Monthly Record of Current Events, April 18.

THE capture of New Orleans proves to have been one of the most brilliant exploits of modern warfare. The brief mention made of it in our last Record was drawn wholly from Southern sources, our own official reports not having come to hand. We are now able to furnish a resume of the whole series of operations. Our fleet, the largest ever assembled under the American flag, consisted of 8 steamships, 16 gun-boats, and 21 mortar schooners, 45 sail in all, carrying 286 guns. The whole fleet was commanded by Flag-officer D. S. Farragut; the mortar-vessels being under the special command of Commodore David D. S. Porter. This fleet entered the Mississippi, and ascending about 25 miles reached Forts Jackson and St. Philip, on opposite sides of the river, about 75 miles below the city. Here a chain had been thrown across the river; this, with the forts, the steam-rams, and gun-boats, had been supposed, as afterward appeared, to be quite sufficient to protect New Orleans from any possibility of attack. Yet it had been announced that the whole course of the river above the forts was guarded by batteries and intrenchments. The bombardment of these forts was opened on the 18th of April. This continued for six days. As afterward appeared great damage was done to the forts, although the vigor of their fire was not sensibly diminished. Fire-rafts were sent down in hopes to destroy our fleet. These were found to be useless. They were quietly taken in hand, towed ashore, and suffered to burn out. At length Commodore Farragut determined to pass the forts and proceed to the attack of New Orleans. At two o'clock on the morning of the 24th the steamers and gun-boats destined for the expedition received the signal to advance. They were formed into two columns; that on the right under Commodore Farragut, that on the left under Captain Theodorus Bailey, There were in all 16 steamers and gun-boats, two of the latter, however, did not succeed in passing the forts. They were soon discovered, and a furious fire was opened upon them from the forts, which was replied to with vigor, the vessels, meanwhile, pressing on. The Varuna, Captain Charles S. Boggs, having


passed the forts, found itself the leading vessel and surrounded by a squadron of hostile steamers; to each of them in passing a broadside was given; four of these were thus driven on shore and left in flames. The Varuna was badly cut up in this combat, but thus far no one on board had been injured. The Varuna then engaged a vessel of the enemy ironclad about the bow, so that shot were of no use against that part. The rebel attempted to butt the Varuna, which in turn endeavored to reach his vulnerable points. The rebel succeeded in his effort; but in so doing exposed his side, receiving a broad-side which, crippled his engine and set him on fire. The Varuna was also set on fire and the flames were with difficulty extinguished. At this moment another iron-clad steamer bore down upon the doomed Varuna, struck her heavily, and backed off for another blow. Seeing destruction inevitable, Captain Boggs so manoeuvred that when the second blow was received, the unprotected side of the enemy was exposed. The blow crushed in the side of the Varuna leaving her in a sinking condition; but her fire, the last of which was delivered as her decks went under water, drove her enemy on shore in flames. The sinking Varuna was run on shore, her wounded safely landed, and her crew taken off by boats from the squadron. In this sharp fight she had destroyed six of the vessels of the enemy. — Meanwhile the steamer Brooklyn, Captain Craven, had lost sight of the remainder of the fleet in the darkness, and while under the fire of Fort Jackson found herself butted by the Confederate ram Manassas, which had been relied upon to sweep our fleet from the river. No great damage was done, and the ram soon disappeared to meet its fate from another vessel. A few minutes later the Brooklyn was attacked by a large steamer, which was disposed of by a single broad-side. Immediately after she found herself abreast of Fort St. Philip; pouring in a volley the guns of she fort were silenced, and the steamer passed on and encountered several gun-boats of the enemy, flinging into them broadsides of grape with terrible effect. The Brooklyn, fighting alone, was under fire an hour and a half and suffered severely, losing 8 men killed and 26 wounded. — The Hartford, Commodore Farragut's flag-ship, had a narrow escape. A fire-raft came down upon her accompanied by the ram Manassas. The rigging of the Hartford caught fire, and the steamer grounded at the same time. The ram was at tills moment engaged by another vessel, and hauled off; the fire was extinguished, and the Hartford was got afloat, having been badly cut up. — The steamer Mississippi had the honor of having given the finishing blow to the Manassas, a little further up the river, chasing her on shore where she was deserted by her crew, and drifted down the river on fire and fast sinking.

The forts being passed and the Confederate fleet destroyed, there was no serious obstacle in the way of approaching New Orleans. Two works known as the Chalmette batteries opened fire, but they were speedily silenced. As the fleet approached the city the vessels loaded with cotton were set on fire, and the sugar in the city was destroyed by order of General Lovell: the amount of property thus destroyed is estimated at eight or ten millions of dollars. Coming in front of the city, a demand was made for its surrender, which was sullenly complied with, as noted in our last Record. A detachment was sent to take possession of the defenses above the city, erected to prevent our approach down the river. At Carrolton, eight miles above New Orleans, a formidable work was found. A portion of the fleet was then sent up the river, capturing Baton Rouge on the way. Our intelligence from this comes wholly through Southern sources. At the latest dates it had reached Vicksburg, 400 miles above New Orleans, had demanded the surrender of the city, under pain of bombardment if this demand was not complied with.

Meanwhile forts Jackson and St. Philip had been passed, but not captured, by Commodore Farragut's expedition. Commodore Porter, in command of the mortar fleet, demanded the surrender of these forts immediately after the passage of the fleet. They were rendered of no use to the enemy after the capture of New Orleans, and on the 28th of April the commander decided to comply with the summons. The garrisons had made a brave defense, and the honors of war were accorded to them, the officers being allowed to retain their side-arms, and the men were released on parole. The surrender included that of the three remaining steamers and a formidable iron battery which had been sent down from New Orleans in an unfinished condition. While the articles of capitulation were being drawn up, this battery was towed out into the stream, set fire to, and sent adrift toward our vessels. She blew up in the stream, doing no harm beyond wounding one of their own men in Fort St. Philip, though had the explosion taken place near our vessels, they would have all been destroyed. Possession having been taken of the forts, the remaining steamers of the Confederate fleet were taken in hand. They surrendered on demand, unconditionally, and as a punishment for the treacherous attempt to blow up our fleet while negotiations for surrender were going on under a flag of truce, the crews were put in close confinement. Fort Jackson was found to be a total ruin from the severe fire to which it had been exposed. — Our loss in the whole series of operations resulting in the capture of New Orleans was only 36 killed and 123 wounded. That of the enemy was very severe, the boats which were sunk carrying down with them their entire crews. It is estimated that they lost from 1000 to 1500 men, besides several hundred prisoners.

General Butler, after the surrender of the forts, went up the river to New Orleans, and took formal possession of the city, which was, on the 1st of May, placed under martial law; the circulation of Confederate notes was prohibited; women who publicly insult our troops were ordered to be sent to the calaboose as loose characters; the newspapers were placed under strict surveillance; and, finally, the functions of the local government were vested in the military authorities.

While the lower course of the Mississippi was thus wrested from the Confederates, important operations were going on in its upper waters. After the abandonment of Island No. 10, the next strong point of the enemy was Fort Wright (known also as Fort Pillow), about 50 miles above Memphis, the only remaining place of any importance above New Orleans, This point had been watched rather than formally attacked by our gun-boats, under command of Captain Davis, who had succeeded to the command of our flotilla, temporarily vacated by Commodore Foote, who was disabled by a severe wound received in a previous engagement. Here also were gathered the entire Confederate gun-boats and rams on the Mississippi, except those at New Orleans. On the 8th of May the Confederate flotilla came up the river and made a violent attack upon our


vessels — eight of their gun-boats, four being provided with rams, assaulting our fleet. After a sharp conflict of an hour they retired, losing three of their boats, blown up and sunk. The siege of the fort was continued until the 31st, when it was discovered that it had been abandoned, the guns being carried off, and all supplies and munitions destroyed. Our fleet then dropped down toward Memphis, which was reached on the evening of June 5. The entire Confederate flotilla, consisting of eight rams and gun-boats, was concentrated in front of the city, prepared to meet our fleet. Early on the morning of the 6th the fight commenced. The action lasted an hour and a half. The result was that seven of the eight Confederate boats were taken or destroyed, only one escaping by superior speed. This was a conflict of vessels, in which ours were manifestly superior. The only casualty on our side was the wounding of Colonel Ellet, commander of the ram fleet, by a pistol-shot early in the action. One of our rams was disabled in the fight. Immediately after the battle Commodore Davis dispatched a message to the Mayor of Memphis, saying, "I have respectfully to request that you will surrender the city of Memphis to the authority of the United States." To this request the Mayor replied that the civil authorities had no means of defense, and that the city was in the hands of the Union forces. Memphis and New Orleans having thus been captured, it may safely be assumed that, as we write, the whole Mississippi, from its source to its mouth, is in the hands of the National Government.

Corinth, the Confederate strong-hold of the West, has been evacuated almost without a struggle. For nearly two months after the great battle of Shiloh General Halleck had been advancing upon the enemy, slowly but surely, fortifying each step in advance, and making ready roads for retreat in case of reverse. At the close of May our lines were close to the enemy's works, but on the 30th of the month, when every thing was in readiness for an assault in force, it was discovered that Corinth had been evacuated. The movement had evidently been going on for some days, for every thing of value had been carried away or destroyed. At the distance of a fortnight we have no entirely reliable accounts of the direction of the retreat of the great army of General Beauregard. It is conjectured by some that the movement has been going on for some time, and that a considerable part of his troops had been sent to strengthen the Confederate army at Richmond. This, however, rests upon mere conjecture. On the 4th of June General Halleck telegraphed that General Pope, with 40,000 men, was thirty miles south of Corinth, pressing the enemy hard, and that he had taken 10,000 prisoners and deserters, with 15,000 stand of arms; and a week later he announced that the enemy had fallen back to Tusilla, 50 miles from Corinth by railroad, General Beauregard being at Okelona; their loss from casualties, desertions, and captures was estimated at from 20,000 to 30,000. These, however, are mere reports, which still remain to be verified.

The evacuation of Yorktown was followed by the surrender of Norfolk to a small force sent from Fortress Monroe under General Wool. This took place on the 10th of May; the Confederate troops under General Huger abandoning the place on the previous day, after having destroyed the navy-yard, formerly the largest in the United States. The Union forces, before reaching the city, were met by the Mayor and other officials, with whom articles of capitulation were agreed upon. Immediately after the surrender of Norfolk came the abandonment of the Confederate works at Craney Island, and the destruction of the famous steamer Merrimac, or Virginia. After her encounter with the Monitor she had been taken to Norfolk, repaired, and provided with heavier ordinance. She subsequently had been stationed at the mouth of the river, guarding it, and threatening our vessels in Hampton Roads, without, however, making any attack. It is now apparent that there was something defective about her. After Norfolk was taken she had no place of refuge. According to the report of Commodore Tatnall, who had been placed in command of her, the James River pilots assure him that if she were lightened she might be taken up to Richmond; but when her armament had been thrown overboard, and she was no longer in fighting condition, they said that she still drew too much water to ascend the river. There was then no alternative but to destroy her to prevent her from falling into our hands. So on the 12th of May she was abandoned and set on fire, and shortly after blew up.

Our forces, meanwhile, have experienced two severe reverses. A naval expedition, consisting of the Monitor, Galena, Nangatuck, and some other vessels, were sent up the James River to operate against Richmond. Approaching within a few miles of the city, the river was found barricaded, and defended by Fort Darling, situated on a high bluff, from which a plunging fire was poured upon our vessels. The Galena, which was plated with about two and a half inches of iron, suffered severely, and the 100-pound gun of the Naugatuck burst early in the fight; the Monitor, though repeatedly struck, was wholly uninjured. But none of our vessels were able to elevate their guns so as to bear upon the works on the bluff. The fleet was forced to withdraw. This took place on the 10th of May.

Of much more apparent consequence was the defeat of our division, under General Banks, in the Valley of the Shenandoah. Banks had advanced for 100 miles up this valley, driving the enemy before him beyond Strasburg. At this point the greater part of his troops were withdrawn from him in order to strengthen other divisions, particularly that of M'Dowell, so that he had left barely 5000 men. The Confederate General Jackson had collected a force, estimated at more than 20,000 men, with which fell unexpectedly upon the division of Banks thus weakened. The first attack was made, May 23, upon the advance, consisting mainly of a Maryland regiment, under Colonel Kenly, stationed at Front Royal, numbering about 900 men. This body, after a sharp resistance, was overpowered, the greater portion being either killed or captured. Jackson then advanced upon Strasburg, where the main body under Banks was stationed. Banks retreated, being hotly pursued, and attacked at Middletown and Winchester, but finally succeeded in reaching the Potomac, which he crossed on the 25th, having marched 53 miles, 35 in one day, subject to constant attacks on front, rear, and flanks, by which he suffered considerable loss. The retreat was skillfully conducted, and of the whole train, consisting of nearly 500 wagons, all but about 50 were saved. This sudden movement of Jackson, whose force was greatly exaggerated, produced great alarm in Washington. It was surmised that a large part of the Confederate army at Richmond had been secretly dispatched to the Shenandoah, with the design of attacking the capital and carrying the war into the Free States. Telegraphic dispatches were sent to Pennsylvinia,


New York, and New England, demanding additional regiments at once. These orders were complied with on the spot. The order reached New York at 11 o'clock on Sunday night, and at 9 on Monday morning the New York Seventh started for Washington, followed almost immediately by other regiments. Jackson, however, advanced only as far as the Potomac, and immediately began to fall back. In the mean time Fremont set out from the westward, by forced marches through the mountains, with the hope of cutting off the retreat. In this he was unsuccessful, but succeeded in coming up with the rear of the enemy at Strasburg on the 1st of June; Jackson hurried on in his retreat. He was overtaken on 9th at Cross Keys, near Harrisonburg, drawn up in line of battle, and strongly posted. Here a sharply contested action took place, in which Jackson was worsted. Our loss is estimated at 125 killed and 500 wounded. That of the enemy was much greater. General Fremont reports, on the following day, that 500 of their dead and many wounded were found on the battle-field. Jackson continued his retreat to Port Republic on the Shenandoah. Here a detachment from General Shields's corps had just reached; this was attacked by Jackson, and forced back upon the main body, when the enemy in turn fell back, and continued his retreat, apparently upon Charlottesville. Banks in the mean time recrossed the Potomac, and advanced to his former position.

In the Southern Department important measures are in progress. Pensacola has been evacuated, and Galveston, Mobile, Savannah, and Charleston, are threatened with attack. — General Hunter, who commands this Department, on the 9th of May issued an order stating that the States of Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina, having been placed under martial law, and "slavery and martial law in a free country being altogether incompatible, the persons in these three States heretofore held as slaves are therefore declared forever free." — President Lincoln thereupon issued a proclamation that this order of General Hunter was unauthorized by the Government; that no officer has authority to issue an order freeing the slaves in any State: and that this order of General Hunterwas void. — Hon. Edward Stanly, formerly of North Carolina, has been appointed Military Governor of that State. He announced his purpose to carry into effect the laws of the State, among which is one forbidding the instruction of negroes; he consequently ordered the schools which had been opened for contrabands to be discontinued.

The main interest of the month has been directed toward our grand army under General M'Clellan, which has steadily advanced upon Richmond. In our last Record we noted the evacuation of Yorktown on the 4th of May, and the sharp action at Williamsburg on the 6th. The enemy retreated in good order upon Richmond, carrying nearly all of their arms and munitions, our army slowly following. By the 20th of May they had mainly reached the Chickahominy, a small river flowing through a swampy tract, at a distance of from 6 to 15 miles from Richmond, on the opposite side of which, covering the city, the enemy seem resolved to make a stand for the defense of their capital, which they declare is to he held to the last extremity. Our forces have been mainly delayed on the eastern side, owing to the necessity of constructing roads and bridges to cross the river and swamps. Continual skirmishing, amounting in some cases to battles of considerable importance, have taken place. The most important of these during the month of May took place at Hanover Court House, 16 miles north of Richmond, on the 27th. A detachment from General Porter's army corps was sent here to cut off the communications with the city by the Fredericksburg Railroad. This was successfully accomplished, after a sharp fight, in which our loss, in killed, wounded, and missing, is stated to have been 53 killed and 326 wounded and missing. That of the enemy is represented to have been 1000, including some 500 prisoners. We buried 100 of their dead upon the field. — In the mean time portions of our army had crossed the Chickahominy, and at the close of the month the extreme advance was within about five miles of Richmond. This position, which was near a place henceforth to be known as Fairoaks, was held on the 31st of May by about 6000 men under General Casey. At this time a furious storm arose, which swelled the Chickahominy and flooded the swamps, apparently cutting off the connection between our forces on the two sides of the stream. Taking advantage of this, the enemy made an attack in force. Casey's force was driven back in considerable confusion, losing their guns and baggage. The retreat was checked by Heintzelman and Kearney, who were on that side of the river; at the same time Sumner succeeded in bringing across Sedgwick's and Richardson's divisions, who drove back the enemy at the point of the bayonet, and recovered all the ground that had been lost. On the following morning the enemy attempted to renew the conflict, but were every where repulsed, and fell back within their lines. Our loss in this action — which is next after that of Shiloh, the most destructive thus far during the war — is stated in the official report to have been 890 killed, 3627 wounded, 1222 missing — a total of 5739. General M'Clellan claims this as a very decided victory. The attack was made in great force, with every favoring circumstance, by the flower of the Confederate troops. Jefferson Davis was present during a part of the engagement, and Joseph Johnston, the senior General of the army, who was wounded on the first day. Davis, on the 2d of June, issued an order complimenting his troops for the gallantry which they displayed. — As we close our Record, on the 13th of June, the two great armies lie opposite to each other, face to face, almost within cannon-shot of the Confederate capital, for the possession of which a fierce struggle is daily anticipated. Of the comparative strength of the armies no positive account can be given; although it is supposed that the enemy outnumber us, while we are presumed to have the advantage in respect to condition, discipline, and equipments; they however having the counterbalancing advantage of a position chosen by themselves and strongly fortified.

The French troops which, after the withdrawal of the Spanish and British forces, had been supposed to be pushing without danger of serious opposition upon the capital, appear to have suffered a severe defeat near Puebla, on 5th of May. The reports of the Mexican commanders must be received with caution; but according to them, General Lorencz with 4000 men attacked the Mexicans, and were totally defeated with the loss of half of their number, the Mexicans losing comparatively few. This is hardly credible, since the same account says that a renewed attack was anticipated on the following day; which, however, did not take place, the French taking up the retreat followed by the Mexicans. It appears to be sure, however, that the French have met with a repulse.


American affairs still continue to engross the greater share of public attention. The distress in Great Britain, France, and in a less degree on the Continent, arising from the scarcity of cotton and the diminished demand for manufactures, is great and increasing. The British and French press, which is mainly hostile to the United States, teems with articles underrating our successes, prophesying the utter impossibility of putting down the insurrection, and reiterating the statement that the French Emperor is about to interfere on the side of the South, and that the British Government will join in the interference. — The recent visit to Richmond of M. Mercier, the French Minister at Washington, has given rise to an abundance of surmise in Europe as well as in this country; but nothing authentic as to its object has been made public. The fact, however, that it was made with the assent of our Government, and that the Minister on his return was greeted by the President and Secretary of State, seems to be a satisfactory assurance that it had no purport hostile to us. — If any purpose existed on the part of the Governments of Europe to interfere, or even to acknowledge the independence of the Southern Confederacy, as a matter of fact, it must have been formed since the close of March, or at least have been wholly unexpected by the Commissioners sent to Europe to endeavor to effect this very object. On the 21st of March, Mr. Rost, one of these Commissioners, addressed a report from Madrid to the Government at Richmond, giving a full account of the results of the Commission. This document fell into our hands, and has been published by the authority of the Secretary of State. The main points as narrated by Mr. Rost are, that the interviews between Messrs. Mason and Slidell and M. Thouvenel, the French Minister, had "led to no result. The Emperor Napoleon considered the disruption of the American Union and of its rising navy as a great misfortune to France, and was of late inclined to hope that it might be reconstructed, and further, that he would under no circumstances incur the enmity of the North by taking the lead in recognizing the Southern Confederacy." The prospect as to Great Britain was, according to Mr. Rost, still less favorable. "The present Administration was to a great extent composed of Abolitionists, and wanted the support of the Abolition faction for its maintenance in power, deluding itself at the same time with the vain hope that if the civil war was protracted, and the cultivation of cotton ceased, in whole or in part, the monopoly of that staple would pass from the Confederate States to India, as a compensation for the present sufferings of the British manufacturing population." — Mr. Rost's special mission was to Spain, and in an interview with Senor Calderon Collantes, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, he endeavored to secure the recognition of the Confederacy by Spain, independent of the other Powers. He argued that it was "for her interest that North America should be possessed by two great powers, who should balance each other;" that the South, from similarity of institutions and habits, was the natural ally of Spain; that her independence secured, she with Spain and Brazil, all slaveholding powers," would have the monopoly of the system of labor which alone could make intertropical America and the regions adjoining to it available for the uses of man. Nothing could give an idea of the career of prosperity which would thus be opened." — Senor Collantes, according to Mr. Rost, was quite assured that on the question of secession the right was wholly with the South; and he believed that she would succeed "provided the people could stand the privations which a protracted contest would bring upon them;" but the question was one of fact "whether the South had the power to maintain herself against the efforts of her opponent, and thus far she had not made that proof, and further time must elapse before the Queen's Government could recognize her." He then allu ded to the fact that all the expeditions against Cuba had sailed from Southern ports, and intimated that in case the South became a strong power her first attempt at conquest would be made upon that island. Mr. Rost endeavored to convince him that formerly both the North and the South had wanted Cuba; the first for the profits of its trade, the second in order to make of it three new slave States, which "would for a time have equalized the power of the free and slaveholding States in the United States Senate. That with the reconstruction of the Union the motive of the South would necessarily revive, but it does not now, and never will again exist, provided that the independence of the Confederate States is recognized and securely established." — These arguments of Mr. Rost were unavailing. He could gain no satisfaction from the Spanish Minister, and in conclusion gives it as his opinion that Spain "would not act separately from France and England; and that nothing was to be expected from any of them until the Northern Government is ready to treat with us as an independent Power." Such being his view of the state of affairs, Mr. Rost suggests that it is not "consistent with the dignity of the Confederate Government to keep abroad commissioners who are under no circumstances to be received or listened to."

The London Exhibition opened on the 1st of May. Its success thus far seems to have fallen short of what was anticipated. — The reconstruction of the navy, by sheathing vessels with heavy iron is pushed rapidly forward. Three-deckers are being cut down to batteries, with turrets for the guns, according to the plans of Captain Coles. Immense ships like the Warrior seem to be tacitly acknowledged to bean expensive failure. — Meanwhile the Defense Commission, while recognizing the importance of iron-cased ships and batteries, have unanimously reported that fortifications must continue to form an essential feature of the defenses of the country. — For a general resume of the affairs of Italy and other parts of Europe, we refer to the Editor's Foreign Bureau, on subsequent pages of this Magazine.