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Civil War Harper's Weekly, March 15, 1862

You are viewing part of our extensive online collection of Civil War Harper's Weekly newspapers. Harper's Weekly was the most popular newspaper during the Civil War, and all these issues are available for your study and research on this site.

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Ft. Donelson

Battle of Ft. Donelson


Description of Memphis in  Civil War

Jefferson Davis Message

Jefferson Davis Message

General Lander

General Lander

Fort Donelson

Fight at Fort Donelson

Virginia Map

Virginia Civil War Map


Savannah, Georgia

Attack on Fort Donelson

Attack on Fort Donelson


Memphis, Tennessee

Burnside Expedition

Burnside Expedition

Elizabeth City

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Rebel Cartoon

Rebel Cartoon



MARCH 15, 1862.]


(Previous Page) be inconsistent with their welfare and intolerable to a proud people."

And again:

"To save ourselves from a revolution which, in its silent but rapid progress was about to place us under the despotism of numbers, and to preserve in spirit, as well as in form, a system of government we believed to be peculiarly fitted to our condition, and full of promise for mankind, we determined to make a new association, composed of States homogeneous in interest, in policy, and in feeling."

Now what tyro in knowledge of human nature and of history does not see that, as a mere matter of self-defense, such an "association" could never be allowed by a neighboring nation separated by no natural boundaries? If the old Monroe doctrine is true, that the peace and security of this nation were threatened by the presence of any European power upon our borders, what is to be said of a huge slave-breeding and slave-working empire divided from us by invisible lines? The constant tendency of that empire would be to a gradual occupation by the servile race, and consequent barbarism.

Common sense and the instinct of self-preservation settle the question of "a new association of States" for the increase of the slave population.


IT is a curious inquiry whether Mrs. Greenhow, and the other utterly treacherous women who have done all they can to bring blood and ruin upon their countrymen—who have been the most faithful and zealous spies, working to betray the lives of loyal citizens and the liberties of all of us to the bald and remorseless tyranny of the rebellion—are "the gentle women incarcerated for opinion's sake," of which Davis speaks in his melancholy inaugural.


IN reading the dreary debates of the spectral Congress at Richmond the eye occasionally falls upon a familiar name, which suggests instructive reflections.

During the Presidential campaign there was a gentleman from Tennessee who, not to speak it irreverently, was "hawked" about the Northern States as an orator, upon no other ground than that he was grandson, or grand-nephew, to the great Virginia orator of the revolution—or that at any rate his name was Henry. This gentleman was taken to public meetings to tell the people of the Northern States two things: one was, that his great ancestor talked nonsense when he spoke against the patriarchial system of living by the labor of other people whom you did not pay; and second, that we must all cling to the Union, the Constitution, and the enforcement of the laws.

Now, as our minds were and had been for some years quite made up on the business of making people work without wages, and selling their children to pay our debts, it seemed unnecessary to enlarge upon that point. But he had his say, and departed when he was ready by rail indeed, but not exactly in the way that Northern orators, had they made corresponding speeches in his part of the country, would have left by rail. Then, in the second place, as no serious talk was heard and no threat uttered against the Union, the Constitution, and the enforcement of the laws above the line of Mason and Dixon, it was impossible not to feel that the gentleman had brought his coals to Newcastle.

Of course the orator is now a secessionist, as John Bell is; and in the proceedings of the Richmond Congress you shall read the name of Mr. Henry, of Tennessee, as a Senator—the same gentleman, as we are informed, who came to harangue us upon our duty to the Union and the enforcement of the laws.

The moral is plain. "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord! Lord!" It is not enough to cry aloud your own virtue. It is not enough to use the words that express devotion. There is many a man now who bawls, suspiciously loud, "Union, Union, and the enforcement of the laws!" Study him attentively when you hear him. You see what Henry meant. Wait and see what he means.


THE paper in Fraser upon the American question, by John Stuart Mill, is one of the ablest statements which our troubles have occasioned. Mr. Mill is well known to every scholar and reading man as one of the chief English thinkers of the time; and his clear perception of the causes and consequences of the struggle, with his curiously-accurate appreciation of all the delicate distinctions of our system, and the essential differences of our parties, show his peculiar fitness as a teacher of the English nation at this moment.

A cardinal value of his paper is the clearness with which he shows that the existence of this Government is the security of all the reforms for which patient and humane men wait. He says that while it is not a war for emancipation, its end is, inevitably, the end of slavery. But whether that end will be suddenly effected by the military hand, or left to the development of peaceful debate, he thinks, and thinks justly, is a question to be determined by the rapidity with which our arms advance. Should the war last a year longer, he sees that in the sheerest self-defense the nation will strike frankly at its cause. But so long as the army is constantly successful, public opinion will not justify the "extreme measure."

The wisdom of the paper is the more remarkable from its exact agreement with the views of the wisest men among ourselves. That a fatal blow at the root of the rebellion is the true method of peace—that the right way is the best and the shortest way, no man who is free from party rancor doubts for a moment. But such men are few; and such men are also wise enough to see that great measures in this country must be the result of popular conviction. To be permanent and peaceful, all great changes must be justified by public sentiment, The ferocious party-spirit that seven years

ago repealed the Missouri Compromise was too blind to see this. That was a trick sprung upon the nation, and the unanimous vote of the Free States for Mr. Lincoln was the logical and inevitable consequence.

Party leaders in this country are not despots. They lead only so long as they understand the general tendency of the party to which they belong. The force of drill and organization will of course carry any party beyond its convictions. But the change will have already commenced. Thus the old Democratic Party was really smitten with death in 1848; but it wore the semblance of a crown for twelve years afterward. And all the young men in the country who, led by the desire of political success rather than by true patriotism, have within that period allied themselves to that party, can now see plainly enough that it was not the vigor of life but the spasm of death that gave it an air of energy.

For if the democratic principle be indeed trustworthy, the constant tendency of an educated people like ours must be toward greater Justice and surer Liberty, and not toward Despotism and Slavery. Consequently, if democracy were true, the Democratic Party was doomed. Every faithful follower of the party cry must have constantly and wonderingly asked himself, "How is it that I am a Democrat, or friend of human rights, and yet am constantly and by party command voting for and with men who openly scorn those rights?" Such a man would very soon ask himself whether vinegar is sweet because it happens to be labeled molasses.

The lessons of many years and of human nature will not be lost upon us at a time when we are at once peculiarly honest and sagacious. Mr. Mill sees it clearly. All loyal Americans feel it. The statesman is the man who sees in what way, and how far, that which is desirable may be made practicable. The article will appear in Harper's Magazine for April.


THE new novel of WILKIE COLLINS begins in this day's paper, illustrated by John M'Lenan, whose characteristic and admirable illustrations of "The Woman in White," especially that of Count Fosco, were themselves creations. Mr. M'Lenan has a peculiar appreciation of the genius of Mr. Collins, who has taken his place among the most popular and powerful of living English novelists. None of them has written a tale of more singular, absorbing, and powerful interest than his "Woman in White," and the opening of the present story has the same clear, calm, startling detail of narration. It has a Tenier's fidelity and healthy color. The picture of the country home and the quiet family circle is curiously distinct. Nor does the opening number end without plunging the reader full into the necessary mystery. Thus the beginning is like the commencement of a trial, in which we know that the developments will be both strange and fascinating. The power of the author has been proved by "The Woman in White," and all the readers of that story will want no exhortation to begin with the beginning of "No NAME."

It is one of the remarkable illustrations of the opportunity of influence offered to a popular author at this day that if we allow seven readers to each copy of the issue of the present number of the Weekly, the opening chapters of Mr. Collins's story will be read by more than nine hundred thousand readers.


IF a disagreeable fellow insists on sharing your house with you, take the inside for your share, and give him the outside.

The geological character of the rock on which drunkards split is said to be quartz.

A doctor's wife attempted to move him by her tears. "Ah!" said he, "tears are useless. I have analyzed them. They contain a little phosphate of lime, some chlorate of sodium, and water."

When a pickpocket pulls at your watch, tell him plainly that you have no time to spare.

A hint to ladies with gray hair. Never say "dye."

The least objectionable soup for cannibal a broth of a boy.

"Is Mr. Brown a man of means?" inquired a lady visitor of Aunt Betsy. "Yes, I should think he was," replied Aunt Betsy, "as every body says he's the meanest man in town."

Why do our soldiers need no barbers? Because they are regularly shaved by the Government contractors.

We are never satisfied that a lady understands a kiss unless we have it from her own lips.  

Man's happiness is said to hang upon a thread. This must be the thread that is never at hand to sew on the shirt-button that is always off.

Mrs. Chibbles has great ideas of her husband's military powers. "For two years," says she, "he was a lieutenant in the horse-marines, after which he was promoted to the captaincy of a regular squad of sapheads and minors."

A wit once asked a peasant what part he performed in the great drama of life. "I mind my own business," was the reply.

"Pa," said a lad to his father, "I often read of people poor but honest; why don't they sometimes say rich but honest?" "Tut, my son," said his father, " nobody would believe them."



ON Tuesday, February 25, in the Senate, the bill providing for the occupation and cultivation of cotton lands in possession of the United States was reported back by the Committee on Territories, and an amendment limiting the appropriation to twenty thousand dollars adopted. The bill providing for the confiscation of the property of rebels was then taken up, discussed, and finally postponed. The bill authorizing the Secretary of the Treasury to issue certificates of acknowledgment of debt to public creditors was passed.—In the House, the Senate bill authorizing the Secretary of the Treasury to issue certificates of indebtedness to public creditors was passed. A bill amendatory of the Articles of War, so as to provide that all officers in the

military service are prohibited from employing any of the forces under their respective commands for the purpose of restoring fugitives from service or labor, escaping from those who claim such service or labor to be due to them; and any officer found guilty, by court-martial, of violating this article shall be dismissed from service, was reported from the Military Committee, and passed by a vote of 83 to 42. 'The Senate bill reorganizing the cavalry service was amended by reducing the number of regiments to fifty instead of forty, as provided by the Senate, and then passed. The bill authorizing the Postmaster-General to establish a postal money order system was also passed, and likewise a bill designed to allow the transportation of light articles through the mails, for the accommodation of soldiers, at the rates of book postage—one cent per ounce. A bill to tax the salaries of public officers was referred to the Ways and Means Committee. A resolution was adopted instructing the Committee of Ways and Means to inquire into the expediency of levying a tax of three per cent. per pound on cotton, and making such a lien thereon; persons and corporations to be prohibited from carrying or transporting the same until the tax is paid.

On Wednesday, February 26, in the Senate, petitions in favor of a general bankrupt law, and for the emancipation of slaves, were presented and referred. A bill establishing a railroad and telegraph line from the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean was reported from the Special Committee on that subject. The bill providing for the occupation and cultivation of certain cotton lands in the possession of the United States was taken up and discussed. The consideration of the question of admitting the new Senator from Oregon, Mr. Starke, whose loyalty is questioned, to a seat in the Senate, was then resumed, and Senators Sumner, Cowan, Davis, Wilmot, Carlile, and Sherman participated in the debate, but no definite action was taken on the subject. The bill fixing the number of members of the House of Representatives under the new apportionment was amended so as to make the number 249, and then passed.—In the House, Mr. Voorhies, of Indiana, asked leave to offer a resolution commending the sentiments and policy of General Halleck, as announced in his General Order of the 23d instant, already published, as eminently wise and patriotic, and in strict conformity with the Constitution, and that the war should be conducted in accordance with the same, and that the thanks of Congress are tendered to General Halleck for said order, and for his military achievement as commander of the Department of Missouri. Mr. Lovejoy, of Illinois, objected, and the resolution was consequently ruled out. Mr. Van Wyck announced his retirement from the chairmanship of the Government Contract and Revolutionary Pension Committees. The case of Mr. Upton, who claims a seat as representative from the Fairfax district of Virginia, was taken up, and discussed till the adjournment. The House concurred in the Senate bill fixing the number of Representatives, under the new apportionment, at 249.

On Thursday, February 27, in the Senate, Senator Davis introduced a substitute for the Confiscation bill, which was ordered to be printed. The bill to increase the efficiency of the medical department of the army was taken up and passed with amendments. The case of Senator Starke was resumed, and the resolution of the committee on the subject, declaring Senator Starke entitled to a seat, was adopted by a vote of 26 to 19. He thereupon was qualified and took his seat. The Confiscation bill was taken up, and the Senate adjourned.—In the House, the case of Mr. Upton, who claims to represent the Fairfax district of Virginia, was again discussed, and the claimant declared not entitled to a seat by a vote of seventy-three to fifty.

On Friday, February 28, in the Senate, a bill was reported to carry into effect the treaty with Hanover for the abolition of the Stadt dues. Senator Starke, the new member from Oregon, offered a resolution instructing the Judiciary Committee to investigate the charges of disloyalty that have been alleged against him. A debate ensued, which was continued till the expiration of the morning hour. The Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Appropriation bill was taken up, and passed with amendments. A bill to encourage enlistments in the regular army was introduced.—In the House, the special committee on the establishment of a national armory reported a resolution, which was referred to the Committee of the Whole, providing for the appointment of a commission by the President to locate a national foundry east of the Alleghanies, and a foundry, armory, and manufacturing arsenal west of the Alleghanies, said commission to report within sixty days from their appointment to the Secretary of War, and the Secretary to report to Congress, with the necessary estimates of expense. The bill granting homesteads to actual settlers, and providing bounty for soldiers in lieu of lands, was amended so as to take effect on the 1st of January, 1863, and then passed—105 against 16. Both Houses adjourned till Monday.

On Monday, March 3, in the Senate, Senator Wright, the successor of Mr. Bright, of Indiana, was sworn, and entered upon his duties. The House bill requiring shipmasters trading to foreign ports to take an oath of allegiance was passed. A joint resolution authorizing the President to appoint as many staff officers as the service requires was adopted. The Confiscation bill was taken up, and Senator McDougall, of California, spoke in opposition to it. Before he had concluded the Senate went into executive session.—In the House the tax bill was ordered to be printed, and made the special order for the 11th instant. The Senate joint resolution, declaratory of the intention of the act of July, indemnifying the loyal States for expenses incurred in raising troops, so as not only to apply to debts contracted before, but since the passage of the act, was adopted; also the Senate joint resolution providing for the payment of the awards of the commission for claims growing out of military movements in the Department of the West. Mr. Holman offered a resolution declaring that the war should not be prosecuted for any other purpose than the restoration of the authority of the Constitution and the welfare of the whole people of the United States, who are permanently involved in the preservation of our present form of government, without modification or change. Mr. Lovejoy moved to lay it on the table, and the motion was adopted—60 to 58. A resolution, calling on the President for information relative to the present condition of Mexico, and the design of the European Powers to establish a monarchy there, was adopted. The Committee on Foreign Affairs presented an important joint resolution on the subject of maritime rights, thanking the Emperor of the French for his kindly offices touching the Trent affair, and declaring the present a favorable time for adjusting the question of maritime rights on the basis proposed by Mr. Marcy in 1856. The resolutions were recommitted and ordered to be printed. A resolution was adopted directing the Secretary of the Treasury to communicate to the House the amount of the subscriptions to the National Loan, authorized by the act of the 17th of July, 1861, the amounts of money paid on such subscriptions, and the purposes to which they have been appropriated.


The rebel steamer Nashville, which has been lying up so long in English ports, and was so keenly watched by the United States steamer Tuscarora, has succeeded in getting safe across the Atlantic, and, as we learn from Norfolk, arrived at Wilmington, North Carolina, on Saturday, having run the blockade at that place.


Columbus is evacuated. An official dispatch from Commodore Foote, dated Cairo, March 1, leaves no doubt that the rebels are flying from their Western Sebastopol. Lieutenant-Commanding Phelps, who was sent on Saturday with a flag of truce to Columbus, returned reporting that he saw the rebels burning their winter-quarters, and removing their heavy guns on the bluffs. But the guns in the water batteries remained intact. He also saw, a large force of cavalry drawn up ostentatiously on the bluffs, but no infantry was to be seen, as heretofore. The encampment seen in the armed reconnoissance a few days since had been removed. Large fires were visible in the town of Columbus and upon the river banks below, indicating the destruction of the town, military stores, and equipments.


The right wing of the grand army, in General Banks's division, on the Upper Potomac, has made an advance. Crossing the river from Sandy Hook on Monday night to Harper's Ferry, the advance-guard, consisting of the

Twenty-eighth Pennsylvania regiment, took possession of the town. Strong reinforcements went over on Tuesday and occupied the towns of Bolivar and Charlestown, and a considerable portion of the country on both banks of the Shenandoah. The rebels, with the exception of a few who were captured, retired on the approach of our army. The sentiment among the people is strongly in favor of the Union. General Banks has established his head-quarters on the road from Harper's Ferry to Bolivar. The rebels shelled the trains near Berlin, on their way to Baltimore, but the firing was so bad that they did no damage.


General Halleck telegraphs to Washington that General Curtis has taken Fayetteville, Arkansas, with numerous prisoners and great quantities of stores, ammunition, baggage, and the like. The enemy retreated in disorderly haste over the Boston Mountains. The Union troops in that section are perfectly enraged at a dastardly, savage trick of the rebels: forty-two officers and men of the 5th Missouri Regiment were poisoned at Mudtown by eating of provisions left behind by the enemy, who had prepared the food for the purpose of causing a general murder.


The War Department has received such encouraging intelligence of the restoration of Tennessee to the Union that it is contemplated to appoint Senator Andrew Johnson Military Governor of the State until the civil government can be reorganized. With this view the President has nominated him as Brigadier-General, and placed in his hands the pleasant duty of restoring his old State to its original position.

The rebels have retreated from Murfreesboro, and are falling back on the Tennessee River and Chattanooga.


The War Department has authorized the raising of volunteer troops in Tennessee, and it is decided to put the loyal citizens of the Southwest generally in a position to resist the rebels whenever any attempt is made to coerce the Union people back again into the thralls of rebellion.


Official dispatches from Commodore Foote, relative to affairs on the Tennessee River, which were received at the Navy Department on 1st, give most satisfactory accounts of the Union feeling in Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi, in which latter State Lieutenant Gwin had penetrated in the gun-boat Taylor as far as Eastport. The victories at Forts Henry and Donelson have impressed the Unionists with great faith in our army, and have given them courage to avow their sentiments more freely. Lieutenant Gwin says that upon learning that a large quantity of wheat and flour, intended for shipment to the South, was stored at Clifton, Tennessee, he landed there and took on board about one thousand sacks and one hundred barrels of flour, and some six thousand bushels of wheat, to prevent its being seized by the rebels or disposed of in the rebel country.


The Message of Jeff Davis to the new rebel Congress, like his recent inaugural, betrays great distress of mind as to the future fortunes of the Confederacy, and displays, at the same time, no little deviation from the strict line of truth in reference to the resources of the South and the conduct of our Government and our army. He admits that events have proved that the rebel Government attempted more than it could achieve; that the Southern people had no idea of the continuance of the war beyond a brief period, nor of the overwhelming force which has been brought against them. To this fact he attributes the unwillingness of the people to enlist for a long term; but he hopes that this "fruitful cause of disaster," short enlistments, will not again occur. In referring to the defeats at Roanoke Island and Fort Donelson, he speaks of the former as humiliating; and of the fall of Donelson he says that, in the absence of official information, he can form no judgment, but can not believe that an army of "our people" could have surrendered without an effort to cut their way through the enemy. The strength of the rebel army he puts down, somewhat indefinitely, at four hundred regiments of infantry, with proportionate cavalry and artillery. He relies greatly upon the new enlistments to make up the force of the army, and expresses a confident opinion that the war is going to last for several years to come.


A meeting of cotton and tobacco planters was held on Wednesday evening, at the City Hall, Richmond, to discuss the question of destroying the cotton and tobacco crops in the State; but the discussion, after a variety of speeches were delivered pro and con, resulted in transferring the matter to a committee for report at an adjourned meeting the next night, the business of which has not yet reached us. A resolution was offered in the rebel Congress on the same day providing for compensation by the government for all tobacco and cotton so burned to avoid its falling into the hands of the United States Government. The tone of the Southern press continues to be most doleful and despairing.


The discussions in the rebel Congress at Richmond show a growing discontent with the Cabinet of Mr. Davis. Upon the proposal to admit the members of the Cabinet to defend their course on the floor of the House, Mr. Foote, of Tennessee, said that if the Cabinet, after a fair discussion upon a vital question, should be voted down, they should resign, after the manner of the British Ministry, and give place to others. A refusal so to do, he declared, would justify a civil revolution—a rebellion within a rebellion—and if Mr. Davis persisted in retaining the Cabinet after such an expression of popular sentiment, he would deserve to be brought to impeachment, and, if needs be, "to the block."


The rebel General Simon Bolivar Buckner, captured at Fort Donelson, is now on his way to Fort Warren, or is probably by this time safely ensconced within its walls.

The Independence Belge asserts positively that the Archduke Maximilian of Austria has accepted a throne in the distracted republic.

By an order from the War Department, we learn that Major-General Dix and the Hon. Edwards Pierrepont, have been appointed Commissioners to examine the cases of the men still remaining in confinement in the custody of the United States, and to decide whether they should be released, retained, or turned over to the civil authority.



THE American question is being debated in the English Parliament. Earl Russell made an important declaration in the House of Lords, on the 10th instant, when he admitted that the peculiar circumstances of the United States justified "urgent measures"—such as arbitrary arrests—by the Government, and that even British subjects may be seized by order of the President, if "he believed that the parties were engaged in treasonable conspiracies." Parliament had given the same power to the British executive in times of difficulty, and it had been frequently exercised without the persons being brought to trial. The cases of the English subjects lately arrested in the United States would, however, be "earnestly watched" by the Cabinet.

On a subsequent day, Earl Russell, in reply to Lord Stanhope, stated that Government had protested against the permanent destruction of any harbors by the stone blockade, and the American Government had denied any such intention.


The expense to England of the Mason and Slidell affair is understood to be 364,000 ($1,820,000).


The United States gun-boat Tuscarora is reported to be at Gibraltar watching the privateer Sumter, which still remains there without coal.




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