The Battle of Somerset


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, February 8, 1862

We have posted our entire collection of Civil War Harper's Weekly newspapers. These newspapers are formatted so that they look just like the original page. They contain a wealth of resources to help you develop a more in depth understanding of the Civil War. We hope you find this extensive archive useful in your research and study.

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Mill's Spring

Battle of Mill Spring

Battle of Somerset

Battle of Somerset

Mason and Slidell

Mason and Slidell Affair

Secretary Stanton and General Zollicoffer

Secretary Stanton and General Zollicoffer

Virginia Cavalry

Virginia Cavalry Charge

Rebel Cartoon

Rebel Cartoon

Battle of Somerset, Mill Spring, Kentucky

Battle of Somerset, Mill Spring

Bombardment of Fort Pickens

Kentucky Battle Map

Battle Map Mill Spring

Map of the Battle of Mill Spring

East River

East River Picture




[FEBRUARY 8, 1862.



RUSHING into 'busses,

Crushing into cars,

Pushing over ice-packs,

Like a pack of bears; Crinoline on "rockers," Balmorals on a " lark"-

Bless me ! this is pleasant,
Skating on the Park !

Crowds of cozy Bloomers

Gyrate with a grace;

Crowds of " boozy" meerschaums Puff them to their face :

Floods of rosy people,

'Nough to fill an ark-

Janus ! this is jolly,

Skating on the Park !

Shoals of scaly small-fry

Crack their jokes and pates;

Schools of " amphibilia"

Flounder flat on skates; Pedagraphic "masters,"

Bound to " make their mark,

Jot down their disasters, Short-hand, on the Park.

Now you " cut" an " eagle,"

Now you cut a " spread ;" Now you backward wriggle,

Now you "crack a head;"

Now you're "up" to Mercury,

Now you zero mark

John ! ain't it jolly,

Gymning on the Park?

"Cup of coffee, Mister?" "Mister, take a skate?"

" Ha! my pretty sister !" "Ho! my cousin Kate !"

Off she shoots, the rocket ! Off fly I, the "spark!"

Smack! was that a pocket-
Paixhan on the Park?

' Venus ! what an ankle !"

" Phoebus ! what a ' cloud!'"

" How my fingers tingle!"

" Smoking's not allow'd!"

"Heigh! you 'cloud compelling-(Mind whose shins you bark!)

Jove'-ial, happy fellow !"

This the ladies' Park?"

Jaunty little " jockey"

(Once it " struck you" dumb!)

Takes your chair, and (cracky!)

Chair 't 'gins to hum !

Like a top you're whirling-

Seal'd lips do their work;

And so you win your darling,

Skating on the Park.

Floating is't, or flying?

Is't blue sky we're cleaving?

Are we of hasheesh dying?

Are these " stars" of heaven?

What beauty fills the vision? What angel voices ?—Hark!

Are these " Fields" Elysian? Is this Central Park?

"What a charbig boodlight!"

" Calcinb, Bister Gradt."

" Takidg cold?" "Well, good-dight!"

By ! they're goidg do dadce !"

" What! dot so sood goidg?"

" Take sobe wide add bark." Ball's down for o'erflowing,

" Jig's up" on the Park.


FULL details have been received of the BATTLE OF SOMERSET, Kentucky. By the strategy of GENERAL BUELL, ZOLLICOFFER'S army was surrounded by the divisions of Generals THOMAS and SCHOEPFF ; perceiving which, Zollicoffer made a desperate attack upon the Union camp on Sunday morning, January 19. His force was 10,000 strong, and that of the Union army consisted of five regiments—the Tenth Indiana, the Ninth Ohio, the Second Minnesota, the Fourth Kentucky, and the First Tennessee, the last-named not being engaged in the thickest of the fight. The battle began at four o'clock A.M., and lasted all day. GENERAL ZOLLICOFFER was killed by COLONEL FRY, of Kentucky, and his body found in a wagon. The rebels retreated, and were followed to their intrenchments, which they abandoned during the night. We give, on the preceding page, a picture of the picket of the Tenth Indiana Regiment discovering the approach of the rebels; on pages 88 and 89 a spirited engraving of the battle; and on pages 86 and 87 Maps showing the scene of the conflict.

The Union loss is 39 killed, 127 wounded ; that of the rebels is 115 killed, 116 wounded, and 45 taken prisoners. Ten cannon with their ammunition, 100 four-horse wagons, 1200 horses and mules, and several boxes of small-arms were captured by our forces. The rebels crossed the Cumberland River at Oak Springs; and dispersed in every direction. Our forces have also crossed in pursuit, General Thomas having secured the steamboat and barges used by the rebels. General Thomas has not been heard from since he crossed the river, but he will probably occupy Monticello, which the rebels have deserted. The rebel rout was complete,

but the Southern papers profess to doubt the news of the affair. Our new Secretary of War has issued the following stirring General Order in relation to this affair :

WAR DEPARTMENT, January 22, 1862.

The President, Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy, has received information of a brilliant victory achieved by the United States forces over a large body of armed traitors and rebels, at Mill Spring, in the State of Kentucky. He returns thanks to the gallant officers and soldiers who won that victory; and when the official reports shall be received, the military skill and personal valor displayed in battle will be acknowledged and rewarded in a fitting manner. The courage that encountered and vanquished the greatly superior numbers of the rebel force, pursued and attacked them in their intrenchments, and paused not until the enemy was completely routed, merits and receives commendation. The purpose of this war is to pursue and destroy a rebellious enemy, and to deliver the country from danger. Menaced by traitors, alacrity, daring, courageous spirit, and patriotic zeal, on all occasions and under every circumstance, are expected from the army of the United States. In the prompt and spirited movements and daring at the battle of Mill Spring the nation will realize its hopes ; and the people of the United States will rejoice to honor every soldier and officer who proves his courage by charging with the bayonet, and storming intrenchments, or in the blaze of the enemy's fire. By order of the President.

EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War.


WE give on page 85 sketches of the two BOMBARDMENTS OF FORT PICKENS, furnished by our special artist. The first of these bombardments began on the 22d of November. A heavy firing was kept up, with little damage, only one man in the fort being killed. But two days after, some men were handling a shell which had been thrown from the rebel batteries without exploding. While they were endeavoring to withdraw the fuse the shell exploded, killing six and wounding several others. Our artist has depicted this scene. The second engagement between Fort Pickens and the rebel batteries opposite took place on New-Year's Day, 1862. Colonel Brown, commanding at Fort Pickens, provoked by the conduct of the rebels at Pensacola in firing upon our small craft, opened fire upon them. This was returned. During the day the Navy-yard at Warrington was set on fire by our shells. Our artist has furnished a view of the conflagration, as it appeared from the fort. He also gives us views of the Fort and its surroundings just before and during the last bombardment.



BEFORE this time our readers will have fully informed themselves in regard to the recent Union victory at Somerset, Kentucky. The plan, the manner, and the results of that brilliant achievement are already familiar. The stirring General Order of the new Secretary of War, and the no less stirring chronicles of the newspaper reports, have allotted to the officers and privates of the Union regiments engaged in the battle their due meed of praise. The advantages which this victory gives us in clearing East Kentucky of rebel armies, and opening the way to the capture of Bowling Green and an immediate advance into Tennessee are evident. It remains only for us to consider the direct and indirect effects of our triumph upon the people of the rebel States.

We have thus far carefully refrained from expressing any over-sanguine hopes of the speedy issue of the war. So complex are the questions involved, so nice is the discrimination required, and so many are the haps and chances in the subjection of this rebellion, that one who sets times and circumstances for the end of the war, runs great risk of having his predictions falsified by occurrences the most singular and unexpected. Still, if we may trust at all to the signs of the times, this victory at Somerset inaugurates the close of the rebellion, and may be not inappropriately termed " the beginning of the end." And we suppose it to be so, not from any knowledge of General McClellan's plans and the influence this battle may exert upon them, but for reasons more within our province—and, we think, quite as satisfactory.

In the first place, then, whatever may be the strategical value of our victory, it certainly begins a more active and decisive period of the campaign. The rebels attacked us, for almost the first time, at Somerset ; and so determined are they to hold the fertile though bloody fields of Kentucky that they will again attack us if we wait for them. So, nolens volens, we must fight; for treason draws a great deal of its sustenance from Kentucky and Tennessee, and will not readily surrender these States. The rebels are in too great straits even to admit of delay. In the Border States are their greatest forces and their greatest moral strength. Conquer the Border States, and the rebellion is mortally wounded. Our generals know this. The rebel generals know this. With enemies thus well informed, and with both hostile armies so well prepared, neither party has the power to avoid conflicts except by an absolute surrender of all that is worth fighting for. Therefore, as neither the Union nor the rebel armies can afford to delay action, we think that more hard fighting will immediately ensue in Kentucky; and we believe that fair, hard fighting will soon end this rebellion.

But the moral aspect of this victory upon the

South is disastrous to the rebel cause. Lately there has been a great deal of discontent and complaining among the rebels, and it is very easy to see the uprising of a genuine Union sentiment among the more honest of the traitors. There seems to have been a growing conviction recently that we are too strong for them, and that, after all, they had gained nothing by rebelling against a Government which they themselves had framed, and against laws which they themselves had made, only to live under a Government and laws which are oppressive, unjust, and unpopular, and which, indeed, they had no hand nor voice in forming. We look to this Somerset victory to strengthen and deepen this conviction, and give it efficacy and direction. The very fact that, at first, the rebel journals unanimously affect to disbelieve the news of the victory, will only make its effect the greater when further skepticism is useless and impossible ; as disappointment is always most painful when hope has been most high.

From a variety of sources of information, and from our own personal knowledge, we are led to believe that the strength of this rebellion lies in its misrepresentations. The people of the South are told that New York is as desolate as New Orleans ; that our army is as ill-equipped and provided as their own ; that our Government is as tyrannical, unjust, and badly conducted as that of Jeff Davis : in short, that we at the North are suffering quite as much as they are, and that really the only question is one of endurance. The Southern people would be more than mortals, or less than Americans, if they did not endure as long as possible while they hold this belief. But let them be once fully undeceived, and clearly shown their own weakness compared with our strength, and, through the natural stages of despondency, despair, desperation, and fury against their miserable, traitorous deluders, the Southern people will be rid forever of this fever of rebellion.

The Kentucky victory and those which will follow it will accomplish this undeception. It will be impossible to conceal Zollicoffer's death, impossible to conceal the rout of his army, impossible to conceal the inevitable results of our victory from the Southern masses; and when once our strength and our policy are understood rebellion will hesitate—totter—fall!



THE end of the rebellion is to be read, perhaps, more surely in the raving ferocity of the rebel speeches and papers than in any other way. The frantic devices to "nog" the jealousy and hatred of the rebel section toward the Government, so that it may remain as virulent as ever; the amusing pertinacity with which the Government of the United States is called " Lincoln," and loyal citizens " Lincolnites ;" the utterly ludicrous statements like that of the excellent Mr. Maury to Admiral Fitzroy, that Wilson's Zouaves were furnished each man with a halter to hang the rebel he might capture to the nearest tree ; or of the Memphis Avalanche, that Lincoln had emptied his penitentiaries over the border, and had given every criminal a torch to kindle a Confederate city; the hope expressed by the valuable and profound statesman, Foote, that " Lincoln and his infernal Cabinet may be brought to the scaffold for their atrocious offenses against the Constitution, which they have perjurously violated;" and the grave assertion that the war springs from the malignant jealousy of Freedom toward Slavery—all these signs point directly to that desperation which precedes defeat.

The desponding, querulous bitterness of the Richmond Examiner, in criticising the spectral Government of Jeff Davis, betrays the same aching and gnawing consciousness of impending disaster. If the blows that are now doubtless striking by the National troops are uniformly successful, the spirits of the rebels, now drooping, will be sadly damped.

And yet they will not " give it up so." A people, like a man, under the exasperation of mingled rage and defeat and disgrace, will do very wild and wanton things. If there be any considerable party of strong Union men at the South, the moment they reveal themselves they will be violently attacked by the ingrained Secessionists. The furious, daring, and reckless men of the rebel section will as willingly turn upon their fellow-citizens and recent half-sympathizers as upon the Lincolnites. As every man is, in their estimation, an Abolitionist who does not think chattel slavery the perfection of Christianity, so every man who, under any circumstances and for any reason, is for yielding to the power of the Government, will be denounced and hunted as a Lincolnite. There will be a fierce civil war among themselves; and while our army as it advances will extend the lines of peace, it can be only an armed peace, as it is in Maryland at this moment.

Victory is not Peace. For many a month yet the quiet of the rebel section can be maintained only by the military hand. The great army of the Union will be by no means immediately disbanded. Having suppressed rebellion, it will have to protect peace and loyalty. And only as the great root of rebellion is loosened and destroyed, and the Slavery for which the war is waged disappears, will the permanence of peace be secured. After the revelations of this rebellion, and in the circumstances of this time, whoever extenuates or defends Slavery—whatever may be his views of the true method of riddance—must be held at heart . a traitor. Yes; and eve if he abstractly thinks

Slavery to be right, after this bloody evidence of its utter inconsonance with our government and the popular conviction, he can not labor for its protection or extension without condemnation as a dangerously impracticable visionary. So long as he talks only, he will be pitied and contemned. Should he try overtly to help Slavery, he will be an open traitor.


THE immediate excitement about Mr. Morgan's purchases for the Government has passed ; but the question remains, and it will, under other names, occur again.

One thing is pretty clear—if Mr. Morgan had not been related to the Secretary of the Navy we should have heard very little of the matter. And that shows conclusively how very difficult it is for a public officer to give public employment and emolument of the kind in question to a relative, without a suspicion of nepotism that can not fail to provoke sharp comment.

Another thing is equally clear—that a Government in need must ask itself, " How can I get this work done most economically ?" That question was asked, and the Secretary answered it, and the result was that hundreds of thousands of dollars were saved to the treasury.

" Ah, but Mr. Morgan ought to have done it for nothing ! The country was in peril, and he speculated in its necessities. It was not generous; it was not patriotic."

Perhaps not. But the Navy Department wanted vessels, and expected to pay for them. And it got the most faithful service, and made its bargains with economy. That its agent was paid, and largely, is true. But do Governments ever offer the consciousness of virtue as a commission ? Would their work be well done, or timely done, if they did ? Mr. Morgan might have done all the work, and have paid his own expenses. Granted. But was the Government to advertise for such a person if Mr. Morgan declined ? That gentleman treated the whole affair as a business transaction, and dealt honorably by all parties, although profitably by himself. And it was a business transaction. If he chose to do it as such, and then add entire renunciation of the profits, it would have been an admirable thing. But that was an utterly different question. Every Government must expect to pay for work. Mr. Morgan did the work well, and was paid.

"Yes ; but he was paid too much."

But the record shows that the Government unquestionably saved money through his services, and 2 1/2 per cent. is not an enormous commission when it saves the employer thirty or fifty.

If the purchases and contracts of the War Department had been managed as those of the Navy Department through Mr. Morgan have been, Mr. Dawes could not have made so scathing a speech. Is it not worth while for the Government in future always to secure a man of honesty, loyalty, general ability, special skill and experience, and pay him well for his work, rather than to reject him because somebody ought to be found who may be equally qualified, and may be willing to take his pay in a salary or a groat rather than a percentage ?


WHILE there has been clamor enough for a forward movement, there has been one made, and one of great significance, and that is the advance of the lyceum lecturers upon Washington. In fact, some of these gentlemen read the accounts of the establishment of our army at Hilton Head and Beaufort and Ship Island, and of the sailing of Burnside's expedition, as if it were merely a movement of the van, while the major-generals and the staff and the lyceum will bring up the rear.

" In the name of good morals, sound learning, exact science, and the fine arts," exclaimed a lecturer, " haven't we been sufficiently proved ? Have we not for fifteen resolute and heroic years lain in the cold bed, eaten the cold apple at night and the tough steak in the morning, drank the boot-heel coffee and the straw tea, and through slush and sleet and snow and slime patiently held our way, and shall there be no reward ? After the vigil and the fasting shall there be no triumphant accolade of knighthood ?

" Of course there shall be. Henceforth the lyceum lecturer, like the bobolink, shall wend his southward way as winter comes, and sit and sing upon the orange-bough and the February rose-tree. He shall put a girdle of summer round his year. In October he may begin in Boston ; by November he will have left New England, and be heard twittering in Pennsylvania and Maryland. Christmas shall find him across the Potomac, and the exact and nimble reporters of the Richmond Examiner catching his notes as they fall. In January the sunny Carolinas shall ring with his trill—the dear sunny Carolinas that would now so gladly wring his neck. Florida and the Gulf shore shall break the heart of winter for him; and even in Mobile, in Natchez, and New Orleans shall his purling song be heard.

" The war has not yet lasted a year, and already an American citizen can say what he thinks in the capital of the country ! It has not lasted a year, and already he can say in the shadow of Congress that he loves liberty and hates slavery ! Who says we have had no victory ? Who says there has been no advance? In the salons of the national metropolis it may not yet be fashionable, but it is tolerated, to think that a gentleman pays for the labor he employs, and does not sell the children of other people to pay his own debts. Hallelujah! And there are people who complain of inaction! Hallelujah! And there are said to be people who think that Liberty once having a fair hold of Washington is going to let go again ! There were people who knew that Columbus could not make an egg stand on end. There were people who saw him trim his little sail away from Palos, and they thought him a fool. They had nearly got through (Next Page)




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