This Site:

Civil War

Civil War Overview

Civil War 1861

Civil War 1862

Civil War 1863

Civil War 1864

Civil War 1865

Civil War Battles

Confederate Generals

Union Generals

Confederate History

Robert E. Lee

Civil War Medicine

Lincoln Assassination


Site Search

Civil War Links


Civil War Art

Mexican War

Republic of Texas


Winslow Homer

Thomas Nast

Mathew Brady

Western Art

Civil War Gifts

Robert E. Lee Portrait

Civil War Harper's Weekly, August 8, 1863

Welcome to our Harper's Weekly online archive. Harper's was the most important illustrated newspaper of the day, and it featured incredible illustrations and first hand reports of the war. Reading these old papers will take you back in time, and yield a new understanding of the war.

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


Port Hudson

Port Hudson



John Morgan Captured

Capture of John Morgan

Opening of the Mississippi River

Opening of the Mississippi River


The Riverboat "Imperial"

Battle of Gettysburg

The Battle of Gettysburg

Battle of Fort Wagner

Battle of Fort Wagner


Gettysburg Battle Description

Capture of Port Hudson

Capture of Port Hudson

Gettysburg Battle

Gettysburg Battle

Riot Cartoon

Riot Cartoon







[AUGUST 8, 1863.


(Previous Page) conglomeration of two or three wooden buildings, and a nondescript church among them—the destruction is so complete that I can not see how they escaped being utterly swept away. I went into the old church, looking out for any crazy timber that might fall from shattered roof or tumbling walls, with orifices made by cannon, larger than the windows, and found the whole floor strewed with beans, broken beams and laths, plaster, etc. If those were all the beans they had left, I don't think the quantity of their food exceeded the quality; and beans were what they had left to most depend upon.

Tehir River fortifications were terribly effective, and might have resisted any amount of attack had they been impregnable elsewhere. Far down in the bowels of the lofty bluffs they had dug deep recesses, approached by steps cut out of the earth, and here their magazines were placed quite safe—owing to the enormous thickness of earth above—from any projectiles thus could be sent against them. One or two "quaker guns" were found. On the fortifications to the land side every thing told of the terrible efficiency of our artillery, which never did its work better. Foremost among these were Mack's, Holcomb's, and Rawle's batteries, the Indiana battery, and the naval battery of heavy guile, under the gallant Lieut. Terry, of the Richmond, and his fine crew, who sent desolation along with every shot from their large pieces. The effect was that, soon after we began bombarding in earnest, every gun upon the front batteries was silenced; and they have so remained for weeks since, any one they replaced being knocked over as soon as we got the range of it. In speaking of how much we owe the artillery, we can not epeak too highly of the unsparing exertions and skillful dispositions of General Arnold, under whom the whole of this arm of the service was placed.

Collateral praise must necessarily fall upon those faithful under-workers who, although unseen at the surface, have nevertheless the most mighty results depending upon the accuracy and promptness of their observations—I mean the Topographical Engineers, under Major Houston. Foremost among these were Lieut. Ulfers, Mr. Oltmans, Mr. Robins, and the lamented Mr. Luce, who was killed a short time ago while in the act of taking an observation. The enormous amount of personal hardships and dangers these gentlemen have to undergo, after going far ahead of the army and little exploring expeditions of their own in the enemy's country—the coolness and self-possession which their services require of them in every emergency—are things of which few people probably think, but which, nevertheless, have the most momentous bearing upon the success or failure of a General's plan of attack. They are the real scouts and pioneers who have first detected many a new move of the enemy, and who first espy every new earth-work thrown up silently overnight—every new gun put in position.

As we rode along the earth-works inside, it was curious to mark the ingenious ways in which the enemy had burrowed holes to shelter themselves from shell and the intolerable rays of the sun. While at their work they must have looked like so many rabbits popping in and out of their warren. The breast-works, instead of being straight at the top, present a continuous succession of little hills and valleys, from the perpetual plowing up of our artillery. As to the guns, there were many of them knocked clean away from their carriages, and looking as if some earth-quake had heaved up the earth from under them. The amount of mortality and casualties from all this terrible and continuous cannonadina fell amazingly short of what I should have imagined. The rebels assert that it did not exceed 780.


HAIL! mighty river,

Free from thy springs to the sea forever,

From thy mountain springs to the Southern Sea,

Free heritage of the millions free.

The power that with polluted hand

Grasped at thy glorious flood,

Swept from thy banks by fire and brand,

Lies weltering in its blood.

Thy current now is free; the white tents gleam

No more, of those who bound thee, by thy stream;

Thy chains are broken; by thy bluff-hound shore

The traitor cannon frown no more.


Hail! giant river,

A continent's bond that none may sever:

The bright, blue mountains of the setting sun

Send down a purer stream;

The golden drifts that through their granite run

Shine with a brighter gleam;

And the morning bloom that waves

Above an ancient people's graves

Slow sinking by thy shores,

A sweeter fragrance pours

From its rich chalice; and the bright star-flowers

Look from the fields of heaven with softer glow

At their twin sisters, through night's holy hours, Enshrined within thy crystal heart below.


Up through the beds of coal,

The treasured strength of centuries waiting still

To do a people's will,

And roll toil's burden from man's weary heart,

And illumine labor with the light of art,

Up through the beds where lies the slumbering soul

Of fire, the waters melt with swifter feet

To lose themselves in thee,

And swell thy brimming bounty, pure and sweet,

Unto the free, the free.


The upper lakes—

Itaska, and its thousand sisters bright,

That lie among the emerald frills like flakes

Of cool and crystal light,

Feel the new thrill that runs to them from thee;

And the wild birds that swim

Along their lilied rim,

Rise like a peeple's shout, free, ever free.


The prairies green,

Whose changeless billows bear the sheen

Of the ocean on their waving crests,

And its wild, free heart in their silent breasts,

Lie down by thy banks to lave

Their feet in thy silver flood;

In their heart of hearts they have sworn thy wave

Should bear not the hue of blood;

And thy upper current knows no stain,

And the dewy grass and the ripened grain

Are reaped in peace by the settler free,

For the prairies have kept their vow to thee.


The forest trees look down

Into thy depths, and each his monarch crown

Holds over thy calm brow, to crown thee, river,

King of long lines of forest kings forever.

Their roots are by thy throne,

Their heads are in the sky,

And every breeze across them blown

Lifts up an anthem high

Of praise and thanks to thee,

King of the forests old and free.


Hail! mighty river,

Whose upper banks are white with bread,

Whose lower red with wine

Bread for a hungry world; life-wine forever

For coming high, heroic spirits shed

By those who live among the holy dead.

Hail! that thy triple portals wide are thrown;

Hail! that thy length is all our own, our own;

Hail! for the hungry millions crushed and dumb,

Of other lands than ours whose blessings come

With thy free current. Hail! for millions more,

Whose winged hopes

Above the slopes

Of the western, golden mountains soar And fill the plains

With loaded wains,

And sit by their cottage door

With gladdened eyes

As cities rise

Where the Missouri's fountains roar.

Hail! central river,

The artery of a continent whose heart

Stirs with a human throb, whose noble part

Is to reach forth abounding hands forever,

And sow the earth with blessings rich and free;

Blood-purchased river, Hail! All Hail! to thee!




AN evening journal, which has done its best to foster the mean prejudice against negro labor, devoted one day last week one column of its sheet to a tolerably fair account of the unsurpassed heroism of the Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts (colored) regiment in the attack on Fort Wagner in the Bay of Charleston, and another column to a report of a meeting of mangy Jerseymen in a blind village in New Jersey, whereat resolutions were passed denouncing vengeance upon any employer who dared to hire negro laborers.

The conjunction was eminently happy. From every quarter in which war is being waged the reports of the white soldiers upon the performance of the negroes are uniformly favorable to the colored men. At Milliken's Bend they saved the day, rescued the few white troops who were engaged with them, and—a very rare thing in real warfare--actually crossed bayonets with the rebels and repulsed them. At Helena, they bore the brunt of the fighting, and defeated a superior force of the enemy. At Port Hudson, they led the forlorn hope in General Banks's unsuccessful attack upon the place, and left half of their number on the field. At Charleston, the colored regiment from Massachusetts, led by the heroic Colonel SHAW, was placed in the front, and sacrificed itself to make a way for the white troops who followed. Wherever the negroes have had a chance they have given evidence of the most exalted gallantry. Even the correspondents of the Herald, prejudiced as they admit themselves to have been against the employment of negro troops, are forced to admit that they never saw better fighting done than was done by the colored regiments at Charleston, Milliken's Bend, and Port Hudson. They died for the Stars and Stripes by whole companies and regiments.

It was while they were thus dying that a band of men in Northern cities undertook a sort of St. Bartholomew's massacre of their kinsmen here. We will not repeat the sickening tale: how hundreds of wretched negroes, guilty of no offense but that they were not born with white skins, were hunted from their homes, beaten, mutilated, and in several cases savagely murdered; how their homes were sacked, and their wives and children driven for refuge to the station-houses; how throngs of unfortunate negroes were chased to the woods in the suburbs of the city, and sick women and little children had to spend day after day, and night after night, without food or shelter, cowering in terror in the thickets lest the Irishmen should discover their hiding-place; how poor old women, who had by a life of hard work accumulated a little trifle of furniture and money for their extreme old age, were in an hour robbed of every thing by able-bodied men—but we forbear.

These deeds were done in and around the chief city of the North, with the tacit approval of leading politicians and their newspaper organs, by gangs of men who commenced their work of pillage and murder by insisting on the furling of every American flag.

The pretext for those outrages was the fear that negroes would supersede white men as laborers—a pretext suggested by many Copperhead newspapers, seemingly in the interest of the Southern rebels. The fact is, as every person can readily inform himself by inquiry, that the demand for labor throughout the North never was as active as it is now; that laborers command higher wages and can save more money than they ever did or could; that many railway enterprises can not, even at the present high rate of wages, obtain laborers; that immigrants, freshly landed from Ireland or Germany, are positively kidnapped at Castle Garden by contractors, who want men to work at a rate of pay which, three years ago, would have been deemed extravagant. It was during this state of things, when raw labor commanded as much money as mechanical skill was happy to enjoy three years ago, that the white men of this meridian undertook to massacre the negroes lest they should compete with them for employment, and denounced employers who hired them at any rate of wages at all. It was at the very hour when negroes were pouring out their blood like water for the Stars and Stripes on the slopes of Fort Wagner that naturalized foreigners, who hauled down the Stars and Stripes wherever they

saw them, tried to exterminate the negro race in New York.

Such contrasts are rare. There have been times in our history when bigoted prejudice has had sway. One of the cardinal principles of the massive people who settled New England was that no Irishmen should have part or lot there. Virginia—then a colony—urged as its foremost grievance against England that the King had employed "Irish," or, as they were generally called, "wild Irish," to perform police duty among them. Even in our time we have seen a political party organized on the exclusive basis of hostility to the Irish. But these stupid outbursts of prejudice were not forced into relief by simultaneous acts of devotion on the part of the ostracized race. Where, either in our colonial or our national history, have the Irish, as a race, won so clear a title to the gratitude of the people of the United States as the negroes have won within the past three months? Anti-Irish prejudices have died out, through their own inherent weakness; the anti-negro prejudice should have been squelched at a blow, in the minds of all good citizens, when the colored soldiers of Banks and Gilmore died at Port Hudson and Fort Wagner.

Have any of the leaders of the anti-negro riot reflected for an instant upon the effect which it will have? If they have not, we can tell them.

Quite a number of large corporations and mercantile firms are determined—not from idle notions of vengeance, but on sound business considerations—to secure hereafter labor which shall not be liable to interruption from Irish prejudices. The 'longshore business is going to pass into the hands of negroes. Foundries and factories, whose business was interrupted by the striking of workmen who turned rioters, are going to gradually make such changes as will effectually preclude such accidents hereafter. Employers who heretofore have preferred Irishmen to negroes are now going to take into consideration the riotous propensities of the former, and for the sake of their business —to which interruption is loss and possible ruin —at all events to dilute their operative force with enough colored men to secure themselves against the chance of another Irish riot. Individuals who never dreamed of employing negroes are being led by considerations of humanity and manhood to extend a helping hand to the oppressed race. And the smouldering embers of the Know-Nothing party are going again to be fanned into flame.

All this may be very unjust and unfair; but people who burn orphan asylums and murder inoffensive negroes because of their color must expect a sharp and extreme punishment.



Now that we can calmly contemplate the late riots, the question of responsibility can not and ought not to be evaded. Were those, then, responsible for the crimes of that July week who have insisted that the national existence must be maintained even at the sacrifice of slavery; that all good citizens must honestly support the authorities; that a Government which had a right to exist at all must have the right of calling its citizens to maintain it; and that every loyal man must consent to some temporary deprivations of privilege, and even of right, to secure the common safety? Or are those responsible who have persistently declared that the war was a war to free "niXXers," that they might come to the North and be the rivals of other laborers; that the Government cared nothing for the Union, but only for the "niXXers;" that the Government was a military despotism, and meant to destroy all State and individual rights; that the war was wicked and fratricidal; that poor white men were to be dragged against law, against right, and merely to free "niXXers," into the bloody battle-field; that the Government was imbecile, corrupt, and designing; that the Constitution had been abolished by it; that the North and South were equally false to it; that war could never settle the quarrel; and that if the d—d Abolitionists had only let "niXXers" alone there never would have been any trouble?

Which of these teachings is responsible for the burning of the Colored Orphan Asylum; for the hunting, beating, and savage murder of colored people; for loosing upon the city all the desperate and depraved who come to light in every lawless tumult? Is it those who have uniformly taught obedience to law who are responsible for anarchy? Is it those who have always claimed that the color of a man's skin was no excuse for outraging him, who are responsible for the cruel massacre of the blacks? Mr. Thurlow Weed says, and says truly, in his letter to Mr. Raymond: "Journalists who persistently inflame and exasperate the ignorant and lawless against the negro are morally responsible for these outrages."

Who, then, are these journalists? Which class of them inflame and exasperate the lawless and ignorant against the colored race? Those who persistently declare that "niXXers" are made for slaves; that they are naturally inferior to white men; that to say they have rights is to try to elevate them into the sphere of white men, for which they are not fitted; that it is an insult to white men to talk of freeing "niXXers;" and that the National Administration wants to sacrifice white men to "niXXers:" or those who persistently declare that the color of a man's skin is no reason for imbruting him and depriving him of his personal rights; and that every man of every country and

of every race is equally entitled to fair play? Will Mr. Weed answer which of these classes of journalists inflame and exasperate the lawless and ignorant against colored men and women?

Or would he say that the depreciatory articles would not be written except for those of the other papers? Perhaps so. But so there would have been no rebellion if Mr. Lincoln had not been elected President. Does Mr. Weed, therefore, regret his election? If the municipal legislation of the city of Albany were prostituted to the interest of rum-selling; if the rum-sellers declared that they despised all laws that did not protect rum, and the people of Albany should pass a license law, to which the rum-sellers rose in armed opposition, flooding the city with blood, would Mr. Weed hold the temperance men responsible for the riot? Granting that they had depicted in vivid colors the woe wrought by drunkenness; granting that, impressed by the magnitude and threatening aspect of the public danger, certain men of character and talent had devoted themselves to instructing and arousing the public mind, pointing out the nature and scope of the peril, and willingly enduring to be called troublesome if they could but save the city, would Mr. Weed denounce these men as responsible for the violence of the rum-sellers? Does he mean to say that the enemies of rum and the friends of order are to let the grog-shops do exactly as they please, lest, if they are opposed, they will make trouble? Mr. Weed has not forgotten that this was exactly the argument of the Democratic papers in the last general election. If you persist in electing Mr. Lincoln, they said to their fellow-citizens, blood will flow, and you will be responsible for it. Did that argument deter Mr. Weed from voting for Mr. Lincoln? If it had deterred him would he not despise himself? And are those who voted for Mr. Lincoln in any other way responsible for the war than a man who fights a burglar whom he finds in his house is responsible for the disturbance?

Mr. Weed's bitter animosity against certain anti-slavery men has confused his mind. When he depicts Mr. Phillips welcoming the massacre of negroes as fresh fuel for his eloquence, he is guilty of a slander which his cooler reflection will heartily condemn. But if he really believes that Mr. Horatio Seymour and Mr. Fernando Wood are truer friends of the colored man than Mr. Phillips or Mr. Greeley, he is no longer a morally responsible person. For conceding what he calls the "fanaticism" of such men, is an immoderate zeal for humanity and justice more pernicious to the commonwealth than persistent craft to establish injustice and perpetuate slavery? Mr. Weed's letter is worthy of his heart, in its generous gift and warm sympathy for the unfortunate. But it is utterly unworthy of his head, in its extenuation of the most wanton crime by the indiscretion of honest men.


EVERY loyal citizen in the country is profoundly interested in the conduct of the Governor of New York in a crisis so important as this. During the late riot, which was a bloody, reckless, and savage defiance of the laws by the worst part of the population of this city, it was remarked that his tone was obsequious and servile; that he deprecated instead of commanding; and that he told a mob which was outraging property, destroying the public peace, and cruelly massacring the helpless and unfortunate, that he had asked the Government to suspend the operation of the law. When this suspicious servility did not avail, and the riot grew more extensive and sanguinary, and it was clear that he was dealing with desperate criminals, the Governor was still unwilling to fire upon "the citizens," Indeed, if he had wished to encourage the mob, first by giving it a pretext, and then by assuring it that, although he considered its operations irregular, he still regarded it with sympathy, his conduct would not have been different. What is the explanation of this apparent virtual complicity of the chief magistrate of New York with a fearful riot?

Mr. Seymour wishes to be the next President of the United States. He must secure the vote of New York, which is his State. But as the bulk of his State vote lies in New York city, and as he knew that every rioter or friend of the rioters who voted at all would vote for him, were he a candidate, he did not like to peril his chances by a rigorous opposition to the mob. Nor was this surprising. Mr. Seymour has never hesitated to pander to the passions and prejudices of the most ignorant class of the population. Any one may satisfy himself of this by reading his speeches. It is upon that class, and upon certain capitalists who politically fraternize with the mob, upon the same principle that the King of Naples propitiates the Lazaroni, that Mr. Seymour, Mr. Wood, and politicians of their school, depend for political success. Hence the Governor addresses the rioters as "my friends," which as Mr. Seymour simply he has a right to do, for every man may choose his friends; but as Governor and Chief Magistrate he has no right whatever to call rioters his friends. Hence, also, he represents himself as the defender of rioters against the tyranny of the National Government, and implores them to disperse, telling them that they may assemble again whenever they please, and insinuating that if the draft were not suspended their action would be justified. The Chief Magistrate of New York was loudly cheered by the men who were madly defying the laws.

Mr. Seymour's position toward the riot was precisely that he holds toward the rebellion. It must not be coerced. Coercion might exasperate, and then what chance would there be for those who counseled coercion? He wishes to be President. But he knows that if the rebellion is subdued and the Union maintained by this Administration, the friends and principles of the Administration will remain in power. His cue, therefore, is to perplex the authorities and prolong the war, that the country may insist upon a change. Hence if a threatening riot breaks out at the North simultaneously with our successes over the rebellion, it (Next Page)




Site Copyright 2003-2018 Son of the South. For Questions or comments about this collection, contact

privacy policy

Are you Scared and Confused? Read My Snake Story, a story of hope and encouragement, to help you face your fears.