McClellan Poem


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, July 26, 1862

We have created an online collection of  all the Harper's Weekly newspapers published during the Civil War. This collection is available for your online study and research. These original newspapers give unique perspective on the important people and events of the Civil War.

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


Iron Clads

Iron Clads

McClellan Poem

McClellan Poem

Lincoln's Emancipation Bill

Abraham Lincoln's Slave Emancipation Bill

Battle of Malvern Hill

Battle of Malvern Hill

Battle of Savage's Station

Battle of Savage's Station

John Bull

John Bull Cartoon

Battle of Malvern Hill

Battle of Chickahominy

Battle of Chickahominy

Life in the Army of the Potomac

Army Life in the Army of the Potomac

Battle of Beaver Creak

Battle of Beaver Creak

Bombardment of Vicksburg

Bombardment of Vicksburg




[JULY 26, 1862.



ON page 465 we publish a picture and diagrams of the Richmond, or Virginia No. 2, the new iron-clad gun-boat which the rebels are building at Richmond, Virginia. We may mention here that we published diagrams of the Merrimac some three months before her famous raid of March 9, which, had they been attended to, would have saved the Congress and the Cumberland. Our artist writes:


"I send you some sketches of a new rebel ram, the plans of which were found on board of the rebel gun-boat Teazer, captured a few days since by the Maratanzas. The specifications for this vessel also accompanied the drawings, but it was beyond my power to obtain them. We are expecting to see this monster (she is considerably smaller than the Merrimac) soon, but our officers predict for her a speedy rout or capture.

"Although we are not overanxious to see her, we will do by her as the Mississippi did by the Manassas. I am sorry that I am not able to give you a detailed description of the vessel; possibly ere this some of the indefatigable newspaper reporters have obtained full particulars of her size, etc. She is now lying at Richmond, and I learn that all haste is being made to fit her for service.

"Truly yours,   GUN-BOAT.'


FRIEND, in this fearful struggle for the Right,

Oh brother wrestler in our common cause! Upholder of our rudely-trampled laws,

   Good warrior in the fight!

I stretch to thee a not unworthy hand,

In that my soul is large enough to know

And feel the mighty truths that nerve thee so

   To battle for our land!

I give thee greeting through my rising tears,

I say, God-speed thee on thy venturous way!

I say, if we should win this desperate day,

   Through the thick-coming years

A voice shall utter how thy strength went forth

To nerve thine upright heart, thine honest hand, Sturdiest among the brothers of our band,

   The heroes of the North!



CONGRESS may have adjourned before this paper is published, after one of the most important sessions in the history of the nation. Its crowning work has been its fiscal measures. These consist, in brief, of the laws authorizing the borrowing of money in various forms; of the tax law; and of the new tariff.

By acts passed at this session Mr. Chase is authorized to issue $150,000,000 more Treasury Notes, of which $50,000,000 are to be of denominations below $5; to negotiate at or above par $500,000,000 of six per cent. bonds, redeemable at the pleasure of the Government after five years, and absolutely redeemable at the expiration of twenty years; to receive temporary deposits to the extent of $100,000,000 at four per cent. per annum; finally, to issue to all creditors certificates of indebtedness maturing in one year from date, and bearing interest at the rate of six per cent. per annum. These resources are in addition to those heretofore provided by Congress. Acts passed at the extra session in July and August, 1861, and at the beginning of the present session, enabled Mr. Chase to negotiate $100,000,000 of 7 3/10 Treasury Notes, $44,000,000 of 6 per cent. bonds maturing in 1881, $58,000,000 of demand notes, $90,000,000 of legal tender notes, and an uncertain amount of two-year six per cent. notes. These resources are now exhausted. If Congress should adjourn, the ways and means of Government for the prosecution of the war during the recess will be somewhat as follows:

New legal tender notes   $150,000,000 Six per cent. bonds, at or above par, nearly....... 500,000,000

Balance receivable on deposit, about ....................45,000,000

Certificates of indebtedness    unlimited.

There is, therefore, no reason to fear that the Government will run any risk of embarrassment from want of money. If fortune favors our arms, holders of national currency will convert their money into six per cent. five year bonds fast enough to supply all the wants of Government. If we meet with reverses the new legal tender notes will suffice to pay our army and navy, and contractors can be paid in certificates of indebtedness.

All this financial structure rests upon a basis of public confidence. The negotiability of Government bonds and debt certificates, the currency of legal tender notes, and the willingness of the public to deposit money with Government at low rates of interest, all depend upon the maintenance of the public credit, and upon a general belief that the United States can and will pay the interest and principal of their debt. In order to insure the maintenance of public credit and public confidence in the financial solidity of the Government, Congress has passed a tax law, and a tariff.

The two are co-ordinate parts of one integral system; the one bearing upon citizens and their

labor and their property, the other bearing upon foreigners and the articles they send here for sale.

It is impossible to analyze either within time limits of a single article. It may be said, however, comprehensively, that the Tax law levies a duty of 3 per cent. on the products of all kinds of labor in this country, and on the net profits of every description of business; while the tariff adds about 5 per cent. to the previously established duty on all products of foreign labor and industry. As the tariff to which this addition is made was considered so high as to insure a large reduction of our import trade, it may be presumed that the new tariff will reduce the number of articles imported to those only which can not be produced here. It will still, however, yield a handsome revenue. The following is a rough estimate of the amount which will probably be received for duties upon articles which are sure to be imported:

Here is more than enough from a few articles to pay the whole interest on the debt as it will be in January next; and as the duties are payable in gold—the demand notes will all be absorbed within a year—the Treasury Department will, after the absorption of these notes, be relieved from all anxiety in relation to any premium on the precious metals.

Of the probable revenue to be derived from the direct tax bill it is impossible to form a reliable estimate. The men who framed the bill in Committee of Congress reckon that it will yield $110,000,000 per annum. But its practical working remains to be tested. The product of the income tax especially, which is expected to prove the most lucrative of all the taxes, is very uncertain. No such tax is suited to a country where the vast majority of the taxpayers are engaged in mercantile pursuits, and where, in consequence, incomes are extremely fluctuating and uncertain. If, however, the Tax law should yield the amount expected, while the tariff yields, in the aggregate, $75,000,000, as is expected by Congress, Government will have a revenue of $185,000,000 to meet an expenditure of something like $350,000,000. Under these circumstances Mr. Chase's task will be easy, and Government credit will stand high.

We have said nothing about confiscation as a financial resource. The law just passed by Congress absolutely confiscates all the property of rebels. Should this bill be rigorously carried out, Government would obtain, by stripping the traitors, means enough to defray almost the whole cost of the war. Persons lately from Memphis and New Orleans report, for instance, that there are in the South at present not less than 5,000,000 bales of cotton. At present prices this would be worth about $160 a bale. If prices fall fifty per cent. the cotton at the South—all of which is undoubtedly the property of rebels, and liable to confiscation—would still be worth the enormous sum of $400,000,000: to say nothing of sugar, tobacco, and other produce.



THROUGHOUT this war the people have confided fully in the purpose and honesty of the President. His convictions upon the question from which the war sprung were perfectly well known. His persuasion that there could be no permanent peace in the nation until the angry discord was removed either by the final triumph of one principle or the other has never been concealed. But his feeling that the solution could be and ought to be worked out under time peaceful operation of our system was equally understood. Fully aware that his conviction was not shared by a very large part of the loyal defenders of the Union, he has pursued a course, in respect to the essential question, which has been moderate and wise. He has represented the average feeling of the people.

Now as that feeling changes, we may expect a change of conduct upon the part of the Administration. When it was the general faith that half a million of armed men could readily suppress the rebellion, without recourse to any other means, the Administration could not have expected a hearty sympathy in measures of another character and wider scope. We constantly said that we wanted to put down the insurrection at any cost; but it was evident that we did not mean it. The Government estimated very correctly the real value of that assertion.

We said "at any cost," because we did not think the price was to be very high. But as events develop we begin to weigh our words more accurately, and to see that "at any cost" means a great deal. And we are not afraid that it should. So far as we may rely upon significant signs, the people that a year ago supposed the war was to end soon and leave things pretty much as they were, are now clearly convinced that the war can end only after a very radical derangement of timings as they were. If the war is to be ended at all, except by the surrender of the Government and the dissolution of the Union, it must be conducted upon the principles of war. We must weaken the enemy and strengthen ourselves. And we must weaken him in every way we can.

If the war could be practically ended in six

months by the absolute victory of the Government, would it not be the best conceivable thing for the peace, prosperity, and perpetuity of the Union? And could not this be done it every loyal inhabitant of the country were summoned to its defense, in such a way and under such regulations as might be advisable? If there is any man who is unwilling to fight side by side with any other loyal man for the country and the Government, his loyalty is a conditional loyalty—that is, a modified treason. If such a man be the representative of the majority of citizens, the cause is not worth another life or another dollar. Robert Smalls, who brought the rebel steamer to Commodore Dupont, has shown himself just as worthy the confidence, regard, and co-operation of every loyal man in the land as President Lincoln, or General McClellan, or General Fremont. And if a man, however honestly, refuses to fight for a cause for which Robert Smalls is fighting, or digging, or steering, he shows a spirit which is not ready to save the country at any honorable cost.

But such men are not the representatives of a great class. The country is intelligently loved, and the country is in peril; consequently the people are readier every day for any and all measures which may speedily secure its safety. We can only ask of the Administration that it shall continue faithfully to represent the public sentiment. The executive action is the visible test to the country of its own resolution. Let the reflection be accurate. Let the nation see that its principle "at any cost" is the policy of the Government. Let it see that the ardent hearts, the strong hands, the cheerful tempers, the enduring frames of those who are perfectly willing to share and lighten the toil of war, are not cruelly and madly rejected. The stout hands that we do not use the rebels will. Can we afford to lose any chance to save our country?


IT is a profound pity for the cause of the country and good government that the General who is now in front of the enemy at Richmond, the citadel of the rebellion at which the heavy blow must be struck, is the favorite General of all those in the country who secretly wish the success of the conspiracy, or whose loyalty is a lagging, insincere, mob-compelled patriotism. Mr. Fernando Wood, Mr. Vallandigham, and the newspapers which strenuously labor to defeat the restoration of the Union by proposing the conditions upon which it should be done, in the hope of dividing public sentiment, are all the most vehement and unscrupulous partisans of General McClellan. They endeavor to make it appear that the Government is opposed to him, in order to use his military popularity as a lever against the Administration and the war.

Two of these newspapers have lately published, under the form of letters from the camp, insinuations that the army would not submit to the removal of McClellan. Now when Fremont was removed in the West, these papers all hoped that he would try some kind of resistance. When he was at his request relieved in the Shenandoah they informed him, with a tremendous burst of patriotism, that no single man is of time least account in this war. Exactly. The interest of no single man, neither Fremont nor McClellan, nor any general or statesman whatever, is of the least importance in comparison with the cause. It is therefore essential that General McClellan should be kept free from this entanglement of sympathy from men who care nothing for him, and who would rather that the Union should be shivered into thirty-four parts than maintained upon condition of equal justice to every man.

It is essential, because at last the citizen-soldiers of this country, who are soberly earnest in their efforts to save it, who have been in the field for a year, and have seen the ghastly and enormous sacrifice of brave men for the cause, a thousand times repeated—who know and hate the savage and relentless ferocity of the enemy, will demand that their leader, whom they personally love and respect, shall be relieved from the odium of time support of all secret friends of the rebellion, and of all who are not willing to save the country at any cost, or else their hearts will flag, and the nerves in their hands relax, as they move under his orders.

Our own faith in General McClellan's loyalty and ability is not in the least shaken by the vociferous applause of men whose political principles are as inhuman as their patriotism is conditional. He has had the great good sense to hold his tongue and do the best he can. But the interests of no one man are of the least importance in this war. If for any reason whatever his presence in the Potomac army should seem to threaten the absolute and final success of our cause, however guiltless and able we may think him, we should most earnestly advocate his removal; and we can not conceive how his presence should become undesirable except through the persistent effort to make him the idol of the least earnest supporters of the war. The moment the people believe that he has time least sympathy with the spirit of the papers that most vehemently praise him at the expense of every body else, that moment his usefulness as a Union General is gone.


THAT it is necessary fully to understand and frankly to concede time ability and desperation and resources of the rebellion we have always insisted, because otherwise our contempt would prolong the war dangerously. But when all allowance has been made for that, there is another and quite opposite view: which is, that the insurrection is now as numerically strong as it ever can be.

By volunteering and conscription, by universal pride and terror, every available man at the South must be now in the field. If this had not been so, the army of Beauregard would not have melted away from Corinth. The rebels made their tremendous sally to rout McClellan's army and failed. The consequence is a deeper and more stringent

resolution on the part of the people of the country to root out the rebellion. If we are graver, it is not because we are more doubtful, but only because we are more determined. Certainly we thought the job easier than it proves to be, but the difficulty does not in the least affect our intention to do it.

If it be necessary to draft men it will not be because men are not willing to volunteer, but because the draft settles the question that they are really wanted. There are thousands who are ready to go whenever they feel that it is necessary, and the draft will be the proof of the necessity. Moreover, there has been such an intermittent policy about enlistment—now calling men and now stopping recruiting, that uncertainty must be expected.

When, therefore, the rebels see that their rush from Richmond not only did not destroy our army, but has awakened a sterner purpose, they will hasten to deploy all their resources to the best probable advantage. At any moment we may hear of a stroke from them. The thing that promises most is the thing they will do. Richmond is a point of sentiment and pride, and in some degree of necessity, for them. But they will leave Richmond if they can effect a serious diversion and complication elsewhere. Their grand purpose has been, is, and will be, to prolong the war. Being fewer in numbers than we, their point is to employ those numbers most profitably; and there is nothing so profitable to them as a long war.

Our conduct, therefore, must be somewhat governed by theirs. We are to be prepared at every point where they may advantageously strike. Our forces are to be so distributed that they can be readily massed against the enemy; so ordered that they may readily pursue. We must gain all the knowledge that fugitives of every kind will impart—live upon the enemy's land—and turn every lawful weapon against him.

Obviously, as more men and means pour in upon our side, and the foe is at the end of his resources, the effect is that of throwing fresh and stalwart reserves in battle upon an exhausted enemy whose reserves are already engaged. Our duty is not to let him gain any advantage by superior conduct. In other words, we must not be out-generaled. For it is not numbers only, but the management of numbers that wins the victory.

One thing, however, is clear: and that is, that we are willing to learn from experience. If we do not yet know how to make war, we are perfectly willing to be taught.


IN his late admirable speech in the Senate Mr. Fessenden, of Maine, hoped that the Administration would henceforth freely tell the truth of the situation to the people, not revealing, of course, any facts of military importance to the enemy; and there seems to be a quite general impression that the War Department tried to conceal the news of the recent operations upon the Peninsula.

The first public intimation of the battles was the dispatch from Mr. Fuller, of the Baltimore American, published on Monday morning- of the eventful week. He had left the Peninsula on Saturday, in the midst of a series of complicated and tremendous operations. The telegraph wires were cut at White House. The battle continued for nearly a week, with varying fortune in different parts of the field. Messengers were leaving, correspondents were sending letters of every conceivable tone during all this time. The Government did not know, McClellan did not know, nor the army, nor the rebels, nor any body under the sun —nor could any body know—the result until Saturday morning, when the news was promptly published that McClellan was safely resting upon his new line.

During this week we had every kind of letter and report and surmise from time field of operations; and that the public knew substantially all that the Government knew there is no reason to doubt. Would it have been wise then—would it be wise now—to say exactly how many men and what artillery McClellan had at the beginning of the week, and how many he had lost? Ought the Government at any time to have claimed a victory or confessed a defeat? Was not the whole week confused and uncertain; and was not that exactly what we all knew?

When Mr. Fessenden says that the idea of not telling the country just what the state of things is and just what is required is a delusion and folly, he tells the simple truth; but he seems to imply that there has been some weak concealment of recent facts, which does not at all appear.

Unquestionably the Government ought to say, what the nation is rapidly coming to perceive, that a conspiracy so radical and vast as this rebellion, barbarous in purpose and mercilessly savage in method, intrenched in the strongest and worst passions of human nature, and flushed with more than a year's life in arms, is not to be suppressed but by the concentration of every resource and the utmost power of the nation. The Government ought to say to the people, of whose will it is time executive organ, "If you are unwilling to strike heavily where the foe is weakest—if you are unwilling to hurt him or his property, or disturb his institutions, however much they strengthen him—if you have any other purpose than the salvation of the nation even at the cost, if need be, of exterminating the rebels — the contest is already hopeless."


To the list of the intelligent Englishmen who have spoken of our affairs ought to be added the name of Edward Dicey, who is the correspondent of time London Spectator, and who contributes notes of travel to Macmillan's Magazine. He has a quiet, sensible insight into the facts of the case which make his observations really valuable, especially in the Border States, in which he depicts the aspect of life and the general feeling with remarkable fidelity. (Next Page)





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