Battle of Sabine Pass


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, October 10, 1863

This site features our collection of Civil War Harper's Weekly newspapers. Harper's Weekly was the most popular illustrated newspapers of the day. Our online version of this historical record will help students of the war find in depth information and incredible illustrations of all the key events in the War.

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


General Thomas

General Thomas

Battle of Chickamauga

Battle of Chickamauga

Bread Riots

Mobile Bread Riots

Artillery Shells

Artillery Shells

Sabine Pass

Battle of Sabine Pass

Sabine Pass

Sabine Pass

Dead Horse

Soldier with a Dead Horse

Slave Cartoon

Slave Cartoon

Black Island Batteries

Black Island Batteries

Army of the Potomac

Army of the Potomac








[OCTOBER 10, 1863.



WE publish on pages 648 and 649 a large engraving representing one of the final reviews of a corps d'armee in the Army of the Potomac previous to the present southward movement. It is seldom that the artist, in drawing a picture of a review, succeeds in conveying to the spectator the idea of immense numbers of men; a few regiments in the fore-ground generally shut out the bulk of the army from sight. Mr. Nast has, we think, overcome this difficulty, and has shown us a whole corps d'armee in active evolution. A nobler sight it is seldom possible to witness.

On page 653 we reproduce a sketch of Mr. Waud's representing


Mr. W. writes:

"Since General Meade has been in command a marked change has been apparent in head-quarter arrangements. All the cover now carried by officers against the weather is a few tent flies, which are pitched like a small gable roof, as seen in the sketch, open on all sides. The wagon train is left in the rear, and a few light vehicles and ambulances, to carry the necessary blankets and frugal supplies of the officers, is all that accompanies the staff. The drawing represents the local habitation of the medical director, Dr. Letterman, who, in company with the Surgeon-General, Dr. De Boyse, and Dr. Davis, are to be seen taking soup on the ground by their fly. The camp is in a fine grove of oaks."

On the same page will be found an illustration of a rifleman using the dead body of a horse as a rest for his weapon—a scene of not uncommon occurrence during the recent campaign.


WE reproduce on page 652 a drawing by Mr. James Ferguson, of Company A, First Indiana Artillery, representing the unsuccessful attack of a Union flotilla upon the rebel forts at Sabine Pass on 8th September.

The expedition, under command of General Franklin, was intended to occupy Sabine Pass as a base of future operations in Texas. Four light-draught gun-boats accompanied the troops, viz., the Clifton, Arizona, Sachem, and Granite City. After a preliminary reconnaissance the plan of battle was arranged. We quote the following account from the New York Herald correspondence:

The gun-boats Clifton, Arizona, and Sachem were to engage the enemy's work, while the Granite City, which carried only a broadside of small brass guns, was to cover the landing of an advance force of five hundred men, of General Weitzel's division, selected from the heroes of Port Hudson, and composed of two companies of the One Hundred and Sixty-fifth New York, four companies of the One Hundred and Sixty-first New York, and a detachment from the Seventy-fifth New York regiments, under command of Captain Fitch, of the last-named regiment. The General himself came on board at the last moment to superintend personally the operation of disembarking his troops.

"All ready" was the signal, and about four o'clock P.M. the gun-boats steamed slowly forward, the Clifton advancing directly toward the fort, followed by the Granite City, and she in turn by the transport General Banks, having on board the advance of the army. The Sachem and the Arizona steamed off to the right, and ran up nearly opposite the battery. The Clifton opened the ball with a shell from one of her 9-inch pivot-guns, which exploded inside the rebel works, throwing up a perfect shower of debris, and instantly followed it with a second shot of the same kind. Soon the litle Sachem, commanded by Captain Johnson, opened her broadside 32-pounder guns on the work, and the next moment the Arizona also paid her compliments to the foe. The gunnery was magnificent, a few of the shells only exploding prematurely, and the pieces dropping in the water. Up to this time, and until from thirty to forty shells had exploded in the works, not a shot had been returned by the enemy. An ominous silence pervaded the fort, and many were of opinion that the works had been abandoned. Neither soldiers nor inhabitants made their appearance, and the only signs of life apparent were the movements of a small steamer in the river, which had run up above the city and down as far as the fort once or twice during the forenoon, and which was joined by a second steamer about the time the action commenced.

The action of the enemy, however, was the deceptive calm which often precedes the storm, and the sudden flash of flame which was plainly visible from the deck of the General Banks with the naked eye, and the cloud of white smoke which floated lazily up from the parapet of the enemy, were instantly followed by a heavy shot thrown at the Arizona, the largest boat of the fleet, and which passed directly over her, striking in the edge of the water beyond. This was followed in quick succession by a shot at the Sachem and another at the Clifton, neither of which, however, took effect. The engagement now became general and very warm, the Clifton and Arizona moving very slowly forward and back, while the brave little Sachem, under a heavy fire, kept pushing steadily forward, endeavoring to pass the battery and engage it in the rear, which was supposed to be unprotected. This movement the enemy divined, and redoubled their fire at her, answered shot for shot by the three boats, the huge shells every instant bursting in their midst, carrying destruction in their wake, and knocking great holes in the parapet, which appeared of sufficient size to admit the passage of a carriage and horses. The enemy acted with great bravery, however, and if their fire slackened an instant after one of those terrific explosions, which seemed to shake the very earth around them, it was instantly resumed with increased rather than diminished determination. Gradually but surely the little Sachem was gaining her desired position. A moment more, and she would pass out of range, and the day would be won. All eyes were bent upon the noble little craft, when suddenly a shot was seen to strike her amidships, crashing in her sides, and tearing their iron plating for the protection of sharp-shooters as a piece of paper, and causing her to careen and tremble from stern to stern. An instant more, and she was enveloped in the scalding vapor of escaping steam, and lay a helpless wreck at the mercy of the enemy. The flag was lowered, and the enemy, ceasing their fire on her, now turned their entire attention to the Clifton, probably aware of the fact that the draught of the Arizona would not permit her to advance near enough to become a very formidable antagonist. The disabling of the Sachem at the instant when victory was within her grasp was the second of those unfortunate accidents referred to, and was, of course, of so serious a character as to imperil the success of the entire affair. The Clifton was now the only effective boat engaged. She was called upon to do double duty, and not for one breath did her gallant commander and brave crew hesitate; but with three rousing cheers, which were heard above the din of battle, they poured in their fire, running in closer and closer to the batteries, in face of the concentrated fire of the entire rebel fortification.

Putting on a full head of steam the Clifton ran swiftly down directly toward the battery, with the intention, doubtless, of delivering her broadside, giving her sharp-shooters an opportunity of picking off the enemy's gunners and thus silencing the works. At the same time the

Granite City and the General Banks gradually followed in her wake for the purpose of reaching the point of debarkation as soon as the Clifton had effected her object, although the heavy solid shot and hissing shell which were intended for the Clifton, but which passed her, came ricochetting along on the water, almost reaching them. Just as the Clifton gained the point she aimed at reaching, and as her bow was thrown round slightly, in the act of turning, she struck, the velocity with which she was running driving her a long distance into the thin mud at the bottom of the pass. At the same time a hitherto undiscovered battery to the left of the main work, and in easy range, opened upon her as she lay, her broadside offering a target of which the enemy took every advantage. The gallant Crocker still kept up a constant fire from both bow and broadside guns, the quick rifles, loaded with double charges of grape, being poured into the main work, sweeping the parapet clean at every discharge, and killing the enemy by scores, while with his broadside-guns he administered dose after dose of shell and solid shot to the battery on the left. Lying as he did, he would probably have succeeded in silencing the main work, thus enabling the troops to land, had it not been for the broadside work; for it was from that his boat was disabled. Up to this time she had sustained no material damage. The shots which had struck her had been harmless to the ship, and but very few of his crew were injured. But fate was against him, and he was obliged to succumb. A shot from the small battery struck his boat about the centre, passing through her side and entirely through the boiler, leaving her a stranded wreck at the enemy's mercy. The flag was instantly lowered; but the firing still continued, both from the boat and the batteries. It must have been lowered without the captain's knowledge, or he may have been killed and the crew left without a leader. An instant more, and just after a shower of grape from the enemy was poured into the noble little craft, the white flag was run up and the firing ceased. The engagement was concluded. Brave hearts and manly forms had been sacrificed upon the altar of their country, but without success. There was but one available gun-boat uninjured, the Arizona, and she was incapable of offensive operations against works of such strength. She was immediately withdrawn from the unequal contest, and the order reluctantly issued to the fleet to withdraw.


"MY name is Lane Daly. I am of the Dalys of Fermoy—a good family, hut sadly impoverished, like many another Irish house, by prolonged improvidence. I was a younger son, and as a consequence inherited little more than a foolish pride, a monstrous pedigree, and that phantom property, a contingent interest in an over-encumbered estate. Yet these were excuses enough to keep an Irishman from industry. I was never trained to any profession. I seemed forbidden to toil for my bread. I was brought up with independent notions without independent means. I received an accidental education at a Jesuit College in the neighborhood of the family estate. Then, as a young man, a brief career of life in Dublin, where I acquired little beyond the science of debt, and I came to London fortune seeking. I had name and connections, although I had not money, and, moreover, every Irishman has some one above him in station, whom he looks up to, and expects to get something from. A promise is the general result —another word for a lie—it was all I ever got. I, with others, dangled attendance at a great man's levee, in the hope of advancement I never received. He was one of those old-established mockeries—a man who seemed a patron, and arrogated to himself the airs of one, without ever doing a single action to merit the title. I am speaking of years long past. I was a young man then. I am not now so old as you perhaps deem me. I am now little more than forty-five, though I am aware I seem older. I was young, and as a necessary adjunct to youth and poverty—came love.

"The family of the Moncktons have been, as you are doubtless aware, for many years distinguished in the commercial history of this country for their enormous wealth and influence. The late Sir John Monckton had one daughter—Margaret. Of her exquisite beauty I will spare both of us elaborate description. Here is her portrait, painted about the date of my first meeting with her, by a French artist of some fame. Judge for yourself."

He took from his breast-pocket a morocco-leather miniature case and handed it to me. It inclosed the portrait of a woman, certainly of great beauty. For some minutes the charming expression of innocence and contemplative purity depicted in the miniature held me spell-bound. Then I closed the case and returned it to him, motioning my thanks.

"In mind," he went on, "she was not less excellent. And here I should state—you know me so slightly it is necessary—that not one thought of the wealth she was likely one day to inherit ever tainted the truthfulness of my love for Margaret Monckton. I believe that had I met her even in the very humblest position I should not have loved her less. I had frequent opportunities of seeing her. I was admitted to her father's house, and received there as a constant and welcome guest. That the cadet of a needy Irish family should aspire to the hand of an English heiress was looked upon as a danger too absurd to be apprehended. So my love grew and swelled unchecked within me, until my surcharged heart broke down beneath the burden. My passion would find its way into words. I betrayed myself. You can guess the result. The door of Sir John Monckton's house was thenceforth forever closed against me. My only sins were my poverty and my love. But how unpardonable are these in a rich man's eyes!

"The father of Margaret had views of his own in relation to his daughter's hand. There were other matters besides the happiness of his child to be considered. What could be more important than strengthening his political connections, than enlarging the arena of his commercial pursuits? He had decided upon the marriage of his daughter with a General Galton, a man of high family and great wealth, who had returned from an important colonial appointment to marry and be buried in his native land. Obedience is a nobler virtue than love—the conviction can not be too soon grafted into the heart of a child. Filial piety is rightly held in high esteem: it has a happy tendency to promote parental profit! How many Englishmen, do you think, champions of liberty abroad, are yet the most cruel of tyrants at home, preying upon their children's joys, weighing their hearts but as

feathers in the scale against political advancement and sordid ambition?"

He spoke with violence, and then paused for some minutes, as though overcome with his exertion.

"She loved me," he continued, in a low voice, and speaking slowly and with effort. "Yet she prepared to obey her father's commands. There was something touching—it was too pitiable to be condemned—in her compliance with a bidding which was breaking her heart. In the interval between my dismissal and the final arrangement of her marriage I had written to her beseeching an interview. Trembling, for it was the first time she had acted willfully in opposition to her father, she granted my request. Our meeting was a strange mingling of happiness and suffering—vows of love and outbursts of regret. In vain did we attempt to rend the ties that united us. Each interview dedicated to the interchange of eternal adieux ended in an arrangement for a further meeting. I saw her again and again. Sir John Monckton resided in one of those houses in St. James's Place, the gardens of which run down to the Green Park. A place of meeting was beneath a lime-tree, in a secluded part of the inclosure. Margaret had free access to the park in the early part of the morning, and by indentations on the bark of the tree she was enabled to indicate to me the hour at which she could probably escape from her father's house for a meeting in the evening—the garden-wall being so low that she could descend from it into the park, or return thence, without difficulty or much fear of detection.

"What hours of happiness did we pass in the calm of those summer evenings, beneath the shadow of the lime-tree!—a happiness enhanced by the dangers which menaced it, by the despair in which it was inevitably to end.

"Let me hurry on. It was the night before the wedding. The forthcoming marriage had been published throughout the town. Sick with terror, Margaret met me beneath the tree—fell weeping upon my bosom. Once more the avowal of my passion poured from my lips. My love blinded—maddened me. I rose against my doom. We fled—if, indeed, it was not rather an abduction than a flight—for Margaret had lost consciousness in conjuring me by all I held sacred—by our love —to save her. A priest of the Catholic church, whose faith I hold, consecrated our marriage. We made for the coast, and quitted England, purposing never to return.

"Had I done rightly, or had human frailty leavened my conduct, poisoned my love? Should I not have considered her more, and myself less? She had youth, beauty, the prospect of extraordinary wealth—few women possessed equal advantages. Through my act these had been lost to her. She had yoked herself with a poor adventurer. She had withdrawn herself from an engagement, in the world's eyes voluntarily entered upon. She had incurred the ceaseless anger of her father. And this my doing! Yet, could I have acted otherwise? I, who loved her!

"We were pursued and overtaken at Abbeville, on our road to Paris. I returned with General Galton to Calais. We fought on the sands at low tide. We exchanged three shots. I was struck in the wrist of my right hand. The bone was splintered, and after suffering the most exquisite pain it became necessary for me to have a very painful operation performed on my arm. For many weeks I was a prey to a brain-fever of a most severe character. On my recovery I found myself at Brussels, tended by Margaret my wife. Nothing could exceed her affectionate care. Subsequently our story became known in Brussels, and drew upon us an unpleasant amount of attention: we moved to Dresden.

"And now a misfortune we had hardly foreseen, and could not avert, came upon us. This was the want of money. Margaret possessed no means in her own right, although presumptive heiress of the whole of her father's vast property. Our sole income, therefore, was comprised in a small annuity to which I was entitled under my mother's marriage settlement; and which, fortunately, it had not been possible to involve in the difficulties of my father's estate. Our fortune, Heaven knows, was small enough, still it had probably been sufficient, living as obscurely and inexpensively as we were. But at this time began irregularities in the remittances, by reason of the chicanery of one of the trustees charged with the payment of the annuity. Sir John Monckton had solemnly renounced his daughter, had sworn never to forgive or even to see us more; he carefully alienated the whole of his property from Margaret. His anger knew no bounds—his former love for his child was now changed to an insatiable hate. It seemed to have become an object of his life to oppose us in every way, to drive us to extremities. I had written to every friend I had, or thought I had, hoping to obtain an appointment under one of the continental embassies. But Sir John's interest effectually prevented this. To all my applications I received an unvarying reply. I had made an enemy of a man too powerful to be opposed, and the consequences must be upon my own head.

"Our situation daily became worse. To purchase the means of subsistence Margaret was compelled to effect a sale of her jewels. Formerly I had possessed some skill as an artist—with this maimed arm, what did that avail now? Margaret had great gifts as a musician. She endeavored to obtain pupils. For a time she succeeded, but many on becoming further acquainted with her history expressed an unaccountable aversion to employing her. I earned some small sums by teaching English, but still insufficient to supply the requirements of our most modest household.

"One day I returned home later than usual. I had been out many hours in the vain quest of employment. To my joy I found a letter from England. I broke the seal with eagerness, and read with a trembling hope which died away into despair as I concluded. The letter was from a relative,

and was written in terms colder even than usual. I had implored a remittance. None was forwarded, the letter bade me hope for none, and urged me, as the only way of appeasing the anger of Sir John Monckton, and so of obtaining a cessation of his persecution, to part from my wife and return alone to England. You can not imagine the harsh way in which this recommendation was pressed upon me; while on the other hand, if I rejected this counsel, I was bidden to do the best I could for myself, for no one else would ever aid me. I was sick with fatigue and disappointment. I yielded to a weak feeling of despair.

" 'Why did I ever marry?' I cried in the extremity of my folly. 'Was it for this—for ruin and death?'

"I knew not that my words had been overheard.

"On my return on the following day I found awaiting me a note in pencil in the handwriting of Margaret:

"'Do as they will. It is in vain to struggle further. We must part. I love you too well to be the cause of further suffering to you. I love you as I have ever loved you, but we must part—it is best so—never to meet again. Think of the as one who is dead, and love me as though Heaven had taken me from you. They can not wrong you for that. God bless you, dearest. I will ever pray so. Farewell—forever.   MARGARET.'"

His voice trembled and broke. He gave way to a grief which would not be subdued. He buried his face in his hands and sobbed audibly.

"She was gone," he said at length. "She was gone, and I have never seen her since. It is now fifteen years since she left me."

"And you have sought her?" I asked.

"From that hour until now. I made inquiries throughout Dresden, but I could learn nothing either of her presence there or of her having quitted the city. Afterward I sold off every thing I was possessed of, and partially on foot I journeyed to Paris, and so on at last to London, at every opportunity seeking traces of her on the road. Arrived in London, I was enabled after much difficulty to resume the receipt of my annuity. This furnished me with the means of continued search. My personal wants are small, and every farthing not absorbed by these I have expended in the prosecution of my hapless search. I have visited every town in Europe, making inquiries far and near as I proceeded. I have explored every corner where I could dream of her being by any possibility secluded. I have called in the aid of the police. I have agents here, in France, in Germany. I wander from one to the other, searching, waiting, hoping. All, all in vain. I can not find her. She is lost! she is lost!"

There was a dreadful accent of despair in his words.

"And you have now resigned your quest?" I asked.

"I shall resign it but with life," he answered, solemnly. "It is the sole object of my existence. I live for this only. No one tie unites me to my fellows, or to this earth, but the hope of finding Margaret. Oh, to see her once again!" he cried with passion, "to assure her of my unceasing love, to win her pardon for the wrong which drove her from me, to soothe the remainder of her life by tenderness, to efface the anguish of the past by my devotion!"

"You have not seen her for fifteen years?"

"No;" and then after a pause, he added, "unless I saw her this morning."

"You think you saw her this morning?"

"Listen. I seek her every where. No place is too exalted, no place is too lowly for my search, and day and night have I pursued it. In the palace as in the cellar, in the church-yard and in the prison; in all phases of life, even amidst scenes it had been better she should have died a hundred times than have lived to know, I have carried on my search. I have ceased to bewilder myself with probabilities, I seek her systematically every where. I extend my toil through the night, even into the hours of the morning. Then I have wandered to that lime-tree in the park, consecrated by her memory, and have bowed down in its shadow with my one prayer—that I may meet her yet once again before I die. I am known to the police, who regard me probably as an eccentric, privileged to do what seem to them strange things. Hence my ramblings by day or night receive from them neither question nor molestation.

"It was a cold night. The ground had been covered for some days with a frozen snow. There was no moon, but the stars were out, shining brilliantly in their pale, wan splendor. The white ground and the cold, clear air rendered objects readily distinguishable, even at a considerable distance. I strode toward the lime-tree, and when within some fifty yards of it, perceived that a figure, advancing, as it were, from an opposite direction, had already reached the tree: the form of a woman stood out darkly majestic against the white back-ground. I could hear no sound of other footsteps than my own, crunching on the congealed snow. Yet I could not be mistaken. Plainly before me I recognized a pale, thin face, and a figure clothed in black and floating garments. I gasped for breath. Not so much from visual recognition, however, as from the conviction of some inner feeling I knew that it was she! My blood mounted to my head—my sight grew dim—my heart throbbed as though it would burst. I hurried on; but as I neared the tree, the figure waving its hands with a strange, solemn action, glided away in the direction from which it had come. I followed, greatly agitated. I sought to overtake it, but it kept in advance of me. It moved toward the park gate on Constitution Hill, passed through, and disappeared. I ran to the gate. To my amazement I found it locked. I climbed over the railing, but I could see no one. I walked oil for some minutes in the direction in which it had seemed to me the figure had turned. At length I encountered a policeman carrying his lantern, and beating himself with his disengaged arm to keep himself warm. In reply to my questions, I learned that he had not seen a




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