Death of General Birney


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, December 3, 1864

This site contains our entire collection of Harper's Weekly newspapers. These papers contain incredible content, and allow the serious student of the war to gain new insights into the key events of the war. The reports were written by eye-witnesses within hours of the events depicted.

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Prospect of Peace

General Birney

Death of General Birney

Wilmington Blockade

Blockade of Wilmington

Pittsburg Tunnel

Pittsburg Tunnel

Fat Soldiers

Fat Soldiers Cartoon




Wilmington, North Carolina

United We Stand

Thanksgiving Day


Martinsburg, Virginia



DECEMBER 3, 1864.]



(Previous Page) to his friends and to our enemies that he did not recall the New York troops from the army ; and from that moment down to the election the complaint of his friends has been that he had not the courage of his convictions.

Yet it might have satisfied them that he has incessantly thwarted the National Government whenever and wherever he could. He has complained of the drafts ; he has incited riots ; he has betrayed ill feeling upon every occasion, as in his recent Proclamation for Thanksgiving; he has never showed a single spark of sympathy for his country and her trials, but has perpetually bewailed the loss of life and money, as if no cause were sacred enough to be worth a sacrifice. In his Chicago speech he was guilty of the most flagrant misrepresentation of history, and betrayed the most total misconception of the character and purpose of the people, and by the late election he has been doubly rebuked.

Yet it was not enough. He has dissatisfied his " friends" by not trying openly to array the State of New York against the National Government, as he has alienated all faithful citizens by evidently wishing to do it. His own party were indignant with him for what they called juggling himself into the nomination and he falls, baffled, without a solitary patriotic or generous act to mark his administration, with out the sympathy of his friends, and with the hearty contempt of his opponents,

As he disappears from the scene how refreshing to hear from the lips of his successor, the President of the Soldiers' Relief Association, that New York shall hereafter occupy no hesitating or equivocal position. The motto of the Empire state is Excelsior higher ! And excelsior may she always be in patriotism, intelligence, and humanity.


THE American people have this year such reason as they never had before to give humble and hearty thanks to Almighty God, and Mr. NAST has well depicted in the, striking picture we publish to day the various aspects of the festival.

First of all by a singular unanimity the people have resolved that the authority of their Government and the order of civil society shall be maintained, and have expressed their will by the re-election of the President whose name is identified with the defense of the Union and the perpetuity of the American principle.

They have proclaimed their unshaken reliance upon the faithful army and navy of the United States, the practical vindicators of the national honor and authority.

They renew their gratitude for the great and necessary Peace Commissioners who lead the army and the navy, and whose names are no less precious for their lofty patriotism than historical for their consummate ability. GRANT and FARRAGUT, SHERMAN and PORTER, Du PONT and BUTLER, with their illustrious brethren, will be honorably and gratefully remembered so long as we are a nation.

They thank God that the great State of Maryland, torn by civil war, has deliberately renounced the system from which all our woes have sprung, and has led the march of the Slave States in the path of equal liberty and justice, the way of permanent peace.

They thank God for the patriotic devotion of the hearts that the war has broken, and which, in the depths of their sorrow are still grateful that they were made the parents and wives and sisters and lovers and brothers of heroes, and not of cowards heroes whose memory shall not die while human hearts beat or the flag of the nation floats.

They thank God that the defeat of rebels and the consternation of foreign foes foretell the triumph from which peace and prosperity shall flow.

Not in foolish pride, not in hot confidence of sudden victory, but in the calm consciousness of a holy and impragnable purpose, the people of the United States, counting the cost, faithful to the dead and to the living, will celebrate their Thanksgiving with sober and religious hearts.


THEORETICALLY it is the eagle but it is the turkey that enables the eagle to fly. There has been do pleasanter incident than the heartiness with which the suggestion of a Thanksgiving dinner for the army and navy has been received. Every body has contributed that the soldiers and sailors may have practical proof if they were not already sure of the sympathy of their friends at home. The only regret is that Sherman's boys can not share in the feast, but must eat their sweet potatoes without the turkey and the chicken fixin's.

Our artist Mr. HOMER, has seized the spirit of the scene as it will be witnessed along the lines. The boys will not stand upon the order of their eating, but will eat at once. And they may be sure that in a thousand homes they will be.

"In our flowing cups freshly remembered,"
and cheered with three times three. The universal Thanksgiving turkey shall be seasoned with many a tale of heroism, and the cheerful feeling of the old festival bind as as warmly and closely together as the whole family of the Union will, by the persuasion of the camp and the ship, be one day bound.


OUR readers will find elsewhere an advertisement of the New York and Liverpool Petroleum Company. DANIEL S. DICKINSON is the President, and he is associated with gentlemen of experience in the business. A careful study of the prospectus will reveal the advantages of the investment. The

discovery of petroleum is so recent, and the necessary demand so large and increasing, that this company may be said to proceed upon a permanent basis. Their prospectus speaks frankly and fairly; and the name of Mr. DICKINSON, who has, we believe, for the first time associated his name with the enterprise, should satisfy the inquirer that it is not a mere speculation.


The popular interest in General Sherman's new campaign is of the most absorbing kind. An ordinary victory, or even a considerable reverse, is not sufficient to divert the attention even for a moment from the grand topic. Plymouth is recaptured, one of the most formidable of the rebel iron-clads is blown up by a torpedo, and the waters of an entire Sound made in consequence an undisputed Federal possession; another vessel, more to be feared than any other which has threatened our commerce, is taken directly under the guns of a friendly Power; General Gillem gains a victory and suffers a reverse ten thousand of our suffering soldiers are released from the well known barbarities of Southern prisons: yet these events form but episodes, or interludes, in the great military drama, which, though only just beginning to be developed, maintains, in spite of all these incidents, favorable or unfavorable, its hold on the popular expectation. Even the Armies of the Potomac and the James would be able by nothing short of the capture of Petersburg or Richmond to alienate, even for a single day, that interest which has been fixed upon the Armies of the Cumberland and the Tennessee.

The Richmond correspondent of the London Times a short time since declared that Lee was utterly powerless by assuming the aggressive to turn the tide which was setting in against the Confederacy. He is shut out from the possibility of making even a military experiment : he "can not afford to hazard even twenty lives in a tentative operation." While Grant may rest his army for any number of days fearless of attack, Lee must keep his in the trenches along an extended line, forever expecting attack at every point, and therefore, by this perpetual watch forever kept from relaxation. To Hood, therefore, he said, must be confided the salvation of the Confederacy. He, the master of experiments, must inaugurate an experiment of such vastness and audacity as to unseat Sherman at Atlanta and reverse the line of conquest in the West.

And just this was what the rebels attempted to accomplish. Mr. Davis made a tour through Georgia to awaken that State to a sense of the situation; and as an evidence that he did not lack spirit for this task he ventured at Macon to call the Georgian Governor a "miserable scoundrel" under his very nose; and as proof of his confidence in Confederate resources he cited with becoming commendation the examples of mothers who had devoted their infant sons prospectively to the great struggle. Just upon his heels came Beauregard, whose motto is "Forward," to assume the command of Hood's already advancing army. The Confederate army cavalry and infantry pushed northward. One campaign had been ended when Atlanta was taken now another campaign was begun for the purpose of disturbing Sherman's communications with Atlanta. This new campaign issued unfavorably to the Confederates : Forrest was compelled to recross the Tennessee, and Hood, failing in his attempt on Allatoona, was pushed westward toward the Mississippi ; and Sherman's railroad communications, a few slight damages having been repaired, were as intact as they ever had been. These communications were of importance to Sherman, and it was only because these had been threatened that Sherman had marched northward at all. He wanted the railroad between Chattanooga and Atlanta for a specific object ; that object was accomplished so soon as he had had forwarded to Atlanta supplies sufficient for an advance southward which he had planned weeks before. So long he held his army covering the railroad. In spite of Hood and Beauregard he accomplished his object and got his supplies. Then he no longer cared either for the railroad or for Atlanta; indeed, he proceeded forthwith to destroy the one and burn the other. The campaign which Hood had forced upon him was now at an end, and it had for him ended successfully. Hood's longer stay in the North was now a matter of as little concern to him as was Price's invasion of Missouri, or any other daring project which Beauregard might have undertaken. As a matter of course there must be a force to take care of Beauregard, just as there must have been to take care of Price. This led him to detach the Army of the Ohio from his own. He then began his third campaign. His first had been for Atlanta ; his second for supplies ; his third was the continuation southward and eastward of the line of conquest which he had extended so far in the months of May; June, and July. He had hardly hoped that the only army which could possibly contest his advance would be so punctiliously considerate in his behalf as to assume and remain in a position hundreds of miles in his rear. But so it happened. And thus we have now two separate campaigns going on in the West and South one that contested between Thomas and Beauregard, the other that of General Sherman against the railroads, arsenals, and strongholds of those Southern States which have hitherto enjoyed a privileged immunity from the horrors of war.

By Hood's mistake in sending Wheeler north Sherman was helped into Atlanta; when Hood's entire army marched into Northern Alabama he made a similar mistake on a much grander scale. Already do the Richmond journals begin to complain that Wheeler was not kept close enough on Sherman's line.

The facts of Sherman's march, so far as known, are these :

On the 9th of November Slocum's Corps, with a division of Kilpatrick's cavalry, started from Atlanta, it is supposed toward Macon, to be followed by Jefferson C. Davis with the Fourteenth Corps. On the same day the Army of the Tennessee the Fifteenth, Sixteenth, and Seventeenth corps under General Howard, left Kingston, destroying the railroad on its way. On the 11th the bridge over the Etowah was destroyed. On the arrival of this column at Atlanta all the property that could be of use to the enemy in that city was burned, and the Array of the Tennessee, on the 12th, abandoned Atlanta, following the Army of the Cumberland. Before Slocum had entirely evacuated the city on the 9th he was attacked by rebel cavalry under Iverson, who was severely punished. Rome was burned on the 10th by General Corse, commanding the Fourth Division of the Fifteenth Corps. Nearly a million of dollars' worth of property was destroyed by Corse on account of the lack of transportation. This included nine rebel guns, 1000 bales of cotton, two flour and two rolling mills, an extensive foundry, and the railroad depots and store houses.

Sherman's entire force is probably not less than 50,000, of which 9000 are picked cavalry under Kilpatrick. According to one report Sherman has provision for 30, according to another for 60, days. His army was paid before starting, and each soldier, it is reported, was supplied with two pairs of shoes. The rebels appear to think that Mobile is his destination. Sherman takes his Signal Corps with him. He has remarked that the service due by this corps at the battle of Allatoona more than paid its expense for the year.

Beauregard at last advises still remained in the vicinity of Corinth, holding the Mobile and Ohio Railroad. The Washington correspondent of the New York Times says that in one week's time Thomas will have an army 55,000 strong. In that case we shall also have a spirited Western campaign. In a dispatch from Tuscumbia, November 8, Beauregard states that Forrest, at Johnsonville on the 5th, had destroyed four gun boats 8 guns each fourteen steamers, and twenty barges, besides a large quantity of quarter master and commissary stores on the landing.

General Gillem suffered a considerable reverse, November 14, as he was falling back from Bull's Gap, which Breckinridge had turned with a force of 10,000 men. He lost four hundred in killed, wounded, and missing, and, according to General Lee's official dispatch, six pieces of artillery.

From General Grant's army there is nothing important, The Lieutenant-General was in this city on the 19th, 20th

and 21st. The rebels recently tried to force back Egan's line, on the right of the Second Corps, by damming a stream in his front. General Egan, in superintending some works to prevent the operation of this scheme, was wounded in the arm.

About 8 P.M., November 17, a desperate attack was made on Butler's picket line, between the James and Appomattox Rivers, by two rebel brigades, who succeeded in capturing 60 pickets. General Butler had arrived at the front.

General Sheridan, November 9, broke camp at Cedar Creek. His advanced pickets, November 12, were near Newtown. On that day Early, his main body being north of Cedar Creek, made a reconnoissance with Lomax's brigade of cavalry ; he was repulsed, and General Powell pursued him through and beyond Front Royal, capturing two guns and 150 men.


Lieutenant Neil Denison, of the Second Regular Artillery, has been made Brevet Brigadier-General for gallant conduct and bravery in action. He is a son of Postmaster-General Denison.

Colonel Gamble, Eighth Illinois Cavalry, has been appointed Brigadier General, and is to be assigned to the command of a brigade at Falls Church.

During the present campaign in the Shenandoah Valley, the First Cavalry Division, commanded by General Merritt, has captured 14 battle flags, 29 pieces of artillery, 18 caissons, 100 wagons and ambulances, and 2000 prisoners of war, including 122 commissioned officers. Since the 1st of May this command has captured 3000 prisoners of war.

The Richmond Whig says that Sheridan destroyed property in Rockingham County to the amount of $25,000,000.

December 1 the blockade of the ports of Norfolk, Fernandina, and Pensacola will be raised.

Admiral Porter has issued an order congratulating Lieutenant Cushing on the destruction of the Albemarle. A letter of congratulation has also been addressed to the Lieutenant by Secretary Welles.

A gang of guerrillas under Dick Berryman have recent ly been plundering and killing Unionists in Madison and Wayne Counties, Missouri. November 8, General Curtis, from Camp Arkansas, wrote the following dispatch :

" We have just concluded the pursuit of Price, whose rear guard crossed the Arkansas River under fire of our guns. He left another of his guns and his own carriage, which, with other guns and equipments, have fallen into our hands. We are now rid of 20,000 or 30,000 half starved bushwhackers and half starved vagabonds, who, I hope, may never return to disturb the peaceful inhabitants north of the Arkansas River. He is also beyond our posts of Fayetteville, Fort Smith, and Fort Gibson, which are now safe."

On the night of November 14 fifty rebel prisoners es caped from Camp Morton, Indiana.


MULLER was sentenced, October 29, to be hung November 14. Lord Wodehouse has been appointed Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland.


Great dissatisfaction is expressed by the popular jour nals of the Provinces at the haste with which Parliament is pushing forward the Confederation project without any appeal to the people.

The debt of the Confederation, if formed, will be over $100,000,000, including the cost of the projected Intercolonial Railroad, $62,500,000 will be apportioned to Canada.

The case of the St. Albans raiders has been postponed, to allow the prisoners an opportunity to obtain from Richmond additional evidence in regard to their status as prisoners of war. In the mean time it is said to be probable that, on the assembling of Parliament in January, a measure will be adopted to prevent the repetition of the St. Albans raid.


A LUXURIOUS FOX.—About a month ago a sly fox in tered the dwelling house of Mr. Arnold, Catas Farm, near Heather. He made his entrance through the parlor window, and went, very orderly, up stairs to bed. While having a sweet repose the housekeeper opened the room door, and, to her surprise, observed Reynard who she thought was a dog in bed. She informed the master of the fact ; but he not taking much notice of it, she told the plowman; who went to see if the intruder had made his exit but he had not. The plowman then informed the wagoner, who immediately went, with club in hand to defend himself. Reynard was still asleep, and the wagoner dealt him a heavy blow on the head and killed him, while in his cozy position.

CHICAGO has probably had a more rapid growth up to her present size than any other city now in existence. In 1830 there was no such city only a military post, consisting of a small wooden fort, with two or three houses in sight. It began to be a village, if we mistake not, in 1832. Its population has since been fifteen times ascertained with the following results:

her, made signs of the cross on her mouth and forehead; the physician and chaplain stripped her to her shift, and felt under her armpits for the contract with the devil, till at last the girl fainted. When she recovered they renewed the attack, threatening her even with death, and the lady superior exhibited a box full of pins and needles which had issued, she said, from the body of the enchanted girl, and showed an indecent note found upon the same girl with the words, "Death to the Pope!" At last the mother found her way to the persecuted child, and got her away from the convent. It appears that the whole affair was a plot, not a superstition. The girl said to be "charmed" was in excellent health and the nunnery has for a time been very properly closed by order of the Government, and the chaplain and physician arrested.

THE Journal de Roubaix relates a singular instance of somnambulism in that town. A young woman belonging to a family of the working class has during the last week risen in her sleep every night at the same hour, lit a fire, prepared coffee, set out the table as if for a meal, not forgetting either spoons, knives, or forks, and then has gone to bed again. An hour later she rises again, clears the table, puts the things in their places, cleans the lower rooms of the house, and then once more returns to bed. A remarkable fact is that as the young woman works in a factory she does not usually prepare the repasts of the family or do any of the housework, and also that she lays out the table for three persons only, although she lives with her father, mother, three sisters, and two brothers.

GERMANY can keep afoot a million of soldiers ; France, 600,000; Italy, 300,000 ; Russia, 800,000; even Spain, 350,000; while England knows not where to turn for recruit's and sailors. Says an English journal : " It is a fact that our ships in commission can not put to sea for want of hands. Our Prime Minister has openly proclaimed that we can not cope with other nations, or dictate a policy in Europe, because we have not soldiers wherewith to carry on war. Denmark, Lord Palmerston used no concealment in admitting, could rely on no other than our moral influence, because we could not pretend to send into the field an army fit to compare muster rolls with Austria and Prussia. We could not keep up a contingent of 50,000 men in the Crimea without ransacking Europe and America for mercenaries. India drains us of 10,000 recruits a year; and the commander-in-chief recently issued detailed instructions to our recruiting staff to put forth all the allurements of the crimp, and all the devices of the kidnapper, in order to hocus heroes into our regiment, of the line, on the ground of the extreme difficulty experienced in maintaining the effective strength of an army of only 140,000 rank and file."

SLEEPING IN CHURCH .—In a parish church in the Highlands of Aberdeenshire, not a day's journey from Balmoral Castle (says the Aberdeen Free Press), we were seated in our ordinary pew, listening to the song of praise ascending from the choir and congregation, when our notice was attracted to the sleepers ; and sacrilegious as the idea might be, we could not help counting both the congregation as a whole and the per-centage of sleepers, when we blush to say it out of a total of 101, no less than twenty seven were sound asleep!

ARTIFICIAL TAILS.—A mole-killer of Monthey, in the Valais, in Switzerland, was recently brought before the Correctional Tribunal of that place on a charge of swindling the authorities, which he effected in an ingenious manner. The destroyers of those animals receive a certain sum for each, but they are not bound to present the bodies in order to obtain the reward, but only the tails. The man in question delivered not less than 2000, and received a sum of 300 francs. Surprise was fill at the number, and on close examination a great many were found to be artificial manufactured by gumming a strip of the animal's skin on a bit of wire covered with paper. The tail maker was condemned to three months' imprisonment.

STARVATION IN ENGLAND.—Another case of starvation is reported from Bethnal Green, England. A woman named Jameson worked as a shoebinder, but could not earn money enough to find her in sufficient food. Bit by bit she parted with her clothes, and at last lay down and died. She had been urged to go into the work house, but refused. The Coroner's jury, before whom these facts were stated, brought in a verdict that "Death was accelerated by the want of the common necessaries of life." Reports of this nature are found in every issue of English journals. Comment is unnecessary.

GENERAL BIRNEY died in the delirium of fever. His last words have a political value that should make them a Union war cry throughout the Loyal States. Rising suddenly in his bed, his eyes blazing with the fire that consumed him, he cried with a trumpet voice, "Boys, keep your eyes on that flag !" and fell back dead.

THE Ettrick Shepherd tells how his dog Hector, while quite young, was found to have remained for the whole of a Litter and wet winter's night, lying at the fold door, and keeping his eyes fixed on the lambs which he had previously spent many hours with his master in bringing home. He was not experienced enough to know that the lambs were then safe, but his fidelity taught him to remain, wet and supperless, until his guard was relieved next morning by his master's presence. Being dark, his master had not missed the dog when he quitted the lambs, and when Hector's supper remained unclaimed, lie was sought and called in vain. He had never moved front the spot where he lay at the entrance to the fold ; for dripping wet as he was, the only dry spot was that beneath his body; nor did lie take his watchful eyes from what he thought to be his charge till relieved by his master. The lambs bad been very wild and troublesome on the journey, and the dog bad had much fatigue and trouble in driving them, and they were very unruly when folded, and the hungry, tired dog preferred the deluge of rain which fell that night to the deserting of his post, though he must have beard himself repeatedly called. Mr. Morris, from one of whose valuable little books I take this story, tells of another and sadder instance of unselfish devotion. A shepherd had to divide his flock while traveling; he went forward to the next town with a part, leaving the remainder of his flock in the charge of his colley, intending to return some ten hours later to fetch them. But the shepherd forgot all about his sheep and his dog, the inn fire probably was hot and the toddy strong, and the shepherd reached his home alone. It was not till the third day that the dog was recalled to his memory, and learning that no one had seen him, he hastened to the place where sheep and dog had been left, knowing then what a cruel master he had been. So it was, he found the sheep safe, for they had had food for grazing, the faithful dog dragged himself to his master's feet, licked his hand, and died.

WHAT IS IN THE BEDROOM?—The importance of ventilating bedrooms is a fact which every body is vitally interested in, and which few properly appreciate. If two persons are to occupy a bedroom during a night, let them step upon weighing scales as they retire, and then again in the morning, and they will find that their actual weight is at least a pound less in the morning. Frequently there will be a loss of two or more pounds, and the average loss throughout the year will be more than one pound. That is, during the night there is a loss of a pound of matter which has gone off from their bodies, partly from the lungs, and partly through the pores of the skin. The escaped material is carbonic acid, and decayed animal matter, or poisonous exhalations.

NOVELISTS are sometimes sorely pat to their wit's end for Christian and surnames which shall in a measure be representative of their characters. A French writer, who had once given pain to a worthy tradesman, coined two outrageous names for certain individuals described in his work, trusting that this time no living being would find himself or herself aggrieved by what be had done. But he was disappointed. A week after his work appeared letters reached him begging that the naives might be altered, for they happened to be borne by people who described themselves as among the most exemplary and sensitive of his readers. In despair the author is said to have thrown into his hat the letters of the alphabet, taking the first eight as the name of his new hero, and the next seven which came to hand as that of his heroine.

THE barefooted Carmelites have opened an establishment in Paris. It is customary for the young swells of the Jockey Club and elsewhere to invite them in to take a snack.

AN UNCONSCIOUS HONEY-MOON.--At the last sitting of the French Academy of Sciences a paper was received from Dr. Blanchet on three curious cases of constitutional lethargic slumber. One of them was that of a lady twenty four years of age, who, having slept for forty days at tie age of eighteen, and fifty days at the age of twenty (during her honeymoon), at length had a fit of sleep which lasted nearly a whole year, from Easter Sunday, 1862, to March, 1863. During this long period a false front tooth had to be taken out in order to introduce milk and broth into her mouth. This was her only food. She remained motionless, insensible, and all her muscles were n a state of contraction Her pulse was low, her breathing scarcely perceptible ; there were no evacuations, no leanness ; her complexion was florid and healthy.

AN IDOLATROUS CITY IN FRANCE:—In June, a monster procession, headed by fifty cardinals, archbishops, and bishops, placed a silver statue of the Virgin Mary, carried on men's shoulders, and surrounded by a hundred angels, scattering flowers and waving incense upon a hill adjoining Marseilles. " Triumph, Queen of Heaven!" was sung among booming cannon, rolling drums, and pealing bells, and Cardinal Matthieu declared in enthusiastic style that Marseilles with Mary was the gloriously spoken of city of God !

MONASTIC LIFE IN ITALY.—The Augustinian nuns of Loretto, near Ancona, have brought down upon themselves the interference of the secular power by a shocking act of falsehood and torture. A daughter of an Italian Liberal had been confided to the care of the twelve French and four Italian nuns who constitute the nunnery afore-said. This girl left the convent in April of the present year. A rumor was then circulated that a girl three years older had been bewitched by her. The accused with two of her relatives went to the convent on the afternoon of the 14th in answer to a summons. She was taken alone into the parlor, the door closed, and she was confronted with the chaplain, physician, and lady superior, who declared that a girl in the convent was in danger of losing her life in consequence of this young lady's spells, and thereupon they all set upon her to make her render up her contract with the demon. The priest sprinkled her with holy water, twisted his stole round her neck, exorcised





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