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June 30, 1861

Page 2


Interesting Letter from Richmond

[By Special Express]

Richmond, Tuesday, June 25


Eds. Register and Advertiser:

            Four days ago the forces under Gen. Beauregard, I am informed by another of the Virginia Volunteers, whose operations have been in close proximity to Alexandria, amounted to twenty-five thousand well disciplined and enthusiastic men, and additional regiments, amounting to two thousand each day, were pouring in.

            He had advanced a portion of his command to within three miles of Alexandria, and recaptured a place called cloud’s Mill, together with twelve hundred barrels of flour which had been seized by the enemy for conversion to their use.

            Alexandria, whither the Confederate forces seem tending, will not be attacked by them.  It is a place of no strategic consequence, small in population and importance, and if assaulted and retaken by our forces could only be held with great difficulty and at an enormous sacrifice of life.  Lying immediately on the Potomac, with streets of great width traversing it in perpendicular lines from the water, any contemptible steamship could take a position near enough to rake each thoroughfare with a fire no less murderous to a garrison of soldiers than destructive to buildings and property.

            The anticipation of an attack from Beauregard has caused the Lincoln Government to assemble in the harbor and alongside the town, a number of formidable war vessels to act as the result of the threatened attack and the conflict may determine.

            The Marshall Hotel, whose heroic proprietor, Jackson, shot the young military God Ellsworth, for the larceny of his flag, has been taken possession of by the “Blacks” who use it for quartering a large number of the soldiers.  Two thousand dollars of the contribution fund raised for the wife and children of the hero, have been invested in Government bonds.  A safe and advantageous outlay.  The extensive and fearful killing of their sentinels at and near Alexandria encampment by Confederate Scouts has so completely demoralized and broken them down with fear that the picket guards who are detailed each evening bid farewell to their friends and wring each other’s hands at parting as if it were their last earthly interview.  This was communicated to me by an officer from the very “seat of war” who obtained it from well informed deserters to our army, and it certainly has for its foundation the fact that large numbers of their out-guards have been picked off by bands who style themselves the “Avengers of Jackson,” and who have been hovering with fatal effect near to the enemy’s lines.

            It is stated, upon semi-official authority, that the number of Confederate troops offered the Government is very little, if any, below three hundred thousand.  My attention has been recently called to the especial demand for, as well as scarcity of, bayonets.

            Officers who come here to procure arms for their commands, beg and implore the Government to be provided with bayonets.  Since the panic occasioned the Yankee invaders by these instruments at the Battle of “Bethel,” they have grown to be as favorite a weapon with our soldiers as they are with the French; and hereafter, close quarters and cold steel will constitute the rallying cries of our brave forces.

            It is proclaimed here, with an air of authority by those who are presumed to have some knowledge of the movements and anticipations of our military leaders, that a naval demonstration will be made against either Norfolk or Portsmouth before perhaps the lapse of a week.

            The first named, and most important of the places, Norfolk, I have just been informed by an officer of much practical sense, who has had in charge the construction of many of her most important fortifications, is perfectly impregnable to all the United States shipping that can be sent against her.

            The shore on both sides of the city for miles is lined with destructive batteries, and thousands of loop-holes for musketry have been made in her extensive harbor fortifications, in addition to the heavy artillery with which they are mounted.

            The 1900 cannon which were captured from her Navy Yard have been distributed throughout the Confederate States, and will soon be welcoming the invaders in deadly tones to felon’s and outlaw’s graves.


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