Murder of General Nelson


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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.]



haunting terror of Mrs. Lecount spread from Noel Vanstone to the captain. For the first few minutes the eyes of both of them looked among the women in the pews with the same searching scrutiny, and looked away again with the same sense of relief. The clergyman noticed that look, and investigated the License more closely than usual. The clerk began to doubt privately whether the old proverb about the bride was a proverb to be always depended on. The female members of the congregation murmured among themselves at the inexcusable disregard of appearances implied in the bride's dress. Kirke's sister whispered venomously in her friend's ear, "Thank God for to-day, for Robert's sake!" Mrs. Wragge cried silently with the dread of some threatening calamity, she knew not what. The one person present who remained outwardly undisturbed was Magdalen herself. She stood with tearless resignation in her place before the altar—stood, as if all the sources of human emotion were frozen up within her. What she suffered that morning she suffered in the secrecy which no mortal insight can divine.

The clergyman opened the Book.

It was done. The awful words which speak from earth to Heaven were pronounced. The children of the two dead brothers—inheritors of the implacable enmity which had parted their parents—were Man and Wife.

From that moment events hurried with a head-long rapidity to the parting scene. They were back at the house, while the words of the Marriage Service seemed still ringing in their ears. Before they had been five minutes indoors the carriage drew up at the garden-gate. In a minute more the opportunity came for which Magdalen and the captain had been on the watch—the opportunity of speaking together in private for the last time. She still preserved her icy resignation—she seemed beyond all reach now of the fear that had once mastered her, of the remorse that had once tortured her to the soul. With a firm hand she gave him the promised money. With a firm face she looked her last at him. "I'm not to blame," he whispered, eagerly; "I have only done what you asked me." She bowed her head—she bent it toward him kindly, and let him touch her forehead with his lips. "Take care!" he said. "My last words are, for God's sake take care when I'm gone!" She turned from him with a smile, and spoke her farewell words to his wife. Mrs. Wragge tried hard to face her loss bravely—the loss of the friend whose presence had fallen like light from Heaven over the dim pathway of her life. "You have been very good to me, my dear; I thank you kindly, I thank you with all my heart." She could say no more; she clung to Magdalen in a passion of tears, as her mother might have clung to her if her mother had lived to see that horrible day. "I'm frightened for you!" cried the poor creature, in a wild, wailing voice. "Oh, my darling, I'm frightened for you!" Magdalen desperately drew herself free, kissed her, and hurried out to the door. The expression of that artless gratitude, the cry of that guileless love, shook her as nothing else had shaken her that day. It was a refuge to get to the carriage—a refuge, though the man she had married stood there waiting for her at the door.

Mrs. Wragge tried to follow her into the garden. But the captain had seen Magdalen's face as she ran out, and he steadily held his wife back in the passage. From that distance the last farewells were exchanged. As long as the carriage was in sight Magdalen's face looked back at them; she waved her handkerchief as she turned the corner. In a moment more the last thread which bound her to them was broken; the familiar companionship of many months was a thing of the past already.

Captain Wragge closed the house-door on the idlers who were looking in from the parade. He led his wife back into the sitting-room and spoke to her with a forbearance which she had never yet experienced from him.

"She has gone her way," he said, "and in another hour we shall have gone ours. Cry your cry out; I don't deny she's worth crying for."

Even then—even when the dread of Magdalen's future was at its darkest in his mind—the ruling habit of the man's life clung to him. Mechanically he unlocked his dispatch-box. Mechanically he opened his Book of Accounts, and made the closing entry—the entry of his last transaction with Magdalen—in black and white. "By Recd from Miss Vanstone," wrote the captain, with a gloomy brow, "Two hundred pounds."

"You won't be angry with me?" said Mrs. Wragge, looking timidly at her husband through her tears. "I want a word of comfort, captain. Oh, do tell me, when shall I see her again?"

The captain closed the book and answered in one inexorable word:


Between eleven and twelve o'clock that night Mrs. Lecount drove into Zurich.

Her brother's house, when she stopped before it, was shut up. With some difficulty and delay the servant was aroused. She held up her hands in speechless amazement when she opened the door and saw who her visitor was.

"Is my brother alive?" asked Mrs. Lecount, entering the house.

"Alive!" echoed the servant. "He has gone holiday-making into the country to finish his recovery in the fine fresh air."

The housekeeper staggered back against the wall of the passage. The coachman and the servant put her into a chair. Her face was livid, and her teeth chattered in her head.

"Send for my brother's doctor," she said, as soon as she could speak.

The doctor came in. She handed him a letter before he could say a word.

"Did you write that letter?"

He looked it over rapidly, and answered her without hesitation,

"Certainly not!"

"It is your handwriting."

"It is a forgery of my handwriting."

She rose from the chair with a new strength in her.

"When does the return mail start for Paris?'' she asked.

"In half an hour."

"Send instantly and take me a place in it?"

The servant hesitated; the doctor protested. She turned a deaf ear to them both.

"Send!" she reiterated, "or I will go myself."

They obeyed. The servant went to take the place: the doctor remained and held a conversation with Mrs. Lecount. When the half hour had passed he helped her into her place in the mail, and charged the conductor privately to take care of his passenger.

She has traveled from England without stopping," said the doctor; "and she is traveling . back again without rest. Be careful of her, or she will break down under the double journey."

The mail started. Before the first hour of the new day was at an end Mrs. Lecount was on her way back to England.



ON page 669 we publish an illustration of the ASSASSINATION OF GENERAL NELSON BY GENERAL J. C. DAVIS, which took place ten days since at Louisville. Our picture is from a sketch by our artist, Mr. Mosler, who visited the spot immediately after the affair. The Cincinnati Inquirer gives the following particulars:

When the alarm was raised in Louisville that the enemy were marching on that city, General Davis, who could not reach his command under General Buell, then at Bowling Green, went to General Nelson and tendered his services. General Nelson gave him the command of the city militia so soon as they were organized. General Davis opened an office and went to work in assisting the organization. On Wednesday last General Davis called upon General Nelson in his room at the Galt House, in Louisville, when the following took place:

GEN. Davis. "I have the brigade, General, you assigned me ready for service, and have called to inquire if I can obtain arms for them."

GEN. NELSON. "How many men have you?"

DAVIS. "About twenty-five hundred men, General." NELSON (roughly and angrily). "About twenty-five hundred! About twenty-five hundred! By G—d! you a regular officer, and come here to me and report about the number of men in your command? G—d d—n you, don't you know, Sir, you should furnish me the exact number?" DAVIS. "General, I didn't expect to get the guns now, and only wanted to learn if I could get them, and where; and, having learned the exact number needed, would then draw them."

NELSON (pacing the room in a rage). "About twenty-five hundred! By G—d I suspend you from your command, and order you to report to General Wright; and I've a d—d mind to put you under arrest. Leave my room, Sir!"

Davis. "I will not leave, General, until you give me an order."

NELSON. "The h—l you won't! By G—d I'll put you under arrest, and send you out of the city under a provost guard! Leave my room, Sir!"

General Davis left the room, and, in order to avoid an arrest, crossed over the river to Jeffersonville, where he remained until the next day, when he was joined by General Burbridge, who had also been relieved by Nelson for a trivial cause. General Davis came to Cincinnati with General Burbridge, and reported to General Wright, who ordered General Davis to return to Louisville and report to General Buell, and General Burbridge to remain in Cincinnati. General Davis returned on Friday evening and reported to General Buell. Nothing further occurred until yesterday morning, when General Davis, seeing General Nelson in the main hall of the Galt House, fronting the office, went up to Governor Morton and requested him to step up with him to General Nelson and witness the conversation that might pass between Nelson and him. The Governor consented, and the two walked up to General Nelson, when the following took place:

GEN. DAVIS. "Sir, you seemed to take advantage of your authority the other day."

GEN. NELSON (sneeringly, and placing his hand to his ear). "Speak louder, I don't hear very well."

DAVIS (in a louder tone). "You seemed to take advantage of your authority the other day."

NELSON (indignantly). "I don't know that I did, Sir." DAVIS. "You threatened to arrest and send me out of the State under a provost guard."

NELSON (striking Davis with the back of his hand twice in the face). "There, d—n you, take that!"

DAVIS (retreating). "This is not the last of it; you will hear from me again."

General Nelsen then turned to Governor Morton, and said: "By G—d, did you come here also to insult me?"

Gov. MORTON. "No, Sir; but I was requested to be present and listen to the conversation between you and General Davis."

GEN. NELSON (violently to the by-standers). "Did you hear the d—d rascal insult me?" and then walked into the ladies' parlor.

In three minutes General Davis returned, with a pistol he had borrowed of Captain Gibson, of Louisville, and walking toward the door that Nelson had passed through, he saw Nelson walking out of the parlor into the hall separating the main hall from the parlor. The two were face to face, and about ten yards apart, when General Davis drew his pistol and fired, the ball entering Nelson's heart, or in the immediate vicinity.

General Nelson threw up both hands and caught a gentleman near by around the neck, and exclaimed, "I am shot!" He then walked up the flight of stairs toward General Buell's room, but sank at the top of the stairs, and was unable to proceed further. He was then conveyed to his room, and when laid on his bed requested that the Rev. Mr. Talbott, an Episcopal clergyman stopping in the house, might be sent to him at once. The reverend gentleman arrived in about five minutes.

Mr. Talbott found General Nelson extremely anxious as to his future welfare, and deeply penitent about the many sins he had committed. He knew that he must die immediately, and requested the ordinance of baptism might be administered, which was done. The General then whispered, "It's all over," and died in fifteen minutes after he was conveyed to his room. His death was easy, the passing away of his spirit as though the General had fallen into a quiet sleep.


Cooking Extracts.

Whatever Dr. Burnett makes is the best of its kind. His Cooking Extracts fully sustain this reputation.



Watches, Chains, Sets of Jewelry, Gold Pens, Bracelets, Lockets, Rings, Gent's Pins, Sleeve Buttons, Studs, &c., &c.

Worth $500,000,

To be sold for ONE DOLLAR each, without regard to value, and not to be paid for until you know what you are to get. Send for Circular containing full list and particulars. Send 25 cents for a Certificate.

Certificates of all the various articles, stating what each one can have, are first put into envelopes, sealed up, and mixed; and when ordered, are taken out without regard to choice, and sent by mail, thus giving all a fair chance. On receipt of the Certificate you will see what you can have, and then it is at your option to send one dollar and take the article or not.

In all transactions by mail, we shall charge for forwarding the Certificates, paying postage, and doing the business, 25 cents each, which must be enclosed when the certificate is sent for. Five Certificates will be sent for $1, eleven for $2, thirty for $5, sixty-five for $10, and one hundred for $15.

AGENTS.—Those acting as Agents will be allotted ten cents on every certificate ordered by them, provided their remittance amounts to one dollar. Agents will collect 25 cents for every Certificate and remit 15 cents to us, either in cash or postage stamps. Great caution should be used by our correspondents in regard to giving their correct address, Town, County, and State. Address  J. H. WINSLOW & CO. 208 Broadway,   New York. N.B. We wish it distinctly understood that all articles of jewelry not giving perfect satisfaction can be returned and the money will be refunded.

THIRTEEN MONTHS IN THE REBEL ARMY. By an Impressed New Yorker. Price 50 cents, postpaid. Just published by A. S. BARNES or BURR, 51 and 53 John Street. "A Book full of thrilling facts. Every Soldier and Citizen should read it.

PURE GOLD WEDDING RINGS. For sale by GEO. C. ALLEN, No. 415 Broadway, One door below Canal Street, New York.


New styles. For sale by G. C. ALLEN, No. 415 Broadway, One door below Canal Street, New York.

GENTLEMEN'S SCARF PINS. One, Two, and Three Dollars each. At G. C. ALLEN'S, No. 415 Broadway, One door below Canal Street, New York.

FINE GOLD WATCH CHAINS. For Ladies and Gentlemen. New and elegant styles. For sale by GEO. C. ALLEN, No. 415 Broadway, One door below Canal St., New York.

Parr's American Camp Chest

Is the most useful article Officers can buy for their comfort in Camp and in the Field. It contains a whole Household, in a small space, for a mess of Four persons, viz.: Camp Stools, Cooking Apparatus, and all the necessary implements down to a Mustard Spoon, and itself forms, when opened, a strong, convenient Black Walnut Dining Table. Call and examine it. Circulars mailed free. Price Complete, $18. AMERICAN CAMP CHEST CO., 202 Broadway, N. Y.

Hasheesh Candy.— THE ARABIAN "GUNJH" OF ENCHANTMENT confectionized.—A most pleasurable and harmless stimulant.—Cures Nervousness, Weakness, Melancholy, &c. Inspires all classes with new life and energy. A complete mental and physical invigorator. Send for circular. Beware of imitations. 25 cents and $1 per box. Imported only by the GUNJAH WALLAH CO., 476 Broadway, N. Y.

BEAUTY.—Hunt's Bloom of Roses, a charming and perfectly natural color for the cheeks, or lips. Will not wash off, but remains durable for years. Can only be removed with vinegar, and warranted not to injure the skin. Used by the celebrated Court Beauties of Europe exclusively. Mailed free from observation for one dollar. HUNT & CO., Perfumers, 133 S. Seventh St., Philad.

AGENTS.—Watches and Jewelry for Army, Navy, and Country Trade, the most salable kinds at the lowest Eastern prices. Circular of prices, &c., free. HUBBARD BROS., New York.

Ballard's Patent Breech-Loading Rifle.

This arm is entirely new, and is universally acknowledged to be the nearest to perfection of any Breech-Loading Rifle ever made. Length of barrel 24 inches, weight, of Rifle 7 pounds. Size of Calibre adapted to Nos. 32, 38, and 44 copper water-proof Cartridges. Also,

Prescott's Cartridge Revolvers

The 8in., or Navy Size, carries a Ball weighing 38 to the lb., and the No. 32, or 4in. Revolver, a Ball 80 to the lb. By recent experiments made in the Army, these Revolvers were pronounced the best and most effective weapons in use. For particulars call or send for a Circular to MERWIN & BRAY, Sole Agents, No. 262 Broadway, N. Y. Also Agents for the SOLDIER'S BULLET-PROOF VEST.

To all Wanting Farms.

Large and thriving settlement of Vineland. Rich soil. Good crops of Wheat, Corn, Peaches, &c., to be seen—only 30 miles from Philadelphia. Delightful climate—20 acre tracts of from $15 to $20 per acre, payable within 4 years. Good schools and society. Hundreds are settling. Apply to CHAS. K. LANDIS, P.M., Vineland, Cumberland Co., New Jersey. Report of Solon Robinson and Vineland Rural sent free. From Report of Solon Robinson, Ag. Ed. Tribune. "It is one of the most extensive fertile tracts, in an almost level position, and suitable condition for pleasant farming that we know of this side of the Western Prairies.

DO YOU WANT LUXURIANT WHISKERS OF MUSTACHES?—My Onguent will force them to grow heavily in six weeks (upon the smoothest face) without stain or injury to the skin. Price $1—sent by mail, post free, to any address, on receipt of an order. R. G. GRAHAM, No. 109 Nassau Street, N. Y.

$75 A MONTH!—I WANT TO HIRE AGENTS in every County at $75 per month and expenses, to sell a new and cheap Sewing Machine. Address (with stamp).       S. MADISON, Alfred, Maine.

$60 A MONTH!—We want Agents at Sixty Dollars a month and all expenses paid, to sell our new CLOTHES WRINGERS, ORIENTAL BURNERS, and 12 other new articles. Address SHAW & CLARK, Biddeford, Maine.


SILVER HUNTING LEVERS for $12, worth $18. AMERICAN HUNTING LEVERS for $20, worth $30. Send for circular. J. L. FERGUSON, 208 Broadway, N. Y.

Every Man his own Printer.

Portable Printing-Offices for the Army and Navy, Druggists, and Business Men generally. Send for a circular. ADAMS PRESS COMPANY, 31 Park Row (under Lovejoy's Hotel), New York.

SAVE YOUR SILKS, RIBBONS, GLOVES, &c.—Hegeman & Co.'s Benzine removes paint and grease spots instantly, and cleans Silks, Gloves, Ribbons, &c., &c., without injury to either color or fabric. Only 25 cents per bottle. Sold by druggists generally. HEGEMAN & CO., Chemists and Druggists, New York.


All Articles for Soldiers at Baltimore, Washington, Hilton Head, Newbern, and all places occupied by Union troops, should be sent, at half rates, by HARNDEN'S EXPRESS, No. 74 Broadway. Sutlers charged low rates.

Attention Masons and Soldiers.

I will send (as sample), on the receipt of $1, a handsome Gold Masonic Pin or Ring, or Plated Vest chain, or a fine Gold Pen and Pencil, or Engraved Locket, or Bracelet, or Neck Chain, or a beautiful set of Jewelry, together with my wholesale Circular. W. A. HAYWARD, Manufacturing Jeweler, 208 Broadway, New York.

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Established 1840. For Specimen by Mail, send two stamps.

Just Published:
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