Antietam Aftermath


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, October 18, 1862

This Site features online versions of all the Harper's Weekly newspapers published during the Civil War. This archive serves as a valuable resource for those wishing to develop a more in depth understanding of the important events of the Civil War.

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


Franz Sigel

General Sigel

Southern Reaction to Emancipation Proclamation

Southern Reaction to Emancipation Proclamation

South Reacts to Emancipation proclamation

South Reacts to Emancipation Proclamation


Shelbyville, Tennessee


Williamsport, Maryland

Antietam Aftermath

Battle of Antietam Aftermath

General Nelson

General Nelson

Murder of General Nelson

Murder of General Nelson

Louisville, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky

Blockade Runners

Captured Blockade Runners

Antietam Pictures

Pictures of the Battle of Antietam





OCTOBER 18, 1862.]



(Previous Page) was already accomplished. It was all so strange, so hurried, so dream-like, when I stood up between my kind uncle and aunt the next morning, and my uncle laid my hand in Arthur's, and, trembling from head to foot, I made those solemn vows that bound me to him for life and death.

Once—only once—I heard his dear voice utter the sacred name of "wife"—and then it was all over; my clasping arms were unlocked from his neck with tender and gentle force, my husband's first and last kisses were showered upon my face—and he was gone!

Was this the end of my faithful watching and waiting—ceaseless vigils in spirit by an unknown, unhonored grave?

But now neither bitter realities nor tender memories mingled in the sleep to which I sank; for hours my unstirred pillow was as dreamless as that of the dead, and I awoke so rested and so calm that at first they feared the new mood only as a more insidious symptom of mental malady. I had a plan and purpose of life—for a time, at least —which had cone to me as suddenly as an inspiration. I had been denied that which I had coveted—to soothe his pain, to watch by his bed of suffering; but there were those who had suffered in the same holy cause to whom I could minister—his comrades, who, in turn, were far from all they loved.

My aunt called it madness when I told her of my intention to leave my sheltered home with her, and devote myself to the wearing self-sacrificing life of nurse among the hospitals. "My health forbade;" "my strength had never been taxed;" "it was a romance I should soon be cured of;" "they would not undertake the risk to which my life would be exposed." But I had expected opposition, and met it quietly but firmly. An only child, self-will had been long a governing principle, and they finally gave way, believing what I told them, that it was my only escape from madness, the prospect of action, a mind and heart both occupied fully.

I knew he would have approved my course, and what was my ease and comfort that it could not be resigned when Arthur's had been so readily sacrificed? And suppose the worst came—or what they thought so—there was a selfish, cowardly pleasure to me in the thought that I should then be united to him again so soon.

I wanted to put on the mourning-dress which suited my condition, but that they would not allow me. Arthur's relations opposed it "while there was hope." Alas! there had never been hope. Some of them caviled at my purpose, and called it unwomanly; but then they had at my sudden marriage also—dull souls, who made religion of routine and social observance.

It was the first approach to happiness I had known when I put on the plain gray dress which Arthur had always liked so much, calling me his "little nun," and knelt down in the silence of my own room with a vow of consecration to my God and may suffering fellow-creatures; for He accepted it, I knew, blotting out the human weakness of my rebellion. I knew it by the power that I had given me at that moment to look upon the past without bitterness, and the long, weary future without a cowardly shrinking from it.

My dear aunt waited for me below, with tears that she could not restrain; she saw my blighted life in my thin, worn face, and she had tried so hard to make me happy after that first great loss, and be a mother to me. I stood on the spot where I had been made Arthur's wife. How should I return to my home again? How pass through those doors that now closed so reluctantly upon me?

But then all pain was over save meeting my uncle's pitiful looks, from time to time, as we went on our little journey together.

The surgeons did not care to admit me at first—my youth and inexperience were against me; but my uncle told them my story with a faltering voice, and I pleaded so humbly for the least and lowest office, that they allowed me to remain. My narrow, comfortless quarters were assigned me, and my longed-for task began.

The first day tried my resolution to the utmost; the long rows of sufferers, the wan and wasted faces, the pitiful imploring looks from eyes that followed me as I passed, the sickening sight of maimed and wounded limbs, the ghastly stump cushioned into sight and coolness, the ravings of delirium, the wan, ashen faces of the dying!—oh, my God, that such scenes should be!—repeated with unvarying sameness through those long, dull wards—through miles of wards like these all over our land! And then I saw his sufferings in theirs. Ah! I could not close my eyes, could not compose my limbs to sleep; could only start, and turn, and pray for them and for those they loved, and for my country, all those long wakeful hours.

After that I entered into my work with the exceeding comfort I had expected, and an eager interest in individual suffering that surprised me. When I first came upon the empty bed of one who had been my peculiar care, and who had passed beyond the reach of all ministry, I wept as if I had lost a brother. I forgot aching limbs and weary head when moistening lips blackened by fever, cooling the stiffened bandages, or turning the heated pillow. The close, heavy air ceased to sicken me, my nerves shrank no longer at cries of pain or sight of gaping wound, if so I could prepare a cordial or bathe the sinking pulse back to life again.

Two weeks had passed, and I had won the confidence of the surgeon who had opposed my admission most decidedly. He was abrupt and cold in his manner, but he had a warm and feeling heart; these men had found it out beneath his brusque exterior, for no woman's touch was more gentle, though so firm and rapid in all that required to be done.

I had never obtruded myself upon him, but I noticed, with a pleasure like the award of commendation, that he began to intrust his orders to me more and more; that he singled me out for cases that required the most constant watchfulness.

This day he said to me, after giving his directions, "You have not broken down yet, poor thing! poor young thing!"

It was as if my father had pitied and caressed me; but it was so unlooked-for that I almost gave way to tears before him.

That same afternoon I found myself passing a ward that had been prepared some days for new arrivals, just as they were bringing in those sad and touching burdens. Men helpless as infants clung to the arms that supported them, or tottered to the beds prepared for them like little children just learning to walk; stretchers as ghastly as biers passed and repassed with those to whom all places were alike, so that motion would cease and they might be allowed to die in peace; others moaned or shrieked at the torture of the tenderest touch; and all were, without exception, squalid and wretched to the last degree. I wondered to see them so, even while I passed from one to another with restoratives; but still I had not heard that they were paroled prisoners, fresh from the filth and privations of the rebel capital. No; there was not even a tremor of possible hope that I might hear his name or his story among that suffering crowd, as one by one passed before me.

I stooped at length over a wan and wasted figure laid upon the bed in the most remote corner. The face was hollow and emaciated, the eyeballs sunken, the dry lips black and parched by fever; the dark hair and heavy beard were closely shaven; the thin hands clasped together, as if death had already released this poor sufferer. I thought it must be so at first; but as I bent down more closely the eyelids were feebly lifted, the lips quivered painfully.

"Yes—it is heaven!"

I caught the feeble, wandering whisper; but, oh, my Heavenly Father! was my mind wandering too?—had pity clouded my brain?

They must have thought I had gone mad! Perhaps the kind surgeon thought so when he turned, the moment after, to find me kneeling by the bed with that poor, wasted, shriveled face cradled in my arms, and my passionate outcries for help startling the painful quiet around us, for life seemed to have flickered and gone out with the look of recognition which I had caught.

I had said—oh how often!—that I would be content if he could die in my arms; and there he lay, slipping away from me into eternity!

I knew it was best, when they unwound my arms as he had done on that blessed morning, and the surgeon lifted me as if I had been a child and carried me from the room; but I crouched down by the door, blessing the falling darkness that sheltered me, and when he had passed out I crept back again to that bedside. Surely we might be trusted: we did not exchange one word! Sight and touch were sufficient; the grateful, almost adoring looks from those large, brilliant eyes, as my hand passed softly over his forehead, wooing for him the sleep that would save him, and praying that it might avail. And at last the lids fell softly, the hand that I clasped sank away, the painfully tense expression faded from his face; and I began to find that it was no cheating dream, but a blessed, hopeful reality, that Arthur had been given back to me from the dead!

How did I return to the home I had left with such a breaking heart? As a bride indeed, with the blessed consciousness that, but for my presence and watchful care, Arthur would have been at that moment lying among the crowded unknown dead of a soldiers' burial-ground. There had been no trace of his name or home, for the fever had been on him when he went out to the battle-field, and he was carried away from it to a prison shelter, wounded and raving in delirium.

Think of the change in my heart and life when I entered the room in which I had suffered those long, slow weeks of torture; when I knelt by the white-robed bed, too speechlessly thankful for words or tears, with Arthur's arm clasping me, and his dear voice thanking God for both of us, and for the strange deliverance which He had wrought!



DYING lies young Effie Logan

While the snow-drops spring:—

Though her lily hand, so wasted,

Wears no bridal ring,

Yet a babe unto her white breast

Tenderly doth cling!


She is dreaming of the false one,

And the traitor's vow

That beguil'd her heart so trusting—

Trusting even now!

"He will come!" she softly murmurs—

Death dews on her brow


Lo! a Chief spurs o'er the heather,

And the draw-bridge falls,
And a stately step is sounding

Through Glenallen's halls.


Well she knew that haughty footfall—

With a sobbing cry

Stretching wide her arms so wasted—

"Kiss me ere I die!


"Fold me fondly to your bosom!

Clasp me closer still!

Let me feel my true-love's kisses

Though his kiss doth kill!


"Though my woes of hope bereft me,

Did my sore heart break?

No! I lived—that bliss was left me—

For thy bairnie's sake!


"Fast my soul is fleeting homeward

From this weary strife

By the babe that calls ye FATHER—

By my ruined life

Let the stone among the daisies

Bear the name of WIFE!


"Bring the priest and wed me, Gordon,

If ye love me still!"

See, his proud, wild heart is heaving

With a softer thrill;

With a pang he kiss'd her white lips—

"By Christ's love I will!"

*   *   *   *   *


When the clans swept down to battle

On Culloden's day,

Gallant Gordon bravely perish'd,

Foremost in the fray:

With his tartan pierced and bloody,

On the muir he lay.


Effie and her babe are resting

From this weary strife,

And the stone among the daisies

Bears the name of WIFE.

She hath sinned, and she hath suffered—

Christ absolve her life.


WE reproduce on page 660 a picture by our special artist, Mr. Mosier, representing THE ENTRY OF BUELL'S ARMY INTO LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY; on page 661 another picture, also by Mr. Mosler, showing the MOVEMENT OF VETERANS ON THE OHIO; and on the same page a sketch by Mr. Hubner, representing SHELBYVILLE, the only Union town in Tennessee.

Buell entered Louisville on September 25. The Herald correspondent, writing on that day, said:

I have to announce the junction of the main portion of the United States forces under General Buell, and the army under General Nelson, assembled for the immediate defense of this city. The advance of General Buell reached the city today, and is going into temporary camp on the eastern limits of the town. The advance consisted of General Crittenden's division. It is followed by those of McCook, Smith (formerly Ammen's), and Wood. General Buell reached here during last night, and will to-day assume the command of all the forces in the vicinity. A new organization of the two armies into one will doubtless ensue.

Speaking of Buell's rapid march from Green River, the same writer says:

The march from Green River has been made in the rear of Bragg, and battle has been several times offered him, but we have had no response. The whole march has had the appearance of a rapid retreat on the part of Bragg, but General Buell, as if designing to push him as far North as possible, has pursued slowly. The theory of an officer on General Crittenden's staff, with whom I have conversed is, that Bragg has been retreating ever since he reached Glasgow and made an attack on Munfordsville. Failing in his first attempt, the rebel moved up in force and took the position to find that Buell was in line of battle in his rear on Thursday morning. Too late to fall back to Glasgow, Bragg hastily moved forward to Elizabethtown, and, on Thursday night, made a forced march, evacuating Munfordsville in such haste that he did not destroy the railroad bridge at that point. General Buell did not discover this until next morning, when he immediately moved forward. Thomas's corps—Rousseau and Schoepff —by the Glasgow and Bardstown road, and Wood, McCook, Crittenden, and Ammen (now Smith), by the road to Elizabethtown.

Colonel Edward McCook, Second Indiana cavalry, had the advance of the main column in Bragg's rear. He began to feel Bragg at Bacon Creek, and skirmished with him for three days. Major William H. Polk, volunteer aid on General Crittenden's staff, describes this skirmishing on the part of Colonel McCook as exceedingly skillful and successful. He moved with rapidity, and was every where at the same time. He boldly attacked the rebel flanks, and made gallant dashes and charges upon the retreating column. Colonel McCook and his men were in the saddle night and day, and harassed the enemy most terribly. He killed a large number, and has brought in over seven hundred prisoners. He states that among the rebels killed in skirmishing with Bragg's rear were Colonel Forsyth, formerly editor of the Mobile Register, and on Bragg's staff; Major Wicks, of Hardee's staff; Lieutenant-Colonel Brown, in command of Bragg's rear-guard, and two captains. Among the prisoners are several majors and two captains. The privates, do many instances, were stragglers, but many were taken in actual skirmish. Colonel Edward McCook is a member of the McCook family. It is not ridiculous or obscure language I use when I say he is a son of old McCook, for the name is historical, and the old man and all his sons have made their mark in this war.

The picture on page 661 needs no description. As soon as it was known that the rebel armies were moving northward through Kentucky portions of our veterans were quietly sent north, on transports up the Mississippi and the Ohio, and distributed among the new levies at Louisville and Cincinnati. These are the troops who fought at Fort Donelson and Shiloh. Their arrival and their thoroughly soldierly aspect gave heart and hope to the frightened denizens of those cities.

Of Mr. Hubner's picture of Shelbyville the artist says: "Shelbyville is the county seat of Bedford County, in Middle Tennessee. It is not only noted for its beauty, but for the loyalty of its inhabitants. Shelbyville stands alone in the rebel States true to the Union. To the Federal soldier, on his march through the rebellious States, Shelbyville is like an oasis to a traveler in a great desert. Your correspondent had the pleasure of entering Shelbyville with the advance-guard of General Mitchell's division, it being the first to penetrate Middle Tennessee and Northern Alabama. The citizens shouted for joy at the sight of the columns of Union men. Flags were waved from the principal public buildings and most of the private residences. Unlike most portions of the South, the wealthiest and most influential persons of the town are loyal. The accompanying sketch represents the Stars and Stripes waving from a pole erected in the public square by the citizens, and although the place is not at present occupied by Union troops, the national banner still waves in defiance of the threats of rebellious citizens and guerrillas of the State. The names of such men

as Wisener, Warren, and others deserve to be perpetuated in history for their unyielding fidelity to the great republic. Their sacrificing spirit should nerve up the loyal men of the North, and be an example to the weak-kneed Union men of the South.

"The kind hospitality of the citizens of Shelbyville will never be forgotten by the Union soldier whose good fortune it has been to enter the place."


THE illustration of the Prize Fleet, which we publish on page 668, by no means includes all the steamers captured by our naval forces, but only refers to those at present in our harbor.

The largest of the fleet is the CIRCASSIAN, formerly one of the Galway line of steamers. She is about 2300 tons, and is a very fast and stanch vessel. She was captured in the Gulf, with an assorted cargo on board, bound for rebeldom. She is at present at the Navy-yard, where she will be put in order for the purpose, it is said, of carrying out the first colored emigrants to Chiriqui.

Next in size is the MEMPHIS, also a British-built steamer, which was captured off Charleston on the 21st of July, 1862, by the Magnolia, formerly a rebel steamer. The Memphis was libeled August 8, and purchased by the Navy Department for a cruiser. She is at the Navy-yard, and is a splendid specimen of naval architecture.

The STETTIN is also at the Navy-yard, to be fitted for naval service. She was captured on the 24th of May, 1862, off the coast of South Carolina, by the Bienville. She was loaded with munitions of war in great abundance.

The ELIZABETH, a wooden vessel, has borne at least half a dozen names, among the number that of the General Miramon. She was captured, with a full cargo of war materials, on the 27th of May, by the steamer Keystone State.

The PATRAS was captured near Bull's Bay, South Carolina, on the 27th of May, by the Bienville, and was libeled April 21. Her cargo consisted of hardware, quinine, powder, arms, lead, etc.

The TUBAL CAIN was captured at sea on the 24th of July, by Commander D. D. Porter, in the Octorora. She was loaded with arms and munitions of war.

The ANN was captured on the 17th of July, by the Susquehanna, Kanawha, and Preble. She had a large cargo of powder, and some arms and medicines.

The ELLA WARLY, formerly the Isabel of Charleston, was captured on the 24th of April, by the St. Jago de Cuba, and was libeled June 4, 1862. Her cargo consisted of arms, skins, copper, paper, cigars, and powder.

The ship ALLIANCE was captured by the army under General Burnside at Morehead city, North Carolina, May 12, 1862, when she was awaiting an opportunity to run the blockade. Her cargo consisted of rosin, turpentine, and pitch. She was turned over to Captain Lockwood, senior naval officer in command.

A large fleet of sailing vessels are now in the harbor awaiting the action of the United States Marshal.

Our neutral friend John Bull has unwillingly contributed somewhat to the increase of our navy.


WE reproduce on pages 664 and 665 a number of photographs of the Battle of Antietam, taken by the well-known and enterprising photographer, Mr. M. B. Brady, of this city. The following description of these wonderfully lifelike pictures is from one who knew the ground:

The first of these pictures—the large view of Antietam creek and bridge, the crossing of which General Burnside effected at such a fearful sacrifice of life—exhibits little or no traces of the conflict. The spot is just as lovely and tranquil as when last we visited it. Artistically speaking, the picture is one of the most beautiful and perfect photograph landscapes that we have seen. The tone is clear and firm, but soft, and every object is brought out with remarkable distinctness. Next to it is a smaller photograph, some seven inches square, which tells a tale of desperate contention. Traversing it is seen a high rail fence, in the fore-ground of which are a number of dead bodies grouped in every imaginal position, the stiffened limbs preserving the same attitude as that maintained by the sufferers in their last agonies. Minute as are the features of the dead, and unrecognizable by the naked eye, you can, by bringing a magnifying glass to bear on them, identify not merely their general outline, but actual expression. This, in many instances, is perfectly horrible, and shows through what tortures the poor victims must have passed before they were relieved from their sufferings.

Another photograph exhibits a deep trench or gully, one side of which had been protected by a strong fence, the rails of which are seen scattered about. Lying transversely in its depths, where they have evidently fallen in attempting to cross, are piles of rebel dead, many of them shoeless and in rags. On the left bank are a number of persons examining the spot with curious interest, visitors probably from some of the Northern cities.

A poetic and melancholy interest attaches to the next scene that we come to. There is such a dash of sentiment in it that it looks more like an artistic composition than the reproduction of an actuality. A new-made grave occupies the centre of the picture, a small head and foot board, the former with lettering, defining its limits. Doubled up near it, with the features almost distinguishable, is the body of a little drummer-boy who was probably shot down on the spot. How it happens that it should have been left uninterred, while the last honors were paid to one of his comrades, we are unable to explain. Gazing on the body, with a pitying interest, stands in civilian's attire one of those seedy, shiftless-looking beings, the first glance at whom detects an ill-spent career and hopeless future. It is some time, perhaps, since that blunted nature has been moved by such deep emotion as it betrays at this mournful sight.

We now pass on to a scene of suffering of another character, where, under tents, improvised by blankets stretched on fence-rails, we see the wounded receiving the attentions of the medical staff. Next to it is a bleak landscape, on which the shadows of evening are rapidly falling, revealing, in its dim light, a singular spectacle. It is that of a row of dead bodies, stretching into the distance, in the form of an obtuse angle, and so mathematically regular that it looks as if a whole regiment were swept down in the act of performing some military evolution. Here and there are beautiful stretches of pastoral scenery, disfigured by the evidences of strife, either in the form of broken caissons, dead horses, or piles of human corpses. In one place a farm-house offers visible marks of the hot fire of which it was the centre, the walls being battered in and the lintels of the windows and doors broken.




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