Robert Small, Runaway Slave


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, June 7, 1862

You are viewing part of our online archive of Harper's Weekly newspapers which were published during the Civil War. This archive serves as an invaluable tool for the serious student of the Civil War, or professional researcher. These newspapers are an incredible source of first edition reports on the war.

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General Stoneman

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Corinth, Mississippi

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Woman's Beauty

A Woman's Beauty

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Civil War Hospital

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Cumberland, Virginia


Secesh Cartoon










JUNE 7, 1862.]



(Previous Page) successive forts, saluting as usual by blowing the steam-whistle. After getting beyond the range of the last gun she hauled down the rebel flag and hoisted a white one."

"Robert Small," continues Commodore Dupont, with an apparent extraordinary forgetfulness of the fact that he is speaking of a piece of property, "the intelligent slave and pilot of the boat, who performed this bold feat so skillfully, informed me of this fact (that one of the guns on board had belonged to Fort Sumter), presuming it would be a matter of interest to us to have possession of this gun. This man, Robert Small, is superior to any who have come into our lines, intelligent as many of them have been. His information has been most interesting, and portions of it of the utmost importance." He concludes by recommending to the Department the claims of "the man, Small, and his associates."

Now all this is not to be endured. As this war, according to the learned Phelps, of Missouri, is a "white man's war," he will strenuously object to availing ourselves of the assistance of black men, and he will, of course, insist that the Planter shall be returned, with compliments and regret for the inadvertence of her capture, to the excellent rebels at Charleston. While the patriotic Vallandigham, whose gentle soul sighs in concert with the amiable B. Wood's for peace, will find in this another occasion which "demands the reorganization of the Democratic Party," in order that these fugitives from a patriarchal and Christianizing system may be returned to it at once to complete the sanctification of their souls.

The patriotic Vallandigham probably remembers going to Charlestown, Virginia, in the autumn of 1859, with his friend, Mr. J. M. Mason, late of the Trent, now of Europe, to see one John Brown, and to try to extort from that old man something that might implicate Mr. Giddings or any member of the Republican Party in the trouble at Harper's Ferry, and that he did not succeed. He may further remember that upon his return to Ohio he is reported to have said of Julio Brown: "He is the farthest possible remove from the ordinary ruffian, fanatic, or madman." Does he also know what this man once said of black men?—"They behaved so much like folks he almost thought they were so."

Robert Small's conduct certainly favors that theory. What theory does the gentle Vallandigham's conduct in this war favor?


IT is an interesting fact in our political history that the men at the South who, two or three years ago, vociferated the most loudly that they had no platform but the Constitution and the Laws, immediately, upon the election of a President under the Constitution and according to Law, sheered straight into rebellion. The person named Henry, who during the canvass was hawked through the North as a Southern Union man of the purest kind, is a prominent member of the Rebel Congress. John Bell, the candidate for President upon the "Union, the Constitution, and the Laws" platform, is or was member of some Committee of Safety to secure the overthrow of the Government; and among many others, Kenneth Raynor, of North Carolina, now turns up with a proposition to make it penal for any citizen to show favor to the cause of his country.

How true it is, and how well to remember that those who cry most loudly "Lord! Lord!" are not necessarily the greatest saints.


IN the last Weekly the reader will have remarked a poem called "John Lorence," and reciting in honest rhyme the fate of a corporal of the New Jersey Ninth at the battle of Roanoke, who had both his legs shattered by a cannon-ball. Dr. Thompson, of Twenty-third Street, New York, writes that he was obliged to amputate both legs just below the knee, and that the stalwart soldier, as fine a man as he ever saw, is thus terribly crippled, and the future of his family imperiled. "But with all his sufferings, never once has a murmur escaped his lips, nor do I believe the thought entered his mind that he wished he had never gone to the war." When the news of the victory was brought to the hospital where he lay the morning after the battle, John Lorence raised himself upon his elbow and called for three cheers for the flag.

We are all debtors to John Lorence as we are to Worden. Dr. Thompson proposes to get him a pair of artificial legs, that he may follow his business of shoemaking. For this purpose about $200 are required, and a little more to give him a start. Let us help him, wisely says the Doctor, that he may help himself. Whoever will do so may send his contribution to J. B. Bomar, Esq., Mayor of Jersey City.

"He longs to go, though on his stumps,

And serve his country more:

Brave Lorence! well your country knows

Your fighting days are o'er."


THE BARE IDEA!—A lady and gentleman were looking down into the bear-pit at the Zoological Gardens, when the lady (Mrs. Jones, of Camden Town) exclaimed quite impulsively, "Oh! look at these dear little bears. Why, what a darling lot of 'em!" "Yes, my dear," answered the gentleman (Mr. Jones, of the same locality), "I declare it's quite an-ursa-ry—almost as full as our own!" The lady agreed with her husband, and even laughed, though it was morally impossible she could have understood the wretch's joke. We envy Mrs. Jones her ignorance.

Several of our clashing young men of fashion have, it is said, lately adopted the plan of having their clothes made without pockets; and, as their tailors allege, for the best possible reason.

Lost, a new silk umbrella, belonging to a gentleman with a curiously-carved ivory head!

Why when a chick emerges from the shell does it resemble a strike for freedom?—Because it throws off the yoke (yolk).


The only speculations we allow ourselves are mental ones, because they are perfectly safe, and can always be indulged in without the expenditure of a single penny. Besides, if they do occasionally turn out badly, you are not compelled to put down your horse, or to drink two glasses of wine per diem instead of three, or to exchange lump sugar for moist, in consequence of the result. Neither insanity nor suicide were ever known to grew out of a confirmed indulgence of the practice. Mental speculations may be called the art of speculating with profit and security without any money. Among other harmless things, we like to launch into the wildest speculations about money. It is a kind of consolation for not pssessing any one's self. You feel all the richer at the moment, and are none the poorer when it is over. For instance, here are two little speculations in which we recently invested a very agreeable quarter of an hour while smoking a mild cigar:

First Speculation. What is a Circular Notes? At first we thought it might be a milliner's note for a lady's crinoline; but we soon discarded that absurd idea, and, taking another puff at our Havana, came to the conclusion that a circular note must have been originally so framed for the purpose of holding a good round sum.

Second Speculation. What is a "Shin-Plaster?" We had often heard of shin-plasters, but never having seen one we could not very well make out what they were like. A fancy struck us that they might be plasters for the special relief of persons who had itching palms; but as the "shin" was plainly indicated, of course that notion instantly fell to the ground, as well as the succeeding one that they were probably intended to relieve persons who were laboring under a complaint of the chest. Puffing away again, we could only solve the difficulty by supposing that a shin-plaster was nothing better than a kind of poor man's substitute when he couldn't get the real "golden ointment," and was an ingenious specific invented in the first instance by a weak government that was on its last legs, and was obliged to resort to this quack remedy with the view of maintaining any thing like a footing in the money-market. The above speculation is, we confess, a most elaborate one, but the extreme ingenuity of it amused us, besides enabling us to finish in a most agreeable frame of mind our delicious cigar.

Such speculations are exceedingly harmless, and moreover they have this great merit, that they are never likely to be the ruin, much less the death, of any one. For instance, we ourselves, after the above profitable investment of a quarter of an hour, felt as happy and as contented as if we had just been making a handsome little coup of fifty thousand pounds on the Stock Exchange.

A woman lately made a pound of butter from the cream of a joke, and a cheese from the milk of human kindness.

Why are sheep the most dissipated, reckless, and unfortunate of creatures?—Because they gambol in youth, frequent the turf, think it no disgrace to be black-legs, and are often fleeced.

To discover the shortest distance between two places, jump into a cab and pay the driver in advance. To ascertain the greatest distance between two places, reverse matters, and pay him when you get there.

"Fare well," as the host said to his guest when dinner was served.

What bird tells of a tempestuous time at sea?—A night-in-gale.

Nature preaches cheerfulness in her saddest moods: she covers even forgotten graves with flowers.

Why is the labor of a mill-horse not so hard as it is represented to be?—Because it is done by turns.

AN EXHAUSTED RECEIVER.—A pawnbroker out of breath.

Many a person in a fine suit of clothes is but an ugly maggot in a good-looking nut-shell.

A SIGN OF RAIN.—To see dry-goods' dealers festoon their door-posts with cheap umbrellas.

Why is a man in difficulties like an ostrich in wet weather?—Because he can't find the dust to cover his bill.

Mrs. Partington wants to know what sort of drums conun-drums are. She thinks some hard to beat.

A late traveler says it is so cold in the northern part of Greenland that it freezes the fire out.

Where is happiness always to be found?—In the dictionary.

CHAOS.—A woman entering your room to put your papers "to rights."

They say that love is like the measles—all the worse when it comes late in life.

CURE FOR DYSPEPSIA.—Close all the outer doors of a four-story house, open the inner doors, then take a long switch and chase a cat up and down stairs till she sweats. These directions faithfully followed daily for three months have never failed to effect a cure.


What is that which is a cat, is like a cat, and is yet not a cat?

A kitten.

Why are three couples going to be married like penny-trumpets?

Because they go to, to, to (two, two, two).



ON Tuesday, May 20, in the Senate, Senator Sumner gave notice that he should call up the resolution for the expulsion of Senator Stark, of Oregon, who is charged with disloyalty. The Pacific Railroad bill was then taken up, but before the reading of it was concluded the morning hour expired, and the debate on the Confiscation bill was resumed, and Senator Davis, of Kentucky, made a long speech in opposition to it; but without concluding his remarks the Senate adjourned.—In the House, the Senate bill declaring that negroes shall not be disqualified from carrying the mails was reported back, with a recommendation that it do not pass; but without taking the question the House proceeded to the consideration of the Confiscation bill, and several speeches were delivered on the subject.

On Wednesday, May 21, in the Senate, the Census report was presented. A joint resolution giving the thanks of Congress to Flag-Officer Farragut and the officers and men under his command was adopted. The Military Committee were instructed to inquire into the expediency of granting bounty lands to soldiers enlisted for three months and one year; also for pensions for the widows of soldiers who die in the service. The Tax bill was taken up, and several amendments proposed by the Finance Committee agreed to. The Senate held an executive session and then adjourned.—In the House, a bill providing for raising sunken vessels-of-war in Hampton Roads was referred. A resolution that Congress take a recess from Wednesday next to June 2 was laid on the table by a vote of 78 yeas to 46 nays. The Senate bill removing all disqualifications of color in carrying the mails was also laid on the table by a vote of 83 against 43. The House then resumed the consideration of the Confiscation bill, and the debate continued till the adjournment.

On Thursday, May 22, in the Senate, petitions from citizens of Maryland, asking for the better enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Law in the District of Columbia, were presented and referred. Senator Sumner offered a resolution directing inquiry as to what legislation is necessary to protect negroes from unconditional seizure, or seizure by disloyal persons. At one o'clock the Senate was organized as

a high court of impeachment for the trial of Judge Humphreys, of Tennessee. The Senators were duly qualified, and the managers of the trial on the part of the House read the articles of impeachment. The managers were then informed that the Senate would take proper order in the case, and that due notice would be given of the same, whereupon the court adjourned till the 9th of June. The Senate then proceeded to discuss the Tax bill, and several amendments were adopted. A resolution was adopted calling on the President for information relative to the condition of Mexico, and the alliance of European Powers as regards this country.—In the House, the bill to secure the speedy transmission of the mails, by requiring railroad companies to enter into contracts with the Post-Office Department—the rate of compensation, in case of disagreement, to be settled by the Court of Claims—was passed by four majority. The debate on the Confiscation bills was then resumed and continued till the adjournment.

On Friday, May 23, in the Senate, the resolution directing the Judiciary Committee to inquire as to what legislation is necessary to protect negroes from unconstitutional seizure was adopted. A bill providing hat appointments on the army staffs shall be sent to the Senate for confirmation was passed. The Tax bill was then taken up, and on reading the seventy-fifth section the Senate adjourned.—The session of the House was devoted to debate on the Confiscation bills.

On Saturday, May 24, in the Senate, a bill was introduced to legalize and confirm the act of the President accepting volunteers under the act of the 22d of July, 1861, and to authorize the acceptance of two hundred thousand additional to those under that act. Referred. Senator Wilson introduced a bill to amend the Fugitive Slave act. The consideration of the Tax bill was then resumed, and having reached the one hundred and eighth section the Senate adjourned till Monday.—In the House, Mr. Wickliffe, of Kentucky, rose to what he considered a privileged question, and presented a preamble and resolution rehearsing the main facts respecting the recent collision of the civil and military authorities on the subject of the execution of the Fugitive Slave Law, and providing for the appointment of a select committee to investigate all the circumstances. The Speaker decided that the proposition was not a privileged question. The debate on the Confiscation bills was then resumed, and continued till the adjournment.

On Monday, May 26, in the Senate, Senator Sumner offered two resolutions in relation to slaves—one calling on the Secretary of War for information as to the execution by our Generals of the act of August, 1861, freeing slaves employed in any manner by the rebels to assist the rebellion; the other extending a general invitation to all persons, without distinction as to color, to come forward and aid the Government in putting down the rebellion. Senator Sumner also offered a bill to repeal the Fugitive Slave law and to prohibit slavery in the Territories, forts, arsenals, dock-yards, and all other places under the special jurisdiction of the National Government. Senator Howe introduced a bill, which was referred, providing for a more effective mode of procedure with obstinate rebels in places taken possession of by the Union armies. A discussion took place on the subject of the transfers of troops from some of the army corps to give strength to others, and especially with reference to the recent weakening of General Banks's army, thereby necessitating his retirement to the Potomac. The Tax bill was taken up, and several amendments were adopted. Pending the vote on an amendment to reduce the tax on tobacco from twenty to fifteen cents, the Senate adjourned.—In the House, the Confiscation bill was taken up, and some discussion ensued. The bill was somewhat amended, and finally passed, by eighty-two yeas to sixty-two nays. The bill to give freedom to slaves employed in the rebel service was next taken up, and a debate on it took place. Various amendments were offered and rejected, and finally a vote was taken on the passage of the bill, and it was defeated, by seventy-eight nays to seventy-four yeas. The Senate bill for the relief of the colored seamen who recently ran the rebel steamer Planter out of Charleston harbor, and delivered her to our blockading fleet, was then passed, when the House adjourned.


General McClellan's army has crossed the Chickahominy, and is within five miles of Richmond. Skirmishes are occurring hourly. Our advance is at Mechanicsburg. The railroad bridge to Fredericksburg has been destroyed by our troops.


General McDowell on 26th advanced six miles beyond Fredericksburg. The rebels evacuated their camp on 24th, and withdrew their pickets on the morning of 25th. The Harris Light Cavalry scoured the country on that day, for fifteen miles from the Rappahannock, and found none of the enemy.


General Banks has retreated back into Maryland. He had got as far as Harrisonburg, 20 miles from Staunton and the railway, when he received an order from the War Department directing him to send 15,000 of his troops, under General Shields, to reinforce General McDowell at Fredericksburg, and to fall back upon Strasburg, some fifty miles in his rear. The moment he began to retreat in obedience to this order Jackson followed in pursuit. General Shields passed through Manassas Gap safely and joined McDowell. Colonel Kenly, who commands a Maryland regiment, was started over the same route and had reached Front Royal, which lies about ten miles east of Strasburg, on the road to Manassas Gap, when he was intercepted by the rebels, and, as General Banks states in his brief dispatch, "repulsed with considerable loss," the rebels occupying Front Royal, and thus breaking his communication over the railroad with Eastern Virginia, and compelling him to fall still further back with the remnant of his force.

Our latest intelligence from him is contained in the following dispatch:

    WILLIAMSPORT, May 26—4 P.M.

To the President:

I have the honor to report the safe arrival of my command at this place last evening at ten o'clock, and the passage of the Fifth corps across the river to-day, with comparatively little loss. The loss of men in killed, wounded, and missing in the different combats in which my command has participated since the march from Strasburg, on the morning of the 24th inst., I am unable now to report; but I have great satisfaction in being able to represent that, although serious, it is much less than might have been anticipated, considering the very great disparity of forces engaged, and the long-matured plans of the enemy, which aimed at nothing less than the entire capture of our force. A detailed statement will be forwarded as soon as possible.

My command encountered the enemy in a constant succession of attacks and in well-contested engagements at Strasburg, Middletown, Newton; at a point also between these places, and at Winchester. The force of the enemy was estimated at from 15,000 to 20,000 men, with very strong artillery and cavalry supports. My own force consisted of two brigades—less than 4000 strong, all told—1500 cavalry, ten Parrott guns and six smooth bores. The substantial preservation of the entire supply is a source of gratification. It numbered about five hundred wagons on a forced march of fifty-three miles, thirty-five of which were performed in one day, subject to constant attack in front, rear, and flank, according. to its position, by the enemy in full force. The panics of teamsters, and the mischances of river passage of more than 300 yards, with slender preparations for ford and ferry, I lost not many more than fifty wagons. A full statement of this loss will be forwarded forthwith. Very great commendation is due to Captain J. B. Holabird, A. Q. M., and Captain E. G. Breckwith, for the safety of the train. Our troops are in good spirits, and occupy both sides of the river.   N. P. BANKS,    Major-General Commanding.


The call of the President for additional troops from the Governors of the different States was responded to by nearly half a million of men, who offered their services within twenty-four hours after the proclamations were issued. Colonel Lefferts, of the 7th New York State Militia, only received the order of the Governor at eleven o'clock on Sunday night to march next day, and at nine o'clock on Monday night he started for Washington with a full regiment, thoroughly equipped, amidst the enthusiasm and

plaudits of a vast multitude. Several other regiments of the militia will follow them with equal promptitude.


The report of the reverse to Colonel Kenly's command, which was principally recruited in Baltimore, created a great excitement in Baltimore, and the rebel sympathizers there were so impudent as to show their satisfaction at the reverse. The consequence was great indignation against them on the part of the Union men, who are now much in the ascendant there. An excited crowd collected in the streets, and many known secessionists were very roughly handled, one of them barely escaping hanging. At last accounts, however, the crowd had thinned down, and matters were assuming their wonted quiet.


      ALBANY, May 25, 1862.

The Governor has ordered the Fifth New York Volunteer Artillery, Colonel Graham, and the Seventh Regiment New York State Militia, Colonel Lefferts, to leave for Washington to-morrow.

The Eighth, Eleventh, Thirty-seventh, end Seventy-first regiments of militia, of the city of New York, and the Twenty-fifth militia regiment of Albany, and others, will follow without delay.


Rumors reached Fortress Monroe from Newbern on Saturday that Raleigh, the capital of North Carolina, had been captured a few days previous, and that the United States flag was then floating over the city. No particulars, however, had been received.


The Richmond papers contain a highly interesting correspondence between Jeff Davis and the Virginia Legislature in reference to the last backward movements of the rebel army, in which Jeff Davis says that he had never entertained the thought of withdrawing the army from Virginia and abandoning the State; that if, in the course of events, the capital should fall, the necessity of which he did not see or anticipate, that would be no reason for withdrawing the army from Virginia. The war could still be successfully carried on and maintained on Virginia soil for twenty years.


Some gentlemen who fled from Petersburg describe the condition of things there as fearful. They state that the sufferings of the people are almost beyond endurance. The scarcity of provisions was so great that every thing was seized for the army, and even the soldiers have been on half rations for a week past, with no prospect of even this supply continuing for any great length of time. The work of conscription was progressing, and the roads to Richmond were thronged with unarmed men, old and young, being driven along under strongly armed guards. These gentlemen represent that no people in modern times have suffered more than the people of Virginia are now suffering, every household being in fear of an approaching famine.


The Mayor and City Councils of Norfolk, it appears, are still indisposed to take the oath of allegiance, in consequence of which General Wool has ordered the stoppage of what little trade they have heretofore enjoyed with the outside world. He has issued another proclamation, notifying the people that the matter is entirely in their own hands; that by acknowledging the supremacy of the Government they can enjoy its fostering care, and the advantages of trade and commerce, and assuring them that no contingency is possible whereby Norfolk will again be given lip to the control of the rebel Government. Those who entertain Union sentiments, he says, can give expression to them with ample assurance of protection. A Union meeting was held in Portsmouth on 22d, at which not less than eight hundred persons were present, including many from Norfolk.


A National force of 1300 men, under Colonel Crook, stationed at Lewisburgh, in Greenbrier County, on the Greenbier River, was attacked on 23d by a rebel force of 3000, under Colonel Heath, and after a severe fight the rebels were defeated, and completely routed. Our loss is ten killed, forty wounded, and eight missing; that of the enemy is much greater. We captured four cannon, two of them rifled; two hundred stand of arms, and one hundred prisoners, including several officers.


A dispatch dated Vicksburg, Mississippi, May 21, states that the commander of our flotilla from below had ordered the removal of the women and children from the city within twenty-four hours, and that the Mayor had asked until Friday, the 23d. There were then reported to be ten of our boats below the city.


WASHINGTON, May 25, 1862.

Ordered—By virtue of the authority vested by an act of Congress, the President takes military possession of all the railroads in the United States, from and after this date, until further orders, and directs that the respective railroad companies, their officers and servants, shall hold themselves in readiness for the transportation of troops and munitions of war as may be ordered by the military authorities, to the exclusion of all other business.

By order of the Secretary of War.

    M. C. MEIGS, Quarter-master-General.


Dispatches from Cape Girardeau, Missouri, inform us of the capture of a rebel steamer named the E. D. Miller, bound down the St. Francis River, laden with stores for Memphis, and carrying a company of rebel troops. Her passage was arrested by Colonel Daniels, at Camp Lagrange, who riddled her with a six-pounder gun, killing Lieutenant-Colonel Lewis and wounding several others. The soldiers, numbering sixty, were taken prisoners.


The gun-boats Mercedita and Somerset have brought into Key West two British steamers—the Bermuda and Circassian—laden with arms and munitions to the value of a million and a half of dollars, intended to be run into some Southern port for the services of the rebellion. The Bermuda had a full cargo of arms and munitions of war. Her manifest occupied some four pages of foolscap paper, and the quantity on board a vessel of her tonnage is surprising. Besides pistols and cutlasses in any quantity, there was a number of six and a half and seven and a half inch rifled guns, together with several complete field-batteries, nearly fifty thousands pounds of powder in barrels, besides cases of cartriges, fixed ammunition, and shells. The steamer Circassian was captured by the gun-boat Somerset, Captain English, on the 4th inst., twenty miles east of Havana, and was nominally coming from that port via St. Thomas. She was heavily laden, and although the exact contents of her cargo has not been ascertained, there is little doubt that she carries arms and provisions for the rebels.




LORD PALMERSTON'S Government has been defeated in the House of Commons by a majority of one recorded against ministers on the second reading of a bill for the abolition of church rates.


The subject of the distress of the artisans and workmen of Lancashire has been brought before the British House of Lords, without any reference to the American question.



The Opinion Nationale of Paris—Prince Napoleon's organ—says that M. Mercier's visit to Richmond had reference merely to a French tobacco stock. The affair was still, however, the cause of much political speculation in Paris.




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