Draft Editorial


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, August 29, 1863

This site presents an online archive of all the Harper's Weekly newspapers published during the Civil War. These papers will take you back in time to the days the war was being fought. It give details of the attitudes and issues of the day, as they happened.

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


David Farragut

David Farragut

Draft Editorial

Draft Editorial

Soldier's Letter

A Soldier's Letter

The Hartford

The "Hartford"

Black Soldier's Funeral

Black Soldier's Funeral

Prisoners in New Orleans

New Orleans Prisoners

Draft Resistance

Draft Resistance

Fort Wagner

Bombardment of Fort Wagner


Dumfries, Virginia

Balck Troops at Fort Wagner

Black Troops Before Fort Wagner





[AUGUST 29, 1863.


(Previous Page) And exit Commodore in great wrath.

It was done, however, as every one knows; and at a late hour on 25th April, 1862, the Commodore anchored off the city of New Orleans, and sent word ashore that all rebel flags must come down.

From that time to the present the Admiral (for he was immediately promoted to that rank) has been intensely active. He has run almost every rebel battery on the Mississippi, silenced a large number, and only left the river when there were no more to silence. The part he took in the reduction of Port Hudson was most important. He came here, in fact, when his work was done; and in the hope that the Administration would find him new fields of glory.

Of all our naval commanders he ranks, without question, as the first—the naval hero of the war.

His arrival here was a scene of great excitement. A crowd assembled to welcome him; the foreign vessels in the bay and the forts thundered glad salutes, which were grimly returned by the old Hartford; the city tendered him civic hospitalities; the Government sent for him to thank him personally for what he had done for his country. If any man should feel proud at this day it is DAVID G. FARRAGUT.

One who knows him well writes of him:

From his childhood Admiral FARRAGUT has been remarkably self-reliant and determined, and although of very amiable disposition, never would consent that others should do for him what he could perform for himself. Industry is a decided trait in his character. When not on active duty he has always been a student, and while in foreign ports never neglected to acquire the language of the people. At one time he spoke the Spanish, French, Italian, and Arabic with great fluency—the latter language he acquired when he was eighteen years of age, during a residence of nine months in Tunis. In connection with his Arabic the following anecdote is related. On approaching some islands in the Mediterranean, the Captain of the ship remarked on deck that he did not know how they were to converse with the people, as they had no interpreter. At that moment a boat came alongside with some of the natives, and an officer replied, "Captain, we have an officer on board who seems to speak all languages intuitively; he is doubtless in league with the 'old boy;' but suppose you send for him, and see if he can not communicate with these people." So Lieutenant FARRAGUT was called for, and told in a peculiar manner that he must show if what he was accused of was true. He looked into the boat, and seeing an old Arabian woman, immediately commenced conversing, and transacted for the ship all the trading. Imagine the surprise of all on board, as FARRAGUT did not tell them that it was Arabic he was speaking, and as he kept up the joke for some time, amused to hear them often repeat "that he was indebted to the devil for such a gift."




THE "revolution in the North" which, in the opinion of the journalists at London and Richmond, was to counterbalance our successes on the Mississippi and the retreat of Lee, is at an end. The draft has been, or is being enforced every where, including the city of New York, and there is no longer any question as to whether the people will submit to it. Within a fortnight from this time all the drafted men will either have taken their place in the armies of the Union, or have paid their $300 to Government.

The notion that the people of the United States would not submit to be drafted was the last plank to which the enemies of the Union clung. It was realized at Richmond and in England that, with our present vantage-ground, the suppression of the rebellion was a mere question of time, if only we could keep our armies up to a proper numerical strength. Hence the hysterical delight of the Richmond papers over the anti-draft riot in New York, and the ponderous disquisitions of the London press upon the impossibility of enforcing a conscription among the Northern masses. In this, as in so many other cases, the wish was father to the thought; but the event has disappointed both.

We shall commence the Fall campaign with our armies fully recruited to the war standard, and with such advantages over the enemy in point of numbers, material of war, position, prestige, and experienced leadership as to render our success reasonably certain. Mobile, Charleston, and Chattanooga ought to be in our hands before Christmas.

And—what is scarcely of less importance—we shall have made a precedent for all future time that may save us many a war. No politician of any standing will dare hereafter to question the right of the Government to the armed service of all citizens; and foreign nations which quarrel with us will understand that they have to deal with a Power which can place five millions of soldiers in the field.


THE election of Mr. Bramlette as Governor of Kentucky by a majority of some 50,000 or more may be considered as settling the disputed question as to the opinion of that State on the issues of the day. Notwithstanding the President's proclamation, and notwithstanding the fact that almost every large household in Kentucky has some young member or friend in the rebel army, the majority against secession anti in favor of Union is unprecedented in the electoral history of the State. It is true that the successful candidate, Mr. Bramlette, declared himself opposed to the emancipation proclamation.

But he just as decidedly declared himself opposed to all unconstitutional or revolutionary opposition to any law of Congress or legitimate act of the Executive; and he pledged himself merely to seek the reversal of the policy of the President by peaceful constitutional action. In view, therefore, of the probable anti-slavery majority in the House and the decided anti-slavery majority in the Senate, to say nothing of the pretty well determined anti-slavery views of the President, we may fairly infer that Mr. Bramlette, the Governor elect of Kentucky, is prepared to yield a cheerful acquiescence to the anti-slavery policy of the Government, as soon as he ascertains that he can not reverse or alter it by peaceful constitutional opposition. And this, we think, is very considerable progress. When the war began the Kentucky Senators and the Governor, together with so many of the people that Generals Sherman and Anderson pronounced them a decided majority, were on the side of the rebellion. After the war had commenced Kentucky wanted to be neutral, and notified the General Government not to invade her territory. After a year of war Kentucky took her side squarely, if not evidently, on the side of the Union. And now, after two years of war, she elects a Governor, who, though naturally opposed to abolition, has nevertheless placed himself upon the record as ready to acquiesce in the emancipation policy of the Government. The next step in the progress will be a peremptory demand for abolition by the people of the State. This will probably take another year.

Missouri is about twelve months ahead of Kentucky. Before the war, though St. Louis contained a number of far-seeing merchants who were in favor of emancipation, the general sentiment of the State was as unequivocally pro-slavery as that of South Carolina. It was from Missouri that the "border-ruffians" hailed, who strove to force slavery on Kansas with fire and sword. No more ardent advocates of slavery ever went to Washington than Atchison and Green. When the war broke out the Legislature of Missouri was not only devoted to slavery, but was so closely allied in sentiment to the other slave State Legislatures that, but for the hero Lyon, we might have had to take St. Louis and Jefferson City as we took Nashville and Memphis. After the proclamation of Fremont the anti-slavery sentiment made great progress, especially among the Germans, and a Governor was elected—Mr. Gamble—who, though far from being an abolitionist, believed that there were other interests in Missouri besides slavery. When Congress adopted the President's recommendation to pay for emancipated slaves the anti-slavery impulse in Missouri received a further impulse, and a Convention was held in June last, at which it was determined to abolish slavery in eight years. This resolution, which would have seemed revolutionary and monstrous three years ago, has not satisfied the people of Missouri. They are not content to wait eight years for immigration and high prices for land. Accordingly another Convention will be called by the next Legislature, which will undoubtedly abolish slavery at once. This is very fair progress.

In Maryland the development of anti-slavery views has not, as yet, made its appearance on the surface of the political arena. But the tone of leading newspapers, and the price of slaves—a large slaveholder the other day had his entire stock assessed at 5 a head—indicate plainly enough that within a short period Maryland will, of her own free action, get rid of the incubus of slavery.

It is possible that the Border States, rapidly as they are improving in public sentiment, may yet be outstripped in the race toward freedom by some of their more Southern sisters. The destruction of slavery, as an economic and productive institution, is complete on the sea-coast of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, in nearly half of Virginia, in more than half of Louisiana, and in the Mississippi Valley. No other system of labor has yet been substituted. In some localities all the adult male negroes are taken for the army. In others they are hired out, sometimes by their old masters. But as a general rule, wherever slavery has been abolished by military rule chaos has succeeded, and desolation rules the plain. Now it is obvious that this state of things can not last long. An intelligent and industrious nation of twenty-five millions of whites will not long permit fertile land to lie idle when cotton is worth 65 cents, sugar 8 cents, and tobacco 18 cents. Sooner or later pride, prejudice, and passion will yield to the dictates of interest, and attempts will be made to reorganize labor. There have already been such attempts, spasmodic and partial, in Louisiana When the Fall campaign has firmly secured to us the entire productive area of that State, together with the western part of Mississippi, and the valleys of Arkansas, we may feel assured that those attempts will be renewed, and on a general plan. This will be General Banks's work. And there are those among his friends who are not without the hope that, as early as next winter, a delegation of regularly-elected Congressmen from Louisiana will present themselves at Washington with a free State Constitution in their hand, and a platform of principles which will

render them co-workers with the delegations from Massachusetts and Illinois.

For the world will keep moving. Here, in the great commercial metropolis, where every man who is not engrossed in making money is engrossed in spending it, we have lineal descendants of Galileo's Judges, who deafen us with daily eulogies of slavery as it was, and denounce all progress as the work of the devil, or the radicals—which means the same thing. But the world does not stop for their croaking, and planters in Louisiana and Mississippi, when placed in the dilemma of choosing between free negro labor on the one hand, and no labor at all on the other, will not feel much sympathy with Northern politicians who are so enamored of slavery that they would rather see planters starve than negroes free.



THE practical sagacity of the President is daily justified. His impulses are wiser than the wary plans of more cunning men. It is true that, in writing the letter to the Albany Committee, he was faintly accused in some quarters of want of dignity. But both the resolution to write and the time of writing were most happy illustrations of his shrewdness, while the letter itself is unanswerable, and will henceforth be a constituent part of the body of Constitutional interpretation. His replies to Governor Seymour are not less excellent in their way.

In fact, from the moment of his inauguration it will appear that he has fulfilled every duty of his great office with an ability not less remarkable than his honesty. The desperate effort to make him seem to be a partisan has utterly failed. He has aimed only at the maintenance of the Government; and to secure that end he has no more hesitated to adopt a policy which his own party approved than he has to take measures which the party opposed to him applauded. He has filled the chief posts of command with men of all political views. Yet he has been most sharply denounced from the beginning of the war no less by his old party friends than enemies. The consequence is, that, at this moment, he stands a little outside of all parties even among loyal men. The rebels, and their tools the Copperheads, of course, hate him. The War Democrats doubt some points of his policy. The Conservative Republicans think him too much in the hands of the radicals; while the radical Republicans think him too slow, yielding, and half-hearted. And yet, without doubt, the more thoughtful and patriotic men of all parties can not but see how time confirms his wisdom, and were a President to be named to-morrow they would declare for Mr. Lincoln.

So calm is his temperament, and so patriotic his policy, that the emancipation act from his hands could not seem, and never has seemed, to be a partisan movement. From the beginning he did not doubt the right of emancipation as a military measure. But he carefully declared the object of the war to be the maintenance of the Government. When Fremont and Hunter issued their orders he quietly revoked them, not, as he said, because such measures were wrong, but because in his view the time for them had not come, and when it came, he must exercise the power. When it did come, he warned the rebels last September that he had never doubted the possible military necessity might arise; that a military measure so grave and so long agitated should not be summarily adopted; that he admonished them, if they feared the consequences of such a measure, to escape them by submission to the laws; and that if they did not submit within three months the measure would become a part of the policy of the Government.

The rebels sneered, and their allies the Copperheads organized. The disastrous failure of McClellan's and Pope's campaigns, with the retirement of Lee in good order after Antietam, the long inaction of the autumn, and the removal of McClellan, dispirited many and disaffected some to the war. The consequences were seen in the elections. Mr. Horatio Seymour is a specimen of the result. But the President did not waver. The country was to be saved, if at all, by a policy which was not approved by the virtual friends of the rebellion. The opposition of such gentlemen as Mr. Seymour and his managers was the conclusive argument for that policy. Therefore, on the 1st of January, the order of emancipation was issued, and all persons held on that day as slaves within specified limits were freed.

To that order, and the policy which dictated it, every sincerely loyal man accedes. For it was clearly not an act of the President, as a partisan Republican, but as Commander-in-Chief, sworn to defend the Government by every military resource. The loyal men who sustain it to-day are of all the late political parties and of all shades of opinion in regard to Slavery The order was not issued by the Commander-in-Chief, nor is it supported by the loyal country, because slavery is wrong, but because it helps the enemy. Doubtless the conviction that it is the root of the war has made many assent with more alacrity to the act of emancipation; but the President adopted it as a military and not as a moral measure. The way in which it was done, and the time, are both indications of the practical wisdom of the Chief Magistrate.

History will vindicate the President, even if our impatience should be unjust to him. It will show that succeeding to the executive head of the Government at a moment of most complicated military and political peril, and when national salvation seemed almost impossible, he displayed such simplicity, earnestness, honesty, patience, and sagacity—neither overwhelmed by disaster, nor confounded by treachery, nor disquieted by the distrust of friends—that he may be truly called a Providential man.


IF we were to speak of Mr. Seymour in the language of the circus, we should say that that favorite performer Horatius had undertaken his celebrated equestrian act of daring in simultaneously riding two horses, the well-known old roadster War-Democracy and the vicious young filly Copperhead. As they go in different directions, the point of interest is the fate of the rider.

If it should be roundly asserted that Mr. Seymour is a rebel, there might be a plausible denial made. If it should be said that he is not heartily loyal, that also might and would be denied; but not plausibly. His last year's elaborate accusation of the free States as responsible for the war—his previous declaration that he preferred to see the Union destroyed rather than slavery—his speech on the 4th of July, at the Academy, in which he sneered at the soldiers, declaring that we "were promised Vicksburg for the 4th of July," and his threatening the Government with a mob—his subsequent address to that mob, giving them an excuse, and prostrating himself before them, and his correspondence with the President, insisting upon delay at a time when the rebellion prays for it and must succumb without it—all these things are susceptible of a kind of explanation, for Mr. Seymour is too adroit a politician not to choose his phrases; but they all leave one deep and permanent conviction, and it is, that if the country should be compelled to make peace with the rebels upon their own terms, Mr. Horatio Seymour would not be sorry. If we do him injustice it is an involuntary wrong. If he has any where or at any time expressed a hearty abhorrence of the rebellion, or a sincere desire that the Government should be maintained by every honorable means of war—if he has any where spoken in such overwhelming censure of rebels lately belonging to the Democratic party as he has of the Republican party, to which he is politically opposed—we have not seen the speech, and yet we have very carefully read every thing he has written and said.

That he soberly thinks he can take the State of New York into rebellion, we do not suppose; but that he wishes to propitiate the faction in the State which hopes for the success of the rebels, is clear. If, therefore, under pretense of State Rights, he can encourage disaffection to the prosecution of the war—if by fomenting opposition to the General Government he can perpetuate a vague terror of civil war at the North, without openly instigating it, so that people may become weary and insist upon negotiating with the rebels, he will have done what the interests of his ambition require without having openly opposed the war.

It is a profound pity that at this epoch the Governor of the Empire State should not be the representative of the unconditional loyalty of the great majority of its citizens; called to the position only because the loyal people, who had armed for the common defense, were not heard at the polls, he can truly claim that he has done his little all to chill the ardor with which the great State of New York supported the war for the Union, and that in the darkest hour of peril his country ever saw he turned his back upon her and apologized for her enemies.


IT is useless to deny the great pain inflicted by Mr. Carlyle upon his sincerest friends and most intelligent admirers in this country by his "American Iliad in a Nutshell." And it is a complicated pain, for the squib in M'Millan's Magazine shows not only moral opacity but intellectual feebleness. Among the many strange things that might have been expected from Carlyle, was not a simply silly performance the last to be looked for? To call a system of chattel slavery, in which babies are bred for sale, "hiring servants for life," is so shallow a trick that every man who has honored Carlyle must needs hang his head. It is a mean infidelity to human nature of which Legree would have been ashamed.

But the mind to which that wretched old tyrant and fool, the father of Frederick the Great, seems a hero and a king, is released from the ordinary canons of criticism. When the mind of a man has ceased to feel and honor moral power and worships brute force only, Genghis Khan will always be a finer spectacle than the Apostle John, and a Devon bull a nobler type of force than Florence Nightingale.

If Carlyle's squib be a specimen of the value of his judgment of the real meaning of historical events, what a charlatan he is! If he knew no more of the English rebellion and its significance than of this which goes on before his eyes, his "Oliver" is no better portrait than his "Peter of the North;" and "Peter" is simply the vision of a dyspeptic egotist. The only wonder in this lamentable performance is that he did not represent Peter and Paul as quarreling about a United State bank. For why he should have dropped a single grain of truth into his melancholy mess is not apparent. We are fighting about slavery; and that is the very reason that Carlyle should have omitted all allusion to the fact upon the half page of nonsense he has written about us.

It is useless to be angry—it is folly to regret. But the brave hearts in this country that long ago hailed the earnest friend of Robert Burns as a friend of all men, and a lover of justice against all odds, can not now see his reverence and sympathy offered exclusively to bullies and slave-traders without a pang. It might well make a greater man than Carlyle hesitate when he saw that his view of any subject was applauded by the meanest of instincts and the worst of men. There is not a woman-whipper in the land who will not chuckle with delight over this squib. There is not a man in the country whose friendship Carlyle would value who will not wonder at its foolishness while he smiles at its falsity. There are disillusions enough in life, but few of us who have truly loved and honored him are likely to know a sadder day than that on which we write among the lost leaders the name of Thomas Carlyle.




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