Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

September 17.—The objects of the invasion of Pennsylvania were thus set forth in the Richmond Dispatch of this day: “The road to Pennsylvania lies invitingly open. There are no regular soldiers on the route, and it would be a task of little difficulty to disperse the rabble of militia that might be brought to oppose them.

“The country is enormously rich. It abounds in fat cattle, cereals, horses, and mules. Our troops would live on the very fat of the land. They would find an opportunity, moreover, to teach the Dutch farmers and graziers, who have been clamorous for this war, what invasion really is. If once compelled to take his own physic, which is a great deal more than he ever bargained for, Mynheer will cry aloud for peace in a very short time. For our own part, we trust the first proclamation of Pope, and the manner in which his army carried it out, will not be forgotten. We hope the troops will turn the whole country into a desert, as the Yankees did the Piedmont country of Virginia.

“Let not a blade of grass, or a stalk of corn, or a barrel of flour, or a bushel of meal, or a sack of salt, or a horse, or a cow, or a hog, or a sheep, be left wherever they move along. Let vengeance be taken for all that has been done, until retribution itself shall stand aghast This is the country of the smooth-spoken, would-be gentleman, McClellan. He has caused a loss to us, in Virginia, of at least thirty thousand negroes, the most valuable property that a Virginian can own. They have no negroes in Pennsylvania. Retaliation must therefore fall upon something else, and let it fall upon every thing that constitutes property. A Dutch farmer has no negroes, but he has horses that can be seized, grain that can be confiscated, cattle that can be killed, and houses that can be burnt. He can be taken prisoner and sent to Libby’s Warehouse, as our friends in Fauquier and Loudon, Culpeper, and the peninsula have been sent to Lincoln’s dungeons in the North. Let retaliation be complete, that the Yankees may learn that two can play at the game they have themselves commenced.

“By advancing into Pennsylvania with rapidity, our army can easily get possession of the Pennsylvania Central Railroad, and break it down so thoroughly that it cannot be repaired in six months. They have already possession of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and the York River Railroad. By breaking down these and the railroad from Philadelphia to Baltimore, they will completely isolate both Washington and Baltimore. No reenforcements can reach them from either North or West, except by the Potomac and the bay.”

—Colonel Dunham, in command of the National garrison at Munfordsville, Ky., surrendered to the rebel forces under General Bragg.—(Doc. 121.)

—A fight took place this morning near Durhamville, Tenn., about twenty-five miles southeast of Fort Pillow, between a detachment of one hundred and fifty men, belonging to the Fifty-second regiment of Indiana volunteers, under the command of Lieut. Ross Griffin, and a party of rebels under Lieut.-Col. Faulkner, which resulted in the complete rout of the rebels, with a loss of eight killed and twenty wounded. The National loss was one killed, one missing, and ten wounded.—Surgeon. Martins) Report.

—Colonel George W. Berry, of the Harrison County home guards, left Covington, Ky., with six hundred of Colonel Tevis’s cavalry, for the purpose of reconnoitring up the Kentucky Central Railroad as far as Falmouth. Before reaching Falmouth, the officer in command of the cavalry declined going any further, and started back toward Covington. Colonel Berry was not to be baffled in his enterprise in this way; so he pushed ahead, in company with Greenbury Reed, U. S. Marshal of Bourbon County, and nine other men, and reached Falmouth in a few hours, finding it evacuated by the rebels. The little band had not been there long when twenty-eight Texan Rangers came into the place, and immediately attacked Colonel Berry’s small force. A desperate fight ensued, resulting in the rebels being driven out of the town with a loss of two killed, four wounded, and one prisoner. One of Colonel Berry’s men, named A. McNees, from Harrison County, was badly wounded. This was the only casualty on the National side. The rebels threatened to return soon with a cannon. They burnt the railroad near Falmouth, in their retreat.—Cincinnati Commercial, Sept. 20.

— Brigadier-general L. F. Ross, U.S.A., commanding at Bolivar, Tenn., issued a general order requiring the owners of slaves living within ten miles of that place to send in three fourths of their male slaves, between sixteen and forty-five years of age, to be employed upon the fortifications.—The guerrilla chief Poindexter escaped from the Nationals at Hudson, Mo. — St. Louis Republican, September 18.

—The ship Virginia, of New-Bedford, Mass., was captured and burned by the rebel privateer Alabama, Capt Semmes, in latitude 39° 10′ and longitude 84° 20′. The privateer when first seen displayed English colors, but when a quarter of a mile from the Virginia set the rebel colors and sent an armed boat’s crew aboard. The Captain was informed that he was a prize to the Alabama, and was ordered to take his papers and go on board that steamer. The privateers then stripped the ship of all the valuable articles on board, and at four P.M. set fire to the vessel. On arriving on board the steamer the captain of the Virginia asked Semmes to release him, as he was doing no harm. His answer was: “You Northerners are destroying our property, and New-Bedford people are having their war meetings, offering two hundred dollars’ bounty for volunteers, and send out their stone fleets to block up our harbors, and I am going to retaliate!”—Captain Tilton’s Account.

— This evening, before dusk, a scouting-party of fifty-three of the Tenth Kentucky cavalry, under Major Foley, when near Florence, Kentucky, engaged a party of rebels one hundred and one strong. The rebels, after a short engagement, were routed, with a loss of five killed and seven wounded. Among those killed was one citizen, a rebel sympathizer. The National loss was one killed and one wounded. The enemy sent in a flag of truce, asking permission to bury their dead and take care of their wounded, which was granted.—Cincinnati Commercial, September 18.

— In the rebel House of Representatives, at Richmond, an animated discussion was held on the bill authorizing a suspension of the writ of habeas corpus.

Mr. Conrad, of Louisiana, was in favor of an early opportunity to discuss the bill. If Congress should fail to pass such a law, circumstances might arise in which the President might be compelled to suspend the writ without authority.

The Richmond Examiner in commenting on the debate, strongly denounced the proposition of Mr. Conrad.—Richmond Examiner, Sept. 20.

—The battle of Antietam, Maryland, was fought this day between the National forces under Gen. McClellan and the rebel army commanded by General Robert E. Lee.—(Doc. 122.)

— Lieut.-Colonel Kilpatrick, of the Ira Harris cavalry, made a reconnoissance up the road from Edward’s Ferry to Leesburgh, Va.

At Goose Creek he met a rebel force, and dispersed it with artillery. On arriving at Leesburgh he encountered a regiment of infantry and a battalion of cavalry. A sharp action took place, and the rebels were driven from the town, the Tenth New-York pressing them at the point of the bayonet. A regimental flag, several guns and a number of prisoners were captured.

— Governor Curtin of Pennsylvania announced that seventy-two thousand men had responded to his call for the defence of the State, and that he expected that the number would be increased to one hundred thousand. These men were furnished with equipments, and moved to the State border as rapidly as possible.

— The rebel House of Representatives passed a bill authorizing Jeff Davis to call into the military service, for three years or during the war, all white male citizens of the rebel States, between the ages of eighteen and forty-five years. Such persons to serve their full term; no one being entitled to a discharge because he might have passed the age of forty-five before such term of service expired.

—An expedition consisting of the United States gunboats Paul Jones, Cimerone, and three other steam vessels, left Port Royal, S. C, on the thirteenth instant, and proceeded to the Saint John’s River, Florida, where they arrived to-day. They immediately attacked the rebel batteries, and, after a few hours’ shelling, succeeded in dismounting most of their guns, greatly damaging their breastworks, and completely silencing them.

— Cumberland Gap, Tenn., was evacuated by the National forces under the command of Gen. George W. Morgan.—(See Supplement.)

— In consequence of the reported approach of an the rebel army under General E. Kirby Smith, considerable excitement existed in Louisville, Kentucky. The troops commenced fortifying the city. Negroes were impressed to throw up rifle-pits and dig breastworks.

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