From the Southwest.
[Special correspondence of the Dispatch.]
Memphis, Tenn., April 28, 1862.The all-absorbing theme of conversation now is the threatened occupation of New Orleans by the enemy. As yet we have no authentic advices from there, upon which we can construct a historic narrative of events; but enough is known to satisfy us that the great metropolis of the South has nobly done her duty. Thirteen gunboats are at her door, and backed by their thunder, the Federal Commodore has made a demand for surrender, which the brave-hearted Mayor has refused. To use his own language, almost Roman in its simplicity, ‘"As to hoisting any other flag than that of our adoption and allegiance, let me say to you, sir, that the man lives not in our midst whose hand and heart would not be palsied at the mere though of such an act; nor could I find in my entire constituency so wretched and desperate a renegade as would dares to profane with his hands the sacred emblem of our aspirations."’ He says further, and with a naivete that cannot but cause a smile, that he don't ‘"know how to surrender,"’ and his people will ‘"yield simply the obedience which the conqueror is enabled to extort from the conquered."’ The tone and sentiment pervading the entire epistle is refreshingly patriotic, stirring to the heart, and while it will excite abroad, as it does here, the admiration of all men, for the dauntless courage exhibited in the face of an overwhelming danger, it will teach to the vandal foe that they have to do with worthy descendants of the sires who pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honors, to the cause of their country's independence. Another scene was enacted in the great drama, for which modern history has few parallels. Men, women and children turned out of their houses en masse to aid in the destruction of the property liable to capture — Gentlemen were seen rolling huge hogsheads of sugar into the levees, until they numbered thousands casks of molasses were knocked in end, and the contents maneuvered sweetly through the gutters, in streams ankle deep.--The torch was applied to King Cotton, and when night came there flashed up against the dark sky voiceless tongues of fire from 30,000 bales proudly proclaiming to the conqueror the spirit of resistance, sacrifice, invincibility, and defiance which characterize this people. Citizens gathered in sullen knots upon the levees and around the public buildings to unite their common determination never to surrender; the ladies and children clustered in crowds upon the thoroughfares, waving Confederate flags and eliciting the cheers of the populace, while the more excitable of the community, constituting the lower classes, could hardly be re-trained from laying violent hands upon the minions of Lincolndom who were landed to do the Federal bidding. The stars and stripes were out down and trampled in the dust almost as soon as they floated in the air, and our own Confederate ensign ran defiantly up from a hundred mastheads. It was a re-inaction of the old time honored fervid scenes of the Revolution, and the pulses that beat in those strong hearts beat in unison to a sentiment that breathed of ‘ "liberty or death."’ Thus stood the attitude of affairs at our last advices. The gunboats were alone. Fort Jackson having nobly maintained her defence, the transports with troops were unable to pass without being sunk. The Federal Commodore is therefore in the condition of the man who won the elephant in the raffle. He has taken New Orleans, but is yet unable to occupy it. And hen his army arrives, as it undoubtedly will in the course of time, he has no assurance that it will not be met by a force who, inspired to desperation, will drive the Yankee soldiery into the sea. It is not believed here that he will dare to shell the city. French and English flags are flying above French and English property, and it is understood that the officers of two men-of-war, representing these respective nations, have entered a protest against the brutal act, the bombardment of a city unoccupied by an army and undefended by fortifications being contrary to the laws of civilized warfare. Let the deed be done in the face of these facts, and the world would raise its hands in holy horror at the baseness of a power who thus wickedly wages war upon innocence and youth — women and children, old age and helpless youth. Your facilities for obtaining news at Richmond are doubtless greater than here, and it is therefore needless for me to anticipate what may already have been published in your enterprising columns. Intelligence from Fort Pillow is unimportant, because unvarying from what I have previously sent you. We still ‘"hold our own,"’ notwithstanding a concentrated fire from seven mortar boats, which continues unremittingly night and day. Originally the enemy had ten boats, but it is believed from several circumstances that three of these have been placed hors de combat by the bursting of the mortars. In addition to these there are seven gunboats, but the majority of the transports have disappeared, the troops being needed to reinforce their army at Pittsburg. You need not be surprised to hear of startling events from the vicinity of Fort Pillow at any hour Jeff. Thompson is ‘"around;" ’ Com. Montgomery is wide awake, and the spirit of resistance is fairly at work. I regret to say, however, that from the beginning there has been a feeling of jealousy between the regular navy, under Com. Hollins, and the Mississippi flotilla. The latter utterly refuses to co-operate with the indomitable Mississippi Captain, and it is said has thrown obstacles in the way of important events, which could easily have been accomplished. Much prejudice exists in Memphis against Hollins, where the facts are fully known, and one hears nothing but vituperation when his name is spoken. I learn that he is now in Richmond, whither, as rumor says, he has been ordered to give reasons for his operations. I know nothing personally of the officer, and only chronicle these facts as a faithful and impartial observer of passing events. Affairs at Corinth are rapidly approaching a crisis. The Federal outposts have penetrated to within five miles of the place and a battle is imminent. Before this reaches you, the clash of arms may have sounded through the marshalled hosts, and the fate of one or both of the armies be determined. Beauregard has left nothing undone, and we are in prime fighting order. The sick have been sent back, the various brigades assigned their positions, orders are flying ‘ "thick as leaves of Vallambrosa,"’ and preparations are completed for giving a suitable reception to the foe. Memphis is in a state of panic. Every loyal man, who can do so consistently with his personal interests, is leaving the city and taking with him his goods and chattels. The enemy are expected within four or five days. Confederate money is useless, and being refused by scores. Many merchants have closed their stores rather than accept it in exchange for their goods. Tennessee money commands a premium of from fifteen to twenty per cent. Sugar has advanced two and a half per cent. This state of affairs is of course due solely to the fact that as soon as the Federals arrive, Southern funds will be comparatively valueless, while State bills will pass here, as at Nashville, with the same facility as United States Treasury notes. I leave for Corinth at once. Quel Qu'un.