Editor’s Note: This article was transcribed by Ken Perdue.
FROM GEN. BUTLER.
The Rebels Annoyed by Our Signal Station — Adventures of a Boy Escaped from Richmond — How Gen. Butler Employs Gamblers.
From Our Special Correspondent.
HEADQUARTERS OF GEN. BUTLER, June 12, 1864.
The signal, or rather lookout tower, erected by Gen. Weitzel, seems to be an especial object of annoyance to the Rebels; and well it may be, inasmuch as it commands a view of their line of works, of Fort Clifton, and of the Petersburg and Richmond Railroad. They therefore shell it occasionally, but their guns are always silenced by the battery of Capt. Follett. To-day they have respected the Sabbath, and been [unreadable] quiet.
A boy came into our lines the other day from Richmond, whose adventures may be briefly narrated thus: His name is Thomas E. May, a servant in the 4th New York Infantry, and he was captured in the fight in the Wilderness on the 8th May. He was then sent to Danville, but before reaching that place succeeded in making his escape from the cars. After traveling some days he was rëarrested and taken to Richmond, when he was lodged in Libby Prison. He again determined to escape, which he did successfully, and made his way to James River. He then swam the river to reach our line, but unfortunately struck the south bank inside the Rebel pickets. In swimming he passed near the Rebel fleet consisting of three iron clads, four gunboats, and about 20 row boats. On discovering his error, he made his way to a house and applied for work, which was given him. While so engaged he learned the position of our gunboats, and again took to the river, being fired upon by the Rebel picket. This time he was successful and reached our gunboats from whence he was sent to Gen. Butler. He could not furnish much information, as he was only in the prison a short time, and in his escape was of course compelled to avoid the roads and houses.
C. C. Pearson and James Leary, formerly billiard and liquor-saloon keepers and gamblers in Norfolk, having smuggled themselves from Norfolk to Bermuda Landing without passes, were recently brought before the Commanding General, who issued the following order:
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT VA. AND N. C.,
IN THE FIELD, June 12, 1864.
C. C. Pearson having smuggled himself within my lines, contrary to law and without a pass, on board the gunboat Pink, Ensign Kendrick, master, and being, by his own statement, able-bodied and without any business, is ordered to be set to work in the trenches until further orders, to supply the place of a soldier who has other occupation. There being constant employment for him in Gen. Hinks’s line, he will be forwarded there. By command of Major-Gen. BUTLER.
The same order was issued in the case of Leary. One of them pleaded that he had served under the General at the beginning of the war. “Very well,” said the General, “serve with me now at the end of it.” Pearson begged off, telling the General to remember his family in Norfolk. “Well, I am not doing anything to disgrace your family.” “But they won’t know what has become of me.” “True. Davenport, print this order in the Norfolk papers, and then his family can see where he is.”
Among the prisoners taken at Petersburg the other day were lawyers, schoolteachers, doctors, and others, who were exempt from the Rebel conscription from various causes. They concur in stating that when the alarm bell sounded at 9 a. m. Thursday, they forsook their business and shouldered their guns. The main force at that time was composed of exempts and militia. The excitement in the city was intense for fear that they would be whipped. Had the attack been pushed, there is no doubt of it. At dusk to-night the sound of firing comes to us from across the James. The breathing spell taken by both armies cannot last much longer.1
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- New York Herald Tribune, June 15, 1864 ↩