General Fitz-John Porter Court Martial


This Site:

Civil War

Civil War Overview

Civil War 1861

Civil War 1862

Civil War 1863

Civil War 1864

Civil War 1865

Civil War Battles

Confederate Generals

Union Generals

Confederate History

Robert E. Lee

Civil War Medicine

Lincoln Assassination


Site Search

Civil War Links


Civil War Art

Mexican War

Republic of Texas


Winslow Homer

Thomas Nast

Mathew Brady

Western Art

Civil War Gifts

Robert E. Lee Portrait

Civil War Harper's Weekly, January 3, 1863

This WEB site features an online archive of original Civil War Harper's Weekly newspapers. We have put this collection on the internet to help facilitate your study and research on the Civil War. The collection contains many unique illustrations and reports.

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


Thomas Nast Santa Claus

Civil War Christmas

Lincoln Cabinet Shake Up

Lincoln Cabinet Shake Up

Burnside's Fredericksburg Report

General Burnside's Fredericksburg Report

Battle of Fredericksburg Discription

Battle of Fredericksburg Description

Court Martial

Fitz-John Porter Court Martial

Admiral Semmes

Admiral Semmes

Fredericksburg Cartoon

Fredericksburg Cartoon


Attack of Fredericksburg

The Attack of Fredericksburg

Fighting in the Street's of Fredericksburg

Court Martial

Court Martial

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve



JANUARY 3, 1863.]





THE accompanying MAP will enable our readers to understand the recent movements of our armies in North Carolina. General Foster has taken the little town of Kinston, North Carolina, on the Neuse River, and was at latest dates en route for Goldsborough, and perhaps Weldon. On the other side, the army of the Blackwater, which is commanded by General Dix, made a strong reconnoissance toward Zuni, evidently aiming at the same point—Weldon. We presume that time will develop this important strategical plan, and that the Generals in charge will be enabled to carry it out successfully.


ON page 12 we illustrate the COURT-MARTIAL ON GENERAL FITZ-JOHN PORTER, which is now being held at Washington. The accused is being tried on various charges, the joint of which is disobedience of the orders of his commanding-officer, Major-General John Pope. General Pope charges that General Porter, by failing to move to his support at the hour mentioned, enabled the rebels to defeat him, and prevented his destroying them, as he would otherwise have done. General Porter claims that he did all that he could, and is in nowise answerable for the disasters of Pope's campaign. Additional interest is imparted to the trial by the circumstance that General Porter is identified more or less with the McClellan interest, and General Pope has enjoyed, and may still enjoy, the confidence of General Halleck. The Members of the Court are Major-Generals Hunter, King, Hitchcock, and Casey, and Brigadier- Generals Ricketts, Garfield, Prentiss, Buford, Slough, and Lord. Judge Holt is Judge-Advocate. The accused is assisted by his counsel,' Reverdy Johnson. General Pope is present watching the proceedings in citizen's dress.


ONLY another sword

Dripping with human blood; Only another drop

Swelling the crimson flood.

Only another tear

Wiped from the face of time;

Only a brother dear

Lost in his manhood's prime!


Smoothly the garments fold

Over the silent breast.

Only another soul

Gone to its dreamless rest!


"EVERY young man ought to enlist—every one!"

Letty Dallas flashed the blue light of her eyes, half smiling half scornful, upon Mr. St. Mayne as she spoke. A straight, lithe maiden, with black ripples of shining hair, and blue eyes, full of shadow, like late-blossomed violets, it was not in the nature of any male individual to endure her sprightly badinage unmoved. Yet Marcy St. Mayne only smiled as he stood quietly watching her.

"Are you so very anxious to secure volunteers, Miss Letty?"

"Anxious? of course I am! Come, Mr. St. Mayne, follow your brother's example, and turn soldier!"

St. Mayne smiled with provoking coolness.

"Oh, if I could only inspire you with a spark of my enthusiasm!" said Letty, with glowing cheeks and flashing eyes. "What sacrifice wouldn't I make for the Banner of Stars!"

"Would you really sacrifice much?"

"Any thing—every thing!"

St. Mayne lifted his long dark lashes, and looked her full in the face with an expression she could hardly comprehend!

"Am I beginning to make some impression on that icicle nature of yours?" she laughed. "What bounty shall I offer? A ribbon? a smile? or a bouquet?"

"Letty!" said St. Mayne, calmly and deliberately, "I do require bounty—a bounty beyond money and beyond price!"

"What a solemn preface!" said Letty, lightly. "Well?"

"I will be your soldier, Letty, and fight as man never fought before, until your own lips bid me lay down the sword, if you will reward me, some day, with your own sweet self. That is the bounty I require!"

The deep crimson which had dyed her face turned suddenly to ashy whiteness—she leaned against the carved marble cupids of the mantle, that he might not see how she trembled.

"No, no! I can not! I can not! Any thing but that!" broke from her quivering lips.

"Pardon me!" said St. Mayne, "I see I have overestimated the amount of the sacrifice you are prepared to make for your country. You are willing that we men should baptize with our blood the steps that lead to Freedom's altar, yet you can not give up one idle dream, one girlish fancy, in its behalf. Do I seem harsh?" he added, as her eyes were raised appealingly to his face. "Nay, I did not mean it. There, Miss Letty, our negotiations shall be forgotten!"

"Stop, Mr. St. Mayne!" she said, folding her little hands so tightly together that the pink-tipped nails turned to rose leaves. "You are right in speaking bitterly of idle fancies. I accept your proposition—go, as my representative, on to the battle-field!"

His face lighted up with sudden brilliance.

"And then?"

"And then—your devoirs shall not be unrewarded."

He took the cold hand tenderly in his.

"I will lay down my life, if need be, in token of my thanks," he said.

Over—it was all over! She had given up all that a woman holds dearest for her country's sake, yet she hushed the sobs that struggled up from her breaking heart, and tried to think she had done right. And then she took a tiny-folded paper from her bosom—only a playful note about some japonicas that Walter St. Mayne had once written her, and burned it, without daring to read its contents over.

"I can not lay down my life for the good cause," she moaned, "but I can yield up my life's happiness. When a soldier falls, shot through the heart, the pain is over; but oh! mine will ache on forever. Yet I should not repine—it is for my country."

White and silent, she sat there, while the sunset flamed through the silken purple folds of the curtains, and touched the dark old paintings with gold. Sweet, faint odors rose from the marble vases of heliotrope and roses in the bay-window—to Lefty they seemed like the scent of those pale flowers that grow in cemetery shadows. And the gray, gray twilight came at last.

The night before the battle! St. Mayne never forgot the starry silence of the heavens without—the peculiar aromatic odor of the pine cones crackling on the stone hearth of the rude Virginia cabin —not even the ragged crevices in the log wall. He remembered them all as long as memory and life endured.

There was a light, elastic step on the threshold, a clink of spurs against the floor, and a tall, brown-faced officer stood beside him, laying a careless hand on St. Mayne's shoulder.

"Writing letters, Marcy? Don't lay them aside —there are no secrets between brothers."

"You are right," said St. Mayne; "there should be none. I am writing to my engaged wife."

Walter St. Mayne held out his hand in smiling congratulation.

"Engaged, old fellow! And never told me? But who is the lady?"

"Miss Dallas—our lovely little Letty."

"Dallas! Letty Dallas!"

Walter St. Mayne's head fell on his folded arms, both resting on the rude camp-table, and a low groan broke from his lips.

"Walter, are you ill?"

"No, not ill," stammered the young man, in a stifled voice. "Only I am tired, and these pine-cone fires have such a suffocating smell. Don't be uneasy. I shall be better soon. Go on writing to—to Letty Dallas."

St. Mayne looked at his brother's drooping head with a keen, agonized gaze. He asked no questions, but quietly folded away his papers, and sat regarding the fire until Walter St. Mayne looked up again.

"We are to fight to-morrow, they tell me, Walter," he said. "Well, I'm glad of it. But, Walter, if—" He paused a moment, then resumed, "if I fall, you will not forget the brother who loved you far better than his own life. Promise me that!"

And Walter promised, with his forehead resting on Marcy's shoulder, where it had often, often lain when they were both boys.

But Marcy St. Mayne did not fall. By his side, through all the din and tumult of battle, walked his unseen guardian-angel; and when he bore his young brother from the red field, a sabre-wound across his brow, the shout of "Victory!" sounded like a paean in his ears.

The purple curtains were drawn to shut out the storm and darkness—the gilded clock ticked softly

on the mantle of the room where Letty Dallas sat all alone, her dimpled cheek resting on her hand, while the unshed tears sparkled on her lashes brighter than any diamonds.

Suddenly the door was opened, and a servant announced "Lieutenant St. Mayne!"

She started up, pale and trembling; then he was come at last to claim her troth.

How changed he was as he stood before her—how the calm, steadfast brightness of his eyes perplexed her!

"Letty," he said, "by all the rules of love and war I am your captive."

She stood spell-bound in the magnetic light of his glance. "But," he added, "I wish to effect a change of prisoners."

"A change of prisoners?"

"Even so, dearest; and here is your other captive!" He stepped back, and Letty's wondering eyes fell on a tall young soldier, who had lingered in the shadow of the door-way—a handsome fellow, whose brown curls hid the fresh scar on his brow—. her old lover, who had never dared to tell his love. Ah! he had grown braver now.

Well, true love is not exactly selfish but self-absorbed, and it was not until Walter rose to take leave, at the chimes of midnight, that they remembered that Marcy had slipped away long since.

The next day Letty received a little note, containing only the following words in Marcy St. Mayne's handwriting:

"By the time you receive this, my dear little sister-elect, I shall be en route for camp once more, feeling sure that I may safely leave Walter to your nursing. Let me add that I have fought one battle for you, and I hope to fight many more for my country.   M. ST. M."

And in the sunshine of her great happiness Letty Dallas never knew the everlasting eclipse that had come over Marcy St. Mayne's life!

North Carolina Map




Site Copyright 2003-2018 Son of the South. For Questions or comments about this collection, contact

privacy policy

Are you Scared and Confused? Read My Snake Story, a story of hope and encouragement, to help you face your fears.