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Civil War Harper's Weekly, August 30, 1862

This site gives you access to our online archive of the Harper's Weekly newspaper published during the Civil War. This collection features incredible illustrations created by eye-witnesses to some of the most important events in American History.

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


General Corcoran

General Corcoran

General Corcoran

General Corcoran

Rebel Ram "Arkansas"

Destruction of the "Arkansas"

Robert L. McCook

Robert L. McCook

Morgan's Raid

Morgan's Raid

Stonewall Jackson

General Stonewall Jackson

Cedar Mountain

Cedar Mountain

Battle of Cedar Mountain

Battle of Cedar Mountain (cont.)

John Morgan Raid

John Morgan's Raid

Stevenson, Alabama

Stevenson, Alabama

Sigel's Corps

Sigel's Corps

Battle of Cedar Mountain

The Battle of Cedar Mountain

Civil War Cartoons

Civil War Cartoons











[AUGUST 30, 1862.



THERE was the quick, sharp rap of the postman at the door. Our postman always seemed to sympathize with his bundle of letters; and he knew us all so well, that he knew the contents or subjects of our letters almost as well as if he had been clairvoyant.

I was expecting my brother on that day; and, instead of him, there came a letter.

"Good news from William, I don't doubt," said the postman, as he gave me change.

"There generally is good news from brother," said I, smiling.

"William is a fine fellow," said he, tightening the string on his bundle of letters, and then he went on his way.

I remember thinking, what if he should lose one of those precious letters? What if he had lost mine? Why did he not carry them in a bag? How could he risk losing such precious things? But they all risk losing letters just the same way, for no letter-carrier in city or village ever uses any security for his parcel of letters but a string while he is distributing them to their many owners.

I went in to read my news from brother, whatever it might be. My mother was in the large front-room, that looked toward the south, with my invalid father. He was taking his dinner, and I would not disturb him even with my treasure. So I stopped in the room, which was dining-room, sitting-room, and library, in our cottage. I opened my letter eagerly. I had not then learned to wait patiently, and least of all where letters were concerned. I turned blind and faint when I saw where the letter was dated.


For some moments I in vain essayed to read. My head swam, and darkness veiled my eyes. At length I recovered, and read:

"MY DEAR SISTER,—You will be surprised when you see where my letter is dated. Since I last wrote you, I have had fair success in collecting the debts due to father; and I began to be encouraged, and to think I saw daylight for us. Three days ago I called on Mix, who keeps the tavern by the steamboat-landing. You will remember that his was the largest debt owing to father here. At first he said he could not pay me any thing. Then he said he supposed the night's receipts would be pretty good, as the night-train on the railroad would bring a good many for the morning boat; and they must stay with him, for the other house was bad at best, and was being painted now. He said he would give me something on the debt in the morning. I had intended to be at home on the twenty-first, and it was hard to be detained; but I staid. In the morning he gave me one hundred dollars, in five twenty-dollar notes. I made my calculations, and found that by giving up my stoppages at two other places I could still be at home on the twenty-first. I was so glad of the prospect of so soon seeing you and mother, and our dear helpless father, that I trembled with joy. I trembled so much when I was shaving that I cut my chin. After I was again on my way the blood kept oozing, and I stepped at an apothecary's to get a piece of court-plaster. It was near the station, where I was to take the cars, and a mile from Mix's tavern. I had bought the court-plaster, when I saw some surgical instruments lying on the counter. They pleased me very much; and as father had told me I should have a set for collecting, as soon as I had, received a hundred dollars, I bought them.

"I had a sort of misgiving about the money I had got of Mix; I did not believe that it was bad, but I wished to he better satisfied than I was about it. I asked the price of the instruments. They were sold. There was a turnkey and a lancet, valued at three dollars, that I could have. I bought them, and tendered one of my twenty-dollar notes in payment. It was taken without question. I put the change and my instruments in my pocket, very glad to be set at rest about my money. I then went over to the station; the cars started in an hour, I was told, and I sat down to wait as patiently as I could. Before half an hour had elapsed I was arrested for passing counterfeit money. I was searched, and eighty dollars, of the same kind I had passed, were found upon me. At first I was horrified; but I sent immediately for Mix, scarcely doubting that he would say he had paid me the money. He refused to come, declaring that he had paid me no money; but saying that I had paid him a bad twenty-dollar note for my night's lodging, supper, and breakfast, thus cheating him out of eighteen dollars good money. He said he would meet me at the right time and place; that I was in good hands now; and that he was busy.

"I am in prison, sister dear, and I don't know what will he my fate. All my money was taken from me by the officer who arrested me, and I can do nothing but let you know the facts. If father were not helpless he would be able to help me; as it is, he can think; and some kind soul, I trust, will be able to carry out his suggestions. Keep up your courage, Clara dear, and tell father and mother that I am cheerful in my affliction. Write at once, and tell me what father says.

"Your loving brother,


I waited for my father to finish his dinner, and then I called mother and showed her the letter. Grieved and alarmed as she was, she endured all till my father had slept his usual hour after his dinner.

Before I tell my readers what my father said to the letter I must say something of our conditions. My father had been a merchant in Medway for many years. He was ruined by the credit system. After losing almost every thing he came to the village of Rosalba, where we now lived. He bought the cottage in which my mother was born. He paid one half its value, and depended on collecting the debts due to him in Medway and the vicinity to pay the other half. My brother wished to study to be a physician, and our uncle was considered the best medical man in Rosalba, and in our poverty he could very greatly assist us by helping my brother in his education. We had lived two years in the cottage. The first year we rented, the second we bought it.

We had let the garden belonging to the cottage for half its produce, and I had taught school in summer; and thus, with a very little money that my father had collected, we were supported. We lived in a hard, grudging economy that no one knew of, not even my uncle. He was doing what he could for my brother; more than we would have been willing to accept from any other. The spectre always before us was the half payment for our cottage, which remained to be made. And we lost all if we did not pay the remainder at a time specified,

and which was drawing near. We looked to the success of my brother's efforts in this collecting tour to secure us the shelter of our cottage home. Food we trusted would come. The ravens are fed; and we hoped and looked forward to the time when my brother should be a successful physician, as our uncle was now.

What a terrible blow had fallen on our devoted heads! Our sole hope, our idolized William, was in a prison, accused of a crime that, if not disproved, might consign him to a penitentiary for years, and blast his prospects forever.

My mother and I were wild with grief. My father was quiet, but very sad. His disease, which was palsy of the lower limbs, caused by a fall from his horse, had left his mind clear as when he was in health.

"We must do what we can," said he, "and be comforted that we know William is innocent. Now, Clara, you must go to Judge Bixby. I will write a note to him. He will come here and consult with me, or he will advise me in some way. I have notes against Mix for three hundred dollars, besides the one William had with him, which was for two hundred and fifty. These notes are so many probabilities against him. We must have some person to go to Medway."

I wanted to say that Philip Melvin would go, but I dared not speak his name. He was a student, reading law with Judge Bixby. He had paid me the attentions of a lover till my parents forbade me to receive them. My parents were proud of their ancestry. They were proud of the former position, and prouder than all of the Puritan principles and practices of their progenitors.

Now Philip Melvin was disgraced from his birth. He was an illegitimate child. His mother was a simple country-girl, who had died of a broken heart soon after his birth, and she had never revealed the name of Philip's father. She had died in the alms-house, and there her boy remained until he was seven years old. A lady visited the house when he had just reached his seventh birthday, and asked for Philip. She wept bitterly, it was said, over the beautiful child, and then she went to Judge Bixby, and from that time he became as one of the children of the good and wise Judge. Philip proved worthy of all the care and education which were bestowed on him with liberal as well as paternal kindness; but notwithstanding all, he was regarded as one who before his birth had

"fallen into a pit of ink,

From which the wide sea could not wash him clean again."

I believe I loved Philip all the better because every body seemed to keep the bitter fact of his birth in their memory. He was nearly twenty-one years old. I was seventeen. I had never disobeyed my parents, and I regarded my mother as a superior being. I was required to treat Philip as a stranger; and I could give him no explanation without wounding him more than I could ever bear to wound him. Poor fellow! I did not doubt that he regarded his birth as the mark of Cain upon him. How could I ever allude to the terrible fact? He saved me from my trouble by a manly frankness, which greatly increased my respect and love for him. One day I met him in a lonely road, in the neighborhood of the village. He stopped me.

"Clara," said he, "I have a word to say to you."

The blood rushed to my face, a burning flood. "You have said that you loved me," said he.

"I have," I whispered, hardly so as to be heard." Have you changed?" asked Philip.

"NO," said I, aloud, and with energy.

"Do you shun me of your own free-wil ?" "No, Philip."

"Your parents require it of you, and — your brother also wishes you to shun me?"

"Yes," I said, bravely, and yet with trembling.

"Because—" He could not utter the words. He looked at me appealingly. I answered his thought.

"Yes, Philip; but I love you better for your great sorrow. I love you better for all the affliction Providence has permitted to come upon you."

"I thank you," said he, solemnly. "Clara, if we are faithful to our love our time will come. We shall be happy together some day."

I was silent.

"Do you not believe it?"

"I hope for it," I replied.

"Do not go yet," said he, as I was about to pass on; "do not go till you have promised me to be faithful to this love."

"I can be faithful only to my parents," said I, bursting into tears; "but I will never love any one but you, Philip, unless you forget me. Now let me go."

"Our time will come," said he; and I went on my way.

I never saw him again, to speak to him, till the day I went to Judge Bixby with my father's note. I met him on the way, and I stopped and told him our great sorrow. I could not do otherwise, for my heart turned to him with the hope of help.

"Go to the Judge," said he; "I will be there by the time he has read and considered your father's note."

Judge Bixby read the note, and was very much disturbed by it.

"This is very bad," said he. "We must send some one at once to Medway. William must be released; Philip will go to him. There he is now," said he, as he saw him through the window. Philip came in presently.

"Melvin, will you go to Medway to-night?" said the Judge.

"Certainly, if you wish it," said Philip.

Judge Bixby took his pen and wrote for some minutes; then he folded and addressed his letter without sealing it. Then he wrote a note to my father. He then turned to Philip, saying,

"You will go to Mr. Bentley, and get the notes which be has against Mix. Show this letter to him, which I have written to a legal friend of mine in Medway. If Mr. Bentley thinks of any thing more that he wishes me to write, you can return to

me; otherwise, you had better go on to Medway to-night. I think you will do well to stay at Mix's tavern, and when you pay your bill offer him this note." He took a fifty-dollar note from his pocket, and handed it to Philip. "He has been so successful of late he may give you one of those twenty-dollar notes in change for this, if you appear to be a stranger merely passing over the road. Rascals are very often fools."

Philip and I went out together. At the door he said, "I will bid you good-by, and hasten to your father. You can come at your leisure. You may be sure I shall do my best, and you know for whose sake I do it."

His words comforted me in my great sorrow. I went home slowly, not wishing to arrive till Philip was gone. I met him at the door. He took my hand, pressed it in silence, and went away. My parents said little, and did not allude to the fact that Philip had gone to Medway.

I retired early, but spent the night in sleepless agony. I prayed for my poor brother in prison, and for all other prisoners. I felt sure that Philip would do William no good. I was glad to find in the morning that my father hoped that much good would result from his efforts. It was Tuesday evening when Philip left. He would arrive in Medway at two o'clock the next morning. By Friday we ought to hear from him. The day came, but no letter. I was indescribably miserable, and my father and mother were very anxious. I could not speak freely to my parents. The night previous I had passed through an experience strange to many, but the like of it had happened to me several times. I could not speak of it at home, and my heart seemed like to break that I could not. Finally I determined to go to Judge Bixby with my secret. As there was no news from my brother, I asked leave to go to the Judge, ostensibly to make inquiries.

Judge Bixby seemed to pity me very much when I came into his office.

"Have you heard any thing from my brother?" said I.

"Yes, dear," said he; and then he seemed sorry be had made the admission. "The fact is, Miss Clara, we have been quite put back in our proceedings; but we hope to have good news for you by Monday, or Tuesday—certainly by Wedneeday."

I wished so much to tell him my experience, but I feared he would think me crazed, or untruthful. But the necessity to unburden my heart to some one constrained me, and I said,

"I want to tell you, Judge, what I saw last night. As I lay in my bed, looking into the darkness, I saw Philip. I shut my eyes and put my hands over them; but still I saw Philip Melvin. He was in a large room, in a kind of hotel; there was no lock on the door, and he tried to fasten the door with his knife; but I saw he had failed to do it effectually. The knife-blade broke nearly off, but the handle did not fall away. He could not see this, but I saw it. And I saw through the door, and saw a man on the outside of the door, in the hall. It was half-past two in the morning, as I saw by Philip's watch. He took off his coat and hung it beside a chair, and then lay down in his clothes. Presently he fell into a heavy sleep. I felt perfectly sure that a cup of coffee he had taken when he came in had some kind of sleeping-powder in it. As he slept, I saw a bad-looking man come into the room; he had a complexion almost like a mulatto, and only one eye. It was perfectly dark in the room, and yet I saw him come in as plainly as I had seen Philip before he put out his light. He took Philip's coat and examined the pockets; he took out the pocket-book, laid the coat again across the chair, and then he went out. 'Ah!' thought I, 'my poor brother is ruined now;' for I knew that your letter was in that pocket-book, and I supposed the notes given to my father by Mix were there also. I was in despair, but I followed the man from the room; he had left his light outside the door. He took up the light and went to a distant room, and locked himself in; I saw him take that fifty-dollar note from the pocket-book; I read 'Merrimac Bank' on it with perfect ease; then he took your letter to that lawyer in Medway and read it, and then, holding it in the candle, he burned it; he took out several other papers, but I did not clearly see what they were. All this may seem false and foolish to you, Judge, but I am sure it all really happened. Something within me assures me that it is all true—that it has happened to Philip Melvin, and if you ever see him, I believe he will tell you so."

The Judge was reputed a skeptic in religion, and I feared very much I should get only his contempt for my relation. When I had finished he said very kindly,

"All this is very strange and curious. Mix has but one eye, and he has had fever and ague till he looks like a mulatto. Young Melvin was here yesterday; he had lost his pocket-book containing my letter to my legal friend, also he had lost the fifty-dollar bank-note, which was on the Merrimac Bank. Fortunately he had put Mix's notes, and some memoranda, in the lining of his hat. He came back for another letter and further instructions. He did not see any one in Medway but the one-eyed tavern-keeper and a servant. He took the morning-train back, and I expect to hear from him on Tuesday. I had marked the bank-note, so it is probable the miserable man has stolen a rope to hang himself in taking it. Now, my little girl," said the Judge, pleasantly, "if you see any more wonders to-night, I hope they will be pleasant ones. I have had abundant evidence of the truth of the facts claimed for clairvoyance, even to the breaking of Philip's knife, which I happen to know was broken as you said. Tell your father that I have heard from Melvin; that there is some unavoidable delay; but that I shall expect to hear good news by Tuesday."

I was not again clairvoyant; but on Wednesday evening my brother and Philip Melvin came. We were all overjoyed; but my joy was greatest, I am sure, for Philip had brought him. Brother asked Philip to stay to supper, and my father and

mother begged him to do so; but he said, cheerfully, that he must go directly to the Judge and give an account of himself; and he left William to tell us his own story.

My brother said, "Mix would have given us much trouble; for he gave out that the notes against him were forged. But the rascal had stolen Philip's pocket-book. It had a marked bank-note in it for fifty dollars. Our lawyer set one of Mix's creditors to dun him very sharply, and at last he told him that he would take fifty dollars for a debt of a hundred. This drew forth the marked note, and Mix is now shut up in my place. Search has been made in his house, and in a false back to his writing-desk some thousands, in bills of the same kind that he gave me, have been found."

Our great trouble was past; my brother had been honorably restored to us. But poverty was upon us like an armed man. The little money that William had been able to collect would do very little toward paying for our home; and besides, we were obliged to take it for our present support. It seemed sure that we must lose our cottage, which we had named "Sunny Home." My parents and William were greatly afflicted, but I had a presentiment of coming help. Only the day before our home must be paid for, or lost, Judge Bixby came to see my father.

"I have been very sorry, Mr. Bentley," said he, "that no one has been able to loan you the money to save your place. It is hard to be poor, and have all one's friends poor. I am happy to tell you now, at the eleventh hour, that one has come forward to advance you the money."

My father uttered an exclamation of surprise; my mother said, "Thank God!" fervently.

"But who will do this, Judge?" asked my father.

"Our young friend Philip Melvin, who has just come into possession of his father's property. When Philip was seven years old his father died. On his death-bed he told his mother of Philip, and willed his large property to him; I was appointed the boy's guardian; and as Philip was twenty-one yesterday, I delivered up my trust. Philip will be admitted to the bar soon. He has fine ability, an irreproachable character, and a larger property than any one in Rosalba. If I had a daughter to give in marriage," said the Judge, regardless of my blushes, "I would sooner give her to Philip Melvin than to any man I know."

A spasm of mental pain passed over my father's countenance. "Thank Heaven, we are saved!" he said, "and only at the expense of a false and wicked pride. Judge Bixby, will you ask Philip to call here?"

"I will," said our friend.

That evening Philip came and sat alone with my father for a while. Then my mother was admitted to the conference. "They both asked me to forgive them for their pride," said Philip to me. "I have always regarded them more in pity than in anger. I have borne my lot as patiently as I could, and Providence has been kind to me at last. Our time has come, darling Clara."

"Thank Heaven!" said I.

"You have loved me for myself, Clara; and we shall be happy. Your brother has treated me like his own brother since the day we met in Medway Jail; but he has often said to me, 'Only much affliction can ever conquer my parents' pride of family, and prejudices about birth.' And then William said, 'As if an infant were to be cursed for the sin of those who gave it life.' I replied, 'So far as such a prejudice can be made a preventive of crime it is just, and I bow to it for the sake of the innocent.' Now, Clara, since we can leave your parents comfortable, and in William's care, I wish to go where no man will ever ask who were my parents."

I respected his sorrow; and I said, "I will go to the end of the world with you, my Philip." And thus it is that our graves will be far from those of our kindred.


ON page 519 we give a picture of the town of STEVENSON, ALABAMA, now occupied by our forces. The sketch from which our picture was taken was drawn by our artist, Mr. H. Mosler.

Stevenson is the junction of the Memphis and Charleston, and the Nashville and Chattanooga railroads, and is therefore a strategic position of considerable importance. Battle Creek, where Buell's advance was stationed early in the month, is ten miles from there. Stevenson itself lies in a valley encircled by the Cumberland Mountains; the Tennessee flows about three miles east of the place. In the event of any attempt being made by the Southern rebels to regain possession of Tennessee, Stevenson would be one of the first places attacked.

On the same page we illustrate the ERECTION OF STOCKADES FOR DEFENSE BY NEGROES. Under the new Act of Congress all negroes who come into our lines are set to work at once on fortifications, and paid wages and freed as a reward for their labor. At and near Stevenson very extensive works are being erected; some 400 negroes are employed. John Contraband takes kindly to the work.


WE publish on pages 552 and 553 a large picture of the BATTLE OF CEDAR MOUNTAIN, from a sketch by our special artist, Mr. Alfred R. Waud. We subjoin General Pope's official account of the battle:


      MOUNTAIN, Aug. 13–5 P.M.

To Major-General Halleck, General-in-Chief:

On Thursday morning the enemy crossed the Rapidan, at Barnett's Ford, in heavy force, and advanced strong on the road to Culpepper and Madison Court House. I had established my whole force on the turnpike between Culpepper and Sperryville, ready to concentrate at either place as soon as the enemy's plans were developed.

Early on Friday it became apparent that the move on (Next Page)




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