Battle of Fort Craig, New Mexico


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, March 29, 1862

We have made our extensive collection of Civil War Harper's Weekly newspapers available to your online. These papers have incredible content on the Civil War, including wood cut illustrations made by eye-witnesses to the historic events of the war.

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


Saluting the Union Flag

The Union Flag

McClellan's Letter to the Army of the Potomac

McClellan to the Army of the Potomac

Fort Craig

Battle of Fort Craig

Columbus, Kentucky

Pea Ridge

Pea Ridge Battle

Captain Ericsson

Captain Ericsson Biography

John Ericsson

Picture of John Ericsson

Horace Greeley

Horace Greeley

Batle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas

Battle of Pea Ridge

Fort Clinch

Civil War Battle Map

Civil War Battle Map

Centreville, Virginia

Centreville, Virginia

General McClellan at Bull Run









MARCH 29, 1862.]




THE other evening there was a large meeting at the Cooper Institute, and the name of Mr. Bancroft, the historian, was published the next morning as one of the Vice-Presidents. The following day the papers published Mr. Bancroft's disclaimer. He was neither at the meeting, nor had he allowed the use of his name.

This is an abuse which needs correction. Half of the public meetings in this city derive their weight and influence from the names of their officers. They are printed conspicuously and read every where, and stand as sponsors of the sentiments and action of the meeting.

Now when the meeting is intended to support a decided policy or to express strong convictions, nothing can be unfairer toward an individual, or more futile for the purpose of the meeting, than to use a man's name without his consent. For if the affair be of the least importance he will publicly resent the unhandsome familiarity by disclaiming all connection with the meeting. Whereupon the conclusion is inevitable that other names may have been used in the same manner, although the persons do not choose to expose the matter, and an air of doubt and weakness is thrown over the whole thing.

Mr. Bancroft does not live in any inaccessible quarter of the city; and if his name be desirable to give dignity to a meeting why not ask his consent? Even if he would give his name, if you asked him, he might very properly resent the use of it otherwise, because he knows as well as you that his name is thought useful or it would not be taken—and he, like every other man, is to decide when it shall be used.

A famous clergyman once saw his name upon a poster as a speaker at some meeting, and he went to the Committee and told them to take it off. They apologized—and left it on. The meeting was large —and all the larger from the hope of hearing the clergyman. By-and-by the President rose and said that he was very sorry to announce that, although they had expected the reverend brother, he was unfortunately unable to be present. "Not at all," cried a loud voice from the rear of the church, and the audience rose and turned in amazement, while the voice continued: "I am the reverend brother in question, and I am here; but I told the Committee that I could not speak, and that they must take off my name. Now I am going to speak, and I say that the use of my name under the circumstances is a swindle." The reverend brother said more, but that is enough.

The simple rule is that, if you want a man's name to help you or your cause, go and ask him if you may have it.


IN a great city, while every body is sure that every thing can be found, the great difficulty is to find it. Even those who live in it are perplexed; but the case seems hopeless for those who live away from town in the country. This hardship is felt as much in the matter of books as in any other. Valuable books are constantly published upon every subject. But very few of them are known to any one who is not in the habit of reading book advertisements, and of these the number that any one has the time or chance to read is very small. Then the valuable books are often issued in small editions. They go out of print. They cease to appear in advertisements or in the book shops, and are laid away in those fascinating catacombs, "old book" shops. There they may be found in comely form, in various bindings, and if a really ancient book, in the several editions.

Now all over the country, in quiet and remote places, where such a paper as this finds its way, there are plenty of persons who suddenly begin some special study. They do not even know what books they want, nor where they can be found. They only know that it is somewhere in the city. But how shall they find out what the book is, where it is, how much it costs, and what other books may be had upon the subject?

Or another man wants a new volume of history, or a certain late novel, or book of travels. How is he to find out all about it? How is he to get it and pay for it?

This is precisely the question that Mr. WALTER LOW, at the Publishers' Circular Office, No. 39 Walker Street, New York, proposes to answer. He will send any book wanted by mail, postage paid, to any part of the United States under 3000 miles, if you will only send the price in coin, United States stamps, or Eastern bills. And if you do not happen to know the price, he will send you any information about any book if you will send a stamp for the reply.

This he will do, and do willingly and well; and this Lounger informs the great lounging, reading, and studying fraternity all over the land, that he says it with full knowledge. Mr. Low's education has been among books. It is his business to know about them, as well as to know them; and when he says that he will send the book or the information you want, you may be sure that he will do what he says.


WE have taken no part in the quarrel about General McClellan. The bitter dispute about General Fremont last autumn—the furious letters—the slanderous reports—the silly stories—all served to convince any candid man that to assert any decided conviction upon such kind of testimony was the height of folly.

What was true of Fremont is no less true of McClellan. As we said then that General Fremont had yet to show that he was a great military leader, so we say now of General McClellan. But as we said then, there was no proof that Fremont was not equal to his task, so we say now of the Potomac General.

With the vehement party denunciation of McClellan no honest man can have much sympathy. This

Lounger has certainly very positive opinions about the cause and cure of this rebellion. But it would be rather a violent inference for him to make, that a man who did not agree with his view was therefore a poor military chief; and it would surely be very unfair for him to explain every military movement that he could not comprehend by the hypothesis of incapacity or treachery. The justice that it was only fair to demand for Fremont shall certainly be accorded to McClellan in this column.

One thing of course is clear: if the rebels stole away from Manassas unknown to McClellan, the retreat outgeneraled him; because, even if he contemplated a retreat upon their part, to save his military skill he must consciously compel them to it. On the other hand, if he knew that they must retreat, the question is naturally asked why he did not fall upon them in the act.

Yet no one of us is in a condition to answer these questions, simply because we do not know the facts. We may assume a certain state of things, and it may prove to be correct; but it is rather hard to make a man's good name suffer until we know that it is so. For instance, the question is constantly asked, Why was not the rebel army of the Potomac attacked in December? Now this question is asked by those who can not possibly know, but who assume a certain condition of affairs. We can easily enough rebut one speculation by another.

On the 1st of August McClellan assumed command of the army. It appears by the President's War Order that he had a supervision of the whole line. The army was to collect, drill, and organize; it was to be equipped in every way; arms were to be made, every thing was to be done, and every thing was subordinated to one condition, namely, that the rebellion must be virtually suppressed by May or June of this year. Is it not, then, perfectly conceivable that under all these circumstances the plan of campaign adopted was to prepare the whole line, then to strike at every point, and push straight forward to final victory? And is it not clear that it was incompatible with this plan to strike prematurely, even if successfully, in any single part? Suppose we had dispersed them at Manassas, and they had sent their army round to the West, to carry the war into Indiana and Illinois?

McClellan may be an incompetent General—but did not Fremont seem so to those who did not know the facts when Lyon fell and Lexington surrendered? They have each a genius for silence. Fremont has survived his slanderers—let us hope that McClellan will survive his.


"THERE are people," says Mrs. Partington, "who can bathe with perfect impurity in water as cold as Greenland's icy mountains or India's coral strands; but, as for me, I prefer to bathe in water that's a leetle torpid."

Professor Drycuss, of California, was sitting with his wife in the observatory at San Francisco the other day, when Madam Professor stumped him by remarking:

"My dear, do you know that some of these nasty Chinamen put me more in mind of calves than human beings?" "Eh! what?" said the Professor, pricking up his ears, as he first looked at the group of traveling Chinamen, and then at his best beloved; "what do you mean, Madam? Chinese like calves! pooh—pooh!"

"Not all, Professor," replied Mrs. D., "only those that come from Macao" (pronounced "Macow"); and the little woman looked up quizzically in his face.

"Martha," rejoined the Professor, as he looked smilingly down upon his better half, "that was a horrible 'bull.'"

A gentleman having lately been called on to subscribe to a course of lectures, declined, "because," said he, "my wife gives me a lecture every night for nothing."


ON Tuesday, March 11, in the Senate, Senator Sumner asked to be discharged from further consideration of proposed relief to Ireland and matters connected with the Trent affair. Notice was given of a bill to allow foreign vessels to carry the California mails. A resolution was introduced instructing the Naval Committee to inquire into the circumstances connected with the recent naval engagement at Fortress Monroe. The bill providing for the confiscation of the property of persons resisting the laws and authority of the republic was taken up, when Senator Carlile, of Virginia, addressed the Senate at length in opposition to it. Senator Wilson, of Massachusetts, offered an amendment to the Confiscation bill, which was ordered to be printed, when the Senate adjourned.—In the House, a resolution was introduced, and referred to the Committee of the Whole House, providing for the establishment of foundries at Chicago, Illinois; Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, and Poughkeepsie, New York; for an armory and arsenal at Columbus, Ohio; for a saltpetre and powder depot at Indianapolis, Indiana, and for powder-mills at Trenton, New Jersey. A bill was introduced for the establishment of navy-yards at our Northern lake-ports. The regular order, the resolution in favor of assisting States in the emancipation of slaves, in accordance with the recommendation of the President's late special Message, was taken up. Amendments were offered by different members, and a long and very interesting debate took place. A vote was finally taken, and the resolution was adopted by eighty-eight yeas to thirty-one nays.

On Wednesday, March 12, in the Senate, petitions were presented from citizens of Kentucky in opposition to emancipation. The resolution for the expulsion of Senator Powell, of Kentucky, was reported back from the Judiciary Committee, with the recommendation that it should not be adopted. A joint resolution of thanks to Lieutenant Worden, commander of the Monitor in the recent naval engagement near Fortress Monroe, and the sailors under his command, was introduced and laid over. A bill was also introduced to repeal all laws preventing foreign vessels carrying the mails between New York and Aspinwall. The House resolution of co-operation with the President's Special Message in favor of aiding States which desire to emancipate their slaves, was referred to the Judiciary Committee. The bill to authorize the Secretary of War to accept financial aid from State Governments was passed. The bill defining the pay of the army was taken up, discussed at length. and finally passed. The bill for the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia was debated, and several amendments to it were adopted, but the Senate adjourned without reaching a vote on the subject.-In the House, a resolution of thanks to Mr. Ericsson, the builder of the mail-clad battery Monitor, Lieutenant Worden, her commander, and her officers and crew, was introduced and referred to the Naval Committee. The District of Columbia Committee reported a bill for the abolition of slavery in the District, which was sent back to that committee by the House. The Territorial Committee reported a bill providing for Territorial governments for the rebellious States, which caused some debate, and was finally laid on the table. A bill providing a temporary government for Arizona was reported to the House. The Tax bill was then taken up in the Committee of the Whole

House, when an extended and animated debate took place, which was participated in principally by Messrs. Bingham, of Ohio, and Wadsworth, of Kentucky, the discussion being made to bear principally on the slavery question. Without coming to a decision the committee rose and the House adjourned.

On Thursday, March 13, in the Senate, the Naval Committee were instructed to prepare some fitting notice of the bravery of seaman John Davis, whose conduct was recently alluded to in terms of praise by Commodore Dupont in his official report. A resolution of inquiry of the Secretary of the Navy, with regard to the removal of the Naval Academy from Annapolis, Maryland, to Newport, Rhode Island, was offered by Senator Kennedy. The Senate voted thanks to Commodore Foote, of the Western flotilla, and Lieutenant Worden, of the mail-clad steamer Monitor, and the officers and men under them, for their recent brilliant exploits. The resolution for the expulsion of Senator Powell, of Kentucky, was taken up, and Senator Davis, of Kentucky, spoke at length in favor of it. He was interrupted by Senator Powell; but, without deciding the question, the Senate went into executive session, and subsequently adjourned.—In the House, the thanks of the republic were voted to General Curtis and his officers and men for gallant conduct in their recent engagement with the rebels, and sympathy for the friends and relatives of the loyal slain was expressed. The National Tax bill was then taken up, in Committee of the Whole House, and a long debate ensued, consuming the greater portion of the day's session and being participated in by various members. An amendment, to allow each State to assume its quota of the tax, was one of the subjects of discussion in connection with the bill, which proposition was finally withdrawn, and, without taking definite action, the committee rose.

On Friday, March 14, in the Senate, the resolution reported by the Committee on Naval Affairs, giving power to the Secretary of the Navy to settle the accounts of contractors who have failed to fulfill their engagements, was passed. A resolution was proposed, but objected to, to give the President additional power in the control of military affairs, and a bill to provide for the construction of additional iron-clad gun-boats, and for the completion of the Stevens battery, was introduced and referred. A bill favoring the confiscation of the property of rebels was also introduced and referred. Bills were introduced and referred giving the President control of the gun-boat appropriations, and for the regulation of the army corps, and then the resolution in favor of expelling Senator Powell was taken up, when Senator Powell addressed the Senate at length in his own defense, replying to the remarks made by his colleague, Senator Davis, on the preceding day. A long debate ensued, and the resolution was defeated by eleven yeas to twenty-eight nays, when the Senate adjourned.—In the House, the Senate resolution of thanks to Commodore Foote and his command was passed by a unanimous vote. The resolution of thanks to Lieutenant Worden, of the Monitor, was referred to the Naval Committee. The Pacific Railroad bill was reported to the House, and made the special order for Tuesday next. The Tax bill was taken up, and an amendment permitting States to assume their separate quotas was rejected; but no final action was reached, and the House adjourned. Both Houses adjourned over to Monday.

On Monday, March 17, in the Senate, the Military Committee reported a bill for the organization of the army corps staffs. A resolution that the Naval Committee report on the expediency of an appropriation for testing iron-cladding for vessels of war was adopted. The joint resolution giving the President power to assign officers to military commands without regard to seniority was discussed and sent back to the Military Committee. The Post-office Appropriation bill was considered, and amendments agreed to authorizing a more frequent than semi-monthly mail between San Francisco and Crescent City; that all American vessels shall carry to foreign ports such mails as the Postmaster-General may deliver on board, and that vessels coming from foreign ports shall receive any mail matter from consuls, the compensation for which service not to be more than the usual postage. The bill was then passed. The proposition for the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia was taken up, but postponed. The Senate then held an executive session and adjourned.-In the House, the Senate joint resolution authorizing the Secretary of War to receive moneys appropriated by States for the payment of the volunteers of such States was adopted. A resolution of inquiry of the Secretary of War as to recent charters of vessels, and the compensation allowed for the same, was adopted. The Military Committee were instructed to report some plan for securing to the sick and wounded soldiers better medical treatment. The District of Columbia Committee were instructed to inquire into the circumstances connected with the recent arrest in the District, and transfer to and imprisonment in Baltimore, of two persons, in alleged violation of the Constitution. The House then, in Committee of the Whole, took up the Tax bill, when a debate ensued, after which the House adjourned.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, March 11, 1862. Major-General McClellan, having personally taken the field at the head of the Army of the Potomac, until otherwise ordered, is relieved from the command of the other military departments, he retaining command of the Department of the Potomac.

Ordered, further, That the two departments now under the respective commands of Generals Halleck and Hunter, together with so much of that under General Buell as lies west of a north and south line, indefinitely drawn through Knoxville, Tennessee, be consolidated and designated the Department of the Mississippi, and that, until otherwise ordered, Major-General Halleck have command of said department.

Ordered, also, That the country west of the Department of the Potomac and east of the Department of the Mississippi be a military department, to be called the Mountain Department, and that the same be commanded by Major-General Fremont.

That all the commanders of departments, after the receipt of this order by them respectively, report severally and directly to the Secretary of War, and that prompt, full, and frequent reports will be expected of all and each of them.   



The important town of Winchester, Virginia, is in our possession. A portion of General Banks's division, under General Gorman, occupied the town of Berryville, Virginia, on 11th. There were five hundred of the rebel cavalry in the place; but upon the Third New York Cavalry, properly supported by artillery and infantry, charging them, they fled in confusion toward Winchester. During the night the pickets of General Gorman came in contact with portions of Colonel Ashby's rebel cavalry, and were compelled to fall back; but the General made a reconnoissance in force to within two miles of Winchester, and charging upon the rebels, dispersed them, taking several prisoners, and killing or wounding four of the rebels. This reconnoissance sealed the fate of Winchester. The enemy were blinded and misled by the movement of our troops, and they commenced the evacuation of the place on the afternoon of 11th. General Hamilton advanced from Bunker Hill, the Michigan Cavalry heading the column. The rebel cavalry, one thousand two hundred strong, and supported by a section of artillery, gave battle at five o'clock in the afternoon. Our cavalry were supported by the First Maryland Infantry and a battery of artillery. The fight was a short one. The rebels fled, leaving their guns behind them, and at daylight on 12th our troops entered the city as the rear-guard of the enemy was flying out of it.


The rebels abandoned New Madrid on Thursday evening, 13th, leaving a quantity of guns and stores behind them. Some fighting took place between the rebel gun-boats, under Captain Hollins, and our siege batteries, in which we lost twenty killed and wounded. The loss of the enemy is not known, as they carried off all their dead and wounded with them.


At 5.30 A.M. on 16th, the Mississippi flotilla got under way, and dropped down slowly until about seven o'clock, when the flag-ship, being about twenty miles ahead and six miles above the island, discovered a stern-wheel steamer run out from the shelter of a point on the Kentucky

shore, and steam down the river. Four shells were thrown after her, but the distance was too great for the shots to take effect. At nine o'clock the fleet rounded to about three miles above Island No. 10. The Commodore then ordered three of the mortar boats into position.

A dispatch from the Associated Press reporter says: Eight mortars shelled the battery above the island to-day. The enemy left it several times, but returned. They only fired with two guns. Our shells reached the island easily. General Pope has sent dispatches to Commodore Foote, saying that his heavy guns command the river, so that neither steamboat nor gun-boat of the enemy can pass. The mortar fleet threw two hundred and forty shells, and the Benton forty-one. In response to a serenade at St. Louis, on 17th, General Halleck announced from the balcony of the Planters' House that Island No. 10 is ours, with all the ammunition and transports the enemy had there. He said also that another victory had been won in Arkansas, in which three rebel Colonels were captured.


General Burnside, who left Roanoke Island with the bulk of his force a few days since, has attacked and taken Newbern, North Carolina. The resistance was stout; we lost 90 killed and 100 wounded. We took a large quantity of ammunition and guns.


The forces of Generals Smith, McClernand, Sherman, Wallace, and Hurlbut, have arrived at Savannah, Tennessee. The force of the rebels in the vicinity was variously stated at from 30,000 to 100,000 men. The division of General Lewis Wallace advanced on Saturday to Purdy, in M'Nairy County, and burned the bridge and tore up the track of the railroad leading from Humboldt to Corinth, Mississippi, cutting off a train laden with rebel troops.


Memphis is reported in a state of anarchy. The citizens are flying from there, and cotton, molasses, sugar, and other merchandise were being shipped South. Such was the insubordination of the citizens that martial law was proclaimed in Memphis on 10th, in order to compel the people to turn out and fight.

Norfolk and Richmond are also under martial law.


At the late battle at Paris, Tennessee, our forces defeated the rebels, six hundred strong, and took possession of the town on the morning of the 12th inst. General Halleck's official report of the battle puts down the loss of the enemy at one hundred killed, wounded, and prisoners.


A desperate fight took place in the vicinity of Fort Craig, New Mexico, on the 21st of February. It appears that skirmishing, resulting in the daily discomfiture of the rebel Texans, had been going on from the 17th. On the morning of the 21st, at about nine o'clock, a serious battle commenced; and the conflict raged throughout the day. The enemy made desperate charges on one howitzer battery, which was under Captain M'Rae's command, but were repulsed with loss. At least 600 of the Texans, armed with carbines, revolvers, long seven-pound bowie-knives, made their last and desperate charge; the shock was terrible; the battery poured upon them its fearful storm; Captain Plimpton, with a company of United States infantry, was defending M'Rae's guns; his men stood up against this mighty charge like a wall of granite, till half their number were dead; then they retreated: Captain M'Rae, left alone, sat down on one of his guns, with his revolver in his hand, refusing to fly; he died like a hero, the last man at his post. Lieutenants Michler and Stone, and other officers, were slain or wounded. Our loss was about 200. In spite of this success, the day may be said to have been won by the Union troops.


The following copy of correspondence has been sent from the commander of the army in Arkansas to the commander of the department at St. Louis, and by him published:


To the Commanding Officer of the United States Forces on Sugar Creek, Arkansas:

SIR,—In accordance with the usages of war, I have the honor to request that you will permit the burial party whom I send from this army, with a flag of truce, to attend to the duty of collecting and interring the bodies of the officers and men who fell during the engagement of the 7th and 8th instant. Very respectfully your obedient servant,   EARL VAN DORN,

Major-General Commanding Army.


PEA RIDGE, March 9, 1862.

Earl Van Dorn, Commanding Confederate Forces: SIR,—The General Commanding is in receipt of yours of the 9th, saying that in accordance with the usages of war you send a party to collect and bury the dead. I am directed to say all possible facilities will be given for burying the dead, many of which have already been interred. Quite a number of your surgeons have fallen into our hands, and are permitted to act under parole, and under a General Order from Major-General Halleck further liberty will be allowed them, if such accommodations be reciprocated by you. The General regrets that we find on the battle-field, contrary to civilized warfare, many of the Federal dead who were tomahawked, scalped, and their bodies shamefully mangled, and expressed a hope that this important struggle may not degenerate to a savage warfare. By order of

   S. R. CURTIS, Brigadier-General.

   T. J. M'KINNEY, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.


The Senate appears to be awake to the necessity of providing iron-clad war steamers for the navy. A bill was introduced by Senator Hale, from the Committee on Naval Affairs, on 13th, providing for the construction, under the direction of the Secretary of the Navy, of an iron-clad steam vessel of not less than five or six thousand tons burden, and of great speed and strength, to be used only as a ram, for which purpose $1,000,000 are to be appropriated; also, $13,000,000 for the construction of iron-clad gun-boats, $783,000 for the completion of Stevens's battery, and $500,000 for extending the facilities of the Washington Navy-yard, so as to roll and forge plates for the armored ships.


Hon. Joseph Holt and Robert Dale Owen have been appointed Special Commissioners to audit and adjust contracts, orders, and claims on the War Department in respect to arms, ammunition, and stores. They will proceed at once to an investigation and examination.



THE preliminary treaty of Soledad, agreed upon between the Mexican and Allied commissioners, has been assented to by President Juarez. By this treaty the Allies are permitted to occupy three inland cities, and Vera Cruz was to revert to the Mexican authorities; but it is stated that at latest advices, and when the Allied troops had commenced to occupy the three towns named in the treaty, and when the Mexican flag had been again hoisted in Vera Cruz, and the Mexican officials were returning to resume control there, the English officials became dissatisfied, and it is said that the English forces will be entirely withdrawn. Trouble had also occurred between the French and Spanish, and General Prim was to be superseded by a French commander, and the affairs generally of the Allies seemed to be in great confusion. Two battalions of the Spanish forces had been withdrawn and had arrived at Havana. Accounts from the interior of Mexico report a battle between the insurrectionists and the forces of Juarez, in which the latter were defeated. Mr. Allen, bearer of dispatches to the united States Minister at the city of Mexico, Mr. Corwin, had been murdered between Vera Cruz and the city of Mexico.




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