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Civil War Harper's Weekly, June 15, 1861

This issue of Harper's Weekly has a variety of interesting stories and pictures. The cover has an illustration and story on the death of Colonel Ellsworth. The issue also has a discussion on the problem of fugitive slaves. News describes early events in the Civil War.

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


Ellsworth's Death

Colonel Ellsworth's Death


The Right of Revolution

The Fugitive Slave Question

The Fugitive Slave Question

Rebel Cavalry

Capture of Rebel Cavalry

General Bragg's Camp

General Bragg's Camp

Camp Anderson

Camp Anderson

Santa Rosa Island

Santa Rosa Island

Las Moras

Confederate Troops on the Las Moras

Civil War Camps

Civil War Camps

Rebel Steamboats

Rebel Steamboats

Arlington heights

Arlington Heights

Senator Douglas

Senator Douglas

Newport News

Newport News





JUNE 15, 1861.]



(Previous Page) had done wrangling. The difficulty lies with somebody or somebodies. Let their names and the facts of the controversy be held up to public reprobation.


PEOPLE are still talking of England, and wondering what she will finally do. For the present it is very clear that she will repose upon the proclamation of neutrality, and await events. Meanwhile she discusses the nature of privateers and blockades.

As for the Southern privateers, they are ships commissioned by a man in open rebellion against his Government to prey upon the ships of loyal citizens. In the consequent struggle loyal citizens may be murdered while engaged in defending their own property. There can be no question that such a privateer is as much a pirate as a ship of Lafitte's. Any ship-master who sails the sea has the same right to commission himself to seize prizes that Mr. Jefferson Davis has to commission him. Mr. Davis, indeed, claims to represent a government. But the Government against which he is in rebellion refuses to see in him any thing but a rebel. No other power in the world has recognized him; and Jefferson Davis and William Kidd are equally pirates.

Now comes England, and says, " Mr. Davis may, for the purpose of privateering, be considered a belligerent. But every Englishman sailing under his commission does so at his peril." This so far helps Mr. Davis that he can carry his prizes into English ports and sell them.

If England had recognized the authority which sends the privateers as a Government, that authority might plead a national character. But England will not do that, for she is not ready for a war with the United States. She therefore winks at piracy. The case would have been less flagrant if the rebels had maintained their cause so long and so successfully that the issue were doubtful. The letters of marque granted by our Revolutionary Congress were recognized some time before our independence was conceded by any other power. But we had held our own, and it was fair to presume that we should at last triumph. England assumes the success of this rebellion before it has struck a single significant blow. Nevertheless, any English subject found upon a Davis-privateer which had killed American citizens defending their property would be incontinently hung as a pirate, nor could England complain. Any subject who serves upon either side she has given over, in advance, to his fate. She will not call privateering piracy, but she allows her privateering subjects to be hung as pirates.

Lord Derby, the Tory leader in the Lords, proposes that the Government shall not abide by the proclamation in this respect. His suggestion is not likely to be adopted.

As for the blockade, it is one of those international questions upon which governments will always differ. The treaty of Paris requires that a blockade must be effective. But what is an effective blockade? If a few ships pass in or out is the blockade raised? and, if so, must the blockading Government issue a new proclamation, and give the usual grace to ships? This is undoubtedly the view Great Britain would prefer to take, but it is precisely the one that the United States will not allow.



SWELL OUT OF LUCK. " What do you charge for blacking a gentleman's boots?"

ONE OF THE POLISH BRIGADE. "Never more than a penny. Sir."

SWELL. "A penny, eh? Well, youngster, since there are two boots, that's a half-penny a boot, I suppose—isn't it ?"

SHOEBLACK (proud of displaying his arithmetic). "In course it is, Sir."

SWELL. ''Well, then, black my right boot—I've only got a half-penny."

" My party, Sir, will not lie in idleness," said a politician. "Very true, Sir," retorted his opponent, "your party is never chargeable either with lying in idleness or with idleness in lying."


What is that faint and melancholy note,

Borne feebly on the sharp East wind,

Whose eager blast bites through our overcoat, With down of eider thickly lined?

It sounded forth of yonder clump of oak,

Darkling beneath the leaden sky;

Through the bare twigs some plaintive creature spoke, It was the Cuckoo's cry !

That timid trill outpoured from yonder brake! Ah! can it be the Nightingale?

That broken jug! That interrupted shake ! The breeze cuts short the poor bird's tale, The throstle, too, as though for cold in pain, High perched upon the leafless tree, Attempts a fitful and a dreary strain, Sung in a minor key.

There's one, an only, Swallow to be seen; With feeble wing the straggler flies. What doeth he out in this air so keen, Unless he flies for exercise?

On such a day no gnat will stir for him; All insects find it much too cool:

He would not catch one midge, were he to skim The nearly frozen pool.

The redbreast shivers o'er her callow brood; The shrunk, nipped buds her nest reveal. Cocksparrows can not find their children food; No caterpillar for a meal!

The badger, dormouse, hedgehog, squirrel, creep All into their respective holes:

This merry May sends all such things to sleep, A May as at the Poles !

All, how I pity birds and beasts that roam Unsheltered save by fern and brier!

I know what I shall do; I shall go home,

Draw down the blinds; make up a roaring fire; Command a basin of hot soup, and dine

On Christmas beef; and, having fed,

Brew for myself a tankard of spiced wine; Have that, and go to bed.


THE SPINSTER'S Loss.—" Can I be of any use ?" asked a young Oxonian of a distressed female at the Alnwick station. " You are a witness!" she said. " Of what ?" said the Oxonian. "That I gave my basket to a man !" " Certainly." "A railway servant?" "He said so." "He's off with it. He's a thief, a robber; he's an impostor, whether he's a railway servant or nae. He's off with my greatest treasure!" "Compose yourself, madam," said the superintendent, making his way through the crowd; " if what you have lost can not be found, and you really gave it to one of our people, perhaps some compensation—" " Compensation !" she exclaimed. " Brute, mercenary brute! There is no compensation for a loss like mine." "Of what nature is that loss?" said another rail-way official. " Of a very serious nature, Sir—to me, of an irreparable nature," she replied. " That basket contained —oh, my! oh, my! it contained my Rufus! Oh! Rufus, pride of my heart ! comfort of my life! my companion ! my bedfellow! my sleek! my tabby furry, purry! my whiskered, my darling, my bushy-tailed, Angora, my Rufus!" " You don't mean to say, ma'am, that you're kicking up all this row and rumpus about a cat?" said one of the porters. "A cat, Sir, yes! but such a cat as you never beheld. A cat worth ten such men as you !"

There is a class of men ever ready to pump you to any extent, if you only give them a handle.


"Mary, is your master at home?" "No, Sir, he's out." "I don't believe it." "Well, then, he'll come down and tell you so himself. Perhaps you'll believe him."


Lord William Poulat was said to be the author of a pamphlet called " The Snake in the Grass." A gentleman abused in it sent him a challenge. Lord William protested his innocence, but the gentleman insisted upon a denial under his own hand. Lord William took a pen and began : "This is to stratify that the buk called 'The Snak—'" "Oh! my lord," said the person, "I am satisfied: your lordship has already convinced me you did not write the book."

At Girvan, Ayrshire, lately, the following announcement was made by the town crier, at the very pitch of his stentorian lungs : "All persons keeping cocks or hens in this street to the annoyance of their neighbors' gardens, will be destroyed after this intimation."


A landowner and tenant having agreed to refer a matter in dispute to a reference, it was agreed that in case it should not be thus decided, the matter should be settled, as usual, by an umpire. " Well, be it so, but on this condition," said the man of wealth, " that if he can not make a division, we shall have umpires on both sides."


"Figures won't lie," is an old and homely expression; but few men can look on a fashionable woman's figure nowadays and say as much.


"Julia, here are two cake-one for you and one for Mary ; Mary don't want hers just now, and you may carry it for her till we get home."

After a while the mother observed that Miss Julia began eating upon the second cake, having already disposed of one. Of course she thought it was time to speak. " Julia, whose cake are you eating?"

"Mine, ma."

"And where is Mary's?"

"Why, I ate hers up first."

THE SPRING-TIME OF LIFE —Our dancing days.

A SCOTCH CANNIBAL.—A lady advertises in a Glasgow paper that she wants a gentleman for " breakfast and tea."

"I have learned the profound truth," says Alderman Johnson, " from eating turtle, that it shows a most depraved taste to mock any thing for its greenness."

Miss Jemima Wilhelmina, when her parents refuse to allow her to go to a ball, sets to and has a bawl at home.



EARLY last week a large body of troops, under General McClellan, were ordered to advance on Harper's Ferry from the west, by way of Wheeling. But the secessionists at harper's Ferry, having discovered the movement, proceeded beyond Grafton by railroad and destroyed three bridges between that point and Wheeling, and there is little doubt that they have burned or blown up all the bridges between Grafton and Harper's Ferry. The distance between these two points is one hundred miles. Grafton has since been occupied by the Federal troops.



" To the Union Men of Western Virginia:

"VIRGINIANS!—The General Government has long enough endured the machinations of a few factious rebels in your midst. Armed traitors have in vain endeavored to deter you from expressing your loyalty at the polls. Having failed in this infamous attempt to deprive you of the exercise of your dearest rights, they now seek to inaugurate a reign of terror, and thus force you to yield to their schemes, and submit to the yoke of the traitorous conspiracy dignified by the name of the Southern Confederacy. They are destroying the property of citizens of your State, and ruining your magnificent railways. The General Government has heretofore carefully abstained from sending troops across the Ohio, or even from posting them along its banks, although frequently urged by many of your prominent citizens to do so.

"It determined to await the result of the State election, desirous that no one might be able to say that the slightest effort had been made from this side to influence the free expression of your opinions, although the many agencies brought to bear upon you by the rebels were well known. You have now shown under the most adverse circumstances that the great mass of the people of Western Virginia are true and loyal to that beneficent Government under which we and our fathers have lived so long. As soon as the result of the election was known, the traitors commenced their work of destruction. The General Government can not close its ears to the demand you have made for assistance. I have ordered troops to cross the river. They come as your friends and brothers; as enemies only to armed rebels who are preying upon you. Your homes, your families, and your property are safe under our protection. All your rights shall be religiously respected.

"Notwithstanding all that has been said by the traitors to induce you to believe our advent among you will be signalized by an interference with your slaves, understand one thing clearly : Not only will we abstain from all such interference, but we will, on the contrary, with an iron hand, crush any attempt at insurrection on their part.

"Now that we are in your midst, I call upon you to fly to arms and support the General Government; sever the connection that binds you to traitors; proclaim to the world that the faith and loyalty so long boasted by the Old Dominion are still preserved in Western Virginia, and that you remain true to the Stars and Stripes.


"Major-General commanding."


Two columns of troops belonging to General M'Clellan's command, one under command of Colonel Kelly, of the First Virginia Volunteers, and the other under Colonel Crittenden, and composed of the Indiana Volunteers, proceeded from Grafton to Phillippa, about twenty miles, on Sunday night, through a drenching rain, and surprised a camp of rebels there, two thousand strong. The rebels were completely routed after a brief struggle, with the loss of fifteen killed, and a large amount of arms, horses, ammunition, provisions, camp equipage, etc. The surprise is reported to have been most complete, and at last accounts the Federal forces were in hot pursuit, with a prospect of capturing a large number of prisoners. Colonel Kelly, the commander of the Virginia volunteers, was unfortunately wounded, and has since died. This, however, was the only life lost among the Federal troops.


On Friday last the steamers Freeborn and Anacosta, off Aquia Creek, engaged the rebel forts there with apparent effect. Aquia Creek is fifty-five miles from Washington, and is the terminus of the Richmond and Fredericksburg Railroad. The batteries returned the fire and it was kept up on both sides for an hour, till the ammunition ran short on board, and the vessels hauled off. Upon receipt of the dispatch, two ships of war, with plenty of ammunition, were sent from the Navy-yard.


On the following day the fight, which was temporarily abandoned for want of ammunition on board the United States vessels on Friday, was resumed at half past eleven o'clock in the morning, and continued until half past four that afternoon without intermission. The guns in the rebel batteries mounted on the heights had been reproved to the beach during the previous night, and upon that point the fire of Saturday was directed by the Freeborn, Anacosta, and Pawnee, which hauled in shore, and kept up an incessant fire for five hours, until the men were worn out from fatigue. Captain Ward reports that upward of a thousand shots were fired by the rebel batteries, and that a hundred at least struck on or close around the Freeborn, some of them damaging her hull so that site leaked considerably, and some hitting her wheel-house and shaft. The Pawnee, too, was struck frequently aloft and below, hurting both hull and rigging. On board the Anacosta was a party of twenty-two men of the New York Seventy-first regiment, under Lieutenant Prendergast, who worked the guns gallantly. Before the firing ceased the battery on shore was silenced, and the rebels were observed flying from the spot. Fearing a landing of the men from the ships, they set fire to the freight depot on the pier, which was entirely consumed. Several of the rebels were hurt, but whether fatally or not could not be ascertained. No one was killed on board the vessels, but the firing from the batteries shows that the guns were ably handled.


At latest dates from Fortress Monroe, the only movement of importance going on was the transportation of heavy cannon over the Rip-Raps, situated between the fortress and the opposite shore, and commanding the channel on the other side. Between the Rip-Raps and the shore the water is very shoal—so much so, that vessels of the lightest draft can not pass without difficulty. The encampments were being rapidly brought into a condition of military order and discipline. The nearest point at which there was any considerable collection of rebel forces, except at Sewall's Point, was believed to be Yorktown, twenty-seven miles distant. About four thousand were collected there, and it was thought probable that a stand was to be made there, as the slave-owners in York, Warwick, and Elizabeth City Counties had been obliged to send thither half their negroes, with three days' provisions, to work on intrenchments.


Up to Thursday evening no less than four hundred and fifty slaves, including women and children, had fled into General Butler's camp, and they report that a general uprising of the slave population was expected.


 We illustrate elsewhere the dashing exploit of Company B of the United States cavalry, by which they captured a squad of secessionists at Fairfax on Saturday morning.

It was followed by a still more gallant operation in the night of the same day. It appears that the company learned that their missing companions, in number two, were to be hanged on Sunday morning; they accordingly mounted, rode down to Fairfax, discovered where the men were confined, rescued them, and bore them off in triumph.


From Cairo we learn that a full regiment of Missouri Union troops had arrived at Bird's Point, from St. Louis, composed entirely of Germans, and had taken a position there, where they are throwing up fortifications. It will be remembered that Bird's Point is the only available point of attack on Cairo from the Missouri shore, and its occupation by the Federal forces is therefore important.


The sloop of war Brooklyn arrived off Pass a L'Outre, at the entrance of the Mississippi River, on the 26th ult., and commenced the blockade of the port of New Orleans. The blockade of the Mobile was commenced by a Government steamer on the 27th. A large war steamer was seen off Savannah on the 18th. All the principal Southern ports are now blockaded.


We shall soon have an important addition to our blockading force. The three steamers of the Mediterranean squadron are on the way home, and are about due at New York. They are the Susquehanna, paddle-wheel, 15 guns ; the Richmond, screw, 14 guns ; and the Iroquois, screw, 6 guns.


From New Orleans we hear of the capture of three Northern vessels, all small whalers, by the Confederate privateer Calhoun.


The screw steamer Peerless, supposed to have been purchased in Canada for the use of the rebels, has been seized at Quebec by the orders of Mr. Giddings, our consul.


Jeff Davis arrived in Richmond last week. One afternoon he went to the New Fair Grounds. Here a large number of ladies and gentlemen had assembled, and, on his arrival, greeted him with the heartiest demonstrations of pleasure. On leaving his saddle, the President was surrounded by an eager crowd of soldiers and civilians, whom he indulged to a hand-shaking performance, until the pressure became so great that he was compelled to retire to the balcony of the Executive Department, where, in response to the demands of the assemblage, he delivered the following brief and pertinent speech:

"MY FRIENDS AND FELLOW-CITIZENS,--I am deeply impressed with the kindness of your manifestation. I look upon you as the last best hope of liberty; and in our liberty alone is our Constitutional Government to be preserved. Upon your strong right arm depends the success of our country ; and, in asserting the birth-right to which you were born, you are to remember that life and blood are nothing as compared with the immense interests you have at stake. [Cheers.] It may be that you have not long been trained, and that you have much to learn of the art of war, but I know that there beats in the breasts of Southern sons a determination never to surrender—a determination never to go home but to tell a tale of honor. [Cries of ' Never!' and applause.] Though great may be the disparity of numbers, give us a fair field and a free fight, and the Southern banner will float in triumph every where. [Cheers.] The country relies upon you. Upon you rest the hope of our people; and I have only to say, my friends, that to the last breath of my life I am wholly your own." [Tremendous cheers.]


Mr. Davis has issued a proclamation to the people of the Confederate States, appointing the 13th of June a day of fasting and prayer, in the hope that the Almighty may aid them in the present hour " of difficulty and peril.".


The following letter has been published:

" WASHINGTON, May 30, 1861. "SIR,—Your action in respect to the negroes who came within your lines, from the service of the rebels, is approved. The Department is sensible of the embarrassments which must surround officers conducting military operations in a State by the laws of which slavery is sanctioned. The government can not recognize the rejection by any State of its federal obligation resting upon itself. Among these federal obligations, however, no one can be more important than that of suppressing and dispersing any combination of the former for the purpose of overthrowing its whole constitutional authority. While, therefore, you will permit no interference, by persons under your command, with the relations of persons held to service under the laws of any State, you will, on the other hand, so long as any State within which your military operations are conducted, remain under the control of such armed combinations, refrain from surrendering to alleged masters any persons who come within your lutes. You will employ such persons in the services to which they will be best adapted, keeping an account of the labor by them performed, of the value of it, and the expenses of their maintenance. The question of their final disposition will be reserved for future determination.

"SIMMON CAMERON, Secretary of War. "To Major-General BUTLER."


Gen. Harney has been recalled from the command in Missouri, and it is thought that Gen. Lyon will take his place.

Jefferson Davis held a levee in Richmond on Thursday last, at the Governor's mansion, where several thousand ladies and gentlemen paid their respects to him. During the day he visited the military camp, and made a very impressive address to the volunteers. Among those who accompanied Mr. Davis to Richmond is Mr. S. R. Todd, a brother-in-law of Mrs. Lincoln.

Gen. James Watson Webb has been appointed Minister to Brazil.



OUR Minister to England, Mr. Adams, arrived in London on the 13th of May. In expectation of his coming, an arrangement had been made by Lord John Russell to receive him on Tuesday, and for his presentation to the Queen on Thursday. Lord John Russell was, however, out of town, caused by the death of his brother, the Duke of Bedford, and Mr. Adams was presented by Lord Palmerston. Every thing attending the reception is understood to have been marked by entire cordiality and friendship.


Hon. Cassius M. Clay, our new Minister to Russia, has addressed a letter to the London Times on the American question, in which he endeavors to set the public mind of England right as to the present war, declaring that its object is not the subjugation of the Southern States, but the maintenance of the laws of the United States, and expressing the opinion that the rebellion must inevitably be suppressed, and that it is the interest of England to sustain the United States Government.


Lord Cowley, British Minister at Paris, has, it is said, protested against any isolated intervention in the affairs of Syria, such as was claimed by the French Ministry. A French fleet was about to sail for Beyrout to convey the troops of the Emperor home.


THE ANNEXATION OF SAN DOMINGO. Queen Isabella of Spain has signed her acceptance of the annexation act of San Domingo.


Virginia Secession Cartoon



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