The Battle of Cedar Mountain


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, August 23, 1862

Welcome to the Civil War Harper's Weekly online newspapers. These newspapers contain rich illustrations and descriptions of the key events of the Civil War. They are a critical resource that can be used to develop an in depth understanding of the key issues of the conflict.

(Scroll Down to See Entire Page, or Newspaper Thumbnails below will take you to a specific page of interest)


US Capitol

The US Capitol

Battle of Cedar Mountain

Battle of Cedar Mountain

The Battle of Culpepper

The Battle of Culpepper

Edmund Ruffin House Burned

Edmund Ruffin's House Burned

Ironclad Navy

Ironclad Navy



Abraham Lincoln Speech

Abraham Lincoln Speech

Edmund Ruffin House Burning

Edmund Ruffin's House Burning

Army of the Potomac at Harrison's Landing

Army of the Potomac Camp at Harrison's Landing

Heron Creek new Harrison's Landing

Heron Creek

Map of Richmond Virginia

Map of Richmond Virginia

Steinway Pianos

Steinway Pianos

Elisha Hinman

Elisha Hinman

Civil War Draft Cartoons

Draft Cartoons











[AUGUST 23, 1862.



SOFTLY the shadows come and pass As the birds go lightly by,

Like waving blots on the shining grass

Or against the bright blue sky—

And I know that birds sing heavenly songs,

For in days now past and gone

This ear, that gives no sound or thrill,

Drank in each liquid tone.

In solemn silence, dark and deep,

Life's current slowly flows,

Its course so still, no echo breaks

The changeless, drear repose.
I see the eye grow quickly bright

And smiles on the faces dear;

I thank my God for the gift of sight,

But a voice I never hear.

No footfall tells that friends are nigh,

For they come and go like ghosts—

Appear beside me quick as thought,

And as swiftly they are lost.

When a skillful hand sweeps o'er the chords,

Then I see the harp strings thrill;

But the wave of music finds no shore

To break on—all is still.

Then I think of Him, whose potent touch Unstopped the deafened ear,

Thankful of heart, through Him I know

In the better land I'll hear—

When the angel songs through the ranks resound,

And the harpers' praises swell,

On "the shining shore" will the tide come in, And the breakers say, "All's well!"


WE illustrate on page 541 the brutal and cold-blooded murder of GENERAL ROBERT L. McCOOK, who was assassinated by miscreants calling themselves guerrillas, near Salem, Alabama, on 5th instant. The correspondent of the Philadelphia Press thus recounts the outrage:

NASHVILLE, August—Midnigaht.

The city is in a perfect uproar of excitement over the details of the death of the brave General Robert L. McCook, of Ohio. His remains arrived in town to-night, and are now lying at the Commercial Hotel.

I write this at midnight, and therefore am unable to send you as full particulars as I could wish. On Tuesday last General Robert L. McCook, who was at the time very sick, was in an ambulance near Salem, Alabama, on his way to his brigade. The ambulance was traveling over the usual military road, and about ten o'clock in the morning it arrived at a plantation where there was an abundance of water. After refreshing themselves they passed on with the wounded General. Intelligence of his whereabouts and condition was quickly spread, it is supposed; for before the ambulance had proceeded three miles the driver discovered that he was pursued by guerrillas.

It was impossible to think of flight, and General McCook's condition prohibited any idea of rescuing him. The guerrilla leader ordered the ambulance to stop, the assassins at the same time surrounding it. The vehicle was then upset, and the sick officer turned into the road. While on his knees, helpless and sick, he was fired at by a ruffian, and shot through the side.

The wound was fatal, General McCook surviving it but a few hours. He bore his sufferings heroically, and to the last manifested an undaunted spirit. His last words were " Tell Aleck (alluding to his brother, General Alexander McDowell McCook) and the rest that I have tried to live like a man and do my duty."

When the news of the murder became known among the camps, the excitement was intense. The Ninth Ohio, McCook's own regiment, on learning of the assassination, marched back to the scene of the occurrence, burned every house in the neighborhood and laid waste the lands. Several men who were implicated in the murder were taken out and hung to trees by the infuriated soldiery.

General Robert McCook was one of seven brothers who are or were in the Union service. One of them was killed at Bull Run. Another, the eldest, is General Alexander McDowell McCook, one of the most distinguished officers in the West. The father of these gallant men is a paymaster in General Buell's army. The wanton murder of General Robert McCook has roused the West to a pitch of ungovernable fury.




THE Army of Virginia has drawn blood. At Cedar Mountain, near Culpepper Court House, on Saturday, August 9, General Banks's corps—about 7000 strong—encountered some 15,000 of the enemy, under Jackson and Ewell, and fought them till nightfall. The battle did not lead to any substantial results that day. But on the Sunday the rebels fell back toward the Rapidan, and sent in a flag of truce for permission to bury their dead. At that time heavy reinforcements were pouring in from the other corps composing Pope's army, and Sigel was in the front.

This may be deemed an auspicious commencement of the new campaign in Northern Virginia. We do not know, and if we knew would not publish, the number of General Pope's army. But it is no secret that, when assembled together, it is too strong for the force with which Jackson has been operating, and that its strength is being increased day by day. Troops are moving forward to reinforce it in very large numbers indeed. In the course of a couple of weeks it will require the bulk of the rebel army before Richmond to resist its onward march. The moment that army goes out to fight Pope, McClellan

will move, and the result then will be a mere matter of time.

Our generals are thus carrying out to the letter, though in a different locality, the precise plan which General McClellan formed six months ago for the defeat and destruction of the rebel army in Virginia. According to that plan, while he moved up the Peninsula through Yorktown and Williamsburg, McDowell, with 40,000 men, was to come down on the rebel flank from Fredericksburg. Had this scheme been fairly carried out, Richmond would probably have been in our possession in June last, and Joe Johnston's army would have been where Beauregard's is. With the circumstances which overthrew this plan every reader is familiar. Taught wisdom by experience, we are now trying it over again on a grander scale. Pope is moving down upon Richmond by way of Culpepper, while McClellan is making ready to move up on one or both banks of the James River. In the course of a short while each of the two armies, McClellan's and Pope's, will be too strong to be kept in check by any thing short of the entire rebel army. When that moment arrives the game will be a forced mate, as they say at chess.

But our armies must be reinforced, and that largely and promptly. By the time this paper is read troops should be pouring into Washington at the rate of several regiments a day; and though they will be raw recruits, not fit to meet veterans in the open field, they will do very well for garrison duty at Washington, and by brigading them with older regiments may, in the course of four or five weeks, be turned to good account in the armies. There should, however, be no tenderness about drafting; no listening to idle promises of more regiments by October; no swerving from the policy of the order of August 4th. If this rebellion is to be put down at all, it must be put down by sheer strength promptly developed. By October we must have 900,000 or 1,000,000 men in the field. If we have them, we shall have peace in the spring. If any more blunders or changes of purpose prevent their being raised by that time, the war may last a couple of years longer.


THE Prime Minister of Great Britain has followed the lead of the London journals in sneering at the British North American Provinces. Canada is given to understand that, because she was not fool enough to raise and support a standing army of 50,000 men for the purpose of fighting battles in which she had and could have no possible interest, she is an ungrateful dependency of Great Britain, and not worthy of British protection. The people of a great Province, possessing a territory compared to which the British Islands are a mere speck in the ocean, and with resources only second to those of the United States, are accused by the leading statesmen of England of stupidity, meanness, and disloyalty because they will not spend their money in supporting armies to menace a friendly neighbor whom England, through manufacturing, commercial, and political rivalry would like to see ruined.

Our Canadian contemporaries are well able to answer these unjust British taunts in fitting language. The sensible action of their Parliament, in refusing to raise an army which Canada did not need, requires but little vindication. But when Lord Palmerston arrogantly notifies the Canadians that they must expect no more protection from Great Britain, there will not be wanting voices in the Province to assure his Lordship that Canada is abundantly able to protect herself, not only in the field, but by a discreet and liberal foreign policy which seeks no quarrels, provokes no attack, and aims to make friends, not enemies. This is a policy which Lord Palmerston never did and never will understand; but there are men in Canada, if we mistake not, who are capable of mastering and acting upon it.

At an early stage in the present civil war we took occasion to state that one of the most obvious consequences of the conflict which at present desolates this country would be a change in the political condition of the British Provinces. The people of the United States have learned enough during the past year to perceive that they can never be safe so long as a European Power holds territory on this continent. So long as Great Britain can collect armies and launch gun-boats on the Great Lakes our Northwestern States will never be safe. And it is idle to say, as some politicians do, that we can collect armies and build gun-boats as well. Bombarding Toronto would not console us for the bombardment of Chicago, or the capture of Kingston for the surprise of Detroit. Fighting, bombarding, and capturing cities is not the business we want to prosecute. We want peace—steady, perpetual peace—which can not be broken at the whim of a crazy politician or through the fury of an excited mob. To secure peace we must have material guarantees, and the only guarantee that we can obtain, or that ought to satisfy us, is the Independence of the British Provinces.

For many years prior to the present war it was taken for granted by the more reasonable

class of statesmen in this country that we had nothing to fear from England; because her rulers and her people were, on the whole, friendly to us, and we were united to her by so many ties of relationship and commerce. This delusion has been dissipated by the experience of the past year. The Trent affair showed that Great Britain is ready to avail herself of any pretext and any safe opportunity to ruin this country, for the sake of destroying a commercial rival and at the same time demonstrating the failure of democratic institutions. This discovery must henceforth govern our foreign policy. We must hereafter regard England as our enemy; lying in wait for us, and seeking to destroy us whenever opportunity offers. We must forget all the old gag about a common origin, a common tongue, and so forth, and simply realize that Great Britain will be upon us if ever we give her the opportunity. We must either protect ourselves by building great fleets of iron-clad vessels, and enlarging our canals so as to give them access to the lakes, at an enormous expense, or we must negotiate England out of Canada. The latter will be by far the simplest, most effectual, and most economical method of securing peace on this continent.

Whenever the political relations between Canada and Great Britain are discussed in this country, a certain class of Canadian politicians and papers begin to squeal lustily that the Yankees are going to annex them. Let these timorous souls take heart. There is no party in this country which is anxious to annex Canada. If the Province came to-morrow, cap in hand, to beg for admission to the Union, Congress would be much divided in opinion on the subject. It would be an advantage in one point of view to have the British Provinces in the Union; but in many others it would be a decided detriment. The admission of the French Province of Lower Canada would add seriously to our dangers, and would be violently opposed by a large section of people in this country. On the other hand, while Canada would, in the event of annexation, gain much by becoming part of a great and powerful nation, she would at the same time lose something by surrendering her separate nationality; and it is not easy for a foreigner to decide which course would be really most conducive to her interest. If, after establishing their independence, and taking their place fairly among the nations, the people of the British Provinces felt that it would be to their interest to unite their destinies with ours, the subject would receive full consideration, and there would be a large party here who would welcome their admission to the Confederacy. But the application would have to come from Canada. When, in 1849, a large number of Canadians, comprising the bulk of the wealth and intelligence of the Lower Province, formed a league for the open and avowed purpose of securing annexation, they received no encouragement from here. The people of the United States waited. They were in no hurry.

For the sake of seeing the British Provinces independent, and consequently no longer a menace to us, and no longer liable to be used as a cat's-paw by our commercial and political rivals across the ocean, the United States would give and sacrifice much. Circumstances can be imagined under which they would go to war to achieve this object. But to force Canada into the Union no American will ever shoulder a musket or draw a sword.



THE spirit and method of our national salvation may be stated in two words: vigor and rigor. The peculiar circumstances which fully justified the slow and temperate policy of the early war exist no longer. For the same reason that the Government was reluctant then, it should be rapid now. When it knew not upon whom to count; when there were neither men, money, nor material; when it was questionable whether the Border States were for us or against us; and it was doubtful whether the rebellion were not successful before it declared itself, then the Government was compelled to temporize and delay. But now when the conspiracy is fully unmasked; when it is manifest that the nation must hopelessly conquer the rebels, or that they will utterly subjugate the nation; and when to this end immense armies and vast armaments are prepared upon both sides, and the war is, of necessity, war to the knife, hesitation is ignominious, doubt is dangerous, delay is fatal.

What is the vital necessity of our situation? To strike the rebellion heavily upon every side; to weaken it at all points; not only to overcome it, but entirely to uproot and annihilate it. If a fire seizes our houses we do not cover it up, we put it out. If a pestilence falls upon the citizens we do not only cure them, we change the very conditions of the atmosphere which breeds and conveys death. If a poisonous reptile in the garden, or a wild beast in the woods, threatens our children, we do not drive them away merely, we pursue them, seize them, drag them into day, and kill them beyond peradventure of recovery. The vital necessity of the nation is, that rebellion shall be utterly destroyed in all its symptoms and its essence; and that the colossal and benignant result, purchased by the enormous expenditure of every thing precious to man in this war, shall be the absolute

release of the country from the slightest risk of any return of the terrible conflict.

Father, mother, why have you given your son to the chances of civil war? Brothers all, why have we said good-by with smiles and heard of the death of our brave and beautiful without a tear and with only a quicker heart-beat? Friends, why stand we ready to-day to leave wife and child, if it must be so, and die in battle or of wasting sickness? Is it that things may be smoothed up for a little while? Is it that the next generation, that the children for whom we fight, may have the fighting to do all over again? Is it that the infamous injustice which bred the war shall have new chances to entangle itself in our politics and withstand civilization and the development of Liberty? It is to maintain the Government—but what is the Government? It is a political organization to secure Liberty; and the war is here because that organization has been used to confirm Slavery. It is to preserve the Union, but what is the Union? It is a banded power to secure the results contemplated by the Government.

Let us take care then that the conspiracy does not cheat us of what we honestly buy by the war. Let us take care that it is Slavery, and not Liberty which is to suffer by the rebellion. By the appeal of rebels to arms, the direct power of ending slavery is given to the Commander-in-chief. By the desperate energy with which they use the arms, the necessity of ending it is manifest. Energy, energy, energy—it is all that is asked of the Government. Longer to temporize, longer to delay, longer to wonder what Mr. Wickliffe will think, and what Mr. Garrett Davis will do, is to ruin the Government and to betray the hope of humanity. They may be good men and true, of that we do not speak. But they are no braver nor truer than other men, and the conditions they impose are clearly conditions which make success impossible. A policy as great, as generous, and as intelligent as the people, is the only policy that can save the nation. Doubtless the Government knows that it must be vigorous; but does it sufficiently remember that risk is essential to vigor? If it can not take risks, the rebels can and will.


A GOOD test of our secret opinion of the real loyalty of certain papers and persons is to ask the question whether we would intrust the safety of the nation to them in the present crisis.

There are papers and persons of whom Mr. Wickliffe is the fair representative. To read their terrible diatribes you would fancy that a dark and desperate body of conspirators had laid their hand upon the throat of the nation and were sworn to have its life-blood; were marshaled in battle-array and moving upon the very seat of the Government, justly exciting the ferocity of feeling with which they are denounced, and that these gentry were the Abolitionists: while certain of our fellow-citizens had fallen into error, not without great reason, and were called rebels.

"Let us suppress the Abolitionists," cries some slack-witted orator, "and the rebellion will end!" Of course it will, you dear soul; and if all your fellow-citizens had been of your calibre and kidney there would have been no rebellion at all. If Hampden and his friends had said, "Let us suppress these fellows who cry out against ship-money," England would have quietly submitted to the tyranny of the Stuarts. If Otis and Patrick Henry had shouted "Hurrah for King George and the stamp act!" there would have been no bloody revolution. If Mirabeau and the French people had bellowed "Hurrah for starvation: aristocrats forever!" all the trouble in France would have speedily ended. To be sure every right would have been annihilated, every liberty destroyed, and a few rich and remorseless people would have governed France; but there would have been no difficulty, except moral rot and general national decay.

"Let us suppress the Abolitionists!" But suppose you begin at the beginning. First subdue the common sense of the people of the country; then you may subdue those who influence it. It is not what you call with an amusing persistence abolitionism which caused the war, but the opening of the eyes of the people so that they saw. The people of this country know perfectly well that slavery is at the bottom of this rebellion. If there had been no slavery there would have been no war: just as there would have been no abolitionism. The temperance movement springs from drunkenness: and when a drunken man tries to kill his wife, don't you think that the tee-totalers are responsible for it?

Slavery was trying to kill the country. It had almost succeeded "Watch! watch!" shouted the Abolitionists. Slavery, maddened that its crime was discovered, shot and stabbed right and left. "There! there!" cry the sensible Wickliffe and Company—"this comes of calling the Watch! Why the devil can't you hold your tongues? Let us suppress these fellows that cry Watch! watch! and all will be quiet again!"

Certainly: a dead dog or a dead nation are both perfectly quiet. And a nation of freemen throttled, with its own consent, by a slave system like ours, is the deadest and meanest of all dead dogs.


IT is constantly said by those who resist an unconditional patriotism as Abolitionism that the freedom of the blacks would overrun the North with laborers, and take the bread from the mouths of our working men. The Irish laborers especially are told that to enlist for this war is to fight for men who are their direct rivals; and every possible appeal is made to their prejudices and ignorance by newspapers and politicians that eagerly pander to the basest passions of human nature.

It can not, therefore, be too constantly and plainly repeated that the blacks live in a part of the country where they were born, to which they have the strongest attachment, and in which they (Next Page)




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