Rebel Pirates Ordered out of British Ports


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, March 1, 1862

We are making our extensive collection of original Civil War Harper's Weekly newspapers available to you online. This collection allows in depth research and analysis of key issues of the Civil War. We are hopeful you find this material useful.

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


Fort Donelson

Battle of Fort Donelson

Capture of Fort Donelson

Capture of Fort Donelson

Rebel Pirates

Rebel Pirates

Savannah River

Gunboats on the Savannah River

Albemarle and Pamlico Map

Map of Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds

Roanoke Island

Battle of Roanoke Island


Flag Officer Goldsborough

Ft. Henry

Capture of Fort Henry

Roanoke Island

Roanoke Island Battle

Foster and Porter

Captain Porter and General Foster

Somerset and Green River

Somerset and Green River

Uncle Sam

Uncle Sam Cartoon



MARCH 1, 1862.]



(Previous Page) In the present case we have, of course, the right to set against the revelations of reports in individual cases the spectacle of the generous and general rising of the people. Moreover, we may justly add to that the universal public conviction that the chief officers of state are eminently men of pure hands. That knaves should swarm upon the chance of contracts is not surprising. The only sadness is that the old suspicion of a very wide demoralization should be revived by the apparent implication of men hitherto beyond a whisper of suspicion. For there is no man and no nation so 'cute that they can be saved without faith.


A RESOLUTION was lately introduced into our Legislature to invite a clergyman to address the Assembly upon the Great Rebellion. A worthy member objected, saying that he would very gladly listen to a clergyman upon the subject of Christ's Sermon on the Mount; but when clergymen interfered in politics they transcended their duty—or as the report has it, "when they came out of the pulpit to preach politics to the Assembly, they unduly interfered with the members in the discharge of their constitutional duties!"

This is in the reports of the Assembly and not in Rabelais.

But when were the clergymen disfranchised? When did they cease to be American citizens? When did they lose the right to speak upon public affairs which every American, of whatever profession, justly prizes as so characteristic a right of our system?

It was Mr. Stetson who is reported to have made this extraordinary objection. He did not urge that the Assembly had not time—that if it listened to one member's friend it could hardly courteously refuse another's—that the clergyman and his friends could appoint a time and place for his address and invite the members who wished to hear it to come, all of which were obvious remarks upon such a proposition. But he took the ground that the Assembly ought not to invite one of their fellow-citizens to address them upon the state of the country, because his address would be an interference with the discharge of their constitutional duties, and for the reason that he was a clergyman!

But suppose he had been a lawyer, or a doctor, or a merchant, or a shoemaker, or a manufacturer, or a leather dealer, or a salt dealer, or a farmer, or a blacksmith, would his address have been equally impertinent? And if not, why not? Has an American citizen any more interest in the welfare of the country because he is a horse jockey or a lawyer than he would have if he were a clergyman? And if a clergyman, although a citizen and as much interested in the nation as anybody ought to stick to his profession, so ought every other citizen, no more and no less. And if so, what is Mr. Stetson doing in the Assembly?

That gentleman's profession is not announced. But if he be a lawyer, why does he not stay in court or his office, and talk of the statutes at large or the Pandects of Justinian? If he be a shoemaker, why does he not stick to his last? If a farmer, to his plow? If a carpenter, to his plane? If a merchant, to his ledger? If a mason, to his trowel? If a doctor, to his pills? Because a clergyman preaches sermons and takes the charge of a parish is he to shut his eyes and mouth upon the National welfare, in hiding his own and that of each of his parishioners?

Mr. Stetson has made a ludicrous but a not infrequent mistake. He is selected by his fellow-citizens of all professions, and leaves his own special business to fulfill a duty which is just as incumbent upon every clergyman as it is upon every lawyer or mechanic-the duty of practical interest in public affairs. If he and his associates think they can be assisted by the thoughts of any citizen, whatever his calling, they can not do wrong to hear him. His speech would be no interference, it would be an assistance. If the citizen be foolish or dull, that is enough, don't ask him. But to say that the Assembly ought not to hear him because he is a clergyman, is to declare that you have yourself no business to be speaking to them, for you must have some profession, and every man in every other profession is your exact political peer.


LITTLE Rhode Island was the first State to offer, through her Governor, her aid to the Government last April. She has sent some of the best and bravest soldiers that have marched. Her boys were at Bull Run; they are at Port Royal, and in Pamlico Sound. The blood of Rhode Island has not forgotten that Greene in the Revolution and Perry in 1814 were Rhode Islanders. The heart of Rhode Island will never forget the younger heroes who face a deadlier foe to-day.

The intelligence with which this small State has regarded the rebellion from the beginning is manifested in the new bill which has been introduced into its Legislature abolishing the distinction between enrolled and active militia. Rhode Island now proposes to say, all Rhode Islanders capable of bearing arms must be made practically proficient in military knowledge and ready for all events. As went Rhode Island last spring so went the loyal States. As she goes now so will they.

For henceforth we are to be a military republic. Hitherto we have made a curious but a natural mistake. We have thought that our situation and our system enabled us safely to dispense with arms. We are now taught that it is our character and education which allows us to bear them safely. Our situation and our system, united with our condition and education, will secure us a permanent but not a pusillanimous peace. The possession of fire-arms and skill in their use promote war only among a barbarous or semi-civilized or oppressed people. To a nation of peaceful pursuits, of an equally prosperous political condition, and of general intelligence, they are simply a guarantee, not a temptation.

Every State may wisely follow the example of

Rhode Island, as every college and school may follow that of the University of Michigan which contemplates a military department. As there is no restriction upon the possession of fire-arms in this country, so the practical knowledge of their use in military combinations should be made universal. Nobody probably expects an immediate peace. Nobody supposes that, when a tempest so long gathering as our civil war at length bursts with a fury that threatens the very existence of the nation, its consequences are to be smoothed away by a surrender. The rebels may be conquered. They may surrender. But hate is not vanquished by bayonets. The whole rebel section must long have military occupation, or be readily commanded by military superiority.

A military nation, also, speaks to foreign powers with significance. Its whispers are a breeze. Its words may be a tempest. We have sometimes congratulated ourselves that we knew nothing of military science and had little military skill. But it is not the loss of any knowledge, it is the subordination and application of all that makes wisdom.


"WHAT do you gentlemen who are so clamorous for releasing the slaves of rebels propose to do with them?" is a question constantly asked. "It is very easy to cry emancipate! emancipate! but what is your panacea for those who are emancipated?"

The question, in itself, is fair and timely—although it is often asked contemptuously, and is intended to wither any further remark.

The answer is, first of all, that something must be done. At the present time we have several thousands of persons within our lines who were lately slaves. 'They can not be returned to rebel masters. They can not be retained as slaves. They can not be left to themselves. The Government is charged with the responsibility of their care. They must be fed, clothed, and educated, and labor must be given them. In fact, the released slaves are the pupils of the Government.

The question is of such scope, and the necessity is so urgent, that Congress should at once provide the means of dealing with the actual facts. Since the advance of our arms upon rebellious soil inevitably releases so many, it is useless to suffer the facts to be winked out of sight. Congress should at once declare that the slaves of rebels are free. That would at once determine a policy. The grave decision would not be left to the whim of a General, and the released slaves would not be forced to believe that any kind of slavery was better than such freedom as leaves them naked and starving.

That being settled, a sub-department of the Interior should be created for the special purpose of carrying into operation all the details necessary for the proper disposition of the slaves thus released. The exportation of a people, if more numerous than the Acadians, is not practicable. Yet if any wished to colonize within our own territory or elsewhere they should be assisted. Centres of operations, under sufficient military protection, should be established, and strict order maintained. Then laws looking to their advance to citizenship, at such graduated times as should be found desirable, should follow. They would be at first like a mass of rude immigrants; but after due lapse of time they would be quite as competent citizens as many other immigrants.

The difficulties of emancipation are always upon the side of the slaveholders, not of the slaves. The impediments in the West Indies were not the incompetence of the slave but the injustice of the master. The friction with us will be in the same place.

The question can not be deferred, for it is here. The slaves already with us must be cared for, and the system that properly cares for thousands should be adapted to hundreds of thousands and millions. It is confessedly the gravest point of the war—so grave that most people wish to shut their eyes upon it, hoping that Providence will settle it.

Providence will settle it, as it settles all things, by our hearts and brains.


BULWER has well named his last exciting story, which is now published with the illustrations. It is a strange story. All the weird, mysterious influences that affect the human imagination, and fascinate certain scholars, surrounding daily life with an atmosphere of romance and wonder, a half-miraculous world, are used as the machinery of the tale, end with the skill of a master. It belongs to the same class of romances as his "Zanoni," which is the most highly wrought and passionate of all.

Bulwer is fully aware that great rivals, of a later date than he, are in the field; and he does not hesitate to treasure swords with them. The great host of readers that acknowledge the spell of his enchantment will feel with delight the new wave of his wand, and follow with delight the fortunes of a man who seemed to have found the elixir of youth.



A TELEGRAM from Naples states that the brigand chief, Chiavone, "has been deprived by the Bourbon Committee at Rome of the command of the brigands, for having disobeyed instructions by shooting prisoners."

Telegrams are usually incomplete; but we understand that this merciful manner of murdering the prisoners has given great offense at the Vatican, and that the successor to Chiavone has imperative instructions either to burn his captives, or to put them to death gradually, in the Chinese fashion. As the Pope justly remarks, "these are not times for sentimental mercy to the enemies of the Church."

DIFFERENT VIEWS AT DIFFERENT TIMES.-Much as we may have hated a man before, it is very strange what a very different view we take of him the moment we are going to ask a favor of him!

FRIENDLY ADVICE TO THE POPE.-"Stand not upon the order of your going, but go at once."


A MAN'S.—"Well, I'll tell you what you must do."

A WOMAN'S.—"Ah! I told you how it would be."

THE PRUSSIAN CROWN AND CUSHION.—The Kreuz Zeitung reports a speech made the other day by the King of Prussia, in which his Majesty said: "My basis will, however, be the same, and will be inviolable. I have received my crown from the altar." What has King William's receipt of his crown from the altar to do with the inviolability of his basis? What relation does his basis bear to his crown? Is not the one the direct opposite to the other? If the King of Prussia puts his crown upon his basis, what, we should like to know, does he put his hat upon?

THE STAMP OF IMPRUDENCE.—The imprudent man carries postage stamps in his pocket-book, the prudent man never does—for he knows well enough that he can always borrow of the man who has them.

It is as uncomfortable to feel like scolding and have nothing to scold about, as it is to be hungry and have nothing to eat.

Good sayings always suffer by repetition; good deeds never do.

An auctioneer while selling a stock of jewelry, describing a pair of jet earrings to a very respectable company of ladies, exclaimed, very earnestly, "Indeed, if my wife were a widow, I would positively buy them for her."


FOR news of the BURNSIDE EXPEDITION see page 135; for news of the CAPTURE OF FORT DONELSON see page 130.


On Tuesday, February 11, in the Senate, a resolution of the New York Chamber of Commerce, in favor of the immediate passage of the Treasury Note bill, and pledging the support of the merchants of New York to the Government, was presented; also a petition from the Chamber on the subject of postal reform. A joint resolution was adopted that the two Houses of Congress assemble in the House of Representatives on Washington's birth-day, the 22d of February, and that the President, the members of the Cabinet, the foreign representatives, the officers of the army and navy, and others, be invited to attend, and that Washington's Farewell Address be read. A bill authorizing the banks of the District of Columbia to issue notes of less than five dollars was referred. Senator Sumner offered a series of resolutions declaring that the revolted States have committed felo de se, and that their relations as members of the United States no longer exist; that their allegiance has been severed, and the Federal Government owes no obligation to any pretended State Government usurping certain territory; that individuals occupying such territory owe allegiance to the General Government only, and the General Government to the individuals; therefore persons heretofore held as slaves may look henceforth to the General Government for protection as individuals. A motion to lay them on the table was carried by a vote of 21 to 15, Senator Sumner voting aye. The bill making appropriations for completing sea-coast and lake fortifications was then taken up and discussed till, upon coming to a vote upon a motion, it was discovered that there was no quorum present, whereupon the Senate adjourned.—In the House, the Senate's amendments to the bill appropriating ten millions of dollars for the construction of twenty iron-clad steam gun-boats were concurred in, so the bill only requires the President's approval to become a law. Mr. F. A. Conkling offered a preamble and resolution setting forth that the army countersign was known to the rebels on the Potomac on the day the steamer Pensacola passed down the river, before it was communicated to the Union forces; that information of Union military and naval movements is frequently communicated in advance to the enemy, under circumstances justifying a suspicion of treachery on the part of persons in the service of the Government; and that the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War investigate these charges and report thereon. The resolution was adopted. A bill establishing a Department of Agriculture was introduced. The case of Mr. Segar, who claimed a seat as representative from the First District of Virginia, was resumed, and upon coming to a vote the House, by a vote of 85 to 40, adopted the report of the Committee on Elections, declaring Mr. Segar not entitled to a seat.

On Wednesday, February 12, in the Senate, the bill providing for the punishment, by fine and imprisonment, of persons convicted selling spirituous liquors to Indians, was passed. The bill appropriating nearly seven millions of dollars for the completion of fortifications was also passed. Bills providing for a reorganization of the Navy Department, and for the appointment of a Warden of the District jail, were introduced. The Treasury Note bill was taken up, and speeches made by Senators Fessenden, Collamer, and Howe. The Senate Finance Committee's amendment, restoring the clause making the interest on the public debt payable in coin, was adopted. An amendment, that the Treasury notes issued in July be received in payment of public dues, was adopted. An amendment setting apart the proceeds of the public lands, and confiscated property, and duties on imported goods, as a special fund for the payment of the interest of the debt in bonds and notes of the United States, and for a sinking fund, was adopted. The amendment striking out the provision that the notes be exchanged for bonds bearing seven per cent. interest, was adopted. Several verbal amendments of the Finance Committee were adopted. Senator Fessenden moved to amend the first section, so as to make the bonds for which the notes are funded redeemable at pleasure in five years instead of twenty, and payable in twenty years. Pending the question, the Senate adjourned.—ln the House, the Senate's amendments to the Civil and Diplomatic Appropriation bill were agreed to, and the bill passed. A preamble and resolution, setting forth that Henry Wikoff had refused to state to the Judiciary Committee from whom he received a portion of the President's annual. Message previous to its being laid before Congress, and transmitting the same to the New York Herald, and that said Wikoff be brought before the bar of the House to answer for contempt, was adopted. Whereupon Wikoff was brought to the bar of the House. Upon being interrogated formally regarding the matter, he said that, while he hoped he would not be considered as wanting in respect either to the House or the Judiciary Committee, yet the information demanded was received by him under an obligation of secrecy that he felt bound to respect. Mr. Richardson moved a postponement of the subject until Thursday, in order to give the prisoner time for reflection, but the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Mr. Hickman, pressed a resolution handing Mr. Wikoff over to the custody of the Sergeant-at-arms until he shall purge himself of the alleged contempt, which was adopted, and the House adjourned.

On Thursday, February 13, in the Senate, the Treasury Note bill, with the legal tender clause, and the clause providing for the payment of the interest of the public debt in coin, was passed by a vote of thirty to seven. A conference committee was appointed on the amendments to the Civil and Diplomatic Appropriation bill. A bill fixing the number of Representatives under the new apportionment was reported. The bill fixes the number at two hundred and thirty-nine. Senator Davis, of Kentucky, presented a series of resolutions declaratory of the rights of the States and of the United States. The series concludes with the following: "That no State, by any vote of secession, or any other act, can abrogate her rights or obligations, or the obligations of the United States to preserve her people in all their rights, and guarantee to them a State republican government. That there can be no confiscation of any property or the rights of loyal citizens unless for acts declared to be criminal. That it is the duty of the United States to suppress the rebellion, to carry the 'sword' in one hand and the 'olive branch' in the other, and to restore the States as they were before the war."—In the House, a resolution was adopted authorizing the Secretary of War to pay the Hannibal and St. Joseph and Pacific Railroad companies for the transportation of troops, munitions of war, etc., according to the

schedules issued by the War Department in July last. The consideration of the Naval Appropriation bill was resumed in Committee of the Whole. A clause requiring that naval officers shall be employed to charter and purchase vessels when necessary, and wherever their services are not available the compensation to other parties for chartering and purchasing vessels shall not exceed five thousand dollars per annum, and at the same rate for a shorter period of service, was agreed to. The Committee then rose and the House adjourned.

On Friday, February 14, in the Senate, an amendment to the Army bill was adopted, giving the bounty allowed to soldiers, in case of death, to the relatives of the deceased. A resolution was also passed authorizing and requesting the President to dismiss from the army or navy such officers as, in his judgment, were unsuited to the service, or when the service would be benefited by such dismissal.—In the House, the Naval Appropriation bill was passed, with an amendment appropriating fifteen million dollars for building additional gun-boats, as also one million for an ordnance foundry at Washington. The Senate's amendment to the bill for the suppression of the coolie trade was concurred in by the House. Mr. Wikoff, who had purged himself of contempt to the House by answering the question propounded by the Committee, was ordered to be discharged from custody. Both bodies then adjourned over until Monday.

On Monday, February 17, the excitement in the Senate incident to the reception of the news of the glorious successes of the Union arms entirely unfitted that body for the transaction of public business. After some routine business, of little importance, they went into executive session, and soon after adjourned.—The House participated in the general jubilee consequent upon the announcement of the news from Tennessee. No business was done beyond the passage of an amendment reducing the salary of the Commissioner of the Agricultural Department, and the bill authorizing the employment of a stenographer by the committee on the conduct of the war. The bill making an appropriation for the signal service of the army was also passed.


Bowling Green has been evacuated by the rebels, and our troops, under the direction of General Buell, are availing themselves of its evacuation to press on southward. On learning that the rebels were evacuating that place, General Buell ordered a forced march by General Mitchell, to save, if possible, the railroad and turnpike bridges on Big Barren River. They, however, had all been destroyed when General Mitchell reached the banks of the river. The brigades of General Breckinridge and General Hindman were until Thursday evening at Woodburn station, but subsequently moved on to Russelville, and are probably now near Nashville.

It is believed now that no rebel forces exist in Kentucky east of the direct road from Bowling Green via Franklin-a town on the railroad, nine miles south of Woodburn Station—to Nashville. It is reported that General M'Cook and General Thomas left with their divisions, by way of Salt River, for the Cumberland on Saturday; General Buell, it is said, accompanied M'Cook's division, to take command on the Cumberland River in person, where 80,000 of our troops were expected to arrive on 18th. While lie presses the enemy on the Cumberland with his tremendous force, their flank and rear are threatened by the heavy divisions under Generals Nelson and Mitchell.


General Cullum, in his dispatch received by General McClellan on 18th, states that Commodore Foote, although suffering from the wound he received, will immediately follow with two gun-boats and the mortar-boats which he expects to overtake, and make an attack on Clarksville, another strong post of the rebels on the way to Nashville. Clarksville is distant from Nashville about fifty miles, its a northwesterly direction. It is fortified pretty strongly from the bluffs surrounding it, and is by this thus most probably held by a large force of the rebels.


An official dispatch was received by General M'Clellan on 14th, from General Halleck, announcing that the rebel General Price, with his whole army, evacuated Springfield on Wednesday night upon the approach of our troops toward Wilson's Creek. Our cavalry pursued them, while the main body of our army took possession of the town and hoisted the "old flag" on the Court-house. A large amount of stores and equipage fell into our hands. On 16th we received intelligence from General Halleck that the rear-guard of Price's army was overtaken, and after a short resistance fled and dispersed, leaving in the hands of our troops more prisoners than they could well take care of, and deserting all their wagons and baggage on the road.


A dispatch received by General M'Clellan, on 15th, from General Lander, dated Pawpaw, Virginia, at eight o'clock on Friday night, announces the fact that his forces surprised a rebel camp at Blooming Gap, capturing seventeen commissioned officers, some of them of high rank, and a number of others—in all amounting to seventy-five men. Thirteen of the rebels were killed. This affair opens the line of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad as far as Hancock, and clears General Lander's department of the rebels completely.


The great Sawyer gun at Newport News burst on Tuesday afternoon, while being fired off, killing two privates of the Massachusetts Twenty-ninth Regiment, and wounding five or six others more or less seriously.


The President has issued an order, through the Secretary of War, releasing all political prisoners now in the custody of the military authorities in every quarter, upon giving their parole to afford no aid to the enemies of the Government—spies alone excepted. The President states that, as the rebellion is now manifestly on the decline, the severe measures resorted to in the beginning are no longer necessary.




LORD JOHN RUSSEL has addressed an important letter to the Lords of the Admiralty, laying down very stringent rules with regard to American vessels of war or privateers (belligerents) which may enter British ports. No such vessels from the North or South will be permitted to enter any port of the Bahama Islands without special leave of the Lieutenant-Governor; and with reference to all British ports, whether in the United Kingdom or in the colonies, the vessels alluded to will not be allowed to obtain any of the facilities for warlike equipment; and when a ship belonging to one belligerent has sailed, twenty-four hours must elapse before a ship belonging to the other belligerent may also leave the harbor. When under stress of weather, vessels may have coal or supplies to enable them to proceed to the nearest port of America—North or South—where they will find shelter. As the Union war ships require no aid, except, in case of casually, from Great Britain, this order will operate healthfully fix the Union cause in undocking the privateers now ensconced in English harbors, as well as effectually breaking up the nests of rebel smugglers and pirates which have been formed at the Bahamas and other parts of the West Indies by the secessionists since the time commencement of the rebellion.


The Nashville has been ordered from Southhampton; but her commander sent in a pitiful appeal begging more time, and pointing to the fact that "certain destruction" awaited his vessel froth the Tuscarora if he went out immediately after her.


The military commander of Gibraltar has ordered the Sumter from that harbor within six hours, notwithstanding that her captain begged time to wait for the arrival of cash wherewith to purchase coal and food supplies. It was said that the Sumter would be sold to parties in Genoa.




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