Monthly Record of Current Events, July 2.
It would seem that some days before General M'Clellan, now that the destruction of the Merrimac had put the James River under our control, had determined to make that his base of operations, and had made preparations to withdraw his right wing from its position. The supplies at the White House were accordingly moved down the Pamunky and York rivers, to be sent up the James, upon which the army, commencing with the left wing, was to be moved, crossing the Chickahominy, to be followed the right wing. On the 26th the enemy made attack in force upon our extreme right, at Mechanicsville; our troops, according to orders, falling back. Severe fighting took place on the three following days, the details of which, from official sources, will be published before this number of the Magazine reaches our readers; we do not therefore reproduce the isolated accounts furnished by various newspaper correspondents. By Monday our army had taken up its new position, resting on the James River, within the support of our gun-boats. Here their rear was assailed by forces from Richmond; and at the close of Monday, June 30, the date of our latest intelligence, it was presumed that the action would be renewed on the following day. As we have said, the official reports have not been published, and as we close it is impossible to say whether these operations of our army are to be considered a retreat or a strategic movement to secure a more favorable assailing position.
An unsuccessful demonstration was made upon Charleston on the 16th of June. The whole available force of this Department had been concentrated upon James Island, and the enemy were in forces near the centre of the island to prevent the advance upon Charleston. At Secessionville they had erected strong intrenchment. General Benham, who was temporarily in command — General Hunter having left for the head-quarters at Hilton Head — undertook to carry these works, in order to open a passage for direct operations against Fort Johnson and Charleston. The assault was bravely made, but was wholly unsuccessuful; after a severe fight of five hours our forces were repulsed, and driven back with a loss estimated at about 700 in killed, wounded, and missing. James Island was subsequently abandoned by us, and our troops withdrawn to the head-quarters of the Southern Division at Hilton Head.
General Pope having been appointed by the President to the chief command in the Shenandoah Valley, including the corps under Fremont, Banks, and M'Dowell, General Fremont asked to be relieved from the command of his corps, on the ground that "the position assigned to him, by the appointment of Major-General Pope as Commander-in-Chief of the Army of Virginia, was subordinate and inferior to that heretofore held by him, and to remain in the subordinate command now assigned would largely reduce his rank and consideration in the service." His request was immediately granted.
On the 1st of July the President, in response to the official request of the Governors of eighteen States, issued a call for 300,000 additional men for the army.
From the extreme South and Southwest the intelligence is of comparatively slight importance. New Orleans is perfectly quiet under the government of General Butler, and General Shepley, the military commander; but neither there nor in Memphis is there apparent any considerable Union feeling. The report that Governor Stanly, of North Carolina, had closed the schools for colored people, adverted to in our last Record, proves to have been erroneous. — The position of the body of the army of Beauregard is not yet ascertained; the reports of the large numbers of prisoners taken during their retreat turn out to be unfounded. — It is reported that our gun-boats from up and down the Mississippi have met at Vicksburg, and that the attack upon that place has commenced. — The Cumberland Gap, the main avenue of communication between the Southwest and Virginia, was seized by our forces under General Morgan on the 18th of June, it having been evacuated by the enemy. — A gun-boat expedition sent from Memphis up the White River, in Arkansas, had an action, on the 18th, at Fort Charles, 85 miles from the mouth of the river. The fort was taken, with considerable loss; ours was also severe, a shot penetrating the boiler of the Mound City, one of our gun-boats, and a large part of her crew were killed or disabled by the escaping steam. — On the 25th the first train from Memphis to Corinth was attacked, twelve miles from the former place, by a body of the enemy's cavalry. On it were a company of Ohio soldiers, of whom ten were killed and a number made prisoners.
The Tax-bill has finally passed both Houses of Congress. Its special provisions are so numerous that our space will not permit us to give an abstract. We note only a few of the most important general features: They include direct imposts, averaging 3 per cent. upon manufactured articles, most of which, however, are specially enumerated; of those enumerated distilled spirits pay 20 cents per gallon, ales 1 dollar per barrel; licenses, varying from 5 to 200 dollars, upon almost every profession; stamps, from 3 cents to 1 dollar upon the paper used for bills of exchange, and from 1 to 20 dollars upon conveyances of real estate; the income-tax is 3 per cent. on the excess over $600 of all incomes up to $10,000, and 5 per cent. on those greater. To collect these taxes a Commissioner of Internal Revenue is to be appointed, at a salary of $4000, and various district collectors and assessors, as specified in the bill. Every