Fight at Southwest Pass


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, December 7, 1861

We have posted our collection of original Civil War Harper's Weekly newspapers online for your study and enjoyment. These newspapers allow you to gain a more in depth understanding of the war, and the attitudes of the day. We hope you enjoy browsing this collection, and find the content enlightening.


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


Fort Warren

Fort Warren

The Slavery Question

The Slavery Question


Bombardment of Pensacola

Southwest Pass

Battle of Southwest Pass

Southwest Pass

Fight at Southwest Pass

Santa Rosa

The Battle of Santa Rosa





Battle of Belmont

Mississippi River

Mississippi River Southwest Pass

Camp Nevin

Camp Nevin, Kentucky

Steamer Constitution

The Steamship "Constitution"

Review of the Army

Review of the Army









DECEMBER 7, 1861.]



shrouded to the topmost panes, and the sun, low-lying at that season, though it was now noontide, did not rise above the lintel, and shone in a stream of condensed brightness upon Daisy, as she stood just within the door, beside the easel where Godfrey was painting. The rest of the room was in comparative obscurity; but my eyes, educated to a rapid observation of effect in light and shade, discovered the glimmering forms of white plaster casts, and burnished bronze models, and draped lay-figures scattered about, with elaborated pictures, not of still, inanimate landscapes, but of vivid human life and interest. I saw them without looking, for my attention was riveted upon my brother. On his face, whose likeness I had so often painted that I knew every line, I was reading anxiously the record, the indelible, authentic register of these past years; the broad forehead furrowed with austere gloom ; the dark, deep-set eves fixed upon Daisy in a gaze of concentrated intensity that never wavered into softness ; the lips locked into morose reticence and disdain. He did not glance toward me, and for a minute or two we all stood motionless and speechless.

"You have been avenged," said Daisy, her eyes drooping before Godfrey's gaze ; and she spoke in a calm, passionateless tone of suffering, as if she was resuming an interrupted confession which had been often repeated and learned with much labor. " You have been avenged sorely. I did not know myself, nor did you know me, or you would never have laid upon me the trial of a long separation. If I was not assured every day of love, it died out of my consciousness, and I turned elsewhere. Even my father I used to think little of when he was not present. The long weeks and months, and the distance of many miles between us, blotted out the reality of our engagement. It was only what I saw that I could feel ; and when I never met your eyes looking on me, nor heard your voice calling me, nor felt your hand holding mine, I forgot you. And my cousin was there, always with me from morning till night, meeting me every where with some demonstration of his passionate love ; and my father urged me, and Emma was gone away as well as you, so that I had no one to help me to be true to you. I was true to my nature, Godfrey; if you had understood me, you would not have trusted me to myself; at your side, and leaning upon you, I could have been faithful, but not alone as I was left. I did love you as I could love, and you have been avenged. Since I was false to you, I have been made to look upon all misery with wide-open eyes that could not close to shut it out; and now that I am here before you, never having seen your face since that day when you left me to be away for two long years, and I could die for very sorrow at your feet, I meet neither love nor pardon, but irreconcilable hatred."

"No, no, not hatred, Daisy !" I exclaimed, advancing to her side, and encountering Godfrey's momentary glance.

" Yes, hatred !" she continued, looking up wistfully into his dark face ; "your heart does not move toward me for an instant. If you had loved me less you could not hate me now. I come to you from visions of murder and massacre, from burning homes, and files of dying men, and the sufferings of women perishing by hunger, and thirst, and awful terror ; from the cruel death of my husband and the unburied bodies of my children, seen, seen until the misery is burned into my memory, and I can not forget it even in my sleep. I come to you broken-hearted, with only a wretched remnant of life, in the hope of restoring you to yourself and to Emma, who has been constant to you with the fidelity of a true woman. Yet you are like a rock to me. I measure your first love by the implacable hatred which no one ever felt before for me ; and it torments me. Godfrey, pity me ; give me one morsel of consolation before I die!"

" Margaret Wilson," he said, " you have spoken truly of your nature. You are a woman—the creature of the moment—swayed by any passion. Just now you imagine you could die at my feet in a paroxysm of penitence and sorrow, but before you could descend into yonder valley you would be ready for another emotion as vehement and unreasoning. I can not tell for what you have followed use. If you can not bear to see any but fair scenes, why did you come up here to look upon the solitude of the life to which you doomed me ? What did you hope for ? What effect is this wild appeal to have upon me ? Your tribulation has no charm for me ; there is no balm to be extracted from the knowledge of your misery. I would not have had you crushed, poor fluttering creature, any more than I would exert my strength to crush a butterfly upon the moors. If this be all you came for, to expend the futile passion of an hour, you may return home. If it be aid you want, I have money for you, money that will satisfy you, for I am no longer a poor and unknown artist."

" Kill her at once, Godfrey," I cried, indignantly.

" Nay, Emma," he answered, " no words of mine can wound her, if she has passed alive through the troubles she speaks of ! What, shall a woman, a delicate, tender-hearted woman, come from the murder of her husband and the death of her children, to be killed at last by the reproaches of a discarded lover ? Why did you come to rob me of the peace I have gleaned painfully from these blighted harvests of hope and love ? Of women I have known only you two, and the models of the life-school ; I have had little reason to seek your society. Here at least, away from you, I can think of you as I would have you to be. These are my visions of womanhood and home."

He drew aside the curtain, and let the sunlight in upon his pictures, upon groups of happy children, with a mother whose face was Daisy's as it might have been, developing from her lovely girl-hood into a maturity of womanly and matronly beauty. Godfrey had ceased to look at her ; but I, comparing the sweet and joyous features with her face as life had painted it, saw the hollow lines, and grave, mournful eyes in a new light, and with a sudden apprehension.

But I saw in a recess of the attic, which was still in deep shadow from a curtain falling over it, some strange object half visible, that made me think of the case in which Godfrey had brought home that first painting of his, and I moved toward it. Then for an instant he placed himself before Daisy, so as to intercept her view, but he drew back again with a half-smile of contempt.

" A boyish whim," he said, " executed in the first madness of disappointment. I am thoroughly ashamed of it, yet I keep it for the portrait."

A coffin, in which was painted his own face as he had been eight years ago, only with closed eyes, and with the colorless and livid hues of death. I, his sister, felt a sudden chill and shivering, as though I had pressed my lips upon a marble forehead, and the cold contact had numbed my warm life-current ; while Daisy, coming swiftly to my side at my start of fear, bent down and read the inscription on the plate : " Godfrey Lincoln. Died August 28, 1850." It was the date of her own marriage ; and muttering the words to herself, she fell helplessly to the ground.

"Ah, Godfrey ! There is no efficacy now in that tide of tenderness sweeping back from the dull, low ebb of hatred. Gather her in your strong arms, and wrap her to your breast, but she shall be conscious of no shelter or refuge there. Pierce her ears with words of repentance and self-accusation, call aloud upon her by your own old fond name of Daisy ; there is no echo, no entrance to her tortured brain. It was given to you to bless her weary eyes with one more sight of forgiving love, and to sound one more note of harmony in her jarring life, and you would not. She is deaf and dumb and dead to you forever now !

So I thought, not daring to interfere with Godfrey's distracted efforts to recall Daisy to consciousness; but she was not to leave us thus, hunted by hatred as well as terror into the mysterious life hereafter. We carried her to the bedroom where our mother died, bidding Godfrey and me to cleave to one another, and she lingered there long enough to rest a little from the troubles of the world—dwelling in an ante-chamber of repose and consolation—to recover some strength, before she went hence, and was no more seen. Godfrey and I were with her, and her little child, whom we sent for to the mother's dying-place among the autumnal hills, and Godfrey received the orphan into his heart of hearts, for her sake promising to quit his retreat, and dwell near to me, where she, the little Daisy, could find brothers and sisters among my children.

I sat with the child upon my lap, looking out upon the moonlit hills, and the fir-coppice, bearing aloft the homes of its colony of sleeping birds, and the dimly-seen village, lying in the valley like a fledgeling in the shelter of a nest, and I was thinking sadly how we mothers never knew what path across the wide wilderness of life our little ones might have to tread. I did not care to turn my face toward the room, nor would I, by any word or movement, interrupt the communion, often silent for many minutes, which Godfrey and Daisy held together in low tones. Yet oh, how different to the love-like conversations of former days !

"You will be happy," said Daisy.

" I shall be happier," he answered.

We buried Daisy beside our mother, and Godfrey came home to live near me. But we keep up the old homestead ; the hedges are planted again on their ancient boundaries ; the garden is inclosed and cultivated; the front door is unfastened, and its threshold trodden by many footsteps, during every month of the summer time, when Godfrey and I come down, with our children, to study and paint among the hills. Sometimes, when I have tried to discover what thoughts are hidden under Godfrey's grave face—for he is, and always will be, reserved and reticent now—I fancy he is thinking what I do—that if Daisy had come back to us, and found him a happy man, surrounded by children, even though he was altogether separated from and independent of her, we might have healed her broken spirit, and won her to a placid and even life of peace upon this troubled earth.


WE devote page 772 to illustrations of the BATTLE OF BELMONT, which took place on 7th inst., the day of the bombardment of the rebel batteries at Hilton Head. The following account of the battle we condense from the Chicago Times:

On the night of 6th a strong force of Federals, comprising the Twenty-seventh, Thirtieth, Twenty-second, and Thirty-first Illinois, Seventh Iowa, Taylor's Battery, Delano's Cavalry, and other troops, left Cairo on the steamers Alex, Scott, Chancellor, Memphis, and Keystone State—the gun-boats Tyler and Lexington accompanying. The troops were landed on Lucas Bend, three miles above Columbus, formed in line of battle there, and marched upon the camp of the enemy. General McClernand was in command of the Cairo troops, Colonel Dougherty of those from Bird's Point, and General Grant of the entire force. For two and a half miles, up to the camp of the enemy, through the woods, the ground was hotly contested, but the enemy were driven back. Colonel Buford was assigned the right, Fouke the centre, and Logan the left. Colonel Buford's regiment carried the first United States flag into the rebel's camp. Colonel Dougherty's Twenty-second regiment captured the enemy's battery of twelve guns, but Fouke's regiment suffered most from their fire. The Twenty-second and Thirtieth Regiments were at right angles, leaving the Thirtieth nearly in front of the batteries, and the Twenty-second to one side of them. The Thirtieth then charged into an ambuscade, encountering desperate resistance. Being reinforced by Logan's Thirty-first, the enemy were routed with great loss, and sixty prisoners taken. The enemy's camp was fired and totally destroyed. The batteries on the Kentucky shore, finding our troops in possession of their Missouri camp, opened fire upon them. Lieutenant Hettman, with Company F of the Thirtieth, which had been sent by Colonel Fouke as scouters, here reported that the enemy were crossing from Kentucky, threatening our rear. The order was given to return to the boats, when our troops were confronted by several thousand men, who had been sent from Columbus. Another terrible engagement ensued. The major portion of our troops reached the boats, but every regiment suffered fearfully.

The large picture on page 772 represents Colonel Dougherty leading the Twenty-second Illinois Regiment into the rebel camp and capturing the rebel battery. One of the vignettes above represents

the gun-boat Tyler shelling a party of rebels who attempted to interfere with the embarkation of our troops after the battle. A few rounds of grape and shell very quickly dispersed them, and the fleet departed in safety. These two pictures are from sketches by our attentive correspondent, Mr. Bill D. Travis, of the Twenty-second Illinois Regiment.

The picture of the Mississippi River, showing the site of Columbus and Cairo, is from another source. It and the map accompanying will render the accounts of the fight perfectly intelligible. Belmont is a miserable little village, consisting of a very few houses.


ON page 773 we publish a couple of illustrations of the conflict between our blockading squadron and Commodore Hollins's rebel flotilla, which took place on 12th October ; and on page 774 three views of the SOUTHWEST PASS, where the fight took place. The former are from sketches by an officer on board the Richmond, who writes as follows :


OFF PASS A L'OUTRE, Miss., Oct. 23, 1861.

At 3.45 on the morning of the 12th the look-out discovered a small, low, dark object stealthily approaching our vessel, emitting a volume of black smoke, totally hiding from our vision her form. The drum beat to quarters, In a moment every one was at his station, guns transported to their respective ports. But before we could slip cable and prepare our ship to receive the blow the infernal machine gave us a powerful blow on our port bore, causing no to leak quite freely. Every eye was brought into requisition to get a glimpse of her ; but owing to the darkness we could form but a poor idea of her shape or size. Soon as she struck us a red rocket was sent up as a signal to her companions she had succeeded. She then passed along our quarter, sent up another, this time white. She then left us, only to return with three large flat-boats, converted into fire-ships, chained together, and monopolizing the whole channel. Immediately in the rear several steamers and a large bark, filled with either spectators or New Orleans pirates, followed. The scene was truly grand. Surrounded by a wall of fire, ship making water, expecting every moment to be blown into eternity, we were at a loss what to do. Our Captain concluded to retreat down the river. We signaled the other vessels to the same effect, ordering them to lead the van. They being sailing craft, needed us to cover their retreat. We finally reached the Gulf in safety, followed by the rebel fleet. Preble ahead, safely brought over the bar by her experienced pilot; Vincennes close at hand, but unfortunately grounded, presenting her stern to the enemy, thereby rendering her useless. We also grounded, but luckily in such a way that we could bring to bear our whole broadside. The rebel fleet still advanced. We made all preparations to give them a hearty reception. They opened the ball by a well-directed shot from the audacious little Ivy. We now got cleverly to work: shots flying thick and fast, all directed at our ship—they no doubt supposing we were in a sinking condition, and that the poor old Vincennes would fall an easy prey, she being within pistol-shot. I am ashamed to inform you that her commander abandoned her—a very unnecessary action, as the enemy never could have taken her as long as a plank of the gallant Richmond hung together. We finally drove them up the river, after expanding some sixteen hundred pounds of powder. Not a life was lost, although the rebels reported our loss to be some three or four hundred. The battle continued two hours and thirty minutes, Several of our shot took effect, but to what extent can't say.

The United States gun-boat McClellan came to our assistance the same afternoon, and by the undaunted perseverance and skill of her worthy Captain (Gray) we were once more afloat. We are sadly in need of suitable vessels. What we want are gun-boats of light draught, capable of crossing the bar, and able to manoeuvre in any part of the river.

Of the three views of the Southwest Pass, the first was taken off the bar looking up the Pass. The terminus of the delta is seen both to right and left of the Pass ; detached masses of the delta are seen in different places upon the surface of the water, held together by vegetation. Pilots say that, at times, large masses will rise from the bottom to the surface, when vegetation will instantly commence. In this view Pilot Town is seen in a northerly direction, six miles distant on the right. To the left is the Tower Light-house, near the extremity of the land.

The second view is a sketch of the West Bank of the Pass, taken nearly opposite the Light-house, overlooking the narrow strip of land which extends up the Pass for a distance of about forty miles. From two to three miles above the Light-house on the right is Pilot Town.

The third view was taken off the Town, and shows nearly every building in the place. Several attempts have been made to sketch this town ; our artist believes that the view we publish is the first which has proved successful. Pilot Town is an old and dilapidated place of a few hundred inhabitants, chiefly pilots and their families, fishermen, and oystermen. The Observatories which are seen in the sketch are used by the pilots in watching for vessels outside. In an easterly direction, twelve miles off, may be seen the Light-house at the extremity of the South or Middle Pass. The ship in the distance, to the right, lies off the South Pass.


WE publish on page 780 an illustration of the EMBARKATION OF THE TWENTY-SIXTH MASSACHUSETTS AND NINTH CONNECTICUT REGIMENTS ON BOARD THE STEAMER "CONSTITUTION," which is to sail shortly for a Southern point, to land an expedition to be commanded by General Butler. A correspondent of the Herald thus described the arrival of the Constitution at Boston :

The expected steamer Constitution arrived at half past ten this morning, and as she rounded up to the end of Long Wharf an immense concourse of people gazed in admiration at her perfect model and the beauty of her lines. She reached this port last night, but anchored off the lower light until morning.

She made the trip from New York in twenty-nine hours and ten minutes, and so thoroughly did she work that her engines were never stopped from the moment she started until she anchored at Boston. This, in a new ship, is almost unprecedented. She is the largest ship ever built on this continent, and the largest wooden steamer in the world; but she hardly rolled at all, although it blew a perfect gale during the whole of her passage.

It is stated that her capacities will be severely tested in carrying three thousand soldiers, but I am assured by Mr. Culver, who was the assistant superintendent in building her, that she can carry that number with ease and comfort. She is of 3500 tons burden.


ON page 775 we publish a view of CAMP NEVIN, Kentucky, from a sketch by Mr. H. Mosler. This is the camp where General McCook commands, and it is, we believe, the nearest camp to the rebel force at Bowling Green. The artillery shown in the foreground is Cotter's six gun battery, which served under McClellan in Western Virginia.


OUR special artist, with General Sherman's army, sends us three sketches, which we reproduce on page 773, and writes as follows concerning them :


OUR PICKET AT GENERAL DRAYTON'S MANSION. A few moments' walk through a corn and cotton field, and along a road bordered on one side by a sweet-potato patch, and on the other by a genuine jungle, tangled and impenetrable, leads us from our head-quarters to the mansion just vacated by General Drayton. The approach to the old homestead is by a long, straight, level avenue, well-shaded by stately live-oaks, and any thing but improved in appearance by a double series of negro huts. These are still occupied by a few knotty-looking contrabands. The General's whilom residence stands at the top of a gently sloping hill, and is thickly hemmed in by orange, cedar, pine, oak, and other trees, through whose clustering branches one now and then sees Port Royal.


The Hilton Head beach affords no natural advantages for unlading vessels, and the task thus far has been attended with great difficulties. The Serrell engineer regiment have constructed a temporary pier, where the surf-boats, yawls, launches, cutters, and scows, that ply to and from the different steamers, can come alongside without grounding. They have also built a store-house capable of containing nearly all the goods thus far brought here. In the sketch which we give elsewhere of this locality will also be observed the hospital of the new military depot-marked by its red flag. The shore presents a busy scene from daylight till sunset.


The new Port Royal Post-office is located in rear of General Sherman's head-quarters, and is tolerably water-proof in many places. Originally a cotton-house, belonging to Squire Pope, it has now become the resort of letters of all descriptions, and has attractions alike for the General of Brigade and the man-of-war's Jack-of-the-Dust. On the arrival of the fleet all mails were sorted on board the flag-ship; but the army and navy, it was found, belonged to so many sweet-hearts and wives that the Wabash was not roomy enough to contain their ever-coming letters without invading the heavy guns, so the bags were ordered ashore, and lodged in the building which our artist represents in the accompanying sketch.


ON 20th November General McClellan reviewed 70,000 men near Bailey's Cross Roads, and our attentive artist sketched the scene. We reproduce his picture on pages 776 and 777, and subjoin the following account of the Review, which we condense from the Herald :

In the upper and lower divisions, General M'Call's and General Heintzelman's, from which a march of some eight or ten miles had to be made, the troops were astir at from two to three o'clock in the morning, and were on the march long before daylight. All of the seven divisions on the Virginia side of the Potomac were represented in the review, but enough were left in each to supply double the usual picket force to guard the camps, and a reserve in addition strong enough to repel any attack in force the enemy could make.

As early as nine o'clock the head of the column of General Bienker's division, the head-quarters of which are nearest to Bailey's, began to arrive at the grounds from the Washington road. Soon after General M'Dowell's advance-guard appeared on the road, entering the grounds from the same direction, but further to the west. Next came the head of General Franklin's column, approaching from the Alexandria road; and soon after the division of General Smith began to enter the grounds from the direction of Fall's Church. General Fitz John Porter was next on the ground, bringing his forces by still another road. The troops now poured in from all directions, those under General Heintzelman following General Franklin's division, and the column of General McCall succeeding that of General Smith, and continued without cessation until half past eleven o'clock.

For the last hour the scene was enlivening and brilliant beyond description. The whole immense area of the review grounds was covered with moving masses of men. More than twenty generals, commanding divisions and brigades, with five times the number of staff officers, mounted upon high mottled and richly caparisoned horses, were dashing through the grounds in every direction, superintending the placing in position of the various divisions, brigades, and regiments. Brigades are marching toward every possible point of the compass—some slowly, some in double-quick time, some wheeling into line, others standing in position. Here comes a regiment of cavalry, moving toward its designated station, wheeling to the right at this point and to the left at that, to avoid coming in contact with the moving masses of infantry. There goes a column of artillery, a mile in length, pursuing its way to its destination through bodies of infantry and cavalry.

And so the movements go on, seemingly in confusion, and yet, under the admirable management of General McDowell, who directs every thing, in most perfect order, until there have arrived and taken the various positions assigned not less than seventy thousand men, including seven regiments of cavalry, numbering some eight thousand men, and twenty batteries of artillery, numbering a hundred and twenty pieces.

After the arrival of the President and Cabinet and Commander-in-Chief, preparation was made for marching the troops in review. The honor of leading the column was assigned to the First Rifle Regiment of Pennsylvania Reserve, familiarly known as the "Bucktail Regiment." This regiment was with General M'Clellan in Western Virginia, and was particularly admired for the steadiness and regularity of its movements, and the soldierlike bearing of the men. Some three hours were occupied by the troops in passing. The divisions passed in the following order:

First. General M'Call's division, composed of the brigades of Generals Meade, Reynolds, and Ord.

Second. General Heintzelman's division, composed of the brigades of Generals Sedgwick, Jamison, and Richardson.

Third. General Smith's division, composed of the brigades of Generals Hancock, Brooks, and Benham.

Fourth. General Franklin's division, composed of the brigades of Generals Slocum, Newton, and Kearney.

Fifth. The division of General Blenker, composed of the brigade of General Stahl, and of two brigades commanded by senior Colonels.

Sixth. The division of General Fitz John Porter, composed of the brigades of Generals Morell, Martindale, and Butterfield.

Seventh. The division of General M'Dowell, composed of the brigades of Generals King and Wadsworth, and a brigade now commanded by Colonel Frisbie.

The passage of this large army of volunteers elicited the strongest praise from the very formidable body of old army officers who sat in review. General Stunner, who now for the first time since his return from the Pacific witnessed an exhibition of the progress in drill of the volunteers, expressed much surprise that men coming from civil life should, in so short a period, have been able to compete in soldierly appearance with the veterans of the regular army.



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