Robert E. Lee's Invasion of Pennsylvania


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Robert E. Lee Portrait

Civil War Harper's Weekly, June 27, 1863

Welcome to our online collection of Civil War Harper's Weekly newspapers. We hope you enjoy browsing this incredible collection. The wood cut illustrations provide an incredible view into this important aspect of American History.


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Before Vicksburg

Before Vicksburg

Lee Invades Pennsylvania

Lee Invades Pennsylvania

Lee's Northern Ivasion

Lee's Invasion of the North

Siege of Vicksburg

Siege of Vicksburg



Port Hudson

Siege of Port Hudson

Democratic Cartoon

Democratic Party Cartoon



Approaches to Vicksburg


Pennsylvania Battle Map

Sedgwick Crossing Rappahonnock

General Sedgwick Crossing the Rappahannock

Rebel Dead

Rebel Dead

Rifle Pits

Rifle Pits

Attack on Port Hudson

Attack on Port Hudson








[JUNE 27, 1863.



HARPER'S WEEKLY has a circulation of oven 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 lest 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.


SATURDAY, JUNE 27, 1863.


GENERAL LEE has verified the predictions we published in our last number with startling exactness. A part of his army has invaded Pennsylvania, now occupies one or two of the southern towns in that State, and menaces Harrisburg. A wild panic pervades the State, and the military organization which should have preceded the invasion by several weeks is now being hurriedly completed, in the midst of universal terror and confusion. Even as far west as Pittsburg the operatives in the machine-shops have knocked off work, called for speeches, and fallen to building earth-works. Meanwhile the alarm has spread to the adjacent States. New Jersey, Ohio, New York, West Virginia, and even Massachusetts are hurrying forward their militia to the scene of action, and there is some reason to hope that by the time these lines are read a new army of volunteer militia, as numerous if not as efficient as Lee's forces, will interpose between the rebel advance and the capital of the Keystone State.

It is stated that the Government was fully aware of Lee's designs, and suffered the rebels to cross the Potomac for ulterior purposes of its own. This may be so, though the prize which it was proposed to purchase by the sacrifice of one half of Milroy's army and the flourishing town of Chambersburg must—one would think—have been tolerably substantial.

The rebel journals, and some organs of opinion here, intimate that it is Lee's design to push forward into the heart of Pennsylvania and Ohio, and to stay at Pittsburg or Harrisburg, or some other convenient point—in other words, to invade the North on the plan which we have pursued at the South, taking all he can seize, and holding what he takes. The event will probably prove the fallacy of this expectation. No army of the size of Lee's can operate as a movable or flying column without a base; and no body of troops small enough to operate as a movable column would be safe in any part of the State of Pennsylvania. A brigade or a division of cavalry, moving swiftly from place to place, and avoiding the large towns, may make successful raids even into Pennsylvania, and may destroy bridges and stores, and carry off large quantities of plunder, without running more than the average risks of war. But if Lee, or any of his generals, attempts to move a corps d'armee of twelve to fifteen thousand men of the three arms, into any Northern State, it is demonstrable that the chances would be heavily against their return. And if he moves with any larger force than this, he must keep his communications open with his base or perish. This has been the cardinal principle which has impeded our operations so seriously in Virginia. Whenever the army of the Potomac has moved any considerable distance from its base, its communications have been cut, and the very existence of the army endangered. It will be so with Lee. If he operates from Winchester, which is the most probable base for a campaign against Southern Pennsylvania, he will not dare to move much beyond Hagerstown or Chambersburg; for if he does, his communications will infallibly be cut, and his army will have to retreat or perish.

Many motives have been assigned for Lee's sudden march from Fredericksburg to Winchester. It is hardly worth while to discuss any of them, as the most plausible is after all mere conjecture. But it is not difficult to understand that the preservation of the morale of the rebel army and the rebel people, in view of the proximate fall of Vicksburg and Port Hudson and the loss of the Mississippi Valley, imperatively required that some dashing enterprise—involving possibilities of brilliant successes—should be undertaken, and this theory alone might suffice to account for Lee's recent strategy; which, in any other point of view, would seem to be unworthy of his reputation.


WE wish we could find space in our crowded columns for the President's very admirable reply to a Democratic meeting at Albany, which, through the hands of Mr. Erastus Corning, transmitted to him certain resolutions censuring the arrest and exile of Clement L. Vallandigham.

Whether we view the paper as a calm exposition of the law of the case, and of the duty and responsibility of the Executive, or whether we prefer to look at it in a more personal light, as a semi-private letter, written in justification of Mr. Lincoln's course—for it will bear this construction—it will challenge universal respect, and give its author a fresh claim to the gratitude of the people.

First, as to the facts of the case. The letter says:

Mr. Vallandigham avows his hostility to the war on the part of the Union; and his arrest was made because he was laboring, with some effect, to prevent the raising of troops, to encourage desertions from the army, and to leave the rebellion without an adequate military force to suppress it. He was not arrested because he was damaging the political prospects of the Administration, or the personal interests of the Commanding-General, but because he was damaging the army, upon the existence and vigor of which the life of the nation depends. He was warring upon the military, and this gave the military constitutional jurisdiction to lay hands upon him.

As to the power of the Government to arrest such a traitor as this, and to deny him the right of habeas corpus and the privileges of a trial in the courts, the President very properly refers to that clause in the Constitution which states that "the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, UNLESS WHEN, IN CASES OF REBELLION or invasion, THE PUBLIC SAFETY SHALL REQUIRE IT."

This, says the President, is precisely our present case—a case of gigantic rebellion wherein the public safety requires the suspension of the habeas corpus, and the other legal formalities by which, in time of peace, the personal liberty of the citizen is secured. In proof hereof, he refers to the military necessity which requires the shooting of deserters, and inquires, with crushing force, whether he "must shoot a simple soldier-boy who deserts, while 'he' may not touch a hair of a wily agitator who induces him to desert?"

Having proved his constitutional right to deny to Vallandigham a trial in the courts, the President devotes a few sentences to the absurd notion, which has lately been used at certain pseudo-democratic meetings in this city, that the suspension of the habeas corpus in time of civil war will impair the working of our free institutions when peace is restored. "I can no more believe this," says the President, "than I can believe that a man could contract so strong an appetite for emetics during temporary illness, as to persist in feeding upon them during the remainder of his healthful life." In point of fact, the precedent established by General Jackson at New Orleans, when he suspended the writ of his own mere motion, and arrested the lawyer who asked for it, the judge who granted it, and the editor who said it should have been issued, settles this point. When peace was restored with England, the habeas corpus and the other free institutions of the country resumed their play just as though they had never been suspended, and no one ever thought of resisting them on the ground of Jackson's proceedings. When the rebellion is over, no public official will attempt to use the arbitrary power which a due concern for the public safety now forces into the hands of the President and his commanding Generals—until another "rebellion or invasion" take place, when again the "supreme law" will override all others, as it does at present.

We judge that Mr. Lincoln's real object in publishing this letter to the Albany Democrats, was not only to make them and their co-workers ashamed of the mean position which they occupy in trying to weaken the hands of the Government at a time when the very life of the nation hangs trembling in the balance, but also to warn the secret traitors who swarm in our midst that he is perfectly determined to do his duty to the country, and that the case of Vallandigham may possibly prove a precedent for future action. It is clear as noonday that if the soldier-boy who deserts is to be shot—and all officers declare that without shooting deserters armies can not be kept together—the infamous scoundrel who stays at home, and by lying words tempts him to desert, by weakening his confidence in his officers, misrepresenting and reviling the cause in which he is fighting, predicting the hopelessness of the conflict, damping his ardor, and fomenting his discontent, ought not, in common justice, to escape unscathed. We have in this city men who, within a month, have said and written words which, if distributed through the army of the Potomac, and believed by the troops, could not fail to have yielded a large crop of desertions. There are newspapers published here whose sole aim appears to be to dishearten our troops; to represent that they are engaged in an unjust, a needless, a brutal war; to persuade them that they are the tools of reckless abolition agitators, whose object is to raise the black man at the expense of the white; in a word, to provide every lazy and discontented soldier with an ample supply of reasons for deserting on the first opportunity. At the late peace meeting held here under the auspices of the ex-Mayor of New York, and at several meetings held during the recent canvass in Connecticut, such a picture was drawn of the war, of the Administration, and of the generals, that a shrewd soldier, seeing and believing it, must have deemed it almost a duty to desert. With what feelings, under these circumstances, can any lover of justice, or any man who has a relative in the army, read

the ominous dispatch which now appears three or four times a week in the newspapers: "Two more deserters were shot this morning?" Instead of wanting Vallandigham back, ought we not rather to demand of the President, in justice and mercy, that a few more examples be made of Northern traitors?



THE military discussion of chief interest at this moment is that of the value of colored troops. Thus far in the war, upon every occasion when they have been in action, they have shown the heroism, subordination, coolness, and unfaltering resolution which are essential to the successful soldier. But a most interesting chapter of testimony upon the subject has been intrusted to us by a friend, who receives it from Major Edelmiro Mayer, a soldier of the Argentine Republic, who has entered the service of this country, having come most amply accredited to the President and distinguished civil and military personages from the most eminent persons of his own country. We shall make only such changes in his expressions as are absolutely essential. The Major writes in English:

"I am very much surprised that the ability, and I may say the supreme excellence, of the negro as a soldier should be questioned. But I remember that when the New World was discovered the Europeans questioned whether the Indians were men or not, until Pope Alexander the Sixth issued a bull declaring them to be gifted with intelligence, and to be descendants from Adam.....

"What foundation is there for the belief that the negro is not a good soldier? In my opinion he does not lack any of the qualities of a soldier; and this opinion of mine is founded upon severe tests of their worth, seen and known by me in a long experience with them in the wars of the Argentine Republic.

"The principal branch of the army is the infantry. Let us then consider the negro as a foot-soldier.

"To be a good infantry soldier it is necessary that the man should be robust, and sober, and able to bear privation and fatigue. He must be gifted with the passive courage of the artillerist and the marine, and he must also possess such intrepidity that, when the occasion offers, he will dash forward on the charge with the impetuosity of a horseman. Fighting by day and night, in summer and winter, on land and on water, in all climates, and on all kinds of ground; enduring fatigue, cold, and hunger, he needs an intelligence in proportion to the kind of war he wages—a continued perseverance, dexterity, energy, and moral force to engage in all combats.

"Now the infantry will not be good unless it is composed of individuals who will receive canister shot at 'Support arms' without dodging or changing position; who will receive or attack the enemy with bayonet or ball; who will make long marches without shoes, and camp without water in summer, without clothes in winter, and eating little, fight without rest.

"Find a race of men with such qualities, and you have the best infantry in the world. In general the negroes are robust; but the slaves are much more likely to be so, because they are habituated to incessant work, and they are able to bear the privations and fatigue of campaigns with admirable resignation, and it may be said with a stoical impassibility.

"That the negro is courageous is shown by the history of my country, in which are written the names of many black heroes.

"In the South American War of Independence the army of the Argentine Republic aided in giving liberty to five other republics (Peru, Bolivia, Chili, Paraguay, and Uraguay), and in that army were many battalions of negroes. The Spanish armies, which had just come from combating the legions of Napoleon the Great, know very well of what metal those negroes are made, for the Spaniards were defeated by them in many battles.

"In the war which the Argentine Republic had with Brazil, in 1825, the Brazilians had 8000 foreign soldiers in their infantry, who, in the decisive battles of 'Ituzaings' (in which the Argentine arms were victorious), were either killed, wounded, or made prisoners by an inferior number of negroes, commanded by a negro named Colonel Barcala, who had been promoted in the regular army to this high position on account of his heroism, military talent, and gentlemanly manners.

"In the long and cruel civil war of the Argentine Republic, in which two opposite elements wrestled—civilization and barbarity—the negroes were always on the side of the civilized party, and they have always been sublimely faithful to it. Never were the leaders of the barbarian party able to persuade these negroes to serve them; they have in every instance preferred the tortures of the tyrant J. M. Rosas and sure death to treason.

"Never have they deserted the flag of liberty.

"When the army of liberty was decimated by Rosas, and the Argentine Republic had been made a vast cemetery for all those who loved liberty—when our army had been deprived of its most necessary leaders, and the men had perished by hunger, thirst, and the fatigue of those campaigns, the negroes made themselves illustrious for the perseverance, dexterity, and moral force with which they wrestled with all trials and overcame all difficulties.

"The negroes are never insubordinate, and subordination is the soul of a good army; they are also very faithful to their commanders and officers.

"I will relate to you a fact which occurred in 1854. The retrograde party having taken possession of the Government of Uruguay Republic, the liberals determined to humble then, and so they joined some regiments of the National Guard of Montevideo, the capital of the republic. The revolution was crushed, and its abettors were banished forever from the country. At this time there were three battalions of negroes who besought their chiefs to be allowed to accompany them in their banishment. Their commanders consented. They came to Buenos Ayres, and they have always been true to their principles, and helped their chiefs to humble the despotic Government of their country, which they attempted in 1857, and in which unhappy expedition the greater part of the army of liberty perished by the cutting edge of the enemy's sword.

"I have had some of those negro soldiers, and I have led them to the fight. Would to God I could ever obtain again the command of such soldiers as those; for I know that, even if not victorious, at least they would never leave the field without doing honor to our arms and flag!"


IN a subsequent letter Major Mayer gives the following account of a celebrated negro chieftain whose fame survives in the Argentine Republic like that of Touissant L'Ouverture in St. Domingo.

Besides the brave Colonel Barcala other negroes have distinguished themselves in the wars of South America. Borros, the Portuguese historian of Brazil, says that in his opinion the negro soldiers are

preferable to the Swiss, who in his day were considered the best infantry in the world. In fact one of the most distinguished characters in Brazilian history was Henry Diaz, a negro, who from a slave became, like Barcala, the colonel of a regiment of soldiers of his own color. In 1637, at the head of his soldiers, he took from the Dutch the fort and town of Arecise. In 1645, in one of his battles, a ball shattered his left hand. To spare the delay of dressing the wound he caused it to be amputated on the spot, saying that each finger of his right was worth the whole of his left hand in battle. The historian Menezes praises his consummate skill, and the devotion and intrepidity of his followers:

"You desire to know more of Colonel Barcala, whose name you have seen in the letter which I wrote to—. I know perfectly well that your interest in him is not a mere idle curiosity, but is born of your profound love to the good cause, and of your wish to put in action whatever may contribute in any way to elevate the oppressed negro race.

"You think that it may be useful and interesting to know something of this fellow-countryman of mine—a man eminent by his talents, virtues, and heroic deeds. Well, then, I will make you a sketch of that negro, as noble and brave as the Bayard of France. I am only afraid that it will be very imperfect, because I am far from those who could give me dates, and I must depend only on my memory. But the few details that I can relate to you of this martyr for liberty will enable you to judge of him.

"Colonel Barcala was born in the city of Mendoza, where his parents were slaves. The owner of them loved the little negro, seeing him so intelligent, and gave him a good education. The war of independence revolutionized the society of the viceroyalty of Buenos Ayres, and when the first congress met, in 1815, it declared free every one born after that day in the Argentine Republic, and also forbad the introduction of slaves. The love of liberty inspired the hearts of most of the citizens, who gave immediately freedom to their negroes, begging them only to help to maintain the liberty and independence of the new republic.

"Many of the negroes marched to the encampments and offered themselves as privates, and among them was Barcala. They were organized into battalions with white officers. General San Martin passed with them the Andes, the most splendid feat of the military history of South America, and fought the memorable battle of Chacabuco, so disastrous for the Spaniards. In this battle Barcala was made a corporal for his distinguished gallantry.

"A short time after the liberating army was surprised in the night, and, unfortunately, nearly all dispersed. Corporal Barcala was made Sergeant for the activity and intelligence which he displayed on this occasion. Seven days afterward the Spanish army was attacked, greatly to their astonishment, in the field of Maypu, by the army which they thought they had destroyed in the recent action, and which was now reduced to one third the number of the enemy.

"The battle of Maypu was one of the most bloody and desperate ever fought by the Spaniards on the South American continent, and in losing it they lost the possession of Chili. In that battle the negro battalions performed exploits very similar to those that distinguished the Rhoda Island regiments under General Burnside at Antietam.

"For his behavior in the battle Barcala was made Lieutenant. He was the first negro officer in our army, and had at that time three decorations on his breast.

"Constantly battling, without rest, the liberating army followed the Spaniards to Bolivia and Peru. I returned to Buenos Ayres in the year 1823. Barcala had made eight years of continued campaigns, and when he returned to his father-land, from which he went out as private, he came as Colonel of a Regiment, covered with glory, with fifteen decorations, and with the love and esteem of all the army.

"It is necessary to understand that the chiefs and officers of the army were from the most notable and select portions of society, in order justly to appreciate the merit of Barcala, an emancipated negro slave, who raised himself to so high a rank by his talents, heroism, knowledge, and virtues.

"In the war with Brazil, in 1825, you know the figure that he made, because you have read the letter which I have written to —.

"In 1828 broke out our civil war, and Barcala, like all the negroes, was with the party of liberty. The Liberal army, being in the State of Cordova, fought there the battle of the Tablada, under General Paz (the only South American General who has not lost a battle, notwithstanding he fought many and very notable ones, among which is this, the bloodiest in South American history), and General Facundo Quiroga, the Argentine Attila.

"After two days of fighting, in which was displayed by one side the greatest strategy and valor, and by the other the greatest impetuosity in the furious charges of cavalry, and the greatest obstinacy, General Paz remained master of the field; and in the general order which he gave the next day he magnified the knowledge and talent of his chief-of-staff, and declared that he owed to him mainly the victory. This chief-of-staff of General Paz, the most strategical and learned of all the South American Generals, and the most severely sparing of eulogies, was the Colonel Barcala.

"I will relate to you two or three facts which will throw some light upon his character.

"The Liberal army being in the city of Cordova, the high society of the city gave a great banquet to the chiefs and officers. In the negro battalions were some colonel officers, who had been promoted for their merits. Well, then, not one of those officers would go to the banquet, but gave sincere thanks for the invitation. I knew, two years ago, one of those officers; and when I asked him for the reasons why they had refused the invitation, he told me: 'In the army we had known well what we were as officers, but we also knew our position in society, for so has taught us our Colonel Barcala.' For, having been slaves, they, of course, were without high culture.

"A few days after this there was given a ball to the generals and chiefs. It was the custom to open these balls with a minuet danced by the commanding general and his chief-of-staff. Colonel Barcala, who, by order of his general, was present, and was in the side-rooms, refused to go into the parlor to dance, saying that he did not know how to do it. Then one of those ladies appointed to dance that minuet, whom I know, and who, now in advanced years, preserves the aristocratic air that was characteristic of her manners, approached him and said, 'I will direct you; now you will not longer refuse to dance.' Barcala danced with all the grace and freedom of a man of the court. The minuet finished, he walked out of the parlor and went away. Afterward he said to this lady, 'Though you sought to honor me, you really mortified me.'

"Shortly after he fell into the hands of Quiroga (a noted bandit), who ordered that he should be shot. But half an hour before the time named, Quiroga ordered him into his presence and asked,

"What would you have done with me if you had taken me a prisoner?'

" 'I should have ordered you hung on the first tree, because you are not worthy to be shot.'

" 'Colonel Barcala, I will give you liberty if you will take service with me.'

"He replied, 'Colonel Barcala will not degrade himself by serving the leaders of barbarism.'




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