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Civil War Harper's Weekly, December 5, 1863

Welcome to our online archive of Harper's Weekly newspapers. This collection includes all the Harper's created during the Civil War. The collection allows you to browse an incredible group of illustrations created within hours of the battles and events depicted.

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


Lincoln's Hymn

Lincoln's Hymn

Civil War Hymn

Civil War Hymn

Balloon Crash

Balloon Crash


Nadar's Balloon

Broken Sword

Broken Sword

Union Prisoners

Union Prisoners

General Granger

General Granger



Kelly's Ford

Battle of Kelly's Ford

Belle Island Prison

Belle Isle


Thanksgiving Day






DECEMBER 5, 1863.]



applied a chisel, while a policeman held his truncheon ready to defend the operator. The lock gave way. But the door could not open for furniture.

After some further delay they took it off its hinges, and the room stood revealed.

To their surprise no rush was made at them. The maniac was not even in sight.

"He is down upon his luck," whispered one of the new keepers: "we shall find him crouched somewhere." They looked under the bed. He was not there. They opened a cupboard: three or four dresses hung from wooden pegs; they searched the gowns most minutely: but found no maniac hid in their ample folds. Presently some soot was observed lying in the grate: and it was inferred he had gone up the chimney.

On inspection the opening appeared almost too narrow. Then Dr. Wolf questioned his sentinels in the yard. "Have you been there all the time?"

"Yes, Sir."

"Seen nothing?"

"No, Sir. And our eyes have never been off the window and the leads."

Here was a mystery: and not a clew to its solution. The window was open: but five-and-twenty feet above the paved yard: had he leaped down he must have been dashed to pieces.

Many tongues began to go at once: in the midst of which Edward burst in, and found the two dead men of contemporary history consisted of a dead dog and a stunned man, who, having a head like a bullet, was now come to himself and vowing vengeance. He found Julia very pale, supported and consoled by Mr. Hurd. He was congratulating her on her escape from a dangerous maniac.

She rose and tottered away from him to her brother and clung to him. He said what he could to encourage her, then deposited her in an arm-chair and went up stairs; he soon satisfied himself Alfred was not in the house. On this he requested Dr. Wolf and his men to leave the premises. The doctor demurred. Edward insisted, and challenged him to show a magistrate's warrant for entering a private house. The docter was obliged to own he had none. Edward then told the policemen they were engaged in an illegal act; the police were forbidden by Act of Parliament to take part in these captures. Now the police knew that very well: but, being handsomely bribed, they had presumed, and not for the first time, upon that ignorance of law which is deemed an essential part of a private citizen's accomplishments in modern days. In a word, by temper and firmness, and a smattering of law gathered from the omniscient 'Tiser, Edward cleared his castle of the lawless crew. But they paraded the street, and watched the yard till dusk, when its proprietor ran rusty and turned them out.

Julia sat between Edward and Mr. Hurd, with her head thrown back and her eyes closed: and received in silence their congratulations on her escape. She was thinking of his. When they had quite done, she opened her eyes and said, "Send for Dr. Sampson. Nobody else knows any thing. Oh pray, pray, pray send for Dr. Sampson."

Mr. Hurd said he would go for Dr. Sampson. She thanked him warmly.

Then she crept away to her bedroom, and locked herself in, and sat on the hearth-rug, and thought, and thought, and recalled every word and tone of her Alfred; comparing things old and new.

Dr. Sampson was a few miles out of town, visiting a patient. It was nine o'clock in the evening when he got Julia's note; but he came on to Pembroke Street at once. Dr. Wolf and his men had retired, leaving a sentinel in the street, on the bare chance of Alfred returning. Dr. Sampson found brother and sister sitting sadly, but lovingly, together. Julia rose upon his entrance. "Oh, Doctor Sampson! Now is he—what they say he is?"

"How can I tell, till I see 'm?" objected the doctor.

"But you know they call people mad who are nothing of the kind: for you said so."

Sampson readily assented to this. "Why it was but last year a surjin came to me with one Jackson, a tailor, and said, 'Just sign a certificate for this man: his wife's mad.' 'Let me see her,' sid I. 'What for,' sis he: 'when her own husband applies.' 'Excuse me,' sis I, 'I'm not a bat, I'm Saampson.' I went to see her; she was nairvous and excited; 'Oh I know what you come about,' said she. But you are mistaken.' I questioned her kindly, and she told me her husband was a great trile t' her nairves. I refused to sign: on that didn't the tailor drown himself in the canal nixt day? He was the madman; and she knew it all the time; but wouldn't tell us; and that's a woman all over."

"Well then," said Julia, hopefully.

"Ay but," said Sampson, "these cases are exceptions, after all: and the chances are nine to one he's mad. Dawn't you remember that was one of the solutions I offered ye, when he levanted on his wedding-day?" He added, satirically, "And couldn't all that logic keep in a little reason?"

This cynical speech struck Julia to the heart: she could not bear it: and retired to her own room.

Then Dr. Sampson saw his mistake, and said to Edward, with some concern, "Maircy on us, she is not in love with him still, is she? I thought that young parson was the man now."

Edward shook his head: but declined to go much into a topic so delicate as his sister's affections: and just then an alarming letter was delivered from Mrs. Dodd. She wrote to the effect that David, favored by the wind, had run into Portsmouth Harbor before their eyes, and had disappeared, hidden, it was feared, by one of those low publicans, who provide bad ships with

sailors, receiving a commission. On this an earnest conversation between Sampson and Edward. It was interrupted in its turn.

Julia burst suddenly into the room, pale and violently excited, clasping her hands and crying, "He is there. His voice is like a child's. Oh, help me! He is hurt. He is dying."


RED and sullen, like the eye of some baleful demon, the low sun glowed through the tangled depths of the November woods, casting bloody lines of light across the fallen trees, whose mossy trunks were half hidden in drifts of faded yellow leaves, and evoking faint, sweet scents, like Orient sandal-wood and teak, from a thousand forest censers, hidden away, who knows how or where. And above that line of dull flaming fire the sky frowned—a leaden-gray concave, freighted, as the weather-wise could tell you, with snow-flakes sufficient to turn that broken forest into a fairy grove of pearl and ermine. So the daylight was ebbing away from this Thanksgiving-eve.

"Now I wonder where I am!" said John Siddons, pausing abruptly in the scarce visible foot-path that wound among the trees. "As completely 'turned round' as though I stood in the deserts of Egypt! I wish I had been sensible enough to keep to the high-road: these short cuts generally turn out very long ones! However, if I keep straight ahead, I must inevitably emerge from these woods somewhere."

He sat down on a mossy stump, leaning his head carelessly on one hand, while the other played unconsciously with the worn brim of his blue soldier's cap—a slender, pleasant-faced young man, with gray-blue eyes, and dark hair thrown back from a bronzed forehead, which had been touched by the fiery arrows of many a Southern sun in lonely swamps, and along the fever-reeking shores of sullen rivers.

"Houseless—homeless!" he murmured to himself. "I wonder how many others are saying the same thing this Thanksgiving-eve. To think that I should fight through the campaign unhurt, and return with an honorable discharge in my pocket to a place where nobody knows or cares whether I'm alive or dead, while so many brave fellows were shot down at my side with bullets that tore through a score of hearts at home, carrying sharper pangs than death has to give! It's a queer thing to have only one relative in the world, and he a total stranger. If I find this second-cousin of my father he'll probably kick me out of doors for a shiftless, soldiering vagabond. But, hang it! a man can't live alone like a tortoise in its shell. I remember wondering, when I was a boy, why the Madeira vines over the porch stretched out their green tendrils, and seemed to grope through the sunshine for something to cling to. I think I understand it now."

He rose up and walked on through the russet leaves that rustled ankle-deep beneath his tread, still musing—musing; trying to study out the unknown quantities in life's great equation, while the sun went down behind a bank of lurid clouds, and the chill night wind began to sigh sorrowfully in the tree-tops. And suddenly the sturdy woods tapered off into a silver-stemmed thicket of white birches, and the white birches fringed a lonely country road with a little red house beyond, whose windows were aglow kith fire-light, and whose door-yard was full of the peculiar perfume of white and maroon-blossomed chrysanthemums.

Zenas Carey was leaning over the gate, surveying the stormy sunset with critical eyes.

"I told Melindy so!" ejaculated Zenas, apparently addressing himself to the crooked apple-tree by the road. "I'll bet my best steer we have a good old-fashioned fall of snow to keep Thanksgivin' with. I smelt it in the air this mornin', but women don't never believe nothin' until it comes to pass right under their noses, for—"

This rather obscure sentence was nipped in the bud by a footstep at his side. Zenas turned abruptly to reconnoitre the new arrival.

"Will you be kind enough to give me a glass of water, Sir?" said John Siddons, wearily.

"Sartin, Sir!" said Zenas. "So you're a soldier, hey?"

"A returned soldier," said Siddons, draining the cool element from the cocoa-nut shell that always lay close to the well curb at the side of the house.

"Goin' home to keep Thanksgivin'?" questioned Zenas.

"Home! Sir, I have no home!"

Siddons had spoken sharply, as if the thought were goading to him. Zenas put out his brown knotted hand and grasped the retreating man's arm.

"My boy!" he said, with kindly abruptness, "you're a soldier, and to tell by your looks I should guess you were about the age of him that's buried at Gettysburg—my only son! I love that blue uniform for Davie's sake, and if there's a soldier in the world that hasn't a home to go to on Thanksgivin'-eve, there's a corner for him by Zenas Carey's fireside. Come in, Sir! come in! You're as welcome as flowers in May!"

John looked into the wet eyes and working face of the old farmer an instant, and accepted his invitation without another word.

What a cheerful change it was, from the frosty air and chill twilight of the lonely road to that bright kitchen with its spotless board floor and fire of resinous pine logs! And when Melinda Carey drew a hump-backed rocking-chair to the hearth for him, and spoke a word or two of welcome, John Siddons wondered if the eyes of the mother, who died when he was a babe, had not beamed upon him just so!

"I told mother so this very mornin'," said Zenas, with a triumphant flourish of his hand, as he stirred up the logs to a waving, glorious sheet of flame. "Says I, 'Melindy, we'll kill the biggest turkey, and I'll pick out the yallerest pumpkins on the barn floor.' And says she, 'What for, Zenas, when

there's only us two to eat 'em?' and, says I, 'Mother,' says I, ' Davie was here with us last Thanksgivin' with his new uniform, as brave and handsome as you'll often see.'—Now, mother, don't cry."

Zenas interrupted himself to stroke his wife's gray hair with a strangely tender touch, and went on:

"Says I, 'He's gone where it's Thanksgivin' all the year round now, my poor boy—my brave boy! —but,' says I, 'we'll make somebody welcome for Davie's sake; won't we, mother?' And now, Sir, you'll spend to-morrow with us, and tell me about the battle of Gettysburg, where Davie died, crying out with his last breath not to let the flag be captured!"

Zenas's voice died out into a choking, gasping sob. John Siddons laid his hand softly on the rough, toil-hardened hand of the farmer, while a pang of envy shot through his heart. Ah! it was almost worth while being shot down in battle to be missed and mourned like dead David Carey!

"Oh, wife!" wailed Zenas, when John Siddons had fallen asleep in the little corner room that had been the lost boy's, "it is almost like having Davie back again! Wife, I fight my great sorrow down every night, but every morning it rises up again more strong than ever! God help us—God help every parent whose home is made desolate by the field of battle!"

Thanksgiving dawned through a white whirlwind of driving snow that eddied among the gnarled boughs of the apple-tree in mad frolics, and edged the old stone-wall with dazzling ermine. And the fiery sparks careering swiftly up Zenas Carey's wide chimney met the steadily falling snow half-way and gave battle, while the hearth glowed with ruddy brightness, as if it knew all about the Governor's Proclamation and approved of it.

"You have a cozy little farm here, Mr. Carey," said John, as they walked through the snow-storm to the church, whose spire nestled among the everlasting hills beyond.

"If I was only sure of it, Sir," said Zenas, with a sigh. "But I've been hard put to it to get along these times. Taxes and such like come heavy on poor men, and I've had a run o' ill luck, so that the place is mortgaged to its full value, and to a hard man, Sir—one that will sell the home you've been born and brought up in as soon as eat his breakfast, so he can make money by it. It will be a black day for Melindy and me when we have to leave the Rock Farm; but it must come soon, and I don't much care what becomes of me arterward. I tell you, Sir, when a man has lived to my age under one roof-tree he don't take very kindly to bein' moved. Men are like forest trees, Sir; you can take a young 'un and do as you please with it, but if you transplant an old 'on it dies. Let's talk o' something else, Mr. Siddons. I oughtn't to complain Thanksgivin'-day."

John looked with a feeling of actual reverence at the hard-featured old man, whose simple soul, borne down as he was by debt, and grief, and age, could still find something to be thankful for.

The turkey and pumpkin-pies were smoking on the round table when John and Zenas returned from church; and Mrs. Carey had brought out her best "flowing blue" plates and her choicest old-time silver spoons in honor of their guest. There was no beverage but coffee that never knew the shores of Java, and a pitcher of cold, sparkling cider; but Champagne could not have been more cordially dealt out by Zenas; and Mrs. Carey's smiling kindness gave a flavor to the chickorized rye that is sometimes lacking in "egg-shell china."

The table was cleared away, and they were sitting round the fire, when the door was opened and Deacon Evarts entered, bringing a small snow-drift on the shoulders of his shaggy overcoat.

"Well, I am beat!" quoth Zenas. "Take a cheer, Deacon. Let me hang your coat afore the fire to dry."

"Can't stay," said the Deacon, giving himself a shake, like a black water-dog on its hind-legs. "I thought you'd like to hear the news, so I jest dropped in on my way to any darter's Thanksgivin' dinner."

"News! what news?" exclaimed Zenas, while his wife dropped her knitting.

"Do tell! then you hain't heerd?"

"I hain't heerd nothin' but the wind a-howlin' down the chimbly, and Elder Smith's sarmon this mornin'," said Zenas, a little impatiently.

"The Squire's dead, up to the gret house!"

"Dead! You don't tell me so! That's the man I was a speakin' of as holds my mortgage!" explained Zenas, turning to John Siddons. "And when did it happen, Deacon?"

"Died last night, Sir, just about nightfall, as quiet as a lamb. There wa'n't nobody with him but the old housekeeper—folks didn't s'pose he was dangerous. And Lawyer Ovid says there's a reg'lar will, and he's left all his property to the only relative he had livin'; a soldierin' feller that he's never so much as seen—one Sedgewick, or Sibley, or—what was his name now? Any how he's fell heir to all Squire Peter Ailesford's property, and that's a pretty consid'able windfall!"

"Was the name Siddons?" asked the soldier, who had hitherto listened to the conversation in silence.

"That's it!" said the Deacon, giving his knee a sounding slap.

"Peter Ailesford was my father's cousin," said the young man, quietly.

"Land o' Goshen!" ejaculated Deacon Evarts, with growing veneration for the heir to "the old Squire's" money. "Now really! that's kind o' providential, ain't it! To think that you should be right here on the spot!"

"I was in search of Mr. Ailesford's house when I met you, Sir," said Siddons, turning to Carey; "but as I was unaware what sort of reception I might get, your kind invitation decided me to wait a day or two."

In vain the Deacon tried to "pump" the young soldier. John Siddons was civilly uncommunicative, and the Deacon finally took leave, burning to unfold his budget of news elsewhere.

"I hope, Sir," said Carey, uneasily, when they were once more alone, "you won't be hard about that mortgage. I'm a poor man, and—"

"Mr. Carey," said John, quietly, "you shall burn that mortgage on this hearth the very day I come into possession of my relative's papers. No thanks, Sir; I have not forgotten that I was 'a stranger, and you took me in.' Do you suppose I shall ever cease to remember the welcome of this Thanksgiving hearth? I never knew either father or mother; but to-day I have fancied what their kindness might have been."

"It was for Davie's sake!" sobbed Mrs. Carey, fairly overcome.

"Then for your dead son's sake will you let me fill his place toward you? Last night death took from me the only one in the world to whom I was allied by ties of blood; do not turn me from your hearts!"

"The Lord bless thee—the Lord make his face to shine upon thee, my second son!" said the old man, solemnly.

Slowly the dusk gathered athwart the hills, with wailing winds and whirling drifts of snow—slowly the darkness wrapped them round; but in Zenas Carey's steadfast soul the light of an eternal Thanksgiving was burning; and his wife, with tearful eyes, mused upon her two soldier boys—one dead at Gettysburg, the other sitting at her side!


WE illustrate on page 781 the condition of our poor fellows who are so unfortunate as to be prisoners of the rebels at Richmond, Virginia. While the rebel prisoners in our hands are supplied with food in such abundance that they can not consume it all, with clothing, and even regular rations of tobacco, our brave soldiers, to the number of fifteen to eighteen thousand, are shivering and starving to death on Belle Island. The first intimation we had of their sufferings was on the receipt of a boat-load of sick and wounded at City Point, on 29th September. Of their appearance an eye-witness spoke as follows:

The men landed at five in the chilly dawn, and it seemed a fitting time for so mournful a procession. They numbered 180 men, brought from Belle Island, near Richmond. Many were unable to walk, and were carried to the hospital. Those that could walk must have presented a sight never to be forgotten; for, before leaving, the rebels not only stripped them of socks, shoes, and blankets, but took from them their shirts and pantaloons, except where the rags could scarce hold together. Men came without hats or caps, with thin cotton drawers, and bodies bare to the waist, their nakedness and bleeding feet covered only by what tatters their cruel captors had left them, not from mercy, but because they were too filthy to keep. These men had been on Belle Island (which seems to be a barren waste), without any protection against the weather, except what they had themselves constructed. They had lain on the sand, which was to thews both bed and covering, exposed, both sick and well, to all extremes of heat and cold, without clothes, without food (except small portions of the most repulsive kinds), for weeks and months, many having been taken prisoners at or before the battle of Gettysburg. Many were suffering from what are called sand-sores, and the surgeons in vain attempted to produce general circulation of blood, the cuticle in many instances seemingly dried on the bone from exposure.

Within a day or two a returned prisoner from Richmond, Rev. H. C. Trumbull, of the Tenth Connecticut regiment, has stated that when he left the Libey prison at Richmond on Wednesday, the Union officers confined there had only received one-third of a pound of bread and some water for two days previous, and for several days no meat had been served out. The Quarter-master explained to the prisoners that he had no provisions to give them, and excused himself for the seeming inhumanity on his part. He stated that on the same day he was unable to supply the prisoners on Belle Island with any thing whatever, and that it was with the greatest difficulty he could procure a little meat for the hospitals.

De Witt C. Walters, an Indiana scout, equal to Leatherstocking, captured just before Chickamauga, and paroled with three hundred and fifty other Union prisoners, arrived at Washington last week, and stated, among other things of absorbing interest, that the average number of deaths among our men in Richmond hospitals is forty-three a day, and that most of them get their death-warrants on Belle Island. That sandy desert is low, damp, swept with winds, and wrapped in fogs. Our men are without blankets, and but one-third of them sheltered under mould-eaten tents. All the starved sicken instantly, and run down with frightfoal rapidity. Four dogs, enticed to the Island during the twenty days Walters was confined there, were greedily cooked and joyfully ate. In the hospital to which he was transferred, the sole diet was cornbread, made up without salt. Not a beef animal has come to Richmond in twelve days.

Five thousand Union prisoners are now on their way to Lynchburg and Danville, for easier access to such food as can be reached. Walters's picture of waste time and cunning in a vain endeavor to entice the more confiding one of four fat pups from a slut seated outside a fence, which coops our men on Belle Island, to trot under it and be ate up, is one of ghastly humor, and a sure measure of misfortune to which our friends so speedily succumb in that Golgotha.

The following from the Richmond Examiner of 7th instant, may help to explain our picture:

On last Wednesday night a "spy," from Lieutenant V. Bossieux's guard, on Belle Isle, while perambulating in disguise through the Yankee prisoners, overheard one of the prisoners say, "Well, they're going to plant cannon around us to-morrow, and all who don't want to stay here and freeze to death this winter must make a break to-night."

The "spy" immediately sped to Lieutenant Bossieux with the information he had obtained. The latter communicated the alarm to the guard, threw the sentinels forward, and sent to the barracks for one hundred additional men.

No attempt to break the lines was made, and it was plain that if any was contemplated it was checked by the demonstration of the guard.

Five pieces of cannon are now planted in positions bearing on the prisoner's camp at short range, and any demonstration to overpower the guard will result in the thinning out of their number amazingly.




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