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Civil War Harper's Weekly, September 13, 1862

Welcome to our collection of online Harper's Weekly newspapers. We feature all issues published during the Civil War. These newspapers offer a rich opportunity to gain more insight into the people and places of the Civil War.

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

 

General Pope

General Pope

President's Emancipation Policy

Lincoln's Emancipation Policy

Second Battle of Bull Run

Second Battle of Bull Run

Warrenton

Warrenton, Virginia

Tennessee

Tennessee

War in Virginia

War in Virginia

New Iron Clad Navy

New Iron Clad Navy

Camp Curtin

Camp Curtin

Manassas Junction

Manassas Junction

Camp Morton

Camp Morton

Civil War Iron Clads

Civil War Iron Clads

Scenes in Tennessee

Scenes in Tennessee

Lady Liberty

Lady Liberty

 

 

HARPER'S WEEKLY.

[SEPTEMBER 13, 1862.

586

OUR NEW IRON-CLAD NAVY.

WE devote pages 584 and 585 to illustrations of our new IRON-CLAD NAVY. The six small pictures are drawn according to scale, and may be considered mathematically correct. The larger picture shows the comparative sizes of the new iron-clads. None of the iron-clads for our inland waters are included; they will form the subject of another picture. We refer to our Number of August 30 for an account of our iron-clad navy, and in this place will only append the following table:

In order to enable the reader to judge of the size of these boats by comparison, we give in the same picture the Brooklyn, 247 feet long, and the Seneca, 150 feet.

THE YELLOW JASMINE.

SCHOOL hours were over for the day; my little pupils were burying old Pointer in the sand at the door of one of the negro cabins; I stood at the window for a little while looking out longingly toward the sea in the distance; and then I came back to my little sewing-chair, and sat down to rock and think.

I had needed a time to think ever since the night before. About midnight—perhaps between twelve and one—I had been waked by some slight noise, and had stolen to my window to look out and listen. A monotonous level of sand, like an ancient sea-beach, surrounded Mr. Baker's dwelling; almost destitute of verdure, and so dry and soft that it looked like flour under the full moon; and over the sand, in and out of the shadows under the few evergreen oaks and yellow pines, some twelve or fifteen human figures were moving about—close-coated figures, with little shining caps and heavy beards. I knew what it meant, and was not at all alarmed. Through all the eleven months of my residence in the South, and especially during the autumn and early winter, while the shadow of the coming storm was fast closing in over the doomed land, this whole region had been nervously on its guard against the danger of servile insurrections. All the men remaining in the vicinity had been organized into active vigilance committees; and often before I had seen them at night "out patrolling," going their rounds over the different plantations to inspect the negro quarters and overawe any dangerous movement. What I did notice as unusual now was the marked air of excitement among the men. They talked together in their low tones longer and with more gesture than usual as they met under the trees; they moved about more eagerly, and watched and listened more intently. Presently two men met at the corner near my room. I heard the word "abolitionist" uttered in a smothered hiss. They moved forward, still talking earnestly, and as they passed under my window I thought I heard one say, "being a lady, you know." My excited attention could catch no more, until, as they separated, one of them threw back to his companion the final remark, "Well, Baker's responsible, any way."

My thoughts that night were haunted by vague uneasiness. I went down early the next morning to the breakfast-room, and as I entered the hall Mrs. Baker's sharp voice reached me through the open door. "Thomas," said she, "it is not safe. Don't you know you are responsible for what's done here? Next thing you'll be arrested yourself if you don't have—" An audible "hush" stopped her, and looks icier than ever greeted me as I appeared at the door. The family were all huddled around her arm-chair nervous and gloomy. I learned that rumors of " another plot" had been brought down by express the night before from a town seventeen miles away in the interior, the negroes of which had lately had some communication with those of our neighborhood.

All day the loneliness and the uncertain peril of my position had haunted me, and now, at the first moment of leisure, was the time to think it all over. I was very inexperienced. It had been my first adventure, when, a year before, I had left my mother alone in the little parsonage, which was still allowed her after my father's death, to help as I might toward eking out our small income in this foreign-like region, hundreds of miles away. I had stood at my post until every other Northern resident had gone home. Then at last I had told my employer that I must go. It was some six weeks before; and that gentleman had surprised me at the time by simply replying that, as my engagement had been made for a year, I could not of course expect to receive any part of my salary until the close of that time. I had been reared among the Berkshire hills, and I astonished him in turn by answering that I would stay till then.

Now when I sat down to review that decision, I began by resolutely setting at bay the infinite longing for my home, my mother, my own dear, safe, happy New England, and resolving to consider only what was best. My mother was poor—I was her only helper, How could I go back to her a burden instead of a helper? But then, what if any thing should happen to her only child. What if the impending storm should burst suddenly, and my retreat be cut off, and the last of her desolated household be left imprisoned among strangers and enemies? No; I could not take the responsibility; I must go home.

Poverty—that poverty which stimulates and degrades not—teaches us very early our grand lesson; it teaches us, by the necessity of constant practice, to keep the soul's world fresh and blooming

 

 

*The Puritan and her consort the Dictator, 320 feet long, will not be ready for service till the fall of 1863.

The Passaic is the first of the new ten monitors, 200 feet long, all of which will be ready this month.

and sunny, let the world without lower and darken as it will. It had taught me this lesson, and I put it in practice now. This evening was my own, to-morrow would be time enough for business; and I had one thing more to do, one more picture to lay by in memory before I left the South forever. I must see the yellow jasmine in bloom.

I ran down on the instant to find some one who would go with me to the only one I knew of within walking distance. Mrs. Baker sat before her sewing-machine with her oldest daughter.

"Julia," said she, when I had explained my errand, "go up to my room, dear, and bring me another spool. I'm sorry, Miss Carr, we all happen to be engaged just now. Possibly old Sarah might serve you for a guide if you are very anxious to go." And she vanished abruptly through the hall door.

I had reached the door of old Sarah's cabin before the strangeness of this proposal had fully dawned upon me. For months I had felt that the local proprieties required me to have no intercourse with the servants whatever—never to talk with them, and never to be seen with them alone. But this one—this grim, secret, cunning, taciturn old Sarah—was the one of all most suspected and most watched. However, the proposal was hers—the straightforward course is almost always best. I hesitated only for a moment.

To my surprise Sarah was unwilling to go. "Bad road, Missus; bad, heavy road. Gitt'n' late, mos' sundown, Missus. Curus place out dah, Missus—yes, Missus. Ladies nebba goes out dat a way; dey doesn't—no, Missus." I silenced her with a word or two, and we started.

It was certainly a lonesome road; the old road leading through a light pine wood, and across a wide stretch of sand, and then on through a low, jungle-like forest to a ruined and deserted plantation beyond. When we reached the forest old Sarah led me a little distance down its borders and away from the road. We reached a spot where a black resinous sink of water crept away into the thicket under a covert of naked trees, all knotted and interwreathed with dry brown climbers, till all below was black as a cypress shade. There she stopped and stood motionless, pointing solemnly upward.

"What is it, Sarah?"

"De jasmine, Missus, 'way up dah."

There it was, indeed! A colossal wreath of flowers, with no apparent connection with the earth, with no other living thing near it, running along the enormous basket-work of vines and branches in huge masses and festoons for scores and hundreds of yards, its glossy, papery, pointed foliage, almost hidden by the tropical luxuriance of trumpet-like flowers and long conical buds, bright as gold and soft as swan's-down, and every breeze that touched it bringing down a burden of voluptuous fragrance—the fragrance of a crushed peach-stone, yet delicate and balmy as the breath of a rose. I was alone in a wilderness of forest, sky, and sand, and for once I seized the privilege of those impulsive races who live near to nature in the wild, free paradise of the tropics—I clapped my hands and shouted aloud.

But how long had that beautiful thing been growing? How many years had it climbed upward and upward, and then how many more had it been traveling from tree-top to tree-top when it could climb no higher? How long was it since the brown, rope-like stems, now drawing up moisture and sustenance from the reservoirs so far below, had been themselves beautiful with clusters of the crisp green and waxy gold? Ah! what splendid history had been growing with it, and how tragically that history was changing now. All through its lifetime North and South had been standing together against common enemies, or helping each other on in peaceful progress—their union and happiness the hope of the world. Why was it all so changed? What crime, above all other crimes, had so brought God's curse down—

My reverie was cut short by a quick pull at my dross. There stood old Sarah, pointing upward again, her gaunt, black face hideous with fear.

"Come 'way, come 'way, Missus!" she whispered; Mos' sundown, Missus."

"Hark, Sarah, just a moment! Oh, it's the wind among the fine wiry stems. It's like an Aeolian harp. Listen!"

"Oh, come 'way, come 'way, Missus; it's de dogs—it's de dogs!"

"The dogs! where?"

"Up dah, up dah. Dere's mor'n one's heerd 'em 'fore now, Missus. Dey's allus a-yowlin'—a-yowlin' jes' dat a way o' night, Missus. Come 'way, come 'way!"

"Sarah, what do you mean?"

"An' dah's a w'ite bone down dah 'n de watah, Missus; an' ebery night dat bone come up 'top o' de watah an' it go roun', roun', roun', roun' a-huntin' for de oder bones. Yes, Missus, ebery night ha' past one. Gittin' late, Missus, come 'way, come

'way!"

"Now, Sarah, be quiet and listen to me. You've heard some dreadful story about this place, and you've been frightened by it; tell me the story just as you've heard it, and then listen to what I say about it. Come!"

But the woman stood in dogged silence, only turning her eyeballs strangely up at me.

"Won't you tell me, Sarah?"

"Dem stories ain't for to tell, Missus."

"Why not?"

"Ugh."

"Why not, Sarah?"

" 'Gin the awdahs."

"Well, Sarah, we'll go home now."

In an instant the long, lithe creature had darted out on the sand a rod or more; in another instant she had stopped. She stood for a moment facing toward the thicket, craning forward like a snake ready for a spring, one fist stretched fiercely out, the other drawn back to her shoulder—then she made her spring. There was a crash in the underbrush, then a sudden bound out of it, and a burly,

yellow-faced Irishman, with bristling head and bulging eyeballs, scoured away across the sand-plain, yelling in a very agony of terror. "Howly Vargin, the nagur, the nagur!" I knew him; he was a railroad laborer employed occasionally at Mr. Baker's.

"Dey's put him dah for to watch—for to watch Missus," whispered old Sarah as I came up. "De good Lord bress yer dear soul, Missus! dey's put him dah for to watch if—if Missus say any thing 'bout—'bout dat ah."

It was only too plausible. I had heard the man's hammer on the back veranda as I stood talking with Mrs. Baker. We had delayed long enough, and our course had been circuitous enough to give him ample time to secure his ambush before we came up.

"Sarah," said I, "you may fall back now I will walk before; I know the way."

I walked on very hurriedly; but scarcely had I reached the bend in the old road where it enters the pine woods, when from a distance in the direction of the house came a loud, brutal shout. I understood it perfectly. The Regulators were there —had probably been near when the spy was sent on his errand. They had heard his story, and they would come to meet us.

I could see very far through the woods. The trees were almost branchless, and the sunset sparkled every where on the smooth, stiff, radiating spears of the low-creeping palmetto which formed the only underbrush. In a moment they came in sight, still at a distance, eight or ten men of the lower class, led on, as the Southern mob always is led, by a gentleman.

This man I knew. I had heard him talked of as a visitor in the place, and the "lion" of the time. Almost a boy, with all the wild, headstrong recklessness of the Southern boy; and I knew that this very quality, no less than the rumor of wealth and position at home, had given him unbounded influence in the neighborhood. Mrs. Baker had never succeeded in attracting him to her house; but I had seen him once at a distance, and now, as the leader rode on considerably in advance of the rabble on foot, I knew it was Harry Kent.

There was but one thing to be done, and I did it. Near the roadside, just before the turning, a cluster of thick, tall holly bushes stood, hiding us from sight. There I waited. Harry Kent turned the corner, and the holly thicket hid him from sight too. Then I went up quickly to his horse's side, looked up into his face, and said,

"May I ask you to come back with me to the house? I am afraid to meet those rude men alone." It must have been a full minute before the fixed amazement of his face allowed one muscle to move. Then, as another shout came up, now fearfully near, he blushed up to his cap-rim, darted from the saddle, and threw the reins to old Sarah.

"I'll do my best," said he; "don't be afraid. I —I beg your pardon! Would you let me take the ends of your sash?"

I gave him the two ends of the long blue ribbon I wore, drawing out the bows to snake it longer. He took them and went forward a few steps just as the foremost of the troop came up.

A braver woman than I would have grown paler at the whoop and yell, and the hurrahs and shouts of laughter, with which they greeted Kent and his prisoner, as they rushed up crowding and jostling to get a nearer view of me. Kent held them back, and restored something like silence by a vigorous motion or two of his hand.

"All right!" he sung out, gayly, the moment he could be heard, tossing his thumb over his shoulder at me. "Hallo, Captain! what d'ye say; suppose you take the fellows all off down to Wurmer's —see if you can't get there 'n time to help him out with that other little job, you know. Want to come back round by Bob Sims's likely, 'n get a little somethin' for the boys—there's the tin."

There had been a grumble of disappointment at this suggestion, but it died away as the coin rattled down on the sand. The grisly-looking "Captain" gathered it up, but then stood scratching his head a little discontentedly.

"Say, Colonel," said he, "they say you Kentucky fellows allus knows wot purty faces is. Bet ye a 'lipenny now, boys."

"If you don't care to command the expedition, Captain, I will relieve you."

That settled the matter. To "command an expedition" under Harry Kent was a chance not to be lost by the parvenu Captain, who was becoming a man of weight in the absence of the better men.

"All right, all right!" he answered, and my heart began to beat again as I saw them defiling away through the woods.

"You'll let me speak abruptly, won't you?" said Harry, putting my hand in his arm, a little bashfully, and starting with me up the short road toward the house. "I want to know, you see, how I can serve you, and there's but little time now."

"Say it at once," said I; "am I arrested?"

"Well—you know people are so excited now. I don't know much about it myself, but it seems your going out to that place with a suspected servant—"

"But that was her mistress's suggestion; she sent the woman with me."

"Did she?" He stopped short. "Did any one hear her—any white person?"

"No."

"I'm afraid— Well, you know Mrs. Baker. Likes to improve her social position, you understand, by being a little extra-patriotic just now."

"Yes, I know. You will not hesitate to tell me plainly what the special danger is—what I probably have to expect."

"Well, do you think you would be unwilling, for instance, if it should be necessary, to go back to the North at once?"

"Oh no, no!"

"Or to stay—in your room, perhaps—until you you are ready to go?"

"As a prisoner? No, I can submit to that."

"Then, if my influence is worth any thing, it

shall be so. I don't suppose it would be best to be seen making preparations till you hear more—might raise suspicions, you know; but I suppose I must say that you may need to leave at an hour's notice. I mean, if it is decided as we hope."

" If? You think then I have something more to fear?"

" Oh, I hope not! I hope not! The meeting is at seven, you will know then as soon as possible. But whatever course things may take, let me assure you, I will act for you as I would act for my sister."

He spoke low and quick, for just then, as we came up, Mr. Baker lounged out of the gate to meet us.

" Well, Sir," said Harry, suddenly taking up the role he had dropped, "ready to succeed me in office, eh? You won't be gone but a minute, will you? I'll just wait here."

Baker took me under his arm with a sly laugh at Harry, and led me, without speaking, through the gate, up the steps, past the group of slightly-sobered faces in the parlor door, and on up the staircase to my room. The door closed on me, the key turned, and I stood in the centre of the room pressing back with clasped hands the smothering throbs of my heart, and saying over and over, in a vague effort to summon back courage and hope, "He will do his best! he will do his best!" For I saw it plainly then, that between the chance of going back to my mother's home, and the chance of meeting all the unknown terrors of a Southern prison or a Southern mob, my only hope in the wide world was the fidelity of this one impulsive boy.

What a long night it was! Sometimes I sat still, trying to gather my whole soul into the resolution neither to hope nor fear, neither to think nor feel, only to keep my faculties steadily poised for action when the time should come. Then I would go about my room, making what preparations I could safely make for my departure. And then when my heart would choke me, and my eyes would fill in spite of me, I would come back to my chair and try to tread under foot these merely personal troubles, in awe of the fearful future impending over the nation. The twilight faded, and the moon made the shadows black under the trees. No one came near me. The clock below stairs struck seven, then in a strangely short time—for it seemed to me that an hour ought to appear an age—it struck eight, and then nine, and ten, and eleven. But I was growing weaker. The suspense and the utter helplessness grew heavier as the night deepened and the house became still. I took my Bible, but I put it away again. It told me too much of what had been mine in the dear North; what would be mine again if I could only be there once more. At last I came and knelt down before my chair and laid my head on my arms. I said not a word—I felt that there was no need. He knew the whole, and He could help me. And so by degrees came that other feeling, that He was near me—was my friend—would arrange every thing for me in His own way; and with that feeling came rest and patience, and finally forgetfulness.

Something startled me. It was something at the door. The whole must have flashed on me in an instant, for I was there when the door was flung open. Mr. Baker stood there with a lighted lamp in his hand.

"Pack up your traps," said he, "boat starts in half an hour. My compliments to Yankee-land!" Did any other lady ever pack her trunks in fifteen minutes? I did that night, leaving chaos and wild misrule in the wake of the process. Just as it was finished I went out into the hall to take my hat from its nail and paused a moment—I must confess it, I suppose—at hearing Harry Kent's name spoken in Mr. Baker's tones in a side passage.

"The fellow kept us there," said he, "talking chivalry till after midnight. Con-founded shame! Such a case ought to have been dealt with some different way. That chap never would take No for an answer."

I found the "chap" at the hall door when I went down. He merely took my satchel in passing, and left me to his companion, a substantial gentleman of the place, going to Charleston on business, who politely offered to take charge of me. When I was seated in the carriage, my traveling companion choosing the outside, Harry looked in a moment to say good-by. At first he gave me his hand with all proper ceremony; then suddenly he looked up, in his quick way, and said, as if he hardly meant to say it,

"Will you think of me as a rebel, Miss Carr, or only as Harry Kent?"

"A rebel," said I, bending forward, and speaking very low. "Oh, think of it once more, Mr. Kent."

"Too late now," he answered. "I've enlisted." And the carriage moved away.

Months afterward I was returning home late one evening, and there, talking with my mother in the lighted parlor, sat Harry Kent. He was so pale that my first astonishment changed to sudden alarm. "Was he ill?" I asked.

"No, only wounded," he replied, smiling. "A man's normal condition now, you know."

Even then I saw it, but it was not till long afterward that I realized fully how much he had changed. He had grown older, as men do grow older in these earnest times. The boy had passed at a step into full manhood, and the young, lavish overflow of energy had settled into enduring, effective purpose for all the future. I did not wonder when I heard his story. He had remained in the rebel service, he said, the misgivings which had entered his mind on that evening growing stronger every day. When the news came that his own State had been invaded by the Southern armies—then he had at once resigned his emendation and returned home. His father received him as the prodigal was received. "Don't be false to your own State," said the true-souled Kentuckian; "go to work, if you must do any thing, to rid our own

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