Discussion of the Emancipation Proclamation


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, October 11, 1862

Welcome to our online collection of Civil War Harper's Weekly newspapers. These newspapers serve as an incredible research resource for the serious student of the Civil War. These papers are full of incredible illustrations and stories made by the people who saw it all happen.

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Emancipation Proclamation Discusssion

 Emancipation Proclamation Article

Lincoln Suspends Writ of Habeas Corpus


War in the Southwest

Battle of Antietam Map

Map of the Battle of Antietam


Jackson, Tennessee



Louisville Evacuation

Louisville Evacuation


Maryland Battery at Antietam

Antietam Dead and Wounded

The Dead and Wounded at Antietam



Antietam Battlefield

Antietam Battlefield

Lincoln Cartoon

Lincoln Cartoon

Antietam Battle

Antietam Battle










[OCTOBER 11, 1862.



AH me! I've had enough of thee,

Maryland, my Maryland!

Dear land! Thou art too dear for me,

Maryland, my Maryland!

I'll take the nearest ford and go, I'll leave thee, darling, to the foe,

But do not let him kick me so,

Maryland, my Maryland!

You've dashed my hopes, ungrateful State, Maryland, my Maryland!

Go! bless your stars I came too late,
Maryland, you understand!

I meant to dress you well in black,

And scar you with the battle's track,

And I had scourges for your back,

Maryland, my contraband!

Oh where are Longstreet, Hill, and Lee?

Maryland, my Maryland!

And "Stonewall" Jackson, where is he?

Maryland, my Maryland!

Four coat-tails streaming in the breeze,

And that is all a body sees;

Better than dangling from the trees,

Maryland, my Maryland!

Gray geese are flying southward, ho!

Maryland, O Maryland!
It's getting cold up there, you know,

Maryland, O Maryland!

I should have thought it rather warm,

South Mountain yonder took by storm, Antietam yielded in alarm,

Maryland, O Maryland!

Blood-red my hand, and dead my heart,

Native land, my native land! Columbia from her grave will start,

Murder'd land, my murder'd land!

Thy flag is like a sword of fire,

I'll fly, I'll fly its vengeful ire,

Beneath its stroke its foes expire,

Native land, my native land!




THE contest for Governor in this State possesses an importance scarcely second to that of the contest in the field on the banks of the Potomac or in the plains of Kentucky. A singular chance has arrayed the two parties who divide the North squarely and fairly against each other.

HORATIO SEYMOUR is a man of large political experience and decided ability. He has been Governor. His integrity has not been questioned. Whatever be the character of his leading supporters, his own is without stain. He presents himself as a war Democrat. He is in favor of the prosecution of the war. Though he rather intimates, in his speech accepting the nomination, that the responsibility for the war rests with the North, not the South—in other words, that it was the sheep's fault he was so tender, and the wolf couldn't help eating him—he is ready to overlook the initial fault committed by the Northern people, and to accept their cause with all its demerits.

JAMES S. WADSWORTH is a farmer of large means: born rich, handsomely educated, now a millionaire. Inexperienced in political life, he first loomed into notice when, fifteen months ago, he chartered and loaded a steamer with provisions for our troops, then beleaguered at Annapolis. Since then he has become a General, and it is charged against him that, while under the command of McClellan, he spoke and wrote in such wise as to bring his commander into disrepute; that he disapproved of his policy, and was so reckless of discipline as to sneer publicly and privately at his being in command of the army. For the rest, General Wadsworth has fairly described himself as having been chosen by a Convention of men who were in earnest because they knew that he was in earnest.

If it can be substantiated that General Wadsworth is an enemy of General McClellan, and that while acting under his orders he worked with the politicians who were bent on undermining and ruining him, and wrote and spoke publicly against his commanding officer, he will lose a large number of votes which he would otherwise have polled. At the hour we write an immense majority of the people of New York believe that General McClellan is not only an able General, but is the best General we have for the command of the Army of the Potomac, and that he has been hardly used by the politicians at Washington. It the McClellan issue be fairly raised, and Wadsworth be placed before the people as the champion of the anti-McClellan party, he will lose not only the entire Democratic, but a large proportion of the Republican vote.

With regard to Seymour a new issue has been raised by the President's proclamation of freedom to the slaves. Is Horatio Seymour ready to stand upon that proclamation? If he is, and if Wadsworth can be identified, fairly and honestly, with the politicians who hampered

McClellan, then the chances of the Democratic party will be very fair indeed.

But if Seymour can not stand upon the President's proclamation, it will become the clearest duty of every loyal citizen to vote against him, and to see to it that for the honor of the State of New York he is defeated by an overwhelming majority.

In time of peace honest men divide on questions of minor importance, and of local or temporary policy, without involving any question of their loyalty. In time of war there can be but two parties—the party in favor of the country, and the party in favor of the enemy. Any man who opposes the Government on fundamental questions of public policy, at the present crisis, is a public enemy and an ally of the rebels. There may have been, and there may be, many points upon which honest citizens may differ with the President. But this is not the time to discuss them. The question now is, whether the nation shall be saved or lost? Those who are in favor of its being saved will support the recognized Government even in measures which they do not heartily approve. Those who are in favor of its being lost will assail the Government by opposing its policy, and thus crippling its efforts to maintain the Union.

On and after 1st January next the war will be carried on not only for the restoration of the Union, but for the protection of over three million black men in the enjoyment of liberty. Can Horatio Seymour heartily help to prosecute the war on this basis? If he can not, then he is an enemy of the United States, and if New York elects him, it will be a triumph for Jefferson Davis.



THE President's proclamation was discussed elsewhere in this paper last week. But every tongue that speaks or hand that writes will have a word to say of an act which is in itself simply just, but which in its results becomes sublime.

Nearly four millions of innocent human beings, against every instinct of justice and humanity, and in direct contradiction of the fundamental principle of this Government, are held as slaves and counted as property by the local law of certain States. The owners of these slaves, foreseeing that the natural increase of population in a nation of laboring men would limit a system of forced labor which can not live except by directly competing with free labor, and knowing that the limitation of slavery is its death, rose in rebellion against the Government of the people, hoping either to win a separation or to fatigue the people into granting a perpetual guarantee for slavery.

Meanwhile the system itself, as it was the source of the war, became its strength. It supplies the armies which fight against the country. It is more the strength of the rebellion than the cannon and powder and ball which mangle and murder the loyal citizens who oppose it with arms. The Government of the United States does not hesitate to seize and appropriate all those guns and that ammunition, and to take the lives of those who use them just as fast and as far as it can. And in obedience to the same necessity, and acting by the same right, it will destroy the assistance which slavery gives to the rebellion just as fast and as far as possible.

The act is in itself a military measure, dictated by common sense. In its scope it is a national purification. Its temporary intention is the maintenance of the Union and the Government. Its ultimate result is permanent peace and prosperity, founded upon the only principle that can secure either. Had the slaveholders trusted to political and constitutional means, they could not have evaded but they could have delayed the result. When they rushed to arms they gave the Government, under the Constitution, the right and the power to strike the system directly. And after due warning, after the ripening of the popular conviction that the blow must fall, at the very moment when it would tell most truly, the word is spoken, the honor of the nation is pledged, and the rebellion, and despotic Europe sympathizing with it, see the religious earnestness of a people which moves gradually, wisely, irresistibly to its triumph.

Like the old statue of the God which had one foot of marble and one of clay, so stood the Union, strong with its marble foot of Liberty, weak with the clay of Slavery. Failing and breaking from that weakness, the great statue itself tottered to its fall. But from the clouds and terror of that wild upheaval it emerges radiant, supreme, steadfast forever, both feet of spotless marble.


AT the dinner of the Phi Beta Kappa Society of Harvard University, in July last, after General Devens had made a stirring speech, and Holmes, in a clear, ringing voice, had chanted the fiery music of his battle-lyric, "Never or Now," and the other speakers had all obeyed the imperial impulse of the hour, there was a sudden and loud call for a young man who was trying to escape from the hall —the only retreat he ever willingly attempted—and at last, yielding to the summons, he turned and fronted the company with a bright, ardent smile, while, amidst the shouts and thunders of applause, the President introduced him as Lieutenant-Colonel Wilder Dwight, a prisoner of war, at large upon his parole.

The heroic aspect, the burning words, the passionate appeal he made for honor and liberty, we shall none of us forget. And, now that he shall be seen no more, we remember him as he stood there, the express image of that dauntless daring,

that blithe earnestness, that religious faith, by which alone the great victory is to be won.

At the beginning of the war Lieutenant-Colonel Dwight devoted himself, with the aid of friends, to raising the Massachusetts Second Regiment, of which he went into the field as Major. The regiment was assigned to Banks's division, and, with the exception of a rapid march to cover the retreat from Ball's Bluff, it remained inactive until the advance into the Shenandoah Valley in the early spring. In the retreat from the valley the regiment protected the rear, passing through a sharp engagement in the streets of Winchester, and Major Dwight, commanding the rear-guard. was wounded and captured. He was presently paroled, and upon the elevation of Colonel Gordon to a brigadiership Major Dwight was made Lieutenant-Colonel, and was exchanged in time to join his regiment after the battle of Cedar Mountain, where it was so fearfully cut up. The regiment marched with the army into Maryland, and at the battle of Sharpsburg, after riding triumphantly along the line of his regiment, showing the men the rebel colors they had taken, he was talking with his Colonel, when he was struck by a ball. "Colonel, I think I am hit," he said, reeled, fell, and died after two days.

Wilder Dwight went to the war, with the clearest knowledge of its object, and of the desperation with which it was to be fought. With the most cheerful calmness he looked death in the face: offered his joyous youth, his high hopes, the bright promise of his future, as so many of his friends had. done, a glad sacrifice to God and his fellow-men, and God has accepted it. Oh, not in vain! not in vain! The costly heart's-blood of all these young and brave shall not be wasted. Every sacred drop is counted, every pang of wound or disease remembered, and the cause of human liberty, which is the precious care of the country they died to save from the most cruel barbarism, shall be hallowed forever by the memory of their valor.


ALL political parties in this country are now annihilated. They will, of course, retain their old names and use their old organizations. But the only question now is of the maintenance of the Government. We are all either for it or against it. If we are for it, it can be attained only by supporting the constitutional authorities, and the policy adopted by them. If we are against it, we can serve the cause of disunion only by resisting the measures of the Government.

By resistance we do not mean discussion. These columns have always claimed and exercised the right of candid, loyal debate, just as they have insisted that as in war words are things, the disloyal speeches of persons like Vallandigham and his fellows should be suppressed. But a lukewarm, hesitating, doubtful support of the Government, now that it has declared itself upon the only question about which we differ, is an unhesitating assistance to the national enemy. And circumstances now compel every man to declare himself.

Every close observer of affairs knows that we were drifting in a fog, in which we were likely to be wrecked upon the shoals of compromise. But the fog is lifted. We see the channel and every rock and shallow. To drop the figure, the game of the gentlemen who usurp the name Democratic to annihilate the essential principle of Democracy, was to clamor loudly in support of the Government whose action they thought to be so inefficient that it would disgust the people and incline them to believe that the war could not be successfully ended. They depended upon the fatigue of the war, upon the pressure of the tax, upon the prostration of general trade, upon the old cry of abolitionism, upon the new cry of arbitrary oppression, and upon the feeling of the weakness of the administration, to tire the nation into asking "how can we make this thing up?"

"If we can only get an armistice," said these gentlemen, "and persuade Jeff Davis and his States to send representatives and Senators to Congress, the will try to send enough 'conservative' men to meet them—and to give Davis and Toombs and Floyd and Cobb and Wigfall and Company the guarantees they want. Then will follow the reaction. Any allusion to slavery will be stopped every where. The slave States will be a unit for us. We can count upon the reaction to give us enough power in the free States, and, presto! we are made men! Then we will undo the doings of the last Congress, on the ground that grave measures were passed when half of the country was unrepresented. The bill prohibiting territorial slavery is only an act, and can be repealed. The confiscation act tends to exasperate our lately-goaded brethren—we will strike that off the books. And so, by giving perpetual guarantees to slavery, and securing its unlimited extension, as our worthy and fit leader Mr. Seymour advised us to do before the rebellion broke out, we Democrats, or lovers of the rights of man, will become perpetual cocks of the walk. The first step to all this is to dishearten the people with the war. The course of the Government does that, so we will scoff at its incapacity, but declare that there is nothing left but to support it."

This was the pretty plan. Suddenly comes what the Herald calls "a burst of sunshine." The fog scatters, and, not to speak it irreverently, Messrs. Seymour, Wood, and Co. are caught without their clothes.


Two years ago next December there was a famous meeting at the Academy of Music in favor of the Union. Mr. Charles O'Conor made a speech. He thought the Union endangered by those who insisted that Justice was good policy, and not by those who denied equality of rights. The most striking and eloquent speech of the evening, however, was that of Professor Mitchell, the astronomer, a Kentuckian, and "a conservative," as the word was technically used.

Professor Mitchell is now General Mitchell. He is for the Union now, as he was then. Then he thought it could be saved by words, and his words were fiery. Now he knows that it is to be saved by war, and his theory of war is that it shall hurt. He has served in the Southwest, and no general hurt the enemy or thrilled the country with victory more than he. Why? Because he is thoroughly in earnest: earnest in every conviction, wish, and aspiration of his soul; in every drop of his blood, in every muscle, nerve, and fibre of his frame. He believes in the cause as children in their parents, and Christians in God. He comprehends the scope of the war: its origin, its purpose, and its awful importance. His words burn. They go through his men like flames, and they kindle with the purest enthusiasm. He has the ardor, the conviction, the skill, and rapidity which are irresistible. If every soldier and every general were like him, the rebellion would be utterly consumed as by fire.

General Mitchell has lately been placed in command of the Department of South Carolina, etc. He arrived and visited every camp and spoke with every regiment. His address to the garrison of Fort Pulaski is reported; and there has been no such talking to the soldiers in this war.

" This is a contest for human freedom: a contest for the absolute supremacy of the people: it is a contest in which is arrayed absolute liberty on one hand, and on the other the most hateful and abominable aristocracy."

He told the soldiers their duty as soldiers, in the clearest and most intelligible manner. He continued:

"A good soldier when he lies down at night conscious of having performed his duty perfectly don't care whether he gets up alive or dead. I want you to understand that yon have made a free-will offering of yourselves to your country, and to the great cause of human liberty. Your lives are not your own. My life is not my own." * * * *

"Your fortunes are to a certain extent in my keeping. Rest assured that day and night I shall think of you; day and night I shall care for you, and your interests shall be in my thoughts. Rest assured that I shall endeavor to see that you get from the Government all that it has promised you, punctually and systematically. In return, I shall expect from you the most complete and perfect service: the most absolute devotion. When I order you to move, I shall expect you to go forward with spirit and alacrity. When I ask you to attack yonder battery, I shall expect you to march over it, and to plant your bayonets beyond it, halting when the word is given, not before. Now, boys, we understand each other."

Of course they do. There is no stuff in all this. It is not rhetoric copied from Napoleon's bulletins, which is time vice of all our military addresses hitherto. These are the words of a man who is a soldier for a special, heart-felt, and most solemn purpose. They show a leader who is every inch a man and an American, who knows that this rebellion must be stricken and annihilated in every form and force, or it will utterly overthrow the Government either by its arms or its arts.


"GRANTING, what no sensible man will dispute, that the President has the constitutional right and power to issue a proclamation, is it not likely to be what he said to the Chicago delegation there was a chance of its being, a Pope's bull against the comet?"

This is a question that many a loyal man asks himself, and it deserves an answer.

As to the President's characteristic expression, it will not be forgotten that he said he was wondering if it might not be so. If he thought it would, he would not issue it. If he thought it would not, he would issue it. As he has done so, it is very clear what he thinks upon that point.

But the positive effects of the step are the declaration of the unhesitating energy and thoroughness with which the war is to be waged. It is the manifesto of a policy. It is the clear announcement that the integrity of the Union is more sacred than Slavery. It says that it will do every thing that it can do to weaken and destroy the rebellion. It informs the rebels in arms that the Government is as determined as they are, and the secret friends of the rebels at the North that they can no longer mask treason in the guise of upholding the President. It sends the conviction, as with a stream of light into every home and heart in the land, that this bloody agony of the nation shall not be in vain; that we shall not have spent these noble lives, nor have quietly endured the restrictions of speech and the habeas corpus, nor have spent our money and mortgaged that of our children, merely to have the rebels win by craft what they have lost by cannon.

While in such ways it is a moral fortification of the Government such as no other step could be, it puts in force the laws of Congress so that henceforward every slave who falls within our lines is free; and any General who assumes to send men within the enemy's lines, either to help them or to be harmed by them, will be disgraced before God and the country. How infamous the conduct of many an officer has been in this matter we all know. They have deliberately thrust men who sought their protection back within the enemy's lines! By what conceivable rule of common sense or of common honor does a General of the United States send men to the enemies of this country to be tortured by them? Still more, why does he send the enemy assistance from our own lines? This stupid crime, at least, is forever stopped.

But while thus the advance of the army advances the lines of liberty, every slave now knows that they are so advanced, and that the nearer the army, the nearer his freedom. The advantage of this knowledge is to be reckoned by every man's common sense. If the Proclamation had issued before the advance of the Western and Southern armies, Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi, with Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Louisiana, would now be held by native black garrisons. They will be so held in the future. Why did Jeff Davis so savagely denounce Generals Hunter and Phelps? Because, as we have said before, he knows what hurts him. He knows where he is weak and must wince if hit. Now if the proclamation of a General in a Department, repudiated by the Government, (Next Page)




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