Description of the Merrimac


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


Site Search

Civil War Links


Civil War Art

Revolutionary War

Mexican War

Republic of Texas


Winslow Homer

Thomas Nast

Mathew Brady

Western Art

Civil War Gifts

Robert E. Lee Portrait

Civil War Harper's Weekly, November 2, 1861

This site features readable versions of the original issues of Harper's Weekly newspapers from 1861-1865. You can browse these newspapers by topic, or search on a specific topic using the search box on the bottom of this page. We hope you enjoy reading these old newspapers, and gaining perspective on the important people and places of the Civil War.

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


The Merrimac

The Merrimac

Closing the Potomac

Rebels Close Potomac


Battle of Bolivar


Geary's Artillery

Army of the Potomac

Army of the Potomac


Civil War Food


Tipton Missouri

The Merrimac

Description of the Merrimac


Craney Island

Civil War Funeral

Naval Expedition

The Great Naval Expedition


Civil War Submarine

Prison Richmond

The Richmond Prison

Rebel Cartoon

Rebel Cartoon










NOVEMBER 2, 1861.]



(Previous Page) death—because Mays never took any thing hardly, not even the small-pox, which once visited him, leaving one white mark on the side of his handsome nose.

It wasn't pleasant to see Ventnor's splendid sliding ease of step as he whirled past with Carlotta. If he had made a bungle of it he could have forgiven him, but that perfect movement defied criticism. After the waltz the two strolled out upon the piazza, and here suddenly the gentleman reeled, and would have fallen, had it not been for the slight little arm that was linked within his. He sat down, and presently explained.

"I have been ill, Miss Delevan, and the change of air after the exercise made my head spin."

" Oh, you are off on furlough, getting well ?" she asked, with some satisfaction.

"Exactly," he replied, not a little amused at her direct simplicity, "off on furlough, getting well—that is just it, Miss Delevan."

She colored a little—had she been too curious? But his manner was very frank and kind, so her mind eased itself, and the talk flowed so readily that she found it was eleven o'clock before she knew it. Rising to go in, she said to him :

"Come to our private parlor, Mr. Ventnor, and let me present you to my mother : she will be glad to make you comfortable if you are an invalid, and to ask you about the army, for our Will's sake."

He thanked her brightly. He liked the cordial freedom of her invitation, and told her how glad he would be to come.

So it came to pass that morning after morning "Vayle Ventnor, Private," might be seen half-sitting, half-reclining, upon Mrs. Delevan's own particular lounge in her own particular private parlor. On one of these mornings Carlotta was enlightened.

It began in this way : She had picked up an old paper, and her eye fell upon the two names again in a roll-call— "Vayle Ventnor, Private," and "Jeremiah Jones, Captain."

She laughed out with the gleeful memory—then told him the whole story; but the telling is too naive to lose.

To his question, "What is it so funny, Miss Delevan?" she replied,

"Why, you must know that when you first arrived, the day after you picked up my fan, you remember, I thought you were Captain Jeremiah Jones."

"You thought—how should you think that?"

"Well, you see, when you restored my fan that night I remarked to Raymond Mays, as you went back to your seat, that you were military. "The next morning, as I was looking over the list of arrivals, I came upon the two names—'Captain Jones and Vayle Ventnor;' and I supposed, of course, that you were the officer, as I had no knowledge of military dress-distinction, and there was but one military prefix, and I remembered your costume as belonging to some regiment. Do you see ?"

"Yes, I see," he answered, trying not to smile at her straight simplicity.

" But who in the world is 'Captain Jones—Captain Jeremiah Jones?'" she suddenly asked. " I haven't thought of the real Captain actually since I discovered my mistake—how funny!"

"He returned the next day after his arrival—you probably didn't see him. He is the Captain of my company—a good fellow, and an excellent officer. But let me ask another question: How did you know his name to be Jeremiah ?"

" Why, I saw it in a paper—like this," and she handed the one she held to him—then followed other little reminiscences—the meeting on the stairs, etc., till at last Carlotta asked a plump question, coloring prettily all the time,

" I want to know how you came to be serving as 'Private'—will you tell me?"

"Why me so especially?"

"Because Ward says you are rich and aristocratic. Richmond Ventnor's son."

He laughed.

"Yes, it is very true. I am rich and aristocratic, as the saying goes, and Richmond Ventnor's son; but what has that to do with it?" he concluded, determining to draw her out. She made her eyes very round at this; and then repeated the usual objections—the usual reasons why rich and influential men shouldn't serve as "privates"—Raymond Mays's objections and reasons.

He heard her through, then his whole face changed, as he turned it toward her, and his light laughing words of a moment since changed to perfect seriousness as he answered:

"Miss Delevan, when the news reached me of my country's peril I was in Paris at my father's house. A steamer sailed on the next day for America. I made my preparations and sailed in it. My life had been a student's life: I knew nothing whatever of military drill ; but I was able and strong, from being a good gymnast—so I set myself to learn my new trade by enlisting as a private at once."

"But you have been serving three months—surely you have some experience now?" she interposed.

" It hasn't made a good soldier of me yet, at all events. I have much to learn before I shall think myself fitted to command in any degree. In the mean time, the country calls for a larger army, and because I ant unfitted for an officer, shall I wait at such a time for a commission ?"

"But you would not have to wait, with your connections in the military and political world," she said ; not half seeing yet his modesty—his manliness.

"No, I would not have to wait, it. is very true," he exclaimed, with some sarcasm. "Miss Delevan," sitting upright now, and lighting with scorn, "I am sick and ashamed of the shallow advantages of position-of the miserable presuming expectations that grow out of it. It is continually putting men in the wrong place, and building up gigantic errors—such errors as we are to-day striving to amend. It humiliates me to think that to my position in the world do I owe perhaps any advancement, instead of to my own strength and

powers as a man. I long sometimes to throw off these ' circumstances,' and for a time to meet the world face to face, and on its own terms. But pardon me for boring you with my theories;" and he sank back upon the lounge again to silence.

So Carlotta was enlightened.

As she sat there in the silence she pondered what she had heard. This did not sound like Raymond Mays; yet Raymond Mays was a brave fellow, and a manly one. She had never heard any one talk like this before; but it struck an answering chord in her own nature. Of course she liked him better for it. He thought she didn't understand—that he had bored her with his earnestness on what he supposed would be a vague theory to her; for he looked upon her as only a sweeter specimen of the young lady genus, that bloomed in fashionable society.

By-and-by she said, in a dreamy, absent manner, as she sat, with her cheek leaning in her hand : " I wish you would talk in this way to Raymond Mays."

"Why to Raymond Mays?" he questioned, in surprise.

"Oh," still dreamily, thoughtfully, "he is waiting for a commission. He says he don't like the associations of a private's life—that it is too hard labor, and too generalizing; that if he is going to risk his life, he means to do it in a manner that is most agreeable to him," etc.

"Personal ambition ! that is it ; it stands in the way of the whole thing. Every man for himself, instead of a grand unit in thousands of men..... But are you anxious for Mr. Mays to go?" and he here looked at her rather curiously.

" I am anxious for all men to go who can," as I told him.

"As you told him ? But pardon me."

"I have nothing to pardon in that. But why do you ask it?"

" I was surprised."

"Surprised? Now I am curious. What is there surprising in that ?"

"Miss Delevan, I wish you would let me ask you a plump question."

"I will."

"Are you not engaged to Mr. Mays?" "Engaged to Raymond Mays? No. What put such a thought in your mind ?"

" I can hardly tell ; but I somehow received the impression."

"And that is why you were surprised that I told him I was anxious for all men to go! Mr. Ventnor, I have never talked very earnestly upon any earnest topic with you, not because I have doubted your earnestness, but because I have met so few persons who feel just as I do upon many things that I am shy of speaking. But after your avowal a moment since, I know you will understand me when I say that, were I engaged to Mr. Mays, I could not wish him to stay behind at this issue, even awaiting a commission," she concluded, smiling. He looked at her with a new expression. This was fine, and he told her so.

"I don't know," she went on, thoughtfully. "Sometimes I think perhaps it is because I haven't been tried in that peculiar manner. Women whose husbands and lovers have gone, and to whom I have expressed this, say I am unwomanly, or that it is because I have never loved."

"It is because you are unselfish!" he exclaimed, with energy. "That is the mistake half the women make. They rarely discern between selfishness and unselfishness, where the heart is concerned. And you, Miss Delevan, are the first woman I ever met who could."

The honest admiration with which he regarded her at this point was unmistakable. It pleased her, of course, and she expressed it by saying, simply, "I am so glad you think so."

He gave a quick look into her face. Such a mixture of frankness and reserve, he couldn't make her out. Musing, he presently said,

" Carlotta!" Then, recollecting, "Pardon me, Miss Delevan—"

She waved her hand at him deprecatingly, and interrupted with, "No, no; call me Carlotta. I like people—I—to call me Carlotta."

What was she about to say? I like people—I —like to call me Carlotta? He wished he knew.

"But say on," she resumed, "what you were going to say to Carlotta."

" Oh, just a fact which may sound like mere compliment, but which I assure you is not, that before to-day I thought you something sweeter than most young ladies; but now you stand to me as a type of what woman should be."

"Oh, that is a great deal to say; but I think you mean it as you assert."

"Yes, I mean it, Carlotta; and more—go on as you have to me; talk. out such sentiments. Be brave and honest and true to whatever convictions you may have, however unpopular they may be. Will you ?"

He was very earnest—not gallant as Raymond Mays would have been—but in hearty earnest for the truth's sake.

" I will try," she answered. Then she thought, "He called me Carlotta—how sweetly he says it! He is certainly very fine, and handsomer than Raymond Mays!"

" Alas for Raymond Mays ! Two or three more days went by, and the band played, and the carriages rolled, and people took life gayly in sound of the great surging sea at this thoroughfare of fashion. In this time "Vayle Ventnor, Private," became better acquainted with la Carlotta. From the text of that morning they had gone on into the deeper waters of existence—had talked finer and freer, and thus discovered much more of each other.

In the mean time Raymond Mays, handsome fellow!—much handsomer be it known than Vayle Ventnor—mean time he chafed and fretted inwardly at this ripening acquaintance, and outwardly conducted himself in a most disdainful manner toward the former gentleman.

"The girl's head is turned with his wealth and position!" he blustered one night to Ward Wyman.

"No, no, Mays, be generous; I don't think that of Carlotta : besides, you don't know Ventnor—you won't know him ; that's it. There was never a finer fellow in the world."

Mays sneered and turned away.

It happened that very night that he was present at a club-room, and heard a conversation between Ventnor and another, wherein Ventnor gave his reasons and opinions pretty much as he had done before Carlotta Delevan.

Still Mays sneered and scoffed.

The conversation wandering off, a lieutenant of the regular army suddenly said,

"Here is Mays now who is waiting, and with better reason than most. Mays was in the Crimea, you know."

"No, I didn't know."

" Yes, he was in Europe at the time, and joined the allied forces out of sheer blood-thirstiness, I believe. Isn't it so, Mays? Here, come out of your corner, and tell us all about it."

Mays "came out," saying there was nothing to tell, modestly and a little crossly.

But Ventnor was so interested, so genial and frank, there was no resisting; so Mays told them "all about it" that he knew.

"Berge says you were the best-drilled soldier of all the volunteers, Mays," the Lieutenant went on, "and that you had at one time the temporary command of a company."

"Why, I should think it was easy enough then for you to get a commission," one said.

Mays shrugged his shoulders, and retorted, "Bah! I haven't influential friends in the right department, you know."

Vayle Ventnor blazed forth in the same indignant protest that he had brought forward upon another occasion, and when he had ended there was a determined look around his firm-set mouth that told of a purpose.

When Raymond Mays left the club-room that night it was actually with a friendly nod to Ventnor's cordial " Good-night!"


A few days more and the furlough would have expired. "Vayle Ventnor, Private," was a sound, hearty man again. There was no excuse now for delay, though the band played Die Schonbrunner in such melting, memorizing strains, and the Star-Spangled Banner rolled through the halls.

Whistling the latter lustily to get the former out of his head, he was rushing up the stairs and round a corner—that fatal corner—when swirl ! came a silk gown and its owner. He opened his arms in a flash—into them he took silk gown and all—all the pretty, pretty wearer. He gathered her up with a little exulting laugh, and set her down inside the private parlor ; but not until he had said, "Carlotta, be my Carlotta, you little darling!" and she had promised that she would.


" So you are engaged, Carlotta?" Raymond Mays remarked, a short time after this.

" Yes, I am engaged, Raymond."

"'Well, I give you my congratulations. Carlotta, look here." He handed her an open letter. She read—an appointment to a Captaincy in the -th Regiment.

" Oh, I am so glad for you !" she exclaimed. "How came it ?"

"It came by Vayle Ventnor, Private, though he does not know my knowledge of his influence."

Then he told her of their conversation at the club-room, and how directly after that he received this appointment, through Governor- and Colonel—, who were both near relatives of Vayle Ventnor. "And now, Carlotta, I have offered you my congratulations, I am going to him for the same purpose, and to thank him. He deserves his happiness, for he is a good fellow; but I wish he never had come here after all, Carlotta."

"Then you would never have got your commission," she answered, slyly.

"But," bending down, "shouldn't I have got Carlotta ?"

" Oh no, no ; we were both too old acquaintances, Raymond. You'll like somebody else much better than you ever did me."

He stoutly denied this possibility; but all the 'time he was adjusting his spelted sash with infinite satisfaction, and Carlotta said unto herself, "I'll risk his heart while it beats under that uniform."   -

He held out his hand. " Good-by, Carlotta ; I sail to-night." He tried hard to look miserable, but all in vain.

" Good-by!"

Then suddenly, in a quiet flash of feeling, he bent nearer. The "good-by" was a kiss. She laughed.

" How dare you, Raymond ?"

"For old acquaintance' sake, and because next time I see you you will be Mrs. Vayle Ventuor—Private."


ON page 692 we publish views of the new REBEL BATTERIES erected at Sewall's Point and on Craney Island for the protection of Norfolk. They are thus described in a letter to the Herald:

The rebels are evidently expecting some move. They are very busy at Sewall's Point; twenty large guns are mounted, and from the present state of movements more will soon be put in place. At Craney Island thirty-four iron bull-dogs show their ugly muzzles. This piece of work was built for the purpose of preventing shipping from passing up Elizabeth River. About twelve guns of the largest calibre bear on the approach to the mouth of the river, while twenty-two command the passage up. It is almost an impossibility to pass this battery, which is beautifully constructed, and is certainly one of the finest pieces of earth-work I ever saw. With a proper force the rebels might be driven out by shell, but it would cost many lives and some vessels to do it. The batteries on Sewall's Point are composed of six distinct intrenchments, the first mounting two guns in embrasures and one on parapet. The next mounts nine, all in embrasures, which are flanked with logs. The next battery is provided with three guns en barbette. Two small batteries are next in order, each mounting one gun en barbette. The next battery mounts two guns en barbette. A heavy gun on a ship

carriage planted on the beach completes the line of defenses. With proper management it would be an easy matter, comparatively speaking, to drive the rebels out of this line of batteries. The Sawyer gun, on the Rip Raps, can trouble them very badly now. Although I have taken up this subject to-day, I do not wish to be understood that any active steps are to be taken in relation to these points ; but as I have had an opportunity lately of having these batteries described to me, I thought it would be a matter of some interest to record the position of the rebels in this locality.


WE publish on page 689 an illustration of the STEAMER "MERRIMAC," as she is at present. Our picture is from sketches by the mechanic alluded to in the following extract from the Herald correspondence from Fortress Monroe :

A mechanic who came over under a flag of truce last evening furnishes us with some very valuable information in relation to the steam frigate Merrimac. He says her hull has been cut down to within three feet of her light-water mark, and a bomb-proof house built on her gun deck, and that she is not iron plated as yet. Her bow and stern have been steel clad, with a projecting angle of iron for the purpose of piercing a vessel. Her armament consists of four eleven-inch navy guns on each side, with one 100-pounder Armstrong at the bow and stern. She has no masts, and only a pilot-house and smoke-stack are to be seen above the bomb-proof deck. Her bomb-proof is three inches thick and made of wrought iron. He states that she will not be ready for at least two weeks. He claims also to have worked upon her, and to have lived very near to the navy-yard. He was taken on board of the flag-ship and interrogated in relation to her, and gave his statement as above.


WE illustrate on page 701 one of the fights which are now occurring daily on the Potomac. It is thus described in a letter in the Herald of 16th October:

The United States gun-boat Seminole, Commander J. P. Gillis, U.S.N., arrived this morning, bringing intelligence of her engagement with three rebel batteries at Evansport, on the Potomac River, above Aquia Creek. The Seminole left Washington yesterday, with the Pocahontas, the latter being somewhat in advance of the Seminole. As the Pocahontas passed the batteries at Evansport, she fired a few rounds to see if the rebels would reciprocate, but they did not seem to heed it. But as the Seminole came down the three batteries opened full fire on her, throwing rifled shot and shell at her at a tremendous rate. She immediately returned the fire as fast as possible, throwing in shell among the rebels, seriously annoying them. During the engagement she was struck in several places. A heavy shell exploded close under the bows, throwing the water over the forecastle deck in large quantities. A ball passed through the rails over the engine hatch, another through the hammock nettings, and several more in other parts of the vessel. A rifled ball struck the mizzen-mast about fifteen feet above the deck, badly injuring it. It was fished, however, and will probably last for some time. A few splinter wounds were all the casualties on board. Some of the rigging was cut by the shot. Captain Gillis reports seeing two large bodies of troops marching up the river. Both of them were above Aquia Creek.


THE public are but little aware of the extent to which the wants of our army are now supplied by the provision dealers of New York, and the illustration on page 695 will be viewed with interest. Clear it is that this class of our community must be profiting largely by the present state of the nation, whatever may be the amount of injury done to other branches of our trade. Neither is the public aware of the sedulous care taken by the Government to secure the best class of provision or the means by which this is effected.

Major A. B. Eaton is the Commissary of Subsistence for the United States Army in the city of New York, and inspects, or causes to be inspected, every pound of cured meat, and each barrel of flour or army bread which is sent from this city to Washington. That this position is no sinecure may be judged from one fact alone. This is, that one baker who, at the commencement of the steps for the repression of the rebellion, was called on for only 50,000 pounds of army bread, or rather biscuit, per week, in isolated orders, is now fulfilling an order for 200,000 pounds per week, for the next two months. The salt pork is weighed and examined at Getty's yard, at the foot of Spring Street, on the North River; and we should not care to state the quantity which is daily subjected to his scrutiny, lest we might be accused of romancing. We may, however, mention that the whole of the meat is turned out of the barrel in which it is delivered there, and each portion scraped from the salt and carefully examined previous to being packed again, subject to the orders of the Government. Beef, sugar, flour, and other necessary articles for the consumption of our troops, are also contributed largely. From the care shown in the minute inspection of the provision, it must be obvious that the complaints so extensively raised by the volunteer regiments, respecting the quality of their provisions, can not have been attributable to the rotten state of the meat or the refuse ground up with the flour that has been purchased in, and sent on from New York.

After the Commissary of Subsistence has fulfilled his duty and examined, or had the provisions purchased by him examined and packed under his supervision, they pass from his charge to that of the Assistant Quarter-master General, Colonel D. D. Tompkins.

This officer has the superintendence of their transmission to Washington with the various military stores sent through New York to that city. In order to give some idea of the amount of business which he has to do in these stirring times, we may say that the means of conveyance for army material and provision have, for the last five or six weeks, averaged two propellers per day. These boats sail from Pier No. 10 on the North River. Their average size is from 240 to 260 tons; so that we may say on a rough estimate, somewhere about 3000 or 3500 tons of provision and military stores in bulk are transmitted weekly to Washington from New York alone. This fact may give some idea of the colossal nature of the internal struggle in which our Government is at present engaged.



site stats


Site Copyright 2003-2018 Son of the South. For Questions or comments about this collection,


privacy policy

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