General Meade Takes Command


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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.]



(Previous Page) learned in this war we have learned by being taken by the throat; but we have learned them one after the other.

It will be so in this case. Looking at the matter plainly, as it stands to-day, there is obviously no reason why any column of trained rebel troops, twenty thousand strong, should not move directly upon Harrisburg and Philadelphia, or Baltimore. Certainly no man doubts that a cavalry troop of five hundred, for instance, could enter New York from the Pennsylvania line in the neighborhood of Elmira, make a swoop around as far as the Canada line, and escape by a different route. What would the chance companies of raw men hurried together be able to effect against a trained troop of desperadoes? What could the regiments of Pennsylvania militia, totally unused to military action, effect against one of Lee's army columns?

Thus, if the rebels burn Harrisburg before these words are printed, the shame will be, not that the city is burned, but that it could be burned. In other words, that Pennsylvania has felt so little the need of a warlike basis of society during a civil war, that she has lain at the mercy of any daring guerrilla. From the stinging nettle let us pluck the flower. Let us understand that we can not cope with a military nation upon our own soil but by becoming ourselves a military nation. Every man should be a soldier; habituated to arms; regularly drilled; subject to sudden calls, and arranging his affairs with that chance in view. Then the approach of the rebel horde would make the border of every loyal State bristle with skillful soldiers.

But, if we are unwilling to do this, we are unwilling to carry on the war; and we shall learn that, to avoid the war we have, we have engaged in worse wars. For the present alternative is not war or peace. It is this war, in which, at least, by a little effort, we are spared the ravage of our own homes, or a war in every State, county, and town —an open, bloody war of neighbors and kindred.


A FEW weeks ago we all said, "When Grant takes Vicksburg and Banks Port Hudson, the rebellion is mainly conquered." We do not say so to-day. In fact, when it appears that Lee is pushing out of Virginia northward and Banks assaults Port Hudson with a bloody repulse, and Vicksburg still holds out, there are those who cry with a impatient despair, "Well, we can't do it!"

Can't do what? If you are fighting for your life what do you mean when you say that you can't do it? Simply that you can't help being murdered. So if we can not subdue the rebels it is because they can conquer us; and do we fully comprehend what that means? Disunion, separation, humiliation, private and public ruin, are not all it means. It means war in every town of the land except in the victorious slave States. It means the overthrow of every principle of popular government. It means anarchy in every State; finally mastered by a military despotism and the establishment of the most inhuman system of society that ever disgraced the annals of mankind.

If, in so solemn and perilous a crisis, men are apathetic, it is because they do not in the least conceive the consequences of apathy. It is because they think that the war ought to stop upon any terms, forgetting that it can stop upon no other terms than such as make peace unproductive of all results for which it is desired.


IT is amusing to remark the righteous indignation of Copperhead patriots at the excursions of Montgomery at the South, and their profound silence over the ravages of the rebel pirates upon our shipping. It is a fruit of the same devoted regard for the Union and the country which compels this kind of patriot to denounce and belie the conduct of the war against rebellion, and to omit all but the most mannerly reproof of rebellion itself. If the Government of the United States, hard pressed by arms, seeks to weaken its enemy by depriving him of the services of slaves, Copperhead patriotism explodes at the unconstitutionality, radicalism, fanaticism, and wickedness of the act. But if the rebels drive slaves to build forts from behind which our men may be conveniently slaughtered, or if they keep slaves working in the field to feed the men who are destroying the Government, or if they arm them to shoot us, Copperhead patriotism is a dumb dog. It finds nothing unconstitutional, radical, or wicked in such a course. The rebels have been "irritated"—they feared that justice would not be done to them in the Union, and have "withdrawn;" therefore their fears should be allayed by receiving a solemn promise that they shall always govern the country at their own sweet wills, and without question or opposition.

Now the war which the rebels have compelled the people of this country to wage against them is, like all wars, terrible. But they knew and know that reprisals and retaliation are a legitimate method of war. They know, and the whole world knows, that when a company of rebels hang prisoners of any complexion, the friends of those prisoners are perfectly justified in hanging rebel prisoners in turn. When the rebels hung black soldiers the other day in the Southwest, the black soldiers instantly and properly retaliated by hanging rebel prisoners in sight of the rebel lines. If Jeff Davis's Generals think fit to execute his threat and murder the captured officers of our black regiments, no man in his senses doubts that, man for man, the captured rebel officers in our possession will be destroyed. And this will be in obedience to the first and most essential rule of warfare—that if the enemy wantonly destroy life or property, he must be restrained from continuing to do so in the only practicable way, by retaliation.

The rebels have now for two years devastated the defenseless private property of loyal citizens at sea, and they now complain, through the Copperhead mouths of their friends, that their own unprotected private property is destroyed. The men

who own and authorize and defend the depredations of pirates at sea protest with pious horror against what they call piracy on land. But if Jeff Davis authorizes Captain Semmes to burn Mr. Low's ship at sea, why should not the President of the United States authorize Colonel Montgomery to burn Mr. Howell Cobb's house on land? Do we propose to make war without reprisals? Do we mean to allow an immunity of ravage? Or is it said that we ought to stop the pirates by our navy? That is doubtless a good thing to do, and we all hope it will be done. But we are to deal not only with pirates, but with piracy. Our cruisers, let us hope, will take care of the individual ships, but the Government must take care of the spirit which fits out those ships; and that is most effectually done by retaliation—by striking the enemy exactly the kind of blow that he strikes us. Nor is the moral guilt the same; for he strikes wantonly, and we to prevent his striking.


IT is the misfortune of the Administration that it must be judged by impatience rather than by intelligence. We are all so anxious to subdue the rebels that we insist there shall be an overpowering force on every point at which they appear; that every pirate shall be at once swept from the sea; that every threatened army shall be at once overwhelmingly reinforced; that every movement of the enemy shall be baffled, and every battle lost by him; that, in fine, no mistakes shall be made upon our side, no defeats encountered, and that at every moment the subjugation of the enemy shall seem to be imminent and decisive.

This is natural. We know our power, and we wish it all to be brought to bear effectively and promptly. We chafe at every moment's delay, and we hasten to ascribe to imbecility what may be more justly attributed to a different view of expediency. And it may therefore comfort some impetuous soul to know that the rebels, who are so constantly praised for ability, vigor, and rapidity, criticise their own authorities just as harshly as we censure ours, and praise us for precisely the same qualities that we commend them. Thus in Pollard's rebel history of the first year of the war, in which the fight between the Merrimac and the :Monitor., and the battle of Shiloh, are claimed as "Confederate" victories, we find this kind of remark upon the rebel management:

"The authorities at Richmond appeared to hope for results without the legitimate means for acquiring them; to look for relief from vague and undefined sources; and to await with dull expectation what was next to happen. . . .Some other agency than the natural spirit and hardihood of men was necessary in the conduct of a war, in the nineteenth century, against a nation which had given such unquestionable proofs as the North had of quick and abundant resource, mental activity, and unflagging hope. . . .

"Of the political measures adopted by the South in furtherance of the objects of the war but a few words need be said. They are justly described as weak and halting responses to the really vigorous acts of the Northern Government in its heartless but strong and effective prosecution of the war. . . . The Confederate Government, in the midst of a revolution that threatened its existence, continued to rely on the wretched shift of twelve months' volunteers and raw militia, with a population that, by the operation of conscription, could have been embodied and drilled into an invincible army, competent not only to oppose invasion at every point of our frontier, but to conquer peace in the dominions of the enemy.... It was a remarkable circumstance that the North had, at all stages of the war, adopted the best means for securing specific results."

Is not this precisely the manner in which we are accustomed to criticise the action of the Government, and to applaud the energy of the rebellion? It is impossible that all action should not seem blundering and imperfect to those who demand perfect wisdom and uniform success. Our conduct of the war may be fairly censured in many ways. But is it so utterly imbecile as our impatience often believes?


A GOOD man, a true soldier, a faithful citizen, an honored officer, is dead. At the moment when he is about going to a new sphere of duty, followed by the confidence and love of the people, he dies, and that love and confidence can only recount his virtues and his services, and bewail the nation's great loss. Admiral Foote was early distinguished in the war by his reduction of Fort Henry and the gallant management of the Western flotilla. The vigor, the rapidity, the success of his warlike operations gave him a hold upon the popular heart which was only confirmed and strengthened by the simplicity, purity, and fidelity of his religious character. Neither a bigot, a fanatic, nor a zealot, he was—what many a religious bigot is not—an honorable man. An American citizen, and a sworn officer under the American flag, no other authority and no other flag, under whatever specious pretense, confused his conscience or betrayed his honor. His friends to-day, and history hereafter, will have no terrible excuse to make for him. They will not be obliged to contrast his heroism with his treachery, nor his religion with his infamy; but the praises of his Christian fervor and bravery and ability will be forever unalloyed.

Admiral Foote dies at a moment of chagrin in the war. He dies at a time when we can ill spare a tried and true leader. His name is added to the shining list of heroes who have died in the noblest service; cheerfully obedient, full of faith, believing in the cause, in the country, in his countrymen, steadily holding the flag of hope and humanity:

And if some hour seem dark with doom,

That sacred banner lifted higher,

Shall flash away the gathering gloom,

With inextinguishable fire.


A COUNTRY paper, in recommending early rising and walking, says, "Morning interviews with Nature are delightful." "Susan," said a young lady, "when you kindle the fire to-morrow morning open the window, so if Nature wants an interview she may come in and have it."

ELEMENTARY INSTRUCTION.—On a day of grand popular rejoicing, when the fountains, and the Bengal lights, rockets, and Roman candles, had been all brought into active requisition, a clever little boy, upon being asked which of the two elements he would sooner be, "fire or water?" answered "water;" and this was the subtle reason he gave for it: "Don't you see the fire-works, but the water always plays." That boy, we are afraid, will never be President.

Moliere was asked the reason why, in certain countries, the king may assume the crown at fourteen years of age, and can not marry before eighteen? "It is," answered Moliere, "because it is more difficult to rule a wife than a kingdom."

A young lady, in a class studying Physiology, made answer to a question put, that in six years a human body became entirely changed, so that not a particle which was in it at the commencement of the period would remain at the close of it. "Then, Miss L—," said the young tutor, "in six years you will cease to be Miss L—." "Why, yes, Sir, I suppose so," said she, very modestly, looking at the floor.

Madame R—, who is still a coquette in her quite advanced maturity, went recently to a private evening party, after eleven o'clock. "How late you are, my charmer!" said the mistress of the house to her, reprovingly. "I am quite ashamed," answered Madame R—; "but my maid is so very slow; she takes more than an hour and a half to do my hair." "Fortunately," observed one of her friends, "you are not obliged to stay at home while she is doing it."

"There is a pleasurable sensation," said that great philanthropist, Dr. Smellfungus, ''in hearing the person who has done us a service abused." "And why, Sir?" inquired a lady, who overheard the charitable observation. "Because, my dear madam," was the Doctor's logical reply, "it seems to lessen the obligation we owe the rascal ourselves."

A Cockney sportsman being out one day amusing himself with shooting, happened to fire through a hedge, on the other side of which was a man, standing or leaning, no matter which. The shot passed through the man's hat, but missed the bird. "Did you fire at me, Sir?" he hastily asked. "Oh no, Sir," said the shrewd sportsman; "I never hit what I fire at."

In the days of the volunteers Mr. Ker commanded a company, which he duly drilled and paraded; but his recruits were a particularly awkward squad—they never could draw up in a straight line, do what he might. "Oh!" he cried one day, holding up his hands in honor as he looked along the front rank; "Oh, what a bent row! Just come out, lads, and look at it yourselves."

"Pay me that six-and-eightpence you owe me, Mr. Mulrooney," said a village attorney, "for the opinion you had of me." "Faith, I never had any opinion of you in all my life."

Why are photographers the most uncivil of all trades-people?—Because when we make application for a copy of our portrait they always reply with a negative.

An Irish gentleman having a small picture-gallery, several persons wished to see it at the same time. "Faith, gentlemen," said he, "if you all go in it will not hold you."

If there is "many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip," will drinking out of the saucer insure freedom from such mishap?

The person who was terribly "cut up" by the sad news received has been lately sewn together by the "thread of discourse."

"The impulse of the moment," as the soda-water said to the cork when the string was cut.

"I can't reconcile differences," said Septimus Hardup. "For instance, there is nothing more regular in its coming round than dinner-time, and nothing less certain than dinner."



IN our last number we mentioned that rebel cavalry had made their appearance in Maryland and Pennsylvania. They have since been followed by infantry and artillery, and at the present time the whole of Lee's army must be on Northern soil. General Ewell, leading the advance, occupied Chambersburg on 23d, Shippensburg on 25th, and thence moved Northward—his pickets reaching the Susquehanna, opposite Harrisburg, on 29th. General Knipe fell back from Carlisle on 25th to Kingston, and thence to the other side of the Susquehanna. Meanwhile another rebel force of all arms occupied Gettysburg on 26th. On 27th General Longstreet's corps crossed the Potomac at Williamsport; and on the following day General Lee crossed, and took up his quarters at Hagerstown. On 28th a rebel force took possession of York and Mechanicsburg, our troops retiring without fighting; on the same day Colonel Frick—in command at Wrightsville, opposite Columbia, on the Susquehanna—had a sharp skirmish with the rebel advance, but was driven across the river with the loss of about 100. In retiring he burned the bridge, which cost over $1,000,000. In occupying York the rebel General Early levied a contribution of a quarter of million dollars on the town money and produce under penalty of its destruction. On the morning of 30th the rebels appeared to occupy the whole west bank of the Susquehanna—with the exception of some works opposite Harrisburg—from a short distance north of Harrisburg to some distance south of Columbia: all the roads leading to the Susquehanna from Southern Pennsylvania and Maryland; and commanding positions on the Upper Potomac and the Northern Central Railroad. Our militia —from New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey—were mostly on the Susquehanna River and at Baltimore. The army of the Potomac is in Maryland—at what points it is now contraband to state. It is now commanded by General Meade, vice Hooker removed, and has been largely reinforced from Fortress Monroe and Norfolk. Both the army under Meade, and the militia in Pennsylvania are in large numbers, and should be able to give a good account of the enemy. On the afternoon of 30th the rebel advance fell back, and General Lee appeared to be concentrating his forces. York was evacuated, and so was the country opposite Harrisburg, whereupon General Couch crossed the river and moved forward. Gettysburg was occupied by our forces, and the report was that a battle would probably be forced in the neighborhood of Shippensburg, unless the rebels fled westward into the Cumberland Valley.


FREDERICK, MD., June 28, 1863.

In conformity with the orders of the War Department, dated June 27, 1863, I relinquish the command of the Army of the Potomac. It is transferred to Major-General George G. Meade, a brave and accomplished officer, who has nobly earned the confidence and esteem of the army on many a well-fought field. Impressed with the belief that my usefulness as the commander of the Army of the Potomac is impaired, I part from it, yet not without the deepest emotion. The sorrow of parting with the comrades of so many battles is relieved by the conviction that the courage and devotion of this army will never cease nor fail; that it will

yield to my successor, as it has to me, a willing and hearty support. With the earnest prayer that the triumph of its arms may bring successes worthy of it and the nation, I bid it farewell.



S. F. BARSTOW, Acting Adjutant-General.


This order was followed by the subjoined address from General Meade:


June 28, 1863.

By direction of the President of the United States, I hereby assume command of the Army of the Potomac. As a soldier, in obeying this order, an order totally unexpected and unsolicited, I have no promises or pledges to make. The country looks to this army to relieve it from the devastation and disgrace of a hostile invasion. Whatever fatigues and sacrifices we may be called upon to undergo, let use have in view constantly the magnitude of the interests involved, and let each man determine to do his duty, leaving to an all-controlling Providence the decision of the contest. It is with just diffidence that I relieve in the command of this army an eminent and accomplished soldier, whose name must ever appear conspicuous in the history of its achievements; but I rely upon the hearty support of my companions in arms to assist me in the discharge of the duties of the important trust which has been confided to me.   GEORGE G. MEADE,

Major-General Commanding.

S. F. BARSTOW, Assistant Adjutant-General.


The news from Tennessee indicates the opening of a campaign for General Rosecrans's army. With the exception of one division, his whole force moved on 24th. On Wednesday and Thursday, the 24th and 25th ult., the advance of General McCook's column had brisk skirmishes with a rebel brigade in Guy's Gap, in which our loss was 225 killed and wounded. At eighteen miles south of Murfreesboro no enemy in force had been met with. Bragg was said to be at Tullahoma, where Rosecrans was moving to attack him.


Advices from General Banks have been received by the Department to the effect that on the 14th ult. having established his batteries within three hundred and fifty yards of the rebel works at Port Hudson, after a vigorous cannonade, he summoned General Gardner to surrender. On his refusal an assault was made, and our forces gained positions within fifty to a hundred yards of the enemy's works, which they held. General Paine was severely wounded. General Banks expressed himself confident of success. Our loss in the assault was severe, and our repulse undoubted.


The latest news from Vicksburg, by way of Cairo, is to the 15th ult. The cannonading on the 20th was terrific from the army and the gun-boats. At the close of the day General Logan blew up one of the rebel works, and occupied the ground. Otherwise the siege was progressing favorably. The movements of General Johnston continue wrapt in mystery. He had gone beyond the Big Black, and was reported moving southward. All the rivers and streams were rising.


The greatest alarm and activity prevails in Philadelphia. The Mayor and General Dana have issued stirring proclamations, appealing to the citizens to prepare to defend their homes.

The coal-dealers held a meeting, and resolved to close their collieries till the crisis has passed, and to enable the miners to volunteer. The merchants have resolved to raise a million of dollars. All the stores are to be closed, and the men employed in them forwarded for the defense of the city and State. The men who leave their employment are to be paid their usual salary during their absence.

The Board of Brokers raised $25,000, to be divided among 500 men who may enlist for the emergency. A resolution was also adopted to adjourn at 3 o'clock every afternoon, to give members an opportunity to drill. The clergymen offered their services to the Mayor to labor on the fortifications.

A line of intrenchments around the city was commenced on 30th ult.


From the White House, on the Pamunky River, we learn the full details of Colonel Spear's operation to the South Anna, the capture of the rebel General Fitz Hugh Lee, a rebel colonel, a blockade running captain, and over two hundred other prisoners. Lee was captured at the house of a friend while he was trying to recover from his wound received at Kelly's Ford. A skirmish occurred at Hanover Court House, where our troops came out conquerors. A rebel baggage train on the way to Richmond, and of great value, was captured and destroyed, and with over a thousand saddles. The railroad bridge at White House was saved, and the whole expedition was a complete success.


The expedition recently sent into East Tennessee reports officially to General Burnside, through Colonel Saunders, commanding, that his troops struck the railroad at Lenoir, destroyed the road up to Knoxville, and made a demonstration against that city, so as to have the troops drawn from above, destroyed the railroad track and started for Strawberry Plains, burned the State creek bridge, three hundred and twelve feet long, and the Strawberry Plain bridge, one thousand six hundred feet long; also the Mossy creek bridge, three hundred and twenty-five feet long. They also captured three pieces of artillery, some two hundred boxes of artillery ammunition, over five hundred prisoners and one thousand stand of arms, and destroyed a large amount of salt, sugar, flour, meal, saltpetre, and one saltpetre work and other stores. He found the rebel force in East Tennessee larger than he had supposed.



EARL RUSSEL stated in the House of Lords that the blockade maintained by the American fleet was sufficiently efficient to entitle it to be observed. He believed also that there was every desire on the part of the American Government to prevent injustice from being done to neutrals.


A large number of clergymen in the rebel States had joined in an appeal to England, invoking her aid to put an end to the war. They declare that the restoration of the Union is impossible. The London Herald, organ of the British aristocrats, and lately purchased by the rebels, attributes great importance to the paper.


An American Abolitionist named Conway, in London, attempted to negotiate the basis of a peace treaty with Mr. Mason, the rebel commissioner, on the ground of a promise of negro emancipation by the Southerners. Conway said that if this pledge were given the Abolition leaders in the North would "oppose the further prosecution of the war," and cause it to cease by the "immediate withdrawal of every kind of supplies." Mr. Mason did not commit himself or his cause in any way. He inquired for Conway's credentials from the Abolitionist party, and he failed to produce them.



The official report of the fall of Puebla caused much joy to Napoleon. He forwarded a letter of thanks to General Forey, in which he disclaims the idea of a permanent rule by conquest. The order for reinforcements fur the army was countermanded.




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