General Sherman Reaches Savannah, Georgia


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, December 31, 1864

This site features online versions of all the Harper's Weekly newspapers printed during the Civil War. These papers are an excellent resource for the serious student of the Civil War. The illustrations were made by war correspondents deployed with the troops on the front lines.

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


Christmas Morning

Christmas Morning

Arming Slaves

Arming Slaves

Sherman Reaches Savannah

Sherman Reaches Savannah

Destroying Railroads

Troops Destroying Railroads

Jarret's Depot

Battle of Jarret's Station

Army of the Cumberland

Army of the Cumberland


Monitor Neosho


Civil War Dresses

Burning Railroads

Troops Burning Railroads

Union Christmas Dinner

Abraham Lincoln and the Union Christmas Dinner








DECEMBER 31, 1864.]



(Previous Page) would be the very worst of soldiers in the Southern cause.

The arming of the slaves by the rebels would be the very recklessness of desperation. Under some circumstances it might enable them to hold out a little longer at certain points. But it would give the United States a vast armed militia of resident population in the very district where they will be needed ; it would terminate party divisions in the loyal section of the country ; and it would settle all cavil about the loyalty of the enormous majority of the people of the revolted section, for when slaves are freed they become, even to the most stupid Northern pander of slavery, "people," if not citizens or men and women.

But such is the present condition of the rebellious section that the urging of the suggestion would probably disintegrate the " nation" which Mr. GLADSTONE thinks that JEFFERSON Davis has " created."


IN his reply to the manifesto of the rebel Congress sent to him by Messrs. SLIDELL, MASON, and MANN, Earl RUSSELL makes a singular historical misstatement. " Great Britain," he says, " has since 1783 remained, with the exception of a short period, connected by friendly relations with both the Northern and Southern States."

Great Britain, his lordship ought to remember, treated in 1783 with commissioners of the United States a single power and since 1789 Great Britain has had treaties and relations also with the United States a single power. Great Britain has had no relations whatever with " Northern and Southern States," for such States are expressly forbidden by the Constitution from entering into any kind of relations with foreign powers. Great Britain has no more been connected with Northern and Southern States than the Government of the United States has been connected with Kent, Yorkshire, and Wales. Great Britain has no more been connected with Northern and Southern States in America than with the Department de l'Eure, and Algeria, and Martinique, in the French empire. She has relations with the Government of France and with the Government of the United States,

In what manner has Great Britain, as Lord RUSSELL declares, had friendly relations with both the Northern and Southern States ? Has she sent embassadors to either? Has she made treaties with either? Has she received ministers from either ? If, in case of internal commotion in Great Britain, Mr. SEWARD should calmly declare that the United States had always remained connected by friendly relations with the Highlands of Scotland, the city of Dublin, and the Tower Hamlets he would merely show an ill feeling toward the Government of Great Britain and a ludicrous ignorance.

Nor need it be said that our objection to Lord RUSSELL'S letter only shows that neutrals please neither side. If he had said that the British Government still maintained its neutral position toward the Government of the United States, and those citizens who were endeavoring to cast off its authority, he would have stated the exact truth. But when he speaks of the struggle between the Northern and Southern States he implies that the contest is not between a government and insurgents, but between two governments. But if it be between two governments there is no reason why Great Britain, as a neutral power, should not equally recognize both. If France and Spain were at war, Great Britain, as a neutral, could use no other language than she does in regard to our struggle. Of necessity, therefore, she virtually concedes the political existence of the Southern Confederacy, and it is a needless insult to its representatives to designate it as the " so called" Confederacy.

Great Britain, as a government, has laid down the principle that immediately upon the outbreak of a rebellion in a country with which she is at peace she, will hasten to invest the rebels with all the belligerent rights she concedes to the government. We will not say that she has abused the extraordinary principle she has asserted. But we do say that, viewing the chances of human affairs, it will not be many years before she will be earnestly, praying that other nations may have very short memories or very long forbearance.



December 14:

IN the Senate, joint resolutions were reported from the Naval Committee and passed, tendering the thanks of Congress to Captain Winslow and Lieutenant Cushing. A petition was presented and referred, from several line officers in the army asking for additional compensation. The joint resolution offered and referred on the 13th, declaring free the wives and children of colored soldiers, was reported back with the recommendation that it be passed. A number of private petitions were reported ; also a bill (Mr. Trumbull, Ill.), which was passed, authorizing the holding of a special session of the United States District Court in Indiana. Two resolutions (Mr. Chandler, Mich.) were offered. The first resolved that the Committee on Military Affairs be directed to inquire into the expediency of organizing an army corps for the defense of our Canadian border; the second that the Secretary of War make out a list of each ship and cargo destroyed by Anglo-Rebel privateers, with a valuation thereof with interest from the date of capture, and demand payment in full from the British Government. Bolts resolutions, being objected to

by Mr. Johnson of Maryland, lie over. The resolution offered on the 12th by Mr. Doolittle of Wisconsin and tabled, relating to taxation on sales and an extra tax of 25 per cent on railroad fares, was taken from the table after some debate, and referred. A resolution (Mr. Brown, Mo.) was adopted that the Committee on Military Affairs and the Militia be instructed to inquire into the expediency of repealing an act of Congress, of March 21, 1861, entitled an act to remove the United States arsenal from St. Louis and to provide for the sale of the lands on which it is located. The joint resolution from the House, giving notice to Great Britain of the termination of the Reciprocity Treaty, was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. The Senate then went into executive session.

In the House, a bill (Mr. Wilson, Iowa) was reported and passed so amending the act of July 17, 1862, to define the pay and emoluments of officers in the army, as to read that any alien of twenty-one years and upward who shall have enlisted in the volunteer or regular army or navy, and been honorably discharged, may become a citizen without any previous declaration. and shall not be required to prove more than one year's residence. Bills making appropriations for diplomatic and consular expenses were referred. A resolution (Mr. Brooks, N. Y.) was passed, that the Committee on Foreign Affairs inquire into the expediency of providing by treaty or otherwise for the protection of our Canadian and provincial frontier from murder, arson, and burglary on the pretense of rebel invasion. A bill, discussed at the last session, was reported from the Military Committee and passed (95 to 38), providing that all Major-Generale and all Brigadier-Generals in the military service of the United States who, on the 15th of February, 1865, shall not be in the performance of duty or service corresponding to their respective grades of rank, and who shall not have been engaged in such duty or service for three months continuously prior to that date, shall then be dropped from the rolls of the army, and all the pay and emoluments, or allowances of such general officers so dropped, shall cease from that date, and the vacancies thus occasioned may be filled by new promotions and appointments, as in other cases. But no officer is to be considered as included in the foregoing provision whose absence from duty shall have been occasioned by wounds received, or disease contracted in the line of his duty while in the military service, or by his being a prisoner of war in the hands of the enemy, or under parole, and any Major-General of volunteers, or Brigadier-General of volunteers who may have been appointed from the regular army under the authority given in section four of the act approved July 22, 1861, " to authorize the employment of volunteers to aid in enforcing the laws and protecting public property," and the acts amendatory thereto, who shall be so dropped from the rolls, shall not thereby be discharged from the service of the United States, but shall be remitted to his position and duty as an officer of the regular army. The Senate bill was passed, authorizing the purchase or construction of six steam revenue cutters on the Lakes and appropriating for that purpose one million of dollars. 'The House then resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole on the State of the Union, Mr. Washburne of Illinois in the chair. Mr. Brooks addressed the Committee in favor of toleration to slavery, and an immediate attempt to negotiate with the South.

December 15

IN the Senate, a, resolution (Mr. Sumner, Mass.) was adopted that the President furnish to the Senate any information concerning the arrangement between the United States and Great Britain relating to the naval force to be maintained on the Lakes. A petition from officers of the Army of the James asking for an increase of pay was referred. A resolution (Mr. Lane, Kansas) was adopted that the Committee on the Conduct of the War be instructed to inquire as to the truth of the alleged charges that large numbers of disloyal persons are in the employment of the Government in the navy yards, Quarter master's, and Ordnance Departments, etc., of the country, to the exclusion of loyal men, with power to send for persons and papers. The resolution offered by Mr. Chanter on the 14th, but then objected to, in reference to the organization of an army corps to defend the Northern frontier, was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. A resolution (Mr Brown, Mo.) was adopted that the Committee on Military Affairs and the Militia be instructed to inquire into the expediency of so amending the Act of Congress of March 8, 1792, entitled "An Act to more effectually provide for the National Defense, by establishing a uniform militia throughout the United States, and the several acts amendatory of the same," as shall provide for the enrollment of all male citizens between the ages of 18 and 45, resident in the respective States, without respect to color, and also to submit such other provisions as may tend more efficiently to organize the militia system of the United States, and report by bill or otherwise. A bill was passed transferring a gun boat to the Government of Liberia. A resolution (Mr. Anthony, R. I.) was adopted instructing the Committee on the Conduct of the War to inquire into the facts connected with the assault on Petersburg, July 30, 1864. The Senate adjourned till the 19th.

In the House, a resolution Mr. Holman, Ind.) was referred, directing the Secretary of War to furnish a copy of the order issued Dec. 21, 1863, in regard to troops enlisted on condition that they should be discharged when the regiments were mustered out of service ; also the order dated December, 1863, addressed to the Governor of Massachusetts, in regard to troops to fill up old regiments; and also to inform the House whether the principles there in announced have been applied to all soldiers mustered to fill up old regiments. A resolution (Mr. Mallory, Ky.) was offered, requesting the President to communicate all papers bearing on the arrest and imprisonment of Lieutenant-Colonel Jacobs and Colonel Weolford. The resolution, objected to, lies ever. The Senate bill was passed, providing for a special term of court for the District of Indiana. A resolution (Mr. Griswold, N. Y.) was adopted directing an investigation of all the facts as to the practical operation of the pension laws, as a system of permanent relief, and to inquire into the actual condition of the present invalids, and what measures should be passed to secure to them employment independent of pensions. A resolution (Mr. Cox, O.) was adopted that the Secretary of State communicate to this House at communications on file in his office, with reference to the difficulties upon the Northern borders, and which have not been referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs. A resolution Mr, Littlejohn, N. Y.) was referred, directing an inguiry as to the establishment of a Navy Yard at Oswego, New York. Mr. Schenck reported, from the Committee on Military Affairs, a bill for the better organization of the Subsistence Department. The Senate joint resolution was passed thanking Winslow and Cushing. A bill (Mr. Donnelly, Min.) was referred, reqeiring all persons applying for the benefit of the pre-emption and homestead laws to make oath that they had net deserted from the army, or resisted the draft, or secreted themselves to avoid being enrolled or drafted, or discouraged enlistments, and providing that whenever such offenses could be proved, the land claimed should revert to the Government Mr. Davis, of Maryland from the Committee on Foreign Affairs reported a resolution that Congress has a Constitutional right to an authoritative voice in declaring and prescribing the foreign policy of the United States, as well in the recognition of new Powers as in other matters, and it is the Constitutional duty of the President to respect that policy, not less in diplomatic relations than in the use of the National force when authorized by law, and the propriety of any declaration of foreign policy by Congress is sufficiently proved by the vote which pronounces it, and such proposition, while pending and undetermined, is not a fit topic of diplomatic explanation with any Foreign Power. The resolution was tabled, 69 to 63. Mr. Davis then asked to be relieved from service on the Committee on Foreign Relations. He said that the Secretary of State had, in the face of all Europe, slapped the House of Representatives its the face, in his correspondence with the French Government, and he asked the House whether it would not today assert its own dignity. Mr. Cox said if the house should excuse the gentleman from Maryland, he himself would ask to be excused from further service on the Committee on Foreign Affairs. Mr. Blaine, of Maine, said a parallel of history was sometimes worth looking at. The foreign correspondence with France had brought this question before the House. Three quarters of a century ago we had a difficulty with this same nation, and this difficulty resulted in giving us a precedent. The very same objections and appeals were made during the Administration of Washington by Genet, and pressed upon Jefferson, then Secretary of State, and he

called attention to the facts (reading them from the Life of Jefferson). Genet and Jefferson had discussed a friendly proposition which Genet had brought from his own nation, and said it ought not to be adopted without consulting Congress. Genet having got into a more moderate tone, Jefferson stopped him, and explained the functions of our Government, saying, " that all these questions belonged to the Executive Department; and even if Congress were in session they could not be referred to it." Genet asked "if Congress was not sovereign?" and

Jefferson said "No;" and that Congress was sovereign only in making laws, the Executive in executing, and the Judiciary in construing them. Said Genet, " Congress binds us to treaties and their observance." Jefferson said, " Not there are very few cases arising out of treaties of which Congress can take notice." Genet was satisfied. We have the same Constitution which existed at that day. He could not see any thing more mischievous than for Congress to plant itself on this resolution. By it we absolutely deny a concurrent power on the part of the Executive. It overturns the entire history of our Government, and sets out on an entirely new course. He thought the House justified its self-respect by laying the resolution on the table: Mr. Stevens, of Pennsylvania, said he was so obtuse that he had failed to see the least analogy between the cases cited by the gentleman from Maine. Jefferson very properly told Genet that Congress had no right to interfere with treaty stipulations for treaties, by the Constitution, are the supreme law of the land. This is the whole extent of the precedent. He could not see that it had any bearing on the question before them. The house refused to excuse Mr. Davis from further service on the Committee on Foreign Affairs. A bill (Mr. Ashley, O.) was introduced, and ordered to be printed, to guarantee to certain States, subverted or overthrown by rebellion, a republican form of government. Mr. Ashley gave notice that on the 6th of January next he would call up the pending joint resolution from the Senate, proposing a Constitutional amendment for the abolition of slavery throughout the country, and that he would demand a vote upon the resolution the Monday following. A bill was passed making appropriation for invalid and other pensions, and the bill making appropriations for the diplomatic and consular establishments, Also the joint resolution, giving the true construction and meaning to so much of the Internal Revenue Act as relates to the tax on tobacco and cigars, and in addition to the above, passed a bill providing that, in computing the three years allowed by the twenty-first section of the act entitled : " An act increasing temporarily the duties on imports, and for other purposes," approved July 14, 1862, for the withdrawal of goods from any public store or bonded warehouse for exportation to foreign countries, or transhipment to any part of the Pacific or western coast of the United States, if such exportation or transhipment of any goods shall enter for the whole or for any part of the said term of three years, have been prevented by reason of any order of the President of the United States, the time during which such exportation or transhipment of such goods shall have been so prevented as aforesaid, shall be excluded from the said computation. The House adjourned till the 19th.

December 19:

In the Senate, a bill (Mr. Grimes, Iowa) was referred, to create the rank of Vice-Admiral in the navy. A resolution (Mr. Doolittle, Wis.) was referred, authorizing the President to expend ten million of dollars, or as much thereof as might be necessary to build fortifications and floating batteries for the protection of lakes and frontiers against attacks of piratical and hostile expeditions organized in the British provinces by enemies of the United States. An interesting debate followed the introduction of this resolution. Mr. Sumner took the ground that the St. Alban's raid had for its purpose the embroiling of the United States in a war with England. He thought we ought not to be caught in the trap. We were in war, and though we ought never to cease to claim our just rights, it would be wiser to hold these claims in abeyance until eve had subdued the rebellion. A bill (Mr. Lane, Kansas) was referred, enabling the people of Colorado to form a State government. A bill (Mr. Henderson, Mo.) was referred to reimburse to the State of Missouri money expended for military purposes. A joint resolution (Mr. Henderson) was introduced to provide against the periodical invasion of Missouri by the rebels. Mr. Sumner's bill to remove the disqualification for carrying the mails on account of color was passed 21 to 5.

In the House, a bill was introduced to amend the Revenue laws by changing the time for levying the tax on whisky. Mr. Davis, of Maryland, again introduced the resolution laid on the table on the 15th, declaring the right of Congress to shape the foreign policy of the United States. It was passed. Mr. Stevens, from the Committee of Ways and Means, reported a bill to the effect that the act to provide internal revenue for the support of the Government, established June 30, 1864, be amended in the

fifty-fifth section by striking out the word "February" wherever it occurs, and inserting in lieu thereof "January." The second section provides that, in addition to the duty now imposed by law, all spirits of domestic production held for sale on the 1st of January, 1865, shall be subject to a duty of fifty cents per gallon. The clause levying an additional tax was struck out. The bill, thug altered, was passed. The House went into Committee of the Whole, when Mr. Spaulding, of Ohio, spoke of the President's Message, indorsing its principles in regard to slavery.


That Sherman acted wisely in committing to Thomas the campaign in Tennessee, Hood's recent crushing defeat amply testifies. As to the wisdom of his own separate course in attempting a march across three hundred miles of the enemy's territory that is demonstrated by the completely successful result. Sherman has reached Savannah, and, by the capture of Fort McAllister on the 13th, has succeeded in establishing communication between his army and Dahlgren's fleet. In a dispatch, dated on the evening of that day, he declares that his army is in splendid condition and " equal to any thing." He has not lost a wagon on the trip, but he has destroyed over two hundred mile, of rails, and consumed stores which were essential to the Confederate armies, He has gathered in a large supply of negroes, mules, horses, etc., and his teams are in better condition than when he set out. He has invested Savannah, which, according to his dispatch, has a garrison of 15,000, and a population of 25,000, The defense of Savannah has been committed to General Hardee.


On the 13th of December a grand naval and military expedition, under the command respectively of Admiral Porter and General Butler, left Hampton Roads for Wilmington. The fleet consists of 65 war vessels, including some of the most formidable ships in the navy. Six of these are iron-clads. Upward of a hundred transports accompany the expedition. There is also good supply of picket boats provided with torpedo machines. The Stromboli, the largest of our torpedo boats, is included in the list. Altogether the fleet mans 820 guns. General Weitzel accompanies General Butler. The expedition probably reached New Inlet on the 16th. The recent destruction of the Weldon Railroad was intended to prevent General Lee from transporting troops rapidly to the paint of attack.


Toward the close of November General Canby sent out expeditions from Vicksburg and Baton Rouge to co-operate with Sherman. The expedition from Vicksburg, consisting of 2000 cavalry under E. D. Ostrand, returned December 4. On the 27th this column, after having moved on Jackson, attacked and destroyed the Big Black bridge on the Mississippi Central Railroad. This movement cut Hood off from large quantities of supplies and stores which had been accumulated at Jackson Thirty miles of the track were destroyed, including culverts, and 2600 bales of cotton. The column from Baton Rouge, under General Davidson, advanced in the direction of Mobile.


A call has been made for three hundred thousand more men, to supply deficiencies occasioned by large credits allowed in the previous draft.


Our Minister to France, the Hon. William L. Dayton, died December 1, of apoplexy, while on a visit to the Hotel du Louvre, in Paris.

Burbridge, accompanied by Stoneman's command, has captured Bristol, in Breckinridge's rear, on the Virginia and East Tennessee Railroad. He then advanced up the railroad and took Abingdon. It was expected by the rebels that Saltville would be attacked.

Hood's official report of the battle of Franklin claims a victory, and the capture of 1000 prisoners. He admits the loss of one Major-General and five Brigadier-Generals killed, one Major-General and five Brigadiers wounded, besides Brigadier-General Gordon captured.



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