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Civil War Harper's Weekly, September 26, 1863

This site has an online archive of all the Harper's Weekly newspapers created during the Civil War. This collection allows you to read reports of the war that were created within hours of the events described. These reports will result in new understanding of the key events of the war.

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


Siege of Charleston

Jacksonian Democrat

Jacksonian Democrat


Capture of Chattanooga


Archduke Maximillian of Austria

Execution of Deserters

Execution of Deserters

Jefferson Davis Cartoon

Jefferson Davis Cartoon



Charleston Siege

Siege of Charleston Picture

Assault on Fort Wagner

Fort Moultrie

Bombardment of Fort Moultrie

Execution of Deserters

Execution of Civil War Deserters




[SEPTEMBER 26, 1863.



"Unless the errors of the past are promptly retrieved,

the future holds no promise."—From a Richmond Paper.

RETREEVE the errors ov the past? Yure brother's blood is kallin,

From East and West, from Nawth and Saouth, whare yu hev laid 'em low.

Kin yu stop the blood from loyal hearts this verry minnit fallin—

Kin yu bring agin tu life the gallant boys we used tu know?

Go tu the grave whare Baker lies—whare Lyon is a-sleepin,

Go kall up the heroick three whu fell in Baltimore!

Give back tu ev'ry home bereeved the dear wuns in Death's keepin,

And wash the stain ov treeson from orf Freedom's holy shore!

Oh! yu needn't say yu went tu war withaout no friendly warnin,

We allays told yu, from the fust, jest haow the thing wood be

Thet yu'd find yure "cap ov freedum" was a fool's cap sum fine mornin,

And yu a preshus larfin-stock fur awl the wurld tu see!

So yu reely hev begun tu think yu was a bit mistaken

Tu open fire on Sumter's walls, and tawk ov revolushun?

Yu'd rather not hev bin the fokes aour Nawthmen tu awaken,

An' yu wish yu'd stood up manfully fur the old Konstitushun?

Wa'al, I'm glad yu Suthern rebbels are a kummin tu yure senses;

I'm glad to heer yu tawk abaout "the errors ov the past"—

It's time yu hed begun to overhawl yure vain pretenses,

And put away yure darlin sins: — I hope the change 'll last!





THE occupation of Chattanooga by General Rosecrans; the capture of Knoxville and Cumberland Gap by General Burnside; the retreat southward of the rebels in Virginia, and the consequent advance of the Army of the Potomac; the steady progress of General Gilmore toward the reduction of Charleston; the development of Union feeling in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana; the expulsion of the rebels from the greater part of Arkansas; the departure of an expedition which will probably have the effect of clearing out the insurgents from Texas, and firmly planting the Stars and Stripes once more on the Rio Grande: these are the events of the day, and it is not presumptuous to say that they warrant very sanguine hopes of an early accomplishment of the National purpose in the present conflict, and measurably set at rest the apprehensions which were once entertained touching the issue of the struggle. On the other hand, the triumph of the Union party by an overwhelming majority at the election in Kentucky, and the still more overwhelming Union victory at the elections in California and Maine, coupled with the indications of an equally decided manifestation of loyal sentiment at the coming elections in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York, may fairly be regarded as relieving us from the next greatest danger, namely, divisions at home. On whichever side we look, in this country, the symptoms are all favorable and the prospect serene.

The only remaining cloud which overhangs the national horizon comes from abroad; and it must be admitted that it is a cloud of formidable appearance.

The Emperor Napoleon is involved in an enterprise in Mexico which, as he knows perfectly well, is so obnoxious to the people of this country that nothing but the engrossing nature of the war in which we are engaged prevents our resisting him with force of arms. Even now the newspapers and the diplomatists are warning him that our first step after the subjugation of the rebels will be to expel his troops from Mexico. The question arises—will he wait till then? Or will he avail himself of our present helpless position to secure a foothold in Mexico, and then intrench himself against our future attack by an alliance with the Southern Confederacy? We know that Mr. Slidell, the rebel envoy to Paris, has had several audiences of the Emperor lately, and also that he has been closeted with the French Secretary of State. Was it proposed at these interviews that a joint recognition should take place—that of the rebel Confederacy by France, and that of the Mexican Empire by the rebel Confederacy? If not, what is the purpose of the shower of pro-slavery brochures that are being issued from the semi-official presses, seemingly for the purpose of educating French opinion up to the slave-driving standard?

Of course, it is easy to see that a recognition of the rebel Confederacy by France, involving

sooner or later a war with this country, would be fraught with more evil for the French than it could yield benefit. Indeed, it is hard to see what advantage the French could hope to reap, under any circumstances, from so unnatural an alliance and so unnatural a war. But the dangers which we can see in the enterprise may not be so clear to the view of the Emperor; and even if they were, he has already involved himself in an operation in Mexico out of which there is no possible escape without loss and discredit.

On the other side of the channel our affairs look better, but still not very pleasant. Three iron-clad rams are rapidly approaching completion, two on the Mersey, one on the Clyde. Every one knows that they are for the service of the rebels, and that they are intended, not to rob and burn defenseless merchant vessels, like the Alabama and the Florida, but to bombard New York and Boston, and to break the blockade at Mobile and Wilmington. Every one in England, from the Queen downward, is perfectly aware of this fact. Yet the Government pretends to discover some impediment in the way of executing the Neutrality Law, and the Prime Minister, when urged to action by some few Englishmen, who seem still to retain a sense of decency, actually justifies himself by declaring that the British Government can not be coerced by foreign menaces. Public journals which raved maniacally when Captain Craven watched the Sumter off Southampton, and actually drove his ship to sea in a storm when he desired to refit, now bellow to us across the water—"Why don't you send cruisers here to look after Laird's iron-clads?"

It is so clearly the interest of Great Britain not to establish a precedent which would some day react fatally against herself, that, under ordinary circumstances, one might safely rely upon these vessels being seized. The probability would seem to be that after some more bluster against the Yankees by Lord Palmerston, and some more equivocation by Lord Russell, the law will be carried out—not from any regard for us or for fair dealing, but simply from a dread of future retribution in kind. Still it is not always safe to calculate on the wise thing being done. The equipment of the Alabama and the Florida was as great a mistake as England could have committed, as she will discover when next she goes to war; yet they are both at sea, burning our ships.

What, then, are we to do? Senator Sumner has proved to us, within a week, in an oration of remarkable eloquence, brimming with legal lore and apt precedent, that recognition is impossible, and war is impossible; and if the Senator were Prime Minister of England and France, instead of being Chairman of the Senate Committee of Foreign Affairs in this country, his assurances would be very comforting. As it is, our policy is clearly to prepare for the worst, and then, if it doesn't come, return thanks to God for dangers escaped. But meanwhile we must push on the armies: on from Chattanooga, on from Knoxville, on from Culpepper, on to Charleston, on to Texas, on to Mobile. We must push on the draft too, and voluntary enlistments of every man—be he black, brown, or white—who can carry a musket. If we have a million men in arms Europe will respect us. We must, above all, push on the construction of iron-clads. These are your best peace-makers and peace-keepers. There should be the keel of an iron-clad in every dock-yard throughout the United States, and contracts made for iron plates enough to shield the greatest navy in the world. With a million bayonets and a hundred powerful iron-clads we shall be safe; otherwise, not.


IN spite of the warnings of foreigners the public credit of this country refuses to be destroyed, and the people will not—blockheads that they are—understand that they are utterly undone. One day last week Mr. Chase borrowed another little sum of $50,000,000 from the Banks. The whole thing was settled in about ten minutes; and the only question which gave rise to any debate in the adjustment of the details grew out of an unsuccessful attempt of the Banks to secure the privilege of taking more loans at par.

The conversions of 5.20 Bonds—to which we have drawn attention more than once—is utterly unexampled in financial history. We are indebted to Messrs. Fisk and Hatch, who have sold most of the Bonds, for the following interesting statistics on the subject:

The sales of Five-Twenties to September 1, 1863, were as follows, viz.:

Through the Loan Agencies .......$176,425,000

Through the various Sub-Treasuries .82,210,950

Total sale to September 1 ...........$258,635,950

The Secretary of the Treasury has now completed arrangements for printing the Bonds in the Treasury Department. New plates have been engraved, and new devices adopted to protect the Coupons and the Bonds themselves against counterfeiting. The delay in delivering Bonds during the month of August was necessarily occasioned by these preparations. Now that they are completed, greater rapidity in the production of Bonds will speedily follow, while the Bonds are produced at a reduced cost to the Government.

Notwithstanding the late excitement in the money market, and the advanced rates of interest, money was freely offered at all times at six per cent. on Governments, and the demand for Five-Twenties continued good: there

are indications at the Agencies that the continued success of our arms will greatly increase the demand during the next few weeks.

We continue to have considerable inquiry for Five-Twenties for the foreign market. The German Banking-houses are the principal buyers of Government Stock for shipment.



A YEAR ago, in the last political canvass in this State, this paper, which belongs to no party, and which aims only at the sure and final salvation of the Government and country, strenuously supported the nomination of General Wadsworth for Governor. It did so because it saw that his success would be a bitter blow to the enemies of the country at home and abroad, while that of his opponent would be hailed with joy in Richmond, London, and the New York Hotel. This alone was a sufficient reason for supporting the Union nominations of last year.

The logical consequence of the success of a candidate who was acceptable to our enemies was the riot of July. Ten days before the riot that candidate, now Governor, had sneered at the National Government, and at the war for suppressing rebellion, and had covertly threatened mob violence. The men and papers that most strongly urged his election last year were the direct instigators of the riot, by their fierce and wanton slanders of the Government, and their incessant inflammatory appeals to the basest passions of the most ignorant class. They declared that the draft was an unconstitutional and unjust measure, by which poor white men were to be dragged off and forced to fight to free negroes. This was the ground taken by all the members of the party from the Governor down. The wild and wicked riot that followed they called an uprising of the people, and a great popular movement. The Richmond papers exulted. The correspondent of the London Times announced that the civil war had reached New York, and all the hostile French and English papers declared that our great and vital successes in the field were neutralized by the outbreak in New York. On the eve of the tumult, the Saturday before the Monday, when he knew that the city was without troops, and when, according to his own statement, the danger of trouble was so great that he had sent his Adjutant-General to Washington to beg that the draft might be stopped, the Governor, whose election was hailed by the foreign and domestic enemies of this country, went out of the State, was seven times telegraphed for in vain on Monday, and did not appear until Tuesday noon, when the first words of the chief magistrate of the State to the most cruel and lawless ruffians were—"My friends."

Another election is at hand. The same eager regard of friend and foe is turned upon it. The war still continues. The question of national salvation is still pending. There is no technical party issue whatever. How, then, will loyal men, who sincerely wish the absolute triumph of the National Government, vote? There are as before two tickets. There are as before two platforms or sets of resolutions. But resolutions are words, and words adroitly used conceal things. One of those tickets is supported by the most earnest hope of the Richmond papers, of the rebel leaders, of the men who hate the Union and the Government. Its success would be hailed by Davis and Toombs as a victory of theirs. Davis's organ suggests the advance of Lee into Pennsylvania as a means of strengthening the hearts and hands of those who support this ticket and of securing its success. It is sustained by the sympathy of Vallandigham and of every man in the Free States who wishes to see the rebellion triumph ; and it is the ticket for which the Governor speaks and Fernando Wood and Benjamin his brother incessantly work. The characters of the candidates upon the ticket are not in question. They are but individuals, while the success of the ticket is the success of the managers in this State, who are known to all loyal men as the friends of the rebels.

There is another ticket, which is hated as cordially at the New York Hotel as it is in Richmond, and the triumph of which would fall upon the hearts of rebel sympathizers abroad as another grand proof of the resolution of the country not to yield to its domestic nor to please its foreign enemies. It would show the rebels that in our victory we were resolved as firmly as in our disaster to suppress causeless rebellion utterly and forever. And while thus it extinguished hope in rebel minds it would show all loyal hearts in the land that the Empire State is as imperial in patriotism as it is in power.

Every voter in the State must support one of these tickets. Every voter in the land, also, sympathizes with one or the other. Shall we vote as Davis and Vallandigham desire, or as the unconditional maintenance of our free, just, and popular Government demands?


ONE of the most extraordinary and trenchant political works of the day is a letter lately published in the Boston Journal by "a Jacksonian Democrat," addressed to the Democrats of Massachusetts, and written, as the Journal informs us, by a delegate to the late Worcester Convention of Democrats who nominated a Webster Whig for Governor. This doctor of the Jacksonian school of Democracy begins by a striking and brilliant picture of the condition of Massachusetts. He concedes that it is truly great because it is truly democratic, although by no means such in a party sense, and concludes his summary by saying: "Yet nowhere on the continent so much as in the sincerely and thoroughly democratic Commonwealth of Massachusetts is the Democratic party so sincerely and thoroughly despised." He asks why, and answers, "Because we abandoned our

principles to follow our leaders." "Because when South Carolina hated freedom, and honestly proclaimed its hatred, we who hated slavery meanly pretended to like it."

The Jacksonian Democrat then proceeds to a most scorching review of the consequences of this policy to "our noble old Democratic party." He shows how it utterly degraded it; how "the scum and the dregs of society were sluiced for years through the public offices into the managing committees of the great political parties." "From the offscourings of the public offices came our former leaders and their tools, the present Breckinridge gang. Under various names they have played at government for us during many years, and what they do not know about ruining a party or a country is hardly worth considering." He continues: "Genuine Democracy no more resembles the Democracy these men made us put up with than beef-steak resembles offal, or than broadcloth resembles shoddy." "The Democracy we have had to put up with displayed a masterly inactivity when a common man was to be benefited, but worked with all the energy of delirium in the interest of any mongrel who had been suckled by a negress." "This kind of Democracy produced the whole Abolition agitation, and handled it from the very beginning with a savage stupidity." "The Democracy we have had to put up with originated in the intellect of Mr. Calhoun, and exasperates the bile of Mr. Jefferson Davis."

This terrible Delegate to the Democratic Convention then sketches Calhoun and his influence. "He was the deadliest foe Democracy has yet seen in America." "General Jackson was one of the men who saw through him; and as the old hero was not able to fear him, he sagaciously and patriotically hated him to the last—him, and his principles, and his friends, and every thing that was his. On his death-bed he regretted that he did not have him hung." The Jacksonian Democrat shows how Calhoun ruled his party to ruin it and to divide the nation. He must have an "issue." "The tariff had been exhausted, and would not answer. Slavery, he thought, would," "He would have agitated the mule question just as soon if it had coincided with geographical lines. And he could have united the South upon the mule question just as well as upon the slave question, if he could have received the same help on it from those Northern idiots whose subserviency continually encouraged him in the 'fatal exercise of domineering talk!' " The disdainful pen of this indignant Democrat then traces step by step the decline and fall of the party. It "could not help growing conveniently and even inconveniently small [he speaks of Massachusetts], when its whole duty and sole test was to 'damn a niXXer.' I think it lucky for the shoe business that their leading minds did not apply their energies to that. If they had, they would have broken up every shoe-shop in the United States in a year."

He proceeds to show that part of the party under Douglas revolted from these leaders; but that they now desire to resume their leadership. He objects. He has always been a Democrat. He never abandoned the name for "National" or any other. "I would like, with your assistance, to have the use of it [the name] confined to those of us who have never deserted or betrayed it. And I have a right to complain that while Mr. Breckinridge and four hundred thousand of his party are murdering their fellow-citizens in Virginia, some hundreds of them make use of my party name while robbing orphan asylums and roasting negroes in New York." This Jacksonian then continues: "On this point (if the newspapers report him correctly) I have the misfortune to differ with the Honorable Fernando Wood. He thinks that no Democrat can support a war against South Carolina in rebellion. Mr. Calhoun thought so too. General Jackson, on the contrary, intended to hang Mr. Calhoun the moment he attempted to put Mr. Wood's thought into practice. The General's intention to execute a rebel may yet be carried out by some of his party, though upon a different person—in corpore vili, as they say. And if Mr. Wood should happen to be that person, his efforts to overtake the hangman have been so strenuous, so indefatigable, and so meritorious, that it is impossible not to wish him the fullest success."

The Jacksonian disciple continues his scathing analysis of the fearful blundering of the usurping party leaders: shows that they are "political menials of the breeding interest;" that "the North has never broken any compromise of the Constitution," and they know it; declares that he does ''not blame the South for breaking the Constitution, but for denying that they broke it;" that he "despises Mr. Seward for his want of comprehension" in asserting a higher law of conscience instead of the highest law of the public safety; criticises Southern "chivalry" and "gentility;" exposes the hollow pretense of the opposition to slavery agitation at the North; accuses the Southern Democrats of "meanly picking our pockets before they left us;" declares that if they had remained the Administration could have been checked; and "therefore I am compelled to say to them, that if the stream of events should bear us on so far, I shall behold with much resignation the corpse of the last rebel hanging in the chains of the last slave."

And this is a Jacksonian Democrat, who is for the Government "actively and without conditions." O conciliation! O fraternity! Which is the Democrat, this man or Vallandigham?


IN his recent speech Mr. Sumner, Chairman of the Foreign Committee of the Senate, has collected and condensed all the flagrant instances of foreign hostility to us during the war, and has enriched, with all the lights of history and precedent, his view of the traditional foreign policy of Great Britain upon the subject of Slavery. His speech is a clear statement of what ought to be, and what has been, the conduct of European nations in questions of intervention. But our present interest is more exclusively the question, what will be, and is, their conduct. (Next Page)




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