Independence Day, 1863


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, September 12, 1863

Reading original Harper's Weekly newspapers published during the Civil War is one of the best ways of gaining a deeper understanding of the War. We have made our entire collection of papers available online to allow you to read detailed reports of the key events in the war.

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


Sioux Battle

Sioux Battle

British Affairs

British Affairs

Monitor's at Charleston

Ironclad Monitors at Charleston

Rebel Torpedo

Quincy Gilmore

Quincy Gilmore

Sioux Expedition

Sioux Expedition

Independence Day

Independence Day

Beauregard Cartoon

Beauregard Cartoon

Sibley Expedition

Sibley's Sioux Expedition

Chattanooga, Tennessee

Chattanooga, Tennessee

Fort Sumter after Bombardment

Fort Sumter After the Bombardment

James Island

James Island, South Carolina

Charleston Campaign

Charleston Campaign










[SEPTEMBER 12, 1863.



THE 4th of July, 1863, with all the hallowed associations of the past and its promise in the throbbing present, has passed away; but it came to me so freighted with the memory of an eventful day in my life that I can not sail smoothly on with old Tempus without first unburdening myself. Trusting that now and then some fretted traveler as he journeys on may be tempted to peep into and profit by my budget, I cast it upon the highway.

I had been dining out. The meats served on the occasion were good, the wines superb, the speeches brilliant, and, better than all, my own unpremeditated remarks, which, by a singular coincidence, had haunted me for the past four days, had been received with decided eclat. It was on the night of the 3d of July, 185-. The shop-windows were gorgeous with their display of fire-works, and under the peculiar flicker and multiplication of the gas-lights the rockets and pin-wheels seemed to be having a premature frolic on their own account.

On the whole, I felt peculiarly happy and amiable. A bright-eyed, rosy beggar-child asked me for sixpence: she was starving, she said. My heart was touched, and I threw her a small handful of silver. Three young gentlemen came swaying arm in arm along the side-walk, jostling me rather roughly. At any other time I might have been indignant; but now, were they not men and brothers? I bowed gracefully, and at the same time, I felt confident, with dignity, and stepped off the curb-stone to allow them to pass. At last I reached my own door. The lock was out of order; for my key would not turn it. I rang, first the door-knob, then the bell, violently. My next-door neighbor, Mr. Green, came to the door in his calico wrapper.

"Ah, Mister Green," I exclaimed, steadying the tottering door-post, "delighted t'see you. Is my—my wife in?"

Mr. Green seized me somewhat roughly by the arm, thereby seriously inconveniencing me (as he pitched about considerably), and led me to a neighboring door.

"Where is your night-key, Mr. F—?" he asked, gruffly.

There were about six pockets in my vest on that occasion; but after a while I discovered the right one, and produced the key, with a polite bow.

The next instant I found myself inside, the door closed, and the only visible link between myself and the second story, swinging violently backward and forward in the shape of a dying gas-jet suspended from the ceiling. My effort to resuscitate the spark resulted in total darkness.

After groping about for a while I found the stairway, and, clutching the baluster, commenced to ascend. This feat was attended with so much difficulty that I was induced to bring the full force of my reasoning powers to bear upon the performance, and soon discovered that I had been trying to mount the hat-rack. Abandoning the enterprise, with a smile of superiority over my weaker self, I proceeded in my search, and finally planted my foot firmly upon the lowest step. Alas! step number two convinced me of my error, and our Tommy's new velocipede toppled over with a crash, casting me prostrate beside it. Then I saw a flash of light, and soon, approaching nearer and nearer (as though let down by a rope from the upper regions), the white-robed, graceful form of my oldest daughter, Kitty. Rising and offering her my arm we ascended the stairs together. As she left me at the room-door I turned and solemnly gave her my paternal blessing. She was visibly affected, even bursting into tears and exclaiming, "Oh, father!" as she hurried away.

The next morning I found myself on the spare-room bed with all my clothes on, except my cravat and one boot. The cravat was on the hearth and the boot was on the mantle-piece. Guns were booming, fire-crackers were snapping, the din of powder and merry voices of children filled the air. I could hear my own youngsters shouting out lustily in the garden, and in the hall the "first bell" was tingling its summons through the house.

It was the 4th of July sure enough, and I, as head of the family, must present myself in suitable array at the breakfast-table and inaugurate the jollities of the day. I seized the boot in one hand and the cravat in the other, and proceeded meekly to the apartment generally used in common by Mrs. F— and myself,

"Ah ! Mrs. F—," said I, bowing rather sheepishly in my attempt to pass the affair off as a joke, "Good-morning, ma'am!"

"Good-morning, John," replied my wife, quietly, not a shade of crossness in her tone. "I must go down and watch the children or they may do some mischief with their pistols and fire-crackers; but come to breakfast as soon as you can."

With these words she left the room. I was almost sorry that she didn't scold or "go on" a little concerning my spree. This sad, gentle way of speaking made me uncomfortable, cough and strut about the room as I would, for I knew well enough the pain and disgust gnawing at her heart, and that during the past year I had given her too frequent cause for the reproaches that never came, though I was prepared to receive them, after each offense.

Cold water, however, and clean clothes braced me up somewhat, and soon after the "second bell" rang I strode majestically through the halls, severe in my dignity as head of the household. Reaching the basement door, I paused a moment, half-dreading to meet the rows of young faces on either side of the table, and my wife's sweet, pale countenance beaming so quietly over them all. This momentary weakness over, with a pompous "ahem" I mustered the requisite manner and entered.

There was no one at the table, and only Kitty was in the room—Kitty, my usually joyous girl, now standing in a pensive attitude by the window.

It was important that my children should respect me, and I felt, of course, anxious to obliterate

from her mind any impression of weakness I might have given her the previous night.

"This is a glorious day, Kitty!" I exclaimed, expansively—"a glorious day, my child; the day on which we as a nation declared ourselves independent. To-day we must all be jubilant, victorious! We must not mope in the house—we must ride or sail somewhere in a grand family excursion, and breathe the sunshine and the glorious air of Freedom, eh?"

Kitty did not even turn her head; but I continued to speak, as I strode up and down the apartment.

"Do you not enter into the spirit of the day, child? Read your history—read of George Washington, and the glorious men who suffered and died that we might be free—FREE!" I repeated, seating myself, and bringing my fist down with emphasis upon the arm of the chair. "Yes, we must all celebrate this day; and now, Kitty, do not be afraid, tell me where you would like to go, or how we shall best enjoy it."

By this time Kitty's face seemed fairly glued to the window. I was seriously displeased, insulted! —I who had ever enforced filial respect as the first doctrine of the household, and here was open defiance in the least-expected quarter; and that, too, after I had unbent myself to an unusual degree.

"Katharine!" I exclaimed, in a terrible voice, sturdily thrusting back unpleasant memories of the past night, "what do you mean by this conduct?"

She turned; her lips were white and her eyes swimming with tears. In a moment she was beside me, her hand upon my shoulder.

"Father," said she, looking me full in the face, "do you mean what you say when you ask me in what manner I would wish to celebrate this glorious Independence-Day?"

"Certainly, child," I answered, turning uncomfortably in my seat and striving to look patriarchal and indifferent.

"Then, father, dear father," cried Kitty, winding her arms about my neck, "make this truly an Independence-Day for yourself, for us all. Be a slave no more, but be FREE in the sight of God and your own soul!"

Where was all my paternal dignity now? Kitty was sobbing upon my bosom; and from my bowed face tears were falling upon her golden hair.

"Do, father, do, "she pleaded. "It is not too late, we all love you yet; and mother's heart is breaking—"

Even then, as I strained Kitty to my bosom, that mother entered the room. Not a word was spoken, yet she understood all, and cast herself on her knees beside me, looking earnestly into my eyes.

"John," said she, "I have never reproached you—will you promise?"

"Yes!" I cried, folding my darlings to my heart in a close embrace—"before God, and to you my wife and child, I promise what you wish!"

"Never to drink wine any more?" cried Kitty, holding my face between her hands, a joyous light sparkling through her tears.

"Never?" echoed my wife, clasping my bands in hers.

"Never!" I answered. "With God's help, I will never taste wine nor strong liquor of any kind again. From this hour I shall be free! Oh, Mary, can you ever forgive me for the past?"

She did not reply, but she leaned and kissed me in a way that made my resolution iron.

Just then the children—dear, unconscious little ones!—bounded into the room.

"Hurrah, father!" they shouted. "Hurrah for the Fourth of July! Hi! Ain't we having grand fun though?"

"Hurrah!" I responded, huskily, kissing each of the crazy little creatures in turn. "And now let us hasten to our breakfast, for we must have a jolly time to-day!"

"Indeed we shall!" laughed my wife, as she

bustled about, with color in her cheek, and the old, girlish light kindling in her eye; "indeed we shall. Why, John, I never felt so happy in my life!"

All this happened some years ago. Time has done many queer things in our family since then. He has put the baby into pantaloons; carried our oldest boy to college; married Kitty to a thriving young lawyer; woven little silvery threads in Mary's hair and mine; and, better than all, has never brought us one unhappy anniversary of my blessed Independence-Day!



WANTED.—A Traveling Companion, to be in perpetual good spirits, and warranted to defray all the expenses of the longest journey. The Advertiser proposes adopting the plans of Tours, suggested by the How, When, and Where Guide. The Companion must be amiable, only five feet four in height, and physically weak in case of a quarrel. The Advertiser is fond of Change, and the Companion therefore must have plenty of it in his pockets.

The following is from an officer in the Mississippi fleet: After the battle and capture of Fort Henry and Donelson, the fleet were lying at Cairo. The prisoners were passing the fleet, and among them there was a contraband, an old servant of one of the officers. In passing the Essex he shook his head, and remarked, "I doesn't like dat one-pipe boat, fur when she cum along and throwed dem rotten shell on hers we couldn't stan' it no longer; den massa run, and after dat I leff too!"

Just previous to the battle I had filled my shells with an incendiary matter of my own invention, which had not the most agreeable smell, and hence the old darkey's remark. I used the same shell on my attack and destruction of the Arkansas.

YOUTHFUL SWELL. "Now, Charley, you're just in time for breakfast—have a cup of coffee?"

LANGUID SWELL. "Thanks, no! I assure yah—my de-ar feelah. If I were to take a cup of coffee in the morning it would keep me awake all day."

Wanted, by an attorney, a clerk to engross other people's attention.

"DAILY EVENING MAIL"—a lover calling on his sweet-heart.

An inventive Yankee has produced an apparatus which he says is a cure for snoring. He fastens upon the nose a gutta-percha tube leading to the tympanum of the ear. Whenever the snorer snores he himself receives the first impression, finds how disagreeable it is, and, of course, reforms.

English milliners have sometimes as much esprit as their French sisters. "I remember," says Lord Eldon, "I was coming away from the queen's drawing-room in my full dress as king's counsel (Lord Clarendon, then Mr. Villiers, was with me), and we came into the room where the milliners were collected to see the fashions. 'Why, Villiers,' said I, 'I think that all the prettiest women are here.' One of the girls—and a most amazingly beautiful creature she was—stood up and said to another, 'I am sure that gentleman is a judge.'"

"Remember, madam, that you are the weaker vessel," said an irate husband. "Exactly," said the lady, "but do not you forget that the weaker vessel may have the stronger spirit in it."

"Can I show you any thing more to-day, Sir?" asked the civil gentleman behind the counter. "Yes, Sir," was the reply: "will you be good enough to show me the silk umbrella I left here three weeks ago?"

Quilp, having spoken rather disparagingly of the female sex in the hearing of a lady friend, was rebuked for his impertinence by the question, "What would be the effect upon the men if all the 'little dears' should perish?" "Ah," said Quilp, "I acknowledge that the result would be a universal stag-nation!"

A young lady, when invited to partake of the pudding, replied, "No, many thanks, my dear madam. By no manner of means. I have already indulged the clamorous calls of a craving appetite, until a manifest sense of internal fullness admonishes my stay; my deficiency is entirely and satisfactorily satisfied."

Why can not two slender persons ever become great acquaintances?—Because they will always be slight acquaintances.

The following bill, rendered by a carpenter to a farmer for whom he had worked, seems at least curious—"To hanging two barn-doors and myself seven hours, six shillings."

A young man and a female once upon a time stopped at a country tavern. Their awkward appearance excited the attention of one of the family, who commenced a conversation with the female by inquiring how far she had traveled that day? "Traveled!" exclaimed the stranger, somewhat indignantly; "we didn't travel; we rid!"

If a young lady faints when you "propose to her," you can restore her to consciousness by just whispering in her ear you were only joking.


50,000 Agents Wanted.

One Agent wanted in every Regiment, Hospital, and on board every Naval Vessel. For $1, will send you as sample, with a Circular giving full instructions to Agents, either a Fine Gold Pen and Pencil, or a beautiful New Style Vest Chain, or Chatalaine Chain and Pin, or Guard Chain, or an Engraved Spring Locket, or a Seal Stone, California Diamond, or Chased Ring, or a fine Gold California Diamond Pin, or a New Style Set of Jewelry, or a solid Silver Shield, or either Army Corps Pin, with your Name, Co., and Reg., handsomely engraved upon it, or a Kearney Cross in Gold Plate; and, for 50 cents, I will send a beautiful Union League Pin, in fine Gold Plate. B. T. HAYWARD, Manufacturing Jeweler, Box 4876. 208 Broadway, N. Y.

Sabre Cuts, Gunshot Wounds, and all other kinds of Wounds; also Sores, Ulcers, and Scurvy, heals safely and quickly under the soothing influence of HOLLOWAY'S OINTMENT. It heals to the bone, so that the wound never opens again. Soldiers, supply yourselves. Only 25 cents per pot.



Your Choir—Your School—Your Home,


A new Collection of Church and School Music. BY L. O. EMERSON,

Author of "Golden Wreath," &c.

Specimen Pages sent free. Price of the Book $1. Per dozen, $9. OLIVER DITSON & CO., Publishers, Boston.

N. B. Magnetical instruments for medical use.

Fine Steel Engravings.

Exquisitely accurate, with fac-simile autographs, of the prominent officers of the ARMY, NAVY, or STATE. Sent by mail to any part of the country at 25 cts. each, $2 per dozen, or $12 per hundred. Also CARD PHOTOGRAPHS, at $2 per dozen. I. W. LUCAS & CO., 173 Broadway, N. Y. P. O. Box 4590.

GREAT INDUCEMENTS!! Offered to everybody to sell our Great and

NEW STATIONERY PRIZE PACKETS. Premiums offered, which surpass any thing ever given by other houses. Send for our New Circular.


36 Beekman Street, N. Y.

Glass and other Letters and Numbers for attaching to Windows, Signs, Marble and other surfaces. Glass Signs and Show Cards, with frames, to order at low prices. Office 107 Fulton Street, N. Y. GLASS LETTER CO.




One Copy for one Year ....................$3.00

Two Copies for One Year .................5.00

An Extra Copy, gratis, for every Club of TEN SUBSCRIBERS, at $2.50 each, or 11 Copies for $25.00.

HARPER'S MAGAZINE and HARPER'S WEEKLY, together, one year, $5.00.


Circulation over 100,000.


Single Copies Six Cents.


One Copy for One Year ......................$3.00

One Copy for Two Years .....................5.00

And an Extra Copy will be allowed for every Club of TEN SUBSCRIBERS, at $2.50 each, or 11 Copies for $25.

TERMS TO ADVERTISERS.—Seventy-five Cents per line for inside, and One Dollar per line for outside Advertisements.


DADDY SUMTER.—"Oh dear, dear, when will this terrible attack be over? I'm nearly finished."

DADDY WAGNER.—"Ah! I fear there's no cure for us but a warm application of the stars and stripes yonder."

Fort Sumter Cartoon




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