Discussion of a "Black Army"


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, August 22, 1863

Welcome to our online collection of Civil War newspapers. This archive serves as an excellent tool to help in your study and research on the War. These newspapers will allow you to gain unique insights into the details of the conflict. Of particular interest is the wood cut illustrations.

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Gettysburg Hero

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Black Army

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Cavalry Officers

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Charleston Siege

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Jeff Davis Cartoon

Jeff Davis Cartoon


View of Gettysburg

Soldiers Eating

Soldiers Eating

Morris Island

Morris Island





AUGUST 22, 1863.]



(Previous Page) crack. There have been two distinct movements upon that city, one by land and one by water. Both failed; and now, combining the two forces, it is clearly with General Gilmore but a question of time. The brilliant and heroic assault of the 18th July, in which we were foiled, although desperate and sadly fatal, has been to the Commanding General and to the rest of us a lesson. But it has not in the least impaired the courage of the soldiers, nor affected public confidence in the result. The general conviction that we have learned how to make war, and mean to make it, so fully satisfies the national mind, that even a repulse so serious as that at Fort Wagner does not seriously affect the most sensitive of meters, the stock list. With Banks in Louisiana, and Grant upon the Mississippi, with Rosecrans in Tennessee, Gilmore at Charleston, and Meade in Virginia, we know that our armies are in the hands of the most competent and resolute commanders; men who have proved that they know how to fight and how to use victory; men who have shown the earnestness of their convictions as well as the fidelity of their patriotism; men who wish to conquer not only peace, but peace that shall secure the national honor, and compensate America and the world for this fearful but holy war.


WHENEVER, as at this moment, the prospects of the rebellion are profoundly gloomy, we must expect that the tone of the Copperheads will be correspondingly defiant. For, discomfited within its own lines, the only hope of the conspiracy will be the prospect of serious division within ours.

It is not surprising, therefore, that the rebels at the South should be told by those at the North that Governor Seymour has sworn, by his sacred word and honor, that no citizen shall be "kidnapped" by "Abolitionist howlers" until the constitutionality of the Conscription act shall have been tested by the New York courts. If Mr. Horatio Seymour has made any such pledge, he has planted himself squarely upon the South Carolina nullification platform of thirty years ago—that the State authorities are competent to annul the National legislation, and that a State may release a citizen of the United States from his allegiance. But as the United States is engaged in a formidable war to refute this theory in some States, it is hardly likely to assent to it in others. If Mr. Seymour has made any such pledge, and means to try to redeem it, he is going to try to plunge the State of New York into Jefferson Davis's rebellion.

That is precisely what the rebels wish; and it is to cheer them with the hope that it is so, or that there is a large faction which wishes it were so, that the announcement is made in the Copperhead journals. Of course, the amiable papers that thus seek to begin the battle in all the towns and cities of the North are those that lament most loudly over this "wicked," "cruel," "fratricidal" war, and who assiduously proclaim their desire of "peace." By their fruits ye shall know them.


THE Jewish Messenger of this city, "A Jew" who writes to us from Cincinnati, and "S. A. S.," a gentlemanly correspondent in Philadelphia, complain that "an open letter" in our issue for Aug. 1 is an insult to the Jewish citizens of this country.

But how can a charge against an individual and those who are like him be construed into an attack upon those who are not like him? Why should the person to whom the Lounger speaks be erected into a representative of other persons, who are neither mentioned nor implied? The fact of a different religion in the disloyal citizen to whom the letter was written, like that of his foreign birth, is mentioned to show his entire divergence from the stream of civilization in this country.

The editor of the Messenger, and "A Jew," and "S. A. S." are informed that the letter was not addressed to an imaginary person; that it fells the truth of the individual to whom it was written, and of "the thousands like him," which is a form of expression for the very many like him who are known to the Lounger. If they are unknown to his correspondent and to the Messenger, their ignorance does not authorize them to charge the letter upon the Lounger as an insult to loyal citizens of the Jewish faith, who are known to the Lounger quite as well as they are to any one.

Unless, therefore the Jewish Messenger can establish that the statements made of his own knowledge by the Lounger in "an open letter" are, as the paper declares, "ungentlemanly and shameful," and unless "A Jew" can substantiate his assumption that a letter speaking of mercenary, and selfish, and disloyal citizens of the Jewish faith is an insult to all of that religion, the Lounger requires of them both a frank acknowledgment of their haste and injustice.


A WAG in New Orleans heads a letter to this paper: "From a New Orleans Union man," and then proceeds to remark, "Its politics suits not the spirit of the Confederate sympathizers, or rather, I should say, the full-blooded Southerner." To which we should say, probably not.

The "New Orleans Union man" continues:

"The downfall of the once glorious American Union is fast hastening to decay; and soon will the prophetic words of Daniel Webster, of Henry Clay, of Calhoun be verefied; and verily believe that the destruction of this once great Republic will be as complete as was the Destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem by Titus the Roman Emperor. Methinks I see it now, and when it shall come, woe shall befall the authors of the Destruction of the ship of state.

"Old Gabe's carreer is coming to a close, but methinks he shall never seek the quet of domestic life. When his time comes, as it surely will come, his long loggerhead containing those puritanical brains which are unfit to drive a baker's cart, instead of guiding the helm of the nation will be desected from his body, then there shall be real disunion. There is a storm brewing, and when it burst forth It shall blow a mighty Hurricane. The Despots at

Washington may well tremble with fear, for they shall be hurled to H—l, where Old Nick is only fit to take charge of them."

This is the kind of "Union man" that our loyal friends, the Copperheads, wish to send representatives to Congress. And it is for his strict and faithful dealings with such men that the same authorities call General Butler "a beast."


THE real sympathy of the Copperhead journals is occasionally betrayed in the most amusing and unexpected manner. When the late riots, arsons, and massacres took place in the city of New York, these papers gravely called them "movements of the people," "popular uprisings," etc., with the intention of cheering the rebels with the hope of a counter-insurrection at the North, and of sustaining the faith of foreigners that our country was ruined. The late arrivals bring the comments of the London press upon the mobs. The London Times, the most venomous and furious of all our English enemies, speaks in the exact strain of the Copperheads. That open, notorious, and desperate foe of our Government and of free institutions uses the same terms which the more stealthy abettors of the rebellion use in New York and elsewhere, and says that "the people are expressing their disgust at the war," etc.

The Times has learned by this time—what its allies, the Copperheads, learned a month ago—that the murderers, incendiaries, and ruffians of the city of New York are not "the people;" while the identity of comment upon the riots reveals the perfect sympathy between the critics.


A CALM, elaborate, and careful paper upon "Our Black Army," in the Philadelphia North American, signed "Kent," is unquestionably written by Sidney George Fisher, whose work upon the "Trial of the Constitution" has been already discussed in these columns. The paper is the more important as coining from one who has not been known as an Abolitionist, but whose views upon the subject of race would certainly provoke the hearty disapproval of the whole body known by that name.

But the cause of civil liberty and order is the cause of man. Dealing, therefore, with the facts of the war, "Kent" pierces and exposes the shining sophistries of those who profess to be loyal to the Government but a little more loyal to Slavery; and shows conclusively that the war has, and necessarily, developed into a war on the part of the white race for the guarantees of civil society, and upon that of the black for personal liberty. He pricks the pretended argument of the demagogue who insists that we must fight the rebels "moderately; and carry the sword in one hand and slavery and conciliation in the other," by the simple truth. "These words being translated mean, 'If you arm the negroes you will destroy slavery. What hope, then, will there be of restoring the old alliance between Slavery and the Democratic party—of restoring the Union as it was?' " Common sense answers, None at all.

"Kent" says truly of the slaves, "They have no hope or interest in this war that should induce them to wish success to the North, except deliverance from Slavery." That, then, must be the motive to which we appeal. Freedom must be the black soldier's bounty. Do we hope for their aid by promising the restoration of a Union which would hopelessly enslave them forever? Do we expect men to fight valorously to bind chains upon themselves?

"We are fighting," says our author, "for an empire; they wish to fight the same battle for freedom. We are fighting that we may have a government worthy of the name, able to protect us in our civil and political rights; they ask to be permitted to fight in the vague and uncertain hope that they may be regarded as men, and not as merchandise; that they may henceforth belong to themselves, and not be bred for sale and bought and sold like the beasts of the field. Is not their purpose and hope as lofty as ours? Let us then fight side by side in this war." That is what every loyal man should bear in mind. If our Government has any value, it is in its protection of personal rights. And if, for the purpose of establishing that guarantee for the many, the rights of some persons were not secured, who will not thank God that the price of the perpetuity of the Government is the protection of the rights of every man subject to it? The heart, the conscience, and the brain of the country no longer differ upon this point.


THERE is something charmingly naive in the proposition that after the battle of Yorktown General Washington ought to have called Benedict Arnold into his councils and followed his advice. But we have been lately entertained with something quite as good. For now that the Mississippi is opened—that Lee is defeated—that Rosecrans is looking for Bragg—that the interior lines are cut —that the means of communication are destroyed —and that the military reduction of the rebellion begins to appear—a feeler is put forth to the effect that our foreign relations are so threatening that the Government is about to abandon the policy and the advice under which it has been successful, and intends to ask the friends and allies of the rebellion to direct public affairs!

Papers and people who have persistently published their faith that the Administration is imbecile naturally print and solemnly believe this waggery. Loyal citizens who believe their Government to be both sensible and earnest smile and



GENERAL BURNSIDE has ordered that no permits whatever shell be granted to visit the prisoners confined at Camp Morton and Camp Chase, Ohio, whether officers or privates.

The United States steam frigate Hartford, from New Orleans, with the gallant Admiral FARRAGUT in command, arrived at this port on 10th inst.

The report of General HURLBUT'S resignation is premature. General HALLECK declines to accept it, and General HURLBUT therefore remains in command of the Sixteenth Army Corps.

General GEORGE B. McCLELLAN and family (says the Sag Harbor (Long Island) Corrector of the 8th instant) arrived in town on Thursday, en route for Easthampton, where the General proposes passing a few days, seeking the quietude and retiracy of our island home.

Acting-Master ROBERT TAW has been detached from the receiving-ship North Carolina and ordered to the command of the gun-boat Queen, at Boston. Mr. TAW was taken prisoner on board the I. P. Smith, at Stone Inlet, South Carolina, by the rebels. After a short confinement at Richmond he was exchanged.

Marine Corps.—Captain E. M'DONALD REYNOLDS sailed in the Arago on 1st to join the Wabash in the South Atlantic squadron,

Captain WILLIAM L. SHUTTLEWORTH, First Lieutenant GEORGE P. HOUSTEN, Second Lieutenant EDWARD C. SALTMARSH, and Second Lieutenant KINGMAN FLINT sailed in the Union on the 6th inst., to relieve the officers at the Pensacola Navy-yard.

Second Lieutenant BISHOP is ordered to command the guard of the United States ship Vermont at Port Royal. He sailed in the Union.

Captain P. R. FENDALL has been ordered to the Portsmouth Navy-yard.

First Lieutenant WILLIAM H. CARTER has been ordered to report for duty at the New York Navy-yard.

First Lieutenant FRANK MUNROE has been ordered to join the Roanoke.

First Lieutenant RICHARD S. COLLUM has been ordered to the naval depot at Cairo, Illinois.

Commander WOODSWORTH has been ordered to the command of the Narragansett.

Brigadier-General W. W. ORME, of General HERRON'S command, had arrived in New Orleans.

It will gratify the friends of the late Brigadier-General GEORGE C. STRONG to know that President LINCOLN has forwarded to the wife of the lamented officer a Major-General's commission, bearing the date of the battle on Morris Island in which he received his fatal wound.

General BLAIR left St. Louis for Washington on 6th. General THAYER with his Staff reached St. Louis on 7th. General STEELE was at Memphis on the way North on 3d, and General A. P. HOVEY was in Cleveland, Ohio, on 1st.

General ROBERT H. MILROY is to be tried by a military general court-martial for an offense specified in an order of the General-in-Chief. General HALLECK has detailed officers to constitute the court.

Lieutenant E. WALTER WEST, of General HEINTZELMAN'S Staff, has been appointed Lieutenant-Colonel of the Thirty-third New Jersey regiment, now being organized.

The rumors of the resignation of General MEADE have been the subject of much comment at Washington, and speculation is rife as to who will be his successor. It is said that the general choice of all officers is General GOVERNEUR K. WARREN, recently promoted Major-General, as General M'CLELLAN can not be reinstated to the position. Next to General McCLELLAN and General WARREN the choice of the army would be General N. P. BANKS.

Since the first of last February, Colonel WILDER, of ROSECRANS'S army, has been twenty-eight times through the rebel lines, and taken 1157 prisoners, about 4000 horses, and a small army of slaves. In the last expedition be took about 600 prisoners, 800 horses, and 250 slaves, killed ten guerrillas, and mortally wounded Colonel GANT. He lost one man, private STEWART, of the 17th Indiana. He has hung five and shot fifteen rebels, including a second lieutenant, caught with our uniform on, in accordance with the orders of General ROSECRANS. WILDER is chief of the famous mounted infantry.

Major-General SICKLES and Staff arrived at Saratoga on 11th.

A Cincinnati dispatch announces that General BURNSIDE arrived in Lexington, Kentucky, on 10th, and that the movement of troops in that direction is very active.

Lieutenant Commander CILLEY has been ordered to the command of the Unadilla.

Admiral DAVID D. PORTER has been granted a two months' leave of absence, after his protracted labors, and will visit the North as soon as he can make the necessary arrangements for the management of the Mississippi fleet during his absence.

The appointment of Colonel LEE, of the Twenty-seventh Massachusetts Regiment, as Provost Marshal of the Department of North Carolina, and of Captain CHAT. D. SANFORD, of the same regiment, as Provost Marshal of Newbern, gives universal satisfaction, and secures justice and tranquillity to all.

Colonel BRIGGS, the chief Quartermaster of North Carolina, leaves in a day or two for Fortress Monroe, where he will establish his head-quarters.

Viscount MICHALOWSKI, formerly of Battery K, First Regiment United States Artillery, has been placed in command of Battery of the same regiment. The Viscount has distinguished himself upon several occasions by his gallantry, and will doubtless raise for his new command (Kirby's old battery) fresh laurels.

General BUFORD, the popular cavalry commander, left Washington for Kentucky on 11th on a short furlough, the first he has taken for several years. A portion of his staff have also been granted a furlough.

Captain AMASA PAINE, U.S.N., died in Providence, Rhode Island, on the 27th ult. He entered the navy in 1822 as a midshipman. In the first 24 years of naval life he was 14 years at sea. When the law of 1855 established the reserved list Commander PAINE, like other officers of high merit, was placed upon it, on the ground, apparently, of health temporarily impaired; but he was subsequently promoted to a Captaincy, and at the commencement of the war was placed on duty at Boston.

Surgeon J. L. TEED is ordered to report to General ROSECRANS.



THE advices from the front of the Potomac army do not indicate any operations at present. Our lines extend as far as Stafford Court House and Aquia Creek. The enemy's pickets still extend along the south side of the Rappahannock. A portion of General Longstreet's army is undoubtedly in Fredericksburg. The railroad between that point and Aquia Creek has been torn up to a considerable extent, and the whole country between the Rappahannock and the Potomac has been desolated. Deserters from the rebel army are coming into our lines in large numbers, and it is said that the mountains are filled with men in open rebellion against the conscription of Jeff Davis.


Correspondents with the James River fleet report an important reconnoissance by General Foster on the 4th inst. up the James River, for the purpose of ascertaining the position of the rebels in that quarter. The fleet went within six miles of Fort Darling. The boats were fired upon from the banks at different points where the enemy had batteries planted. The Commodore Barney came into collision with a torpedo, which lifted her out of the water and started her guards ten inches, but did little permanent damage.


According to the St. Louis Union, the position of the Army of the Cumberland is, at present, at Tullahoma and Winchester—places about seventeen miles apart. Tullahoma is held by General Johnson's division. General Rosecrans's head-quarters are in Mary Sharp College, at Winchester. General McCook's corps is at that place. General Jeff C. Davis is in command of the post. General

Thomas's corps is at Decherd, four miles from Winchester. General Crittenden's occupies Manchester, Hillsboro, McMinnville, and Stephenson. The position of Bragg's army is not, and can not be given. The larger part is probably at Chattanooga, fortifying that place, with the design of holding that position until he is driven out. Bragg's is, perhaps, the worst shattered and demoralized army in the field. Desertions, disease, retreats, and hardships have made it but the wreck of its former self, and there is little probability of its offering any considerable resistance to Rosecrans, even if he were to attempt to march through Georgia to Savannah.


The latest news from Charleston is to 5th inst. Every thing goes on bravely. The position of General Gilmore on Morris Island is stronger and safer than ever. The morale and confidence of the troops are unexampled. Although the rebels keep pouring in shell from forts Wagner, Sumter, and other fortifications, the protection to our troops is so complete that our casualties for many days past are hardly worth noticing. On the night of the 4th Captain L. S. Paine, of the One Hundredth New York Volunteers, with it detachment of his men, while on a scout near Light-house Creek, was captured by the rebels, with all his men. The new Ironsides participated with immense vim in the cannonade on Fort Wagner on Sunday week, and finally silenced the rebel guns. The firing was terrific throughout the day between the Ottawa, a Monitor, the Ironsides, our works on Morris Island. and the rebel forts Wagner, Johnson, Sumter, and Moultrie.


Advices from the Mississippi Valley, by the way of Cairo, inform us that measures are on foot to clear the entire territory west of the river of rebels. Gen. Davidson is said to be marching down the centre of Arkansas, having been entirely successful in several encounters with the enemy. The people of Jacksonport are alarmed at his appearance, and flying before him. Another expedition is also hinted at, the results of which must be of much importance.


General Joe Johnston's army is at Enterprise and Brandon, under the direct command of General Hardee. Most of the rebel force at the former place are said to be ready to move at a moment's notice. General Johnston himself went to Mobile on the 27th, and is reported to have returned to Mississippi again, after a thorough examination of the defenses and resources of Mobile.


Parties from Middle Tennessee represent the condition of the people as horrible; in fact, in a state of absolute starvation.


The President is determined to carry into force his recent order relative to the retaliation upon prisoners of war. He has ordered that three prisoners from South Carolina shall be held in close confinement as hostages for three negro seamen captured on the gun-boat Isaac Smith, and who are now in prison at Charleston. All other prisoners, whether white or black, treated by the enemy in a manner not applicable to prisoners of war, will be equally represented by Southern men in our hands as those here referred to. Mr. Lincoln is determined that negroes in the military and naval service shall be regarded on the same terms as white men.


Jeff Davis has issued an urgent appeal to Confederate officers and soldiers to return immediately to their various camps and corps. He complains of a want of alacrity on the part of all classes in coming forward in this most dismal hour of the South.


The Mobile News complains dismally of the want of patriotism in the people of Alabama and Mississippi. It calls them bastard Southerners and recreant Confederates; says that they have gone stark mad, and that many reports of their conduct are too horrible to be published.


Thomas E. Bramlette has just been elected to the executive chair of Kentucky probably by twenty-five thousand majority.

He will take the seat to which Beriah Magoffin was chosen, four years ago, by the following vote:

Beriah Magofiin, democrat ..................6,187

Joshua F. Bell, opposition ................67,271

Democratic majority ...........................8,916

—And it is confidently expected that he will fill the place with more honor to the State and to himself than did his elected predecessor.


General Rosseau is at Washington by authority of General Rosecrans, renewing his suggestion, made last fall, to raise a mounted infantry and cavalry force to operate against the guerrillas in Kentucky and Tennessee. It is proposed to raise twelve or fifteen thousand men, which force he thinks will be sufficient to rid those States of armed rebels, and to prevent in future plundering forays.


The Nashville Union is officially authorized to state that Governor Johnson purposes issuing writs of election for a Legislature at the very earliest practicable day; that is, when the progress of military operations is such that loyal citizens can go to the polls in safety, and when sympathizers with the rebellion will no longer dare, backed by the presence of Confederate troops, and by guerrilla terrorism, to control the policy of the State.


The ships Talisman, from New York, bound for Shanghai, and the Conrad, from Montevideo to New York, were both destroyed by the pirate Alabama.




THE following are the extracts which refer to our war: The civil war between the Northern and Southern States of the American Union still unfortunately continued, and is necessarily attended with much evil, not only to the contending parties, but also to nations which have taken no part in the conflict. Her Majesty, however, has seen no reason to depart from the strict neutrality which her Majesty has observed from the beginning of the contest.

MY LORDS AND GENTLEMEN,—The distress which the civil war in America has inflicted on a portion of Her Majesty's subjects in the manufacturing districts, and toward the relief of which such generous and munificent contributions have been made, has in some degree diminished, and Her Majesty has given her cordial consent to measures calculated to have a beneficial influence upon that unfortunate state of things.



In a late encounter with the Russian troops the Poles were successful. The proclamation of the Polish National Government rejects all compromises not based on a recognition of the independence of the kingdom. Prince Gortschakoff, in replying to the note of Austria, expresscs surprise at this position assumed by that Government, and thinks that Russia, Austria, and Prussia should act in accord.



Marshal Forey, in an official report, says that he is occupied in forming a Provisional Government in Mexico from men of moderate view, belonging to all parties.




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