British Response to Trent Affair


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, February 15, 1862

We have been collecting Harper's Weekly Civil War Newspapers for over 20 years. We are pleased to make these historical documents available online for your research and study. These old newspaper provide perspective on the War that is simply not available anywhere else.

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Civil War Ships

Civil War Ships

Foreign Intervention

Trent Affair

British Respond to Trent Affair


The Merrimac

Map Hatteras Inlet

Hatteras Inlet Map

"Nashville" and "Tuscarora"

Slave Torture

Slave Torture

Hatteras Inlet

Hatteras Inlet

British Atrocities

British Atrocities in India

British Atrocities

British Atrocities

Disaster of the Burnside Expedition

Disaster of the Burnside Expedition

William Russell Cartoon

William Russell Carton



Shipwreck of the "City of New York"








FEBRUARY 15, 1862.]



(Previous Page) It occupies the rooms which were the committee-rooms of Congress in the days when there was republican simplicity in the Capitol, and before we had borrowed, for the decoration of our public halls and passages, the gay arabesques of the Golden House of Nero, and the light dancers of Pompeii. Down the chief staircase which our historic men descended, there were planks laid, and barrels of flour were rolling from the storehouse above. Turning off into a side-passage, full of the delicious odor of newly-baked bread, we entered a small vaulted room. There were two huge ovens in it, each baking two hundred loaves. The door was opened, and we looked in upon the murky, hot, fragrant spectacle. Opposite the ovens, against the wall, were the huge troughs full of "sponge," or flour ready for baking, looking already good enough to eat. The bakers, in their paper caps, were busily at work, looking up at us as we moved about. This was the room in which John Quincy Adams lay in state after his death.

The next was like it. There were the ovens, and the troughs, and the busy bakers, and every where the sweet smell and the high piles of bread. There are fourteen ovens, that bake two hundred loaves apiece. Six or seven ovens, that bake eight hundred apiece. They use two hundred and fifty barrels of flour daily ; nineteen hundred gallons of yeast ; and fifty thousand loaves of bread are daily baked. They are turned out usually in sheets of fifteen loaves, and each loaf is a ration of bread, weighing, I think, twelve ounces. In one of the delivery rooms we saw three thousand loaves, rations for three regiments. An army wagon was before the window, and the agent was passing out the supply. In another room half a dozen men were making the yeast, mashing and mixing in smoking barrels. Here, as every where, there was the utmost cleanliness, activity, and quiet. And the bread, the result of all this labor, is so good and palatable that you can not help wishing that the work and the results, in every Department of the Government, might be modeled upon those of the Capitol Bakery.

The ovens that bake the eight hundred loaves at once are upon the outside of the building, under the great steps. To look in upon them, and see the rounded tops of the loaves, is like looking at a Hottentot kraal or village with its mounded huts. And all the persons connected with the Bakery whom we saw were so willing and intelligent, that again we said, as we turned out from the Capitol to the wide panorama before it, and all the public buildings: "Why, too, might not all the officers and agents of each department, as well as the work and the results, be modeled upon those of the Capitol Bakery?"


EVEN those who believe General Fremont to be incompetent do not think that he has been fairly treated. A case of asphyxia was intended. He was to be smothered. He had been recalled from Missouri, and came to New Yolk. There he remained until the Committee upon the Conduct of the War summoned him to Washington. He went and gave his testimony. It was not published, and the Committee were understood to think it inexpedient to report. Meanwhile a Major-General of the United States Army, recalled under a cloud of injurious rumors, holding his tongue with a resolution that no American citizen has even emulated, remains without orders, the object of obloquy, until at length the impression is forced upon the public mind that he is so utterly incapable that the authorities, from regard to him and to his previous position, are unwilling to expose him, and so suffer him to disappear from our history in dumb disgrace.

When the late Secretary Cameron and Adjutant-General Thomas returned from the West, the latter published the indictment against General Fremont, while that officer was still in command of his department. The then Secretary of War assumed the responsibility of the publication. The removal of General Fremont followed. He has now made his defense, and the Committee are believed to think it inexpedient to publish it. There are, therefore, but three courses for the General to pursue: He may remain absolutely silent, leaving a blasted name to his country and his children, he may publish his statement; or he may call a Court of Inquiry.

The first course no honorable man could demand of him. The third is attended with serious inconveniences and delays at a moment when time is invaluable. The second is the course which he owes to his friends and to himself. It makes the people his jury. He throws himself literally upon his country. And the statement may, it must, be made calmly. It must be made, not as the manifest of any discontented faction, but simply as his own justification. There he may leave it. Then, if he receives no orders, he may retire quietly to Mariposa, conscious that his duty is done ; that his country may now see whether or not he served her wisely so long as he served at all ; and resolved that no wrong of his own, if wrong there be, shall result in injury to his country.

Every fair, frank man will see the justice of this course. If, indeed, a trial could be had at once, it would be better, as seeming to be more impartial, that his defense should be submitted to a Court. But the most important witnesses could not leave their duty to appear, and his case might not come to trial until the war were well over. General Thomas, with the consent of Secretary Cameron, accused General Fremont before the country. Why should he not reply to the country?


THE youth of this nation shows itself in nothing more than in its ready faith. And it is a most cheering and hopeful sign , for a cold, critical, skeptical people is always in danger.

The latest illustration of our ready faith is our enthusiastic adhesion to the new Secretary of War.

Suddenly Secretary Cameron was removed and Mr. Edwin M. Stanton was called to his place. "Mr. Stanton! Mr. Stanton!" exclaims the public, "who on earth is Mr. Stanton? What is he? What is he likely to do?" The reply came that he had been Mr. Buchanan's last Attorney-General, and that he was a good Union man, and that "things would now go ahead!" "Things will go ahead, will they?" cried the dear old public; "hurrah for Stanton!" And there is the profoundest popular conviction that we have at last the right man in the right place.

There is the same unquestioning faith in General McClellan. He modestly says that he has yet to win his laurels, but we insist upon piling whole forests upon his head. Comparatively unknown until the war began, there was a sudden series of rushing victories in Western Virginia—skirmishes, indeed, but successful ; and when General McDowell, in whom we had the fullest faith, was unfortunate at Bull Run, who but General McClellan could fill his place? Then when General Scott, who doubtless saved us last March, and in whom we had the fullest faith, retired, who but General McClellan could be commander-in-chief?

It is a hopeful, happy sign, for it shows the elasticity of the popular mind. How curious the experience at Bull Run was! Up to that day it was the universal conviction that General Scott knew every thing the enemy did or meant to do; that he would not move until he was ready, and would then move to overwhelming victory. That was the explanation of the general confidence and exultation when the "grande armee" advanced toward Manassas. It was "a sure thing," as the news-boys say. For that reason also the revulsion consequent upon the defeat was so terrible. General Scott was practically deserted as a leader; but the popular faith remained, if only an object could be found, and it poured itself as lavishly upon his successor as it had upon himself.

That faith is the spring of hope for the future. If this man does not answer, why, that man is the very one. If he fails, why, this other is the man we have been looking for. It shows an indomitable spirit. It shows that every man will have the fairest trial before the people. Even General Fremont, who seems the victim of unfair treatment, could not charge it upon the people of the country. They are ready to do him the justice that they mete to all others. And even if their judgment is adverse, the past shows that we are not Carthaginians. We do not slay our generals because they are unfortunate.


SAWNEY AND HIS LAWYER.- In a Scotch town lately, a man from the country applied to a respectable lawyer for advice. After detailing the circumstances of the case, he was asked if he had stated the facts exactly as they occurred. ''Ou ay, Sir," rejoined the applicant; "I thocht it best to tell you the plain truth; you can pit the lies till't yersel'."

A gentleman passing by country church while under repair, observed to one of the workmen that he thought it would be an expensive job. "Yes, Sir," he replied; "and I think we shall accomplish what our worthy minister has so long vainly tried ; that is, to bring the whole parish to repentance."

" My brudders," said a waggish darkey to a crowd, "in all affliction, in all ob your trubbles, der is one place you can always find sympathy." "Whar? Whar?" shouted several of his auditors. "In de dictionary !" he replied, rolling his eyes skyward.

A TOAST.—At an agricultural dinner the following toast was given: " The game of fortune—shuffle the cards as you will, spades will always win."

"My dear boy," said a country schoolmaster to a promising scholar, whose quarter was up, "does your father design that you should tread the intricate and thorny path of a profession, the strait and narrow way of the ministry, or revel amidst the flowery fields of literature?" "No, Zur," replied the prodigy; "dad says he's going to set me to work in the tatur patch."

A squad of Indiana volunteers out scouting came across a female in a log-cabin in the mountains. After the usual salutations one of them asked her : "Well, old lady, are you a secessionist?" "No," was her answer. "Are you Unionist?" "No." "What are you, then?" " A Baptist, and always have been."

The following is a copy of the list of questions proposed for discussion in a debating club out West : "Subjecks of diskusion. Is dansin' moralle rong ? Is the reedin' of fictishus wurks commendible? Is it necessary that femails shud receive a thurry literary educashun? Ort femails to taik parts in polytix ? Duz dress constitute the moril parts of wimin?"

Mr. Rock, the comedian, once advised a scene-shifter to get a subscription on receiving an accident. A few days after he desired the man to show him the list of names, which he read and returned to the poor fellow, who, with some surprise, said, "Why, Mr. Rock, won't you give me something?" "Is it me you mean?" said Rock; "why, zounds, man, didn't I give you the hint?"

There is a self-will that would break a world to pieces to make a stool to sit on.

Those only are fit for solitude who like nobody, are like nobody, and are liked by nobody.

A lunatic in an asylum was informed by his brother that considerable property had fallen to the family, and asked what disposition should be made of his portion. "You let me out, and I'll take care of it," was the reply.

LITTLE Boy. "What's the use of an eclipse?" ASTRONOMER. "Oh, it gives the sun time for reflection."



ON Tuesday, January 28, in the Senate, a petition in favor of the restoration of the warehousing system was presented by Senator Harris. A petition from citizens of Illinois, asking Congress not to abolish Slavery in the District of Columbia, and asking for the expulsion of members who advocate it, was presented by Senator Saulsbury. The petition also asks that the title of General be taken from General Fremont, and that his frauds in the Western Department be exposed. A resolution was offered by Senator Foster, of Connecticut, and adopted, asking the Secretary of the Treasury whether any further legislation is necessary in order to take charge of the cotton and other lands of South Carolina, now in possession of the Government, and to place them under cultivation, and also in relation to the blacks in these localities. A bill to define the pay and emoluments of certain officers of the army was introduced

by Senator Wilson, and referred. A bill to provide for the revision and consolidation of the statutes of the United States, was introduced by Senator Sumner, and referred. The bill to authorize the President to take possession of certain railroads and telegraph lines, was taken up and debated at considerable length.– In the House, consideration of the Executive, Judicial, and Legislative Appropriation bill was resumed in Committee of the Whole, but after some debate was laid aside for the special order —the bill to authorize the issue of United States Treasury Notes, and for the redemption and funding thereof, and for the funding of the floating debt of the United States. Mr. Spaulding, of New York, addressed the House in explanation of the provisions and objects of the bill. A bill to establish a uniform system of bankruptcy throughout the United States was introduced by Roscoe Conkling, of New York, and referred to the Special Committee on that subject.

On Wednesday, 29th, in the Senate, Mr. John B. Henderson, appointed Senator from Missouri, in place of the rebel Trusten Polk, was qualified and took his seat. The resolution relative to breaking up the line-of-battle ships Alabama and Virginia was referred. The joint resolution amending the rules so as to allow secret sessions of either House on subjects pertaining to the suppression of the rebellion was passed. The consideration of the resolution regarding the expulsion of Senator Bright, of Indiana, was then resumed, and a lively debate ensued, which continued until the Senate went into executive session.—In the House, the bill making the usual appropriations for the executive, legislative, and judicial expenses of the Government was passed, with an amendment that nothing in the act shall prevent hereafter a reduction of salaries, and that mileage shall be allowed to Congressmen for each regular session only. The Senate bill authorizing the President to take possession of railroads and telegraph lines in certain cases was passed by a vote of 113 against 28. In Committee of the Whole the Demand Treasury Note bill was called up, and Mr. Pendleton, of Ohio, made a speech on the subject. At the conclusion of his remarks the Army bill was taken up, and Mr. Gurley, of Ohio, delivered a speech, urging a forward movement of the Union armies.

On Thursday, 30th, in the Senate, petitions in favor of a general bankrupt law, and in relation to General Siegel, were presented and referred. Resolutions were adopted directing inquiry as to the expediency of requiring shipmasters sailing to foreign ports to take the oath of allegiance. The Military Committee were directed to inquire into the management of the army hospitals, and report what legislation is necessary to correct any abuses existing therein. A bill providing for the construction of a military railroad from Kentucky to Tennessee was reported. The consideration of the resolution regarding the expulsion of Senator Bright was renewed, and Senators Howe and Wilmot spoke on the subject.—In the House, the bill to pay the expenses incurred by States in enrolling, fitting out, and transporting troops was laid on the table by a vote of 83 to 42. The consideration of the Treasury Note bill was postponed. In Committee of the Whole, Mr. Cox, of Ohio, replied to the remarks of Mr. Gurley upon the conduct of the war, answering the general charges of the latter against General M'Clellan. The House then passed the Army Appropriation bill, as originally reported, and adjourned.

On Friday, 31st, in the Senate, the bill striking the names of rebels from the pension roll was passed. The bill prohibiting American citizens from engaging in the Coolie traffic was passed. The report of the Conference Committee on the Consular and Diplomatic Appropriation bill was accepted, and the bill passed. The joint resolution appropriating thirty-five thousand dollars for the conveyance of articles for exhibition at the London World's Fair was discussed, and rejected by a vote of 17 yeas against 22 nays. The consideration of the resolution relative to the expulsion of Senator Bright was then resumed, and Senators Johnson, Foster, and Kennedy made speeches on the subject.-In the House, the consideration of the Treasury Note bill was postponed. The Indian and Post-office Appropriation bills were reported and referred, and the Consular and Diplomatic Appropriation bill passed. The Committee on Commerce were directed to inquire as to the expediency of prohibiting the exportation of oak timber. The Committee on Military Affairs were instructed to inquire into the expediency of placing contracts for army and navy supplies, including arms, under the rule and government of military law, or the rules and articles for the government of the navy, with power to punish for fraud and infidelity. In Committee of the Whole, Mr. Kelly, of Pennsylvania, delivered a speech complaining of the tardy manner in which the war is conducted.

On Monday, February 3, in the Senate, a petition was presented from citizens of New York asking that Congress take speedy measures to repeal the so-called Reciprocity Treaty between Canada and the United States; and Senator Chandler offered a resolution, which was laid over under the rules, that the Committee on Commerce inquire into the expediency of immediately notifying Great Britain that the Reciprocity Treaty is not reciprocal, and that it be terminated at the earliest possible moment. Senator Chandler presented resolutions from the Legislature of Michigan reaffirming loyalty to the Government and hatred of traitors, and asking the Government to speedily put down the insurrection; also favoring the confiscation of the property of the rebels; and asking that, as slavery is the cause of the war, it be swept from the land. Senator Harris presented resolutions from the Legislature of New York asking a modification of the law for raising revenue, so that any amount may be raised by any State by any mode of taxation except duties on imports; that each State be allowed to assume the amount of tax, and assess for the payment and collect the same according to its own laws and by its own officers. Referred. The Senate held an executive session, and afterward adjourned.—In the House, Mr. Lovejoy offered a resolution directing the Committee on the Conduct of the War to inquire and report concerning the statement that five Illinois regiments laid down their arms in token of their refusal to assist in carrying on the war on the platform of the abolitionists. The bill making an appropriation for completing the defenses of Washington was then taken up, and the Senate's amendment thereto, providing for the disbandment of volunteer corps termed Home Guards, gave rise to a warm discussion relative to the border States, and finally the amendment was rejected by a vote of 55 against 86. The consideration of the Treasury Note bill was then resumed, and Mr. Vallandigham, of Ohio, and Mr. Hooper, of Massachusetts, made speeches on the subject.


The steamer Ericsson, on her way from Key West, arrived at Fortress Monroe on Friday evening, bringing in tow the John Trucks with the d'Epineuil Zouaves (Fifty-third New York) on board. She found the Trucks at sea disabled, and the men suffering from a short allowance of biscuits and water, and, at their request, helped them along to Fortress Monroe. The report from the Burnside expedition, at Hatteras, is, that the fleet was about to start for its destination. Most of the vessels had gone in the direction of Roanoke Island. A great panic is said to exist in Norfolk and Richmond in regard to the expedition.


By the arrival of the United States bark Gemsbok, at Fortress Monroe, from the Southern coast on Sunday, we learn that heavy cannonading was heard in the direction of Beaufort or Newbern, North Caroline, on the 28th ult.. and that at nine o'clock on the morning of the 30th firing was heard in the vicinity of Roanoke Island. The inference among the officers at Fortress Monroe was that the Burnside fleet was making an attack at two points, the vessels probably having divided into two parties—one proceeding up to Core Sound to attack Fort Macon, at Beaufort, and the other up the Neuse River to make a landing of our troops there. It this theory be correct the Burnside expedition has begun its work in earnest.


It appears by dispatches received by the Richmond papers from Savannah, that the naval expedition from Port Royal, under Commodore Dupont and General Sherman, has succeeded in getting to the rear of Fort Pulaski by going round little Tybee Island, and has thus cut off all connection between the fort and the city of Savannah. In some of their dispatches thirteen of our vessels are reported to have got behind Fort Pulaski, while others state that six of our vessels have got to the north end of Wilmington Island, which they shelled in passing. Commodore Tatnall's rebel fleet was said to be at Thunderbolt when the

Union vessels made their appearance, but they immediately pushed on to Savannah.

By later dispatches from Savannah it appears that a fleet of small vessels laden with provisions, and commanded by the rebel Commodore Tatnall, was on its way to supply Fort Pulaski when our fleet opened fire on them, and after an engagement of only forty minutes the rebel vessels were beaten and returned toward Savannah.


Notwithstanding the inclemency of the weather, the swollen streams and bad condition of the roads, our troops in Missouri are making some progress in their advance movements. General Davis is moving toward Lebanon to join General Curtis, having arrived as far as Versailles, Morgan County; General Siegel has left Rolla for the same point, while General Prentiss is also en route for that place. The rebel General Price remains still at Springfield, where another terrible battle is expected to take place, unless Price withdraws before the combined divisions of the Union Generals reach there,


The Government is actively engaged in forwarding projects for the capture of the rebel privateer Sumter, which has just been compelled by the Spanish Government to leave Cadiz, and has gone for protection to Gibraltar. Four steamers and three sailing vessels are now put on her track, and the Constellation is fitting out at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, for the same duty. The career of this mischievous pirate will, therefore, probably be very soon brought to a close.


In pursuance of the orders of the State Department respecting the privateersmen, the United States Marshal has removed Captain Baker and nineteen of the crew of the privateer Savannah from the City Prison to Fort Lafayette. Under the same order ten of the crews of the privateers Sumter, Florida, and Dixie, were sent to the same destination, all, under the recent instructions of the Government, being treated as prisoners of war.


The Day Book of the 30th ult. has a long editorial appeal in behalf of the people of Hampton. It says: We are pained to learn that the Hampton soldiers are still suffering for want of many essential articles of comfort, and they not only suffer in body but in mind, and their families suffering privations which none of them had ever seen endured by their slaves. The Day Book appeals to Virginians to come forward in this time of need, and supply the suffering rebels with those articles they now as essentially need.


The quartette of traitors, the Cobb brothers, Toombs, and Crawford, have recently published an address to the people of Georgia, in which they enumerate the progress of the rebellion, and the share which they have contributed to the iniquitous work. They say: "Our enemy has exhibited an energy, a perseverance, and an amount of resources which we had hardly expected for our destruction, and raised an army which is being disciplined to the unthinking stolidity of regulars. The attempt will be made in early spring to crush us with a giant's grasp by is simultaneous movement along our borders." They think, "with whatever alacrity our people may rush to arms, and with whatever energy our Government may use its resources, we can not expect to cope with our enemy either in numbers, equipments, or munitions of war. To provide against these odds we must look to desperate courage, unflinching daring, and universal self-sacrifice." They recommend "rapid aggressive action, and make our enemies feel, at their own firesides, the horrors of a war brought on by themselves." They close their address by calling upon Providence to help along their evil work. They admit, at the same time, that the prospect of foreign recognition of the Southern Confederacy is a remote one.


General Halleck has seized Ex-Governor Claiborne F. Jackson's hemp plantation in Saline County, Missouri, for confiscation.

Ex-Senator Fish and Bishop Ames, the Commissioners appointed by Mr. Stanton to visit our prisoners at the South, have completed their arrangements and have started their mission.



LORD RUSSEL has sent a dispatch to Lord Lyons on the Trent affair, in which he says:

"Her Majesty's Government having carefully taken into their consideration the liberation of the prisoners, the delivery of them into your hands, and the explanations to which I have just referred, have arrived at the conclusion that they constitute the reparation which her Majesty and the British nation had a right to expect.

"It gives her Majesty's Government great satisfaction to be enabled to arrive at a conclusion favorable to the maintenance of the most friendly relations between the two nations. I need not discuss the modifications in my statement of facts which Mr. Seward says he has derived from the reports of officers of his Government.

"I can not conclude, however, without adverting shortly to the discussions which Mr. Seward has raised upon points not prominently brought into question in my dispatch of the 30th of November. I there objected, on the part of her Majesty's Government, to that which Captain Wilkes had done. Mr. Seward, in his answer, points out what he conceives Captain Wilkes might have done without violating the law of nations.

"It is not necessary that I should here discuss in detail the five questions ably argued by the Secretary of State, but it is necessary that I should say that her Majesty's Government differ from Mr. Seward in some of the conclusions at which he has arrived. And it may lead to a better understanding between the two nations on several points of international law which may during the present contest or at some future time be brought into question, that I should state to you, for communication to the Secretary of State, wherein those differences consist. I hope to do so in a few days.

"In the mean time it will be desirable that the commanders of the United States cruisers should be instructed not to repeat acts for which the British Government will have to ask for redress, and which the United States Government can not undertake to justify."


Mr. Gladstone, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has made a speech on American affairs, in which he seems very anxious to allay the war fever which had been so industriously propagated over the country just immediately before. The Chancellor denies that England was ever jealous of our commercial progress, and alludes in terms of thanks to the splendid reception accorded to the Prince of Wales when in this country. He also hinted very plainly at the immense expenditure which had been incurred; by England's war movement toward North America.


England is progressing with her preparations for an immense naval and military display in North America. Twelve hundred tons of shell and shot were shipped at Woolwich, on the 17th ult., for Canada, and a number of transports were lying off in order to take a like freight on board. Orders had been given for the manufacture of two millions of Minie bullets weekly at Woolwich, to go on until countermanded. Admiral Sir R. Dacres, in the frigate Edgar, is to join Admiral Milne at Hailfax.


Liverpool is placarded with papers calling on the people not to accord any public reception to Mason and Slidell. The presence of Slidell was anxiously looked for in Paris, while the London Herald, the organ of the Opposition, attempts a defense of the public character and conduct of both the envoys, in order to render them acceptable to the people of the two countries.




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