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Civil War Harper's Weekly, June 20, 1863

This site features an online archive of our extensive collection of Harper's Weekly newspapers. Harper's was the most popular illustrated newspaper of the day, and today it serves as an incredible resource for developing a more fundamental understanding of the important people and events of the war.

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

 

Cincinnati

The "Cincinnati"

Negro Troops

Negro Troops

Siege Port Hudson

Siege Port Hudson

Chicago Canal

Chicago Canal Convention

Capture of Jackson Mississippi

Puebla

Puebla

Fernando Wood

Fernando Wood Cartoon

 

Alexandria

Alexandria, Louisiana

Simmesport

Simmesport, Louisiana

Battle of Jackson

Battle of Jackson Mississippi

Champion's Hill

The Battle of Champion's Hill

Black River Bridge

Battle of Black River Bridge

Puebla, Mexico

Battle of Puebla, Mexico

 

 

 

 

 

 

HARPER'S WEEKLY.

[JUNE 20, 1863.

386

HARPER'S WEEKLY.

SATURDAY, JUNE 20, 1863.

TO ADVERTISERS.

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.

NEGRO TROOPS.

THE magnificent behavior of the Second Louisiana colored regiment at Port Hudson recalls the fact that it is just two years since a warning, uttered in the columns of this journal, that if this war lasted we should arm the negroes, and use them to fight the rebels, was received with shrieks of indignation, not only at the South and in such semi-neutral States as Maryland and Kentucky, but throughout the loyal North and even in the heart of New England. At that time the bulk of the people of the United States entertained a notion that it was unworthy of a civilized or a Christian nation to use in war soldiers whose skin was not white. How so singular a notion could have originated, and how men should have clung to it in the face of the example of foreign nations and our own experience in the wars of 1776 and 1812, can only be explained by referring to the extraordinary manner in which for forty years slavery had been warping the heart and mind of the American people. A generation of men had grown up in awe of slavery, and in unchristian contempt of the blacks. And that generation declared that it would not have negro soldiers.

It is very cheering to believers in human progress, and to men who honestly admit that the world moves, to perceive that the short period of two years has sufficed to cure an evil of so long standing, and has educated even the hunkerest Democrat of 1861 into a willingness to arm the blacks. In the abstract, of course, it is a matter of small congratulation that we should at last be doing a thing in itself so obviously sensible and proper that we were clearly fools not to have done it at first. But those who remember how deep the antipathy was, even among anti-slavery men, to any thing which seemed to involve the remotest risk of negro insurrection; how even the most liberal minds among us shrank from any course of policy which seemed capable of entangling us, under any circumstances, in an admission of negro equality, will feel no common sense of joy at our emancipation from so narrow and mean a prejudice.

We have from time to time recorded the slow progress of negro enlistments, and the constant obstacles which have been encountered by the far-seeing men who have desired to raise an army of blacks. When General Hunter raised among fugitive slaves the First South Carolina black regiment at Hilton Head, the officers of his corps—being still uneducated to the times—refused to associate with the few brave men who took command of the negroes; and Secretary Stanton—still barely stammering over the A B C of the work—declined to pay them wages because their skins were too dark. Under the iron rule of Butler at New Orleans a black brigade was organized, and so long as that grim soldier held sway discontent at the measure was prudently silent. But when Banks succeeded a mutiny among the white troops warned the General that his Northern men were not yet sufficiently educated to the times to march side by side with negroes. He wisely solved the problem by sending the blacks into garrison, and keeping the whites in the field. One regiment, it seems, he marched against the enemy, and they, we may be sure, will not, after Port Hudson, be again exposed to sneers or insult. At the Southwest negroes began to pour into our lines when Columbus fell, and the rush has never ceased. Yet, until within a few weeks, no use has been made of them. They came in droves, begging us to employ them as soldiers or laborers —as any thing. But our generals, slow to learn that they were excellent fighting material, and that the lesson of the hour was to arm them, treated them as a nuisance; sometimes fed them in idleness, sometimes sent them back to their masters, in a few cases used them as laborers, but never, until recently, put muskets into their hands. It was not till the month of March last, when Adjutant-General Thomas (who two years ago was so "sound"—as the phrase was—on the slavery question that he was even suspected of rebel sympathies) went West at the pressing invitation

of General Blair and others, that the necessity was discerned of making soldiers of these fugitives. Since then ten full regiments of negroes have been formed, and are being drilled and equipped. It is now stated that ten more regiments will shortly be organized. Indeed there is no limit to the supply of troops which may be drawn from this source. The valley of the Mississippi and its tributaries could furnish, in the course of a year, an army of 100,000 men—enough to hold the country after we have taken it.

At the North, the work of negro enlistments progresses slowly, partly in consequence of the sparse negro population, and partly owing to obstacles created by politicians. In this State no negro regiment has been formed it is said to be hard work enough to obtain the sanction of the State authorities to the formation of new white regiments. But Massachusetts has already sent off one full regiment, commanded by Colonel Shaw, and another is in process of formation. And the negroes of the District of Columbia will shortly constitute a brigade, and will apply for active service.

Uneasiness is felt in some quarters lest the rebels should execute their brutal threats of hanging the officers of black regiments and selling the privates into slavery. But no apprehension need be entertained on this score. The act of the Rebel Congress on this subject is so ingeniously framed that while appearing to menace our black troops and their officers with dire penalties, it really remits the whole subject of their treatment to Jeff Davis; who, of course, will realize that indignities offered to them would at once be followed by retaliation upon rebel prisoners in our hands. The 8400 prisoners taken by General Grant at Vicksburg are a pretty fair security for our negro troops.

CARRYING THE WAR INTO THE
NORTH.

THE prediction of the Richmond papers that the summer campaign would be fought on Northern soil was no idle threat. For some time past General Stuart has been massing the advance-guard of the rebel army near Culpepper, and on 9th a bloody fight took place between that body and a picked detachment of the Army of the Potomac. Of the result of that encounter we know nothing as yet. But unless Stuart has been utterly overwhelmed and scattered, we may take for granted that even if our side has been successful the invasion of Pennsylvania has only been deferred for a time. The rebels are determined to make us feel "the horrors of war" in our homes. They are daring and desperate; the recent cavalry raids into Virginia and Mississippi show how much may be effected by a band of resolute men; there is every reason to expect, and no good reason to doubt, but that the soil of Pennsylvania and Maryland will be invaded within the month.

It may be asked, as it was asked when Lee invaded Maryland last fall, cui bono? What can the rebels gain by invading the North? They can gain simply this—that they will make our people feel the horrors of war, and give a practical point to the Copperhead cry for peace. They will both satisfy their thirst for vengeance and supply the citizens of Maryland and Pennsylvania with pretty substantial grounds for desiring the war to be ended. These ends, in the opinion of the Richmond press, amply justify the enterprise.

What are the prospects of success? The answer to this depends upon the Government at Washington. Because a brigade of swift cavalry was able to ride through the thinly-peopled State of Mississippi without meeting any rebel force, while another brigade contrived, by hard riding and dextrous management, to dash across from Culpepper to Gloucester Court House, that is no reason why a rebel corps d'armee should succeed in making good a foothold in the thickly-peopled State of Pennsylvania—unless we are to suppose that the Government neglects the most obvious precautions for the protection of the North.

If, on the first indications of a rebel purpose to cross the Potomac, the entire militia of Pennsylvania and 50,000 men from the adjacent States are called out if proper measures are taken by competent officers to remove from points of danger, or to protect adequately all depots of supplies; if the splendid but somehow amazingly unlucky Army of the Potomac be manoeuvred so as to fall upon the rear of the invaders, and cut off effectually their retreat to their base, in this case the invasion of the North would probably prove the end of the South as a pretended nation. If, however, matters are suffered to drift along, and the Government deludes itself into a belief that the rebels are not energetic enough or desperate enough to try to carry the war into Pennsylvania; or that, being in that State, they will not prove most formidable intruders, then it will be well for loyal people to prepare themselves for another season of heart-breaking disaster and disappointment.

It is a very simple matter, and one which should admit of no debate. If we can not keep the rebels out of Pennsylvania, there must be no more talk of foreign wars, for neither could we prevent the English from landing on our coast.

THE LOUNGER.

WHETHER WE ARE WHIPPED.

IT seems that there are some people who think that we are whipped. If we are so, we are all like General Taylor, who never knew when he was beaten. It must be a peculiarity of the American mind, and heart, and pluck that when they are discomfited they can not see it, and push on until they succeed. In one of Thackeray's stories Major O'Gahagan complains that somebody was killed most shockingly out of rule. By all the established precedents it was the adversary who ought to have dropped. In like manner our political O'Gahagans inform us that we are the party which ought to perceive that it is dead; and that our perversity in believing ourselves to be still alive is unpardonable. It is precisely the strain in which John Bull has addressed us from the beginning. "Kicking's no use," sneers honest John; "you are dead as a door-nail, if you only knew it."

That is exactly the point we can not beat into our dull brains. Here we have been fighting for two years. We began without an army, without a navy, with scarcely a dollar, and with no expectation of a fight. The enemy, on the other hand, had been carefully preparing for many years. We suddenly see that we must fight, whether we are ready or not, and we plunge in pell-mell. We are rebuffed, defeated, and victorious; we win and lose battles through two years of fluctuating fortune; but meanwhile we steadily push on. We drive the lines of war further and further into the enemy's territory. We lose no advantage we once secure; and we prevent their own successes in the field from helping them. A battle won by us is an enormous benefit to our cause; a battle won by them is of no practical advantage. Take the last Rappahannock campaign as an illustration. Hooker was defeated; and what have the rebels gained by it? Take the attack on Vicksburg. Suppose Grant retires. We have occupied and destroyed the position at Haines's Bluff, and at Yazoo City we have ruined the rebel hopes that were intrusted to rams and boats, while we hold the Yazoo River itself, flanking the city. We played for a ten-strike indeed, but to score eight counts well in the game. Observe, then, with all our reverses, how steadily we have proceeded in the work of opening the Mississippi River. The war has not been an unvarying, but it has been a persistent and accumulating success for the people against the oligarchy which seeks their ruin.

There is but one thing necessary to the complete success of the people, and that is, that their faith shall be steady and patient. They have taken a great work in hand—a work which by its very nature requires long and undaunted persistence. The gain of its success is incalculable. The shame and ruin of its failure are inconceivable. The work can end only in the victory of the people or of the oligarchy. To make terms with the rebels is to concede that we are whipped, while every intelligent man in the land knows that we have steadily advanced upon the rebellion from the first. To consent to their separation from us is to condemn ourselves to final ruin—to fall from a first-rate sovereign power to the wretched condition of a loose group of small states, each one of which will be the more despised because it was once part of a great nation.

TO THE FOREIGN OBSERVER.

THAT foreigners, who neither understand the character of our government nor of the war for its maintenance—who look upon the first as a folly and the last as a crime—who can see nothing in the sharp fight but causeless, meaningless, infamous fratricidal slaughter, should be disposed to regard Mr. Fernando Wood's meeting as a sign of returning reason is not impossible. But they ought to understand, before they attribute too much importance to that event, and before they salute Mr. Wood as the harbinger of the millennial dawn, exactly the character and scope of the meeting.

Its central figure was Fernando Wood. He is a person who is known in this country, and especially in this State and city, as having escaped legal punishment for swindling through the fortunate operation of the statute of limitations. He is further known as the Mayor of the city who refused to obey the laws of the State in regard to the police; who, when the rebellion was collecting and planting its guns against the laws and loyal citizens, apologized to the rebels that he could not help the stoppage in New York of cannon intended for them; and who, before those cannon had begun their bloody work, suggested to the city of New York to secede from the State. He is still further known as the man who, after the attack upon Sumter, insisted that the Union must be forcibly preserved, and that the executive power should be provided with every means to maintain the popular will. He is the man who at the same time declared that he threw himself entirely into the contest against rebels with all his power and all his might.

Mr. Wood is not a person whose moral or political reputation gives weight to his words or importance to his actions. Singularly calm and guarded, if he chooses, in his expressions, his antecedents infallibly destroy confidence in the purity of his motives. Of a restless ambition, and, by universal reputation, an unscrupulous political manager, he is yet repudiated by the party with which he acts, and fails in every effort to control it. His argument, however apparently calm and cool, is always an appeal to the basest and most malignant passions, and his sole dependence is upon the most ignorant and degraded class of the community, which he flatters and befools. He represents no other body of citizens than the brutal mob of a great city. His name, whether with more or less justice, is synonymous with political corruption. In general estimation he taints every cause he espouses; and if the zealous seeker should try to find in all the free States the most obsequious and

servile tool of the radical, prolonged, and perilous effort of the slaveholding faction to ruin this Government, to break every bond of social order, to debauch the national conscience, to extirpate the very instinct of nationality, and destroy the natural love of liberty in the human heart, he would cry Eureka! when he found Fernando Wood.

His meeting has only the importance which he gives it. No other person of the least reputation, or of any influence or consideration whatever, was concerned in it. Mr. Wood's speech was calm in tone and fiercely defiant in spirit—a characteristic of the plantation school of politics in which he was bred. He is opposed to war with rebels in Virginia or Mississippi, but he is perfectly ready and willing for war in New York, and he invited the Government to try here what General Burnside tries in his Department. His speech was a plainer and compacter statement of the address and resolutions, and when he had spoken every thing was said.

That Mr. Fernando Wood, being the man that we have described in terms which few, whether of his own party or not, would characterize as unfair, represents the present or future conviction or policy of the American people is a proposition which few but Mr. Wood himself would maintain. To suppose it possible is to suppose that the nation agrees that it is not a nation; that the Union is a form more unsubstantial than a cloud; that there is no national government possible; and that civil order can rightfully have no guarantee.

Foreign observers may think the war foolish and fratricidal, but they can hardly suppose it possible that such a war could be waged for two years by a nation which, under any conceivable circumstances, would accept such propositions as these for political principles. That nation may be conquered, and its government be overthrown. But that it should be so absolutely conquered as to concede that it never had a right to be a nation, is incredible to any body who does not believe that human nature itself has deteriorated upon this continent. The day in which this nation accepts Fernando Wood as its leader, and his tenets as its faith, is the day which seals the destruction of free popular institutions, and inaugurates not the "splendid despotism" for which he frankly pronounces, but a despotism which rivals that of Dahomy in splendor, and that of the Queen of Madagascar in dignity and enlightenment. Such an ignominious fall would be without historical parallel.

JOURNAL OF A RESIDENCE ON A GEORGIAN PLANTATION.

THE Journal of Mrs. FRANCES ANNE KEMBLE during her residence upon a plantation in Georgia as the wife of the proprietor is in press, and will be immediately issued by Harper & Brothers. It is the most thrilling and remarkable picture of the interior social life of the slaveholding section in this country that has ever been published. Our previous accounts of that life have been derived from outside observers, either sagacious and philosophic travelers and students like Olmsted, or from the English and other foreign tourists who were made to see only what the slaveholders chose; or, again, from the rosy stories told by slaveholders themselves, or by "Southside" sympathizers.

But this Journal of Mrs. KEMBLE was jotted down from day to day as she lived upon the plantation of which she was mistress. There is no excuse, no palliation of facts, but the whole system is laid bare and quivering before the eye. So faithful and final a witness we have not had. Even Uncle Tom's Cabin is only founded upon fact. The Journal of Mrs. KEMBLE is the fact itself. And thus day by day, from the most unexpected quarters and the most impartial witnesses, the terrible truth is told that this rebellion, to secure and perpetuate slavery, is an insurrection against human nature itself.

The book will be published at the earliest possible moment, and will be as savagely denounced and denied by the rebels and their friends as it will be heartily welcomed by every intelligent, humane, and loyal man in the land and the world.

MR. KINGLAKE.

THE unqualified applause which greeted Mr. Kinglake's history, and which—however justified by the picturesque movement and interest of the work—was rather surprising in the mouths of a people who were represented in the book as hood-winked by their own Government and outwitted by that of France, is at last interrupted. Not only have the ponderous Quarterlies opened upon him, but the pamphleteers have thrown themselves out as skirmishers, and are picking off his weak points. There threatens to be a Kinglike literature.

Colonel Calthorpe, in a little work upon the Crimean campaign, introduces the historian in the most ludicrous light—so absurd, indeed, that Kinglake has apparently authorized an explanation of the damaging circumstance. The Colonel says that the first notice taken of the historian by Lord Raglan was on the morning of the battle of the Alma, when, seeing a gentleman in extreme difficulties upon the back of a pony, he said, "I never heard a pony make such a row!" and asked, "Does any one know who the gentleman is?" The Colonel answered, "It is Mr. Kinglake, the author of 'Eothen.'" "Oh!" said his Lordship, "a most charming man." Thereupon, before their very faces, as the Colonel relates, the most charming man was incontinently run away with, and tossed over the pony's head. To complicate the absurdity, the historian, through a friend, actually explains that he got a tumble because the saddle was too large for the pony, who shot saddle and rider over his neck!

If he is once put into the pillory of ridicule it will go hard with the historian. An author so severely satirical can not complain of satire; and a man so keen-witted ought to know that the only way safely to treat such a story was to laugh at it. Sir Francis Head, about as vulnerable an author as (Next Page)


 

 

 

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