General Hunter's Order Number 11 Freeing Slaves


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, May 31, 1862

This page is part of our online version of all the Harper's Weekly newspapers published during the Civil War. This archive contains a wealth of incredible eye-witness illustrations of the War, as well as in depth analyses of the key battles and events of the day.

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


Fort Darling

Fort Darling

Lincoln Slavery

Lincoln Orders, "Do Not Free Slaves"

General Hunter Frees Slaves

General Hunter Orders Slaves Freed

British Iron-Clads

British Iron-Clads

Fort Darling

Battle of Fort Darling

Hamburg Landing

Hamburg Landing

Jefferson Davis Cartoon

Jefferson Davis Cartoon



Mobile, Alabama

Naval Battle

Naval Battle

Pea Ridge

The Battle of Pea Ridge, Tennessee


Richmond, Virginia



MAY 31, 1862]



(Previous Page) not handsome-features, with a touching expression of patient anxiety upon his pale and pensive face.

His discourse was what the audience wished—a personal narration. It is the first coherent story from a conspicuous Southern Union man of the terror which has ruled the South. The dark days of the French Revolution were not blacker. No history furnishes instances of more infernal cruelty than the treatment of men whose crime was loving their country, by our "Southern brethren," whom Great Britain finds to be a chivalric, refined, injured people, struggling for peaceful liberty against a brutal lust of power.

Dr. Brownlow's discourse showed only more plainly, and from terrible experience, that this is truly a conflict of civilizations under the same Government; and one of them will inevitably annihilate the other.


IT is computed that in the field and hospital fifty thousand of our loyal fellow-citizens have already lost their lives in the struggle to subdue this rebellion. How many of them, as brave as the bravest, will never be named in history! In the Cricket on the Hearth, a modest little journal published monthly in Philadelphia, there is this touching poem upon one of the unknown soldier-martyrs:


He gave the tribute of a tear

To those fond hearts who held him dear,

And southward turned—a volunteer—

The oft-told story.

To right the wrong, wipe off the shame,

He cared not that the trump of Fame Should sound aloud his humble name

In tropes of glory.

For Union, and for equal laws,

For Liberty—the grand old cause;

How could he speak these names and pause, Faltering, uncertain?

He knew not what Fate had in store, Nor cared her purpose to explore,

But calmly waited on, before

Her awful curtain.

All on a morning cold and gray,

Upon that sad October day,

He stood amidst the deep array Silent and steady.

Around him fell the iron hail,

He heard his dying comrades' wail, Bat heart and purpose did not fail,

For he was ready.

He fought and died.

A nameless grave

Where no sad willows o'er him wave,

Or sculptured stone extols the brave

In chiseled numbers

Was his. The bird's shrill symphonies, The restless murmur of the trees,

The sighing of the evening breeze,

Mar not his slumbers.

He died for Liberty; the time

Shows many another death sublime, For his sake may my homely rhyme Be all forgiven.

We trust he stands beside the Throne, Martyr to Freedom! not alone,

That his forgotten name is known

In Heaven.


GOOD fortune followed Washington Irving while he lived, and did not desert hint when he died, for the hand which he selected for the task writes his biography. The first volume of the three has lately appeared, bringing the story of his life down to the publication of the "Sketch Book." With characteristic good sense Mr. Pierre M. Irving, the biographer, suffers the letters of Irving to show what he was and what he did, as far as possible. And with the biographer's own clear and simple narration they furnish a very lovely picture of the boyhood and youth of the author, who died two years ago more personally beloved than any American.

The life is without special incident; but the airy humor of his pen, even in the young man's letters, invests every detail of travel or description with a sweetness and gayety which constantly remind the reader that the hand is the same hand which a little later wrote the books that charm by their tender humanity of spirit no less than by their simplicity and grace of style. He went at the beginning of the century to Europe, "pasturing on the pleasures" of each spot. There is no striking remark upon art, or science, or literature, or politics, or society in his letters; but there is a freshness and penetration of observation, and a shrewd humorous comment which indicate the healthy mind and the eye of genius.

No famous man was ever more truly simple than Washington Irving. During the last twenty years he was the most celebrated of living Americans; but he was always fond of repeating Scott's remark to Moore in their latter days, when, upon looking into a magazine, he spoke of the talent displayed by so many younger men, and, winking playfully, added: "And it is lucky, Moore, that we began when we did!"

But Irving, like Scott, would have been always easily first. The peculiar qualities of his talent are those which secure permanent renown. And Irving, like Lamb, and Sir Thomas Browne, and George Herbert, is as sure of constant affection as of perpetual admiration.


"TOMMY, what is longitude?" "A clothes-line, father." "Prove it, Tommy." "Because it stretches from pole to pole," said young Hopeful.

All our laws would seem to be bankrupt laws; they are broken every day.

Why is a kiss like a rumor?—Because it goes from mouth to mouth.

Among the conditions of sale by an auctioneer was the following: "The highest bidder to be the buyer, unless some gentleman bids more."

A celebrated author of the present day, who is remarkable for the flatness of his nose, was urging his suit with a lady who, with more truth than tact, said, "No, my dear —, I never can get over that nose of yours!" "I dare say not," replied the ready-witted lover, "since there is no bridge to it!" In cases of Wit vs. Beauty, wit is sure of a verdict, and the lady withdrew her refusal.

"Captain Silk! What a name for a soldier!" "The finest name in the world for a captain," said a lady; "for silk will never be worsted."

Voltaire related to Mr. Sherlock an anecdote of Swift. Lady Carteret, wife of the Lord-Lieutenant, said to Swift, "The air of Ireland is very excellent and healthy." "Madam," said Swift, "don't say so in England; for if you do they will certainly tax it."

A young lady who lately gave an order to a milliner for a bonnet, said: "You are to make it plain, and at the same time smart, as I sit in a conspicuous place in church."

Among the rules and regulations which are posted up at the entrance of the Vienna theatres is the following: "Triple applause, or three distinct rounds of clapping, being due to the Emperor and the Imperial Family, it is not fit that it should be bestowed on any actor or actress whatever."

A young officer of the Lord Verisopht school went to Drury Lane to see the great tragedian, Charles Kean, in "Hamlet." It was the first time he had seen that noble tragedy, and on being asked how he liked it, he said, "Haw! it's a very clever play, but I think it's too full of quotations!"

The man who plays at once on the trump of fame and the horn of a dilemma got his first ideas of music on hearing a hay-cock crow while he was tying a knot in a cord of wood.

When Madge was a very little girl, her father found her chubby hands full of the blossoms of a beautiful tea-rose on which he had bestowed great care. "My dear," said he, "didn't I tell you not to pick one of these flowers without leave?" "Yes, papa," said Madge, innocently, "but all these had leaves."

Misprints are sometimes very ludicrous in their significance. We remember a poem in which a lover cast a hurried glance, which was printed horrid. A cow by a railway-train was cut into calves, instead of halves. And in Moore's celebrated monody on Sheridan the word dry was absolutely substituted for day in the following absurd manner:

"And bailiffs shall seize his last blanket to dry (to-day),

Whose pall shall be held up by nobles to-morrow."

Tears at a wedding are only the commencement of the pickle that the young folks are getting into.

"Mamma," said an inquisitive little lady of some six slimmers, "what makes the sea so hot in a storm?" "Hot, my dear!" mamma answered, "what makes you think it is hot?" "Why, mamma, I have just been reading about the boiling waves."

"What do they mean by a cat and dog life?" said a husband to his angry wife. "Look at Carlo and Grimalkin asleep on the rug together. I wish men lived half so peaceably with their wives." "Stop," said the lady; "tie them together, and then see how they will agree."

A young man, on being asked by his sweet-heart what phonography was, took his pencil and wrote the following, telling her that was phonography: "U R A B U T, L N !" (You are a beauty, Ellen!)

Which is the wickedest part of the church?—The nave.

It is said that the wheel of fortune revolves for all; but many of us are broken on the wheel.

"You seem to walk more erect than usual, my friend" "Yes, I have been lately straightened by circumstances."

What is that which makes all women equally pretty?—Putting the candles out.

"I'll take the responsibility," as Jenks said when he held out his arms for the baby.


Why was Bulwer more likely to get tired of novel-writing than Warren?

Because Bulwer wrote "Night and Morning," and Warren only "Now and Then."

My first if you do you'll increase,

My second will keep you from heaven;

My third, such is human caprice,

Very seldom is taken when given.


What game is like a bustle?




ON Tuesday, May 13, in the Senate, the Pacific Railroad bill was reported back by the Select Committee. The bill providing for the protection of Indians who have adopted civilized habits was passed. A joint resolution providing for the presentation of medals of honor to soldiers was adopted.—In the House, the Senate's amendments to the bill establishing a Department of Agriculture were concurred in, and the bill passed. The Soldiers' Pension bill was passed. The bill to facilitate the transportation of troops and mails between New York and Washington was discussed, and laid on the table by a vote of 76 to 43.

On Wednesday, May 14, in the Senate, the resolution to suspend the payment of troops in the Department of the West, owing to the great frauds perpetrated, until an investigation can be had, was discussed, but no action taken. A resolution requesting the President to inform the Senate the number and names of persons arrested in Kentucky was adopted. The Special Committee on Confiscation reported a bill. Senator Trumbull offered a resolution, which was laid over under the rules, that the President inform the Senate, if consistent with the public interests, of any information he may have of any design on the part of any foreign Power to intervene in the contest now existing, and whether any foreign nation has made any arrangements with the insurgents, or has it in contemplation to do so.—In the House, the Select Committee on Confiscation reported two bills. The first bill provides that all estates, property, and money of persons holding or hereafter holding office under the so-called Confederate Government, be forfeited to the United States, the legal proceedings to be the same as in the case of prizes or forfeitures arising under the revenue laws; sixty days' warning to be given by the President by proclamation. The second bill provides for the forfeiture of the slaves of all persons engaged in the rebellion, said slaves to be declared free, and forever discharged from servitude. The bills were made the special order for Tuesday next. A resolution calling on the Secretary of the Interior for information as to what retrenchment can be made in the expenditures was adopted. The Army Appropriation bill was passed. An amendment to the bill, prohibiting the arming of negroes, and their employment in the military service, was rejected.

On Thursday, May 15, in the Senate, the Territorial Committee reported back the House bill to provide a temporary government for Arizona. The House bill prohibiting slavery in the Territories was also reported back, with an amendment which changes the language of the bill to that of the ordinance of 1787. A resolution was offered, which lies over, inquiring of the Secretary of the Navy as to the number of iron-clad vessels under contract, the character of their armament, and when they will be ready for

service. A resolution was also offered inquiring as to the rights and obligations of the United States and Great Britain to keep armaments on the Northern lakes.—In the House, the bill for the adjudication of claims of loyal citizens for loss of property and damages done thereto by the troops of the United States during the rebellion was taken up, discussed, and the subject postponed till Monday week.

On Friday, May 16, in the Senate, Senator Sherman made a personal explanation, to the effect that neither the Kansas Investigating Committee nor the Naval Investigating Committee, upon both of which he served, ever charged or received a cent of compensation or mileage for their labors. Senator Clark moved to take up the bill reported by the Select Committee providing for the confiscation of the property of rebels, which was agreed to by a vote of 23 to 19. Senator Trumbull, of Illinois, said the first section, which provides for the forfeiture of the property of rebel office holders, was merely intended to lighten the punishment of treason, and was unconstitutional. He therefore moved it to be struck out. Senator Davis, of Kentucky, moved to amend the first section by striking out the clause freeing slaves, and adding a provision for imprisonment at hard labor for not less than five nor more than twenty years. Both propositions were rejected, the latter by a vote of 7 yeas to 31 nays. Senator Howard, of Michigan, moved to strike out the second section, which frees the slaves of those who incite, engage in, or aid in the rebellion, as the clause was simply a mitigation of the punishment of treason. This was rejected—yeas 5, nays 33. Senator Clark moved to amend the second section so as to leave it discretionary with the court to imprison rebels for a term of not less than ten years, or forfeit their property. Pending this motion, Senator Sumner offered a substitute for the bill, which was ordered to be printed. The Senate then went into executive session, and afterward adjourned. —In the House nothing of public importance transpired. Mr. Benjamin Wood, of New York, obtained leave to print a secession speech, and several private bills were considered. Both Houses adjourned till Monday.

On Monday, May 19, in the Senate, Senator Wilson offered a resolution calling for detailed information respecting the African slave-trade at New York. Senator Grimes introduced a bill for the relief of Robert Small and others (colored), who recently delivered the rebel vessel Planter to Commodore Dupont's squadron. The bill provides that the steamship Planter, with all the cargo, appurtenances, etc., be appraised by a competent board of officers, and that one half the value thereof shall go to Robert Small and his associates, who ran the Planter out of Charleston harbor, with the provision that the Secretary of the Navy may invest the same in United States stocks, the interest to be paid to Small and his associates or heirs. The bill was passed. The resolution providing for the presentation of medals of honor to soldiers who distinguish themselves in battle was adopted. The debate on the Confiscation bill was then resumed, and Senator Sumner made a speech in support of it. Senator Powell, of Kentucky, moved to strike out the eleventh section of the bill, which authorizes the President to arm negroes, if necessary, to suppress the rebellion. This was rejected by a vote of 11 yeas to 29 nays. Senator Saulsbury, of Delaware, moved to strike out the ninth section, which authorizes the President, when he deems it necessary, to issue a proclamation freeing the slaves of all rebels. Senator Wilson moved to make it imperative on the President to issue a proclamation to that effect. The discussion was continued; but without taking the question the Senate adjourned.—In the House, the special committee on the subject reported articles of impeachment against West H. Humphreys, Judge of the District Court of the United States for Tennessee. Humphreys is charged with gross neglect of official duty, violation of the laws, endeavoring to incite revolt and rebellion, publishing the secession ordinance of Tennessee, combining with Jeff Davis and others to overthrow the Government of the United States, and other high crimes and misdemeanors. The report was accepted, and a resolution adopted providing for the appointment of a committee of five to conduct the impeachment. The House then went into Committee of the Whole, and Mr. Richardson, of Illinois, made a sensible speech on the negro question. The Naval Appropriation bill was considered, and a proviso to the appropriation for the Naval Academy, declaring its present location at Newport, Rhode Island, to be temporary, was rejected. The bill was finally passed by the House. It embraces appropriations for the naval service to the amount of $38,000,000.


The following proclamation by the President of the United States is published:

Whereas, there appears in the public prints what purports to be a proclamation of Major-General Hunter, in the words and figures following, to wit:



The three States of Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina, comprising the Military Department of the South, having deliberately declared themselves no longer under the protection of the United States of America, and having taken up arms against the said United States, it becomes a military necessity to declare them under martial law. This was accordingly done on the 25th day of April, 1862. Slavery and martial law in a free country are altogether incompatible. The persons in these three States—Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida—heretofore held as slaves, are therefore declared forever free.

DAVID HUNTER, Major-General Commanding. ED. W. SMITH, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

And whereas, the same is producing some excitement and misunderstanding,

Therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, proclaim and declare that the Government of the United States had no knowledge or belief of an intention on the part of General Hunter to issue such a proclamation, nor has it yet any authentic information that the document is genuine; and, further, that neither General Hunter nor any other commander or person has been authorized by the Government of the United States to make proclamation declaring the slaves of any State free, and that the supposed proclamation now in question, whether genuine or false, is altogether void so far as respects such declaration.

I further make known, that whether it be competent for me, as Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy, to declare the slaves of any State or States free, and whether at any time, or in any case, it shall have become a necessity indispensable to the maintenance of the Government to exercise such supposed power, are questions which, under my responsibility, I reserve to myself, and which I can not feel justified in leaving to the decision of commanders in the field. These are totally different questions from those of police regulations in armies and camps.

On the 6th day of March last, by a special message, I recommended to Congress the adoption of a joint resolution, to be substantially as follows:

Resolved, That the United States ought to co-operate with any State which may adopt a gradual abolishment of slavery, giving to such State, in its discretion, compensation for the inconveniences, public and private, produced by such change of system.

The resolution, in the language above quoted, was adopted by large majorities in both branches of Congress, and now stands an authentic, definite, and solemn proposal of the nation to the States and people most immediately interested in the subject-matter. To the people of these States I now earnestly appeal. I do not argue. I beseech you to make the arguments for yourselves. You can not, if you would, be blind to the signs of the times. I beg of you a calm and enlarged consideration of them, ranging, if it may be, far above personal and partisan politics. This proposal makes common cause for a common object, casting no reproaches upon any. It acts not the Pharisee. The change it contemplates would come gently as the dews of heaven, not rending or wrecking any thing. Will you not embrace it? So much good has not been done by one effort in all past times as in the Providence of God it is now your high privilege to do. May the vast future not have to lament that you have neglected it.

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. Done at the city of Washington, this 19th day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-sixth.   ABRAHAM LINCOLN. By the President—

WM. H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.


General McClellan's advance on the main road to Richmond, by way of Bottom's Bridge, drove the enemy across the Chickahominy at that point on Saturday morning. When the troops arrived within half a mile of the bridge, which is burned, they were opened upon by a brisk fire of artillery from the opposite side of the river. This bride is fifteen miles from Richmond. At this point it is said that our troops will experience considerable difficulty, as the country is low and swampy.


Governor Clark, the Executive of North Carolina, has refused to furnish any more troops to Jeff Davis, and has recalled all the North Carolina soldiers now in the rebel army. North Carolina has held a Convention of its citizens and pronounced against giving further aid to the rebellion, thus virtually returning to the Union. In reply to the demand of Jeff Davis for additional troops and means of transportation for his army to and through the cotton States, Governor Clark said that Davis had received all the aid from north Carolina that he could expect, and that hereafter no more troops would be permitted to leave the State, and has ordered all the North Carolina State troops home. Governor Clark also informed the rebels that they could use the railroads in retreating homeward, and that they would run their own risk of being intercepted by a Union force at any part of the State.


The latest advices from Pittsburg Landing state that General Pope's division has again advanced, and now occupies a position only three miles from Corinth. Reports of insubordination in the rebel army continue to reach us through deserters. A great deal of hard feeling is said to exist between the Missouri and Tennessee troops and those from the Southern States—the former urging that they have nothing to fight for, their States having been restored to the Union, and they see no reason why they should be compelled to fight for the independence of the Cotton States. Refugees from Memphis also say that officers from Corinth, who are frequently in Memphis, complain bitterly of the loss to the Southern cause sustained by the delay of General Halleck in making an attack upon them. Beauregard, they say, has been ready for a week. Every day that passes weakens him. He has received all the reinforcements that it is possible for him to procure, excepting raw levies, while sickness rages throughout his camp to an alarming extent. Beauregard has placed an imperative embargo on letter-writing from his camp. No soldier is permitted to send any written communication to his friends. The whole country, for one hundred miles below Corinth, has been swept to obtain supplies for the rebel army, and is now nearly exhausted. Serious embarrassments from this cause are anticipated. On 14th two regiments from Tennessee and Kentucky made an attempt to come over to the Union army, and a positive mutiny in General Beauregard's army was the result. The advance from our lines went over in force to aid the disaffected rebel soldiers, and succeeded in bringing off some sixty of them.


A dispatch to the War Department from General Mitchell, dated at his head-quarters, Huntsville, Alabama, contains the encouraging intelligence that a portion of his force, under General Negley and Colonel Little, had driven the rebels across the Tennessee River, taken possession of Rogersville, captured a portion of the ferryboats, and, having proceeded to Shad Creek, seized the bridge and ferry below the mouth of that stream. General Mitchell continues to say: "No more troops will enter from that region, and we have now upon this side of the river twelve or fifteen hundred cavalry of the enemy, in bands of three or four hundred, whom we will endeavor to hunt down, destroy, or capture. The gun-boat which I have extemporized will be ready for service to-day, and I will soon be able to pay my respects to the enemy on the eastern side of the region under my command."


The rebel leaders have virtually acknowledged the loss of the Mississippi Valley. On the 27th ult. the following brief address from Beauregard was published in the Memphis papers:


The casualties of war have opened the Mississippi to our enemies. The time has therefore come to test the earnestness of all classes, and I call on all patriotic planters owning cotton in the possible reach of our enemies to apply the torch to it without delay or hesitation.



Of General Curtis's movements the St. Louis Republican of May 12 says: "We hazard little in saying that he is, or will be in a day or two, in Little Rock, the capital of Arkansas, with all his cavalry and artillery, and that his infantry force will very soon reach Cape Girardeau. It is necessary to "retake and possess" the Arsenal at Little Rock, for that is one of the places seized and robbed by the secessionists.


The Union feeling at Nashville was demonstrated very forcibly on May 13, by a large meeting of the citizens in the Hall of the House of Representatives, in which many leading gentlemen from all parts of the State participated, including representatives from Memphis. Resolutions were adopted by acclamation, setting forth that the safety and welfare of their relatives and friends in the rebel army and prisons can only be assured by the return of Tennessee to the Union; that Congress be appealed to to end the war; complimenting the Union officers and soldiers on their considerate conduct, and approving of Governor Johnson's Address of March 18. A general reaction in behalf of the Government and the Union is evidently taking place in Tennessee.


The President has issued his proclamation declaring the ports of Beaufort, Port Royal, and New Orleans open for commercial intercourse after the 1st of June, except for the export and import of goods contraband of war, and of information calculated to give aid and comfort to the enemy. Secretary Chase has also issued a circular, based upon the President's proclamation, defining the mode of obtaining licenses from the collectors of customs, under which vessels can enter and sail from these ports.


An immediate attack on Mobile appears to be imminent, judging from the arrival of the advance of Commodore Farragut's fleet, consisting of Porter's mortar boats, off Fort Morgan.




A LARGE number of the destitute English artisans, who met lately at Ashton-under-Lyne, moved an amendment to the resolution calling on the Cabinet to recognize the rebel States, to the effect that England and France be requested to join the United States in "crushing" down the rebellion.

An influential deputation had shown to the Poor Law Board in Loudon that the existing Poor Law was inadequate to relieve the distress existing among the operative classes.


The Palmerston Cabinet has intimated to the House of Commons that members will enjoy an ample opportunity of discussing the subject of national defenses, as a new loan for defensive purposes will be shortly proposed to them.



The Paris Moniteur publishes a letter from Mexico, in which it is stated, as a probability, that the French army will not long delay its march on Mexico City. The idea of the Spanish troops joining them gave satisfaction in Paris.




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