Siege of Port Hudson


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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)



The "Cincinnati"

Negro Troops

Negro Troops

Siege Port Hudson

Siege Port Hudson

Chicago Canal

Chicago Canal Convention

Capture of Jackson Mississippi



Fernando Wood

Fernando Wood Cartoon



Alexandria, Louisiana


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







JUNE 20, 1863.]



(Previous Page) could be named, has also attacked Mr. Kinglake, declaring that "the honor" of soldiers and of all who confide in the historian is unsafe in his keeping! This is a tolerably emphatic statement. But it is not at all supported by the extracts we have seen from Sir Francis's pamphlet, the moral of which seems to be, that Mr. Kinglake is a foolish writer of no importance, who ought, therefore, to be prohibited from writing lest England should be involved in war! There may be a great deal of foolish writing in Mr. Kinglake's history, but such a consummate non sequitur as that is impossible outside the brains and the books of Sir Francis Head.

Meanwhile the corrections which the author has been constrained to make in his work are few and unimportant; which, under the circumstances of a contemporary history, must be admitted as the most convincing testimony to its general veracity.


THE Rev. M. D. Conway, in a letter to the Boston Commonwealth, draws the following portrait of Thomas Carlyle:

"While he engaged Mr. P. in conversation, I had a good opportunity for studying the characteristics of this remarkable man. Tall and almost slender, contrary to my expectations, with a longish head, bent forward from somewhat stooping shoulders, with a magnificent brow overhanging a blue eye that suggests a tenderness which nowhere else appears in his manner or conversation, but which one can imagine were in the ascendent when the Life of Sterling was written; with a short beard and mustache giving an impression of granite on the lower face; with a light and ruddy color which overspread the face with deep flushes during conversation; with a voice which began and gently rose in a moment to a tornado; with a habit of bursting out into load and almost convulsive laughter, which often ended in a fit of coughing; with nervous movements of fingers and shoulders, hinting strongly of over-study; with a terrible undertone to all these—most of all to the laughter—of pain and grief; Carlyle seemed to me one of the most fearful and fascinating of all the men I have ever seen; and while in his presence I remembered the weird impressions of mingled beauty and awe which I had when journeying through the Mammoth Cave."


THE Western Department of the United States Sanitary Commission have commenced the publication of a small neat double quarto sheet devoted to the sanitary interests of the army. It is full of interest and encouragement.

The war has developed nothing finer than the spirit which originated and which has maintained this Commission. Naturally viewed with jealousy by some military traditions, its triumph has been irresistible because its value is so conspicuous and universal. Plunged into a tremendous war without soldiers, we had to improvise an army. The whole practical talent of the country was bound to conspire for mutual assistance; and the one thing which outside enterprise, sagacity, and benevolence could do, was to undertake, in harmonious alliance with the military authority, the care of the health of the army. The Commission was organized at once. Its management was intrusted to the most skillful hands; and it appealed directly to the pecuniary support by voluntary contributions.

Such was the generous and magnificent response that it has expended more than three hundred thousand dollars in cash, and has distributed hospital stores of the value of millions. At the present time more than three-fourths of all the contributions made by the people for the benefit of the sick and wounded in the army pass through its hands, amounting to more than a thousand dollars in cash and ten thousand articles of clothing and diet expended and issued each day. Of this aggregate about a third of the money and more than half of the stores are distributed in the Western Department; the other two-thirds being expended in the work of the central office and among the armies of the East.

The agents of the Commission are: First, General Inspectors, who are medical men marching with the army, watching camps and hospitals, and looking out for the sick and wounded, and supervising the use of stores. Second, Special Inspectors, who are medical men making temporary rounds of observation. Third, Store-keepers, in charge of Sanitary stores at various points. Fourth, Special relief agents, distributing stores, procuring discharges and pay, transportation and pensions, with a general look-out for suffering and want. Fifth, Canvassing agents, exploring the home field and promoting and forwarding supplies. Sixth, Office clerks, keeping accounts, records, etc. Seventh, Messengers, accompanying shipment of stores to prevent delay or loss. In this class there is a large corps of earnest, indefatigable, and effective volunteers.

Such is the scope of this great, practical charity. Every where in the land busy feet and fingers, toiling brains and beating hearts, are at work for it. The mother, the wife, the sister, the daughter, the sweet-heart, can all do their part in the grand labor that exalts while it saves a people. It is the glory of the Commission not only that it has relieved such countless cases of suffering, but that it has shown how the longing heart and eager hand of every home in the country can bring themselves to bear upon the welfare of the soldiers who are fighting for them.


Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper is the journal of much the largest circulation in Great Britain. Its issue is 500,000 weekly, and, being sold at a penny, it is the oracle of the working class in England. It is perfectly faithful to the cause of the Government in this country, because it knows that the Government here is the people, and that the success of the rebellion either in compelling us to recognize the independence of the Slave empire, or concede to slavery new privileges as the condition of restoring the Union, would be a fatal blow to the working classes, who are the great mass of the people in every country in the world. It understood perfectly

the cry for independence at the South and for peace at the North. It knows that they mean exactly the same thing. And therefore, while so many of the leading London papers seem to suppose that Hooker's defeat secures the overthrow of the Government and the dissolution of this nation, Lloyd's paper says, quietly:

"It is true, he has to face the entire Confederate army; that he is driven into intrenchments; that his communications are threatened: but he is not annihilated, nor is the Federal cause lost. We will not for one moment question the exaggeration of the position; but we decline to regard the independence of the South as a fait accompli, even after these recent Confederate successes. The carnage has been awful; the land has been softened with blood. We shudder as we think of these hosts of armed men, all of one race, shedding each other's blood like water; but the fault is not with the Federals: it was not they who provoked the wicked conflict."


THAT extremely silly gentleman, Mr. Roebuck, has been telling the people in Sheffield, England, precisely what Mr. Fernando Wood told the people in New York—that the Government of the United States was well whipped, and that the gallant, slaveholding rebels, the direct descendants of gallant, liberty-loving Britons, had established their independence.

The speech of the excellent Roebuck, whose malice has the complete advantage of his intelligence and common sense, has as many absurd falsehoods and blunders as it has statements. One only we mention, because it is one persistently repeated by a certain kind of John Bull in this country and in England. Mr. Roebuck says, gravely, that in our Revolution we established the great principle that a people may break up a government whenever it chooses. But the right of revolution, if the good Roebuck would but take the trouble to know what he is talking about, is not the right to refuse to obey the laws; nor did any American statesman, philosopher, or man of common capacity ever assert such a doctrine.

The right of revolution, as defined and exercised by the American people, is the right of any people who are hopelessly oppressed, in a manner for which, after patient effort, there is no legal redress, to right themselves by force. And this right is to be exercised under the moral obligations from which no man and no people are ever free.

In the case of the present conspiracy to extend slavery by the ruin of this Government there is not a shadow of pretense that any such right of revolution is exercised. The whole movement proceeds upon the assumption that it is not a revolutionary act, but an act of secession constitutionally competent for every State to exercise.

Then as to the claim which the perceptive Roebuck makes for the rebels, that somehow or other if men who rebel to perpetuate slavery only succeed, slavery will be abolished, he is sufficiently answered—since he is beyond the reach of common sense—by their own assertion that "for Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, we have deliberately substituted Slavery, Subordination, and Government."

The muddle of Roebuck is rather the worst muddle upon our affairs into which John Bull has yet tumbled.


THE reported discovery by Captains Speke and Grant of the sources of the Nile, if true, settles one of the most famous geographical problems. The question required only this final step of solution, for previous investigation had pushed the river very near to its source: and in Professor Beke's work upon the Nile and its exploration, published last year, a compact manual of the most interesting information, the probable course of the river is laid down as the recent discoveries have proved it to be.

Thus within a very few years two more of the secrets of the globe have been exposed by human patience and heroism. Nothing seems easier than to find the source of a river. The simple direction would appear to be, go to it. But the fabulous dragons with which the old geographers covered the terra incognita upon the maps were truly symbolical of the many and various dangers which threatened explorers. Thus of this last expedition of seventy persons who left Zanzibar upon the Arabian Gulf, to strike inland to the probable course of the river and descend its current to Khartoum, seventeen only are reported as composing the final party. The climate, the savage tribes, the deserts, the marshes, the beasts, starvation, fever, exposure, fatigue—these are some of the enemies with which the explorer has to contend.

One of the most interesting accounts of a journey to discover the source of the Nile is that of Frederick Werne, a German, who went with an expedition sent by Mehemet Ali, the great Pacha of Egypt. But the Pacha's object was less scientific than political and commercial. The expedition reached the river Sorat and then returned. More recently Dr. Knoblecher, Romish Vicar-General at Khartoum, projected a voyage which was bold but not successful. Richard F. Burton, a traveler of fame, who has some remarkable qualities as an explorer, and who has written a compendious book upon the Mormons and their life, undertook the Nile exploration in company, we think, with Speke or Grant, but fell ill and contented himself with sneering at his companion's discoveries. But none of all the explorers, except the last and Burton's expedition, took the African shore of the Arabian Gulf as their base of operations. Yet by Dr. Beke's map of four years ago this was clearly the true point of departure.

In the letter announcing the discovery upon the authority of Captain Speke himself, Sir Roderick J. Murchison says: "The discovery of Speke and Grant, by which the southernmost limit of the basin of the Nile is determined to be four degrees south of the equator, is the most remarkable geographical feat of our age; and is, indeed, an achievement of which all our countrymen may well be proud."


A SCOTCH minister was once busy catechising his young parishioners before the congregation, when he put the usual first question to a stout girl whose father kept a public house. "What is your name?" No reply. The question having been repeated, the girl replied, "Nane o' your fun, Mr. Minister, ye ken my name weel enough. D'ye no say, when ye come to our house on a night, 'Bet, bring me some ale!'" The congregation, forgetting the sacredness of the place, were in a broad grin, and the parson looked daggers.

The lady who fell back on her dignity came near breaking it; and the man who couldn't stand it any longer, has taken a seat, and is now quite comfortable.

Lord Cockburn, when at the bar, was pleading in a steamboat collision case. The case turned on the fact of one of the vessels carrying no lights, which was the cause of the accident. Cockburn, insisting on this, wound up the argument with this remark, "In fact, gentlemen, had there been more lights there would have been more livers."

"Porter," asked an old lady, at an Irish railway station, "when does the nine o'clock train leave?" "Sixty minutes past eight, mum," was Mike's reply.

Diggs saw a note lying on the ground, but he knew that it was a counterfeit, and walked on without picking it up. He told Smithers the story, when the latter said, "Do you know, Diggs, you have committed a very great offense?" "Why, what have I done?" "You have passed a counterfeit note, knowing it to be such," said Smithers, without a smile, and fled.

Why is the letter "o" the most charitable letter?—Because it is found oftener than any other in "doing good."

A romantic young lady fell into a river, and was likely to be drowned; but a preserver accidentally appeared, and she was conveyed in a state of insensibility to her home. When she came to herself she declared she would marry the saver of her life. "Impossible," said her father. "Is he already married, then?" inquired she. "No." "Is he not the young man who lives in our neighborhood?" "No; it is a Newfoundland dog."

A horse-dealer in a provincial town was once elected constable. He was a thrifty well-to-do farrier and blacksmith, and doctored and shod all the horses for twenty miles round. After having been constable for a year or two he took to hard drinking and became poor. Finally, he determined to reform, but found it hard work to quit his drinking habits. One day a man brought a horse to him to be doctored. "The horse seems to be sound," said the man, "but you see he won't drink." "If that's all that ails him," said the farrier, "you have only to elect him constable—he'll drink fast enough then. I've tried it, you see, and know."

A few days ago a little urchin in Westminster saw a shilling lying on the footway. He had no sooner picked it up than it was claimed by a carman. "Your shilling hadn't got a hole in it." "Yes, it had," said the rogue of a carman. "Then this 'un ain't," coolly replied the boy, and walked off triumphantly.

"Pat, do you love your country?" "Yes, yer honor." " What's the best thing about ould Ireland, Pat?" "The whisky, yer honor." "Ah, I see, Pat, with all her faults you love her still."

LEARNING AND LAZINESS.—A chap being asked to explain the paradox of how it was possible for so lazy a man to attain so much education, answered—"I didn't—attain—I just heard it—here and—there—and--was too lazy to forget it."

Suwarrow, even in peace, always slept fully armed, boots and all. "When I was lazy," he said, "and wanted to enjoy a comfortable sleep, I usually took off one spur."

There is a grocer up town who is said to be so mean that he was seen to catch a fly off his counter, hold him up by the hind legs, and look in the cracks of his feet to see if he hadn't been stealing some of his best sugar.

Dr. Whewell, walking in Mr. Hamilton's garden at Cobham, expressed his surprise at the prodigious growth of the trees. "My dear Sir," replied Mr. Hamilton, "remember they have nothing else to do."

What is the best thing to prevent a maid from despairing?—Pairing.

Man's happiness is said to hang upon a thread. This must be the thread that is never at hand to sew on the shirt-button that is always off.

"Man," says Adam Smith, "is an animal that makes bargains. No other animal does this: no dog exchanges bones with another."

A politician was boasting, in a public speech, that he could bring an argument to a p'int as quick as any other man. "You can bring a quart to a pint a good deal quicker," replied an acquaintance.


Why can we deny that the island where Robinson Crusoe landed was uninhabited?

Because he found a great swell on the beach, and a little cove running up.

Why is the letter D like a squalling child?

Because it makes ma used.

What letter makes most noise in a dairy?

The letter S, because it makes cream scream.

Why is a lady's complexion like a younger son?

Because it is spoiled by the sun and air (son and heir).

Traverse the world from pole to pole,

You'll find my first esteemed by all;

My second is an occupation

That's useful found in every nation;

Connect the two, and you'll acquire

An author whom we much admire.




DATES from Vicksburg to 2d describe the siege as being steadily prosecuted by General Grant. No further assaults had been made, but on 29th a heavy artillery fire was opened on the place. One story says that as many as 3600 shells were thrown into the city in an hour. Meanwhile the gun-boats under Porter are said to have silenced the water batteries and the line of batteries above them, with the exception of one. Nothing has been heard of the rebel General Johnston. A telegram of 3d from Memphis says that General Osterhaus is watching Joe Johnston on the west side of Black River bridge with an entire division, ready to intercept his junction with General Pemberton. General Johnston showed himself with a strong force near the bridge on the 1st and 2d inst., but fell back again to Jackson on encountering the fire of our troops.

Another dispatch reports the return of General Blair's expedition through fifty-six miles of country, from the Big Black to the Yazoo, and eleven miles below Yazoo City. Several bridges and a number of grist-mills and cotton-gins, used to grind corn, were destroyed; also a large quantity of cotton belonging to the rebels. The country toward the Yazoo is said to be teeming with agricultural riches. Cattle, sheep, and hogs abound in all directions. Flourishing crops of corn, oats, wheat, and rye are seen on every side. Hundreds of negroes fled from their masters at the approach of our troops, and followed them into our lines.


General Banks, on 28th ult., had completely invested Port Hudson, and our gun-boats were bombarding the fortifications from the river, while the troops at the same time were using their artillery on the land side.

On 29th an assault was made which was unsuccessful. The Second Louisiana (colored) regiment fought with extraordinary gallantry, losing in killed and wounded 600 out of 900 men.

The latest accounts state that Banks, like Grant, was proceeding slowly to reduce the place by regular approaches: the soldiers were confident of success.


General Banks officially reports the loss in his army up to the 30th ult. to be nearly 1000, including some of his ablest officers. He speaks very highly of the conduct of the negro troops.


General Hooker on Friday and Saturday pushed a daring reconnoissance across the Rappahannock just below Fredericksburg. Howe's division of the Sixth army corps was selected for the duty, and executed it in the most thorough and effective manner. The first crossing was made in pontoon boats, in the face of a murderous fire from the rebel pickets. The Twenty-sixth New Jersey regiment did this important service in the most gallant style. They were soon followed by several Vermont regiments, and a charge on the rifle-pits resulted in the capture of some sixty or seventy prisoners. The pontoons were then laid by the engineers, and the remainder of the division was crossed over. Our force gradually felt its way out to a position where it remained for the night, and on Saturday morning the reconnoissance was continued. Our skirmishers brought in some thirty other prisoners, during Friday night, making the number captured about one hundred. Our forces are still on the other side of the river.


The plans of the enemy for the summer campaign, of which we have recently received numerous hints from the Richmond papers, have been pretty fully unmasked by General Hooker. The most prominent feature in these plans, as is now pretty well understood, is an invasion of the loyal States. This has been seriously interfered with by a counter-movement. The leading cavalry commander of the rebels, J. E. B. Stuart, since the battle of Chancellorsville has been massing, drilling, and supplying a large force of cavalry at or near Brandy Station, five miles south of Culpepper—probably the largest cavalry force ever collected by the rebels, numbering from ten to fifteen thousand. This force was understood to be about ready to move, with the intention of penetrating Maryland and Pennsylvania, and perhaps other Northern States, carrying devastation in its course. General Hooker, however, concluded to effectually interfere with the arrangement, by attacking the rebels before they started. With this view he sent to the vicinity a force of cavalry and artillery equal to that of the rebels, with several thousand picked infantry, and it is supposed that this force reached their destination on 9th. We have a report that a severe fight took place that day, but no particulars are given.


A late raid of our troops, with the assistance of three gun-boats, up the Mattapony River into King William County, Virginia, which was directed by General Keyes from Yorktown, has resulted in a decided success. After meeting with some brief resistance from the enemy our troops destroyed a rebel foundry at Aylette, together with several mills, machine-shops, a lumber-yard, and four government warehouses laden with grain. The expedition was commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Tevis, and returned to Yorktown on the 6th inst., after accomplishing a very successful result with a trifling loss.


Admiral Foote has been ordered to supersede Admiral Du Pont in command of the Monitor fleet at Charleston. This change may indicate another move on that city, as it is said that the Navy Department was disappointed that Du Pont did not renew the attack after the last unsuccessful attempt.


The military order of General Burnside, suppressing the issue of the Chicago Times, has been withdrawn by that officer in consequence of the revoking of the same by the President. The soldiers who occupied the office of the Times have been withdrawn by General Burnside, and the circulation of the paper within the army lines and elsewhere is henceforth permitted.


An order has been issued permitting ladies and children to go to and return from the South, under certain regulations. Those going South can not return until the close of the war, and those coming North must subscribe to the oath of allegiance to the National Government.


MR. ROEBUCK, M.P., addressed a large assemblage at Sheffield, England, in support of British mediation or intervention in America. The meeting was convened with the object of urging the propriety of such a step in the Cabinet in London. There were about ten thousand persons present, and the Mayor of the town presided. Mr. Roebuck delivered a lengthy oration, not, however, without some difficulty, for a good many persons in the crowd loudly questioned his statements. Rev. Mr. Hopps moved a resolution in favor of interference, and it was carried by a majority of votes over an amendment recommending a continuance of neutrality.


A public meeting was to be held in Liverpool on the 3d of June to offer a tribute to the memory of Stonewall Jackson.



The fighting still continues in Poland, with victory one day on the side of the revolutionists and the next in favor of the Russians. It is said that Earl Russell had taken a very bold diplomatic step, in advance of the Western Allies of England, on the Polish question, having proposed to Russia a plan of peace combining independence for Poland. The proposal is thus stated:

1. The conclusion of an armistice for one year.

2. The Polish fortresses to continue to be garrisoned by the Russian troops.

3. The immediate institution of a Polish administration.

4. No individual implicated in the rebellion to be arrested or brought to trial.



The report of the capture of Puebla by the French and the surrender of General Ortega's army is true. But the facts which establish this result also bear testimony to the undaunted bravery and unquenchable patriotism of the Mexicans. They only surrendered when starvation compelled them, and even then many of the officers shot themselves rather than become prisoners to the invaders. On the 17th of May General Forey sent a flag of truce to General Ortega, offering to allow the Mexican officers and soldiers to march out, the officers with their side-arms, providing they would give a parole not to serve against the French again. This offer was refused by Gen. Ortega, who meanwhile spiked his cannon, burned his gun-carriages, destroyed the arms of his infantry, and then surrendered his forces as prisoners of war. The advance of the French army is at Cholula, six miles beyond Puebla, on the way to the capital. The Mexicans are making preparations to defend all the approaches to the city of the Montezumas to the utmost of their ability, and it is probable that the French will have a bloody route to travel before they reach the Grand Plaza.




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