From the New York Times of March 2, 1862
MISCELLANEOUS REBELLION NEWS.; AFFAIRS AT FORT MONROE.
Correspondence of the Philadelphia Ledger.
NEWPORT's NEWS, VA., Sunday, Feb. 23, 1862.
The French Emperor seems resolved to secure proper respect for his Government in our waters. To the vessels already lying in Hampton Roads -- the Pomone and the Catanet -- another, bearing the flag of the Empire, has been added -- making altogether an armament of thirty-eight guns. The officers in command on these vessels bear themselves with characteristic politeness, and there is no want of salutes and other naval courtesies on every occasion allowing them.
The Roanoke, whose disability has not yet been repaired, is coolly laying for the Merrimac, which is reported fully ready for active service and very anxious to get out of Norfolk harbor. She is completely iron-clad, but so clumsily that her decks are merely above water. A queer experiment has been tested, I believe satisfactorily, on the Roanoke, for the benefit of the resurrected Merrimac. The object was to determine whether an anchor could be thrown from the mainmast upon a vessel alongside, and the intention is to run, by the aid of a tug, upon the secession steamer, when she makes her long-looked-for appearance, and introduce her to the bottom of the James River sans ceremonie(sic).
What all reconnaissance and scouting has failed to resolve, has at length, accidentally, as you have doubtless learned, been made evident -- the actual nature and strength of the works at Big Bethel. A party from Newport's News, with a flag of truce, was lost among the roads in that neighborhood a few days ago, and instead of approaching the place in front, blindfolded, they positively stumbled into the redoubted position with their eyes wide open, having in their wanderings got to its rear. It appears to have always been a very incomplete affair, consisting, in all, of three parallel intrenchments, directly beyond each other, with their accompanying earthworks, without any flank trenching worthy the name. But the strength of the place consisted of an almost impassable swamp, between the battery and the ground on which the First New-York Regiment deployed, with the idea of storming the works, an the 10th of June, 1861, immediately before all self-possession departed from the commanding General.
"Let by-gones be by-gones." Whatever Big Bethel was on that unfortunate day, it is certainly a pitiable sight now, dismantled, not containing a single piece of ordnance, and with its hundred miserable and woe-begone occupants, wan with sickness and privation, and wretched in the hopelessness of their cause, defeat echoing in their ears from every direction. You will regret, of course, to learn that the ancient edifice from which we have the title "Big Bethel," the great and venerable church in which the picus sires of "degenerate sons" delighted -- lists been destroyed. It had been transformed into a sort of barracks by the rebels, and not the ghost of sanctity lingered, but was dispelled by the odious rascals. It was the Pennsylvania Eleventh Cavalry that did the business for it. When Gen. MANSFIELD issued orders retaliatory for acts of incendiarism committed by the enemy, they drove the Secessionists like chaff before them, compelling their exit just at meal-time, when they had their beefsteak frying on the stove -- a state of things which must have added inconceivably to their distress. From the conflagration of the building nothing was saved but the builder's account-book, a portion of which is in the hands of a private of Company L, and which is a quaint relic, containing debits and credits concerning worthy masons and carpenters dating in the last century. The Secessionists had been using it to express their whims, and in a blank place was freshly written, "Miss Dolly Carter, of Kentucky, the belle of the Southwest;" and coupled with it, no doubt by the faint-hearted lover himself: "Brig.-Gen. Walter R. Tally, New-Kent troops." By the same hand also was inscribed: "The New-Kent Light Horse Dragoons are spoiling for a fight with the Mounted Dutchmen" -- obviously referring to the Pennsylvania Cavalry, which did not let them "spoil" long; and again, "The New-Kent Light Horse -- the TERROR of the Yankee Pups." This, in connection with the unceremonious flight of the "Terror" upon the advent of the identical "Mounted Dutchmen" and "Yankee Pups," is very good of the Brigadier-General -- also, of the "New-Kent Light Horse." By the way, the Eleventh, which has been at Old Point (Camp Hamilton) over two months now, has done yeoman service in this quarter, in hunting out and chasing the rebels away. It consists of twelve companies, and is a full regiment. The Colonel, a brave soldier and a true patriot -- JOSIAH HALLAN* -- is a Philadelphian, though his troops are from all parts of the State. In fact, found a whole company of Pittsburghers and Western Pennsylvania men, (among them, Company L, Capt. LOOMIS and Lieut. MAHON,) and quite a number of Ohioans. The health of the inch has been bad, owing to exposures, and in the short space of six months over thirty deaths from disease have occurred. Only yesterday, a member of Company K was carried to his last home, a victim of typhoid.
The aforementioned Walter R. Tally, was in fact Walter Richard Talley, 18, son of William C. Talley. Enlisting in June of 1861 he would serve until Appomattox attaining the rank not of Brigadier General but Corporal. He died in 1906 at the Soldiers Home Robert E. Lee Camp in Richmond.
*This is none other than Joisah Harlan, the famous Prince of Ghor