Treatment of Prisoners


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, June 13, 1863

Welcome to our collection of original Civil War Harper's Weekly newspapers. These papers are online, and you can dig in and study all the important details of the war. The illustrations were created by eye-witnesses and give new perspective on this historic conflict.

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


John Logan

General John Logan

Cavalry Poem

Cavalry Poem

Flag Poem

Flag Poem

Treatment of Prisoners

Treatment of Prisoners

Brashear City

Brashear City

Pocket Watch

Pocket Watch Advertisement

General Grant on Horseback

Battle of Raymond

Battle of Raymond

Union Prisoners

Home From the War




JUNE 13, 1863.]



ground. The great cart loaded with hay, oxen of burnt sienna, and John, conspicuous in his bright blue overalls. With the perfect coloring throw over all the luxury of August and the melancholy of sunset."

"The prettiest pictures are unpainted," said Agnes.

"The sweetest songs unsung."

"The noblest poems unwritten."

"All the best things are undone," added Oglethorpe, with a half sigh. "My opinion is," speaking with sudden sincerity, "that it is not the amount of evil we do, but the good we leave undone, that will be our condemnation. I'm afraid it will go hard with me. I never was lukewarm or neutral before in my life. Now when indecision is a crime, I hesitate. Every dear association, every habit of life and education, all questions of apparent expediency pulling me one way, and a sort of innate loyalty impelling the other."

"Are you thinking of the war?" Agnes timidly questioned.

"Yes," he answered shortly, meeting her soft gaze. "Can Maine advise Georgia?"

"I can't advise; I can see but one side, and can not talk reasonably on that. Why don't you talk with Mr. Ormsted?"

"The senior? So I do. Every night after you leave me I have long arguments with him."

"He is said to be clear and convincing."

"Yes, he talks of war and policy in the unheated, broad style of the Lounger. He convicts me, Miss Sebastian, but—" He stopped.

"How fast it grows dim!" said Agnes, willing to turn the conversation. Such a mind as his must work alone, she knew.

"Agnes," said Kate, during one of their curtain consultations, "I'm going to tell the gorgeous Georgian about Gus Bouverie."

"He knew about him long ago," Agnes replied. "But you may make assurance doubly sure."

"If he wasn't such a secessionist I declare I should be quite alarmed about you. Such devotion I never saw equaled. Don't you waver?"

"Don't talk so, Kate. I wish a man and a woman could once honestly like each other without the outsiders giving the alarm and crying love or flirtation."

"If I can read men's faces he is head over heels."

"What an expression! Mr. Ormsted should teach you elegance of language, Kate."

The merry blonde laughed.

"It's true, nevertheless. He looks anxious, and has grown less haughty and sarcastic. What a further taking down there will be may I live to see."

And she ran down stairs.

After tea, when, as usual, all turned to the broad piazza, Agnes seated herself on the lowest step and called the dog. Presently Oglethorpe came along the walk. He coolly ordered Figaro to change sides, and threw himself on the green embankment beside her.

"The pears are turning," remarked Ormsted. "I have got to go without a bite at one."

"And I, too," echoed Oglethorpe, with a glance at the composed face near him.

"I am going to see if there is a yellow one to be found," said Kate. "The trees in the south orchard ought to furnish something." And off she ran, and Ormsted after her.

Miss Sebastian stroked Figaro's ears as he leaned his brown head on her lap. Oglethorpe watched the white fingers. What would he not give to be caressed by them! Senseless old dog! Figaro appreciated the gentle attention, however, and looked up at Agnes, solemnly winking his soft, yellow eyes. Oglethorpe took up the book she had left on the step. She had carried it about with her all summer trying to read; but books did not seem to interest her now. He opened where a broad ribbon, of the red, white, and blue, marked the page.

"The sixty-seventh page still. You don't let your interest hurry you." Then winding the ribbon round his finger "I have adopted these colors, and mean to fight under them, Miss Sebastian."

Her face was not pale or composed now.

"Have you really?"

"Yes, really."

She took the ribbon to pin it on his coat. He saw tears in her eyes while she smiled. The pin would not go in. He put up his hand to help her, and their fingers touched. He held the little trembling hand still, close to his breast.

"Agnes"—in those delicious tones—"I am your soldier!"

"Not mine. Your country's," gently trying to withdraw her hand.

"You will not let me be yours?"

"I can not. Oh, Mr. Oglethorpe, let me go!"

"Not till you understand me. I must tell you how—"

"Don't tell me any thing."

She trembled so violently she could scarcely command her voice. Oglethorpe saw the shame and grief in her face.

"Tell me this. You are not bound by any past; you do not love any one?"

"I have been engaged these five years, I thought you knew it."

"To Augustus Bouverie?"


He let her hand drop. She covered her face and began to cry silently. He did not speak for a moment. Then said, very gently,

"I thought that was broken."

"It was broken; but only for a week. I was hard beset then, and yielded to the stronger power."

"We shall neither of us feel more sorely if we are frank. As I have spoken, let me say a little more. A week ago I wrote to your aunt, asking if there was any reason why I should not try to win you. Here is her answer. You see she tells me nothing, only gives me her warmest wishes for my success."

Agnes's tears were now dried. She scarcely glanced at the letter, but rose.

"She knew I was to marry Mr. Bouverie. You will never be able to forgive this."

Oglethorpe caught hold of her muslin flounce.

"Don't leave me. The only thing, and the best is, to do nothing. Sit down here again, Miss Sebastian. I am going to-morrow."

As if that made the matter better!

She obeyed him, however.

"You don't think I blame you? The shade of reserve in your manner, meant to distance, only attracted me. The mischief was done before I wrote to your aunt. The only thing I wished to prevent was annoyance to you; and now you are feeling more than it is all worth."

Agnes did not answer; and not another word was spoken until Ormsted appeared, his pockets stuffed out with fruit, and the lower half of his face obscured by a great yellow disk.

"My pear is ripe," quoth he. When he saw the national badge he took in the significance of its position at once.

"Oh, Jemima!" (his favorite saint) "he's been and gone and done it!" And, giving his pear a toss over the fence, he jumped about three feet into the air, and swooped down on Oglethorpe.

"Now let Georgia tremble," said her son. "I draw my sword against her."

There followed a vigorous hand-shaking.

"You always was the best fellow in the world, and now you're perfect," declared Ormsted.

"The Grand Panjandrum only wanting the little round button at top," suggested his friend.

Ormsted made such an uproar that his mother came out of the dairy, where she was marshaling the milk-pans, and the senior laid down his pipe and came and stood in the doorway.

Kate told them the occasion.

"Hah!" said the old gentleman, with an aspiration long and deep; "I knew you would come out right at last."

"I only wish I could go to war," sighed Ormsted. "If Charlie comes home, see if I don't."

"Three of my boys are enough at a time," said the mother; "and, besides, you had your chance."

"So I did; yet I'm not sure Ames didn't cheat when we drew lots. Now, Thorpe, we shall be the double O's no more!"

In the confusion of good-bys Oglethorpe, as he held Agnes's hand, asked,

"May I come and see you in town?"

"If you please."

"Good-by, then, till October."


Ormsted came with his friend the first night they heard of Agnes's return. He brought him in the uniform of a private, and grumbled at it during the whole of their call. "Begging your pardon, Miss Agnes, he is as well fitted to hold a commission as Bouverie, who has got a captaincy, I hear."

"Wouldn't you go yourself as a private?" asked Agnes.

"Of course I would; but I'm not worth as much as he. All he had to do was let people know he was going to fight, and honors would have been thrust on him."

Oglethorpe laughed.

"I hope to be promoted from the ranks," said he.

As they left the young lady's presence a side-door opened, and Mrs. Crass, with a distant bow to Ormsted, beckoned to Oglethorpe.

"Wait a minute," said he to his companion, and joined her. She closed the door. "You have not succeeded, I suppose?" was her unexpected remark, made in that half-contemptuous tone in which Mrs. Crass always spoke of the deeds of her fellow-mortals.

"Did you suppose I would?"

"I did, if the girl had any sense. If Bouverie had not appeared so suddenly, I might have done something."

"Mrs. Crass, your niece will break no promise for me. I showed her your letter, and she forgave me for speaking. Good-evening." And he bowed himself out.

"Where has Bouverie been all this while?" he asked of Ormsted on their homeward walk. "Has he, too, just waked up?"

"They say he's been in a fume ever since he heard of Bull Run. He's one of your tearing Abolitionists. Wants to have the niXXers shovel South Carolina into the sea. He was making Roman sunsets when the news reached him. He waited to settle his affairs, I believe, to sell his pictures, to get money to come, and made tracks for America. Here he is a captain, and you, Thorpe— I feel inclined to put a little ambition into you with my fists."

When Oglethorpe went again his regiment was in daily expectation of marching-orders. Agnes was sitting at her embroidery. As the servant announced him she rose, all the bright wools in her lap tumbling on the floor. The gentleman in the arm-chair picked them up, and Agnes introduced Captain Bouverie.

"One of our captains," said Oglethorpe, as the soldiers shook hands.

"Ah, you are in the —st," and he sank again into the purple depths of the arm-chair. He was a slight man, with a great deal of flaxen mustache and whisker; light but vivid eyes, a scornful turn to his lip; but altogether a face not displeasing. He played with the browns and scarlets he held, listening as Agnes talked.

"I think I have heard our Colonel speak of you, Mr. Oglethorpe," he interposed. "Are you not a Southerner?"

"Georgian born. Colonel — and I were schoolmates."

"He was always at the foot of his class, they say. We are well shuffled now, and the most unlooked-for card turns up a trump. How is it you are uncommissioned?"

"I know nothing of war."

"Pshaw! Go into camp and study Hardee. The Colonel spoke of your uncommon talent for modesty. Bad trait that, Aggie," rising; "I shall not come to dinner. It takes your set too long to get through the courses. I'll see you to-morrow."

Agnes nodded as she pulled a thread through

the eye of her needle; and with a careless addio he flung himself out. That very morrow their orders came. Oglethorpe elbowing his way through the crowd met Bouverie, who stopped.

"Will you do me a great favor?"

"Willingly, if I can."

"I have a packet for Miss Sebastian. I have just left her, and forgot it. You see how it is, I haven't the courage to go through another parting. Will you take it to her?"

The question he had been weighing was now decided. He took the envelope, and in five minutes more Oglethorpe stood in Agnes's presence. He thought her rosier than usual. She was standing near the window, listening to the regimental bands, and turned toward him with eyes in which there were no tears, only the fire of excitement.

"You too?" said she.

He laid Bouverie's charge on the table with the necessary words.

"I should have come if he had not sent me. Won't you give me something of yours to carry away with me?"

A little prayer-book, bearing on its red cover her monogram in white and gold, lay on the table. She held it toward him. As he put it into the inner pocket of his coat he turned to her view a strip of Union ribbon she remembered. Neither looked at the other. He held her hand a moment, dropped it, and silently went out.

If there would only be a battle, at least a forward movement, something to break the horrible monotony of camp-life. The still service of this campaign so preyed on the fortitude of which Oglethorpe had believed himself possessed, that he welcomed his duty of picket with almost a heart-bound. It had been a long dark day, and about four o'clock began to snow. A great white storm it was. The crystals powdered his hair, and lay in silvery folds on his over-coat, as he slowly paced up and down. Very lonely the soldier thought it the first half hour, when the flakes lighted tender as rose-petals. But the fairness gained a gloom. An appalling stillness felt with the darkness. When it grew too cold to snow the wind rose, and assailing the whiteness on the boughs blew it off with giant breath in stinging wreaths. Oglethorpe, soft Southern, shivered. He felt the intensity of the bitter change to the very marrow of his bones. His strength seemed slowly to leave him. He walked on, treading, for himself a path beneath the pine-trees, whose shadow lay distinct on the now moonlit snow. He stopped, and leaning on his musket, looked up at the sky. The very air seemed full of icy glittering particles. The most opposite thoughts came into his mind. He seemed to see the Ormsted orchard, where he had seen the sheep cropping the short grass. Then he thought of the great jasmines of Georgia, that used to be crowded into the marble vases in the wide halls of his home. How long it was since he had seen one! Then he could think of nothing but pain, leaning against a stout young pine and clasping his musket. He believed he knew what was coining to him, but there was nothing to be done, and he was soon too deliciously weary to care even for life. Pressing Agnes's little book, he tried to think of a prayer, but his mind wandered,

"I believe in God the Father Almighty, and in Jesus Christ ....suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried—" An angel may have said Amen.

There was the whiteness in the east foretelling sunrise when the relief came up. Two horsemen rode beside him—the Adjutant and Captain Bouverie.

"Hallow," said the guard, as his challenge rang unanswered, "here's the picket asleep."

"Give him a rap with the gun," suggested Bouverie.

The man stopped. "He is frozen, Sir," in a crest-fallen tone. They turned him over. The faint light fell over features set and white. It seemed a thing of stone. Capt. Bouverie shivered.

"Take hold," said he. "Lay him on my horse. Ride on, Drake, I'll see to this." And he led his burden toward camp.

Many months after this Captain Bouverie was sitting by Agnes Sebastian. He had been giving her the details of Oglethorpe's unnoted doom, summed in the words: "Picket frozen." She had not cried as he feared she would, but had been charmingly quiet, her head on her hand.

"You see, Aggie, I'd seen him here. I couldn't leave him for any body to knock about, so I buried him myself. I sent his things to Ormsted, and this—is yours, is it not? It was in his pocket when we found him."

He laid the prayer-book on her knees. She took it up mechanically and tumbled over the leaves, but was speechless. Captain Bouverie waited.

"Agnes," he said, at length, "I can not leave you without a word or two on my own behalf. This is not the time to speak; but—I am selfish. God knows how or when we may meet again. Our long separation has gone against me. I can not blame you, even had I the wish. There is not a man living more devoted to you than I. Tell me you love me."

"Oh, Augustus," she answered, "that was said long ago."

"Have I outlived it? You believe me to be your warmest, tenderest friend?"

"Oh yes."

"And you will marry me, Agnes ?"

She hesitated only a second, then gave him her hand.

And Captain Bouverie was satisfied.


THE quiet little town of BRASHEAR, on Berwick's Bay—or "Brashear City," as it has been christened by courtesy—which we illustrate on page 380, has suddenly become the scene of vast commercial doings. Those people very much mistake the full scope of Major-General Banks's recent brilliant

operations in the Attakapas region of Western Louisiana who look upon them merely as among the most successful military events of the war. It is in their material results that they are about to gratify the country and startle the world.

General Banks, aided by the gallant Farragut, has not only disorganized and put to flight the whole rebel army west of the Mississippi River, from New Orleans to Alexandria, on the Red River, but opened up untold mines of wealth to the treasury of the United States. Almost hourly vessels are to be seen coming down the bay freighted with mountain loads of the precious materials of the regions just regained by our arms—cotton, hogsheads of sugar, and countless herds of mules and cattle.

The treasures already discharged upon the landing of Brashear City up to this date (May 11) would amount to many hundred thousands of dollars; while this is but an installment of what remains behind, and which can only be counted by millions of dollars.

One significant fact has also been laid bare to the outer world by the probing process of our bayonets; and that is, that the planters in the newly-overrun regions had not the amount of "patriotism" which the rebel leaders either supposed or pretended they had—and which too many people in the North and abroad believed—and did not quite see the necessity of consigning to flames all the wealth they possessed in the world, merely for the sake of proving their devotion to the cause of Jeff Davis & Co.

Wherever our armies have penetrated they have found cotton and sugar carefully concealed in all sorts of remote corners; and as they seize these costly products a receipt is given to the owners, upon a fair valuation, in case they should hereafter be able to prove themselves of loyal antecedents, the onus probandi being entirely on the planter.

If any thing more were wanted to utterly overthrow the value of Confederate credit, and to prove to the gulled people of Europe that they have been making a bad bargain with traitors in this country, it will he found in Uncle Sam's so unceremoniously holding the very materials upon which the lenders have been staking their money. What Confederate credit was worth previous to this new and irreparable inroad upon it may be gleamed from the fact that our soldiers, in parley with rebel pickets, could at any time have received ten dollars of Confederate trash for one dollar of Uncle Sam's good, honest greenbacks!


WE are indebted to the artist correspondent of a London illustrated paper for the picture on page 380, representing THE SINKING OF TORPEDOES BY MOONLIGHT IN THE HARBOR OF CHARLESTON. It seems that before the recent attack by Admiral Du Pont the rebel General Ripley spent several nights in filling the channel-way of the harbor with all manner of torpedoes and infernal machines, and on one of his expeditions the sympathizing Englishman was allowed to accompany him. Hence the picture.


WE publish on page 373 an illustration of a group of captured Union soldiers being conveyed through a rebel town. The mingled curiosity and hatred with which they are regarded by some of the spectators, and the half disguised sympathy shown them by others, especially the negroes, are well portrayed in the picture. We append here, not so much in explanation of the picture as for the general interest felt in the subject, a few extracts from the diary of Mr. Colburn, a World correspondent, who was taken at Vicksburg and released from Richmond. After leaving Jackson, he says:

Nowhere were we the subjects of any personal or special indignities, and we traveled with about ninety others. Offensive remarks and conduct unbecoming either ladies or gentlemen have, we hear, been offered, but not in our hearing. Many expressions of kindness greeted us from those who had knowledge of our story or our relation to them. A few ventured to express their confidence in the ultimate success of the North.

As we progressed to McDowell's Landing and Demopolis, on the Tombigbee, the people began to be at once more curious and more friendly. At the latter place some lady of great heart distributed fruit and bread indiscriminately among our men and their rebel escort.

On reaching Atlanta, however, all this was changed. The officers and men of Streight and the Indianola had been so feted and well treated by the people as to breed the most intense disgust among the authorities and hot-headed fanatics. We were placed in a room in the military prison, deprived of papers, and prohibited conversation with outsiders. We sent out for papers, and one note was passed into the hands of a scurrilous fellow whose reputation has not been bettered since his exit from Vermont, the editor of the Confederacy, who thereupon penned an article exposing the infamous atrocity of our offense, and urged that we be hanged, offering to assist at the interesting ceremony.

Of the Libby Prison at Richmond he writes:

On entering we are searched, our money taken for safety, and all articles contraband of war confiscated. As we came into the Confederacy almost nude we passed easily. Once domiciled in the long room under the roof, a classification takes place into messes. The individuality of otir party of four was merged into No. 14, and thereafter, for all the purposes of rations, discipline, or duty, we were only No. 14. Each mess draws and prepares its own flied, which, in our case, was a veritable "mess" in a "mess." We can not but deem this obligation to cook one's own food in prison as an indignity. Such a thing may do well enough for an amateur in a well-appointed cuisine, or even in the tented field, but with such implements as are afforded at the Libby it is an outright torture. We had no beds—this hardship was one we were inured to by camp life; but little bedding. We had to clean our own rooms and vessels, and were not permitted so much as to stick a head out of the window on penalty of being shot.

The ration is large enough, larger than that furnished to the Confederates of the same rank. We can not but think it a punishment that persons are obliged to cock with wretched implements their own food. Imagine a national colonel with his hands in the dough, the dainty staff-officer detailed to clean pots and kettles, or the delicate Tribune correspondent, broom in hand, set to scrubbing floors!




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