Colonel Grierson Biography


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, June 6, 1863

You are viewing part of our online archive of Harper's Weekly newspapers published during the Civil War. This archive serves as an invaluable resource for developing a more in depth perspective on this critical part of American History.

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Colonel Grierson

Colonel Grierson

Colonel Grierson Biography

Colonel Grierson Biography

General Van Dorn Death

City Park

New Orleans City Park

Colonel Grierson Raid

Grant's March

Grant's March on Vicksburg

Loyalty Oath

Loyalty Oath



Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge

Hand to Hand Combat

Hand to Hand Combat

General Grant

General Grant

Stomach Bitters

Stomach Bitters

Illinois Central Railroad

Illinois Central Railroad Land





[JUNE 6, 1863.



ON the previous page we give a portrait of the now famous COLONEL GRIERSON, of the Sixth Illinois Cavalry, whose magnificent raid through Mississippi has won him such fame. The following is a sketch of the Colonel's life:

Colonel Benjamin H. Grierson is a native of Pennsylvania, having been born in Pittsburg in the month of July, 1827. Consequently he is nearly thirty-six years of age. At a very early age he removed to Trumbull County, Ohio, in which State he resided for nearly fifteen years, and then moved to Jacksonville, Illinois, where he resided when the present war broke out. He was in the produce business; and, to use his own words, "was also a musician," being able to play on any instrument from a jews-harp to a hand organ. Shortly after hostilities commenced he left for Cairo to join a company that had been raised in his town; but on arrival there he went on duty as aid to General Prentiss. When the Sixth Illinois cavalry was organized he was elected Major of that regiment, but remained on detached service as aid to General Prentiss, with whom he served with distinction. On the 28th of March, 1862, when Colonel Cavanaugh resigned, Major Grierson was unanimously elected by the officers to fill his place, and in December, 1862, he was ordered to command the first brigade of cavalry, consisting of the Sixth and Seventh Illinois and Second Iowa regiments. Colonel Grierson, with his command, has been engaged in all the cavalry skirmishes and raids of West Tennessee and Northern Mississippi, and in every affair has been successful. His officers and men worship him almost, and are ready to follow wherever he will lead.



"Scarcely any paper is doing so much for UNION and LIBERTY as Harper's Weekly."—Boston Commonwealth.


UP to the time we write over $110,000,000 have been subscribed at par to the United States loan known as the "Five-Twenties," and the indications are that by 1st July, when the subscription closes, the aggregate amount subscribed will not fall short of $250,000,000. The people of the United States are of their own accord going day by day to the various treasuries, and lending the Government more money than the war is costing. So liberal are these subscriptions, and so steadily does the money pour in, that Mr. Chase has been enabled to stop the issue of legal-tender paper, leaving the amount afloat about $400,000,000. The chief cause of these large loans to Government is a revival of confidence, and a general belief that we have engaged in the war as a settled business, that we shall go on with it until we accomplish our purpose, and that when that purpose is accomplished no security in the world will compare in value with a United States bond.

The success of our financial policy is the bitterest of all the bitter pills which our enemies are swallowing. At the South it was proclaimed when the war began—and the utterance was widely repeated and indorsed among Southern sympathizers at the North—that the war would ruin the United States, and that grass would grow in our streets. A Southern gentleman, who had entertained these views, and who spent the last two years at the South, arrived last week in Philadelphia; when he saw around him the evidences, not of ruin and decay, but of increased activity, business, and prosperity, and compared them with the melancholy scenes he had just witnessed in his own country, he burst into tears over the execrable folly which caused the war.

Abroad, the opinion was unanimous, when the war began, that we were all going to "smash up" in a few weeks. The money writer of the London Times, who has been the most malignant and unscrupulous of our defamers, said, in May or June, 1861, in a letter to the Commercial Advertiser of this city, that the true friends of the United States in England—among whom he counted himself—were determined to prevent the negotiation of a United States loan in London, from the conviction that without money from Europe "this insane war" would come to an end in ninety days. Similar opinions were expressed in the letters of every leading London banker and merchant to his correspondent here. When the year 1861 passed without an attempt being made to negotiate a loan abroad, a good deal of astonishment and disappointment was felt by these "friends of the United States;" but the London Times writer consoled himself by proving once a week, to his own satisfaction, that our financial system was all wrong, and that we must collapse within a few weeks. These cheerful prophecies were repeated at intervals, and re-echoed in the minor press, and by the politicians of England, throughout the year 1862. British exasperation at the financial independence of this country found vent in vile abuse of Mr. Chase, and loud warnings of our impending ruin. As, however, at the close of that year, we had neither collapsed, nor stopped the war for want of money, nor gone to London to beg, a change came slowly over European sentiment. In spite of the warnings of our "friend" of the London Times, some far-sighted Englishmen began to invest money in United States Bonds; and early in 1863 representatives of German and French bankers formally proposed to Mr. Chase to take a new loan of $100,000,000. They were at once politely informed that the United States Government did not contemplate any negotiations abroad, and that foreigners who desired to invest their money in our securities must purchase them

in this market. Such astonishing language from a finance minister, whose system, according to all sound British rule and precedent, ought to have broken down two years before, drove the London Times and our other "friends" to a pitch of frenzy. But the Times writer was equal to the emergency. He immediately announced that Mr. Chase had sent agents to London to negotiate a loan of $50,000,000, and proceeded, in grave terms, to warn the people who had just subscribed to the cotton loan against the folly of taking United States securities. Of course there was not the least shadow of foundation for the statement. No person whosoever has been authorized by our Government to sell a dollar's worth of bonds abroad. But the lie served its purpose for a time, and helped to keep up the delusion that our finances needed foreign aid.

What exasperates these Englishmen more than any thing else is, that while the entire upper crust of society, including all the leading journals, appears to be thoroughly devoted to the Southern cause, and heartily bent on believing and propagating every imaginable falsehood about us, our cause, and our condition, the British masses sturdily refuse to be deceived. The emigration from Great Britain to this country is double what it ever was before. Instead of two steamers a week, four have been put on the lines from Liverpool and Queenstown, and all classes of sailing vessels are sailing with full passenger lists. The Irish papers say that the railways are doing a fine business in carrying emigrants to the sea-ports. And worst of all, as the emigrants walk to the quays to embark, "the trade unions escort them with bands, and the crowd gives three cheers for the United States, and three groans for the British Government."

Under these circumstances we think we can let our "friend" of the London Times and his confederates lie about us to their heart's content.


COLONEL GRIERSON, the man who rode 800 miles through the rebel country, and brought his command out safe at Baton Rouge, said, on meeting his friends, that nothing had surprised him more than the utter hollowness of the rebellion. It was, as he expressed it, a mere crust—an empty shell. A similar remark was made by that Herald correspondent who was taken prisoner at Fredericksburg and carried to Richmond. He said that the rebellion was a mere sham, with fair outward appearance, but nothing but rottenness and decay within; and that the rebels themselves were waiting for a good excuse to give up a contest in which they had long since lost faith and heart.

The opinions thus formed by intelligent observers, from a survey of general facts and indications, bid fair to be confirmed by practical evidence before very long, especially if Vicksburg falls. In no less than three States of the pretended Southern Confederacy, and those three not the least powerful, measures of reconstruction are now actually in progress.

In North Carolina there is no attempt to conceal the growing hostility which prevails between the controlling party in the State and the rebel Government at Richmond. Governor Vance, who was accused of Unionism before his election, and probably owed a good many votes to the accusation, permits his organ to threaten Jeff Davis with the withdrawal of 80,000 North Carolina troops from his army, and to openly discuss the advantages of a withdrawal from the rebel Confederacy. If these are the views of the party in power in the Old North State, an argument like the fall of Vicksburg or the defeat of Lee would certainly embolden some at least of the Governor's friends to begin to inquire whether, after all, the old Union did not answer better than its pseudo-successor. We should expect to hear some such inquiry from such a man as John A. Gilmer, of Goldsborough.

In Louisiana the wheat is being sifted from the chaff, and in a short time there will be few men within the productive regions of that State who have not taken the oath of allegiance. Whatever the private sympathies of the planters may be, they can not wait for Jeff Davis forever. And after a year of military rule they must be anxious to reconstruct a civil government, and go on with the business of raising sugar and cotton. Accordingly we learn that several meetings of the leading planters on the river and in the Opelousas country have taken place, and that the prevailing sentiment was a willingness to "accept the situation," and make the best of it. Many of them, no doubt, still hanker after the slave confederacy. But as wishes of this kind are plainly futile, like sensible men, the planters abandon them, and are trying to find out what is next best to be done. They would all like to keep their slaves. But as this can not be done, they are very wisely maturing plans of negro apprenticeship under the advice of General Banks. Altogether the prospect is that, by the time the cotton crop is ready for picking, the leading planters of Louisiana—who have not registered themselves as enemies of the United States, and hence been sent out of the country—will be honestly for

supporting the old flag, and that free negro labor will be in full operation on very many estates along the Mississippi, the Red River, and its tributaries.

The situation in Georgia is still more suggestive. The Georgians have never had their hearts in this business of rebelling. They were a rich and prosperous people, did not need to better their condition as South Carolina and Virginia did, and had sense enough to know when they were well off. Their leading man, Alexander H. Stephens, resisted secession to the last. Even when they were dragged into the vortex, they followed the lead of their turbulent little neighbor with marked reluctance. They resisted the conscription law, and threatened to withdraw their volunteers from Jeff Davis's army. Governor Brown refused to surrender to Jeff Davis arms which he considered requisite for the defense of his State. And more recently, it having been proposed that the credit of the Confederate Bonds—now seriously impaired—should be strengthened by their indorsement by the several States of the Confederacy, Georgia peremptorily refused to lend her credit for such a purpose. It appears that the discussion on this subject was very acrimonious, and that at last the policy of the rebel government came to be so freely canvassed, that some one proposed and the Legislature agreed to call a convention to determine afresh the relations of the State of Georgia toward the Confederate and the United States. The election of members of this convention is now proceeding. The Georgians have especial reasons for being dissatisfied with the rebel government. As we said above, they have always been a prosperous people, and have consequently borne the privations imposed by the blockade and the war with less equanimity than their poorer neighbors. Again, the capture of Fort Pulaski effectually sealed the port of Savannah. The people of that city have thus had the mortification of seeing grass grow in their streets and on their wharves, while Charleston was doing a thriving business with the help of blockade-runners. Enterprise, which was always more lively in Georgia than in any other Southern State, chafes fiercely at the paralyzing effect of the war. A dozen projected railways and canals have been abandoned; and, though thus far the soil of Georgia has not been overrun by the invaders, it is distinctly understood that a time will come, if the war lasts, when Georgia must share the fate of Virginia and Tennessee. It was, doubtless, these considerations which led to the call of a new convention. What may be the result of its deliberations it would be rash to undertake to predict. But it is quite safe to say that the debates and conclusions will possess no ordinary interest.



UPON the 3d of March, 1863, the President of the United States approved an important postal act, which goes into effect on and after June 30.

By this act the postage upon Harper's Magazine to any part of the United States is six cents per quarter, or TWENTY-FOUR cents per year.

Upon the Weekly FIVE cents per quarter, or TWENTY cents per year.

Upon Harper's Pictorial History of the Rebellion TWO cents per number.

Our readers are reminded that the next quarterly payment is to be made on July 1.

Section 36 of the new act provides that news-dealers may pay the postage upon their packages as received, at the same rate pro rata as yearly or semi-annual subscribers who pay quarterly in advance.


To say that to treat the rebels according to the articles of war, to send and receive flags of truce, to exchange prisoners, etc., is a tacit acknowledgment of them as an independent belligerent power, is merely to confuse things with names, and the shadow with the substance. The Government is subduing a rebellion; but it does it upon the scale and with all the resources of war. It is waging war against rebels according to the rules of war. Because it sends a flag of truce to arrange an exchange of prisoners at Richmond, it does not for a moment waive its right of trying and punishing Jeff Davis as a traitor, whenever he may fall into its hands. Whether the Government will exercise the right is a question to be decided upon many considerations. So in the matter of sending Vallandigham or any other rebel sympathizer beyond the lines. How can it be done? asks some one, without conceding too much. What are "the lines" of the United States Government upon its own soil? The answer is, that rightfully and theoretically they are the lines of its territory. But actually part of that territory is held by a domestic enemy which defies the Government. To send, therefore, over those lines an enemy of the Government is only to put its foes in front. When a man like Vallandigham is spewed into the bosom of the rebellion for which he and his cronies are working, his arrival assures the rebels that the loyal men whom they are fighting are unwilling to tolerate even an expression of disloyalty. It is a remarkably constituted mind which sees in such an act the recognition of the rebels as an independent power.

Whether, however, it is worth while for the Government to treat such persons in such a way is a question upon which most loyal men probably differ with the generous and ardent Burnside.

The arrest of Vallandigham has given him a notoriety which neither his capacity nor his importance would ever have secured for him.


WHEN Jeff Davis says that he shall hang the officers of the colored United States regiments, and turn over the privates to the tender mercies of State laws, he threatens what he does not mean to execute. That he would like to do so, there can be no question. That he would like to hang, draw, and quarter every such officer, and boil in oil every such private, there is no doubt. But his threat will not be executed, because it would destroy what little remaining hope he cherishes of sympathy or admiration from other nations; because it would blend in one great outcry of indignation all the voices of the loyal part of the country; and because of the swift and sure retaliation that would fall upon the rebel prisoners in our hands.

It is not for Jeff Davis and his crew to decide what soldiers the Government of his country shall employ. By our articles of war, it is plainly declared to be the settled doctrine of military law that no arbitrary distinctions can be made among our forces by any enemy, domestic or foreign. If Great Britain, in case of war, should discriminate against our soldiers of Dutch or Irish descent, or against the natives of New York or California, she would do so at her own risk, knowing perfectly well that her prisoners in our hands, man by man, would pay the penalty of her temerity.

Jeff Davis is perfectly aware of all this; and he is also aware that the Government and people of the United States are no longer playing at war. If he chooses a contest of extermination he means, of course, to abide by his choice. If he does not, his talk of hanging officers of certain regiments and conniving at the assassination of privates, is merely the malice of impotence.


THE London Times keeps an epistolary agent at Richmond and another in New York, to depict the solemnity and grandeur of a rebellion which aims to secure the unrestricted power of whipping women and selling children. The New York agent incessantly assures John Bull that "there's a good time coming" when the United States will be ruined, and when neither the aristocracy of England need fear the success of the democratic system, nor the trade of England tremble at the prospect of a rival upon the seas.

But the Richmond purveyor of news which shall comfort John Bull with the hope of our speedy downfall, is a much more amusing gentleman than the correspondent who does the same pitiful job in New York. In a late letter the Richmond man says that if the war be protracted for ten months more, it "will plunge both sections alike into that great ocean of repudiation which is consciously and without a shudder contemplated at Washington, but toward which there is at least great repugnance professed at Richmond."

There is exquisite fun in this solemn falsehood when it is remembered that the guiding genius at Richmond is Jefferson Davis, whose sole reputation in Europe before he turned traitor to his flag and country was that of a repudiator. He defended the repudiation of her bonds by Mississippi, and sneered at "the crocodile tears which had been shed over ruined creditors." These words, as the New York correspondent of the London Times might practically suggest, would make a very pretty legend for the notes of the "Confederate States," and possibly procure for them a premium in Lombard Street from dealers who are fond of light literature.


THERE has been of late a loud vociferation for free speech and personal rights from those who for the last twenty years have engineered and led all the mobs in the city for the suppression of free speech and for the destruction of all the most sacred and inalienable rights of men. The immediate occasion of the outcry is the imminent danger of the absolute protection of free speech and personal rights every where in the land. These gentry wish to have free speech to insist that others shall not have it; and to enjoy perfect liberty to deprive other people of freedom.

The arrest of Mr. Vallandigham was a mistake, simply because it was not necessary. But Mr. Fernando Wood and Mr. Isaiah Rynders will hardly persuade any body that they are in favor either of flee speech or any other kind of freedom, except the freedom of white men to enslave black men, and of the party of Mr. Wood and Mr. Rynders to govern the country. And they may be consoled in their ardor for personal liberty and free speech to know that there is an immense mass meeting at this very time upon the Rappahannock, along the Mississippi, and the Tennessee line, in perpetual session, and it will not adjourn nor dissolve until the flag of the United States shall secure the undisputed exercise of every constitutional right upon every inch of United States soil; until Mr. Wendell Phillips shall be protected in his freedom of saying in Charleston that slavery is a blunder and a crime, precisely as Mr. Fernando Wood is protected in New York in saying that the colored race is a servile people and ought to be enslaved; and until the personal rights of man, whatever his capacity, his color, his education, or his wealth, are as fully recognized in Georgia as they are in Maine.

Of course the gentry who meet to vindicate the liberty of speech and personal rights will be charmed with this meeting and its results.


A FRIEND writes privately to the Lounger from England: "I hope and pray we may not be drifting into war with the North. Whatever may have been the case about the Alabama (whose getting away is no doubt a thing to be immensely regretted (Next Page)




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