George Opdyke


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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.


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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.]






WE publish on this page, from a photograph by Brady, a portrait of the Hon. GEORGE OPDYKE, Mayor Elect of New York.

Mr. Opdyke is a native of this city and about forty-one years of age. In early life he went to New Orleans, and learned the trade of a tailor, which he followed for some years, growing rich enough to open a large dry-goods store. He eventually retired from business in New Orleans with a handsome fortune, which he has since increased here. On his establishment here, he devoted his attention to politics, and was elected to the Assembly from this city. Two years ago he ran for Mayor and was defeated; he has just been elected after one of the closest contests that ever took place in the city. Mr. Opdyke is engaged in the dry-goods trade, and is understood to be a millionaire.


IN connection with the recent fight at Morristown, Tennessee, where the rebels, according to their own accounts, were badly beaten, we publish

a portrait of MISS BROWNLOW, the daughter of the intrepid Parson Brownlow, of Knoxville, Tennessee. She is as brave as her father, and as devoted to the Union. We can give her no higher praise than this. When a mob of secessionists attacked her father's house in his absence and insisted on the Union flag being hauled down from where it floated, this young lady seized a rifle and told them she would defend it with her life. The first who approached would be shot. They threatened her for some time, and tried in every way to frighten her. But she was firm, and after a time the ruffians withdrew, leaving the flag still flying. This noble girl will doubtless be heard of again in the course of the war in Tennessee.


WE give the above title to the series of " contraband" sketches which are reproduced on page 801. Our special artist at Hilton Head—the author of the sketches— thus writes us concerning them:

"We have made use of the contraband in so many different employments, that I find it necessary to send to you a series of sketches to illustrate

his value. Upon our landing at Hilton Head a lack of good oarsmen was found seriously to deter our rapid progress in landing. Soon the negroes flocked in, and I assure you that I have seen few better oarsmen. Captain Fuller at once manned his little Whitehall boat with them, dressing them in the man-of-war style, which is exceedingly picturesque. Again, in landing, the slope of the shore being very gradual, it was found necessary to have some one to back off the passengers ; at once the contrabands filled the need. They are invaluable as foragers, bringing in the different fruits, game, etc.

"Their head- quarters are directly back of those formerly occupied by Gen. Wright, of which you had a sketch; here are congregated a small village of these happy mortals, jolly ever, and willing to work.

"Aunt Chloe is a brisk sample of ebony, who is the general head-cracker of the settlement, the terror of all juvenile darkeys and admiration of the elder.

" The extensive earth-works that have been thrown up, and which their hands have done well their share of work, are almost monuments of the willing work of a paid negro.

"Uncle Sam, a fine specimen of the African race, is the overseer of General Drayton's plantation, and one of the best-natured boys that we have. He is the general forager for the mess, and is never back in woods without an abundant return.

Of the real condition of the slaves, a correspondent of the Times says : "The efforts of the masters to carry off the slaves have been in nearly every case abortive. No love for masters, no fear of their cruelty, no apprehension of the Yankees has been sufficient to alarm the blacks. They all look upon us as friends; and where they do not come within our lines, say that all that restrains them is the dislike of leaving their families and the 'tings'—their little property. They have a cat-like clinging to their old quarters, and do not generally manifest any desire to quit them. When they have fled in large numbers, it has been always toward our lines, but so far as I can learn it has been because of the efforts of their masters to take them off. This they resist, but they manifest no

peculiarly vindictive spirit. They complain of bad treatment, but I can not learn that they display any desire to revenge themselves. They chuckle, indeed, with infinite glee over Southern disasters; they tell of the lies they told their former owners, of their pretenses to love them, of their forced obedience ; they believe in the power of the Unionists to overthrow the Southern rule ; they are willing to act as guides or scouts (occasionally), to work ; to give all information; and the more intelligent they are the readier to aid us. But unless provoked by the foolish attempts of the rebels to carry them off, I doubt whether they will attempt any injury to the persons of the whites. The plundering indeed presages evil, but if the rebels set the example by firing their own cotton-houses, they need not be surprised to find it imitated. If they persist in their attempts at forcibly restraining the slaves and in firing at them, the worst consequences are likely to follow."

Some writers from Port Royal have stated that the negroes will not work, but that when work is offered them they will fly to the woods. This is indignantly denied by other writers, and by several officers of the expedition, who state that the contrabands work willingly and ably. It would not be surprising if poor Sambo, after a dozen generations of slavery, should want to celebrate his sudden emancipation by a brief holiday.


Mayor George Opdyke
Miss Brownlow
Rankin's Lancer Regiment



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