NP: June 22, 1864 Richmond Examiner: Latest News from the North, June 17-18

   

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in June 1864

Editor’s Note: This article was transcribed by Jackie Martin.

LATEST NEWS FROM THE NORTH

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The Washington CHRONICLE of the 17th, (a day’s later advices from the North,) furnishes the following summary of news:

GOLD.

NEW YORK, June 16.—Gold sold to-day at first board for 197, second board 197 ¼.

LINCOLN VISITS THE FAIR IN PHILADELPHIA, AND MAKES AN EXTRAORDINARY SPEECH.

Lincoln was in Philadelphia, on a visit to the fair now being held there.  His reception is described as ‘magnificent,” and the number of people out “immense.”  At a supper given him, in response to a toast, Lincoln spoke as follows of the war and Grant:

“The terrible war which is now raging has disarranged business totally in many localities, and partially so in all.  It has destroyed happy homes, produced a national debt, with taxation unprecedented in this country.  It has carried mourning into many homes, and may even be said to have hung the heavens in black.

Pertinent questions are often asked me, such as when the war would end.  I surely feel as great an interest on that point as any one; but I would not make a prediction that it would end in a day, or a week, or even a year, for fear of creating disappointment.  We accepted—not began—this war for a worthy object; and I trust in God it will not end until that object is accomplished.  (Enthusiastic cheers.)  The war has now lasted three years, and as we accepted it to establish national authority over the whole national domain, WE ARE TO GO THROUGH WITH IT IF IT TAKES THREE YEARS MORE   I would, however, safely make the prediction that Grant, with Hancock and Meade, IS TONIGHT WHERE HE WILL NEVER BY DISLODGED UNTIL RICHMOND IS TAKEN   If I shall discover that Grant’s noble officers and men need assistance to put this thing through, will you give it to me?—(Yes, all answered.)  Well, then, I intend to call on you, and I want you to stand by me and the army.

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FROM GRANT’S ARMY.

The latest information from Grant’s army is a letter dated June 18th.  It gives no news, but refers only to Grant’s getting a portion of his army down the Pamunkey from the White House.  The correspondent says:

The change of base has been very successfully made, with the utmost order and without the loss of a man or a wagon, so far as your correspondent could hear.

It is said that the enemy left their works in our late front almost as soon as we did, taking the road to Richmond.

White House will now be evacuated as soon as the supplies there are all shipped on the transports.

The growing crops here are looking very fine, and our horses to night are “living in clover.”

The rest of the army are now moving towards the river for the purpose of crossing.

General Grant and staff have started for General Butler’s command.

A dispatch VIA Fortress Monroe says:

Two army corps crossed to the south side of James river last night.  Other portions of the army were also crossing at various points.

Generals Grant and Butler were in consultation during yesterday.

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VALLANDIGHAM RETURNS TO OHIO.

Vallandigham has RETURNED to Ohio.  A despatch from Cincinnati says:

Vallandigham is still at Dayton.  All is reported quiet here.

A despatch from Chicago says:

The Illinois Democratic Convention met at Springfield yesterday, and nominated delegates to the Chicago Convention.

A despatch announcing the arrival of Vallandigham in Ohio was received with great cheering, and resolutions were adopted, pledging the convention to stand by Ohio in protecting him.

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FROM BUTLER’S ARMY—PLAN TO CAPTURE PETERSBURG BY MOVING STEALTHILY AND SUDDENLY ON THE CITY—STARTING OUT OF THE EXPEDITION—WHY IT FAILED.

(Army correspondence of the New York Herald)

In General Butler’s tent a council of war was held.  Generals Gilmore and Kautz had arrived shortly after sunset, and remained in consultation with the commanding General for several hours.—During the still hours of the night troops were moved down and across to the easterly side of the Appomattox river.  A pontoon bridge, seven hundred feet in length, had been thrown over the river, about a quarter of a mile below Point of Rocks.—They numbered about four thousand, and were composed of infantry, cavalry and artillery.  Generals Gilmore and Kautz were in command.

Between midnight and two o’clock this morning the troops crossed noiselessly and safely.  General Gilmore, with the infantry, one regiment of cavalry, and some of General H(illegible)ock’s coloured troops was to enter the city by one of the country roads.—General Kautz, with his cavalry, was to enter by the turnpike at the south side of the city and destroy the iron bridge at that place.  If they found it possible to hold the city they were to do so.  But the principal object was to destroy the immense quantities of Government stores at that point.

General Butler had laid his plans for the capture of Petersburg with great skill.  It appeared almost impossible that the expedition should prove a failure.  The rebels were known to have a very respectable force on our front, and to prevent them annoying the rear of the column commanded by Generals Gilmore and Kautz, he had determined to engage their batteries during the whole day.  With that object in view he proceeded to the front shortly after six o’clock this morning, and remained at the signal station in the vicinity of Fort Wisconsin during the whole day.

Our gunboats had received orders to pay their respects to Fort Clifton.  This is the strongest of the rebel works on our front.  The firing from the Commodore Perry and other gunboats stationed in the Appomattox river was beautifully accurate.  The report of a heavy gun was heard and in a few seconds it was followed by a lesser report.  The shell had burst right inside the rebel works, as the white puff of smoke indicated.  Firing was continued during the whole day from our batteries, and also from the gunboats.  The guns in the rebel Fort Clifton replied feebly, and are either of very small caliber or the ammunition they use is of an inferior quality, for not one in a dozen of their shells came at all near our works.

A short distance to the rear of Fort Wisconsin a signal station is in course of erection.  It is an immense combination of poles, boards, ropes and pulleys.  From the top a splendid view of the adjacent country can be obtained.  During the whole day it has been occupied by a number of officers and others interested in the success of the expedition.  Glasses were leveled in the direction of Petersburg, and all waited with breathless interest for some sign that Gilmore and Kautz  had reached and entered the city.  The shells thrown from our batteries and gunboats were from this lookout station seen to burst directly in and over the rebel works.  After the lapse of a few hours the rebel guns replied, but feebly, and it was very evident that our fire was too severe for them.

The expedition to facilitate and insure the success of which all the above-mentioned precautions had been taken by General Butler, took up its line of march for Petersburg about three o’clock this morning.  The roads were dry and in capital marching condition.  Skirmishers were sent ahead, and also placed on either flank.  After marching unmolested for about two miles, General Kautz, with his veteran raiders, turned sharply off to the left, and General Gilmore, with a regiment of cavalry, the infantry, coloured troops and several pieces of artillery, went to the right.  They were to re-unite their forces in the city of Petersburg.  But “man proposes and God disposes.”

The line of march of General Gilmore’s troops was through a pleasant country.  Vegetation of all kinds grew with the greatest luxuriance.  The fruit was fast ripening on the trees.  On either side of the road were fields of wheat, clover and grass, almost ready for the sickle of the reaper or the mower’s scythe.  Occasionally a house was seen, from the windows and doors of which faces, both white and black, gaze with wonderment and alarm on the passing troops.  Large numbers of quail were started up, and occasionally a frightened rabbit scampered across the road.

In a short time a few shots were fired at General Gilmore and his staff while riding at the head of the column.  None of the shots, however, took effect.  The General’s escort pushed ahead, and again a volley was fired.  This time one soldier was wounded and several horses were maimed.—Until the column arrived within about two miles of Petersburg the skirmishing continued, but no large force of rebels was encountered.

On arriving in sight of Petersburg, General Gilmore, accompanied by Brigadier-General Foster, reconnoitered the enemy’s works, and found that Beauregard, for the defense of the city, had thrown up a most elaborate and perfect series of works.—A few mounted men were ordered forward, when the fact was ascertained that the works were fully manned and the rebels on the alert to receive our troops.

During General Gilmore’s march up from the river a woman had come forward with the intelligence that Beauregard had received information of our intended movement as early as one o’clock, P. M, on Wednesday, just twelve hours before our troops began to march.  She further added that, being in Petersburg on Wednesday for the purpose of making some purchases, the people there advised her not to return home for at least forty-eight hours, as the Yankees were coming up on Thursday.

After giving the subject due consideration, and consulting with his staff officers, General Gilmore decided to return to the Appomattox.  No word had been received from General Kautz, and no firing had been heard, except from the gunboats and the batteries on our front.  We proceeded at a very leisurely pace on our way back to the Appomattox and arrived there safely about five o’clock this evening.  General Gilmore’s loss, all told, is about twenty-five wounded.  I did not learn that any deaths had taken place.

General Kautz, with his tried and veteran raiders, about eighteen hundred in number, rode considerably to the south, and finally struck the turn pike leading to Petersburg.  They then rode briskly forward and appear to have taken the enemy considerably by surprise, for they managed to enter the rebel works, and actually penetrated for a short distance within the city.  Finding, however, that General Gilmore and his troops had failed in the co-operating movement, and that he was in danger of being surrounded and cut off a retreat was ordered.  They, however, managed to bring off with them a large number of prisoners and several pieces of light artillery.  The destruction of the bridge was not effected, in consequence of the rapidity with which the rebels were gathering in his rear and on his flanks.

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THE RETREAT FROM RED RIVER—EXASPERATION OF THE SOLDIERS AGAINST GENERAL BANKS.

(Correspondence of the Missouri Republican)

When the army arrived at Simmsport, the feeling against Banks was perfectly uncontrollable.—He was absolutely afraid to appear in the presence of the men, lest he might be assassinated.  He took refuge in an iron-clad gunboat.  As the boat lay in the Atchafsyla river, the soldiers on the bank would cry out aloud for Banks to put his head above the decks, declaring, with curses, that they would put a ball through it.  He kept his head inside.  When General Canby arrived, he made a speech to the men, and told them that hereafter he would command, and that no more such fatal expeditions should be gotten up.  A long cry arose from the men:  “We want to see General Banks punished, we want to see him hung,” and many such expressions.  General Canby said that he had reported Banks to the authorities at Washington, and had no doubt that he would be dealt with as his conduct deserved.  The soldiers were furious, and would have mobbed Banks if he had made his appearance.  Many declared that they would do no more service until Banks was punished.  General Canby told them that hereafter they were under his command, and appealed to the men to return to duty and obey all his orders.  Thus ended the Red river expedition—a fit sequel to a scheme conceived in politics and brought about in iniquity.

DESPERATE ATTEMPT TO ESCAPE THE DRAFT IN THE NORTH.

Nine of a car load of conscripts who were EN ROUTE from Boston to Cincinnati, Wednesday night arranged and executed an exceedingly desperate plan of escape between Chatham and (illegible) depot, New York.  The doors of the car were locked, a guard being stationed on the platform.  But while the lights were turned down so that he could not see plainly through the window in the door what was going on, a hole was cut in the floor of the car large enough to admit the passage of a man’s body.  The hole was nearly over the wheels, the plan seeming to be to crowd out, and by holding on to the brakes effect an escape when the train was stopped or was moving slowly.  Only four of the nine were so foolhardy as to attempt this mode of escape, and they paid the penalty with their lives, their bodies being shockingly mangled.  The other (illegible) jumped from one of the car windows, while the train was moving nearly thirty-five miles an hour.  three of them receiving injuries of which they have died, while the other two were not expected to live.

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A PEACE PROPOSITION IN CONGRESS.

The House, as an unfinished business, took up resolutions offered two weeks since by Mr. Lazear, of Pennsylvania, proposing a suspension of hostilities, and requiring the President of the United States to adopt measures for assembling a convention of delegates from all the States, to adjust the difficulties between the North and South, on the basis of the Constitution.  The House refused to suspend the rules for the introduction of the resolutions—yeas 32, nays 65.

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THE DRAFT AND THE THREE HUNDRED DOLLAR CLAUSE.

(From the New York Tribune.)

It is generally known here that Mr. Wilson, Chairman of the Senate Military Committee, is opposed to the repeal of the three hundred dollar commutation clause.  He is the only one of the committee who took ground in favour of its retention.

There is a growing feeling in Congress about the repeal of this clause.  It is felt to be of questionable policy by many of the wisest men in both Houses.  The Senator’s proposition to shorten the term of service under the draft to one year, which passed by a majority of three, will soon be determinedly attacked in a motion to reconsider.  There will be a fight over it.  Mr. Wilson will persist in his endeavours to secure to the Northern States permission to fill their quotas under a draft in any of the rebel States, and to effect the passage of a bill freeing the wives and children of all slaves who shall enlist in the Union armies.1

Source:

  1. “Latest News from the North.” Richmond Examiner. June 22, 1864, p. 3 col. 4-5

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