General Halleck Biography

 

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Civil War Harper's Weekly, November 30, 1861

For your research and study, we have posted online versions of our collection of Civil War Harper's Weekly newspapers. These papers give you unique insight into the key events and people of the Civil War. We hope you enjoy this extensive archive of Civil War material.

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

 

General Halleck

General Halleck

Halleck Biography

General Halleck Biography

Confederate Elections

Davis & Stephens Reelected

Making Artillery Shells

Artillery Shells

Map of South Carolina Coast

Beaufort

Capture of Beaufort, South Carolina

Dupont

Samuel F. Dupont

Slidell and Mason

Capture of Slidell and Mason

Springfield

Springfield, Missouri

Hilton Head

Hilton Head, South Carolina

Beaufort, South Carolina

The Beaufort Naval Expedition

Fort Walker

Attack on Fort Walker and Beauregard

Runyon and Albany

Forts Runyon and Albany

Beaufort Cartoon

Last Man in Beaufort

 
 

 

HARPER'S WEEKLY.

[NOVEMBER 30, 1861.

754

MAJOR-GEN. HALLECK, U.S.A.

ON the preceding page we publish a portrait of the new Commander in Missouri, MAJOR-GENERAL HALLECK, United States Army, from a photograph kindly furnished us by Mrs. Halleck.

Major-General Henry Wager Halleck was born on Long Island, New York, about the year 1818, and graduated at West Point in the class of 1839. He stood second in his class, Brigadier-General Stevens, of Oregon, now in command of a brigade at Beaufort, South Carolina, alone outranking him. On the 1st July, 1839, he received a commission as Second Lieutenant of Engineers, and remained at the Academy as Professor for a year.

In 1841 he published a military work on ''Bitumen and its Uses," etc. In January, 1845, he was appointed First Lieutenant; and during that year he was selected, by the committee of the Lowell Institute, at Boston, to deliver one of the regular courses of lectures—the subject being " Military Science and Art." These lectures he compiled into a neat volume during the following year, adding thereto a lengthy introduction on the " Justifiableness of War." The work contains much valuable elementary instruction, as well as abundance of historical illustration, and is written with marked ability. In 1847 he was breveted Captain for gallant conduct in affairs with the enemy on the 19th and 20th days of November, 1847, and for meritorious service in California. He was Secretary of State of the province of California, under the military governments of Generals Kearney, Mason, and Riley, from 1847 to the end of 1849. He was chief of the staff to Commodore Shubrick in the naval and military operations on the Pacific coast in 1847 and 1848, and was a member of the Convention in 1849 to form, and of the Committee to draft, the Constitution of the State of California. In July, 1853, he was appointed Captain of Engineers, and resigned August 1, 1854.

Independent of his military capacity, General Halleck is noted as an able lawyer, he, at the time of his appointment, being the principal partner in the law firm of Halleck, Billings, & Co., of San Francisco. He left his lucrative business to take up arms in defense of the cause of the Government of the United States, and was created by Congress a Major-General of the Army, his commission bearing date August 19, 1861. He is, with good authority, reputed to be a very wealthy man and a good soldier.

He has just published a most important work on " International Law," the fruit of fifteen years' study.

The country expects great things of General Halleck. His past record and his physiognomy encourage the belief that these expectations will not be disappointed.

HARPER'S WEEKLY.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 1861.
THE PROSPECT.

THE arrest of the rebel ex-Senators Mason and Slidell fills the cup of the perplexities of the traitors. Upon the success of the efforts of those experienced politicians the last hope of the insurgents depended. From the first they admitted that they were incapable of coping with the North ; but they relied on the power of King Cotton, and felt certain that Great Britain and France would help them by breaking the blockade. Seven months of actual warfare without European interference have somewhat shaken that conviction ; but still it was hoped that the consummate address of Mason and Slidell would yet verify the predictions of the authors of the rebellion. The capture of these worthies overturns the scheme, and annihilates the rebel hopes at a blow.

In truth, as we remarked in a recent number, the hand of a just Providence has been heavily laid, of late, upon the wicked wretches who have tried to destroy our Government.

The published correspondence between Secretary Memminger and the cotton planters shows that the latter are grievously straitened by the want of a market for their produce; those who reflect upon the wants of a slave-holding planter will readily realize how imperious his necessities are, and how intolerable the war has rendered his condition. Governor Pickens's Message affords further evidence of the suffering of the rebels. Refugees all agree in stating that the distress which prevails at New Orleans, Mobile, and other cities which were formerly centres of Southern activity and industry, is without precedent in history. Every branch and description of business is paralyzed, and thousands of people are fed daily at New Orleans by a State charity. The strength of the South is now its weakness : the people who have grown rich by using the labor of 4,000,000 of human beings without paying them for it, are now impoverished by the necessity of feeding and clothing those four millions without getting any return for their outlay. The merchant has no business to transact ; the ship-owner can not get his ships to sea the planter can not sell his produce ; the laborer can not obtain work; all classes are suffering acutely from the want of articles of prime necessity-woolen cloths, leather, boots, needles, drugs, tools of all kinds, and the thousand and one articles for which the shiftless South has always been dependent on the industrious North. In a military, aspect the South has lost ground steadily ever since the battle of Bull Run. Our

fortifications at Washington are now impregnable, and the hope of taking that city is lost forever. Maryland is now firmly secured to the Union, and we garrison Accomac County, Virginia. Kentucky has cast her lot with the North : Zollicoffer has abandoned the all-important position of Cumberland Gap, and it seems doubtful now whether all the forces of Tennessee will save Buckner from the fate of Williams. The rebels have been fairly expelled from the soil of Missouri. The defeat of Lyon and the capture of Lexington have proved barren victories, which have cost the rebels men and money, and have had the same results as would have ensued from defeats. On the coast we hold Hatteras, which puts an end to privateering; we hold Port Royal, the best sea-port on the Atlantic coast ; we hold Fort Pickens, and will soon be in possession of Pensacola: our blockade is as nearly perfect as any blockade can be. Every privateer sent to sea by the insurgents has either been taken or wrecked ; our ships sail as safely through the Gulf of Mexico as they did before the war. On every side we see the same evidences of decay of rebel strength and defeat of rebel schemes.

On the other hand, the Nation has during the past summer been slowly gathering up its strength for the fight, and the result is one of which an American citizen may well be proud. The United States have at present fully 475,000 men under arms, including the regiments not yet sent forward from their States. They have over 200 ships of war of various kinds at sea and in the various dock-yards and navy-yards—enough to blockade every creek from the capes of the Chesapeake to the Rio Grande. And—what is still more important—they have plenty of money to pay their soldiers and sailors and to carry on the war. The Associated Banks of New York, Philadelphia, and Boston have already lent the Government $150,000,000, and another sum of $50,000,000 will be forthcoming on 1st January ; besides which the people have taken and hold in circulation $13,000,000 of United States Notes, payable on demand, and are increasing the amount daily. All this has been done without any panic or trouble in the money market ; there has been no danger of any suspension of specie payments, or forced circulation of paper money; and there is no prospect of any thing of the kind. Our foreign relations are steadily improving. In April last, Europe was satisfied that " the republican bubble had burst." Now every Court in Europe is satisfied that the Republic is strong enough to maintain itself against all comers, and the Foreign Minister of England expressly warns British subjects against infringing our blockade. There is no fear now that Europe will interfere with the suppression of the rebellion.

We have, since July last, reconquered Missouri, Kentucky, and Maryland ; we have rendered Washington safe beyond all hazard ; we have occupied two important sea-ports on the rebel coast ; we have created an army out of the mob which flocked to the defense of the country when the war broke out; we have got rid of incompetent officers, and placed our best soldiers at the head of our troops ; we have created a navy ; we have, in a word, developed in this country a military and naval strength equal, if not superior, to that of France, and decidedly superior to that of any other nation in the world.

We are now commencing our work. The past has been experimental merely. We are now going to see how long five to six millions of people, without industry, without money, without military resources, and with the distracting element of three and a half millions of natural enemies among them, can resist the deliberately gathered strength of twenty-one millions of people, who have emphatically staked their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor on the suppression of the rebellion and the maintenance of their united nationality. Every day now we shall be making history.

THE LOUNGER.

JOHN BULL.

A FRIEND just from England says that he met very few Englishmen who were not in full sympathy with the rebellion in this country; and yet not one of them thought that in any case England would or should interfere. The persons he saw were chiefly of the mercantile class, and they naturally regard our affairs from the single point of commercial interest. They do not understand, nor ought they to be expected to understand, the merits of the case.

But this testimony only confirms the conviction that we are vindicating ourselves in every way by this war. We have to teach other Powers that we are a nation. We have, by the maintenance of our Government, to put Toryism of every kind in the wrong. We have, by the same means, to conquer the confidence of Trade. The malicious hate of the London Times, the sneering, caustic flippancy of the Saturday Review can not be changed by argument nor propitiated by silence. They will hiss, and strike, and sting as they have begun. They will disbelieve in our success until we succeed, and then they will prophesy that our success is a delusion. The spirit that animates such journals will never he just, or candid, or noble, or friendly, or human. It will always be British, and nothing else.

But the British ignorance and jealousy of America and American affairs will not, as our friend testifies,

and as the chief organs of opinion show, lead England to embroil herself in our struggles. To do so would be to plunge the world into war. The occasion of interference would be the English necessity of cotton. But the first question that Power asks herself is, of course, whether war helps her chances of getting it. But how much cotton is she likely ever to carry from America if she tries to obtain it forcibly? Such a movement upon the part of England would stir us scarcely less than this rebellion. The whole energy of our people, devoted for the last half century, with such amazing success, to trade, would be turned to war. We should accept arms as our career for a generation. The slaves would be at once emancipated without any more hair-splitting. The cotton that was not destroyed by brave bands in the store-houses would be convoyed to England by a fleet. The vast merchant service of the United States, suddenly changed to war ships, would strike at English commerce in every sea. The American market for British cotton goods would be lost. The American supply of grain would be cut off. The five million of English subjects who live upon starvation wages, and for whose relief the war would be waged, would become at once the most dangerous army of paupers in the very heart of the kingdom. How much cotton is England likely to get, and at what price, when these are the necessary expenses ?

Recognition of the rebellious section as an independent power would not help Manchester to cotton. There are certain immutable truths in the conduct of human affairs; and one of the most fixed is, that a great living people like those of the Northern States of this country will not suffer themselves to be expunged as a nation without a struggle, which will be proportioned in energy to their youth, their vigor, their intelligence, and their Saxon quality.

In the event of some great disaster to our arms, it is the opinion of the most enlightened Americans in Europe that the rebellious section would be acknowledged as independent. But they surely deceive themselves who suppose that such a movement would compel us to submit to the insurrection. It might compel us to a long and terrible struggle. But we are quite as prepared for war, all things considered, as any nation. If we did not come out unscathed, certainly England would not come out scathless.

England has thrown away our friendship. For if she has any statesman who knows the course of our current history, he is aware that the spirit in our politics which has hitherto alienated foreign sympathy is precisely the spirit which is now trying to destroy our Government. Consequently the opposing spirit is one which would have bound us more strongly in friendly ties with other powers. Had those powers, and especially England, valued our friendship, they would have shown us natural sympathy. Certainly the fault is not ours that we are now more separated in feeling than at any time since the Revolution. Certainly the fault will not be ours even if English jealousy becomes active and goes to war. That is not probable. But the alienation of the two nations is already accomplished.

EXCHANGE OF PRISONERS.

OUGHT we to exchange prisoners with the rebels? And if so, how shall it be done?

After the battle of Bull Run, when Secretary Cameron sent a letter to " whom it may concern" for the recovery of the body of the Colonel of the New York Seventy-ninth, the rebel General looked at the note, and said, sarcastically, " It doesn't concern me," and dismissed the messengers.

In a war of this kind words are things. General Washington would not receive letters addressed to him simply as George Washington, Esquire. He required to he addressed as General of an army. It was natural, for he was a General of an army. Whether the British thought that he was rightfully so, was not his affair. So the rebels have an army : an army marshaled to undo the work of Washington. And the leaders of that army are Generals, or commanding officers. Is there any harm in saying so? If the address will lead to negotiations by which good men may be recovered, is there any sacrifice of honor?

On the other hand, if the condition of an exchange of prisoners be that the rebel leaders shall be addressed by the United States as a Government, we ought not to wish for an exchange. If we can not recover our brave men in any other way than by calling Mr. Davis President of the Confederate States, the brave men who have been taken prisoners while resisting that claim would be the very first to refuse an exchange. The army of the rebels is a fact, and must be so treated; but their government is a mere pretense, and must be so regarded.

But again, if they choose to release our captive soldiers upon their oath not to bear arms against them, that is a matter for the soldiers themselves to decide. The difficulty in the way of our doing the same, is the fact that the rebels regard us as the Spaniards regarded Protestants, and hold that there need be no faith with heretics. If Southern officers do not feel themselves bound by the flag and their oath to the service of their country, why should we expect them to be bound by any other oath of allegiance or inaction ? If Floyd should be caught and released upon his oath, would there be any doubt that he would fire at us the first gun he safely could ? And if Floyd would do it—we do do not wish to insult any man by comparing him to Floyd—but could we wisely expect his soldiers to regard their oath?

There are not wanting those who say that the war must be taken as a fact, and its conduct governed by the rules of war; and that to address the Confederates as a power, in order to effect an exchange, is not to regard them any less as rebels. But is there much doubt that such an act at the close of the first campaign, and under all the circumstances of that campaign, would be regarded by other nations as a most significant and suspicious sign?

The question is grave. It is a terrible thing to leave our brave men in the hands of such an enemy as the rebels. It is hard for men going into battle to think that, if captured, they can not be exchanged. But it is a consciousness that weighs equally upon both parties. And if the condition of exchange be the verbal concession of the claims of the rebellion, will not many a soldier say, "Yes, it is hard enough. But it is the way in which we must do our duty. 'They also serve who only stand and wait?'"

THE WAR AND PUBLIC CRITICISM.

THE great principles of our political system are still undisturbed although we are at war. The right of candid discussion is not lost, nor is honorable criticism of the management of public affairs suppressed, or sought by any intelligent man to be suppressed. Constant, unsparing, unscrupulous attacks upon the Administration, prompted by palpable sympathy with treason, will be stopped with the cordial approbation of all loyal citizens. In like manner, incessant sneers, taunts, gibes, and insinuations upon the part of men and papers whose loyalty can not be suspected, although not to be repressed by authority, will certainly be condemned by patriotism and the public good sense.

We are to bear in mind that the administration of the Government in its present hands follows and does not lead the popular will. Mr. Lincoln is a man of unsuspected honesty, and entirely unselfish in the dangerous sense. He is emphatically our Chief Magistrate. His aim is to enforce the letter of the law, and to be guided implicitly by the wishes of the nation. Hence, when General Fremont issued his proclamation fleeing the slaves of rebels, the President, who did not mean to pass beyond the strict letter himself, and did not intend that any of his officers should, modified the proclamation so as to bring it verbally within the exact scope of the Act of confiscation. Congress, or the representatives of the people, had just adjourned, after saying precisely what they wished to have done. The President was of opinion that it was not for him or any other officer to do any thing more or less.

Public opinion is thus emphatically the guide of the emergency; and public opinion can arise only through honest and loyal debate. The utmost candor in the discussion of all subjects, limited only by good faith and common sense, is therefore the condition of our success. If the discussion be not conducted in good temper, and with a tone which indicates an earnest wish for success—if it be captious, and clearly the result of prejudice and spleen —the remedy, and it is a sure one, lies in the same public opinion. To abdicate the right of fair and firm criticism at this era of our history is to betray the citadel. It is a Turkish stupor of subservience which would calmly stare upon the ruin of the state. But while this is evident, it is no less so that, while frank discussion of men and methods is essential to the success of our cause, carping, jealous, sneering innuendo, or peevish and skeptical acquiescence, are only less hurtful than open treason.

McCLELLAN'S MOTTO.

GENERAL McCLELLAN'S speech, a few weeks since, upon receiving the Philadelphia sword, has been justly and universally commended. It was manly, and therefore simple and modest. He took the sword as an earnest of public confidence, not as a reward of service. He hoped, he said, to deserve it. We know that he will.

It is old news now ; but one phrase in his speech is golden. It should be stamped upon all our hearts: "I ask in the future, Forbearance, Patience, Confidence"—these three; and who will refuse them ?

One thing is very clear, and that is, that no means of ending the war and restoring the peaceful supremacy of the Government are to be considered out of order for debate. It is idle, for instance, to say that no abolition capital shall be made out of the war. It is idle, because if the Government of the United States can not be maintained without abolishing slavery, it will be abolished. John Cochrane said in New York, that "though he was not in favor of making this a war of emancipation, yet if the exigencies of the service required the putting of arms into the hands of the negroes to fight for the Union, he was heartily in favor of availing ourselves of such a chance of war. This expedient would he no more than our enemies world do toward us. He thought this the general opinion of those who had gone to fight the battles of the Union." And he repeated the sentiment in Washington.

No man of common sense thinks otherwise. For why should we hold up an enemy with one hand; and knock him over with the other?

General Fremont undoubtedly touched the spring of the rebellion in his proclamation. The President, in his letter of modification, did not deny that, as a military necessity, it was competent for any General of a Department to take such a step, but he did not think that the necessity yet existed; and with that scrupulous regard for the wishes of the nation, as expressed in Congress, which becomes every Chief Magistrate, he asked Fremont to make his proclamation conform to the letter of the law passed at the last session.

The words of the law are as follows. They are the Fourth Section of the Act to confiscate property used for insurrectionary purposes: "And be it further enacted, that whenever any person claiming to be entitled to the service or labor of any other person, under the laws of any State, shall employ such person in aiding or promoting any insurrection, or in resisting the laws of the United States, or shall permit him to be so employed, he shall forfeit all right to such service or labor, and the person whose labor or service is thus claimed shall be henceforth discharged therefrom, any law to the contrary notwithstanding."

Events march—to use a Gallicism. The Congress that meets in December will have been instructed (Next Page)


 

 

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