Poem for a Wounded Soldier


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, November 9, 1861

Below is an online version of the original Harper's Weekly newspaper for November 9, 1861. This newspaper features a variety of original Civil War content. Of particular interest is a large map of the Civil War, showing the various parts of the country at this time. The paper also has news stories on the important events of the war at this time.

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


Santa Rosa

Santa Rosa Island


Poem for a Wounded Soldier

Naval Expedition

Naval Expedition

Mississippi River

Mississippi River Battle


Battle of Leesburg


Arkansas Troops

Lincoln Suspends Habeas Corpus

Lincoln Suspends Habeas Corpus

Plantation Slave

Plantation Slave Cartoon

The Battle of Edwards's Ferry

Shenandoah Valley

The Shenandoah Valley


Annapolis, Maryland

Civil War Map of Southern States




[NOVEMBER 9, 1861.



I'm wounded, Effie, and they say I never can get well; 'Twas in the thickest of the fight that I got hurt and fell. It seems to me like ages, yet it's but a month to-day Since you promised that you'd wait for me though I were years away.

Do you remember —oh! how well it all comes back to me!-

Our sitting in the bright moonlight, under the maple-tree;

When first I said I loved you, and then told you we must part,

For not e'en you could keep me, when my country had my heart?

But I knew you did not wish it, as, your little hand in mine,

You did not try to stay me by any word or sign;

But trying to keep back the tears, although a few would fall,

You bade me trust in God, your God, whatever might befall.

But all my bright ambitious hopes forever now are fled, And the sunlight of to-morrow will fall upon me dead; There'll be one soldier less to fight, one less on earth to


But there'll be another hand to strike the golden harps above.

I have a mother in the skies ; I wonder if she'll know The little baby that she left so many years ago.

But I'm weary, and I can not think: let this your comfort be,

Your love has been the brightest thing in all the world to me.   

W. GOSHEN, Oct. 21, 1861.



MANY of the papers are abounding in outcries about the affair near Leesburg, just as, a few months ago, they were full of fury about the repulse at Big Bethel. They demand a victim for the one as for the other. Brigadier-General Pierce was immolated to appease popular fury in the one case : the question of the day is whether the blame of the more recent defeat must be laid upon General Baker, who is dead, or General Stone, who is living. It seems that somebody must be sacrificed on the altar.

Now it is not altogether best to attempt to correct the popular notion that whenever we fight we must win. The notion itself is absurd, of course; but it has the advantage of spurring our troops on to do their whole duty, and this is a decided gain. .

At the same time, when attempts are made to asperse the reputation of living soldiers like General Stone, or dead heroes like General Baker, it is well to bring a little common sense to bear on the matter.

It is altogether preposterous—between ourselves and our readers—to expect that we shall win every battle that is fought in this war, or that we shall escape losing a large number of men even in the battles which we do win. There never was a war in which victory did not alternate, more or less, between the contending armies, and there never was a general, from Alexander and Napoleon downward, who did not occasionally lose battles. Invincible generals and invincible armies are only heard of in books of fairy tales. Nor is it rational to argue that, because we have twenty millions of people, and the rebels less than seven, therefore we must at once carry every thing before us. It takes time in war for disparity of numbers to make itself felt. Slavery enables the South to bring a much larger army into the field than it could do if its labor were performed by freemen. And lastly, it must never be forgotten that the treacherous leaders of this conspiracy had been maturing their plot and preparing for the contest several years before the idea of a fight entered the mind of loyal citizens. These considerations must always be borne in mind in reading the varying history of the war.

We are engaged in a great war : no mere two-penny campaign for ephemeral principles or temporary rights ; but a great contest to decide whether republican liberty or negro slavery shall be the ruling institution on this continent. To either belligerent defeat will amount to ruin. The defeat of the United States will be the destruction of the republic and of all that we cherish most. The defeat of the South will be the ruin of the institution of slavery, which represents $2,000,000,000 of property, the destruction of which involves the annihilation and reconstruction of the entire frame-work of Southern society. With such a stake at issue, it must be expected that the contest will be fiercely waged on both sides. .

If the Northern people intend to prosecute the war with the perseverance required by the nature of the conflict, they must get over the habit of whining and abusing their generals when they encounter defeats. Defeats are a necessary part of war. People must expect them and take them for granted. The United States enjoy no miraculous immunity from the ordinary fate of nations at war, They must expect

to take as well as to bestow blows. The operation which resulted so disastrously at Leesburg was unfortunate, but not a blunder. Two careful reconnoissances developed no enemy. After they had been made, and our troops had landed, the enemy appeared in force and drove us across the Potomac. This was an ordinary casualty of war, and General McClellan shows his generalship by blaming no one. So at Lexington. It would have been impossible to reinforce Lexington without hazarding the safety of Cairo or St. Louis, and the enemy was allowed to win a barren victory, which he improved by retreating instantly to the borders of Arkansas. Bull Run itself—which has cast a shadow over the fame of one of the bravest, most chivalric, and most skillful soldiers in our army, Irwin McDowell—was an obvious necessity. Nothing but the event itself would have sufficed to convince the people that militia-men are not soldiers, and that time is needed to create armies.

Citizens of the United States, what our country needs of you now is pluck, a little pluck. It is not expected that you should emulate the citizens of Rome, who passed a vote of thanks to Varro, fresh from the overwhelming defeat of Cannae, "for that he had not despaired of the republic ;" but it is hoped that you will not allow two-penny reverses to dispirit you, or to turn your animosity against your own leaders. It is rational to expect that, in the course of the war, all our generals will meet with reverses. What is wanted of the people is that they should not lose heart on this account that they should not denounce a general because he has been beaten ; that they should not heed the ignorant criticisms—after the fact—of babbling editors who have never seen a battle-field : but that, with a large faith in the righteousness of our cause, and the ultimate triumph of law, order, good government, and democracy over anarchy, rebellion, and negro slavery, they should cheerfully submit to the stripes which fate may lay upon them, and should feel as confident of the truth of their principles under defeat as in success. If the people will vouchsafe this, the army will do the rest.


WE break through our usual habits in this number, and devote four pages to the publication of a large WAR MAP of the Southern States. Without intending to disparage any of the maps in existence, we think this will be found more reliable, and more useful to the student of the war, than any other we have seen. It covers the whole area involved in the conflict, from Northern Missouri to Texas, and from the boundary of Kansas and the Indian Reserve to the Atlantic shores. It is printed clearly and legibly, and great care has been taken to mark every river and road in the sections now occupied by the armies.

Such of our readers as wish to keep " posted" on the progress of the war will do well to paste or otherwise fasten this map on a large board against a wall. A series of pins, alternately black and white, should be inserted at the various points occupied by the National and the Rebel forces, and shifted as often as authentic accounts of movements are received. Care should be taken, however, not to confound newspaper rumors with authentic intelligence. The adoption of this simple expedient will render the otherwise confused accounts of the war in Missouri and Kentucky perfectly intelligible, and will shed a flood of light on the newspaper narratives of current events.

We may refer, in this connection, with a feeling of pride, to the large series of war maps published in this journal. They constitute already a valuable atlas—such a one as would cost, if purchased separately, more than the whole price of Harper's Weekly.

MESSRS. J. B. LIPPINCOTT & Co. have published the Revised Regulations of the Army of the United States in a handsome octavo volume, with good paper and good type. Just now, when every man is either a soldier, or the friend or relative of soldiers, this work should be a household volume. We need hardly add that it contains a variety of new rules not contained in the old Army Regulations.



THROUGH the tears with which friends and lovers read the story of Edwards's Ferry they can still smile upon the steadfast bravery of the Massachusetts boys. In the front of a fearful fire, with no means of retreat, with every chance against them, those young men stood serene, each man a hero—each man showing the quality of which invincible armies are made. Colonel Lee refuses retreat and is made prisoner. Major Revere and Lieutenant Perry share his fate, Lieutenant Putnam falls mortally wounded, Captain Drebar falls by his side, Captain Putnam loses his right arm, Captain Schmidt is dangerously wounded, Lieutenant Lowell is disabled. Lieutenant Holmes, said the first brief dispatch, " wounded in the breast:" not in the back; no, not in the back: In the breast is

Massachusetts wounded, if she is struck. Forward she falls, if she fall dead. Of twenty-two officers of the Massachusetts Twentieth who went into the battle nine only returned.

And all New England boys are the bright peers of the Massachusetts. Rhode Island at Bull Run stood fast and steady through the whole ; retired, when the word came, to rest upon their arms, as they supposed, and then renew the battle. "But when the order came to retreat," said one of them, " we were confounded, cursed McDowell, and wanted him hung."

At Edwards's Ferry the Rhode Island battery was said to have been deserted by its men. They were not there, it was reported, and Baker came to serve a piece. No : they were not by the gun ; they were under it. They were at their posts still —but the brave hearts should beat and the strong hand serve no more forever.

Not less ready, not less steady are the other sons of New England. From the pines of Maine, the granite hills of New Hampshire, the green hills of Vermont, and the soft valleys of the Connecticut, they have marched to the battle-field, and every rifle in their hands is loaded and rammed down with an idea. They are not machine-soldiers ; they are men-soldiers. And on the field their hosts are swelled with brothers from California, from New York, from Michigan, from Indiana. They all stand there embattled, and of stuff so tried and true that the sea might as hopelessly dash against Gibraltar as rebellion against their ranks.

From the day at Edwards's Ferry, which to so many loving hearts will be forever a day of sacred sorrow, there is an inspiration and cheer which break joyfully upon every patriotic heart. Disaster, casualty, death, are inevitable. Brave hearts that weep, you know it well! But the heroism of your darlings plucks the sting from sorrow, and conquers disaster. They fall—but their fall prophesies. They die—but, though dead, they speak, they smile. It is they who are " last in the trenches." It is they who teach us that the same old heart that has won all the victories of history still beats. This time it is New England that points the truth. All are brave, thank God ! New York and the West do not falter ; California stands where Baker stood ; the men of Pennsylvania bring arms of iron and nerves of steel. And the men of New England never run.


PATRIOTISM and the national peril may destroy parties, as they have destroyed them with us, but knaves of every degree will still survive. The political banditti who live upon the spoils of intrigue are more alert than ever at such a time as this, as pickpockets are busy at a fire ; and at this very moment, when party lines are obliterated, and a dozen skeleton regiments of parties are in the field, each claiming to be the Simon pure, original, and unswerving National Union Party, the people of the city of New York are in danger of falling a prey to a worse municipal government than they have ever known.

As fast as the new combinations have been formed they have been quietly bagged by adroit and unscrupulous politicians. A few men control at this moment, and for their own peculiar advantage, the various political movements in the city. They are men of all the late parties ; some of them shamefully notorious for conduct that should send them to prison as well as expel them from every decent home. They are men, many of them, without principle of any kind, who would rather make terms with traitors than with patriots, and who seek the control of the city government that they may plunder the citizens and enrich themselves under the forms of law.

If the ingenuous reader demands the names of these culprits, the reply is, that in politics much is known which it is difficult to prove. There are men whom nobody suspects of honesty against whom you might find it difficult to maintain even a charge of falsehood. There are men whom you refuse to speak to in the street, whose infamy you could not personally establish.

The game of city politics in New York is played for the spoils. And it will continue to be so until decent people go to primary meetings. The work is done there. The polls are a useless ceremony afterward. And, of course, when the body of the people is corrupt or indifferent, the popular system is a failure. And a failure it unquestionably is in the city of New York. The best thing that has happened to us for a very long time was the new police system. Heaven forbid that any man should suppose that system to be free from corruption, but it is, at least, a counter irritant. If the people who control the rest of the municipal organization controlled the police, a Vigilance Committee would be a question of time only.

The only safety at this election will be in scratching freely. Vote for no man of whom you are ignorant; and inform yourself, somehow, of the character, or at least the reputation, of every man for whom you do vote.


OF all the serious jokes of this war that oath of allegiance seems to be the chief. The bitter sarcasm of the soldier in Western Virginia, that the venomous snake should be sworn and let go, is certainly not an inapt expression of what is at least generally believed to be the value of the oath as a defense against treason. Clearly a man who thinks that the Government of this country may be justly overthrown, and that the Government is guilty of barbarous tyranny in maintaining its authority, will have no compunction in taking the oath of allegiance to the Government in order that he may more effectually injure it. It is, in his view, an oath under duress. To release him upon his oath is virtually to give him greater immunity for doing harm.

That this is a very obvious and just view is shown in the case of Mr McMasters. He was

sent to Fort Lafayette upon suspicion of treason.. After some weeks he is released upon taking the oath. But before he takes it he protests that he considers it superfluous, because he had already taken it when he became a citizen. Now he had respected the original oath, or he had not. If lee had, it is evident that in his view it was consistent with what the Government calls treason. If he had not, then, of course, he would no more respect the second oath than the first. And how, if Mr. McMasters was dangerous before his imprisonment, he is any the less so now it is impossible to see.

The question will then be asked, how is the Government ever to know whether a traitor is really converted or not?—what other test can there be than an oath? But the question is. already answered; for if treason be held by any man consistent with honor, no word of his honor will preclude treason, provided, of course, that he can safely commit it. The only gain to the Government from the release of such a prisoner is, that he will naturally be more carefully watched. Suppose that Mr. Street Commissioner Smith had been arrested, as he ought to have been, would the Government have been any securer from his efforts if he had taken the oath of allegiance? And is there any doubt that he would willingly have taken it? Probably he would have considered what the Government calls treason consistent with that oath, and if he had seen a chance of striking a blow for the rebellion, he would unquestionably have dealt as savage a blow as he could.

In all such cases, if the Government chooses to release the prisoner let him be released. But why perform the solemn farce of administering an oath which he says he has already taken and observed ?


THIS Scotch gentleman, who sits for Ayr, we believe, in the British Parliament, has just gone home. His report of our affairs will doubtless be most unfavorable. He intended when he came that it should be so. For he came a Tory of the Tories, a man who hates our republican system as heartily as he does polygamy. Such a man could not but see with jaundiced eyes. It may be truly said that it was impossible he should either understand our situation justly or interpret events fairly. He came persuaded, and he returns convinced. He came, sure that a republic could not succeed ; he returns, confident that ours is a failure. He came a Tory, and he goes a Tory.

Doubtless his public criticism of our affairs will return to us. Like a true Tory, he will make the most capital for Toryism out of our troubles that he can. For we must not forget that our condition is matter of party, as well as national interest, in England. The Tories who hold that government is properly a hereditary interest, and that only rich people should govern—for the Tory theory inevitably comes to that in practice—and govern under certain social forms, are battling as usual with the intelligent middle class or people of England. Mr. John Bright, who is the present representative of that class, early in our struggle showed that he understood it. He is the representative also of the cotton-spinning interest, but the cotton neither blinded his eyes nor smothered his conscience. Mr. John Bright believes in the ballot and an extended franchise; and in days gone by he has appealed to our example to justify the wisdom of his claim.

What weapon more trenchant could the Tory chief, Lord Derby, and his friends find than our civil war ? "This is your argument, is it?" they shriek in chorus. "This is the awful gulf into which you would plunge our beloved Britain! This is the unveiled horror and sum total of your radicalism ! Wicked John Bright, you would extend the franchise, and put the hand of brother against brother, must you ! You must vote by the secret ballot instead of our honest old British way of holding up hands or crying aloud, and so sweep away the last lingering landmarks of the British Constitution, must you ! Dear people of England, over whom a gracious Providence has set us and our friends, the American republic has dropped to pieces. A frightful, fratricidal, wicked war is waged there. Can any of you tell us why Mr. Jefferson Davis should not be President of the South as well as Mr. Abraham Lincoln of the North? No, Englishmen, legitimate heirs of roast beef and plum-pudding; no, sons of Britannia which will ever rule the waves; no, frog-hating Britons, who never, never, never will be slaves, you can not tell us why : not a man of you has the least idea why ! And there is no reason why Mr. Davis has as good a right to be President as Mr. Lincoln. Under a system of extended franchise and the secret ballot every body has an equal right to every thing, the foundations of civil society are broken up, and nothing is possible but a short, staggering peace, and a long, sanguinary war. This is what John Bright wants. He calls himself your friend; but we are your friends. We give you greased poles to climb, and bags to run races in, and collars to grin through. Huzzay for the sports of merrie old England ! We offer you a foaming tankard when our eldest sons—the natural and hereditary legislators—come of age, and John Bright offers you a vote. Faugh! He offers you a civil war and starvation and bloodshed. Don't you see it ? Well then, here is Sir Bulwer Lytton, who will inform you that it was inevitable; that such a great power must necessarily crack and crumble; and every honest Briton ought to be glad to see the wreck of a rival of old Britannia on the waves. Because if the Republic did not go to pieces she might fairly leave us in the lurch. And that she has gone to pieces, and that we had nothing more to fear from her rivalry in peace or war, and that we shall travel the same road if John Bright has his way, will now be shown you by Sit James Fergusson, who has just returned from America, who has seen both sides, who knows all about it, and who will finish the United States and Mr. John Bright in a very few words."



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