Confederate Ironclad Atlanta


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, July 11, 1863

Welcome to our online collection of Harper's Weekly newspapers. Harper's Weekly was the most popular illustrated newspaper of the day, and our online archive will serve as a source of incredible details on the war. Serious students today can gain interesting insights into the important events of the war by diving into this incredible resource.

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


General Meade

General Meade

Harlem Railway

Harlem Railway Affair

Meade Takes Command

General Meade Takes Command


Pirate "Tacony"


Upperville Battle


Confederate Ironclad "Atlanta"

Upperville Battle

Battle of Upperville

Major Kiernan

Major Kiernan

Siege of Vicksburg

Picture of the Siege of Vicksburg

Port Hudson

Pictures of the Siege of Port Hudson

Capture of Atlanta

Capture of the Ironclad "Atlanta"

Drummer Boy

Drummer Boy

Pennsylvania Cartoon

Pennsylvania Cartoon










JULY 11, 1863.]



Thibout, of whom it might be said, like face like life; for he was one of those ill-omened creatures, who feed upon the misfortunes of their kind, and stand on shore in foul weather hoping the worst, instead of praying for the best: briefly, a wrecker. He and his comrade, Jacques Moinard, had heard the Agra's gun fired, and come down to batten on the wreck: but lo! at the turn of the tide, there were gens d'armes and soldiers lining the beach; and the Bayonet interposed between Theft and Misfortune. So now the desperate pair were prowling about like hungry, baffled wolves, curses on their lips, and rage at their hearts.

Dodd was extremely anxious to get to Barkington before the news of the wreck; for otherwise he knew his wife and children would suffer a year's agony in a single day. The only chance he saw was to get to Boulogne in time to catch the Nancy sailing packet; for it was her day. But then Boulogne was eight leagues distant, and there was no public conveyance going. Fullalove, entering heartily into his feelings, was gone to look for horses to hire, aided by the British Consul. The black hero was up stairs clearing out with a pin two holes that had fallen into decay for want of use. Those holes were in his ears.

And now, worn out by anxiety and hard work, Dodd began to nod in his chair by the fire.

He had not been long asleep when the hideous face of Thibout reappeared at the window, and watched him: presently a low whistle was uttered outside, and soon the two ruffians entered the room, and, finding the landlady there as well as Dodd, called for a little glass apiece of absinthe: while drinking it they cast furtive glances toward Dodd, and waited till she should go about her business, and leave them alone with him.

But the good woman surprised their looks, and knowing the character of the men, poured out a cup of coffee from a great metal reservoir by the fire, and waked Dodd without ceremony: "Voici votre cafe, Monsieur!" making believe he had ordered it.

"Merci, madame!" replied he, for his wife had taught him a little French.

"One may sleep mal a propos," muttered the woman in his ear. "My man is at the fair, and there are people here, who are not worth any great things."

Dodd rubbed his eyes and saw those two foul faces at the end of the kitchen: for such it was, though called salle a manger. "Humph!" said he; and instinctively buttoned his coat.

At that Thibout touched Moinard's knee under the table.

Fullalove came in soon after, to say he had got two horses, and they would be here in a quarter of an hour.

"Well, but Vespasian, how is he to go?" inquired Dodd.

"Oh, we'll send him on ahead, and then ride and tie."

"No, no," said Dodd, "I'll go ahead. That will shake me up. I think I should tumble off a horse; I'm so dead sleepy."

Accordingly he started to walk on the road to Boulogne.

He had not been gone three minutes when Moinard sauntered out.

Moinard had not been gone two minutes when Thibout strolled out.

Moinard kept Dodd in sight, and Thibout kept Moinard.

The horses were brought soon after; but unfortunately the pair did not start immediately; though, had they known it, every moment was precious. They wasted time in argument. Vespasian had come down with a diamond ring in one ear, and a ruby in the other. Fullalove saw this retrograde step, and said, grimly: "Have you washed but half your face, or—is this a return to savagery?"

Vespasian wore an air of offended dignity: "No, Sar, these yar decorations come off a lady ob i cibilization: Missy Beresford donated em me. Says she, 'Massah Black'—yah! yah! She always nicknomnates dis child Massa Black—'while I was praying Goramighty for self and pickaninny, I seen you out of one corner of my eye admirationing my rings; den just you take em,' says dat ar aristocracy: 'for I don't admirationize em none; I've been shipwrecked.' So I took em wid incredible condescension; and dat ar beautiful lady says to me, "Oh, get along wid your nonsense about colored skins! I have inspectionated your conduct, Massah Black, and likewise your performances on the slack rope,' says she, in time of shipwreck: and darn me,' says she, but you are a man, you are.' 'No, Missy,' says I, superciliously, 'dis child am not a man, if you please, but a colored gemman.'" He added, he had put them in his ears because the biggest would not go on his little finger.

Fullalove groaned. "And, of course, the next thing, you'll ring your snout like a pig, or a Patagonian; there, come along, ye darn'd—Anomaly."

He was going to say "Cuss," but remembering his pupil's late heroic conduct, softened it down to Anomaly.

But Vespasian always measured the force of words by their length or obscurity. "Anomaly" cut him to the heart: he rode off in moody silence and dejection, asking himself sorrowfully what he had done that such a mountain of vituperation should fall on him. "Anomaly!!"

They cantered along in silence; for Fullalove was digesting this new trait in his pupil; and asking himself could he train it out; or must he cross it out. Just outside the town they met Captain Robarts walking in; he had landed three miles off down the coast. "Hallo!" said Fullalove.

"I suppose you thought I was drowned?" said Robarts, spitefully; "but you see I'm alive still."

Fullalove replied: "Well, Captain; that is only one mistake more, I reckon."

About two English miles from the town they came to a long straight slope up and down, where they could see a league before them; and there they caught sight of David Dodd's tall figure mounting the opposite rise.

Behind him at some little distance were two men going the same way, but on the grass by the roadside, whereas David was on the middle of the road.

"He walks well for Jacky Tar!" said Fullalove.

"Iss Sar," said Vespasian, sulkily; "but dis analogy' tink he not walk so fast as those two behind him, cos they catch him up."

Now Vespasian had hardly uttered these words, when a thing occurred, so sudden and alarming, that the speaker's eyes protruded, and he was dumbfounded a moment; the next a loud cry burst from both him and his companion at once; and they lashed their horses to the gallop and went tearing down the hill in a fury of rage and apprehension.

Mr. Fullalove was right, I think: a sailor is seldom a smart walker; but Dodd was a cricketer, you know, as well: he swung along at a good pace, and in high spirits. He had lost nothing but a few clothes, and a quadrant, and a chronometer; it was a cheap wreck to him, and a joyful one: for peril past is present delight. He had saved his life; and what he valued more, his children's money. Never was that dear companion of his perils so precious to him as now. One might almost fancy that, by some strange sympathy, he felt the immediate happiness of his daughter depended on it. Many in my day believe that human minds can thus communicate, overleaping material distances. Not knowing I can't say. However, no such solution is really needed here. All the members of a united and loving family feel together, and work together—without specific concert—though hemispheres lie between: it is one of the beautiful traits of true family affection: now the Dodds, father, mother, sister, brother, were more one in heart and love than any other family I ever saw: woe to them if they had not.

David, then, walked toward Boulogne that afternoon a happy man. Already he tasted by anticipation the warm caresses of his wife and children, and saw himself seated at the hearth, with those beloved ones clustering close round him. How would he tell them Its adventures—Its dangers from pirates—Its loss at sea—Its recovery—Its wreck—Its coming ashore dry as a bone: and conclude by taking It out of his bosom, and dropping It in his wife's lap with cheer boys cheer!

Trudging on in this delightful reverie, his ear detected a pit pat at some distance behind him: he looked round with very slight curiosity, and saw two men coming up: even in that hasty glance he recognized the foul face of Andre Thibout: a face not to be forgotten in a day. I don't know how it was, but he saw in a moment that face was after him to rob him: and he naturally enough concluded It was their object.

And he was without a weapon; and they were doubtless armed. Indeed Thibout was swinging a heavy cudgel.

Poor Dodd's mind went into a whirl, and his body into a cold sweat. In such moments men live a year. To gain a little time he walked swiftly on, pretending not to have noticed them: but oh his eyes roved wildly to each side of the road for a chance of escape. He saw none. To his right was a precipitous rock; to his left a profound ravine with a torrent below, and the sides scantily clothed with fir-trees and bushes: he was in fact near the top of a long rising ground called "le mauvais cote," on account of a murder committed there two hundred years ago.

Presently he heard the men close behind him. At the same moment he saw at the side of the ravine a flint stone about the size of two fists: he made but three swift strides, snatched it up, and turned to meet the robbers, drawing himself up high and showing fight in every inch.

The men were upon him. His change of attitude was so sudden and fiery that they recoiled a step. But it was only for a moment: they had gone too far to retreat; they divided, and Thibout attacked him on his left with uplifted cudgel, and Moinard on his right with a long glittering knife: the latter, to guard his head from the stone, whipped off his hat and held it before his head: "but Dodd was what is called "left handed:" "ambidexter" would be nearer the mark; he carved and wrote with his right hand, heaved weights and flung cricket balls with his left. He stepped forward, flung the stone in Thibout's face with perfect precision, and that bitter impetus a good thrower lends at the moment of delivery: and almost at the same moment shot out his right hand and caught Moinard by the throat. Sharper and fiercer collision was never seen than of these three.

Thibout's face crashed; his blood squirted all round the stone; and eight yards off lay that assailant on his back.

Moinard was more fortunate: he got two inches of his knife into Dodd's left shoulder, at the very moment Dodd caught him in his right hand vice. And now one vengeful hand of iron grasped him felly by the throat; another seized his knife arm and twisted it back like a child's: he kicked and struggled furiously: but in half a minute the mighty English arm, and iron fingers, held the limp body of Jacques Moinard, with its knees knocking, temples bursting, throat relaxed, eyes protruding, and livid tongue lolling down to his chin: a few seconds more, and with the

same stalwart arm that kept his relaxed and sinking body from falling, Dodd gave him one fierce whirl round to the edge of the road, then put a foot to his middle, and spurned his carcass with amazing force and fury down the precipice. Crunch, crunch! it plunged from tree to tree, from bush to bush, and at last rolled into a thick bramble and there stuck in the form of a crescent. But Dodd had no sooner sent him headlong by that mighty effort, than his own sight darkened, his head swam, and, after staggering a little way, he sank down in a state bordering on insensibility.

Meantime Fullalove and Vespasian were galloping down the opposite hill to his rescue.

Unfortunately Andre Thibout was not dead; nor even mortally wounded. He was struck on the nose and mouth: that nose was flat for the rest of his life, and half his front teeth were battered out of their sockets: but he fell, not from the brain being stunned, but the body driven to earth by the mere physical force of so momentous a blow: knocked down like a nine-pin. He now sat up bewildered, and found himself in a pool of blood, his own. He had little sensation of pain; but he put his hand to his face and found scarce a trace of his features; and his hand came away gory. He groaned.

Rising to his feet, he saw Dodd sitting at some distance: his first impulse was to fly from so terrible an antagonist: but, as he made for the ravine, he observed that Dodd was in a helpless condition: wounded perhaps by Moinard. And where was Moinard?

Nothing visible of him but his knife: that lay glittering in the road.

Thibout, with anxious eye turned toward Dodd, kneeled to pick it up: and in the act a drop of his own blood fell on the dust beside it. He snarled like a wounded tiger; spat out half a dozen teeth: and crept on tip-toe to his safe revenge.

Awake from your lethargy, or you are a dead man!

No. Thibout got to him unperceived, and the knife glittered over his head.

At this moment the air seemed to fill with clattering hoofs and voices, and a pistol-shot rang. Dodd heard and started, and so saw his peril. He put up his left hand to parry the blow; but feebly. Luckily for him Thibout's eyes were now turned another way, and glaring with stupid terror out of his mutilated visage: a gigantic, mounted fiend, with black face and white gleaming, rolling eyes, was coming at him like the wind, uttering horrid howls; Thibout launched himself at the precipice with a shriek of dismay, and went rolling after his comrade: but, ere he had gone ten yards, he fell across a young larch-tree, and hung balanced. Up came the foaming horses: Fullalove dismounted hastily and fired three deliberate shots down at Thibout from his revolver. He rolled off, and never stopped again till he splashed into the torrent, and lay there, staining it with blood from his battered face and perforated shoulder.

Vespasian jumped off, and with glistening eyes administered some good brandy to Dodd. He, unconscious of his wound, a slight one, relieved their anxiety by assuring them somewhat faintly he was not hurt, but that, ever since that "tap on the head" he got in the Straits of Gaspar, any angry excitement told on him, made his head swim, and his temples seem to swell from the inside:

"I should have come off second best but for you, my dear friends. Shake hands over it, do! Oh, Lord bless you! Lord bless you both! As for you, Vespasian, I do think you are my guardian angel. Why, this is the second time you've saved It. No, it isn't: for it's the third."

"Now you git along, Massa Capn," said Vespasian. "You bery good man, ridiculous good man: and dis child ain't no gardening angel at all; he ar a darned Anatomy" (with such a look of offended dignity at Fullalove).

After examining the field of battle, and comparing notes, they mounted Dodd on Vespasian's horse, and walked quietly till Dodd's head got better; and then they cantered on three abreast, Vespasian in the middle with one sinewy hand on each horse's mane; and such was his muscular power that he often relieved his feet by lifting himself clean into the air: and the rest of the time his toe but touched the ground: and he sailed like an ostrich: and grinned and chattered like a monkey.

Sad to relate neither Thibout nor Moinard was ended. The guillotine stood on its rights. Meantime, what was left of them crawled back to the town stiff and sore; and supped together —Moinard on liquids only—and vowed revenge on all wrecked people.

The three reached Boulogne in time for the Nancy, and put Dodd on board: the pair decided to go to the Yankee Paradise—Paris.

They parted with regret and tenderly like old tried friends; and Vespasian told Dodd, with the tears in his eyes, that, though he was in point of fact only a darned Anemone, he felt like a colored Gemman at parting from his dear old Captain.

The master of the Nancy knew Dodd well, and gave him a nice cot to sleep in. He tumbled in with a bad headache, and quite worn out; and never woke for fifteen hours.

And when he did wake he was safe at Barkington.

He and It landed on the quay. He made for home.

On the way he passed Hardie's Bank; a firm synonymous in his mind with the Bank of England.

A thrill of joy went through him. Now It was safe. When he first sewed It on in China, It seemed secure nowhere except on his own person. But, since then, the manifold perils by sea and land It had encountered through being on him, had caused a strong reaction in his mind

on that point. He longed to see It safe out of his own hands, and in good custody.

He made for Hardie's door with a joyful rush, waved his cap over his head in triumph, and entered the Bank with It.




WE illustrate on page 440 the capture of the famous rebel iron-clad Atlanta, alias Fingal, by the monitor Weehawken, Captain Rodgers. Our picture is from a sketch by an attentive amateur now at Admiral DuPont's head-quarters. A letter to the Washington National Intelligencer thus graphically describes the affair:

PORT ROYAL, June 19, 1863.

The capture in Warsaw Sound of the Confederate iron-clad Atlanta, alias Fingal, by Captain Rodgers, of the Weehawken, is a splendid affair, and the most important naval capture of the war. She is the finest and most powerful vessel the Confederates have ever had, and far more formidable than was the Merrimac; and the result of the action has proved the advantage and terrible efficacy of the 15-inch gums, and fully sustains the Department in the introduction of these guns, notwithstanding the great opposition to them.

The Atlanta came down with the most confident expectation of promptly capturing our iron-clads—the Weehawken, Captain Rodgers, and the Nahant, Captain Downs. She was first discovered approaching in the gray of the morning, when the Weehawken slipped her cable and stood down the Sound, but soon turned toward her gigantic opponent, closely followed by the Nahant. The Atlanta fired three of her heavy rifled guns before the Weehawken opened upon her with her 15-inch gun, throwing a solid shot of four hundred and forty pounds; that first shot virtually decided the action, for the terrible missile tore through her thick iron plating, backed by twenty-four inches of solid timber, as if it were stubble, and prostrated about forty of her crew, some by splinters, but the most part by the mere concussion, without being personally touched. One of her lieutenants told me he was struck down by it, and, though untouched, be could not get up for ten minutes. The next shot struck one of the iron port-stoppers, knocking it into fragments, and wounding seventeen men. The third shot smashed the top of the pilot-house, wounding two of the pilots, and stunned the two men at the wheel, prostrating the whole four on the floor of the pilot-house. The fourth shot struck her on the knuckle; that is, where the iron casemate joins at a sharp angle the iron plating of the side; and the fifth shot went through her smoke-stack. Every shot struck her, the precision of fire being admirable. The first gun was pointed by Captain lodgers himself. After the fifth gun she hauled down her flag, and run up a white one. The whole thing, from the firing of the first gun, was over in fifteen minutes, and never were men so utterly confounded and surprised at a result as were her officers. So confident were they of success that two steamers came down to tow the prizes back to Savannah, and they were filled with ladies to witness the fight and certain victory.

The Atlanta has cost the rebel Government a million of dollars—of our money, not Confederate paper—and she is filled with valuable stores. Their plan was, after capturing the Weehawken and Nahant, to join the iron-clads in Charleston harbor, and raise the blockade of all the Southern ports; for they consider her as a sea-going cruiser. What infinite mischief has been saved by her capture, to say nothing of its great moral effect by demonstrating the immense effectiveness of our Monitors, and cowing the rebels in their future movements with their iron-roofed Merrimacs!

Captain Downs, in the Nahant, was gallantly endeavoring to run close alongside the Atlanta, so as to give her an effective fire at very close quarters, believing, from the advices they had of her, that his shot would not penetrate at a distance which was greater than that of the Weehawken, but the fight was so promptly settled that he had not the opportunity of firing a single shot, and the Weehawken only five.

The machinery of the Atlanta is untouched, and she will be at once added to this squadron; for her other injuries do not interfere with her active service.

This vessel has been a perfect thorn in the flesh; for she has required constant watching, and might at any time have taken advantage of the absence of the iron-clads on other service to come here and destroy all our wooden vessels, not only store-ships and transports, but also our wooden vessels of war; and great credit is due to her captors, for they handled their vessel with consummate skill, and the result is a cause of great and general congratulation throughout the squadron.

A correspondent of the Philadelphia Inquirer gives the following elaborate account of the Atlanta:

The Atlanta is armed with six guns, one 7-inch pivot gun fore and aft, and two 6-inch guns on each broadside. These guns are all the Brooks guns, which, you will recollect, made such good execution against our iron-clads in the late attack on Charleston. They are also rifled, and throw that long steel-pointed missile of English manufactare. The Atlanta has two magazines, one fore and one aft, well protected, and upon opening one of them, five hundred rounds of ammunition were found in it. The other magazine is supposed to contain the same amount, and, indeed. her officers say that she has on board one thousand rounds. When you consider that one hundred rounds is a ship's regular armament you can not but conclude that the Atlanta's cruise intended some damage. She had also, in addition, a plentiful supply of torpedoes, cutlasses, boarding pikes, guns, revolvers, etc. Her armament is truly gigantic.

She has, inside, three decks; first, the gun-deck, 200 feet long by 40 wide; immediately below this is a deck 280 feet long, which is subdivided into the captain's cabin aft, ward-room, the petty officers' quarters, and forward the men's quarters. Below this deck is the third, the orlop-deck, in which are stored all the stores, provisions, etc. Immediately fore and aft of this deck are the magazines. The engines and their necessary complements of course occupy the centre of the vessel. These engines are the same which were in her when she ran the blockade as the old Fingal. They were built on the Clyde, and are models for their beauty and action.

First and on the outside were wrought-iron bars, six inches wide by two inches thick, running perpendicularly with her side, and properly secured, both above and below, by rivets and bolts. Across these bars, horizontally, and on the inside, ran bars of like material and pattern, fastened to the outside layer by the strongest rivets. Within this layer, and fastened to it, were two thicknesses of live-oak two-inch plank, also running perpendicularly and horizontally; and again within these were two more similar thicknesses of Georgia pine plank, forming the last series of her armor. You will thus see that her armor is twelve inches thick, and presenting all the solidity which could be given it by four inches of wrought-iron, four inches of live-oak, and four inches of Georgia pine.

Her port-holes, however, were made especially strong. Extra layers of iron and plank, so that the embrasure measures, from the inside to the outside, forty inches.

Her length from bow to stern-post is a small fraction over 300 feet. The gun-deck covering is, at its bast, 200 feet long and 40 feet in width, and at its top 100 feet in length by 14 feet in breadth. You will thus see that her roof does not slope all the way up, but has a very respectable top deck. From the gun-deck to the roof the perpendicular height is 6 feet, and the sides of the roof sloping at an angle of forty-five degrees, the standing height is 8 feet. The lower edge of the roof is 20 inches above water-mark, so that she stands above the water about 8 feet. From her aft roof edge it is 50 feet to the stern-post, and from her fore roof edge it is also 50 feet to her bow. The distance from her gun-deck to her keel is 16 feet and a fraction over. Her steering apparatus is perfect, and her rudder completely submerged in the water, thereby being in the safest place imaginable. Her iron plating extends 2 feet below the water-line.




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