Theodore R. Davis


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, July 20, 1861

This Civil War newspaper shows nice eye-witness illustrations showing Harper's Ferry, The Brooklyn Navy-Yard, and Pirates. There is news of the day, as well as a description of the Battle of Martinsburg.

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



Civil War Arsenal

Theodore Davis

Theodore R. Davis

The Battle of Martinsburg

Eleventh Indiana Regiment

Eleventh Indiana Regiment

Hagerstown, Maryland

Hagerstown, Maryland

Harper's Ferry

Harper's Ferry

Camp Life

Civil War Camp Life



Brooklyn Navy Yard

The Brooklyn Navy-yard

Broadway, New York

Speaker Grow

Speaker Grow

Washington Map

Washington Map

General Patterson

General Patterson

Slavery Cartoon

Slavery Cartoon





[JULY 20, 1861.



WE give on the preceding page a picture of the operation of FILLING CARTRIDGES at the United States Arsenal at Watertown, Massachusetts. At this establishment some 300 operatives are kept constantly at work making war material. The powder (of which the best is used, a large quantity which came back from the Mexican war being thrown aside for fear it may not be good) is inserted in the cartridge by men, as shown in the lower picture. The bullet is inserted by girls, as shown in the picture above. At least seventy girls and women are kept constantly employed at Watertown in this avocation. The amount of cartridges turned out daily at this factory alone is enormous; and it is evident that, in the course of a few weeks, there will be no lack of this material of war, at all events.


SATURDAY, JULY 20, 1861.

IN April last, Mr. THEODORE R. DAVIS, our artist-correspondent at Washington, applied to us for permission to travel through the Southern States in company with WILLIAM H. RUSSELL, Esq., LL.D., Barrister at Law, Correspondent of the London Times. We agreed to the proposal, stipulating only that Mr. DAVIS should make such arrangements with Mr. RUSSELL as would insure him facilities for sketching wherever the latter went, and that he should be distinctly known as a member of Mr. RUSSEL'S party. It was already becoming dangerous for Northern men to travel among the rebels, and we were not willing that Mr. DAVIS should run any needless risk. In reply to a letter specifying these as the conditions upon which we would agree to his proposal, Mr. DAVIS wrote:

I saw Mr. Russell yesterday, was with him at the Navy-yard, and then was with him last night. He says, tell the Editor of Harper's Weekly that I am charmed to have this young artist with me, and will do him any kindness in my power.

Early in May last, after Messrs. DAVIS and RUSSELL had left for the South, in an advertisement announcing the advance in the price of the Weekly from five to six cents, we mentioned that we had an artist with the Southern Army in Virginia, another with the Seventh Regiment in Washington, a third in Baltimore, and a fourth traveling with Mr. RUSSELL through the Southern States. This announcement elicited from Mr. RUSSELL the following card, which was published in the Mobile Register of May 13:

To the Editor of the Mobile Register:

SIR,—My, attention has been called to a statement in Harper's Weekly, couched in the following words:

"The proprietors have dispatched an artist to the South in company with Mr. Russell, correspondent of the London Times."

In reference to that statement, I have to observe that my companions are two, viz. : Mr. Ward, a personal friend, who is kind enough to act as my secretary and traveling comrade, and who has no connection whatever with any journal in the United or Confederate States, and Mr. Davis, a young artist, who is taking sketches for the Illustrated London News, and who assures me that he is not engaged by or connected with Harper's Weekly, though he formerly sent sketches to that periodical.

My position is that of a neutral, and I am employed on a mission that requires the utmost impartiality on my part, although I shall claim for myself the utmost freedom in the expression of my convictions and of my observations to the journal which I have the honor to serve. The expression of these convictions and observations, however, is meant only for England, and I shall not permit the position I occupy to be abused under any circumstances whatever by those who accompany me, although I have every reason to believe that their good faith would render such a guarantee or assurance on my part unnecessary.

I have only to say in addition that by this post I have forwarded to the paper in question a request that they insert my formal denial of the statement which has occasioned this communication. I have the honor to be, Sir,

Your faithful servant,

W. H. RUSSELL, LL.D., Barrister at Law.

The assertions embodied in the above card are reaffirmed in the following communication, which we have received from Mr. RUSSELL:

CAIRO, ILLINOIS, June 20, 1861.

To the Editor of Harper's Weekly, New York:

SIR,—My attention has just been called to a sketch in your journal of the 15th inst., which is stated, in the letter-press underneath it, to have been taken by " our Artist who has been traveling with W. H. Russell, LL.D., Barrister at Law."

This reiteration of an assertion which I had already denied, in a note addressed to you from Mobile at least a month before, leads me to think that my communication can not have been received by you, particularly when I recall to mind a letter addressed to me at Jackson, Mississippi, by an unknown correspondent at Natchez, who apprised me that a statement had recently appeared in your journal distinctly asserting that I had permitted a special artist, engaged to furnish its proprietors with illustrations, to travel with use through the seceding States.

Being unable to meet with any copies of the back numbers of your journal, so as to ascertain the exact words of the statement, I beg to append the copy of a letter from the Hon. John Forsyth, Mayor of Mobile, and late one of the Southern Commissioners at Washington, elicited by a note which I addressed to him on the appearance of a paragraph in a New York daily paper, to the effect that the editor of Harper's Weekly was about to prove the correctness of his original statement, that he had dispatched an artist to the South in my company, which I had contradicted in the Mobile Register of the 12th or 13th ult., under the impression that my own word would be taken in such a matter.

MOBILE, June 1, 1861. w. H. Russell, Esq., New Orleans:

DEAR SIR,—In reply to yours of the 30th ult., I have to say that while you were in Mobile I took occasion in your presence to call the attention of Mr. Davis to a paragraph in Harper's Weekly, alleging that he was traveling in the South with Mr. Russell of the London Times in the capacity of artist for that journal. I had two objects in view—the first was to warn him of his danger in occupying an equivocal position, and the second whether the suspicion entertained of his integrity by some parties here was well or ill founded. Having met him in Washington, and become interested in his youth and fine talents as an artist, I desired to save him from trouble if he were innocent, as I believed he was; or to advise him to leave the South if there was reason to doubt him. I thought. at the time, that the young man exhibited some signs of embarrassment; but he certainly denied the truth of the allegation in Harper, admitting that formerly he had worked for that periodical, but that there was no subsisting engagement between them. This induced your publication (as I understood it) in the Mobile Register, and satisfied me.

I remain, dear Sir,

Your friend and servant,

(Signed)   JOHN FORSYTH.

I have only to add that I know nothing of Mr. Theodore Davis except what he told me. He introduced himself to me in a hook-shop at Washington, and begged he might be permitted to travel with me to the South, assigning as his plea that he was engaged to take sketches for the Illustrated London News, and that his previous connection with you might possibly expose him to obstructions which would be removed if I gave him the permission he so urgently entreated. If he came in any other capacity, it was not only without my knowledge, but in contravention of truth and honor, for which he is responsible.

I have the honor to be, Sir,

Your most obedient humble servant,

W. H. Russell.

In reply, we have simply to state that we have every reason to believe that Mr. RUSSELL knew, when he left Washington, that Mr. DAVIS was going with him as the artist of Harper's Weekly, and that nothing has since occurred which ought to have impaired his knowledge of that fact.

Mr. THEODORE R. DAVIS writes us as follows:


To the Editor of Harper's Weekly:

DEAR SIR,—Your letter, inclosing that of Mr. Russell, is just received.

I regret exceedingly that my very agreeable and instructive intercourse with Mr. Russell—for which I am deeply indebted to him—should give rise to any misunderstanding however trivial. I can not, however, in justice to the firm which I have the honor to represent in this camp, suffer the shadow of a doubt to rest upon its integrity.

The history of my acquaintance with W. H. Russell, Esq., LL.D., can be briefly stated. One morning in April last, I met him in Frank Taylor's book store in Washington. In the course of a little chat I informed him of my connection with Harper's Weekly, on which the conversation turned upon our illustrated papers, and Dr. Russell invited me to call upon him that evening. When we met, in his room, at the hour appointed, the conversation turned upon Illustrated journalism; in the course of our talk Dlr. Russell's proposed Southern tour was mentioned, and I had the honor of receiving from him a cordial invitation to accompany him. I immediately communicated the invitation to you, and as your note in reply led time to believe you approved of my going South with Mr. Russell on certain conditions, I visited him again, and read him the paragraph in your note referring to the proposed journey. His reply was in substance as follows:

"'Tell the editor of Harper's Weekly that I am very happy to have so pleasant a companion on my journey." About a fortnight afterward I received a note from him announcing his approaching departure, and we left accordingly together. Previous to my departure I had been introduced to Mr. John Forsyth, and had informed him of the engagement I was under with you. Mr. Forsyth politely invited me to go to Mobile with himself and family. This courtesy I declined on the ground of my prior engagement with Mr. Russell; and I did not meet Mr. Forsyth again till we reached Mobile, when I was the recipient of fresh attentions at his hands.

One afternoon at Mobile, I found Mr. John Forsyth in company with other gentlemen in Mr. Russell's private parlor. Mr. Forsyth called my attention to a paragraph in the current number of Harper's Weekly stating that you had "dispatched an artist to the South in company with Mr. Russell."

I saw that a crisis had arrived. The loyal tone of the Weekly had rendered it most obnoxious among the rebels. Both Mr. Russell and Mr. Forsyth—both knowing perfectly well my connection with Harper's Weekly—cast significant looks at me; the " other gentlemen," less thoroughly informed, looked suspicious, and angry (I was afterward informed that the house was surrounded and that I ran some risk of closing my career then and there). Under the circumstances, feeling no thirst for martyrdom, no desire to embarrass Mr, Russell who had been so kind to me, and—to tell you the truth—some anger at you, for publishing a statement which might have rendered my journey futile, and endangered my life, I simply replied that " the advertisement was very strange, and I could not understand it." I permitted myself to be represented as an artist drawing for the Illustrated London News; and this so thoroughly satisfied the "other gentlemen" that they withdrew.

After they had gone, Mr. Russell thoughtfully advised me to leave the Confederate States before copies of Harper's Weekly containing my sketches should reach the South. I jocosely assured him that there was little danger, as the chances were that my drawings had been stolen from the mails by the secessionists—a prediction which was afterward verified.

I am very sorry indeed to be placed in an attitude of antagonism to Mr. Russell, to whom I am indebted for many favors and courtesies. But the fact is that both he and Mr. John Forsyth were well aware, from their first acquaintance with me, that I was the special artist of Harper's Weekly. And if my regard for them and for the interests of the journal I represented induced me to keep my vocation a secret at an imminent crisis in Mobile, I do not think I thereby acted dishonorably, or justified them in denying what they previously knew.

As ever, faithfully yours,


We are bound to say, in justice to Mr. Davis, whom we have ever found to he an honorable, truth-telling gentleman, that other persons confirm his version of his relations with Mr WILLIAM H. RUSSELL, LL.D., Barrister at Law. Thus Major BEN. PERLEY POORE, of the Eighth Massachusetts Regiment, whose word no one will doubt, writes us as follows:

MARYLAND, June 28,'61.

To the Editor of Harper's Weekly:

My DEAR SIR,—It was announced last spring in the Washington papers, and in the Washington correspondence of the New York and Philadelphia papers, that Mr. Davis, your correspondent, was about to accompany Mr. Russell Southward. I remember telling Mr. Davis that I feared this announcement might annoy Mr. Russell.

Some days afterward I was invited to the house of Mr. Franklin Philp to meet Mr. Russell. Mr. Davis was among the guests, and I well remember that when Mr. Russell came in—at a late hour—he greeted Mr. Davis as his traveling companion, etc., saying, pleasantly, " I learn our arrangements through the press." We lingered at the supper-table, and before leaving Mr. Russell again spoke to Mr. Davis about their journey together.

After Mr. Russell had left I remember congratulating Mr. Davis on the certainty of his accompanying the " Own Correspondent," which would enable him to obtain such interesting sketches for Harper's Weekly. Such was the decided impression left on my mind after passing the evening with the two gentlemen, and hearing Mr. Russell allude to their journeying together.

I can not remember the exact words used by Mr. Russell, but I am positive that he alluded pleasantly to the newspaper reports that Mr. Davis, artist of Harper's Weekly, was to accompany him; and that he afterward spoke of Mr. Davis as the young artist who was to be his traveling companion.

Mr. Russell surely can not have forgotten this, nor can I see how he could repudiate Mr. Davis.

I am "Officer of the Day," and write amidst constant interruptions, but I trust you will be able to comprehend my meaning.—Very truly yours, ever,

BEN. PERLEY POORE, Maj. Mass. Eighth.

And on 25th May, twelve days after Mr, RUSSELL'S card to the Mobile Register was penned, Mr. SAMUEL WARD, the gentleman whom Mr. RUSSELL calls his "personal friend who was kind enough to act as" his "secretary and traveling comrade," addressed us the following letter—written, by-the-way, in the same handwriting as Mr. RUSSELL'S letter to us from Cairo:

NEW ORLEANS 25th May, 1861. To the Editor of Harper Weekly:

MY DEAR SIR,—At the request of Mr. Theodore R. Davis, I take pleasure in bearing testimony to his industry, skill, and deportment in his calling.

In the present interrupted state of communications, and amidst the perilous excitements of these trying times, it has been thought unsafe for him to continue a tour rendered unusually insecure by an indiscreet notice at the heading of your " Weekly." I think his sketches singularly felicitous, and do not doubt, were they transferred to wood by his own pencil, that they would compare favorably with those of any illustrated periodical now published.

Hoping that this recommendation may aid the fortunes of my talented and prudent young friend, I am yours very truly,   SAMUEL WARD.

We do not wish to add a word to the foregoing. We sought no controversy with Mr. RUSSELL, whose talents we admire, and whose attentions to Mr. DAVIS we appreciate : we would much rather not have been forced to enter into the above explanations. But Mr. RUSSELL has left us no choice but to state the facts as they are.




THE Message of the President is truly American. Among all the messages of late years it is the most thoroughly democratic. With an acute perception of the essential point of the case—that this is a movement of the people or it is nothing, since the Government is nothing except as the people uphold it—he makes his statement and appeal through their representatives to the people themselves.

But still more than this. While many Presidents of many parties would have endeavored to save the Government by force of arms, not all Presidents would so clearly comprehend or so simply state what the Government was that they were saving. This Government was founded upon the rights of man; and for the first time in long years the President recognizes that fact. Presidents' messages for many years have been labored defenses of an oligarchical and aristocratic administration of the Government. At length there is a people's President, in no mean sense ; and the Government of the United States is restored to its original principles. It is not a matter of party, but of patriotic congratulation.

The character and scope of our system have never been more admirably stated than in the following extract from this Message. It would have been a good thing to make the reading of the Message a special order for the day in every camp of the citizen soldiers of the United States. How the cry would have rung from the Missouri to the Penobscot, " God save the President of the United States and all others in authority !"

"This is essentially a people's contest. On the side of the Union it is a struggle for maintaining in the world that form and substance of government whose leading object is to elevate the condition of men, to lift artificial weights from all shoulders, to clear the path of laudable pursuit for all, to afford all an unfettered start and a fair chance in the race of life, yielding to partial and temporary departures from necessity. This is the leading object of the Government for whose existence we contend. I am most happy to believe that the plain people understand and appreciate this."


THERE are some people and papers who are sadly distressed by the "unconstitutionality" of General Banks's arrest of Marshal Kane in Baltimore. One of these gentlemen said, the other day, that no act of Congress could make the President's proclamation for troops to put down insurrection against the laws legal !

According to these learned pundits the only constitutional thing is treason and rebellion and overthrow of the Government. Ours is a system, they think, which can not lawfully resist its own violent destruction. They merely repeat the doctrine of Mr. Buchanan that nobody has a right to break up the Government; but if any body tries, the Government has no right to help itself.

These are the people whose political existence is going to be saved in spite of themselves.


SHOULD there ever be any surrender to any rebellion in this country, who would be responsible for it ? Plainly those who, under the guise of supporting the cause, should have debauched the public mind by poisoning it with suspicion of the disloyalty or the incompetency of the Administration. If the curious inquirer asks how this could be done, the equally plain answer would be,

By hesitating at no charge or insinuation.

By bringing into suspicion individual members of the Government, covertly accusing them of complicity with traitors, and allowing them to be insulted in your columns (if you are a newspaper) like a common thief.

By representing the commanding General as secretly wishing a truce with rebels, and not a suppression of the rebellion.

By aspersing the characters and motives of Generals acting under the immediate orders of the military Commander-in-Chief.

By scrutinizing the details of administration in every department with most uncharitable eyes.

By always imputing the worst of motives to your opponents in your own party.

By so emphasizing and magnifying undoubted mistakes as to leave the inevitable impression that there are nothing but mistakes to be mentioned.

By insisting that all delay indicates treachery or cowardice.

Do this incessantly to an Administration which undertakes the Government under incalculable disadvantages, at a moment when immense difficulties are to be encountered, and many grave errors are inevitable; persist in rubbing every chafe into a fester, and denying that any good can be expected from the management of affairs unless the managers are incessantly kicked and spurred and taunted and ridiculed, and you will have the proud satisfaction

of leaving done all you can do to destroy that hearty public confidence, without which no Administration could grapple with the emergency, and to persuade the people that, as their affairs are in such bad hands, and can not be constitutionally taken out of them for four years, the only way to save themselves is to insist upon making the best terms possible with the rebels.

Then, when you have succeeded in doing this, nothing remains but that you should turn upon the friends who reason with you, and say, " There ! I told you so ; I always knew there would be a compromise !"


MR. BOND, the university astronomer at Cambridge, says that the present comet is not that of 1264, the Pope Urban comet; nor yet that of 1556, the Charles Fifth comet; but an entirely new and unexpected visitor. Whether it be papal or imperial, or neither, the comet is a very splendid stranger; and in other ages would have been regarded at this epoch as the visible genius of war and confusion. Of all the celestial phenomena comets have always been considered the most portentous. Before science had seized and scrutinized them, they portended dreadful events, or foreshadowed great changes.

If our present visitor be, as has been generally supposed, but as Mr. Bond denies, the comet of Charles Fifth, it is pleasant to reflect that its last appearance was as the herald of the great Elizabethan era in England and the beginning of modern history. 1556, the date of its last appearance, was the year in which Charles Fifth abdicated. He had been the arch-enemy of the Reformation, and his abdication may, by the light of the comet, appear to be symbolic of the defeat of the principle which opposed human freedom. It portended also the accession of Elizabeth in 1538. Edmund Spenser and Hooker were three years old and Philip Sydney two, when it shone last. Chapman was born in 1557, Bacon in 1561, Marlowe in 1562, Shakspeare in 1564. Ben. Jenson, Beaumont, Fletcher, Massinger, were not very far off. All the singers and sayers and doers

" that fill The spacious times of great Elizabeth, With sounds that echo still," were heralded by the comet of Charles Fifth.

Did it portend also the Massacre of St. Bartholomew in 1572 ; the gay heroism of' Henry of Navarre ; the career of the great William of Holland, and the gloomy reign of Philip Second, a long and desperate struggle with human nature? . These cardinal events of history occupied the half century that followed the comet. The principles which underlie American civilization were tried then by fire. The comet blazes again in our summer sky. Is it to remind us that as those principles triumphed then in establishing themselves, they shall no less conquer in saving liberty and consequently civilization now, and securing them hereafter?


IT is perfectly fair to criticize public men and measures. But malevolent interpretations of every act and word are not just or manly criticism.

If you think a man in power is a traitor, say so; but say it honestly; don't hint it sneakingly.

If you think an administration is inadequate to a crisis and needs bolstering, say so; and let the reader understand that you are bolstering because you think there is immense weakness.

If you are identified with a party and its President is elected, and you think his cabinet incapable, say so plainly, and insist that he shall choose other advisers; don't waste time and imperil the country by hints and innuendoes.

Certainly, grave faults of management are to be pointed out; well-grounded suspicions of personal dishonor in high officers should not be hushed; doubts of the wisdom of certain policies and certain appointments are to be openly stated. Such frank and free discussion is the very soul of our system. But incessant carping, sneering, jeering, girding, doubting, and denouncing, are not criticism. It is the tone, the manner, which determines the honesty and value of fault-finding. The same thing said in one way shows the wish kindly to help; said in another. It shows the determination to withstand and injure. And if you believe a man honest, and approve his course, upon the whole, and allowing for the exceptions, you will not so express your dissent in particulars as to make his bitterest enemies chuckle.

No loyal man or paper, at this or any juncture, is bound or expected to approve every act of the Administration through thick and thin. But he is honorably bound to express his disapproval in such a way that the cause shall be helped and not hindered. If he can not express it so as to help, he has no call to speak at all in so solemn a moment.


A QUIET man asked a shrewd clergyman who had been praying for rain, whether he thought the Almighty answered a special prayer of that kind. " Certainly," returned the clergyman, " if you only pray long enough." And, indeed, in that way we could hardly ask for any thing in the due order of nature that we should not receive.


A shrewd newspaper, in time of war, might pursue the same plans with the same success. Without military skill, or information of the difficulties to be met in the rebels' country, or any other than a general knowledge of the probable number of armed men near Washington, and the distance in miles to Richmond; without the least comprehension of necessary military detail, without which advance would be a crime, it might incessantly shout, "Forward ! forward !" and when the Government, having made all its preparations, based upon all its knowledge, gloved at the proper moment and in its own time, forward, such a paper might complacently shake its head and say, "There! don't you see ! I did it. If I had not (Next Page)



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