Lieutenant Slemmer and Gilman


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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.]



all this came to Mr. May by slow degrees, and it was not until the last moment that he would yield to the conviction of Gilbert's dishonesty, for Harman was slow to believe evil of any one. The polished manner and winning address of his agent had blinded him too long to his real character, and even yet he received the excuse of the recreant with a tolerable good grace, resolving to wait the revelations that should be made. At Mr. Wyman's instigation he had put the books in the hands of a young man who was in his employ as lawyer's clerk—a student of rare talents and unblemished character, shy and poor, but proud and ambitious. Mr. May had seen him twice on the village street, and Carrie had often met him on the ice, for this recreation was his only one. He was a famous skater, and on the loneliest part of Furnace Pond he might be seen in the last glow of the winter afternoon gliding hither and thither like a swallow.

It was the third day of their stay that Harman May and his old friend Lewis Wyman bent their steps to the distant spot where the bright-hued garments and ringing laughter alike directed the eye and ear where all the lads and lasses were frolicking so merrily. There was the village beauty, Grace Taylor, in her close pelisse and flying ring-lets ; Bessy Tower, petite and graceful ; and a host besides : for the Millow girls were most accomplished in this merry sport, and their attendant beaux found it an exciting race to overtake them, Lilly had considered herself quite a skater on the Central Park pond—her feet were shod in the most artistic manner, but still these village girls would outdo her. With her round velvet hat perched on the top of her brown curls, its feather shading the fairest cheek and brightest eye in the crowd, her piquant form displayed to the best advantage by the basque she wore, she certainly did look very lovely. Mr. Gilbert seemed to think so as he wheeled up in front of her to renew an acquaintanceship which he remembered and which she had forgotten. She acknowledged his greeting like a lady as she was, and accepted his proffered hand to try a longer stretch than she had dared hitherto. The lonely skater, wrapped in his dark Scotch plaid shawl, was flitting to and fro like a comet, here and there, his pale cheeks flushed with the fresh wind, and his dark curling hair blown in confusion around his cap. Skates of the most primitive construction seemed to bear him with an ease and grace that Frank Gilbert, with patent foot-gear of wonderful construction and adaptation, failed to equal. Nevertheless Lilly enjoyed the swift run up the lake toward the upper end, then turning they swept around its curving shore, and away down toward the mill. The ice grew thinner near he dam, and was pronounced unsafe; but in spots where the current was not so strong there were fields of action untouched, as smooth as glass, and apparently as hard as the rocks. As they came nearer they encountered the lonely skater, and Gilbert called to him : " Hal, is it safe by the dam ?"

Hal ground his heel sharply, and arrested his career in a moment, answering politely but truly: " Safe for yon; the lady does not skate fast enough."

He touched his cap respectfully as he turned away, and his thoughts were somewhat after this fashion:

She is very lovely I What sweet, tender, haunting eyes, and what heavenly goodness in her fair face ! I have never met a city girl before who was not haughty and disagreeable. Heigh-ho ! I won-der if I offended her by criticising her skating. Can't help it; she must not go there.

In truth, the little lady was piqued more than she cared to own ; and when Gilbert said, "Hal is a bit of a coward," she felt inclined to assent ; and yet she remembered the firm, manly tone and kindly care expressed in his answer, and couldn't quite decide whether she would submit to his decision or not. She was foolish enough to feel annoyed, at all events ; and when her companion led her nearer, she herself proposed a run across the limits. Her father shouted from the bank; but she could not turn—already the thin ice bent and cracked beneath her. If she could have held on her way she might still have bridged the treacherous chasm in safety ; but she grew frightened and confused, and her traitor companion let go her hand at the first sharp crack of the ice, and scrambled ingloriously to the shore. There seemed no help; for the treacherous ice crashed beneath her hesitating feet and broke away from her clutching hand. The cold water surged up around her struggling form as she battled thus. Stout men shuddered, but dared not go where their heavy weight would only add to her danger. Messengers were dispatched for rails and ropes; but her strength was going fast. Her frame was chilled and tired with the fruitless struggle ; for the ice around the spot where she was submerged bent beneath the pressure of her arms. Ah, Harman May ! is it thus you must see her die before your eyes, and scarce beyond the reach of your hand, and yet must she perish?

His screams of agony rung back from the hill-sides, and mingled with the stifled shrieks of his drowning child ; and it was only by force that they held him back from a share in her fate. But the lonely skater—he—he is coming ! Will he dare—? We left him ruminating on the beauty of the " city girl," and reproaching himself lest he had spoken too roughly to her. In an idle dream he was whirling around a rocky point toward a more unfrequented part of the pond, when he heard the shrieks that were uttered, first in warning and then in terror. He stopped a moment to tighten his skates, and as he flew toward the spot he loosened the long plaid shawl that he wore. On—on he came, and his fearless flight seemed to inspire hope in the midst of despair. Nearer still he came to the fatal spot. The spectators that lined the shore almost held their breath while they watched him unwinding the shawl as he circled the fatal breach, his arrowy speed carrying him safely where the treacherous support bent beneath his flying feet. Circling once more nearer still, he found a firmer spot where he could stand. Quick as thought, with the words,

"Hold up your arms!"—which words the pale child had still consciousness enough left to understand—he left the plaid trailing at one end, and seizing the other he swept around the crumbling circuit to the firm, thick ice beyond, when, gathering both ends, he found that his plan had succeeded, and she was safe within the loop, with life enough left to comprehend and aid the plan for her deliverance. Gently, carefully he drew the drenched Lilly from her perilous position to a spot of safety, from whence they reached the shore; and while Harman May, with broken sobs, blessed her deliverer, such a shout went up from the shores of Furnace Pond as never echoed there before. Again and again ; and Lilly started to hear an old, unforgotten name ringing out on the winter air, "Three cheers for Harry More ! Brave Harry More !"

"Do you hear, father ? it is Harry More !" then the tense nerves gave way, and she passed into unconsciousness.

It was two or three days before she recovered from the shock she sustained; and at the end of that time she heard that Harry More, the hero of the past event, was placed at the head of the mill for the present, and the recreant Gilbert had left for parts unknown. When the next bright summer came Lilly seemed to find an unusual attraction in visiting her friend Carrie Wyman and her cheeks would burn beautifully when she heard the well-known step in the hall of "brave Harry More." When Mr. May told her, one fine evening, that he had decided to take him into the firm, and asked her what she thought about it, she only said, " Oh, father !" and hid her face in the high velvet collar of the paternal coat. He added, mischievously, " You prevented his freezing to death once, and he returned the compliment; so, I suppose—Well, well, I won't tease you, Lilly!" and the blushing face received a kiss.


FROST on the windows again, and two tiny childish artists are trying to make pictures of their own on the whitened pane, describing thereon mamma's and papa's portrait, and the likeness of the last, when completed, is finished with the bushy curls of Harry More ; while the faithful portraiture of mamma is adorned with the long ringlets of Lilly—More. In the back-ground the said papa and mamma are laughing, and recalling those olden times, and declaring that Jack Frost certainly had a hand in one wedding at least.


ULNA sat her steed well. Her favorite was a splendid bay of the Morgan breast and muscle—glossy, smooth, perfect in curve, strong and neat of sinew and limb; a breathing representative of the American dual idea, lightness and strength. Ulna was fearless, even when her beautiful bay quivered beneath her with premonitions of high-bred impatience or downright anger.

A proud and beautiful woman on horseback, well-seated, leaning to pat the arched neck, erect, tightening rein upon restless bits ; tossing with the dancing steed, plume waving, cheeks aglow, eyes flashing—this is the perfection of thrill-giving beauty.

To-day the party was large enough to be joyous. There was Nettie, a light, girlish, little thing, on a beautiful pony ; and Frank, with her plump, pretty figure, and red, round cheeks. There was Dallas, smooth and trim in cloth and feature; King, tall, black-eyed, and black-bearded ; and Gray, of the " handsome" fraternity. They were all well-acquainted, in good health, on horseback, and, of course, gay.

They sought by-ways, winding through forests under broad-branched trees, chatting easily along; or swept over plains with the speed of wind, and the bell-like laughter of human voices floating in tenor and bass upon the air. Ulna led these wild sweeps, and looked back upon the galloping bevy with a saucy turn of the head—only King by her side. It was bold riding for even him ; but he was proud, dark, determined—a fit attendant of the wild creature with whose flying steed his own gaunt Arab wrestled neck and neck.

They had turned, and were waiting for the group to come up, in exhilarant conversation, noting the panting of the horses, and watching the lingering sunset.

"'This last gallop was a famous one," said Ulna. " A brave cavalier, Monsieur King ;" bowing and smiling.

" I must needs be to attend Mademoiselle." "Thank you ! I should be sorry to put a friend at fault. But there are berries by the wall there. I will dismount, Mr. King."

In lifting her to the ground Ulna's curls lay an instant on his shoulder, and his beard swept her cheek. When she glanced into his eyes they had a fierce, deep meaning—love, passion, and admiration blended. She looked down.

"Ulna, I love you with my whole soul, passionately. I can not keep the secret longer. Tell me you love me, and will be my wife."

His wooing was as the lion woos ; for the blood in his veins was hot and turbulent as it came from his Spanish mother.

Ulna looked up, pale, but quite calm, and said, simply,

" Never, Mr. King."

" A brief answer truly, Miss Ulna, and scarcely courteous. May I ask why you speak so decisively?" He was very pale now.

"Forgive me, and let me tell you frankly. I admire you, Mr. King—not love—I did not say love"--for he caught the first words with a sudden flash of the eyes; " I admire your fearlessness, pride, decision; but I can never be the wife of such a man."

" You have not answered me yet, Miss Ulna." " I know it ; but I will. You know something of my habits—that is my favorite horse, and no

lady ever rode him but me. I was never controlled. I can not be. The mere attempt raises within me a something which is a thousand times stronger than myself. If I were yours, you would hate me and I should hate you. It can not be, Sir. I like you where you now are"—and her tones softened—" you know that very well, Mr. King ; but if you had a right to lay your hand on me I should rebel, and we should hate one another ;" and Ulna stood flashing over the thought with a bright glow in her cheeks and her red lips pressed together.

"Then you will marry a dolt, Miss Ulna."

" No, Sir. But I shall not marry a man who will think of controlling me. Perhaps he will be a dolt, Sir—indeed, I suppose he will." Ulna laughed. " But there is another alternative, which you seem to have forgotten—I shall not marry at all, Mr. King."

The party came up; the berries were gathered with some vivacity, but a 'something had crept upon the spirits of all. Only two of the party knew what it was.

Riding up the avenue to Ulna's door just in that early dusk which scarcely softens tints, the troop passed a stranger walking leisurely up the path among the trees.

"Angry in spite of myself," thought King, lifting Ulna from her stirrup, and turning to say the good-bys. True. The finger of passion had writ-ten it in red on his cheeks.

"I shall do myself the pleasure to see you to-morrow," he said, bowing, his hand on the bridle-rein of his Arab. He had well-nigh been thrown, for carelessly touching foot to stirrup, the horse sprang with one of its wild impulses, and for a moment it seemed that the animal would crush him under his hoofs. King turned angrily pale, and clutched the bridle-rein vigorously ; but Arab held his head high, snorted, stood on his haunches, almost lifting his master by the rein. Again for an instant he was still, only quivering with nervous tension. King lifted a foot toward the stirrup, and the struggle came on again.

Just then the stranger came toward the group, and for a moment stood looking on. Of medium height, in brown coat, dusty boots, with a light beard and fair complexion. He advanced when the second struggle was waning, and bowing to King, reached his hand for the rein. King placed it there. He caught the eye of Arab, held it a moment, touched the neck with his hand, laid his fingers on the eyes.

" You can mount now."

The next moment King was plunging spurs and sweeping stormily down the avenue, and the stranger, with a bright tint in his cheeks, was bowing himself from the troop, and entering the house.

Ulna met him next day at dinner. He was an architect, called by her father.

A black coat and dustless boots improved upon the toilet of the day before. Ulna was not in a talkative mood as it chanced ; nor hungry, so she crumbled bits of bread, gave an occasional word, and noted the conversation of others. She marveled at the exhibition of control which Mr. Rawle had given on the preceding evening. His style was certainly not commanding. If his face had not actual delicacy of tint, it wanted little of it, and was very far from the ruggedness which suggests strength. "Light frame, fair complexion, blue eyes—these are not concomitants of power," thought Ulna.

When they rose from the table Ulna had heard every thought expressed by Mr. Rawle during dinner, and had received each opinion as truth. And yet she was quite unconscious of this.

The site of the new villa was under discussion for a week. Ulna chose a bluff close by the river side; and it would have been planted there, but one morning Mr. Rawle took her to a height far back from the water sweeping down to it with irregular undulations, guarded on the left by a grove of rugged native trees, and pointed out its advantages. Ulna was slightly piqued by the suggestiveness of the act; but in spite of it and herself her former preferences melted, and the cottage crowned the latter height.

Mr. Rawle fell easily into the family circle. Every thing in their intercourse was quiet and natural, yet never sluggish or dull. If talk came spontaneously, it flowed. If not, silence itself was unconstrained and agreeable. Sense was upper-most when sense was the mood; nonsense was dominant when the fit was on.

The first time they rode together she tried his mettle—led him a brave, wild race over a beaten road and a broad prairie. There was the difference between this flying ride and that other with King, that Mr. Rawle was unheated—quiet when they slackened as though unconscious of the test. Never again in all the three months had Ulna an impulse to dash away thus.

One evening at tea a point of theology came up. Ulna's mind was of the speculative cast, fascinated always by these fathomless reasonings. She stated her point stoutly, with flushing and fire. Mr. Rawle looked at her; and never in her life saw Ulna such power in a mild blue eye, nor in any eye of any color. It seemed to drink her fire ; and thus, with a word or two, simply spoken and fitting the point, it disarmed her. Her voluntary assent was the first conscious yielding of her life. Mr. Rawle seemed not aware of any triumph.

Ulna thought this over in her chamber. It vexed her there.

At noon of this day King was in. Darker, more fitful than ever. Ulna's vexation made her very courteous, however, and the man became calm, thence playful. An hour's ramble by the river side with a bevy of girls broke the afternoon into halves, and made it pleasant.

"An' was it yer honor as was wishing to see me ?" asked a son of the ocean Emerald, meeting them on their way to the water. Mr. Rawle said "Yes," and stepping up to honest Pat, who stood in bespattered trim, hat doffed, and overflowing with reverence, gave his hand, saying,

"I blamed you this morning, my good fellow, and I find I was wrong. Will you forgive me ?"

"An'shure an' is it the likes o' ye as begs pardon ov sich as poor Pat ? Forgive ye ! an' troth I will that, Misther Rawle, an' ask yer pardon to boot fur listenin' to the words from your gintleman lips."

So saying the overwhelmed Hibernian bowed himself down the street with amusing obsequiousness.

It seemed that Pat was employed on the foundation of the new cottage ; and that morning Mr. Rawle, finding a blunder in the brick-work of a corner, had chided him with some severity. It turning out, however, that Pat was not the author of the mischief, Mr. Rawle had sent for him.

Under the sweeping willows dipping their slender fingers, under dark, fragrant cedars overhanging and shading crystal play-grounds of minnows, a fallen tree-trunk lay prone upon the water, reaching into the stream. Ulna was gleeful, and essayed to go out. King checked her. The girl's eyes flashed with all the unrestrainedness of her nature, and her tiny foot sprang to the tree. A hand touched her shoulder—Mr. Rattle's. She knew it, and looked round to his face with as high, half-indignant resolve as ever made her cheeks flush. But she lost it, and her purpose melted under his earliest look and quiet words.

" It is not safe," he said. "Pancks !" and a noble black dog came bounding to his side. Mr. Rawle gave a gesture of command, and the dog sprang out on the tree-trunk. The decayed tiring broke, giving Pancks a wetting.

Ulna surrendered. She had met her master—a master whose power was so actual that he seemed unconscious; and yet here was its charm.

Ulna loved, consciously ; not as many love, but absorbingly. This one of all the wide world was fitted for her—so it seemed; indeed, so it was. But Mr. Rawle said nothing of love. As the time of his departure drew near there was an added tenderness in his tones, and an added depth in his eyes; but that was all. When he went away he took her trembling hand and said :

"Ulna, we have need of strength to bear what is given us by the All-wise. You are much to me. You will never be less. Can we trust one another; and will you be happy?"

The tumult of emotion became still; and Ulna thought " yes," and said it. She was happy. For weeks the girl fed on something which happened in that last half-hour. She could not have told what it was.

But when weeks and months had gone by, and the past seemed to Ulna more and more like a dream, there crept into her heart the tiniest doubt. Once entered, it flamed, crackled, and burned up her trust. The rebound, the reaction carried her very far beyond her original self. The sweep of her impulses was wilder, and restraints sat not at all upon her restless spirit. King came again. Life became a whirl of impulses. Her dark cavalier matched them more nearly than ever; and having lost the reign of her first love, the prudence which she had shown before him once could scarcely be hoped now.

"Perhaps I will marry him yet," she used to say to herself, and then would come floods of tears, and heart-burnings, and longings, and unrest, and positive distress.

To be met with fire and angered into uncontrollable will when she longed to he held by a hand that could say to her turbulent nature, " Peace, be still," would have driven her from King forever, but that the desperation thus engendered over-wrought the legitimate effects, and bound her to him by galling, but very strong, chains.

He saw, or rather felt, the change, and counted the prize as won.

But when the chestnut burrs were cracking is the lingers of frost, and the squirrels were busy with the brown hoards, Mr. Rawle was with Ulna again.

" Why did you go away from use at all, Arthur?"

"My betrothed was alive then."

" Your betrothed!" springing.


Ulna laid her head on his shoulder again. She had seen something in those exhaustless eyes "Are you satisfied, dear?"

" Yes."

"But I will tell you. My sister, the last of my family but myself, had been sick for years. She became weak, repining, helpless, exacting. I was her only living friend; and she had me promise—" "What, Arthur?"

" That I would never marry while she lived."


ON page 125 the reader will find the portraits of Lieutenants Slemmer and Gilman, the officers who took charge of Fort Pickens when the Navy-yard at Pensacola was seized by the Florida troops.

Lieutenant SLEMMER, who still commands Fort Pickens, is a native of Pennsylvania, where he was born about 1828. He entered West Point in 1814, and graduated as second lieutenant of artillery in 1850. He was ordered to Florida, in which State and in California he served several years. After a short service on the Coast Survey, he was selected as a teacher in the West Point Academy, and remained four years in that institution. At the expiration of this period he assumed the command of Pensacola harbor, where he still remains. When the Florida troops seized the Pensacola Navy-yard, be followed the example of Major Anderson and seized Fort Pickens as the strongest work in the harbor. At latest dates he was still in possession, and said he could hold it. Lieutenant SLEMMER enjoys the reputation of a cool, brave soldier, worthy of the important trust now committed to him.

Lieutenant GILMAN, the second in command at Fort Pickens, entered the service on 1st July, 1856, from Maine. He is Second Lieutenant of Artillery.



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