Wednesday morning, March 31, 1864

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---"The New Yorkers propose to construct an underground railway from the Battery to Central Park. The distance is five miles. At intervals along the route staircases will be built from the tunnel to the street above, so that passengers may get on and off the cars at any point. The estimated cost of the work is $4,260,000. The plan is considered entirely feasible, and will probably be carried out. A similar enterprise in London is completely successful."

---"Officers of the United States Lake Survey find by observations by the American or telegraphic method, that the greatest width of Lake Michigan is 84 miles, instead of 100, as stated by the Chicago Canal Convention, or 109 as represented in a recently published map of Illinois."

---"The Denver News says that gold from Colorado is often sent to the Philadelphia mint as from Idaho, and the ingots are stamped 'Idaho amalgam,' or Idaho grains,' as the case may be. The News says this method of advertising the Idaho mines is a contemptible business."

---"A bookseller at Rome who had ostentatiously displayed a picture of the Pope in his show window, was repeatedly anonymously warned to remove it, but neglected to do so, and the window has been demolished by a bombshell, which shattered also the windows of the upper story."

---"A submarine boat has been built at LaRochelle. She carries a spur at her bow which is formed like a tube, and an incendiary shell may be placed in it.---Should an enemy's fleet be at anchor, the Plodgeur will drive her spur into the nearest ship and then retreat, unrolling at the same time a metallic wire. When at a safe distance an electric spark will cause a great explosion, the enemy's ship being blown up."

---"1,900 colored children are attending the day schools in New Orleans, and learning to read and write."

---"We learn from the St. Louis Republican that in the late fight at Paducah 'negro soldiers to the number of 250 were in the fort and fought with great gallantry."

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"The introduction of cast-steel into the iron manufactures of Great Britain forms a conspicuous epoch in industrial progress. The invention of this article is due to Benjamin Huntsman, a resident of Altercliffe, near Sheffield, and a remarkable man in his day, though now almost forgotten. He was born in 1704, and at an early age, gave proofs of uncommon mechanical talents. He set up in business as a clock-maker, in which he introduced several improved tools, but was much embarrassed by the inferior quality of the metal supplied to him, which was common German steel. This led him to turn his attention to the making of a better kind of steel for the purpose of his trade. His experiments extended over many years before the desired results were obtained. At last his perseverance was rewarded by complete success. Although a hundred years have passed since his discovery, the principal elements of the process are similar to those in use at the present day. After perfecting his invention, Huntsman naturally wished to apply the new method to other purposes than the manufacture of clock-springs and pendulums. We accordingly find him early endeavoring to pursuade the cutlers of Sheffield to employ it in the manufacture of knives and razors. But they refused to work a metal so much harder than that which they had been accustomed to use. For a time, he gave up all hopes of creating a demand in that quarter, and turned his attention to foreign markets. He soon found that he could readily sell abroad all that he could make. The French were quick to perceive the advantages of the new discovery, and for several years the whole of the cast-steel that Huntsman could manufacture was exported to France. The Sheffield cutlers now became alarmed at the reputation which cast-steel had acquired abroad, and attempted to influence the Government to prohibit the exportation. Failing in this, they were under the necessity of using the article in order to retain their trade in cutlery against French competition. They now endeavored to wrest from Huntsman the secret of the process. He had taken out no patent for the invention, and trusted for protection to making it as much a mystery as possible.

All his workmen were pledged to inviolable secrecy; no strangers were permitted to enter the works; the whole of the steel made was melted during the night. There were many speculations abroad as to his process. It was believed by many that his secret consisted in the flux which he employed to make the metal melt more readily; and it leaked out among the workmen that he made use of broken bottles for the purpose. Some of the manufacturers, who by prying and bribing got an inkling of the process, followed Huntsman implicitly in this respect, but would not allow their own workmen to flux the pots, lest they also should obtain possession of the secret. But it finally turned out that no such flux was necessary. The first person who succeeded in copying Huntsman's process is said to have been an iron-master named Walker, who disguised himself as a tramp, and feigning great poverty and distress, appeared shivering late one night at the door of the foundry, as the workmen were about to begin their labors at steel-casting, and asked leave to warm himself at the furnace fire. The traditional story has all the colors of a romance.

'One cold Winter's night, while the snow was falling in heavy flakes, and the manufactory threw its red glare of light over the neighborhood, a person of the most abject appearance presented himself at the entrance, praying for permission to share the warmth and shelter which it afforded. The humane workmen found the appeal irresistible, and the apparent beggar was permitted to take up his quarters in a warm corner of the building. A careful scrutiny would have discovered little real sleep in the drowsiness which seemed to overtake the stranger; for he eagerly watched every movement of the workmen while they went through the operations of the newly discovered process. He observed, first of all, that bars of blistered steel were broken into small pieces, two or three inches in length, and placed in crucibles of fire clay. When nearly full, a little green glass broken into small fragments was spread over the top, and the whole covered over with a closely fitting cover. The crucibles were then placed in a furnace previously prepared for them; and after a lapse of from three to four hours, during which the crucibles were examined from time to time to see that the metal was thoroughly melted and incorporated, the workmen proceeded to lift the crucible from its place on the furnace by means of tongs, and its molten contents, blazing, sparkling, and spurting, were poured into a mould of cast-iron previously prepared here it was suffered to cool, the mould was unscrewed, and a bar of cast steel presented itself, which only required the aid of the hammerman to form a finished bar of cast steel. How the unauthorized spectator of these operations effected his escape without dectection tradition does not say; but it tells us that, before many months had passed, the Huntsman manufactory was not the only one where cast-steel was produced.'

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(From the Richmond Dispatch, March 21)

"McClellan, in the official report, which he has just published, puts down his losses in the battles around Richmond, from the 26th of June to the 1st of July, inclusive, at 4,582 killed, 7,700 wounded, and 5,958 missing; total 15,249. When it is recollected that the Confederates actually took, brought away, and confined upon the island, and in other prisons, more than 11,000 men, we may be enabled to judge of the claim which this document has to be considered truthful.

A lie stuck to, says the proverb, is as good as the truth. To cover one of the shameful, as well as complete defeats recorded in history, McClellan's vanity prompted him to indulge in a system of deliberate falsehood, which justly brought upon him the derision of the civilized world. But is did him no manner of service. His employers saw through his devices, as his opponent had already done from the beginning. No man-least of all McClellan himself-believes a word of what he writes. He has found his proper level, and all the lying reports which he can manufacture between this and doomsday cannot raise him above it.

He came here to take the city of Richmond. He had, first and last from Fortress Monroe to Mechanicville-as documents furnished to the Committee of Inquiry by the War Office, substantiated by the Assistant Secretary of War, prove beyond all doubt, 158,000 men.

He was beaten in every battle, from Williamsburg to Malvern, Lincoln found him at Westover, or Shirely, with but 80,000 men. What had become of all the rest? Had they sunk into the earth, or melted into the air? They had sunk into the earth, victims to the bayonets and the shots of the Confederate troops or to the disease of the climate, aggravated by incessant exposure, and unremitting toil in ditching his way to Richmond. At last, only because it was necessary to withdraw our troops to repel invasion from another quarter, he was permitted to slink away with the miserable remnant of his troops, cowed, broken spirited, and effectually brought down from the lofty tone of braggadocio with which they commenced the siege of Richmond. A more entire failure is nowhere recorded, and a more thorough charlatan never lived."

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"Mr. A. P. BOYNTON, of this city, has shown us a letter from his brother, 1st Lieut. William M. BOYNTON, of the 27th Iowa Infantry, familiarly known in his regiment as 'Billy.' He accompanied Gen. Sherman in his celebrated expedition, and gives a thrilling account of various incidents which came under his own eye. We have room only for the following extract:

'On our way back I was detailed with twelve men to forage, as we were entirely out of all kinds of provisions. I saw a man pay one dollar for a hard cracker. Myself and men were mounted, some on mules and some on horses. Lieut. GRANGER, of Co. C, went with me. We started at daylight, broke off to the left of the column, got eighteen hams at a house two miles from the road, heard there that a brigade of rebel cavalry called the Texan Legion had been there about a half an hour before we came; they said there were three hundred of them. i took my meat and went back to the column and again started out on the right of the road. I went two miles north, then struck a road running parallel with the one our column was traveling--just the thing I wanted, as it would enable me to run my supplies forward to the regiment. I stopped at another house, got 2 1/2 bushels of corn meal, 75 lbs. of flour, some butter, eggs, and some dried apples. While here I saw five of our boys pass up the road. My force was so small I could not well throw out an advance guard, so I went ahead myself, (as I had done all the morning.) At this time I had less fear of an attack than at any other, as I knew our boys had gone on ahead of me, and I had heard no firing. I had gone three-fourths of a mile when I saw a cavalry-man, dressed in our uniform, standing in the road. I supposed him to be one of ours until I got within fifteen rods of him, when he halted me and shot at me. I was then about five rods ahead of my squad. I immediately gave chase, my men coming on. I then thought he was one of our boys. I got to within ten rods of him when I saw he was a rebel. I shot at him with my revolver when, Hail Columbia of all the vollies I ever heard was fired at me from my left and rear. I wheeled my horse and saw more rebs than you could shake a stick at (at one shaking) and that too within five rods of me, and over the hill it was the same. My boys were about eight rods behind me; the bullets whistle around me and over my head, like a hail storm. I was under a tree at this time (although fully exposed to the enemy's fire) limbs as big as my thumb came rattling down about my head; one ball burnt my cheek, but nothing more; as I came back to the boys they gave us another volley; here we all returned their shots coolly, and with good effect. Charley TRIPP fired his Enfield Rifle four times; all the rest of the boys done about the same until the gallant rebs charged on our front and left flank, at the same time making an attempt to surround our little band and cut us off from the column by getting in ahead of us at the bend of the road. I saw their intention in a moment, and gave the order to fall back on the column at double quick, which, owing to our critical situation, the boys were nothing loth to obey; but some of the boys who rode mules, had dismounted during the action, but managed to get out of the scrape very well at last. The Lieutenant's mule was shot under him and he broke for the brush. PUTNAM's horse threw him and he was taken prisoner. One man from Co. C. was killed; one of Co. D. wounded in the arm and one from Co. B. taken prisoner. The boys were all ahead of me when we started to retreat, but having a good horse, I soon came up with them. When we passed the bend in the road the rebs were only three rods from us, and fired three times at us, but without the least effect; here again I shot at them five times within a range of about three rods, with my revolver; which is a large one (being Colt's Navy). I will not say that I missed my mark altogether, as we emptied eight of their saddles, and in return lost one killed, two prisoners, and one wounded. We also lost three mules and our meal, eggs, &c.

It seemed to me like some grand Theatrical Tragedy more than anything else, in fact I was not the least excited until we had been back with the column some two hours, when I began to think were I had been and what I had been about. I thought sure Lieut. Granger was captured, but he came in about two hours afterwards with four horses, which he found hitched in a swamp where the rebs had hid them. The first words he said to the Col. after getting in, was, 'Colonel, Billy is captured.' The Col. replied--Oh no, I guess not. Well, I know he is either captured or killed, for no man could be where he was without being one or the other. Just then I rode up to him and asked him what he had done with the meal I gave him to carry. Then we had a grand laugh all round, and many little incidents to relate. The rebs captured the five boys we saw going up the road without firing a gun. This led to my being ambushed. They killed one of them after beating us off, or shot him so that he died soon after; he walked to a house, and the lady came and told us he belonged to the 35th New York Volunteers. Her husband is now with us; he has enlisted in one of the Illinois Regiments. Billy

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"The great Irish National Fair is now in progress at Chicago. It is the most notable assemblage of the Irish people ever held on foreign soil., if that celebrated day, the 17th of March, 1667, held at Vienna, is not probably the exception. Tickets for the Chicago Fair one dollar each, which entitles the holder to a chance in prizes valued at $30,000, to be had from Mr. Quan.