Capture of the Queen of the West


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, March 7, 1863

We have posted our entire collection of Civil War Harper's Weekly newspapers online for your research and enjoyment. These old newspapers contain fascinating images and stories of the key elements of the War, and offer unique insights into this conflict.

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



Nicholas Longworth

Jewish Persecution

Jewish Persecution

Queen of the West

Capture of the Queen of the West

Paying Teamsters

Paying Teamsters

Free People, Long War

How Free People Conduct a Long War

Battle of Vicksburg

Battle of Vicksburg


Madisonville, Louisiana

New Orleans

Poor of New Orleans



Vicksburg Blockade Runner

Running the Blockade at Vicksburg

Vicksburg Battle

Picture of the Battle of Vicksburg

Vicksburg Map

Map of Vicksburg

Napoleon Cartoon

Napoleon Cartoon



MARCH 7, 1863.]



(Previous Page) is an affair of shifts, and arrangements, and concessions, and compromises, and yielding to prejudices, and making all things smooth and profitable in the pocket, for every body had a fair chance it was during the eighteen years, from 1830 to 1848 in France. By their fruits ye shall judge them. If the success of prosperity, honor, and peace with dignity, be the test of good government, who achieved it, Louis Philippe, the practical man of expedients, or Oliver Cromwell, the enthusiast and religious fanatic?

Is it not clear that when you excuse the appeal to the lowest selfishness upon the plea that politic, is a science of expediency you beg the whole question? For what is the question? Given human nature and man in society, what is expediency? That only which is based upon the broadest view of human nature, upon its strongest instincts, upon its most profound emotions. And what are they? What are the tendencies and feelings in human nature that have produced the great epochs in history, the controlling changes in civilization? Did they spring from the pocket or the conscience? Unquestionably the right path is also at last the profitable, but not at first, and it is the first step that costs. Nothing which outrages the common conscience can be expedient. If, for instance, it be a law, it is inexpedient, because it will either remain a dead letter and bring all laws and just authority into contempt, or else it will be executed amidst tumults and protests which will end in revolution. Thus the moral nature of men becomes the most important consideration of all in matters of political policy. Interest, convenience, and all the minor oppositions may be set aside, but conscience is firmer than the everlasting hills, and surer than the law of gravity.

Thus it is the most foolish fallacy to make expediency the counterpart or opposing term in politics to principle; or to evade the moral view of public questions by saying that morality has nothing to do with them. Why, you have only to fortify any cause with a moral conviction and you make it impregnable. The Albigenses, the Cameronians, the early Christians, the later Protestants, might be routed and massacred, but the cause itself, intrenched in the popular conscience, laughed the conqueror to scorn.

The meanness, the timidity, the miscalled "expediency," the total want of principle in our politics have plunged us into this war. Since the days of our fathers, who were forced to know and willing to declare the moral principles upon which they acted, the simplicity and manliness of our public men have declined. The insolent bullying of Congressmen, whose pride it was that they bought and sold human beings in a republic based upon liberty and equal rights, was hardly so mortifying as the hesitating opposition and obsequious bearing of those who thought with Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, Laurens, George Mason, and John Adams, and whose political views and principles were those of the Constitution. In Washington Slavery has cracked the whip and Liberty has cowered and apologized, always with splendid and memorable exceptions. The wretched excuse has been that it was not "expedient" to do otherwise. Was it, then, not "expedient" for John Hampden to refuse to pay twenty shillings, even if he risked a revolution? Was it not "expedient" in the colonies to declare that they would not pay taxes without representation? Is it not "expedient" to declare to-day that either the victory of the rebellion will fortify Slavery, or that of the Government will establish Liberty upon this continent? If Louis Philippe and his school had sat in the seats of Hampden, Pym, and Tiennes—if they had stood in the shoes of Patrick Henry and Sam Adams—if they had been monks with Martin Luther—the work of three centuries would have to be done over again. Until men acknowledge the expediency of equal justice there will be no permanent peace in any nation. Are those, therefore, who insist that justice is the truest expediency blind guides? Our politicians hitherto have insisted that there was no relation between them. But their position in the presence of this war, which is simply the tremendous assertion that there is a relation between them, is more pitiful and ludicrous than that of their great prototype, Louis Philippe, appalled by the mere shadow of a revolution, and fleeing from France as Mr. William Smith with a huge cotton umbrella under his arm.


THE attempt of "the Conservative movement" to cut loose from its leaders will not succeed. If Wood, Vallandigham, Cox, Brooks, and the Seymours are not its logical leaders, who are? Who conduct the movement against the Administration and the war? It is these men or nobody. For there are but two parties, there can be but two. That which supports the Government in the war, and that which opposes it. To undertake a third party, which calls itself a war-party, provided the Government will be directed by it, is nonsense. Vallandigham would be satisfied if the Government would be controlled by him.

That the men we have named are the leaders of this new "Conservatism," which would reduce this nation to a mob of contemptible States, like Venezuela, and Ecuador, and Guatemala, and that the rebels regard them as their friends and virtual allies, should be clear enough by this time to the dullest mind.

The influence of "the Conservative movement," as illustrated in the autumn elections, upon the suppression of the rebellion, is seen in all the rebel papers and correspondence.

"Were it not," says a correspondent, writing from Richmond to Knoxville, "for the utter demoralization of the Federal armies; were it not that the quasi rebellion of the Governors of New Jersey and New York had affected Burnside's army as thoroughly as that of Rosecrans, which has felt more seriously the influence of Richardson, Bright, and Vallandigham; were these Federal forces as brave and devoted to the cause they have espoused

as they were twelve months ago," etc.

Here are simple cause and effect. "Quasi rebellion" of certain Governors is cited by the rebels as the demoralizing influence of our army. Was, or was not, the election of those Governors hailed as "a Conservative triumph" by those who try to get rid of Vallandigham and Co.?

So in October, pending the elections, the Richmond Examiner said:

"The elections of New York will decide the complexion of the next House of Representatives, and they thus possess an interest which has attached to no other elections that have taken place since the commencement of the war."

Why this great interest? Clearly because of the chance of a Congress which differed in sentiment from this. Could it be more determined upon the war? Certainly not. The interest lay, therefore, in the hope of a House more favorable to negotiation. Could that House be elected except by "a Conservative triumph?" Echo answers, No.

"It is not to be denied," says the rebel writer, "that a Democratic victory at the North would be a subject of much gratification."

Were there more than two tickets at the election? And was not the "Conservative" ticket precisely what is here called Democratic? Why, then, would such a "Conservative" victory be so gratifying to the men who are in arms against the Government and nation? Because it would help them or hurt them?

The identity of the "peace" party with the "Conservative party" is so clearly established that to attempt to prove it is a gilding of fine gold, a painting of the lily. And that the leaders of the one are of necessity the chiefs of the other is equally evident. The attempt to stand between this "Conservatism," which is disunion, and anarchy, and acknowledgment of the rebellion, and the vigorous and hearty support of the Government, whether all its measures and men exactly please us or not, is hopeless. In the English civil war of 1645 the Presbyterians tried to stand between the Independents and the King. They argued that because the King claimed more than his constitutional rights it was not fair for the Parliament to overstep the limits of its power in order to put him down. But the truth was, as Macaulay, and Lord Nugent, and Godwin, and all the historians show, that a middle course was impossible. The King was resolved to overthrow the Constitution. He was fair in talk, and as false as fair. And the Parliament knew it. The game was desperate. The stake was the liberty of the English subject; and Parliament did not hesitate to exceed its normal powers in order to save the Constitution and the nation. And all the people cried Amen! The Constitution was saved, and the rights of the nation secured.

The rebels are as false and haughty as Charles Stuart. They mean the destruction of the Government. Fortunately that Government need not and does not transcend its powers to save itself. But even if it were forced to do so, what man capable of conceiving the disaster of disunion would not cry God-speed? We must stand by that Union, then, or leave it to its enemies. And when the enemy is at the gate, there is no distinction in moral guilt between a foe who fires upon the garrison and one who insists that the garrison shall not fire unless they will use such powder and ball as he has to sell.


No faithful citizen of the United States, in whatever State he may live, will wish to vote for a candidate who is acceptable to the rebels, because to do so is to help them overthrow the Government. Should any Connecticut voter, therefore, whose party, sympathies have been Democratic, but whose heart and soul are true to his country, happen to see this paragraph, let him reflect upon the statement of the Richmond Examiner, one of the chief organs of the rebellion, which, in denouncing the Northern Democrats in general for being "as fierce in their apostasy to former principles as Butler himself," says, however, that among them "are to be .found one Pierce, one Vallandigham, one Wood, and two Seymours, like the five just men in Sodom."

If, therefore, any Connecticut freeman feels that he can be true to his country by doing what his enemies wish, let him vote for the man whom the rebels praise. It is not a party question. It is the salvation of the country which is at stake.


THIS work is the best American almanac ever published. It contains full and complete statistics of the General Government, names of the officials, abstracts of the laws, statistics of the Census of 1860, a full account of the Government, population, finances, agricultural and commercial condition of each State; a digest of the history and condition of all the railroads of the United States; statistics of education, crime, crops, etc., etc., and a very good account of the war from its commencement. It is a book every one should have.


"PRAY Sir, of what profession are you?" said a learned counsel to a witness who had come prepared to prove a fact, and who was not deemed a very respectable gentleman. "Sir, I am a shoemaker and wine-merchant." "A what, Sir?" said the learned counsel. "A wine-merchant and shoemaker." "Then," said the counsel, "I may describe you as a sherry cobbler!"

"Why is it," said a young swell, a few days since, "that I can't make my collar sit well?"—Because it is a standing collar," replied the person to whom the question was addressed.  

The man that drew a long breath has taken another chance in the same lottery.

"Is that animal a biped or a quadruped?" asked one of the visitors to a circus, one day, of a by-stander. "I think, Sir," said an evident student of natural history, with bulging eyes and green spectacles, "that the man who shows the animals called it a kangarooped!"

"Shall I have your hand?" said an exquisite to a belle as the dance was about to commence. "With all my heart," was the soft response.

An afflicted husband was returning from the funeral of his wife, when a friend asked how he was. "Well," he said, pathetically, "I think I feel the better for that little walk."

There was an Irish lawyer who invariably wrote at the bottom of his brief, "If any part of the case should fail, or want making out, call my clerk, Tim Donnegan, and he will swear any thing."

"I am happy, Tom, to hear the report that you have succeeded to large landed property." "And I am sorry to say it is groundless."

Why is a lady remarrying like a chimes'-ringer?—Because one rings the changes, while the other changes the ring.

A handsome woman pleases the eyes, a good woman pleases the heart: the one is a jewel, the other a treasure.

"Tis false," as the girl said when her lover told her she had beautiful hair.

QUERY FOR A DEBATING SOCIETY.—What do the sailors do with the knots the ship makes in a day?

The gentleman who has been trying to raise the wind finds himself "blown" all over town.

THE BURGLAR'S ASPIRATION.—A skeleton-key in every cupboard.

"I'll be blessed if I do," as the girl said when her lover asked her to be married.

"I can't support you an longer," as the rotten bridge said to the elephant.



ON Wednesday, February 18, in the Senate, Senator Foot, of Vermont, was chosen President pro tempore, Vice-President Hamlin having announced his intention to be absent for the remainder of the session. A joint resolution to compensate the crew of the iron battery Monitor for loss of clothing was adopted. The bill making appropriations for fortifications was passed; also the bill to regulate the appointment of midshipmen. The bill fixing the gauge of the Pacific Railroad and branches at four feet eight and a half inches was passed. The bill organizing the courts of the District of Columbia was discussed, and after an executive session the Senate adjourned.—In the House, the Senate bill granting aid to Missouri for the emancipation of slaves was referred to the select Committee on Emancipation. The House passed the Senate bill for the purpose of removing doubts as to the meaning of former laws. It authorizes the President, when two kinds of punishment are imposed by a court, pecuniary and imprisonment, to remit the one or the other. When the imprisonment is remitted, the fine shall be collected as a judgment of debt in the common forms of law. The bill indemnifying the President and other public officers for the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, and for acts in pursuance thereof, was then taken up, and an interesting debate ensued, which continued till the adjournment.

On Thursday, 19th, in the Senate, the credentials of Mr. Morgan, the new Senator from New York, were presented. A communication from the Secretary of the Treasury, exhibiting the debit and credit account of the contrabands of the Sea Island cotton district, was received. It shows a balance of more than half a million dollars in favor of the Government. The bill providing for the discharge of State prisoners, and authorizing the President to suspend the writ of habeas corpus, was taken up. A motion to strike out the section of the bill authorizing a suspension of the writ of habeas corpus was rejected—yeas 13, nays 27. Senators Trumbull and Carlile offered substitutes for the bill, but no further action was taken on the subject. The Senate then went into executive session, and afterward adjourned.—In the House, the bill indemnifying the President and other persons for acts done under the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus was referred to a conference committee. The Senate joint resolution authorizing the Secretary of the Navy to adjust the equitable claims of contractors for naval supplies and regulating contracts with the Navy Department was adopted. The House passed the Senate's joint resolution expelling ex-Senator Badger from the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution for his giving aid and comfort to the enemy, and appointing Professor Louis Agassiz to fill his place. At the evening session the National Currency bill was taken up, and Messrs. Spaulding and Fenton spoke in favor of its passage.

On Friday, 20th, in the Senate, the House bill providing a government for the Territory of Arizona was passed. The bill enabling the people of Nevada Territory to take preparatory steps for being admitted into the Union was reported back. Similar bills relative to Nebraska and Colorado were reported. The joint resolution directing the payment of troops in hospitals and convalescent camps within sixty days was adopted, and Committees of Conference on the Indemnity and Finance bills were ordered.—In the House, the bill to establish a uniform national currency was passed as it came from the Senate, by a vote of 78 against 74. The Senate Post-Office Reform bill was taken up, and several amendments adopted, among them one establishing a postal money-order system.

On Saturday, 21st, in the Senate, a memorial from citizens of New York, asking for the establishment of a submarine telegraph from Fortress Monroe to Galveston, was presented. Senator Powell offered a resolution that a committee of three be appointed to investigate the facts in reference to the arrest, imprisonment, and release of D. A. Mahony, J. A. Mullen, and Andrew J. Duff. Laid over. Senator Powell also gave notice that he should, at an early day, offer a resolution for a committee to investigate the conduct of General Gilbert in recently dispersing a convention in Kentucky. A resolution to print 10,000 extra copies of the Currency bill was referred. The bill for the discharge of State prisoners, and authorizing the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, was taken up, and an angry discussion ensued between Senators Wilson of Massachusetts and Powell of Kentucky. An executive session was held, and the Senate adjourned.—In the House, a Committee of Conference was asked of the Senate on the disagreeing amendments to the Finance bill. The Post-Office Reform bill was next considered; an amendment that all soldiers in camp or hospital shall receive and transmit letters free of postage was adopted, and the bill passed by a vote of 72 against 56. The Ways and Means Committee reported amendments to the Internal Tax bill. The Senate's amendments to the Post-Route bill were agreed to. The Senate bill to prevent correspondence with rebels was passed, also the Senate bill to punish bribery. The Senate bill authorizing the issue of letters of marque was then taken up and discussed till the adjournment.

On Monday, 23d, in the Senate, Senator Willey presented a resolution from the Constitutional Convention of West Virginia, accepting the constitution as amended by Congress, and also resolutions asking for an appropriation in compensation for the emancipation of slaves in West Virginia. Senator Collamer called up the resolution relative to the payment of foreign postage in coin, and offered a substitute authorizing the Postmaster-General to take such measures as he may deem necessary to provide for the payment in coin of the balances against the United States. The substitute was accepted and the resolution adopted. After disposing of several unimportant subjects, the bill relative to the discharge of State prisoners and authorizing the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus was taken up and passed by a vote of 24 against 13.—In the House, the report of the Committee on Elections, adverse to the claim of Mr. Jennings Piggott to represent the Second Congressional district of North Carolina, was accepted. The Naval Appropriation bill was taken up, and several Senate amendments not being concurred in, the bill was returned to that body. The consideration of the Senate

bill enrolling and calling out the National militia was then resumed. Amendments were cut off by the ordering of the previous question, but an exciting and acrimonious discussion was kept up till after eleven o'clock at night.

On Tuesday, 24th, in the Senate, a conference committee was appointed on the Naval Appropriation bill. The Indian Appropriation bill was discussed and amended and laid aside. Ten thousand extra copies of the Currency bill were ordered to be printed. A bill was introduced authorizing the President, in certain cases, to take possession of steamboats and other vessels.—The House was engaged in discussing the bill providing for calling out and arming the militia of the nation. It was agreed that a vote should be taken on the bill on the following day. During the debate Mr. Stevens attacked General McClellan, and read a letter from General Scott accusing General McClellan of insubordination.


The mortar boats of the expedition against Vicksburg were towed into position on the 18th inst., and opened fire upon the city on that day. They were answered by the rebel batteries, three in number. The position of the gun-boats was found to be too much exposed to the fire of the enemy, and they accordingly withdrew to a safer place, from which they renewed the bombardment.


A barge containing seven thousand bushels of coal followed the example of the ram Queen of the West, and ran the blockade at Vicksburg on the night of 14th, passing harmlessly through in the dark. The gun-boat Conestoga destroyed Bolivar Landing, a scattered village fifty miles above Memphis. The river is rapidly overflowing its banks on the Louisiana side to such an extent that the little town of De Soto, opposite Vicksburg, is now nearly under water, and it is thought that the whole peninsula will ere long be submerged, The Queen of the West has gone up Red River on the hunt for rebel boats supposed to be lying there.


We have from rebel sources a report of the capture of the Union ram Queen of the West, whose gallant exploits in running the blockade at Vicksburg are already known to our readers. She is said to have been captured under Fort Taylor, at Gordon's Landing, on the Red River—the pilot, who was taken off the rebel steamer Eva, having treacherously run her within range of the guns while asserting that the fort was fifteen miles away. Her steam-pipe was knocked off, and she was otherwise so disabled that she drifted to the opposite shore, and all of the crew except thirteen escaped. The boat and the rest of the hands fell into the power of the rebels.


A crowd of secessionists in Frankfort, Kentucky, met last week in the theatre of that city for the ostensible purpose of nominating candidates for the August elections; but Colonel Gilbert, with a regiment of Union troops with bayonets fixed, made his appearance, took the chair himself, and dispersed the meeting by declaring that they should then and there prove by oath their loyalty to the Government, as he believed they were nothing but Democrats and secessionists. With the fear of fixed bayonets before their eyes, and remembering, no doubt, the story of Cromwell and the Rump Parliament in the good old times of free and merry England, the citizens of Frankfort wisely resolved to separate, and they did so.


We find an interesting commentary upon the diplomatic correspondence of M. Drouyn de l'Huys and Mr. Seward in the Richmond papers. The plans of the French Minister for mediation and peace are pretty roughly handled; in fact, they are rather uncivilly declined. The Emperor himself is somewhat snubbed. The Southern Confederacy, we are told, needs no commissioners to settle the difficulty, either of French or any other suggestion; the commissioners already exist in the persons of Generals Lee, Beauregard, Longstreet, Jackson, and Joe Johnston.


General Beauregard, as military commander of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, has issued a proclamation declaring it to be his solemn duty to announce to the citizens and authorities of Charleston and Savannah that an attack by the land and naval forces of the United States is about to be made upon either or both cities, and warning those who are not able to take up arms for their defense to retire to some place of safety. He urges, however, upon every one who can join in the struggle at "this hour of trial" to do so without regard to the kind of weapons they may have in their possession. Pikes and scythes, he says, will do for the destruction of their enemies, and spades and shovels for the protection of their firesides, altars, and the graves of their fathers.




THE British Parliament met in session on the 5th of February. The Queen's Speech contains very little of importance, excepting the following:

Her Majesty has abstained from taking any step with a view to make a cessation of the conflict between the contending parties of the North American States, because it has not yet seemed to her that any such overtures could be attended with a probability of success. Her Majesty has viewed with the deepest concern the desolating warfare which still rages in those regions, and she has witnessed with heartfelt grief the severe distress and suffering which that war has inflicted upon a large class of her Majesty's subjects, but which have been borne by them with great fortitude and exemplary resignation. It is some consolation to her Majesty to be led to hope that this suffering and this distress are diminishing rather than increasing, and that some renewal of employment is beginning to take place in the manufacturing districts.


During the debates on the address, in reply to the speech in both Houses, Lord Palmerston's course was generally sustained, although Earl Derby and Mr. Disraeli regretted that England had not made an effort in conjunction with France to induce an armistice. All parties agreed in opinion, however, that the attempt would fail. Earl Russell, in the House of Lords, however, expressed the opinion that the Union would never be restored. Mr. Disraeli, in the House of Commons, agrees with him, and says he foresees that the future America will be one of armies, and turbulence, and wars."



The insurrection in Poland is spreading. The city of Wengrow has been taken by the Russians, after a sanguinary battle.



The people of Cochin China have revolted against the French, and made desperate attacks on the Emperor's troops. The natives were repulsed with heavy loss. The Queen of Spain, it was said, had refused to send her troops back to Cochin China at the request of the Emperor Napoleon.



Captain Maffit, of the Oreto, waited on the Governor of Nassau at his official residence, and obtained permission to remain off Nassau for twenty-four hours, during which time he laid his ship alongside the English war-steamers Galatea and Barracouta. The Oreto was thought to be looking out for the American ship Eliza Bonsall, which had left Nassau the day before for Abaco to take away United States troops lately wrecked there. Her capture by the Oreto was considered as very probable.




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