Surrender of New Orleans


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, May 17, 1862

This site features the Harper's Weekly newspapers published during the Civil War. This research resource will yield new insights into this important part of American History.

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


Rebel Soldiers

Rebel Soldiers



New Orleans

Surrender of New Orleans

David Farragut

David Farragut

Virginia Map

Map of Virginia

Faragut's Fleet

Farragut's Fleet

Fort Macon

Capture of Fort Macon

Belle Reynolds

Belle Reynolds

Cavalry Charge

Cavalry Charge

Fort Macon

Battle of Fort Macon

Farragut's Ships

Commodore Farragut's Ships

Secession Cartoon

Secession Cartoon




MAY 17, 1862.]



(Previous Page) Thus the whole vision of "Southern" supremacy based upon cotton fades away. The success which was a demonstration of political economy disappears. The entire fallacy of Southern political shrewdness is exposed. This is, of itself, a profoundly instructive fact. It illustrates the character and consequence of a civilization based upon monstrous injustice. Men who consent to live by the ruin of a race, can not believe that other men will be influenced by any other motive than the grossest selfishness. Consequently they looked no farther than the fact that the demand for cotton was incessant and enormous. That the interested nations might look elsewhere for it; that to raise a blockade forcibly implied war; that the rebellion showed the essential uncertainty of a supply which depended upon slave labor; in short, all the considerations that must modify and control the simple selfishness they had not meditated.

The first shot that "the venerable Edmund Ruffin, of Virginia," fired from Beauregard's batteries at Fort Sumter killed the cotton monopoly and slavery together.


ANOTHER of the ridiculous humors of this waning rebellion is the project of "John M. Vernon, Esq., of New Orleans," who probably left that city about the middle of April for up country, for a Confederate decimal system for the currency of "the South."

"We are," says Mr. Vernon, "a separate and distinct .people, influenced by different interests and sentiments from the Vandals who would subjugate us. Our manners and customs are different, our tastes and talents are different, our geographical position is different, and—in conformity with natural laws, nature, and instinct—our currency, weights, and measures should be different." He then suggests the following table:

10 Centimes    1 Tropic.

10 Tropics    1 Star.

10 Stars    1 Sol."

John M. Vernon, Esq., then adds three reasons why it should be adopted; but the second is so singularly pertinent to the condition of "The Confederacy" today, that it is quite sufficient: "Second. They are emblems of cheerfulness, honor, honesty of purpose, solidity, and stability."

Rabelais and Swift combined could not surpass that biting sarcasm.


THE fall of New Orleans is evidently felt by the rebels to be the direst wound they have yet received. "This is a heavy blow," says the Richmond Dispatch; "it is useless to deny it." But toward the end of the article the paper waxes more hopeful, and it concludes with the cheerful remark that "thus far his (the national) success is scarcely a disadvantage to us." The Petersburg Express declares that "the ways of God are mysterious, and He directs the affairs of men so as often to lead them to consider an event calamitous which afterward proves the happiest that could have occurred for their welfare." The Atlanta Intelligencer says, "Memphis, we apprehend, will share the fate of New Orleans. To delude ourselves with any other hope is now a folly." They all agree that our gun-boats are irresistible; that wherever they can be used the Government will restore its sway; that the case of rebels is unpromising, but yellow fever may do something to help them against us; and that at last they must take to the bush and carry on a guerrilla warfare.

That will be the natural course of the more desperate—and for them General Fremont's method of treatment in Western Virginia will be the surest. Two men taken in the act of such warfare have been sentenced to death, and he has approved the sentence.


WHILE the Merrimac is still a vague terror, and the wonder and regret that we had not known more of her are still alive, the reader may remember that in this paper for November 2, 1861, an admirable, and as it proved, quite accurate cut of the monster was published, with a description of her construction and armament which is very faithful. The account was derived from a workman who professed to have been employed upon the Merrimac, and the result justifies his word. It shows that it is possible to know something of the interior policy and economy of the enemy, and to be ready to meet him. Forewarned is forearmed.

Some day, doubtless, it will appear why the Norfolk Navy-yard was not saved to us; why the Merrimac was not anticipated; and why Norfolk was not sooner taken. And when that day comes, we equally believe that it will be seen that, as in the general military conduct of the war, all was done that could be wisely done.


A FRIEND in Baltimore writes to know why the battle at Pittsburg Landing, on the 7th April, was called "The Waterloo of America." Certainly such a title has no meaning; but if it had been called the Waterloo of Rebellion the reason would have been that, as Blucher came up to the support of Wellington, and secured the rout of the French, so the coming up of Buell to the support of Grant secured the defeat of the rebels; and as Napoleon never recovered from the battle of Waterloo, so the Rebellion will never recover from its defeat at Pittsburg Landing.

—The two great battles of the Italian-French campaign in Lombardy three years ago were Magenta and Solferino.


WANTED—An unlimited number of young men, possessing the four good qualities of stayathomeativeness, antismokeativeness, antifindfaultativeness, and antistingymindedness, with hearts capable of appreciating feminine disinterestedness.



1860. MR. ARMSTRONG, of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, invents Rifled Ordnance that will knock any ship to pieces. He is knighted, and the Admiralty is benighted.

1861. The Admiralty recovers, and invents Iron Ships that resist any known cannon-balls.

1862. Sir William Armstrong invents a gun that smashes the Iron Ships into blacksmithereens. The Admiralty collapses.

1863. The Admiralty re-expands and invents Platina Ships fastened with diamond cement, and Sir William Armstrong's balls fly to pieces like bonbons.

Mr. Gladstone doubles the Income-Tax.

1864. Sir William Armstrong invents Brazen Thunderbolts (supposed to be the original Jupiters), and in a pleasing experiment sends the greater part of the British Fleet to the bottom of the sea.

1865. The Admiralty invents Torpedo vessels which sail under water and below any range of guns. Sir William Armstrong tears his hair and swears in the Newcastle dialect.

1866. Sir William Armstrong invents a Vertical gun that discharges Greek fire straight down, and a second time he destroys the greater part of the British fleet. The Lords of the Admiralty are about to hang themselves, when a thought strikes them, and they don't.

Mr. Gladstone again doubles the Income-Tax.

1867. Dr. Cumming, who has for some weeks been having in his coals by the sack only, suddenly proclaims the Millennium. As there is now to be peace every where, the Admiralty does not invent any thing, but waits to see. In order to test Dr. Cumming's veracity, and to find out whether lions will lie down with kids, the Zoological Society (against the advice of their excellent Secretary, Mr. Sclater) lets loose their biggest lion while a charity school is in the Gardens. As the lion, instead of lying down with a kid, only lies down to digest him, the Admiralty thinks there is some mistake somewhere, and determines to invent a new fleet.

Mr. Gladstone once more doubles the Income-Tax.

1868. The Admiralty invents a Stone Fleet, with cork keels, and defies Sir William Armstrong.

1869. Sir William Armstrong invents the Hannibal, or Alp-Shell, which contains the strongest vinegar, and melts the Stone Ships. Having for the third time destroyed the British Fleet, he is raised to the peerage as Lord Bomb.

1870. The Admiralty invents an Aerial Fleet, which sails in the clouds, out of shot range, and the First Lord takes a double sight at Sir William Armstrong.

Mr. Gladstone a fourth time doubles the Income-Tax. 1871. Lord Bomb invents a Balloon battering-train, and in an experimental discharge brings down all the British Fleet into the German Ocean.

1872. The Admiralty, in desperation, invents a Subterranean Fleet, which is to be conveyed by tunnels to all the Colonies; but Mr. Gladstone blandly suggests that as every body now pays twice his income in taxes, the people may object to further imposts unless some proof of economy is given.

Government therefore stop the pensions of a hundred superannuated clerks, discharge some extra night-porters at the Treasury, and bring in Estimates for the Subterranean Fleet.

1873. Lord Bomb invents his Typhaeons, or Earthquake Shells, and suffocates the British Fleet in the Tasmania Tunnel.

Mr. Gladstone a fifth time doubles the Income-Tax. 1874. The Emperor of the French proclaims the Millennium, which of course immediately occurs; no more war-ships are wanted, and the collectors remit the quarter's Income-Tax not yet due. Lord Bomb invents his Volcanic Fire-works in honor of the occasion, and by some accident burns up the public.


On a sunny morn a maiden Met a boy at play,

With a bow and quiver laden, Singing on his way—

"Trifle not with little Cupid,

Love will hold his sway;

He is not so blind and stupid As some people say."

As he came he plaited rushes, Singing merrily

"Maiden, put aside your blushes—

Come and play with me!

Come and trip o'er hill and valley, Round about each tree;

Love shall make your spirits rally, Joyous, gay, and free!"

Hardly had the maid decided

With the boy to rove,

When his line he nimbly glided O'er a branch above.

Round the elm they ran enraptured, While his web he wove,

Till, alas! his prize was captured In the "cords of Love!"

"Elder, will you have a drink of cider?" inquired a farmer of an old temperance man who was spending an evening at his house. "Ah—hum—no, thank ye," said the old man, "I never drink any liquor of any kind—'specially cider; but if you'll call it apple juice I'll take a drop."

When some stupid fellow charged Sheridan with inconsistency, the wit replied that the accusation reminded him of the reasoning of the entertainer of a convivial party, who, hearing his friends observe that it was time to take leave, as the watchman was crying past three, observed, "Why, you don't mind that fellow, do you? He changes his story every half hour."

"Pat," said a builder to an Irishman engaged in carrying slate to the top of a four-story building, "have you any houses in Ireland as tall as this one?" " Ya'as, M'Mither's cabin." "How many rooms had it?" "There was the ateing room, the slaping room, the kitchen room, and the pig pen—four rooms." "That's a story," said the builder. " Ya'as, four stories," says Pat.  

Sir Walter Scott's wife, though an excellent and admirable woman, was a matter-of-fact one. One day that he was walking in the fields in early spring he dilated to Lady Scott on the beauties of nature, the verdure, the wild flowers, the playful lambs, etc, "Ah, my dear," said the lady, "you remind me that we must have a nice roast leg of lamb, with mint sauce, for dinner to-morrow!"

An eminent and witty prelate was once asked if he did not think such a one followed his conscience. "Yes," said his lordship, "I think he follows it as a man does a horse in a gig—he drives it first."

"Do you call them large turnips?" "Why, yes, they are considerably large." "They may be for turnips, but they are nothing to an onion I saw the other day." "And how large was the onion?" "Oh, a monster; it weighed forty pounds." "Forty pounds?" " Yes, we took off the layers, and the sixteenth layer went round a demijohn that held four gallons!" "What a whopper!" "You don't mean to say I tell a falsehood?" "Oh no; what a whopper of an onion, I mean."

Why is the assessor of taxes the best man in the world? —Because he never "underrates" any body.

The worst of all kinds of eye-water is a coquette's tears.


FOR an account of THE CAPTURE OF FORT MACON, and THE FALL OF YORKTOWN, see page 315.


On Tuesday, April 29, in the Senate, Senator Grimes introduced a bill to provide that the school tax collected from the colored people of the District be applied to the education of colored children. A bill to amend the bill of

last session, confiscating slaves, so as to include the wives and children of slaves, was introduced by Senator Wilson. The resolution calling on the Secretary of State for the number and names of persons who have been arrested in the State of Kentucky and confined in forts, etc., in other States, was called up, but no action taken on it. The debate on the confiscation bill was then resumed, and Senator Browning made a speech against it. Senator Cowan moved to refer all the propositions on the subject of confiscation to a select committee, but the motion was not pressed to a vote. Senator Doolittle introduced a bill providing for the collection of taxes in insurrectionary districts.—The House was occupied in a discussion of the Report of the Government Contract Investigating Committee.

On Wednesday, April 30, in the Senate, Senator Wade, from the Committee on the Conduct of the War, made a report respecting the barbarous treatment of our soldiers at Manassas. The debate on the Confiscation bill was then renewed, the pending motion being to refer the subject to a select committee. An amendment was offered by Senator Howard, instructing the Committee to bring in a bill confiscating the property of all the leading insurgents, and emancipating the slaves of all persons who have taken up arms against the United States. Senator Davis, of Kentucky, moved to strike out all the part relating to emancipation. Senator Davis's proposition was rejected by yeas 11, nays 29, and Senator Howard withdrew his amendment. Senator Cowan's motion to refer the subject to a select committee was then rejected by a vote of 18 to 22, and the Senate adjourned.—In the House, Mr. Eliot submitted two bills, one to confiscate rebel property and to provide for the payment of the expenses of the present rebellion, and the other to provide for freeing the slaves of all rebels who have taken up arms against the Government. They were referred to the Select Committee on Confiscation. Mr. Wickliffe, of Kentucky, asked leave to introduce a resolution of inquiry, to ascertain by what authority General Hunter had issued an order to emancipate slaves in the manner expressed by Messrs. Hutchins, Lovejoy, and others. Objection was made, and the proposition lies over. The resolutions reported by the Contract Investigating Committee were then taken up, and the motion to lay them on the table was rejected by a vote of 17 to 107. The resolution requesting the Secretary of the Treasury to pay $12.50 each, and no more, for five thousand Hall carbines purchased through Simon Stevens by General Fremont, was adopted—123 against 28. The House adopted a resolution censuring Mr. Cameron by a vote of 79 against 45. A resolution censuring Mr. Welles, Secretary of the Navy, was rejected by 45 against 72. The House then went into Committee on the Whole on the Pacific Railroad bill; but not much progress was made upon it.

On Thursday, May 1, in the Senate, a resolution, offered by Senator Davis, of Kentucky, declaring that the war now carried on by the United States of America shall be vigorously prosecuted and continued to compel obedience to Constitutional laws in the limits of every State and Territory by all the citizens and residents thereof, and for no further end whatever, was, on motion of Senator Sumner, laid over. The resolution directing the Military Committee to inquire whether any further legislation is necessary to prevent soldiers and officers from returning fugitive slaves to their owners was called up by Senator Wilson, and Senator Sumner spoke at some length against the action of General Hooker, General M'Cook, General Buell, General Halleck, and the Provost Marshal of Louisville, as regards fugitive slaves. At the expiration of the morning hour the consideration of the Confiscation bill was resumed. Senator Wilson, of Massachusetts, offered an amendment to the bill, authorizing the President to issue a proclamation and free the slaves of all those who continue in rebellion against the United States thirty days thereafter. The debate continued; but no action was taken on the amendment, and after an executive session the Senate adjourned.—In the House, Mr. Blair explained the provisions of the bill providing for a Board of Fortifications, to provide for sea-coast and other defenses, and the consideration of the bill was postponed. Bills for the better organization of the Adjutant-General's Department, and to render freedom national and slavery sectional, were reported, the latter by Mr. Lovejoy, from the Committee on Territories. The remainder of the session was spent in Committee of the Whole on the Pacific Railroad bill.

On Friday, May 2, in the Senate, a bill was introduced limiting the number of major-generals of the army to 20, and the number of brigadier-generals to 200. The bill was referred. Senator Sumner gave notice of a bill abolishing the inter-State and coastwise slave traffic. The Homestead bill was taken up, and an amendment adopted excluding from its benefits all persons who have borne arms against the United States, or given aid and comfort to the enemy. Senator Carlile, of Virginia, offered a substitute for the bill, giving officers and soldiers of the army and officers of the navy 160 acres of land at $1.25 per acre, or 80 acres at $2.50 per acre, in lieu of $100 bounty in cash; but without further action the bill was laid aside. A message was received from the President relative to the arrest of General Stone. The President says General Stone was arrested upon evidence which, whether he was guilty or innocent, required that such proceedings should be had against him for the public safety, and that he deems it incompatible with the public interest, as well as unjust to General Stone, to make a more particular statement. General Stone will be allowed a trial without unnecessary delay. The consideration of the Confiscation bill was then resumed, Senators Doolittle, Wade, Collamer, and Saulsbury participating in the debate.—In the House, the Committee of Ways and Means reported a bill making appropriations for the support of the army for the year ending with June, 1863. The appropriations amount to the enormous sum of $226,283,000. Mr. Morrill made explanations relating to the charge of intoxication preferred against General W. F. Smith, while in command of the troops in the fight at Lee's Mill, near Yorktown, on the 16th ult., from which it appears that the General is entirely guiltless of the accusation. Mr. Washburne, of Illinois, defended General Grant from the aspersions which he said had been cast upon that brave and successful officer; and Mr. Cox declared that the charges brought against certain Ohio regiments that participated in the victory at Pittsburg Landing were groundless.

On Monday, May 5, in the Senate, the bill relative to the number of Major and Brigadier Generals was reported back by the Military Committee, with an amendment fixing the number of Major-Generals at thirty instead of twenty, which was adopted. The bill was then laid over, without action as to the number of Brigadier-Generals. A joint resolution in favor of an exchange of prisoners of war was referred. The Homestead and Confiscation bills were discussed, an executive session held, and the Senate adjourned.—In the House, the bill to provide increased revenue from imports, and to pay the interest on the public debt, etc., was passed. Bills indemnifying the people of Kansas for losses and depredations, and for the punishment of treason and the suppression of the rebellion, were introduced and referred. In Committee of the Whole the consideration of the Pacific Railroad bill was resumed. A motion that the Committee rise, and that the bill be postponed till the second Monday in December next, was lost by a vote of 34 against 61. After some debate the amendments were ordered to be printed.


Yorktown is ours, with all its defenses, seventy-one heavy guns, and camp equipage. The enemy completed the evacuation of the place on Saturday night, and our troops entered the place four hours after the rear of the rebel army marched out. It is said by deserters that the order for evacuation was decided upon on Wednesday by General Robert Lee and Jeff Davis, who, after a close examination of General McClellan's splendid works, came to the conclusion that their own defenses were untenable, and that the army must fall back on a new position. The immediate necessity of the retreat arose from the near approach of General M'Clellan's parallels, and the damaging effect of his siege guns upon the enemy's works. The rebels have fallen back to a point on the Chickahominy Creek, beyond Williamsburg, on the direct line to Richmond; but General M'Clellan's entire force of cavalry and light artillery are in close pursuit of them. General Franklin's division has also been dispatched by boats up the river to West Point, where they must have arrived on 4th, and they will, therefore, be probably soon in the rear of the enemy. Some of our gun-boats went up immediately, and kept a constant fire of shells upon the retreating army. Our troops are also in possession of Gloucester.


The following dispatch was received at Washington on 4th:


May 4—9 A.M.

To Hon. E. M. Stanton, Secretary of War:

We have the ramparts.

We have guns, ammunition, camp equipage, etc.

We hold the entire line of his works, which the engineers report as being very strong.

I have thrown all my cavalry and horse artillery in pursuit, supported by infantry.

I move Franklin's division, and as much more as I can transport by water, up to West Point today.

No time shall be lost.

The gun-boats have gone up York River.

I omitted to state that Gloucester is also in our possession. I shall push the enemy to the wall.


General McClellan's dispatches state that his troops have thus far taken seventy-one heavy guns, large amounts of tents, ammunition, etc. "All along the lines their works prove to have been most formidable, and I am now fully satisfied of the correctness of the course I have pursued. The success is brilliant, and you may rest assured that its effects will be of the greatest importance. There shall be no delay in following up the rebels, who have been guilty of the most murderous and barbarous conduct, in placing torpedoes within the abandoned works, near wells and springs, and near flag-staffs, magazines, telegraph offices, in carpet bags, barrels of flour, etc. We have not lost many men in this manner—some four or five killed, and perhaps a dozen wounded. I shall make the prisoners remove them at their own peril."


General Stoneman's cavalry force overtook the rear of the rebels on Sunday afternoon, and forced them to an encounter which, in more than one instance, was hand to hand. The artillery on both sides were engaged for a short time, but in the end the rebel cavalry were forced by our men to abandon their position. The want of infantry prevented our men from advancing on the enemy's works; and it being evident that it was useless to attempt further operations, the troops fell back about two hundred yards to await the arrival of infantry, which soon after arrived, but it was deemed advisable to defer further operations until the next morning. It was expected that Williamsburg would then be occupied, as the rebels were still in full retreat.


On Monday, May 5, there was a very severe fight, in which General Hancock and his brigade covered themselves with glory. The rebel loss was very heavy. On Tuesday General Johnston evacuated Williamsburg, and fled with all his force toward Richmond. General McClellan and his army are following in close pursuit.  


General Franklin's division, in transports and the gun-boats, have arrived at West Point and destroyed the railroad bridge. It is reported that they have captured several transports and a large number of prisoners.


From Southern papers received at Fortress Monroe we learn that Commodore Farragut's propositions to surrender New Orleans had been accepted by the Mayor, Mr. Monroe, and the city of New Orleans was at last accounts held by a battalion of marines from the squadron. General Butler's forces have reached the city, having landed on Lake Pontchartrain.


The papers have published the correspondence which occurred between Commodore Farragut and Mr. Monroe, Mayor of New Orleans, on the appearance of our mortar fleet before that city. The Commodore's letter is a blunt and sailor-like demand for the unconditional surrender of the city; for the hoisting of the Union flag over the City Hall, Mint, and Custom-house, and the removal of all flags emblematic of any other sovereignty than that of the United States. He requests that the Mayor shall restore order, quell disturbance, and call upon all good citizens to return to their avocations, promising protection to all such, but commanding that no one shall be molested for expressing sentiments of loyalty to the Government, or exhibiting evidences of pleasure at witnessing "the old flag" once more flying over the city. Upon this point the words of Commodore Farragut are very emphatic. He says: "I shall speedily and severely punish any person or persons who shall commit such outrages as were witnessed yesterday by armed men firing upon helpless women and children for giving expression to their pleasure at witnessing the 'old flag.'" The Mayor responds in an utterly absurd and bombastic communication, in which he admits the impossibility of resistance, as the army upon which he depended has deserted him; but he refuses to haul down the secession flags, and declares, in the name of the people, that their allegiance to the rebel Government remains intact despite the necessity of yielding to the conquerors.


It is announced by Secretary Seward that Mr. Lincoln will very soon issue a proclamation declaring all the leading ports of the South open to the trade of the world, upon which event the restoration of the commerce of the country as it existed ante bellum may be expected, and the most mischievous efforts of the rebellion be at an end. The circulars issued by Mr. Seward to the foreign ministers, opening the mail communications with the Southern ports, are but the preliminaries of the President's proclamation declaring the reconstruction of commercial relations with the South.


A Collector of Customs for New Orleans, in the person of Mr. Charles L. Lathrop, has already been appointed and confirmed by the Senate. Mr. Lathrop was formerly a resident of New Orleans, but left that city on the outbreak of the rebellion, being a sterling Union man.


Important events are expected to occur immediately in the vicinity of Corinth. A reconnoissance was on 3d pushed in the direction of Corinth, which found the enemy, 4500 strong, at Farmington, with four pieces. Our forces immediately attacked them, and after a sharp skirmish carried the position in fine style, compelling the rebels to abandon every thing, leaving thirty dead on the field. Our cavalry then pushed through to Booneville, took possession of the town, tore up the railroad track there, and destroyed the bridges. Our loss in this gallant affair is only two killed and twelve wounded.




The news from Mexico, by the steamer Roanoke, is of the highest interest and importance. The tripartite alliance of England, France, and Spain, for the destruction of the liberties of Mexico, is now virtually at an end; but France alone has undertaken the hazardous work of forcing a monarchical government upon the unwilling people. To this end, and under very specious excuses, war has been declared against Mexico by the French plenipotentiaries. President Juarez and General Doblado have expressed the firm determination of resisting their Gallic invaders by every means in their power, but offering still to continue negotiations with the Spanish and English. General Lorencez, the new French commander, says that he is responsible to his Emperor for his action.




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