Jefferson Davis and Alexander Stephens


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, February 23, 1861

The February 23, 1861 edition of Harper's Weekly featured a number of interesting Civil War historical stories.  It includes the women and children being evacuated from Fort Sumter, illustrations of Fort Sumter and Fort Jefferson, and reports of a number of Abraham Lincoln Speeches.  Scroll down to see the complete page, or the Newspaper Thumbnails below will take you to a specific page of interest.


Statue of George Washington

George Washington Statue

Wives Leaving Ft. Sumter

Good-By to Fort Sumter

Reverand Murray

Rev. Murray

Abraham Lincoln Speeches

Fort Pickens and Fort Jefferson

Lieutenant Slemmer and Gilman

Jefferson Davis and Alexander Stephens

Fort Pickens

Fort Pickens

Fort Jefferson

Fort Jefferson

Map of the Confederate States

Map of the Confederacy



FEBRUARY 23, 1861.]







THE accompanying portraits of Jefferson Davis and Alexander Stephens will introduce to our readers the newly-elected President and Vice-President of the new Southern Confederacy. organized at Montgomery, Alabama, on 4th February.


the new President, was born in Kentucky about 1806, and is consequently about 54 years old. Having migrated to the Territory of Mississippi, with his father, when a boy, he owed to President Monroe the favor of being admitted at West Point, from which institution he graduated in 1828. He was lucky enough to be employed on active service at once, under Colonel (afterward President) Z. Taylor, and served throughout the Black Hawk War. His capture of the chief Black Hawk, and the friendship which sprang up between him and his prisoner, are among the most romantic episodes of the history of the war. In 1835, having married a daughter of General Taylor, he settled down on a cotton plantation in Mississippi, and acquired some wealth. In 1845 he was elected to Congress from that State ; but at the outbreak of the Mexican War he resigned his seat in Congress, volunteered, raised a regiment in Mississippi, of which he was Colonel, and accompanied General Taylor in his campaign, distinguishing himself signally at Buena Vista. In 1848 he was chosen to the United States Senate. In 1851 he resigned his seat in the Senate to run for Governor of Mississippi, as the representative of the disunionist party, but was handsomely defeated by Mr. Foote, the Union candidate. In 1853 he entered the Cabinet of Mr. Pierce as Secretary of War, and held the office till the election of Mr. Buchanan. He then accepted the seat in the Senate which he filled till the State of Mississippi passed an ordinance of se-cession. He was recently chosen by the Montgomery Convention First President of the Southern Confederacy. Personally, Mr. Davis is a very gentlemanly man, with a soldierly bearing, and rather stern manners: as a speaker, he is fluent, clear. forcible, and sometimes eloquent.


of Georgia, the Vice-President of the new Southern Confederacy, was born in Georgia on 11th February, 1812, and is consequently forty-nine years of age. In his youth he was poor, and owed his education to the kindness of friends. In 1834 he took his position at the Georgia bar, and instantly gave proof of the talents which have since led him to be considered the " strongest man in the South." In 1843 he

was elected to Congress as a Whig; but at the dissolution of the Whig party he acted with the democracy of the South, and soon became their leader in Congress. He remained in Congress till the election of 1858, when he refused to be a candidate any longer, and withdrew—as he supposed—from public life. Mr. Stephens is a remarkable example

 of what energy may do for a man. He has all his life been a martyr to disease, and has never weighed over ninety-six pounds. His voice is shrill, and at first quite unpleasant to the ear ; but his eloquence is so sure and practical, and his judgment so reliable, that, wherever he is, he is sure to be a leader. He was a warm opponent of the secession movement in Georgia.


THERE was much mirth in Hong Kong. The ball at the club-rooms in Victoria Town eclipsed those which the governor and the chief justice, and the 117th in their white-washed mess-room, and the admiral on hoard his gayly lighted flag-ship, had given during the past fortnight.

Beyond comparison—the belle of the ball-room—was the beautiful Mrs. G—, a fair young wife, almost a bride, who had just come out from England with her husband, Captain G—. the junior captain of the Rifles. All the ensigns and middies, and half the lieutenants, naval and military, to say nothing of the par-boiled young gentlemen in mercantile houses, were fairly raving about the angelic stranger. The foolish boys devoured her with their eyes, and wrote sonnets to her eyebrows, for aught I know, and she never moved along the little parade at band-time without an overwhelming escort, but no one ever said that Geordie was not worthy of the good luck he had found, and the great prize he had drawn in the lottery matrimonial—he, the " Lest fellow" in the service. On this night Mrs. G   was in the highest spirits, and waltzed, and flirted, well to all appearance, and was the very centre of attraction—the target of all eyes. Geordie, who knew her too well to be easily made jealous, was in very good spirits, too; so

were most people. Mrs. G— went through dance after dance, as the band played on with admirable taste and spirit, and still partners buzzed about her, and her little ivory memorandum-book was as filled with writing as a bank ledger.

When she entered the tea-room on one occasion, early in the evening, the old comprador Ching-Lung, who presided over the waiters, and was steward of the club, started as he looked keenly at the beautiful " Fankwi" lady. She passed by him, repressing, good-naturedly, a smile at his outlandish dress and figure. He stared after her with seeming rudeness or curiosity, and then gave a grunt, and wheeled off to his avocations. Several officers noticed this, but Ching was a character, and no one asked what he meant, or if he meant any thing. It was an hour or more before Mrs. G— left the ball-room again. This time she entered the supper-room, leaning on her partner's arm. While the latter procured her some refreshment, the old Chinaman hovered near, looked sharply at the fair " barbarian," and then drew back with a muttered remark in his native tongue. Mrs. G—never noticed him. Two minutes after, Ching-Lung was seen in close confabulation with the doctor of the Rifles, a sensible, experienced sturgeon, who had been three years in Hong Kong, who had served on the medical staff in the old war, and who was regarded as the chief profession-al authority on the island. Dr. Rogers was a man who knew China well. He seemed much disturbed as Ching took him by the lappet of his coat, and whispered some communication. The two men's eyes ranged across the ball-room, in the door-way of which they stood a little apart, and fixed on Mrs. G—. The eyes of several loungers followed theirs by a common   pul-e. What

did they see?   Surely no terrible sight, but a

young, happy, high-bred Englishwoman, radiant with beauty, health, and gayety, crowned with flowers, and sweeping through the ball-room like its queen. What was there in all this to make old Ching use up his expressive Chinese mouth, and Dr. Rogers lift his eyebrows, and bite his lips, with a brow that knit with a spasm of involuntary anxiety? Smoothing his ruffled brow, the doctor stepped from his place, passed Mrs. G—, and looked full and steadily on her face. She looked surprised, and a little annoyed, but presently turned away smiling. She thought the doctor, no doubt, an odd, rude old gentleman. Very much compressed were the doctor's lips, and very often did the frown of care return to the doctor's brow, as he threaded his way through the crowd, most of whom had some slight or merry remark to bestow on so popular a character, until he reached the place where Captain G— was talking to the Colonel's wife and two other ladies seated on an ottoman. The doctor drew Geordie aside; they were old friends ; and begged as a particular favor that he would take his wife home, away from the ball, but without alarming her.

" Alarming her !" said Geordie, quite in the dark as to the other's meaning. "Why, what a Blue Beard you would make me turn out, doctor ! She's engaged twelve deep,

I'11 be hound, and it wants an hour of supper-time, and I can't get her away. Besides, she's not tired. Why should she go, you know ?"

To this Dr. Rogers merely answered that he begged as a favor that Captain G— would take Mrs. G— hone. It must be done, and would le for the hest. And being hard pressed for his r, a-son, the doctor said Mrs. G— was about to he ill. It was his duty to ask her husband to take her away from the crowded room.

Lieutenant Gilman
Lieutenant Slemmer
Jefferson Davis and Alexander Stephens


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