Capture of Fort Fisher


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, January 28, 1865

This Harper's Weekly newspaper from the Civil War features unique news of the war, and fascinating illustrations. It covers some important events that occurred during the closing days of the War. This site features our entire collection of newspapers from the war for your perusal and study.

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General Slocum


Sherman's Freedmen

Fort Fisher

Capture of Fort Fisher

Savannah Holidays

Savannah Holidays

Savannah Occupied

Occupied Savannah

Howlett House

Howlett House Battery

Chicago Waterworks

Chicago Waterworks

Butler Command

General Butler Removed from Command

Sailors Reading

Sailors Reading Newspaper

Federal Point

Bombardment of Federal Point

Old Ads

Old Ads






JANUARY 28, 1865.]



(Previous Page) If so generously and properly we send supplies to those who were lately our enemies, to those whose devotion to slavery occasioned the war, can we forget the innocent people who, as they have been the bruised victims of the long peace of slavery, are now the patient victims of the war of liberty ?


THE history of the Wilmington Expedition is another proof of our Lieutenant-General's indomitable pertinacity. He never undertakes without final accomplishment. He may not succeed in the first instance, or a partial reverse may reveal to him the insufficiency in the means taken, or the incompetency of his subordinates. But he holds on notwithstanding, providing new means and shelving incapable officers, knowing that in the end, sooner or later, victory awaits the patient soldier.

BUTLER failed to take Fort Fisher, and men had hardly got through with reasoning upon his failure and its causes before the news of complete success, under another commander, upsets or modifies their military critiques. This success is of the first importance. The capture of Fort Fisher does not mean alone the taking of 75 guns and several hundred prisoners. It involves a loss to the rebels of their principal port, and to us whatever gain may come from the release of our blockading fleet at this point. But its chief value is in relation to the future military operations of Generals GRANT and SHERMAN. The Cape Fear River is a convenient base for the most efficient co-operation of the two great armies now overshadowing the Atlantic rebel States.

The assault made on the 15th, and the five hours' fight hand to hand with the garrison of the fort, is not surpassed in the annals of war. The three brigades of AMES'S Division CURTIS'S, PENNYBACKER'S, and BELL'S covered themselves with glory. Every one of the brigade commanders were wounded two of them dangerously. Our loss, estimated at nearly one thousand, indicates the terrible sharpness of the fight. Two hundred of these were wounded by the bursting of a magazine after the fort was captured.

There was perfect harmony between the two parts of the expedition, and it is hard to say which deserves the most honor PORTER for his effective bombardment, or TERRY for his skillful disposition of the land force and conduct of the assault.


MR. EVERETT died as his warmest friends would have wished quietly, painlessly, in his own home, and in the ripeness of his powers, his services, and his fame. He was our most eminent private citizen, and his death is doubly happy that it occurs when his lofty fidelity to the country has disarmed criticism and justified the early faith of many who had been long estranged by the timidity of his political course at a time when timidity seemed almost treachery.

He was a singularly fortunate man from the beginning. A brilliant collegian ; a fascinating young clergyman ; a conspicuous public man, Representative, Governor, Embassador, Senator, Secretary of State ; an accomplished scholar and President of the University at Cambridge ; a persuasive and polished orator, whose speeches are works for students and statesmen; and self devoted to a fair but futile mission of sentimental union ; a copious, learned, delightful, and even humorous author, but with no single literary monument of his varied scholarship and skill; cold, cautious, exact, punctual, proper, but gentle, courteous, courtly, and serene; loving praise and sensitive to blame, yet never stung by it into vituperation or fiery retort, he passed from shining point to point of popular fame, not a man of the heroic mould by which states are founded or saved, but of that grace and refinement and gentleness by which they are truly adorned ; and he dies when his threescore and ten years are fulfilled, with the words of patriotic sympathy warm upon his lips, honored by the nation and beloved by his countrymen, beatus ille, to the end.


OATMAN AND VAN DYKE'S Skating Pond, on the Fifth Avenue, between Fifty-eighth and Fifty-ninth streets, is one of the chief attractions this winter. The ice is kept in excellent condition, the Police arrangements are satisfactory, and for children and ladies it is the safest place known to us. Colonel OATMAN himself is always present to supervise, and deserves the thanks of all lovers of the sublime art of skating for his energy and enterprise in providing this pond.



A VERY important measure passed the Senate last week, having for its end the repeal of the Reciprocity Treaty. This is not occasioned by the late difficulties arising out of the St. Albans raid. The treaty has been unequal, and it yearly deprives the Government of a large revenue which would otherwise accrue. The Constitutional Amendment is still under consideration in the House. The debate has been conducted with great moderation, but has taken a very narrow scope for so important a subject.

The military situation has been again modified by a great victory. The fortifications on Federal Point, commanding the mouth of Cape Fear River, have been reduced

by Admiral Porter and General Terry. Fort Fisher has been taken without a siege. This most important success secures two results first, the closing of the port of Wilmington against blockade runners; and second, an excellent base of military operations for General Sherman's army.


January 10:

In the Senate, the Deficiency bill was passed. The Consular bill was postponed till the 13th.

In the House, a resolution was adopted directing the Military Committee to inquire and report what legislation is necessary to secure to persons arrested and imprisoned by the military authorities a prompt examination into the cause of their arrest, and their discharge if there is no cause, or their speedy trial if there is. The debate on the constitutional amendment was resumed.

January 11:

In the Senate, the resolution to repeal the Reciprocity Treaty was discussed at length. The principal speech against the resolution was Mr. Hale's. He said that the general operation of the treaty had been beneficial. The exports to Canada had within a few years increased from six to twenty-five millions of dollars. Both free and duty paying goods had increased. In 1853 the exports to Canada were $7,000,000; in 1854, $15,000,000; in 1856, $22,000,000; and in 1863, $28,000,000. The imports had increased from $490,000 to $20,000,000. He thought we ought not to strike a blow at commerce when we need the sinews of war so much. He believed it would strengthen the rebels and weaken the Union cause to repeal the treaty. Mr. Sumner replied to Mr. Hale. He said the treaty might be seen under four different heads. It concerns the fisheries, the navigation of the St. Lawrence, the commerce between the United States and the British Provinces, and the revenue of the United States. In regard to the fisheries there was a plain advantage, because the treaty secured tranquillity where formerly there had been irritation. As to the navigation of the St. Lawrence the concession made to us was little more than nominal. It appears that during the first six years of the treaty only forty American vessels, containing 12,550 tons, passed seaward through the St. Lawrence ; and during the same time only nineteen vessels, containing 5446 tons, returned by the same open highway. These are very petty amounts when we consider the value of the commerce on the lakes, which, in 1856, was $58,797,320; or when we consider the carrying trade between the United States and the British Provinces. Take the years 1857 to 1862, inclusive, and we shall find that, during this period, the shipping of the United States which cleared for' the British Provinces was 10,707,239 tons, and the foreign shipping which cleared during this same period was 7,391,399 tons, while the shipping of the United States which entered at our custom houses from the British Provinces was 10,056,183 tons, and the foreign shipping which entered was 6,453,520 tons. The navigation of the St. Lawrence need not therefore be considered an element in this discussion. Next, the treaty was to be viewed in its relation to the commerce between the two countries. This had increased immensely, but this fact could not be accounted for by the treaty. It was due to the increase of population, and the increased facilities of railroad transportation. The railroad system between the two countries had been a reciprocity treaty more comprehensive and equal than any written on parchment. In the three years immediately preceding the treaty the total exports to Canada and the other British provinces were $48,216,518, and the total imports were $12,588,517, being of exports to imports in the proportion of one hundred to forty-six. In the ten years of the treaty the total exports to Canada and the British provinces were $256,350,931. The total imports were $200,399,786. According to these amounts the exports were in the proportion of one hundred to seventy-eight. If we take Canada alone we shall find the change in their proportion greater still. The total exports to Canada in the three years immediately preceding the treaty were $31,866,865, and the total imports were $6,587,674, being in the proportion of one hundred to fifty-two ; while the whole exports to Canada alone during the ten years of the treaty were $176,371,911, and the total imports were $161,474,347, being in the proportion of one hundred to ninety-four. In the last place the treaty was to be considered in its relation to the revenues of the country. If no treaty had been made, and commerce had increased in the same ratio as before the treaty, Canada would have paid to the United States in the ten years of the treaty at least $16,373,800, from which she has been relieved. This sum had actually been lost to the United States. In return Canada had given up $2,650,890, being the amount it would have collected if no treaty had been made. There was a vast disproportion to the detriment of the United States. During the ten years of the treaty the United States had actually paid in duties to Canada $16,802,962, while during the same period Canada had paid in duties to the United States the very moderate sum of $930,447. Here again was a vast disproportion to the detriment of the United States. The same inequality might be seen in another way. During the ten years of the treaty dutiable products of the United States had entered Canada and the other provinces to the amount of $83,337,619, while during the same period dutiable products of Canada and the other provinces have entered the United States only to the amount of $7,750,482. During the same period free products of the United States had entered Canada and the other provinces to the amount of $118,853,972, while free products of Canada and the other provinces had entered the United States to the amount of $178,500,184. Here again was a vast disproportion to the detriment of the United States. Mr. Sumner then quoted from the report of the Secretary of the Treasury, showing that the treaty had released from duty a total sum of $42,333,257, in value of goods of Canada more than of goods the product of the United States. From these various considerations it was clear to him that the revenue of the United States had suffered by this treaty, and that in this important particular its advantages had not been equally shared by the two countries.

In the House, a bill was passed providing that in any action by or against any executors, administrators, or guardians, in which judgment may have been rendered for or against them, neither party shall be allowed to testify against the other on any transaction, unless called to testify by the opposite party or by the court. The House then resumed the consideration of the proposed amendment to the Constitution.

January 12:

In the Senate, a communication was received from the President regard to the arrangement limiting the naval armament on the Northern lakes, showing that the limitation of force was first sought by this Government. The arrangement was made between Richard Rush, Acting Secretary of State, and Charles Begat, British Envoy Extraordinary. A report from the Judiciary Committee, signified that there was no law requiring the President to give sixty days' notice in calling for an extra session. The consideration of the repeal of the Reciprocity Treaty was resumed, pending which a recess was taken of ten minutes to allow the members to pay their respects to Vice-Admiral Farragut, who was on the floor; after which the debate was renewed, and the resolution finally passed 31 to 8. As the resolution had already passed the Senate it only needs the President's signature to become final.

In the House, the debate was continued on the Constitutional Amendment.

January 13:

In the Senate, the Consular Appropriation bill was passed. Mr. Hale's amendment to the bill, giving the Consul at Halifax $3000 instead of $2000 salary was lost. Occasion was taken to give notice of the tenacity of the Senate in regard to the Monroe doctrine, by passing an amendment inserting before the word " Mexico" the word "Republic." Said Mr. Wade, we can only recognize the Republic; we have nothing to do with the Empire.

In the House, the debate on the Constitutional Amendment was continued. The consideration of the subject will not again come up until January 30.

January 16:

In the Senate, a resolution offered by Mr. Sumner was adopted that the President communicate to the Senate any information in his possession showing the practical operation of the Tenth Article of the Treaty of August 9, 1842 (the Ashburton Treaty), and the expediency of giving the British Government the notice required for the termination of such Article.

In the House, the Senate's amendments to the joint res

olution for the repeal of the Reciprocity Treaty were concurred in. Some peace resolutions offered by Mr. Cox were laid on the table by a vote of 84 to 51.

January 17:

In the Senate, no important measure was acted upon.

In the House, the subject of providing a republican government for States overthrown or subverted by rebellion came up, and was postponed for two weeks.


General Grierson left Memphis with about 3000 men December 21. Last week we gave an account of his progress along the Mobile and Ohio Railroad front Corinth to Okolona a distance of 70 miles. He had thus far entirely destroyed the railroad. Ten miles further south at Egypt he had a sharp fight with a rebel force and captured 500 prisoners. Instead of proceeding to Meridian he left the line of the railroad at Egypt, being compelled to do so by the concentration of the enemy against him, and moved westward, striking the Mississippi Central Railroad below Granada, Mississippi, destroying 30 miles of it with several locomotives and 50 cars, together with extensive rebel factories.

The command consisted of three brigades, commanded by Kargi, Winslow, and Osband. About 700 prisoners were captured, among whom was Brigadier-General Gholson, and there were brought in 1000 able-bodied negroes and 1000 horses. Forty miles of the Mobile and Ohio Railroad were so badly damaged that Hood's army can not repair it for months. New pontoons, new wagons, and a large amount of supplies en route for Hood were destroyed in the cars. The destruction at Nevada included 300 wagons and 500 carbines intended for Forrest. Grierson's loss was about 100 killed and wounded.


A dispatch from Beauregard, dated Macon, January 7, reads as follows :

" General Hood reports from Spring Hill, December 27, 1864, that on the morning of the 15th instant, in front of Nashville, the enemy attacked both flanks of his army. They were repulsed on the right with heavy loss, but toward evening they drove in his infantry outposts on the left flank.

"Early on the 16th the enemy made a general attack on his entire line. All their assaults were handsomely repulsed with heavy loss until 6:30 P.M., when a portion of our line to the left of the centre suddenly gave way, causing our lines to give way at all points, our troops retreating rapidly. Fifty pieces of artillery and several ordnance wagons were lost by us on that day. Our loss in killed and wounded heretofore small; in prisoners not ascertained. Major-General Edward Jackson, and Brigadier-Generals T. B. Smith and H. R. Jackson are captured."

The date of the above report should be December 17 instead of December 27, but was probably changed by mistake in the telegram. This report of Hood's is an out and out falsehood. Hood says we were repulsed on his right. This is only partially true, though it must be admitted that Hood's right did hold its own ground during the day; the attack here was only a demonstration. He says we drove in the infantry outposts on his left toward night. What he means by " infantry outposts" in this case would be hard to define. The truth is, his whole left was by night pressed back several miles from its original position. Then he says that on the 16th all our assaults were repulsed until 6:30 P.M., when his left centre gave way. Perhaps so. All we know is, that at 6.30 P.M. the fighting was already over, and the grand result of the day had already been accomplished. Hood very incidentally states that during the day he lost fifty cannon and several ordnance wagons. This was probably while we were being "handsomely repulsed."

Front a dispatch of General Thomas's, dated December 29, we have the following estimate of Hood's losses since he entered Tennessee:

  1. At the Battle of Franklin : 6000 killed, wounded, and captured; 6 general officers killed, 6 wounded, and 1 captured.

  2. At Murfreesborough on the 8th : 1207 killed, wounded, and captured; 1 general killed; 2 guns.

  3. In the Battle of Nashville on the 15th and 16th: 4462 captured; 53 guns; 3000 stands of small-arms ; 5 generals wounded and captured.

  4. During the retreat : 1500 to 2000 captured; 15 guns. Total: 13,469 killed, wounded, and captured; 12 generals put out of combat ; 70 guns.

This estimate does not include the killed and wounded at the battle of Nashville, because the number of these was not known. Supposing the number of casualties to have been equal to our own, it must have been over 7000. Four or five rebel generals were killed or wounded who are not included in Thomas's estimate.


A meeting was held by the New York Produce Exchange on the 11th inst., to take action in reference to the relief of the suffering citizens of Savannah. Colonel Julian Allen, an agent authorized by Mayor Arnold, addressed the meeting. He said that the people of Savannah, as a general thing, were loyal; but if only a few of them were true to the Union, it was better that ten guilty rebels should be fed than that one loyal man should starve. He believed that a Union sentiment pervaded the State of Georgia.

Resolutions were then unanimously adopted, recommending the appointment of a committee of seventeen, to carry out the object of the meeting.

Contributions for the suffering people of Savannah were to be received, and forwarded free in a Government steamer, leaving on the 14th or 15th inst.


January 7 a party of Indians attacked the Overland Mail Coach near Julesburg, Colorado, robbing the express snail. They also attacked a mule train near by, killing one man. The troops at Julesburg started at once in pursuit, and a fight ensued, in which 35 Indians and 19 whites were killed. The Indians retreated southward.


The State Convention of Missouri, at St. Louis, on the 11th instant, passed the following ordinance of emancipation by a vote of 60 to 4:

"Be it ordained by the people of the State of Missouri, in Convention assembled, that hereafter in this State there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except in punishment of crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted ; and all persons held to service or labor as slaves are hereby declared free."


Of the list of military nominations recently sent into the Senate by the President the Military Committee of, the Senate have considered and agreed to report for confirmation the following in the regular army: Major-General W. T. Sherman, to date from August 12, 1864 ; Major-General G. G. Meade, to date from August 18, 1864; Major-General P. H. Sheridan, to date from November 8, 1864 ; Major-General G. H. Thomas, to date from December 15, 1864; Brigadier-General Hancock, to date from August 12, 1864; Colonel Benjamin S. Fisher, to be Chief of Signal Corps, to date from December 3, 1864.


The rebel General Lyon, who has been trying a raid into Kentucky, with 800 men, passed through M'Minville in his retreat, capturing a company of Federal cavalry. He crossed the Chattanooga Railroad below Tullahoma, tore up a few rails, and moved on his way to join Forrest in Alabama.

The rebels have placed a large working force on the East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad, to repair the damages suffered from Stoneman's raid.

Jefferson Davis, in his late message, said that out of 11,796 bales of cotton shipped since last July from the rebellion, only 1272 were lost, However that may be, it is known that during that time 7834 bales fell into the hands of Federal cruisers.

Major-General Ord has succeeded General Butler in the command of the Army of the James.

The rebels made another attack on our picket line in front of Petersburg on the morning of the 9th, just before daylight, and captured a few videttes on the right of the Second Division of the Sixth Corps.

The loyal man of Philadelphia have subscribed and

raised a fund with which to purchase a house for the wife of Lieutenant-General Grant, at a cost of $50,000.

A detachment of Early's rebel army, under General Rosser, made an attack on Beverly, West Virginia, on the 11th inst., and, after an obstinate resistance on the part of the small national force stationed there, captured it and made prisoners of a considerable portion of the garrison, and soon after moved off.

Deserters from Lee's army report that some of his troops have lately been sent from Richmond to oppose Sherman in South Carolina.

The water in the James River has recently been very high, in many places overflowing the banks, and it appears that it has washed away a considerable portion of the bulkhead of the Dutch Gap Canal, which the explosion on New Year's Day failed to remove. It is said that a stream ten feet wide and several feet deep now flows through.

The manner in which the rebel guerrilla Mosby was wounded is thus given by the Richmond Sentinel "He had been skirmishing during the 21st with the enemy, and at night was getting some supper at a farmer's house. The enemy, who were supposed to have retired, suddenly surrounded the house in large numbers. Colonel Mosby, hearing their footsteps, passed out of the room in which he was, and found himself confronting a squad that had entered the house. At the same moment he was shot through the window by some one without. The ball entered just under the ends of the ribs, on the left side, and passed out at a similar point on the right side, without wounding the bowels. He walked into a room and lay down." Mosby had stated to the Federals that he was an officer in the Sixth Cavalry.

A rebel correspondent, writing from Florence, South Carolina, says that in the stockade at that place there are still 10,000 men, over 1000 having died from scurvy.

The rebels in Richmond did not hear the explosion at Dutch Gap on New Year's Day, receiving their first information of the event from the New York papers.

A correspondent of the Richmond Sentinel, speaking of Hardy and Pendelton Counties, Virginia, says that the people are generally disloyal to the Confederacy, and the mountains are infested with bushwhackers and swamp dragoons. These counties are just west from Strasburg, on the South Branch of the Shenandoah.

On the 11th inst. the Galt House, at Louisville, was entirely destroyed by fire. The aggregate loss is estimated at a million dollars. One person, William Hanna, of Shelby County, Kentucky, perished in the flames. The Galt House was, after the Lindell Hotel, at St. Louis, the largest hotel in the West. In 1861 Generals Sherman, Buell, Anderson, and others, made it their head-quarters. It was in this house that General Jeff C. Davis allot General William Nelson in September, 1862.

Hon. William Pitt Fessenden has been elected United States Senator for six years from the 4th of March next. Major-General Sherman, in a letter to Quarter-master General Meigs, dated Savannah, says : "You may use my name in any circular addressed to the Quarter-masters of the army, to the effect that every part of the Southern country will support their armies by a judicious system of foraging. More animals are lost to your department while standing idle, hitched to their wagons, than during the long and seemingly hard marches into the interior."

Mr. Henry S. Foote, of Mississippi, who a short time ago delivered a speech in the rebel Congress, bitterly denunciatory of Jeff Davis and the whole rebel government, and then resigned his seat, was captured a few days since at Occoquan, only fifteen miles from Alexandria, Virginia, by rebel cavalry who had been sent in pursuit of him. At the time he was endeavoring, in company with his wife, to make his escape from Rebeldom, and had, in fact, got within the Union lines, when, owing to an unavoidable delay on his part, Jeff's emissaries were enabled to over take and capture him. Mrs. Foote has arrived in Washington.

Major-General John A. Logan reached Savannah January 6, and resumed command of the Fifteenth Army Corps, which during the march through Georgia was commanded by General Osterhaus.

A Halifax, N. N., dispatch states that the late rebel pirate Tallahassee, now changed to a blockade runner, and Called the Chameleon, is under arrest at Bermuda.

The rebels have been very busy preparing the railroad north of Hicksford for the relaying of the rails, but as yet none have been put down, probably because they do not possess them.

On the 7th instant the steamship Melville, two days out from New York, on its way to Hilton Head, foundered and became a complete wreck. There were eighty-one persons on board, of whom only four are known to be saved. The passengers were nearly all residents of Port Royal.

The Denver City News reports that Colonel Kit Carson, with a few of the companies of the First New Mexico Cavalry, lately ran against a band of 1000 Indians, Kiowas and Camanches, on Red River, south of the road from Fort Union to the States, and was badly repulsed. He had to fight his way back.

Ohio has furnished 211,500 men to the army and navy, of whom 16,500 have died in service, and about 8000 have been disabled.

Hon. James Guthrie has been elected to take the place of Hon. Lazarus W. Powell to represent Kentucky in the Senate.

The town of Fishkill, on the Hudson, has become the victim of oil fever. Indications of the existence of oil have been found on several farms in the vicinity, but it is extremely doubtful whether mining will prove a profitable speculation. Oil in any considerable quantity can only be found in great coal regions. There is in the North an investment in the oil business amounting to more than three hundred millions of dollars, exclusive of private enterprise. In New York city alone there are 112 oil companies, with a capital of $134,045,000. In Philadelphia the capital thus invested amounts to over $164,000,000.

The population of Wisconsin cities, according to the new State census, is as follows: Milewaukie, 44,700; Madison, 9072; Fond-du-Lac, 8861; Racine, 7212.

Thomas Church Brownell, Bishop of Connecticut, and presiding Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church, died at his residence in Hartford, on the 13th instant, at the age of eighty-six years.

The United States sloop of war San Jacinto struck a reef off No Name Key on the Bahama Banks, December 31, and became a wreck. The crew and most of the stores and guns were saved. She was a screw steamer, 1446 tons, and carried 14 guns.

General Godfrey Weitzel was, on the 13th inst., united in marriage to Miss Louise Bogen, of Cincinnati, Ohio.


MAXIMILIAN issued a manifesto, December 27, recognizing the Roman Catholic religion to be that of the State and recommending that the nationalization of ecclesiastical property be ratified. The Belgian Legion had arrived at Vera Cruz to the number of five thousand. Two thousand more are expected in the month of January.

The news of Sherman's capture of M'Allister, and of Hood's defeat at Nashville, had at our latest advices reached England, and produced a great sensation. The new, front Sherman was considered of the greater importance. The London Times says : " The resistance of the Georgians to this invasion has not been sufficient to prevent its success. It may not be possible to hold down as vast a tract, for Georgia in itself is as large as England and Wales, and this immense extent of the territory to be occupied is the standing difficulty of the Federal plan of conquest; bet the North will at least have shown to the world that its armies are able to traverse at their will the most populous and long settled regions of the Confederacy, and this conviction mutt have a powerful effect in inducing a zealous prosecution of the war. If Savannah be not yet taken, it will be besieged, and the operations before it will probably give rise to the most important military incidents of the winter."

Hood's defeat had been only partially reported. All that was known being that the Confederates had been attacked, and driven, with a loss of from 3000 to 5000 prisoners, and from thirty to forty cannon.

Great stress is laid in the English journals on General Dix's order, which was considered unauthorized. On the other hand, great satisfaction was expressed with that part of the President's Message bearing on our relations with Canada.




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