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Civil War Harper's Weekly, September 20, 1862

Welcome to our archive of original Civil War Harper's Weekly newspapers. These papers provide a valuable resource for the serious student of the Civil War. The illustrations created by eye-witnesses to the battles and events are an incredible resource for the serious student.

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


Union Battle Flag

Union Battle Flag

Color Bearer


Invasion of Maryland

Rebel Invasion of Maryland

Defense of Cincinnati

The Defense of Cincinnati

2nd Battle of Bull Run

2nd Battle of Bull Run

General Phil Kearney

General Phil Kearney

General Stevens

General Stevens

Colonel Fletcher Webster

Colonel Fletcher Webster

Buell's Campaign

General Buell's Campaign

Kentucky War Map

Map of Civil War in Kentucky

Second Battle of Bull Run

Second Battle of Bull Run

Buckeye Cartoon





[SEPTEMBER 20, 1862.



THERE sits a shadow under the yew,

Who, sun or moon, or light or dark, Waits with a cruel gibber and grin

In the blind night or by the star-spark;

Or whether it rain with lashing rage,

Or whether it blow with a devil's force,

Sitting and counting the fresh-grassed graves,

And the lying stones, each one o'er a corse.

Under the shade of the church-yard yew

The dark thing sits and counts the graves, That Dead Sea—lulled in a treacherous calm

That billows around him in grass-green waves—

And when I see him I tread so soft,

And I scarcely dare to draw my breath,

For hearse-plume black is the yew-tree's shade, And the name of that terrible shape is DEATH.


WE publish on the preceding page an illustration of the incident recorded in the following paragraph:

"TOUCHING DEVOTION TO THE FLAG.—H. ALEXANDER, the color-bearer of the 10th New York Regiment, deserves to be placed high upon the roll of our heroes. He received three terrible wounds in a recent engagement, but clung to his colors with tenacious grasp. While being taken into the hospital he became insensible, and an attempt was made to take the flag away, but his unconscious hand held it more powerfully; even then his ruling passion was strong. Such men in life and death are glorious examples."

Our picture is a just homage to distinguished gallantry.



THE leading events of the week which has elapsed since we last wrote have been the retreat of the national forces to Washington, after a series of battles, and the invasion of Maryland by the rebels. These transactions have filled the public mind with chagrin, and loud complaints against the Administration and the generals in the field have appeared in leading journals. Presses not suspected of lukewarmness in the cause have not scrupled to declare that the campaign has thus far been productive of nothing but disgrace to the national arms, and that unless some radical change—either in the cabinet, or in the military leaders, or in the general policy of the war—be instantly effected, we may as well succumb at once.

It is quite likely that the practical effort of this sort of writing may be beneficial. It may spur some overcautious general to unwonted exertion. It may rouse the Administration to fresh efforts on behalf of the country. In this point of view such complaints are not wholly to be regretted.

But they are none the less very unjust and very unmanly. There can be nothing more contemptible than the habit of whining and abusing our Generals, and demanding changes in the Government whenever reverses befall our arms. Reverses are inevitable in war. No General is always successful—not even Napoleon, or Alexander, or Caesar. A wise people will be satisfied with winning two battles out of three, and will not reproach their General for losing the third. If we were contending against a handful of Mexicans or Chinese it might be singular to see our armies fall back and our territory invaded. But it must always be remembered, especially by those who are forever prating about the superior power of the North, that we are contending against some 6,000,000 people, every man of whom is under arms, and whose energy is fired by confiscation bills, the fear of negro emancipation, the hope of independence, and the dread of subjugation. We at the North who, ever since the war began, have carried on our peaceful trade as actively as usual, do not sufficiently realize that at the South no other business is being prosecuted but the war. Agriculture, industry, commerce, pleasure, have all given way to the war. Every man's hand and every man's purse have been thrown into the scale without reservation. Nor have the rebels been destitute of commanding intellects to guide them. Though it is generally admitted that there is no soldier in the South whose military capacity is equal to McClellan's, it would be idle to deny the ability of such men as Stonewall Jackson, Price, Lee, Stuart, and a score more of the rebel leaders. They have had to struggle against great disadvantages. But they have surmounted them, and have conducted the contest with a vigor which can not but be admired. To expect a uniform, unvarying, and rapid succession of triumphs in the contest we are now waging against this people, thus led, is entirely unwarrantable. We shall do well, and all that could be expected, if we win more than half the battles fought, and preserve strength enough to achieve our purposes when, in the nature of things, the strength of our enemy shall have been exhausted.

A retrospect of the events of the current year will justify the assertion that our armies have,

on the whole, done well; that we have accomplished as much as reflecting men expected us to accomplish in the time; and that there is nothing in the present condition of affairs which was not foreseen, or which involves any serious danger for the future.

In February last the rebels held three-fourths of Kentucky, including Bowling Green and Columbus; five-sixths of Missouri; all of Virginia except the mountain region of the west; all of the Gulf States except a sea-island or two on the coast of South Carolina. Their pickets were in sight of Washington, and their batteries blockaded the Potomac. They had, notwithstanding the blockade, a considerable foreign trade. The President of the rebels boasted that Fort Pickens was the only spot in the original Confederacy which was still held by the United States. Such was the condition of affairs seven months ago. It is understood that it was General McClellan's intention not to commence the attack till toward the end of March. Accident and outside pressure hastened matters, and the fall of Forts Henry and Donelson, the evacuation of Bowling Green and Columbus, and the expulsion of the rebels from Missouri, opened the campaign in the West. Then followed, in rapid succession, the capture of Nashville, the expulsion of the rebels from Northern Tennessee, the substantial victory of Shiloh, the evacuation of Corinth, and the fall of Memphis. These transactions gave us the command of West Tennessee and the Mississippi River as far South as Memphis. Simultaneously, General Curtis re-annexed Northern Arkansas, General Mitchell recovered Northern Alabama, General Butler took the most important city in the rebel Confederacy—New Orleans, and General Morgan occupied the valuable strategic position of Cumberland Gap. Not one of these gains have we since lost. Our troops still hold Nashville, Fort Donelson, Memphis, Corinth, Helena, Huntsville, New Orleans, Cumberland Gap, and our vessels hold the river, with the exception of a few miles above and below Vicksburg. Meanwhile, at the East, the blockade of the Potomac has been raised, we have retaken Norfolk and Yorktown, and we have rendered the coast blockade so perfect that almost every smuggler is now captured. The Peninsular expedition has proved a failure, through the interference of politicians, and has cost us many thousand men; but the James River is controlled by our gun-boats; we hold Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds and their shores, the Dismal Swamp Canal, and the town of Beaufort and Fort Macon.

We don't know what other people may think, but we consider the above a pretty fair amount of work, and a pretty substantial list of victories and conquests for a single summer. With the exception of the capture of Richmond, we have accomplished every thing we undertook; and considering the number, energy, and leadership of our enemy, it may surely be said that we have done well to have only failed in one undertaking when we risked so many.

The programme for the future on both sides can be readily guessed at. If General McClellan had taken Richmond in June last, as was expected, and the rebels had continued to resist, his army would probably have lain quiet till the end of September, and would then have moved forward on Raleigh and the Gulf States contemporaneously with a move of the Western Army from Corinth upon Vicksburg on the one side, and Montgomery and Chattanooga on the other. The failure to take Richmond required the adoption of a new plan. Simultaneously, however, with McClellan's retreat, the call for 600,000 more men appeared; and this, by forcing the rebels to take the initiative in attacking us, deprived them of the advantage they had hitherto enjoyed by remaining on the defensive, and saved us the trouble of devising a new plan of campaign.

The plan adopted by the rebels has been obvious and simple. They dispatched the bulk of their army toward Washington, hoping to destroy Pope on the way, and resolved to carry the war at any cost into Maryland and Pennsylvania. Another column, which will probably be found stronger than is at present reported, was thrown into the Blue Grass Region of Kentucky, with a view to an invasion of Ohio. A third army was left under Bragg to watch Buell, and a fourth under Van Dorn and Breckinridge to attack Butler.

It may be said that this plan is suicidal, and that the invasion of the North by rebel armies not only secures the destruction of those armies but leaves the South exposed. This is very true; but what could the South do? With barely 450,000 men in the field, the North had wrested three great States from the rebels, taken two leading sea-ports, destroyed a great rebel army, and overrun a great portion of the Confederacy in the course of six months. What might we not be expected to do with a million of soldiers, and a fleet of iron-clads? Can the rebels be blamed for acting with desperation?

From the hour that McClellan was ordered to evacuate Harrison's Landing the events which have since occurred were inevitable, and were foreseen by General Halleck. That evacuation, coupled with the call for 600,000 men, rendered a rebel advance on Washington certain; and the retrograde movements of General Pope's army, which have filled so many minds with anguish,

were foreseen and directed by General Halleck. It never was the intention of that accomplished soldier to prevent the rebels cutting their own throats if they were so minded.



Goon citizenship at this time does not consist in abject subservience to every action of the Government, but in an obedience accompanied with candid criticism. This war is emphatically a people's war. The Government sincerely wishes to know the popular desire. Every mean and disloyal man will speak out, and therefore every loyal and true man must speak out also, that the Government may understand that meanness and disloyalty are not the characteristics of the nation.

The people lavishly give life and money at the call of the Government, which is but their representative. They yield to its action even when it seems harshest and unwisest. They see the habeas corpus suspended and the right of speech abridged, because they fully understand that summary measures are necessary in time of war, and they yield patiently because they see that, upon the whole, the action of the Government is wise, and because they believe that the men at the head of affairs are personally honest and unselfish.

But if, while they thus patiently submit to the gravest innovations of fundamental rights, they come to see that the action of the Government is not wise, but foolish—if they see incompetency promoted and ability cashiered; if they see imbecility honored and energy repudiated; if they see that the advice of timidity and doubt prevails over that of hearty faith in the cause and the people; if they see that the Government apparently doubts whether the people sincerely wish to conquer the rebels—there is no way left for them but to insist that they are in earnest; that they mean victory, and union, and peace, and not surrender.

But if they hold their tongues, under pretense of good citizenship, how is the Government ever to know what is essential for it to comprehend? Obedience is necessary, but silent obedience may easily be the worst treachery. To co-operate with the Government is at this moment the duty of every good citizen, but to enlighten and stimulate the Government is not less his duty. If the Government issues a foolish order, we are not to resist its execution, but to endeavor to procure its repeal. Not to endeavor is to betray the country. It is treachery, not loyalty. It is practical rebellion, not good citizenship.

Good citizenship consists not only in holding up the hands, but the heart and the head of the Government; and that we do not by sullen and hopeless silence, but by the frankest speech.


THERE are but two ways out of the war.

The rebel rams with the iron fleece having failed, the rebel anaconda is taking his turn. Jeff Davis having told his men that they had tried to hold too much, they are now trying to hold more. In the nature of things, the strain upon the country of the rebellion being exhaustive, they have gathered their force for one desperate and furious blow, feeling that what they demand from Europe will not be refused them if they demand it from Washington and the soil of the free States.

At this moment they threaten both the capital and the Northwest. At this instant the barbarous hordes of slavery menace Ohio, the first-fruits of freedom under the American Union. With a military skill and bravery to which we can not refuse admiration, with a rapidity of movement and a power of concentration which accord with the audacity of their effort, they have driven our armies across Eastern Virginia and to the Ohio River; and while two months ago we were asking how soon shall we be in Richmond, we are now wondering how soon Washington will be secure.

Behind that army we see the sources of its strength. We see a perfectly united population. There are no quarrels about Generals, for the successful General is by acclamation called to the head. Jackson is every where; Beauregard, the idol of last year, nowhere. There is no dispute about policy, for their policy is to strike and wound wherever and however they can reach us. There are no party feuds, for the overwhelming party is that of Southern separation, and all other voices are forcibly hushed. There is no leakage of important information, for the Union men are paralyzed, and war correspondence is practically forbidden. The Southern region is a camp. The Southern whites are an army. Not a word is spoken, nor a thought thought, nor a prayer prayed, nor a deed done, but for the success of the war which is consuming their very vitals.

But allowing it all, why, with our overwhelming numbers, with our amazing power and resources, with the essential splendor and inspiration of our cause—why have we not long ago swept them away as these autumn winds sweep the red leaves from the trees? Why are we not this day watering our horses in the Gulf instead of turning their heads to the Susquehanna?

Simply because, while we are confessedly fighting for the Union, we are not united. Because while the enemy has one purpose, we have two. Because we have had to be taught by tragical and bloody experience that fifty thousand men, fired by a terrible earnestness of purpose, moving with concentrated unity of thought, and handled by skillful leaders, who hate the cause of their foe more than the foe himself, will beat and rout five times their number of doubtful, hesitating, quarreling opponents.

Why, with a population so disproportionate to ours, have the rebels met us every where in such force? Simply because we have allowed them to. Simply because we choose to support their armies. Simply because we choose to send our best and

bravest against guns which we have ourselves loaded.

Long ago, just after Sumter, Braxton Bragg told us why they would always beat us. Last month the Richmond Examiner told us why they would meet us man for man wherever we came. The South, it said, will send all its youth. The women and old men can take care of the crops and the slaves who raise them. "Yes," said Braxton Bragg, "the Northerners can't come; they must look out for their crops and home work."

They say it to our faces, and we fall back stumbling over our mountains of dead. They say it to our faces, and the world roars with contemptuous laughter at this people which insists upon helping the assassins who seek its life, which boasts of breaking the back-bone of a rebellion which it does not dare to touch.

What is the consequence? The rebels see that we are not in deadly earnest. The whole world is forced to allow it. We ourselves feel it, and how can we help falling back? For the rebels mean victory at every cost whatever. We mean victory, if we can have it without freeing the slaves. We might as well say that we mean victory if we can have it by squirting molasses at the rebels.

Mr. Thomas, at the Boston meeting, says that the war can be ended only by fighting; that talking will not do it, nor voting, nor confiscation bills, nor tax bills, nor emancipation bills. But why did he not finish his sentence?—fighting will not do it, gun-boats will not do it, nor Armstrong cannon, nor Columbiads, nor shot and shell. No one method will end it, but all combined will crush it. And the failure or unwillingness to employ every means paralyzes all that are employed.

Our own knowledge and experience, the nature of things, and their own frank and defiant confession, show us that slavery is a source of immense strength to the rebels—a thousand-fold more than any fort or city, or any dozen forts or cities in the South. Well, can we afford to present them guns and ammunition? Why not? Why not give them guns as well as men to use those they have? And we do give them men to use their guns so long as we do not force those men to stay at home and hoe corn, or look after those who do.

Let us resolve that if there be any strength for the foe in slavery we will destroy it. And that there is both strength and terror for them in it the late orders of Jeff Davis about Generals Hunter and Phelps show plainly enough. The man who whispers the word Freedom to the slaves shall be hung off hand, says Jeff. Then, good friends, that is the very man we want. Jeff Davis knows what will hurt him, if we do not.

There are but two ways.

Either we must give it up, which no sane man will think of for a moment; or, knowing that the Government will do what we the people wish, the solid masses of the people must demand of the Government, with unmistakable resolution, that we wish all means, including an edict of emancipation, to be employed, that the end of this rebellion may be sudden, swift, overwhelming, and final. The rebels, Europe, and we ourselves will then understand that we are in deadly earnest, and that we count every chance less dangerous to mankind than that of the success of this rebellion.


THERE have been conventions and consultations of Governors. Let us hope that the result will be the putting under arms of every capable man in the Free States. Pennsylvania, feeling herself especially threatened, moves first. Her people, nearest to the enemy, are going to do now what the people of Louisiana, farthest from their enemy, did a year ago. If we had learned of the rebels and followed them step by step, we should at this moment have an organized and disciplined army in every State.

Shall we wait in each State until it is threatened? Are we never to understand that we are at war with an enemy as able as he is ferocious? Let New York, at least, move. Let the whole enrolled militia be armed and called out and regularly drilled. Let the shops be closed and labor suspended by command of the State, until we are in such a condition that fifty thousand men can move at six hours' notice wherever they are wanted, and be effective soldiers when they get there.

One thing only is wanting—that we be thoroughly aroused. Then we shall insist that we shall be led by generals who have shown the qualities of great commanders, and that war shall be made as war ought to be made—to cripple and destroy the enemy.

The proof that we are aroused will be the arming and drilling of the enrolled militia.


THE true enemies of the country at this moment are not the rebels only who stand frankly in arms, but they are those among ourselves who constantly strive to exasperate half of us against the rest. They do this by declaiming against all who wish to save the Government at every cost, and to deprive the rebels of the assistance of their slaves, as "abolitionists" and "radicals."

Those who raise this cry are the men who were the active sympathizers of the conspiracy until the mass of earnest and loyal citizens compelled them to change their tone; and since then they have bawled with equal lustiness for the Union and against what they call abolitionists and radicals. They are the men who hate the American doctrine of liberty and equal rights for all men more than they do the rebellion to establish the principle that rich men shall own poor ones. They are the men who support the slaveholding aristocracy of the country against the great mass of honest and hard-working free laborers. They are the men who incessantly tell the laborers of the North that, unless we allow the rebellion to be strengthened by slavery, the colored men will take the work out of the hands and the bread out of the mouths of the Northern (Next Page)




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