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Civil War Harper's Weekly, January 4, 1862

This is an original Harper's Weekly newspaper published during the Civil War. It has a variety of wood cut illustrations created by eye-witnesses to the events, and in depth news and analysis of the War.

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

 

Christmas

Christmas

Ship Island

Ship Island

Charleston Fire

Charleston Fire

Building Green River Bridge

Green River Bridge

Advertising

Jeff Davis as the Devil

Ship Island

Ship Island

Savannah Map

Map of Savannah River

Burnside Expedition

General Burnside's Expedition

 

 

HARPER'S WEEKLY.

[JANUARY 4, 1862.

12

slumber those were, when my head would nod like that of a porcelain mandarin, and my eyelids droop as if weighted with lead, and when, after a few minutes, I would start up, broad awake, as my mustang stumbled over broken ground. Once—it was while 'Demus Blake was still with me—I had a long and most delicious period of slumber, uninterrupted by jerks or concussions ; and when I awoke quite a new man, and revived to an extent at which I now wonder, I found myself supported by the strong patient arm of my conductor, who had been galloping by my side for miles, managing both bridles with his disengaged hand. " I thought it would fresh you up, Colonel!" said the brave fellow.

Not all my mentors throughout that phantom ride across prairieland were as frank as Blake, nor as merry as Shem. But the mail-bag riders turned out good fellows in all main points, and I can safely say that I found but two or three surly or ill-natured persons among all those who garrisoned the block-houses ; while fortunately it fell to my lot on no occasion to be accompanied by one of these. In the prairie, as in the world at large, I found good-feeling the rule, cynicism or malice the exception, though I am bound to say that the ill-conditioned individuals made twice as much noise and stir as their more amiable mates. The first start had been difficult, but at each succeeding station I received my remount without much delay or parley. The "privilege of the post" was conceded to me, while I was always welcome to a share of the rations in each little community. On the whole, I found the men cheerful in their strange isolation. They were liberally paid and not ill-fed, and they looked forward to a pension in the event of becoming crippled by some Indian hatchet-stroke or arrow-shot. Planted in the wilderness, with the prospect of being presently encompassed by deep drifts of snow, over whose frozen surface the wolves would come to howl and scratch at their doors, like dogs seeking admittance, they were in fair spirits and undismayed. Their habitual talk was of the wild adventures that formed the everyday life of that frontier of Christendom ; of Indian stratagems and cruelty, of panthers and "grizzlies," pronghorns and buffaloes. Several of them had consorted familiarly with the painted tribes of the desert, and spoke sundry Indian dialects as fluently as their mother tongue. I found these hardy men kind hosts enough; they would hush their talk, not to disturb me as I lay down on a heap of skins and blankets to sleep, while the guide saddled the horses : and they soon ceased to ridicule my apparently capricious refusal of whisky. "Mebbe the Colonel's right"—Colonel is the Western title of courtesy—they would say in their blunt politeness. Once I found the inmates of a station, built on swampy ground, quite helpless and prostrate with fever. The fever had abated when the healthy norther began to blow, but the poor fellows were cramped with pains and very feeble, and only one of the party could crawl about to cook and feed the fire. I had need to fix my mind on the reward of success, on the distant goal glittering far ahead, for it was no light task that I had undertaken. The thought of Emma nerved me, and I felt an Englishman's dogged resolve to will, to fight on, and to break sooner than bend. But the fatigues of that journey surpassed all my conceptions. By day and night, under a glaring sun or through the frost and cutting northerly winds, on we pressed, fording streams, threading the way through marshes, stumbling among the burrows of prairie dogs, or dashing across boundless plains. I almost learned to hate the long terraces of turf, the illimitable sweeps of dark-green surface, the blue horizons, the swells of gently sloping earth, smooth enough for the passage of wheeled carriages. On we went, till the long grass, mixed with flowers and wild tufts of the flax-cotton, gave place to a shorter and crisper herbage, the true " buffalo grass" that the bisons love ; or till water became scarce, and the sage plant replaced the blossomed shrubs of the west, and the springs were brackish, and here and there our horses' hoofs went cranching over a white stretch of desert, strewn with crystals of salt that glittered in the sun. We saw little of Indians, and of game still less. The latter, my guides told me, had been chiefly scared away by the constant passage of emigrants. As for the savages, we sometimes saw the plumed heads, the tapering lances, and the fluttering robes of a troop of wild horsemen against the crimson sky of evening; but they offered us no molestation, and the riders said they were Utahs on the look-out for "buffler droves" returning from the south. Of the fatigue of that interminable ride, the aching joints, the stiffened sinews, the pains that racked my overstrained muscles, I can give no just idea. Still less can I convey any sense of the continual strain upon the intellect and the perceptive faculties, or how my brain grew as weary as my limbs.

I shall never forget the evening of my arrival in Salt Lake City, the capital of Utah Territory, and New Jerusalem of the Mormons. I had been encouraged by the guides to look upon this town in the deserts as a turning point in the journey, beyond which I should be in less peril from Indians,

and after which a comparatively short ride would carry me to more civilized regions. But, to my surprise, I found the inmates of the station at Salt Lake City quite as lonely as, and more suspicious and moody than, in the far-off posts among the prairies. They were Gentiles in the midst of a fanatic population, wholly swayed by the hierarchy of that strange creed whose standard had been set up in the lawless wastes of the West. Nor was it long before I heard the cause of their dark looks and low spirits.

" Where's Josh Hudson ?" asked the rider who had come with me, when the first greetings had been exchanged.

" Who knows?" answered the man addressed ; "I don't. Seth said he went to the town, while I were in the corral with the hosses. If so, all I can say is, he never come back."

" When was that, Seth ?" asked the newly-arrived rider.

"'Two days agone," answered Seth, as he scraped the surface of a half-exhausted quid of tobacco with his long sharp bowie-knife, "jest afore sundown."

"He's not desarted. Josh was too honorable to make tracks that way," said the rider, confidently.

" Desarted ! Not he. But that's what'll have to be put in the report-leastways, missin'," said Seth. The rider looked Seth in the face, and drew his forefinger, with a meaning look, slowly across his own throat. Seth nodded.

" Least said, safest," said Seth, looking dubiously at me.

"Colonel's safe. You may speak afore him, same as myself, boys!" cried the mail-bag rider, who had come with me ; "do ye mean them bloodthirsty Mormons—?"

" Whist, Jem! Whew ! You'll get all our throats cut," cried the oldest man, starting up in great alarm ; "there may be one of the brutes within ear-shot." He looked through the window, and opened the door, to satisfy himself that no eaves-droppers were near.

"I forgot," apologized Jem; "but about Josh Hudson ?"

" I'm afeard," answered Seth, in a voice dropped almost to a whisper, "that he's gone for good. Josh was troubled about his sister, Nell Hudson, that jined the Mormons last winter, up in Illinoy, and was coaxed off, and is here, somewhere."

"Ah," said the listener, "I heerd as much."

" It's my belief," continued Seth, "that Josh got on this station a purpose to seek the gal out, and get her to go home to the old folks and the Church she were bred in. Mormons won't stand that."

"Ah !" said the guide Jem again.

" So, in short, Seth and me some think, we do," said the oldest of the group, "that Josh has been at his scoutin' onst too often, and met 'shanpip.' " '' Shanpip !" I repeated ; "what is that?"

The man eyed me curiously. "Never heerd of 'Shanpip Brethren,' then, harn't ye, mister? So much the best for you. P'raps you've heerd tell of Danites ?"

I had heard, vaguely and obscurely, of that spiritual police of Mormondom, of those fierce zealots who obey their Prophet blindly.

" Then you have reason to fear that your comrade is-"

" Is lyin' under the salt mud of one o' them briny pools nigh to hand," interrupted the man, " and not alone, nouther. Theer's been a many missin', that never went back to settlements nor on to Californey. And theer they'll lie hid, I reckon, till the Day of Judgment, when Great Salt Lake shall give up its dead, like the rest of the airth and waters."

I asked if an appeal could not be made to the Mormon elders themselves ?

" 'Twouldn't answer, Colonel. Suppose I goes to-morrow to Brigham's own house, or Kimball's, or any of their big men—elders, or angels, or high-priests, or what not—and asks after Josh Hudson. Brigham's very mealy-mouthed, afraid the man's run away; what could be expected from a benighted Gentile, and that ; gives his own account of it in preachment next Sabbath. P'raps one of 'em gives me a glass of wine or a julep, and mebbe it disagrees with me, and I die of it. You may stare, but didn't the States Treasurer die that way, after takin' refreshment at Angel Badger's house ? And a pretty angel he be. P'raps I don't drink under a Mormon roof, and then, mebbe, I walk home late, and lose my way, or some other accident happens me-true as death, mister, on'y last week, as I passed Big Lick, I saw a dead woman's face looking up at me, all white and still, at bottom of the salt pool."

Thus far the elder man had spoken, but now Seth, who had evinced great uneasiness, jumped up with an oath, and cautiously opened the door. No one was listening.

"Tell'ee what," said Seth, "We'd best keep this discoorse close till we're outside the territory. They're that sharp, Mormons, blessed if I don't think they're all ear. And if they get's a notion what we're sayin', the Colonel won't never see New York, and I sha'n't never happen home to Montgomery agin. Indian Walker and his pesky Utahs mostly got a knack of tomahawking them

as Mormons don't much like. And mebbe we'd meet other Indians, with blankets and red paint on their faces, jest like the real Utahs, and pretty sharp knives in their belts."

"Seth's right," said my former guide ; "we don't want to set up any chaps to paint Injun on our account, as Angel Brown and Young Harris and the Danites did, when Martha Styles and Rachel Willis chose to go home to Illinoy—so, Colonel, you get. a snooze, and Seth, you needn't hurry about saddlin' —we've rode awful quick."

I was not sorry when day-dawn found me, after a hard gallop by moonlight, approaching the confines of the Mormon territory. The rest of the journey was unmarked by adventure. Hardships there were, but no great perils. We traversed a route on which the bleached bones of many horses and mules lay white and ghastly, and on which many a low turfen mound marked the last resting-place of an emigrant, or his wife or child, never to reach the Promised Land of Hope.

But provisions were more plentiful now, and water more regularly stored and easy of access, than when the expelled Mormons made their famous march across the desert, marking the untrodden route with graves. We narrowly escaped being smothered in the snow, in passing the outlet in the Rocky Mountains, and this was our last semblance of peril.

Previous to this, it had been my sad duty to tell old Amos Grindrod, whom I found at the Round Pond Station, of his son's death, and to commit to his care the bit of ensanguined ribbon that was to be returned to poor Sheen's sweet-heart. The old man tried to bear the tidings with the stoicism of those Indians among whom he had passed much of his life, and expressed great pleasure at hearing that Shem had "died like a Kentucky man, clear grit," and that I had come up in time to save his scalp. But in a few minutes nature conquered. The old man's bronzed features worked and twitched, and tears trickled from his aged eyes as he sobbed out, " Shem ! dear boy Shem ! 'twas I that oughter be dead, not he."

At last the weary ride was over : we had passed outlying farms guarded by a strong stockade, then the farms grew thicker and the stockades were dispensed with, and at last the roofs of a village, called by courtesy a town, came in view. Gladly did I dismount, gladly did I shake the hard hand of the last rider of the Express Company! Leaving that honest fellow puzzling over the cabalistic flourishes of a ten-dollar note I presented to him, I hired a pair-horse wagon of light build, and set off at once. The wagon bore me on until I exchanged it for a coach, the coach did me the same good office until I heard the snort of the steam-horse, and took my ticket by railway. How delicious, how snug and luxurious was such a mode of travel, after so much hard saddle-work! Corduroy roads seemed smooth, and American railroads not in the least addicted to cause the trains to jerk or rock. The gliding motion was charming, and I made amends for lost time, by sleeping in a manner which provoked more than one fellow-traveler, eager to know my business and station in life.

I had already telegraphed to New York briefly thus :

"Has the California mail, via Panama, arrived ?"

Briefer still was the answer :

"No."

That was right, so far. My toil was not yet purposeless. I might hope to be in New York before Dr., or Colonel, Joram Heckler. The victory, to be sure, was not yet won. The valuable papers remained in the scoundrel's keeping. But my presence in New York would be unsuspected by him, and any overt act on my part would have the effect of a surprise. I was too exhausted to devote myself to spinning air-drawn schemes for outwitting the intriguer. I should have need of all my faculties when the tug of war began, and I must sleep now. Sleep I did, over miles and miles, over leagues and leagues, of the iron way : resting obstinately, and being as passive as possible.

" Massa get out ? Dis New York, Sare."

Some one was shaking me by the arm: some one else held a lantern to my face. A black man and a white. The conductor and a negro porter.

"I'm going to the Metropolitan Hotel. I want a hack : no luggage. Has the Californian mail arrived?"

"Yes, it has," said a news-vender, who stood by, with a heap of journals under his arm ; "got all the news here. Herald, Tribune, Times. Which will you have ?"

I bought one of the papers, and glanced at the list of arrivals via Panama. So much gold dust, so much bullion, distinguished European traveler, Postmaster-general, Signora Cantatini, Colonels Tom, Heckler, etc. The driver of the hackk-carriage was an Irishman, as usual, and, luckily, not a new arrival. He readily conducted me (at that late hour all other stores and shops were closed) to the emporium of a Jew dealer in ready-made clothes, who was willing to turn a cent even at irregular time. I purchased a new suit, linen, a portmanteau, and so forth, and shaved off my

stubbly beard with razors supplied by the Jew, and before the Jew's private looking-glass. My driver drove quite a trim, ordinary-looking gentleman to the Metropolitan Hotel, instead of the shaggy, flannel-spirted Californian who had first engaged him.

Before I engaged a room I civilly asked the book-keeper to let me look at the addresses of guests: I was expecting my brother, I said, from Albany. I took good care to say nothing of Heckler or California, and the book-keeper had no suspicion that my voyages had commenced at any more remote spot than Philadelphia or Baltimore, Yes—Heckler's name was down.

I had guessed he would put up at the Metropolitan, for I had heard him mention the house approvingly in conversation. I hung about the bar and the staircases until I happened to hear that he had gone to bed. Then I withdrew to think over my own plan of operations. I own I was puzzled. I tossed and tumbled uneasily on my pillow. While hurrying onward it had appeared as if I had but to arrive in time, and the difficulty was at an end ; but now, whet was I to do ? The battle had yet to be fought. What should I do? In the morning, no doubt, Heckler would repair to the bank, to present the forged check, if not to get the bills discounted. I must stop him. But how ? Should I go to the police, and return with the police myrmidons ? Not to be thought of! Scandal, exposure, must follow such a step ; nay, in the eyes of the law Heckler might seem an innocent man, and I a false accuser. I next thought of confronting him boldly, and forcing from him, with a pistol at his head, if need be, the property of the firm. But this was too Quixotic a proceeding to be adopted in a first-rate hotel in New York. I was at my wit's end.

Heavens! What a smell of burning, and how stifling and thick the air! Smoke! The house is on fire. Up I sprang, and flung on my clothes in hot haste. "It's an ill wind that blows no one any good." I thought of Joram Heckler as I rang my bell to alarm the people.

"Fire! fire!" The awful cry broke upon the ears of the sleepers like the trump of doom. Dark clouds of volleying smoke poured along the corridors, flecked here and there by thin ribbons of flange that licked the walls and floors like the tongues of fiery serpents. Shrieks were heard; doors were burst open ; men, women, children, rushed out, half-dressed and screaming. There was panic, terror, and wild confusion. The fire gained ground, the smoke was blindingly thick, and all fled before it—all but myself. I steadily groped my way toward Joram Heckler's room. I knew the number, and where to find it. I knew that I risked my life, but the stake was worth winning at such a risk. I was very nearly suffocated as I pushed on, holding by the wall, into the thickest of the smoke. Some man, half-dressed, and winged by fear, came rushing by with extended arms, and nearly overturned me. He uttered a savage oath ; the red glare of the fire fell on his face ; it was Joram Heckler.

He did not recognize me, but dashed on, only mindful of his danger. Had he the papers with him ? I thought not. I hoped not. That was his room then, the door of which was ajar, and into which the smoke was rolling. Not the smoke alone ; I saw a thin red tongue of fire creeping in over the floor, beside the wainscot. I dashed in. My eyes smarted with the smoke, and I gasped for breath, but smoke and fire could not turn me now. Heckler's clothes and dressing-case were as he had laid them ; the latter was open . no papers! His valise, too, lay open : no papers ! I struck my forehead despairingly. He had them about him then ! I was risking life idly. Emma was lost to use ! The smoke choked me : the intolerably hot fire had gained the bed: valance and curtains were flaring high in a tall yellow pillar of flame. The subtle tongues of flame almost touched my feet. I must fly if I would not perish. Outside I heard the noise of the engines and the cheers of the mob, and then the dash of water, as prodigious efforts were made to extinguish the fire.

I was staggering away when I saw, peeping from under the bolster of the bed, a Russian-leather pocket-book. The rascal had forgotten it in his blind terror. The blazing curtains fell in fragments upon me, and my hands were a good deal scorched, but I rescued the precious prize. I tore it open. Yes, check and bills, all were there ! Thrusting it into my breast-pocket, I left the room, and struggled as I best could down the passage. Dash after dash of water, flung from hand-buckets, had partially subdued the flames, and the firemen were gaining the victory. Half smothered, singed, blackened, but with a proudly-beating heart, I forced my way down the heated and crowded staircase—reached the outer air, and fainted.

I have little more to tell. I am a partner in the firm: Emma is my wife; her brother recovered from his illness, and is now, in another land, an altered and penitent man. The horse of Spalding, Hausermann, and Co. (I am Co.) have granted a pension to the poor girl who was to have been the bride of the luckless Shem Grindrod. Of Heckler we heard no more.

GREEN RIVER BRIDGE, KENTUCKY.—SKETCHED BY MR. H. MOSLER.-[SEE PAGE 2.]

Building the Green River Bridge

 

 

  

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