Escape of John Morgan


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, December 12, 1863

We have posted our collection of Harper's Weekly newspapers to this WEB site to enable students to gain a better understanding of the key events of the War. Reading these old papers will take you back in time to a day that the cannons were till firing, and the war was still raging.

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


Civil War Guerrillas


Erie Railway

General Morgan Escape

Escape of John Morgan

Pipe Organ

Boston Music Hall Pipe Organ

Supply Depot

Supply Depot

Running Blockade

Running the Blockade

Boston Music Hall

Boston Music Hall

Rev. Turner

Reverend Turner


Stevenson, Alabama

Pack Mules

Pack Mules

Grant's Map

Map of General Grant's Operations

Columbia Cartoon




DECEMBER 12, 1863.]




(Previous Page) against him of the most disreputable kind. Now so far as appears there is not the slightest foundation whatever for the assertion. It could more easily be the result of a very simple, very common and very obvious conspiracy than be true! Nothing is so easy for a shameless husband and wife—and several such are to be found in London —as to conspire in defamation of any conspicuous man of free life and manners in the hope of extorting money as the price of silence. The mere idle charge, under such circumstances, is a damaging blow. It is a blow, also, to which every public man is exposed. And as the world of clubs and drawing-rooms likes to speculate upon human frailty, there is no escape for the victim, however innocent he may be.

It may be safely said that every chance whatever is against the truth of this charge against Lord Palmerston. He has been a gay man, indeed, but he is eighty-four years old; and he has been for nearly fifty years a prominent figure in European history. Should he be proved guilty, his career ends in public ridicule and a burst of genuine British cant. Is a man of great common sense, peculiarly sensitive to public opinion, perfectly versed in the ways of the world and knowing the exact cost of every step, likely, in his extreme age, to make so silly a surrender of his reputation by putting it in any woman's power? Lord Palmerston is not Mark Antony, nor is Mrs. O'Kane Cleopatra. It is one of the cases in which character and probability must tell even against a direct oath. How they tell with the Queen and the city of London we have already seen. For Palmerston has been a guest at Windsor Castle, and warmly greeted at a civic banquet since the scandal was published. No one can really wish him ill. The jaunty Premier is not a great man. We shall be very loth to believe him a silly one.


As the holiday season approaches books multiply; and they are of a better kind than the old annuals. The Lounger does not attempt to mention many new books, and acknowledges no obligation to speak of any even when the publishers are so kind as to send them to him. But every true Lounger keeps pace a little with current literature.

"Excursions by Henry D. Thoreau" (Ticknor & Fields), for instance, is a very remarkable and delightful book. Mr. Thoreau was a scholar and naturalist living in Concord, Massachusetts, who believed in Concord, in the Indians, and in himself. He had doubts whether, upon the whole, the race had not deteriorated by civilization; and had a profound admiration for the red men as for those who knew the secrets and resources of nature much more intimately than any savant. His life and his books are an airy protest against science and civilization, while no man had made better use of the best results of each. His observation of the phenomena of nature was most thorough, sympathetic, and profound, and his descriptions are of the best in literature. Indeed, in what is called rural literature, he is unsurpassed for the union of shrewd insight, quaint, racy, and vigorous thought, and a delightful play of humor over all, shimmering, cool, and remote, like the aurora borealis. He had no love of moral precedents or religious traditions. The world of to-day he thought as good as Paradise, and God as near to Concord as to Eden. A fresh, sweet, sturdy, noble man. He lived known to a few only, but being dead he speaks to all of us. His "Excursions" is the most original book we have lately had, as well as the most valuable record of exact observation of nature.

Bayard Taylor's "Hannah Thurston" (Putnam) has a very large sale, and is sure to be very eagerly sought, for Mr. Taylor has unquestionably written his name upon the popular heart. His novel abounds in faithful description of American scenery, and is written in a simple, easy style, which leads the reader pleasantly along, and prevents the undue sense of prominence in the author. Neither is there any thing sensational or sentimental in the story. The character of Hannah Thurston is one of true womanly dignity; and her mother, "the venerable Quakeress," is a pathetic and lovely picture. The hero, Woodbury, is a good-natured, sensible, shrewd American, precisely the man to show Hannah the relation of theory to life. And yet we shall quarrel with our friend the author upon the point of the personages of his tale being peculiarly or representatively American. That the tendency of our mental life is toward what is vaguely called "Reform" is true. It would be tragical if it were not so. But if a writer would depict that tendency in its truly representative types must he not seek further than the Seth Wattles, the weak, ignorant, and absurd people who are swept along upon every great movement like drift-wood and dry leaves upon a stream? If an author wished, for instance, to paint a characteristic picture of English life during the civil war, could he fairly give us groups of Muggletonians and Fifth Monarchy men? Would not every Briton who knew that the development of British liberty was not due to such as they, instantly declare that they were excrescences and not fruits; and that they were in no other sense characteristic than eruptions which show the exuberance of life? Such persons do not explain the great mental and moral movements upon which they are but as warts and wens upon a sturdy giant. So if the object be to draw a truly characteristic picture of American reform—or, to use a pleasanter phrase, the tendency of American civilization—must not the personages explain its phenomena by their own characters? Instead of Seth Wattles and a knavish free-lover the novelist must attempt the portrait of men like Emerson, Parker, Beecher, Phillips, because these men are truly representative of the forces that control American progress. We can but indicate our feeling upon this point, not elaborate it.

Then, again, is the moral of the story quite clear? Allowing that a recluse, thoughtful semi-Quakeress like Hannah Thurston would hold many crude convictions, still is not the substance of her little speech in the earlier part of the tale exactly what she might have said when the curtain falls upon her happy home? Is it any less proper and womanly for Jenny Lind to sing to the world when an unmarried woman heartily inspired by her gifts and her powers, than it is to sing to her infant when she is a mother? This is the point which the author seems to evade, and yet this is the point of the matter. That women ought not to try to do what they can not do, will be readily granted on all sides. That their sex and structure have peculiar adaptations is equally clear. That they ought not to insist upon doing what they can not do well is also clear, but no clearer than it is of men. But the question asked by Hannah Thurston is whether women ought to refrain from what God has given them capacity to do, and which neither circumstances nor natural conditions forbid, merely because of sex. We do not see that Mrs. Woodbury would answer the question differently from Miss Thurston.

The reader will discover that the matter is handled with great good humor and intelligence by the author. He does not dash petulantly at either side, and the warm friends of any "reform" have no right to be angry with him because he lashes with the satire of truth-telling the caricatures of reason and progress, the movements they so often present. As a sketch of a clique in many American villages the canvas is of a Dutch fidelity; but as a picture of American life "Hannah Thurston" seems to us inadequate, with all its excellences of detail.

Thackeray's "Roundabout Papers" (Harpers) is as characteristic a little volume as he has ever written. Its sweet, racy, vigorous, and simple English is a worthy setting for the manly and gentle thoughts and sympathies of the author. The essays are necessarily personal and discursive. They are full of the sparkling satire upon our daily absurdities and insincerities, which abound in all Thackeray's books. And yet nowhere upon his pages is the undercurrent of quick and generous sympathy more evident. They are the window-seat chat of a man who has not lost his interest in life, with the freshness of his enthusiasm, but who loves and praises with all his heart whatever is kindly, honest, and lovely. The old subject of his "cynicism" we shall not open here. But does any man sincerely believe that the yearning tenderness for old times and friends, the simple sympathy with boyhood, the genial delight in honorable endeavor which breathe through the "Roundabout Papers" are consonant with the emotions of a literary ogre or gorilla? There is undoubtedly a little monotony in the moralizing, but it is in no degree tiresome. The texts are not far sought, the sermons flow from the heart, the preacher earnestly cries "Forgive us, miserable sinners!"


SURGEON-GENERAL HAMMOND has left Washington, with instructions to proceed to Chattanooga and inspect the hospitals and camps of General GRANT'S army, after which he is to go to Nashville, and there await further orders.

Mrs. SEMMES, an aunt of Captain Semmes, has been arrested in Baltimore, with her daughter, and both have been held to answer the charge of an attempt to poison the United States Surgeon of West Building Hospital, to whom they sent a bottle of wine drugged with arsenic. The mother of General WINDER has also been arrested, not, however, upon any charge of complicity in this affair, and has been paroled not to correspond with her friends in the South.

General MICHAEL CORCORAN was in Washington last week.

The Boston Traveler states that Lieutenant COLEMAN and twenty privates (colored), captured in Louisiana recently, were hung by the rebels. They belonged to General ULLMAN'S brigade, and were captured on a reconnoissance to Jackson, Louisiana, by Colonel LOGAN'S rebel cavalry.

There can be no longer any doubt of the death of General SAM HOUSTON, of Texas. A letter from an army correspondent at Matamoras says: "General SAM HOUSTON is certainly dead. He died at Huntsville, Texas. I am with a man who was present when he died. J. TERRELL SMITH and another have administered on his estate."

Captain CAMP, formerly a secret agent of the War Department, has been arrested and consigned to the Old Capitol.

General GIBSON has been ordered from Cleveland to the command of the conscript depot at Philadelphia.

At a general court-martial convened at Fort Columbus, New York Harbor, September 30, 1863, Lieutenant GEORGE H. CROSSMAN, Tenth United States Infantry, was sentenced to be dismissed the service, upon the charges of behaving with contempt and disrespect toward his commanding officer, and striking his superior officer. The finding and sentence was approved; but, upon the recommendation of a majority of the court, and of the Brigadier and Major General commanding, the President has mitigated the sentence to suspension of pay for two months from the 7th day of November.

First Lieutenant W. G. FITCH, Second United States Infantry, has been placed on the retired list on account of disabilities resulting from long and faithful service in the field. He has been assigned to duty with Brigadier-General HUNT, at New Haven, Connecticut.

JEFFERSON DAVIS was at Orange Court House on 21st ult. He was the guest of General LEE.

Major-General THOMAS has issued general orders dishonorably dismissing one colonel, two majors, fifteen captains, twenty-six lieutenants, and one surgeon for various offenses, including drunkenness, feigning sickness, spreading false rumors, permitting men to plunder, misbehavior in face of the enemy, shameful cowardice, gross disloyalty, dishonest practices, and conduct unbecoming officers and gentlemen.

ROBERT B. MITCHELL, commanding the First Cavalry Division, has been ordered to report to Adjutant-General THOMAS, at Washington, for duty.



CHATTANOOGA, Nov. 25—7.15 P.M.

To Major-General Halleck:

ALTHOUGH the battle lasted from early dawn till dark this evening, I believe I am not premature in announcing a complete victory over Bragg.

Lookout Mountain top, all the rifle-pits in Chattanooga Valley, and Missionary Ridge entire, have been carried, and are now held by us.

U. S. GRANT, Major-General,


   CHATTANOOGA, Nov. 25—Midnight.

To Major-General Halleck, General-in-Chief:

The operations of today have been more successful than yesterday, having carried Missionary Ridge from near Rossville to the railroad tunnel with a comparatively small loss on our side, capturing about forty pieces of artillery, a large quantity of small-arms, camp and garrison equipage, besides the arms in the hands of prisoners.

We captured two thousand prisoners, of whom two hundred were officers of all grades—from colonels down.

We will pursue the enemy in the morning.

The conduct of the officers and troops was every thing that could be expected.

Missionary Ridge was carried simultaneously at six different points.

GEORGE H. THOMAS, Major-General.


   CHATTANOOGA, Nov. 27—10 A.M.

Major-General H. W. Halleck, General-in-Chief, Washington:

I am just in from the front. The rout of the enemy is most complete. Abandoned wagons, caissons, and occasional pieces of artillery are every where to be found.

I think Bragg's loss will fully reach sixty pieces of artillery. A large number of prisoners have fallen into our hands. The pursuit will continue to Red Clay in the morning, for which place I shall start in a few hours.

U. S. GRANT, Major-General.


The report of Quarter-master-General Meigs of the late battle near Chattanooga, shows that it was a surprise sprung upon the enemy, our troops moving upon Missionary Ridge in such perfect order that the rebels had no suspicion of an attack, but regarded the movement as a dress parade. The details of the fight are given by General Meigs, who declares that so well directed and so well ordered a battle has not taken place during the war.


A dispatch dated Chattanooga, November 30, says:

There has been no fighting in Northern Georgia for the last two days. The enemy are beyond Dalton. The campaign is probably ended. The fruits of the fighting are six thousand and two prisoners, forty-eight pieces of artillery, and seven thousand stand of arms. Our casualties will not exceed four thousand. General Hooker has evacuated Ringgold.


The last accounts from Knoxville report that a portion of the north part of the town has been burned, including the depot. The portions burned are supposed to have been houses in the lower end of it, occupied by rebel sharp-shooters, which were destroyed by our shells. General Longstreet is said to have fallen back, pursuant to orders from Bragg. General Burnside has ample provisions, and can wait patienify the arrival of General Grant. General Longstreet, however, is probably taken in a trap by the movements of General Grant in cutting the railroad, and may be compelled, as a desperate resort, to attack Knoxville; but it is still more probable that he must fight his way out, or that his army will he scattered or captured.


The Army of the Potomac advanced on 25th, and severing its communications with Washington, crossed the Rapidan in three columns. On 27th General Kilpatrick's cavalry attempted to cross the river at Raccoon Ford under the fire of the rebel batteries, but were driven back. Severe skirmishing has been going on at different points since 26th, at which time the enemy had fallen back from our centre to within two miles of Orange Court House. Our line of battle appears to have been formed on the road leading to that place. The corps of Generals French, Warren, and Prince had pretty heavy skirmishing with the enemy, but in each case either drove them back or maintained their own position. General French, with the Third Corps, lost heavily, and not only held his ground, but captured nine hundred of the rebels, the Sixth Corps being thrown forward to support him. The Fifth Corps' train was attacked in flank by the rebel cavalry on the plank road, who destroyed fifteen or twenty wagons. General Gregg's cavalry, on the left, had a severe fight with the rebel cavalry, and drove them back upon their infantry, and then fell back upon the Fifth Corps, who, in turn, drove the rebel infantry back.


On Monday evening the two armies were separated by Mine Run valley, which crosses the Fredericksburg and Orange plank-road twelve miles from Orange Court House. General Lee is strongly intrenched there, and seems disposed to make a firm resistance. The dispatches of correspondents indicate that an assault on the enemy's works at Mine Run by our infantry, under cover of artillery, took place on Monday. All our batteries which could command the enemy's position were ordered to open, and after a half hour's firing, which the enemy feebly answered, an attack was ordered. General Warren pushed on, and found the number and position of the enemy stronger than was anticipated, and paused for further instructions. The attack was then immediately checked, and all firing ceased. This is the latest story we have from the Army of the Potomac. Rebel accounts to Sunday say that as the two armies were then confronting each other, a fearful fight could not be long postponed.


General John Morgan and six of his officers—viz.; Captains Bennett, Taylor, Sheldon, Haynes, Hockersmith, and M'Gee—escaped from the Columbus Penitentiary on 27th by digging through the floor of their cell to a sewer leading to the river. John Morgan, on retiring, changed with his brother Dick from the top cell to the lower tier. The floor of the lower cell is two and a half inches thick, in

which a hole was cut, under the bed, leading down into a two and a half foot sewer, running to the main wall around the Penitentiary. This wall was cut under, and the party escaped into the open country. The night was dark, with heavy rain. All efforts are being made by the authorities for his recapture.

The fugitives have arrived safely at Toronto, Canada


Corpus Christi was captured on the 15th ult. by Generals Banks and Dana, who marched upon that place overland from Brownsville. Aransas City was attacked, and taken after a very brief resistance. One hundred prisoners and three guns were taken. The British brig Dashing Wave was captured by the gun-boat New London off the Rio Grande, with a cargo consisting of seventy thousand dollars in gold and a large quantity of clothing and medicines intended for the rebels.


The surgeons who have just been released from the horrors of the Richmond prisons have published a statement, which has been officially presented to the Government, of the cruel treatment to which our captives are subjected. It is a thrilling chapter of human suffering and unmitigated barbarism.


Commissary-General Hoffman has returned from his tour of inspection in the West. He visited Johnson's Island, Camp Chase, Helena, Arkansas, and all other places in the West where rebel prisoners are confined. He reports that rebel prisoners are in excellent condition—well clothed, well fed, in good quarters, and enjoying every comfort that they could desire—contrasting strangely with the condition of our prisoners in Richmond.

At Helena, Arkansas, buildings are being erected for the accommodation of such of the Southern chivalry as may be captured in the Southwest. The buildings are designed to accommodate 10,000 men.


The following dispatch has been received by Mr. George H. Stuart, President of the Christian Commission:

   FORTRESS MONROE, Nov. 29, 1863.

To George H. Stuart, Chairman of the Christian Conmission:

DEAR SIR,—I have every reason to believe that the goods sent by individuals and the Sanitary and Christian Commissions are delivered to our prisoners.

I would suggest that you send as much as possible.

S. A. MEREDITH, Brigadier-General.


General Hurlbut has issued an order (at Memphis) warning the newspapers published there that they "must cease the publication of reports, anonymous or otherwise, of actions or movements of troops within the Department. No discussion of the policy or measures of the Government will be tolerated, and the editors and publishers of newspapers will be held accountable for the character of extracts published from Northern papers. Neither officers nor troops within this command will be the subject of either praise or censure through the newspapers, as neither editors nor correspondents have the right or the ability to give praise where deserved, or to withhold it where undeserved."


The following table compares the Richmond and Cincinnati prices for a few leading articles, the latter in green-backs and the former in Confederate scrip:


On December 1 Christian G. Gunther was elected Mayor of New York by a plurality of 6000 over Boole and Blunt.




ENGLAND has replied to Napoleon's invitation to attend a European congress. The Queen does not give an unqualified acceptance, but asks for further information as to the precise points to be proposed for discussion. A further correspondence between the two Powers on the subject is expected.

The Papal Government accepts the invitation to attend the congress.

It is thought that most of the other Powers would ask for further explanations respecting the bases of the debate in the congress.


The steamship Great Eastern has been advertised for sale at auction on the 14th of January, by order of the mortgagees.



The Emperor of France asks from the Legislature a supplementary credit of ninety-one millions of francs, to meet expenses in Mexico.

Chattanooga Battle Map




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