Latest from the North.
We have received Northern papers of the 18th instant.
They contain a very interesting account of the battle of Fredericksburg and some highly interesting comments of the press on the same.
We give below some extracts from them:
further Yankee Accounts of the Fredericksburg battle.
An interesting account — a failure Acknowledged.A correspondent of the New York Tribune, under date of ‘" Fredericksburg, December 14th 11 P. M,"’ thus writes: It is no pleasant task to cool ardent hopes-- disappoint high expectations — predict the unfulfilling of fond wishes. Yet stern realities can never be recognized too soon in order to enable us to prepare for their possible consequences; and hence I trust I will not be blamed for the revelation of the discouraging facts pertaining to the condition in which the Army of the Potomac is on this morning, after yesterday's sanguinary, all but fruitless, struggle Undertakings of any kind are measured by the power employed to carry them out and the result realized by it. This rule applied to yesterday's bloody work of our arms, one cannot help coming to the conclusion that they came short of success. The main object of their efforts was the dislodgement of the rebels from their entrenched position on the heights, the possession of which gave them control of all the roads leading southward from the Rappahannock. But although every means of which the character of the task admitted was used neither the whole nor any portion of the line occupied by the enemy at the opening of the battle is to day in our hands. The causes of our failure are so plain that they cannot be mistaken by even the most unprofessional of observers. We had for the attack superiority of numbers and armament. The former war not only more than balanced by the strength of the enemy's position, but also as available to its full extent of momentum, owing to the unfavorable ground from which we moved to the attack.--An individual, however strong in muscle, cannot successfully contend with an adversary if confined with an adversary if confined to space so narrow as to prevent the free use of his arms. Our right, although sufficiently powerful in point of numbers for the work assigned to it, was precluded from a full and simultaneous display of us strength by being crammed into the streets of Fredericksburg. I doubt whether the history of wars affords another instance of an army attempting to combat from within a town with another enjoying the full freedom of motion given by abundance of space. The six divisions of the Right Grand Division were crowded into these streets so thickly that during Saturday night there troops had hardly sleeping room. The corps of the Centre Grand Division, acting as their reserve, was separated from them soon after the battle by the Rappahannock — another remarkable-- emittance bearing destructively upon the operations of the day. As to our preponderance in artillery, the impracticability of making it tell upon the fortunes of the day deprived as almost wholly of the benefit of it on the right. During the entire struggle on that portion of the lines all but two of the batteries attached to the Right Crand Division and Butler-field's corps stood unemployed on the lower streets of the town. Our batteries on the heights on the right bank of the river could also render no protection to our infantry, as their fire would have done as much damage to our own troops as to the enemy after the former had moved to the attack. Our left did not suffer like the right from the drawback of want of space, as it manœuvred on a high place and bottom. Yet, both wings labored under the disadvantage of righting from low against the enemy on high ground. The obstructions of the sense of the action on our right, in the form of walls, fences and houses, unavoidably confined the movement of our troops, as they successively advanced to the front, to the streets, which were so constantly and completely blocked up during the afternoon that it was impossible for the ammunition trains to reach the divisions of French and Hancock, after they were relieved by others, and supply them with cartridges. They were there by virtually placed hors de combat greatly weakening the force of our attack. Whatever the results of the battle may be termed — check or repulse-- it is certain that the failure to accomplish what we attempted is not the only evil fruit of yesterday. I have spent several hours this morning in visiting the field and the positions held by our troops, and I found the most unmistakable evidence everywhere that the expenditure of strength has been so great as to produce exhaustion to a degree that will render the resumption of the offensive on our part impossible, not only for to day, but for several days to come. The extent of our loss in killed and wounded is not ascertained as yet with anything like definiteness. I have seen enough, however, to satisfy me that will be even greater than it was supposed last night. If 6,000 will cover that of the Right Grand Division I shall be gratefully disappointed. The fact that many of our men have been taken prisoners has only become known this evening. But it is not in the casualties alone that the army has been weakened. The fatigue and exposure of the soldiers for the last three days has been very great, as they have been standing under arms in the mud and cold. Upon the whole, it is my deliberate opinion — and I know it is shared by many of the general officers I have seen — that the army is not fit for the immediate renewal of hostilities, and that it requires rest imperatively. It is likewise evident that the unsuccessful fighting of yesterday, and the hardships endured, have not only affected the bodies, but also the spirits of both officers and men, and time for mental recuperation seems also to be required. No one would be gladder to reflect the bright sides of the situation and prospect of the Army of the Potomac than myself; yet a sense of truth compels me to state that it is not by any means encouraging. To renew an attack on the enemy's position during the night, strengthened, as it has been ascertained this morning, by new batteries, with weakened numbers, would probably result in no better success than that of yesterday. To continue in the position now held cannot be thought of. An attempt to retreat to this side of the river by the precarious means of passage, over a few frail bridges, would undoubtedly bring the victorious hosts of the enemy at once to the attack, and might result in the worst calamity of the war. How the army is to be extricated from these predicaments, I am unable to devise. I trust that those entrusted with its fortunes have the ability to do it. Among the officers reported as killed at the battle of Fredericksburg are Gen. Bayard, of the cavalry; Gen. Jackson, of the Pennsylvania Reserves; Col. Zinn, 132d Pennsylvania; Lt-Col. Dickinson, 4th U. S. artillery; Lt. Col. Curtis, 4th Rhode Island; Lt. Col. Sayles, 7th Rhode Island; Major Horgan, 88th New York: Capt. Kelly, 14th Indiana, and Capt Meagher, 7th New York. Amongst the wounded are the names of Gens. Vinton, Gibbon, Kimball, Caldwell, and Campbell none of them dangerously. Cols Sinclair, 5th Pa; N H Nugent, 69th N Y; Wiseman, 28th N J; Snyder, 7th Va; Miles, 61st N Y; Andrews, 1st Delaware; McGregor, 10th Mass; Hatch, 4th N J. Lt. Cols Geo Dane, 6th Pa; Goodman, 4th Ohio. Majors Goebel, 7th New York; C. C Knight, L19th Pennsylvania; Jennings, 26th New York; O'Nell, 63d New York. Bardwell, of Pennsylvania; Cavanaugh, 69th New York; Philbrook, 16th Massachuset is. Captains Cameroon, 9th New York; Carpenter, 91st New York; Hart, Assistant Adjutant General to Gen. Tyler; Andrew Mahoney. 19th Massachusetts; M. Dunn, 19th Massachusetts, Hendrickson, 9th New York, G. G. Weymonth and J. R. Smith, 136th Pennsylvania; Slater, 15th N York; Leddy, 69th New York; Houghton; 14th Indiana; Burke, 88th New York; Donnovan, 69th New York; Cartwright, 63d New York. Our total loss in officers and men is variously stated at from five to ten thousand.
The plan of the battle.A correspondent of the New York Times concludes a description of the battle of Saturday with the following reflections: Shall we say, then it was a defeat? Certainly. If to have started out to accomplish a certain object, and to have failed in doing so, be a defeat, you can apply no other term to the upshot of to day's battle. In spite of all the glosses of official dispatches which you may receive, it seems here to night that we have suffered a defeat. Let us hope that, when fully prepared, the assault may be renewed with new tactical combination, the position carried, and the day retrieved. If it be not so, the 13th day of December must be accounted a black day in the calendar of the Republic. If you are disposed to indulge in criticism on the plan of the battle of Fredericksburg it will not be difficult to point out its great and radical defects.--To have hurled forward masses of men against the fortified works of those terraces was certainly a manifestation of daring, untempered by the slights prudence. Was it not also a fatal error to have risked the whole success of the plan on the accomplishment of a certain manœuvre, (Franklin's ability to swing round on the rebel flanks, namely,) where all the elements of the problem were completely wanting! What a fearful fatality, too, that our accumulation of artillery was all but entirely unless to us, owing to the distance of the range and the exposure of our own troops. And what a misfortune, equally lamentable, that the approach to the rebel positions back of Fredericksburg was as area so restricted that our field batteries were almost equally useless, owing to the impossibility of manœuvering In the course of this correspondence, from the time of our first occupation of Falmouth; I have informed you of the gradual development of the rebel position, from an absolutely defenceless condition to the time that it became another Gibraltar. Never for a moment did we, who watched this progress, suppose that it would ever be attempted to be taken by hurling masses of men against those works. We had supposed that the resources of strategy would assuredly afford other means of accomplishing the desired end. Regarded as a position of defence, that which the rebel leaders have taken up on the Rappahannock, and which we have been pleased to assail in the manner indicated and with the result known, none could possibly be more magnificent or more nearly impregnable. With fifty thousand men they should easily hold it with three times that number of assailants. And, indeed, they appear never to have employed more than about than about that number. Every time we poured forward fresh men they had ready reinforcements to match. From prisoners taken I learn that on the right, commanded by Jackson, half of the force only (and chiefly the division of A P Hill and Farly's brigade) was engaged. I take it that they had along the line of the Rappahannock about one hundred thousand men, and that 50,000, more or less, were actually engaged in the contest. The Confederate loaders have acted with their usual wiliness in this whole matter. They did well to let us easily into Fredericksburg, firing but a half dozen guns., when they could have brought a hundred to bear upon us. The city itself was the veriest trap that ever was laid — and we have walked into it. Is it any wonder, that with such a position-- on the inside of an are of a circle of batteries-- ‘"Mid upper, nether and surrounding fires,"’
Our troops were over and over again broken and shattered in the attempt to take it? The wonder is that such admirable pluck was shown. It is a hopeless task now to go back over the series of blunders that have made this disaster forcible — to inquire, for instance, who is responsible for the delaying of the pontoon bridges ten days beyond the time promised Gen. Burnside, thus enabling the rebels to render their position impregnable. Enough that the inquisition will come by and by. At the close of the battle to night, Gen. Burnside declared that he would renew the contest in the morning. There is, to my mind however, little probability that this will be done, or can be done. It is likely that the council of Generals-- composed of Burnside, Summer, Hooker, and Franklin — now meeting at this house, will shake this determination, as I know they are all opposed to the measure. Indeed, one has only to go over to Fredericksburg, where the army is now huddled, and see its shattered and broken condition — regiments scattered, disorganized, &c.,--to see that a renewal of the fight in the morning or even for some time, is wholly impossible. What the upshot of the whole affair is destined to be, it is of course fruitless to conjecture. We can, no doubt, by the adoption of the right plan, force their position. Their right is really their weak point, and that, by the way, they are now busily engaged in strengthening to- night. The line of the river is, however, entirely too long to be guarded against enterprising attacks, and with the proper dispositions their position can readily by flanked. The situation of our army, however, in cheval of a river — is a perilous one--one of the most demoralizing known; and it may be the dictate of prudence to withdraw the army as soon as possible to the North bank of the Rappahannock.
Particulars of the crossing of the Rappahannock.
The Second report of Burnside.
Major General Commanding.
Gen. Burnside, with military frankness and brevity, explains the reason of the retreat of the Army of the Potomac to the north side of the Rappahannock ‘"He felt that the position of the rebels could not be carried, and it was a military necessity to attack or retire. A repulse would have been disastrous to us."’ The return to this side of the river, he says, was accomplished without the loss of either men or property. A press dispatch from headquarters gives a full account of the retrograde movement of the army. Even the stragglers and outlying pickets were brought off in small boats.--The army has been considerably reinforced since the battle, and is now comfortable and ‘"safe"’ on the same camping ground it occupied before the advance. The dead have been harried under flags up truce, and the wounded are being sent to Washington as fast as possible. A large portion of the latter, however, fell into the bands of the enemy. The total loss in killed and wounded, it is estimated, will be from 10,000 to 12,000. In the attack of Gen Franklin on the left we had 443 killed, 3,343 wounded, and 1,900 missing. The only redeeming feature in the sad and fruitless loss of life and limb is the bravery and coolness of the men, who, with trifling exceptions, never flinched in the vain attempt to take positions that were impregnable to assault. The successive charges made up the crest of the hill, which was the key to the enemy's position, are described by all the correspondents as magnificent. Both the New York Herald and the World assert that the advance movement upon Fredericksburg was not undertaken in accordance with General Burnside's own judgment, but was peremptorily ordered by the military authorities in Washington. The World makes the following remarkable statement: We have no words of unkindness for Gen Burnside. He is a very different style of man from the braggart Pope, and deserves commiseration rather than censure in his heavy misfortune. Gen Burnside acted under strict orders; he was complies to move upon Fredericksburg by peremptory directions from Washington, which domineered over his judgment and extorted his obedience. Whembe was ordered to Fredericksburg he had the promise of Gen. Halleck that this pontoons should meet him there Gen. Halleck forgot to give the order, and they were delayed so long that the enemy occupied the heights. In this emergency a council of war was held; all the corps commanders opposed an advance; but Burnside said, in conclusion, that he was compelled to advance by orders from Washington. The reported wounding of Gen. Meagher is a mistake. His horse fell upon him, but he was only slightly injured, and is still in command of what remains of his brigade.
Matters in the West.Dates from Nashville to the 10th show that the dispatches to the press on that day, representing that the rebels had assumed the offensive, were founded upon skirmishing within ten miles of Nashville. Rosecrans, it is asserted, is nearly ready to move upon the enemy. Jeff. Davis and Bishop Polk spoke at Murfreesboro. Friday night, the former declaring that Tennessee should be held at all hazard. Less than forty thousand rebels were between Murfreesboro and Nashville. The rebels have increased their force at Nolensville, Tenn and the Federals are still at Clarksville. Dispatches from Louisville and Evansville represent that a strong rebel cavalry force was marching into Kentucky from Clarksville. It may or may not be so. From Cairo we learn that Gen. Hovey's expedition on the Mississippi has returned to Helena, Arkansas. The results of the expedition are one hundred and sixty rebels killed, wounded and captured, and our loss thirty-four killed, wounded and missing. The army of Gen. Sherman has returned to Memphis. The rebel army of Mississippi is said to be between Jackson and Canton. Gen. Grant is still at Oxford with his forces, and an immediate advance is not expected. A party of guerrillas burnt the steamer Lake City at Concordia. Ark, on Monday of last week, and in retaliation a U. S steamer the next day destroyed forty-two houses in the place. A band of rebels, numbering two thousand, was surprised at Tuscumbia, on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, east of Corinth, and completely routed by two regiments of National infantry and one company of cavalry. The St. Louis Republican says dispatches have been received from Gen Herron confirming the magnitude of the battle of Yuille Grove. Gen. H states, that "within the space of two acres 250 of our own and the enemy's dead were found." --The death of Gen. Stein, of Missouri, is confirmed. The latest intelligence from the Southwest is to the effect that Hindman, with his forces, was falling back to the vicinity of Little Rock, where a force of some 18,000 men is stationed under the com command of Gen. Holmes. The principal camp is said to be at Austin, 25 miles north of Little Rock.
A voyage with rebels — Maury, Ferguson, and others on board the Arabia--What they said and How they looked.A correspondent of the Boston Commercial Bulletin who crossed the Atlantic in the Arabia with the rebel Maury and a dozen of his fellow-traitors, gives the following interesting account of the incidents of the voyage: At Halifax there came on board twelve or thirteen rebels, or Southerners if you please, headed by that arch traitor and scoundrel M. F. Maury, formerly Lieutenant of the United States Navy, and for whom so much was done by our Government for many, many years, and who was at one time one of the most conspicuous officers in our navy — floored and feted alike by the Government and people — and who has so wickedly and disgracefully betrayed both, and thus wantonly violated a solemn oath, and is now bound to England to lend his influence and aid in carrying out, in a so called neutral country, one of the most nefarious and wicked modes of warfare ever countenanced before by a civilized people, viz: the fitting out and equipment of gunboats, as they call them or pirates, as I designate them, calculated to prey upon our commerce, and not unlikely to attack some of our Northern ports, which may be now so seriously damaged, not to say entirely destroyed. I need hardly say, in passing, that the rebels have kept pretty much by themselves since they came on board, though they are quite talkative with the English, while they scarcely deign to look at four ‘"Yankees,"’ who are among the cabin passengers and who have been on the qui vive and watching their movements all the while. Besides Maury, whom they style ‘"Commodore,"’ there is a Major Ferguson, who is represented as being a disbursing agent or treasurer of the so-called Confederacy, and who is to pay the bills contracted for the ships, &c, This man is accompanied by a young fellow who is to act as his secretary. Then there is an ugly, wicked, piratical looking person, with piercing gray eyes, and long flowing brown and gray beard, perhaps fifty years old, whom they call ‘"Captain."’ His name is Campbell, as I learn, a Scotchman by birth, but long a resident of the South, and I think by his appearance he may have been a pilot at Charleston or Savannah. This person is to take command of one of the gunboats; and I pity any unfortunate crew that may fall within his heartless grasp, if his face is a fair index of the soul within. I understand that he has been successfully engaged of late in running the blockade at the South. With this party are two black haired, dark eyed, olive complexioned men, whom, I think, may be called French Creoles. One of these, the elder; perhaps forty-five or fifty years of age, is said to be Colonel Lamar, late of the rebel army, and a prisoner in our hands at the first battle of Bull Run. He has the air of a person of education and refinement, and yet has a most wicked glance of mingled scorn and contempt, ready to meet the Yankee whenever he ventures near him. His companion's name I have not as yet been able to ascertain; but he appears so like the one I have described that I have thought that he must have been a brother.-- What part these parties are to play, I am unable to divine. I have an impression that they are men of fortune, largely interested in all the work of their associates, (and whom under any ordinary cir- cumstances they would scorn to acknowledge as acquaintances, much more associates,) and who visit England, where they may have placed funds long ago, to render aid to the unholy cause. Besides these, there are three or four other unprincipled, seedy-looking individuals--one quite a boy, who is represented as a Midshipman in the ‘"new service,"’ whose name I have been unable to learn; although I am told that one of these persons, and one of the worst appearing of the party, is a Charleston merchant, (I fear some of the leading merchants of that city would hardly acknowledge the fact,) and is on his way to England to buy goods to smuggle into that city or vicinity. Mr. Maury is accompanied by a son, a pleasant, smiling youth, perhaps 12 years of age.
The rebels Expect a long War.From all I can learn of those who have conversed freely with this party, they look forward to a long war, and say (?) they are quite prepared for it.--Maury says he has ‘"small hope of the Democratic party, but if their party is to triumph upon the idea of any reconstruction of the Union, it will find itself very much mistaken; the South will never, never listen to any such thing. Consequently, they expect a long war, unless a separation entire and absolute is agreed upon."’ This same individual is said to have stated, in conversation on board this ship, that when he left Richmond the whole available force of the South then in the field was three hundred and forty thousand men, as he knew by actual returns to the Government, and that Gen. Lee when he left that city to invade the North, had a force of but fifty-six thousand men, all told. He also stated that the army of the South had always been very much overrated by the North.
South, told me the other day that the raid of Gen. Lee into Maryland was made solely, for the purpose of possessing Harper's Ferry and the stores collected there, and also for the purpose of securing very large supplies of leather that had been collected for them and awaited their coming. He stated that the trains occupied with the transportation of the leather collected extended over a length of forty miles of road.
Great Britain and the United States, Maury took especial pains to prove to the Englishmen with whom he was conversing that, in such an event, nothing would be more easy for England to do than to dispatch a fleet of gunboats to the Western lakes, via the Welland Canal, and to destroy all of the leading American cities on the lake shores, and to take possession of a large portion of the West. In answer to this, I will only state that, in case of any such untoward event, I would like to see Maury and his associates placed in charge of such an expedition. He would not be likely to advance far into our territory before he would find out the practicability of this (to him) magnificent undertaking.