General Butler in New Orleans


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, December 20, 1862

This site features a digital archive of the Harper's Weekly newspapers published during the Civil War. Harper's Weekly was the most popular illustrated newspaper of the day, and serves as a valuable resource for researchers today.

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


Minnesota Indian Massacre

Minnesota Indian Massacre

General Butler in New Orleans

Morgan's Tennessee Raid

Minnesota Sioux Indian Murder

Sioux Indian Massacre in Minnesota

Emancipation Cartoon

Emancipation Proclamation Cartoon


La Grange

La Grange

Belle Plains

Belle Plains


Fredericksburg, Virginia




[DECEMBER 20, 1862.





THE Report of the Secretary of the Treasury at length places us in possession of the war bills which we have to pay. During the fiscal year ending on 30th June last, the war cost $437,042,976, or about $1,200,000 a day. During the fiscal year ending on 30th June next, it is estimated that the war will cost $829,537,333, at about 2 1/4 millions a day. During the fiscal year ending on 30th June, 1864, it is estimated that the war will cost $807,086,401—a trifle less than the cost during the previous year. But as the increased cost of the war during the current fiscal year includes the outfit of a million of armed men and the construction of a fleet of iron-clad vessels—expenses which it is to be hoped will not be repeated—there is reason to believe that the war bill in 1863-4—if the war lasts so long—will fall short of the Secretary's liberal estimate by a very large sum of money. Should we succeed in suppressing the rebellion by 1st July, 1863, the war will have cost the North in round figures $1,300,000,000, or about $60 per head of our total population. Should it last another year, the total cost may be increased to $100 a head. The debt of Great Britain amounts to about $154 per head of the British people: that of France to about $48 per head. We, in this country, are probably better able to pay $100 than the British $50 or the French $30.

To pay this war bill the nation has a revenue which Mr. Chase estimates at $223,000,000 for the year 1863-4; that is to say, as soon as the internal revenue Act goes fairly into operation. There are those who believe that the Secretary has underestimated the receipts from internal duties, and that they alone will amount to $225,000,000, swelling the aggregate income to $300,000,000. Assuming the official figures, however, to be accurate, they would give an annual tax of about $10 50/100 per head of our population—counting out the rebels and the slaves. The revenue of Great Britain ranges from $300,000,000 to $350,000,000, and will probably average $12 25/100 per head of the British people. The revenue of France may be set down at $350,000,000, and thus averages about $10 per head of the population. The revenue of Spain, which has a debt of less than $800,000,000, is about $60,000,000, say $4 25/100 of the population. It thus appears that in proportion to our debt our national revenue is larger than that of any of the other great nations, and consequently our credit and the price of our national securities should stand higher than theirs. It likewise appears that the burdens which will be laid upon our people by this war will be lighter than those which are borne by the people of England, who have no virgin soil and unoccupied land, and whose material prosperity has always been much less than ours.

On 1st December, 1862, the total debt of the United States—exclusive of bills unaudited and troops unpaid—amounted to $636,343,000, of which $222,932,000 consisted of legal tender notes, $79,789,000 of deposits on call, and $87,363,000 of certificates of indebtedness maturing in one year from date. The total amount of funded debt was only $143,750,000. It was Mr. Chase's hope, when he began to issue legal tender notes, that they would soon be funded into his 5.20 bonds. But the very convertibility of these bonds has checked their free circulation, and prevented their being funded. People have hoarded them, knowing that they could fund them at any time; and they have become scarce, just like the convertible treasury notes which were issued in the year 1814. It is evident that whatever amount of these convertible issues be floated people will not be in any hurry to fund them, and though the evils incident to such a policy—in the advance of prices and the disturbance of values—are inevitable, its benefits may never be realized.

The net deficit for the current year 1862-3 is set down in the Treasury Report at $200,000,000: the precise sum is $276,000,000, less $50,000,000 to be derived from bank issues, and $25,000,000 from temporary deposits. To raise this sum two plans are suggested. One, which emanates from Mr. Chase, proposes the sale in open market of $7.30 notes, convertible into long bonds. The other, which is proposed by Mr. Stevens, Chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means, contemplates the issue of $200,000,000 more treasury notes, coupled with the compulsory withdrawal from circulation of all bank-notes in excess of one half of the capital of the bank which issues them. When this issue of $200,000,000 is exhausted Mr. Stevens proposes to authorize Mr. Chase to sell long bonds bearing twenty years' interest, in the open market, at whatever he can get for them. It is not very likely that the project for "driving in" the redundant circulation of the banks will meet with much favor in Congress. Of all interests the bank interest is the most powerful, and it is pretty sure to command a party in Congress strong enough to defeat a measure which is aimed at its very existence.

On the other hand, the speculative interest, which is likewise influential, and which has its adherents in Congress, is bent on obtaining further issues of paper at any cost to the nation at large. Between the two, the people at large, who are already suffering from the high prices caused by the issues of irredeemable paper, and whose interest is in favor of a return to legitimate financial methods, may not obtain a fair hearing. Mr. Chase may succeed in carrying his point against the speculators. But he will evidently have a close fight of it.


WE have reason to believe that the highest military authorities at Washington are of opinion that within ninety days the valley of the Mississippi and the bulk of the cotton-growing regions of the South will be under the control of the forces of the United States. We know that General Hovey is at Grenada, and Generals Grant and Sherman not far behind him; that General McClernand with a very powerful military column, supported by a fleet of iron-clad gun-boats, is slowly descending the Mississippi to operate against Vicksburg, while the remainder of the loyal army of the Southwest is moving upon Jackson; and there is now no further use in concealing the probability that General Banks has gone to Mobile, where Farragut's fleet already awaits his arrival. These combined armies will constitute a force of fully 175,000 men, considerably more than can be opposed to them, and amply sufficient, in the opinion of competent military judges, to take and to hold the entire Mississippi Valley, including Mobile, Jackson, Little Rock, and both shores of the river from New Orleans to Cairo.

General Beauregard, in an intercepted dispatch which has been published in the papers, declared that the loss of the Mississippi Valley would be the ruin of the Confederacy. And he was right. The recovery of that tract of country, in the first place, bisects the Confederacy and cripples it as the ligature of the main artery would cripple an individual. It isolates Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas from the Atlantic States, deprives the former of arms and munitions of war, and the latter of beef and supplies. It gives us possession of cotton enough to revolutionize the manufacturing trade throughout the world, and stop the mouths of foreign enemies of the blockade. And, more important than all, it enables the Northwest to pour down the great river abundant supplies of food to the starving denizens of the lower Mississippi Valley, who are now kept in a state of unparalleled misery by the military despotism of Jeff Davis's lieutenants.

If our Generals succeed, by 1st March next, in reconquering the Mississippi Valley and holding it, the insurrection will then be confined to parts of Virginia and North Carolina, the uplands of South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, and the mountain districts of Tennessee. If Burnside and Rosecrans fulfill the expectations which people entertain respecting them, the rebels may not hold as much territory as this. But even if nothing substantial be achieved by the armies of the Potomac and the Ohio, the rebellion will still have shrunk, on 1st March, into such narrow proportions that it will baffle the ingenuity of even such pro-slavery partisans as Mr. Gladstone and Lord John Russell to find an excuse for its recognition.

What may be the condition of the slaves in the South on 1st March next no one can yet tell. Events are progressing very rapidly, and facts, incredible a year ago, are now undoubted. General Butler has a reliable brigade of black troops. General Brannan has several regiments of escaped slaves, who have fought valiantly in South Carolina. General Sherman—who commenced his career by offering to maintain slavery in South Carolina—now notifies his officers at Memphis that they must receive all fugitive slaves, feed, and set them to work on wages. General Butler compels the planters in the Lafourche district in Louisiana to pay their slaves regular wages. On New-Year's Day every slave in Secessia becomes entitled to claim that the United States protect him or her in the enjoyment of freedom. Whatever happens, it is pretty clear that the sun of the 1st March next will shine on a very different condition of society in the rebel States from that which existed on 1st March, 1862.



OUR wayward sisters, the rebels at the South, and their bottle-holders at the North, keep up a lively game. Here, for instance, is the wayward sister whose trump card is, "Let 'em go;" he has been kindly patting the Government upon the back, and saying, "There, you poor, miserable thing, you shall try to totter on a little longer, so you shall!" Sister Van Buren says: "So long as the Government goes on in strict conformity to the Constitution and the laws they will be allowed to linger out a sickly existence until the close of their official term; but the moment they overstep the Constitution, the moment they depart from well-ascertained principles of right, they resolve society into its original elements. They give notice to us, who

have the physical force, not only that physical force resides with the governed, but that resistance to tyrants is obedience to God!" Loud cheers from Captain Rynders and Company.

This is "Conservative" speech-making, as at present practiced in the city of New York. This is the expression of a "sound public sentiment" and "returning reason." The Democratic party, it appears, as represented by Vallandigham, and not by Dickinson, Holt, Andy Johnson, and others somewhat known to fame, is the natural ruler of the country. But it has no national force whatever except as a bob to the tail of Slavery. Consequently, the Slave Interest is the natural supreme power of the land. By some absurd mistake it fell out of its place two years ago, but will not take it again by force unless the present holders of power violate the Constitution. That interest will determine what the Constitution is, and what is a violation of it: and when it happens to think that it is violated it will turn things upside down, and reorganize them by physical force.

Conservatism of the wayward sister school as thus expounded is in its own terms this: The Democratic party, when Fernando Wood tells it that the Constitution is violated, is justified in rising against the Government.

Sister V. B. is so extremely wayward as to be generally thought a jester; but his words mean exactly that, if they mean any thing at all. Now he and all the rest of his school ought to understand that as that kind of "physical force," bluster and general plantation rhetoric, utterly broke down in Congress, and did not captivate the country, even when reinforced by the "physical force" of Brooks's bludgeon, so it breaks down contemptibly in the face of a civil war produced by its spirit. The "physical force" of the New York mob may be at the beck of Sister Wood or Sister Van Buren, or any other of the wayward family; but that of the country at large obeys the command of its Government.

The very core and pith of the war is the settlement of the question whether the Slave masters, with their obedient sisters at the North, are the natural supreme power of the country. We are fighting to determine whether our Government shall be administered to protect Slavery or to defend Liberty; whether Slavery may upset the Government by "physical force" to suit its own purpose, or whether it shall take its constitutional chances. All the vapors of all the wayward sisters in the land will not for a single moment confuse the national perception of this point.

Meanwhile let Sister V. B. continue in his own wayward manner to shake his valiant fist at the Government, and call upon the "physical force" to spurn and resist the blind and reckless despotism of the bloated old tyrant who dares to defile the house consecrated by the exalted memories of Buchanan. It is a pity, but the "physical force" does not hear. It is engaged in finishing another despot whose destruction will release a clever but wayward sister like Mr. Van Buren from the political necessity of talking such melancholy stuff as his recent speeches.


WILL the Lounger, asks a friend, give us a short sermon upon Political Preaching? It seems that a worthy clergyman was urged to make some recognition of the fact that the country was rent with a fearful war for the most atrocious of objects, and he declined upon the ground that he would have no political preaching in his pulpit. There are a good many shallow-pates who, without the clergyman's real worth, will think that he made an exceedingly clever reply. Why, they ask, can't we have religion preached in church? The basest newspapers and the most dishonest politicians in the land clamor incessantly to have, as the eminent conservative Vallandigham says, Christ and not the niXXer preached. The zeal of people who hold that Christianity is a vast religious justification of injustice, to have pure Christianity preached, is most edifying. The interest that Rynders and other conservative saints take in a pure gospel is touching and amazing. Let us see then what political preaching is.

A sermon is the application of the divine law to the condition and wants of a particular parish. The law is general; the object of preaching is to make it special. For instance, the law is to love our neighbor as ourselves. The preacher takes that text to apply to us, his congregation. How can he do it but by showing us who our neighbor is, what it is to love him, and how we can prove our love? To reiterate the text indefinitely is not to preach. To say that of course we ought to love our brethren, and that if we don't love them we are very naughty, and the bad place will get us in the end, is not preaching. But to say that as God made all men of one blood, and as Christ loved all equally, therefore every man of every country and race and condition is our brother, and is to be treated as we would be treated, that is evidently preaching. Or to repeat the law of love, and then to insist that love requires us to seize the weaker brother and shut him up and lash him freely and wear him out in seven years by making sugar, that also is preaching, for that is a practical application of the divine law.

But what is there political in all this? Because, in the first case, we have supposed a preacher advocates equal justice as the proof of neighborly love, and it happens that a political party is trying to do injustice by law, is it a political sermon? If a minister urged that the tariff on foreign books ought to be nine instead of ten per cent. upon their value, there would be some sense in complaining that he preached politics. But if he says that lying is a sin, and that we as a nation, and his hearers as part of it, have lied to the Indians and ought to be ashamed of themselves, and, if they don't repent and mend their ways, will be punished, he is doing exactly what he was ordained to do.

The friend who requested this sermon probably

knows that the talk about political preaching proceeds from people whose party discipline requires the support of slavery, and who therefore insist that because politics have touched the subject it has ceased to be a moral question. Do they object to hear preaching against swearing, or lying, or thieving, or profaning the Sabbath day by reading novels? Oh no; that is legitimate preaching. But if old Rum Puncheon hears a clergyman denounce drunkenness and the makers of drunkards he rises, and thumps down the aisle, and bangs out at the door, and wishes that the parson wouldn't preach those d—d political sermons.

It is remarked that horses always spring if you touch them on the raw.


AMONG the men who have deserved well of the country during the last two years no one is more eminent than General Butler. One of the first citizens to march at the call of the Government, he was not rebuffed by delays, but carried his regiment to the nearest practicable point to Washington. While other generals and conflicting councils higgled and delayed about investing Baltimore, or reducing Baltimore, or parleying with Baltimore, General Butler quietly moved with two regiments and took Baltimore, so that we have held it fast ever since. Sent to Fort Monroe, he was, as chief in command, popularly held responsible for the disaster of Great Bethel; but that he was truly accountable for it has not yet clearly appeared. Later, in company with Stringham, he was heard of at Hatteras.

There followed a few months in which, under a kind of roving commission, he was engaged in collecting a great force. There were long and loud debates. The Governor of Massachusetts and the General differed. There were infinite delays. But at last his expedition sailed. It did not take with it unquestioning public confidence. The public was anxious to hear rather than sanguine. But when it did hear it heard the most striking and splendid news of the war—the capture of New Orleans by Farragut and Porter, and its occupation in concert by Butler.

From that moment he has held New Orleans like a nut in his hand. He has played no foolish and wicked game of olive branches and swords. He knew that he had his foot in the den of the most malignant enemies. There might be friends also; but his duty was by saving himself to save them. And he has ruled the city with a rod of iron. Any staff less stern would have snapped in his hand, and struck back fatally upon the country. He has been hated and abused by the enemy with a ferocity that showed how firm and faithful his hold upon them was. England and Europe have shrieked at his "inhumanity"—as old women squall when a policeman seizes a thief. Be found an ordinance of the city which sent to the calaboose all loose women actively soliciting upon the street, and he put it in force against all women who could not contain their angry passions sufficiently to forbear from insulting and reviling loyal soldiers. Every other measure of his administration has shown the same comprehension, sagacity, and resolution. Neither consuls, nor foreigners, nor bankers, nor rich semi-traitors who wished to be "neutral," have for a moment confused his perception or delayed his action. His hand and his head have worked together promptly, vigorously, incisively. If every General who is equally loyal had been equally perceptive, rapid, and resolute, there would have been fewer dismal passages in our history. Had his system and spirit in managing New Orleans been those of the nation in dealing with the rebellion, its military importance would already have disappeared.

Theodore Winthrop was General Butler's aid and Military Secretary at Fort Monroe at the time he fell. Just before leaving upon the sad expedition to Great Bethel, he had been writing a paper upon the life there. In that he says: "When I arrived Fort Monroe and the neighborhood were occupied by two armies. 1st, General Butler's; 2d, About six thousand men here and at Newport News—making together more than twelve thousand men. Of the first army, consisting of the General, I will not speak. Let his past supreme services speak for him, as I doubt not the Future will."

The Future has spoken.


How long the system of courses of miscellaneous Lyceum lectures would continue without change has always been a speculation among those who are interested in it. The number of additions to the corps of lecturers in the country is so slight, being usually made up of the last successful author, who is taken upon trial to determine if he sounds as well as he reads, that it was evident how strong was the tap-root of the system which fed upon much the same nourishment from year to year.

There are lately symptoms of some modification. The tendency is to combine the charm of dramatic with literary attraction, which is not essentially a new thing, but is newly developed here. Charles Matthews and Albert Smith were the extreme representatives of this style in London; and Edmond. Yates and Harold Power, the latter the sou of Tyrone Power, and the former, we believe, of the Edmund Yates who incensed Thackeray, are following Albert Smith with sketches of life in Australia. Mr. Glaisher, also, the aeronaut, is telling his story of balloon ascents "in a popular form." To the same general range, although of course, very different in itself, belongs Dickens's reading of his own works. This author takes his little book after dinner; puts it in his pocket; puts on his hat; walks a little way to the hall; emerges upon the platform before a most crowded and brilliant audience; reads to their rapturous delight for a couple of hours; rises and makes his bow; as he passes out is handed a little sum of seven or eight hundred, or a thousand dollars; walks home, takes (Next Page)




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