack and defence; Mr. B. F. Greenoughy
, is now experimenting, before officers detailed for the purpose, with a ‘"liquid fire"’ which he throws through a small force-pump, through twenty-five feet of rubber hose, in a fluid state.
At the nozals of the hose it passes through wire-gauze, on leaving which it is ignited and thrown in a stream of flame, setting fire to what it strikes.
Perhaps, before very long, he may try it in setting fire to the Navy-Yard
Dupont's expedition on the Southern coast.
The Yankee newspapers raise a shout of exsitation over the capture of Brunswick, Ga.
, and Fernandina, Fla.
, where, it will be remembered; the enemy met with no resistance.
The following is Commodore Dupont
's official report of the proceeding:
Flag-Ship Monican, Harbor of Fernandina, March 4, 1862.
I had the honor to inform you in my last dispatch that the expedition for Fernandina
was equipped, and waiting only for suitable weather to sail from Port Royal
I have now the pleasure to inform you that I am in full possession of Cumberland Sound
, and the Island of Fernandina
and Amelia Island
, and of the river and town of St. Mary's
I sailed from Port Royal
on the last day of February, in the Wabash
, and on the 2d inst. entered Cumberland Sound
, by St. Andrew's Inlet, in the Mohican
; Commander S. W. Goden
, on board of which ship I have hoisted my flag.
The fleet comprised the following vessels, sailing in the order in which they are named.
, Accompanied by the Ellen
,) Seminols, Pawnes, Pocahontas
, Flag, Florida, James Adger
, Blenville, Alabama, Keystone State, Seneca
, Isaac Smith
, Potemska, the armed cutter Henristts, the armed transport McClsllan, (the latter having on board the hattalion of marines under the command of Maj. Reynolds
,) and the transports Empire City
, Marion, Star of the South
, George's Cresk, containing a brigade, under the command of Brig. Gen. Wright
We came to anchor in Cumberland Sound
at half-past 10 on the morning of the 2d, to make an examination of the channel and wait for the tide.
Here I learned, from a contraband who had been picked up at sea by Com. Lanier
, and from the neighboring residents on Cumberland Island
, that the rebels had abandoned, in haste, the whole of the defences of Pernasdina, and were seen at that moment retreating from Amelia Island
, carrying with them such of their munitions as their precipitate flight would allow.
The object of carrying the whole flest through Cumberland Sound
was to turn the heavy works on the south end of Cumberland
and the north and of Amelia Islands
; but on receiving this intelligence I detached the gun boats and armed steamers of light draft from the mainland, and placing them under, the command of Commander P. Drayton
, of the steam-sloop Pawnee
, I ordered him to push through the Sound
with the utmost speed, to save the public and private property from threatened destruction, to prevent the poisoning of the walls, and to put a stop to all these
outrages, by the perpetration of which the leaders of this nefarious' war hope to deceive and exasperate the Southern
In the meantime, I went out of the Sound
and came by sea to the main entrance of the harbor.
In consequence of the bad weather I was unable to cross the bar till this morning.
, accompanied by Commander O. R. P. Rodgers
, with the armed launches and cutters, and the small armed companies from the Wabash
, had arrived several hours before me. Immediately on his entering the harbor, Commander Drayton
sent Lieutenant White
, of the Ottowa, to hoist the flag on Fort Clinch
, the first of the national forts on which the ensign of the Union
has resumed its proper place since the first proclamation of the President
of the United States
A few scattering musket shots were fired from the town by the flying enemy, when it was discovered that a railroad train was about to start.
, on board the Ottowa
, Lieutenant-Commanding Stevens
; chased the train for two miles, and fired several shells at it, aiming at the locomotive, some of which took effect.
It was reported that the Hon. David Yulee
, late a Senator of the United States
from the State of Florida
, escaped from the train and took to the bush.
Commander C. P. Rodgers
, pushing ahead with the launches, captured the rebel steamer Darlington
, containing artillery stores, army wagons, mules, forage, &c., and fortunately secured the draw-bridge, which was held during the night by the second launch of the Wabash
There were passengers, including women and children, aboard the Darlington
, and yet the brutal Captain
suffered her to be fired upon, and refused to hoist the white flag, notwithstanding the entreaties of the women.
No one was injured.
I send the Captain
of the steamer home a prisoner.
His name is Jacob Brock
He is a native of Vermont
, but has been a resident of Florida
for twenty-three years.
The same night, Commander O. P. Rodgers
ascended the at Mary
's with the Ottowa, and took possession of the town, driving out a picket of the enemy's cavalry.
Early in the morning the town of Fernandina
was also occupied by a party of seamen and marines, from Commander Drayton
In both places most of the inhabitants had fied, by order, it is said, of the rebel authorities.
A company of seamen and marines, under Lieut. Miller
, was sent from the Mohican
to hold Fort Clinch
It is reported to me by Lieutenant Commanding Downes
, of the Huron
, that the whole structure of the railroad on the Fernandina
side, including the swinging drawbridge, is quite uninjured.
The rebels have done some damage by fire to the tressel-work on the other side of the river, but I am not yet informed of its extent.
Several locomotives, baggage-tenders, freight cars, and some other property besides that found in the steamer Darlington
, have been recovered.
The whole number of guns discovered up to this time is thirteen, embracing heavy 32 pounders, 8-inch guns, and one 80 and one 120-pounder rifled guns.
The towns of St. Mary's and Fernandina
I visited the town, Fort Clinch
, and the earthworks on the sea face of the Island
. it is impossible to look at these preparations for a vigorous defence, without being surprised that they should have been voluntarily deserted.
The batteries on the north and northeast shores are as complete as art can make them.
Six are well concealed, and protected by ridges of sand hills in front of them, and contain perfect shelter for the men, and are so small and thoroughly covered by the natural growth and the varied contours of the land, that to strike them from the water would be the mere result of chance.
A battery of six guns, though larger and affording therefore a better mark, is equally well sheltered and masked.
These batteries, and the heavy guns mounted on Fort Clinch
, command all the turnings of the main ship channel, and rake an approaching enemy.--Beside them there was another battery.
of four guns, on the south end of Cumberland Island
, the fire of which would cross the channel inside of the bar. The difficulties arising from the indirectness of the channel and from the shoalness of the bar would have added to the defences by keeping the approaching vessels a long time exposen to fire under great disadvantage.
And when the ships of an enemy had passed all these defences, they would have had to encounter a well-constructed and naturally masked battery at the town, which commands the access to the inner anchorags.
We are told that General f ee pronounced the place perfectly defensible.
We are not surprised at this, if true.
We captured Port Royal
, out Fernandina
and Fort Clinch
have been given to us. * * * * *
I take great pleasure in reminding the Department that the principal and ultimate object of the naval expedition which I have the honor to command, was, in its first conception, to take and keep under control the whole line of the seacoast of Georgia
, ‘"knowing,"’ to use the language of the original paper, ‘"that the naval power that controls the seacoast of Georgia
controls the State of Georgia
The report that the fortifications at St. Simons
, armed with heavy columbiads, had been abandoned, which first reached me at Port Royal
, is confirmed.
This being the case, the entire seacoast of Georgia
is now either actually in my possession, or under my control, and thus the views of the Government
have been accomplished.
Black Republican opinion of "the situation."
The Washington Star
, of the 10th, inst., has an article upon the ‘"constrictions of the anaconds,"’ which furnishes a good idea of the opinion now prevailing at the Federal Capital
of the situation of affairs at the South
.--It is known that all the Black Republican
editors are profound strategists, and hence we are not much taken aback by Dug Wallack's exhibition in this instance.
We copy a portion:
A striking effect of the successes of the Union
arms of late, is the fact that on Friday last ‘"Confederate money"’ had fallen in New Orleans to fifty cents on the dollar, and by to-day probably to twenty-five cents on the dollar; or, in other words, that their cause is financially ruined.
They thus find themselves without the means of buying supplies, &c., and know that campaigns can no more be fought without money than without arms.
They were well aware that, especially under such circumstances as we detail above, they ware at the mercy of the Government
's military preparatios here, the moment it might be determined to set the coils of this portion of the anaconda in motion.
The advance of the division of the army under General Banks
, etc., was, therefore, more than they dared risk standing up against.
We believe that they only came to the conclusion to abandon their elaborate defences in this quarter on Thursday last, when they probably commenced falling back from Winchester
; the latter having long been really untenable by them, unless they were willing to risk a decisive battle there.
They made no contest at Leesburg
with the two or three companies of our troops that came down from Lovett's Gap (of the Blue Ridge
) on the day before yesterday to feel them as it were.
In retiring from there, they doubtless struck direct for their Manassas
We find many incredulous relative to the fact that they are abandoning them also.--That, however, is a military necessity, since they have abandoned their defences on both their right and left flanks.
The fact that they are doing so is confirmed by ten or fifteen refugees and contrabands who, availing themselves of the withdrawal of their (the Rebel
) picket guards, have come within our lines in the last twenty-four hours.
They cannot have spiked their guns and fied from their Potomac batteries and their camps and batteries from the mouth of the Occoquan
up to Wolf-run
Shoals — burning and destroying everything they could not carry off in a hurry, as they certainly have done — without thus leaving their right flank wholly atour mercy, as well as their Winchester
defences — their left flank — with any intention of continuing to remain a moment longer at Manassas
than may be necessary to enable them to run their main force away from that position.
A portion of the refugess and contrabands, from whom the information received comes, believe they intend to make a stand at the Rappahannock river
, twenty-four miles in the rear of Manassas
That is simply impossible, because the line of that river for ten miles north and south of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad is utterly untenable, even with properly constructed earthworks — which they are without there.
The first range of country which they might make temporarily defensible, is at and around Culpeper Court-House, though its frequent eminences afford quite as good attacking an defending positions, and there are plenty of them too, So, we do not believe they will stop running until within sight of the smoke of the chimneys of Richmond
We deem it prudent to say nothing whatever of the movements of our army that has thus fairly elbowed them out of their only defensible position this side of their nominal capital, further than that its operations
having already brought about their anticipated effort to steal away from Manassas
, the country may rely upon is that it is nobly carrying out its glorious work thus so admirably commenced.
The President and Secretary of War
, and the General-in-Chief
, of course, are busy as boss, with the matter in hand, as well as every officer and man in the army of the Potomac.
We have further to add that we do not believe the rebels will attempt to hold Richmond
for a week longer, judging their purpose to be to get back into the cotton States as soon as possible; Richmond
being less defensible than Manassas
was three days ago.
, if they dare fight there, they must fight under the influence of intense panic occasioned by their pell-mell retreat from their line of the Potomac
, and without such sturdy works in their front as those they are now so precipitately abandoning.
We sincerely believe that they will have entirely evacuated Virginia
in a fortnight hence.
The New Madrid correspondent of the Memphis Appeal
, writes under date of March 7th that there had been no general engagement at either New Madrid or Island 10
, but there had been several sharp skirmishes between pickets, invariably resulting in the discomfiture of the enemy, who were believed to have lost a hundred men in killed, captured, and wounded within a few days.
The writer proceeds:
As yet we have only one killed and four wounded. One of the Captains
's regiment was wounded by one of the enemy's pickets in ambush, on Thursday last; also, Waters, a private in company B, 12th Arkansas regiment.
Both are doing well, and not considered dangerous.
was killed on board the gunboat Ponchartrain
, and two others badly wounded at the same time.
This was effected by a deception on the part of the Federals
, unparalleled in civilized warfare.
As the Kentucky
passed up on Thursday morning she was fired at by the enemy, one shell exploding over her. The Mary Keene
was fired at about the same time.
Our boat went up and reported to Commodore Hollins
, who immediately started down the Ponchartrain
to dislodge the enemy at Point Pleasant
After firing several rounds the enemy retired without replying.
Just at this moment several persons, supposed to be women, came out on the balconies of the houses, and the bank, waving white flags.
of the Ponchartrain
ordered her to approach the shore, which she did cautiously.
When within about forty yards of the shore the supposed women, with other Federals, commenced a very brisk fire on the boat with their muskets, killing one and wounding two others.
The one killed was a boy of fourteen years, known on the boat as powder boy. He deserves to be written down a hero.
While strong and stalwart men were seeking a hiding place under the bomb-proof shelter, this brave, manly boy stood to his post till pierced by the fatal ball.
He had hardly fallen when little Johnny Reeder
, of about the same age, stepped up to the Captain
, amidst a shower of bullets, and spoke with heroic firmness, ‘"Captain
, I will be your powder boy now!"’ We scarcely know which most to admire.
Both were brave, and gave striking evidence of the folly of our enemies in supposing they can subjugate us.
The enemy will soon be dislodged from Point Pleasant
It is only a ruse on their part, to throw our forces from Fort Thompson
Our troops are all in fine spirits and sanguine of success.