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Civil War Harper's Weekly, October 24, 1863

In order to help you develop a more complete understanding of the Civil War, we have created this online archive of all the papers published during the Civil War. Reading these old papers allows you to watch the War unfold week by week. We hope you find our effort useful.

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


Burnside in Knoxville

Burnside Entering Knoxville, Tennessee

Draft Riot

Draft Riot Murders

British Pirates

British Pirates

Richmond Prison

Richmond's Libey Prison

Russian Cartoon

Russian Cartoon





Civil War Spy


Civil War Contractors


Army of the Potomac on the Rapidan

Honor the Brave

Honor the Brave



OCTOBER 24, 1863.]



(Previous Page) while the opposition has been called by a score of names. Yet the "Democratic party" of to-day is no more like that of thirty years ago than Jefferson Davis is like Andrew Jackson, or Horatio Seymour like Silas Wright. The Democratic party has no single distinctive Democratic principle whatever; for the fundamental Democratic doctrine is equal rights, and the cardinal dogma of the present party of that name is privilege, and its whole policy is an effort to protect it.

The Copperhead faction in this country, upon whose success the rebels fondly count, has therefore no more right to the name of Democratic party than a toad has to the name of eagle. It was a serious error of the true Democrats, when they withdrew from the Convention in Baltimore fifteen years ago, that they did not carry the Democratic name as they did the Democratic faith out of that Convention. When they retired they left only a congress of slaveholders and their dependents; and it was evident that they would succeed in appropriating the Government to themselves and their purposes forever, or that civil war would ensue. From that moment until the present, as the hollowness of the "Democratic" mash has been detected, and in the degree that Democrats have discovered for themselves that the party retained nothing of Democracy but the name, they have been constantly leaving it, until at length the faction which calls itself the Democratic party is merely a tender to the rebellion And even now the managers of the faction only retain some honest adherents by pretending an interest in the war for the Union against slavery.

But the great mass of loyal citizens do really hold to the fundamental Democratic doctrine of equal rights under the laws. They are therefore essentially Democrats. They are engaged in rescuing the fair fame of their name from the efforts of rebels and rebel sympathizers and abettors. They are defending the government under which all wrongs can be most securely righted against those who wish to rear a new and unjust government upon its ruins. They are maintaining the Union against armed traitors, and traitors calling themselves peace men. They are defending America against Americans, and Democracy against Democrats. When the war is over they will resume their party name, and the great Democracy will declare that in these bitter and perilous years it was not Davis, nor Vallandigham, nor Slidell, nor Fernando Wood, nor Yancey, nor Franklin Pierce, nor Isaac Toucey, nor Judah Benjamin, nor the Seymours who were true Democrats, but Lincoln, and Butler, and Dix, and Chase, and Logan, and Winter Davis, and John A. Andrew, and their friends.


OUR domestic rebels and Copperheads and our foreign enemies affect to deprecate the bombardment of Charleston by General Gilmore as an atrocious possibility. What are the facts? For about three months operations have been conducted for the capture of that city, which is a rebel strong-hold and port of entry. The approach of General Gilmore has been steady and irresistible. He has possessed himself of Morris Island, captured Forts Wagner and Gregg, and silenced Fort Sumter. He has summoned the city, and planted his siege-guns. Two or three forts and an obstructed sea-channel in the harbor yet withstand him. For him, therefore, the question is simply whether he can most rapidly and cheaply effect his purpose of destroying the value of the place to the enemy by attacking and capturing the forts, and clearing the harbor, and then assaulting the city, or by attacking the city at once.

It is purely a question of war. Humanity has no more to do with it than with all other warlike operations. If the people of that wretched town wish to save its walls, let them surrender. If they do not choose to surrender, let them not plead inhumanity against the military effort to compel them to surrender. Thackeray's Major O'Gahagan complained that in a certain duel somebody killed his opponent entirely out of rule. And Moliere's Bourgeois Gentilhomme cries: "Mais tu me pousses en tierce avant que de me pousser en quarte, et tu n'as pas la patience que je pare." You thrust out of rule, and you don't wait until I parry your blows.

General Gilmore and his soldiers have not gone to Charleston to satisfy General O'Gahagan Beauregard, nor to play a comedy. It is tragedy, for the rebellion and for rebels, upon which they are bent.


WE spoke some time since of the duty of every citizen to secure the best nominations by attending the primary meetings. This has been done in one district at least of this State, the Onondaga, where Andrew D. White is nominated for State Senator.

Mr. White, a citizen of Syracuse, and lately Professor of History in the Michigan University, is a man so unusually fitted by his character and training for public life, of such clear and strong convictions, such familiarity with our political history, and the character and wants of the State and country, and withal of such calm good sense and maturity of mind, that his election, of which there can be little doubt, will be a benefit not only to his district but to the State and country.


THIS is a beautiful biography of one of the young heroes in the war, of whom a comrade said, "He never said much but always did it." It is another glimpse of that rare and unsuspected manhood which the country and its ideas had trained without our knowing it—another memorial of a pure, noble young soul spent for the life and liberty of the nation.

It is the memoir of Sergeant John H. Thompson

of the One Hundred and Sixth New York Regiment, written by his father, Rev. J. P. Thompson of the Tabernacle Church. It is a portrait painted with pathetic tenderness and mournful grace. And yet no man more than the faithful father of this good soldier knows that if such a death touches the home with sorrow that never passes away, it sheds upon it also a benediction which increases for ever and ever. It is a story for young men to ponder, and for all of us to read with a sacred pride that there are such children and such parents; and that the war which secures, with blood and tears, the union of the country, cements also an undying union of sympathy in the thousand homes that have been smitten.


SIR EDWARD BULWER LYTTON, who two years ago made a speech to the Herts County farmers in England, and told them that the United States were gone, and it was a great blessing, because it was too large and powerful a nation for the comfort of England, has had another talk with the same farmers, and he told them "a strange story" indeed.

He said that the noble cause of national freedom is bound up with the material prosperity and moral power of England. But Mr. Roebuck had already said the same thing much more sententiously: "Whatever is for the good of England is for the good of the world." In both cases it is a naive confession that the ruin of a great power and the creation of a new slaveholding nation are for the good of England. But Sir Edward leaves his farming friends in delightful doubt as to how the cause of national freedom is subserved by the ruin of a nation in order to establish slavery.

The mysterious Zanoni proceeds to remark that not the least remarkable feature of these changes is that they take England as their model in the institutions they seek to establish; and explains that he means they reject absolute Despotism and unmitigated Democracy. Let us see. The cornerstone of the British system is Liberty, that of the Southern is Slavery. The form of the British Government is hereditary monarchy and nobility, with a State Church. The form of "the Confederate Government" is a republic, with no social distinction among those whom it acknowledges as human beings, and with no State Church. That is to say, in form there is no resemblance whatever. But if Sir Edward means that in spirit the Slave Government is like the British he makes a stupid blunder. Because, in spirit, Southern society is an unmitigated Oriental despotism, the power residing in an oligarchy, and not in a single person. It has no other resemblance to the British system than all governments which reject the American doctrine must have to each other, from England to the King of Dahomy; but Pelham would reason that because a crocodile is not a hippopotamus it must therefore be an eagle.

He concludes with the remark that the century may perhaps close upon a world of constitutional monarchies like England. "What would you say, my sinful brethren," said an old Deacon at a prayer-meeting, "if you should wake up and find yourselves dead?" If the way to have the curtain of the century fall upon British monarchies is to lay slavery corner-stones about the world, there is a good deal of work to be done in thirty-seven years. "Perhaps" is a good word. The moon may be made of green cheese. But the chances are very much against it.

England has done, and does, great service in the world; and among the chief is that her best traditions and cherished faith are diametrically opposed to such fierce barbarism as is now striving to overrun part of this continent. But Sir Edward Lytton no more understands and speaks for this civilizing faith than he represents in his stories the noblest and most significant life of England.


MR. POSTMASTER-GENERAL BLAIR has made another speech in Maryland, and if he be correctly reported, he says that the President's plan of reconstruction contemplates the overthrow of the rebel Government and the restoration of the loyal men in the rebel section to power. Of course any plan does this. How is the rebellion to end if the rebels are left in power?

But Mr. Blair's intention, undoubtedly, is to insinuate that the Emancipation Proclamation need not be a bugbear in the border States. If by this he means that as Maryland is excepted from the proclamation she can not complain justly or unjustly of executive interference, he is right. But if he means that the President recoils from his policy, and contemplates, in any terms of settlement, the enslaving of persons freed by his proclamation, then the Postmaster-General counts upon our forgetting the President's Springfield letter.

The Postmaster-General, we observe, is assumed in some quarters to speak for the President. After a foolish speech, which Mr. Blair made in the summer at Concord, New Hampshire, Mr. Wendell Phillips suggested that he was a traveling political agent of the Cabinet. Possibly of some one in the Cabinet he may be. But we happen to know that the President knew nothing of his Postmaster's Concord speech until long after it was delivered, and it is only fair to conclude that Mr. Blair in Maryland spoke for himself alone. Indeed, if there is one thing proved, it is that the President needs nobody to talk or to write for him. There is no man in our political history who has equaled him in the tact, timeliness, pertinence, and plainness of his speeches and letters. The last, by-the-by, have been published in a pamphlet by H. H. Lloyd &. Co., and there is no better or more timely reading.


IT is well for every voter to remember that the rebels count upon Copperhead successes at the

polls as equal to "Confederate" successes in the field. It matters very little to the cause of the rebellion whether it prevails by friendly ballots at the North or bullets at the South. Thus, one of the most rabid rebel sheets, the Atlanta, Appeal, speaking of Bragg's battle at Chattanooga, says: "We shall now be recognized. Our securities will rise. Vallandigham will be elected." The friends of Vallandigham in New York offer a ticket opposed to the unconditional Union ticket. Shall we give the Atlanta Appeal reason to record the result of the election here with as much joy as it describes the battle at Chattanooga?


THE London Times says, with the solemnity of a wolf muffled in lamb's wool and trying to baa: "We are desperately bent on keeping the path of public right and national honor." If the Florida did not afford sufficient proof of this great fact, the Alabama is certainly enough to put it beyond question.


GENERAL GRANT is able to move around,

General PRENTISS arrived at Cairo from below last week, en route for Washington.

General HERRON, in consequence of sickness, has been compelled to abandon the command of the expedition, and is succeeded by General DANA. General HERRON arrived at New York last week in the Evening Star.

Lieutenant H. A. FERNALD, Twenty-second Massachusetts Volunteers, has been honorably acquitted of the charges preferred against him.

It is reported from rebel sources that Lieutenant-General POLK and Major-General HINDMAN have been relieved of their commands by order of General BRAGG, for alleged disobedience of orders.

Rear-Admiral DU PONT, on 12th, visited the Russian fleet in our harbor, and was most cordially received.

The command of a squadron of cavalry, proposed to be formed from the Fifth Ohio Infantry, has been tendered to Major T. GAINES, the Judge Advocate, long associated as assistant with Judge HOLT.

Brigadier-General MEREDITH, agent for the exchange of prisoners, arrived in Washington on 13th.

Colonel DUCAT, Inspector, on General ROSECRANS'S staff, has gone northward on sick furlough.

Generals NEGLEY, CRITTENDEN, and M'COOK, were in Nashville on 13th.

On 7th inst. a magnificent banquet was given to Brigadier-General CHARLES K. GRAHAM, at Delmonico's in Fourteenth Street, by a number of our prominent citizens.

The employment at last given to General WADSWORTH will take him to Mississippi. His functions will be of a mixed character, civil and military.

General HARTSUFF has been relieved of the command of the Ninth Army Corps, and appointed to another command.

On Sunday, 11th, Admiral MILNE and suite, with Lord LYONS and the entire British Legation, attended by the Secretary of State and others, visited Mount Vernon, and paid homage at the tomb of WASHINGTON.

Colonel PERCY WYNDHAM, who only a few days ago resumed command of his brigade of cavalry, very much to his surprise, has received an order relieving him from all military duty.

Judge-Advocate-General HOLT'S review of the evidence in the investigation of the evacuation of Winchester by General MILROY, entirely exonerates that officer from blame, and attributes whatever fault there was in the matter to General SCHENCK, General MILROY'S superior officer, and Colonel M'REYNOLDS, his subordinate.

The order recently issued sending Captain PARKER, of General MARTINDALE'S Staff, to report to General BANKS, has been revoked. Captain PARKER is assigned to duty at head-quarters of the Military Governor. Colonel INGRAHAM, of the Thirty-eighth Massachusetts, is assigned to the duty of examining prisoners at the Old Capitol.

General SIGEL met with an impromptu ovation of much spirit at Pittsburg on 8th. He made a stirring, patriotic speech, and was followed by other speakers.

Commodore SHUFELDT, detached from the command of the Conemaugh, has been ordered to the command of the Proteus.

Lieutenant-Commander DE KRAFFT has been ordered to the command of the Conemaugh.

Major-General HANCOCK, writing to a friend in Washington, expresses a hope to rejoin the army within three weeks. He is yet lame, and not able to ride horseback, but his wound is healing.

It is very probable that Major-General HEINTZELMAN will be immediately relieved from the command of the Department of Washington, and placed in command of that of Texas, for which he is well fitted by long service there. It is understood that either General BARNARD or General SICKLES will succeed HEINTZEI.MAN in the command of this Department. It is urged that General BARNARD should be selected on account of his familiarity with the relative strength and value of all the fortifications, as they have been located and constructed under his supervision as the chief engineer of the defenses of Washington, and he necessarily knows more about them than any one else.



IT is reported that the whole rebel army has crossed the Rapidan, and that General Meade has fallen back to the north bank of the Rappahannock. When our forces retired from Culpepper they burned such stores as could not be conveniently carried away, in order to prevent then falling into the hands of the enemy. The rebels are said to have commenced the passage of the Rapidan on 8th, moving in the direction of Madison Court House, with the evident intention of turning General Meade's right wing. Heavy cavalry forces have been sent to our front to dislodge the rebels, who are said to be holding all the gaps in the Bull Run Mountains. There was skirmishing on 12th between the cavalry and some light batteries at or near the line of the Rappahannock. Thus far, the infantry has not been engaged on either side.


On Friday night and Saturday morning the rebels moved out of town in a northwardly direction. A division of infantry, a large body of cavalry, and considerable artillery were occasionally seen by our signal-men through openings in the forest, which generally conceals the road. The object of the movement could not at that time be determined. One of General Kilpatrick's cavalry brigades attempted a reconnoissance on the south side of Robertson's River, when they were met by a large body of Stuart's rebel cavalry. A fight ensued, continuing an hour, when our troops fell back upon the infantry reserves. After another severe contest the infantry were compelled to give way, and a considerable number of them were captured. A detachment of our cavalry then dashed upon the enemy, retaking nearly all the prisoners. Our entire force was then pushed back toward Culpepper, skirmishing on the way, and contesting every foot of ground.


It is stated on Washington authority from Chattanooga, that the communications of General Rosecrans are complete,

that the rebels who have been attacking his outposts are all dispersed, and that the condition of his army is excellent.

On 8th General Crook, with a brigade of cavalry, came up with a portion of Wharton's rebel cavalry, near Franklin. Sharp fighting ensued, the result of which was one hundred and twenty-five rebels killed and wounded, three hundred taken prisoners, and four pieces of cannon captured. The rebels fled.


Dispatches from Knoxville, Tennessee, report a brisk engagement of General Burnside's corps, near Blue Spring, on 8th and 9th. The rebels numbered some six thousand. The fight was renewed on 11th, when the rebels were driven from the field. We lost sixty men in killed and wounded.


Our latest news from Charleston is to the effect that there is every probability that a combined attack of our army and naval forces will be made on the city within ten days from this time. All preparations were ready for such an event at last accounts, but it had not commenced.


Serious damage was suffered by the frigate New Ironsides on the night of the 6th inst. by the explosion of a rebel torpedo. The Ironsides was anchored at the time off Fort Moultrie, and the infernal contrivance was set adrift from the upper end of Sullivan's Island, whence it floated rapidly down on the ebb-tide, and struck her before she could be removed after its discovery. The explosion is described as having been terrific, dashing the water in a heavy volume on the deck, and putting out all the fires. It is stated that the damage was so great that Admiral Dahlgren has it under advisement whether to send the vessel North for repairs. Unfortunately an officer was killed by the explosion, and two men wounded.


An attack upon the staff and body-guard of General Blunt, near Fort Scott, was made a few days since by Quantrill and his band of miscreants, and in this matter they fully sustained the infamous reputation which was lately achieved by them at Lawrence. Assuming the uniform of Union soldiers, three hundred of these scoundrels surprised General Blunt's small party and captured seventy-eight of the one hundred men composing it. These prisoners were afterward brutally murdered, all of them having been found with bullet-holes through the head. General Blunt himself escaped, and meeting reinforcements below Fort Scott, took command of them and went in pursuit of Quantrell.


Intelligence has been received from General Herron's Expedition against guerrillas, in the vicinity of Morganza, a few miles above Port Hudson. Upon reaching the Atchafalaya River, it was found the rebels were in a strong position, and it was deemed advisable to prepare for an attack. At the same time, a force of some 400, under Lieutenant-Colonel Leake, of the Twentieth Iowa, was thrown forward five or six miles. The rebels secretly crossed the river, and got between Colonel L.'s command and the main body, forcing a severe fight, which lasted half an hour, when our troops were obliged to surrender. The main body was hurried up, but the rebels hurried off.


The Petersburg Express of Wednesday says that President Davis passed through Petersburg the day previous, for some point South, accompanied only by a friend or two, and but for the fact that he is so well known by the people of the Confederacy, would have gone through entirely unobserved. He was looking well, and appeared to be in excellent spirits. It is not improbable that Jeff Davis is on his way to Charleston, Chattanooga, and Mobile, on a tour of inspection, with a view to inspirit his troops at these points.


Within the last two months Jeff Davis's rebel incendiaries have set on fire and destroyed fifteen first-class Mississippi steamboats, valued at three-quarters of a million of dollars, and caused the loss of twenty-eight lives.


We have at the present time but few scattering returns of the elections. But enough has been received to render it pretty certain that Curtin has been elected over Woodward by a considerable majority, and that Brough has beaten Vallandigham by 50,000 or 75,000.




EARL RUSSELL had made an important speech on foreign affairs at Blair Gowrie, in Scotland. He referred at considerable length to the American question; justified England in recognizing the Confederates as belligerents; and answered some of the imputations brought by the people of the North, particularly the speech of Senator Sumner. He also replied to the complaint of the South in regard to the recognition of the blockade; and asserted that although self-interest demanded that England should break it, she prefers the course of honor, as it would have been infamous to break it. He showed that the Government had not sufficient evidence against the Alabama to detain her until after she sailed, and explained the difficulties in the way of interference in such cases. He drew a line between ordinary vessels equipped for war purposes and steam rams, which are in themselves formed for acts of offense, and might be used without ever touching Confederate shores. He asserted that the Government was ready to do every thing the duties of neutrality required—every thing that is just to a friendly nation, and such as they would wish done to themselves; but would not yield one jot of right to the menace of foreign powers. He complimented the Federal Government and Mr. Seward upon the fairness with which they have discussed the matters of difference; but said there were others, including Senator Sumner, who had acted differently. He denounced the efforts of those who sought to create trouble between America and Europe; and, with expressions of friendship toward America, asserted that all his efforts would be to maintain peace. Speaking of Poland, he defended England's position, and remonstrated against that of Russia; but did not think England should go to war on the subject. As regards Mexico, he thought that if the Mexicans approved of what was being done for them they should be allowed to do so.


The Cape of Good Hope mails contain some very important information relative to the work of the privateers Alabama, Georgia, and Tuscaloosa—formerly the bark Conrad, just converted into a rebel war vessel—in and off Table Bay, Simon's Bay, and other parts of the coast. The Alabama captured the Union bark Sea Bride within sight of thousands of the colonists as she was running into Table Bay. The United States Consul protested against the seizure as having been made within a cannon-shot of the shore. He also claimed the restitution of the Tuscaloosa, as agent for her owners, on the ground that, not having been condemned by the prize court of any recognized country, her entry into a British port was a violation of the Queen's proclamation. The Governor decided against both these demands; whereupon the Consul protested in the name of his Government, and pointed out that the original cargo of the Tuscaloosa had been sold to merchants at Cape Town. and that the cargo of the Sea Bride would be similarly disposed of. The Alabama and Georgia reported a great many captures and very profitable trips.



The Archduke Maximilian has replied to the Mexican deputation, who have waited upon him with a formal offer of the throne, that he is willing to accept it, if tendered by a free, spontaneous, and genuine expression of the people of Mexico, coupled with some guarantee for the integrity and independence of that country.




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