Snicker's Gap


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, November 15, 1862

Welcome to our online archive of Civil War Harper's Weekly newspapers. These original documents are full of incredible illustrations and eye-witness reports on the war. We have posted this material to help you develop a deeper understanding of this important conflict.

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


United States Capitol

United States Capitol

Victor Hugo

Victor Hugo Poem

Snicker's Gap

Snicker's Gap

Galveston Harbor Map

Galveston Harbor Map

Virginia Map

Virginia Map

Summit Station

Summit Station

Running the Blockade

Running the Blockade

Pirate "Alabama" Cartoon



McClellan on Horse

McClellan on Horseback

Salt Factory

Rebel Salt Factory

Rebel Guerrillas

Rebel Guerrillas



NOVEMBER 15, 1862.]



(Previous Page) with blood-hounds when you try to escape. What are you likely to do? Why, you will go through fire and water, through hunger and thirst, by blood-hounds and hell-hounds, to escape. You will submit to being boxed up; to stifle in the holds of ships; to endure every chance and all suffering to leave that island. Though you were born there; though the climate is sweet to you; though you love the land where you have been imbruted, you will still fly if you can, and every generous soul in the world will exclaim, God help you!

But suppose that upon that island you have plenty of well-paid work and ample wages secured to you; suppose that you are your own master and the father of a family, into which no stranger enters against your will; suppose that by industry and thrift you may, if you will, become a proprietor, as you are the civil equal of every other man; suppose that you love the island as your native soil—its climate is congenial, your friends and associations are there. Is that a place from which you are always plotting to escape or hopelessly pining in despair because you can not get away? Or is it a place to which all of your race and kindred instinctively turn to find their home and happiness? Do you need blood-hounds and whipping-posts, manacles and the stake, to keep you there and to repel your kind? No; you stay there, self-respecting, industrious, and content.

The Proclamation works that miracle. Why should the black men come here at the very moment that all reason for coming is removed? They come here to be free, not because they like the North. Make them free at home, and they will thank you with all their hearts and stay there. Keep them slaves, and of course they will take advantage of the war and run wherever they can.


WHILE there is a natural impatience at the delay of our final victory over the rebellion, and an eager urging forward of the army all along the line, let us not forget the splendid service already rendered by that army. The details of plans and general movements are so obscured, and the conflict of responsibility so unsettled, that no one ought to speak too decidedly of either. But the one paramount, unquestioned fact is, that the men, fresh from their pursuits of perfect peace, have fought most bravely, and always better when they felt that they were handled by an intelligent general. Think of their last great movement. They fell back under McClellan from the Peninsula and under Pope through Eastern Virginia. Nothing demoralizes an army so surely and rapidly as a general retreat. But through all that confused and confounding march they fought as well as men under the circumstances could fight, and unquestionably had the advantage on the Friday before Pope's final discomfiture.

Yet the retreat ended in wild confusion, almost dismay, before Washington. Military and political jealousy threatened the country even more sorely than the rebellion. The army itself was disheartened, not because it was not successful, but because it could not understand what was the matter or what it was about. But it moved promptly into Maryland. It overtook the foe. It fought the most gallant battle and won the most important victory of Antietam, and all this after six weeks of an experience that might have utterly destroyed it, both from moral and material causes.

It may justly say to us that our impatience may become unreasonable. It may justly say that we ought to remember that the rebels may venture much that would be folly in us. It may fairly remind us that Washington is defended at this moment in the Shenandoah Valley; and, miserable mud-hole as it is, it is still our necessary, central point. An advance of the army, military success, is beyond all question absolutely essential for our cause. For if we go into winter-quarters along the whole line, it is not probable that we shall come out of them to the battle-field. But while an advance is necessary, it must be the pursuit of some policy of vigor. It must be in obedience to a plan which will make success both probable and useful. It must be of a character to show the country that all the means it so profusely lavishes are well and wisely used. It must be an advance that will invigorate the Northern, in the same degree that it terrifies the Southern, heart.

It is not the soldiers who flag. It is not they who are wanting. Let them feel in every order, in every movement, in the whole scope and the least detail of policy, a great, energetic, concentrated purpose, and they will fast enough do the work for which they have taken up arms.


THAT slavery is the chief support of the rebellion every body knows. For in a population of eight or nine millions, if there are four millions who are kept hard at work upon the supplies, the five millions can send off all their fighting men to the field. That this is a practical truth is obvious enough from general considerations. But the late advices from the South show the case in the clearest light. In Texas, and some parts of the Mississippi Valley, a conscription, or forced levy of slaves, is urged wherever their labor is necessary for the army. And the Richmond Examiner beseeches slaveholders to hire their slaves for army service, saying: "Good wages are offered, and proper care and attention will be given every negro hired for the army, and the slaveholder ought to remember that for every negro he thus furnishes he puts a soldier in the ranks."

Now a commander - in - chief of an army and navy who knows that fact and does not try to turn it to his own profit and the advantage of his cause is either a fool or a knave. To say that he can't do it, by telling the substitutes that if they will come to his flag they shall be free, and if they refuse to "put a soldier in the ranks" he will protect them as fast as he can, is to beg the question. He can try. If he does not try, he is incompetent.

Our commander-in-chief has undertaken to try. If nothing follows, he has done his duty. If Napoleon had said, "Pooh! I can't take an army and cannon over the Alps," and had folded his arms, there would have been no Marengo. If Captain Miller, ordered to take a battery, had said—"Dear me, Sir, I haven't the means!" we should have heard of his answer only to laugh at it. But when he replied, "I'll try, Sir," he spoke not only like a soldier, but a man. There are those who insist that the Proclamation, which is a mere military order, is futile or worse. Very well. Possibly nothing will come of it. But we will try, gentlemen, we will try.


"ALWAYS buy your chestnuts biled," said Mr. Snow to Abimelech, who was about investing a penny in that little brown commodity, " 'cause the raw ones want looking after, and the wormy ones you have to throw away; but with the biled ones it don't make no difference—worms can't hurt when they're biled."

"You want a flogging, that's what you do," said a parent to his unruly son. "I know it, dad, but I'll try to get along without it."

Who was Scipio's wife? Mississippi-o, of course.

"There's nothing like leather!" is an old saying and a true one. It is the sole support of man.

It has been ascertained that the "man who held on to the last" was a shoemaker.

A darkey's instructions for putting on a coat were," "Fust de right arm, den de lef, and den gib one general conwulshun."


Now, Terence, have done wid yer tasing, Do be aisy, and let me alone;

It's the skin from me fingers ye're squazing; Sure ye think they're as hard as yer own!

I'm worried to death wid yer prating, And frighten'd clane out of me life; So pray don't be idly consating

You'll ever catch me for a wife.

What is it ye say?—that I'm joking?

That ye won't budge an inch from me side? Indade, now, ye're mighty provoking,

And I don't know which way to decide.

I'm just like a bird that the fowler

Is coaxing down into his snare;

Och, Terence! ye sly, schaming prowler,

Ye're hurting me lips, I declare!

Lave off, Sir! How dare ye to do it!

I suppose, as ye will have yer way,

I'd better (but, mind use, yell rue it!)

Plase yer whim by just naming the day.

Don't think it's for love I'mconsenting—

Och, murther! you're stopping me breath—

But only in hopes of preventing

Meself being bother'd to death!

As two gentlemen were discussing the merits of a popular preacher, one of them remarked, "He always prays for the widows and orphans, but never says any thing about widowers." The other, an inveterate old bachelor, replied, "Perhaps it would be more appropriate to return thanks for them."

An Irish guide told Dr. Janes Johnson, who wished for a reason why Echo was always of the feminine gender, that maybe it was because she always had the last word."

"When things get to the worst they generally take a turn for the better." This proverb applies more particularly to a lady's silk dress—when she can not get a new one.

Some philosophers were disputing very learnedly on the antiquity of the world. A man of wit, tired of their long discussion, said, "Gentlemen, I believe the world acts like some ladies, and does not choose to have her age discovered."

Mrs. Gubbidge was recently thrown into ecstasies on being told that she resembled the wife of Socrates. She had heard of him, and thought it highly complimentary to be told that she resembled the wife of so great a man!

An eating-house keeper, who kept a "Rest-your-Aunt," as the French call a cook-shop, and who prided himself on his ability to get up the best dinners to be had any where, wishing to give the public the full benefit of his knowledge, perpetrated the following 'sign:" "Try my dinners —they can't be beat." In an evil hour, however, a wicked crag came along and dextrously painted over the initial letter of the last word. The announcement then was—"Try my dinners—they can't be eat."

Fontenelle lived to be nearly a hundred years old. A lady, of nearly the same age, said to him one day in a large company, "Monsieur, you and I stay here so long that I have a notion Death has forgotten us." "Speak as low as you can," said Fontenelle, "lest you should remind him of us!"

"Why, Jane," said a lady to her Hibernian assistant, "don't pour that water on the tea; it has not boiled yet." Och, yes, marrn, it's biled. It biled like any thing this mornin' before breakfast, an' I saved the wather a purpose for the tay this avenin'."

Tom Moore is the author of the following gushing little epigram, which has been credited to a dozen others:

"They say thine eyes, like sunny skies,

The chief attraction form;

I see no sunshine in those eyes,

They take me all by storm."

"What do you propose to take for your cold?" said a lady to a sneezing gentleman. "Oh, I'll sell it very cheap; I won't higgle about the price at all."

An Irishman was brought up before a magistrate for the East Riding on a charge of vagrancy, and was thus questioned:

"What trade are you?"

"Sure, now, your Honor, I'm a sailor."

"You in the sea-faring line? I question whether you have ever been to sea in your life."

"Sure, now, and does your Honor think I came over from Ireland in a waggin?"

"Commit him—commit him."

A woman's tears are generally more effective than her words. In such cases, wind is a less powerful element than water.

That was a stoutish woman, the widow of the tower-keeper at Andernach, whom his successor in office was obliged to marry, as she was too fat to be got out of the building either by door or window.

When may a man be said to be "dressed in borrowed plumes?"—When he's tarred and feathered.

"Can't change a dollar bill, eh? Well, I'm glad of that. I've had thirty-six drinks on it in three days, and it may stand a good deal of wear and tear yet!"

AN INSINUATION.—A boarder was seen to pick something out of a sausage he was eating. "What is it, Ben?" asked a boarder, sitting opposite. "A little piece of bark, I believe," replied Ben. "Well, old fellow, it's my opinion you'd better not hunt any longer, or you might find a growl pretty soon."

An advertising chandler at Liverpool modestly says, that, "without intending any disparagement to the sun, he may confidently assert that his octagonal spermaceti are the best lights ever invented."

"I am surprised, my dear, that I have never seen you blush." "The fact is, husband, I was born to blush unseen."

A poor man once came to a miser and said, "I have a favor to ask." "So have I," said the miser; "grant mine first." "Agreed." "My request is," said the miser, "that you ask me for nothing."

"Caught in her own net," as the man said when he saw one of the fair sex hitched in her crinoline.

Although you count yourself a brighter fellow than I am, yet I can come round you," as the earth said to the sun.

Praise is the handmaid of virtue, but the maid is much oftener wooed than the mistress.



THE Army of the Potomac continues to advance into Virginia. General Burnside was last heard of at Purcellville. At 11 A.M. on 31st General Pleasanton came up with the enemy's cavalry and artillery at Philomont, and engaged them. The fight was conducted wholly by artillery, and lasted about five hours, when the rebels retreated to Union, a small town three miles beyond. Our loss in this affair was but one man killed and fourteen wounded. On the morning of 2d General Pleasanton renewed his attack at Union, and being soon afterward reinforced by a brigade of infantry, at one o'clock the rebels again fell back, and our forces occupied Union. Another portion of our army took possession of Snicker's Gap on 2d.


Official dispatches from General Marcy recount the results of our advance to Snicker's Gap. When General Hancock arrived at the Gap it was held by the enemy's cavalry, who were driven out by a strong force of nearly six thousand of our infantry. The rebels made an effort to retake this important position, but were again driven back by the fire of our rifled guns, and at six o'clock in the afternoon, on 3d, General Marcy says that General McClellan was in full possession of the Gap. The rebel forces of Generals Jackson and Hill are reported to be in the opposite valley.

Meantime General Pleasanton has been pushing his reconnoissances forward with much effect. After the artillery firing ceased between him and Stuart in front of Philomont, on Sunday afternoon, the rebels came out into an apple orchard and fired from behind the trees. They were finally repulsed—we losing one man killed and fourteen wounded. Immediately after the occupation of Philomont General Pleasanton sent a detachment of the Eighth Pennsylvania cavalry, under Major Keenan, down the road leading toward Bloomfield. When they approached the woods, about a mile distant, artillery opened upon them. Presently the enemy brought two guns out in a field to the left of the road and continued the fire. A section of Lieutenant Pennington's battery was brought up on the hill near the town and returned the enemy's fire with fine effect. Our cavalry engaged their skirmishers, and after a fight of four hours the enemy were driven from their position. General McClellan and his staff got a splendid reception from the troops on visiting the front at Purceliville.


A dispatch dated Centreville, November 3, says: "General Sickles, with Patterson's Brigade, has driven the rebels from Manassas and Bull Run, below Bristow Station, and will probably encamp near Warrenton Junction tonight. The railroad to Alexandria has been repaired, the train rescued, and cars run now as usual to this point."


On the evening of 3d our cavalry drove the rebels out of Thoroughfare Gap, and General Schurz's Division advanced and took possession of it. The other divisions of Sigel's force, under Stahl and Van Steinwehr, were within supporting distance, and our cavalry also held Budsland Mills, Aldie, and the country between the latter point and the front of General Sigel's advance. Our troops now hold all the gaps up to Ashby's.


The correspondent of the Philadelphia Press writes from Harper's Ferry, under date of October 30: "The Army of the Potomac will in future consist of three grand armies, nine corps, thirty divisions, seventy brigades. The first grand army will consist of the corps d'armee of Major-Generals Reynolds (late Hooker), Fitz-John Porter, and W. B. Franklin, and will be commanded by the senior Major-General, Joseph Hooker. The second army will consist of the corps d'armee of Major-Generals Couch (late Sumner), O. G. Wilcox (late Burnside), Slocum (late Banks), and will be commanded by senior Major-General Ambrose Everett Burnside. The third grand army will consist of the corps d'armee of Major-General Cox and two others now organized, and to whom permanent commanders have not yet been assigned by the President. This army will be commanded by senior Major-General Edwin V. Sumner."


The rebel army in Northern Virginia is composed of two grand armies, under Lieutenant-Generals Jackson and Longstreet, consisting of four. corps d'areeJe, of twelve brigades each, with artillery. The rebel cavalry arm forms a division, under command of Major-General Stuart, who makes any detail for, or executes any order from, General Lee, and is entirely under the control of the Commanding General, this cavalry being an independent organization.


The State election was held in this State on Tuesday, 4th inst. From the returns thus far received it appears that Horatio Seymour (Democrat) has carried the State by a small majority over James S. Wadsworth (Republican). In this city Seymour has a majority of about 31,000 over Wadsworth, showing a Democratic gain, in one year, equal to 48,000 votes. The Democrats have elected all their Congressmen in this city and the river counties. Among others, the following members have been elected:

Names.   Politics.

District 1—Henry S. Stebbins    Democrat.

" 2—Martin Kalbfliesch   Democrat.

" 3—Moses F. Odell    Democrat.

" 4—Benjamin Wood    Democrat.

" 5—Fernando Wood    Democrat.

" 6—Elijah Ward    Democrat.

" 7—John W. Chanler   Democrat.

" 8—James Brooks   Democrat.

" 9—Anson Herrick    Democrat.

" 10—W. Radford ....................Democrat.

" 11—Charles H. Winfield .......Democrat.

" 12—Homer A. Nelson    ...... Democrat.

" 13—John B. Steele    Democrat.

" 14—Erastus Corning   Democrat.

" 15—John A. Griswold   Democrat.

" 17—Calvin T. Hurlburd .....Republican.

" 21—Francis Kernan    Democrat.

" 26—Giles W. Hotchkiss ......Republican.

" 28—Freeman Clark ...............Republican.

The returns from the interior are, as yet, imperfect and inconclusive. As far as yet heard from Seymour's majority foots up about 15,000, with a large number of Republican constituencies to hear from. The election passed off very quietly in this city and throughout the State.


We have as yet no returns from Illinois. From Massachusetts we learn that Governor Andrew (Republican) is elected by a large majority over Devens (People's Union). In Jersey it is estimated that the Democrats have swept the State, following the example of Ohio and Indiana.


A new military department has been created, called the Department of the Cumberland, in which General Rosecrans has been assigned the chief command. It comprises the State of Tennessee, east of the Tennessee River, and such parts of Northern Alabama and Georgia as may be taken possession of by the United States troops. This command constitutes the Fourteenth Army corps, and that now under General U. S. Curtis the Thirteenth.


The pirate Alabama, alias "290," is now close upon our coast. From intelligence received by the brig Baron de Castine at Boston, on 2d, it appears that she captured no less than seven vessels within a few weeks past, and destroyed them all except two, which Captain Semmes released upon the masters giving bonds, one of them, the ship Tonawanda, in eighty thousand dollars, and the other, the brig Baron de Castine, in six thousand, payable to the President of the Confederate States after peace is established. The last appearance of the Alabama was in latitude 39° north, longitude 69° west, off the capes of the Delaware, and directly in the track of the California steamers. This formidable craft has captured since she got to sea no less than twenty-two vessels, nineteen of which were destroyed and the rest bonded and released.


Orders have been received at the Brooklyn Navy-yard to dispatch to sea at once three men-of-war, of which the Vanderbilt is one. The others are the United States steamer Dacotah, one of the vessels of the regular navy, and the ship Ino, a craft pretty heavily armed.


General Ormsby McKnight Mitchell, the great astronomer and gallant soldier, died at Port Royal, South Carolina, on 30th October, of yellow fever. The disease is said to be very prevalent there.


Notwithstanding the vigilance of our gun-boats, we find that the British steamers Gladiator, Minho, and Ouchita, all laden with cotton from the South, had run out of port at Bermuda for England. False signals were thrown out from the shore in order to decoy the Union vessels from their station just as the Minho sailed. They had the effect desired by the English sympathizers and traders with the rebels.


We learn from Port Royal that two Anglo-rebel steamers—the Anglia and Scotia—were captured on the 27th ult. by our cruisers. The latter is valued at $600,000, and the former at $300,000. Both prizes were taken into Port Royal. The rebel steamer Minnaho was chased and driven ashore at the same time. She was bound for Charleston with stores for the rebels.


In the New Orleans Delta of the 23d we find a brief account of the expedition which captured Sabine Pass, of which we have already received some intelligence from the rebels. This affair was a most brilliant one throughout, reflecting great credit upon all engaged in it—excepting the rebels. The vessels engaged were the United steamer Kensington, Acting-Master Crocker commanding; the United States schooner packet Seaman, and the bomb-schooner Jonas, Captain Pennington. The expedition, within fifteen days, captured one fort and two camps, and burned thirty buildings used as barracks and store-houses, containing a large amount of ammunition and provisions. It also captured four schooners, two sloops, and one steamer, besides quite a number of sunken vessels, which were burned.


Rear-Admiral D. D. Porter has issued orders that "any vessel that may be fired on by guerrillas, or other persons, will do all damage in her power to the vicinity from which she was attacked, in order to repress the outrageous practice of guerrilla warfare.


The rebel General Hindman, it appears, is in prison at Little Rock, Arkansas, and is soon to be conveyed to Richmond for trial on a series of charges preferred by General Albert Pike, of scalping notoriety. It is charged that he obtained a million of dollars from the banks of Memphis on the assumed authority of Beauregard; that after getting possession of the money he issued some "most extraordinary military orders," among others that the wells should be poisoned throughout the country where the Union forces of General Curtis were expected to pass.


On the 22d, Governor Stanly, the Union Governor of North Carolina, by flag of truce, dispatched a communication to the rebel Governor Vance, proposing an interview, without any ceremony or raising any questions of dignity or rank between himself and Governor Vance. If the above proposition should be declined, then that commissioners be appointed by Governor Vance for a conference with Governor Stanly upon the present state of public affairs and the aspect of the war.




THE British Cabinet has given a very decided contradiction to Mr. Gladstone's Newcastle theory of Southern nationality; for Sir George C. Lewis, the Secretary of State for War, has made a speech in which he denies the right of the rebel States to European recognition, on the ground that they "have not yet accomplished their independence." Lord Palmerston has delivered speeches, during a rural tour, on a variety of subjects, home and foreign, but did not allude to the American question.


At a meeting of the council of the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce the question of the recognition of the Southern Confederacy cause up for discussion. Mr. M'Fie, one of the members, had given notice of a motion on the subject, intending that a special meeting of the Chamber should have been called to consider the propriety of memorializing Government in favor of the recognition. After some conversation Mr. M'Fie intimated that he wished to recall his intention on the subject—a statement which was received with general satisfaction, several members present observing that the policy maintained by the Government hitherto was the only correct policy to be pursued under the circumstances.



M. Thouvenel, Minister of State of France, has resigned his position in the Emperor's cabinet. M. Thouvenel was regarded as a warm official friend of Mr. Slidell and the Davis government. M. Thouvenel has been succeeded in the French cabinet by Baron Drouyn de l'Huys, a friend of the cause of the United States.



A Berlin correspondent, writing on the 15th of October, gives the points of a very important circular from Secretary Seward, on the subject of intervention, to our Ministers at the European courts. This paper, which is published in the Frankfort Gazette, states that Mr. Lincoln had not at the period of its date received any offer of foreign intervention; but that if such were tendered it would meet with a "categorical refusal," as such interference would only "envenom" the contest and prolong the war.




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