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Civil War Harper's Weekly, August 24, 1861

This 1861 newspaper has a cover illustration of President Abraham Lincoln. In addition the paper discusses important slavery issues of the day. It has a nice picture and article of Berdan's sharpshooters, and a dramatic illustration of the Battle of Dug Spring.

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


Napoleon and Lincoln

Lincoln and Napoleon


Slavery and the Civil War

Bull Run Losses

Union Losses at Bull Run


Brooklyn Navy-Yard

Dug Springs

Battle of Dug Springs

Washington Chain Bridge

The Washington Chain Bridge

Colonel Berdan's Sharpshooters

Berdan's Sharpshooters

General Lee

Robert E. Lee

George McClellan

General McClellan and Staff

Dug Spring

The Battle of Dug Spring

Pirate Ship Battle

The St. Lawrence Pirate Battle

Soldier's Health

Soldier's Health

Cartoons and Advertisements

Cartoons and Advertisements




[AUGUST 24, 1861.


(Previous Page) Here every body agrees that she is quite beautiful. In the absence of his Imperial Highness the beautiful Princess Clotilde occupies her time in visiting the points and places of interest in and about the city. The Princess, being as good as she is beautiful, devoutly attends Mass at the Chapel in Twenty-eighth Street each morning—thus in some sort atoning for the rebellion of her father against the Holy Father.


GIVE us action—speech no longer;
Cheer no fellows to the fray ;

Words are well, but deeds are stronger—Out yourselves and lead the way.

Should each man but urge his neighbor:

Go ye forth and reap the plain"—Holding back himself from labor

Where would be the ripened grain ?

When goes up the roar of battle Stoutest voices are but weak:

Not of cause and duty prattle—Let your silent service speak.

Have you wives ?—do soft eyes, pleading, Hold you with their gentle spell?

Other hearts are torn and bleeding, Other men have homes as well.

Urge them not the smoking altar With such gifts as these to strew, If you feel your bosom falter

When the gods appeal to you.

Point not out a path to others Which your feet refuse to tread;

Follow with your earnest brothers, Though it lead among the dead.

Even now the forest arches

With the tramp of men are rife ; Join your brothers on their marches, Join them in the surging strife.

Whether drummer-boy or colonel

Matters not be duty done; Battling for a truth eternal,

All are equal—ranks are one.

Should you win a brave dismission

From your country's holy wars, Yours shall be a high commission,

Bearing date among the stars!

But bring deeds, not mouthings merely, Urging others to the fray ;

YYou that see the path so clearly, Yours the feet should lead the way !



THE national cause has made progress during the week. Kentucky has gone for the Union by a majority exceeding 60,000; and, this time, there is no doubt about the quality of the Unionism. John J. Crittenden and other Union leaders have plainly said that they are in favor of a vigorous prosecution of the war. This is a sort of Unionism that needs no explanation and leaves no loophole for treachery : it finds practical expression in the daily increasing volunteer force which is being assembled near Louisville. Kentucky, we think we may now say, is not only safe, but is sure to contribute a fair share of soldiers to the Union army. She could not afford to do less.

In Missouri, too, the cause is stronger than it was a week ago. General Lyon has defeated Ben McCulloch : General Pope is setting the northern counties in order ; and Major-General Fremont is working with such energy in the organization of the army of the Mississippi, that all danger of an attack upon Cairo is past, and the promised descent upon Western Tennessee can not be far distant. A camp of instruction for 30,000 men is being established near St. Louis, and another, with an equal force, at Springfield, Illinois. Money has gone forward to pay the Missouri volunteers.

No actual progress has been made in Virginia, but the enemy has not attempted to cross the Potomac. A week ago this was highly probable ; and even now, if Beauregard were the general he is painted, he would not suffer the Bull Run victory to remain fruitless. But General McClellan has taken such precautions that no attack on our intrenchments in the vicinity of Washington seems to be apprehended ; and between Georgetown and Harper's Ferry a strong force with heavy artillery, under General Banks and General McCall, guard every ford. It is understood that the rebels are fortifying Matthias Point, with a view to close the navigation of the Lower Potomac: this will probably necessitate an attack on the place, and the capture of the works of the insurgents. Nothing is allowed to transpire with regard to our force at Washington ; it is probably not less than 75,000 men, all of whom, under the McClellan regime, are daily improving in discipline and military condition. No attack has been made upon Fortress

Monroe or Newport News ; but Colonel Magruder has burned the Virginian town of Hampton, and rendered hundreds of Virginian families houseless.

The Maryland Legislature has adjourned without passing an ordinance of secession, or making any approach thereto. Senator Breckinridge attempted last week to rouse the secessionists of Baltimore to acts of violence by an inflammatory speech; but the Union men of the city hooted him down. We presume that contempt for his fallen condition alone prevented Major-General Dix from arresting this Breckinridge for attempting to provoke a treasonable breach of the peace.

Recruiting progresses steadily. The Western States are pouring out men, a large proportion of the three months' volunteers—among others, Colonel Wallace's Eleventh Indiana Regiment —having taken the oath for the war. In New York city—though the bulk of the three months' volunteers are still holding back, principally because every one wants to be an officer—some 17,000 of the 25,000 men called for by the Governor are already enrolled. New York will undoubtedly have 60,000 men in the field by the fall, and other Northern States will do as well.


THE London Times and other European papers assure us that we would have the hearty sympathy of Europe if we proclaimed emancipation to the slaves. The Toronto Globe and other Canadian journals, in like manner, are severe upon the Government for not making an end of slavery at once.

It is a good deal easier to talk about emancipation than to effect it. In the first place, neither Congress nor the Administration has any more power to free the slaves in Virginia than to confiscate cattle in New England. The control of the institution of slavery is by the Constitution reserved to the States in which it exists, and so late as last March Congress almost unanimously declared that it had no authority to interfere with it in any State.

In the second place, four of the fifteen slave States — Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri—must be classed as loyal. The contest, therefore, though primarily growing out of the institution of slavery, is not a struggle between free States and slave States, or between abolition and slavery. For the sake of Kentucky and Missouri, it would be impolitic, if it were Constitutional, for the Government to convert the war into a war of emancipation.

Again, the theory of the Government—which rests upon substantial evidence—is that the rebellion is the work of a part only of the Southern people, and that many of them—if not an absolute majority—are loyal in their hearts, and are now silenced by the armed despotism of Jeff Davis. There is good reason to believe that this theory is sound with regard to every State except perhaps South Carolina. Now a decree of emancipation—even if it were Constitutional and otherwise politic—would fall with equal severity upon loyal and disloyal citizens in the insurgent region, and would effectually prevent the former from rising to aid the Government in overthrowing the rebel despotism, as they have done in Western Virginia and Missouri, and as it is confidently anticipated they will do in due time in every Southern State.

Finally, as has been well observed by leading statesmen, the hour of battle is not the time for the emancipation of four millions of slaves. The abolition of negro slavery in the Southern States will be a work of such magnitude and such difficulty, that to accomplish it safely will task the skill and energy of the dominant race to the utmost. It were undoubtedly better that slavery should be maintained forever than that it should disappear amidst the horrors of servile wars and wholesale massacres. It is not desirable, in any point of view, that the relation of master and slave should end before some stringent provision has been made for the prevention of vagrancy among the emancipated laborers, and for the protection of the late owners. And though the present rebellion has not strengthened the regard of loyal men for the rebels, still the claim of the latter to indemnity, in the event of emancipation, can not honorably be overlooked. These are considerations which can not be weighed amidst the clash of arms, and hence Congress postponed the whole subject for the present. We can not but think that it did well.

That negro slavery will come out of this war unscathed is impossible. The mere escape of slaves will weaken the institution irrecoverably in the States where the war is waged : for Government must obviously act upon the principles of General Butler's letter. Nor will it ever be forgotten that slavery was the root of the rebellion. It may be taken for granted that the national territories are forever sealed against the institution ; and it needs but little foresight to perceive that, within a year, emancipation will be in progress in Maryland and the District of Columbia. Whether our Generals will use their right of emancipating slaves under proclamations of martial law ; to what extent the confiscating Act of Congress may be applied to slaves ; and what other accidents may befall

the institution in the course of the war—no one, of course, can guess. But we think that, on reflection, people in England and in Canada will perceive that neither Mr. Lincoln nor Congress could, at this stage in the affair, have pursued the course they recommend.


AN INSIDE VIEW OF ENGLISH FEELING. THE private letter from which the following extracts are taken, is from an English writer well and widely known in this country. They are peculiarly interesting as a statement of English popular feeling, and also of the great ignorance of the intelligent English in regard to this country and its system of government. The writer lives in Manchester, and the letter is dated July 24:

" * * * I think our feeling, as far as I can judge of it, in England has been one of extreme bewilderment. At first every one here was surprised at the secession being taken so quietly. I was in London in March, and saw a good deal of the old set of politicians who haunt Lansdowne House, people of the old statesman-like habits of thinking ; not the highest, perhaps, but what people here call the ' old Whig party,' and as such favorable to America. They were utterly puzzled by the calmness with which you Americans then appeared to take the secession or rebellion. Mr. Fright, as you know, held your peaceable endurance of one State after another declaring their secession up in the House of Commons as a model to our imitation, and as a proof of the admirableness of your Constitution. Then came the news of the attack on and capture of Fort Sumter without any one being killed; so the whole affair, instead of appearing to us as it did to you, a serious attack on your national flag, appeared to be a piece of bluster on the part of the Southern States, hardly as a serious affair ; so that we were literally bewildered by the effect it produced in America—an effect which no one would have wondered at if it had occurred three months before, at the first secession of South Carolina.

"Just at this time, or very soon after it, many stanch anti-slavery people in England were sadly daunted in their sympathies by an account * * * of the way in which fugitive slaves were being sent back by the Northern free States to their masters, if those masters lived in the slave States that had not seceded. This, which has since been confirmed * * *, has, to a certain degree in England, taken off the character of the war being an anti-slavery war. But at the same time I never heard one word, I, living in the centre of a cotton-consuming population, in favor of the South. They were always spoken of as shameless, villainous traitors, even by those who, not exactly understanding your Constitution, did not consider them as rebels, imagining that they had a right to secede, but. that their treacherous, abominable deceit, in preparing so long and with such deeply infamous plotting to recede, deserved all possible reprobation by honest men. At the same time, it was not seen what beyond punishing the South could be gained by the North in, war. If the South chose to rebel, it seemed as though it were like an honest, upright firm getting rid of an utterly unprincipled partner, and that they would even sacrifice some property in order to get rid of one who could only bring them discredit and do them injury by associating with them.

" Still, as I say, these opinions were the most unfavorable to the North and to the war I ever heard in Manchester, the very centre of the cotton trade : and many were most warmly in favor of the North taking up arms to punish the rebels, and heartily wished it success. And there was no talk of any thing but hoping but that any English vessel trying to break the blockade would be thoroughly punished by you. I confess people spoke as if they did not see the end of it ; how, if you conquered the South, you were to hold the rebel States in unwilling union with the North, except by holding possession of them by a standing army. * * * For the reasons above it was not regarded as an anti-slavery movement exclusively or intentionally, although it was thought that slavery would receive a great blow.

"In all this feeling and state of opinion there might be great and unjustifiable ignorance of the real state of affairs shown by the English ; but, excepting from Mr. Motley's letters in the Times, it seemed almost impossible to learn any thing of the real original Constitution of the Union, whether it allowed the right of secession or not—why the North had taken all (that was enraging us) so passively at the time-and why, at last, when our indignation at the treachery of the South had faded away, the North suddenly boiled over. As I said in the beginning, our state of opinion was simply bewilderment : our state of feeling respectful sympathy with the North, till Mr. Clay's speech: and even now America is our deepest interest.

&" * * * What did you want us to do? * * * We are like some one seeing a quarrel between two parties, the cause of which he is not fully up to, but which he is trying to understand, while all his sympathies are with one party who has, he thinks, been deceived and ill-used, and suddenly this party turns round and attacks him, stupid, perhaps, but well-meaning fellow. I can hardly tell you how surprised every body was by Mr. Clay's speech. From the people holding the most old-fashioned Tory opinions I only heard regret at the secession indignation with the South. That was in March, but people had been made very angry indeed at Mr. Clay's threats; and this feeling is only just dying away, and they are again returning to their old feeling of deep interest and sympathy. Read Mr. Ludlow's paper in Macmillan for June—that expresses as fully as any thing I know what I hear; and I certainly mix very widely and largely with thinking people on all sides. Russell's letters to the Times are looked upon as merely panoramic writing."


WHEN men are in arms against each other, they must either try by fighting which party shall have its way, or, without fighting, one party must agree that the other shall prevail. In other words, with or without fighting, one party must surrender.

That is precisely the case in this country. The rebels are in arms to overthrow the Government. The Government is armed to defend itself. Suppose the Government asks the rebels on what terms they will lay down their arms. Suppose the rebels say upon condition that every State may go out of the Union whenever it wishes. Suppose the Government replies, "Very well; have it so." Then what ? Then the Constitution is abrogated, and the Government destroyed. It is a simple surrender without fighting. But suppose the Government laughs, and says, " What you demand is the recognition of the right of any political party lawfully defeated at an election to take up arms and overthrow the Government. It is a simply silly proposition." Why, then there wouldn't be any surrender, but the difference would be settled by fighting, and if the Government prevailed it would ever afterward be a thousand times as strong.

In view of these very evident facts, the General Democratic Committee have made a blunder. At this moment there are and can be but two parties in this country. One of them holds to maintaining the Government at every cost, and without parley with rebels until they lay down their arms ; and, when that is done, proceeding in good faith to the constitutional remedy of every grievance that shall be shown to exist. The other party holds to a forcible resistance to the Government as a redress of asserted wrongs, and to a palliation and justification of that resistance.

There can be but those two parties. When the Government itself is in danger party names, which describe political policies under the Government, have no meaning. Every man in the Northern States is in favor of an energetic, comprehensive, overwhelming force to subdue rebellion ; or he favors a hesitating, doubtful management, which only makes the rebellion successful.

When, therefore, the Democratic Committee say that " the war can only be safely prosecuted by a more rigorous command," etc., and then add, in the same paragraph, that it is "the duty of the Federal Government to hold out terms of peace and accommodation to the dissevered States, assuring them of all their rights under the Constitution," etc., they merely aid and comfort the rebellion by implying that there can be, or ought to be, any other terms held out than implicit obedience to the laws of the land, and by the farther implication that some of the rights of some citizens of the United States under the Constitution are in danger.

They have made the old blunder of trying to blow hot and cold in the same breath. The late party lines in this country are obliterated. A struggle so vital and radical as this, necessarily disposes of the party issues which indirectly occasion it, and the Republican Convention which meets on the 14th of September, if it is wise, will simply propose an unfaltering faith in the Constitution and its adequacy for every emergency, and a determination to maintain it at every cost and in perfect reliance upon the fidelity of the people to the Government whatever their previous political bias ; and as an earnest of this faith it will nominate a ticket composed of men who have belonged to different parties hitherto, but who are devoted with an equal ardor to the unconditional preservation of the Constitution and Government of the United States-and that ticket will be elected by such a majority as the Empire State has never known.


JOHN BROWN was hung for treason in forcibly resisting the laws and officers of the United States. The affair was made the subject of inquiry by the Senate in the winter of 1859-'60, when the present colossal treason was plotting by Senators and members of the Cabinet. The worthy Floyd was sending the national arms into the disaffected section, to be used against the United States. Toucey was sending the national ships to the other side of the globe. Cobb was depleting the Treasury and destroying public confidence. Thompson was using all the power of the Government at his official command to sap the foundations of the Government. In the Senate " that very remarkable traitor," as his brother-in-law calls him, James M. Mason, known solely as the author of the Fugitive Slave Bill and as a Senator false to his oath, and Jefferson Davis and the other men known in our history as Catiline and Cethegus are in that of Rome, were waiting the favorable moment to strike at the heart of the nation.

In such a Senate, under such a Cabinet, a Committee of five was appointed to inquire into the facts of the Harper's Ferry raid. Who composed that Committee? There were two members taken from the then opposition, and the three others, the majority, were James M. Mason, Chairman; Jefferson Davis, and G. N. Fitch of Indiana. Can there be a more ridiculous farce conceived than the spectacle of these men inquiring with horror into the details of the hopeless plan of a mistaken but honest old man, and endeavoring to fasten the odium of direct or indirect complicity upon their fellow Senators ? Is there a man now so dull that he does not see how, under the guise of patriotic indignation against a traitor, they were more sedulously elaborating their own stupendous treason, using all the excitement of the time to persuade the men of their section that John Brown had only started a little too soon, and had so betrayed the intention of the whole North ?

Yes, there is one thing more ridiculous, and that is the remark of the worthy Floyd when he was summoned to give his testimony. Imagine John B. Floyd a year ago last winter appearing as a witness in a case of treason before Jefferson Davis and James M. Mason, and gravely saying : "I was satisfied in my own mind that a scheme of such wickedness (Next Page)



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