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Biography and Portrait of Captain Foster in Harper's Weekly Civil War Newspaper

The February 9, 1861 Edition of Harper's Weekly

Biographies of Seceding Alabama Delegation | Civil War News, February 9, 1861 | Captain Foster News Article | Iowa Indian Agency | Secession News | Louisiana Secession | Confederate State House, Montgomery Alabama | Vicksburg During Civil War | Vicksburg, Mississippi Civil War News | Civil War Iron Clads | Civil War Iron Clad Story in Harper's Weekly | Civil War Slave Cartoon

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[FEBRUARY 9, 1861.




LIKE swallows darting through the sky,

Now here, now there, now far beyond, Before the following wind we fly,

And skim along the Ladies' Pond.

Bright arabesques of eyes and hair

Around us ever changing wheel, And the ice glitters every where

With fairy feet and twinkling steel.

From fur-caps, where rich tassels sweep, And hoods with fluttering ribbons dressed, Bright, glowing girlish faces peep

Like robin redbreasts from a nest.

And all is gayety and mirth

The women's laughter sounds like song , And I'm the happiest man on earth As side by side we sweep along.

One small hand to my shoulder clings,

My arm around her waist I fold ; The friendly wind that follows flings

Across my cheek her curls of gold.

I see my rival by the gate

He follows us with sullen eye , I care not for his futile hate,

I do not heed his scowl—not I.

For not an hour ago I heard

One sweet, sweet word, and felt a hand That, timid as a little bird,

Crept into mine—you understand.

So let him scowl—I do not mind ;

I'm far too happy now to hate. Come, dearest, on before the wind,

And leave him standing by the gate.


WE give above, from a photograph, a portrait of Captain JOHN G. FOSTER, United States Army, second in command at FORT SUMTER, Charleston, South Carolina.

The family of JOHN G. FOSTER has ever been distinguished for its patriotism and valor. His grandfather, in company with the gallant Benjamin Pierce (father of ex-President Pierce), then quite young, was among the first to join the Massachusetts line in the War of the Revolution, and was often commended for his noble conduct on the field of battle. His father, Major Perley Foster, was in active service during the war of 1812, and was in the battle of Plattsburg, on Lake Champlain. The subject of our sketch was born in Whitefield, New Hampshire, May 27, 1823, from which place his family moved to Nashua when he was eight years of age. He early evinced a passionate love for the profession of arms, and formed and commanded a "juvenile artillery company." In 1842 he entered West Point, where he graduated with distinguished honors in his class, in 1846, as Brevet Second Lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers. In January, 1847, he was ordered to Mexico,

with General Scott, as a Lieutenant in a Company of Sappers and Miners, and was in all the engagements from " Vera Cruz" to "Moline del Rey." At the latter place he was severely wounded while leading a division of the storming party in the deadly assault on " Casa Mata," where two-thirds of the entire command were cut down, and where he narrowly escaped death from the Mexican bayonet, by the memorable charge of the gallant Cadwalader. For his gallant conduct in Mexico he received three brevets—the first at Contreras, the second at Churubusco, and the last at Moline del Rey, where he was breveted as captain.

The severity of his wound was such that amputation was thought to be necessary, as a large escopet ball had struck him below the knee, in front, fracturing the bone, and lodging beneath the skin on the opposite side ; but he stoutly persisted in retaining his limb, which, though greatly injured, is still sufficient to enable him to do active service. After recovering somewhat from his injuries he was ordered to Fort Carroll (Baltimore) ; from thence to Washington City, in Coast Survey Office.

From this position he was sent to West Point, as Assistant-Professor in Engineering ; and subsequently to the Government works on Sandy Hook. Two years ago he was ordered to Charleston, South

Carolina, as Engineer in charge of the forts in Charleston harbor and vicinity, to repair and complete the same.

After the evacuation of Fort Moultrie by Major Anderson, Captain Foster spiked the guns, burned the carriages, and blew up the flag-staff. When the fort was taken possession of by the South Carolina troops he was allowed to make a peaceable departure for Fort Sumter, in a boat, with the la-borers under his direction.

Captan Foster is thirty-seven years of age, light complexion, blue eyes, over six feet in height, and weighing over two hundred pounds.


WE publish herewith a picture of the arrival of the United States steamer Niagara in the harbor of Jeddo, Japan, on 10th November ult., with the Japanese Embassy on board. A letter from Jeddo, dated 14th, says :

"The Japanese Embassy have arrived, all well. The United States steamer Niagara, Captain IV. W. McKean commanding; which left New York on the 30th of June

with the Japanese Embassy, arrived at this port on the 10th inst., one hundred and thirty-two days from New York, including thirty days' stoppage at the different ports on the way. She stopped two days at Puerto Grande, nine at Loando, ten at Batavia, and nine at Hong Kong; making her actual running time one hundred and two days, besides fourteen hours gained by the 214 degrees of longitude made since leaving New York.

" Soon after the Niagara anchored, the United States steamer Saginaw came up from Kanagawa and went some two miles nearer shore, and anchored in three fathoms water, being about as far as Captain Schenck dared to go. During the morning all the men of the ship were engaged in hoisting out Japanese baggage, Which was put into Japanese boats, and, along with its owners, taken on shore. By eleven o'clock nearly all the heavy and valuable baggage was out, and all the Japanese except the embassadors and three of the lower officials were on shore.

"Now commenced the ceremony of the embassadors leaving the ship, which was first by the sailors taking off their jackets and manning the yards. The marines were drawn up on the quarter-deck, opposite the starboard gangway, the captain and all the officers, with their swords, cocked hats, epaulets, etc., were arranged from the gangway down to the poop deck, when the embassadors came out of their cabin, came down the steps off the poop, and walked along according to their rank, Simme-Bujen ahead, shaking hands with each officer as they passed along, the marines presenting arms, and the band playing ' Auld Lang Syne,' as they went over the gangway.

" When the boat, which was called the imperial barge, but which was a poor specimen of royalty, was leaving, a minister's salute (seventeen guns) was fired ; at the last gun the sailors on the yards gave three hearty cheers, which was responded to by the embassadors in the boat by waving their fans three times.

" The Japanese went ashore in their own boats and in their own way, at their request; the ship offered to take them ashore in its own boats, but they declined."


" To the Editor of harper's Weekly :

"DES MOINES, IOWA, January 16, 1861.

" I SEND you, as a historical relic peculiar to the West, an ambrotype, by M. H. Bishard, of the old Indian Agency building, which is about to be torn down because it comes in the way of the extension of one of our streets. This building is a log-cabin of a 'story and a half' high, weather-boarded, and containing two rooms below and one above. Here all the business with the Indians was trans-acted during the three years intervening between the time of the treaty at Agency (which was near the western line of the first cession of land made by the Sac and Fox Indians after the Black Hawk war), when their remaining lands in Iowa were ceded to the general government, till their title expired.

"The house is now within the corporate limits of Des Moines, formerly Fort Des Moines, and stands about a mile from the city, at the south-eastern limit of the grove in which it (the city) is located. It is situated on elevated ground, on the south side of the road leading to Iowa City, the former capital of the State, and faces to the north-west. The ground falls abruptly, just back of the building, a short distance, and then slopes to the shore of Spring Lake, beyond which the prairie ex-tends eastward three miles to a belt of timber (the extreme back-ground of the picture), known as Four-Mile Timber, from a stream of that name along which it grows. The white streaks across the (Continued Next Page)


Captain John Foster

Civil War Ship Niagara



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