Civil War Overview
Civil War 1861
Civil War 1862
Civil War 1863
Civil War 1864
Civil War 1865
Civil War Battles
Robert E. Lee
Civil War Medicine
Civil War Links
Civil War Art
Republic of Texas
Civil War Gifts
Robert E. Lee Portrait
AT midnight, on my
When shadow wraps the wood and lea,
A vision seems my view to greet
Of one at home that prays for me.
No roses blow upon her cheek
Her form is not a lover's dream—But
on her face, so fair and meek,
A host of holier beauties gleam.
For softly shines her silver hair,
A patient smile is on her face, And the mild lustrous light of prayer Around her
sheds a moon-like grace.
She prays for one that's far away—
The soldier in his holy fight-
And begs that Heaven in mercy may Protect her boy and bless the Right !
Till, though the leagues lie far between, This silent incense of her heart
Steals o'er my soul with breath serene, And we no longer are apart.
So guarding thus my lonely beat,
By shadowy wood and haunted lea,
That vision seems my view to greet Of her at home who prays for me.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 1861.
A POLITICAL CATECHISM FOR
IT is the boast of the United States that our
children imbibe political knowledge almost with their mother's milk, and that
our boys at school possess an experience of political affairs which is not
surpassed by that of average citizens of most foreign countries. We are not
surprised, therefore, that we have received the following
POLITICAL CATECHISM, which appears to have been prepared by some very
sensible American matron for the sake of her boys, and we commend it to the
perusal of young men of all ages:
QUESTION. What is a
ANSWER. A Democrat,
my dear, is a defunct species, of which you will find a finely-preserved stuffed
specimen at Lancaster, Pennsylvania. In their day Democrats were hearty patriots
the good of the whole country. These Democrats
have now gone to the wars, and are fighting
the battles of the country against traitors. Nobody
calls himself a Democrat nowadays except broken-down
politicians who have no honest means of living,
and who assume that title in the hope of being
able to cheat and steal.
QUESTION. What is a
my dear, were people who sought to prevent slavery entering the national
territories. As the question of slavery in the territories (and other places
besides, perhaps) has been pretty thoroughly settled by the great
Rebellion of the slaveholders under
Jeff Davis and
other traitors, there are no Republicans left now,
except a few persons who desire places in the Custom-house.
QUESTION. What is
the Democratic State Committee, mamma?
Democratic State Committee, my dear, is composed of dead bodies which are so
offensive in the sight of God and man that no one has had the charity to bury
them. In November next this unpleasant job will be done by the people at large.
QUESTION. What is a
Breckinridge Democrat ?
Breckinridge Democrat is a person
who desires to see this Union overthrown, and the
rebellion of Jeff Davis successful.
QUESTION. What do
the Breckinridge Democrats want, mamma ?
question, my dear. Some of them want offices under Jeff Davis : one
wants licenses to sell Southern lottery tickets : another
slaves and wants to bring them to New
York : others have money owing to them at the South, and would like to get it :
but most of them are mere vagabonds who want to see anarchy established
in the hope of making something out of it.
QUESTION. What is
coercion, mamma ?
ANSWER. Coercion is
resisting a robber who tries to plunder you.
QUESTION. What is
is giving the robber your
purse, your watch, your coat, and your boots, on condition that he leaves you
QUESTION. What is a
fratricidal war is putting down thieves and traitors who happen to be your
fellow-countrymen. The United States engaged in a fratricidal war when they
chased and caught the traitor Burr : and they would have undertaken a
fratricidal war against the traitor Arnold, in uncommonly short order, if they
could have got at him.
QUESTION. What is
liberty of the press ?
ANSWER. The liberty
of the press, as understood
by the framers of the Constitution, is the right of publishing what you will,
provided no one is injured thereby ; but the liberty of the press, as understood
by the friends of Jeff Davis, is the right of playing the sneak thief when one
has not the courage to play the burglar.
QUESTION. What is
sovereignty, my dear, is a fine
phrase under which bad men choose the laws which
they will obey and the laws which they
will break. It is anarchy
raised into a system.
What is neutrality, mamma ?
Neutrality, my dear, is
duty as a citizen, and helping the enemy
in a cowardly underhand way.
man who stands
by and sees a poor fellow beaten to death by a
rowdy is a neutral, and the model of those who are
neutral in the present war.
QUESTION. What is
the cause of the present war ?
ANSWER. This war, my
dear, is the last dying struggle of slavery as a political power. If you have
read history aright, you must have learned
that all great and powerful systems or bodies die
hard. The Roman Catholic hierarchy, the divine
right monarchies, the feudal oligarchies, all struggled
very hard before they gave way to common sense and the rights of the people.
Just so slavery,
as an element of political power, is now making
its last dying struggle, and
depend upon it, it will fight to the last. But if you have
read your Bible right, and have the true instincts
of a free-born American boy in you, you can not doubt how the contest will end.
HAVE WE AN ARMY?
Now that the Government of
Mr. Lincoln is beginning to realize that we are at
war in earnest, it is to be hoped that no time will be lost in organizing our
present disorganized masses of volunteers into a regular army. There is a good
deal of work to be done before this can be successfully achieved ; but it is
General McClellan has the business in hand, and is gradually
Thus we are assured that the present confusing distinctions between the
regiments contributed by the several loyal States are about to be abolished, and
the whole body of volunteers to be fused into one army, and each regiment to be
numbered as the - regiment of the United States Army. At present, twenty-one
States have sent forth men to fight under the old flag, to say nothing of the
territories. Thus there are twenty-one First regiments of Volunteers, at least
twenty Second regiments, no end of Thirds and Fourths, and so on. This system
of nomenclature naturally opens a door
to much confusion and
possibly grave mistakes. The system of distinguishing certain regiments as
Massachusetts Volunteers or New York Volunteers, moreover, implies a tacit
recognition of the heresy of State Sovereignty which underlies the Southern
rebellion. It is well, therefore, that it be abolished. Its abolition need not
deprive any State of the glory its volunteers may confer upon it. Every body
will quickly learn to identify the new regiments: just as in Great Britain every
body knows that the 79th and 93d are Scotchmen, the Guards Englishmen, the 23d
Welshmen, and the 88th Irishmen.
We are also glad to hear that it is proposed to uniform all the volunteers in
blue army cloth. In every battle that has been fought, fatal blunders have
arisen from the similarity of the uniforms worn by our troops and those of the
enemy. The large plates which we have published, giving the uniforms of troops
in both armies, might, with a few transpositions, have answered for either. It
is absolutely necessary that our soldiers should be able to identify each other
in battle. The very word used to describe the costume of a
soldier—uniform—explains the necessity for the proposed reform.
Other and graver changes are requisite, however, if our army is to be made
serviceable. The system of electing officers is not working well. The troubles
which have arisen in several of our New York regiments show that the judgment of
the privates can not always be relied upon for the selection of the best company
officers : nor have the latter been invariably right in the choice of
field-officers. In the best-officered regiments now in the field the election of
officers was a farce. The colonel chose his major, captains, and lieutenants,
and the privates wisely confirmed his choice. In all probability a strict
application of the new rules requiring all officers to undergo an examination by
a Board would accomplish a similar result for regiments less fortunately
organized, if the Board would do its duty fearlessly. Large latitude should,
however, be granted to commanding officers in the matter of suspending or
cashiering incompetent subordinates. The officers of every mutinous company
ought, for instance, to be reduced to the ranks at once ; for the mutiny is
complete evidence of their incapacity. In like manner commanding generals should
be empowered to promote good men without useless formalities : several hundred
first-rate officers of volunteers could thus be obtained from the
non-commissioned ranks of the regular army.
Again, it should begin to be understood that the nation is really at war, and
that the time for playing at soldiers has passed. Deserters should be shot.
Spies should be hanged. Insubordinate officers should be degraded at once.
Breaches of the rules of the service should be promptly punished. It should be
made clear, in a word, that the work in hand is serious, and not a mere farce.
Nothing demoralizes an army so quickly as lax discipline and a loose impunity
for military offenses. A few examples of rigor are a cheap price to pay for
efficiency and good
Order of the Day announcing his retirement from
the command at
Fortress Monroe is a bitter satire on the
slip-shod manner in which we are conducting the war. If a Napoleon had
been in command he would have shot half a dozen field-officers of that garrison
ONLY ONE WAY OUT.
Our present difficulties can
have but one solution. People speak lightly of two governments as a
possible result of the struggle. The sooner we clear our minds of that delusion
the better. The Administration has
no power to divide the country, nor to consent to its division. It is not
dealing with a foreign power, nor
with rebellious provinces ; it is contending with a tremendous
conspiracy, which can be successful
in one way only, and that is by overthrowing the Government.
The traitors, like Mr. Breckinridge and Governor
Magoffin, who until lately have thought they could
serve the rebellion more effectually by nominally remaining within
constitutional forms, begin to show their teeth, but not their ferocity,
more plainly. In common with the
papers that openly advocate
rebellion under the mask of resisting what they call unconstitutional
acts of the Administration,
they cry out for peace, and to divide if it is found that the rebels and
the Government can not agree.
Suppose, then, that to-day an armistice is declared; that the rebels are invited
to state upon what terms they will lay down their arms, what would be the result
In the first place, the proposition would be a concession
either that the Government despaired of reducing them, or that they had
justifiable occasion for
arming against it. They would then naturally
require guarantees that their control of the
Government should never hereafter be questioned;
that the discussion of questions disagreeable to
them should be suppressed ; and that it should be
understood that the Government of the country
was a league of States, from which any State might
at will withdraw. In order to secure the strict
observance of the stipulations they would claim to
maintain every where a sufficient military force to
prevent serious opposition or disturbance. In a
word, they would do what conquerors always do to
make their conquest sure.
This is upon the supposition that the Government asks the terms of the rebels
for remaining united with the rest
of us. But suppose that they
prefer to leave us to our own destruction, then what terms are they
likely to propose?
As their next neighbors, we must agree not to irritate them; to be their
faithful allies; to send back all their escaping slaves ; to respect their
slave-trade ; and, in general, to perform all the duties of an obedient
tributary province. Because they certainly would be greater fools than any
body believes them to be, if when an enemy asks them to make their own
terms of peace, they did not secure
the permanence of that peace by establishing their own undoubted
The friends of " peace," who know as well as the
rest of us that peace now necessarily means surrender, have only to ask
themselves whether they think
the people of the loyal States of this country
will agree to such conditions. When they consider
themselves conquered, they will, of course, yield to the conqueror's
terms, but not before. And there is
no middle ground. For suppose that the rebels say we only want to be let alone.
What do they mean ? They mean that they wish the Government
would allow every State to go out of the Union whenever it chooses, and
take what it can lay its hands on,
as it goes. That is the least conceivable
condition they could make, and that is simply absurd, because it is sheer
The demagogues who have incited rebellion
against the Government of the United States have got a great deal more
than they bargained for. They
firmly believed that the Democratic party of the North would unite with
them in coercing the Government to
consent to its own destruction. But
they find the great mass of men who have hitherto
acted with that party giving all they have and are to support that
Government. Only a few desperate political gamblers among us feebly try to aid
treason and comfort rebellion. All men see that
there is but one way out of our difficulties: either absolute victory or
THE Lounger in this Weekly and the Easy Chair
in Harper's Monthly are such good friends that whatever is said of the
one is sure to interest the other.
Therefore when the Lounger lately saw in the Tribune that something had
been said in Harper's Monthly which
was absurdly inconsistent with something said in the Weekly, he instantly
wondered if it were his friend the Easy Chair that
might be involved. And to the great satisfaction of his friendship he found that
it was not.
The subject upon which inconsistent statements
were said to have been made was the newspaper, its
real power and influence. The Tribune hinted that
while the Monthly said that the papers follow the
public in this country, the Weekly had "apprehended
the most disastrous results from the mere
popular misapprehension of the wishes of a well-known
journal, so great was its influence over the
Induced by his friendly relation with the Weekly
and his regard for the Easy Chair in the Monthly,
the Lounger has looked to see what had been recently said upon the
subject in their columns. As
both opinions are denounced as " extremes" by the
Tribune, he glanced first, and a little nervously
(such is a Lounger's sensibility to possible censure),
at what he had himself written.
He finds in the Weekly for July 20 three articles
in his column bearing upon the question. In these
articles the Lounger speaks of those who may poison
or debauch the public mind, and thereby do all
they can to effect a purpose ; of those who imperil
the country by hints or innuendoes ; and of what a
shrewd newspaper might do in a certain emergency.
All these things imply that a newspaper has power and influence of some
kind. That was the Lounger's
opinion on the 20th of July, as it is upon the
7th of September.
Looking, then, at what the Easy Chair may have
said upon the subject, he finds that in the September
number of the Magazine, that worthy four-legged friend also speaks of
newspapers, and says: "Do they
control public opinion, or are they controlled by it? Do they lead or follow ?
In this country, at least, it is pretty well settled that they
follow. * * * * Why then does any body card what the newspaper says? Because it
talks so loud. Because it talks so positively. Because it so unwillingly
retracts or corrects. Because it so freely asperses motives. Because it believes
so easily what will make a sensation. Because it is such an inveterate and
vituperative gossip. Because
it talks to a hundred thousand people at once.
These are the things that make its immense responsibility,
and this is the kind of importance it has."
This is undoubtedly the kind of power and influence which every largely
circulated newspaper has; and it must be carefully distinguished from
the simple good sense, perception, judgment, and logic which may
characterize the writers for it. A loud brawler in a public meeting may perplex
and confound the proceedings, but you could hardly say with justice that
he controlled the opinion of the meeting. Men may be goaded into foolish
actions by a brazen clamor, but you would hardly
declare that their opinions had been changed by it. The Easy Chair itself
concedes "importance" to the
opinion of a paper; and it is just the importance of importunate
persistence and clamor : or, as it
says, " the importance of a paper's opinion comes
from the tremendous sonority and echo with which it is spoken." But
controlling public opinion is a very different affair.
It is clear enough, however, that there could
not have been the conflicting opinions mentioned by the Tribune. The
Lounger, therefore, satisfied that neither he nor his friend the Easy Chair are
hit, proffers his sympathy to those who are.
SUPPORTING THE ADMINISTRATION.
THE defense and preservation of the Government of the United States devolve upon
the present Administration. The first duty of that Government
is to act in the most vigorous and comprehensive
manner, forgetting parties and partisans, and aiming only at the
restoration of the unquestioned supremacy of the will of the people
constitutionally expressed. The first duty of all patriotic
citizens is to give the heartiest support to that
Administration, because they can in that manner only help to secure the
great result. If the measures of
the Administration are dangerous, Congress will call it to strict
account. If they are halting and
inadequate, the people will speak in a tone not to be mistaken.
The dodge of the politicians in this State who favor the Davis conspiracy, is to
insist that the Administration is
not acting in good faith ; that it
really wants the Government to be destroyed, and is only pretending to
save it. The assumption is as
reasonable as that a man in a leaky boat at sea is only making believe
bale her out, and really wants her to go down. For, of course, if the Government
is not saved the party under whose administration
it was destroyed would be annihilated.
To call upon the Administration to prove that it does not wish Davis and his
crew to succeed, is like asking a man who is risking life and limb in
fighting with the fire that threatens to consume his house, his family,
and his property, to prove that he does not want to see the house burn down.
How can a mother prove that she does not want to beat out the brains of
her child, except by doing all she can to shield him from every blow ?
There is not a man of common capacity in the free States who seriously believes
that the President is not as earnestly loyal to the Government as
was. Whether he fully comprehends the emergency may possibly be a question
to some minds. But no man would honestly insist that so far as he thought
danger threatened the Government he
was not profoundly sincere in his efforts to avert it.
All faithful citizens, therefore, will unite to hold
up his hands ; while all who treacherously insinuate, to gratify their
partisan malignity, that the
Administration really seeks the ruin of the Government, are doing all
they dare and can to hold up the hands of Jeff Davis.
THE heartiness with which every act of vigor in the conduct of our affairs is
hailed, is a sure sign of the spirit of the people. The just complaint of
the Administration is, not that it is not honest, or patriotic, or
well-intentioned, but that it seems to awake so slowly to the scope of the
Why, for instance, is every thing to be done? On the 24th of August it is
announced that the carrying of letters by express companies is to be
suppressed. On the previous day the order to suspend
the Daily News and other treasonable papers in the city was expected to
Why, then, are not all the treasonable papers in
the land at once suspended, not stopped in this or
that city, or in this or that mail, but suspended altogether ?
Why was not the communication of treason by express companies stopped long ago?
Why, when the habeas corpus is suspended, as it
may constitutionally be in cases of rebellion, is not
the officer in charge of the prisoner instructed to make that return to the
Why, when the passport system is justly established,
is it not made effective at the most doubtful (Next