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Civil War Harper's Weekly, December 19, 1863

This site features the Harper's Weekly newspapers published during the Civil War. This weekly illustrated newspaper was the primary source of information on the war during the Civil War years. Today, they serve as an invaluable tool for students and researchers to better understand this period of American History.

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




Southern Terror

Lincoln's Prayer

Lincoln's Call to Prayer

Drummer Boy

Drummer Boy

Missionary Ridge

Missionary Ridge

New York

Charles Gunther



Germania Mills Ford

Germania Mills Ford

Missionary Ridge

Storming Missionary Ridge






DECEMBER 19, 1863.]



(Previous Page) was separated, and married, at last, Louise Rasmussen, a pretty ballet-dancer, who proved to be his most devoted and, as he insisted, most valuable friend. Once, when he was coldly received in the Southern Danish provinces, he said at a banquet that, although he was a king, he did not mean to lose his privilege as a man to marry the woman he loved best. Such frankness seldom hurts a king, and he is thought to have been the best monarch that Denmark has had for a hundred years.

His death complicates European politics. It makes the settlement of the Schleswig-Holstein question necessary. The name will be recognized by all who remember the war of a dozen years ago, which settled nothing; for it is precisely the same disputed point which is now raised, whether Germany or Denmark shall govern the Duchy. The question is one of those which Louis Napoleon's Congress might determine, if his Congress could ever meet, or agree, or enforce its agreements. In any ease it is another European trouble. We may relieve ourselves from all fear of foreign interference. The European Powers will have their hands full at home. Our struggle will be decided by American hands and heads upon American soil; and the peace which Europe has not reached, after centuries of war, because it always avoids a truly radical settlement, we shall establish upon immutable foundations.


ANTHONY TROLLOPE is now the most popular of English novelists after Dickens, Thackeray, and Bulwer, although doubtless he has much less ability than either. His works are the result of sturdy British resolution and industry; and the secret of their charm is that of the camera obscura—they are faithful pictures of the life around him. Average human character in its various aspects of love-making, ambitious striving, intrigue, well-meaning weakness, knavery, thriftiness, amiability, and good sense, is the material upon which he works. There are no high lights of imagination and passion in his pictures. There is nothing inspiring and haunting in his effects. He is a careful observer, an unexaggerating delineator; and he has such humor and sense and good heart that every thing he writes is graphic, entertaining, and interesting. His last story, "Rachel Ray" (Harpers), is not below the best he has written. In fact it is among the very best of recent novels.

The very opposite to Mr. Trollope is Miss Braddon, whose latest novel, "John Marchmont's Legacy," is also issued by the Harpers. Miss Braddon has always a story to tell involving passion, crime, and intrigue. In this novel she lets her readers off without a case of bigamy or even murder, though there is enough of villainy of other sorts to make up the plot of a good half dozen thrilling sensation stories. Tastes differ in respect to novels as well as other things. Miss Braddon's novels are not to our taste; but they are to that of an immense class of readers, who will pronounce "John Marchmont's Legacy" quite equal to "Aurora Floyd."

"Peculiar" is the title of a novel by Epes Sargent (Carleton). Its sale is already very large—a fact which shows the interest it has excited. The story is emphatically a characteristic tale of American life; for it lays bare with unsparing hand all the interior and inevitable social horrors of the system which has plunged the country into war. That is the object of the book. It is a blow for the good cause—a noble plea for the most wretched of men and women. As a tale it is in some parts almost too painful, too tragical. But it will remain to the incredulous horror of our children, as a picture of actual life in America in the nineteenth century.

The Christmas books, if not very many, are to be very beautiful. The Harpers announce their Illustrated Bible, a noble gift; the "Poets of the Nineteenth Century," copiously and richly illustrated, and a delightful book; with Lossing's "Field-Book of the Revolution," one of the most interesting chronicles ever published.—Putnam
offers an illustrated small quarto of Irving's "Sketch Book." It is as fine a volume as our publishing resources can produce, and the best of our artists have contributed to it. The book itself is always as charming as a Christmas carol, and brings the holidays with it; and although the copies of this issue have been rapidly taken, the haunters of Christmas shops and all epicures in books should at least look at it.—So likewise Ticknor's "Life of Prescott" the historian (Ticknor & Fields) is as dainty a book as we have ever seen. It is in every way a very handsome work, except that the old English small s is a barbarism.—Scribner & Co. have a new edition of Dr. Holland's poem "Bitter-Sweet," arranged in gorgeous holiday attire. Its typographical apotheosis is a proof of its popularity.—Sheldon & Company's beautiful edition of the Works of Charles Dickens is, we believe, nearly completed. The latest volumes contain "Hard Times" and a collection at miscellaneous papers. In every respect this is by far the most beautiful edition of Dickens published either in America or England. The admirable illustrations by Darley are not among the least of its attractions.

Among all the beautiful books, old and new, which appear with the season, there is also promise of the speedy publication, by Lippincott of Philadelphia, of the "History of Charles the Bold," by John Foster Kirk, the amanuensis and reader of the historian Prescott. We have carefully read a large part of the work in sheets, and feel very sure that our impression will be confirmed by the publie, The subject is fortunate for a writer who makes his first essay at this time and in this country, for it is the story of the struggle between the King of France, Louis XI., and his great Burgundian vassal,

for the establishment of the French nation. It is the conflict between Feudalism and the modern spirit. Mr. Kirk is obviously amply accomplished for his task. He is familiar not only with the chronicles, published and unpublished, of the period, but with the general literature which throws upon his work all the side-lights that illustrate and interpret the times of which he writes. His style is remarkably simple, pure, and concise. Entirely free from rhetoric, and, for a time, apparently too subdued and level, it rises with occasion into picturesqueness and warmth. It is flowing and limpid, and we own is more pleasing to us than that of Prescott, which if clear, and polished, and careful, is neither nervous nor picturesque.

Mr. Kirk's work is quite sure to take rank with our best histories, and to secure to him, in public recognition, the worthy reward of his long and faithful labor.

We must mention in a line the republication by Leypoldt, of Philadelphia (who publishes Mr. Leland's marvelous translation of Heine's "Reise-Bilder," and more recently his "Book of Songs"), of Matthew Arnold's masterly essay upon Henry Heine, one of the acutest and most delicate criticisms of the time.

"Mr. Wind and Madame Rain," translated from the French of Paul de Musset, and quaintly illustrated by that clever artist Charles Bennett, is one of the most thoroughly delightful juveniles of the season. It has just that amount of half allegorizing, the unraveling of which affords such special pleasure to the rising generation. (Harpers.)

"The Life of Touissaint L'Ouverture" (Redpath) is the biography of a man whose name has been vaguely known through the century, whom Miss Martineau depicted in "The Hour and the Man," and whom Mr. Phillips's historical lecture has drawn in imperishable colors upon the memory of all his hearers. This is Touissaint's biography by Dr. Beard, and his autobiography. At this time it is of the profoundest interest to us all, for Touissaint was born a black African slave, and he died the victim of the jealousy and falsity of Napoleon Bonaparte, after having drawn order and peace out of "the horrors of St. Domingo." Whoever would know exactly what those horrors were must read this book; and he will learn, as no well-informed student longer doubts, that they sprang from the baseness and selfishness of the whites, and not from the savage blood-thirstiness of the blacks. A more instructive and tragical tale was never told. We commend it to every thoughtful American citizen.


WASHINGTON gossip hints at the removal of General MEADE, and points to the appointment in his place of General SEDGWICK.

Lieutenant BAUER, of Company F, of the Second Rhode Island Cavalry, and Sergeant FISCHER, of the same company and regiment, have been sentenced, the former to hard labor on Ship Island, with ball and chain, and the latter to imprisonment for six months, for plundering from a planter while out on a scouting expedition.

Admiral SHUBRICK'S restoration to health progresses favorably. He is now permitted to receive the visits of a few friends.

Captain JEROME B. TAFT, formerly of the Fifty-ninth New York Volunteers, was drowned on the 2d inst., while skating on the Pecatonica River, Illinois, before the ice had acquired the proper consistency.

It is stated that General GRANT has captured, since his campaign in the West commenced, no less than four hundred and seventy-two cannon and ninety thousand prisoners from the enemy.

Colonel TIPPIN, of the Sixty-sixth Pennsylvania, Captain O'ROURKE, of the One Hundred and Sixty-fourth New York, and Lieutenant J. D. COOPER, Second New Hampshire, having satisfactorily defended themselves at the court of inquiry, have been restored to their positions in the army.

Captain JAS. G. HUGHES, Second New York State Militia (Eighty-second United States Volunteers), who was discharged the service about the 22d day of August, 1863, was reinstated to his command, by order of the President, at the instance of Judge-Advocate HOLT, on the fourth of the present month, on account of meritorious services in the field; and, further, as the record of the court-martial, before which Captain HUGHES was arraigned and found guilty, did not sustain their verdict.

The statement that General FOREY or the French Minister was furnished by the State Department with General SCOTT'S military maps of Mexico, or other information preparatory to the French invasion of that country, is erroneous. Neither General FOREY, nor the French Minister, nor any other person ever asked for or received any such information.

Brigadier-General WILLIAM H. MORRIS, whose brilliant charge on the enemy at Orange Grove has been reported, manoeuvred his brigade according to his simplified "Field Tactics." The celerity of this brigade's movements completely "surprised" the rebels.

Captain R. CHANDLER, formerly of General KING'S Staff, has been appointed Assistant Adjutant-General at the head-quarters of the defenses north of the Potomac.

Captain PERKINS, First Connecticut Heavy Artillery, use been appointed Lieutenant Colonel of the Nineteenth Regiment colored troops,

A correspondent with the Army of the Potomac states that General THOMAS FRANCIS MEAGHER was captured during the late engagement, and is now in the hands of the enemy. He was not on duty, but was visiting the army in civilian's dress.

The rebel General PILLOW, with his Staff, has left for Montgomery, Alabama, whither he has transferred the head-quarters of his bureau. Being cut off from Tennessee, he removed to Montgomery to be nearer his field of operations.

Soon after Colonel THOMAS had assumed the duties of Quarter-master-General, in the absence of General MEIGS, it was reported that enormous frauds had been perpetrated in the delivery of forage through Quarter-masters at Alexandria. The investigation, which was immediately instituted, discovered that immense frauds had been practiced upon the Government through the connivance of contractors Quarter-masters, excepting to several hundred thousand dollars. Quarter-masters STODDARD and FERGUSON have been sent to the Old Capitol Prison.

The Secretary of the Navy has promoted Ensign BURKE, of the monitor Lehigh, to the grade of Acting Master in the volunteer service, for distinguished gallantry under a severe fire of the enemy from Fort Moultrie.

Major-General BUTLER has appointed Major GEORGE W. COLE, Third New York cavalry, Cavalry Inspector in his Department.

General BLUNT, whom QUANTRILL had killed (in the rebel papers) several times during the month of October, was safe and sound at Fort Smith, Ark., on the 2d of December.

The rebel Lieutenant-General POLK and Staff were in Montgomery, November 15, on their way to their new field of duty in Mississippi.

Major BYINGTON, of the Second Michigan, has been heard from. His wounded leg has been amputated, and he is doing well. The most singular part of his capture is that he fell into the hands of a brother in the rebel ranks.

Rumors, generally credited, but unconfirmed, are in circulation that General PLEASANTON has been appointed to the command of the Army of the Potomac.

It is reported that General SEDGWICK and WARREN were previously tendered the command, but that they declined to accept the appointment.

The following Surgeons in the volunteer service have been appointed: ROBERT FLETCHER, LINCOLN R. STONE, A. C. VAN DUYN, WmuAm C. BENNET, E. P. MORONS, OTTIS M. HUMPHREY, and JAMES H. THOMPSON.

For good service in piloting the expedition in the attack and capture of the south side of Morris Island, the Secretary of the Navy has promoted Acting Ensign WILLIAM KNAPP to the grade of Acting Master in the volunteer service.

A pamphlet containing charges and specifications preferred against Brigadier-General A. A. HUMPHREYS, formerly commanding Third Division, Fifth Corps, Army of the Potomac, and now Chief of Staff to General MEADE, by JACOB G. FRICK, Colonel of the One Hundred and Twenty-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers, has been distributed among the members of the Senate. The charges were made Apra 14, 1863, and are, "uttering disloyal and treasonable sentiments," "violation of fifth Article of War," "conduct subversive of good order and military discipline, and tending to mutiny and sedition," "tyrannical conduct, and conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman," and "drunkenness." It is alleged that these charges were at the time suppressed, and that copies were subsequently forwarded to the President, General HALLECK, and Colonel HOLT, Judge-Advocate-General. The object now is to provoke inquiry.

As a specimen of the charges we give the specification of the first charge:

In this—that he, Brigadier-General A. A. HUMPHREYS, commanding, etc., did say, "By G—d! I wish some one would ask the army to follow him (meaning Major-General McCLELLAN) to Washington, and hurl the whole d—d pack into the Potomac, and place General McCLELLAN at the head of affairs. I believe the army would willingly go." This at camp near Warrenton, on or about the 10th day of November, A.D. 1862.

General DOUBLEDAY has been appointed a member of a court-martial to try the cases of civilians accused of certain crimes.

Dr. SWALM, Medical Inspector of the Sanitary Commission, left Washington last week for Harper's Ferry, Cumberland, and other points, to ascertain the wants of the hospitals in that quarter, in connection with the commission.

Captain RUTHERFORD has been appointed Chief Quarter-master of the depot at Alexandria, vice Captain FERGUSON recently arrested.

Captain WHYTAL has been appointed Assistant Quarter-master, and assigned to duty at the head-quarters of the Department of Washington.

Steps are to be taken by Congress at an early date for mustering out of service a large number of major and brigadier generals. It is estimated that about forty will be thus weeded out from the army.



ON Monday, December 4, the Thirty-eighth Congress of the United States met at the Capitol, in the city of Washington. Both branches of the national legislature were duly organized—the Senate under the Presidency of Vice-President Hamlin, and the House under the Hon. Schuyler Colfax. The Rev. Mr. Sunderland, Chaplain of the Senate, opened the proceedings with appropriate prayers. Senator Davis, of Kentucky, raised a question as to the right of the Senators from West Virginia to take their seats. The case of Senator Wilson, of Missouri, was also brought up, but was not voted upon. A bill to increase the pay of soldiers was announced by Senator Lane, after which the Senate adjourned.—In the House, the Clerk read the roll of members from all the States, excepting Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Oregon, Missouri, and Kansas. Some discussion arose on this question. The nomination for Speaker next took place, when Mr. Schuyler Colfax, republican, was elected. The Speaker elect delivered a brief but emphatic address. The oaths necessary were then administered, and the House adjourned.

On Tuesday, December 8, in the Senate, Senator Wilson, of Massachusetts, submitted a resolution to inquire what further legislation is necessary to facilitate the payment of back pay and pensions to deceased soldiers. He also gave notice of a bill to increase the bounty on soldiers. Senator Clark introduced a bill to grant a pension to John Burns, the heroic citizen of Gettysburg. A resolution was introduced by Senator Davis, of Kentucky, declaring, in effect, that the refusal of the rebels to exchange colored soldiers and their white officers should not prevent the exchange of our other officers and soldiers on just terms. The resolution was laid over. A discussion occurred upon the right of Mr. Wilson, of Missouri, to hold his seat, his successor having been chosen by the State Legislature. A resolution was finally passed declaring him not entitled to the seat. The Senate shortly afterward adjourned.—The House perfected its organization by the election of Mr. McPherson, of Pennsylvania, as Clerk, the vote standing 101 for M'Pherson to 69 for Etheridge, late Clerk. N. G. Ordway, of New Hampshire, was elected Sergeant-at-Arms by a vote of 100, to 45 for Adam Glossbrenner, of Pennsylvania. Ira Goodenow was re-elected Door-keeper, and W. S. King, of Minnesota, the former incumbent, Postmaster. A joint resolution was offered by Mr. Washburne, of Illinois, presenting the thanks of Congress to General Grant and his officers and soldiers, and ordering a medal to be struck for him in the name of the people of the United States. The resolution received the emphatic indorsement of a unanimous passage, without a word of debate. A resolution was offered by Mr. Cox. of Ohio, requesting the President to take immediate steps to secure the exchange of our prisoners in the hands of the rebels, and calling for the correspondence in the War Department an the subject. The resolution elicited some discussion, and was finally laid over, Mr. Arnold, of Illinois, gave notice of a bill to forever prohibit slavery in the Territories, and also a bill to repeal the $300 clause of the Conscription Act. The House then adjourned.



WASHINGTON, D. C., Dec. 7, 1863.

Reliable information being received that the insurgent force is retreating from East Tennessee, under circumstances rendering it probable that the Union forces can not hereafter be dislodged from that important position, and esteeming this to be of high national consequence, I recommend that all loyal people do, on receipt of this information, assemble at their places of worship, and render special homage and gratitude to Almighty God for this great advancement of the national cause.




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

Longstreet is in full retreat up the valley. Your orders about following with cavalry shall be mailed out.

My division of cavalry attacked the enemy's cavalry in one of the passes of the Clinch Mountains yesterday after-noon, and are pushing them vigorously.

Couriers from Knoxville arrived last night. The road is clear.

Sherman arrived here yesterday.

J. G. FOSTER, Major-General.


The Herald correspondent telegraphs under date of Knoxville, December 5: The siege of Knoxville is raised,

and Longstreet, with his army, is in full retreat toward Virginia. It virtually terminated yesterday, when, at an early hour, the advance-guard of our reinforcements, under General Sherman, arrived here.


On the night of 28th ult., Longstreet made a fierce attack on Knoxville, which continued nearly all night. On the following morning the rebel charged on General Ferrero's position at Fort Saunders, and were fearfully repulsed, with a loss of nearly seven hundred men, including two hundred and thirty-four prisoners. Our loss was only twenty-five men. General Burnside offered and General Longstreet accepted a truce until seven o'clock in the evening to take care of the wounded and dead.


We have nothing later from our side at Chattanooga. The following telegram appears in the Southern papers:

DALTON, GEORGIA, December 2, 1863.

General Cooper, Richmond:

The enemy have fallen back across the Chattanoogaa, destroying every thing in their route, including the rail road track and bridges. Their loss was heavy in their attack on our rear-guard, under General Clayborn.



The news from Chattanooga reports General Hardee as falling back from Dalton with the demoralized army of General Bragg, whom he succeeds in the command. The mountains in East Tennessee are said to be filled with deserters from the rebel army.


All is quiet in the Army of the Potomac. So says the last dispatch from that quarter. General Lee is putting his army into winter-quarters in his old position on the south side of the Rapidan. General Meade will no doubt follow his example, and, with the exception of some fights between pickets or guerrillas, we need hardly expect much news of a warlike character from the armies of either leader until the winter begins to break up.


The latest news from Charleston states that General Gilmore was then shelling the city, throwing twenty shells a day, with considerable damage. All the inhabitants had been removed to the rear of the city, the fire proving, it is presumed, destructive. The firing on Fort Sumter had been discontinued, but Fort Johnson and the other defenses inside the harbor were receiving a terrific fire from our batteries. The rebel flag which has heretofore floated over Fort Sumter is no longer displayed, and only an occasional shot is fired from the ruins. The rebels, it appears, have been erecting new batteries near Fort Moultrie, under cover of a hospital flag, which they kept flying on the Moultrie House, and which was respected by our forces, in accordance with the usages of war. But it is stated that the walls of the Moultrie House were torn down a few days ago, and revealed a formidable battery which had been erected by the rebels under the protection of the sacred hospital flag.


The following has been received from General Banks, dated Brownsville, Texas, November 9:

His Excellency Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States:

I am in occupation of Brazos Island, Point Isabel, and Brownsville. My most sanguine expectations are more than realized. Three revolutions have occurred in Matamoros affecting the Government of Tamaulipas. The first was adverse to the interests of Mexico and the United States. Every thing is now as favorable as could be desired.   N. P. BANKS, Major-General Commanding.


The condition of our imprisoned soldiers in Richmond is considerably improved by the receipt of the provisions forwarded to them. During the past week three hundred and thirty-five packages, consisting mainly of solid food, delicacies for the sick, clothing, reading matter, and stationery were received by them. They were conveyed to Libey Prison, Belle Island, Castle Thunder, and the tobacco warehouses.


Assistant Surgeon C. O. Wright, of the Thirty-fifth Ohio, and W. S. Hosack have been released from Richmond, and arrived at Washington on 7th. From information communicated by them and received through other sources, it is ascertained that the supplies forwarded for the Union prisoners are delivered to them, and that their condition has been much alleviated thereby. The officers in charge of the prisoners who have been guilty of brutality to the prisoners have been removed, and more humane officers appointed in their places. The prisoners now obtain ten dollars in rebel notes for one dollar in greenbacks, while the rate on the street is from twelve to fifteen for one. Twenty dollars in notes are paid for one in gold. Persons sending supplies for the prisoners by flag of truce should send only blankets, clothing, and substantial food, as delicacies, except for the sick, are not beneficial, and the rebel transportation is limited and taxed to the utmost to forward actual necessaries. The Sanitary Commission are now sending delicacies only for use in the hospitals, the bulk of their consignments being of the character indicated. The arrangements for the distribution of the supplies forwarded are said to be very good, and the distribution, as a general thing, made in good faith.


The Message of Governor Bramlette was published on 7th. He represents the financial condition of the State as satisfactory, and urges a complete organization of the militia for home defense from guerrillas and robbers, and adds: "It is a source of gratification that the patriotism of the people has met the efforts to place sufficient force in the field for defense, and that we are now more secure and better guarded than at any time heretofore since the rebellion. In a short time, under an arrangement made with the Secretary of War, the thorough organization of enrolled and volunteer militia for our defense will be complete, and security will again brighten the desolated homes of our border people." He pledges the entire service of the State to the defense of the Government. Kentucky's position in reference to Federal relations is largely discussed, but no new position is taken. It is conceded that negro slavery is not essential to the life of the State or nation, but that the Union is; and this is a step in advance in Kentucky.


Adjutant-General Thomas has made a tour of inspection of the Government plantations, and has given much attention to the working of the free negro labor system. The result of this system has been such that it has elicited the Adjutant-General's warmest encomiums, and he expressed himself to the effect that what he saw of the working of the system demonstrated to him that the question of compensated negro labor had passed from an enigma to a fact.


The Union feeling gains strength in Arkansas. The people are taking the oath of allegiance by hundreds. At a Convention held at Fort Smith, which was most patriotic in the sentiments expressed, Colonel Johnson, of the First Arkansas Infantry, was nominated for Congress, and it was voted that Arkansas should be a free State after the war.




THE Government has decided to stop the Pampero on the Clyde. Her owners allege that she does not differ, if any at all, from the numerous merchant ships regularly fitted out on the Clyde. The authorities were not satisfied with this statement, and had a gun-boat moored close to the Pampero to prevent her escape.




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