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Civil War Harper's Weekly, December 21, 1861

You are viewing a page from the original December 21, 1861 Harper's Weekly newspapers. We have posted our entire Harper's Weekly collection online for your study and research. These old documents allow you to gain unique insight into the critical aspects of this important period of American History.


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


Beaufort Slaves

Beaufort Contrabands

Cost of the Civil War

Fugitive Slaves

Fugitive Slave Issue

New York Mayor Opdyke

New York Mayor Opdyke

Ericsson Battery

Ericsson Steel Battery

Tennessee Map

Tennessee Map


Rankin's Lancer Regiment

Civil War Ads

Civil War Ads

Slavery Cartoon

Slavery Cartoon

Battle of Hunter's Mill

Battle of Hunter's Mill

San Juan Vera Cruz

Castle San Juan D'ulloa

US Man of War

Man of War

Homer's Bivouac Fire on the Potomac

Homer's Bivouac Fire



DECEMBER 21, 1861.]



(Previous Page) As for the feeling of all loyal men toward all of any race or of any party who have taken up arms for their country, let Mr. Colfax's resolution that Slidell shall have the same treatment as Colonel Corcoran answer.

And as for Mr. Fernando Wood, who makes these charges, let the fact that he sought to play into the hands of the conspirators who have thrust Corcoran into a felon's cell answer.

Let every man stand in the daylight. Mr. Wood solicited, and will again solicit, the Irish vote. Is he then so especially endeared to Irishmen because when Corcoran refused to parade in honor of the Prince of Wales Mr. Wood was especially obsequious to him ? Or does he rest his claim upon the fact that he is the fast friend of Mason and Slidell who were going to invite the aid of English bullets against our soldiers, of whom so many are Irish?

Mr. Wood has the right to choose his own course ; and every body has the right to expose him. He is defeated, but he will unquestionably reappear as a candidate for some office. He will make his usual appeal to the worst passions, to the basest prejudices. Let it then be remembered that in the dark hour of national peril he sought to divide loyal men for the benefit of the enemy and for the defeat and disgrace of the very men whose especial support he demands.

It is not the least of the victories of the time that one demagogue is thoroughly exposed.


MR. THORNTON HUNT, an Englishman, son of Leigh Hunt, came to see us last spring. He was unknown, but his father was famous and beloved among us, and for his sake the son was kindly received. One day he was dining at a table with a well-known American author, and Mr. Hunt indulged in the customary flippant platitudes of John Bull when he discourses of a foreign country to its natives. After a series of remarks which showed that a man so ill-informed was totally unjustified in holding any opinion upon the subjects discussed, he remarked :

" And can you tell me why it is that all the gentlemen in this country are at the South ? Really it is very extraordinary; and I wish you had not kicked up all this row, so that I can not get down among them."

" Well," slowly replied the American, "I suppose the reason must be akin to that which makes all the English gentlemen stay at home in England. We hear that there are gentlemen in England, but they never come to this country."

John Bull is a pachydermatous animal, and it is still a question whether he felt the arrow.


THE nerves which survived the shock of the word Prestidigitation will doubtless preserve their equanimity under the new verbal infliction of Zampillaerostation. We have vet found no capable interpreter of the term. The Dictionary gives it up. But the dead walls of the city continue to shout it in the largest and most lurid type, and we are confidentially told that there is but one way of ascertaining what it means. It is not by persuading Dr. Johnson's ghost to rap, but by seeing the Brothers Hanlon walk upon the ropes in the sky, and hang, and leap, and dart in the dizzy empyrean.


MR. TRUMBULL'S speech in the Senate upon moving a bill confiscating the property and giving freedom to the slaves of rebels is worthy the closest attention. Mr. Trumbull has been loosely called an "extreme" man ; but the extremity of his speech, in that sense, it is not easy to find. The substance of his argument is this:

The Constitution furnishes all the power necessary to suppress this rebellion. Under that instrument the military power is as much subject to the control of the civil power in war as in peace. The powers under our Government are three, and the military is not one of them, but is made subject to one of them, the legislative; and when called into being by Congress, it is by the Constitution subjected to such rules as Congress may determine. When therefore an army, raised by Congress under authority of the Constitution, marches to suppress insurrection, and shoots and desolates, it is as subordinate to the civil power as it is upon a holiday parade. In the absence of any express regulation how the army is to be used, its commander could use it in the way he deemed most serviceable to the state, on the principle that every man intrusted with a duty is presumed to be invested with the power necessary to do it. When the army is thus acting the judicial tribunals have no right to interfere, because the ground of invoking the military authority is that the judicial, being overborne, is incompetent to the task ; and the executive is to declare when the military arm is to be invoked. Part of the rebellious domain may, for reasons, be left under judicial control ; and in such the forfeiture of property shall be subjected to the judicial power: in the other part, to the military.

The right of seizure and confiscation of enemy's property is affirmed by the Supreme Court, and its exercise is to be authorized by legislative act. The right to free slaves is equally clear with that of confiscation ; for it is as property that the rebels hold them : and as one of the most efficient means of obtaining the end for which the army is summoned, the right is doubly clear.

The policy of this act is plain. If we would successfully end the war, it must be made as terrible to the enemies as to the friends of the Republic. At present, the loyal citizen in the rebellious States, if he swears allegiance to the Government, forfeits all he has ; if he forswears it, his property is protected both by friend and foe. Under such a policy the path of safety for property is to put it on the road to treason.

This is the general argument of a most compact and admirable speech. The case of the slaveholding rebels is rapidly closing If their slaves are property, of course they may be confiscated. If they are persons, of course they may be called to aid the Government in suppressing the rebellion-always supposing that we do not mean to hold up the enemy with one hand and knock him over with the other.




SUN sets to MOON, balances, and retire. Morning Star, bright—one penny.

FLOWER GARDEN —Sow shirt button, on garden front; the prospect is fanciful, and cheering to the eye in this dull season. To protect delicate roots from frost. —Extract them gently from the soil if they won't come out at first, yon can entice them with a low melodious whistle like the humming of a bee). Manipulate with genuine hot water (if not marked with the signature of the firm it is spurious), rub till dry, hands across, cannon off the red, and return the lead.

KITCHEN GARDEN.—On Monday, dig up cabbages and plant artichokes; on Tuesday, dig up artichokes and plant cabbages; and so on through the week. Cut out kidneys from kidney-beans ; they make an excellent relish for breakfast, or your butcher will give you a high price for the delicacy,

HOUSE ON FIRE.—When your house is on fire, lie in bed and calmly reflect for half an hour what is best to be done. Having arranged your plans, prepare to put them into execution. If impracticable, calmly reflect again. Should you be unable to arrive at any decision, or should you drop off to sleep, the safest remedy in either case is to tie a silk handkerchief over your eyes and fasten yourself to the bed-post, then throw yourself out of window; the post will break your fall. Do not scream, or you may wake the neighbors—a selfish act on your part. If you follow out these directions closely, any thing further will be unnecessary.

PROVERB FOR THE MONTH.-" A cheerful look make a dish a feast." Application :—Ask twelve visiting acquaintances to dinner; they arrive; kitchen fire smokes, servants in rebellion, soup in the sink, joint in the cinders; assemble your guests round the mahogany, light your chandeliers, place your best china dish in the centre of the table, and look as cheerful as possible under the circumstances ; your friends' mouths will be filled with it for the next six years.


NOVEMBER 8. —The Mary Ann, of Belgravia, was severely spoken to this morning, having been in collision with the X . Y., of Brompton, with considerable damage to her bows. She had a cargo of eggs and butter.

The Eliza Jane, bound from Pimlico to Pillar Post, with post-office instructions, went out of her course, and ran upon the green bank by the ornamental water, St. James's Park. Got off with loss of temper.

The Harriet, of Hammersmith, having the Perambulator in tow, went upon the Suspension Bridge, and striking against a cake and apple stall, filled rapidly. The Tommy and Sally, of Battersea, grounded at the same spot, and were obliged to have a tug before they could be got off. Squally, with wet.

Arrived.—The Dowager Countess, screw, from the Continent. Hands put on short allowance all the way. Departed.—The Lady Flora de Montmorency for St. George's, where she will change owners.


I give thee this fire-proof dress, my love. Wearing all that attire,

It give, me the greatest distress, my love,
To see thee go near the fire.

Shouldst thou tread upon a match, and were thy drapery to catch,

Thou'dst be burned alive;

And the loss of such a wife, whom I love better than my life,

I could ne'er survive.

That muslin expanse is untrustable

Any where near a light;

But this one is incombustible,

So that it won't ignite.

And thy Crinoline may swell beyond the biggest Minster-bell;

Yet secure thou'lt be,

In a dress that can't inflame, front a death that I may name,

Premature Suttee.   JONES.


"Sarah, my dear, I know of a chimney (though stopping at present in a lodging-house, it is one of very high ascent) that is so extremely well brought up that, though it has been an inveterate, and, we may say, an incurable smoker all its life, yet no sooner does it see a lady enter the room than it says, in a voice as sweet as a tea-kettle's, 'I hope my smoke isn't disagreeable to you, Ma'rm?' And if the lady says 'as how it is,' and begins coughing to prove it so—then the chimney, without waiting to be blown up, or hauled over the coals, or put out, as all smokers in the presence of ladies certainly deserve being done unto, does not give another blessed puff, but goes out instantly of its own accord! There, you wouldn't believe it, but I tell you it's a fact."

Observation (made by Sarah, an elderly Lady). "Yes, my dear, and there's many a young gentleman of the present day who might follow the example of that excellent chimney with the very best advantage!"

[Left speaking.]



ON Tuesday, 3d, in the Senate, a resolution tendering the thanks of Congress to Commodore Dupont, and the officers, seamen, and marines serving under him, for the "decisive and splendid victory achieved at Port Royal," was offered, but laid aside until the formation of the standing committees. The Vice-President was authorized to fill the vacancies in the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution, occasioned by the death of Senator Douglas and the expulsion of Senator Mason, of Virginia.-In the House, Mr. Maynard, of Tennessee, presented the credentials of Mr. Clemens, representative-elect from the Fourth district of that State. The case was referred to the Committee on Elections. Mr. Dunn, of Indiana, offered a resolution expelling Henry C. Burnett, of Kentucky. Mr. Wickliffe, of Kentucky, made a speech on the question, in which he recapitulated the acts of the rebel, to force Kentucky out of the Union, and concluded with the prediction that before the 20th of December not a hostile foot of a rebel will be found treading the soil of Kentucky. The resolution expelling Mr. Burnett was adopted, and the payment of whatever salary may be due him was ordered.

On Wednesday, 4th, in the Senate, a resolution expelling John C. Breckinridge, of Kentucky, now an officer in the rebel army, was adopted by a vote of yeas 36, nays none. Senator Hale submitted a resolution directing the Judiciary Committee to inquire into the expediency of abolishing the present Supreme Court, and organizing another Supreme Court, which will meet the requirements of the Constitution. Senator Wilson introduced a resolution providing for the release of slaves confined in prison in Washington. Referred to the Committee on District of Columbia Affairs. On motion of Senator Wilson the same Committee were directed to consider the question of abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia, allowing compensation to loyal owners of slaves. Senator Saulsbury proposed the appointment

of a commission to confer with a like number of commissioners from the so-called Confederate States, with a view to the restoration of peace. Laid on the table.—In the House, Mr. Gurley gave notice of a bill to confiscate and declare free the slaves of rebels, also providing for their apprenticeship to loyal masters, and subsequent colonization. Mr. Dean, of Indiana, introduced a resolution instructing the Committee on Foreign Affairs to inquire as to the practicability and expediency of acquiring, in a "congenial clime" on any part of this continent, or on the adjacent islands south of the United States, a right to colonize and protect free negroes who may emigrate thereto. Adopted. Mr. Hutchins, of Ohio, asked leave to introduce a bill to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia, but objection was made by Mr. Cox, of Ohio. A resolution requesting the President to adopt measures for an exchange of prisoners of war was referred to the Judiciary Committee. Mr. Holman, of Indiana, introduced a preamble and resolution„ reaffirming the Crittenden declaration as to the cause and object of the war, which, on motion of Mr. Stevens, of Pennsylvania, were laid on the table by a vote of 71 against 65. A bill was introduced providing for the restoration of Alexandria County, Virginia, to the District of Columbia.

On Thursday, 5th, in the Senate, Senator Rice, of Minnesota, asked and obtained leave to record his vote in favor of the expulsion of the traitor Breckinridge. Senator Trumbull, of Illinois, introduced his bill for confiscating the property and giving freedom to the slaves of rebels. In a long speech in support of the measure, Senator Trumbull recapitulated the main points of the bill. The bill was ordered to be printed and referred to the Judiciary Committee. Senator Clark, of New Hampshire, gave notice of an amendment to the Fugitive Slave law. The Senate then went into executive session.   

In the House, the standing committees were announced by the Speaker. Mr. Gurley, of Ohio, offered a resolution, which was adopted, directing the Judiciary Committee to inquire as to whether a censorship over the telegraphic dispatches of the press had been established. Mr. Blair's project of colonizing negroes in Central America was adopted in Committee of the Whole, then rejected by the House, but subsequently referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs. Mr. Lovejoy introduced a bill repealing all laws requiring passes of negroes going Northward to take effect immediately. It was referred to the Committee on the District of Columbia. Both Houses adjourned till Monday.

On Monday, December 10, in the Senate, several petitions were presented, calling for legislation upon the subject of the emancipation of the slaves of rebels, all of which were referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. Senator Clark offered a resolution requesting the Marshal of the District to inform the Senate by what authority refractory slaves belonging in the District were imprisoned, which was agreed to. Senator Hale's resolution for abolishing the present Supreme Court and establishing another was taken up and discussed by Senators Foster and Browning. A resolution inquiring into the causes of the disasters to our army at Bull Run and Ball's Bluff was offered by Senator Chandler, which took a wide range, Senator Sherman stating that the inquiry should not be confined to the disasters, but the whole conduct of the war should be inquired into. The resolution was passed. — In the House of Representatives a preamble and resolution were adopted requesting the President to inaugurate a system for the exchange of prisoners with the rebels. Mr. Lovejoy, of Illinois, introduced a resolution requesting the Secretary of War to revoke so much of the recent orders of General Halleck as prohibited fugitive slaves from taking refuge within the lines, of our various encampments in Missouri. The Committee on Foreign Relations were instructed to inquire into the expediency of furnishing relief to the famine-stricken people of Ireland. Two or three bills in relation to the liberation of slaves were introduced. The Ways and Means Committee were instructed to devise some plan for the better equalization of the operations of the tariff and direct tax. Various other matters, of more or less interest, received attention at the hands of the House. Secretary Chase's report was received and referred.


The Report of the Secretary of War gives a history of the operations of the army during the year, and presents the following estimate of the strength of the army, both volunteers and regulars :


States.           Three          For the      Aggre-

                    Months.          war.          gate.

California        —               4,688        4,688

Connecticut    2,236         12,400      14,636

Delaware ..........775            2,000        2,775

Illinois ............4,941         80,000      84,941

Indiana ...........4,686         57,332      62,018

Iowa ..................968         19,800      20,768

Kentucky ................          15,000     15,000

Maine ................768          14,239    15,007

Maryland............—              7,000      7,000

Massachusetts...3,435        26,760    30,195

Michigan ..............781        28,550    29,331

Minnesota ...........—            4,160      4,160

Missouri ...........9,356        22,130     31,486

New Hampshire .779          9,600     10,379

New Jersey .......3,068           9,342     12,410

New York ......10,188      100,200    110,388

Ohio ...............10,236        81,205      91,441

Pennsylvania ..19,199         94,760   113,959

Rhode Island  ..1,285           5,898       7,183

Vermont .............780           8,000       8,780

Virginia ...............779          12,000     12,779

Wisconsin ..........792           14,153     14,945

Kansas ...............—               5,000       5,000

Colorado ............—               1,000      1,000

Nebraska ............—                2,500     2,500

Nevada ...............—                1,000     1,000

New Mexico .......—                1,000     1,000

District of Columbia..2,823   1,000     3,823

Total ....................77,875   640,637  718,512

To the number of volunteers for the war, 640,637, add the estimated strength of the regular army, including the new enlistments, under the Act of July 29, 1861, which is 20,334, and our entire military force now its the field will be 660,971 ; the several arms of the service being distributed as fellows :

Volunteers. Regulars. Aggregate

Infantry 557,208   11,175   568,383

Cavalry    54,654     4,744      59,398

Artillery    20,380   4,308      24,688

Rifles and Sharp-shooters   8,395   —   8,395

Engineers ......................... — 107 107

Total   640,637   20,334   660,971
—For the ensuing year appropriations are asked for 500,000 men.


The Report of the Secretary of the Navy furnishes a comprehensive statement of the condition of this branch of the service, and of its operations since last July. When the vessels now building and purchased of every class are armed, equipped, and ready for service, the strength of the navy will be :


Number of Vessels.   Guns.   Tonnage.

6 Ships-of-line               504        16,094

7 Frigates                        350       12,104

17 Sloops                       342        16,031

2 Brigs                             12              539

3 Store-ships                    7               342

6 Receiving-ships, etc    106           6,340

6 Screw frigates              222         21,460

6 First-class screw sloops    109   11,953

4 First-class side-wheel steam sloops                               46          8,003

8 Second-class screw sloops    45   7,593

5 Third-class screw sloops    28   2,405

4 Third-class side-wheel steamers

                                         ....8         1,808

2 Steam tenders ................ 4            599

76                                    1783         105,271


                                        Guns.   Tons.

36 Side-wheel steamers    166   26,680

43 Screw steamers             175   20,403

13 Ships                              52      9,998

24 Schooners                      49   5,324

18 Barks                              78   8,432

2 Brigs                                  4       460

136                                     518  71,297


                                   Guns.   Tons.

14 Screw sloops              98   16,787

23 Gun-boats                 92   11,661

12 Side-wheel steamers  49     8,400

3 Iron-clad steamers       18     4,600

52                                    256    41,448

—Making a total of 264 vessels, 2557 guns, and 218,016 tons. The aggregate number of seamen in the service on the 4th of March last was 7600. The number is now not less than 22,000. The amount appropriated at the last regular session of Congress for the naval service of the current fiscal year was $13,168,675; to this was added at the special session of last July $30,446,876—making an aggregate for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1862, of $43,615,551. To this must be added :

For vessels purchased and alterations to fit them for service ..........................$2,530,000

For the purchase of additional vessels                                            2,000,000

For 20 iron-clad vessels              12,000,000

Add previous appropriations ..43,615,551

Total for year ending June 30, 1862 ...                                                .$60,145,551.
—The estimates for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1863, are as follows :

For the navy proper    $41,096,530

For the marine corps    1,105,657

For miscellaneous objects    2,423,478

Total for fiscal year ending June 30, 1863 $44,625,665


 Another naval and military expedition is about to start from St. Louis and Cairo, under the direction of General Halleck and Commodore Foote, comprising a force of from eighty to a hundred thousand men. The destination of this grand expedition and its points of attack will undoubtedly be Columbus, Kentucky ; Forts Wright, Randolph, and Harris, in Tennessee, and possibly the city of Memphis.


Parson Brownlow has met the rebels in East Tennessee in battle, and defeated them. They acknowledge it. A dispatch in the Memphis papers of the 2d instant states that on the 1st, Sunday, Brownlow, at the head of 3000 Union troops, attacked the enemy at Morristown, Tennessee, and was signally victorious. Even this rebel dispatch calls it a Union victory. No further particulars are known.


General Banks has taken up his winter-quarters at Frederick, Maryland. He was received there with great apparent enthusiasm by the inhabitants, and located himself in the residence of Colonel Bradley J. Johnson, of the rebel army. There are no signs of the rebels between Harper's Ferry and Point of Rocks, where Colonel Geary's command is keeping a vigilant look-out for them.

General Rosecrans and his staff arrived at Wheeling last week to take up their winter-quarters. The General has been offered his choice of several rebel residences for his winter home. It is probable that the campaign in Western Virginia is therefore at an end for the present.


An order from the Secretary of State to General McClellan reaffirms the position of the act of Congress of August last, in reference to slaves employed in hostile services against the Government, who may escape within our military lines. Such hostile employment absolves them from any further claim to service or labor, and brings them within military protection, and those who would arrest them as fugitives should themselves be immediately arrested by the military authorities.


An order issued by the Secretary of the Treasury relative to the seizure of property in disloyal States by the National forces has been published. It provides, in brief, that there shall be agents appointed in the different places conquered by our arms, who shall secure and prepare for market the cotton, rice, and such other products as may be seized, and that the naval and military authorities shall aid in this work. Slaves—or in the euphemism of the Secretary—"persons held to service for life under State laws"—may be employed by the agents, and will be organized for systematized labor, in securing and preparing for market their products. Pay-rolls will be prepared, and a just compensation allowed to these laborers, the amount to be fixed by the agent, and approved by the military commandant and the Secretary of the Treasury. An inventory of all stock and a record of all products taken will be carefully made by the agents and officers. The cotton and other goods will be shipped to this city for market, and accounts will he settled by the Secretary of the Treasury. The agents must so transact business that as little injury as possible may accrue to loyal citizens, or those who within reasonable time may assume the character of loyal citizens.  


Major-General Halleck has issued an important order to his commanding officers in Missouri, directing them to arrest and hold in confinement every one found in arms against the Government, or those who, in any way, give aid to the rebels; and ordering that all persons found within the lines of the army, in disguise as loyal citizens, and giving information to the enemy, and all those taken from the ranks of the rebels in actual service, shall not be treated as prisoners of war, but as spies, and shall be shot. He further orders that the Provost Marshals of St. Louis shall take in charge the numbers of Union families who are crowding into that city—having been plundered and driven from their homes by the rebels—and quarter them upon avowed secessionists, charging the expense of their board to them, on the ground that, although they have not themselves plundered and driven forth these unfortunate people, they are giving aid and comfort to those who have done so.




WHEN the Africa left England rumors were afloat that the James Adger had gone out with the intention of forcibly taking Messrs. Mason and Slidell from the British mail steamer, even in an English port, and the Edinburgh Scotsman, a reliable journal, asserts that the law officers of England had decided that United States officials had a perfect and legal right to seize a mail steamer knowingly conveying such contrabands, even in the harbors of Great Britain. The case would, it was thought, be taken into the courts for argument. It was also stated than a British Admiralty Council, which was attended by the leading members of the Cabinet, had been held on the subject.


The rebel steamer Nashville, Commander Pegram, arrived at Southampton, England, on 21st of November, and was duly received by the authorities as a war vessel commissioned for a special service by a belligerent power. Captain Pegram himself published the particulars of the overhauling and destruction of the ship Harvey Birch near the month of the British Channel, exhibited has commission from Jefferson Davis, and gave up the captain and crew of the Harvey Birch immediately to the charge of the United States Consul in Southampton. Such of the crew of the Harvey Birch as refused to make a declaration not to attempt any violence on board the Nashville were put in irons by Captain Pegram. Captain Nelson, the commander of the Harvey Birch, had published a protest in the English papers against the acts of the rebel officers. Mr. Peyton, a rebel Commissioner to Europe, and his wife, were landed from the Nashville, and had, with Captains Pegram and Nelson, gone to London —the first-named parties to communicate with Mr. Yancey, and Captain Nelson to use Mr. Adams. The affair produced intense excitement in the commercial, financial, and political circles of England, but the impression seemed to be general in favor of sheltering the Nashville for refit and supplies, just as the Union vessel James Adger had been treated a few days previously.



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