June 23, 1861
FREDERICKSBURG, VA., June 17—The town, finally quiet, was thrown into a battled “ferment” yesterday by the arrival of six deserters from the Garibaldi Legion, of New York, now stationed at Washington; every one was, of course, curious, and wanted to a look and a word, and for a short time there was a considerable jam and a squeeze. After the first “puff” had somewhat blown over, I learned with a good deal of difficulty that they, being French, and scarcely able to understand a word of English, were en route to join the New Orleans Zouaves, and had deserted on Wednesday morning, and walked all the way from Washington to a point on the Maryland shore of the Potomac, nearly opposite Mathias’ Point.
They report quite an interesting state of affairs at Washington, and ____ it as among the reasons which induced them to leave. They say that the excuse of the Government for not paying the soldiers, viz: the absence of the pay-rolls—is all hedge, and the Government has no money and no means of getting any. As an evidence, they say that a shoe merchant who had furnished about $10,000 worth of shoes to the soldiers, presented his bill, and was told that it was impossible to pay it, the Treasury being almost entirely empty.
They also throw some light on the hitherto dark question as to the number killed in the fight at Acquia Creek. They say that eighty-one dead bodies were removed from the Freeborn at the Navy Yard at Washington—many of them horrible mangled. I think this report may be relied on, as I received a similar statement from Dr. Green, late of the Navy, who has just arrived from Baltimore.
[Transcribed by Sharon Strout]