Rebel Invasion of Maryland


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, September 27, 1862

Welcome to the online editions of all the Harper's Weekly newspapers published during the Civil War. These old newspapers are a treasure trove of illustrations and news reports created by eye-witnesses to the actual events and battles.

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Cincinnati, Ohio

Cincinnati, Ohio

Rebel Invastion of Maryland

Rebel Invasion of Maryland

Robert E. Lee's Letter

Lee's Letter to the Citizens of Maryland

Fort Mitchell

Fort Mitchell

Quantrill's Raiders

Invasion of Maryland Cartoon

Invasion of Maryland Cartoon

Frederick, Maryland

Frederick, Maryland


Confederate Cavalry

Confederate Cavalry

Confederate Army

Confederate Army

Maryland Map

Map of Maryland


Hagerstown, Maryland

Quantrill's Raiders Raid

Quantrill's Raiders










[SEPTEMBER 27, 1862.



ONCE more we hail thee, Chief! The nation's heart,

Faint and desponding, stricken to the dust,

Turns back to thee with the old hopeful trust,

And childlike confidence, and love. Thou art

Our chosen Leader. We have watched thee well,

And marked how thou halt borne the taunts and sneers Of those whose envious falsehoods harmless fell

About thine head; how, unmoved by their jeers, Thou hast toiled on with patient fortitude,

Winning from all the Legions under thee

A love which is almost idolatry;

Thy one sole aim thy Country's greatest good.

Press on, young Chieftain, foremost in the van!

The Hour of need has come—be thou the Man!

BLACKSTONE, MASS., Sept 15, 1862.




AT the hour we write it is uncertain whether the rebel army in Maryland is being absolutely extinguished, or whether it is recuperating from the defeat it suffered at the hands of General McClellan on 14th. Before these lines reach the reader he will probably know the facts. Lee may possibly maintain himself in some strong position until reinforcements reach him from Richmond, and may thus be enabled to renew the contest. But the chances are that he will suffer so much, and be so hardly pressed, that, by the time Beauregard reaches him with the 40,000 men who are said to have marched from Gordonsville, his army will be a wreck, and escape, not victory, will be his exclusive object.

Well-informed observers never could be made to believe that Lee would cross the Potomac. General McClellan is said to have replied, when he was told the rebels had crossed: "It's too good to be true." He and most of us here gave the rebels credit for more wisdom. It was evident, as we took occasion to show in our last number, that to cross the river and not to take Washington or Baltimore would be fatal to the rebel army. Nothing but the immediate capture of one or both of these cities could redeem the step, or save the army from its inevitable consequences. McClellan knew perfectly well that Lee could not take either Washington or Baltimore, and therefore argued that he would not cross the river. He did cross: he did not take Washington or Baltimore, or even seriously threaten them; and the result will probably be the destruction of his army.

People are asking what was the object of the rebels in invading Maryland, if the invasion was so sure to be fatal to them?

In the first place, it is not likely that the rebel leaders were aware of the strength of Washington, or of the defenses of Baltimore. They may, perhaps, have believed that they could make a sudden dash upon the railroad and seize one or other of these cities. If our armies had been handled awkwardly, if they had delayed to follow the rebels across the river, if McClellan had marched on Leesburg, as some of his generals are said to have advised, this hope might have been realized. It was only when Jackson discovered the enormous army of McClellan moving westwardly toward the Monocacy. and wedging itself in between the rebels and the fords by which they had crossed, that he realized its utter futility. Again, some of the rebel leaders are said to have been so foolish and so ignorant as to rely upon what they called "a popular rising" in Maryland. We at the North, who have had pretty frequent occasion of late to take the measure of Maryland, knew all along how much this resource amounted to. We had thought of the "popular rising" long before it occurred to the rebels, and had applied the antidote. Baltimore might have "risen" if her people had chosen; but it would only have been to fall prostrate in ashes in very short order. Annapolis might have "risen;" but twenty-four hours would have settled her account with history. Whatever the opinions of the Marylanders may be—and we hope they are sound and loyal—they had no more chance of "rising" than the convicts in a well-ordered penitentiary.

We can not help thinking that the true secret of the rebel invasion of Maryland, and of the similar demonstration against Ohio, is simply the utter desperation of the rebel leaders. They have seen. in the course of fifteen months, a Union army of less than half a million of men overrun and conquer nearly the whole of three large States, and parts of seven others; they have seen their strongest positions wrested from them, and their finest armies beaten and dispersed; they have lost New Orleans and the Mississippi River; they have failed in every enterprise they undertook, and we have succeeded in every enterprise of ours save one only; they have seen their coast line, over 3000 miles long, which every one was sure could not be blockaded, hermetically sealed against commerce; they have lost every vessel they built, from the Merrimac to the Arkansas; they have seen their people enduring miseries such as no people in modern times have ever suffered before; and with this frightful catalogue of disaster and misfortune to dispirit them, they see

that, if the contest is to be prolonged, they must wage it against an army of a million of men and a fleet of impregnable iron-clad vessels. Can any one wonder at their being desperate? What could they do except to attempt some wild, desperate scheme, such as the invasion of Maryland and Ohio, and trust to luck, accident, or the blunders of our generals for success? To remain where they were, and wait to be attacked by a million of men, was simply ruin without a chance of escape. To invade us was also probably ruin; but there was a remote possibility that in some extraordinary freak fortune might come to their aid and enable them to seize Washington or Cincinnati. To this vague hope they probably clung, and hence their late movements.

It seems that the period of ill-luck which commenced with the seven days' battles is ended at last, and that fortune is once more on our side. Let us beware of our past errors. Let us not pronounce our generals imbecile, or traitors, or cowards, because they are not uniformly successful. See what McClellan has done now! Let us not cry aloud to Heaven to restore the chaos when we meet with a trifling check. We shall meet with many checks yet before the war ends: it will be enough for good men if after all it ends well.


THIS law will or should be in full operation by the time these lines are read. It would have been in force before but that it absolutely required some time to organize the machinery required for its execution. It is possible that that machinery may not be perfected before 1st October. Direct taxation is so new a thing in this country that the whole system of tax-districts, tax-gatherers, and taxable products had to be blocked out of raw material; to set these in order so as to carry out the intentions of Congress naturally required some time.

The law as it now stands bristles with errors, as might have been expected. The assessors, who apportion the tax to be paid by each citizen in their district, can not well, under the law, make over $1200 a year. It was the intention of Congress that their salary should be about $2000 a year. To swell their receipts to this sum they will be compelled to protract appeals before them to an unreasonable length, and to resort to other "dodges" which are familiar to officials in the service of the United States, but the practice of which should rather be discouraged than stimulated. Whether even a clear income of $2000 will secure assessors of undoubted probity is an open question. Two thousand dollars are a large sum, no doubt, but there are men in every city who spend more. And as it will be in the power of an assessor to report the tax on A— B— at $100, when it should be $500, it is easy to see that, if by any chance dishonest men should obtain appointments as assessors, extensive frauds may be committed. A prominent politician, who is conversant with the "practice of politics," estimates the revenue of the assessors in this city and in the manufacturing towns at three to four times the amount contemplated by Congress.

Commissioner Boutwell has instructed the collectors that they have an ungracious office to fill, and that its proper discharge will require the exercise of urbanity, discretion, and forbearance. They are especially warned against bullying and oppression. The tax collector is unpopular in every community, and perhaps more so here than in Europe, from the reason that our people are less accustomed to be taxed than foreigners. Collectors have been directed to discharge their duty as leniently as is consistent with the interest of Government, and in every case in which the payment of the tax is resisted, to refer the matter to the legal authorities. Distraints such as accompany the collection of taxes in Great Britain will here be as rare as possible.

At the same time there is no doubt but the two great taxes—the income tax of 3 per cent. on all incomes over $600 a year, and the manufacturing tax of 3 per cent. on all manufactures, will be collected at any cost. The citizen whose income is $1000, will have to pay 3 per cent, on $400, or 12 per annum; he whose income is $10,000 will have to pay $282. The manufacturer of $100,000 worth of woolen or cotton goods, hardware, boots or shoes, leather, paper, furniture, thread, machinery, etc., etc., will have to pay $3000 a year; which he will of course estimate in the cost of his goods. There are a number of other taxes—direct tax, special taxes upon articles of comfort and luxury, etc., etc.—which will be added to these.

It is plain to see that the tax law will sooner or later effect a social revolution in this country. Hitherto we have paid no taxes, and have lived more extravagantly than any other people on the face of the earth. We spend twice as much for rent, food, servants, and clothing, as people do in the dearest country in Europe. It has cost, hitherto, nearly twice as much to live in New York as in London, and nearly three times as much as in Paris, or Berlin: simply because we have all of us established an expensive standard of living, and adhere to it. We have agreed, for instance, that ordinary dwelling-houses in New York shall be worth from $800 to $2500 a

year; that our wives shall dress in $25 or $50 dresses; that our servants shall be paid from $8 to $15 a month. These prices are of course utterly fictitious, but as everyone agrees to them, they are the established rule.

The tax law will have some effect upon these prices. When a man who realizes an income of $5000 a year by manufacturing $200,000 worth of goods finds that, under this law, he has to pay over to Government a sum of $6000, he will object to paying as much as usual for rent, dry goods, and servants' wages. When a lawyer whose income is $5000 finds that he must pay over $132 every year to the General Government—besides city, county, and State tax and license—he will begin to inquire about the feasibility of economies. When a farmer who makes $2000 a year discovers that he is expected to pay $42 every May day to the Government, be, in like manner, will at least investigate the grand question of cutting down expenses.

In this light the tax law will do us a great deal of good. We in this country—at least the new generation—have grown up in utter ignorance of and with some contempt for economy. Every body expects to make a great fortune in a short time, and no one thinks of saving money. Our fathers lived on fewer hundreds than their sons require thousands, and when they made more than they needed, saved the balance. The unexampled prosperity which this country has derived from the settlement of the fertile prairies of the West, from the discovery of gold in California, and from the development of industry in the older States, have blinded most of our people to the first principle of political economy—namely, that wealth is far oftener the product of economy than of enterprise. The tax law occurs opportunely to correct this defect. A couple of years' experience will work a decided change in our habits. Under the law, the Government will jut take from prosperous men the sum they have been accustomed to squander, or to expend in unnecessary comforts or luxuries; and the result will necessarily be that lavish and needless expenditures will be curtailed.



THE sooner the Government of the United States understands the popular feeling the better for the safety of the country. Men are beginning to say what they have long thought, "Here we are giving men and means to save the nation, willingly sacrificing all that we have and are, and the Government stands shilly-shally, doubting, wondering; hoping that something will turn up; devoutly praying to good Lord and good Devil in the same breath."

It is the language of anger and grief; but what is the situation of affairs?

Simply this: the people of this country are resolved upon a Union and upon a strong Government. They earnestly wish the success of the Government they have, and they are willing to do all that men can do to save it. But the moment they see, as they now begin to fear, that the loudest and most undiscriminating supporters of the present policy of the Administration are those who are at heart notoriously disloyal, that moment they will consider very gravely. For they know that the present policy is extolled by those men because they think its dilatoriness and slackness favor their own hopes.

In a word, the enemies of the country praise hesitation and half-measures in the war because they think that such a course will tire out the North, and make it willing to accept any terms of peace with the rebellion.

If the Government would save the cause, it must therefore make it plain that it is doing all that can be done to secure the victory; that it is superseding officers who have been tried and are found wanting; that it is dismissing corrupt agents every where; that it is insisting upon rabid movements and hard fighting; that it is cutting away every root and tendril of the rebellion which it can find; that, in fine, it is so active, so thorough, so earnest, so confident of the popular desire to crush the conspiracy at every cost, that no loyal man could for a moment suppose it possible to find a more vigorous Administration.

It has stood on one leg long enough. Let it now put two feet to the ground and run on to victory.


A SECESH letter to the Charleston Courier, describing the passage of the Rapidan and the advance of the rebel army toward Washington, says: "We live on what we can get—now and then an ear of corn, fried green apples, or a bit of ham broiled on a stick; but quite as frequently do without either from morning until night. We sleep on the ground without any other covering than a blanket, and consider ourselves fortunate if we are not frozen stiff before morning. The nights are both damp and cold."

Again the writer says: "Among the Yankees captured by Jackson were two men who, as soon as they fell into our hands, commenced to ask after their old comrades in an artillery company. An inquiry being instituted, they confessed that, eight months ago, they were soldiers in our army, but that, being tired of service, they had deserted, and joined the ranks of the enemy. Without farther ado the General ordered them to be hung to a tree, which was done in the presence of a large portion of his army."

The same writer, describing a spy who had done gallant service in the cause of his country, but was at last discovered, continues; "The execution took

place this afternoon, under the direction of General Evans, in the presence of his brigade and a large number of soldiers. The prisoner was mounted on a horse, his hands tied behind him, and he was driven beneath a tree. The rope, which was a little larger than an ordinary bed-cord, then being adjusted, he was ordered to stand upon the saddle. As he did so a soldier gave a sharp cut to the animal, and in a second more the spy was jerking convulsively from the limb above him. He met his fate with great stoicism, and appeared perfectly satisfied with what he had accomplished, but to the last denied all participation in the act of shooting Longstreet's courier." Brave patriot! the country which honors the memory of Nathan Hale will not forget you!

The men who do and endure these things are men who mean that the war they wage shall hurt the enemy; and so long as that enemy is unwilling to hurt them in every way it can, so long these men will triumph. Yet there are newspapers and demagogues at the North who, under the silly cry that this is not an abolition war, insist that these rebels shall be allowed the free use of their slaves to do their work and supply their armies. Why she they insist upon it? Because they are afraid that if the people of the country demand that the rebellion shall be at once suppressed by weakening the rebels in every way, it will be suppressed, and without compromising the honor of the nation. But if it is suppressed without that compromise, the political hopes of those newspapers and demagogues are ruined forever. They love their old party cries more than their country. They are willing that the political liberty of every laboring white man in the North should be destroyed rather than that the black men of the South should have a chance of personal freedom.


IF when a country is at war its producing classes can stay steadily at home and raise the necessary supplies for the army, that army will always he strong and effective. If the other party to the war is really in earnest and means to conquer at every hazard, what will it do? Of course it will cut off those supplies if it can. If it can destroy a supply train, or capture a supply ship, will it hesitate to do it? Nay, if it does hesitate, will it not show that it is either utterly incapable, or that it does not wish to beat?

But if it will try to cut off the supply trains and ships, if it will destroy the stores of an enemy which it can not use for itself, why should it not stop the production of supplies? And if it can not stop it altogether, why not do what it can? Does a General decline to destroy one baggage or supply train because he is not sure that he can destroy all that the enemy have? Does he hesitate to shoot or capture one soldier of the enemy because he may not be able to kill or capture the whole army?

Now the slaves are the producing class among the rebels. The rebels openly and defiantly boast that they are sure of bringing as many men upon any point as we can, because the old men and women can look after the slaves who raise the supplies, so that all their able-bodied men can go into the field; while they say that hundreds of thousands of our able-bodied must stay at home to raise our supplies. But their producing class naturally like us and hate their masters. If therefore we say to them, "You know that we are your friends, help us!" we give them the strongest inducement men can have to throw up their work and make their masters go home again.

You say that it will do no good. Try it and see. Here are a hundred people in a house which they have barricaded, and they are shooting us from the windows. Of those hundred forty wish us to conquer rather than the men in the house. But they are under the eye of those men, and they are not sure of being protected by us if they help us. Now if we know that, and if our real and sole object is to subdue those men as soon and as overwhelmingly as possible, what do we do? We shout to them, "Help us, and we will stand by you!" Then what? Then if the men in the house are really afraid of the forty among them, they will cry out, ''We give it up!" If they are not afraid of them, we shall have secured forty friends among the enemy, and the result will be the same. If they do not surrender they will be destroyed.

Suppose that our day laborers and factory hands from Maine to Iowa were owned and sold by rich capitalists, as the rebels say all working men ought to be. Suppose they were kept under by precisely the same regulations by which the slaves are kept in order. Do you suppose that when Jeff Davis's army reached the Potomac he would or would not have issued a proclamation and said to them, "Here, you laboring men, help us and we will stand by you!"

Of course he would, because he means victory. He means to conquer or be conquered. He means to strike and hurt and weaken us in every way he can. He means that we shall see what he means. And when we mean that he shall see, as he sees the sun at noonday, that we mean the overwhelming suppression of this infamous rebellion against the rights of the people, he will scatter and fly like dust before the north wind.


AT a most threatening moment of the war the political campaign begins. Certainly when the country is in mortal peril there should be but one party, but there are two. Certainly any patriotic party which takes the field first should leave all party cries and traditions and stand upon a platform of a single plank, the salvation of the country by every means we can control. That course would annihilate all other parties among loyal men. No faithful citizen would dare to withstand that battle-cry.

But any party which should begin the campaign by declaring that we have no right to use every lawful means to success in this terrible war would (Next Page)




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