Robert E. Lee's Northern Invasion


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, July 18, 1863

We have posted our extensive collection of Harper's Weekly newspapers online for your perusal. These old newspapers give details of the war which are simply not available anywhere else. Browse these pages, and see what people thought of the conflict as it was happening.

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Port Hudson

Battle of Port Hudson

Gettysburg First Report

First Report from Gettysburg

Fall of Vicksburg

Fall of Vicksburg

Port Hudson

Bombardment of Port Hudson

General Reynolds

General Reynolds

Northern Invasion

Robert E. Lee's Northern Invasion

Call to Arms

Call to Arms

Upperville Fight

Fight at Upperville

Gettysburg Map

Gettysburg Map

Battle of Upperville

Battle of Upperville

War in Virginia

War in Virginia

Jefferson Davis Cartoon

Jefferson Davis Cartoon




JULY 18, 1863.]




WE publish on page 461 a picture of the CITY OF HARRISBURG, PENNSYLVANIA, lately threatened by the rebels under Lee, or one of his corps commanders, and now the head-quarters of Major General Couch. It is a pretty city on the east bank of the Susquehanna River, communicating with Reading, Philadelphia, and Baltimore by railway. Usually a very quiet spot, it is now full of troops and bristling with bayonets.

On page 460 we publish a page of Street Scenes at Philadelphia from sketches by our special artist, Mr. Thomas Nast. The following cuttings from the Philadelphia papers may help to explain them:

We need not now blush for Philadelphia. She is steadily at work in the great cause of defense of hearth and home, and each hour sees order rising out of the confusion, and patriotism taking the place of craven imbecility. Business is very generally suspended, and tens of thousands of men are drilling, either for home defense or joining the State militia. The rapidity with which some of the regiments, such as those raised by the Coal trade and the Union League, are completed is extremely gratifying, and makes every other regiment emulous of equal success. There is but little unusual bustle in the streets, though the roll of the drum is constantly heard.


The action of the coal shippers of this city, in reference to the regiment to be raised under their auspices, has been both unanimous and determined. The large amount subscribed in support of this regiment on Monday was nearly trebled yesterday. In the afternoon representatives from the different firms in the trade assembled at the head-quarters of the regiment, in Walnut Street, above Second, and proceeded to Richmond in a body. The foremen of the different wharves were notified to suspend work, and all the men were assembled at one of the central piers, where stirring and patriotic addresses were delivered, urging the necessity of immediate action, and the advantages to be derived by them in enlisting as a body in a regiment where each would know his comrade, and whose welfare would be the immediate care of their employers. The men responded enthusiastically, and six full companies were immediately enlisted.


The brigade now being formed under the auspices of the Union League is progressing finely. There is not the least doubt that the number of men required will be obtained within a day or two. At the different recruiting stations names are being enrolled rapidly, and the general head-quarters at Twelfth and Girard streets were crowded this morning with men anxious to enlist. The four regiments to compose the brigade will be entirely fitted out by the members of the League.


The regiment organized under the auspices of the merchants is full, and was reported for duty at the head-quarters of General Dana yesterday afternoon. The regiment is commanded by Colonel Woodward.


A number of the colored men of this city met at the Bethel Church, Sixth Street, above Lombard, yesterday, with regard to their enlisting for the State defense. Mr. J. C. White presided, and Mr. John Wolf acted as Secretary. Among those present were Fred Douglass and most of the colored clergymen of the city. The following were adopted:

Resolved, That inasmuch as we solemnly believe that God has no attributes that can take part with the slave-holder in this rebellion, we hold it to be our highest religions duty to sustain our Government in the prosecution of this war so far as it is conducted for the purpose of equal rights, liberty, equality, and fraternity.

Resolved, That we earnestly request all ministers of the Gospel, preaching to colored congregations, to teach their several charges that the days of our bondage in this land are at an end, and that God is saying to us, in the most emphatic manner, Be free, and take our place on the broad platform of equal rights.

Resolved, That we deeply feel for, and sincerely sympathize with, those of our race who are flying from the chains and slavery of a rebellious horde, and, forced before the march of a conscript army of marauders, have sought a refuge in our midst; and that we hereby pledge to them the protection of our homes and firesides, a part of our personal property, and a share of our daily bread, even to a portion of our last crumb.

It was proposed that the colored men present tender to the Government their services for three months or the emergency. There being no definite understanding as to the terms on which colored men would be received into the State service, the postponement of the consideration of the subject to another meeting was suggested.

Mr. Douglass urged immediate action. He said those present could enroll their names: if their services were not accepted, the responsibility would rest with the authorities. A number of persons then signed the roll. Another meeting is to be held this afternoon.

On page 458 we publish a MAP showing the theatre of the conflict in Southern Pennsylvania and Northern Maryland, and on page 453 a View of the BURNING OF THE BRIDGE AT COLUMBIA, PENNSYLVANIA. This operation is described in the accompanying letter from the author of the sketch:


On Sunday, the 29th June, 1863, it was reported that the Confederates were on the turnpike road from York to Columbia (twelve miles), and were four miles from Wrightsville, at the west end of the Columbia Bridge; but as there had been many flying reports no attention was paid to this one, until the citizens of both towns were startled by the firing of musketry and artillery.

The force of the Confederates was about 2000, including horse, foot, and artillery—ours about 1400, composed of infantry and cavalry, without artillery. The rebels showed themselves well acquainted with the country, and instead of attacking our rifle-pits on the front or west, they appeared from the wooded hills on the north and south.

Our men stood their ground well until the six or eight pieces of artillery opened with shot and shell, when they broke and ran for the bridge, which they entered as the infantry of the enemy were endeavoring to intercept them. it was at this point that we lost a number of prisoners; stated by some to be as high as two hundred—but as stragglers have been coming in pretty freely this number is probably exaggerated. When the rush was made to enter the bridge, the gates are said to have been closed to p'ecent the enemy from following the fugitives to Columbia.

The rebels had stationed guards upon the by-roads, with which they were well acquainted, and it was asserted that an officer who accosted a farmer was recognized by the latter as a person who had passed a night with him some time previously. It is also stated that one of the principal officers of the invading force was the engineer who located the railroad between York and Harrisburg, and who may therefore be presumed to be acquainted with the fordings.

The bridge had been prepared for partial destruction by cutting away most of the supports, removing some of the outside boarding, and sawing through the roof, so as to allow a span or two to drop into the river; while toward the western end a pier was charged with gunpowder with the expectation that it would be blown up and the dependent spans thus dropped. But when the period of destruction arrived, three reports were heard in quick succession, followed by a cloud of smoke, which led us to believe that some of the cannon guarding the entrance at Columbia had been taken to this part of the bridge and fired at the entering rebels. But the pier withstood the explosions,

and in a panic the bridge was rashly fired, although defended with some half a dozen cannon at the eastern end.

The artillery firing of the enemy commenced about seven o'clock in the evening, lasting about twenty minutes; by eight o'clock the flames were visible, and spread in both directions, probably at the rate of five minutes to a span, although the arches and frame-work stood burning after the roof and weather-boarding had disappeared.

This bridge was about a mile and a quarter long, built upon good stone-piers, the spans being about 175 or 200 feet in length. Besides two roadways and railways, it had upon the south or down-stream side a double towing-way for the Susquehanna and Tide-water Canal.

Our view is a night sketch from the north, the smoke tending toward the west or Wrightsville end of the bridge, and also northward up the river. The night was calm, the river unruffled, and at its present low stage having various exposed rocks and islets, which present a sombre appearance in contrast with the glare of the conflagration.

The fire did not extend to the towns, except that some lumber at Wrightsville was destroyed; but the fire was prevented from spreading by the Confederates themselves. They might have destroyed a large amount of lumber and a saw-mill to prevent the rebuilding of several bridges they burned the next day, as well as half a dozen iron furnaces between Columbia and Marietta, where the Susquehanna is within half a mile in width. The proprietors expected a bombardment, as our soldiers have destroyed all the Southern iron-works in their reach as contraband of war.

COLUMBIA, PENNSYLVANIA, July 1, 1863.   E. J. H.


"THEN you do not love me?"

"Why should I? You love yourself too well to need any other love."

"You mean because I am not fighting?" The speaker smiled a little, bitterly. "So you think I lack courage, Grace? We will talk no more about love to-day. Of course no woman gives her heart to a man whom she does not think brave enough to die for her, if need were. If you think I hold my life too dear no wonder that you can not trust me."

There was something in his words and his tone that at once puzzled Grace Ashland, and pained her. Perhaps she would have liked him to urge his suit, instead of so quietly withdrawing it. If he could but have explained to her why he, young, strong, professedly patriotic, wore no uniform! She knew in her heart that she longed to think well of him—why would he not help her? But he had silenced her. What could she say more? So she sat there; an unwonted color staining her cheek, and something in her eyes that made Ralph Hazlitt smile, a strange, quiet smile.

He watched her a few moments, then he took a book and began reading. It was Macaulay's "Lays of Ancient Rome." How his cool, gray eyes kindled, what a flush mounted to his swart cheek as he read, what I think no coward could bear to read,

"How well Horatius kept the bridge,

In the brave days of old!"

When he shut the book he looked at his auditor.

"Those were proud days, Grace, and proud men. I think even I could fight with the inspiration of such an example—I mean if I read one of those ballads just at the last, and went in before I had time to get cool. Now you must sing to me. I don't know when I'll have such another lazy morning, and I mean to enjoy it."

A little secret self-reproach made Miss Ashland obedient.

It was always a pretty sight to see her at the piano. She had a certain piquant beauty of her own, though it was a style that not every one recognized. Her features were not classical; her face was pale, always pale, except some strong emotion hung out its pink signal for a moment at her cheeks. The chief charm was in her eyes—dark, large, hazel eyes, that told her secrets against her will—eyes into which you looked and read her soul. They would be sweet when she loved—they were brave and truthful always. When she sang they kindled with a light which glorified her face into something more potent than beauty.

She was in no mood for music at first. She sang for a while with patient compliance just what he called for, then her mood changed, and the spell of her own power enchained her. Her fingers wandered over the keys half unconsciously, and almost forgetting his presence, she sang out her thoughts—fitful snatches of mirth, or pathos, or passion. At last the chords swelled under her fingers to full, rich melody; a strain sultry with tropic heat, burning with such sunshine as gilds the hot sands of the desert. Then across the sun-bright day seemed to sweep the fierce, mighty storm-wind of the East, and through its tempest broke the tones of her voice, chanting an old Bedouin song, such as some wild Arab lover might sing at the feet of his dark-eyed mistress:

"From the desert I come to thee,

On a stallion shod with fire;

And the winds are left behind

In the speed of my desire.

Under thy window I stand,

And the midnight hears my cry:

I love but thee, I love but thee,

With a love that shall not die

Till the sun grows cold,

And the stars are old,

And the leaves of the Judgment

Book unfold?"

Was that the voice of her soul answering Ralph Hazlitt? He would not ask her to-day, but having heard that he cared to hear no more singing. When she struck the last note she turned from the piano. He took her hand and looked into her eyes with a long, sad gaze; a look such as we give to the beloved whom we may never see again. For a moment he held her fingers in a firm clasp. Then he said, very quietly, "Good-by, Grace!" and was gone.

Two days afterward Miss Ashland received this letter:

"When you read these lines, Grace, I shall be far away. I have enlisted. I am going to do my work—the work I have longed for all these months of inaction. I will tell you now why I did not go before. In the six months you have known me have you heard any thing of my family? Do you chance to know that all the near relatives I have on earth are three children? They are at school now, at a sort of child's school, but they come to me every vacation, and I am their sole friend. They were

the legacy of my only sister. My parents died many years ago. There were only us two left, Maud and I. When she married I thought it would leave me alone. But she made me go with her to her new home. She never suffered me to have a lonely hour, scarcely to feel for a moment that her heart held any dearer love than the one she had given me from childhood. After her three children were born, just when the youngest had got old enough to lisp her father's name, the husband died; and then I understood how strong a tie had bound her to him. She pined for him, like a homesick child. One day she said to me:

" 'I am tired, Ralph, I must go to William. I shall leave you the children. He needs me more than they do, for they have you. He comes to me in my dreams and calls me. You will never let my babies feel that they are orphans.'

"After that she faded, gently and painlessly as a flower fades—an atmosphere of sweetness about her to the last. One night I left her, not weaker than usual, suffering no pain. The next morning I found her with a smile frozen upon her face, token of the soul's joy at its release. She was with William, and the children were mine. They have been mine four years.

"Such and so sacred is the tie which has kept me at home hitherto. If I fell, they would be indeed orphans. Have I been wrong? I do not know. Your words awakened a doubt. I think I ought to have been ready to trust them to God. I am ready now to trust them to Him and to you. You have sent me into the fray; and whatever ties you may form in the future, I know I can trust to your sense of justice that those children shall never want care or love. Of wealth they have enough—for tender watchfulness they can only look to you.

"I have enlisted for three years, or for the war. I leave you free. I would not tell you that I was going, and ask again for your love, lest you might, in a moment of enthusiasm, bind yourself by some pledge which you would regret hereafter. Love where your heart leads you. Be happy. I ask of you but the one thing which I have a right to demand—care for my children—security that they would not be left bankrupt of love and protection by the loss of the life which I offer at your instance—oh how willingly!—to my country. For myself, I may say it now, for if I die I will not leave it unsaid, I love you, as you sang—

"' With a love that shall not die

Till the sun grows cold,

And the stars are old,

And the leaves of the Judgment

Book unfold!'

"If we meet no more till we meet beyond sun and stars, I shall be then, as now, yours,   RALPH HAZLITT."

Grace Ashland trembled as she read the letter. What had she been doing? How could those children forgive her for having sent away their only friend? How could she forgive herself? What, if he fell, would ever heal the wound in her heart? for she knew now that she loved him. Well, there was one solace: she could do his will faithfully, wait for him, be true to him. If their next meeting was indeed to be beyond sun and stars, she would be able to go fearlessly to his side and say,

"Here am I and the children you left to my care. Receive your own."

How noble he had been through it all; doing his duty with such silent, brave courage; staying at home for those children's sakes, and never saying one word in self-justification! And she, whom he had honored so with his love, had taunted him with loving himself, his life, his ease. Yet he had forgiven her. He was hers still. She pressed the letter, with wild, unuttefable throbs of grief and passionate tenderness, to her heart and lips. She called by a hundred endearing names—oh, if he could have heard them!—her love, her life, her hero!

When he had been gone a week she went to see the children—her soldier's legacy. Two little gentle girls, Maud and Alice, and one brave, sturdy boy, named Ralph for his uncle. Here she found her path already made smooth. Mr. Hazlitt had written to the principal of the school that the children were to be, during his absence, under the guardianship of his particular friend Miss Ashland, who would be guided by her own judgment as to the length of time they would remain there. To the children he had written a long, loving letter, softening as best he could their present loss of him, and bidding them to love, in his stead and for his sake, his friend Miss Ashland, to whom he had confided them.

So she found her welcome ready. She made plans with them for the future. She promised to come and see them as often as their uncle had done, and whenever it was vacation they were to stay with her. The child's school where they were was excellent in its way, but she saw that they would soon need more thorough and systematic instruction. It would be a responsibility she hardly cared to take to remove them and establish them in another place. She thought that, at the end of six months, when their school-year was out, and the long vacation came, she would write to their uncle and solicit his counsel. Till then she would be silent. She longed sometimes to send him just one little line to tell him how wholly she was his; but a maidenly impulse restrained her. He had not asked for any reply to his letter, nor had he renewed in it his prayer for her love. He had seemed to prefer leaving her free. She could not offer her heart to him unasked, even though she knew that she held his own.

Before the six months were over came the news that he was killed. He had fallen, as a soldier should, in the front of the fray: fallen, oh, she well knew how! with courage in his heart, a glow on his cheek, a glint as of sharp steel in his gray eye. If he had only kissed her once in his life, she thought she could have borne it better. Oh, if he could but have known how she had loved him! She would have given half the universe now if she had but followed the dictates of her longing, and written to him that through life and death she was his. But a thought soothed her—a thought so blessed, so foreign to her mood, that it seemed almost like the suggestion of another: perhaps he knew all now. Spirit eyes could see farther than mortla ones. He was in a world where there were no more secrets. She had but to do faithfully the work he had left her, and some day she would go to him.

It was medicine to her pain. She grew strong, as if she had breathed air from the heaven where he was. She bethought herself tenderly, of the children. Ought she not to be helping them bear their sorrow?

Their year was nearly out. She went and brought them home. Her love was all they had left. Surely they needed it now. Maud and

Alice sorrowed with a still, deep, unchildish grief that it was pitiful to see. Ralph dashed the tears from his eyes and threw back his hair with a gesture so like his uncle that it thrilled Miss Ashland's heart, and vowed that he would grow up to avenge Uncle Ralph—he would be a soldier too.

Two weeks after the news came of Mr. Hazlitt's death Miss Ashland was summoned to an interview with his attorney. She found that he had been to the seat of war on a fruitless search for the body; for the dead man had been to him both friend and client. It had been impossible to identify any grave, he said, except those of some of the officers; for half our dead had been left for the rebels to bury. But he had received only too positive confirmation of the report of Mr. Hazlitt's death; and now he had brought his will, which he had made the last thing before he went away, to read to her, as the one chiefly interested.

"He leaves me the children?"

"Yes, and his fortune. They inherited enough from their parents. He only bequeaths them, in addition, his house and grounds, that they may keep their home-feeling still. He recommends that you establish them there, with some suitable person to oversee the household and look after their welfare, and so have them taught at home for a while. All else, save the homestead and a few trifling legacies, you will perceive he bequeaths to his dear friend, Miss Grace Ashland."

She scarcely heard the last clause of his remarks, her thought was so busy with her plan for the future. She would surely have the children live at his home, and she would live there with them—be sole and faithful guardian of their interests. She would indeed fulfill his trust. No one would oppose her. She was twenty-four, no longer a girl. Her parents had other children to make their home cheery—they would let her, as they always had, follow her own course.

She was roused from her reverie by the lawyer's voice, offering stereotyped congratulations, blended with expressions of sorrow for the dead. Then, at last, she began to realize that he had left her sole mistress of all his possessions; her of whose love for him he had never known. That was the heart she had lost in losing him. Did the earth hold another as true? What was there in the universe that could make up to her for it? Then her soul thrilled again to the thought of the sure future, the love and the life beyond this world. It is not so hard to wait when the end is sure. In the mean time she had her work.

It was July when she heard the news of his death. Early in September she had made all necessary arrangements, and was living with the children—her children now—in the home of Ralph Hazlitt. There was a certain joy, secret, unshared, and yet most sweet, in living where he had lived; using daily the things that he had used. She even chose his old room, and sat there nights, watching through the window, whence she had drawn away the curtain, the clear-shining September stars, and thinking of him who walked in the glory beyond them, and waited for her.

So the weeks passed on. The October winds blew over the hills, and swept the sere leaves before them like flocks of tiny birds, flame-colored and golden. November came—the soft, hazy warmth of the Indian summer, with air of balm, and sunshine floating dreamily down through a dim haze that seemed to bring it nearer. She was growing content with life and its work, though she never for one moment looked upon it as other than a life of waiting.

Once when nightfall came—it was then the late November—she saw the children in their beds, heard their prayers, kissed their red, childish lips, with the dewy softness on them, and then went back into the library, where he had always passed his solitary evenings. A cheery fire burned on the hearth, and a shaded lamp upon the table. The room was bathed in soft light. The curtains were drawn—the easy-chair at the table, where he used to sit, held out its arms for her. She sank into it, and lost herself in a reverie. She recalled the whole of their last interview—every word, every look, every shade of meaning on his face.

"He knows me better now," she said at length, unconsciously speaking aloud.

"He knew you well then. Would he have left the children to you if he had not?"

What voice was that? She turned to see a tall thin figure standing there; to meet gray eyes, cool and searching no longer, but full of a warmth that made her cheeks crimson. She hardly knew how it was that she was drawn close into those arms—felt those kisses on her lips which made her heart beat with such quick, wild pulses. It did not seem strange to her for a moment. She scarcely remembered that she had believed him dead—it seemed so natural for him to be there and to love her. It was not until he asked, "So you resolved to live here and be the children's guardian yourself?" that she remembered how she came there, as she answered him, "Yes, it was the only way I had of giving you my life."

"You shall learn a better way now."

"You will not go back?"

"Not till I have taught you how to love me," he whispered, with his lips close to her cheek. "When I go next time I shall leave my wife."

"But how came you here?"

He smiled.

"I thought that question would come by-and-by. I was left for dead on the field. A rebel surgeon found me, who had been an old classmate of mine, and who preserved an honest liking for me still. He nursed me back to life, and through his influence I was paroled when I was strong enough to travel. When I am exchanged I must go back. In the mean time remember who said we were to take no thought for the morrow."

Two days after that there was a wedding, and Grace Ashland became in due form mistress of Ralph Hazlitt's home. It was two months before he was exchanged and went back to the war, and she had learned in that time to think having was better than waiting.




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