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Civil War Harper's Weekly, March 28, 1863

Welcome to our online collection of Harper's Weekly newspapers. These papers were published during the Civil War, and this archive is now available for your perusal and study. These old papers give new insight about this important conflict.

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




Mother's Letter

A Mother's Letter


Copperhead Meetings

Union Jim

Union Jim


The Indianola Affair

Charleston Map

Map of Charleston


Yazoo Pass

George Griswold

George Griswold


Wyndham's Cavalry

Wyndham's Cavalry

Destruction of the Nashville

Destruction of the "Nashville"

Bowery Boys

Bowery Boys





MARCH 28, 1863.]



(Previous Page) Great Britain was at war with France, there were clubs formed in London which preached doctrines considered dangerous by the Government. Mr. Pitt, the Prime Minister, said that "in times of apprehended rebellion" it had been usual to suspend the habeas corpus act, and he introduced, and Parliament passed, a bill to secure and detain all who were suspected of designs against the Government without the relief of the habeas corpus. Lord Palmerston will concede that that was a rather vigorous measure.

In the year 1795 Great Britain had been three years at war with France. The British people were tired and discontented. London swarmed with "declamatory lecturers," as they were called, who told their audiences that courts and ministers made wars that they might wallow in luxury while the people were starved and enslaved. At one meeting of this kind in London fifty thousand people were present. The excitement grew, and the King was stoned as he went to Parliament. Thereupon, as Lord Palmerston, speaking of legal rigors, will remember, a bill was passed making any act "tending" to the harm of the King or his heirs high treason, and making the incitement of dislike to the Government, by word or deed, a high misdemeanor. There was also a bill passed to prevent seditious meetings—that is, meetings to discuss in a hostile spirit the policy of the Government. Any house opened for any political discussion without a license was to be fined a hundred pounds. Lord Palmerston thinks our Government intolerably despotic in time of war; but we have not quite reached the British point, have we, Honorable Vallandigharh and ditto Wood?

So in 1798, also during a foreign war, the alien bill was revived, which obliged those who let lodgings to give accounts regularly to the Government of the foreigners in their houses, and which enabled the Government to detain foreigners, and prevent aliens at its discretion from landing in England. The bill for detaining suspected persons was also renewed; and in 1817, in the happy days of the ever-glorious Prince Regent, all these acts were revived and the habeas corpus suspended, in expectation of domestic trouble, and when there was no war.

These little facts have not escaped history, although Lord Palmerston omits to remember them; and when he thanks God that Englishmen are not as other men are in the matter of mob law and arbitrary acts of Government, and especially not like this Republican country, he does no credit to his historical training. We refer to the facts merely as illustrations of the British practice of arbitrary laws. And the radical difference between all such measures here and in every other country is, that here they are the acts of the people themselves for the security of their liberties, and elsewhere, as was the ease in England, they are the acts of a governing class to subdue the people.


IN describing, last week, a visit to the United States Military Hospital at West Philadelphia, the Lounger mentioned the pretty little paper, the West Philadelphia Hospital Register, published there by and for the soldiers. It is edited as a labor of love by Dr. F. V. Hayden, whose name is familiar to every scientific scholar in the country as one of our most distinguished geologists, and who is now a surgeon in the United States service. The contributions are mainly written by the patients, and the type-setting and printing are all done by them in the hospital. Only some half dozen weekly numbers have been issued, and six hundred subscribers at a dollar will insure its continuance for a year and the supply of each patient with a copy. The visiting and resident surgeons take the warmest interest in the undertaking, and more than one of them is gravely suspected of surreptitiously sending communications for its columns. Thus we quoted last week a touching poem beginning:

"mi bak is stif and sore."

And in the same number there were some "Lines on an Autopsical Examination," of which the "subject" revealed the surgical artist. In like manner, in the third number, "The Anatomist's Ode to his Mistress" is a pathetic illustration of the conflict of physiology with poetry, of which the result is a drawn battle. We quote it at the end of this paragraph. "The Battle of Williamsburg" is a vivid chapter in the history of the Peninsular campaign, told by a soldier of the Second New Hampshire, in ward M; while "How Uncle Phineas arranged a Lawsuit," and "A Swim in the Mud," will be as pleasant prescriptions for the invalid soldier as he is like to get from the visiting surgeon.

Nothing partisan and no personal discussions will be admitted into the Register. The little paper is a kindly effort to alleviate pains earned in our service. Gentle reader, don't you wish it well one dollar's worth? If you do, eat your cake and have it. Send your dollar to the West Philadelphia U. S. Hospital Register.

Here is the poem. Mark how learnedly they make love in hospitals!


I list as thy heart and ascending aorta

Their volumes of valvular harmony pour;

And my soul from that muscular music has caught a New life 'mid its dry anatomical lore.

O rare is the sound when thy ventricles throb

In a systolic symphony measured and slow,

While the auricles answer with rhythmical sob,

As they murmur a melody wondrously low!

O thy cornea, love, has the radiant light

Of the sparkle that laughs in the icicle's sheen;

And thy crystalline lens, like a diamond bright,

Through the quivering frame of thine iris is seen!

And thy retina, spreading its lustre of pearl,

Like a far away nebula, distantly gleams

From a vault of black cellular mirrors that hurl

From their hexagon angles the silvery beams.

Ah! the flash of those orbs is enslaving me still,

As they roll 'neath the palpebrae, dimly translucent,

Obeying, in silence, the magical will

Of the oculo-motor—pathetic—abducent.

O sweet is thy voice, as it sighingly wells

From thy daintily quivering chordae vocales, Or rings in clear tones through the echoing cells

Of the antrum, the ethmoid, and sinus frontales!


And stately the heave of thy maidenly breast,

As the swell of the billow swift yelling to land; And as soft the vesicular sigh in thy chest

As the moan of the ripple that ebbs o'er the sand.


But, alas! 'tis with many forebodings

I pen Anatomical verses thy beauty to praise,

For I fear me my studies will never again

Bring the solace they had in my happier days.


Thou hast stolen the charm from my studio dim—

From dissection I turn with embittering wrath—

Thou host stepped betwixt me and my skeletons grim—

Ah, lady! fair lady! why crossed ye my path!


ABOUT once a week there is a meeting of the Vallandigham club in the city of New York, which is addressed by Copperhead orators; at which resistance to the laws is inculcated; the President is hissed, and those who favor an unconditional suppression of the rebellion are denounced as niXXer-heads, fanatics, or by any other name that the speakers think most likely to inflame parisan hatred in favor of Jeff Davis and the men who are murdering our soldiers and trying to overthrow the Government.

At a recent meeting of the club Mr. Voorhees, a representative in Congress, made a speech, the point of which is in these words: "When the Government went outside of the limits of law, then force should be met by force." Such words have but one meaning and intention. They mean simply: "When the authorities do any thing which you do not like, then, my friends, arm and resist them. Jeff Davis is falling to fasting and praying. He has no longer any hope but in civil war at the North. The entire course of the Administration is unconstitutional and illegal. Therefore, good Copperheads, strike home."

But lest there should be any doubt what Mr. Voorhees means, Mr. Fernando Wood explains. He said on the same evening at Stamford, in Connecticut, that "the Conscription Act is unconstitutional, and if he were elected Governor of Connecticut not a man should be forced from the State by the act without walking over his dead body."

The New York Herald of the next morning vigorously set forth the exact consequences and character of this proposition of Mr. Voorhees as explained by Fernando Wood. Let every man who is in favor of the Union, of the national supremacy, and of obedience to law, consider it:

"When such reckless, bigoted, and narrow-sighted and brawling demagogues as Vallandigham and Pendleton of Ohio, Ben Wood, Booby Brooks, and their confederates, begin to preach the doctrine of resistance to President Lincoln and the doctrine of submission to Jeff Davis, it is at least due to the community that the tendencies of their absurd and dangerous instructions should be exposed. They counsel resistance to the laws. Let us suppose that here and there these Copperhead apostles of mob law succeed in securing a body of adherents resolved upon resistance to the conscription. The Government undertakes to enforce the law; a bloody collision ensues; the contagion of resistance spreads throughout the ranks of the party infected, and civil war, with all its fearful consequences, is inaugurated at our own doors. Under such a state of things what citizen's property, home, or life would be secure? What family would be safe from night to night against the intrusion of a gang of hungry ruffians and a wholesale spoliation? And with the loyal States in this horrible condition, how would it be possible to prevent the breaking up of our armies in the field, the occupation of the national capital by Jeff Davis, and the absolute destruction of the Government of the United States?"


GENTLEMEN who, in denouncing the bill relating to the habeas corpus, declaim about Charles First losing his head for disregarding the writ, etc., should be very sure of their history before beginning their orations. The revolution that killed Charles and banished his son James was completed by the coronation of William Third as King of England, and the law of England respecting the suspension of the habeas corpus was settled by a precedent in the first year of William's reign. In 1689, when Ireland was in open rebellion, a conspiracy against the King was discovered in England, and the leaders were arrested by order of William. He then at once applied to Parliament for advice, thereby acknowledging that the act must be approved by them. The House thanked him, empowered him to arrest for a limited time all persons whom he should have just cause to suspect, and rejected an amendment that it should never be made a precedent.

Thus the English law is that the privilege of the writ is to be suspended by the consent of the whole Government, executive and legislative. Or, as Blackstone states it: "It is Parliament only, or legislative power, that, whenever it sees proper, can authorize the Crown, by suspending the habeas corpus act for a short and limited time, to imprison suspected persons without giving any reason for so doing .......The nation parts with its liberty for a while in order to preserve it forever."

The English practice has been that in the absence of Parliament, or even while it was in session, when the case demanded instant action, the ministers have suspended the privilege of the writ, and then asked the consent of Parliament, whose authority upon the subject is conceded to be supreme, and whose sanction is retrospective in its operation.

Mr. Lincoln's action has conformed exactly to the English precedent and to the tradition of constitutional liberty. In the absence of Congress, and in the extreme peril of the country, with the plain provision of the Constitution before him which allows the suspension without naming the suspending power, he did exactly what William Third, what any clear-sighted and honest supreme executive officer, would instinctively have done. At the same time he summoned Congress, and directly upon its assembling laid the case before

them in a few words of simple good sense, which we reproduce here as most timely and most wise, and indicative of that candor and sagacity which are not less remarkable in the President than his unswerving fidelity not only to the laws, but also, what is to us an unaccustomed spectacle in the administration of the presidential office, to the spirit of the laws.

"The whole of the laws which were required to be faithfully executed were being resisted, and failing of execution in nearly one-third of the States. Must they be allowed to finally fail of execution even had it been perfectly clear that, by the use of the means necessary to their execution, some single law, made in such extreme tenderness of the citizen's liberty, that practically it relieves more of the guilty than the innocent, should, to a very limited extent, be violated? To state the question more directly, are all the laws but one to go unexecuted, and the Government itself go to pieces lest that one be violated? Even in such a case would not the official oath be broken, if the Government should be overthrown, when it was believed that disregarding the single law would tend to preserve it? But it was not believed that this question was presented. It was not believed that any law was violated. The provision of the Constitution that 'the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended unless when, in cases of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require it,' is equivalent to a provision—is a provision—that such privilege may be suspended when, in cases of rebellion or invasion, the public safety does require it. It was decided that we have a case of rebellion, and that the public safety does require the qualified suspension of the writ which was authorized to be made. Now it is insisted that Congress, and not the Executive, is vested with this power. But the Constitution itself is silent as to which, or who, is to exercise the power; and as the provision was plainly made for a dangerous emergency, it can not be believed that the framers of the instrument intended that, in every case, the danger should run its course until Congress could be called together; the very assembling of which might be prevented, as was intended in this case, by the rebellion."

He then submits all necessary legislation upon the subject to "the better judgment" of Congress, and Congress has responded by the act which patriots of the Marshal Kane school declare to be subversive of all the liberties of the citizen. It does most emphatically subvert the liberty of the citizen to conspire against the unity and existence of the nation.

The whole question is most thoroughly and exhaustively discussed in Mr. Fisher's "Trial of the Constitution."


A SAILOR about being married, could not find change enough for the parson's fees. The reverend gentleman, unwilling to tie the couple without the accustomed fee, demurred. Jack, placing his hand in his pocket, drew out a few shillings, saying, "Never mind, brother, marry us as far as it will go."

A colonel was boasting that he had sprung from a high family in Ireland. "Yes," said a by-stander, "I have seen some of the family so high that their feet could not touch the ground."

An old Dutchman undertook to wallop his son, but Jake turned upon him and walloped him. The old man consoled himself for his defeat by rejoicing at his son's manhood. He said, "Vell, Jake ish a shmart fellow; he can vip his own taddy."

What is that which belongs to yourself yet is used by every body?—Your name.

Some unknown cholera reporter states that a lady who had died of cholera in Sandusky City, and was laid out by her friends, was found the night following standing at the cupboard eating cucumber pickles, or in other words,

"They left her 'a laying in' white,

Prepared for the grave's quiet slumbers;

But they found her the very same night,

A laying in pickled cucumbers."

"Where is the East?" inquired a tutor one day of a very little pupil. "Where the morning comes from," was the prompt and pleasant answer.

Hearing something said the other day about a "mosquito fleet," our youngest jester remarked that "he supposed the grappling-irons aboard the fleet were called the galley-nippers."

A Frenchman once saw a gentleman walk up to an open snuff-box in the hands of another, and take a pinch of snuff, having prefaced the act with the words, "May I take the liberty?" On the next day the Frenchman went into a tobacco shop and asked for half a pound of liberty.

A son of the Emerald Isle, telling his adventures in America, said, "The first feathered bird I ever saw in Ameriky was a forkentine. I treed him under a haystack, and shot him with a barn-shovel; the first time I shot him I missed him, and the second time I hit him where I missed him before."

The nearest a certain man in this city ever approached to luck was to find a counterfeit note on a broken bank. He thinks that if any body else had found it it would have been a gold piece.

The young man who, goaded by the memory of his wrongs, and saddled with a load of debt, gave the reins to his evil passions, has been collared by a policeman, and will soon be brought to the halter.

There are pretended patriots who will hold any thing except their tongues; keep any thing except their word; and lose nothing patiently except their character.

"I think," said Mr. Thackeray, "I would rather have had a potato and a friendly word from Goldsmith than have been beholden to Dean Swift for a guinea and a dinner."

What is the difference between forms and ceremonies? —You sit upon forms and stand upon ceremonies.

If I kiss you by mistake,

What war weapon do I make?—A blunderbuss.

What nations will always be cannibals?—The Manchew Tartars.

Why is a schoolmaster like an engine-driver?—One trains the mind, and the other minds the train.

What is the most indigestible supper?—To bolt the street door just before going to bed.

The man who moved an amendment injured his spine by the operation.

"I'll let you off easy this time," as the horse said when he threw his rider into the mud.

The more we help others to bear their burdens the lighter our own will be.

The man under the gallows, about to be swung off, would like to have ''the last tie" severed.

"No more at present," as the extinguisher said to the candle.

DO YOU GIVE IT UP? My first is irrational, My second is rational, My third mechanical, And my whole scientific.

Horse-man-ship (horsemanship).

Why is your nose in the middle of your face? Because it is the centre (scenter).

Why is it dangerous to go into a cathedral?

Because there is a great cannon (canon) in the desk, a minor cannon (canon) in the stall, and the bishop is charging the congregation.

One word of four letters:

If you transpose what lasses wear,

'Twill plainly show what bad ones are;

Again, if you transpose the same,

You'll see an ancient Hebrew name;

Change it again, and it will show

What all on earth desire to do;

Transpose the letters yet again,

What bad men are you'll then explain.


What trade is like the sun?

A tanner.

Why should you be wide awake on the railroad?

Because the train goes over sleepers.


THE extra session of the Senate closed on 14th. A large number of nominations were confirmed, but no other public business was done.


General McClernand's troops have been compelled to embark for Milliken's Bend, sixteen miles above Vicksburg, owing to high water. Recent operations at Lake Providence and elsewhere resulted in inundating more than one hundred miles of Louisiana territory, destroying millions of dollars' worth of property. The rebel guerrillas suffered fearfully by the flood. In fact, they were completely driven out.


General Hunter's army at Port Royal is about to move on some important expedition, if we can judge from the order just issued by the Commanding General to his soldiers; in which he says that after long and weary delays, due to causes over which no one in his department had control, they have at length the cheering prospect of active and very important service.


A resolution was offered on the 11th instant in the Congress of the Confederacy by Mr. Conrad, proposing terms of peace, and was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs. In effect it provides that "the Senate and House of Representatives of the Confederate States do therefore resolve that they will cordially co-operate with the Executive in any measures it may adopt, consistent with the honor, the dignity, and independence of these States, tending to a speedy restoration of peace with all or with any of the States of the Federal Union."


Governor Cannon, of Delaware, has just issued an important proclamation on the subject of "illegal arrests," ignoring State rights altogether, and placing the Federal above them. The proclamation is called forth by the passage of an act in the Assembly to prevent illegal arrests in that State, and the Governor says: "I enjoin upon the good people of this State that they hold true allegiance to the Government of the United States as paramount to the State of Delaware, and that they obey the constituted authorities thereof before the Legislature of the State of Delaware or any other human authority whatsoever."


A fast schooner was boarded in San Francisco harbor on 15th by the United States authorities, and detained as a privateer. About twenty Secessionists were found on board, well armed, together with six brass Dahlgren guns, with carriages suitable for use on shipboard. Correspondence found on the persons of the prisoners will lead to other arrests.




ON 24th ult., in the House of Lords, Earl Russell alluded to the question of the recognition of the Southern Confederacy, and requested Lord Strathenden to postpone until the 2d inst. a motion which he had given notice, of for the production of copies of all dispatches from Mr. Mason to her Majesty's Government on the claim of the Southern Confederacy to be acknowledged as an independent power by Great Britain, to which request Lord Stratheden acceded. Lord Palmerston, in the House of Commons, in reply to a question as to whether there was any correspondence between her Majesty's Government and the Emperor of the French relative to the offer of mediation between the Federal and Confederate States, and if so, whether there was any objection to lay it on the table of the House—and also if the Government was aware that any replies on the subject had been received by the Emperor of the French from the Federal Government—answered that the only official document on the subject was a dispatch from Lord Russell on the 13th of November to Lord Cowley, in a reply to a verbal communication from the Frenclu Embassador. That document was already on the table of the House. With

regard to any reply that might have been received by the Emperor of the French, that would be a matter between the American Government and the French Minister at Washington, and he did not see how he could answer the question.


The arrival of the American food ships Achilles and Griswold was the cause of a great demonstration in Manchester. A large meeting was held, and an address of thanks adopted to the captain and officers of the Griswold. The speeches expressed the fullest sympathy with the North. The captain of the British frigate Majestic also entertained the officers of the Griswold at a grand banquet on board his vessel in the Mersey. Captain Inglefield, of the Majestic, proposed the health of the President, and said that he did so not only because the President was the chief of a great nation, but because of his undaunted perseverance in prosecuting the war with the object of establishing a constitutional government.



The Polish insurrection is exciting great attention in the Cabinets of the leading Powers. It is announced from Cracow that the Russians had been defeated by the Poles alter an engagement which lasted five hours. The town of Malagoszee, near which the battle took place, has been reduced to ruins. The insurgents appear to be carrying on operations with great activity and enterprise.




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