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Civil War Harper's Weekly, December 13, 1862

Welcome to our collection of Civil War Harper's Weekly newspapers. This site allows access to all the Harper's Weekly that were printed during the Civil War. These newspapers show incredible details of the war you wont find anywhere else.

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

 

Generals in the Army of the Potomac

Army of the Potomac Generals

The president's Message

The President's Message

Contrcator Cartoon

Contractor Cartoon

Banks Expedition

Banks's Expedition

Union Generals

Biographies of Union Generals

Drury's Bluff

Drury's Bluff

Drury's Bluff

Drury's Bluff

Morgan Dix

Morgan Dix

Long Island

Long Island, New York

Petersburg

Petersburg, Virginia

Fredericksburg

The Road to Fredericksburg

Brother Jonathan

Brother Jonathan

 

 

 

DECEMBER 13, 1862.]

HARPER'S WEEKLY.

795

Harry Moore walked straight up to him and broached the subject without unnecessary circumlocution.

"Squire Bankgrove, could you make it convenient to dispense with my services on the farm?"

"Well, I don't know," said the Squire, who was a man of reflection, and seldom committed himself without first consulting his snuff-box and his red silk pocket-handkerchief. Are you thinking of leaving me? I've no fault to find with you, Harry Moore!"

"Thank you, Sir. But I have made up my mind now that every young man's place is in the ranks of his country's defenders. And so, Sir, I shall enlist to-morrow!"

Squire Bankgrove brought down his clenched fist on the window-seat with a force that made the blackbird start in its wicker cage.

"Well said, my boy! I wish I was ten years younger, and I'd go 'long with you myself!"

"I am glad you approve it, Sir,"

"Approve it, Harry! I don't do nothin' else!" cried the Squire, entirely heedless of the memory of Lindley Murray in his enthusiasm. "And when you come back, Harry, after you've done a man's duty on the battle-field—for you will come back—"

"Don't, father!" interposed Mrs. Bankgrove, who was wiping her spectacles very hard; "don't go to temptin' Providence that way!"

"Wife," said the old man, solemnly, "he will come back! Shall not the LORD of Battles be with him? As I was sayin', Harry, when that day arrives—"

"Then, Sir," said Harry, " will you consent to give me your daughter?"

He had spoken from a sudden impulse the words he would never have dared to utter under ordinary circumstances. No recalling them now, however, and Alice blushed redder than the reddest holly-hock by the garden wall! Squire Bankgrove opened his eyes wide, and slowly rubbed his nose, looking the while from Alice to Harry and back again.

"Well, I'm free to confess I hadn't thought o' that," said the Squire. "But, Harry Moore, you're made o' the right mettle, and I've always found you true to the back-bone. Yes; if Alice hain't no objections, you shall have her when you come back again."

And thus it happened that when Harry Moore went away to the wars a lock of Alice Bankgrove's silky hair lay upon his manly heart, and stirred to the music of its strong beatings.

"Whew-w-w!" whistled Irad Curtis, as he worked all alone in the perfumed silence of the old red barn; "I didn't suppose the affair would turn out precisely as it has done; but no matter—things may happen just right after all!"

And Irad Curtis was not a whit disheartened at. the cool politeness with which Alice Bankgrove put aside the innumerable little courtesies he strove to render toward her all that fall—not he! There was a good deal of dogged perseverance ingrain to the nature of Irad Curtis.

The year glided away in sun and shower—blossoming roses and dreary falls of snow—and once again the harvest-moon hung like a shield of ruddy silver over the quiet old homestead, with its red barn and its cluster of gnarled apple-trees. But in the west the sun had set with wild, ensanguined splendor, amidst clouds whose crimson dyes seemed like a sea of blood. And Alice Bankgrove, sitting at her window, thinking of the dreadful rumors of battle that floated dimly into the country solitudes, could not bear to look at the blazing horizon, so nervous had she grown.

Suddenly a clear bugle-sound rang out amidst the dewy hollows, dying away with pathetic cadences in the woods, where a score of whip-poor-wills were moaning their sad refrain.

"There! the stage has passed by, and the mail is in!" exclaimed Alice, springing to her feet. "Papa, may I go down to the post-office?—it is only a little way!"

"It's a mile, child, and more, and the dew is falling," said the practical Squire, looking up from a calculation he was making by the light of a tallow candle.

"Do let her go, father," said his wife, nudging his elbow; "don't you see how worried she feels? You was young yourself once!"

Alice scarcely waited for the permission ere she hurried away through the lonely woods, dew-dripping and full of faint, sweet fragrance.

"No letter for a week," she murmured to herself. "Perhaps it will come to-night—perhaps!"

"A letter for Alice Bankgrove? No, there is no such letter," said the gray-headed old postmaster, sorting over the pile of epistles in a leisurely way that was agony to poor, impatient Alice.

"No letter! are you sure?" repeated the young girl, leaning eagerly forward, with blanched cheek and throbbing heart.

"Sartin sure, Miss Alice—that is, as sure as a man can be of any thing in this onsartin world. Stay, though!" he added, as Alice was turning away with a thrill of sick despair; "here are some newspapers for Jeremiah Bankgrove, Esquare. That's your father, I guess."

Half an hour afterward Alice came into the sitting-room at home with slow, languid steps, and dew-drenched hair hanging carelessly about her shoulders. Irad Curtis sat by the table talking to her father. He rose and bowed.

"You have been to the post-office, Alice? Why didn't you let me go for you? I hope you have taken no cold."

"Did you get a letter, daughter?" said Mrs. Bankgrove, keenly scanning the girl's face.

"No letter," returned Alice, wearily, "Here are some newspapers for you, father."

She laid them on the table and went and sat on the broad door-stone, her cheek resting on one hand.

"No letter? that's strange!" said Irad, artfully. "Now if I was off to the wars, and had a sweet-heart, like somebody I know of, at home, I should write every day!"

"Pity you wasn't off to the wars, with a sweet-

heart at home!" said the Squire, dryly; and Irad was silenced for the moment.

"Read us the news, Irad," said Mrs. Bankgrove. "The Squire's eyes ain't so young as they was, and he does make awful work readin' by candle-light."

"Yes, do, Irad," said the Squire, putting his spectacles back in their case with a sigh of relief; and Irad unfolded the teeming columns of the newspaper and began:

"Great Battle in Virginia !" he enunciated, reading very much as if the words had been printed in capitals. "List of the Killed and Wounded!"

"Read that, Irad!" said the Squire, leaning forward. Mrs. Bankgrove gave a quick glance toward the door, but Alice had vanished.

"It's pretty lengthy," said Irad, ruefully; "but here goes!"

Name after name he pronounced with slow, mechanical exactness, as if each were not shrined in some bleeding heart—wept over with everlasting tears!

"What!" shrieked the Squire, suddenly, as one well-known name knelled on his ear; "not in the list of killed?"

He started up, pale and trembling, with a cold dew on his forehead.

"Yes, it is," said Irad, himself rather dismayed. "Company E—that's his very Company; read for yourself, if you don't believe me!"

The Squire's dim eyes traced the fatal syllable in the doomed list, through a thick mist of blinding tears.

"Poor Alice! it will break her heart!" he said, in a husky tone. Mrs. Bankgrove gave a piercing cry, and sprang forward just in time to catch the sinking figure of Alice, who stood near the door, white and motionless as a spectre.

Dead! killed in battle! She could not believe it, though she repeated the words to herself mechanically a thousand times a day! Dead—in the bloom of his vigorous youth, and she living to mourn him! She scarce understood why people looked pityingly at her, and whispered one to another as she went by: she felt like one who walks in the mystery of a dreadful dream, and blindly trusts some day to waken from its awful shadow! Dead! killed in battle!

The sad December blasts were moaning through the skeleton woods; the icicles tinkled, like tiny chimes of bells, at every rattle of the frozen boughs; the sunsets burned in orange flame along the west, and the nights, still and starry, were full of rimy frosts that cut almost like a knife in their biting keenness. And Alice Bankgrove, leaning sadly over the fire of crackling logs, wondered what dreary snows were folding their shroud over his unknown grave!

"Better go to bed, daughter, it is past ten," said the Squire, "and a stormy night. There's snow in the air, or I'm mistaken!"

"I will, by-and-by, father."

"Mrs. Bankgrove, wiser than her husband, quietly took up a candle, and beckoned him into the adjoining bedroom.

"Don't notice her, Jeremiah," said the mother, in a low voice. "She'll grieve it away in time if she's only let alone, poor child!"

"It's too concerned bad," said the Squire, the nearest approach, by-the-way, to profanity in which he ever indulged. "And to think of Irad Curtis comin' danglin' round to ask if I'd any objections to his comin' to see Alice Sunday nights. Objections! I let him know what I thought of his conduct. He won't come again in a hurry, I calculate!"

"There, there, father—hush!" said Mrs. Bankgrove, soothingly, "you'll disturb Alice."

And she closed the door as softly as if her daughter had been a sleeping infant whom she feared to arouse.

Alone, Alice sat there before the fire—alone with the ticking clock, and the bubbling drip of resin from the singing pine logs, aced the wail of the tempest without, sadly pondering on the wintry blight that had come over her own young life. Almost before she knew it the old clock had chimed once and again, and the faint horn of the midnight stage, passing on its lonely way down in the hollow, floated indistinctly up to her ear—and still she mused on.

"Hallo there inside!" bawled Jonathan Starkey, the stage-driver, "who was it wanted to get out opposite Squire Bankgrove's house? This is the nearest we come to't. Just over the hill, Sir, and take the first road to your right—'tain't but a little way—and pitch-dark at that," he added, in an undertone, as he helped out a muffled figure; "sorry I can't drive you nearer, Sir—you seem to be lame."

Lame! If every bone in his body had been shattered the knowledge that he was within sight of Alice's home would have given him supernatural strength. How well he knew every turn of the road, even in the dense darkness of the stormy midnight—how familiarly the frozen ground answered to his footfalls!

Far out into the murky gloom streamed the ruddy brightness of that hearth-stone where she sat all alone. Could she but have known who was toiling to reach her through the night and tempest!

She never heard the faint, uncertain tap at the door, she never heard the click of the latch, but all of a sudden some mysterious influence bade her look up.

Great Heaven! it was her lover standing before her—pale, haggard, worn by pain and travel, but still her lover, and the next instant she lay sobbing on his breast.

"Oh, Harry, Harry Moore! They told me you were dead, but I knew it was false! I knew you would yet come back to me!"

And after he had told her of his well-nigh fatal wounds, his dreary captivity, and his final escape, she still sobbed through her tears,

"Oh, I knew, I knew you would come back!"

" Well, Harry, when are you going to take possession?" questioned the Squire, jocosely. "You

know I promised you my daughter when you came back."

"As soon as possible, Sir," said Harry. "We have settled it all, Alice and I."

"Wife," said the Squire, "do you remember my saying under this very roof more than a year ago that I was sartin the Lord would bring Harry back to us; and haven't my words come true?"

He leaned forward and kissed away the tear that sparkled like a solitary diamond on his wife's withered cheek; for somehow the sight of the young people's happiness brought back his own honey-moon days.

And Irad Curtis remains a bachelor still!

THE GOVERNMENT HORSE.

I'M a Government hoss, your honor,

With pedigree little to boast of;

But bought for the service, your honor, And hence to be reckoned the most of.

I claim not the lineage of Cruiser,

Though I own to a family pride;

My "points" can be seen through and through, Sir, If you'll only examine my hide.

 

Though wretched I am, I have blushes For frauds that attend speculation—

Transactions whose villainy crushes

The long-cherished hopes of the nation.

As I said, I'm a Government hoss,

Though I wouldn't complain much of that, Sir; "What's one man's gain is another's loss,"

'Tis that which I wish to come at, Sir.

I was bought with a Treasury Note,

At only five dollars and twenty;

And sold for a—('tis shameful to quote, 'Twould seem as though money were plenty).

'Twas a wily contractor who did it, At a figure so low, do you see? I'm sure it was much to his credit, Though all the less credit to me.

Spavined and ringboned, glandered and blind, Wanting one really sound organ;

Some one was gouged—his pockets were lined, But I was a good enough MORGAN.

Ever compelled to stand to the rack—

By my faith! I'm quite racked asunder; For every sharp bone in my back

Seems cracked with the weight of the plunder.

 

A cavalry charger they dubbed me—

(A singular paradox, really !)

'Tis the agent the charger that should be,

I'm held as collateral merely.

 

Right few are the charges I've made, Sir,

Upon the armed rebel bravado;

If ever I ambled that way, Sir,

'Twas money that made the poor mare go.

 

And a sorry appearance I made

In the genial land of Secesh!

But it taught them the tricks of the trade

In our contracts for Northern horse-flesh.

 

Woe me! I'm a poor draught-horse at last!

It's only my breath I can draw, Sir;

The life-current is ebbing quite fast,

Like equity, justice, and law, Sir.

 

Yet I laugh when I think of the agents

Selected to crush the rebellion—

To frighten the traitors with pageants

Of grim Death astride a pale stallion;

 

And I watch the gaunt crows overhead,

Each eagerly eying his ration,

Like hungry contractors fain to be fed—

And muse on the fate of the nation.

 

Base contractors! army of leeches!

I'd draft them to lead a forlorn hope;

Force them to march where equity reaches,

And contracts are bound with a strong rope.

AN EGYPTIAN BALL.

I WAS asked to a fete at the villa of Count X—, an old resident of Alexandria, Egypt. The fete was especially interesting to me, as being composed almost exclusively of the foreign society of Alexandria, and notably of the Levantine element. Having paid our respects to the mistress of the house, we were placed on a sofa at the upper end of the chief reception room. As dancing had hardly commenced, we had time to look about us, and to note the guests who were still flocking in, and the ladies ranged in a circle round the room. These, to my disappointment, all wore ordinary European costume, which was neither fresh nor in good taste, nor gracefully worn; the only exception was in the instance of one little very old lady who sat in a bundle in the corner; in such a bundle that you could hardly tell in what fashion her dark silk dress was made, and could only distinguish that her head was covered with the silken skull-cap, bound round, turban-wise, with a small handkerchief, that forms the ordinary Levantine head-dress. But the younger women, when full dressed, dress their hair with elaborate complications, into which enter a quantity of natural flowers of every kind and hue.

I have been in many parts of the world. I have seen on their own ground all sorts of women, from the radiant daughters of "all the Howards" to the dusky North American squaws. But such fat women, and so many fat women, I never saw in any land as those Levantine ladies there assembled. Talk of Turkish women, fattened like crammed turkeys! The harems boast much flesh. You see in their narrow precincts many plump faces and redundant busts ill contained by the loose garment that covers them; many sturdy legs and pudsey hands. But what are all those beside the vast proportions of these "fat-fleshed" fair ones? While girls are yet in their teens the doom begins to fall on them. The commencement is far from objectionable. It is agreeable to see well-rounded arms and shoulders that you are "tempted to pat" at

the so often lean ages of fifteen and sixteen. These are almost always accompanied by, item, a pair of long dark almond eyes, "put in with a dirty finger," as Lady Morgan writes; eyes that alternately flash and languish at the owner's command, and that are shaded by thick black straight brows, not unfrequently adopting the very doubtful

—charm of married brows,

item, dense heaps of black coarse wavy hair, that lies on the head and on the neck in the massive way you see depicted in old Egyptian paintings; and sometimes, though rarely, you see fine complexions.

So far so good; except that these damsels look like comely matrons, or "fine girls" who have flirted through some ten or twelve seasons, and having as yet not found any of the first-class matches sufficiently appreciative of their charms, are becoming condescending, nay, even encouraging, to the second-class. But now turn to the mothers. We have just been rather admiring a plump short-necked damsel with bright eyes and rosy cheeks and dimpling smiles, looking like a cherubim prolonged. There is her mother sitting opposite—look on this picture and on that—and see the full-blown rose whose bud we have just been contemplating.

She can hardly be forty, and her smooth face yet bears traces of considerable comeliness. But the bright dark eyes are embedded in fat, the nose is sunk and lost in fat, the smiling mouth is buried in fat. Of neck there is no symptom: the head rests behind on a hump of fat; before, on a protuberance like the crop of a pouter pigeon. Her arms! Poor soul! Yet she does not seem to mind it; there she sits, smiling benignly, the picture of serene contentment; and, except that the frequent exercise of her fan hints that the "toe solid flesh" does manifest a disposition to "melt" even in the pleasant and by no means high temperature of the spacious, airy, and not overcrowded rooms, her condition seems in no wise distressful to her.

I walked about the rooms. There was no regular supper, but fruits, cakes, ices, and other refreshments, abundantly intermingled with flowers, were laid out in one of them. A few of the men wore Eastern costume, but they were quite the exception. Some of the young Greeks—who showed none of the tendency to obesity so strongly developed in their mothers and sisters, but were generally spare, oval-faced, and olive-complexioned, and had heads of compact black frizzy hair like the women—seemed to dance rather well and to bear themselves correctly. Not so many of the damsels. I saw some convert the sober monotony of the uninteresting quadrille into a very jolly game nearly approaching to a romp. How they skipped and giggled, and swung hands and beckoned and gamboled, until their at first by no means fresh toilets became mere chiffons, and the flowers tumbled out of their hair, it boots not now to tell. Suffice it to say, that the presence of Mr. Turveydrop, with a few hints from that accomplished reflection of the first gentleman in Europe on the subject of Deportment, would have been remarkably apropos.

Soon after twelve the rooms began to thin a little, and we left at about half past, much amused with the evening's entertainment.

DRURY'S BLUFF.

WE reproduce on page 796 two engravings from sketches by Mr. Vizetelly, the special artist of a London paper, who arrived in this country some months since, and contrived to find his way through our lines into the Confederate camps and thence to Richmond. How the sketches were sent to Europe does not appear. These sketches represent the Confederate fort and camp at Drury's Bluff, on the James River, eight miles from Richmond. At the North the fort is generally known as Fort Darling. It was this fort which was unsuccessfully attacked last summer by the Galena, Monitor, and part of the James River fleet. It is esteemed in Secessia a very strong position. Should we attack Richmond from the south or by the way of the river, we should have to carry it before we could approach the rebel capital. Rumor states that at least a part of the face of the work is iron plated.

SLIDELL'S HOUSE.

WE publish on page 796 a view of the rebel SLIDELL's HOUSE, in Louisiana, from a sketch by Dr. Henry, of the United States Navy. The mansion and grounds are handsome, and display evidence of the wealth and taste of their proprietor. Just now, however, they are deserted; a few negroes, owing no allegiance to any one, roam through the grounds and shout their welcome to our gun-boats as they pass. This house, and that of the other chief conspirators against the nation, should be seized and occupied by our forces, and preserved as national property forever as a warning to traitors in after-time.

Of the fate of this and the other abandoned estates of the great planters the following extract front the Times correspondence furnishes the means of forming an opinion. Speaking of the Lafourche country, he says:

This district of country is one of the richest in agricultural wealth, not only in this State, but probably richest in some respects of any spot of the same size in the world. The wealth, however, consists almost entirely of sugar-plantations and negroes, but as time has rolled on the planters have, in long years of prosperity, by accretion, as it were, possessed themselves, in many instances, of a sort of barbaric splendor, illustrated by rich furniture and costly equipages. These things, with their large residences, in most instances, were precipitately abandoned the moment our forces defeated the enemy at Labadieville, and the consequence was that hundreds of negroes, besotted by the most severe system of slavery, were in a moment left to themselves; and in a delirium of excitement they first threw themselves, in an ecstasy of joy, on their knees, and blessed God that Massa Linkum had come;" and then, as semi-civilized people would naturally do, they commenced indulging in all sorts of excesses, the first-fruits of their unrestricted liberty.


 

 

  

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