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Civil War Harper's Weekly, May 10, 1862

We have posted all the Harper's Weekly newspapers published during the Civil War to this WEB site. This archive serves as an invaluable research tool to see first edition reports on the key events of the War.

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Confederate Negro Soldiers

Confederate Negro Soldiers

Democrats and Slavery

Democratic Party's Position on Slavery

Black Confederate Soldier

Black Confederate Soldiers

Mississippi River

Mississippi River Map

Slaves as Confederate Soldiers

Slave Confederate Soldiers

General Gilmore

Quincy Gilmore

Attack Fort Wright

Attack on Fort Wright


Southern Forts

New Orleans

New Orleans

Farragut's Ships

Farragut's Gun Boats

Lake Pontchartrain

Lake Pontchartrain

Fort Wright

Fort Wright



Brother Jonathan

Brother Jonathan








MAY 10, 1862.]



(Previous Page)Meanwhile those measures are sure to be taken, and they will cut the fangs of these gentry at the same time.


THE letter of Yulee, which was printed in facsimile in the Harper of last week, is one document of a secret history of rebellion which will doubtless be unearthed as our arms advance and we occupy the rebellious section. The Nashville Union is already upon the scent. It appears that the editor of the Louisville Courier was last July an active but secret agent of the conspiracy. With every disclosure of this kind the national deliverance will appear only the more marvelous. It will be an interesting inquiry for the historian how far the plot had ripened in the city of New York in the good old days of Gustavus W. Smith, and Lovell, the Jacques of that redoubtable Robert Macaire. However, as General Gustavus, unlike General Floyd, only stole himself away, we ought not to complain.

The definite secret organization of the conspiracy was doubtless complete as to a few leaders. Of course much must have depended upon the developments of popular sympathy which could not be previously calculated. That Jefferson Davis's knowledge of the whole military distribution and sympathy of the country, gained from his occupancy of the War Department, was of the greatest service to him is evident. That his residence for two summers in Maine gave him an opportunity, which he used, to inform himself practically of Northern sentiment is of course unquestionable; and that a vast mass of correspondence and documentary evidence awaits the historian is beyond doubt.

Yet, in case of an absolute and sudden reverse, much of this material will be destroyed. Senator Harris, in his speech upon the confiscation bill, said that few people are aware how difficult it would be to convict Davis of treason. Where is he to be tried? Who are the witnesses? He and his confederates are men shrewd enough to remove all dangers which they can foresee, and a trial for treason must be rather conspicuous among them just now.

The seized telegrams of last May also will be a quarry for the patient delver. How extremely shaky in their shoes certain gentlemen must have felt on the morning of that announcement! Here were people who had been playing with fire and suddenly the house blazed up! Here were people who had insisted that "the South" (which had filled and controlled every nook and cranny of the Government for years) was "oppressed," and was more than half justified in taking "redress" by arms. How much of all this sympathy was to appear in their telegrams must have greatly exercised these worthy gentlemen. They have the consolation of knowing that History will not be ignorant of the facts, but will duly record the names of all who substantially and morally favored a treason which is destitute of a solitary plausible pretense.


THE correspondent of the New York Herald, in one of its late numbers, reports that the rebels had a regiment of mounted negroes, armed with sabres, at Manassas, and that some five hundred Union prisoners taken at Bull Run were escorted to their filthy prison by a regiment of black men. There is little doubt also, that the fortifications at Manassas and those at Yorktown were the work of the slaves. The same paper reports that "the rebels dug up the remains of our soldiers, and made spurs of their jawbones, cutting up their skeletons into every conceivable form, and sending the trinkets home to their friends."

There is plenty of authentic confirmation of these barbarities.

Will some one now say why, if slaves are to be armed at all, they should be armed against our friends instead of our enemies? And is it not clear that the "atrocities" which it was supposed the slaves, if freed, would instantly fall to committing, are already perpetrated by the rebels? There is no recorded San Domingo "horror" more horrible than this last story.

At least twenty thousand slaves have been liberated by the necessities of the war. Will any friend of the rebels, so fearful of the ungovernable passions of emancipated slaves, please to mention the master whose jawbone they have cut into spurs or whose skull they have made into a drinking-cup?


THE great rebellion will produce a literature. For a long time the most exciting and interesting books published will be the histories, annals, memoirs, biographies, journals, and disquisitions growing out of the war. There is a literature of the English rebellion, which was Macaulay's strong point; and a literature of the French Revolution, in which Theirs is profoundly versed; and in like manner new names and fames will be made by the works that will be inspired by this enormous war.

The material is not only copious, but a thoughtful care preserves it all. The librarian of Harvard University invites contributions of every published scrap upon either side relating to the struggle. Such an illustrated paper as Harper's Weekly is a current, vivid history of the war brought down to the latest dates; while Mr. Putnam's "Rebellion Record" is an unsurpassed collection of the material of history. It is not digested, nor condensed, nor shaped in any way, but it is a most thorough and careful record of every document, speech, letter, description, report, debate, printed in full, and ready for the selecting eye and sifting hand of the historian. It is, in fact, the block of marble and the tools. The artist has only to bring his genius with him, fall to work, and hew out an imperishable history.

It will, nevertheless, be a long time before the final story of the conspiracy can be written. It must be sought and studied in its causes, and followed

into details of which much is now hidden. But a grander theme, loftier, more picturesque, of profounder significance and interest, never allured the student. Not Sallust in the Conspiracy of Catiline which he saw, nor Livy in the Annals of Rome which he brought down to his own day, nor Thucydides in the Peloponnesian War in which he was a soldier, nor Xenophon in the retreat of the ten thousand which he conducted, had a more inspiring theme than this act of the great historic drama in which the Anglo-Saxon race, upon a new continent, annihilates, by the popular will and arm, the last hope of Despotism, and enlarges human liberty by constitutional laws.

As this great struggle, by revealing to us our own manhood, releases us nationally from our childish dependence upon European criticism, so it will emancipate our literature from foreign subservience. Our literary genius is especially historical, and the skill with which, by various hands, we have told the story of Spain at home, in America, and in Europe—the story of early France, of the Netherlands, and of our colonial existence, will now illustrate with even greater fervor the triumph of the civilization of Liberty.


A SEA CHANGE.—The necessary reconstruction of the navy will effect an entire change of nautical phraseology. "Shiver my timbers!" will become obsolete; and the corresponding exclamation will be, "Unrivet my plates!" Instead of "Scuttle my coppers!" the dramatic Jack Tar will have to say, "Foul my screw!" or "Smash my cupola!" and whereas he used to utter imprecations on his bowsprit, he will henceforth perhaps invoke injury on his bowsplitter.

"THE VOICES OF THE DEEP."—Dr. Dufosse proves to us

that fishes have voices. Lending our ears to this fact, we wonder what language are the fishes in the habit of speaking? We suppose it must be the language of the Finns.

"THE CHILDREN OF WEALTH."—Of all the "Children of Wealth" the greatest, without exception, are the Roths-children. So enormous is their wealth, that we are assured by a confidential clerk in their establishment that many and many a time it has been almost beyond Baring.

SPIRITUAL WEAKNESS.—We have been asked why spirits, such as those that communicate with Mr. Foster, the conjuring "medium," can only write under the table? We answer, Because spirits of that description are below proof.

They were sitting side by side,

And she sigh'd, and then he sigh'd. Said he, "My darling idol!"

And he idled and then she idled. "You are creation's belle,"

And she bellow'd, and he bellow'd.

"On my soul there's such a weight," And he waited, and then she waited. "Your hand I ask, so bold I'm grown," And she groan'd, and then he groan'd. "You shall have a private gig,"

And she giggled, and then he giggled. Said she, "My dearest Luke,"

And he look'd, and then she look'd.

"I'll have thee, if thou wilt,"

And he wilted; and then she wilted.

An Irishman being asked why he left his country for America, replied, "It wasn't for want; I had plenty of that at home."

Anna Maria Story was married to Bob Short. A very pleasant way of making a "story short."

"Illustrated with cuts," said a young urchin, as he drew his pen-knife across the leaves of his grammar.

Women never truly command till they have given their promise to obey.

A certain old bachelor of our acquaintance, whenever he is intoxicated, fancies himself married; he sees every thing double, even his blessedness.


At first they move slowly, with caution and grace, Like horses when just setting out on a race;

For dancers at balls, just like horses at races, Must amble a little to show off their paces.

The music plays faster; their raptures begin;

Like lambkins they skip, like teetotums they spin; Now draperies whirl, and the tiny feet fly,
And ankles, at least, are exposed to the eye.

O'er the chalk-covered room in circles they swim: He smiles upon her, and she smiles upon him;

Her hand on his shoulder is tenderly placed,

His arm quite as tenderly circles her waist.

They still bear in mind, as they're turning each other, The proverb of "one turn deserving another;"

And these bodily turns often end, it is said,

In turning the lady's or gentleman's head.

Why is a lady's hair like a bee-hive?—It holds the comb.

The young lady who was "driven to distraction" is now afraid she will have to walk back.

Poverty humbles pride. A. man, when he is short, can hardly carry a high head.

"I tell you, love, I have got the plan all in my head." "Ah, then it is all in a nutshell."

Which travels at the greater speed, heat or cold?—Heat; because you can easily catch cold.

Man's wedding-day is called "bridal day." The word might be written "bridle."

War is a lottery, in which every customer may expect to draw a sword.

This life's contradictions are many. Salt water gives us fresh fish, and hot words produce coolness.

"What a clever invention is the sewing machine!" said Jones. "Yes, sew it seams," replied Smith.

Young women are never in more danger of being made slaves than when the men are at their feet.

SONGS WITHOUT WORDS.—Those of that blessed baby.

The man who would try to stab a ghost would stick at nothing.

Present your wife with every thing she wants, and perhaps she will be quiet for the present.


Why is a Bramah key like a hospital? Because it is full of wards.

My first in great cities is oftentimes sold;

Clothed sometimes in silver, and sometimes in gold My second a beast, the terror of men,

Who roars in a desert, and lives in a den.

My whole is a thing not now very common,

'Tis something between a horse and a woman. Pil-lion.

When is it dangerous to walk in the fields?

When the hedges are shooting.

What letters in the alphabet are most destructive to beauty?

D K (Decay).

Why is a dog like a tattling person?

Because he is a tail (tale) bearer.

Who was the first whistler, and what tune did he whistle?

The wind, "Over the hills and far away."

If a man were to fall from the Monument, what would he fall against?

His inclination.


ON Tuesday, April 22, in the Senate, the select committee on the case of Senator Stark, of Oregon, made a report that the committee find that Mr. Stark is disloyal to the Government of the United States. The report was ordered to be printed. A resolution was presented, calling on the President for copies of all orders of the General commanding, instructions, etc., given to General Sherman, lately commending the South Carolina Military Department. The bill establishing a Department of Agriculture was taken up, and Senator Wright's substitute was rejected. The consideration of the bill confiscating the property of rebels was resumed, and Senator Davis, of Kentucky, commenced a speech against the bill, which, he said, was a measure of gigantic injustice. Without concluding his remarks, Senator Davis gave way for an executive session, and subsequently the Senate adjourned.—In the House, Mr. Morrill, of Vermont, offered a resolution, which was adopted, requesting the President to strike from the army rolls the name of any officer who has been known to be habitually intoxicated. Mr. Morrill stated that he had been assured that the commanding General of the Union forces in the fight near Yorktown, on the 16th inst., in which the Vermont regiments suffered so severely, was drunk at the time, and fell off his horse into the mud. When pressed for the name of the General, Mr. Morrill declined to give it. A motion to lay the Confiscation bills on the table was negatived, ayes 39 against 65 nays, and Mr. Bingham's bill was selected from among them, as embodying the views of the House on the confiscation question. The vote stood 62 against 48. Pending the question on the passage of the bill the House adjourned.

On Wednesday, April 23, in the Senate, a resolution was adopted instructing the Military Committee to inquire whether any General in the army before Yorktown had exhibited himself drunk in face of the enemy, and if any measures had been taken for the trial and punishment of such officer. The bill recognizing the independence of Hayti and Liberia, and providing for the appointment of diplomatic representatives thereto, was taken up, and Senator Sumner made a speech in support of it. The consideration of the Confiscation bill was then resumed, and Senator Davis, of Kentucky, concluded his speech in opposition to it. Senator Sherman, of Ohio, offered an amendment to this bill, specifying that the act shall apply to persons who may hereafter hold office under the rebel Government; but the Senate adjourned without taking action on the subject.—In the House a bill appropriating $1850 to indemnify the owners of the Danish bark Jorgen Lorentzen, illegally seized by the blockading squadron, was passed. The Military Committee made an important report on the subject of coast and harbor defenses. The consideration of the Confiscation bills was then resumed, and the bill pending on Tuesday was laid on the table by a vote of 58 against 52. The next bill taken up was to facilitate the suppression of the rebellion, and to prevent the recurrence of the same. It authorizes the President to direct our Generals to declare the slaves of the rebels free, and pledges the faith of the United States to make full and fair compensation to loyal men who have actively supported the Union for any losses they may sustain by virtue of this bill. This was debated by Messrs. Olin, Colfax, Dunn, Bingham, Lehman, Hickman, and Crittenden. After further debate, without action, the House adjourned.

On Thursday, April 24, in the Senate, a communication from the War Department, covering copies of contracts made by that department for 1861, was presented. The bill providing for the recognition of Hayti and Liberia, and establishing diplomatic intercourse with those countries, was taken up, and Senator Davis, of Kentucky, offered a substitute, authorizing the President to appoint a Consul at Liberia and a Consul-General at Hayti, to negotiate treaties. The substitute was rejected, and the bill passed by a vote of 32 to 7. The consideration of the Confiscation bill was then resumed, and Senator Collamer made a speech against it. Senator Sherman's amendment to the original bill, limiting confiscation to persons who held certain offices under the rebel government was agreed to—yeas 27, nays 11. The further consideration of the subject was then postponed, and the Senate went into executive session.—In the House, the Confiscation bills were taken up, and after some debate the House, by a vote of 90 to 31, referred the subject to a special committee. Mr. Vallandigham, of Ohio, quoted from a speech of Senator Wade, in which the latter charged the former with disloyalty to the Union, and emphatically pronounced the Senator "a liar, a scoundrel, and a coward," and expressed his readiness to meet him any where. Mr. Blake took up the quarrel for Senator Wade, and Mr. Hutchins offered a resolution declaring Mr. Vallandigham's language a violation of the rules of the House and a breach of decorum, and that he is deserving of and is hereby censured by the House. Pending the question on the resolution the House adjourned.

On Friday, April 25, in the Senate, resolutions from the Legislature of Ohio concerning the rebel prisoners at Columbus, Ohio, saying that the loyal feelings of the people of Ohio had been outraged by the fact that the rebel prisoners at Camp Chase were allowed to retain their slaves by Colonel Moody, thus practically establishing slavery in Ohio in the name of the people of Ohio, and solemnly protesting against this outrage upon the loyalty of the people of Ohio. The resolutions were accompanied by a note from Governor Tod, saying that Colonel Moody did not permit it, but that the negroes had been sent there as prisoners, and that Colonel Moody was obliged to take care of them. Senator Wilson said he should call the subject up on Monday. The bill establishing a line of armed steamers between San Francisco and Shanghai and Japan was passed. A bill protecting United States officers from suits growing out of arrests of disloyal persons was referred to the Judiciary Committee. An executive session was held and a number of army appointments confirmed.—In the House, the bill providing bounties for the widows and heirs of volunteers was discussed, and Mr. Dawes defended the Government Contract Investigating Committee from the assaults made upon them during their absence. Both Houses adjourned till Monday.

On Monday, April 28, in the Senate, a communication relative to the number and ages of the slaves in the District of Columbia was presented and referred. The bill providing for the more convenient enforcement of the laws for security to keep the peace and good behavior was passed. Petitions adverse to the Tax bill, and asking a reduction of the proposed tax on tobacco, were presented. The Senate held an executive session, and confirmed a number of military appointments.—In the House, the Speaker announced the following as the Special Committee on the confiscation of rebel property: Messrs. Olin of New York, Eliot of Massachusetts, Noel of Missouri, Hutchins of Ohio, Mallory of Kentucky, Beaman of Michigan, and Cobb of New Jersey. Mr. Olin declined to serve, and it is believed Mr. Sedgwick will be elected in his place. A resolution was adopted calling for the official reports of the battle at Pittsburg Landing. A resolution that the Judiciary Committee be instructed to inquire into the expediency of reporting for punishing all contractors guilty of defrauding the Government, with penalties similar to those for grand larceny, was adopted. A joint resolution was referred to the Committee on Commerce, authorizing the appointment of commissioners to negotiate concerning the Reciprocity Treaty, and authorizing the President to give the necessary notice for terminating the present unfair treaty. The consideration of the report of the Government Contract Investigating Committee was resumed. Mr. Sedgwick, of New York, defended the Secretary of the Navy from charges of inefficiency

brought against him; and Mr. Stevens, of Pennsylvania, defended General Fremont from the aspersions against his official conduct. Mr. Ashley reported back from the Committee on Territories the bill to prevent and punish the practice of polygamy, and to annul certain acts of the Territorial Legislature of Utah establishing the same, and it was passed.


Dispatches received in St. Louis on 25th state that the advance-guard of the Union army attacked the rebels on Thursday, and drove them back toward Corinth. General Halleck was, according to this account, at the last dates pushing his entire army vigorously forward. Another dispatch, received in Chicago from Cairo on 28th, describes a reconnoissance in force which took place on 23d, when our troops surprised a rebel camp, and had advanced to within six miles of Corinth. They remained at this point from eleven o'clock in the morning until three, and saw no sign of the rebels in front. The continual rattle of cars and sounding of steam-whistles on the road toward Memphis were heard, giving ground to the impression that the rebels were evacuating Corinth and pushing on toward Memphis.


It is surmised, on pretty reliable data, that General Beauregard has now over one hundred thousand men under his command at Corinth. A large portion of them are, however, raw recruits, brought in by conscription.

General Pope, with nearly his whole force, arrived at Pittsburg Landing on Monday last to reinforce General Halleck.


General McClellan telegraphed to the War Department on 26th that a portion of his troops had captured a lunette of the enemy in front of Yorktown, driving the rebels out at a charge, without returning their fire, and occupying the work. Our loss was only three killed and twelve wounded, although our men had to face a heavy fire as they advanced on the work. General McClellan represents every thing going on favorably in spite of the rain, which appears to pour down constantly in that region.


The latest accounts which we have—up to Sunday night —say that firing had been going on all day in front of the rebel works. Our naval vessels, with their superior armament, were doing fearful execution on the rebel batteries, while the fire of the rebels falls far short of their mark. Skirmishing between the land forces is kept up very brisk, and it can not last many hours before a general and terrific engagement will be brought on.


The last accounts from Fort Wright state that the rebels have fourteen gun-boats and the ram Manassas lying off the forts, and that Captains Hollins and M'Rae were also there. The cannonade continues without important results.


The rebels had cut through the levee on the Arkansas side of the river, and thus flooded the country for a distance of thirty or forty miles, and destroying a vast amount of property. This was done to prevent the advance by land of General Pope's forces; the result is certain to be fatally destructive to the interests of the Southern people in that vicinity.


Persons from Burnside's expedition report that a fight occurred last Tuesday near the canal locks of Elizabeth City, North Carolina, between Colonel Hawkins's regiment and a force of rebels. The rebels were repulsed with considerable loss. Our loss is estimated at fifty killed and wounded. Colonel Hawkins was wounded in the right breast and his Adjutant killed.


The news from General Banks's corps is important. Our troops are in possession of Staunton. The rebel Jackson is reported to be resting on the east side of the Shenandoah River, about sixteen miles from Harrisonburg, on his slow march toward Gordonsville. It is said that 800 of his men have recently deserted.


Dispatches received at the Navy Department from Commodore Foote contain the official report of the expedition of Lieutenant Gwin with the transports Tyler and Lexington to Chickasaw, Alabama, containing 2000 troops, infantry and cavalry, under command of General Sherman, where they disembarked, and proceeded rapidly to Bear Creek Bridge, at the crossing of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, for the purpose of destroying it and as much of the trestle-work as they could find. Lieutenant Gwin reports that the expedition was entirely successful. The bridge, consisting of two spans of 110 feet each, was completely destroyed, together with some 500 feet of trestle-work and half a mile of telegraph line. The rebels made a feeble resistance to our cavalry, 120 in number, but soon hastily retreated, losing four killed. None of our troops were killed.



Major-General C. F. Smith died at Savannah, Tennessee, on Saturday afternoon, of dysentery. General Smith was taken sick shortly after the occupation of Savannah by the forces under him, and has been suffering and sinking slowly for some weeks, though his condition was not thought to be dangerous until the past week. His family have been notified of his death, and are on their way to Savannah.

The French Minister returned from Richmond last week on the steamer Gassendi. The object of his mission has, of course, not transpired, but dispatches were at once forwarded by him to this city for instant transportation to France. No political importance, it would appear, is attached in Washington to the visit of M. Mercier to the rebel capital.



WORK has been suspended on wooden vessels in every dock-yard in England, and all hands are engaged in getting forward iron-armored ships—in fact, employed in creating a navy. Sir William Armstrong and Mr. Blakeley have published letters to show that guns can be made of sufficient power to destroy any iron plates now in use, and some highly important experiments had been conducted at Shoeburyness, by order of the Admiralty, in that direction. Sir William Armstrong asserts that one of his guns, of twelve tons' weight, charged with fifty pounds of powder, will break through the side of any iron vessel afloat. The London Times advocates the use of powerful and swift iron-clad "steam rams" for harbor defenses, and, for the fiat time, alludes to the possibility of iron frigates from France besieging the dock-yards of England, and so forth. Captain Cowper Coles, R.N., offers to construct a vessel of very light draught of water which will destroy the Warrior in a short time.


The Oviedo, a new and large steamer, sailed from Liverpool on the 22d of March, destined, as was supposed, for the rebel service in America. She is adapted for a heavy armament, which, it was thought, she would find ready for her use in some foreign port before running against the Union blockade southward.




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