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Civil War Harper's Weekly, May 21, 1864

We are happy to present this online archive of our collection of Civil War Harper's Weekly newspapers. Reading these original newspapers enables you to gain new insights into the important people, events, and battles of the Civil War. We have posted over 2,000 pages, and hope you find the material useful.

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Buzzard's Roost

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Harper's Endorses Lincoln


Battle of Spotsylvania

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General Wadsworth


Confederate Atrocities


Music Festival

Philadelphia Music Festival

City Point Virginia







MAY 21, 1864.]



(Previous Page) Brave, courteous, and gentle ; beloved by his neighbors, and friends, and all who knew him; busied to the last moment before the march in caring for the comfort of his soldiers, he is seen next, and for the last time, his noble gray head bared in the bright May sunshine, leading those soldiers into the fiery storm of battle, and falling, shot through the brain. So they die, the old and young together. So, with infinite sorrow to a thousand hearts, all over the land, on the shore, among the hills, in the wilderness, the heroic blood is poured out which shall baptize into the faith and love of liberty the nation which it saves.


MANY excellent ladies in Washington and elsewhere propose a general movement to dispense with superfluities and luxuries in order to reduce unnecessary importation and the price of the necessaries of life. The members of the society in Washington pledge themselves to use " no imported article of apparel" for three years. As a sign of earnest devotion and patriotism this is most welcome. It springs naturally from a profound conviction of the vital significance of the war ; and if the spirit it evinces had been universal from the beginning of the rebellion we should today have many millions of dollars for actual use that have been squandered upon the vainest display. It has always been a question whether, while the war has raged at a distance from our own homes, we have felt seriously enough the necessity of individual sacrifice, and the success of this movement will be a kind of test of national earnestness.

We hope that so good an intention will not be marred by any folly in the fulfillment, and that a purely voluntary assent to the sacrifice will be the sole test of its reality and value. There was a disposition, when the subscriptions to the great Fair were collecting, to whip in certain classes of persons and employments. The hotel keepers were stigmatized, we remember, as not having contributed to the fund. But the whole significance of the vast sum realized was that it was a free gift. With what pleasure could a compulsory contribution, a forced loan, have been regarded ? It would then have been no indication whatever of real sympathy. So in the present case, if there should be any moral coercion applied, there may be money saved, indeed, but there will be no sign of a free will to save money ; and that free will is the important thing, because that shows the spirit which makes the saving of money serviceable to the cause.

The movement has been formally begun by women, but it is one in which we all have a common interest, and with which every truly loyal person will wish to conspire. The poor are doubly pinched by the large prices consequent upon the wild speculation which always accompanies great wars. Let us remember that charity, to others, to our country, and to ourselves, begins at home.


ONE of our most valiant and faithful champions in Europe since the war began was the Rev. Dr. McCLINTOCK, who has lately returned home, and will hereafter occupy the pulpit of St. Paul's Methodist Episcopal Church, corner of Fourth Avenue and Twenty-second Street, every Sunday morning. He lost no proper occasion while abroad to vindicate the cause of his country, and his sagacity and ability have been of signal service. Of his general work the Christian World thus speaks:

"Dr. McCLINTOCK has done a most glorious work for the cause of Christ during his residence in Paris. Through his able and efficient labors the Chapel has been entirely self sustaining; nor have his labors been confined to the duties which devolved upon him in connection with the Chapel. The Doctor is a noble hearted Christian patriot, and his labors have been untiring for the welfare of his country. Two years since he went to London to attend the anniversaries, and there, like our friend Mr. BEECHER, nobly battled for the right. Through his influence and speeches the great body of the Wesleyans in England have been our firm and steadfast friends."


MR. THAYER, late Consul-General of the United States in Egypt, died at Alexandria on the 10th of April—an event which we record with sincere regret in the columns of this paper, to which he had been a contributor. He had been long in feeble health, but he had youth and hope upon his side, and his friends trusted that an entire change of climate and occupation might work also an entire change of health. But profoundly interested in his important duties as a foreign representative of his country, thoroughly in sympathy with the great cause for which we are struggling, he could hardly give mind or body the absolute needful rest. Even the soft touch of Egypt could not heal him ; and at the age of thirty-four the modest, genial, energetic, accomplished man dies at his post, and dies leaving no one who ever knew him who will not long and deeply regret his loss.


ONE of the most striking and significant facts of the times is, that upon the late call of Governor BROUGH for thirty thousand men, the State of Ohio responded by putting forty thousand men into camp in three days. SHERMAN'S army now moving into Georgia "commits its lines of communication and

supply to the men now mustering in the Northwest," says a Cincinnati paper ; and it is supposed that SHERMAN will be stronger by twenty thousand veterans than if the call had not been made, or rather if it had not been so grandly answered. How faithful Ohio was to the glorious cause her majority against Vallandigham last year showed. How true and steady the Buckeye State is, this sudden rising of her noblest citizens proves.



SENATE.—May 4. The resolutions of Mr. Sherman came up as the special order—that a quorum of the Senate consists of a majority of the Senators duly chosen ; that if a majority of the Presidential electors, duly appointed and qualified, vote for one person, he is the President : that if the election of President devolves upon the House of Representatives, and the votes of a majority of the States represented in the House be cast for one person, he is the President. After discussion, they were adopted, 26 to 11. —May 5. Mr. Chandler reported a bill to prevent smuggling, which provides that after the 1st day of August next all baggage and effects of passengers, and all other articles coming into the United States from any foreign country, shall be inspected, and if any dutiable articles shall be found, the trunk, valise, or other envelope, shall be confiscated.—Mr. Collamer reported back the House bill to establish an ocean mail steamship service between the United States and Brazil, with amendments relating to the details of the contract with steamship owners, which were adopted.—Mr. Ward presented a bill to amend the act to enable the people of Nevada to form a State government and constitution. It provides for holding an election for the adoption of the constitution on the first Wednesday in September, instead of the first Tuesday in October. It was passed.--Mr. Wade made a report from the Committee on the Conduct of the War, accompanied by the evidence, in relation to the capture of Fort Pillow, and moved that 25,000 copies be printed for the use of the Senate. Adopted.--Mr. Sumner moved a substitute for the Finance Committee's amendment to the Bank bill. It provides that every Association shall pay to the United States a duty of one per cent. upon its circulation, one half of one per cent. on its deposits, one half per cent. on its capital stock above the amount invested in United States bonds, each half year after January, 1864.—May 6. The bill to amend an act entitled an act to promote the progress of useful arts, granting six months extension to patentees in which to pay their fee, was passed.—The bill to amend the Charter of Washington City was called up by Mr. Dixon, with an amendment compelling the registration of colored citizens. Mr. Cowan moved to insert the word "white" as a qualification for voters. Debate ensued on the amendment until the expiration of the morning hour. —The National Currency bill was taken up, and the amendment offered by Mr. Sumner, increasing the tax on the circulation and deposits and capital stock was rejected by a vote of 24 to 11. An amendment establishing Clearing Houses at New York, Philadelphia, and Boston, at a rate of discount of not exceeding one quarter of one per cent., was adopted.—May 7. Mr. Ramsay introduced a bill making an additional grant of land to aid in constructing a railroad from St. Paul to a point between Big Stone Lake and the mouth of the Sioux Wood River.---A resolution of Mr. Hale, calling upon the Secretary of the Navy for a copy of the record of the Wilkes Courtmartial was adopted.—May 9. The bill for the erection of a branch mint at Philadelphia was passed.—Mr. Howard reported a substitute for the Pacific Railroad Bill.—The Senate considered the Bank Bill at length, but little or no progress was made. An amendment by Mr. Doolittle, to keep the circulation of the banks within certain bounds, was voted down.—Mr. Wade, of Ohio, from the Committee on the Conduct of the War, made a report in reference to the returned prisoners at Baltimore and Annapolis.—Mr. Collamer then read a dispatch from the Secretary of War, announcing a victory by General Grant, when the Senate adjourned.---May 10. There was very little business done of an important character, save the passage of the National Bank Bill in an amended form, which sends it back to the House for concurrence.—The bill to prevent smuggling was passed.—The bill organizing the veteran volunteer engineers of the Army of the Cumberland was also passed.

House.—May 4. The Fortification Appropriation bill was passed, with amendments for repairs at Great Brewster, Lovell's, and Deer islands, in Boston Harbor, appropriating $50,000 therefore, and for repairs to the sea-wall at Buffalo $37,500.—The House resumed the consideration of the bill guaranteeing a republican government to rebellious States. After a long discussion the bill was passed ; yeas 73, nays 59. The bill provides for the appointment of provisional governors, and as soon as the military resistance shall be suppressed that measures be taken for calling a convention for the formation of a State Constitution. Certain classes of persons who have voluntarily borne arms or held office under the Confederate usurpation are excluded from voting or being elected as delegates. The conditions on which such States shall be admitted include a provision that involuntary servitude shall be prohibited and freedom forever guaranteed, and that no debts created under the sanction of the usurping power shall be recognized or paid by the newly created States.—At the evening session the bill extending to soldiers and sailors, without regard to color, the benefits of the Homestead Law on rebel confiscated lands was passed.—May 5. The House went into Committee of the Whole on the Special Order, viz., the bill to reimburse Pennsylvania for the expenses incurred in calling out troops to repel invasion. After rejecting several amendments the Committee rose, when the House rejected the bill, which, however, was subsequently reconsidered, and the bill was passed, appropriating $700,000 for the Pennsylvania militia, with an amendment appropriating $15,000,000 to defray the expenses of other loyal States in repelling raids.—Mr. Morrill moved that evening sessions be dispensed with until further order, leaving the House to adjourn at such hour as it may see fit, which was adopted.—May 6. Mr. Dawes reported two resolutions, one declaring that F. P. Blair is not, and the other that Mr. Knox, the contestant, is, entitled to a seat in the House as the Representative of the First District of Missouri.—Mr. Ganson called up the resolution of the Committee on Elections, declaring that neither Mr. Loan, the sitting member, nor Mr. Bruce, the contestant, is entitled to a seat as the Representative of the Seventh Congressional District of Missouri. Debate followed, continuing nearly through the session.—May 9. A resolution was adopted instructing the Committee on Naval Affairs to examine into the expediency of locating the proposed navy-yard on the west side of the Hudson River, nearly opposite Yonkers.—Fernando Wood asked, but failed to obtain, the unanimous consent to introduce a resolution that the President be required to furnish this House copies of correspondence between the Secretary of State and Mr. Adams or Lord Lyons on the subject of a simulated report and document of the Navy Department of the so called Confederate States.—The House resumed the consideration of the Missouri Election case, which was debated until the hour of adjournment.—Mr. Gooch made a report of the ill-treatment of prisoners in rebel hands.---May 10. The Missouri contested election case of Bruce vs. Loan was finished by adopting a resolution declaring Mr. Loan, the sitting member, to be rightly entitled to the seat, which rejects the report of the Committee on Elections.


The Grand Movement of the Army of the Potomac is in progress. The order of General Meade to march was issued on the morning of the 3d. General Gregg's cavalry took the advance, and was engaged until late at night in repairing the roads leading to Ely's Ford, on the Rapidan. About midnight another cavalry division moved to
Germania Ford, and both were successful in establishing crossings. The Second Corps broke camp at midnight, and effected a crossing at Ely's Ford about daylight on the
4th. The Fifth Corps crossed at Germania Ford, followed by the Sixth. No serious opposition was met until the advance reached the Wilderness, General Lee not having, apparently, anticipated the movement. It threatened his

communications with Richmond, and forced him out of his formidable intrenchments around Orange Court House, covered by Mine Run. Accordingly, on Thursday morning, the 5th, before General Grant had fully established his lines, Lee exhibited, in his disposition of troops, a determination to advance, evidently with the design of cutting our lines. On discovering his intentions General Warren was directed to attack him at once, which he did at about 11 A.M. A determined musketry fight of an hour and a half ensued, in which Warren handsomely drove him from his position, with the infliction of great loss. Griffin's division of the Fifth Corps led the attack and suffered severely, its loss being nearly 1000 in killed, wounded, and missing. Finding his efforts to break our centre futile, the enemy next attempted to interpose an overwhelming force between Warren and Hancock, the latter of whom, in accordance with orders, was marching his corps rapidly to form a junction with the former. Fortunately, his advance, consisting of Birney's division, came up not a moment too soon, and just in time to circumvent the rebel General, who, at 2 1/2 P.M. commenced a terrific onslaught on the divisions of Birney, Gibbon, and Getty, the latter of whom had been temporarily detached to form the extreme right of Hancock's command. The fight raged hotly until some time after dark, and resulted in the complete repulse of the enemy at all points. Our loss in this engagement was about 1000 men. Scarcely any artillery was brought into requisition, the character of the ground rendering it useless.

During the night picket firing was kept up, and early on the morning of Friday, the 6th, the battle reopened, the enemy making a desperate attempt to turn the position of the Sixth (General Sedgwick). This assault, after an hour's hard fighting, was repulsed. The enemy then suddenly attacked the left, under Hancock, but were again driven back. The battle then became general along the entire line. At a quarter past eleven o'clock a desperate assault was made upon the Fifth Corps, particularly upon the Fourth Division, commanded by General James S. Wadsworth. While gallantly rallying his men, and at their head, leading the charge, this noble soldier was shot in the forehead, and fell dead, his body remaining in our possession. A partial lull ensued about noon, when another desperate assault was made on General Hancock. His veteran columns temporarily yielded to the shock, but soon rallying, recovered their line, and sent staggering back the massed columns of the foe with most frightful slaughter to them. During the afternoon comparative quiet prevailed, but about seven o'clock in the evening the enemy made a furious charge upon Sedgwick's right, throwing it into confusion, and in fact turning his position. A stampede ensued, but the line was soon re-established. Our loss in this engagement was quite heavy, but that of the enemy was said to be greater than our own. General Seymour and a considerable number of our troops were captured in the confusion. Later in the night another assault was gallantly repulsed, reinforcements having been sent to Sedgwick's help. The estimate of losses on the right wing are given as follows: Wounded up to six o'clock, Friday P.M., 2100; killed up to same time, 500 ; killed, wounded, and missing during the turning of the right wing, 4000; total, 6600. No artillery lost, as from the position none could be used. During Friday night General Lee withdrew from the field, establishing himself on a new line. This movement was caused by a manoeuvre of General Grant, who had swung his left flank (Hancock's Corps) down toward Spotsylvania Court-House, threatening Lee's communications. This forced the latter to retreat. Dispatches received from Grant, dated Monday noon, indicated that Lee had made a stand at Spotsylvania Court House, six miles from Wilderness, but that at that date, though there had been some hard fighting, no general battle had taken place. General Grant was replenishing his army from his supply-trains, so as to advance without them. The same dispatches bring the sad intelligence of Sedgwick's death. He was killed in the fighting of Monday, above referred to, by a ball from a sharpshooter. His remains were at Fredericksburg. General Wright, commanding the First Division, succeeded to the command of the Corps. Generals Robinson and Morris were wounded. The former commanded the Second Division of Warren's Corps ; the latter the First Brigade of the Third Division of Sedgwick.


Among the casualties reported from the field are the following: Generals Sedgwick, Wadsworth, and Hayes killed; Generals Getty, Gregg, Webb, Owens, Robinson, and Morris wounded. A large number of Colonels and other field and line officers were killed. Our total loss is believed not to exceed 15,000. We took 3000 prisoners up to Friday night. Very many of the wounded were but slightly hurt, and walked from the field to the rear.

The rebel Generals Longstreet and Pegram were severely wounded, and several high officers of Lee's army were killed and wounded. Intercepted dispatches from General Lee acknowledge the loss of " many wounded."

Fredericksburg was occupied on the night of the 8th, and the deport for our wounded was at once established at that point. Stores and medical help arrived promptly on the spot the day following.


Simultaneously with the advance of the Army of the Potomac, the campaign on the Peninsula was opened by General Butler, who proceeded to West Point on the York River, and landed a considerable body of men from transports, as if intending to advance on Richmond from that point. This deceived the enemy, who at once hurried their forces from Fort Powhatan and other defenses on the James River to meet the threatening column. Under cover of the night, General Butler then withdrew his force, and re-embarking, sailed at once for the James River. Before the enemy had discovered their mistake our troops had been landed at City Point and other places on that river, and General Butler was master of the situation. This was accomplished on the morning of the 5th, the whole army being transferred in 20 hours from Yorktown and Gloucester Point to within striking distance of Richmond. Five Monitors and a large number of gun-boats accompanied the expedition, which consisted of the Tenth Corps, under General Gillmore, and the Eighteenth under General W. F. Smith. Fort Powhatan, a rebel work, was occupied, and all the points along the river which commanded the bends were captured and fortified. To cover this movement, cavalry expeditions were sent out in various directions, preventing a concentration of the enemy, and placing their communications in danger. Immediately upon fortifying his base, General Butler advanced his army eight miles into the interior toward Petersburg, ten miles distant from City Point. On the evening of the 6th, Generals Hickman's and Brooks's divisions took possession of the Petersburg and Richmond Railroad, after a severe fight in which the rebel Generals Jones and Jenkins were killed and General Pickett and Mr. Hunter severely wounded. The railroad bridge crossing one of the tributaries of the Appomattox River, within about seven miles of Petersburg, was set on fire and totally consumed, and the railroad track torn up and rendered useless long enough for our forces to carry out other and more important operations. Our success was not gained without some loss, but precisely how great can not as yet be ascertained. On the morning of the 6th, the United States gun-boat Commodore Jones, while on picket duty in the James River, near Turkey Bend, was blown up by a torpedo, one of the cigar-shaped infernal machines, and several of her officers and men were killed and some 40 wounded. The rebel who had charge of the torpedo was shot, and two of his companions made prisoners.

Our latest dispatches before going to press indicate Butler's complete success in breaking up the railroad communication south of Richmond, cutting in two Beauregard's army, and also that a battle had been fought with one portion of the latter, led by Beauregard in person, resulting in a victory to the Federal force.


A severe battle for the possession of Dalton, between Sherman and Joe Johnston was being fought on Tuesday. Sherman had occupied Tunnel Hill on the North while M'Pherson's corps was on Johnston's communications Southward.


General Banks's campaign in Western Louisiana has terminated unsuccessfully. Finding the position at Grand Ecore unsafe, the Army retreated to Alexandria, being nursued by the enemy, who constantly harassed the rear

column. When near Cane River an engagement took place, in which the rebels lost 800 men and nine pieces of artillery. At the last accounts our position at Alexandria was secure, and the gun-boats in the Red River above the Falls, where they were detained by the low water, were still safe, though greatly harassed by the enemy. Two or three transports had been lost on the river, and it was feared others would have to be abandoned.—On the 7th inst. Brigadier-General E. R. S. Canby was appointed and confirmed as Major-General of Volunteers, and ordered to the command of all the troops west of the Mississippi. He has already gone to the field. General Banks's position in this new arrangement is not defined.

General Steele's army has returned to Little Rock, Arkansas. His main body was greatly harassed by the rebels during his retreat from Camden, and he was compelled to destroy his trains and every bridge behind him. On the 30th ult. he crossed the Saline River; but before crossing he was attacked by the rebels under General Fagan, whom he repulsed. A portion of the rebel cavalry crossed above, and proceeded within eight miles of Little Rock, causing considerable alarm there. Latest reports from Little Rock assure us that both that place and Pine Bluff are safe. A Union train of two hundred and forty wagons, while returning to Pine Bluff, was captured by the rebels on the 25th ult., together with the escort under the command of Colonel Drake, comprising the Twenty-sixth Iowa Regiment, the Seventy-seventh Ohio Regiment, and the Forty-third Indiana Regiment, with four pieces of artillery.

General Sturgis's cavalry had a fight near Bolivar, Tennessee, on Monday last with the rebels under Forrest. Our troops numbered 700, with two pieces of artillery; those of the enemy were 1000. After a fight of two hours, in which General Sturgis lost only two killed and ten wounded, the rebels were driven across the Hatchie River, destroying the bridge behind them.

Dates from Jacksonville, Florida, are to the 2d inst. General Birney had gone, with his colored troops, on an expedition into the interior; his destination was not known. Orders were issued on the 25th that all residents of Jacksonville who had not taken the oath of allegiance should do so immediately, or be sent beyond the lines.

News from Port Royal is to the 5th inst. General Hatch had assumed command of the Department, General Gillmore having been ordered to the Tenth Army Corps. Admiral Dahlgren had arrived. The rebels were actively pushing around the creeks and islands, trying to find some weak place in our lines, but gun-boat reconnoissances kept them at a respectful distance.

The Navy Department has information of the capture, by the gun-boat 0wasco, of the English schooners Lily, Fannie, and Laura, off Velasco, Texas, the prisoners stating that they did not know the character of their cargoes. On the Fannie, however, were found eight cases of rifles for the rebel General Magruder.


In the United States Senate, on the 9th, Mr. Wade, from the Committee on the Conduct of the War, submitted a report upon the condition of the returned prisoners at Annapolis, proving beyond all doubt, in the estimation of the Committee, that the rebel authorities have determined to subject our soldiers and officers who fall into their hands to physical and mental suffering impossible to describe, many presenting now the appearance of living skeletons, literally little more than skin and bones, some maimed for life, and some frozen by lying without tent or covering on the bare ground at Belle Isle. The general practice is shown to be the robbery of prisoners, as soon as taken, of all money, valuables, and good clothing. The food allowed was totally insufficient to preserve the health of a child. It consisted usually of two pieces of bread made of corn and cob meal, badly cooked, with about two ounces of meat, unfit to eat, and occasionally a few black, worm eaten beans. They were obliged to sell clothing received from home to buy food to sustain life. Those in the hospitals were little better fed. Worn and neglected wounds remained for days undressed. They were submitted to unmerciful and murderous treatment from those in charge of them. They were shot and killed for violating rules of which they had no knowledge. When they arrived at Annapolis their clothing was so filled with vermin that it had to be destroyed, and repeated washings failed to relieve their heads and bodies of the pests. They are now dying daily, and the physicians in charge entertain no doubt that their emaciation and death are directly caused by the brutal and merciless treatment received while prisoners of war.



THE Dano-German Conference had assembled in London, and the Memorial Diplomatique of Paris states that England and France have agreed to recommend and insist upon an armistice. This appeared to be the main point for discussion, as it was thought that unless an armistice were enforced by the Conference Alsen must fall to the Prussians. It was alleged in some quarters that France would try to turn the Conference into a General Congress. Others thought that the Berlin Cabinet, intoxicated with the military success of Prussia, would propose an ultimatum, and leave the other Powers to discuss it.

There is no later news from Duppel. The Prussians were at work on the batteries, which are, if possible, to repeat on the Island of Alsen the feats achieved on the main land. The King of Denmark issued a proclamation declaring that the sufferings of the army will not be without fruit in the struggle for national existence. The King of Prussia had returned to Berlin from the battle-field.

Garibaldi sailed from England, after visiting the royal farms at Windsor. The working-men's meeting, which was called in London in order to express the opinion of the laboring classes as to the reason for the sudden departure of the General, was dispersed by the police.

The Alexandra was to be delivered up to her owners on April 25. The privateer Alabama on March 20 had entered Table Bay. She had destroyed seven American vessels in the Indian Sea.


THE sub-Committee on the Conduct of the War have submitted to Congress an elaborate report with respect to the raid of FORREST and the Fort Pillow massacre. From testimony taken it appears that the conduct of FORREST at Paducah was characterized by deceptions and atrocities entirely foreign to civilized warfare; that the demand for the surrender of Columbus was made for the purpose of gaining time to steal horses and cattle ; that all that has been related of the massacre at Fort Pillow is fully confirmed; and that FORREST'S object throughout seemed to be to wreak vengeance upon negro troops and their officers, and upon loyal Tennesseeans who had joined the Union army. The acts of the rebels thus placed upon record are unparalleled for their cruelty, and disgraceful to those participating in them, or under whose direction they were perpetrated.

Rear-Admiral PORTER recently sent an expedition up the Washita River, as far as Monroe, which captured three thousand bales of Confederate cotton, brought away eight hundred negroes, and destroyed much rebel property.

A Norfolk correspondent says that General BUTLER has compelled that city to pay for its own government, and at the same time introduced a number of improvements.

General WASHBURNE has hung a spy and smuggler at Memphis, and has arrested several others. General terror consequently prevails among the secessionists in that vicinity.

Major-General HUNTER has gone to Alexandria, Louisiana, where he will probably have a command.

General DIX has published an order retiring Brigadier-General STANNARD from the command of the troops in New York city and harbor, and putting Brigadier-General R. DE TROBRLAND in the place. General STANNARD goes to Fortress Monroe.

General KILPATRICK had a narrow escape in a skirmish with the enemy near Bold Knob, Georgia, recently. His horse was killed by a ball which grazed the General's side.




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