Back to Virginia
Back to Henrico
Lunarpages.com Web Hosting
Mobile Register

Mobile Register

July 11, 1861

Page 1

Letter from Richmond

[From Our Own Correspondent]

Richmond, Va., July 4


Open your ears, for which of you will stop

The vent of hearing when loud Rumor speaks?

I, from the Orient to the drooping west

Making the wind my post horse still unfold

The acts commenced on this ball of earth.

Upon my tongues continual slanders ride

The which in every language I pronounce,

Stuffing the ears of men with false reports.

I speak of peace, while covert enmity

Under the smile of safety wounds the world;

And who but Rumor, who but only I,

Make fearful muster and prepared defense,

Whilst the big year, swollen with some other grief,

Is thought with child by the stern tyrant war,

And no much matter?  Rumor is a pipe

Blown by surmises, jealousies, conjectures

And of so easy and so plain a stop

That the blunt monster with uncounted heads,

The still discordant wavering multitude,

Can play upon it.



New Orleans is called the “Crescent City,” St. Louis the “Mound City,” Louisville the “Falls City,” Baltimore the “City of Monuments,” and if Richmond ever gets the name, she most deserves, it will certainly be the “City of Rumors.”  She is literally a rumor nest—a nest in which there are millions of rumors eggs.  The air seems to lay them and the sun seems to hatch them.  During the process of pipping they commence buzzing and they never stop until they run their course, the length of which depends upon how much more or less marvellous the last rumor is than all the rest.

Patterson or Cadawallader, one certainly, did cross the Potomac Wednesday last, at or near Williamsport, at or near  Shepard’s Ferry, at or near some ferry at or near somewhere or somewhere else.  Rumor has had it first that Patterson was the man, then that Cadwallader was the man, and then she tried it on a third style and swore the both her stories were true, that Patterson and Cadwallader had crossed the Potomac, and now, she solemnly avers that neither of them got over, but in an attempt to do so lost from 400 to 600 men and were driven back.  Col. Jackson, whom Rumor said at first had only one thousand men, afterwards she said he had 3,000 men, now she says he had 4,500.  This last story the Madam has colored rather stiff.  In the first place, 1,000 men make a regiment, and that is all one colonel is usually entitled to command.  If there were four and a half regiments there, where were Johnston’s Brigadiers?  And then again, if Jackson had 4,500 men, why did he not, when Patterson retired, raise the “hue and cry,” run him down and capture him and his army?  Patterson only had about 15,000 men with him, and if Jackson did have 4,500—to say the least of it, they ought to have taken at least 10,000 prisoners and made the rest kill themselves running.  This is a sober and serious view to take of it, and to take a sober and serious view of a fight in which the Yankees figure, required nerves emphatically saturnine.  Of these fights it may generally be said, “Est multi fabula plena jeci”—it is a short story but full of fun.

Madame Rumor reasserts within the last hour that Patterson did cross, she at first said with 34, then 32 and now says 15,000 men, and she says Johnston was yesterday within six miles of him and advancing upon him with great eagerness.  Now query, is this a huge Leviathan egg the Madame has laid, whereupon she hopes to hatch a multitudinous brood of little quackers, or is it a guess of hers in the regions of truth?  You see if she only had six miles between Johnston and Patterson, it will not take her long to bring about a collision, and then the buzz of the insect rumors that she will make the best of the atmosphere of that battlefield hatch a buzz that will drown the roar of the battle itself.

I am just in receipt of another dispatch from Madame Rumor.  She says that Patterson attempted to cross the Potomac and did cross, but that while he was at it, our troops, commanded by Col. Jackson, killed about 60 of his men, and that after he got on Virginia soil the cavalry of the enemy made a dash at our cavalry, and that we emptied about one hundred saddles and got the horses and took about forty prisoners.  This news was brought to my room by a friend from the war office, where he heard that a bearer of dispatches has just arrived. The Madame will be certain to have a fit when she rolls this delicious morsel under her sweet tongue, and before she lets it get cold she will give the credulous hordes of green ‘uns, that are her especial constituency, all fits.

You are aware your correspondent has been for several days an invalid, confined to his room.  All this of which I have written did not stand on ceremonies; I heard it at my own bedside.  What might I have not heard could I have gone forth to hear Madame as she flew from hotel to hotel like witches astride broomsticks in the air, scattering her treasures as she flew to the right and to the left.  I hope to be up to-morrow and able to write you a letter about facts.  It has been said that there are people passionately fond of seeing their names in the papers.  If Madam Rumor is one of them, I hope she will have a sweet sleep to-night, and that she will sleep soundly and long—long enough to give the truth a fair start with the world to-morrow.



[Transcribed by Sharon Strout]


North Carolina
South Carolina

Site News





Book Reviews


Research Notes

Free Site Ring from BravenetFree Site Ring from BravenetFree Site Ring from BravenetFree Site Ring from BravenetFree Site Ring from Bravenet