Fort Smith and Little Rock

 

This Site:

Civil War

Civil War Overview

Civil War 1861

Civil War 1862

Civil War 1863

Civil War 1864

Civil War 1865

Civil War Battles

Confederate Generals

Union Generals

Confederate History

Robert E. Lee

Civil War Medicine

Lincoln Assassination

Slavery

Site Search

Civil War Links

 

Civil War Art

Revolutionary War

Mexican War

Republic of Texas

Indians

Winslow Homer

Thomas Nast

Mathew Brady

Western Art

Civil War Gifts

Robert E. Lee Portrait


Civil War Harper's Weekly, March 9, 1861

The March 9, 1861 edition of Harper's Weekly Featured President Abraham Lincoln, on the cover, raising a union flag.  The paper is filled with important details of the start of he Civil War.  Newspaper Thumbnails will take you to the page of interest.

 

Abraham Lincoln and the Union Flag

Abraham Lincoln Raising the Union Flag

Lincoln and the Union Flag

Miss Patterson

Miss Patterson of Baltimore

Congressional News

1861 Lincoln Assassination Plot

Story on Fort Smith and Little Rock

Completed U.S. Capitol Dome

Little Rock Arkansas

Little Rock Arkansas

General Twiggs

General David Twiggs

Continuation of Twiggs Story

Jefferson Davis Inauguration in Montgomery

Lincoln Assassination Plot

 
 

 

MARCH 9, 1861.]

HARPER'S WEEKLY.

155

canvas. Harry was finally obliged to send him below, saying, " I command the ship, if you please, Sir, and must be allowed to manage her as I see fit."

With a freshening breeze the Vanderlyn sped on during the succeeding hours, until even the captain—cautious old sailor though he was—felt sure they would go safely in. But ominous great clouds were gathering darkly in the northeast, and Harry, still fearful, ordered all hands on deck in readiness to shorten sail at a moment's notice. His wisdom was too soon evident. The wind suddenly died away, returning in great, sullen-sounding puffs, careening the good ship till her yard-arms touched the water ; then passing on, leaving the sails flap-ping against the mast.

The least boy among the crew felt the oppression of the coming trial, and not one on deck but drew a longer breath when the pilot's clear, firm voice broke the terrible stillness ; ringing out commands sharp and strong. In less time than a landsman could think the Vanderlyn was stripped and laid in stays, under double reefed top-sails.

Not a moment too soon. A confused, rushing sound, a hurried clinging by the men to the nearest fastenings, and, like a hungered lion springing on his prey, the tempest burst over them.

Down, down rolled the stricken craft, her lee-rail deep buried in the flat, seething sea, and her strained weather rigging shrieking and howling in the blast, adding piercing discords to this dread chorus of the elements. As with a mighty hand she was forced still further and further down, until a cry of human anguish went up from the despairing souls on board.

Holding fast to belaying-pins and the rigging, the pilot crawled forward to the mainmast. After waiting long as he dared his axe was raised to cut away when he felt the ship rising on the first buoy-ant wave. Slowly she struggled up, slowly up, then righted with a suddenness that snapped the light spars from her tops like hemlock crackling in the fire.

'Twas but little past sunset time, but the blackness of midnight was already upon the ocean. No-thing could be distinguished at arm's-length, but the useless helm told that every stitch of canvas must be torn away. The Vanderlyn drifted before the storm helpless as a log.

At last the rain came. Malignant lightnings lent their sulphurous glare and terrific thunders to the appalling scene. 'Twas a change for the bet-ter, however. The descending sheets of water abated somewhat the fury of the wind, and the vivid flashes served to show the condition of the ship.

With infinite difficulty storm stay-sails were got out, and as they gave command to the helm 'twas once more a question what course to take. They had now drifted so far that an attempt to reach the Breakwater would probably end, in few hours, on Squan Beach ; so 'twas decided to try and weather Sandy Hook. New fore and main top-sails were bent and set with three reefs, and as they held, the good packet looked up encouragingly. But the tremendous force of the gale obliged them to make it nearly abeam, and the pilot knew they must be going to leeward fearfully fast. As he stood at the helm with Captain Winslow he was startled by the cry, " Light on the larb'r'd bow!"

He half-hoped it might be the Light-tip; but as he clambered forward, the Revolver threw out its long white ray, and his heart sank. He recognized the Highlands. Soon the Hook lights were made out, ahead ; and as he watched them slowly changing place, the fearful truth forced itself upon him. The ship was drifting ashore. By no possibility could she make offing enough to clear that treacherous stretch of sand, lengthening out, as if purposely to bar the way.

One wild hope came to his thought, and though he put it aside as the desperate fancy of a mind unwilling to look reality in the face, yet it would return to him again and again. At last, as if by instinct—certainly not at the dictation of reason—he ordered one watch to clear away the port-anchor, while the other stood by to man sheets and braces. Still acting under impulse, which would be obeyed, even though seeming utterly and fatally wrong, he put the helm up until the ship fell off two or three points, repeating to himself the while, " We might as well strike there as any where."

With a free wind the Vanderlyn dashed on at lightning speed, standing directly for the Highland lights. Changing the course created excitement and discontent among the crew. It looked like giving up hope, and hastening to meet the threatening destruction. The men growled to the mates ; the mates spoke their minds to the captain. The pi-lot, peering out into the darkness to leeward, heeded them not, until Captain Winslow approached, saying,

" If you're going to try your ground tackle, the sooner the better, I should say."

" Here ? The anchors wouldn't hold a moment in this soft sand. No, Captain, there is but one possible chance of escape ; and if that fails, we can only go on to the beach at a point where we shall be sure of assistance, and where the ship will not go to pieces the moment she strikes."

While speaking his eyes turned continually with anxious, strained glances over the larboard bow. What there ? A faint line of phosphorescent light, rapidly lengthening and seeming to come nearer. Then a low murmur, strangely audible above the howling of the storm. Louder it grew and louder, until the hollow, hungry roar of the breakers sent a thrill through his heart.

In a moment more the Vanderlyn pitched for-ward on the first ground-swell. The mate, in mortal terror, exclaimed, " We are lost ! every man for himself !"

"To your duty, men, for your lives !" thundered the pilot, and the command had that quality which even then could secure obedience. Springing to the wheel, the spokes went flying through his hands. "Let go weatherbraces, fore'n' aft! let go !"

Still up went the helm, though the Captain won

dered, thinking 'twould be far better to strike head on.

Fore-s'l haul ! main top-s'l !" and almost in the edge of the surf they filled away on the larboard tack. What earthly use ? They couldn't make a cable's length before she'd ground. No. Hardly had they gathered headway when down went the helm once more, and once more the ship came be-fore the wind.

And now the pilot's commands had a ring like a shout of joy. And well they might ; his inspired hope was realized.

The sea had broken over the beach and the old Shrewsbury inlet was open.

The Vanderlyn drove through, hardly grazing her keel, and in five minutes lay safe at anchor in-side the Hook.

Glad huzzas from the crew brought Mr. Stirling to the deck— clinging to his arm, a white, spirit-like figure. As they approached the helm Captain Winslow was heartily shaking hands with the pilot. The old merchant did not at first understand what had occurred. When the Captain had explained to him the state of affairs, he too would congratulate and thank the hero of the hour. But the hero had suddenly disappeared, and with him the ethereal figure in white. After some search his attention was attracted by the flutter of light garments, and drawing near, he heard his daughter saying, " I knew 'twas you, Harry ; I recognized your dear voice hours ago."

Not caring to interrupt the conversation at this point, the old gentleman returned to Captain Wins-low with much wise nodding of the head, and " So so ! Indeed ! Is it possible !"

Reasonably soon he was joined by Harry and Alice, and that importunate young man immediately reminded him of a promise to grant any thing he, Harry, might ask; "and so, Sir, I renew the request I made four years ago."

Which request was not denied on this occasion.

Alice's restoration to health was wonderfully rapid ; but the marriage could not take place until late in the spring of '41. On the wedding-day James Stirling made a statement of account to his son-in-law ; showing that he had used his authority as guardian to make Henry H. Field an equal partner in the firm of Stirling & Field, when that business had been re-established.

The bridal tour began with a voyage to France, in the Vanderlyn; and Harry's last professional act was to pilot her out of the harbor.

THE STORY OF MY LIFE.

MY mother was a poet and a painter. Not noted as such, but as really these as any man or woman that ever lived. Of an intensely sensitive nature, which gave out tones as harps do ; an imagination, which made pictures in her thought as the eye does on its own retina; pure, sweet, tensive, she infused the essence of poetry into daily thoughts, and acted the painter with neither brush nor easel.

She gave me her sensitiveness of nature without its poetic genius and charm. The pain without the bliss. In my young heart there was tension, from which a brush of the hand would awaken sound—music, perhaps; but wild, inharmonious, fitful music. I could suffer ; but the thrill of joy carne rarely.

When I was quite a child I jostled against rough natures in the child's world, and shrank more and more from the pain of contact—as the Brazilian mimosa shrinks from the hand that touches. I was not comely, and I think I was not winning. At any rate my child friends gave me to myself; making me, if not happier, at least more at peace and content.

At ten or eleven years of age some fault of articulation crept upon my speech. Whether it was structural derangement, or came of accident fastened by embarrassment and strengthened by habit, I never knew ; but it grew upon me until it was most noticeable. Another source of pain. If I shrank from contact before, I threw out double defenses now. I built hedges of thorns about me, and neither old nor young ventured through.

One day at school, at recess—it was one of those October days which hang clouds in the sky like pictures, in which Nature holds her breath till not a leaf is able to stir, and the whole day seems waiting for the smile or God to deepen to the sereneness and gravity of night—at recess I was peculiarly free and happy. A little of my younger self came on me; for the day seemed all too deep in peace and beauty for any thing like pain. I was playing briskly on the green grass which the heat of summer had failed to scorch and the frosts of autumn had not yet reached, when a gleeful, unthought-of expression, bursting from my lips, was caught by Willie Day—my friend, if I had any—and repeated in the same stammering way. I looked at him once, was conscious of a sharp pain through my whole being, as though blades had pierced me in every living fibre, and then laid my face in the grass. I never went to school again. Willie hung upon me, wept, and begged forgiveness; I said "Yes" in a stony way, looked at him with a stolid gaze of half-consciousness, was passive, still, no tears, no reproaches; but I never played with boys and girls on the grass again. I never spoke again in the presence of any but my mother and my bird—not in those years.

In giving this picture of unrest and the quiverings of an over-sensitive nature, I must not pro-duce a wrong impression. I was not wholly unhappy. My mother warned and soothed me with her soft tones and sweet thoughts. My bird—" my sweet singer in Israel," my pet, my lover, my child, my little darling !—arched his neck and turned his bright beady eyes upon me always so proudly. It was all the same to Pet whether his child-mistress stammered or no. He loved me and thought me a queen, Ah ! it must be pleasant to be worshiped.

Had my mother been more like others I should have loved her less ; should have been less happy

at home, but more at ease abroad. She taught me the sweetnesses of life, picked the thorns from all beautiful flowers, and gave me to feel the rude contrast of less delicate natures. The unused palm is of velvet and blisters. The chafed hand hardens. My mother and my bird, with troops of kittens as long as the perverse things would stay little—these heard me talk. To all other creatures, human or otherwise, I was dumb, unless the flies upon the window, the bees in flower-mansions, and the birds in tree-tops took notice of my chattering. We must have speech somewhere. Words are the wings of thought. Clip them and thought can not fly.

Mother and I were alone, but for these super-animate, untalkative things. Father had died before. He was a rough, strong man, such as win these angel women ; and in battle, when his regiment stormed a stronghold of almost invincible texture, laid him down to die as only a soldier can. My mother worshiped his memory.

" He was so brave, and rugged, and great !" she would often say, with a glance of light after a day-dream.

" This is your father," mother whispered one Sabbath morning, bringing me a sketch-book, one that I did not remember having seen.

" It is so like!"

I knew at once, by its delicate tone, that the drawing was my mother's. A light penciling of a hand—a man's hand, with its native strength, but light in its manliness and beautiful as a woman's.

We had a pleasant little room apart from our daily use, which was to us, in some sense, what a parlor is to more social families. We called it " The Flower Room." Carpeted with a pattern of lilacs in broad green leaves, with a ground-work of steel ; the walls hung with paper on which were vines with clusters of purple grapes intertwined with columbine and wild-rose creepers, clinging and nestling together ; chairs and lounges in pat-terns of snow-drops and dew-bells; ornaments of Parian marble cut into roses; the windows sentineled by troops of living plants in porcelain jars—and the room almost filled with tables loaded with like fresh and fragrant creations. It was quite a Paradise of beauty.

My mother sketched much, but I never saw more of my father than the hand ; excepting, years after, a single curl, black and heavy, shading a temple. The face seemed hidden by mist.

"I shudder at thought of sketching his face!" she said, one day; " it is impossible to seize the expression, and I should die to see any thing less."

Into this home of poetry and beauty, within which I was folded and shielded as petals are folded within flower-cups, came a great sadness. Mother sickened. I thought she would die ; but, like the arctic sun, she sank so far, and then crept along the horizon of life. She was thus a year, and I cared for her. She did not seem to suffer, nor did she look ghastly with illness; but much of her strength was gone. Lying upon the pillows she talked and planned and smiled and wept, and tried to sketch—but could not do that—seeming just like herself. I was a child of fourteen—an unfit nurse, it appears to me; but mother praised me.

When the year was over we thought to call in Dr. Grey, a young physician, whose name was being known. I went for him, handed him a note, and he came. Dr. Grey thought me dumb. I pronounced him sufficiently ugly in feature to be a marvel of talent and skill, as indeed he was. Mother grew better ; very slowly, indeed, but undoubtedly. In the mean time his profession and his frequent coming gave him a friend's place with us. I never had felt the power of sympathy and heart in a man of mental strength before. He drew me, in spite of myself, and I talked.

A year fled ; and in that year I had learned to love and reverence Dr. Grey. Even my exquisite sensitiveness had received no wound, though the man was as strong as a perfect type of men. But his power was that conscious power which is most provocative of tenderness, against which gentleness is outlined like snow upon a raven's wing. He partially cured me of my fault of speech—partly by kindness, and partly by a strong guiding word at the right time.

He was one of the merriest of men. Somebody has written that power lies in gravity. Perhaps so, when merriment gets the better of self; but while the man holds his poise merriment is only the bead which suggests the wine, I take it.

And now came a new element of disturbance; whether painful or not I can scarcely say. Dr. Grey loved my mother. At least it seemed so, when the thought had once entered my mind. And my mother—yes, I remembered when he first entered the room, and her eye had fallen on his hand—so like the hand of the sketch ! And now recollection flooded me with pictures of little tokens which, in the light of the new thought., made assurance doubly sure.

I told my mother this, and she wept—softly, pleasantly, saying never a word. Was this what had given tint to the cheek and strength to the failing limbs?

I was happy now. The circuit was formed—Dr. Grey, my mother, my birdie, and myself—through us all was daily passing the electric thrill of life.

A few months and my sweet mother folded her hands to unclasp them no more for me till we welcome one another in the new life. Dr. Grey was with me when, in blinding tears, I said the good-by which she could not answer. The rugged furrows of his face were wet, and his eyelashes glistened with dew-drops of tears. God help us when strong men weep!

I was cared for. Never in the years that followed—two, three, four, five—was I beyond the influence of his companionship and care. He al-ways called me " child."

One June morning—we were under the apple-blossoms, the air laden with the perfume of bud-ding cherry and peach and quince bearing trees—he said,

"Do you know how much you have changed since I knew you first--a little dumb girl ?"

" I suppose I have changed. But have I very much ?"

" Yes, child. You were a plain and sombre little girl then. Now you are—may I say it ?" " No, please, Dr. Grey."

" Do you love me, child?"

" Yes."

" How long ?"

" Why, always, Dr. Grey."

" You do not understand me. Will you be—my wife ?"

Then came the sharp, quivering pains of that last school-day ; and I looked at him with the same stolid glance, only saying,

" You are my father, Dr. Grey."

"How?"

" You loved my mother."

" For your sake, yes—drawn by the promise I saw in you, for which I have waited years, to find it a thousand times fulfilled. Will you have my love, child, my first and only ?"

I was almost paralyzed. My finger-tips grew cold, and a something choked me. I asked to be alone ; and he left me till the morrow.

Once alone I retraced the evidence upon which I had based the theory of my mother and Dr. Grey. One by one the columns melted, as though they had been ice and my thoughts warm breezes circling through the corridors. At length the whole vast temple tumbled with a crash. I had mistaken. I knew it—felt it in my soul.

This thought and settled, a living, thrilling flood swept through me. The hour seemed an hour of resurrection, and the past as an old mortal life put off. And this was love—the snow of my reverence and regard loosed from its arctic height, falling in feathery clouds, and melting as it fell.

This was what I had been doing, then, all these years—loving under frost. This was why no other eyes or tones had touched me. This was why he came to be the standard by which I judged such men as gave me homage ; and this was why the homage fell upon me as dust upon white marble.

If a tiny doubt lingered in my thoughts it was all gone when he told on the morrow that he knew from the very first that my mother was dying, and that she, too, knew it quite as well. He had proffered his guardianship for her lone, sensitive child; and this had given the light.

He has called me " child" always. I am not dumb any more.

RICH MAN HAVE A CARE. Loon out for your pocket-book, you rich man there, Here's a beggar-boy coming this way;

He'll ask for a penny, and you've none to spare, Though you've made your cool thousands to-day. His coat it is shabby, and ragged, and thin,

While yours came from the tailor's last night; He's a thief and a jail-bird, corrupted with sin, And his bare touch is poison—the fright!

Hurry home to your fireside, you rich man there; Run away from this barefooted boy:

You've children at home, who are haughty and fair, And the clank of your gold is their joy.

This boy has no home—but that's nothing to you--If he's starving, the fault is his own;

He will sleep on the sidewalk to-night, 'tis true, But he merits a pillow of stone.

He has passed: you are safe now, you rich man there; He is lost in the unfeeling crowd;

That wan, pleading face, those sad eyes raised in prayer, And that wasted form, trembling and bowed.

What is it to you if he dies here to-night?

You've enough that demand all your aid:

You smile—you are glad he is gone out of sight The young vagrant !—he made you afraid.

What is it to you, pray? Ah! rich man beware!
"fives the same God gave him life and you;

He should have but half of life's burden to bear, And but half of life's labor to do.

What is it to you, pray? Rich man, have a care! By-and-by—well, you know it is true:

The great God will heed the poor beggar-boy's prayer When He'll have no more mercy for you!

FORT SMITH AND LITTLE ROCK
ARSENAL, ARKANSAS
.

WE publish on page 148, from sketches by a Government draughtsman, a view of Little Rock Arsenal and Fort Smith, both in the State of Arkansas. The Battery shown in the picture of the former is the famous Bragg Battery which did such good service at the Battle of Buena Vista, and to which the famous " A little more grape, Captain Bragg," referred.

The account of the seizure of this Arsenal is given in the Arkansas State Gazette of 16th February. It is in substance as follows:

"The correspondence for the surrender of the Arsenal was opened by Governor Rector, who informed Captain Totten that he had received reliable information that a large force of citizens were then on the march to Little Rock, with the avowed purpose of taking possession of the United States Arsenal there. The Governor declares it to be his duty, under the circumstances, although the movement was not authorized by him, to prevent a collision between the people of the State and the Federal troops, and therefore demanded the delivery of the Arsenal in the name of the State of Arkansas, to be held subject to the action of the Convention, to be held on the 4th day of March next. This is the only way which can possibly prevent the effusion of blood and the destruction of property of the citizens and the government.

" Captain Totten, in reply to this demand, confesses that he feels himself in trying circumstances, but before agreeing to the surrender of the Arsenal at Little Rock he requests to know from the Governor--

Will the Governor of the State of Arkansas officially take charge of said Arsenal and munitions of war in the name of the United States government, and hold them in that light until future circumstances shall legally absolve him from the responsibility

Will the Governor of the State of Arkansas officially guarantee to said force an unmolested passage through the State in any direction the officer commanding said troops may select ; and guarantee, moreover, to said force the right of carrying with them all the public and private property they brought with them to said Arsenal, all which has been purchased for them, and all which has been sent to them since stationed at said Arsenal, consisting of ordnance and ordnance stores, clothing, camp and garrison equipage, and barrack and mess furniture, as also provisions and all their individual and private property ?  (Next Page)


 

 

site stats

 

Site Copyright 2003-2014 Son of the South. For Questions or comments about this collection,

contact: paul@sonofthesouth.net

privacy policy

Are you Scared and Confused? Read My Snake Story, a story of hope and encouragement, to help you face your fears.