General Buell and General Bragg's Movements in Kentucky


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, November 1, 1862

Welcome to our online collection of Harper's Weekly newspapers. This archive has all the Harper's published in the Civil War. This collection has incredible content, to help you develop a more in depth knowledge of this important era of American History.

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Pirate Ship "Alabama"

Bragg and Buell in Kentucky

Bragg and Buell in Kentucky

Writ of Habeas Corpus

Writ of Habeas Corpus

Camp Dick Robinson

Camp Dick Robinson

Battle of Perryville

The Battle of Perryville

Stuart's Cavalry Raid into Maryland

Stuart's Cavalry Raid into Maryland

The Battle of Corinth

John Bull

John Bull Cartoon



Perryville, Kentucky Battle

The Battle of Perryville, Kentucky

Stuart's Cavalry Raid

JEB Stuart's Cavalry Raid

Battle of Corinth

Battle of Corinth




[NOVEMBER 1, 1862.



THE picture of this famous pirate, which will be found on the preceding page, has been attentively examined by Captain Hagar of the Brilliant, and pronounced correct. He has kindly given us the following certificate of the fact:

I have seen the drawing of the Alabama which will appear in the next number of Harper's Weekly, and pronounce it a correct picture.

GEORGE HAGAR, Capt. of ship Brilliant. October 18, 1862.

No ship should sail out of port without this number of Harper's Weekly, in order that her captain may be able to recognize the pirate.




THE smoke is clearing away from the scene of the campaign in Kentucky, and we are at length beginning to understand the mysterious movements of Buell and Bragg.

When Mr. Lincoln called for a new levy of 600,000 men it was evident to the Southern leaders that, unless they could achieve decisive successes before that new levy was brought into the field armed and disciplined, their cause was gone. The fiat, therefore, went forth that the defensive policy must be abandoned and the Northern States invaded. At that time General Bragg was at Chattanooga, General Buell within 20 miles of him, each with an army of some 35,000 men. For some time past Buell's object had been to manoeuvre Bragg out of Chattanooga, which then appeared to be, and will again become, the key to the situation in that part of the country. In August last, to the astonishment of Buell, Bragg evacuated the place, and moved rapidly northward in the direction of Nashville. Rapidly comprehending the movement, Buell likewise abandoned the object for which he had so long contended, and marched northward on a parallel line to Bragg. Being nearer to Nashville than his enemy, he arrived there first, and the capital of Tennessee was saved. Bragg, perceiving that he was foiled, shifted his line of march to the eastward, and entered Kentucky, where John Morgan and Kirby Smith, with the armies of Eastern Tennessee, had been operating for some little time previous.

This was the situation at the middle of September. That the object of Bragg was to capture Louisville and Cincinnati there can be now no doubt whatever. Buell had to choose between moving eastwardly upon Bragg—which would have brought on a battle, the result of which would have insured the fall of Louisville, if our army had been beaten—and marching toward Louisville on a parallel line to his enemy, with the advantage which he had previously enjoyed on the march to Nashville, of being nearer the point they both wished to reach. He chose the latter, with evident wisdom, and reached Louisville in time: Bragg's army being nearly two day's march from the place when Buell's advance-guard entered it. Buell's entry into Louisville was evidently the turning-point in the campaign. Foiled in both his objects, having taken neither Nashville nor Louisville, Bragg had now no choice but to retreat back whence he came. Buell, on the other hand, was free to pursue him with a largely increased army, freshly equipped and supplied. He commenced the pursuit accordingly, dividing his army in such a way, and directing them to march by such roads as, in the opinion of competent judges, rendered it likely that Bragg might be surrounded.

This plan failed, owing, it is said, to the disobedience of a corps commander, who could not resist the temptation of giving battle, at Perryville, with his single corps, to the whole rebel army. The consequence was that Bragg made good his escape in the direction of Crab Orchard and Richmond. Buell, at latest dates, was following him close—about one day's journey behind; but the prospect was that, with the aid of Morgan's flying squadron, and other guerrilla bands, Bragg would make good his escape to and beyond the Cumberland Mountains, with his artillery and most of his stores.

Take it all in all, it must be admitted that the rebel enterprise in Kentucky has failed. Bragg has not succeeded in the great objects he had in view—the capture of Nashville or Louisville. He has not achieved the decisive success which the rebel leaders deemed it essential to achieve before our new levies were in the field. He has not wrested from us and permanently held any single point. He has overrun and plundered the finest region of Kentucky, but this will have no more influence upon the result of the war than the raids of the pirate "290."

It is a little remarkable that, while a large number of journals and politicians at the North have been reviling Buell for not fighting Bragg, the rebel papers are equally severe on Bragg for not fighting Buell. The probability is that both Generals acted for the best. If Buell had fought Bragg in Southern Tennessee, or again in Southern Kentucky, and had been defeated,

Louisville and Kentucky would inevitably have been lost. And the forces of the two Generals were so nearly matched that no one can tell what might have been the issue of a battle. If Bragg had been routed in Southern Tennessee nothing could have saved Chattanooga, Rome, and Knoxville to the Confederacy.

The Richmond Examiner is especially severe on Bragg for being "too slow," and for allowing Buell so constantly to "outstrip him in the race." We think this may be fairly set against the oft-repeated complaints of our journals about Buell being "too slow." The fact is, that both Generals marched very fast indeed, but Buell having the shorter distance to run, won the race. And the practical result of the enterprise is, that the rebels have been, or are being, expelled from Kentucky, where they have left a record which will make them execrated for generations.


No one who reads the voluminous Reports of Scott's Campaign in Mexico can fail to observe the frequency with which special honorable mention is made of three young officers of the Engineers. In his first dispatch, giving an account of the capture of Vera Cruz, General Scott, after ascribing the success of this operation mainly to the engineer officers, says: "If there be any thing in the form, position, and arrangement of the trenches and batteries, or in the manner of their execution, it is due to the ability, devotion, and unremitting zeal of these officers." Prominent among those specially named are "Captain R. E. Lee, First Lieutenant P. G. T. Beauregard, and Brevet Second Lieutenant George B. McClellan."

Lee seems to have been the special favorite of the veteran General, and there is hardly a single dispatch in which his name is not honorably mentioned. Perhaps this may be owing to the fact that, as he was highest in rank, the direct execution of the more important duties was committed to him. In the reports of subordinate officers the names of Beauregard and McClellan, with special commendations of their zeal and ability, appear with about equal frequency. We have noted nearly thirty instances of honorable mention of each of their names; and that of Lee is found quite as frequently mentioned, mainly by Scott himself.

In reading the reports of the battles in Mexico, and remembering the positions now occupied by the various officers, some curious coincidences are found. Thus Magruder gives especial credit to Sumner, and Joseph E. Johnston is warm in his commendation of Reno. After the battle of Churubusco Major Loring reports to his immediate superior, Earl Van Dorn: "The Rifles were accompanied throughout by the distinguished young Lieutenants Beauregard, Smith, and McClellan, the two latter in command of a portion of the Engineer corps; all, I am happy to say, bore themselves with the greatest gallantry."

At Churubusco McClellan was under the immediate command of Lieutenant G. W. Smith, subsequently Street Commissioner in New York, and now one of the "Generals," the highest rank in the Confederate service, superior to Major-General, and nearly corresponding to "Marshal" in the French army. Smith is especially warm in his commendation of McClellan. He says: "Lieutenant McClellan, frequently detached, and several times in command of the Engineer Company, is entitled to the highest praises for his cool and daring gallantry on all occasions in the actions of the 19th and 20th." And again: "The Rifles, with Captain Lee of the Engineers, were reconnoitring the same works, and had gone to our right considerably further from the battery than we were." McClellan was directed to ascertain the posture of affairs, and reported that Lee was engaged with a superior force. "I ordered Lieutenant McClellan," continues Smith, "to report the result of his operations to General Twiggs. He did so, and on the recommendation of Lieutenants Stevens and McClellan, in which I concurred, the first regiment of artillery was ordered to support the Rifles. I have every reason to be more than satisfied with the daring gallantry of Lieutenants G. B. McClellan and J. G. Foster, and am much indebted to them for the efficient manner in which they performed their arduous duties on the 19th and 20th of August."

At Churubusco McClellan was also under the immediate command of Smith, who, in his report to Captain Mackall (the Confederate General Mackall, we suppose, who was killed near Corinth), says: "To Lieutenant G. B. McClellan, of the Engineer Company, I am indebted for most important services, both as an engineer and a company officer. His daring gallantry, always conspicuous, was never more clearly shown than on this occasion. Operating most of the time separately, I relied implicitly on his judgment in all matters where I was not present, and am happy to say that the result in every case justified his decisions."

The careful reader of the whole series of dispatches respecting the campaign in Mexico will come to the conclusion that the three men who, after the veteran commanding General, displayed the highest military talents were the

three young officers of Engineers, Lee, Beauregard, and McClellan. Beauregard has not, on the whole, justified his early promise in as high a degree as the others; though it may be doubted whether the reason is not to be found in the jealousy of the Confederate authorities rather than in any want of capacity on his part. Lee and McClellan are now virtually at the head of the two armies of the North and the South, and by the almost unanimous consent of both sides they are the most capable men to fill these posts. So far as we can now judge, from the combined result of the whole series of operations in which they have been pitted against each other, McClellan has shown himself the superior. His campaign in the peninsula resulted unfavorably, it is true, but the unanimous verdict of the country is that this was owing to his plans being thwarted by men without any competent military knowledge. The success of his operations in Maryland, where he has had uncontrolled authority, vindicates the highest claim for military capacity which his friends have ever advanced for him.


THERE was a time—and fully within the memory of the oldest inhabitant—when it was thought that almost any kind of a book would answer for school purposes, and when, consequently, the little that there was of the pabulum of school-book literature consisted of the hardest crusts and the dryest morsels imaginable. Those only who can go back with us to our school-days, can appreciate the change for the better which a single generation has seen. Now the very best books, instead of the poorest, are for the school-room: the hest talent is employed in compiling them; the best artists in illustrating them; and the "getting up" must be of the neatest, most attractive, and most substantial kind. The first expense—the outlay—to the publishers is indeed enormous; but then the market for a really good school-book—and none but the good ones are now likely to succeed—is, indeed, almost illimitable.

We have been led to these remarks by an examination of a series of truly splendid "School and Family Charts," twenty-two in number, prepared by Messrs. Willson and Calkins, and published by the Harpers. Nothing equal to them—whether as to attractiveness or adaptation—is in existence in the entire range of works for primary instruction, either in the Old World or in the New. The early numbers continence with Reading Lessons for beginners upon the "object" system—with type sufficiently large to be easily read twenty feet distant; then succeed charts of Elementary Sounds, Phonics, Writing, Drawing, Lines and Measures, Forms, Solids, Colors, Quadrupeds, Birds, Reptiles, Fishes, Plants, etc., etc., the whole embracing more than six hundred colored illustrations! And though so costly in the getting up, and so beautiful as works of art, the low price at which they are sold—nine dollars for a complete set, mounted—places them within the reach of nearly every family and every school. An accompanying Manual of Instruction by Mr. Willson, the author of the well-known series of "School and Family Readers," gives the information and the directions for their use. Every family in which there are children to be educated, and every school, should have a set of these Charts and a copy of the Manual.



THERE is no word more frequently and angrily used and less understood than the word Abolitionist. President Lincoln and Daniel S. Dickinson, Governor Johnson and Governor Andrew, Thurlow Weed and Wendell Phillips, are all called by the same name. Of course there is but one point upon which all these men agree, and that is, a truly vigorous prosecution of the war. But that is not abolitionism. Emancipation as a means of war may be justified by all of them; but that is not abolitionism. The word Abolitionist designates a party in the country whose position and influence have never been correctly estimated, because its members have been too much hated to be fairly treated. Nobody has taken the trouble to know what they thought or what they proposed. It has been enough that they were said to be disunionists. What kind of disunionists, or why disunionists, have not been questions thought to be worth the asking, especially by the politicians who now call their late companions Abolitionists, because they insist upon the Union at every cost; and who think and call the open bloody disunionists of the South "erring brethren."

But the history of these times will have to deal differently with the facts, the influences, and the characters which are summarily classed as "Abolitionism." For merely to call the men known as Abolitionists a handful of fanatics, incendiaries, and agitators, explains them and their cause as much as Sydney Smith's sneering accounts of Methodism and the Methodists, or Hume's description of Cromwell and the Independents; but no more. It is certainly not very complimentary to the American people to say that a few bitter fanatics at the North called Abolitionists, and a few other fanatics at the South called Secessionists, plunged thirty millions of us into this tremendous civil war. If the individual James Otis had held his tongue would there have been no Revolution? If John Hampden had paid the ship-money would the Stuarts to-day be Kings of England? James Otis and John Hampden were but men who spoke for fundamental and decisive principles. When those ideas were in play those men were inevitable. If fifty Abolitionists and as many Secessionists had been hung, think many, there would have been no trouble. But do you think that if Luther had

been hung there would have been no Reformation? In what conceivable way was Luther strong or successful but in being the mouth of those who believed as he did? Unless you could have hung the instinct of popular liberty in England in 1640, or the same instinct in America in 1770, you would have struck but one soldier of an army in striking Hampden or Otis. Unless you could kill Protestantism you might as well spare Luther. And unless you can hang abolitionism you will hang Abolitionists in vain.

Correctly speaking, the Abolitionists were, in our history, a body of persons who thought slavery wrong; who held that the Constitution favored it; and that as the system was sure to corrupt the whites as well as imbrute the blacks, there was no hope for either but in the change of the Constitution and the dissolution of the Union of which it was the bond. But they proposed that the change should be effected peacefully and legally, by common consent; and to that end they endeavored to show what they considered the ultimate danger and present wrong of the Constitution. This was their "agitation." They opposed violence of every kind. They were, many of them, non-resistants. They did not vote; for to vote was to acknowledge what they thought a wicked Constitution. They did not approve the method, but only the purpose of John Brown; and they said to the rest of us, "You who believe in force have no right to blame him for helping others to do what you praise our fathers for doing in the Revolution." They believed that immediate emancipation was desirable, but they aimed to achieve it solely by influencing public opinion through that perfect freedom of discussion which the Constitution guaranteed. Some among them—but very few—were more vehement, and sometimes attempted to resist the law, as in Boston at the Burns capture. But the Personal Liberty bills, although the Abolitionists approved and advocated them, were passed by Legislatures in which no Abolitionist sat, because no Abolitionist could swear to support the Constitution and the laws of the United States.

Abolitionism, justly understood, was thus a purely moral power. It sought a moral end solely by moral means. It was fierce, vituperative, and denunciative; but so has every party been. Its leaders deliberately resigned all the prizes of worldly ambition, and accepted the contumely heaped upon them by both the great parties in the country. Republican and Democrat equally eschewed the name or suspicion of abolitionism. And justly. For the Democrats were in political alliance with slavery, and the Republicans differed fundamentally from the Abolitionists in their interpretation of the Constitution. The latter held it to be a bond of slavery; the former of liberty. The Abolitionists thought the only hope of the country was in escaping from the Constitution. The Republicans believed that the Slavery question could be settled peacefully for liberty without change of the Constitution.

They were right. For it was the clear perception of the slave interest that it could be so settled—a fact of which Mr. Lincoln's election was the earnest—that drove that interest to arms to destroy the Constitution. Philosophically, the difference between the Republicans and the Abolitionists was one of political method, not of moral conviction. But in human affairs a difference of method is radical. The Republicans, therefore, neither decried the Constitution nor the Union. But they deplored the false interpretation of the one and the prostitution of the other. They believed that the people would yet save both. Consequently they were all of them unswerving Unionists. They did not threaten to rebel if they were not successful at the polls, and they severely condemned all who assented to such threats. For they had faith in a popular government to right even the worst wrongs. And their faith is justified.

There is no more interesting chapter of our history than that known as Abolitionism, which is an episode in the great movement of liberty upon this continent. To call it fanaticism, and consider that a final and satisfactory explanation, is as ludicrous as to define Washington simply as a rebel, or Luther as a heretic.


To show a private letter without the authority of the writer, except in cases of no especial importance, or to establish and expose fraud, or some other purpose of general advantage, is something which people generally prefer not to do. But at a late party political meeting a letter was read which was written by General Scott to Mr. Seward a year ago last March, and which was confessedly made public without General Scott's authority. The point of the letter was, that, in General Scott's opinion, the wisest way for the new administration was to say to those who threatened to rebel, "Wayward sisters, depart in peace!"

As to the letter itself, there are two things to be said. One is that General Scott is a soldier and not a statesman; and that his advice, under the circumstances, was valuable solely so far as it concerned military operations. In his estimation at that time, if the Government should think fit not to surrender to a threat of rebellion, but should think it worth while to try to defend its existence, a young and able general, with 300,000 disciplined men, and $250,000,000, and with enormous waste of life and property, would be essential, and, after all, would do no good. General Scott's conviction in March, 1861, therefore, as a soldier, was that the Union could not be maintained by military force. Whether the General had changed his opinion in July, 1861, does not appear.

The second thing to be said upon the letter is that it by no means follows that a man's views are the same now that they were upon the eve of Mr. Lincoln's inauguration. Multitudes of the bravest and best men in the army, who have relinquished all to fight for the Government and the cause of liberty under law, who believe, with General Corcoran, that it is an ''accursed rebellion," undoubtedly held the views that General Scott expresses (Next Page)




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