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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

Tacony

Pirate "Tacony"

Upperville

Upperville Battle

Atlanta

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HARPER'S WEEKLY.

[JULY 11, 1863.

442

THE ARMY OF THE POTOMAC.

ON page 445 we reproduce a sketch by Mr. A. R. Waud, illustrating THE BATTLE NEAR UPPERVILLE, Ashby's Gap in the distance. The square inclosure is called the vineyard; on the right on the rise is a stone-wall; against this a charge was made, the men returning to form again a little to the left. On the extreme left five rebel regiments came out with their large flags to charge our men before they could form, but the First and Sixth regulars, sweeping round the hill, charged upon them while the band played Hail Columbia.

Captain Tidball and two of his guns are in the fore-ground.

[Entered according to Act of Congress, in the Year 1863, by Harper & Brothers, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New York.]

VERY HARD CASH.

BY CHARLES READE, ESQ.

Printed from the Manuscript and early Proof-sheets purchased by the Proprietors of "Harper's Weekly."

CHAPTER XVII.

"ON deck for your lives!" cried Dodd, forgetting in that awful moment he was not the captain; and drove them all up, Robarts included, and caught hold of Mrs. Beresford and Freddy at their cabin door and half carried them with him. Just as they got on deck the third wave, a high one, struck the ship and lifted her bodily up, canted her round, and dashed her down again some yards to leeward, throwing them down on the hard and streaming deck.

At this tremendous shock the ship seemed a live thing shrieking and wailing, as well as quivering with the blow.

But one voice dissented loudly from the general dismay. "All right, men," cried Dodd, firm and trumpet-like. "She is broadside on now. Captain Robarts, look alive, Sir! Speak to the men! don't go to sleep!"

Robarts was in a lethargy of fear. At this appeal he started into a fury of ephemeral courage: "Stick to the ship," he yelled; "there is no danger if you stick to the ship," and with this snatched a life-buoy, and hurled himself into the sea.

Dodd caught up the trumpet that fell from his hand, and roared, "I command this ship. Officers come round me! Men to your quarters! Come, bear a hand here, and fire a gun! That will show us where we are, and let the Frenchmen know."

The carronade was fired, and its momentary flash revealed that the ship was ashore in a little bay; the land abeam was low and some eighty yards off; but there was something black and rugged nearer the ship's stern.

Their situation was awful. To windward huge black waves rose like tremendous ruins and came rolling, fringed with devouring fire; and each wave, as it charged them, curled up to an incredible height and dashed down on the doomed ship—solid to crush, liquid to drown—with a ponderous stroke that made the poor souls stagger; and sent a sheet of water so clean over her that part fell to leeward, and only part came down on deck, foretaste of a watery death; and each of these fearful blows drove the groaning, trembling vessel farther on the sand, bumping her along as if she had been but a skiff.

Now it was men showed their inner selves.

Seeing Death so near on one hand, and a chance of escape on the other, seven men proved unable to resist the two great passions of Fear and Hope on a scale so gigantic, and side by side. Bayliss, a midshipman, and five sailors, stole the only available boat and lowered her.

She was swamped in a moment.

Many of the crew got to the rum, and stupefied themselves to their destruction.

Others rallied round their old captain, and recovered their native courage at the brave and hopeful bearing he wore over a heart full of anguish. He worked like a horse, encouraging, commanding, doing; he loaded a carronade with 1 lb. of powder, and a coil of rope, with an iron bar attached to a cable, and shot the rope and bar ashore.

A gun was now fired from the guard-house, whose light Robarts had taken for a ship. But, no light being shown any nearer on the coast, and the ship expected every minute to go to pieces, Dodd asked if any one would try to swim ashore with a line, made fast to a hawser on board.

A sailor offered to go if any other man would risk his life along with him. Instantly Fullalove stripped, and Vespasian next.

"Two is enough on such a desperate errand," said Dodd, with a groan.

But now emulation was up, and neither Briton, Yankee, nor negro, would give way: a line was made fast to the sailor's waist, and he was lowered to leeward; his venturesome rivals followed. The sea swallowed those three heroes like crumbs: and small was the hope of life for them.

The three heroes, being first-rate swimmers and divers, and going with the tide, soon neared the shore on the ship's lee quarter; but a sight of it was enough: to attempt to land on that rock, with such a sea on, was to get their skulls smashed like egg-shells in a moment. They had to coast it, looking out for a soft place.

They found one; and tried to land; but so irresistible was the suction of the retiring wave, that, whenever they got foot on the sand and tried to run, they were wrenched out to sea again, and pounded black and blue and breathless by the'curling breaker they met coming in.

After a score of vain efforts, the negro, throwing himself on his back, went in with a high wave, and, on touching the sand, turned, dug all his ten claws into it, clenched his teeth, and scrambled like a cat at a wall: having more power in his toes than the Europeans, and luckily getting one hand on a firm stone, his prodigious strength just enabled him to stick fast while the wave went back; and then, seizing the moment, he tore himself ashore, but bleeding and bruised all over, and with a tooth actually broken by clenching in the convulsive struggle.

He found some natives dancing about in violent agitation with a rope, but afraid to go in and help him; and no wonder, not being sea-gulls. By the light of their lanterns he saw Fullalove washing in and out like a log. He seized one end of the rope, dashed in and grabbed his friend, and they were hauled ashore together, both breathless, and Fullalove speechless.

The negro looked round for the sailor, but could not see him. Soon, however, there was a cry from some more natives about fifty yards off, and lanterns held up; away he dashed with the rope, just in time to see Jack make a last gallant attempt to land. It ended in his being flung up like a straw into the air on the very crest of a wave fifteen feet high, and out to sea with his arms whirling, and a death shriek which was echoed by every woman within hearing.

In dashed Vespasian with the rope, and gripped the drowning man's long hair with his teeth: then jerked the rope, and they were both pulled ashore with infinite difficulty. The good-natured Frenchmen gave them all three lots of vivats and brandy and pats on the back: and carried the line for them to a flag-staff on the rocks nearer the stern of the ship.

 

The ship began to show the first signs of breaking up: hammered to death by the sea, she discharged the oakum from her opening seams, and her decks began to gape and grin fore and aft. Corpses of drunken sailors drowned between decks now floated up amidships, and washed and rolled about among the survivors' feet. These, seeing no hope, went about making up all quarrels, and shaking hands in token of a Christian end. One or two came to Dodd with their hands out.

"Avast, ye lubbers!" said he, angrily; "do you think I have time for nonsense? Folksel ahoy! axes, and cut away the weather shrouds!"

It was done: the foremast went by the board directly, and fell to leeward: a few blows of the axe from Dodd's own hand sent the mainmast after it.

The Agra rose a streak; and the next wave carried her a little further inshore.

And now the man in charge of the hawser reported with joy that there was a strain on it.

This gave those on board a hope of life. Dodd bustled and had the hawser carefully payed out by two men, while he himself secured the other end in the mizzen top: he had left that mast standing on purpose.

There was no fog here; but great heavy black clouds flying about with amazing swiftness extinguished the moon at intervals: at others she glimmered through a dull mist in which she was veiled, and gave the poor souls on the Agra a dim peep of the frail and narrow bridge they must pass to live. A thing like a black snake went down from the mizzen top, bellying toward the yawning sea, and soon lost to sight: it was seen rising again among some lanterns on the rock ashore: but what became of it in the middle? The darkness seemed to cut it in two; the sea to swallow it. Yet, to get from a ship going to pieces under them, the sailors precipitated themselves eagerly on that black thread bellying to the sea and flickering in the wind. They went down it, one after another, and anxious eyes straining after them saw them no more: but this was seen, that scarce one in three emerged into the lights ashore.

Then Dodd got an axe, and stood in the top, and threatened to brain the first man who attempted to go on the rope:

"We must make it taut first," said he; "bear a hand here with a tackle."

Even while this was being done, the other rope, whose end he had fired ashore, was seen moving to windward. The natives, it seems, had found it, half buried in sand.

Dodd unlashed the end from the bulwarks and carried it into the top, and made it fast: and soon there were two black snakes dipping shoreward and waving in the air side by side.

The sailors scrambled for a place, and some of them were lost by their own rashness. Kenealy waited coolly: and went by himself.

Finally, Dodd was left in the ship with Mr. Sharpe and the women, and little Murphy, and Ramgolam, whom Robarts had liberated to show his contempt of Dodd.

He now advised Mrs. Beresford to be lashed to Sharpe and himself, and venture the passage; but she screamed and clung to him, and said "I dare not, oh I dare not."

"Then I must lash you to a spar," said he, "for she can't last much longer." He ordered Sharpe ashore. Sharpe shook hands with him; and went on the rope with tears in his eyes.

Dodd went hard to work, lashed Mrs. Beresford to a piece of broken waterbutt: filled Fred's pockets with corks and sewed them up (you never caught Dodd without a needle; only, unlike the women's, it was always kept threaded). Mrs. Beresford threw her arms round his neck and kissed him wildly: a way women have in mortal peril: it is but their homage to courage. "All right!" said Dodd, interpreting it as an appeal to his protection, and affecting cheerfulness. "We'll get ashore together on the poop awning, or somehow; never you fear. I'd give a thousand pounds to know when high-water is."

At this moment, with a report like a cannon,

the lower decks burst fore and aft: another still louder, and the Agra's back broke. She parted amidships with a fearful yawn, and the waves went toppling and curling clean through her.

At this appalling sound and sight, the few creatures left on the poop cowered screaming and clinging at Dodd's knees, and fought for a bit of him.

Yes, as a flood brings incongruous animals together on some little isle, in brotherhood of fear —creatures who never met before without one eating the other; and there they cuddle—so the thief Ramgolam clung to the man he had tried to rob; the Hindoo Ayah and the English maid hustled their mistress, the haughty Mrs, Beresford, and were hustled by her, for a bit of this human pillar, and little Murphy and Fred Beresford wriggled in at him where they could: and the poor goat crept into the quivering mass trembling like an aspen, and not a butt left either in his head or his heart. Dodd stood in the middle of these tremblers, a rock of manhood: and when he was silent and they heard only the voice of the waves, they despaired: and, whenever he spoke, they started at the astounding calmness of his voice, and words: and life sounded possible.

"Come," said he, "this won't do any longer. All hands into the mizzen top!"

He helped them all up, and stood on the ratlines himself: and, if you will believe me, the poor goat wailed like a child below. He found in that new terror and anguish a voice goat was never heard to speak in before. But they had to leave him on deck: no help for it. Dodd advised Mrs. Beresford once more to attempt the rope: she declined. "I dare not! I dare not!" she cried, but she begged Dodd hard to go on it and save himself.

It was a strong temptation: he clutched the treasure in his bosom; and one sob burst from the strong man.

That sob was but the tax paid by Nature; for Pride, Humanity, and Manhood stood stanch in spite of it. "No, No, no, I can't:" said he: "I mustn't. Don't tempt me to leave you in this plight, and be a cur! Live or die, I must be the last man on her. Here's something coming out to us, the Lord in Heaven be praised!"

A bright light was seen moving down the black line that held them to the shore; it descended slowly within a foot of the billows, and lighting them up showed their fearful proximity to the rope in mid passage: they had washed off many a poor fellow at that part.

"Look at that! Thank Heaven you did not try it!" said Dodd, to Mrs. Beresford.

At this moment a higher wave than usual swallowed up the light: there was a loud cry of dismay from the shore, and a wail of despair from the ship.

No! not lost after all! The light emerged: and mounted, and mounted toward the ship.

It came near, and showed the black shiny body of Vespasian with very little on but a handkerchief and a lantern, the former round his waist, and the latter lashed to his back: he arrived with a "Yah! yah!" and showed his white teeth in a grin.

Mrs. Beresford clutched his shoulder, and whimpered, "Oh, Mr. Black!"

"Iss, Missy, dis child bring good news. Capn! Massah Fullalove send you his congratulations, and the compliments of the season; and take the liberty to observe the tide am turn in twenty minutes."

The good news thus quaintly announced, caused an outburst of joy from Dodd, and, sailor-like, he insisted on all hands joining in a cheer. The shore re-echoed it directly. And this encouraged the forlorn band still more; to hear other hearts beating for them so near. Even the intervening waves could not quite annul the sustaining power of sympathy.

At this moment came the first faint streaks of welcome dawn, and revealed their situation more fully.

The vessel lay on the edge of a sand bank. She was clean in two, the stern lying somewhat higher than the stem. The sea rolled through her amidships six feet broad, frightful to look at; and made a clean breach over her forward, all except the bowsprit, to the end of which three poor sailors were now discovered to be clinging. The after-part of the poop was out of water, and in a corner of it the goat crouched like a rabbit: four dead bodies washed about beneath the party trembling in the mizzen top, and one had got jammed in the wheel, face uppermost, and glared up at them, gazing terror-stricken down.

No sign of the tide turning yet: and much reason to fear it would turn too late for them, and the poor fellows shivering on the bowsprit.

These fears were well founded.

A huge sea rolled in, and turned the fore-part of the vessel half over, buried the bowsprit, and washed the men off into the breakers.

Mrs. Beresford sank down, and prayed, holding Vespasian by the knee.

Fortunately, as in that vessel wrecked long syne on Melita, "the hind-part of the ship stuck fast and remained immovable."

But for how long?

Each wave now struck the ship's weather quarter with a sound like a cannon fired in a church, and sent the water clean into the mizzen top. It hit them like strokes of a whip. They were drenched to the skin, chilled to the bone, and frozen to the heart with fear. They made acquaintance that hour with Death. Ay, Death itself has no bitterness that forlorn cluster did not feel: only the insensibility that ends that bitterness was wanting.

Now the sea, you must know, was literally strewed with things out of the Agra; masts, rigging, furniture, tea-chests, bundles of canes, chairs, tables: but, of all this jetsom, Dodd's eye had been for some little time fixed on one object: a live sailor drifting ashore on a great

wooden case: it struck him after a while that the man made very little way; and at last seemed to go up and down in one place. By-and-by he saw him nearer and nearer, and recognized him. It was one of the three washed off the bowsprit.

He cried joyfully: "The tide has turned! here's Thompson coming out to sea."

Then there ensued a dialogue, incredible to landsmen, between these two sailors, the captain of the ship and the captain of the foretop; one perched on a stationary fragment of that vessel, the other drifting on a piano-forte; and both bawling at one another across the jaws of death.

Thompson ahoy!"

"Hal-lo!"

"Whither bound?"

"Going out with the tide, and be d—d to me."

"What, can't ye swim?"

"Like a brass figure-head. It's all over with poor Jack, Sir."

"All over? Don't tell me! Look out now as you drift under our stern, and we'll lower you the four-inch hawser."

"Lord bless you, Sir; do, pray!" cried Thompson, losing his recklessness with the chance of life.

By this time the shore was black with people, and a boat was brought down to the beach, but to attempt to launch it was to be sucked out to sea.

At present all eyes were fixed on Thompson drifting to destruction.

Dodd cut the four-inch hawser, and Vespasian, on deck, lowered it with a line, so that Thompson presently drifted right athwart it: "All right, Sir!" said he, grasping it: and amidst thundering acclamations was drawn to land full of salt-water and all but insensible. The piano landed at Dunkirk, three weeks later.

In the bustle of this good and smart action, the tide retired perceptibly.

By-and-by the sea struck lower and with less weight.

At nine P.M. Dodd took his little party down on deck again, being now the safest place; for the mast might go.

It was a sad scene: the deck was now dry, and the dead bodies lay quiet round them, with glassy eyes: and, grotesquely horrible, the long hair of two or three was stiff and crystallized with the saltpetre in the ship.

Mrs. Beresford clung to Vespasian: she held his bare black shoulder with one white and jeweled hand, and his wrist with the other, tight. "Oh, Mr. Black," said she, "how brave you are! It is incredible. Why you came back! I must feel a brave man with both my hands, or I shall die. Your skin is nice and soft too. I shall never outlive this dreadful day."

And, now that the water was too low to wash them off the hawser, several of the ship's company came back to the ship to help the women down.

By noon the Agra's deck was thirty feet from the sand. The rescued ones wanted to break their legs and necks: but Dodd would not permit even that. He superintended the whole manoeuvre, and lowered, first the dead, then the living, not omitting the poor goat, who was motionless and limp with fright.

When they were all safe on the sand, Dodd stood alone upon the poop a minute, cheered by all the sailors, French and English, ashore: then slid down a rope and rejoined his companions.

To their infinite surprise, the undaunted one was found to be sniveling.

"Oh dear, what is the matter?" said Mrs. Beresford, tenderly.

"The poor Agra, ma'am! She was such a beautiful sea-boat: and just look at her now! Never sail again: never! never! She was a little crank in beating, I can't deny it: but how she did fly with the wind abaft! She sank a pirate in the straits, and weathered a hurricane off the Mauritius; and after all for a lubber to go and lay her bones ashore in a fair wind: poor dear beauty."

He maundered thus, and kept turning back to look at the wreck, till he happened to lay his hand on his breast. He stopped in the middle of his ridiculous lament, wore a look of self-reproach, and cast his eyes upward in heart-felt gratitude.

The companions of so many adventures dispersed.

A hospitable mayoress entertained Mrs. Beresford and suite: and she took to her bed; for she fell seriously ill as soon as ever she could do it with impunity.

Colonel Kenealy went off to Paris: "I'll gain that any way by being wrecked," said he.

If there be a lover of quadrupeds here, let him know that Billy's weakness proved his strength. Being brandied by a good-natured French sailor, he winked his eye; being brandied greatly he staggered up; and butted his benefactor, like a man.

Fullalove had dry clothes and a blazing fire ready for Dodd at a little rude auberge: he sat over it and dried a few bank-notes he had loose about him, and examined his greater treasure, his children's. The pocket-book was much stained, but no harm whatever done to the contents.

In the midst of this employment the shadow of an enormous head was projected right upon his treasure.

Turning with a start he saw a face at the window; one of those vile mugs which are found to perfection among the canaille of the French nation; bloated, blear-eyed, grizzly, and wildbeast-like. The ugly thing, on being confronted, passed slowly out of the sun, and Dodd thought no more of it.

The owner of this sinister visage was Andre


 

 

 

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