Battle of Galveston


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, January 24, 1863

Welcome to our online archive of Harper's Weekly newspapers. This collection is available for your study and research. These old newspapers allow you to gain new insights into this important period in American History.

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General Sherman

General W. T. Sherman

Monitor Wreck

Wreck of the Monitor

Battle of Galveston

Battle of Galveston


Civil War Telegraph

Signal Station

Signal Station


Negro Emancipation

Wreck of the Monitor

Wreck of the Monitor

Slave Pen

Slave Pen

Winter Quarters

Winslow Homer's "Winter Quarters"

Emancipated Slaves

Emancipated Slaves

Shreman Biography

Sherman Biography

Brute Butler

Brute Butler





JANUARY 24, 1863.]



(Previous Page) our wayward sisters go, the Conservatives would not have threatened trouble. We do not know the subject of his lecture. But we judge, as the Conservatives probably judged, from his antecedents, that there was danger he might say that people ought not to sell other people's babies merely because they were poor and helpless; and that is a little more than Conservatism can stand.

We say Conservatism, and we say it advisedly. The party which claims that name to-day is the party which has always favored and incited riots for the suppression of free speech in time of perfect quiet, and which now complains because in a time of extreme public peril some few men have been silenced by the Government. The party which to-day assumes to be Conservative is the party which has always said, when the peace has been broken by a mob on account of a speech or lecture which the inciters of the mob did not like, "Of course; served him right. Let him shut up his d— mouth!" The leaders of the public riots in Boston and Philadelphia, and New York and Syracuse, in the winters of 1859-'60, were what is called "respectable" men, under whose guidance and support the rabble acted; and these "respectable" men are now the chief pillars of the Conservative party, which is so overwhelmed at the arbitrary invasion of the rights of speech by that hoary and appalling despot, Abraham Lincoln.

Moreover, this same Conservative party is the same party which at that time frankly and openly defended the destruction of the plainest constitutional rights at the South. If a man was tarred and feathered in Georgia or Arkansas, "Of course," they said, "why didn't he hold his tongue? If we could only force these fellows to be silent here at the North, we shouldn't all be in danger of being hung when we go into a slave State."

On the other hand, when Toombs lectured in Boston, was he mobbed? When Yancey made a tour through the North, in the very heat of a tremendous political canvass, was he mobbed? When, a little earlier, the dull Simms and the sentimental Thompson lectured in the Lyceums—were they mobbed? No, never. The newspapers of this pseudo-conservatism unblushingly declare that the "Free-speech party" is very zealous for its own speech, and very inimical to that of others. It is simply untrue. A street-mob gathered against an unpopular speaker by the anti-slavery party in this country is an event almost, if not altogether unknown. While the innumerable threats and riotous attempts against the free public discussion of important public questions by American citizens have always been instigated, and often led by those who now claim, as they then claimed, to be Conservative; and, therefore, while we would not hold any party responsible for the excesses of its individual members, the truth of history justifies us in the assertion that the spirit of the Conservative party in this country has favored and still favors the most lawless and dangerous assaults upon individual rights.

To attempt to extenuate such street-mobs by the arrest by Government in time of war of men who are trying to embarrass and defeat its efforts to save itself from destruction is futile and foolish. The Government has not suppressed free speech. It has tolerated not only honest criticism but the most venomous attacks in the interest of disunion and rebellion. In the confusion of the sudden burst of the war it stopped Schnabel's mouth for a little while; but soon released him, and has permitted Vallandigham, and Van Buren, and Rynders to say exactly what they chose. We certainly do not claim that the Government is infallible, or has made no mistakes. But we do claim, and history will confirm, that the friends of that Government, those who brought it into power and those who sustain it now, are not only the especial friends of the natural rights of all men, but of the constitutional privileges of American citizens—while the party that now calls itself Conservative not only denies the rights of man, but systematically, in time of perfect peace, connives at the violation of the constitutional rights of citizens.


THERE is one consolation in contemplating the Proclamation, and that is, that one man, at least, is pleased. What man? No other than our wayward sister Van Buren. On the 13th of July, 1849, he made a speech in Cleveland, Ohio. Will you taste a plum from it, this fine morning? Here it is, at your service:

"Yet there is one thing which remains to be done to perfect this proud fabric [the government], and render it as enduring as time. Strike the manacles front the slave, and elevate him to the position of a moral, rational, intelligent, and, if need be, A POLITICAL BEING!"

It is clear what Mr. Van Buren went to Washington for. It was to urge the President not to falter. And the President has done the very thing which our wayward sister thought was the only thing wanting to make the government eternal!


SIR EDWARD CUST, a retired British General, who was contemporary with all the great wars of this century, has been writing their annals. Two of his volumes cover the first nine years of the century, including the battles of Marengo, Austerlitz, Eylau, Jena, and Wagram; Trafalgar and Copenhagen; Assaye, Laswarree, Delhi, Agra; and Talavera—with lesser fights by sea and land.

Such a book has a most timely interest; and one of its chief morals is the truth which General Napier always so strongly stated, that the event of every battle is in a great degree a matter of chance. In a position favorable to cavalry, a dashing charge may turn defeat into victory. Or again, as at Waterloo, an unseen road, which Napoleon did not know, may baffle the shrewdest plan, and wrest from your hands the victory already grasped.

Thus, in speaking of Marengo, which was the first overwhelming triumph of the First Consul—making him, as General Cust thinks, Emperor—he

says: "The personal fame accruing to him as the victor and director of the contest has been greatly exaggerated. The battle was clearly lost at foul o'clock; and had the Austrian General been where he ought to have been, there was nothing in the renewed combinations of Napoleon which could have carried the day. But when the Austrians were surprised, and at one blow deprived both of Melas and De Zach, so slight an event as a successful charge of cavalry was enough to change completely the state of affairs, and to convert defeat into victory."

If we bore such facts in mind, we should not suffer ourselves to be profoundly depressed or foolishly elated by the success of any single engagement. We should neither suppose that "the backbone of the rebellion" was broken because Vicksburg, for instance, was taken; nor that there was no longer any hope for mankind and civil liberty because Burnside was not successful at Fredericksburg. Marengo alone would certainly not have made Napoleon Emperor. So no single victory, but continued success alone, will subdue the rebellion.


MR. STEPHEN C. MASSETT, otherwise "Colonel Jeems Pipes of Pipesville," has in the press of Carleton an autobiographical work, called "Drifting About." The title precisely expresses the scope and character of the book. "Colonel Jeems" carries his reader with him all over the world. He drifts from Botany Bay to St. Peter's; from eating Poi with the King of the Sandwich Islands to riding upon a donkey through the bazars of Cairo. From California and Oregon and Australia he passes to India, where he arrives during the Sepoy rebellion. His shrewd eye shows him in all these lands and scenes the most striking and amusing points, and his ready pen nimbly sketches them for the companions who wish to have all the pleasure of drifting without the annoyances. And as the work will be "comically illustrated," whoever selects "Colonel Jeems" as his guide, philosopher, and friend in a rapid circumnavigation of the globe will hardly fail to be diverted and instructed.


A HINT FOR THE LAZY.—The sun wouldn't be as bright as he is if it were not for his early rising.


There was a young lady of Bicester,

One day that her lover had kissed her,

She seemed quite perplexed,

And to show she was vexed

She gave such a slap to her sister.


There was a young lady of Leeds,

Her eyes were the bigness of beads;

When they said, "Do you squint?"

She replied, "I've got lint,

Which I put to my nose when it bleeds."

There was a young lady of Harrow,

Who would go to church in a barrow;

It stuck in the aisle,

And she said, with a smile,

"They build these here churches too narrow."

The first apple was eaten by the first pair.

"Man is placed in this world as a spectator; when he is tired of wondering at all the novelties about him, and not till then, does he desire to be made acquainted with the causes that create these wonders.

We are told that in Michigan they sheer sheep by machinery. We should have thought this had been a sheer impossibility.

The man that forgets a great deal that has happened has a better memory than he who remembers a great deal that never happened.

We are told to "take care;" but it comes soon enough whether we want to take it or not.

One kind of mortar is designed to fill up chinks; another to make them.

Judy Brallaghan having been requested to open some oysters, after knocking them about for some time, exclaimed, "Upon my conscience, then, but they are mighty hard to peel!"

Carriage accidents may be avoided in winter by keeping the horses' shoes and the driver's bottle well corked.

A correspondent writes to ask how much the waist of time measures round?

Mosquitoes are like doctors, they never let blood without running up a bill.

A man cut off by his baker for non-payment of his bill is "struck off the rolls."

People who like so much to talk their mind should sometimes try to mind their talk.

LINES WRITTEN ON GLASS.—The following lines are visible on a window-pane of the Hotel des Pays-Bas, Spa, Belgium:


"I love but one, and only one,

Oh, Damon, thou art he;

Love thou but one, and only one,

And let that one be me."

Why should the stars be the best astronomers?—Because they have studded (studied) the heavens ever since the creation.

A girl recently stole a pair of gloves, giving as a reason that she only wished to keep her hand in.

A garrulous barber happening to be called on to shave a celebrated wit, asked him, "How shall I shave you, Sir?" "In silence," was the reply.

Why are a pin and a poker like a blind man?—Because they have no eyes.

Beauty is a stronger wooer than loving words; so the women woo no more than we do them.

It sounds oddly that a ship of war, when at sea, keeps every one of her guns in port.

When are gloves unsalable?—When they are kept on hand.

Are the minutes relating to an affair of honor always drawn up by the seconds?

If we grasp quicksilver, it slips through the fingers; and this is apt to be the case with most silver.

Pressures in the money-market are far less pleasant to young people than pressures in the love-market.

The commonest way to steal is to buy and not pay.



ON Wednesday, January 5, in the Senate, the Military Committee made a report regarding the swords of honor belonging to the late rebel General Twiggs. The Committee recommend that one of the swords be bestowed upon General Butler, another deposited in the library of the Military Academy at West Point, and the third be preserved in the Patent Office as a trophy of the rebellion. A bill to reimburse Minnesota for expenditures incurred in suppressing Indian hostilities was referred to the Military Committee. The resolution regarding State prisoners was then taken up, and Senator Field, of New Jersey, made a speech defending the policy of suspending the writ of habeas corpus, etc. The bill empowering the President to issue letters of marque was referred to the Naval Committee. The bill forfeiting the pay of officers of the army who are absent from their duties over thirty days was passed. A bill was introduced repealing so much of the act establishing the grade of line officers in the navy as authorizes the appointment of rear-admirals and commodores on the retired list; referred to the Naval Committee. After an executive session the Senate adjourned.

—In the House, a resolution denouncing General Grant for issuing an order expelling the Jews from his department was laid on the table by a vote of 56 against 53. A resolution of thanks to General Butler for his energetic, able, and humane administration of affairs in the Department of the Gulf was offered. A motion to lay it on the table was negatived—27 against 77. The resolution was than laid aside. The debate on the Bankrupt Bill was then resumed, and several members spoke in favor of the measure. As a test of the sense of the House on the subject, a motion was made to lay the bill on the table, which was rejected by a vote of 59 yeas against 66 nays. The further consideration of the bill was then postponed till Thursday week, and the House adjourned.

On Thursday, 6th, in the Senate, the Military Committee reported back the bill to raise volunteers for the defense of Kentucky, with an amendment as a substitute. A joint resolution giving the thanks of Congress to General Rosecrans and his army, for their gallantry at Murfreesboro, was referred. The bill to tax bank-bills and fractional currency was taken up, and Senator Sherman, of Ohio, made a speech in support of the measure. The debate on the bill for the discharge of state prisoners was then resumed. Senator Saulsbury, of Delaware, severely denounced the Administration, while Senator Anthony, of Rhode Island, defended the Government. After an executive session the Senate adjourned.—In the House, a bill was reported providing ways and means for the support of the Government. The Treasury Bank bill was reported back with a negative recommendation. A resolution tendering the thanks of the House to General Butler, for his able administration of the affairs of the Department of the Gulf, was adopted by a vote of 83 to 28. A resolution calling for a detailed report of operations connected with the negroes at Port Royal, and in Georgia, was laid on the table—81 against 50. On motion of Mr. Dunn, it was resolved that the Attorney-General be requested to inform the House whether the law for the confiscation of rebel property has been enforced in the District of Columbia, and if not, the reason for delaying the execution of the same. A resolution, asking the Secretary of the Treasury why he has not provided the means for paying the army, and why the bonds heretofore authorized to be sold, if necessary, to make such payments, have not been sold, was adopted. The credentials of the member elect from the second district of Virginia, Mr. John B. M'Leod, were presented and referred. In Committee of the Whole a long and interesting debate occurred on national questions, in which Messrs. Stevens of Pennsylvania, Dunlap of Kentucky, Thomas of Massachusetts, Olin of New York, and Lovejoy of Illinois participated.

On Friday, 7th, in the Senate, a bill for the construction of a ship canal from the Mississippi River to Lake Michigan, so as to admit of the passage of armed vessels, and to enlarge the locks of Erie and Oswego canals in New York, to adapt them to the defense of the Northern lakes, was introduced and ordered to be printed Senator Willey gave notice of a bill to aid Western Virginia in the speedy and final extinguishment of slavery in that State. A bill providing for the punishment of persons convicted of crime in the District of Columbia by confinement in the prisons of States, was passed. Senator Collamer introduced a bill authorizing suits to be instituted by persons who may have been wronged by reason of summary arrest, and for the transfer of such suits to the Circuit Court of the United States. The bill was referred to the Judiciary Committee. The joint resolution for the prompt payment of the army and navy was reported back by the Finance Committee. —In the House, reports for and against raising volunteers for the defense of Tennessee, were presented by the Military Committee. The bill making appropriations for the executive, legislative, and judicial departments of the Government was passed. The Consular and Diplomatic Appropriation bill was passed. The remainder of the session was devoted to general debate on national topics, in which Messrs. Bingham, Cox, Biddle, and Norton participated.

Both Houses adjourned till Monday.

On Monday, 12th, in the Senate; the bill providing for a further issue of bonds and United States notes, with a view to the prompt payment of the army and navy, was passed. A resolution requesting the President to inform the Senate what measures have been taken to enforce the Confiscation bill, and if any additional legislation is necessary for the enforcement of such act, was adopted. A resolution requesting the Committee on the Conduct of the War to report the causes of the non-execution of the Confiscation act, especially in the District of Columbia, was adopted. Notice was given of a bill for the consolidation of regiments in the field, and to facilitate the return of absentees from the army. The bill relative to arbitrary arrests was taken up, and Senator Wilkinson, of Minnesota, made a speech, in which he charged the Democrats with plotting to break up the Government, and Quarter-master General Meigs and Adjutant-General Thomas with disloyalty. The bill to raise volunteers for the defense of Kentucky was passed by a vote of 23 against 13.—In the House, a resolution to discharge the Ways and Means Committee from the further consideration of the bill reducing the duty on imported paper, and that the same be considered in the House forthwith, was laid on the table. The committee were instructed to inquire into the expediency of reducing the duty on rags. A joint resolution, ratifying and approving of the President's emancipation proclamation was introduced, and a motion to lay it on the table was disagreed to—50 against 85. The subject was then referred to the Judiciary Committee. A resolution directing inquiry as to the expediency of granting one hundred and sixty acres of land of any confiscated rebel plantation to soldiers was adopted by a vote of 66 against 59. Mr. Stevens introduced a bill providing for the employment of 150,000 negroes in the military service. A motion to lay it on the table was lost—53 against 83—and the bill was then laid aside till Wednesday week. In Committee of the Whole the bill providing ways and means for the support of the Government was taken up, and Mr. Spaulding delivered an important speech on the subject. He concluded by saying that by military success only could the national finances be maintained and the Union restored.

On Tuesday, 13th, in the Senate, the petition in favor of mediation in our affairs by Switzerland was reported back from the Foreign Affairs Committee with the recommendation that it be indefinitely postponed, which was agreed to. A bill for the consolidation of regiments in the field was introduced and referred. A resolution was adopted requesting the President to furnish the Senate with all official correspondence in reference to the capture of British vessels carrying articles contraband of war intended for the Southern rebels. A resolution was also adopted requesting the President to communicate the correspondence, if any there be, between the State Department and

the Mexican Minister at Washington relative to exportations contraband of war from any of our ports to those of Mexico. The death of the late Senator James A. Pearce, of Maryland, was then announced, and, after eulogies on the deceased by different members, the Senate, out of respect to his memory, adjourned.—In the House, the Speaker announced Messrs. Fenton of New York, Kellogg of Illinois, Wadsworth of Kentucky, and English of Connecticut, as a special committee to inquire into the expediency and necessity of a direct railroad between New York and Washington, for the purpose of facilitating the transportation of mails, troops, arms and war munitions. The House then went into Committee of the Whole on the bill to provide ways and means for the support of Government, and Mr. Morrill, of Vermont, spoke at some length on the subject. A message from the Senate, announcing the death of Senator Pearce, of Maryland, was received, and various members, in fitting words, offered tributes to his memory, after which appropriate resolutions were adopted, and the House adjourned.


General Sherman's repulse at Vicksburg was complete. The entire force, under General McClernand, re-embarked on 3d on transports, closely followed by the rebel advance, which, coming in range of the gun-boats, were driven back with severe loss. Our loss, as near as could be ascertained, was six hundred killed, one thousand five hundred wounded, and one thousand missing.

A council of war was held on 4th on board the Tigress, which vessel for the present has been selected by General McClernand as his head-quarters. Admiral Porter, Major-Generals Sherman and McClernand, with the Generals of the divisions of the army in Kentucky were present. It was determined at this council that it would be folly again to attempt any thing further against Vicksburg with the present force. The rebels had means of communication by which they were too rapidly and heavily reinforced, while the Unionists had no such opportunity or prospect of receiving reinforcements. It was, therefore, deemed expedient that the campaign should be abandoned for the present.

A telegraphic dispatch from General Pemberton to the rebel Secretary of War, dated on the 8th, says that all the Union troops have gone up the river; that there were only seven gun-boats between Vicksburg and Milliken's Bend, and that the city was being strengthened every day, and could be maintained against all attacks. The rebel Generals Pemberton and Price are in command there. The rebel forces have been reinforced to the extent of sixty thousand men. They have an artillery force of one hundred and sixty guns in battery, besides a large number of field-pieces. Our losses in the expedition are from two thousand five hundred to three thousand in killed, wounded, and missing. The enemy's loss is unknown, but it must have been large.


Dispatches from Memphis state that Commodore Porter's squadron, together with a land force under General McClernand, have gone up the White River. General Grant had arrived at Memphis. Holly Springs is said to be nearly consumed.


The rebels made an attack on Galveston, Texas, by land and water, on New-Year's Day, and recaptured it. They made a bold assault on steamers protected by cotton bales, from behind which they poured so murderous a fire upon our gun-boats that the Harriet Lane had to succumb, and was taken, after being boarded by the rebel sharp-shooters, and her captain (Wainwright) and most of her crew killed. The flag-ship Westfield was blown up by her commander, Captain Renshaw, in order to save her from capture. He and his first lieutenant and many of his crew perished with her. The small command under Colonel Burrill, at Galveston, were nearly all killed or taken prisoners. We give on page 60 a map of Galveston, which illustrates the event.

The Richmond Enquirer, in describing it, says: "General Magruder, in his official dispatch concerning the capture of the Harriet Lane, says, 'I have taken six hundred prisoners and a large quantity of valuable stores, arms, etc. The Harriet Lane is but little injured.'"

The rebels numbered about 5000. Colonel Burrill's troops did not exceed 300. Our loss is estimated at 160 killed and 200 taken prisoners.


On January 8 the rebels, 6000 strong, under Generals Marmaduke and Burbridge, made an attack on the town of Springfield, Missouri, and opened fire upon it without giving notice to remove the women and children. General Brown defended the town. A body of fully 1000 rebel cavalry were visible, drawn up in line of battle.

On 12th General Curtis telegraphed to General Halleck that our troops, under Colonel Crabb, at Springfield, had repulsed the rebels at that place at every advance, and then held the town. Our men behaved gallantly. We lost only 17 killed. The enemy were in full retreat, and General Curtis had three columns in pursuit of them. Thirty-five of the rebels were killed, and a large number of wounded were left in our hands.


Intelligence from the vicinity of Murfreesboro is to the effect that General Bragg had fallen back to Tullahoma, to give his army rest. Tullahoma is situated on Rock Creek, seventy-one miles from Nashville and thirty-two from Murfreesboro, and on the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad, where it intercepts the M'Minnville and Manchester road. According to a rebel dispatch from Chattanooga, "The enemy [General Rosecrans] has advanced his line seven miles this side of Murfreesboro. He has been guilty of the most outrageous enormities, stealing private property, robbing peaceable citizens, and running off negroes."


Jeff Davis has been making another speech at Mobile, in which he talks hopefully and boastingly of the ultimate success of the South over "the Yankees, who are seeking to enchain us in the same degrading servitude with themselves, with a baboon for a king."


The Alabama appears to have turned up on the 12th ult. off the desert island of Banquitta, coast of Venezuela, where she took in coal from a vessel awaiting her there. The San Jacinto arrived there just twenty-four hours after the pirate left.

Another report says that she has gone to the south coast of Asia.


The State House at Baton Rouge, the capital of Louisiana, now occupied by General Banks, was totally destroyed by fire on the 28th of December. The library and all the buildings connected with this fine structure were burned to the ground. It was strongly and plausibly suspected that the disaster was the work of rebel incendiaries.


It appears by the Southern papers that Hon. Richard Yeadon has offered a reward of ten thousand dollars for the head of General Benjamin F. Butler. This Yeadon is editor of the Charleston Courier, and is known among the fraternity by the sobriquet of "Sancho Panza." From his personal appearance we should judge that he never had money enough to buy himself a respectable-looking coat.




THE working men of Manchester have made an important demonstration in support of the cause of the American Union, expressing at the same time their approval of the war and emancipation policy of President Lincoln by the adoption of an address of congratulation to him. The Mayor of Manchester presided, but not in his official capacity, and the negro, Jackson, ex-coachman of Jeff Davis, was on the platform. A Union effort "to coerce the South" found favor, and was indorsod by the resolutions.




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