President Lincoln's Amnesty Proclamation


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, December 26, 1863

Harper's Weekly was the primary source of news and information for people who lived during the Civil War. Families would eagerly await each issue, hoping to learn of the progress in the war, and perhaps read something of a loved ones unit. Today, these newspapers are a priceless treasure, and an incredible resource for adding color to the Civil War.

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The Chesapeake



Abraham Lincoln's Amnesty Proclamation

Capture Lookout Mountain

Capture of Lookout Mountain

Fighting Among the Clouds

Fighting Among the Clouds


John Brough

Jeff Davis Cartoon

Lookout Mountain

Battle of Lookout Mountain

Christmas Morning

Christmas Morning






DECEMBER 26, 1863.]





SENATE.—December 9. Mr. Foster presented resolutions of the General Assembly of Connecticut for modifying the Enlistment Act, so that town organizations should be credited for men raised under former calls. Mr. Lane gave notice of bill indemnifying citizens of Lawrence for damages by Quantrill's raid. The President's Message was read. Joint resolutions from the House proposing thanks to General Grant received and laid over for consideration. —December 10. After transacting informal business the Senate adjourned to Monday, the 13th, to allow time to arrange the committees.—December 14. Mr. Dixon presented petition of Assessors for increase of compensation, and gave notice of bill exempting clergymen from conscription. Standing Committees were elected, the following being chosen Chairmen of the most important: Foreign Relations, Sumner; Finance, Fessenden; Commerce, Chandler; Agriculture, Sherman; Military Affairs, Wilson; Naval Affairs, Hale; Judiciary, Trumbull; Post-office, Collamer; Public Lands, Harlan; Indian Affairs, Doolittle; Pensions, Foster; Claims, Clark; District of Columbia, Grimes; Territories, Wade. Mr. Wilson introduced resolutions thanking Generals Hooker and Meade, and the Army of the Potomac, for their conduct at Gettysburg, and General Banks and his army for the capture of Port Hudson; referred to Military Committee, as was the joint resolution offering thanks and a gold medal to General Grant. Mr. Lane introduced bill striking out the $300 commutation clause in the enrollment act, and increasing the pay of soldiers. Mr. Wilson presented resolutions from the Massachusetts Legislature for an increase of pay of soldiers. Mr. Hale received unanimous permission to introduce bill for more effectually repressing the rebellion by prohibiting the holding of any person in servitude except by contract. Mr. Wilkinson introduced bill granting pensions to persons wounded in the Indian wars in Minnesota. Mr. Wilson introduced bill to increase the bounty to volunteers.—December 15. Mr. Wilson presented memorials from paymasters' clerks, hospital stewards, and inspectors of customs in Boston, asking for an increase of salary. Mr. Henderson presented a memorial relative to a new railway line between New York and Washington. Mr. Lane, of Kansas, introduced a bill to prevent speculative traffic in gold, silver, and foreign exchange. It prohibits, under penalty of a fine of not less than $1000 or more than $10,000, and imprisonment for not less than one month or more than twelve months, the sale of gold, silver, or foreign exchange by any banker or broker except at his regular place of business, and prohibits the sale of these articles unless actually delivered and paid for on delivery. Mr. Foote introduced a bill granting public lands to the People's Pacific Railroad and Telegraph Line. Mr. Sumner submitted resolutions directing the Judiciary Committee to consider the expediency of appointing commissioners to revise, simplify, correct, and arrange the public statutes of the United States; laid over. Mr. Anthony offered a resolution of thanks to General Burnside and the officers and soldiers of his army. Mr. Lane, of Indiana, introduced a bill amending the act defining conspiracies, and that for enrolling and calling out the national forces. Mr. Davis, of Kentucky, called up the resolutions relating to the exchange of prisoners, and argued against the policy of refusing to exchange white prisoners because the rebels refused to exchange negro captives. Mr. Johnson, of Maryland, replied. urging the continuance of the exchange, and that Southern prisoners equal in number to the colored prisoners in the hands of the enemy should be retained. He maintained that our colored soldiers must be protected. Mr. Davis rejoined, condemning the policy of the Administration in carrying on the war. The debate was continued by Messrs. Hale and Lane. The resolution was referred to the Military Committee. The Senate then went into executive session.

HOUSE.—December 9. Invitation of the Russian Admiral to visit his vessels accepted. Notices of the following bills presented: By Mr. Hubbard, to equalize enrollments and subdivisions of districts; by Mr. Stevens, to fix the time for election of members of Congress; to place colored soldiers on the same footing with whites in regard to pay, bounty, and pensions; to authorize the construction of the Pacific Railroad; to repeal the fugitive slave laws of 1793 and 1850; to repeal the joint resolution of July 17, 1862, explanatory of the act for suppressing the insurrection. Mr. Cox's resolution urging the President to take measures for the exchange of prisoners came up; Mr. Washburne presented a substitute approving the efforts of the Administration, and recommending their continuance; the substitute was agreed to by 94 to 73, and the resolution passed by 106 to 46. Mr. Julian gave notice of a bill to amend the fugitive slave acts so as to prevent the return of fugitives. The President's Message was received, read, and 50,000 extra copies ordered to be printed.—December 10. Mr. Pendleton gave notice of a bill to admit members of the Cabinet to the floor of the House, with the privilege of debating upon matters belonging to their departments. Rev. W. H. Channing was elected chaplain, receiving 86 votes to 55 given for Bishop Hopkins. The House adjourned to Monday, the 14th.—December 14. The Speaker announced the Standing Committees, the following being the Chairmen of the principal ones; Elections, Dawes; Ways and Means, Stevens; Claims, Hale; Commerce, Washburne, Public Lands, Julian; Post-office, Alley; District of Columbia, Lovejoy; Judiciary, Wilson; Manufactures, Moorhead; Agriculture, Clay; Military Affairs, Schenck; Naval Affairs, Rice; Foreign Affairs, Davis, of Maryland; Territories, Ashley; Expenditures of War Department, Deming; Expenditures of Navy Department, Baxter. Mr. Fernando Wood introduced a resolution reciting that the President had declared that the Union cause had gained important advantages, and that we could now "offer to the insurgents an opportunity to return to the Union without imposing upon them degrading or destructive conditions; therefore Resolved, that the President be requested to appoint three Commissioners who shall be empowered to open negotiations with the authorities at Richmond to the end that this bloody, destructive, and inhuman war shall cease, and the Union be restored upon terms of equity, fraternity, and equality under the Constitution." The resolution was laid on the table by a vote of 98 to 59. The Committee on Military Affairs was instructed to inquire into the expediency of increasing the pay of privates in the army to $25 per month, and increasing the pay of officers and musicians 40 per cent; and also to inquire into the expediency of paying for losses of property occasioned by Morgan's raid into Ohio and Indiana. The Committee on Agriculture was instructed to report on the expediency of establishing an Emigrant Bureau, in connection with the Department of the Interior. A joint resolution was passed directing the Secretary of the Treasury to furnish semi-monthly to Congress a statement of receipts and disbursements, the other Secretaries to furnish him with a weekly statement of their disbursements. Mr. Julian's resolution directing the Judiciary Committee to report a bill repealing and modifying sections of the fugitive slave laws, was laid on the table by a vote of 82 to 74.—Resolutions to the following effect were presented; but debate arising, they were laid over under the rules: By Mr. Wadsworth, that the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited to the States, are reserved to the States or to the people, and that the Executive can not interfere with their exercise by the people; by Mr. Cox, that the Secretary of War be directed to communicate to the House the report of General McClellan concerning his operations as Commander-in-Chief, and Commander of the Army of the Potomac; by Mr. Harding, that whenever rebellion in any State has been put down, such State shall be restored to all its rights including that of regulating its domestic institutions, free from all Congressional or Executive control or dictation; by Mr. Finch, that the Federal Government has power to use the army and navy to put down resistance to the authority of the United States, but not to reduce the States to the condition of Territories; and that the war should not be waged to overthrow the institutions of any of the States, but only to maintain the Constitution and preserve the Union and the rights of the States, and that when these objects are attained the war ought to cease. Mr. Holman offered a series of resolutions to the effect that the doctrine that insurrectionary States should be reduced to the condition of Territories, and governed by the will of Congress or the Executive, is wrong; that the war ought to be waged only to put down the armed insurrection; not to interfere with the rights of the States;

that when the people of these States submit to the Constitution they should be restored to all their rights; and that Congress should make all necessary appropriations to carry on the war in order that "through a vigorous prosecution of the war peace on the basis of the Union of the States and the supremacy of the Constitution may be most speedily obtained." These resolutions were laid on the table by a vote of 82 to 74. Mr. Lovejoy offered a resolution instructing the Committee on the Judiciary to inquire into the expediency of placing into any bills which they may report a provision putting all soldiers without distinction of color upon the same footing as to pay. Mr. Cox moved to lay the resolution on the table, but the motion was not agreed to, and the resolution passed. On motion of Mr. Arnold a resolution was passed instructing the Committee on Commerce to inquire into the operation of the Reciprocity Treaty with the British Provinces, and to suggest any alterations which may make it more beneficial to both parties.—December 15. A message was received from the President, recommending a vote of thanks to Captain John Rogers, the captor of the ram Fingal, this preliminary being required by law in order that he may be raised to a higher rank in the navy. Mr. Stevens introduced a resolution referring the different portions of the President's Message to proper Committees—that relating to the condition of the rebellious States to a select Committee of nine. Mr. Davis of Maryland offered a substitute that the portion which relates to the duty of the United States to guarantee a republican form of government to the States be referred to a select Committee of nine, who should draw up the necessary bill. Mr. Brooks of New York was opposed to any instructions being given to the Committee; but if such were given, he would be disposed to add that they should inquire also "whether republican government has not been abrogated and overthrown in the North as well as the South since the revolution began." Mr. Davis's substitute was adopted by a vote of 89 to 80, and the remainder of Mr. Stevens's resolutions were adopted. On motion of Mr. Cox, it was resolved that seven additional committees be appointed to examine into and report upon the accounts and expenditures of the different Departments, these committees to have all the powers of Committees of Investigation. Mr. Cox's resolution calling for the Report of General McClellan was adopted.


The President's Message and the Reports from the Heads of the Departments give the main events in the history of the year. We present the leading points:

Foreign Relations.

We remain in peace and friendship with foreign powers. The efforts of disloyal citizens of the United States to involve us in foreign wars, to aid an inexcusable insurrection, have been unavailing. Her Britannic Majesty's Government, as was justly expected, have exercised their authority to prevent the departure of new hostile expeditions from British ports. The Emperor of France has, by a like proceeding, promptly vindicated the neutrality which he proclaimed at the beginning of the contest. Questions of great intricacy and importance have arisen out of the blockade, and other belligerent operations, between the Government and several of the maritime powers, but they have been discussed, and, as far as was possible, accommodated in a spirit of frankness, justice, and mutual good-will. It is especially gratifying that our prize courts, by the impartiality of their adjudications, have commanded the respect and confidence of maritime powers.


The receipts during the year from all sources, including loans and the balance in the treasury at its commencement were $901,125,674.86, and the aggregate disbursements $895,796,620.65, leaving a balance on the 1st July, 1863, of $5,329,044.21. Of the receipts there were derived from customs, $69,059,642.40; from internal revenue, $37,640,787.95; from direct tax, $1,485,103.61; from lands, $167,617.17; from miscellaneous sources, $3,046,615.35. and from loans, $776,682,361.57; making the aggregate $901,125,674.86. Of the disbursements there were for the civil service, $23,253,922.08; for pensions and Indians, $4,216,520.79; for interest on public debt, $24,79,846.51; for the War Department, $599,298,600.83: for the Navy Department, $63,211,105.81; for payment of funded and temporary debt, $181,086,635.07; making the aggregate, $895,796,630.65, and leaving the balance of $5,329,044.21. But the payment of funded and temporary debt, having been made from moneys borrowed during the year, must be regarded as merely nominal payments, and the moneys borrowed to make them as merely nominal receipts, and their amount, $181,086,635.07, should therefore be deducted both from receipts and disbursements. This being done, there remains as actual receipts, $720,039,039.79; and the actual disbursements, $714,709,995.58, leaving the balance as already stated.

The Navy and the Blockade.

The duties devolving on the naval branch of the service during the year, and throughout the whole of this unhappy contest, have been discharged with fidelity and eminent success. The extensive blockade has been constantly increasing efficiency. If the navy has expanded, yet on so long a line it has so far found it impossible to entirely suppress illicit trade. From returns received at the Navy Department it appears that more than one thousand vessels have been captured since the blockade was instituted, and that the value of prizes already sent in for adjudication amount to over thirteen millions of dollars, The naval force of the United States consists at this time of five hundred and eighty-eight vessels, completed and in the course of completion; and of these seventy-five are iron-clad, or armored steamers. The events of the war give an increased interest and importance to the navy which will probably extend beyond the war itself. The armored vessels in our navy completed and in service, or which are under contract and approaching completion, are believed to exceed in number those of any other power; but while these may be relied upon for harbor defense and coast service, others of greater strength and capacity will be necessary for cruising purposes, and to maintain our rightful position on the ocean.

Colored Soldiers.

Of those who were slaves at the beginning of the rebellion, full one hundred thousand are now in the United States military service, about one-half of which number actually bear arms in the ranks; thus giving the double advantage of taking so much labor from the insurgent cause, and supplying the places which otherwise must be filled with so many white men. So far as tested, it is difficult to say they are not as good soldiers as any. No servile insurrection, or tendency to violence or cruelty, has marked the measures of emancipation and arming the blacks.

Emancipation Laws and Proclamations.

Those laws and proclamations were enacted and put forth for the purpose of aiding in the suppression of the rebellion. To give them their fullest effect there had to be a pledge for their maintenance. In my judgment they have aided and will further aid the cause for which they were intended. To now abandon them would be not only to relinquish a lever of power, but would also be a cruel and astounding breach of faith. I may add, at this point, that while I remain in my present position I shall not attempt to retract or modify the Emancipation Proclamation, nor shall I return to slavery any person who is free by the terms of that proclamation, or by any of the acts of Congress. For these and other reasons it is thought best that support of these measures shall be included in the oath; and it is believed that the executive may lawfully claim it in return for pardon and restoration of forfeited rights. which he has a clear constitutional power to withhold altogether, or grant upon the terms he shall deem wisest for the public interest. It should be observed, also, that this part of the oath is subject to the modifying and abrogating power of legislation and supreme judicial decision.

The Proclamation of Amnesty, appended to the Message, is one of its most important features. This we give in full:

The Proclamation of Amnesty.

Whereas, In and by the Constitution of the United States, it is provided that the President shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment; and, whereas, a rebellion now exists, whereby the loyal State governments of several States have for a long time been subverted, and many persons have committed and are now guilty of treason against the United States:

And, whereas, with reference to said rebellion and treason

laws have been enacted by Congress declaring forfeitures and confiscation of property and liberation of slaves all upon terms and conditions therein stated, and also declaring that the President was thereby authorized at any time thereafter by proclamation to extend to persons who may have participated in the existing rebellion, in any State or part thereof, pardon and amnesty, with such exception and at such time, and on such conditions as he may deem expedient for the public welfare.

Whereas, the Congressional declaration for limited and conditional pardon accords with the well-established judicial exposition of the pardoning power; and, whereas, with reference to the said rebellion, the President of the United States has issued several proclamations with provisions in regard to the liberation of slaves; and, whereas, it is now desired by some persons heretofore engaged in the said rebellion to resume their allegiance to the United States, and to reinaugurate loyal State governments within and for their respective States; therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do proclaim, declare, and make known to all persons who have, directly or by implication, participated in the existing rebellion, except as hereinafter excepted, that a full pardon is hereby granted to them and each of them, with restoration of all rights of property, except as to slaves, and in property cases where the rights of third parties shall have intervened, and upon the condition that every such person shall take and subscribe an oath, and thenceforward keep and maintain said oath inviolate; and which oath shall be registered for permanent preservation, and shall be of the tenor and effect following, to wit:

I, — —, do solemnly swear in presence of Almighty God that I still henceforth faithfully support, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Union of the States thereunder, and that I will in like manner abide by and faithfully support all acts of Congress passed during the existing rebellion with reference to slaves, so long and so far as not repealed, modified, or held void by Congress, or by decision of the Supreme Court; and that I will, in like manner, abide by and faithfully support all proclamations of the President made during the existing rebellions, having reference to slaves, so long and so far as not modified or declared void by decision of the Supreme Court. So help me God.

The persons excepted from the benefits of the foregoing provisions are all who are, or shall have been, civil or diplomatic officers or agents of the so-called Confederate Government; all who have left judicial stations under the United States to aid the rebellion; all who are, or shall have been, military or naval officers of said so-called Confederate Government above the rank of colonel in the army or of lieutenant in the navy; all who left seats in the United States Congress to aid the rebellion; all who resigned commissions in the army or navy of the United States, and afterward aided the rebellion; and all who have engaged in any way in treating colored persons, or white persons in charge of such, otherwise than lawfully as prisoners of war, and which persons may have been found in the United States service as soldiers, seamen, or in any other capacity; and I do further proclaim, declare, and make known, that whenever, in any of the States of Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina, a number of persons, not less than one-tenth in number of the votes cast in such State at the Presidential election of the year of our Lord 1860, each having taken the oath aforesaid and not having since violated it, and being a qualified voter by the election law of the State existing immediately before the so-called act of secession, and excluding all others, shall re-establish a State Government which shall be republican, and in no wise contravening said oath, such shall be recognized as the true Government or the State, and the State shall receive thereunder the benefits of the constitutional provision which declares that

"The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion on application of the Legislature, or of the Executive when the Legislature can not be convened, against domestic violence."

And I do further proclaim, declare, and make known that any provision which may be adopted by such State government in relation to the freed people of such State which shall recognize and declare their permanent freedom, provide for their education, and which yet may be consistent, as a temporary arrangement, with their present condition as a laboring, landless, and houseless class, will not be objected to by the national Executive.

And it is engaged as not improper that, in constructing a loyal State government in any State, the name of the State, the boundary, the subdivisions, the constitution, and the general code of laws as before the rebellion be maintained, subject only to the modifications made necessary by the conditions hereinbefore stated, and such others, if any, not contravening said conditions, and which may be deemed expedient by those framing the new State government. To avoid misunderstanding, it may be proper to say that this Proclamation, so far as it relates to State governments, has no reference to States wherein loyal State governments have all the while been maintained; and for the same reason it may be proper to say, that whether members sent to Congress from any State shall be admitted to seats constitutionally, rests exclusively with the respective houses, and not to any extent with the Executive. And still further, that this Proclamation is intended to present the people of the States wherein the national authority has been suspended, and loyal State governments have been subverted, a mode in and by which the national authority and loyal State governments may be re-established within said States or in any of them, and, white the mode presented is the best the Executive can suggest with his present impressions, it must not be understood that no other possible mode would be acceptable.

Given under my hand, at the city of Washington, the eighth day of December, A.D. one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States of America the eighty-eighth.


By the President:

WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.


The Report of the Secretary of the Treasury presents an elaborate exposition of the financial condition of the Government for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1863, with estimate, for the year ending June 30, 1864. We give its leading features, in round numbers, disregarding all sums of less than one million of dollars.—It was estimated that the receipts of the Government, apart from loans, for the year ending June 30, 1863, would be 180 millions; the amount was actually 124 millions, the deficiency arising from Internal revenue, which it was estimated would produce 85 millions, while the receipts were only 37 millions. It was estimated that the actual expenditures of the year would be 693 millions; the amount was 714 millions; of this sum 590 millions were derived from loans, which form an addition to the public debt. This debt on the 1st of July, 1862, was 508 millions; our debt was therefore on the 1st of July, 1863, 1098 millions. The expenditures of the Government for the present fiscal year are estimated at 749 millions; of which 161 millions will be derived from customs and taxes, and the remaining 588 millions from loans. The debt of the nation on the 30th of June, 1864, will then be 1686 millions The actual amount on the 30th of September, 1863, was 1228 millions. The estimates for the fiscal year commencing duly 1, 1864, are only approximations, and are based on the supposition that the war will still continue. The revenue from ordinary sources is put down at 206 millions, the expenditures at 751 millions, leaving 545 millions to be provided for by loans. According to these estimates our entire debt on the 30th of June, 1865, will be about 2232 millions. In order to make the internal revenue being in the sum of 150 millions the Secretary recommends increased taxes and duties upon various articles of luxury, prominent among which are that the duty on distilled spirits be fixed at sixty cents per gallon; on tobacco from five to twenty-five cents per pound, on petroleum ten cents per gallon; and on cotton two cents per pound. The Secretary thinks that there will be no difficulty in procuring loans at reasonable rates.

The Report of the Secretary of War gives a rapid resume of the military operations of the year, the main features of which are that, upon the whole, their influence "in suppressing the rebellion and restoring the authority of the Government can scarcely be overestimated." In the West "the rebel territory has been cut in twain, and the

States West of the Mississippi no longer furnish supplies to the rebels, while the people of these States are showing such signs of returning loyalty that a speedy restoration of civil government may be confidently anticipated." The operations against Charleston have not accomplished all that was anticipated; but they have exhibited great skill and bravery on the part of our forces. By the recent operations in Texas the chief avenue of the rebels for foreign commerce and foreign aid is cut off. In the East there has been little material change. The armies of Lee and Meade occupy nearly the same relative positions as they did a year ago; the combats have been attended by about equal loss on both sides, without material advantage to either. Western Virginia is clear from any rebel force. Nothing of importance has taken place in the Departments of Virginia and North Carolina. In the Department of Missouri the enemy have been driven across the Arkansas. The question of the exchange of prisoners to treated at length. The essential points are, that the agreement by which prisoners on either side were to be released on parole until exchanged has been systematically violated by the enemy. At Vicksburg and Port Hudson we captured and paroled about 35,000, not so few of whom, without having been exchanged, have since been found in the Confederate armies; and again, the Confederate Government refuses to consider our colored soldiers or white officers who command them, when captured, as prisoners of war, but treats them as criminals, refusing to exchange them. As the matter now stands they have 13,000 of our soldiers, while we have 40,000 of theirs. They refuse to exchange man for man, demanding that we should give all of theirs in exchange for all of ours. To this we can not accede. In the mean while our prisoners in their hands undergo the utmost hardships, while theirs in our hands are well cared for. If necessary, we must resort to retaliation.—The conscription has been enforced in twelve States, bringing in 50,000 soldiers and $10,000,000 of money. The question of abolishing the $300 exemption clause is commended to the consideration of Congress. The conduct of the colored troops in our armies is commended.—The operations of the Ordnance Department are given in detail. We give a few details, which are a sample of the whole. At the opening of the war we had 1052 siege and coast gnus, and have since procured 1064; of field-artillery we had 231 pieces, and have procured 2734; of infantry fire-arms we had 473,000, and have procured 1,950,000; of cavalry fire-arms we had 31,000, and have procured 338,000; of balls and shells we had 363,000, and have procured 2,562,000, and so on in proportion. At first we were compelled to rely on foreign countries for our arms and munitions, now we manufacture them ourselves. Our troops have been paid up to October 31, 1863.—General Halleck presents a long, elaborate, and able Report upon the military operations of the year. This report is so compact as to admit of no satisfactory abridgment. The leading facts have already been given in our current Numbers.

The Report of the Secretary of the Navy presents a careful account of the growth and present condition of our fleet, with a summary of its operations during the year. At the commencement of the present Administration we had 76 vessels, of which only 42 were in commission. At the time of the last Report of the Secretary a year ago we had 427 vessels, with 3268 guns, tonnage 340,036 tons. We have now 588 vessels, with 4443 guns, tonnage 467,967 tons; an increase, exclusive of losses, of 161 vessels, 1175 guns, 127,931 tons. We have, meanwhile, lost 32 vessels, with 166 guns, tonnage 15,985 tons. Of these lost vessels 12 were captured, 3 destroyed to prevent their falling into the hands of the enemy, 4 were sunk in battle or by torpedoes, and 13 lost by shipwreck, fire, and collision. Of our present 588 vessels 46 are iron-clad steamers for coast service; 29 iron-clad steamers for inland service; 203 side-wheel steamers; 198 screw-steamers; and 112 sailing vessels. The number of vessels captured by our blockading fleets, exclusive of a large number destroyed on the Mississippi and other rivers, is 1045; of these 547 were schooners, 179 steamers, 131 sloops, 30 brigs, 26 barks, 15 ships, and 117 yachts and small boats. The value of the prizes sent into court for adjudication is fully $13,000,000.


From Fortress Monroe General Butler reports that on the 13th a detachment under Colonel West captured a garrison at Charles City Court Mouse, consisting of 8 officers and 82 men, destroying their camp and equipments. In this expedition the New York Mounted Rifles marched 76 miles in 44 hours, the New York 139th 61 miles in 54 hours, mostly in a severe storm, moving day and night.


Nothing important, upon which reliance can be placed, is reported of the movements and position of Bragg's army, now commanded by Hardee, or of Longstreet's forces in their retreat front Knoxville. General Burnside, at his own request, has been relieved from his command, in order that he may attend to private business. He is succeeded by General Foster.


General Banks has returned to New Orleans. The latest news from his expedition to Texas is to the effect that our forces under Major-General Washburne have seized the approaches to Matagorda. The rebel garrison of Fort Esperanza, consisting of 1000 men, fled at the approach of our troops, first blowing up the magazines. A high gale prevented the co-operation of the gun-boats with the land-forces, or the enemy would probably have fallen into our hands. Ten guns were captured, ranging from 24 to 108 pounders. The command of Matagorda Bay substantially gives us the control of Central and Western Texas, and all the important points on the sea-coast except Galveston.


The "Monitor" Weehawken was sunk in Charleston Harbor on the 6th of December. A storm, severe but not dangerous, had sprung up; the water dashed over the vessel, pouring down the forward hatchway, and filling the anchor-room, but without exciting any apprehension. The apparatus for preventing the rush of water to the cabin was out of order, and the water poured in in a steady stream while officers and men were at dinner. When the cry "She is sinking!" was raised the confusion was so great that the proper means of shutting off the other compartments were neglected, and the vessel went down in a few minutes. About 30 men, who were below and unaware of the danger, were carried down. The vessel itself will be raised.


A daring act of piracy was committed on the 7th of December in the seizure of the steamer Chesapeake, plying between New York and Portland, by a gang of rebels who had embarked upon her as passengers. Full details of this exploit are given on page 817. We have as yet no accounts of the recapture of the steamer, though it is hoped that it will be effected.



THE correspondence between the French and English Governments relating to the proposed European Congress, has been published. On the 4th of November the French Emperor wrote to "Madame my sister," the Queen of England, setting forth his reasons for desiring the Congress, and requesting her Majesty to participate in it. On the 11th Earl Russel replied that the matter should be taken into consideration. Diplomatic correspondence ensued; explanation, were asked and given; and the decision of the British Government was finally announced on the 25th, in these words: "Not being able to discern the likelihood of those beneficial consequences which the Emperor of the French promised himself when proposing the Congress, her Majesty's Government, following their own strong convictions, after mature deliberation, feel themselves unable to accept his Imperial Majesty's invitation." The reply also contained the significant intimation that "Her Majesty's Government have good grounds to believe that no Austrian representative would attend a congress where any proposition for the surrender of Venetia by Austria was to be discussed."




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