Prisoners in New Orleans


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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.]



the hammers and felt the nipples: the caps were gone! I tried the barrels: they were drenched with water. I saw it all: the pistol had been dealt with while I slept at the fire; and I was now utterly at the mercy of those fiends. But I had little time to waste in thought, for the next moment the door was shaken by a heavy hand. I lay back and moaned and snored like one in a troubled sleep.

"The door is bolted on the inside," I heard the man whispering; "the fellow fastened it before he went to sleep."

"Then burst it open," said the woman.

"No," was the rejoinder, "that would waken him up, and he might show fight. We must adopt some quieter course."

"There's the window," she said; "can you not get in through that?"

"Quite right, lass: I had forgotten."

I looked to the window: it was an aperture some two feet square or more, with a crazy sash of four panes, every one of which was broken. I crawled toward it and felt the sash: the hand of a child might have pulled it out. What was I to do? What chance of a struggle had I now? Faint and weary, with that broken arm, what resistance could I offer to this man of gigantic strength? Crushed by the prospect of my inevitable doom, I staggered back from the window and fell against a projection of the gable-wall. I thrust out my right hand to save me from sinking to the ground: it did not touch the projection, but stretched far into some hollow space. A pang of hope shot through my heart: here was a large open chimney like that at the other end of the cabin; and I felt the snow, which had fallen down through it, crackling under my feet. Could I escape through this? Was there still a chance of life? I stooped under and thrust up my head. The aperture was wide and deep, and the large stones of the rude masonry projected on every side. These were steps by which it was easy enough to climb. To think of all this, and to act upon my thought, occupied less time than I have taken to tell it. In spite of the helplessness of my left arm, and the excruciating pain I felt from it, I was up through the chimney and out on the roof before I heard the frail sash below forced in. To slide to the ground was easy enough; and, blessing God for my deliverance, I crawled round to the other end of the cabin, and from this starting-point I hurried away across the moor as fast as my feeble limbs could bear me. Looking back, I saw the glare of light from the open door of the cabin, and heard the shout of a fierce, angry voice. The snow-drift had almost ceased to fall, and the whitened ground gave out some faint light through the winter darkness. What I longed for now was some pit or hollow to creep into and burrow there till immediate danger was over. I was not long in finding one. I slid down into it, and with my right hand gathered the snow around me. Not ten minutes had I lain there when I heard a heavy footstep crunching the snow above. It was my pursuer, the intending assassin; and I could hear his muttered curses as he passed on. In a few moments more I heard him coming back again, and then all was silent and still as death. At length I crept out from my hiding-place, with cramped and aching limbs. I knew no more in what direction to turn now than I had known before I had entered that accursed cabin; but I struck right ahead, knowing that there must be a human habitation somewhere before me, should I only have strength enough to reach it.

I was fearfully exhausted, and I dragged my feeble limbs along as if they were weighted with lead. For a time the consciousness of danger, and the excitement of the fearful scene I had gone through, sustained me; but by-and-by strength and reason alike seemed to desert me, and I staggered along like one in the delirium of fever. How long this continued I can not tell, for I made no count of time that terrible night; but I remember how, at last, in utter exhaustion, I fell prostrate on the snow.

As I lay there, unable to rise and unable to move a limb, a long piercing shriek, the horrible import of which I knew too well, rang in my ears. I looked up: that eye of fire was right before me. How can I tell you the horror of my situation?—a life's agony compressed into the compass of one awful minute. The goods train, which always passes Longley about three o'clock in the morning, was coming, and I was lying helpless on the rails! With a cry of agony I tried to rise, but I fell back in utter exhaustion. Even the terror of approaching death did not give me energy enough to crawl from where I lay. But my mind was active enough for the one thought—to stretch myself out with my head toward the engine—my only chance of safety. Commending my soul to God, I lay prostrate and closed may eyes. The next instant the shriek of the engine, loud and terrific, blended with the rattle of the carriages and the grinding sound of the wheels upon the snow that covered the rails, and then—and then I looked up to Heaven, with a feeble laugh of speechless gratitude; and all danger was over. The train had passed along the other line of rails, not over those between which I lay. The snow had prevented me from distinguishing the one from the other; but had I had strength enough to crawl in the direction I had intended the engine and carriages would have inevitably passed over me, and left me there a mangled corpse. It was my utter weakness which saved my life. The joy of my delivery from a horrible death was followed by a natural reaction. I sank back in a swoon; and when consciousness came back to me again I found myself, weak and wasted, in my own bedroom, and in my own bed, where (they told me) I had lain for eleven days in raging fever. It seems that, in the morning, one of the railway porters found me lying insensible in the snow; and thus I was, a third time within a dozen hours, saved from death. But this bald pate was the price I paid.

"But the bag of gold?"

Was found suspended from my neck, and, with the letter found in my pocket, was delivered in the proper quarter.

"And the intending assassins?"

I know nothing of them. They did not belong to that part of the country. They had disappeared from the cabin on the moor several days before I recovered from my fever, and, therefore, before suspicion could have fallen upon them; and they were never heard of after.

"The Carstens, I hope, were grateful?"

Do you see where that light is burning faintly, in that window across the line there? Frank Carston's sister is sleeping (peacefully, I should hope) in that room. She is mother of three of the finest young Britons in this big shire, and I am their father. But here comes the mail train, and it makes no long stay here. You had better look after your luggage.


OH, my darling! my darling! never to feel

Your hand going over my hair!

Never to lie in your arms again—

Never to know where you are!

Oh, the weary miles that stretch between

My feet and the battle-ground,

Where all that is left of my dearest hero,

Lies under some yellow mound!


It is but little I might have done

To lighten your parting pain;

But 'tis bitter to think that you died alone

Out in the dark and the rain!

Oh, my hero love!—to have kissed the pain

And the mist from your fading eyes!

To have saved one only passionate look

To sweeten these memories!


And thinking of all, I am strangely stunned,

And can not believe you dead.

You loved me, dear! And I loved you, dear!

And your letter lies there unread!

You are not dead! You are not dead!

God never could will it so—

To craze my brain and break my heart—

And shatter my life—I know!


Dead! dead! and never a word,

Never a look for me!

Dead! dead! and our marriage-day

Never on earth to be!

I am left alone, and the world is changed,

So dress me in bridal white,

And lay me away in some quiet place

Out of the hateful light.



WE illustrate on page 549 the FUNERAL OF THE LATE CAPTAIN ANDRE CAILLOUX, of the First Louisiana Volunteers, who was killed at Port Hudson. Captain Cailloux was one of the bravest soldiers in our country's service, though a colored man. The following account of his funeral we take from the New Orleans Era:

By far the largest funeral procession that has been seen on our streets since the burial of Colonel Charles Dreux, the first rebel Louisiana officer that was killed in this war, was that of Captain Andre Cailloux, of the First Louisiana Native Guards. This brave man and gallant soldier met his death on the 27th of May last, while leading his company in a charge against the rebel works at Port Hudson. From the time he fell, within a few feet of the enemy's parapet, until the surrender of the place to General Banks, on the 8th of July, the body of this brave man lay exposed to all weathers, and so completely covered by the rebel sharp-shooters that his friends found it impossible to carry it from the field.

Immediately on the truce being declared his body was taken possession of, and sent to this city, in charge of a guard of honor, composed of men of his own regiment who had been wounded during the siege, and under command of Adjutant T. A. Sears. The body arrived in this city on Saturday last, and since that time has been lying in state in the hall of the "Friends of the Order," of which society Captain Cailloux was a leading member.

The body, as before mentioned, lay in state in the hall of the "Friends of the Order," on a raised platform in the centre of the room. The coffin was draped in the American flag, on which was placed his sword and belt, and uniform coat and cap. Around the coffin flowers were strewn in the greatest profusion, and candles were kept continually burning. All the rites of the Catholic Church were strictly complied with. The guard paced silently to and fro, and altogether it presented as solemn a scene as was ever witnessed.

In due time the band of the Forty-second Massachusetts Regiment made their appearance, and discoursed the customary solemn airs. The officiating priest, Father Le Maistre, of the church of "St. Rose of Lima"—who we are glad to see has paid not the least attention to the ex-communication and denunciations issued against him by the Archbishop of this diocese—then performed the Catholic service for the dead. After the regular services he ascended to the President's chair, and delivered a glowing and eloquent eulogy on the virtues of the deceased. He called upon all present to offer themselves, like Cailloux had done, martyrs to the cause of justice, freedom, and good government. It was a death the proudest might envy. Had we room we would gladly give the whole of this stirring address.

Immense crowds of colored people had by this time gathered around the building, and the streets leading thereto were rendered almost impassable. Two companies of the Sixth Louisiana (colored) regiment, from their camp on the Company Canal, were there to act as an escort, and Esplanade Street, for more than a mile, was lined with colored societies, both male and female, in open order, waiting for the hearse to pass through.

After a short pause, a sudden silence fell upon the crowd, the band commenced playing a dirge, and the body was brought from the hall on the shoulders of eight soldiers, escorted by six members of the society and six colored captains, who acted as pall-bearers. The corpse was conveyed to the hearse through a crowd composed of both white and black people, and in silence profound as death itself. Not a sound was heard save the mournful music of the band, and not a head in all that vast multitude but was uncovered.

The procession then moved off in the following order: The hearse containing the body, with Captain J. W. Ringgold, W. B. Barrett, S. J. Wilkinson, Eugene Mailleur, J. A. Glea, and A. St. Leger (all of whom, we believe, belong to the Second Louisiana Native Guards), and six members of "The Friends of the Order," as pall-bearers; about a hundred convalescent sick and wounded colored soldiers, the two companies of the Sixth regiment, a large number of colored officers of all Native Guard regiments, the carriages containing Captain Cailloux's family, and a number of army officers; winding up with a large number of private individuals and societies.

After moving through the principal down town streets,

the body was taken to the Bienville Street Cemetery, and there interred with military honors due his rank.

Captain Cailloux was a native of this city, aged 43 years, and was one of the first to raise a company under the call of General Butler for colored volunteers. In conclusion, we can not do better than quote from the Union, of this city. It says:

By his gallant bearing, his gentlemanly deportment, his amiable disposition, and his capacities as a soldier—having received a very good education—he became the idol of his men, and won the respect and confidence of his superior officers. He was a true type of the Louisianian. In this city, where he passed his life, he was loved and respected by all who knew him.

In Captain Cailloux the cause of the Union and freedom has lost a valuable friend. Captain Cailloux, defending the integrity of the sacred cause of Liberty, vindicated his race from the opprobrium with which it was charged. He leaves a wife and several children, who will have the consolation that he died the death of the patriot and the righteous.

The correspondent who sends us the sketch from which our picture was taken mentions a curious incident in connection with the funeral. Father Le Maistre, the officiating clergyman, could not get any other priests or church servants in the diocese to assist him to perform the ceremony, in consequence of the prohibition of the archbishop. He had heard, however, that Colonel Stafford of the First Louisiana Native Guards had said that so many trades and professions were represented in his regiment that he could build a town in the prairie in sixty days; and to him he applied for aid. Two privates instantly volunteered, and assisted in performing the services according to the ritual of the Roman Catholic Church. At the grave-yard again a private of the regiment left the ranks to perform the duties of bricklayer.


WE reproduce on page 549 a sketch by our special artist, Mr. J. R. Hamilton, illustrating the place of confinement of the rebel officers who recently surrendered at Port Hudson. Mr. Hamilton accompanies his sketch with the following remarks:

"I required to go through a certain amount of form before being able to obtain the above sketch for you, as the strictest guard is kept upon the prisoners. I first had to apply for permission to General Bowen, who, having no personal objection, gave me a note of introduction to Captain Stearns, Provost-Sheriff at the Custom-house, expressing his willingness that the Captain should permit me to sketch, 'provided that no offense should be given to the officers in prison.' I thought this was showing an amount of regard toward rebel sensibilities that they are not always in the habit of reciprocating; but it spoke well for General Bowen's feelings as a gentleman.

"On arriving at the Custom-house Captain Stearns received me very politely, and at once conducted me through the various wards, communicating with each other, in which the rebel officers were confined. This was in the northern portion of the building, in which over 250 prisoners—all officers—are now located. But as there was no point from which I could take a coup d'oeil of the whole I have selected the largest apartment in which the greater number are congregated.

"I found these officers all scattered about, moving from one room to the other, chatting and laughing, and trying to take things as pleasantly as they could under the circumstances. They are a fine-looking set of men, and were dressed, some in uniform, some in civilian's costume, and others again in nothing but their shirt-sleeves.

"I did not think it necessary to make any formal inquiry as to whether my sketching would be disagreeable or not; and so, as soon as the Captain left me, I out with my sketch-book and fell to work.

" 'Are you malting portraits, Sir?' asked one of two or three who came to overlook me.

" 'Not necessarily,' I replied, 'unless some handsome officer puts himself in the fore-ground on purpose.'

" 'Don't forget, in your sketch,' said a smart young gentleman, 'those horrible mosquitoes that eat us up all night.'

" 'And the delicious fare we have to live on,' chimed in another.

" 'Your treatment here is not unusual, I hope, Sir,' I said, inquiringly, turning to a middle-aged officer near me.

" 'Oh no, not at all; we have nothing to complain of. So large a number of men suddenly congregated creates some temporary inconveniences, but we are allowed every thing we can expect under the circumstances.'

"This concession was made in a very gentlemanly tone, and, indeed, my own eyes had already made me aware of the fact. On a long table I saw fruit, plenty of ice going to and fro, and one or two suspicious-looking bottles that seemed as if they might contain something far more sparkling than water. Besides that, I had met in the ante-room that good Samaritan, Mrs. Brandt; and it is well known that no Confederate soldier can lack any thing within the reach of womanly care and kindness while that lady is near.

"As I gazed on this scene I could not help making some comparisons highly favorable to our section, in spite of Mr. Bull Run Russell's audacious assertion that this war is 'fast brutalizing the North.' I could not help wondering if our poor fellows taken in Tennessee, Missouri, or Texas, were, at that moment, faring as well in rebel hands as the officers then before me; or if poor Montgomery, when just about to be hanged as a felon, could have given as good an account of his treatment as the one I above alluded to. As I looked toward the end of the room, and saw two youths seated on the window-sill, and gazing carelessly into the street below, how could I forget that, if they were Union officers in the Libby Prison at Richmond, a murderous bullet from some sentinel below would be aimed at their hearts?—unless matters are changed in Richmond from what they were.

"The few officers with whom I conversed on this occasion were, as usual, men of much intelligence and refinement. I left them with one sole wish in my heart, and that was, that instead of having to portray them in the character of mortal enemies, my pencil could have caught the features of so many friends and brothers, enjoying again with us the sweets and amenities of social life."


WE devote pages 552, 553, and 556 to illustrations of the operations of General Gilmore and Admiral Dahlgren against Forts Wagner and Sumter in the Bay of Charleston—from sketches by several correspondents on the spot.

One of the correspondents, writing from the Catskill, says:


CHARLESTON BAR, S. C., Aug. 5, 1863.

"One of my sketches represents the iron-clads in their position in the attacks on Fort Wagner and the Cumming's Point Battery during the last two weeks of July. In the first attack on the 10th and 11th, before the Ironsides came over the bar, the Catskill bore the blue pennant of Admiral Dahlgren, and was therefore the chief object of the enemy's fire.

"We were struck sixty-four times—our smoke-stack being thoroughly ventilated with shot-holes, and our turret and deck well punched, but not materially damaged.

"About midnight on the 19th July a large iron side-wheel steamer, having escaped the fire of the guns of the outside blockading fleet, was just crossing the bar when Captain Rodgers arrested her progress by two shots from our 11 and 15 inch guns. The vessel ran ashore near Sullivan's Island, took fire, and became a total wreck—a warning to all Anglo-Rebels to keep away from Charleston during the present siege."

Another correspondent, to whom we have been indebted for sketches more than once, writes:

"FOLLY ISLAND, S. C., Aug. 1, 1863.

"I herewith transmit a sketch of the exchange of wounded prisoners at the buoy off Fort Wagner, Charleston harbor, July 24, 1863. While the Ironsides and the Monitors were pouring into Fort Wagner a terrific rain of shot and shell, and occasionally Sumter and the Cumming's Point battery assisted in the reply, a beautiful steamer of English build (the Alice), and painted the color of our own cruisers, came down past Sumter and communicating with one of the Monitors; the Cosmopolitan, hospital steamer, which was anchored among the fleet below, started and met her at the buoy off Fort Wagner. Immediately upon the sight of the flag of truce all firing stopped on both sides for the rest of the day. The iron-clads were covered with their crews, who appeared to be curious spectators of the handsome blockade-runner which the rebel authorities had chosen to display to our fleet by daylight—the first instance of the kind on record.

"The flag-staff on Fort Wagner was shot away during the first days of the bombardment, and they do not now pretend to fly the symbol of their Confederacy. Our batteries for the breaching of Fort Sumter are established in lines in advance of the house upon the beach shown in the sketch. The new rebel batteries on James island, in the rear of Sumter, which have been erected since we commenced the siege, explode shell over our work-men in the trenches day and night, but do not hinder the progress of the great work.

"General Gilmore proposes to demolish Sumter by firing over Fort Wagner and Battery Bee on Cumming's Point, leaving them to fall into our hands subsequently. We shall hurl against her brick walls 21 cwt. of shell from the heaviest rifled guns at every discharge of our battery."

The other pictures, the GENERAL VIEW of MORRIS ISLAND, showing the rebel works and our own, General Gilmore's head-quarters, the work in the trenches, etc., etc., explain themselves. The Herald correspondent writes:

Operations on this island have pursued the even tenor of their way. We have the usual amount of heavy artillery firing daily, and occasionally a casualty on our side, but at long intervals, and our work goes on with as much regularity and freedom as if the enemy were ignorant of our presence and operations in their immediate neighborhood. Our protective works are now so well advanced that it is only through carelessness or fool-hardiness we suffer any loss at all. The men have shelters against almost any fire; but they do not always care to avail themselves of the protection thus afforded, and consequently limbs and hands are lost from fragments of shells which are exploded over the trenches by the rebel artillerists on James Island and Fort Sumter.


WE reproduce on page 557 two drawings by our special artist, Mr. Waud; one of them representing the little town of DUMFRIES, now said to be threatened by the rebels; the other, GENERAL HAUPT'S MILITARY BRIDGE OVER POTOMAC CREEK, lately destroyed by the rebels. Mr. Waud writes:

"Dumfries is an interesting place in the history of the war. Being a mile or two in the rear of the batteries (which the rebels built to blockade the Potomac) on Quantico Creek, it became the depot and head-quarters of the blockading forces. It has been the scene of many a savage skirmish; the heights on the north afford a fine position; and last winter the Union cavalry intrenched the position. When the Rappahannock line was vacated last June a large portion of the army, and nearly all of the train, passed through this town.

"The Military Railroad Bridge over the Potomac Creek has been destroyed by the rebels since the evacuation of Falmouth, as well as the greater part of the track from Aquia to Falmouth depot. It was a very handsome structure, erected in place of the temporary and somewhat unsafe concern first thrown over the Creek. Its height was between 70 and 80 feet, and redoubts were thrown up for its defense; but when the army left no force could be spared for the preservation of the railroad and depots."




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