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Civil War Harper's Weekly, February 14, 1863

Harper's Weekly was the most popular newspaper published during the Civil War. We have acquired a complete run of these newspapers, and have posted them on this WEB site for your enjoyment. These amazing papers allow you to really drill down and develop new perspective on the war.

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

 

Soldier

Union Soldier

Only One Man Killed Today Poem

Burnside Commentary

Commentary on General Burnside

Atlantic Sea-Board

Atlantic Sea-Board Map

Battle Bayou Teche

Battle of Bayou Teche

Daniel Butterfield

General Daniel Butterfield

General Butterfield Biography

Jim Crow

Jim Crow

Savannah Scenes

Scenes Around Savannah, Georgia

Bayou Teche, Louisiana

Bayou Teche

Murfreesboro

Battle of Murfreesboro

Crossing the Rappahannock

Crossing the Rappahannock River

 

 

FEBRUARY 14, 1863.]

HARPER'S WEEKLY.

103

THE BATTLE OF MURFREESBORO.

AN occasional correspondent, Mr. Hubner, of the Third Ohio Volunteers, has sent us the picture of the BATTLE OF MURFREESBORO, which we reproduce on page 108. It represents the situation of affairs on the third day of the battle, and we give Mr. Hubner's description in his own words:

"The accompanying sketch represents the position of the centre of the army on the third day of the battle. The batteries were situated on commanding ground; across the plain ran a rifle-pit. The slightest elevation of the ground was used to protect our boys from the heavy fire out of the woods. The rebels made several fierce attacks, but were repulsed with heavy loss.

"Colonel Loomis's battery and Captain Terrill's United States battery opened a cross-fire on them, and the enemy soon retreated back into the woods, where they had strong intrenchments, leaving behind a good number killed and wounded.

"The Nineteenth Regiment Illinois Volunteers made a rush upon the Twenty-sixth rebel Regiment of Tennessee, drove them back with great loss, and captured their flag, on which was the motto, 'Death before Subjugation!' The gallant Captain Taylor, a member of Major-General Rousseau's staff, bore it away amidst the cheers of thousands and thousands of brave men.

"The boys suffered terribly on account of the inclemency of the weather. A cold rain fell, and when not in action we had to lie down, often in the mud, in order to be concealed from the rebel batteries. The boys built small fires and crowded around them, not minding the cannon-balls or bursting shells which came in volleys from the rebel batteries. A favorite stratagem of our gallant and beloved commander, Major-General Rosecrans, is to make us lie down under the crest of an elevation of the ground, and await the arrival of the enemy until they come within a short distance, then jump up, give them a volley and charge with the bayonet; and 'tis true enough, if carried out with precision and boldness, it leads to victory.

"Our rations run short too, and there was no chance of a fresh supply. So many of our soldier boys attacked the fresh-killed horses which lay around. A thin slice of horse roasted on a stick, with pepper and salt on it, is a delicious meal when nothing else is to be had."

RECAPTURED.

A STORY OF ST. VALENTINE'S DAY.

A SUMMER twilight under the green awning of low-branched linden-trees— clove-pinks blossoming in the garden borders, like chalices of spice—and stars just trembling into the warm violet sky —if Clinton Audley had lived to be a hundred years old, he never would have forgotten the dim, indistinct beauty of the dusky landscape. Now all that happened on that summer night was imbedded upon his heart in lines that Death itself had no power to efface!

"Not yet, Clara; do not speak so firmly! Remember that it is my life's doom you are pronouncing. Oh, Clara! think again."

He had led his men up to the very cannon's mouth without a thought of fear, yet now he was a coward in the presence of that slender blue-eyed girl!

"It is useless," said Clara Mervyn, with cheek whose color never varied, and firm, pitying eyes; "my answer would be the same did I take a whole year for deliberation. I am very sorry, Clinton; but—"

"Nay," interposed Audley, with a cold, constrained voice that scarce hid the angry emotions in his heart, "do not waste your pity on me. The matter is unfortunate as far as I am concerned; but I can not see why you should grieve. I have been a mad fool, that is all. Good-evening, Clara!"

He lifted his light military cap and was gone; and Clara Mervyn sat down on the rustic garden seat and had a good cry! Surely it was not her fault that Clinton Audley was so foolish—he might have known she didn't care for him.

While the young officer, restlessly pacing to and fro, thought of the dark-eyed soldier whose head he had supported at Manassas while the life bubbled from his breast in red surging drops—thought of his last words, "It isn't for myself; but Mary's heart will break when she hears of it!"—oh why could he not have died in that boy's stead? There was no heart to break for him!

"The idle dream is ended!" he said, aloud; "and now for the realities of life. We shall never meet again."

Could he but have looked forward to the time when they two should meet again!

"Only my hand, doctor? Pooh! never mind; there's many a fellow worse off than I
am!"

"A very philosophical view to take of matters," said the surgeon, half smiling, "but at the same time an unusual one. Hold still half a minute, can't you?"

"Well, what does it matter after all? I've neither wife nor sweet-heart to fret about my disfigurements."

"But I suppose you expect to come into possession of one or both of those articles some day?"

"Can't say that I do. There, I'm comfortable enough now. I say, though, doctor!"

"Well?"

"Could you persuade that fat old nurse to get a pair of shoes that squeak in a minor key? Every sick man has his trials, and mine are those calf-skin shoes. Possibly I'm nervous, but I can't help it!"

The surgeon laughed good-humoredly.

"Don't annoy yourself on that score; there will be a change of nurses to-night, and I do not think the shoe-question will trouble you further. Try to sleep a while now!"

Clinton Audley closed his eyes, and strove to

forget the sharp spasms of pain that racked his poor wounded frame, while the fire shone ruddily on the walls, faintly illumining the long rows of narrow white beds on either side, and the gray dusk blackened into night, and—

"I must have been asleep!" he thought, with a sudden start, as the little clock chimed eleven. "Yes, I must; but who on earth is that? Oh, the new nurse, I suppose. She don't wear calf-skin shoes, at all events—moves like a shadow!"

For like a shadow she had glided to his bedside.

"I think your draught was to be taken at eleven, Sir!" and she glanced at her written directions.

And as Clinton Audley silently extended his left hand for the slender vial, he knew that the "new nurse" was Clara Mervyn. She recognized him at the same instant—there was a slight start, but neither spoke.

Fate had brought them together once again!

The January snows melted away from the purple Maryland hills, and February's blue heaven smiled overhead. Spring was nigh at hand, yet the lost roses had not blossomed again on Clara Mervyn's cheek.

"Don't overwork yourself, Miss Mervyn," said the kindly surgeon; "there's no earthly occasion for it. They are all doing well, except that young Audley!"

The color rushed in a scarlet torrent to Clara's cheek, then receded, leaving it cold as marble.

"Will he die, Sir?"

"Die? oh no! not the least danger of his dying. What I meant to say was, that his recovery is slow. Never knew such a lagging convalescence. A fine young fellow that—very. We surgeons are commonly supposed to have no feelings, Miss Clara; but I can tell you it went to my heart to take that boy's hand off. However—but bless me, it's nearly noon. Be sure you take care of yourself, Miss Mervyn!" and away hurried Dr. Wilde, who never knew what it was to have a moment's leisure!

Clara was left alone, her head drooping on her breast. The next instant she rose up and looked at her own slender right hand with a shuddering, sobbing sigh.

"Oh, if I could have given my useless hand to save his!" she moaned. "If I had but the right to cheer and comfort him! Ah me! what can a woman do but endure!"

Clara was learning a hard lesson in life's saddest school—to suffer and be silent.

"Miss Mervyn!"

She started at the words. He had never called her "Clara" since their parting under the linden-trees.

"Are you very busy to-night?"

"Not particularly so; why do you ask?"

"Then come and sit beside my pillow for a little while. I feel conversational just now."

She obeyed silently.

"Are you better this evening, Lieutenant Audley?"

"I think so. The red, glorious sunset has done me good. Did you know that this was St. Valentine's Eve?"

"The 13th of February—so it is!"

"Do you believe in the goodly offices of St. Valentine, Miss Mervyn? I assure you my faith is limitless in the patron saint of lovers!"

Clara smiled as she remembered all the time-worn "valentines" she kept under lock and key at home.

"I confess to a little superstition on the subject," she said, coloring, for she felt that Clinton's eyes were fixed on her downcast lashes.

"Very well, then; you won't consider me mawkishly sentimental if I ask you to be so kind as to act as my right hand for once."

"I should be so glad. But how—"

"Will you write a St. Valentine's love-letter for me?"

"Certainly."

"Stop, though! Answer me one question first, frankly and fully. Do you think it would be a piece of presumptuous folly in me to ask a woman's love to bless a maimed, useless wretch like me? Nay, do not spare my feelings. I wish to hear the truth."

Clara Mervyn was silent for a moment; and when she spoke it was in a distinct, though very low tone.

"If the woman you love be worthy of the name, you will be far dearer to her now than ever you were in the prime of health and strength."

"You have taken a great weight from my heart, Miss Mervyn; and now will you assume the role of amanuensis?"

Writing a love-letter for Clinton Audley to another woman—it was a strange duty—yet Clara Mervyn went through with it with a sort of mechanical calmness, heedless of the sore heart that ached so bitterly in her breast, while every word seemed the knell of a death-warrant. It was the bitterest cup she had drunk yet—a cup that must be swallowed to the dregs!

"Thank you, Miss Mervyn. I won't trouble you to direct it. Ah, if I were but certain that St. Valentine would speed my suit!"

He smiled; but it would have been difficult to tell which was paler—the cheek that lay against the pillows of the hospital pallet, or that shadowed by Clara Mervyn's brown tresses!

She gave him the folded letter, with its earnest words of pleading, and then went away to her own room; for, fortunately, the "night-watch," as it was called, had been confided to another. And only the quiet stars saw the convulsive bursts of grief that shook her frame ere at last she sobbed herself to sleep, her flushed cheek lying on her drenched hair, and the lips quivering even in her dreams!

How gloriously the crimson banners of St. Valentine's dawn were draped along the sky when at length she opened her eyes—how radiantly the morning lighted up those blue, far-off hills! Unconsciously her lips formed themselves into a smile, and then—ah, then the old pangs of heartache came back to her!

She was nearly dressed before her eyes fell upon

a tiny bunch of violets, dew-sprinkled and fragrant, that lay on her toilet-table—she caught it up with an exclamation of delight, and a note fell from its blue heart—a note directed in a strange, straggling hand.

"Some hospital directions," she murmured, and, smiling at Dr. Wilde's eccentricities, she unfolded the paper.

"Great Heaven! can it be possible?" she faltered, as she recognized her own handwriting. "Did he mean to ask me to become his wife? Oh, it is too much, too much happiness!"

She clasped her hands over her eyes for a moment, then sank to her knees beside the little white bed, half uncertain whether it were not all a dream.

Five minutes later Clinton Audley held out his left hand to the blushing little nurse who had stolen softly to his bedside.

"Well?" he asked, scanning her face smilingly.

"Oh, Clinton, I am so happy!"

And then she burst into tears: it was well that there were not many patients in the convalescent ward!

"Are you really captured, my little, shy, tremulous bird?" he whispered.

"Nay," said Clara, shaking back her curls with a spice of the old mischief, "it is you who are recaptured, brave soldier though you deem yourself!"

"And had you no suspicion of the destination of that valentine?"

"If I had known it would have spared me a great many tears. But oh, Clinton, I think I shall never shed any but happy tears again!"

With the radiant dawn of St. Valentine's Day had risen the morning-star of Clara Mervyn's life and love!

SAVANNAH.

ONE of our special artists, Mr. Loomis, has sent us the sketches of the APPROACHES TO SAVANNAH, GEORGIA, which we reproduce on page 100. It seems that our forces in Fort Pulaski have taken pains to inform themselves pretty thoroughly of the nature of the rebel defenses, so that when the time comes for an assault there shall be no more Big Bethel blunders. We hold the mouth of the river, Fort Pulaski, the two channels on either side of Elba Island, and St. Augustine Creek. The rebel advance is at the junction of that creek with the river. There they have erected some pretty substantial earth-works, mounted with heavy guns in barbette. And on a line with these, in the river, is a row of obstructions consisting of piles firmly driven into the bed of the river, and secured together with chains. Behind these floats the iron-clad Georgia, formerly the British steamer Fingal, a vessel of no mean power, though not very well adapted, we should judge, to cope with our Monitors. It will be seen that the rebels have not been idle in taking measures for their protection. There will be all the more glory for our brave soldiers and sailors when they take the place.

THE BATTLE IN BAYOU TECHE.

OUR attentive New Orleans correspondent sends us a sketch—which we reproduce on page 101—of the BATTLE OF CORNEY'S BRIDGE, in Bayou Teche, Louisiana, fought by General Weitzel on 14th January. He had gone up the bayou to destroy a rebel boat called the Cotton. The Times correspondent thus describes the affair:

Early on Wednesday morning, at 6 A.M., the Diana, Captain Goodwin, was ordered to go down the bayou to Lynch's Point, to take the Eighth Vermont across to the left or northern bank, in order for a flank movement on the enemy. At 7 the Calhoun, Commodore Buchanan, Kinsman, Captain Wiggin, and Estrella, Captain Cook, commenced moving slowly up the bayou, and at 8 o'clock reached the formidable obstruction. This was at a place called Corney's Bridge, from a man of that name owning a plantation there. Nothing but the piles of the old bridge remain, protruding about three or four feet above water, and against these the rebels had sunk an old steamer, filled with brick, and placed all manner of rubbish—making it impossible at that time either for the Cotton to come down to us or for us to get at her.

At this time, about 8.45, an artillery duel commenced between our gun-boats and the gun-boat Cotton and the rebel batteries. The firing continued for some time without any manifest difference to either party. A few desultory rifle-shots had been fired at us from the shore.

Suddenly the Kinsman felt something explode under her; it was a torpedo, and her stern was violently lifted in the air, but fortunately with no damage, as was afterward found. An aid of General Weitzel came galloping up to tell the Kinsman of another torpedo being planted right ahead, a contraband, escaped from the Cotton, having brought the intelligence. Owing to this, and one of her guns being disabled—so the Kinsman's officers all assured me—she was cautiously dropping back, after warning both the Estrella and Calhoun of what had been told her.

Commodore Buchanan, either not hearing or not heeding the information, at once steamed up right ahead of both the Estrella and the Kinsman, and personally seized the post of danger. It was now about 10 o'clock, when the rebels, from behind their concealed rifle-pits, poured forth a most murderous volley upon our men; and the Cotton coming down to attack our batteries, the fight became severe and general.

The gallant Buchanan was one of the first to fall. He was standing forward, spy-glass in hand, a motionless target for the deadly missiles of the hidden enemy. W. D. Brown, Acting Chief Engineer, who was near him at the time, having received a spent ball in the thigh, the Commodore said: "Ah! you've got it." The very next moment a ball struck Buchanan in the right cheek, immediately below the temple, passing through to the opposite side. He exclaimed, "My God!" and fell back dead. Some say this gallant officer was rash on this occasion, and threw away his loved and valued life; perhaps so, but it was a rashness which will endear his heroic name forever.

To show how terribly murderous was the position in which our boats were placed, it is only necessary to state that at this point the bayou was so narrow that the Calhoun in turning had her bow and stern aground.

While this was going on our land-forces were by no means idle. The Eighth Vermont, as soon as they had been brought across from Lynch's Point in the Diana, at once attacked the rebels in the rear of their rifle-pits; and during a brisk and sharp engagement killed several, took forty prisoners, and put the rest to flight, their cannon leading the way. But for this sudden and gallant assistance from the Eighth Vermont, there can be little doubt that the Calhoun would have been lost, from the impetuosity with which the rebels were firing upon her.

In the mean time, no less efficient aid was being given by other portions of our troops. Three batteries—the First Maine, Lieutenant Bradbury; one section of the Fourth Massachusetts, under Lieutenant Briggs, and Captain W. W. Carruth's Sixth Massachusetts—had gone round

by the woods, from PatersonvilIe to a point above the Cotton, where they could successfully play upon her; and in this they were assisted by some of the One Hundred and Sixtieth New York, and 60 sharp-shooters of the Seventy-fifth New York, who played havoc among the crew of the rebel gun-boat, which was one of those enormous Mississippi steamers, protected by cotton wherever possible, and clad in iron.

Thrice did this ungainly monster retire up the bayou, from the effect of the deadly iron hail poured into her, and thrice did she desperately cone up to renew the contest. She came once too often, however; for, after having had her men nearly cleaned out of her, the last time she made her appearance—which was at 2 o'clock next morning—she was floating in solitary glory down the bayou, one sheet of flame.

The game being over, and the ostensible object of the expedition accomplished, our gun-boats and land-forces returned in perfect order and good spirits.

STONEWALL JACKSON'S CAMP.

WE publish on page 109 a picture of STONEWALL JACKSON IN CAMP, from a sketch by Mr. Vizetelly, the artist of the London Illustrated News, who has cast his lot among the rebels. This sketch was made some weeks since, and was sent from Secessia in the vessel which was lately captured off Charleston. All the documents found on board were transmitted to Admiral Dupont. Some of them, such as the correspondence between Benjamin and the rebel agents in Europe, have been published in the papers. What became of Mr. Vizetelly's drawings we can not tell; but the one we reproduce was kindly traced for us, by permission of the Admiral, and thus sees the light—rather unexpectedly to its author—in our columns.

THE ARMY OF THE POTOMAC.

WE reproduce on pages 97, 104, and 105, two of Mr. Waud's sketches. One of them illustrates the fruitless attempt of the Army of the Potomac to move toward the Rappahannock on 20th January—or, in the coarser language of the rebels, "BURNSIDE'S ARMY STUCK IN THE MUD;" and the other, the NIGHT-PATROL MAKING HIS ROUNDS. The latter picture explains itself, and needs no description. By way of explanation of the former we append the following graphic account from the correspondence of the Times:

It was a wild Walpurgus night, such as Goethe paints in the "Faust" while the demons held revel in the forest of the Brocken. All hopes that it would be a "mere shower" were presently blasted. It was evident we were in for a regular northeaster, and among the roughest of that rough type. Yet was there hard work done that fearful night. One hundred and fifty pieces of artillery were to be planted in the position selected for them by General Hunt, Chief of Artillery—a man of rare energy and of a high order of professional skill. The pontoons, also, were drawn down nearer toward the river, but it was dreadful work; the roads under the influence of the rain were becoming shocking; and by daylight, when the boats should all have been on the banks, ready to slide down into the water, but fifteen had been gotten up—not enough for one bridge, and five were wanted!

The night operations had not escaped the attention of the wary rebels. Early in the morning a signal-gun was fired opposite the ford, reminding one of that other signal-gun fired by them on the morning of Thursday the 11th December, when we began laying the pontoon opposite Fredericksburg, and which was the token for the concentration of the whole force at that point. It was indispensable that we should secure all the advantages of a surprise; and though our intention was thus blown to their ears early on Wednesday morning, we were, nevertheless, forty-eight hours ahead of them, and with favorable conditions should have been able to carry our position before they could possibly concentrate.

Accordingly a desperate effort was made by the Commanding General to get ready the bridges. It was obvious, however, that, even if completed, it would be impossible for us, in the then condition of the ground, to get a single piece of artillery up the opposite declivity. It would be necessary to rely wholly upon the infantry—indeed, wholly on the bayonet. Happily, if the rebels should prove to be in strong force, the country is too thickly wooded to admit of much generalship, and it was hoped that our superior weight of metal would carry the day.

Early in the forenoon I rode up to the head-quarters of Generals Hooker and Franklin, about two miles from Banks's Ford. The night's rain had made deplorable havoc with the roads. The nature of the upper geologic deposits of this region affords unequaled elements for bad roads. The sand makes the soil pliable, the clay makes it sticky, and the two together form a road out of which, when it rains, the bottom drops, but which is at the same time so tenacious that extrication from its clutch is all but impossible.

The utmost effort was put forth to get pontoons enough into position to construct a bridge or two. Double and triple teams of horses and mules were harnessed to each pontoon-boat. It was in vain. Long, powerful ropes were then attached to the teams, and a hundred and fifty men were put to the task on each boat. The effort was but little more successful. They would flounder through the mire for a few feet—the gang of Liliputians with their huge-ribbed Gulliver—and then give up breathless. Night arrived, but the pontoons could not be got up. The rebels had discovered what was up, and the pickets on the opposite bank called over to ours that they "would come over to-morrow and help us build the bridge."

That night the troops again bivouacked in the same position in the woods they had held the night before. You can imagine it must have been a desperate experience—and yet not by any means as bad as might be supposed. The men were in the woods, which afforded them some shelter from the wind and rain, and gave them a comparatively dry bottom to sleep on. Many had brought their shelter-tents; and making a flooring of spruce, hemlock, or cedar boughs, and lighting huge camp fires, they enjoyed themselves as well as the circumstances would permit. On the following morning a whisky ration, provided by the judicious forethought of General Burnside, was on hand for them.

Thursday morning saw the light struggling through an opaque envelop of mist, and dawned upon another day of storm and rain. It was a curious sight presented by the army as we rode over the ground; miles in extent, occupied by it. One might fancy some new geologic cataclysm had o'ertaken the world; and that he saw around him the elemental wrecks left by another Deluge. An indescribable chaos of pontoons, wagons, and artillery encumbered the road down to the river—supply-wagons upset by the road-side—artillery "stalled" in the mud—ammunition. trains mired by the way. Horses and mules dropped down dead, exhausted with the effort to move their loads through the hideous medium. A hundred and fifty dead animals, many of them buried in the liquid muck, were counted in the course of a morning's ride. And the muddle was still further increased by the bad arrangements—or rather the failure to execute the arrangements that had been made. It was designed that Franklin's column should advance by one road and hooker's by another. But, by mistake, a portion of the troops of the Left, Grand Division debouched into the road assigned to the centre, and cutting in between two divisions of one of Hooker's corps, threw every thing into confusion. In consequence, the woods and roads have for the past two days been filled with stragglers, though very many of them were involuntary stragglers, and were evidently honestly seeking to rejoin their regiments. It was now no longer a question of how to go on; it was a question of how to get back.


 

 

 

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