U.S. BARRACKS NEWPORT, Ky., Sunday, May 19, 1861.
To-day has been a lovely day, warm and balmy, and the rapid growth of verdure reminds us that Summer is at hand. I have just returned from a short excursion bark into the country some twenty miles or more, arriving here this morning to an early breakfast. The public sentiment on the borders of the Ohio is decidedly Union, and the river blockade appears to have had a healthy influence on the politics of the Kentuckians, although business prospects look very discouraging. Back in the country political affairs are somewhat mixed, and although there are many Secessionists, they dare not express themselves until they see that they are likely to be favored by the State. People may talk what they please, and although I believe there are many firm Union men in the State, yet the inhabitants are not to be trusted, for many of them are Janus-faced for their own interests. It is not to be expected, though it is to be hoped, that all the Border States will be loyal. I am convinced (and 1 am not prejudiced,) that Kentucky must not be trusted too far in this matter, as personal observation tells me that however Union the people may talk, there is not that love and loyalty towards the Government that there should be, it being biased too much by political prejudices.
After an excellent breakfast at the Newport House, which, by-the bye, is an excellent hotel, and which overlooks the beautiful Ohio and the "Queen City" directly opposite, I wended my way towards the United States Barracks, distant about a block from the hotel. As it was Sunday morning, I wished to see the inspection, which always takes place every Sabbath morning at all the forts and garrisons of the United States. An immense crowd of ladies from Cincinnati, Newport and Covington was gathered together. it having been reported that Col. ANDERSON, the hero of Fort Sumter, would be present. At precisely 8 1/2 o'clock the splendid Band of the First Infantry arrived on the parade ground, and the various companies formed in front of their respective quarters. At 9 o'clock the regimental line of eight companies, including the permanent company, was formed in double ranks and faced to the front, the band playing "The Red, White and Blue." The officers then presented themselves, and reported to Major BURBANK, First Infantry, commanding the post, an old veteran of three-score years, when the battalion formed again and presented arms -- the band playing "Hail Columbia." The troops were then reviewed and inspected by the commanding officers, the band playing one of MANDELSSOUN's sacred airs, after which the troops were dismissed to quarters. Immediately after dress parade, guard mounting took place, and the guards, in full uniform, with knapsacks and the new Mimic muskets, were drawn up and inspected -- the band playing the Anvil Chorus, from "Il Trovatore," The recruits, 300 In number, were inspected, and all the men were dismissed until church call.
The number of uniformed troops on parade was 530, which, added to the 300 recruits, made a total of 830 men. Two hundred more are soon expected, when a new Regiment of Infantry, probably the Eleventh United States Infantry, will be formed, according to the requisition of the President.
At 11 o'clock A.M. the church call was beat for those troops who wished to attend service in the chapel of the barracks. The soldiers are allowed to attend whatever churches they please, either in Cincinnati, Newport or Covington, consequently but very few attend the chapel service. The chapel is a large room in the upper story of tho Quartermaster's barracks, being used during the week as a school-room for the children of the soldiers, and on Sundays for a chapel. Rev. Mr. MOORE, of the Protestant Episcopal Church, is Chaplain to the garrison, and services are held twice a day, in the morning and in the afternoon. At 11 o'clock the audience entered, consisting of about 40 soldiers, four or five ladies, and your humble servant. The service commenced with the Litany, after which the 72d Psalm was given out. Then followed the Ante-Communion Service and a hymn for Whit Sunday, after which followed a plain and practical sermon.
The choir of the chapel was peculiar. It consisted of several members of the splendid band before alluded to. "Old St. Martins" and "Winchester" were executed, and it was novel to hear the deep bass of the ophelyde, the sweet alto of the French horn, the beautiful alto of the second tuba, and the clear first treble of the clarionet, played by master hands, mingled with female voices. One of the sweetest voices we heard was that of the rector's wife, the daughter of the late Adjt.-Gen. THOMAS, U. S.A., and these voices, mixed with the rich chords of the instruments so skillfully played, produced a thrilling yet pleasing effect. I have heard "Old St. Martins," "Hear," "Coronation" and other old familiar tunes, played in churches and cathedrals, heard, them executed by old fashioned choirs in country churches, just as I had imagined they were song as of old and as they should be, but never before have I heard these grand old melodies produced with such fine effect as heard them this morning in the chapel of the United States Barracks at Newport, Ky.
I had a chance interview with Major rather Col. ANDERSON, on Saturday morning. Paying a visit to NICHOLAS LONGWORTH, the great wine merchant of Cincinnati, I was politely invited to walk in the beautiful grounds surrounding his residences. Adjoining this lovely spot is the house of LARZ ANDERSON, Esq., the Colonel's brother, only separated by a beautiful hedge. Viewing the fountain and grotto. I saw the Major walking down the gravel walk, and gave him the military salute, which he courteously acknowledged. He looks pale and careworn, yet is cheerful, and appears to be retiring in his manners. It is reported that he will take a temporary command of Newport Barracks next month, as Major BURBANK's time expires very shortly.
Newport is as dull as Cincinnati. No boats are arriving or departing, and the blockade is very thorough. Business is almost entirely suspended, and nothing is doing but drillings and marchings of the Home Guard, who are organizing as a reserve corps, both here as well as in Cincinnati. The last of the regular volunteers left for Camp Dennis on Saturday morning, where, at present, are over 12,000 men. Camps Harrison and Clay will be discontinued to-morrow. More anon. W.B.R.
May 27, 1861, New York Times