LETTER FROM AMERICA
Dundalk Democrat 17th October 1863
We have been handed for publication the following extract from a letter, written by an Irish officer in the Commissariat Department of the Federal army. It is dated Cairo [Illinois], September 23rd:– Well, as to the war, I suppose you folks on the other side think we are an awful set of folks here. True, we are; at least fifty thousand have been laid to rest since I last wrote to you, and even while I write, there are many who won’t live to see the ‘morrow’s sun set. Just imagine– on yesterday six steamboats were burned in St. Louis, which city is only two hundred miles from here; and to-day the finest steamer on the Mississippi River was burned seventeen miles below this city. Such things are daily occurrences; are we not wicked? Many lives were lost, but it will blow over in a day or two, and never again will be alluded to. This country is so divided, so many for the prosecution of the war, and so many opposed to it, that they are continually quarrelling; shooting and stabbing takes place almost every day or night. We are all prepared to shoot one another; we think as little of taking away life as you would of killing a rat. In this city there is some one shot almost every night. Even women carry revolvers to protect themselves. ‘Copperheads’ are the whole cause, and I hate a Copperhead as bad I do old Nick. Our government has been fighting to keep the union together, and will eventually succeed. You have no doubt, heard of the success of our arms. We have a large army, one million and-a-half; we can fight the whole of England and France, and whip them every time; we fight for liberty and freedom; we deny the right of kings or queens to rule; we believe all men were created free and equal, and the right of an American citizen to govern himself. We defy England and France combined; all they can do is build pirates for rebels, and go snooks with traitors. The rebels pay the English government with half the booty they capture from American ships.– There is a day of retribution, when England will humble before the American flag. God speed it. Napoleon thinks he is going to have the Southern States, but afraid to cross into Texas. We are waiting for him, and prepared to give him a warm reception the moment he puts his foot on American soil. England, on the other hand, has a force in Canada waiting to see the result of this great contest: she, too, is waiting to make some treacherous move, but she is late. We have the rebels in their last hole. We have taken Vicksburg and Port Hudson, with one hundred thousand men. It would take England and France one hundred years to take a place like Vicksburg. We have reduced the Forts of Charleston, and in a few days you will hear of Charleston being ours. Two years ago, across the Ohio River, opposite this place, I stood picket-guard. My Colonel commanded the post, Fort Holt. I had to stand two hours behind a tree to keep the rebels from shooting me, or at me. To-day the Mississippi River is open to the Gulf of Mexico. We have done all that with one hundred thousand men, and can whip all the rebels and Englishmen in the world.