Only One Man Killed Today


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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.

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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


Battle of Murfreesboro

Crossing the Rappahannock

Crossing the Rappahannock River




[FEBRUARY 14, 1863.



THERE are tears and sobs iu the little brown house On the hill-side slope to-day;

Though the sunlight gleams on the outer world There the clouds drift cold and gray.

"Only one man killed," so the tidings read—

"Our loss was trifling: we triumphed," 'twas said—

And only here in the home on the hill

Did the words breathe aught but of triumph still.

They had watched and waited, had prayed and wept, Those loving hearts by the cottage hearth,

And the hope was strong that their darling would walk Unscathed and safe 'mid the battle's wrath.

They would gladly have shielded his life from ill,

But their trust was all in their Father's will;

They had felt so sure His love would save

The pride of their hearts from a soldier's grave.


Now His wisdom had ordered what most they feared,

And their hearts are crushed by the news to-day,

"Only one man killed"—so the telegram reads—

But for them life's beauty has passed away;

And all the glory and triumph gained

Seems a matter small to the woe blood-stained, That in sorrowful strokes, like a tolling bell,

Throbs "Only one man killed," as a funeral knell.

"Only one man killed"—so we read full oft,

And rejoice that the loss on our side was small; Forgetting meanwhile that some loving heart

Felt all the force of that murderous ball.

"Only one man killed," comes again and again:

One hero more 'mong the martyred slain:

"Only one man killed," carries sorrow for life

To those whose darlings fall in the strife.





BY the time this paper reaches its readers Charleston may, perhaps, attract more attention than any other point—except, perhaps, Vicksburg. For it is suspected that the rebels of South Carolina are going to have another opportunity of proving their devotion to the cause which has plunged this continent into the present bloody war.

At the time we write the great Southern expedition which has been assembling at Beaufort, North Carolina, must have started, and an army of 35,000 or 40,000 men, with a fleet of thirty to forty armed vessels, must be approaching—if they have not already reached—their destination. Of course no one knows whither they are bound. It may be Wilmington, or it may be Savannah, and it may be Charleston. Among the "sporting fraternity" odds are offered on Charleston; perhaps because there prevails so intense a wish to see that accursed city punished for the woes it has brought upon the country. The possession of Charleston would not only gratify a very general and natural desire on the part of the North, but the moral effect of its capture would be immense, and in a material point of view it would be important, as it would put an end to most of the contraband trade which is now carried on between the South and Nassau.

Charleston certainly seems anxious to invite attack. On 31st ult., as is stated in dispatches published on next page, the rebels, under Ingraham, made a very vigorous sortie from the port, and, if their accounts are to be believed, sunk one of our gun-boats—the Mercedita—and drove off the others. The rebel reporters and officers commanding assert that the blockade of the port was actually raised; though on the following day "at least twenty blockaders were off the bar again." Whether, in view of this latter fact, Charleston will gain much by the official proclamation of the reopening of the port seems at least doubtful. But there can be no doubt but the occurrence of the 31st, however the results may have been exaggerated or misrepresented by the rebels, will convince Admiral Dupont and General Hunter of the necessity of no longer delaying the long-threatened attack on the hot-bed of treason. It is in our power to take and destroy Charleston: we hope to be able to announce, before the end of the month, that we have done so.


A DISPATCH from the Emperor Napoleon to General Forey, commanding the French army in Mexico, has revived the alarms of those well-meaning but ignorant people who have all along expected France to interfere in our civil war, has prompted a Senator to move resolutions of inquiry into the purposes of the French, and has furnished the secession sympathizers of the North with fresh capital wherewith to distract the Northern mind and shake Northern credit. The papers are full of diatribes against Louis Napoleon, who is represented as being on the point of recognizing a confederacy based on the corner-stone of African slavery—an institution execrated by the French, and of menacing the North, the hereditary friend of France, her best customer, and her most reliable ally in the event of trouble between France and England.

We trust that the subscribers and readers of Harper's Weekly need no instruction from us to enable them to form a correct judgment on the subject.

The people of France, whose organ and executive is the Emperor Napoleon, are very different in temper and disposition from the English. Frenchmen, as a rule, never barter principle for gain. An Englishman will sell his most cherished dogma for an advance of one per cent. on his goods; they are, as Napoleon truly said, a nation of shop-keepers. Frenchmen, on the contrary, though flighty and idealists, are never sordid. History exhibits them constantly as sacrificing material gain for the sake of ideal notions. They will spend a thousand millions to free Italy, or establish liberal principles in France or Germany. But there is no instance on record where a single well-established principle of French policy was sacrificed, or even suspended for a time, for the sake of benefiting the operatives of Lyons, Rouen, St. Etienne, or Paris. This distinction between them and their British neighbors must ever be borne in mind by students of modern French policy. England, after emancipating the slaves in the British West Indies, and claiming the first rank among opponents of human slavery throughout the world, no sooner saw a prospect of a fine market for British manufactures in our Southern Slave States than she shifted her ground on the slave question, and the leading organs of British opinion devoted their energies to a justification of the system of slavery. Not so France. French writers have criticised our military operations with a severity which perhaps was not undeserved; but no Frenchman of any standing, no man of character or influence in Parisian society, has been base enough to depart from the traditionary anti-slavery principles of French policy, for the sake of securing the prospect of a market for French silks, wines, gloves, and jewelry in the kingdom of Jefferson Davis.

Vigorous efforts have been made by the British press to represent the Emperor Napoleon as the chief enemy of the restoration of the Union. These efforts have been seconded by correspondents of and contributors to American journals, who had doubtless excellent reasons for espousing the Anglo-Rebel view of the subject. Letter - writers from Paris for British and American journals have repeated at weekly or monthly intervals stereotyped lies about the Emperor's hostility to the United States; the more base and detestable their forgeries, the more they have persisted in them. The agent of the Associated Press of New York has done his best to give circulation to these British impositions upon American credulity. And now, in the face of all this lying, what are the facts?

For twelve mouths after the outbreak of the war the Emperor was never even suspected of being unfriendly to us. He was induced by the English—as we learn from the published volume of diplomatic correspondence—to concede to the rebels belligerent rights; when he discovered the construction which we placed upon the act, he caused Mr. Dayton to be told that he would have recalled it, but for his conviction that it would operate to the disadvantage of the insurgents and to our gain. A few months ago, he was informed by the individual who unfortunately represents him at Washington, that we were ready for a compromise or foreign intervention, and, with prompt candor, he tendered it. Accident prevented the measure from being consummated; but the official organ of the French Government has stated distinctly that it was not designed to operate against the United States in any way, or in favor of the rebels, and the highest official authority in France has borne testimony to the Emperor's desire that the Republic should be reunited under one Government.

By a trick similar to that which led the Emperor to concede belligerent rights to the rebels, the British Government beguiled him into the war against Mexico. It was a gigantic fraud. Napoleon was led to believe that the Mexicans would gladly welcome his troops as deliverers and restorers of peace and order. The British and Spaniards, who knew better, made their exit before the drama began. The French, less tricky and more consistent, having commenced the campaign, persevered in it. It has proved a blunder. The Mexicans have forgotten their internal feuds to unite against the common enemy; and it will need great outlay of money, men, and skill to extricate General Forey's army from its present perplexing predicament. From first to last the Emperor has been endeavoring to disabuse the Mexicans of the idea that he was their national enemy; and in his last letter to General Forey he endeavors to rouse their pride as a race, by talking about preserving the equilibrium between the Latin and the Anglo-Saxon races on this continent. Every one sees easily that this is mere clap-trap, and that the real object of the Emperor is not conquest, or hostility to the United States, but simply the conclusion of such a treaty with Mexico as may restore the old friendly relations between that republic and the French empire, and enable the French to withdraw from Mexico without sacrifice of honor.

In one word, the Emperor has said and done nothing as yet which fairly justifies the imputation that he is hostile to us or to the Union. On the contrary, he has done and said much which implies a friendly feeling and a desire to see the Union re-established. He has the misfortune of being represented at Washington by

a man who is an ardent secessionist, and takes no pains to conceal it. And, like all powerful monarchs, he has at his court at the Tuileries men of base origin and corrupt instincts, who have proved readily accessible to the rebel emissaries, and have earned their hire by abusing us in semi-official journals. But no man, with all the facts before him, can honestly declare that the Emperor has been our enemy.



WHAT is the net result of the "Conservative" movement thus far? Its programme was a more constitutional method of suppressing the rebellion than that of the Administration. Are not the following points already established?

That the rebels hailed the movement with delight, reprinting the "Conservative" speeches, as indicative of returning reason on the part of the Yankees? What do they mean by "returning reason?"

That the rebels delighted in the "Conservative" triumphs at the polls?

That the election of "Conservative" Senators in Illinois, Indiana, and Pennsylvania is greeted by the Richmond Examiner as proof that the "Lincoln tyranny"—by which is meant the United States Government—can not prosecute the war with the support of a unanimous sentiment?

That the scenes in the Pennsylvania Legislature and in that of New York, which point straight at anarchy, are the action of the party professedly "Conservative?"

That the tone of the "Conservative" papers, in speaking of the duty of the soldiers in regard to the war order of the President concerning slavery, tends directly, and is intended; to excite mutiny and disaffection, and consequent disaster?

That, in fine, the "Conservative" reaction has organized an opposition to the Government, which takes the ground that its policy in the war is unconstitutional, and that good citizens ought not to support it; that upon that ground it has drawn party lines, so that at this moment the Government has lost much of that unity of sentiment without which success is delayed and endangered?

These things are known. There is but one answer. It is that the Government is no longer waging the war for the restoration of the Union, but for what is called Abolition. But the answer says what is not true. The President, as Commander-in-chief, has decreed the liberation of slaves, by the same power and for the same purpose that he decrees the movement of the army. Slavery exists among the rebels. It is a source of peculiar strength to them. By the plain command of common sense the Commander-in-chief is bound to weaken them in every warlike way he can. If the Constitution suffers him to deprive the rebel of the use of his arms, legs, or life, it certainly authorizes him to take from the same rebel the use of his slave. And, in aiming to do this, he must do it in the way most certain to secure the object. If there are loyal men among the holders, the President must assume their assent to his exercising a necessary and lawful power according to his discretion.

To say, therefore, that because of the proclamation the war is diverted from its object, is as foolish and untrue as to say that it is diverted because of the desolation of Virginia. The object of the war is the maintenance of the Government—and the desolation and emancipation are inevitable incidents of thorough warlike operations. The object of the "conservative reaction" is the restoration of a party to power, and to effect that object it exposes the Government to destruction.

If a man likes the supremacy of that party more than the supremacy of the Government—or if he hates the Republicans more than he hates the rebels, then under the name of "conservatism" he will continue to favor the course which Vallandigham, Fernando Wood, and Jefferson Davis applaud. But if he loves his country more than a party, order more than anarchy, peace more than war, he will support a Government which does not believe any thing to be unconstitutional which is necessary to save the Constitution; nor any thing truly dangerous to the liberty of any citizen which is essential to the guarantee of the liberty of all the people.


MR. THURLOW WEED has retired from active public life. By his withdrawal one of the shrewdest political managers in our history disappears. His valedictory address to his friends in the columns of the Evening Journal, which he has edited for thirty-two years, is simple, genial, and pathetic. He retires at a moment of the greatest public peril, because he no longer agrees with the party which he has so long served, and because he does not wish to embarrass by constant opposition the policy of an Administration which he helped bring into power. Yet he makes no new party ties, nor is it likely he ever will. His old political friends are still "my party;" and while he can not think them wise, he wishes them God-speed as he says farewell.

The simplicity and frankness of his valedictory disarm criticism. His retirement establishes at least the earnest sincerity of his later course. That that course tended to the very result which he so stringently deprecated seems clear enough to us, but does not affect our estimate of his honest conviction. Party vehemence has pursued him with bitter calumny. But he will doubtless see in that very vehemence a tribute to the power he was felt to wield. When the threat of rebellion ripened into war, it was not strange that men of the same general political sympathy differed upon points of policy. The same principles of human nature that create parties divide them; and each division believes that its own policy is essential to success. It

is a pity, but it is unavoidable, that personal accusation and acerbity should mingle in discussions which might be entirely impersonal. Mr. Weed has not been spared, neither has he spared, in such acrimonious contests. His retirement is therefore the more magnanimous.

With winning personal traits that no party asperity denies—with comfort secured by long service in his profession—with the agreeable consciousness, to a man ambitious of the substance rather than the show of power, that he has played a more influential part in the political history of this State during the last dozen years than any other man—with the kindest regard of his associates and friends —Mr. Weed turns away from the great arena of public affairs. But, like Sir William Temple, who retired to his garden and library in the dark days of the revolutionary period in England, but came forth again when summoned by his country, so Mr. Weed holds himself ready to serve, when he can, his country and his friends, while, "so far as all things personal are concerned," his work is done.


THE question that every body has seen from the beginning of the war must be answered has at last been asked. Shall there be colored soldiers? It is a question upon which there need be no loss of temper. If a man says that he is willing to see the Government lost rather than maintained by such allies, he must answer the question whether, then, he cares enough for the Government to fight for it. He must then answer the other question, why it is not as shameful to save the Government by bribing men by enormous bounties to be soldiers, while men who have the most vital interest in the success of the war are ready to fight. If saving the Government is a matter of pride and not of principle, and the most earnest conviction of the necessity of its salvation, that pride may be gratified in any whimsical way. It may be more agreeable to it to have the work done by grenadiers six feet high, whose regulation weight shall be a hundred and ninety pounds. Or it may gratify pride to have it accomplished only by men whose ancestors came over two generations since. Or by the Anglo-Saxon blood merely; or by the Celtic, or by the Teutonic, or by volunteers who fight for the love of it, and who scorn bounty.

Indeed, if you make your point of honor any thing short of the salvation of the Government and nation, by all fair warlike means and at all costs, you have already virtually relinquished the contest.

The Government is waging a fierce war with a wicked rebellion. It wants all the soldiers it can muster. If it rejects a good fighting man because he is a Spaniard, or a Scotchman, or a Frenchman, or an Irishman, it is guilty of utter folly. If it rejects a good fighter because he has every reason to fight to the death rather than surrender—because victory is a palpable, tangible, incalculable advantage to him—because he is native to the soil and acclimated to the region of the war, and because he has proved himself the most faithful ally, and is by habit and training the most docile of soldiers, then the Government is mad.

Now the people are really the Government, and, right or wrong, you say that they are bitterly prejudiced against the colored ally. Yes; but suppose that party-leaders stopped appealing to that prejudice, and that a colored regiment should rout in the field a South Carolina regiment—just by way of poetic justice. Do you think that, if the people is really earnest in its resolution to destroy the rebellion, its prejudice would stand against that? Not unless patriotism and honor are extinct in its heart.

The common sense of the matter is very simple. For many years it has been considered an unanswerable argument in the great question to say: "It may be unjust to deprive these men of personal liberty for no crime but color, but we must take things as they are. What can we do with them if they are emancipated? Passion is a stronger impulse with a slaveholder than interest; and as he now gratifies his anger by maiming his property, he would then indulge his fury by starving rather than turning to hire his late slave. What will you do with the facts of the case?"

Granting that the facts are as stated, we have reached a point in the rebellion when, as an expedient of war, that is made possible which was not so in peace. Emancipation is declared. The exigency demands and therefore justifies it. The late slaves know that our lines are the lines of liberty. Thus hundreds of thousands of able-bodied men are made dependent upon the guidance of the Government, which requires, and will long require, a large military force. The men so dependent are trained to obedience. They are by nature docile and brave. They have every thing to fight for, and they know it. The war has the same desperate earnestness to them that it has to their late masters. One side fights for property: the other for life and liberty.

Is not the solution providential? Do we absolutely insist upon rejecting such soldiers because of some absurd theory of occiput and shin-bones? They are not of the same race. True; and neither are the French and the Irish; but we do not reject them; we are heartily grateful to get them. Here is a letter, lately in our possession, front one of the privates in the first South Carolina Volunteers. He was lately a slave. The letter is written in a shapely hand. Scarcely a word is misspelled. It is an intelligent and self-respecting man who writes, and he says that of course he and his friends must fight, because there is no hope for them if taken.

Let it be left to men like Vallandigliam and Cox and Wickliffe to envenom a prejudice that a nation may be destroyed.


IN many a happy household all over the land one of the clearest and pleasantest points of memory is the quiet little town of Lenox among the solemn Berkshire hills. It was there for many years that Mrs. Charles Sedgwick had her school for girls; and now that she has relinquished its (Next Page)




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