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Civil War Harper's Weekly, April 27, 1861

The April 27, 1861 edition of Harper's Weekly features a biography and picture of President Abraham Lincoln, and an incredible description of Mr. Lincoln's declaration of war on the south.  The issue also contains fabulous illustrations of the Battle of Fort Sumter.  Newspaper thumbnails will take you to a large, readable version of that page.

 

Civil War Volunteers

Abraham Lincoln's Declaration of War

The Call for Volunteers

Abraham Lincoln

President Abraham Lincoln Biography and Picture

Beauregard

General P.G.T. Beauregard

Slave Cartoon

Slavery Cartoon

Inside Fort Sumter During the Bombardment

Inside Fort Sumter During the Bombardment

Map of Charleston Harbor

Map of Charleston Harbor

Attack on Fort Sumter

Attack on Fort Sumter

 

 

HARPER'S WEEKLY.

[APRIL 27, 1861.

258

(Previous Page)

opposers whatsoever; that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States, and of the officers appointed over me, according to the rules of the armies of the United States : so help me God.'

" The Washington Rifles were inspected and mustered Into the service, and every man in the line took the required oath. So heartily was the thing done by the entire company that the crowd of spectators outside the fence burst out into quite a demonstration of applause."

STEER N.W.

THE FIRST OFFICER'S STORY.

ABOUT two years ago I left the service. I was tired of it; and as I wanted some more exciting employment I joined a whaler. We were unlucky —somehow, I bring no luck any where—and we were nearly empty. We were cruising up here to the north, and thinking of making for home, as the weather had changed : and the ice forms precious quick in those latitudes when it once begins. The captain naturally wanted to hang on to the last for the chance of another haul.

One bright afternoon, just after eight bells, I made up the log, and took it to the captain's cabin. I knocked at the door, and as nobody answered I walked in. I thought it odd the captain hadn't answered me, for there he was, sitting at his desk, with his back to me, writing. Seeing he was employed, I told him I had brought the log, laid it down on the table behind him, and as he made no answer I walked out. I went on deck, and the first person I met was the captain. I was puzzled —I could not make out how he had got there before me.

" How did you get up here?" I said; " I just left you writing in your cabin."

" I have not been in my cabin for the last half-hour," the captain answered ; but I thought he was chaffing, and I didn't like it.

"'There was some one writing at your desk just now," I said; "if it wasn't you, you had better go and see who it was. The log is made up. I have left it in your cabin, Sir ;" and with that I walked sulkily away. I had no idea of being chaffed by the captain, to whom I had taken a dislike.

" Mr. Brown," said the captain, who saw I was nettled, "you must have been mistaken, my desk is locked. But come—we'll go down and see about it."

I followed the captain into the cabin. The log was on the table, the desk was closed, and the cabin was empty. The captain tried the desk—it was locked.

"You see, Mr. Brown," he said, laughing, " you must have been mistaken, the desk is locked."

I was positive—" Somebody may have picked the lock," I said.

"But they couldn't have closed it again," the captain suggested ; " but to satisfy you, I will open it, and see if the contents are safe, though there is not much here to tempt a thief."

He opened the desk, and there—stretched right across it—was a sheet of paper, with the words " Steer N.W." written in an odd cramped hand.

The captain looked at the paper, and then handed it to me.

" You are right, Mr. Brown ; somebody has been here. This is some hoax."

We sat there some time talking, and trying to guess what could be the object of such a joke—if joke it was meant to be. I tried to identify the back of the man I had seen at the desk with that ' of any of the crew. I could not do it. It is true I had at first taken the man for the captain, but now points of difference suggested themselves. I had not looked very attentively at the figure, but still I was under the impression that the coat it had on was brown, and the hair, which appeared under the cap, seemed, as I remembered it, to have been longer and whiter than the captain's.

Not to appear to suspect any one in particular, the captain determined to have up all the crew. We had them up, one by one. We examined them, and made all those who could write, write " Steer N.W.," but we gained no clew. The mystery remained unsolved.

That evening I sat drinking my grog with the captain in his cabin. We were neither of us inclined to be talkative. I tried to think of home, and the pleasure it would be to see old England again, but still my thoughts always wandered back to that mysterious writing. I tried to read, but I caught myself furtively peeping at the desk, expecting to see the figure sitting there.

The captain had not spoken for some time, and was sitting with his face buried in his hands. At last, he suddenly looked up, and said,

" Suppose we alter her course to Northwest, Mr. Brown ?"

I don't know what it was; I can not hope to make you understand the feeling in my mind that followed those words ; it was a sense of relief from a horrible nightmare. I was ashamed of the childish pleasure I felt, but I could not help answering eagerly, " Certainly ; shall I give the order ?"

I waited no longer, but hurried on deck and altered the course of the vessel.

It was a clear frosty night, and as I looked at the compass before going below, I felt strangely pleased, and caught myself chuckling and rubbing my hands—at what, I can not say—I didn't know then, but a great weight had been taken off my mind.

I went down to the cabin, and found the captain pacing up and down the small space. He stopped as I came in, and looking up, said, abruptly,

" It can do no harm, Mr. Brown."

" If this breeze continues," I answered, " we can hold on for thirty hours or so, but then I should think—"

"But then—we shall find ice. How's the wind ?"

" Steady, north by east."

We sat down and finished our grog. I had the morning watch to keep next day. I was too restless to sleep after it, so I kept on deck the whole of the day. Even that did not satisfy me. I was

continually running up into the tops with my glass, but every time I came down disappointed. The captain was as unquiet as myself. Something we expected to happen, but of what it was to be we could form no idea. The second officer, I believe, thought us both crazy ; indeed, I often wondered, myself, at the state I was in. Evening came, and nothing had turned up. The night was bright, and the captain determined to carry on under easy sail till morning.

Morning came ; and with the first gray light I was on deck. It was bitterly cold. Those only who have seen them can form an idea of the delicate tints of the morning sky in those Northern Seas. But I was in no humor to appreciate the beauties of nature. There was a mist low down on the horizon : I waited impatiently for it to lift. It lifted soon, and I could not be mistaken—beyond it I could see the shimmer of ice. I sent down to tell the captain, who came on deck directly.

" It is no use, Mr. Brown," he said ; " you must put her about."

" Wait one moment," I said ; " wait one moment, the mist is lifting more, it will be quite clear directly."

The mist was indeed lifting rapidly. Far to the North and West we could see the ice stretching away in one unbroken field. I was trying to see whether there appeared any break in the ice toward the West, when the captain, seizing my arm with one hand, and pointing straight ahead with the other, exclaimed,

" My God ! there is a ship there."

The mist had risen like a curtain, and there, sure enough, about three miles ahead, was a ship seemingly firmly packed in the ice. We stood looking at it in silence. There was some meaning after all in that mysterious warning, was the first thought that suggested itself to me.

"She's nipped bad, Sir," said old Shiel, who, with the rest of the crew, was anxiously watching our new discovery. I was trying to make her out with the glass, when the flash of a gun, quickly followed by the report, proved that she had seen us. Up went the flag, Union downward. We needed no signal to know her distress. The captain ordered the second officer off into the boat. I watched him as he made his way over the ice with a few of the men toward the ship. They soon returned with eight of the ship's crew. It was a dismal account they gave of their situation. They might have sawed their way out of the ice, but the ship was so injured that she could not have floated an hour. The largest of their boats had been stove in, the others were hardly sea-worthy. They were preparing, however, to take to them as a last resource when our welcome arrival put an end to their fears. Another detachment was soon brought off, and the captain with the remainder of his crew was to follow immediately.

I went down to my cabin, and tried to think over the singular fate which had made us the preservers of this ship's crew. I could not divest myself of the idea that some supernatural agency was connected with that paper in the desk, and I trembled at the thought of what might have been the consequences if we had neglected the warning. The boat coming alongside interrupted my reverie. In a few seconds I was on deck.

I found the captain talking to a fine old sailor-like looking man, whom he introduced to me as Captain Squires. Captain Squires shook hands with me, and we remained talking some time. I could not keep my eyes off his face ; I had a conviction that I had seen him somewhere, where I could not tell. Every now and then I seemed to catch at some clew, which vanished as soon as touched. At last he turned round to speak to some of his men. I could not be mistaken—there was the long white hair, the brown coat. He was the man I had seen writing in the captain's cabin !

That evening I and the captain told the story of the paper to Captain Squires, who gravely and in silence listened to our conjectures. He was too thankful for his escape out of such imminent peril to question the means by which it had been brought about. At the captain's request he wrote " Steer N.W." We compared it with the original writing. There could be no doubt of it. It was in the same odd, cramped hand.

Can any one solve the mystery ?

HARPER'S WEEKLY.

SATURDAY, APRIL 27, 1861.

By the President of the United States:

A PROCLAMATION.

Whereas, The laws of the United States have been for some time past and now are opposed, and the execution thereof obstructed, in the States of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, by combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, or by the powers vested in the Marshals by law :

Now, therefore, I, ABRAHAM LINCOLN, President of the United States, in virtue of the power in me vested by the Constitution and the laws, have thought fit to call forth, and hereby do call forth, the Militia of the several States of the Union, to the aggregate number of 75,000, in order to suppress said combinations, and to cause the laws to be duly executed. The details for this object will be immediately communicated to the State authorities through the War Department.

I appeal to all loyal citizens to favor, facilitate,

and aid this effort to maintain the honor, the integrity, and the existence of our National Union and the perpetuity of popular government, and to redress wrongs already long enough endured.

I deem it proper to say that the first service assigned to the force hereby called forth will probably be to repossess the forts, places, and property which have been seized from the Union, and, in every event, the utmost care will be observed, consistently with the objects aforesaid, to avoid any devastation, any destruction of, or interference with property, or any disturbance of peaceful citizens in any part of the country; and I hereby command the persons composing the combinations aforesaid to disperse and retire peaceably to their respective abodes within twenty days from this date.

Deeming that the present condition of public affairs presents an extraordinary occasion, I do, hereby, in virtue of the power in me vested by the Constitution, convene both Houses of Congress. The Senators and Representatives are therefore summoned to assemble at their respective chambers at twelve o'clock, noon, on Thursday, the fourth day of July next, then and there to consider and determine such measures as, in their wisdom, the public safety and interest may seem to demand.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this fifteenth day of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-fifth.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

BY THE PRESIDENT.

WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.

THE CIVIL WAR.

WAR is declared. President Lincoln's proclamation, which we publish above, is an absolute proclamation of war against the Gulf States. The die is now cast, and men must take their sides, and hold to them. No one who knows any thing of the Southern people supposes for a moment that, having gone so far as to bombard a United States fort and capture it, they will now succumb without a fight. No one who has seen the recent manifestations of popular sentiment in the North can doubt that the Northern blood is up, and that they will listen no more to talk of compromise, truce, or treaty, until they are fairly beaten.

Let us then forbear puling, and look the situation in the face. There are some among us still who whine about the evils of civil war. These are they who, with a burglar in their house, his hand on the throat of their wife or daughter, would quote texts on the loveliness of Christian forbearance and charity. Nobody —outside of lunatic asylums—doubts that civil war is an enormous calamity. On this point all are agreed. But as it has actually begun, and exists, what is the use of deprecating it ? What should we think of a doctor who, summoned to visit a half dying patient, should wring his hands hopelessly and bewail the malignancy of disease ?

The United States Government has called into the field 75,000 militiamen, who, added to the regular force, will swell the effective army to nearly 90,000 men. It is understood that further calls are to be made upon the States, to the extent of 200,000 more. The plan, as understood by military officers, is to form three camps : one at the Federal capital, consisting of 50,000 men, who will constitute an army of observation on the Border States, and will be commanded by Lieutenant-General Scott in person ; another of 75,000 men, which will be located in the vicinity of Cincinnati, with a view to an ultimate movement down the Mississippi; and a third, of over 100,000 men, which will be situated in the suburbs of New York. Rumor asserts that General Wool will command the New York army, and General Sumner the army on the Mississippi; but of these matters of course nothing is known. In the mean time, the navy will be occupied in closing the ports of the seceded States. It seems to be expected that by August next there will not be a port in South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, which will not be hermetically sealed by United States ships of war.

This is the Government programme. On the other hand, the Seceders are gathering soldiers vigorously on their side. It is stated that at the siege of Sumter over 7000 men were engaged, and that, simultaneously, 5000 were on duty opposite Fort Pickens. Letters from Montgomery say that 32,000 additional men are being mustered for an attack on Washington. As the population of the eight seceded States, exclusive of negroes, is over 2,000,000, it should be possible for Mr. Davis to collect 100,000 able-bodied troops on one point. With such a force, secretly if not openly favored by the Border States, a very formidable movement might be made on Washington.

OUR ILLUSTRATIONS OF THE
Civil WAR.

IN view of the momentous events which are impending, and of the actual outbreak of civil war, the proprietors of Harper's Weekly beg to draw public attention to the following list of engravings which have been published in this journal within the past few weeks, as evidence of the fidelity and thoroughness with which they are redeeming their pledge to " give a well-drawn, well-engraved, and well-printed illustration of every important event that occurs." Almost all of the illustrations of the Southern Forts have been made from drawings by United States Officers ; and the proprietors of Harper's Weekly take this opportunity of informing Officers in the Army and Navy serving in the South that they will be glad to receive sketches of Forts and Scenes of Interest at the present crisis, and to pay liberally for such as they may use. Any officer in either service can obtain the Weekly gratuitously for six months by sending his address to this office.

Illustrations of the Civil War.

SEVERAL SKETCHES OF MAJOR ANDERSON IN FORT MOULTRIE.

THE ENTRY INTO FORT SUMTER.

THE OCCUPATION OF CASTLE PINCKNEY BY THE CHARLESTON TROOPS.

MAPS OF THE CHARLESTON HARBOR.

PROFILE VIEW OF THE SAME.

THE MARINE SCHOOL AT CHARLESTON.

FORT SUMTER, FROM SULLIVAN'S ISLAND.

THE CUSTOMHOUSE AND POWDER MAGAZINE AT CHARLESTON.

FORT MOULTRIE-CHARLESTON IN THE DISTANCE.

PORTRAIT OF MAJOR ANDERSON, U. S. ARMY.

PORTRAIT OF CAPTAIN FOSTER, U.S. ARMY.

PORTRAITS OF MAJOR ANDERSON'S COMMAND.

PORTRAIT OF GOVERNOR PICKENS.

PORTRAIT OF JUDGE MAGRATH, SECRETARY OF STATE.

PORTRAIT OF SECRETARY OF WAR JAMIESON.

PORTRAIT OF REV. DR. BACHMAN.

PORTRAITS OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA DELEGATION IN CONGRESS.

THE WASHINGTON ARTILLERY OF CHARLESTON

THE CHARLESTON ZOUAVES.

FORT JOHNSON, CHARLESTON HARBOR.

THE "STAR OF THE WEST."

THE PRAYER AT SUMTER.

FIRING ON THE " STAR OF THE WEST."

THE BATTERY AT FORT MOULTRIE BEARING ON FORT SUMTER.   

DISMANTLED GUNS AT FORT MOULTRIE.

FORT SUMTER, SEEN FROM THE REAR.

THE MAIN BATTERY AT FORT SUMTER.

THE CASEMATES AT FORT SUMTER.

THE SALIY-PORT AT FORT SUMTER.

THE GORGE AT FORT SUMTER.

THE INTERIOR AT FORT SUMTER.

A TEN-INCH COLUMBIAD AT FORT SUMTER.

INTERIOR OF THE SALLY-PORT AT FORT SUMTER.

OFFICERS' QUARTERS AT FORT SUMTER.

THE GOOD-BY OF THE U. S. SOLDIERS' WIVES TO FORT SUMTER.

MAJOR ANDERSON'S QUARTERS AT FORT SUMTER.

AN EMBRASURE-OUTSIDE AND INSIDE--AT FORT SUMTER.

BOMBARDMENT OF FORT SUMTER.

INTERIOR OF FORT SUMTER DURING THE BOMBARDMENT.

PORTRAIT OF GENERAL BEAUREGARD.

SWEARING IN THE VOLUNTEERS AT WASHINGTON, D. C.

THE "BALTIC" AND "ATLANTIC" SHIPPING TROOPS FOR THE SOUTH.

THE CITY OF CHARLESTON.

FORT MOULTRIE, AS SEEN FROM FORT SUMTER.

MORRIS ISLAND, AS SEEN FROM FROM SUMTER.

FORT JOHNSON, AS SEEN FROM FORT SUMTER.

THE IRON-CLAD BATTERY ON CUMMINGS'S POINT, AS SEEN FROM FORT SUMTER.

FORT PICKENS, PENSACOLA, LOOKING SEAWARD.

PORTRAIT OF LIEUTENANT SLEMMER.

PORTRAIT OF LIEUTENANT GILMAN.

FRONT VIEW OF FORT PICKENS, SHOWING THE SALLY-PORT.

THE FLAG-STAFF BASTION AT FORT PICKENS.

THE SALUTE ON 22D FEBRUARY AT FORT PICKENS.

THE BOAT-HOUSE AND LANDING AT FORT PICKENS.

ONE OF THE FLANK CASEMATE BATTERIES AT FORT PICKENS.

THE CONFEDERATE BATTERIES AGAINST FORT PICKENS.  

SEA BATTERY AT FORT MONROE, VIRGINIA.

INTERIOR OF SEA BATTERY AT FORT MONROE.

TESTING THE BIG COLUMBIAD AT FORT MONROE.

THE RIP-RAPS.

SHIPS IN THE NORFOLK NAVY-YARD.

FORT JEFFERSON, TORTUGAS.

FORT TAYLOR, KEY WEST.

FORT SMITH, ARKANSAS.

UNITED STATES ARSENAL AT LITTLE ROOK, ARKANSAS.

THE NAVY-YARD AT NORFOLK.

THE NAVY-YARD AT WASHINGTON.

FORT WACHITA, TEXAS.

FORT ARBUCKLE, TEXAS.

FORT DAVIS, TEXAS.

FORT BROWN, TEXAS.

FORT LANCASTER, TEXAS.

POINT ISABEL., TEXAS.

THE ALAMO, SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS.

SURRENDER OF GENERAL TWIGGS, AT SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS.

THE WASHINGTON ARSENAL.

FORT ON CRANEY ISLAND.

FORT NORFOLK.

FORT WASHINGTON.

THE RICHMOND ARMORY.

The proprietors of Harper's Weekly beg to state that they have made the most extensive arrangements for the illustration of future movements at the South, and that the public may rely upon finding in Harper's Weekly an accurate and reliable picture of every scene of interest to which occurrences may direct attention.

The increasing circulation of Harper's Weekly renders it a meet desirable advertising medium.

   THE LOUNGER
CIVIL WAR

PURE lounging is rather hard work in times like these. Every man's interest in every hour's news is so intense that it is hard to escape the eagerness which is incompatible with true lounging. When your military neighbor may march at any moment to battle, and when you may march side by side with your military neighbor, the moment is so serious that you can not help moving and thinking a little more rapidly and energetically than is the wont of loungers.

The grave events of the last few days will make every thoughtful citizen feel how unstable, even in the most enlightened and prosperous countries, are the foundations of public order. The Government, of all the governments upon the globe, which has done most, and which promises most for human liberty and the general welfare, has passed through a shock so tremendous that, whatever the immediate result, the consequences are incalcuable.


 

 

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