Slavery Debate in Congress

 

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Civil War Harper's Weekly, February 20, 1864

This site features an online collection of Harper's Weekly, the most popular illustrated newspaper of the Civil War years. These papers were read by millions of Americans during the war. Today they serve as an incredible resource for students and researchers.

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Grant Crossing Cumberland Mountains

Grant Crossing Cumberland Mountains

Democratic Opposition

Democratic Opposition to the War

Slavery Debate

Slavery Debate

Military Ball

Military Ball

Negro Soldier

Negro Soldier

Flag Poem

Flag Poem

Libey Prison

Libey Prison

Columbia

Columbia, South Carolina

Colt Armory

Colt Armory

Valentines Day

Valentines Day

Colt Fire

Colt Armory Fire

Quack Treatment

Quack Cancer Cure

 

 

 

 

FEBRUARY 20, 1864.]

HARPER'S WEEKLY.

115

(Previous Page) fundamental truths of the Government. And here, of course, he presently comes to the fundamental principle of human rights, personal liberty. In its discussion Mr. Brooks says:

"Christianity, I believe, will never cease to sorrow that the Church of Christ was led, and not leading, in the crusade against human slavery in the United States   I rejoice in this last struggle, whereby it is fighting its way into its dishonored grave, of that old miserable creature, the most foolish of all follies, if it had not been the most impious of all impieties, which has been dignified so many years with the name of 'The Bible Argument for Slavery.'" [Alas, J. H. Vermont!] "I can not tell you half my joy—some of you will understand it by your own—when in this most conservative of all conservatisms the Episcopal Church, the reassertion by a Bishop of this same old so-called Bible Argument for Slavery stirred the ministry of this diocese to an utterance which no man can mistake of utter enmity to slavery, and whatever has any thing to do with it."

This is but one of the mercies of reoccupation mentioned by the preacher, who well says that we are not now to thank God for the Revolutionary days, since our own are the memorable days of American history. The discourse is an event, as well as a sermon, and merits the meditation of every thoughtful citizen.

DOMESTIC INTELLIGENCE.

CONGRESS.

SENATE.—February 3. A letter from the Secretary of War relative to military orders concerning elections in Border States was referred to Military Committee.—Several memorials, petitions, and resolutions of no general importance were presented and referred.—The Judiciary Committee, having reported that Mr. Hale, in acting as counsel in certain cases, had violated no law or rule, were discharged from further consideration of the subject.—The Revenue bill was taken up, and an amendment imposing a duty of 60 cents per gallon on all spirits sold or distilled, and removed for consumption before July 1, was adopted.—Mr. Wade introduced a bill repealing the acts allowing goods to be imported into and exported from Canada through the United States free of duty.—The bill providing for a uniform ambulance system was passed.—February 4. A memorial was presented and referred asking for aid to promote the emigration of skilled labor into Missouri.—Mr. Lane reported bill setting apart a portion of Texas for citizens of Kansas.—The President was asked, if consistent with the public interest, to furnish information in regard to the Reciprocity treaty with the Sandwich Islands: this he subsequently declined to do.—Resolution passed directing the Secretary of the Interior to sell at auction the public books and documents in his custody.—The bill equalizing the pay of soldiers was taken up. Mr. Fessenden opposed the retrospective feature of the bill, though he was in favor of hereafter paying colored troops the same as whites. Messrs. Wilson, Pomeroy, and Lane of Kansas advocated the retrospective character of the bill as a matter of right and justice. Mr. Wilson said there were about 50,000 colored soldiers, mostly enlisted within the last six months. It was stated that the retrospective feature of the bill would involve an expense of a million and a half of dollars.—The Internal Revenue bill came up; Mr. Hendricks moved an amendment fixing the tax on distilled spirits at 40 cents. He claimed that so high a tax upon an article produced mainly in the Northwest was unjust to that section. Mr. Fessenden replied that we should tax an article to obtain revenue as much as it would bear. Liquor would bear the tax imposed by the Finance Committee, and no matter where the article was produced, the tax fell upon the consumer. In England the tax was double that imposed by the bill. The amendment was rejected; and the bill as amended by the Finance Committee was passed, the tax being 60 cents a gallon.—Adjourned till Monday, Feb. 8.—February 8. Mr. Sumner presented petitions from persons of African descent, praying for the privilege of voting. He said that in the last Congress he had presented a similar petition, which was referred to a Committee of which Mr. John Y. Mason, now a rebel, was chairman, who moved that it be returned to the person presenting it; that motion remains upon the records unacted upon.—A petition was presented from citizens of Kentucky praying for compensation for losses occasioned ty the rebel invasion: laid over.—Resolutions of the Legislature of Kansas, asking for indemnification for losses occasioned by rebel raids, and a petition from volunteers who enlisted in the autumn of 1862, asking for the bounty of $25, were presented and referred.—Mr. Sumner introduced a bill repealing all laws for the rendition of fugitive slaves, and another securing perfect equality before the law in United States courts, and providing against the exclusion of witnesses on account of color.—He also introduced a series of seven resolutions to the following effect: (1.) That the rebellion is an attempt to found a wicked power on the institution of slavery, and is simply slavery in arms. (2.) That the rebellion can not be crushed without crushing slavery, and slavery can not be crushed without crushing the rebellion; that forbearance and toleration to one is forbearance and toleration to the other; and that it is therefore our supreme duty to utterly destroy slavery in the belligerent region; if this is undone nothing is done, and all our blood and treasure will have been lavished in vain. (3.) That in dealing with this war the National Government is invested with two classes of rights—those of Sovereignty and those of War; in virtue of the rights of Sovereignty the belligerent region is subject to the National Government, which is bound to guarantee to each State a republican form of government, and to protect it from invasion; and in virtue of the rights of War the region is subject to all the conditions of warfare, among which is that of giving "indemnity for the past and security for the future." (4.) That in seeking a restoration of the belligerent States the rebellion must not be allowed the least germ of future life, and that any system of reconstruction must be rejected which does not fully provide against the existence or revival of slavery; and that to attain this the Government should maintain a civil and military ascendency over the rebel region of sufficient duration to stamp upon it the character of freedom. (5.) That it is the duty of Congress to see to it that no rebel State is restored to the Union until safeguards are established for all loyal persons, including the new-made freedmen, and especially that no man there may be made a slave; and that the best system of reconstruction is that which most effectually destroys slavery. (6.) That slavery being the enemy of the human race, it is further the duty of Congress to "secure the extinction of slavery even in States professing loyalty." (7.) That, in addition to the guarantees stipulated by Congress, the Constitution should be so amended as to prohibit slavery every where within the limits of the Republic."—Mr. Anthony introduced a joint resolution repealing the joint resolution to amend the Constitution, passed March 2, 1861. That resolution, which had passed the House by a two-thirds vote, passed the Senate by 24 to 12 on the 2d of March. It is in the following words: "That no amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give Congress power to abolish or interfere within any State with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or servitude by the laws of the State."] Mr. Anthony said, in moving the repeal of this resolution, that the repeal would open a certain way for the downfall of slavery. If he had been asked a few years ago whether he would have voted to batter down the walls of Sumter or to invade Virginia, he would have answered No. Yet this and more had been done, because it had been made necessary by those who had entered into this unholy rebellion.—Mr. Saulsbury said that when the resolutions and petitions of Mr. Sumner were presented he had moved for their postponement. He moved that the whole batch go together; we had about as much of the negro as we could bear.—Mr. Doolittle introduced a bill authorizing the people of Nevada and Colorado to form Constitute ns and State Governments: referred to Committee on Territories.—The Enlistment bill came up, the special subject of giving freedom to negro recruits and

their families being under consideration. Mr. Carlile spoke at length. He did not believe there would be an early cessation of hostilities; the rebels were not, as had been said, on the verge of starvation. The Union could not be restored by the exercise of coercive power by the Federal Government. We should not inaugurate a measure which would render death preferable to reunion. We should distinguish between those who were in arms and those who were willing and anxious for connection with us. In his legislative capacity he would not interfere with slavery in the States; but as a military commander he would use slaves as he would a horse or a wagon abandoned by the enemy. We must conquer our own prejudices before we can conquer the South. A war of conquest was always an interminable one. The Union was as desirable for the seceded States as for us. For three years we have tried the coercive powers of the Government; why not now change our policy, and leave all these irritating subjects to the military department, where they properly belong?—February 5. Mr. Sumner called attention to petitions on his desk signed by 100,698 citizens praying Congress to pass an act for the speedy emancipation of persons of African descent. These petitions, he said, were an expression of the voice of the country. Mr. Saulsbury objected to the course of Mr. Sumner in presenting these petitions. He said that when, three years ago, Senators Seward and Crittenden presented petitions asking for the adoption of measures to prevent civil war, a deaf ear was turned to them. If the Crittenden resolutions had been adopted the civil war would have been averted. Mr. Hale said they were not passed because the party with which Mr. Saulsbury acted refused to vote for them. Mr. Saulsbury said that every member of that party voted to take them up, although when an amendment was proposed by Mr. Clark, several Senators, wrongly, as he thought, refused to vote. Mr. Wilson said that the Crittenden proposition was the most wicked ever presented on earth. It recognized slavery south of 36° 30', forbade the abolition of slavery without the consent of Virginian slavemongers, and took away the rights of colored citizens of the Free States. Messrs. Powell and Saulsbury defended the memory of Mr. Crittenden; Mr. Wilson said that he had no design to asperse the memory of the deceased Senator, for which he entertained a sincere respect; he had only criticised his proposition. Mr. Johnson deprecated the spirit in which the discussion was conducted; every moment of delay was dangerous; whatever was the cause of our troubles, we should devise proper measures to get out of them. The Father of his Country held slaves at the time of his death. Mr. Sumner replied that Washington would appear before the bar of Heaven as the emancipator of his slaves. Mr. Conness said if the Republican party prevented the passage of the Crittenden Compromise he honored them for it. It was introduced at a time when a traitor Cabinet and President were organizing rebellion. The time had come, and we were the ministers to relieve the country from the crime and treason conjoined in African slavery. The petitions were referred.—The Military Committee reported the House bill reviving the grade of Lieutenant-General, striking out the clause making him Commander-in-Chief, and that recommending General Grant for the position.—Mr. Sherman introduced a bill forbidding speculation in gold, silver, and foreign exchange; all time sales to be void, and any partial payments on such to be recoverable: referred to Finance Committee.—Mr. Powell proposed an amendment to the Constitution, giving to each State one elector for each million of population, the States to be divided into electoral districts. The Electoral College to be divided by lot into six classes, each class to choose one from the succeeding class, and of the six thus chosen to be selected by lot one to be President, the other Vice-President: referred to the Judiciary Committee.—The bill for the enlistment of colored troops was called up, and postponed until Thursday, February 11.

HOUSE.—February 3. After unimportant business the Confiscation bill was taken up, Mr. Wadsworth speaking against it, and maintaining that this is not a public war between nations, but a civil contest within the States; that the States in rebellion are still in the Union; and that the laws of war do not authorize the seizure of private property on land, except in certain specified cases.—The Enrollment bill, reported from the Senate, came up in Committee of the Whole. The amendment repealing the $300 exemption clause was rejected, as also an amendment raising the commutation to $400; thus leaving the commutation at $300. Mr. Stevens moved to strike out from the bill from the Committee on Military Affairs the clause that "If any drafted man shall pay money for the procuring of a substitute, such payment shall operate only to relieve such person from the draft in filling that quota, and his name shall be retained on the roll in filling future quotas." He said that, according to this amendment, a man paying this commutation would be exempted for three years, while by the bill he would be liable to draft the next day, which would be unjust. Mr. Garfield said that it would be impossible to procure the necessary number of men if this clause was stricken out. Mr. Blaine replied that every commutation paid had produced a man: the clause was stricken out, 79 to 49.—A bill was reported by Mr. Arnold for a ship canal for vessels of war from the Mississippi to the Northern lakes.—February 4. After routine business the joint resolution to amend the resolution explanatory of the Confiscation act came up. Mr. Woodbridge maintained that if we adopt the theory that the rebel States are not out of the Union, then confiscation becomes a municipal regulation to operate practically on the property of those who are in armed rebellion against the Government. The rebels have broken the contract, and it is the right and duty of Congress to restrain their persons and confiscate their property. Mr. Kernan asked gentlemen on the Republican side to consider whether confiscation was not destructive of the Government. He would prosecute the war for the purpose of putting down the rebellion, and restoring peace and harmony; but do not make it a war of conquest or extermination; let not the lands of the South go to speculators, to those who follow the army to fatten on the plunder.—Mr. Cox moved to lay the resolution on the table: refused, 83 to 71. Mr. Wilson, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said that the policy of confiscation is embodied in the living law of the land, and was not therefore before the House. All that had been said by the opponents of the resolution was a waste of time. The rebellion was not to be crushed out by offering olive branches, or by the utterance of honeyed words even from the lips of members of Congress. We expect to see the Southern States rescued from a remorseless aristocracy, and a semi-feudal system destroyed, labor elevated to its just dignity, and such institutions of republicanism established as will secure the future peace and prosperity of the country. Traitors had no right to expect to be shielded from the consequences of their crimes. He made a sharp attack upon Mr. Cox, who had led the opposition, and had furnished the rough material from which all the speeches on that side had been made. The opposition then undertook, by a series of resolutions of adjournment, to prevent action on the resolution, in which they were successful.—February 5. The Confiscation resolution was announced by the Speaker to be the pending question, and after some manoevring it was finally agreed that Messrs. Blair, Smith, and Pruyn should be allowed to speak, after which the question should be taken. Mr. Blair, of Missouri, opposed the resolution, and said that the debate on the resolution evinced that it is the determination of leading men here to compel the President to yield his ground on the subject of confiscation or to divide the party. He then went on to combat the views of Mr. Stevens that our Government had recognized the South as a belligerent power. We had always striven against such recognition. The President considered the insurgent States to be still in the Union. The doctrine advanced by Mr. Stevens, that these States were out of the Union, would permit an entire conquest to be made. That gentleman would substitute a military power for the Constitutional authorities while the President maintains an entirely different policy for the reconstruction of the Union. Mr. Blair called upon Congress to redeem its pledges, and compensate the loyal Border States for the emancipation of their slaves, and to provide for the colonization of the freedmen. Mr. Smith, of Kentucky, advocated the resolution. He said that he was here simply as a Union man. He declared that when a man becomes a traitor to his country, and resorts to arms to overthrow the Government, he forfeits every thing, even to his life. There was no propriety in making distinctions between different kinds of property. If we can take cannon and other effects, we can take negroes and lands. There was no necessity

to explain the Confiscation act of 1862. It was not an ex post facto law or bill of attainder. It proposed to reach the living man, and said nothing about women and children. Mr. Pruyn, of New York, spoke against the resolution, closing the debate. He defended the course of the Democratic party; while they had been assailed, he said, for views which the great body of them never entertained, they simply asked the Administration to respect the Constitution, and when the Constitution was broken down they had a right to express their dissatisfaction. The assertion of Mr. Stevens that the South has acquired the rights of a belligerent, or independent Government, was a concession of the right of secession. The question was then taken, and the resolution amending the explanatory resolution, which was a part of the Act of July 17, 1862, was passed by a vote of 82 to 74. To understand the precise bearing of this action we must refer to the whole course of legislation on this subject. The Act of July 17, 1862, apparently provided for the confiscation of the entire rights of property of all persons in rebellion. It was understood that the President would veto this Act, on the ground that the Constitution declared that "no attainder of treason should work corruption of blood or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted." To obviate this objection of the President an "explanatory resolution" was adopted declaring: "Nor shall any punishment or proceeding under said Act be so construed as to work a forfeiture of the real estate of the offender beyond his natural life." That is to say, In the case of real estate held by traitors, only the life-interest of the offender can be confiscated, leaving the absolute right of his heirs to the fee-simple untouched. The amendment passed by the House makes this resolution to read "That no punishment or proceeding under it shall be so construed as to work a forfeiture of the estate of the offender contrary to the Constitution of the United States. Provided, that no other public warning or proclamation under the Act of July 17, 1862, chapter 95, section 6, is or shall be required than the Proclamation of the President made and published by him on the 25th of July, 1862, which Proclamation, so made, shall be received and held sufficient in all cases now pending or which may hereafter arise under said Act." The joint resolution as thus amended assumes that the absolute right of confiscation of real estate is not prohibited by the Constitution; and that, therefore, in the opinion of the House, the real as well as the personal estate of traitors may be confiscated in fee and not merely for life, as was intended by the original explanatory resolution. It reverses, in effect, a part of the Confiscation bill, without which it would not have been approved by the President when passed. An analysis of the vote on this amendatory resolution will show the drift of national sentiment. The whole number of members is 186; upon this resolution 156 votes were cast, showing that 30 members did not vote. Of the 82 who voted "aye" all are ranked in the Republican party; of the 74 who voted "nay" 60 may be considered as Democrats and "Opposition;" the remaining 14 belong to the Border States: of these 14 eight voted with the Administration for Speaker. Of the 30 members who did not vote 14 are classed as "Administration," and 16 as "Opposition;" supposing that these non-voting members had voted with their respective parties, the vote in a full House would have stood: For the amendment (all "Administration"), 96; against the amendment (including 9 "Administration" votes), 85—a majority of 11 being in its favor; the result on the vote as taken showing a majority of 8. Judging from preliminary votes, it is probable that two or three members on either side would have voted against their party; but the result would have been that on a full vote in a House of 181 members a majority of from 6 to 12 would have approved of the absolute right of confiscation, of the entire right in the property of real estate owners by rebels who refused to avail themselves of the exemptions contained in the President's Proclamation of July 25, 1862.—February 8. Bills were introduced and referred: allowing the Secretaries of the Departments to occupy seats on the floor of the House; for the repeal of the Fugitive Slave law; for a new Executive Department, to be called the Department of Industry, embracing four bureaus—Agriculture, Freedman's Affairs, Mines, and Immigration—the Secretary to be a Cabinet officer; for repealing the law allowing the transit of goods in original packages through the United States to and from the Canadas; for improving the harbor of Chicago, by a tax on commerce.—Mr. Kinney brought forward a proposition for compensating the people of Utah for losses sustained by Indian depredations.—Thanks were voted to General W. T. Sherman, and the officers and men under his command. —Mr. Blair, of West Virginia, offered resolutions deprecating any attempt to conciliate the leaders of the rebellion; declaring all the rebellious States to be still in the Union, and upon the restoration of peace entitled to all former rights except so far as relates to the holding of slaves, as limited by the President's Emancipation Proclamation; and denying that the seceding States have become a foreign Power.—The Enrollment bill was taken up, but no progress was made; an amendment, offered by Mr. Stevens, subjecting all able-bodied persons of African descent to draft was adopted, but afterward stricken out, together with one of the original sections.—February 9. A bill was introduced granting lands to aid in building the Lake Superior Railroad, and providing for its use by the United States free of charge.—The case of Mr. Field, claiming to have been elected to the House from Louisiana, was taken up. In the course of the debate the loyalty of Mr. Field was fully proved, and the conduct of the Military Governor in preventing the election in New Orleans was censured. The resolution of the Committee that Mr. Field was not entitled to a seat was adopted, 87 to 14.—The Enrollment bill was brought up; amendments were rejected exempting from draft clergymen who are not engaged in trade or secular business; giving credit to States and counties for men who have enlisted from them in other States and counties for three years; and one (by 103 to 23), offered by Mr. Fernardo Wood, exempting from draft those who, from a disbelief in the humanity, necessity, or eventual success of the war, are opposed to its further prosecution, until an effort has been made and failed to end it by negotiation. A motion to strike out the clause consolidating the two classes of enrolled men was rejected, 60 to 45.

THE ARMY OF THE POTOMAC.

It is rumored that there is to be a change in the command of this army—that the place now held by Meade, who is confined to his bed by illness, is to be held either by General Hunter or General Thomas. The part which must soon be taken by the Army of the Potomac makes this matter of leadership one of the utmost importance. On Saturday, February 6, an important reconnoissance was made in force by General Sedgwick, involving a movement of a portion of the army to the south side of the Rapidan. When the order came for this advance, Friday night, nearly a thousand ladies, wives of the officers and men, were in camp. One division crossed with little opposition. In the mean time Kilpatrick's cavalry, crossing at Culpepper Ford, scoured the country to Fredericksburg, and finding no enemy returned to camp. The Second and Third divisions of the Second Corps, under General Warren, joined in the main movement, crossing at Morton's Ford. The enemy's outposts were met, and a skirmish followed, in which we lost some two or three hundred men, when our army, having accomplished the purpose of the reconnoissance in the discovery that Lee's army was in front of ours in full strength, returned to camp.

GENERAL KELLEY'S DEPARTMENT.

The operations of the enemy in the vicinity of Moorfield, though at one time they assumed a very threatening aspect, have resulted finally in a complete failure. The mountainous nature of the country in which these operations were conducted, and the unfavorable state of the roads, promised no advantages to an invading force, and it only needed rapidity of movement and a skillful disposition of forces on General Kelley's part to secure a favorable result. Kelley has accomplished his work with success, and Early has not only been forced to withdraw, but to do so under circumstances constituting his withdrawal a serious defeat. Early had for some time been concentrating his troops in the neighborhood of Harrisonburg, with a view to the capture of Petersburg and a raid into Maryland. Kelley, having waited in vain for the enemy to move, allowed a large number of his men to leave on furlough. Then Early made his advance, and it was not long before we heard of the capture by his forces of a train of eighty wagons between New Creek and Petersburg. Thoburn's command at Petersburg being in danger of capture, evacuated that place, and effected a junction with Colonel

Mulligan at Ridgeville. These forces, in connection with two columns from Averill's and Sullivan's command, compelled Early to fall back; and in the course of his retreat he made a stand at M'Neil's Ford, near Moorfield, where, being hard pressed by Mulligan, he was compelled to fight. Here our artillery and our advantage in position caused the enemy to be driven back through Moorfield, where he again made a stand, and was again driven back. The pursuit was vigorously sustained, and Early's raid made to end, like his previous attempts, in disastrous failure.

GENERAL BUTLER'S DEPARTMENT.

Our news from North Carolina this week shows that the enemy are disposed to take a strong position in that State. In so doing they are actuated by three motives: one is to prevent a reactionary movement against the rebel authorities: another, to take advantage of the opportunities which the State offers in the way of forage and supplies for the rebel army: and the third, probably, to prevent a movement of our troops through the State to meet the possible emergencies of the spring campaign. On Monday, February 1, General Palmer's outposts were driven in at Bachelor's Creek, eight miles from Newbern, by a portion of Lee's army, fifteen thousand strong, being compelled to destroy their camps and stores, and suffering in their retreat a loss of from fifty to a hundred men. A force of our cavalry also was repulsed in sight of Fort Totten, and the enemy pressed our lines so closely as to come within hail of our forces at Newbern. On Tuesday they captured the gun-boat Underwriter, which formed an important part of the defenses of the city. Then the railroad communication was cut off between Newborn and Beaufort by the possession of Newport, giving the rebels command of the approaches to Newbern by the Neuse. According to the latest official reports, the rebel forces had retired to Kingston, and Newbern was relieved.

A serious fight took place at Smithfield, Virginia, on the 1st of February. An expedition planned by General Graham sailed up the James River and Pagan Creek to Smithfield. Thence, with a force of ninety men, Captain Lee marched to Chuckituk, to co-operate with another detachment which sailed at the same time up the Chuckituk River. On their way they met the enemy, two hundred strong, and, receiving information of a heavy force between them and Chuckituk, returned to Smithfield, and sent for the armed transport Smith Briggs. In the mean time the enemy, five hundred strong, attacked Lee, who held out until the transport arrived, repelling the assailants at every attack, and refusing three demands for a surrender of his force. On the arrival of the Smith Briggs Lee's force retreated on board, when the enemy opened a heavy fire of artillery, and disabled the boat, which was captured by the rebels, Captain Lee and a portion of his men escaping by swimming across the river. The remainder were taken prisoners, and the transport was blown up. In this action the loss of the rebels was considerably heavier than our own.

An expedition into Jones and Onslow counties, four days previous to the one just described, resulted more success-fully. Between one hundred and fifty and two hundred thousand pounds of pork, seventy bushels of salt, ten thousand pounds of tobacco, and thirty-two barrels of beef were destroyed.

General Butler, however, has not been confining his attention entirely to the defense of Newbern against the rebels, or to raids upon the enemy's stores; he has at the same time had movements in progress up the Peninsula by which our forces have threatened Richmond itself, having advanced to within twelve miles of that city. The expedition, under the command of Brigadier-General Wistar, proceeded from Yorktown, February 6, by way of New Kent Court House. Our cavalry, supported by infantry, drove in the enemy's pickets at Bottom's Bridge the next day. The design of the entire movement was a raid into Richmond for the purpose of liberating our prisoners confined there. But information having reached the enemy through a deserter, Wistar was compelled to give up the enterprise and return to Williamsburg. It was in relation to this movement that General Sedgwick's reconnoissance across the Potomac was undertaken on the 6th.

EAST TENNESSEE.

The rebels have been making some vigorous efforts to take possession of Cumberland Gap, but were successfully repulsed by Colonel Love. Johnston has retreated to Rome, either to obtain supplies or to prevent desertions. Eight or nine thousand of his men have come into the Union lines since the battle of Missionary Ridge. The communication between Chattanooga and Knoxville is uninterrupted, and no anxiety is entertained for the safety of the latter. The rebel General Roddy, at the close of last month was driven to the south side of the Tennessee River, and his whole train, consisting of over 20 mule teams, 200 head of cattle, and 600 sheep, was captured.

Schofield has assumed command of the Department of the Ohio in place of Foster, who has been relieved. Longstreet's head-quarters are at Russelville. He is rapidly repairing his railroad communications with Richmond, preparatory to future movements. An engagement of some importance occurred a few days ago at Fair Garden, between General Sturgis's and the enemy's cavalry under Martin. The latter crossed the French Broad River and advanced against our position near Sevierville. Our advance-guard fell back to an advantageous position on the Newport road. The enemy, following up in pursuit, were then attacked. A desperate fight ensued, in which sabres were drawn and generals with their staffs joined in the hand-to-hand contest. The rebels gave way and were pursued by our troops, who captured two pieces of artillery and a hundred prisoners. This victory gives us the possession of the French Broad Valley, which is absolutely necessary to the enemy's cavalry, being his only resource for forage.

MOVEMENTS BY GENERAL BANKS.

On the 5th of February, our forces, consisting of six regiments of infantry, two of cavalry, and two batteries, crossed the Big Black River, a movement preliminary to an advance against Mobile front the Northwest. If we may trust the Southern report, the entire force engaged in this movement is thirty thousand. The Big Black empties into the Mississippi at Grand Gulf, a few miles below Vicksburg. Our forces crossed the river at a point a few miles east of Vicksburg, and at the same time a movement was made across the Yazoo, in the immediate neighborhood, by our cavalry. These operations have for their object, first, to cut the railroad by which Mobile communicates with the East, and then to co-operate with our navy by a flank attack on Mobile.

FOREIGN NEWS.

EUROPE.

THE European intelligence this week is very meagre. The only news of any importance is that relating to the Schleswig-Holstein question. The probabilities now are that there will be no war. Denmark, according to the latest reports, is anxious to avert hostilities, and only demands a sufficient delay to assemble the Rigsraad, and promises with its concurrence to withdraw the November Constitution, so obnoxious to the German States, and to fulfill the engagements entered into toward Germany in 1851 and 1852. A month will be needed for the convocation of the Rigsraad, and it is probable that the delay will be granted, and that no Austrian or Prussian troops will cross the Eider. in taking this amicable attitude Denmark is doubtless influenced by the expression of public opinion in England; for while the latter is opposed to the invasion of Denmark, she is also opposed to any oppressive measures against Germany. The London Times, of January 21, says: "If Denmark has suspended the Constitution, she will have taken the only step which was waning to deprive the German Powers of any decent pretext for hostilities, and she will have displayed a power of self-control which will gain for her an overwhelming moral support in foreign countries."

SOUTH AMERICA.

Peace hat been declared between Ecuador and the United States of Columbia. The treaty of peace was signed at Pinsaqui on the 30th of December. By the conditions of this treaty all future disputes are to be settled by peaceful arbitration, and the armies of the respective countries are to be reduced to a number not greater than is actually necessary. Mosquera has evacuated Ecuador.


 

 

  

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