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Civil War Harper's Weekly, August 3, 1861

This Civil War Harper's Weekly newspaper describes a number of important events of the war. It includes eye-witness illustrations of the events, and important news of the day. It also has first edition coverage of the Battle of Bull Run.

(Scroll Down to see the entire newspaper page, or Newspaper Thumbnails below will take you to a specific page of interest)


Laurel Hill

The Battle of Laurel Hill



Bull Run

Early Report on Battle of Bull Run

Map Bull Run

Bull Run Battle Map

Tillman and the Waring

Tillman and the Waring


General George McClellan Biography


Rowlesburg, West Virginia

Bull Run Battle

The Battle of Bull Run

Battle of Carthage

The Battle of Carthage, Missouri

Winchester Virginia

Winchester, Virginia

Bull Run

Start of the Battle of Bull Run

Civil War Weapons

Civil War Weapons

Bull Run Cartoon

Battle of Bull Run Cartoon


Hunter's Charge at Bull Run

Hunter's Charge at the Battle of Bull Run










[AUGUST 3, 1861




THE spring-time came, but not with mirth—The banner of our trust,

And with it the best hopes of earth

Were trailing in the dust.

The Farmer saw the shame from far,

And stopped his plow afield;

Not the blade of peace but the brand of war This arm of mine must wield.

When traitor hands that flag would stain, Their homes let women keep;

Until its stars burn bright again,

Let others sow and reap.

The Farmer sighed—a lifetime long

The plow has been my trust; In truth it were an arrant wrong

To leave it now to rust.

With ready strength the Farmer tore The iron from the wood,

And to the village smith he bore That plow-share stout and good.

The blacksmith's arms were bare and brown, And loud the bellows roared :

The Farmer flung his plow-share down—" Now forge me out a sword!"

And then a merry, merry chime The sounding anvil rung;

Good sooth, it was a nobler rhyme Than ever poet sung.

The blacksmith wrought with skill that day, The blade was keen and bright,

And now where thickest is the fray

The Farmer leads the fight.

Not as of old that blade he sways

To break the meadow's sleep,

But through the rebel ranks he lays

A furrow broad and deep.

The Farmer's face is burned and brown, But light is on his brow,

Right well he wots what blessings crown The furrow of the Plow.

But better is to-day's success

Thus ran the Farmer's word—For nations yet unborn shall bless

This furrow of the Sword.




THE most convenient government for a nation at war is a despotic monarchy; the most inconvenient—according to general opinion—a democratic republic. A despotic monarch, having no advisers to defer to, no responsibility to fear, and no laws to obey, can act with a promptitude, an energy, and a secrecy which are rarely compatible with the checks and trammels of limited governments. He can meet desperate emergencies with desperate remedies; and, while popular governments are studying how to conciliate existing laws with unforeseen crises, can despise or trample any thing and every thing which may stand in the way of his purpose. Him no Congressional debates delay, nor caviling Committees annoy; no newspapers baffle by premature betrayals of his plans ; no rules compel to disregard genius in the choice of his officers ; no laws hamper in the selection of the most efficient methods to attain his ends. If he has the money, the men, and the will, to prosecute the war is to him no task at all.

It is a very different matter in a democratic republic such as ours. In the first place, the Constitution—a document not framed in view of such wars as the present one, for instance, and full of checks on the authority of the Executive—ties the hands of the President, and forbids his doing many things which war may render it absolutely necessary for him to do. The laws of the United States—framed for the general good in time of peace—lay further restrictions upon him : leave him no power to stop unlawful trade, for instance, and none to interfere with constructive treason. Under the law he can neither enlist men to fight, nor pay them for fighting, without the previous decree of Congress. When he has got the men and the money, Congress still retains the power of directing how the money and the men shall be employed, and of appointing Committees to see that their directions are carried out. Even the Executive Authority of the President is constitutionally shared with a body of advisers who are entitled to a knowledge of his secrets. Over and above all, the Supreme Court enjoys and exercises the right of pronouncing the President's acts invalid, null, and void. Then come the people and the press. Though the people can not constitutionally act upon the Government except through the ballot-box, yet still " popular pressure" is a power known to and feared by all governments; where it can not be

repressed by the arm of authority, it is almost irresistible. This pressure is mostly exercised through the press. The power of a free and an able press is such that wise men have doubted whether it were possible to carry on a long war in its presence. Wars—even the most glorious — make so many malcontents among those whose livelihood is taken away by the war, and discontent at home is so fatal to the administration of a Government engaged in a great war, that even English statesmen in our day have doubted whether the freedom of the press should be absolute in war as in peace—whether newspapers, working for private ends or in the interest of unpatriotic malcontents, should be suffered to weaken the hands of Government, during war-time, by malevolent opposition.

We are now testing these various inconveniences of the form of government under which we live. Our institutions are on their trial. We know that they work well in peace; we know that they do not prevent our carrying on a foreign war : it remains to be seen whether they are compatible with a great civil war.

Thus far, the nation has good ground for self-gratulation. We have a President who, like Jackson, has not feared to take the responsibility of acting as the emergency required. We have a Congress patriotic enough to ratify his acts, to give him men and money in abundance, to increase his power wherever increase was needed. And the people have thus far been nobly true to themselves. No one has heard a single faint-hearted cry : no one thinks of compromise; no one objects to pay fairly and squarely for the work that is to be done. The hundred days which have elapsed since the bombardment of Sumter have not in the least wearied or enfeebled the national sentiment aroused by that outrage.

Let us hope that it will be so to the end. Montesquieu tells us that the only difficulty with republican governments is that they require so much virtue in their citizens. That is just the point. If our people have enough virtue—that is to say, courage, perseverance, loyalty to themselves and to truth, fidelity to their principles, and honesty of purpose-they can carry on this war just as well as any despot could. If they have not, the war will end, some day, in the sacrifice of honor and nationality, and the United States will sink lower than Mexico.

We can not too often repeat that the first duty of the citizen at this juncture is to give to the President a generous, confiding, and cordial support. No man can doubt that Mr. Lincoln and General Scott are loyally and honestly striving to put down this rebellion. This task entitles them to the undivided support of every patriot, and ought to insure them against petty cavils and mean suspicions. Such journals as the New York Tribune, which selects this critical moment as the fit time to sneer unworthily at the military genius of Scott and the loyalty of Seward, ought to be banished from every honest man's house, as the most efficient, if not the hired instruments of the rebels.


OUR genial contemporary, the Tribune, has made two attempts to explain the Russell-Davis controversy to its readers. In the first it stated that we had "charged Mr. Russell with treachery to our cause," which of course was a sheer invention; in the second it says that we " accused Mr. Russell of a tacit refusal to sustain our artist in the pretext by which he sought to evade the retribution of Southern foes to Northern literature." We need hardly add that we have done nothing of the kind. We have accused Mr. Russell of nothing whatever. We stated that we were informed and believed that he knew Mr. Davis was our artist when they left Washington together—nothing more. Indeed for some time past we have seen nothing in any paper that was not complimentary to Mr. Russell, with the single exception of the following disgraceful paragraph from the editorial columns of the New York Tribune of July 21:

" * * * The social habits of the Times correspondent * * * have been matters of general discussion. Grant that the drinking and smoking a journalist does is stimulus to intellectual exercise," etc., etc.

But the Tribune is nothing if not scurrilous. MR. SAMUEL WARD states, in a communication to the Times, that the letter signed by him, which was published in Harper's Weekly of July 20, was "an extract from a private note addressed by him," etc. This is not true. The letter was published ENTIRE, and was not private, but a business communication, addressed by name to the Editor of Harper's Weekly, on the business of that journal. Neither Mr. SAMUEL WARD himself nor the other statements contained in his letter seem to require any notice at our hands.

 " GREAT EXPECTATIONS" is published by Peterson & Co., uniform with all the other various editions of Dickens's works published by them.

Price 50 cents in paper cover ; or in one volume 12mo, or one volume octavo, with all the original illustrations by McLellan, for $1.50.



IN an article of the Lounger's, called " Who are against us?" published in this column in the paper for July 20, "it was evident enough to all who were in the habit of reading the New York Tribune that the writer had that paper in mind."

Yet such an article could not be justly called an innuendo. If a man says frankly that the leader of our armies in this emergency is a traitor, he says as plainly as words can, to all who know General Scott to be the leader, that Scott is a traitor. So when the Lounger says that if a paper takes a certain course it helps the enemy, he says to every one who knows that the Tribune takes that course, that in his opinion the Tribune helps the enemy. It is perfectly plain speaking, which yet does not prejudice those who do not read the paper.

But while the Lounger wished to say in the most emphatic manner that a particular course was fatal to the country, he did not say nor imply that those who took it wished ill to the country ; for nothing is more evident than that the friends of a cause are often enough its most serious practical opponents. To defend unwisely may be as disastrous as to attack. "It would be a most unpardonable misapprehension of human virtue," says Niebuhr, "to cast a doubt upon the sincerity of Cato's intentions; and this sincerity is not impeached by the assertion which has often been made, and I think with great justice, that Cato with his philosophy did incalculable injury to the Commonwealth."

The Lounger certainly did not intend to asperse motives. Yet as some expressions he used, taken with the strong tone of the article, may perhaps fairly suggest that he doubted the honest patriotism of the conductors of the Tribune, he says here, in justice to himself, that he should as soon doubt his own. He believes that they wish to see the Government maintained without the least compromise; but he believes just as firmly that the course they have pursued leads straight to compromise, and consequent destruction of the Government; and that, therefore, it is a course which every citizen who can speak to the public mind should, however humbly and inadequately, withstand. For the hope of crushing this rebellion lies more in the unity of public opinion than in the army in the field. When that unity is destroyed, the army is defeated. And whoever pursues a course which tends to destroy that harmony does all he can, however upright his intention, to defeat that army.

Whether a particular course does or does not tend to destroy that harmony is, of course, the question.

The Lounger can not leave the subject without adding that this article is written solely upon his own impulse, and not by the expressed or implied desire of any body. For he fully believes that there may be the most radical difference of opinion, and the most ardent expression of that difference, without the imputation of bad motives; and that it is perfectly possible for the Tribune itself to dislike the course of Harper's Weekly, and to oppose it altogether, without speaking, as it does in its number for Sunday, July 14, of "the malice" of its proprietors; or of its " puppyism," and the "gross and malicious unfairness" upon the part of its proprietors, as it does in its editorial columns on Sunday, the 21st July.


IT is a curious fact, but it is a fact, that the reckless maundering and hysterical vituperation of the rebel newspapers in regard to the free and loyal citizens of this country are seriously believed by most intelligent Southern people, and even by those whose frequent residence and many friendships at the North should have saved from such delusion. But this secession is a moral epidemic. It destroys conscience, reason, and common sense.

Such persons really suppose that Mr. Lincoln is a drunken ape; that his life is a constant debauch, and that he is sunk in imbecility. At the same time they believe him to be a black hearted usurper—a miscreant pausing at nothing, and trying to wade through blood to a throne. He is represented as keeping gloomy state in his palace; fawned upon by myrmidons; a gross Tiberius; an effeminate Caligula. These newspapers depict him as that ludicrous book, the "Partisan Leader," describes Van Buren, and otherwise sensible people look upon the ridiculous chimera and believe it exists.

On the 5th of June General Beauregard issued a proclamation to the people of the northern counties of Virginia. He began :

"A reckless and unprincipled tyrant has invaded your soil. Abraham Lincoln, regardless of all moral, legal, and constitutional restraints, has thrown his abolition hosts among you, who are murdering and imprisoning your citizens, confiscating and destroying your property, and committing other acts of violence and outrage too shocking and revolting to humanity to be enumerated. All rules of civilized warfare are abandoned, and they proclaim by their acts, if not on their banners, that their war-cry is 'Beauty and booty.' All that is dear to man—your honor and that of your wives and daughters—your fortunes and your lives, are involved in this momentous contest."

Of course General Beauregard himself does not believe this ; but many people, otherwise quite as intelligent as he, do. They can be taught their error but in one way. Freedom, education, the church, and the school-house, they think, only make men sneaking cowards and tuppenny peddlers, who, in Judas's place, would have sold their Master for twenty-nine pieces of silver rather than not close the bargain.

Doctor Scott has opened a school to teach them that they are mistaken. Ushers Lvon and Siegel in the West, Usher McClellan beyond the Alleghanies, Ushers McDowell, Patterson, Banks, Butler, and Mansfield around Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac, are rapidly imparting instruction in this branch. Their pupils are going to learn that an intelligent freeman, taught by his conscience and admonished by the laws that every man is of equal rights among men, and that constitutional liberty is the only guarantee of peaceable and progressive civilization, is a man as terrible in a battle as in a bargain. They are to learn that because men prefer peace to war, and the security of universal liberty to the inevitable barbarism of slavery, they are neither fools, cowards, idiots, drunken apes, nor mud-sills.

This is the lesson of the day. Dr. Scott is ringing his bell. Let all the children come to school. The Doctor is of the old school; and those who do not learn the lesson will be thrashed until they do.


WHEN Catiline's confederate conspirators were to be sentenced by the Roman Senate, the Senators declared for the severest punishment until Caesar spoke—Julius Caesar, who was then planning the overthrow of the Republic. He suggested milder measures. Cato replied, and his reply is the only oration of his preserved to us.

Does Mr. Breckinridge, who lately aspired to be President of the United States, remember the account Plutarch gives of Cato's speech to Caesar? It is this:

" He attacked Caesar, and charged him with a secret design of subverting the government under the plausible appearance of mitigatory speeches and humane conduct; and of intimidating likewise the Senate, even in a case where he had to fear for his own person, and in which he might deem it an instance if great good fortune, if he himself could be exempted from the imputation and suspicion of guilt—He, who had openly and daringly attempted to rescue from justice the enemies of the state, and shown that, far from having any compassion for his country when on the brink of destruction, he could even pity and plead for the unnatural wretches who had meditated its ruin, and grieve that their punishment should prevent their design."

Do Messrs. Breckinridge, Vallandigham, Burnett, Bayard, Powell, Ben Wood, and Company think, as they read these words, that treason has changed much since the days of Catiline?

But when they hear Joseph Holt declare: " It is time that in their majesty the people of the United States should make known to the world that this Government, in its dignity and power, is something more than a moot court ; and that the citizen who makes war upon it is a traitor not only in theory but in fact, and should have meted out to him a traitor's doom"—when those gentlemen hear these words do they not know, as every generous heart in the land acknowledges with ardor, that heroic patriotism, also, has not changed much since the days of Cato ?


Two Kentuckians lately spoke, and the whole country closely listened. Mr. Breckinridge spoke in the Senate of the United States, Mr. Holt in Louisville. Mr. Holt, quite unknown to the country until within two years, by his masterly and impassioned oration takes his place among the most illustrious Americans; for the true patriots are those who are faithful to their country when fidelity is dangerous. Mr. Breckinridge, a man well known by name and position to the country, but conspicuous by good fortune rather than by proved ability, in his quibbling plea against the President's course betrays all the desire without the heroism of treason.

Mr. Breckinridge, when only prompt and firm action can save his country from ruin, calls the President who takes that action, who saves the country, and who at the same time summons the people in Congress to judge him, a usurper, who should be rebuked.

Mr. Holt paints in vivid colors the portraits of the conspirators who are striking at the heart of the country, and exclaims, in glowing words, to which that heart cries amen, "The President of the United States is heroically and patriotically struggling to baffle the machinations of these most wicked men. I have unbounded gratification in knowing that he has the courage to look traitors in the face; and that, in discharging the duties of his great office, he take no counsel of his fears. He is entitled to the zealous support of the whole country; and may I not add, without offense, that he will receive the support of all who justly appreciate the boundless blessings of our free institutions?"

Mr. Breckinridge, with puerile folly, asserts that it was never contemplated by the framers of the Constitution that the Government could be maintained by military force—as if any men in their senses could ever form any government of which the power of self-preservation should not be the cardinal condition ! Is education so little known among the people who favor this rebellion that their leaders may make the most absurdly untrue historical statements without contradiction? But while the Senator from Kentucky openly declares that it is unconstitutional to save the Constitution except in a prescribed way—utterly unconscious of what Senator Browning of Illinois so justly calls the right of self-defense inherent in States as in persons—Mr. Holt says to lingering, doubting Kentucky, with the ringing eloquence of truth, "There is not and there can not be any neutral ground for a loyal people between their own Government and those who, at the head of armies, are menacing its destruction."

Who can not hear the laurels of the fathers rustle as these words are uttered? This Kentuckian loves Kentucky well, but he loves the nation more by which Kentucky lives. He knows that a blow struck at the nation wounds every State; for the  (Next Page)



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