Foreign and Colonial NewsThe Illustrated London News, vol. 44, no. 1238, p. 3.
January 2, 1864
We have news from New York to the morning of the 19th ult. The information respecting the war movements may be briefly summarised.
General Longstreet, who does not appear to have been retreating with any hot haste from Knoxville, turned upon the pursuing Federals on the 14th and drove them back some distance with considerable loss. The latest accounts were to the effect that fighting was still going on at a point described as Blair's crossroads.
The Federals are said to have abandoned Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge, and other points, from which General Grant recently drove the Confederates.
Hardee's army is estimated at 35,000 strong, and is at Dalton, with pickets extending to the tunnel. Wheeler is reorganising cavalry at Dalton for an active winter campaign. Grant and Sherman have left Chattanooga for Bridgenorth.
The famous Confederate guerrilla leader, Morgan, who recently made his escape from a Federal prison, had, it is said, succeeded in getting across the Tennessee, but not, it would seem, without considerable difficulty and risk, as it is affirmed that sixteen of his escort were captured.
There is no news of importance from the army of the Potomac. Mosby's and White's guerrillas are very troublesome and numerous, continually harassing the outposts. On the 13th 700 of them made a dash at the bridge across Cedar Run, near Catlett's station, but were driven back by the force guarding the bridge. The line of the railroad from the front to Alexandria is hereafter to be well protected by both cavalry and infantry. Short leaves of absence are freely granted to officers and men. There is nothing further in relation to the removal of General Meade. It is reported that he has demanded a court of inquiry into the conduct of the late campaign.
General Stuart, at the head of a force of Confederate cavalry, had made a raid upon the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, near Fairfax, and, besides capturing a number of prisoners, he destroyed about two miles of the line of railway.
A despatch from General Butler at Fortress Monroe announces that a portion of his force, under General Wistar, had succeeded in capturing the Confederate garrison at Charles City crossroads on the James River. Eight officers and over eighty Confederate soldiers were taken. The Federal forces, to accomplish this, had marched [s]eventy-two miles in fifty-four hours, mostly in a severe storm.
A brigade of coloured troops under General Wild occupied Elizabeth City, North Carolina, on the 10th of of December. The inhabitants were entirely taken by surprise, and offered no resistance. Twenty waggon-loads of contraband goods were sent back to Portsmouth by General Wild. It is said that Elizabeth City is to be made the base of important operations.
The Federals were throwing a large number of shells into Charleston, replied to by the Confederate batteries. An accidental fire had occurred in Fort Sumter, killing ten and injuring thirty men. A storm had so seriously injured the obstructions to the entrance to the harbour that it was thought the Federal fleet would be able to make its way through them.
The official reports of the commanders of the monitors engaged in Dupont's attack on Charleston express disappointment at their capacity to overcome strong forts, and state that if the attack had been prolonged the monitors would all have been disabled. One commander says he was disappointed beyond measure at the experiment of monitors overcoming strong forts, and considers it was a fair trial.
Captain Drayton, of the Passive, says:--
I was struck in quick succession in the lower part of the turret by two heavy shots, which bulged in its plates and beams, and forcing together the rails on which the carriage of the 11-inch gun worked, rendered it wholly useless for the remainder of the action. A little after a very heavy rifle-shot struck the upper edge of the turret, broke all its eleven plates, and then, glancing upwards, struck the pilot-house with such force as to send it over, open the plates, and squeeze out the top, exposing the inside of the pilot-house, and rendering it extremely likely that the next shot would take off the top entirely.
Captain Rodgers, of the Weehawken, reports:--
Two or three heavy shots struck the side armour near the same place. They so broke the iron that it only remained in splintered fragments, much of which could be picked off by hand, and the wood was exposed. The deck was pierced so as to make a hole, through which water ran into the vessel; thirty-six bolts were broken in the turret, and a great many in the pilot-house. To the Patapsco, no damage was done which disabled her, although injuries which she received, if multiplied, would do so. Forty bolts in the funnel were broken. After the third shot from the 15-inch gun of the Nantuck a port-stopper became jammed, several shots striking very near the port and driving in the plating. It was not used again. A number of the same plates were started so much that another shot in their vicinity would have knocked them off. The deck plates were cut in twelve places; one shot cut through the iron and about two inches into the beam, starting the plates, several bolts, and the planking, for some feet below. The plates on the side armour of the Nahant were badly broken in several places, and one, where struck by two shots in close proximity, partly stripped from the wood, and the wood backing broken in, with edging of back plates started up and rolled back in places. The deck was struck twice damagingly, one shot near the propeller-wheel quite shattering and tearing the plate in its passage, and starting up twenty-five bolts, another starting plates and twenty bolts in the turret. There were marks of nine shots; fifty-six of the bolts were broken perceptibly, the heads flying off inside the turret, and the bolts starting almost their length outside, some of them flying out completely, and being found at a considerable distance from the turret, on the deck. One shot struck the upper part of the turret, breaking through every plate. The pilot-house was much damaged and wrecked, and four more such shots as it received would have demolished it. One shot at the base broke every plate through, and evidently nearly penetrated it.
The Federal House of Representatives has passed a resolution, by 93 to 64, that the war should be prosecuted so long as the rebels are found in arms. A motion, submitted by the Hon. Fernando Wood, requesting the President to appoint two commissioners to negotiate with the authorities at Richmond with the view of terminating the war and restoring the Union upon the terms of equity, fraternity, and equality under the Constitution, was tabled--i.e., thrown aside--by a vote of 98 against 59. All the Democratic members except five voted for its adoption, and the large minority in its favour has created some sensation.
Resolutions have been introduced for a new reciprocity treaty with Canada; also to inquire into the expediency of putting coloured soldiers on the same footing as white men as regards pay, and of abolishing the 300 dols. draught commutation.
A bill has been introduced in the the Senate prohibiting the sale of gold, silver, or exchange through brokers unless the whole of the purchase-money be paid down, under the penalty of a heavy fine and imprisonment.
A banquet to both Houses of Congress has been given on board the Russian fleet at Washington. The Russian Minister and the Speaker of the House of Representatives made speeches.
The New York Herald has nominated General Grant as candidate for the next presidency, and has put forward an electioneering cry that he would demand from England an indemnity for the depredations of privateers, and would expel the French from Mexico.
An "Evening Exchange" has been opened in the heart of the handsomest quarter of New York, to which, after a hastily-snatched dinner, crowds of brokers and speculators eagerly hurry, there to resume the transactions of the day and to anticipate those of the morrow.
There have been several rumours of peace proposals coming from the South lately, but nothing of the kind has appeared as yet.
The Confederate Senate has, in conformity with the recommendation of President Davis's message, passed a bill prohibiting the employment of substitutes in the Confederate army.
Mr. Foote, from Tennessee, of the Confederate House of Representatives, in a speech of the 11th ult., casts the whole blame of the loss of Vicksburg and the Confederate reverses in East Tennessee upon President Davis for retaining Generals Pemberton and Bragg in command.
The Richmond press denounces President Lincoln's amnesty proclamation as an infamous document, which will but arouse the Southern people to new zeal and new efforts.
The Federal steamer Ella Annie has recaptured the Chesapeake, with three of her crew, in Sambro Harbour, Nova Scotia. The Chesapeake was taken to Halifax for judicial decision. No resistance was offered by the crew, all of whom, except three, escaped to the shore. The English authorities in Nova Scotia had forbidden the furnishing of coals to the Chesapeake by the people of that province; they had ordered her detention wherever she appeared, and gave the information to the Federals which led to her capture. It is also alleged that they have ordered the arrest of the men who seized her while going in her as passengers, holding them to have been guilty of piracy. Mr. Seward has had a friendly interview with Lord Lyons on the subject.
The Federal brig Perry has been captured near Charleston. The steamer Ceres was destroyed off Beaufort.
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