George McClellan's Loyalty is Questioned


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, July 4, 1863

This site features online versions of all the Harper's Weekly newspapers published during the Civil War. These newspapers allow you to watch the Civil War unfold week by week, just as the people saw it at the time. These papers are full of incredible wood cut illustrations of the key people and battles.

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


Rebel Spies

Rebel Spies

McClellan's Loyalty

George McClellan's Loyalty Questioned

Battle Winchester

Battle of Winchester

Before Vicksburg

Before Vicksburg

Battle of Antietam Poem

Battle of Antietam Poem

Battle of Milliken's Bend

Battle of Milliken's Bend

Whipped Slave

Whipped Slave

Slave Torture

Slave Torture

Works Before Vicksburg

Works Before Vicksburg

Milliken's Bend Battle

Milliken's Bend Battle

General Buford's Cavalry Charge

General Buford's Cavalry Charge


Secession Cartoon





[JULY 4, 1863.


(Previous Page) was Walter G. Peter, a lieutenant in the rebel army, and Colonel Orton's adjutant. He was a tall, handsome young man, of about twenty-five years, that gave many signs of education and refinement.

Of his history I have been able to gather nothing. He played but a second part. Colonel Orton was the leader, and did all the talking and managing. Such is a succinct account of one of the most daring enterprises that men ever engaged in. Such were the characters and the men who played the awful tragedy.

History will hardly furnish its parallel in the character and standing of the parties, the boldness and daring of the enterprise, and the swiftness with which discovery and punishment were visited upon them. They came into our camp and went all through it, minutely inspecting our position, works, and forces, with a portion of their traitorous insignia upon them; and the boldness of their conduct made their flimsy subterfuges almost successful.




HARPER'S WEEKLY has a circulation of OVER ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND COPIES, which are scattered over the whole country. Every number is probably read by eight or ten persons, so that advertisements in its pages reach the eye of more individuals than advertisements in any other periodical. It is essentially a home paper, and is found in every country house whose inmates take an interest in the thrilling events of the day. It is not destroyed after being read, as daily papers are, but is kept, and in many cases bound, placed in a library, and referred to from time to time. Advertisers who wish to bring their business to the notice of the public at large, and especially of the householding class, can find no medium so suitable for their purpose as Harper's Weekly.

Advertisements on the last page of Harper's Weekly ONE DOLLAR per line; inside SEVENTY-FIVE CENTS per line. The space allotted to advertisements is limited, and an early application is advisable to secure a place.


GOVERNOR SEYMOUR has issued his proclamation in pursuance of the recent acts of the Legislature calling for the enrollment and organization—on a war footing—of the militia or national guard of the State of New York. He contemplates a force of sixteen divisions; which at the maximum would count 160,000 bayonets, but at the minimum would not exceed 40,960. Neither the acts of the Legislature nor the proclamation of the Governor look to any other source than volunteering for the organization of this force.

As the State of New York has sent over 150,000 men to the war, out of a population of 4,000,000, it may perhaps be questioned whether even so small a force as 40,960 men can still be raised, and kept in a state of efficient drill, on the voluntary principle. In this city and some of the interior towns the old popular regiments will continue to keep up their regimental existence, and will always have enough young men on the company rolls to entitle them to the privileges of the Militia Act. But it is quite doubtful whether such organizations can muster in the aggregate 20,000 men. It must be remembered that the bulk of the fighting population have gone to the wars, and are now in the armies of the Union, in Virginia, Tennessee, Mississippi, or Louisiana.

In the other States, the deficiency of militia is still more apparent. In Pennsylvania even the invasion of the State did not bring to light a single full regiment of militia, and it was New York troops who marched to Chambersburg to meet the invaders. This arises not from any lack of spirit among the Pennsylvanians, but from the want of an organized militia or home guard. In the Western States there is no such thing as a militia except on paper. The war found the Northwestern States entirely unprovided with military organizations; and since it broke out, they have been so busy furnishing troops for the war that they have had no time to organize, and no means to arm militia.

It is clear, however, that we absolutely need a reserve force, armed, drilled, and equipped, and capable of moving rapidly to any point at which our territory may be invaded, or fresh men required to complete a victory by our armies. The mere organization of such a force would compel the rebels to abandon their present projects of "carrying the war into Africa;" and contingencies might arise which would place it in the power of such a force to bring the war to a close by rapid action at a critical juncture.

Two points are clear in this connection. In the first place, our reserve force should rather exceed than fall short of half a million of men; and, secondly, it should not depend on volunteering. It may safely be taken for granted that our fighting element proper is already in the ranks, and that there are no young men now at home who would prefer to be under arms. To ask the stay-at-homes to become members of volunteer regiments is to prefer a request which will be generally disregarded. Every man will expect his neighbor to volunteer, and will abstain himself. This is one of the cases in which compulsion is a necessity.

We can see no reason why the several Governments of the loyal States should not at once proceed to organize their militia on the plan of the National Guard of France and the Landwehr of Prussia—compelling every man between the ages of eighteen and fifty-five to enroll himself and perform military duty. The guard should be divided into two or more classes, after the n of the Conscription act, so that men of middle age with families should only be called upon after the class of young, unmarried men had been exhausted. But every man in sound

health, between eighteen and fifty-five, should be compelled to enroll himself, to provide himself with a uniform, to learn the manual of arms, and to perfect himself in company, battalion, and brigade drill. An hour three times a week could be spared by every one, and would not be too much to give for the end proposed. The effect of such an organization would be that in the course of a few months the loyal States would command a reserve force, armed, drilled, and equipped, of some 2,000,000 men, of whom at least 750,000 would be ready to take the field, on any emergency, at twenty-four hours' notice, to reinforce our armies, or complete any victory which they may win. Had we had such a force ten days ago there would have been no rebel raids in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Had we had such a force last fall Lee's army would never have made good its escape after the battle of Antietam. Had we had such a force a year ago McClellan would have entered Richmond in July last, and the rebellion would have been over by the fall.

Such a system, once started, would be accepted cheerfully by all parties. No one in France or Prussia deems it a hardship to be compelled to perform his occasional day's service in the National Guard or Landwehr; nor would any of us grudge a day or two now and then for a similar purpose here, though when we are asked to volunteer we have all other business on hand.

A National Guard, consisting of all male citizens, would naturally contain within it various minor organizations. Of these the most important would be corps of sharp-shooters. A company of cool-headed, clear-eyed sharp-shooters is generally worth, in actual warfare, a brigade of ordinary troops. It takes, in real war, about 200 pounds of lead to wound an enemy. The English have realized this truth, and there are now in Great Britain over 250,000 men enrolled in volunteer rifle companies, all of whom can hit a mark at a reasonable distance. Were our State authorities to resolve upon the organization of such a reserve or National Guard as we suggest, they would naturally provide for tests of marksmanship, and would, by offering prizes for good shots, gradually form bodies of sharp-shooters who would prove most valuable for actual service. Major Rowland, late of Berdan's Sharp-shooters, is already engaged in endeavoring to organize such bodies, and deserves to meet with success.

The mistake we have made throughout this war is underrating our enemy—fighting him with one hand, and taking no advantage of our numerical superiority. It is time, if we wish to enjoy peace once more, that we begin to make our numbers tell. And the best way of doing this is by making every able-bodied man a soldier.



IF there is one thing clearer than that Lee has for some time designed a northward movement it is that the hurried marching of State militia to a threatened point for thirty days, or for six months, or for "the present emergency," will not be of permanent service. The "present emergency" is the rebellion. It is to be met always and every where, not in the same way, but upon the same principle of action.

We have a line of more than a thousand miles to defend, in order to hold the Free States secure from the ravages of war. To prevent sudden and rapid cavalry raids is, under the circumstances, almost impossible. The border must be more or less harassed. But we can certainly prevent any serious invasion, and make every cavalry raid an extremely perilous enterprise. And that can be done by the organisation of all citizens enrolled under the Conscription act, by their constant and careful drill, and by their readiness to move as soldiers, not as raw militia, upon the first summons, and in any direction. In every State the arm-bearing population should be an army as soon as possible, and the national authorities should move them as may be necessary, either into the main armies in the field, or to special points for temporary service.

But this is converting us into a military nation? Certainly it is. And how can a republican nation conduct such a war as this except upon such a basis? It is not a war which is suddenly to disappear. The soldiers are not upon some happy day to turn their backs simultaneously upon the battle-field and return to tilling the corn-field. The rebellion is to be overcome, as a prairie fire is, by attacking it and trampling it out resolutely to the last spark. You do not make terms with it. You do not negotiate. You fight it wherever it appears, and as long as it burns.

But the war, being in its nature a radical war—a conflict of systems—the old feud between the people and privilege, it is necessarily a long war. Every civil war is so. And it is made up of fluctuating fortunes. If you would know how it is going, it must be watched, not from day to day, but from month to month, as you watch the tide, not from minute to minute, but from hour to hour. In a falling tide there is often a mounting wave, which makes the sea apparently rising; but an hour hence the mounting wave falls below the point wet by the least wave now. Last September, sighs some feeble soul, Lee was in Maryland and Pennsylvania, and now he is there again. Very well: where were we last September along the whole line? What is the comparative area of the rebellion then and now? Good, feeble soul, if you break your heart over any particular defeat or aggression, it will certainly not last you to the end of a war

which can be waged only by stout, cheerful hearts, that no blow can shatter and no mischance appall.

If, therefore, we are not dismayed and do not mean to be, but are really persuaded that we must fight to avoid wars worse than this war, let the authorities make the citizens soldiers as soon as possible: national soldiers, to march wherever the national welfare demands, under regulations that, while they do not weigh too heavily upon any man, yet amply secure an overpowering army.


THOSE who have been so loud in declaring, since the invasion of Pennsylvania, that the only hope for the country lay in the recall of General McClellan to the command of the Army of the Potomac should remember that it will be very hard for the people to believe that the national salvation depends this week upon an officer whose name was cheered last week with that of Jeff Davis, by a meeting which insisted that we were "whipped," and that we must have peace at any price.

Nor will the popular confidence in that commander be stimulated by the fact that the Common Council of New York, a body celebrated neither for unconditional patriotism nor for unswerving honesty, ask for his reappointment by a resolution stated to have been prepared by a Mr. Kerrigan, who before the rebellion was declared was engaged in raising troops apparently to aid it, and who afterward, having obtained a command in our army, was court-martialed and cashiered.

Neither, as we have heretofore said, can General McClellan himself be surprised by the apathy toward him of all earnest loyal men, when he reflects that at all Copperhead Conventions his name is hailed with the loudest applause, and that all the Copperhead papers and orators, who are doing their utmost to paralyze the Administration and secure the success of the rebellion, constantly commend him and his services.

Certainly it was enough to destroy all faith in the loyalty of Vallandigham that his name was mentioned in the rebel section with admiration. But does any loyal man feel that there is any less pollution in the applause of Fernando Wood's faction than in that of Jefferson Davis? Whoever consents without protest to be commended by rebels, or by masked sympathizers with rebellion, voluntarily shares the odium of the company he allows to praise him.

General McClellan must see that every loyal man necessarily asks himself, "Why do the open enemies of the war praise McClellan? They do not praise Grant, nor Rosecrans, nor Dupont, nor Foote, nor Dix, nor Fremont, nor Burnside, nor Schofield, nor Butler, nor Sigel, nor Porter, nor Logan, nor Sedgwick, nor Couch, nor Banks, nor Farragut. And why not? These men are not called upon to protest—and why not? Their fame is unsoiled by the applause of Cox, Vallandigham, Rynders, or Brooks. And why? Are Rynders and Company the men who are to be satisfied by the appointment of a commander of the national forces in a perilous crisis? Is it not the clear duty of the Government to ascertain who would be most agreeable to the Copperheads, and then to avoid him with energy?"

Such questions ask themselves. If they do General McClellan injustice, who is to blame? If he has lost forever the confidence of all loyal men of all parties, is it their fault?


IN the first days of the excitement in Pennsylvania over the late invasion an urgent official appeal was made "to the colored men of Harrisburg" to turn out to work upon the fortifications for "the assistance of your country and the capital of the old Keystone State." Nothing could be more sensible. All loyal hands and hearts should work together in the common defense. And what is the corollary? That all loyal hands and hearts should share in the common benefit. Let us hope, then, that every loyal white Pennsylvanian cheek will be a little colored with shame by the reflection that the "old Keystone State" disfranchises the men whom she thus summons to her defense. And, above all, let us hope that nobody will lose his temper at the suggestion. For you may swear, and rail, and damn every niXXer that was ever born to your heart's content, and be as hopelessly confused in twaddle about races, and amalgamation, and the intention of nature as you choose, but you will still be unable to show yourself or any body else why an intelligent, industrious, loyal man is not a good citizen, whatever his color may be.

In the beginning of the war there were some who said that if we white men couldn't save the country it might go to pieces. They did not think so last week at Harrisburg, And they would not have been very wise men if they had. For the sneer had neither principle, philosophy, common sense, nor common honor to recommend it. It was begotten of thoughtlessness and prejudice. Our Government is not one of race or color. It is not founded upon the points in which men differ, but upon the manhood in which they are all agreed. It does not aim at social equality, which is a mere phrase. It aims at the protection of the personal and political rights of man. The war for its maintenance, therefore, is not that of Americans, or Germans, or Irishmen, or of white, black, red, or brown races, but of every true man who lives under its protection.


THIS remarkable book, which will be issued next week by the Harpers, is just out in London. In speaking of works which are enlightening the English mind about us and our war, Mr. Conway says:

The latest work of this kind, and one destined to produce a sensation upon both sides of the Atlantic, is that of Mrs. Fanny Kemble Butler, who has just published the Diary of her sojourn upon a Georgia plantation. It is tremendous,

and many think it more telling than 'Uncle Tom's Cabin."

The London Atheneum, in a long and elaborate review of Mrs. Kemble's Diary, acknowledges the graphic power and profound influence of the work, and confesses the revolting and necessarily brutalizing condition of a society founded upon slavery as the chief corner-stone. The book, and the Atheneum's review of it, like that of the Spectator, will help open the eyes of people in England who, under cover of a maudlin admiration of what they call "a gallant people striking for their liberty," are effectively aiding the establishment of the most barbarous despotism. Yet the reader will remember that the Atheneum itself is too British to be a friend of ours; while it is too human not to sicken over the state of society exposed in this book. Will the Atheneum reflect that this rebellion is nothing but the insurrection of that society against civilization, human liberty, and civil order?

It says of the book:

"It tells the story of a lady who, born an Englishwoman and reared in the atmosphere of British freedom, was in an evil day induced to marry a Southern proprietor, being at the time of her wedding ignorant that the man whom she swore to love and honor had a vested interest in human wretchedness and degradation. It tells how, after she had become the mother of beautiful children, she together with her babes accompanied her husband to Georgia just five-and-twenty years since, and made acquaintance with the 'peculiar institution' as a fact of daily experience—not as a system observed from a distance through the glasses of opponents and apologists, novelists and poets. It tells how she saw the iron piercing the soul of an oppressed race and might not raise a hand to pluck it out—how her womanly sympathy for her wretched servants only brought them stripes from the taskmaster and a sterner bondage. Finally, it tells how, utterly defeated in her attempts to do good, and forbidden to weep with those whose tears she had daily to witness--whose cries were constantly in her ears—she fled from scenes where compassion was a crime. A more startling and fearful narrative on a well-worn subject was never laid before readers, and the story does not lose in effect from the fact that its teller is well known to her countrywomen and honored by all who honor genius.

"Amidst such scenes did Mrs. Fanny Kemble collect her facts on slavery—facts which she has put forth in a manner that signally shows how much the cause of Abolition has lost through idealistic treatment by romance writers. She uses plain terms, calling a spade a spade, and we thank her for so doing. The mealy-mouthed apologists, whose function it is to 'make things pleasant' with regard to slavery, and to whom we could not justly refuse a hearing in answer to the exaggerations of the novelists, have of late had it all their own way. But the time has now come for heed to be given to the other side. For many a day we have heard enough, and rather more than enough, about the chivalry of Southern gentlemen, the moral and physical graces of Southern women, the patriarchal character of the peculiar institution, the devotion of slaves to their masters, the tenderness of overseers who with aching hearts flog their blackies mercifully, just as mothers whip their children, to do them good, and make them upright members of society. It is time to look at the picture front a fresh point of view, and hear its features explained by other lecturers. But before we give heed to the author's revelations, it is well for us to know that though she entered Georgia 'prejudiced against slavery,' as every Englishwoman must be, she went there 'prepared to find many mitigations in the practice to the general injustice and cruelty of the system, much kindness on the part of masters, much content on that of slaves.' It appears, however, that these moderate expectations were disappointed. Slaves were more debased, masters more cruel, and life in every respect more barbarous than she had anticipated.

"But Mrs. Fanny Kemble's most valuable testimony relates to the working of slavery. Prepared to take a liberal view of the peculiar institution, she found it not less atrocious in details than in principle. As the negroes on her husband's plantations were treated better than the involuntary laborers on many estates in the same region, slavery was displayed to her under favorable circumstances, but what she saw differed widely from what the apologists of the system had led her to look for."


WHILE Pennsylvania is invaded, Pennsylvania invades. While the balls of the rebels are base, it is with base-balls that the sons of the Keystone State advance upon New York. Still there is a difference. It is play that the latter come for; it is in deadly earnest that the rebels ride.

In fact, upon Monday morning, June 15, a party of Pennsylvanians with base-balls and clubs advanced rapidly upon the city of New York; crossed the East River to Long Island, and engaged a party in Brooklyn; recrossed to Hoboken on the following day, and the next morning returned to Long Island, where a contest of two days ensued. Pushing on toward the interior, the enterprising Pennsylvanians took up a strong position in Westchester County, at Morrisania; and by a rapid movement appeared at Newark, in New Jersey, on the following day; and before their presence in that State was generally known, had withdrawn in perfect safety to the banks of the Delaware, after a week's operations, in which they had increased their own glory and propitiated the favor and kindly remembrance of the communities through which they had made their raid.

Let us hope that no reader is so dull that he does not know we are speaking of the Athletic Base-Ball Club of Philadelphia, of which Colonel Fitzgerald of that city is President. Before their coming the Club frankly announced its intention in the following shrewd manner:

"This bold step is not undertaken by the Athletics in a spirit of bravado, but rather with a view to acquire all the new points of the game—to reawaken interest in Base-Ball, and to renew associations which they have found most delightful—the good-fellowship, the manliness, and the hearty hospitality of the players in and around New York having long since passed into a proverb."

The Base-Ball Club has this great value at the present moment, that it is the "school of the soldier" in vigor, endurance, and agility.


REV. M. D. CONWAY writes to the Boston Commonwealth a series of interesting letters from England, chatting about men and things in the most lively, pleasant way. His opportunities of seeing the people in whom we are all interested are evidently (Next Page)




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