General Hooker Takes Command of the Army of the Potomac

 

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Civil War Harper's Weekly, February 7, 1863

This site features all the Harper's Weekly newspapers published during the Civil War. These newspapers can yield unique insights in the war, as they were created by eye-witnesses to the events depicted. You can watch history unfold before your eyes, week by week.

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

 

David Porter

Porter and McClernand

Wall Street

Wall Street

General Hooker

General Hooker Takes Command

Gun Boats

Gun Boats

Torpedoes

Civil War Torpedoes

Fredericksburg Poem

Battle of Fredericksburg Poem

War Atrocities

Atrocities of War

Fighting Joe Hooker

Fighting Joe Hooker

Monitor Sinking

Monitor "Weehawken" in Storm

Chivalry

Chivalry

Arkansas Post

Battle of Arkansas Post

River Torpedoes

River Torpedoes

Lavinia Warren

P. T. Barnum's "Miss Lavinia Warren

 

 

 

FEBRUARY 7, 1863.]

HARPER'S WEEKLY.

83

(Previous Page) It is equally clear that that system requires for its maintenance absolute silence. A free press, free discussion of the right and wrong, of the principle or the policy of slavery, is totally inconsistent with its existence. Free speech is to slavery what a spark is to gunpowder. Consequently the mouth, and, if possible, the mind must be muzzled in a society where the system prevails. The ready lynching, the mobbing, the hanging, and outlawing of anti-slavery men in the Southern States, is a logical necessity of their condition. The Planting Society is a pretty palace over a vault of powder, and whoever scratches a match is a deadly enemy. If, then, we are to reunite, it can only be upon condition that the discussion of this question shall be absolutely forbidden. But it is a question of personal Liberty—and its discussion, or the right of free speech, is the very fundamental right which is the security of peace in a political community of the Saxon race. You might as well hope to prevent the sun from rising as to deny the utmost freedom to the tongue of the free people of the free States of this Union. Nobody knows it better than Davis. He is perfectly honest in scorning Vallandigham's obsequious offers; for he is an older man and a wiser man than Vallandigham; and he is perfectly aware that, even if the attempt should be made to force a gag into the mouth of the North, the consequences would be annihilating to his cause.

Therefore faith in the national success is rooted immutably in human nature. Reactions, of whatever force or extent, are only ripples upon the surface of affairs. A necessity beyond its control urges the cause of the Union to victory—not this month, indeed, nor this year, necessarily, but none the less surely. Whatever means are essential to success the people will surely accept. There may be such fatigue of the stress of war, such mortification at apparent incompetency, such apprehension of enormous expense and possible commercial ruin, that for a time the basest demagogues, under a cry of peace and conciliation and conservatism, may influence an election and seem to control the country. But it will constantly more plainly appear that what is called Conservatism by the most unprincipled men, is but a smooth name for anarchy. Such events as attend the meeting of the Pennsylvania and New York Legislatures will be understood by thousands who, from various reasons, were deluded into voting with men whose only hope of personal advantage lies in the common ruin. Those who voted for "Conservative" candidates did not mean to vote for anarchy; and they will learn that, as peace is the first necessity of a truly conservative interest, whoever in war wishes for a speedy peace must use all warlike means to secure it or be destroyed.

A SIDE-LIGHT.

EVERY year there is published in Paris a work called "Annuaire des Deux Mondes," or a universal history of events for the past year. In the issue for the year 1861 the attentive reader will find an allusion to the visit of M. Mercier, the French Minister, to Richmond. M. Mercier, it will be remembered, is not a friend of the United States Government, but is a particular friend of the chief rebels:

"The French Minister, M. Mercier, in a rapid visit to Richmond, had not concealed from Mr. Jefferson Davis that the evacuation of the town would inflict the most fatal blow on the cause of the South in the opinion of Europe, which would look upon such a measure as an avowal of impotency. The Confederate Government understood the necessity of saving its capital at any price; and while it gave up the defense of the coast, and called in all the corps which could be brought by rail to Richmond, and even part of Beauregard's forces, the Confederate army, stopping its retreat, began to dispute the ground foot by foot with McClellan."

Should this extraordinary statement—which is intrinsically of the utmost probability—prove to be true, it is not a pleasing revelation. It is not Louis Napoleon's fault that his Minister at Washington was a boon companion of traitors. But it will certainly be the fault of our Government if a confidential adviser of the rebels is tolerated in an official position at the capital.

THE REBEL DISPATCHES.

THE intercepted correspondence of the rebel leaders with their emissaries in Europe, lately published, is very amusing, and shows several things.

First, that Louis Napoleon may have some designs upon Texas. But the French policy in regard to this continent is still merely subject of speculation.

Second, the correspondence shows conclusively that the blockade is as effective as any blockade ever instituted. It takes the dispatches of the rebel agents some seven months to come to hand, and the rebel Secretary of State naively mentions to one of his emissaries that his No. 2 has arrived, but that Nos. 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6 are still missing. The postal arrangements of the new nation do not seem to be quite perfect.

Third, the correspondence reveals the fact that Earl Russell is cold to the "Honorable" Mr. Mason of Virginia—who sat in the Senate of the United States pocketing the money of a Government against whose existence he was plotting. The Earl was so cold, indeed, that the "Honorable" Mr. Mason thought of withdrawing; but his confederates urge him to remain, and to continue to be snubbed, in the hope of helping to lay the corner-stone of the new nation.

Fourth, the correspondence discloses the interesting fact that when the Confederate emissary left Madrid, he put his books and papers in charge of the agent of the Rothschilds, showing the position which the great bankers compel their agents in every country to hold in regard to the rebellion, and, of course, indicating the kind of value which is to be placed upon the support given to treason by any such agents, whose birth, training, sympathies, and interests are entirely foreign.

Fifth, the correspondence informs us that Mr. James Spence, who has written a book in favor of the rebellion, which was for a long time the hand-book of English information of American affairs, and who perpetually urges upon the British Government the recognition of the Confederacy, is a paid agent of the rebels.

Sixth, it shows that great efforts are making for the construction of a rebel fleet in English "neutral" ports.

There is also much highly-colored rhetoric from Mr. Benjamin about the success of the rebellion, and the sure overthrow of the Government, which is of equal value with the editorials in the rebel newspapers, all of which are supervised by trusty censors; and there is an extremely unpromising system of "cotton-certificates" developed by Mr. Memminger—a kind of painfully vague and operose promise to pay, as a basis for pecuniary loans. It is the latest effort to extract sunbeams from cucumbers.

Such a correspondence will not fail to make due impression upon the common-sense of the world. Read in the light of the acknowledged object of the rebellion, it can hardly give much comfort to the European friends of American anarchy; and published with the addition of Mr. Davis's speech in the Southwest, in which he calls Mr. Lincoln a baboon, it would be a striking memorial of the veracity and dignity of the "gentlemanly" Govvernment of the Confederacy.

HUMORS OF THE DAY.

THE man who moved an amendment injured his spine by the operation.

Leaves that are least becoming to a warrior's brows—leaves of absence.

The child who cried for an hour didn't get it!

A great game in a small compass—cricket on the hearth.

EXQUISITE. "Ah, doctaw, does the choleraw awfect the highaw awda?" asked an exquisite of a celebrated physician in New Orleans. "No," replied the doctor; "but it's death on fools, and you'd better leave the city immediately." The "fellaw" sloped.

What would be the difference between "Uncle Ned" and Louis Napoleon, in the event of a French revolution?—The first had no hair on the top of his crown, the place where hair ought to grow; and the other would have no crown on the top of his hair, the place where the crown ought to go.

"Who goes there?" said an Irish sentry of the British Legion at St. Sebastian. "A friend," was the reply. "Then stand where you are, for by the powers you're the first I've met with in this murtherin' country."

It is a pleasant old custom in Holland for young men, when crossing a bridge with young women, to exact toll from them in the shape of a kiss. Why are the girls not tolled so here?

The cries of the poor never enter into the ears of the covetous man; or, if they do, he has always one ear readier to let them out than the other to take them in.

What is the difference between an impoverished man and an easy bed?—One is hard up, the other soft down.

Debts are troublesome, but, as a general rule, they don't give half as much trouble to debtors as to creditors.

HOW TO MAKE AN APPLE TART.—Soak it in vinegar.

WANTED TO KNOW.—If a good view is to be had from the top of the morning? If the man who did not know what to do ever got a job?

A pail of milk often drinks as much water as a cow.

RIGID HONESTY.—Patrick O'Brien was one day strolling with a friend through a grave-yard, when his eye was arrested by an epitaph which shocked his sense of propriety and veracity. It ran thus:

"Weep not for me, my children dear:

I am not dead, but sleeping here."

"Well," said Paddy, "if I was dead, I would be honest enough to own it."

Sir Thomas Fitzgerald was famous for flogging, and had raised a regiment of pardoned peasantry in the Sister Kingdom, which he called "Ancient Irish." He and his corps were sent on foreign service. On his return he boasted frequently of their bravery, and that no other troops were so forward to face the enemy. "No wonder," said one of his friends; "thanks to your flogging, they were ashamed to show their backs."

WITTY REVENGE.—A story is told of the revenge taken by a Nantucket ship-master against a United States Consul, who was very rarely to be found in his office, although upon his sign were the words, "In from ten to one." The indignant captain, after trying to find the consul several days without success, took a paint brush and altered the official's sign, so that it read, "Ten to one he is not in."

DOMESTIC INTELLIGENCE.

CONGRESS.

On Wednesday, January 21, in the Senate, the credentials of James W. Wall, elected from New Jersey to fill the unexpired term of the late John R. Thomson, were presented, and Mr. Wall was qualified and took his seat. The credentials of Charles Sumner, re-elected from Massachusetts for six years from the 4th of March next, were also presented. The bill reorganizing the Court of Claims was then taken up, and a long debate ensued on the subject of the delay in the payment of the soldiers. Finally the provision for two additional Judges of the Court was struck out, some other amendments were agreed to, and the bill passed. Senator Hale offered a resolution which was laid over, that Cornelius Vanderbilt, Commodore Van Brunt, and Charles H. Haswell, who fitted out the transports of the Banks expedition, are guilty of negligence in the discharge of the duty assigned them, and that the commission extorted by F. J. Southard was an express violation of the agreement made by him, and should at once be refunded to the Government. The Senate then adjourned.—In the House, the vote on the resolution adopted on 20th, declaring General Vandever, of Iowa, not entitled to his seat, owing to his having accepted a military commission, was reconsidered, and, after a long discussion, the subject was laid aside till the 3d of March next. The House concurred in the Senate's amendments to the West Point Academy Appropriation bill. The remainder of the session was devoted to general debate on national topics.

On Thursday, 22d, in the Senate, the credentials of Hon. David Turpie, elected Senator from Indiana, were presented. Petitions from the daughters and sisters of Commodore Renshaw and Commander Wainwright respectively, both of whom were killed at Galveston, asking for pensions, were presented and referred. A resolution directing inquiry as to the expediency of publishing monthly the names of all officers of the army who are absent

on leave was adopted. The subject of annulling treaties with the Sioux Indians and affording relief to the sufferers by the Indian outrages in Minnesota, was debated and laid aside. The bill reimbursing Minnesota for Indian war expenses was passed. The bill to provide greater comfort for sick and wounded soldiers, and promote the efficiency of the medical department, was then taken up. After an executive session the Senate adjourned. —In the House, a bill providing for a Deputy Register of the Treasury, at $2500 per annum, and extending for two years the terms of office of Assistant Secretaries of War, was passed. The House then went into Committee of the Whole on the bill providing ways and means for the support of the Government. A number of important amendments were adopted.

On Friday, 23d, in the Senate, the Vice-President filled vacancies in standing committees as follows: Senator Hicks, of Maryland, was placed on the Foreign Relations Committee; Senator Arnold, of Rhode Island, on the Naval Committee; and Senator Turpie, of Indiana, on the Public Lands and Claims Committee. A resolution was adopted instructing the Military Committee to inquire into the condition and treatment of the soldiers in the Convalescent Camp at Alexandria, Virginia. Resolutions were also adopted inquiring of the Secretary of War whether more major and brigadier generals have been appointed than authorized by law, and requesting information of the Secretary of the Treasury as to the amount of revenue, if any, that has accrued to the Government from the duty on printing paper under the act of March 2, 1861, and whether, in his opinion, the reduction of the duty would not increase the revenue. A resolution was introduced, and laid over, instructing the Military Committee to inquire whether any plans which General Burnside may have formed since the battle of Fredericksburg have been interfered with by subordinate generals, and, if so, by what authority. The bill to promote the efficiency of the medical department of the army was taken up, discussed, amended, and passed. The bill for increasing the working force in the Quarter-master-General's office, was taken up and a discussion of its merits entered upon, without concluding which the Senate adjourned.—The House, immediately after assembling, went into Committee of the Whole, and resumed the consideration of the bill to provide ways and means for the support of Government. The section of the Ways and Means Committee's bill taxing banks was discussed at considerable length, and afterward Mr. Hooper's substitute bill, which was drawn up mainly in accordance with the views of Mr. Secretary Chase, was taken up, discussed, and rejected by 31 yeas to 79 nays. During the discussion of the bill of the Ways and Means Committee, a long discussion on the negro question was indulged in, growing out of an amendment which was offered, but rejected, to the effect that none of the money raised by the bill should be used for the purpose of emancipating or arming slaves. The bill of Mr. Stevens was afterward taken up and considered, when the committee rose, and the House adjourned to Monday.

On Saturday, 24th, in the Senate, the resolution directing the Secretary of the Navy not to accept the title to League Island, near Philadelphia, for a navy-yard and naval depot, unless Congress shall further direct, was called up and discussed for some time, and finally adopted. The Consular and Diplomatic Appropriation bill was reported back from the Finance Committee. A resolution was adopted calling on the Secretary of the Treasury for information in reference to the collection of direct taxes in the district of South Carolina, under the auspices of the commissioner appointed to superintend the matter. A bill to establish the gauge of the Pacific Railroad and its branches was introduced and referred to a select committee.—The House was not in session.

On Monday, 26th, in the Senate, a bill for the organization of a volunteer militia force, to be called the National Guard of the United States, was introduced and referred to the Military Committee. The bill for the better protection of overland emigrants to the Pacific States and Territories was passed. A bill to provide for a national currency, to be secured by the pledge of United States stocks, was introduced and referred to the Finance Committee. The bill to suspend the sales of lands on the coasts of South Carolina and Georgia was passed. A communication was presented from laborers in England, returning thanks for donations of provisions from the United States, and expressing the desire that means may be provided for their emigration hither. The Vice-President said that the uniform practice had been not to receive communications from foreigners. A bill to facilitate the transportation of troops and war munitions, and to afford additional commercial facilities to the West, was introduced; also one for the enlargement of the canals, and the improvement of the navigation of the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers, which was referred to the Military Committee. The resolution instructing the Military Committee to inquire whether the plans of General Burnside have been interfered with by subordinate officers was called up and adopted. The Senate then considered the bill to abrogate the treaties with the Sioux of Minnesota, and to indemnify citizens of that State for losses incurred by the recent Indian outrages. The bill, after being somewhat amended, was passed. —In the House, Mr. Indoc, of Wisconsin, appeared and was sworn in as the successor of the late Hon. Luther Hanchett. Mr. Thaddeus Stevens, of Pennsylvania, reported a bill authorizing the President to raise and equip for five years' service 150,000 negro soldiers. The consideration of the bill was postponed. A resolution was adopted instructing the Committee on Military Affairs to inquire into the expediency of the President being authorized to accept for three years' service any companies of soldiery that may offer, without limitation as to number. The Senate bill making Ohio and Michigan the seventh judicial district, and Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin the eighth, was passed. The House then went into Committee of the Whole, and took up the Finance bill. Mr. Stevens's substitute was considered, and rejected. The amendment to tax bank circulation, previously defeated, was again offered and voted down. Other amendments were proposed and rejected, when the committee rose and reported to the House the Ways and Means Committee's bill, as amended. The greater number of the amendments of the Committee of the Whole were agreed to by the House. Some were reserved for a separate vote, among which was that permitting the Secretary of the Treasury to dispose of the bonds on such terms as he may deem advisable. The amendment taxing the aggregate of bank deposits was disagreed to. The bill, as amended, was passed without a division.

On Tuesday, 27th, in the Senate, a resolution was adopted directing the Military Committee to inquire into the expediency of authorizing the President to offer the volunteers now in the service such bounty as he may deem necessary to secure their re-enlistment; also into the expediency of authorizing the President to offer such bounty for the re-enlistment of such volunteers for one year, or a longer time; also into the expediency of providing by law for three months' volunteers, either by enlistment or draft. A motion to take up the resolution calling for the documents in the case of General Fitz John Porter was briefly discussed, and finally disagreed to by a vote of 18 against 22. The bill for the indemnification of the President and other persons for suspending the writ of habeas corpus and acts done in pursuance thereof was called up, and an exciting debate ensued. Senator Saulsbury denounced the President by name as an imbecile, and was very violent in his demeanor. He was called to order, and finally placed in custody of the Sergeant-at-Arms. An amendment to make the provisions of the bill apply to criminal as well as to civil cases was adopted — 27 against 15—and the bill passed by a vote of 33 against 7.—In the House, the Senate bill providing for the pay of certain persons over forty-five years of age who have entered the army, was considered. An amendment was offered increasing the pay of soldiers two dollars per month, and giving those who may be honorably discharged before the expiration of their term of service a proportionate amount of bounty, and the bill was then recommitted to the Military Committee. In Committee of the Whole Messrs. Conway of Kansas, and Shellabarger of Ohio, delivered interesting speeches on national topics, and the committee rose. Mr. Stevens offered a substitute for his bill authorizing the employment of negroes as soldiers, and Mr. Hickman offered another substitute, authorizing the equipment of three hundred regiments of blacks, to serve for seven years unless sooner discharged. It also proposes a line of steamers for the deportation of emancipated slaves to Liberia. Without taking action on the subject the House adjourned.

THE ARMY OF THE POTOMAC.

On 26th January Major-General Burnside turned over the command of the Army of the Potomac to Major-General Joe Hooker, who came to the head-quarters of the camp for that purpose. As soon as the change became known throughout the army a considerable number of the superior officers called on General Burnside and took their parting leave of him with many regrets.

It is understood that Major-General Sumner and Major-General Franklin have also been relieved of their commands—the right and left grand divisions of the Army of the Potomac; but the names of their successors have not yet been divulged.

BURNSIDE'S FAREWELL ADDRESS.

The following is the address of General Burnside to the army:

HEAD-QUARTERS OF THE ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, CAMP NEAR FALMOUTH, January 26, 1863.

GENERAL ORDERS—No. 9.

By direction of the President of the United States, the Commanding General this day transfers the command of this army to Major-General Joseph Hooker.

The short time that he has directed your movements has not been fruitful of victory nor any considerable advancement of our line; but it has again demonstrated an amount of courage, patience, and endurance that, under more favorable circumstances, would have accomplished great results.

Continue to exercise these virtues, be true in your devotion to your country and the principles you have sworn to maintain, give to the brave and skillful General who has long been identified with your organization, and who is now to command you, your full and cordial support and co-operation, and you will deserve success.

Your General, in taking an affectionate leave of the army, from which he separates with so much regret, may be pardoned if he bids an especial farewell to his long and tried associates of the Ninth corps. His prayers are that God may be with you and grant you continual success until the rebellion is crushed. By command of

MAJOR-GENERAL BURNSIDE.

LEWIS RICHMOND, Acting Adjutant-General.

HOOKER'S ADDRESS TO THE ARMY.

The following order has just been published to the army:

GENERAL ORDERS—No. 1.

HEAD QUARTERS OF THE ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, CAMP NEAR FALMOUTH, Jan. 26, 1863.

By direction of the President of the United States, the undersigned assumes command of the Army of the Potomac.

He enters upon the discharge of the duties imposed by this trust with a just appreciation of their responsibility.

Since the formation of this army he has been identified with its history. He has shared with you its glories and its reverses, with no other desire than that these relations might remain unchanged until its destiny should be accomplished.

In the record of your achievements there is much to be proud of, and with the blessing of God we will contribute something to the renown of our arms and the success of our cause.

To secure these ends your commander will require the cheerful and zealous co-operation of every officer and soldier in this army.

In equipment, intelligence, and valor the enemy is our inferior. Let us never hesitate to give him battle when over we can find him.

The undersigned only gives expression to the feelings of this army when he conveys to our late commander, Major-General Burnside, the most cordial good whiles for his future.

My staff will be announced as soon as organized.

       JOSEPH HOOKER,

Major-General, Commanding Army of the Potomac.

MORE VICTORIES IN ARKANSAS.

The Union expedition on the White River has met with a brilliant success. Admiral Porter telegraphs from Memphis that on the 20th inst. he had taken the three rebel forts, St. Charles, Duval's Bluff, and Des Arc. He says: "The light draughts are over three hundred miles above the mouth of the White River. The DeKalb, Lieutenant Commander Walker, captured at Duval's Bluff two 8-inch guns, with carriages, ammunition, etc.; two hundred field rifles, and three platform cars, and at Des Arc we captured thirty-nine prisoners and a quantity of arms and ammunition."

REBEL PRISONERS CAPTURED.

Among the prisoners captured at Arkansas Post were one general, ten colonels, ten lieutenant-colonels ten majors, one hundred captains, nearly two hundred lieutenants, and a lot of adjutants, quarter-masters, surgeons, and staff officers. Jeff Davis will probably now be willing to exchange, instead of putting in force the threats contained in his proclamation.

ORGANIZATION OF THE NEW YORK ASSEMBLY.

In the Assembly the long, angry, and tempestuous struggle for the Speakorship was on 26th, after three weeks' continuance, brought to a termination. On assembling a proposition was made by a Democratic member to elect a Speaker and a Clerk together, by viva voce vote; but after considerable discussion this proposal was overruled, and this House proceeded to ballot for a Speaker, when Mr. Callicot, the candidate of the Republicans, received 61 votes, and Mr. Trimmer, Democrat, 59. Mr. Callicot wag therefore declared elected presiding ofiioer of the proseat Assembly. This was the ninety-third balloting in all since the House has been in session, which is just three weeks. Mr. Callicot was conducted to the chair, and made an address, thanking the members for the honor conferred.

A FEDERAL GUN-BOAT SUNK.

A rebel steamer, supposed to be the Alabama, the Oreto, or the Harriet Lane—which of the three it is hardly possible to decide—came into collision off Galveston with the United States gun-boat Hatteras, which attempted to stop the pirate, and sunk her by a heavy fire. The Brooklyn and Scioto, upon bearing the firing, went to the relief of the Hatteras, but only in time to pick up a boat's crew, and discover that the Hatteras was sunk in nine fathoms of water. The pirate represented himself to be the British war steamer Spitfire, and while being boarded from the Hatteras poured a tremendous fire into her, with the fatal results above recorded.

ESCAPE OF THE "ORETO."

We learn of the escape of the rebel steamer Oreto from Mobile, notwithstanding the vigilance of the blockaders. She is reported to have reached Havana with upward of a thousand bales of cotton on board, and having encountered and sunk a Boston brig, name unknown, on the way.

FOREIGN NEWS.

FRANCE.

THE EMPEROR'S SPEECH.

IN the course of his speech to the Legislature the Emperor said: "To reduce our expenses, the army and navy estimates have been considerably diminished. The floating debt has been reduced, and by the success achieved by the conversion of the relates a great step has been taken toward the settlement [unification] of that debt. The indirect revenues show a continual increase, from the simple fact of the general increase of prosperity; and the condition of the empire would be flourishing if the war in America had not dried up one of the most fruitful sources of our industry. The forced stagnation of labor has caused in many districts an amount of destitution which deserves all our solicitude, and a grant will be asked from you for the support of those who with resignation submit to the effects of a misfortune which it is not in our power to put a stop to. Nevertheless, I have made the attempt to send beyond the Atlantic advices inspired by a sincere sympathy; but the great maritime Powers not having thought it advisable as yet to act in concert with me, I have been obliged to postpone to a more suitable opportunity the offer of mediation, the object of which was to stop the effusion of blood, and to prevent the exhaustion of a country the future of which can not be looked upon with indifference."


 

 

 

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