Civil War Overview
Civil War 1861
Civil War 1862
Civil War 1863
Civil War 1864
Civil War 1865
Civil War Battles
Robert E. Lee
Civil War Medicine
Civil War Links
Civil War Art
Republic of Texas
Civil War Gifts
Robert E. Lee Portrait
ABROAD in the breeze waves our
Beneath its folds toil we.
While other nations their
And some are at play, and some
We are writing our history.
We write—not one to labor alone,
But thousands hold the pen.
Delicate youth and hoary age
Leave a record upon the page,
Fair women and stalwart men.
What does our history speak
What story does it tell?
It tells of struggles, of hopes,
Of heavy losses, and bitter tears
(The world knows the lesson
Of gallant deeds to make one
And perils by land and sea;
Of children leaving their
To strike one blow, in their
For the country of the free.
Oh! scornful world, watching
"Stricken of God!" ye say?
Nay, through the cloud as our
We are marching onward to meet
His promise our only stay.
What though the sword from its
And cannon the echoes wake!
Though thousands are falling
beside us— Still
We follow boldly, for 'tis His
That we suffer for Freedom's
O not one star from our flag
There our Father bade them be,
And said if we kept them free from stain
They should form forever a golden chain
To bind us to Liberty.
And so, though foreign foes would
And traitorous voices call;
Though armed hosts meet us at
On bonded knees an oath we have
That our banner shall never fall!
There is hardly a house where
Is filled as it might have been,
Were there no blank sheets in our
To be filled ere another year we
And faster travels the pen.
It matters not, O doubting world!
That our labor be hard or long,
For never by man was a good work
But angels first with the devil
Yet Right will conquer Wrong.
Float on in the breeze, thou flag
Bravely beneath toil we!
While other nations their
With glorious deeds for memory's
We are writing our history,
IT was a mystery to me; why Bob
Lyons should fight so shy of Nellie Waterman, the prettiest girl in the place, I
couldn't for my life imagine! He had been badly hit at
Fredericksburg, and was home on sick-leave; and
every day her carriage stopped at Mr. Lyons's door (by-the-way, it was worth the
waiting for, to see the foot and ankle that she showed in getting out) with a
basket of hot-house fruit, or flowers that she had arranged herself (and she did
those things like a French woman), or the last feuilleton, for Lieutenant Lyons.
But though Bob could hear her well enough, from the little room at the head of
the stairs that he called his den, he never took the smallest notice, except to
growl out something very like an oath from under his mustache, or, if in the
parlors, to hobble away as fast as possible, for fear of meeting her. The
flowers he wouldn't let into his room, but left them to wither in the outer
hall; the fruit he gave the children; the books he tossed over to his sisters
with a contemptuous grunt. In short, if Nellie Waterman had been the cholera,
instead of a handsome, stylish girl, he could hardly have avoided her more
persistently, obstinately refusing to give any other reason for his
unaccountable conduct than that it was his whim.
Nothing, however, is quite so
hard to prison as secrets. Relax your vigilance ever so little, and the things
will be on the house-top in spite of you. And so one day out popped Bob's
skeleton, like a Jack-in-the-box, and he told me all that was in his heart.
It was in answer to some remark
of mine about Nellie Waterman, who had just passed. Bob turned his back squarely
to the window, and sent his cigar savagely into the fire.
"I had as lief see a toad," he
said—"rather, for it wouldn't be necessary to be civil to the spotted animal. Do
you remember what Jule was reading the other right—something of Ruskin's, I
think, about girls with spots of blood on their ball-dresses, and grave-weeds
twined in their wreaths? Well, I swear I never see this one without thinking
that her dainty hands are red with blood, and that her beautiful bright hair is
thick-twisted with the willow that shades Phil Seldon's grave. Poor dear old
Phil! he wore her false face over his heart
when he went down. Worthless as
he had proved her to be, he could never quite give her up. I had known her from
a child, and warned him of his danger, and the only shadow that ever fell on our
friendship came between us then. There never was a man more thoroughly
infatuated. He thought her pink and white face the incarnation of purity; her
downcast looks he took for modesty; and it was useless to tell him that, besides
her pretty face, she was simply tight lacing, flounces, and French novels.
"She was, in his idea, womanly
perfection—physical, mental, and moral. And she threw him over, of
course—flirted with him till she was tired, then dropped him. When he insisted
on some reason for this wrecking of his hopes, closed her doors against him by
way of answer. He came back looking like a ghost. Could you have seen him, you
could scarcely have dreamed that this was our old sunshiny Phil.
"I hate women when I think of it.
Leave out my mother and sisters, and all the crinoline and grimacing in the
world are not worth his dear old face, though he never looked cheerful after
that, unless he was on some specially dangerous service —some risky
reconnoitring or picket duty, affording him an excellent chance of being killed.
Then he used to light up with a sort of grim satisfaction, because, he told me
once, the excitement left him no time to think; adding, mournfully, that he
should be dubbed the greatest coward in the regiment could it but be known with
what dread he looked forward to his long, sleepless nights, and those listless
days when only the ordinary routine was going on.
"We were before Fredericksburg—or
rather, the river that separated it from us. Phil had just come back from —,
where he had been sent on a secret mission, having also improved his short
furlough to come on here, and get himself stabbed to the heart afresh. He had
seen Nellie; she had received him coldly at first—scarcely spoken to him, in
fact; but relenting by degrees, suffered him to plead his cause again, and
raised his hopes only to dash them more fatally to the ground.
"He carne back utterly desperate.
We were getting ready for the bombardment, and he threw himself into the
preparations with the zeal and spirit of twenty men. Every thing was as peaceful
as if Nature was holding her breath to watch us. The sky looked down on us so
solemnly that, though I don't know what over put it in my head at such a time, I
could think of nothing but that other winter's night when it was bright with
angels praising God, and proclaiming peace on earth. The water seemed to hush
itself, as if afraid to ripple. In the stillness we could hear the barking of
their dogs and the melancholy chiming of the town-clock sounding out the hour
while on oar side the only noise was the rumbling of artillery as we got the
batteries into position, and the heavy roll of the pontoon trains going down to
the river-bank. It sounded like thunder in our ears; but they kept as dead
silence as if they were all in an enchanted sleep till our men had pushed off
and fairly gotten the bridge under way. Then—
"I don't know whether they
suspected what we were at or not, or whether it was a part of their cursed
strategy to get as many targets as possible under fire; but when they did at
last commence they made sharp work of it, as well they might, since, comfortably
stowed away in cellars and houses on the bank, they had only to cut us down at
their leisure. Shot and shell from our batteries proved unavailing; the city
indeed was fired, but the foxes were not unearthed, and three tithes our brave
fellows were beaten back, and brought their dead and wounded up the bank to fill
the floors of the Lacy House.
"By this time it was morning, and
we had procured a train with solid shot from Aquia; the rebels, who had stopped
firing, commenced again, and the light struggling up showed us, as the
sulphurous fog cleared away, Fredericksburg burning like a second Moscow. The
solid shot plunged through brick and stone like so much paper, but a fresh
effort to lay the bridge proved also unavailing, the rebel sharp-shooters
dropping our men like so many nine-pins.
"Then it was that Burnside called
for volunteers, and that the Seventh Michigan and our regiment (the Nineteenth
Massachusetts) responded. As we marched out, Phil came quickly up to Mark
Gifford, his brother-in-law, who was at my side.
"'You have a wife and little
child to leave,' he said. 'I have none, and never shall. Let me go in your
place; wait (as Mark was going to refuse) and hear me. If you are obstinate I
will still go; I swear it, even if I swim after the boats; so there will be
simply two to mourn for in the homestead if you persist.'
"He was in such desperate
earnest, and the time was so short, for the regiment was already moving on, and
Mark, never as resolute a man as Phil, was so taken by surprise that he stepped
back, and Phil took the place by my side and rushed on with us. As said Captain
Ward at Bunker Hill, when we went down that bank I no more dreamed of ever
coining alive out of that rain of fire than of going to heaven in Elijah's fiery
chariot. As we crouched behind the boats and the piles of lumber the balls came
in among us like hailstones. Phil got a slight scratch, and a ball carried off
my cap as if it had come expressly for it. Not that we left all the firing to
the rebels. We did a little sharp-shooting on our own account, quite respectable
in its way, and keeping them about as busy as they kept us, till our guns began
to speak again; then we pushed for the boats, got into them pell-mell, and made
off. Such a crossing! It wasn't exactly a sail by moonlight, I can tell you. I
never imagined such a din possible, unless at the day of judgment. Crack! crack!
from those deadly rifles, and our poor fellows dropping at every shot, though
lying low as possible in the boats. Our batteries thundering away, waking up the
echoes, that rolled back on us as if they were having a battle of their own. I
don't believe I ever shall again experience quite such honest astonishment
as I felt on landing with my head
still on my shoulders.
"I panted out something of this
sort to Phil, who answered with a stern smile and something about the ides of
March, only half heard, as we rushed up the bank and after the rebels scampering
out of every rifle-pit, and from behind every stone-wall, springing up as if
they had been a sort of fungus growth of legs warranted to make good time before
"Most of them escaped, but some
either couldn't or wouldn't run. One of these fellows Phil started. A surly
brute, just showing his grizzly head out of a cellar door, and evidently meaning
to die game. I called out as I saw the man taking deliberate aim at Phil, coming
straight to him; but he just turning his head in answer, and showing me the same
strained, reckless look that he had worn all that day, went on one step
further—got the ball in his heart; for he was dead when I reached him.
"I was on his murderer before he
had time to load again, and I think I should have beaten him down as I did then
had he been Samson; rage and grief made a giant of me. But, after all, what was
his worthless life? It can never comfort those who weep for Phil in the old
homestead, whore he lies buried, done to death— poor, loving, generous heart!—by
that woman, whom I long, every time I meet her, to call Murderess!"
CAPTURE OF THE POST OF
WE publish on
an illustration of the BOMBARDMENT OF THE POST OF ARKANSAS on the Arkansas
River, by Admiral Porter's fleet, on January 11. Our picture is from a sketch
transmitted by the correspondent of the Herald, and kindly placed at our
disposition. We also give portraits of ADMIRAL PORTER and GENERAL McCLERNAND,
the heroes of the affair.
On 10th January the land forces,
under the command of General McClernand, and the flotilla, under Admiral Porter,
ascended the river, and the former disembarked with a view of surrounding the
work. During the night the gun-boats fired a few shots at the work, and next
morning, the troops being in position, the work commenced in earnest. The Herald
It was five minutes past one when
the gun-boats Baron De Kalb, Cincinnati, and
Louisville, all iron-clads, steamed up to
within about three hundred yards of the fort, and opened fire upon it. Just so
soon as the gun-boats hove in sight, and before they fired a shot, the fort
opened on them. On a sort of sandy beach, by the bend in the river, the rebels
had erected several targets, which were to assist them in aiming at the
gun-boats. Barricades had also been placed in the river opposite the fort; but
the high-water had washed part of them away and left the channel open. The
bombardment increased in rapidity as other vessels of the squadron came into
position. It took some time to get good range of the casemated guns and the
barbette gun on the fort. The Baron DeKalb had orders from the Admiral to fire
at the right hand casemate, the Louisville at the middle one, and the Cincinnati
at the great 9-inch Dahlgren gun en barbette. In half an hour after the
bombardment commenced the casemates were struck by the shell from the gun-boats.
When the range was obtained the shells from the gun-boats struck the guns in the
fort almost every shot, until every one was silenced and smashed. The Cincinnati
fired shrapnell at first and cleared the crew away from the 9-inch
Dahlgren gun on the parapet, when the Baron De
Kalb broke off the muzzle with a 10-inch shot. The Lexington, light draught,
Lieutenant-Commander James W. Shirk, moved up at two o'clock, and with her
rifled guns replied to the Parrott rifled guns in the fort, while the Rattler,
Lieutenant-Commander Walter Smith, and the Gilde, Lieutenant-Commander
Woodworth, threw in shrapnell, and in company with the ram Monarch, Colonel
Charles E. Ellet, of the army, commanding, pushed up close to the fort. Each of
the gun-boats silenced the gun it was instructed to fire at about time same
time. At twenty minutes past two all the heavy smooth bore and rifled guns in
the fort were most effectually silenced. The Black Hawk, Lieutenant-Commander K.
R. Breese, the Admiral's flag-ship, steamed up and took part in the fight. The
Admiral himself, with his secretary, Dr. Heap, was in the little tug which was
all the time screaming and dancing about among the gun-boats, directing and
superintending the fight.
The first gun from the fleet was
the signal for the soldiers to move, and Morgan and Sherman immediately pushed
forward their men, and were met by a fierce fire from the rebel works. The
Herald correspondent thus describes the crisis and end of the fight:
The troops in front were now
sharply engaging the rebels in their works, while our artillery, and their
field-pieces behind the breast-work near the fort, were blazing away at each
other with great rapidity. In one instance the rebels galloped the horses up to
the parapet with a gun, and when the horses wheeled with it, in order that it
might be placed in position, our infantry fire killed all the horses in the
traces, and the artillerists scampered off in an instant and left their gun. At
a shot from one of our Parrott guns, which knocked one of the timbers from the
breast-work, at least a hundred rebels ran away from behind the intrenchment
into the bastioned fort. Our caissons were now coming from the front for
ammunition. At ten minutes past three most of Morgan's men were in line, and the
remainder were forming in columns in the rear. In five minutes more they were
advancing with vigor. Sharp musketry and artillery firing was kept up all the
time. At twenty minutes past three a heavy column of Morgan's men was seen
moving up to the left of the line; near the river bank. It was at first supposed
that it might be a storming column rushing on the works at a double-quick, for
it is well known that when Morgan moves, he moves with vigor; but the next we
knew the advancing column, enveloped in clouds of smoke, had halted. It was not
a storming column. It was a body that was moving quickly to the front to extend
the advancing line.
The time now was fifteen minutes
past three. The fight was quite severe on both sides. Although the heavy guns in
the fort were silenced, the field-pieces and the infantry behind the parapet
with great determination continued to resist our vigorous advance. Our line
extended from the river on the left round in front of the fort, and to the bayou
on the right. The engagement was general along its whole extent. Morgan sent
word that his left was advancing steadily, and, as the gun-boats commanded the
river, he had sent for Lindsay's brigade to return from the other side.
It was now nearly four o'clock.
The Admiral's flag-ship was coming close to the bank, and, with the other
gun-boats, was pouring shot into the fort; Lindsay's brigade, across the river,
was also firing into the works, while Morgan's and
Sherman's men were advancing fast in front. The
white flag was seen in several places on the parapet; enthusiastic cheers arose
from our troops in front; the firing ceased; the rebels rose from behind the
breast-work; and our troops rushed wildly forward, with flags flying; and many
could not resist the rush behind, which pushed
them into and over the
intrenchments. The fort had surrendered.
The moment the lieutenant in the
tree had reported the cheering along the line and had concluded with "I believe
the fort has surrendered," General McClernand and staff dashed off, and were
soon in the enemy's intrenchments, surrounded by thousands of the men. When the
flag was shown on the river side the jolly Jack Tars had jumped ashore and were
soon in the fort, followed by Admiral Porter and a number of his officers.
Colonel Dunnington, commander of the fort, surrendered his sword to the Admiral
in person. General Churchill, commander of the forces, soon appeared with his
staff, and surrendered himself and hit troops to General McClernand. "I am sorry
to meet you under such circumstances," said General McClernand; "but your men
fought bravely today in defending the fort." General Churchill replied, that for
himself he had not intended to surrender; that there was treachery somewhere on
his lines; that he had ridden to the left with his staff, and on hearing the
cheering supposed it was the cheering of his men, but on riding back into the
fort had found our troops just taking possession. He said that in the morning he
had issued orders to the troops that they must die in the ditches in preference
to surrendering the Post. It is certain that the enemy could no longer
successfully resist, and also that white flags were shown on the parapets in
several places at the same time. Some of the soldiers told me that General
Churchill had ordered the surrender. General Churchill told me that he did not;
but, on the contrary, that the place was surrendered by traitors on his lines.
It may be that the soldiers, seeing that further resistance was useless,
concluded to abandon the defense. One thing is certain, there was great
unanimity among the rebels in the surrender.
He thus describes the place:
Post of Arkansas is the oldest
settlement in the State. Nearly two centuries ago there was a Spanish town in
the immediate vicinity, and I believe a small Spanish fort. It is situated on
the right bank as you ascend the Arkansas River, about fifty miles from its
mouth, and one hundred and seventeen miles from Little Rock, the capital of the
State. It was settled in 1685 by the Acadian French, and was the trading-post
for furs from the surrounding country. From the high point on which the fort is
constructed down to the Mississippi River the land along the course of the
Arkansas overflows during the winter and the spring. There is now no town at
Post of Arkansas, only a few stores, and then at intervals for a dozen miles
along the river bank an occasional house.
The fort is a regular,
square-bastioned work, one hundred yards exterior side, with a deep ditch some
fifteen feet wide, and a parapet eighteen feet high. A number of killed and
wounded were lying in the ditches when we entered, and many sick soldiers in the
hospital. All the heavy guns were broken by our shot, and were lying about in
fragments on the ground. Ammunition captured by the rebels in the steamboat Blue
Wing, a large amount of war materials and supplies of various kinds, and about
five thousand prisoners have fallen into our hands by this brilliant achievement
of our arms.
The following sketch of Admiral
Porter, who commanded the gun-boat attack, will remind the reader who he is:
ACTING REAR-ADMIRAL DAVID D.
PORTER, the Commander of the Mississippi Flotilla, is the son of the famous
Commodore David Porter of the Essex, and was born about the year 1814. In 1829
he entered the navy as midshipman on board the Constellation, and served six
years on that ship and the United States. In 1835 he passed his examination, and
served six years as passed midshipman on the Coast Survey. In 1841 he was
commissioned a lieutenant, and served with that rank on board the Congress for
four years. After a brief period of service at the Observatory at Washington he
was placed on active duty under Commodore Tattnall in the Gulf of Mexico, and
took a leading part in the imlvial operations of the Mexican war. In 1849 he was
allowed to take command of one of the Pacific Mail Company's steamers, and
remained several years in the service of that Company. While he commanded one of
the California steam-ships—the Crescent City—he performed an exploit which
attracted no little attention at the time. In consequence of the Black Warrior
affair the Spanish Government had refused to permit any United States vessels to
enter the port of Havana. Running under the shotted guns of Moro Castle he was
ordered to halt. He promptly replied that he carried the United States flag and
the United States mails, and, by the Eternal, he would go in; and he did, the
Habaneros fearing to fire upon him. He said afterward that he intended firing
his six-pounder at them once, in defiance, after which he would haul down his
At the beginning of the year 1861
he was under orders to join the Coast survey on the Pacific, but, fortunately,
had not left when the rebellion broke out. His name at this time stood number
six on the list of lieutenants. The resignation of several naval traitors left
room fur his advancement, and the "Naval Register" for August 31, 1861, places
him number seventy-seven on the list of commanders. He was placed in command of
the steam sloop of war Powhatan, a vessel of about twenty-five hundred tons, and
armed with eleven guns. After doing blockading duty for some time, he left that
ship to take special charge of the mortar expedition. The active part he took in
the reduction of the forts below New Orleans will make his name ever memorable
in connection with the mortar fleet, or "bummers," as the sailors term them.
After the capture of
New Orleans he, with his fleet, went. up the
Mississippi River, and was engaged in several affairs on that river, including
that of Vicksburg. From that place he was ordered to the James River, and
returned in the Octorara. When off
Charleston, on his way to
Fortress Monroe, he fell in with and captured
the Anglo-rebel steamer Tubal Cain. He was then appointed to the supreme control
of all the naval forces on the Mississippi River, with the rank of Acting
Rear-Admiral. The force under his orders, in vessels, guns, and men, is larger
than has ever heretofore been under the command of any United States naval
officer. His squadron is distinct in every way from that of Admiral Farragut,
who still commands the Western Gulf Blockading Squadron.
The capture of the Post of
Arkansas is the first exploit performed by the Admiral in his new command. We
may hope that it will be the precursor of many others.
Admiral Porter is a man of wiry,
muscular frame, handsome feature, of medium height, and, a few years ago,
universally admitted to be the strongest man in the navy. He is about forty-five
years old, and exhibits but few marks of age. He is married to a sister of
Captain C. P. Patterson, formerly of San Francisco, by whom he has several
children. He is most truly "a worthy son of a worthy sire." He belongs to a
family of naval patriots; for besides the subject of this sketch, there are in
the navy H. B. Porter, acting midshipman, appointed from New York, November 29,
1859; T. K. Porter, master, appointed from Tennessee, May 20, 1852; William C.
B. S. Porter, lieutenant, appointed from the District of Columbia, March 25,
1849; and William D. Porter, Commodore, appointed from Massachusetts, January 1,
1823. The last-named commanded the Essex gun-boat on the Tennessee River, and
fought the rebel ram it Arkansas on the Mississippi River. Major-General Fitz-John
Porter is a cousin of the subject of our sketch, adding another hero to the
MAJOR-GENERAL JOHN A. McCLERNAND
is a lawyer by profession, and has figured prominently as a leading Democratic
politician from Illinois. He was a leader of the Douglas Democrats, and did
battle for them valiantly at Charleston. At the outbreak of the war he took
sides manfully for the Union, and shortly afterward was nominated a
Brigadier-General of Volunteers. In the Belmont fight he manifested that he
possessed very good military capacity, and during his administration of military
affairs at Cairo he secured the good-will of the men under his command. In the
reconnoissance in the rear of Columbus, during the advance upon
Fort Henry, and at the grand battle before
Fort Donelson, General McClernand manifested