Siege of Charleston


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, August 15, 1863

This site features the Harper's Weekly newspapers published during the Civil War. The material allows you to examine details of the War not available from modern publications. These newspapers will take you back in time to the days the war was still raging on.

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


John Morgan's Raid

Morgan's Raid

Colored Soldiers

Treatment of Colored Soldiers

Martial Law

Martial Law

Seabrook Island

Seabrook Island

Siege of Charleston

Jackson Mississippi

Jackson Mississippi

Colonel Shaw

Colonel Robert Shaw

Capture of Jackson

Capture of Jackson Mississippi

Attack on Charleston

Maryland Campaign

Maryland Campaign

Remington Revolver Cartoon






AUGUST 15, 1863.]



Esther bridled.

"Don't thank him, Maud. It is a libel. Jane Eyre was most unwomanly."

Paul's eyes began to sparkle.

"Your reason, Miss Varian."

"The book itself. As an example, the scene in the garden where she confesses her love to Mr. Rochester. Till a man confesses himself, I think it unfeminine even to have questioned one's self about him; but to love while yet unasked is, to my thinking, impossible for a true woman, though, of course, I don't speak ex cathedra."

"It is then an exchange, in which the lady is specially cautious of being cheated."

"I deny it," broke in Maud. "There is no law that says a woman shall not dare to reverence, to admire, to love, whatever is pure and noble, spontaneously, involuntarily, as does a man. Pride, delicacy, instinct, will indeed control and mask its expression, lest the thought of her should be profaned in the heart of some man who knows not properly how to reverence her; but to sit cowardly down, and when a heart and hand are offered, affect surprise and take it, as of gratitude, or expediency, or because convinced by reasoning, is not womanliness, but hypocrisy or self-deception. For it is scarcely possible that man should love, and woman should be unconscious. Even if too weak to dare ask the verdict of our heart, if we find a thing lovable we love; if strength, or rest, or knowledge that we crave, we take it in virtue of the very necessity of our nature. We drink in light and air without reasoning, and involuntarily our moral nature also takes its light and life. Right, honor, possibility, external circumstances determine its expression; but its receiving or its rejection is not of ourselves, or within our province, or subject to any law but that of God."

"Bravo!" said Paul.

"Maud thinks best to define her position," returned Esther, with a world of scornful meaning.

"By way of contrast," retorted Paul, softly.

Esther colored to the temples. Mark came and sat down by Maud.

"Have I offended? You have scarcely looked toward me to-day."

"It must have been that you were not within my range of vision."

"Be it so. You are in arrears, then, for a whole morning's kindly notice. Will you come and play chess?"

Maud rose, and in so doing dropped her gloves. Paul picked them up and placed them in his breast.

"I will keep these as hostages," he said, significantly.

Then came now a time of much self-questioning and self-communing with Maud; for certain it was that, do or speak what or with whom she would, the consciousness of Paul attended her: not always strictly expressed in her thought, but always felt; besetting her in the morning, and going with her through the day; and thus submitting to a stronger will and a fixed purpose, masked under an almost womanish gentleness, she stood affrighted, fancying this new frame of mind a moral monstrosity, and blamed herself; and when she detected in herself a relish for this submission she despised herself and rebelled, only to be conquered anew. So wise was she in theory, so simple in practice!

All this fighting in secret wore on her, and just as the two weeks came to an end one of her headaches seized upon her. Now Maud's headaches were not affairs of eau de Cologne and a few hours; so finding one at hand she at once relinquished all thought of the mountain party, so long discussed, and sat quietly down to suffer. Paul came to her in the library, where she had ensconsed herself as the coolest and most quiet spot, and seeing her face white and drawn with suffering, was moved with compassion.

"Poor child! let me stay with you," he said, earnestly. "You look as if you needed nursing."

But she motioned him away.

"By no means. You can do nothing; and I am better alone."

He stool a moment, looking obstinate, and as if about to contest the point.

"Go, please, go!" she urged.

He went at that, and her countenance fell; for all the while she wished him to stay, as he might have known. He could be inflexible enough when he chose. What made him, on a sudden, so yielding? He had chatted much with Esther Varian of late. Perhaps she coupled the facts together and fretted over it; be that as it may, her headache grew upon her.

About noon, as she sat there, propped against pillows and her hands pressed hard over her temples, some one opened the door quietly, and coming to her side laid a palm cool as ice upon her forehead. At that she opened her eyes. "Mr. Drysdale! I thought that you had gone!" And then the sudden start and speaking cost her such a throb of pain that, spite of herself, she cried out. Paul went for Cologne and ice-water, brushed back the soft hair, and bathed her temples, saying,

"It seems you are not better alone, after all."

"It is very disagreeable to deprive you of your pleasure."

"I give you no thanks for such consideration. I did not choose to be so deprived, and so remained at home in spite of you."

Maud was silent.

"Are you better? Does your head pain less?"

"Yes," she whispered, trying to remove his hands, for it had occurred to her that Paul might not be the most fitting nurse, and that she should have suffered martyrdom in the name of propriety rather than his attentions.

"What is it? am I awkward? don't I help you?" asked Paul, affecting stolidity.

"Oh no; but—"

"Hush, then; you are talking yourself into a fever. Your cheeks are flushing already."

She was quiet a little longer, then made another move.

"I am better now, thank you."

"Well enough to hear me talk?"

"Oh! quite!"

"Have you remembered that to-day I am to tell you of what I was thinking under the old walnut-tree?"

"Yes," very faintly, and turning her head quite away, till only the tip of a little ear was visible.

"Shall I tell you?"

"If you choose."

"Then you are no longer curious?"

"I conclude, then, that you have divined it. Is it so?"

She was silent.

"Tell me," he said, bending over her and speaking earnestly, "have you thought that, looking at you that day, I knew that the liking I had always felt for you had ripened into love, so that as you trembled when I held your hand, that I was vowing to myself so one day to hold it and call it mine? If so, then you already know what you were so curious to hear that day."

Maud answered only by nestling her head deeper in the pillow.

"Are you angry? shall I go away?" he asked.

She put out her hand, and, taking his, laid it under her soft cheek. That was her answer, and Paul desired no better.


WE publish on pages 520 and 521 a group of pictures from sketches by Mr. A. R. Waud, illustrating the recent Maryland campaign. That campaign, though now over, is so recent, and was so eventful, that the public will be glad to see it once more described with the pencil. Mr. Waud writes:

"The first sketch shows the pass through Thornton's Gap, in South Mountains, with the New York militia hurrying home on the news of the riots. The next one, a view looking up the Potomac River at Williamsport, showing where the rebels forded with their wagons. The little sketch on the right, 'Pontoon Bridge' at Falling Waters; not a miserable bridge as has been reported, but a very well-built one of boats like ours, painted lead-color.

" 'Prisoners Marching to Frederick' describes itself. As these fellows marched in by thousands, great excitement was produced in Frederick City and neighboring country.

"The charge of the 6th was a very gallant affair up a hill and over the rifle-pits and ditches of the enemy's rear-guard. A major, other officers, and a number of men were killed and wounded, but they took a large number of the enemy's soldiers.

"The bridge over the Monocacy, on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, was destroyed last year by the rebels. In their recent raid into Maryland the Stuart cavalry did not venture to approach it.

"The sketch of Emmettsburg shows the burned district, and the rebels driving herds of captured horses through the town.

"On the field of battle it is a common thing for the rebel wounded to get up, and holding up their hands in token of submission, run into our lines to get attended to by our surgeons, which they prefer to experiencing the tender mercies of their own."


WE publish on page 516 a BIRDS-EYE VIEW OF THE ENVIRONS OF CHARLESTON, showing the sea-islands on which Gilmore's army is contending with the enemy; and on page 517 a number of views on Morris, Seabrook, and other islands where our troops are encamped.

The following extract from the Herald correspondence will enable our readers to form an idea of the present condition of affairs on Morris Island:

There is a continual and uninterrupted heavy artillery duel going on night and day between Fort Sumter, Fort Johnson, and the new batteries erected near it, the work on Cumming's Point, called Battery Gregg, and Fort Wagner, and our batteries, aided by the iron-clads, which daily practice on Fort Wagner and Battery Gregg, occasionally exchanging a shot with Sumter.

The new rebel batteries on James Island, which have either been built within the past fortnight or have long been masked, now occasion us at times a little annoyance, but do not interrupt the steady advance and progress of our works. They have several large sea-coast mortars in position and they manage to explode their shells high in the air over our trenches, and now and then, but very rarely, inflict injuries on our gallant troops who wield the spade and pick as well as they have the musket. Fort Wagner, when not kept silent by the iron-clads and our mortar and rifle batteries, directs a sharp fire of canister and grape on our working parties, making the air above them vocal with the nondescript missiles they favor us with. The rebels seem to have a peculiar relish for broken bottles and glassware, old bits of crockery, rusty nails, fragments of cooking utensils and all sorts of odds and ends which may inflict wounds, and these missiles they pour into our lines with an intense zest and no little spite. Some of our men have been wounded by these novel projectiles, and in a few instances quite seriously. The rebel stock of iron is quite limited, we must infer from the above facts, or they have chosen to use substitutes for the ordinary missile which render wounds more serious and more apt to occasion death eventually. In either case the show is not at all favorable to the rebels.

Our lines were advanced a few days since several hundred yards, and our extreme front is now within less than five hundred yards of Fort Wagner, and our sharp-shooters are now so close to the rebel work that they pick off any gunner who attempts to level the large pieces bearing on our trenches.

The rebels in Wagner closed up the embrasures on the southern face of the work three days ago, and have remained silent until this morning at daylight, when they cleared the embrasures and developed the fact that they had five guns in position, two of them being new ones, from which they opened a hot fire on our working parties, and occasioned no little annoyance. Our batteries replied instantly, and a sharp contest ensued. The rebels kept up the fire with great warmth, and not until one of the Monitors and the New Ironsides had shelled them heartily did they desert their guns and take to their bomb-proofs, where they now lie secure. Our work then went on as rapidly and quietly as ever.

Of Fort Wagner the same correspondent writes:

Fort Wagner is an irregular bastioned work, situated on the northern end of Morris Island, two thousand five hundred yards distant from Fort Sumter. It is composed entirely of sand, which, beyond doubt, is the best material to withstand the effect of shell. Its armament is six guns; but three guns have recently been mounted on the sea face to annoy the Monitors. On the southern face of the work all the obstructions that engineering skill can devise have been placed so as to annoy our troops in case of an assault.

On the northern side of the work there has been erected a musketry parapet, which not only commands the approach from the northward, but enables its garrison to be sheltered in event of our troops gaining an admittance to the interior. It has its ravelins, galleries, and covered ways, and upon the whole is a very formidable work. The magazine is situated in the southern centre of the outward portion of the work, and although exposed to the fire of our iron-clads, it is so well built as to defy the projectiles which have already struck it.


CAPTAIN JOHN RODGERS, of the Weehawken, whose portrait we give on page 525, is the son of that gallant and distinguished officer, Commodore John Rodgers, one of the fathers of the American navy. A native of Maryland, he entered the navy at an early age, in 1828, and from the first exhibited that zeal and ability for which he has since been so distinguished. He saw much service in the grades of Midshipman and Lieutenant; and for two years was engaged in active boat service on the coast of Florida against the Seminole Indians, and in the Coast Survey. In 1852 he was appointed second in command of the North Pacific and Behring Straits Exploring Expedition, and succeeded to the command on the return to the United States—in consequence of severe illness—of his superior officer, Captain (now Commodore) Ringgold. He performed the arduous duty that devolved upon him in a manner creditable to himself and to the entire satisfaction of the Government, taking his vessel, the Vincennes, farther into the Arctic region than a ship of war had ever before penetrated. On the return of the expedition, in 1856, Commander Rodgers, who had been promoted during his absence, was engaged in preparing the charts and report of his explorations. When in 1858 we had a threatened difficulty with England, in consequence of the boarding and searching of American vessels in the West Indies and Gulf, Commander Rodgers immediately applied for active service, and was appointed to the Water Witch, and proceeded to the Gulf. The difficulty, however, was arranged, and Commander Rodgers returned to his Arctic charts. When the rebellion broke out he again promptly applied for active service, and, with other officers both of the army and navy, was sent to Norfolk, to attempt saving the vessels there. Too late for that, Commander Rodgers, with Captain (now General) Wright, of the Engineers, was assigned to the difficult and dangerous duty of blowing up the Dry Dock. After making the necessary preliminary arrangements, the detachment that had accompanied them was sent back to the boats, and the two officers, with a single sailor, remained to apply the match on the appointed signal. Commander Rodgers told the Lieutenant who took back the men that he thought there was but little chance of escape for those that remained, owing to the distance from the boats and the intervention of the ship-houses, which, when in flames, would cut off their retreat. The event justified this opinion, but the two officers escaped by the land-gate, and with their solitary seaman seized a small boat and attempted to pull down the harbor, but a heavy fire of musketry from the shore compelled them to surrender, and they were sent to Richmond as prisoners; where, however, they were kindly treated and soon released, as Virginia had not then passed the secession ordinance.

On his return to Washington Commander Rodgers was appointed to the important and highly responsible duty of creating a naval force on the Western rivers. Every thing in the way of buying, building, arming, equipping, and organizing had to be done, and he entered on this duty with all the zeal of a man whose soul was in his work. The purchased gun-boats, properly prepared, were already in active service, and the iron-clads rapidly progressing to completion, when he was relieved by Captain (the late and lamented Admiral) Foote. This change was made at the request of General Fremont, who subsequently expressed great regret, saying it arose from error, from false representations of contractors, and he urged Commander Rodgers to accept the place on his staff of executive officer for naval affairs connected with his movements. This was declined, and on his return East he was appointed to the steamer Flag, then off Charleston, and sailed in Admiral DuPont's flag-ship, the Wabash, on the Port Royal expedition. He commanded a flotilla sent up to reconnoitre the harbor before the action, which was engaged with Tatnall's mosquito fleet. In the attack on Port Royal the services of Commander Rodgers were alluded to by Admiral Du Pont in the warmest terms; and as a mark of distinction he was sent ashore to ascertain if the forts had surrendered, and with his own hands hoisted the Union flag on the soil of South Carolina for the first time since it had been torn down at Sumter.

Proceeding in the Flag to Savannah River, he ascertained the rebels had left Tybee Island, and landing there he took possession of it, and handed it over to the army, again himself hoisting the Stars and Stripes on the soil of Georgia, for the first time since the act of secession. Several hazardous and daring night boat expeditions placed Commander Rodgers in possession of much valuable information connected with Fort Pulaski, and the data he furnished greatly aided General Gilmore in the capture of that important fort.

The Flag, needing repairs, was ordered to the North; and while those went on, rather than be idle, Commander Rodgers, at the request of General M'Clellan, joined his staff to assist in embarking and landing his troops for York River. He was then appointed to the Galena, an iron-clad on a new model, but which proved to be a lamentable failure. In command of the James River flotilla, composed, among other vessels, of the original Monitor, he was ordered to proceed to Richmond. After attacking and silencing several forts on his way he reached the obstructions just above Fort Darling, on Drury's Bluff, consisting of three rows of sunken vessels, secured by piles and chains. The Monitor could not elevate her guns to reach the batteries, and had to drop down for nearly a

mile, and the fire was thus concentrated on the Galena, which sustained the unequal fight for three hours and a half, and when she retired had but five cartridges left for her great guns, and not a loaded shell. This was one of the severest, if not the severest, fight of the war. In the late capture of the Atlanta she surrendered after five shots; but the Galena was pierced by forty-six of those heavy shot and shells, was greatly cut up, and had fifteen of her crew killed outright, besides the wounded. Among the latter was Commander Rodgers, slightly, from two pieces of shell. Though pronounced unseaworthy by a survey, the Galena remained in the river, and during the fight of Malvern Hills she took part in that contest, firing by signal among the rebel troops, and rendering most essential service, as was warmly acknowledged by General McClellan in his official dispatches.

Transferred to the new iron-clad Weehawken, and promoted to the rank of Captain, he, on his passage from New York to Fortress Monroe, encountered one of the most severe storms ever experienced on our coast. Fearing for the safety of his tow, a side-wheel steamer, he cast her off, and ordered her to make a harbor at Delaware Breakwater, which she reached with difficulty; but the Weehawken, though having the same place of refuge, continued on, and came safely into Hampton Roads, to the agreeable surprise of all who knew she was out in that storm. This proof of the sea-going qualities of that class of vessels gave great satisfaction to the Navy Department, being considered of as much importance as a naval victory; for it restored the confidence of officers and men in those iron-clads as sea-going vessels which had been destroyed by the then recent foundering of the Monitor in a much less violent storm.

Attached to the squadron of Admiral Du Pont, he was selected to lead the iron-clads in the attack on Forts Sumter and Moultrie and the other batteries at Charleston. The little squadron, with the Weehawken in the van, was allowed to proceed unmolested until that vessel reached a certain buoy, on which point all the rebel guns had been trained; and then, at the same instant, three hundred of the heaviest cannon opened upon the devoted vessel. Such was this furious attack that the spray thrown up hid the hull of the Weehawken from the sight of the spectators, who at one moment thought she was sunk; but she bore it all, and with her consorts continued to return the fire, calmly and steadily progressing on till she reached the sunken obstructions, through which he vainly attempted to find a possible passage. The general fight was continued until the recall signal was made, and as the Weehawken was bringing up the rear while retiring Fort Sumter complimented her by two or three parting shot; and, not to be outdone in courtesy, the Weehawken was slowly turned round, and approaching nearer, gave the fort a 15-inch solid shot, which was the last gun fired on either side. Never before were any vessels exposed to such a fire; and what that little fleet of iron-clads sustained would have utterly destroyed in half the time the immense fleet that Nelson had at Trafalgar.

The next service of Captain Rodgers was the recent capture of the iron-clad Atlanta. This vessel of 2000 tons, formerly the Fingal, had been prepared with great care and at immense expense, on the plan of the Merrimac. For months she had been a thorn in the side of Admiral Du Pont, fearing a raid upon our wooden blockaders. Hearing she was positively coming out, the Weehawken, Captain Rodgers, and the Nahant, Commander Downes, were sent to watch her. The Atlanta came out in full belief and expectation of capturing both vessels, and suddenly appeared upon them in the first gray of the morning, and at once opened her fire. The Weehawken did not return it till within 300 yards, when, as the Atlanta rounded to to fire her broadside, the Weehawken opened with her 15-inch gun, throwing a solid shot of 440 pounds. Only five shots were fired when the Atlanta surrendered, before the Nahant, who was gallantly trying to get close alongside, had fired a shot. The first shot from the Weehawken virtually settled the result. Though her iron-plated roof presented an angle of only about thirty degrees, the shot did not glance, but penetrated it, and threw an immense quantity of iron and wooden splinters among the crew, prostrating forty men, some by the splinters, and some by the mere concussion; another shot killed one man and wounded seventeen.

This capture was one of the most important of the war; for not only was the vessel a most damaging loss to the rebels, but, had she got out and joined the two iron-clads in Charleston harbor, there is no estimating the consequences that might have resulted by the necessity of keeping our iron-clads concentrated, and leaving our wooden blockaders, or even some of our Northern sea-ports, exposed to their ravages.

We close this notice with the following extract from the highly complimentary letter addressed to Captain Rodgers by the Secretary of the Navy:

"Your early connection with the Mississippi flotilla, and your participation in the projection and construction of the first iron-clads on the Western waters; your heroic conduct in the attack on Drury's Bluff; the high moral courage that led you to put to sea in the Weehawken upon the approach of a violent storm, in order to test the sea-going qualities of these new craft, at the time when a safe anchorage was close under your lee; the brave and daring manner in which you, with your associates, pressed the iron-clads under the concentrated fire of the batteries in Charleston harbor, and there tested and proved the endurance and resisting power of these vessels; and your crowning successful achievement in the capture of the Fingal, alias Atlanta, are all proofs of a skill, and courage, and devotion to the country and the cause of the Union, regardless of self, that can not be permitted to pass unrewarded. To your heroic daring and persistent moral courage, beyond that of any other individual, is the country indebted for the development, under trying and varied circumstances on the ocean, under enormous batteries on land, and in successful rencounter with a formidable flatting antagonist, of the capabilities and qualities of attack and resistance of the Monitor class of vessels and their heavy armament. For these heroic and serviceable acts I have presented your name to the President, requesting him to recommend that Congress give you a vote of thanks, in order that you may be advanced to the grade of Commodore in the American Navy."




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