Terror in the South


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, March 22, 1862

This site features online versions of all the Harper's Weekly newspapers published during the Civil War. These newspapers will help you develop a more complete understanding of the Civil War.

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


Monitor and Merrimac

Battle of the Monitor and Merrimac


Lincoln Offers Slavery Compromise

Terror in the South

Terror in the South

Newport News Battle

Newport News

Flag Poem

Flag Poem

Merrimac and Monitor

Battle of Monitor and Merrimac

Rebel Batteries

Story on Rebel Batteries

Wilkie Collins

Wilkie Collins

Cockpit Point

Cockpit Point

Monitor and the Merrimac

Monitor and the Merrimac

Fort Donelson

interior of Fort Donelson







MARCH 22, 1862.]



(Previous Page) the human race. It is easy, and apparently generous, to say, "Go, and sting no more." But, unluckily, it is the nature of rattlesnakes to sting. Yet a rattlesnake, you think, has a right to the life nature gave it. Yes; but so have your children. And when snakes and children are in the same nursery, you must decide promptly which has the better right.

If a man should say, "Don't hurt that rattlesnake; your business is simply to prevent his stinging your child," would you call that man a knave or a fool? Would you think he had much regard for the life of your child? Having flung the dead snake from the window, wouldn't you feel very much like throwing that man after it? And wouldn't you always afterward believe that, if rattlesnakes could become men, they would become just such men as he?

—Or you, dear Madame, discovering mould upon your apple-pies, what would you do if you were, like your respected husband, conservative in all your views and acts? Would you put your pastry into a damp corner, or would you scrape the mould off?

There is a conservatism which preserves and propagates mould, and another conservatism which scrapes it away-just as the one reasons with rattlesnakes and the other punches their heads. Monseigneur, of the old French regime, was a conservative of the first class; George Washington of the second.

—An illustration is not an argument, you think? Yes; but some things need no argument, but only an illustration.


THE article in the Richmond Examiner of March 3, which has been generally copied into our papers, can not be read without the same emotion which is excited by the history of the French Revolution In 1793-'94. The rebellion is becoming a domestic reign of terror. Nor can any man be surprised at the result. The inexorable logic of facts explains it. In a society which has assumed that to question the most atrocious injustice is so dangerous to social existence that the questioner may be properly lynched, what can be expected when it feels itself in danger from any cause? A man who carries concealed weapons will draw them upon every occasion of danger, real or fancied. A society which is founded upon injustice is necessarily barbarous.

Southern society is composed of the aristocracy who own the laborers, and the great middle class, more ignorant than any corresponding class in the world at the present day. Wealth and distinction are in the hands of the aristocracy. The middle class are poor and wretched; but they feel their wretchedness compensated by the fact that there is a servile race beneath them, and that by virtue of color they are the peers of the aristocracy. Hence, although not rich enough to own slaves, they support slavery, and they are the ready tools of the slave lords. Passionate, ignorant, prejudiced, ferocious—bred in a society where the unbridled will of rich proprietors is practically the sole law of a subject race—here are the elements of the most remorseless mob.

And to the reign of this mob the article in the Examiner, and similar articles in papers of the Southwest plainly point. No honorable and loyal citizen of the United States but must shudder as he contemplates the present position of men who have been faithful to their country, but who are at last exposed to the pitiless crowd which has been made sullen by the defeat of its armies, and has been inflamed by the appeals of leaders anxious to divert to the heads of the innocent the punishment of their own crimes. The editors of the Richmond Examiner would rather see John M. Botts hung to a lamp-post than their own office gutted and themselves swung from its windows.

The reign of terror that has long existed in the rebellious section now openly appears. As in the blackest hour of the mob despotism in Paris, men are in danger of losing their lives upon suspicion of being suspected. "Now that the Government," says the Examiner, "appears really in earnest in the suppression of treason, it becomes every citizen who knows a man or set of men inimical to our country and cause to point them out."

This is the very tone of the French terrorism. "The more the social body perspires," said Collot d'Herbois, "the healthier it becomes."

Here again is the Richmond Examiner: "The universal Yankee sympathizers dangling from as many lamp-posts would have a most wholesome and salutary effect.

It is but the echo of the French terrorist Barrere: "There are none but the dead who do not return."

Our faithful fellow-citizens now in the power of the rebels, in whom desperation breeds ferocity, are exposed to these frightful perils. Their situation is but another stern appeal for the exercise of every power that can most speedily end the rebellion and secure actual peace. Already the bad bold men of the South are drifting into the terrible necessities of their stupendous crimes against human society. And how accurately does the French historian Mignet, describing the terrorists of '93 and '94, describe the chiefs of the rebels of today in Richmond and the Southwest:

"Sprung from contention, they wish to support themselves by it. With one hand they fight to defend their domination, with the other they lay the foundation of their system. They kill in the name of their principles. Virtue, humanity, the welfare of the people, all that is most sacred upon earth, they employ to sanction their executions, to protect their dictatorship, until they are worn out and fall." 


MR. SENATOR DAVIS, of Kentucky, presented a petition from citizens of Boston, the other day, asking Congress to drop discussing the negro, and to take order for suppressing the rebellion.

These worthy citizens of Boston, who must have at least three relatives in Gotham, ought to send

a petition to Commodore Foote to drop considering how many guns and gun-boats he must have for Memphis, and to take measures to defeat the enemy. They ought long ago to have sent word to General McClellan to stop bothering with fortifications at Washington, and attend to subduing the conspiracy. They ought to have telegraphed to Grant at Fort Donelson and Burnside at Roanoke not to be firing guns and charging bayonets, but to hurry up victory.

Those Generals would smile and hold their tongues—as they have done before. But some young aid might whisper to these citizens of credit and renown in famous Boston town that, in calculating forces, and building fortifications, and killing rebels with mortars and rifled guns, these Generals were doing the very thing required. They were forcing the enemy, by the relentless eloquence of injury to person and property and social peace, to submit.

Doubtless Congress will make no reply to these worthy citizens of Boston. But if they listen they will hear that Congress is doing what the Generals are—considering how to force the enemy to submit, and how to destroy the tap-root of treason.


AIR—"My Lodging is on the Cold Ground."

I ONCE had a Tailor; 'tis some time ago: More years than I care to confess.

But then I delighted in personal show, And paid some attention to dress.

My dress suit has lasted from that time to this; For service it only hath seen

On occasions like visits of envoys from Bliss, Not many, and distant between.

Its nap is as yet but a little effaced,

And that you want daylight to see;

But the coat of my youth is too small in the waist, So the trowsers and vest are, for me.

Costumes oft have changed since this old one was new; But its style may revive in our day:

So I yet may appear in the fashion like you,

Once again, ere I cast it away,

Which is the most deceitful part of a lady's walking-costume?—The false hood on her cloak.

MATHEMATICAL.—If a house has three stories, how many tales has it?

BODY-SNATCHER'S MOTTO.-De mortuis nil nisi bone'em.

THE CLAIMS OF KINDRED.—The greatest rarities in the world are kind relatives. Truly kind relatives will never oppose your inclinations, but, on the contrary, encourage you to follow them, and will take all unpleasant consequences of your doing so on themselves. They will lend you money to speculate with, and as often as you fail they will allow you to fall back upon them, and lend you more, and so on until they have no more to lend, and then they will lend you their names and their credit, and apologize to you for having done so little for you.—NEERDOWEEL On Goodness.


And dedicated, with every respect for that nobleman's
stupendous stupidity, to Mr. Sothern, T. R. H.

There are as many early birds as were ever caught in the sea.

Too many broths spoil the child.

Cut your mutton according to your dinner-cloth.

When Love flies out of the window, it's useless shutting the stable door.

Nine tailors make a man look alive, I believe you. Spare the rod, and you'll have no fish for dinner. When things won't mend, it's best to wash your dirty linen at home.

Fine feathers butter no parsnips.

Adversity makes us acquainted with strange bed-fellows, but it's absurd kicking against them.

There's a silver lining to every cloud—no, no (stuttering, hesitating, correcting himself, and attempting all the while to sneeze), it isn't that—it's a coat—of course it is? —there's a silver lining to every coat, to be sure—that's it! How foolish to suppose it was a cloud! Who ever saw a cloud with a silver lining? Ha! ha! By Jove, it might as well have gold facings, a velvet collar, and a star on its breast.

One man may steal a hedge, while another mustn't even as much as look a gift-horse in the mouth!

Which is the most enduring trade?—A cobbler's, because it is ever-lasting, and the sole is at the bottom of it all.

Why is weeping in solitude like the Confederate ship Sumter ?—Because it's a private tear.

When do trees resemble besieged garrisons?—When they are releaved.

JUDICIOUS AND TENDER REPROOF. INGENIOUS CHILD (crying). "Oh! papa, I've hurt my 'ead."

CLEVER PAPA. "I see you have, my dear; you've knocked an h off it."

The greatest feat of the day—Foote-ing it up the Cumberland.

A young lady who has the misfortune to know little of music, and yet who is vain of her singing, was recently entertaining a party of friends with a somewhat difficult song, in a shrill voice, when an old bachelor lodging in the same house rushed out of his room to the head of the stairs, and shouted, "What are you hurting that pig for? Turn him into the yard!"

The battle of Bull Run (LL.D. Russell) showed many Man-asses.

"What ails your eye, Joe?" "I told a man he lied," replied Joe.

Breakers on the Southern seacoast: Columbiads, Dahlgrens, and Paixhans.


FOR an account of the Battle in Hampton Roads, see page 183.


On Tuesday, March 4, in the Senate, a memorial from merchants and others, of New York, doing business on the Pacific coast, asking Congress to provide immediately for the transportation of the mails between New York and San Francisco, via Aspinwall and Panama, was presented and referred. The bill providing for the safe keeping and maintenance of United States prisoners was passed. The bill authorizing the President to appoint a Commissioner to confer with British and French Commissioners, to take measures for the preservation of the Atlantic fisheries, was passed. A bill providing for the codification and revision of the laws of the District of Columbia was reported. The

Confiscation bill was taken up, and Senator McDougall, of California, concluded his speech in opposition to it. Senator Cowan, of Pennsylvania, also spoke against the bill. The Conference Committee on the bill relative to paying certain Western railroads for transporting troops made a report, which was agreed to. The Senate then went into executive session, and afterward adjourned. In the House, the Pennsylvania contested election case was taken up, and Mr. Verree, the sitting member, declared entitled to his seat. The Senate's amendments to the bill providing additional clerks to the New York Assistant Treasurer's office, and for the appointment of a Deputy Assistant Treasurer, were agreed to.

On Wednesday, March 5, in the Senate, petitions in favor of a general bankrupt law, and asking for the transmission of the California mails via Panama, were presented and referred. A bill granting pay, pensions, and bounty to the Kentucky Home Guard was introduced by Senator Davis. Senator Morrill, of Maine, then made a speech in favor of the Confiscation bill, and the further consideration of the subject was postponed. A joint resolution authorizing equitable settlements with contractors who have failed to construct machinery by the day stipulated in their contracts, was referred to the Naval Committee. The bill for the codification and revision of the laws of the District of Columbia was passed. The bill defining the pay and emoluments of certain army officers was taken up, and several unimportant amendments adopted. The pay of all chaplains was fixed at $1200 per annum, and the bill then laid aside. After an executive session the Senate adjourned.—In the House, a bill increasing the number of cadets at the West Point Academy was introduced. A bill appropriating $60,353 to carry out the treaty for the abolition of the Stadt dues was passed. A bill to discontinue pensions to the children of officers and soldiers of the Revolution was passed. A joint resolution authorizing the sale of all unsuitable army supplies was adopted. The Committee on Military Affairs reported a bill to define the pay and emoluments of army officers, and also a bill to compensate loyal citizens for property destroyed, and to prevent the same being used by the enemy.

On Thursday, March 6, in the Senate, the Post-office Appropriation bill and the Postal Money Order bill were reported respectively by the Committees on Finance and Postal Affairs. A joint resolution tendering the thanks of Congress to Commodore Goldsborough and his officers and seamen for their gallant conduct at Roanoke Island, was adopted unanimously. The bill relative to the pay of Congressmen was taken up, and an amendment allowing twenty cents per mile for mileage was adopted. Further debate on the bill was cut off by a motion to go into executive session, which was agreed to.-In the House, a Message from the President was received, suggesting the adoption of a joint resolution providing for co-operation with any State for the abolition of slavery with pecuniary consideration. The President, in proposing this initiatory step, predicts important practical results therefrom. On motion of Mr. Stevens, of Pennsylvania, the Message was referred to the Committee of the Whole. The report of the Conference Committee on the resolution providing for the payment of Western war claims was accepted, and the resolution adopted. The bill providing for the organization of the division staffs of the army was passed. The Committee of Ways and Means reported a bill to provide for the purchase of coin and for other financial purposes, which was laid over. A long defense of Alexander Cummings, a contractor for army supplies, was read, and several speeches on the slavery and war questions were delivered in Committee of the Whole, and the house adjourned.

On Friday, March 7, in the Senate, the President's Message on the subject of emancipating slaves was read and referred to the Judiciary Committee. Memorials asking immediate action on the subject of the transmission of the California mails via Panama, and compensation for the loss of the steamer Governor, were presented. The bill to provide for the occupation and cultivation of cotton lands was, after a brief discussion, passed by a vote of 26 to 14. The Senate then went into executive session.—In the House, the Secretary of War was directed to communicate all the facts regarding the number, age, condition, amount of service performed, and the pay, cost of maintenance, etc., of the Africans at Fortress Monroe. A bill was introduced granting bounty and pensions to pilots, engineers, seamen, and crews of gun-boats. The bill authorizing the Secretary of the Treasury to purchase coin and for other purposes, was passed, without amendment. In Committee of the Whole, Mr. Blair, of Missouri, criticised General Fremont's military campaign in the West, and Mr. Colfax delivered a long speech warmly defending the General's conduct.

On Monday, March 10, in the Senate, a joint resolution, requiring higher qualifications for commanders of military divisions, was introduced and referred to the Military Committee. Objection was made to the introduction of a joint resolution coinciding with the proposition in the President's late special Message for aid to States desiring to emancipate their slaves. The bill to encourage enlistments in the army was taken up, and after considerable discussion amendments were adopted reducing the number of volunteer cavalry regiments to thirty, and striking out the provision giving bounty for enlistments from the volunteer into the regular service, when the bill was passed. The Confiscation bill was taken up, and Senator Browning, of Illinois, addressed the Senate. A vote of thanks to Commodore Foote was passed. The bill making a new Article of War, to the effect that no officer of the army shall return fugitive slaves, was taken up, debated, and finally passed, by 29 yeas to 9 nays, when the Senate adjourned.—In the House, the Senate bill to regulate the sutler department in the volunteer service was taken up, and, after a long debate, and being amended, was passed. It requires schedules of articles permitted to be sold to be prominently posted in the camps, and prohibits sutlers from farming out their offices or selling to soldiers to an amount exceeding one-fourth their monthly pay. It also stops the sutler's lien on soldiers' pay. A resolution to forward the proposition of the President's special Message relative to aiding States which desire to abolish slavery was introduced, and a long debate on it took place, consuming the greater portion of the day; but the House adjourned without taking final action on it.


Leesburg, one of the rebel strong-holds on the Upper Potomac, fell into our hands last week, On Friday night Colonel Geary left Lovettsville with his whole force for Leesburg. He marched triumphantly through Wheatland and Waterford, scattering the rebel forces before him. He took possession of Fort Johnson, one of the strongest defenses of the town, at sunrise on 8th, and entered Leesburg with fixed bayonets and flags flying, driving the rebel General Hill with all his command from the town and the surrounding forts, in full retreat toward Middleburg.


The rebels are falling back from the lines of the Potomac in every direction. They have evacuated Winchester, on the left wing of their lines, before the advancing troops of General Banks's division. Centreville, in the centre of their position, is also abandoned; the whole line of the Lower Potomac, with all its formidable batteries, is evacuated, and we learn, as we close this record, that the rebels have withdrawn from their almost impregnable position at Manassas, which is now held by our troops.


The naval expedition of Commodore Dupont has accomplished a splendid feat on the Southern coast by the capture of Brunswick, Georgia, and Fernandina, Florida, which gives the Government command of the whole coast of Georgia, from South Carolina to Florida. On the approach of our fleet at Brunswick the rebels fled, abandoning their works, which were taken possession of by our troops. The fleet then proceeded twenty miles further South, and entered Cumberland Sound, the entrance to Fernandina, and drove the rebels from Fort Clinch, which was immediately occupied and the Union flag hoisted. The mission of the expedition was accomplished on the 4th of March. The troops of General Wright took possession of the fort and the town of Fernandina.


An official dispatch was received by General McClellan on 10th from General Halleck announcing the complete rout and defeat of the combined rebel armies of Generals Price, McCulloch, Van Dorn, and M'Intosh, at Sugar Creek, near Boston Mountains, in Arkansas, by the Union army

under General Curtis. The victory was a brilliant one, and disposes of the rebel forces in that quarter. The fight lasted three days. Our loss is said to be 1000 killed and wounded, and that of the rebels is considerably more. A large quantity of stores, flags, guns, and ammunition were captured by General Curtis. Our cavalry was in rapid pursuit of the flying rebels. The energy of General Curtis is worthy of all praise.


The Union sentiment in Richmond appears to be growing too strong for the comfort of the rebel chiefs. It will be remembered that Jeff Davis proclaimed martial law in Norfolk and Portsmouth a few days ago, and on Saturday last a proclamation put Richmond also under military rule. John Minor Botts and twenty other leading citizens have been arrested and imprisoned on charges of being connected with a Union conspiracy. The streets of Richmond are placarded with calls upon the Union men to watch and wait, that the day is dawning, and proclaiming "The Union forever!" The Richmond Dispatch advocates the execution of the conspirators. A great panic prevails in the city, consequent upon the late defeats of the rebel arms.

The Richmond papers of Friday last contain an announcement of the arrest of a number of Union men, principally Germans. The discovery by a detective officer, in the room of the Turners, of two National flags, and a painting of the Goddess of Liberty, with other Union symbols, led to the arrests.


New Madrid, where the rebels have made a stand, with a force of nearly 10,000 men, with four gun-boats at anchor off the town, is completely invested by the army of General Pope. Some skirmishes had taken place there, in which several of our troops were killed by shells thrown from the rebel gun-boats. New Madrid is a flourishing little town on the Mississippi river, 280 miles southeast of Jefferson City. It is the capital of Madrid County, has a population of 2000 inhabitants, and enjoys a large business in shipping corn, lumber, and cattle for the Southern market The officers of General Pope's command are confident that as soon as the gun-boats are silenced the town will fall easily into our hands.


Nashville remains perfectly tranquil under the gentle rule of General Buell, whose head-quarters are at Edgefield, across the river. The people are agreeably surprised at the moderation of our troops. The Mayor had formally surrendered the city to General Buell, and issued a proclamation to the citizens requesting that business be resumed, assuring them of the protection of General Buell, announcing that the elections will take place on the regular day, and inviting the country people to bring in their produce as usual. An agent of the Post-office Department had arrived from Washington, and will open the Nashville Post-office soon. He has had forty applications for clerkships already.


A rebel dispatch from Atlanta, Georgia, confirms the report that Murfreesborough, Tennessee, has been occupied by our troops, and gives the additional information that the rebel general, A. S. Johnston, had retreated to Decatur, Alabama, a station on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad. This indicates that the rebels, instead of concentrating at Chattanooga, as anticipated, are tending toward Memphis, where the great stand is to be made to dispute the possession of the Mississippi Valley.


A dispatch from Lieutenant Gwin, of the gun-boat Tyler, who made a landing at Pittsburg under a flag of truce, says that the cry of the people is to "send us arms and sufficient forces to protect us in organizing ourselves, and we will drive the rebels out of Tennessee ourselves." The utmost joy was exhibited at Nashville on the Stars and. Stripes being displayed there, and the familiar tunes of "Hail Columbia" and "Yankee Doodle," played by our bands, were welcomed with enthusiasm.


The Tennessee Legislature is having a hard time at Memphis. Another meeting was held on the 27th ultimo, when each house resolved itself into a Committee of the 'Whole for the purpose of counting noses, and the following was the result:

Present.   Absent,

Senate    10   15

House    22   50


Our news from Ship Island is of an interesting character. The health of the men is good, although the weather is very hot, the thermometer marking ninety-five degrees in the shade. The details of the capture of the rebel steamer Magnolia, with 1150 bales of cotton, by the South Carolina, while attempting to run out of Mobile, are published. She threw overboard about two hundred and fifty bales, her entire cargo consisting of 1400 bales of the valuable staple. She was bound for Havana. The capture of a dozen or more oyster boats, on their way to New Orleans, will considerably diminish the supply and increase the price of this delicious article in the Crescent City of rebeldom.


Governor Andrew Johnson, with his staff, accompanied by Messrs. Etheridge and Maynard, left Washington on Saturday evening for Nashville, to enter upon their charge of the new Government of Tennessee.

The rebels give as a reason for not exchanging Colonel Corcoran, as expected, that maps and drawings were found concealed upon his person.

The Grand Army of the Potomac has been divided by General McClellan into five corps d'armee, respectively commanded by Generals Heintzelman, McDowell, Sumner, Keyes, and Banks.




OUR affairs continue to be discussed in Parliament. Mr. Bright has made an energetic speech in condemnation of the outlay, added to the naval estimates, incurred by the policy which terminated in the surrender of Mason and Slidell. Mr. Bright evidently thinks, as a commercial liberal, that the game was not worth the cost charged to the British people. Lord Palmerston defended the course pursued by his Cabinet.

Earl Russell acknowledges himself satisfied with the operation of the Union Government in sinking the stone fleet off Charleston harbor. He says the measure was merely an aid to the blockade and was not intended to be permanent. Indeed he says that Charleston harbor could not be obliterated by artificial means, as the water will force an opening in another channel, and that Napoleon agrees with him in the opinion.

Lord Palmerston had stated in the House of Commons that the negotiations relative to the San Juan affair had been suspended, in consequence of the civil war in America, but a joint provisional occupation of the island had been arranged by both Governments. The British Government, in response to a request from The O'Donoghue, had refused to afford any information relative to British vessels running the blockade.


The commander of the privateer Sumter has been arrested by the Moorish authorities at Tangier, but we are not informed as to the cause. The Liverpool Courier of the 26th ultimo says: "The ground upon which the arrest was made is not explained, but from the fact that it was made at the request of the North American Consul, we may surmise that it was on the allegation that Captain Semmes is it common marauder and pirate." The Dublin Freeman of the 27th ultimo remarks: "The arrest was made at the instance of the Federal Consul at Gibraltar and of the Captain of the Federal steamer Tuscarora, who proceeded to Tangier in order to influence the Moorish authorities, and who seem to have found the Moors more complaisant than Christian nations, and more ready to regard the laws of nations as binding them to aid the Northerners against the Southerners.




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