Minnesota Sioux Massacre


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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.]



am married within a certain time. The house and lands are to be mine under any circumstances. But the money with which I might improve them both is to be arbitrarily taken away from me if I am not a married man on the third of May. I am sadly wanting in intelligence I dare say, but a more incomprehensible proceeding I never heard of!"

"No snapping and snarling, George! Say your say out. We don't understand sneering in Her Majesty's Navy!"

"I mean no offense, Sir. But I think it's a little hard to astonish me by a change of proceeding on your part, entirely foreign to my experience of your character, and then, when I naturally ask for an explanation, to turn round coolly and leave me in the dark. If you and Noel came to some private arrangement together before he made his will, why not tell me? Why set up a mystery between us where no mystery need be?"

"I won't have it, George!" cried the admiral, angrily drumming on the table with the nutcrackers. "You are trying to draw me like a badger, but I won't be drawn! I'll make any conditions I please; and I'll be accountable to nobody for them unless I like. It's quite bad enough to have worries and responsibilities laid on my unlucky shoulders that I never bargained for—never mind what worries: they're not yours, they're mine — without being questioned and cross-questioned as if I was a witness in a box. Here's a pretty fellow!" continued the admiral, apostrophizing his nephew in red-hot irritation, and addressing himself to the dogs on the hearth-rug for want of a better audience. "Here's a pretty fellow! He is asked to help himself to two uncommonly comfortable things in their way —a fortune and a wife—he is allowed six months to get the wife in (we should have got her in the Navy, bag and baggage, in six days)—he has a round dozen of nice girls, to my certain knowledge, in one part of the country and another, all at his disposal to choose from—and what does he do? He sits month after month with his lazy legs crossed before him; he leaves the girls to pine on the stem; and he bothers his uncle to know the reason why! I pity the poor unfortunate women! Men were made of flesh and blood—and plenty of it too—in my time. They're made of machinery now."

"I can only repeat, Sir, I am sorry to have offended you," said George.

"Pooh! pooh! you needn't look at me in that languishing way if you are," retorted the admiral. "Stick to your wine, and I'll forgive you. Your good health, George. I'm glad to see you again at St. Crux. Look at that plateful of sponge-cakes! The cook has sent them up in honor of your return. We can't hurt her feelings, and we can't spoil our wine. Here!" —The admiral tossed four sponge-cakes in quick succession down the accommodating throats of the dogs. "I'm sorry, George," the old gentleman gravely proceeded; "I'm really sorry you haven't got your eye on one of those nice girls. You don't know what a loss you're inflicting on yourself—you don't know what trouble and mortification you're causing me—by this shilly-shally conduct of yours."

"If you would only allow me to explain myself, Sir, you would view my conduct in a totally different light. I am ready to marry to-morrow, if the lady will have me."

"The devil you are! So you have got a lady in your eye after all? Why in Heaven's name couldn't you tell me so before? Never mind—I'll forgive you every thing now I know you have laid your hand on a wife. Fill your glass again. Here's her health in a bumper, By-the-by, who is she?"

"I'll tell you directly, admiral. When we began this conversation, I mentioned that I was a little anxious—"

"She's not one of my round dozen of nice girls—aha, Master George, I see that in your face already! Why are you anxious?"

"I am afraid you will disapprove of my choice, Sir."

"Don't beat about the bush! How the deuce can I say whether I disapprove or not if you won't tell me who she is?"

"She is the eldest daughter of Andrew Vanstone of Combe-Raven."


"Miss Vanstone, Sir."

The admiral put down his glass of wine untasted.

"You're right, George," he said. "I do disapprove of your choice — strongly disapprove of it."

"Is it the misfortune of her birth, Sir, that you object to?"

"God forbid! the misfortune of her birth is not her fault, poor thing. You know as well as I do, George, what I object to."

"You object to her sister?"

"Certainly! The most liberal man alive might object to her sister, I think."

"It's hard, Sir, to make Miss Vanstone suffer for her sister's faults."

"Faults, do you call them? You have a mighty convenient memory, George, where your own interests are concerned."

"Call them crimes, if you like, Sir—I say again, it's hard on Miss Vanstone. Miss Vanstone's life is pure of all reproach. From first to last she has borne her hard lot with such patience, and sweetness, and courage as not one woman in a thousand would have shown in her place. Ask Miss Garth, who has known her from childhood. Ask Mrs. Tyrrel, who blesses the day when she came into the house—"

"Ask a fiddlestick's end! I beg your pardon, George—but you are enough to try the patience of a saint. My good fellow, I don't deny Miss Vanstone's virtues; I'll admit, if you like, she's the best woman that ever put on a petticoat. That is not the question—"

"Excuse me, admiral—it is the question, if she is to be my wife."

"Hear me out, George; look at it from my point of view as well as your own. What did your cousin Noel do? Your cousin Noel fell a victim, poor fellow, to one of the vilest conspiracies I ever heard of—and the prime mover of that conspiracy was Miss Vanstone's damnable sister. She deceived him in the most infamous manner; and as soon as she was down for a handsome legacy in his will she had the poison ready to take his life. That is the truth—we know it from Mrs. Lecount, who found the bottle locked up in her own room. If you marry Miss Vanstone, you make this wretch your sister-in-law. She becomes a member of our family. All the disgrace of what she has done; all the disgraces of what she may do—and the Devil who possesses her, only knows what lengths she may go to next—becomes our disgrace. Good Heavens, George, consider what a position that is! Consider what pitch you touch if you make this woman your sister-in-law."

"You have put your side of the question, admiral," said George, resolutely; "now let me put mine. A certain impression is produced on me by a young lady, whom I meet with under very interesting circumstances. I don't act headlong on that impression, as I might have done if I had been some years younger—I wait and put it to the trial. Every time I see this young lady the impression strengthens—her beauty grows on me, her character grows on me; when I am away from her I am restless and dissatisfied, when I am with her I am the happiest man alive. All I hear of her conduct from those who know her best more than confirms the high opinion I have formed of her. The one drawback I can discover is caused by a misfortune for which she is not responsible—the misfortune of having a sister who is utterly unworthy of her. Does this discovery—an unpleasant discovery, I grant you—destroy all those good qualities in Miss Vanstone for which I love and admire her? Nothing of the sort—it only makes her good qualities all the more precious to me by contrast. If I am to have a drawback to contend with—and who expects any thing else in this world?—I would infinitely rather have the drawback attached to my wife's sister than to my wife. My wife's sister is not essential to my happiness, but my wife is. In my opinion, Sir, Mrs. Noel Vanstone has done mischief enough already—I won't let her do more mischief by depriving me of a good wife. Right or wrong, that is my point of view. I don't wish to trouble you with any questions of sentiment. All I wish to say is, that I am old enough by this time to know my own mind—and that my mind is made up. If my marriage is essential to the execution of your generous intentions on my behalf, there is only one woman in the world whom I can marry—and that woman is Miss Vanstone."

There was no resisting this plain declaration. Admiral Bartram rose from his chair without making any reply, and walked perturbedly up and down the room.

The situation was emphatically a serious one. Mrs. Girdlestone's death had already produced the failure of one of the two objects contemplated by the Secret Trust. If the third of May arrived and found George a single man, the second (and last) of the objects would then have failed in its turn. In little more than a fortnight at the very latest the Bans must be published in Ossory church—or the time would fail for compliance with one of the stipulations insisted on in the Trust. Obstinate as the admiral was by nature, strongly as he felt the objections which attached to his nephew's contemplated alliance, he recoiled, in spite of himself, as he paced the room, and saw the facts, on either side, immovably staring him in the face.

"Are you engaged to Miss Vanstone?" he asked, suddenly.

"No, Sir," replied George. "I thought it due to your uniform kindness to me to speak to you on the subject first."

"Much obliged, I'm sure. And you have put it off to the last moment, just as you put off every thing else. Do you think Miss Vanstone will say Yes when you ask her?"

George hesitated.

"The devil take your modesty!" shouted the admiral. "This is not a time for modesty—this is a time for speaking out. Will she or won't she?"

"I think she will, Sir."

The admiral laughed sardonically, and took another turn in the room. He suddenly stopped, put his hands in his pockets, and stood still in a corner deep in thought. After an interval of a few minutes his face cleared a little: it brightened with the dawning of a new idea. He walked round briskly to George's side of the fire, and laid his hand kindly on his nephew's shoulder.

"You're wrong, George," he said; "but it is too late now to set you right. On the sixteenth of next month the Bans must be put up in Ossory church, or you will lose the money. Have you told Miss Vanstone the position you stand in? Or have you put that off to the eleventh hour, like every thing else?"

"The position is so extraordinary, Sir, and it might lead to so much misapprehension of my motives, that I have felt unwilling to allude to it. I hardly know how I can tell her of it at all."

"Try the experiment of telling her friends. Let them know it's a question of money, and they will overcome her scruples, if you can't. But that is not what I had to say to you. How long do you propose stopping here this time?"

"I thought of staying a few days, and then—"

"And then of going back to London and making your offer, I suppose? Will a week give you time enough to pick your opportunity with Miss Vanstone—a week out of the fortnight you have to spare?"

"I will stay here a week, admiral, with pleasure, if you wish it."

"I don't wish it, I want you to pack up your traps and be off to-morrow."

George looked at his uncle in silent astonishment.

"You found some letters waiting for you when you got here," proceeded the admiral. "Was one of those letters from my old friend, Sir Franklin Brock?"

"Yes, Sir."

"Was it an invitation to you to go and stay at the Grange?"

"Yes, Sir."

"To go at once?"

"At once, if I could manage it."

"Very good. I want you to manage it. I want you to start for the Grange to-morrow."

George looked back at the fire, and sighed impatiently.

"I understand you now, admiral," he said. "You are entirely mistaken in me. My attachment to Miss Vanstone is not to be shaken in that manner."

Admiral Bartram took his quarter-deck walk again up and down the room.

"One good turn deserves another, George," said the old gentleman. "If I am willing to make concessions on my side, the least you can do is to meet me half way, and make concessions on yours."

"I don't deny it, Sir."

"Very well. Now listen to my proposal. Give me a fair hearing, George—a fair hearing is every man's privilege. I will be perfectly just to begin with. I won't attempt to deny that you honestly believe Miss Vanstone is the only woman in the world who can make you happy. I don't question that. What I do question is, whether you really know your own mind in this matter quite so well as you think you know it yourself. You can't deny, George, that you have been in love with a good many women in your time? Among the rest of them, you have been in love with Miss Brock. No longer ago than this time last year there was a sneaking kindness between you and that young lady, to say the least of it. And quite right, too! Miss Brock is one of that round dozen of darlings I mentioned over our first glass of wine."

"You are confusing an idle flirtation, Sir, with a serious attachment," said George. "You are altogether mistaken—you are indeed."

"Likely enough; I don't pretend to be infallible—I leave that to my juniors. But I happen to have known you, George, since you were the height of my old telescope, and I want to have this serious attachment of yours put to the test. If you can satisfy me that your whole heart and soul are as strongly set on Miss Vanstone as you suppose them to be, I must knock under to necessity, and keep my objections to myself. But I must be satisfied first. Go to the Grange tomorrow, and stay there a week in Miss Brock's society. Give that charming girl a fair chance of lighting up the old flame again if she can, and then come back to St. Crux, and let me hear the result. If you tell me, as an honest man, that your attachment to Miss Vanstone still remains unshaken, you will have heard the last of my objections from that moment. Whatever misgivings I may feel in my own mind, I will say nothing and do nothing adverse to your wishes. There is my proposal. I dare say it looks like an old man's folly in your eyes. But the old man won't trouble you much longer, George—and it may be a pleasant reflection, when you have got sons of your own, to remember that you humored him in his last days."

He came back to the fire-place as he said those words, and laid his hand once more on his nephew's shoulder. George took the hand and pressed it affectionately. In the tenderest and best sense of the word his uncle had been a father to him.

"I will do what-you ask me, Sir," he replied, "if you really wish it. But it is only right to tell you that the experiment will be utterly useless. However, if you prefer my passing the week at the Grange to my passing it here, to the Grange I will go."

"Thank you, George," said the admiral, bluntly. "I expected as much from you, and you have not disappointed me. If Miss Brock doesn't get us out of this mess," thought the wily old gentleman as he resumed his place at the table, "my nephew's weathercock of a head has turned steady with a vengeance! We'll consider the question settled for to-night, George," he continued, aloud, "and call another subject. These family anxieties don't improve the flavor of my old claret. The bottle stands with you. What are they doing at the theatres in London? We always patronized the theatres in my time in the Navy. We used to like a good tragedy to begin with, and a hornpipe to cheer us up at the end of the entertainment."

For the rest of the evening the talk flowed in the ordinary channels. Admiral Bartram only returned to the forbidden subject when he and his nephew parted for the night.

"You won't forget to-morrow, George?" "Certainly not, Sir. I'll take the dog-cart and drive myself over after breakfast."

Before noon the next day Mr. George Bartram had left the house, and the last chance in Magdalen's favor had left it with him.


WE publish on page 801 a very striking picture of the identification of an INDIAN MURDERER (one of the leaders of the late Indian foray into Minnesota) by a boy survivor who witnessed the massacre. The gentleman who made the sketch from which our picture is taken kindly sends us the following account:

"After fighting two severe battles, the troops

under the command of Brigadier-General Sibley succeeded in capturing the greater portion of the bands who committed the recent murders. The victims amounted in number to over one thousand, and many no doubt are still lying in the woods, where they fled for shelter and were struck down. There is no record of a massacre so thorough in detail in the history of our country, fruitful as it is of Indian outbreaks. A short time since I was at South Bend, on the Minnesota River, and saw the captives. They are confined in strong log prisons and closely guarded, not so much to prevent their escape as to secure them from the vengeance of the outraged settlers. They are the most hideous wretches that I have ever seen. I have been in the prisons of Singapore where the Malay pirates are confined—the Dyacks, who are the most ferocious and blood-thirsty of their kind—but they an mild and humane in appearance compared to these Sioux warriors.

"Quite an incident occurred while I was there. A boy who had escaped after seeing the murder and outrage of his mother and sisters was brought in to look at the prisoners, and, if possible, identify them. One of the friendly Indians, who had distinguished himself by his bravery and humanity, accompanied the party to act as interpreter. When we entered the log-house that served for a prison the captives were mostly crouched on the floor, but one of them arose and confronted us with a defiant scowl. Another, supporting himself on his arm, surveyed the party with a look like a tiger about to spring. The boy advanced boldly, and pointed him out without hesitancy. Subsequent investigation showed that this wretch had murdered eleven persons. The boy's eyes flashed as he told the sickening tale of his mother's murder, and the spectators could scarce refrain from killing the wretch on the spot. He never relaxed his sullen glare, and seemed perfectly indifferent when told of his identification by the interpreter.

"The entire country steams with slaughter, and there is scarce a family in the large district that was the scene of the outbreak that has not lost a member; and many are entirely cut off, and nothing left to indicate their fate but their devastated homes and the chance admissions of the prisoners.

"It will be long before the frontiers of Minnesota will recover from this tragedy, and many of the sufferers will seek justice with their ready rifles, and will range the vast plains west to the Missouri, until they have hunted every Indian into the mountains."


OUR artist, Mr. Simplot, has sent us several sketches, which we reproduce on page 804. Grand Junction, Tennessee, has long been one of the most important stations in the Southwest, and has been held by our army ever since the rebel evacuation of Corinth. It is from thence that Grant moved forward to compel the retreat of the insurgents from Holly Springs. Davis Mills is a position on the left wing of our army under Grant, and was lately occupied by General Hamilton's Division. It is a well-known spot to the army of the Southwest.


WE publish on page 805 a view of BELLE PLAINS, the principal depot of supplies for the army of the Potomac. It is near Aquia Creek. Here hundreds of thousands of bales, boxes, barrels, and cases of supplies are being accumulated as fast as they can be landed from transports and hauled through the mud by overworked mules. The scene is characteristic, and the picture explains itself. It is from a sketch by Mr. Theo. R. Davis.


WHEN winter rains begin,

And trees are yellow and thin, And every garden bed

Is a couch for the dying or dead; When woods are mouldy and dank; When the sodden river bank

Is gusty, and misty, and chill, And birds are dull and still;

Then may you chance to see

What has no right to be—

A primrose breaking its sheath

In this time of sorrow and death,

A violet under a leaf

In this season of sickness and grief,

All alone, with the spring in their eyes and breath.


Or you may hear, perchance,

Across the brown wood's trance, A sudden mid-May' note,

Trilled out of a blackbird's throat;

As if he had joy to spare,

Which brightened the lifeless air;

As if he had pleasure laid by,

Which sweetened the loveless sky.

Oh! sad are these relics which last To tell of the bright days past!

Nay, but dear are these signs which are born To hint of the coming morn.

Is it saddest or sweetest to feel

A breath from our childhood steal,

A gleam from the days of our youth, Of tenderness, trust, and truth,

Of sweet emotions lost

Glide over our age's frost,

When the deadest time is near,

The dark hour which must be cross'd.

And beyond are the flowers of the vernal year.




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