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Civil War Harper's Weekly, September 7, 1861

This 1861 Harper's Weekly newspaper has a variety of important content on the Civil War. The cover has a nice illustration of a Southern Belle. The paper has a story on Ben McCulloch, and a map of the Civil War. The paper also has a nice picture of Winchester, Virginia, and Fort Lafayette.

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


Southern Belle

Southern Belle


Political Catechism


Galveston Bombardment



McCullock and Siegel

Ben McCulloch



Loudon on the Potomac

Loudon Heights

Ben McCulloch

Ben McCulloch Biography

War in the West

Map of the Civil War in the West

Ft. Layafette

Fort Lafayette in New York Harbor


Winchester, VA

Zouaves New York

Second New York Fire Zouaves

Napoleon and Clotilde

Prince Napoleon

Cartoons of War

War Cartoons










[SEPTEMBER 7,  1861.



AT midnight, on my lonely beat,

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.





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 Democrat, mamma?

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 who sought 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 Republican, mamma?

ANSWER. Republicans, 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?

ANSWER. The 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 ?

ANSWER. A 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 ?

ANSWER. A very natural question, my dear. Some of them want offices under Jeff Davis : one wants licenses to sell Southern lottery tickets : another owns 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 compromise ?

ANSWER. Compromise is giving the robber your purse, your watch, your coat, and your boots, on condition that he leaves you your shirt-collar.

QUESTION. What is a fratricidal war?

ANSWER. 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 State sovereignty?

ANSWER. State 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.

QUESTION. What is neutrality, mamma ?

ANSWER. Neutrality, my dear, is meanly shirking your duty as a citizen, and helping the enemy in a cowardly underhand way. A 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 you may 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.


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 believed that General McClellan has the business in hand, and is gradually elaborating it.

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 discipline. General Butler's

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 long ago.



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 supremacy.

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 anarchy.

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 complete surrender.


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 public mind."

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.


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 Washington 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 occasion.

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 arrive.

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 writ?

Why, when the passport system is justly established, is it not made effective at the most doubtful (Next Page)



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