Sally Port at Fort Sumter


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, February 16, 1861

The February 16, 1861 edition of Harper's Weekly featured a vast array of news on Fort Sumter, and information related to the opening days of the Civil war.  Scroll down to see the entire page, or the newspaper thumbnails below will take you to the specific page of interest.


Civil War Valentine

Sally Port

Sally Port at Fort Sumter

Congressional Actions

Texas secedes

Texas Secession

New Orleans Custom House

New Orleans Custom House

New Orleans Customs House Story


Columbiad at Fort Sumter

Slavery Cartoon

Slavery Cartoon






FEBRUARY 16, 1861.]




WE are again enabled, through the polite attention of officers of Major ANDERSON'S command, to illustrate FORT SUMTER. We publish on the preceding page a large picture of the COLUMBIAD which has just been placed in position as a mortar; and above a VIEW OF THE SALLY-PORT, from the inside. The question having been raised whether the guns at FORT SUMTER can reach the City of Charleston, it may be interesting to know that the problem has been solved, as the following letter from FORT SUMTER explains :

"To the Editor of Harper's Weekly:

"The Weekly of January 26 quotes the Herald in proof that these guns can not send a shell to Charleston, and gives very fair data for that opinion. But a 10-inch COLUMBIAD throws its shell easily 4828 yards.

" By making this shell eccentric, at least 500 more can be gained ; and all intelligent artillerists know of certain other expedients by which the difference between this total (5328 yards) and 5500—the distance to Broad Street—can be overcome. Q.E.D. And we trust we shall not be compelled to prove it practically."




MORNING made a considerable difference in my general prospect of Life, and brightened it

so much that it scarcely seemed the same. What lay heaviest on my mind was the consideration that six days intervened between me and the day of departure ; for I could not divest my-self of a misgiving that something might happen to London in the mean while, and that, when I got there, it would be either greatly deteriorated or clean gone.

Joe and Biddy were very sympathetic and pleasant when I spoke of our approaching separation ; but they only referred to it when I did. After breakfast Joe brought out my indentures from the press in the best parlor, and we put them in the fire, and I felt that I was free. With all the novelty of my emancipation on me, I went to church with Joe, and thought perhaps the clergyman wouldn't have read that about the rich man and the kingdom of Heaven if the had known all.

After our early dinner I strolled out alone, purposing to finish off the marshes at once, and get them done with. As I passed the church, I felt (as I had felt during service in the morning) a sublime compassion for the poor creatures who were destined to go there, Sunday after Sunday, all their lives through, and to lie obscurely at last among the low green mounds. I promised myself that I would do something for them one of these days, and formed a plan in outline for bestowing a dinner of roast beef and plum-pudding, a pint of ale, and a gallon of condescension, upon every body in the village.

If I had often thought before, with something allied to shame, of my companionship with the fugitive whom I had once seen limping among those graves, what were my thoughts on this Sunday, when the place recalled the wretch, ragged and shivering, with his felon iron and badge ! My comfort was that it happened a long time ago, and that he had doubtless been transported a long way off, and that he was dead to me, and might be veritably dead into the bargain.

No more low, wet grounds, no more dikes and sluices, no more of these grazing cattle—though they seemed, in their dull manner, to wear a more respectful air now, and to face round, in order that they might stare as long as possible at the possessor of such great expectations—farewell, monotonous acquaintances of my childhood, henceforth I was for London and greatness : not for smith's work in general and for you ! I made my exultant way to the old Battery, and, lying down there to consider the question whether Miss Havisham intended me for Estella, fell asleep.

When I awoke I was much surprised to find Joe sitting beside me, smoking his pipe. He greeted me with a cheerful smile on my opening my eyes, and said :

"As being the last time, Pip, I thought I'd foller."

" And, Joe, I am very glad you did so." "Thankee, Pip," said Joe.

" You may be sure, dear Joe," I went on, after we had shaken hands, " that I shall never forget you."

" No, no, Pip !" said Joe, in a comfortable tone, "I'm sure of that. Ay, ay, old chap! Bless you, it were only necessary to get it well round in a man's mind to be certain on it. But it took a bit of time to get it well round ; the change come so uncommon plump; didn't it?"

Somehow I was not best pleased with Joe's being so mightily secure of me. I should have liked him to have betrayed emotion, or to have said, "It does you credit, Pip," or something of that sort. Therefore I made no remark on Joe's first head : merely saying, as to his second, that the tidings had indeed come suddenly, but that I had always wanted to be a gentleman, and had often and often speculated on what I would do if I were one.

" Have you though ?" said Joe. "Astonishing !"

"It's a pity now, Joe," said I, " that you did not get on a little more, when we had our lessons here ; isn't it ?" " Well, I don't know," returned Joe. " I'm so awful dull. I'm only master of my own trade. It were always a pity as I was so awful dull ; but it's no more of a pity now than it was—say this day twelve month—don't you see?" What I had meant was, that when I came into my property and was able to do something for Joe, it would have been much more agreeable if he had been better qualified for a rise in station. He was so perfectly innocent of my meaning, however, that I thought I would mention it to Biddy in preference. So, when we had walked home and had had tea, I took Biddy into our little garden by the side of the lane, and, after throwing out in a general way for the elevation of her spirits, that I should never forget her, said I had a favor to ask of her. "And it is, Biddy," said I, "that you will not omit any opportunity of helping Joe on a little." " How helping him on ?" asked Biddy, with a steady sort of glance. " Well ! Joe is a dear good fellow—in fact, I think he is the dearest fellow that ever lived—but he is rather back-ward in some things. For instance, Biddy, in his learning and his manners." Although I was looking at Biddy as I spoke, and although she opened her eyes very wide when I had spoken, she did not look at me. " Oh, his manners ! Won't his manners do then?" asked Biddy, plucking a

black currant leaf.

" My dear Biddy, they do very well here—" "Oh! they do very well here ?" interposed Biddy, looking closely at the leaf in her hand. "Hear me out—but if I were to remove Joe into a higher sphere, as I shall hope to remove him when I fully come into my property, they would hardly do him justice."

" And don't you think he knows that ?" asked Biddy.

It was such a very provoking question (for it had never in the most distant manner occurred to me), that I said, snappishly, "Biddy, what do you mean?"

Biddy having rubbed the leaf to pieces between her hands—and the smell of a black currant bush has ever since recalled to me that evening in the little garden by the side of the lane—said, " Have you never considered that he may be proud ?"

" Proud !" I repeated, with disdainful emphasis.

" Oh ! there are many kinds of pride," said Biddy, looking full at me and shaking her head ; "pride is not all of one kind—"

" Well ? What are you stopping for ?" said I.
" Not all of one kind," resumed Biddy. " He
may be too proud to let any one take him out
of a place that he is competent to fill, and fills

well and with respect. To tell you the truth, I think he is : though it sounds bold in me to say so, for you must know him far better than I do."

"Now, Biddy," said I, "I am very sorry to see this in you. I did not expect to see this in you. You are envious, Biddy, and grudging. You are dissatisfied on account of my rise in fortune, and you can't help showing it."

"If you have the heart to think so," returned Biddy, " say so. Say so over and over again, if you have the heart to think so."

"If you have the heart to be so, you mean, Biddy," said I, in a virtuous and superior tone ; " don't put it off upon me. I am very sorry to see it, and it's a—it's a bad side of human nature. I did intend to ask you to use any little opportunities you might have after I was gone of improving dear Joe. But after this I ask you nothing. I am extremely sorry to see this in you, Biddy," I repeated. "It's a—it's a bad side of human nature."

"Whether you scold me or approve of me," returned poor Biddy, "you may equally depend upon my trying to do all that lies in my power here at all times. And whatever opinion you take away of me, shall make no difference in my remembrance of you. Yet a gentleman should not be unjust neither," said Biddy, turning away her head.

I again warmly repeated that it was a bad side of human nature (in which sentiment, waving its application, I have since seen reason to think I was right), and I walked down the little path away from Biddy, and Biddy went into the house, and I went out at the garden gate and took a dejected stroll until sapper-time; again feeling it very sorrowful and strange that this, the second night of my bright fortunes, should be as lonely and unsatisfactory as the first.

But morning once more brightened my view, and I extended my clemency to Biddy, and we dropped the subject. Putting on the best clothes I had, I went into town as early as I could hope to find the shops open, and presented myself be-fore Mr. Trabb, the tailor, who was having his breakfast in the parlor behind his shop, and who did not think it worth his while to come out to me, but called me in to him.

"Well!" said Mr. Trabb, in a hail-fellowwell-met kind of way. "how are you, and what can I do for you?"

Mr. Trabb had sliced his hot roll into three, feather beds, and was slipping butter in between the blankets, and covering it up. He was a prosperous old bachelor, and his open window looked into a prosperous little garden and or-chard, and there was a prosperous iron safe let into the wall at the side of his fire-place, and I did not doubt that heaps of his prosperity were put away in it in bags. "Mr. Trabb," said I, " it's an unpleasant thing to have to mention, because it looks like boasting ; but I have come into a handsome property."

A change passed over Mr. Trabb. He forgot the butter in bed, got up from the bedside, and wiped his fingers on the table-cloth, exclaiming, " Lord bless my soul !"

"I am going up to my guardian in London," said I, casually drawing some guineas out of my pocket and looking at them; "and I want a fashionable suit of clothes to go in. I wish to pay for them," I added—otherwise I thought he might only pretend to make them, " with ready money." " My dear Sir," said Mr. Trabb, as he respect-fully bent his body, opened his arms, and took the liberty of touching me on the outside of each elbow, "don't hurt me by mentioning that. May I venture to congratulate you? Would you do me the favor of stepping into the shop?" Now Mr. Trabb's boy was the most nudacious boy in all that country-side. When I had



The Sally Port at Fort Sumter



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