McClellan's Presidential Prospects


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, January 2, 1864

Harper's Weekly was published during the Civil War to keep the country informed on the critical events of the War. It contained fascinating first person reports of the battles and stunning illustrations drawn by eye-witnesses to the battles. Today, these newspapers serve as an incredible resource for those interested in this period of history.

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McClellan's Presidential Prospects

McClellan's Presidential Prospects


Death of General Buford

Flying Machines

Flying Machines

Christmas Story

Christmas Story

Germania Ford

Germania Ford


History of Flying Machines

Mine Run

Battle of Mine Run

Missionary Ridge

Battle of Missionary Ridge

Mine Run

Mine Run Battle

New Years

New Years Day

Fisk Hatch

Fisk & Hatch





[JANUARY 2, 1864.



THE Diagram on page 1, for which we are indebted to Mr. Ericsson, shows the interior of the Weehawken, and explains the cause of her loss, which, it will be seen, implies no want of adaptation for the purposes for which the vessel was designed. Lying at anchor in thirty feet water, during a storm, she shipped a heavy sea forward, which entered the fore-hatch, c, open at the time, filling the cable and anchor-rooms, p and s. She immediately began sinking by the head, the rolling of the vessel preventing this from being perceived by the officers and men, whose quarters were nearly amid-ships, and so went down before those on board were fairly aware of their danger.


ON page 1 we give portraits of FREDERICK VII., the late King of Denmark, and of his successor, CHRISTIAN IX., the present monarch. For more than four centuries the Danish kings have upon their accession assumed alternately the names of Christian and Frederick, laying aside, if necessary, their original names. Thus the late king's name was really Christian, but his father having been Christian, he took the title of Frederick, The name of the present king being Christian, he was under no necessity of making a change. On page 3 will be found a statement of the question of the Danish succession, which threatens to give rise to a European war. We here give a few points in the biography of the two monarchs. Frederick VII. was born in 1808, and ascended the throne upon the death of his father in 1848. Shortly after the commencement of his reign the Schleswig-Holstein war broke out, and the conduct of the king made him at the time extremely popular in Denmark. As a ruler he appears to have been able and patriotic. His personal character, however, was notoriously bad. He had been twice married and twice divorced before he became king. In 1850 he married "with the left hand" a woman who had been a governess, and opera dancer, and at last a milliner. He created her a baroness, and this affair lost him most of the popularity which he had won. He died on the 15th of November. Years ago it was evident that he would leave no legitimate children, and by treaty, to which the great European powers were parties, the proper heirs to the throne were passed over, and the succession vested in a remote kinsman, Prince Christian, who has now ascended the throne. The present king, who is father of the Princess of Wales and of the newly-elected King of Greece, was born in 1818. All accounts agree in representing his character to be every way admirable.



HARPER'S WEEKLY and MAGAZINE will be promptly and regularly delivered without extra charge at the residences of subscribers in New York and Brooklyn. Terms for either publication Three Dollars a Year. Both the WEEKLY and the MAGAZINE will be delivered to one address in these cities for Five Dollars a Year. A Title-Page and Table of Contents for Volume VII. can be had gratuitously from the principal News-Dealers.


THE gentlemen whose accession to political power depends upon the salvation of slavery are already casting about for available Presidential candidates. A year ago the nomination of Mr. Horatio Seymour was a foregone conclusion. But his obsequiousness to a murderous mob alarmed the most substantial of his supporters. They hate Abolitionism; but a civil magistrate who calls the most reckless and brutal criminals his friends appalls them. Mr. Seymour, so long as he made dull speeches merely, was to have been nominated as "a Conservative statesman." But Conservative statesmanship in practical operation during the days of July was a little too repugnant to the popular common-sense. The Conservative statesman committed political suicide upon the steps of the City Hall. His alternate, if circumstances should require a military candidate, was General McClellan.

Poor General McClellan! Charles Lamb tells an excellent story of the man at table who preserved a dignified silence and solemnity, which greatly impressed the company, until suet dumplings were brought in. Upon which the dignified science was broken by the earnest exclamation, "Them's the jockeys for me!" So General McClellan patiently kept silence while the mob cheered for him and Jeff Davis, and while Mr. Cox, the special advocate of Vallandigham, extolled him as the hope of the future. He held his tongue while every friend of the rebels praised him and every loyal man looked on in painful doubt. But when the Pennsylvania election came, and the rebel papers prayed for the success of Woodward, and Lee moved to support his chances, and the lackeys of slavery and rebel partisans strained every nerve for Woodward, and every loyal Union man in the land knew that his election would be equivalent to a victory over the Army of the Potomac, then the late leader of that army chose to break his long silence by declaring that Woodward was the candidate for him. Poor General McClellan! His letter was as fatal to his political hopes as Governer Seymour's speech. And he should hold his managers to strict account, for he not only threw himself but the enemies of the Government with whom he allied himself

off the track. He left them without a tolerable candidate

The moment General McClellan subordinated his military conduct to his political aspirations he was doomed. A more tragical campaign than his upon the Peninsula history does not record. Not three volumes of a thousand pages each can explain away the prolonged horrors of the Chickahominy swamps. "Here's the smell of the blood still: all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand." It was the penalty of not comprehending the war. He thought be could fight without hurting the enemy much; for it would not do to exasperate one's natural political allies. He would try fighting with one hand and waving the olive branch with the other. He was a well-meaning Captain of Engineers, of no remarkable military capacity, utterly spoiled by the touch of political intriguers who hoped to make him their tool.

Does any body suppose that the same game can be played with General Grant? General Grant is a soldier who does not believe in olive branches but in unconditional surrender. He is a citizen who comprehends the scope of the war, and knows and frankly says that liberty, Union, and peace are henceforward inseparable. His politics are the overthrow of the rebel army in the field, and the destruction of the cause that sends it there. He supports the Government and its policy. Would he have written a letter to help the election of Judge Woodward? Would a rebel mob in New York ever couple his name with that of Jeff Davis? Would the friends of Vallandigham, and of peace by submission to the rebels, ever count upon him or Horatio Seymour for their candidate? The revolutionary Tories in Connecticut would as soon have nominated Israel Putnam for Governor as the Copperheads of to-day would wish General Grant for President. And from whom then is his support to come?

Certainly not from the friends of the Government: for hearty and unconditional as is their admiration for General Grant's military services, they have no less regard for the civil services of Mr. Lincoln. No man at this moment has so sure a hold of the national heart as the President. It would as soon think of removing General Grant from command of his great army, because he is conquering the rebel host, as it would of setting aside Mr. Lincoln because his administration is restoring the Union. If the Presidential election took place next week, Mr. Lincoln would undoubtedly be returned by a greater majority than any President since Washington. And unless he is deserted by his great sagacity, or some huge military disaster befalls the country, or some serious blunder is committed by the Union men in Congress, his election is as sure as the triumph of the nation over the rebellion.


IT must make an English nobleman wince a little to answer a letter in which such a man as Louis Napoleon calls the Queen "my sister;" and the fine society of London can hardly help stealing a curious glance at Leicester Square, and wondering which of the queer figures there is next to turn up as an Emperor and King, and step from chaffering with his washer-woman to embracing the Queen at Windsor. Yet the response of Earl Russell to Louis Napoleon's invitation to a European Congress is the best state paper he has written for a long time. It is clear and conclusive, and dextrously eludes the French snare.

The invitation sets forth with the assertion that the Treaty of Vienna is destroyed, as well as modified and menaced. But the Englishman extorts the concession from the French minister that the treaty is still substantially in force, and then very strongly argues that although there are now, as always, disputed European questions, yet there is no reason to suppose that they could finally be settled by a Congress. He proceeds to the chief questions in detail—shows, for instance, that what the diplomatic concert of the three Powers has not been able to extract from Russia their union in a Congress can not effect. On the other hand, if the Congress demands and Russia refuses, as of course she will, what remains but humiliation for the Powers concerned or war? And how is that a peaceful solution of the question? With the same simplicity and force Earl Russell disposes of the Italian question.

If a mere expression of opinion would settle disputed points, a Congress would be desirable; but as that is an idle supposition, the plan becomes at once dangerous, instead of serviceable, to the public peace of Europe.

England has certainly no great reason to congratulate herself upon the part she has played in international congresses. The humiliation that followed the signing of the peace of Utrecht, in 1713, by Lords Oxford and Bolingbroke was renewed by the Treaty of Fontainebleau a half century later, when Lord Bute was minister. In the Congress of Vienna, in 1815, Lord Castlereagh took the high Tory strain, and cast the influence of England against the people of Europe; while in 1823 Mr. Canning reluctantly sent his representatives to Verona, who in vain protested against the Holy Alliance which carried

out its policy by war. As Lord Russell truly says, the proposed Congress would, upon any really difficult point, very soon be brought in full view of the alternative of nullity or war.

Great Britain declining, and Russia standing aloof, the Congress is already an abortive scheme. If Russia's policy in Poland is to be changed, it must be by war. If Austria is to release Venice it must be by compulsion. If the great neighbors of Europe are to reduce their armaments, it must be by sudden conversion to the doctrine of non-resistance. The whole plan is but a transparent device of Louis Napoleon to establish a new prestige of power. He feels that he must retrieve what Mr. Cobden calls his greatest mistake—the invasion of Mexico. For as the Holy Alliance which made war upon Spain then intended to settle the Spanish and Mexican question upon this continent by armed intervention, and were restrained only by the Monroe declaration, supported by Great Britain, so Louis Napoleon unquestionably meant to propose to his Congress to sanction his little Mexican episode, if not to suggest a settlement of our war.


MR. FERNANDO WOOD, who regretted that he could not send arms to Mr. Toombs for the purpose of overthrowing the Government, calls the assertion of the lawful authority of that Government a "bloody, destructive, and inhuman war." Some fifty-seven members of Congress vote not to lay his resolution upon the table. Do they think it justly describes this struggle? Do gentlemen like Mr. Odell, for instance, who have most unflinchingly supported the war—who have spoken for it—who have used their influence to recruit soldiers for it—who have persuaded sons to leave their parents, husbands their wives, and lovers their sweet-hearts, to fight for their country—sincerely believe the war to be inhuman? On what ground did they sustain an inhuman war? By what arguments did they persuade mothers to send their sons to an inhuman war? How do they justify their votes appropriating money to prosecute a bloody, destructive, and inhuman war? Is this struggle less sacred than that of the Revolution; and can these gentlemen imagine Washington and his friends describing the war they waged as destructive and inhuman?

Mr. Fernando Wood's view of the war and of the doctrine of State rights was set forth at Bergen. Do such gentlemen as Mr. Odell acknowledge the leadership of a man holding those views? Mr. Wood declares that the Government has no right to prosecute the war, because it has no right to coerce States. That is the philosophy of his proposition for Commissioners to Richmond, and it is also the ground taken by Davis and the conspirators. Do the gentlemen of whom we speak regret their support of the war? Do they believe that States have the right to secede? If not, why do they vote not to lay upon the table a proposition which means just that, and which comes from a man who believes it?

It is hardly an answer to say that they merely voted not to lay it upon the table, and might have voted against it directly; for so infamous a proposition should be rejected in the most decisive way, and to lay it upon the table is to treat it with instant and merited contempt.

There are times in which every man's vote is strictly scrutinized to see whether he prefers the unconditional surrender of the rebels or or the Government. There is no middle ground. Wood's plan is to ascertain what Davis wants, and then to give it to him. The plan of the people of this country is to make Davis submit unconditionally to the authority of the United States. If a sincere Union man tries to stand with his old party he will inevitably find himself, as every one of the fifty-eight did, many of them intentionally, voting aid and comfort to the rebellion.


IN a late speech by Mr. John McKeon, as reported in the newspapers, we find these words. "I see the coming storm, and believe sincerely to-day that when the knife is taken from the threats of the Southern people it will be turned to the throat of every Catholic in the North."

In a late resolution offered at Mozart Hall by Mr. Fernando Wood, as also reported in the newspapers, we find these words: "The first [M'Keon] is a noisy little brainless demagogue."


OUR blue-nosed neighbors in Halifax have been enjoying high sport. A party of pirates, having gone upon an American steamer secretly armed, rose against the defenseless passengers, seized the ship, and murdered the engineer, and having put into a British port, were captured and brought to Halifax. Thereupon the inhabitants can not conceal their admiration for such gallant heroes, and mobbing the officers, release these brave men, and carry them off in triumph.

Really, upon a fair view there seems to be nothing very heroic in an armed band of desperadoes overpowering unarmed passengers and killing an engineer. But there is no accounting for tastes. If these mere pirates who had killed only one man and stolen a ship are so honored by the Blue Noses, what an ovation they would have given Hunt, who lately murdered his wife and two children in a cab in London! Hunt's murder was much the more heroic of the two, for he did it in the midst of a crowded street at evening. The passengers and crew upon whom the Chesapeake pirates rose were equally defenseless with Hunt's wife and children; but there was no possible help at sea, as there was in a street.

The Halifax heroes are said to have produced some commission of Mr. Jefferson Davis. What then? Suppose they had set upon the engineer in Broadway at midnight, and had shot him there instead of on the deck of the Chesapeake, upon the ground that Jefferson Davis was at war with the citizens of the United States, would Davis's commission have saved their necks from the halter? Is poor Halifax so sadly short of heroes that any man who under any circumstances murders another is enough to excite its enthusiasm, provided only the crime be done in the interest of human slavery?

"Prominent citizens" held the officers or the law while the criminals were carried off. They were British citizens, and they defied the British law. If British law can not vindicate its authority we, of course, have no remedy. The Extradition Treaty gives us the persons of criminals. But if the authorities can not find them, or if they suffer them to be concealed without inquiry, we can not compel another power to enforce its own municipal law. Pat it did not need this bald outrage to prove the hatred with which the Blue Noses regard us. We wish them joy of their heroism and their heroes.


THE great argument against emancipation with the more ignorant part of the people has been that the free States would be overrun with colored laborers who would take the work out of the hands and the bread out of the mouths of white men. It is now a year since the policy was proclaimed and the slaves freed. There are thousands of poor fugitives within our lines for whom every kind heart will do what it can—but are we overrun? Are laborers of any kind too numerous? Are wages hopelessly low? Is it not perfectly clear that the assertion of danger to the laboring interest at the North was the merest political fiction.

It was part of that policy to which the rump of a great party has been reduced, the policy of attaining and securing power by appeals to the prejudices and passions of the most ignorant citizens.

The only distinctive and true democracy is that which asserts the original American principle, that every man is born with certain rights which society is bound to respect. But the faction which still calls itself the Democratic party is distinguished chiefly by its frank contempt for human rights. Its chief effort is to inflame Irishmen against negroes. What a lofty endeavor! What a noble party! How secure the honor, peace, and prosperity of the country would be were they only confided to such hands!


MUCH of the value of public meetings in the city of Now York is lost for two reasons. The first is, that nobody believes the speakers who are announced will really address the meeting; and the other is, that every body knows half of the gentlemen whose names are used as vice-presidents, in order to give weight to the proceedings, have never been consulted upon the subject. It is no excuse to say that a man is known to sympathize with the object of a meeting. So he might be known to be generous enough to subscribe money for that object. But what should we say of the friend so confident of his generosity as to forge his name to a cheek? To use a man's name without his permission is always a kind of forgery.

A famous popular orator—we think it was Mr. Beecher—whose name had been announced without his permission as a speaker at a meeting, went quietly to the church and took a back seat. After some time the chairman rose and said that he regretted extremely that Mr. Beecher, who had been expected, was not present. Upon which a voice called out from the neighborhood of the door, "Mr. Beecher is present. But he was not expected, for he was never asked." He then proceeded to castigate the committee and the practice, and having made a speech rather different from that set down in the programme, took his hat and departed. It would be a useful corrective of a bad habit if gentlemen who are advertised without permission to address meetings would publicly announce before the meeting took place that they had not been invited and would not speak.


THERE has been a great deal of sharp and contemptuous censure of the late lord Mayor of London, who complained to Lord Palmerston that he had not been ennobled, as having been the civic chief at the time of the reception of the Prince and Princess of Wales by the City of London. He contended that it was one of the perquisites of his office, and implied that he could not overlook the slight lest it should prove a precedent for future insults to the city. The papers were very humorous about it. "It is not for services of china," said one, "but for another kind of service that the Queen ennobles her subjects." "Indeed," says another, naming certain noblemen famous only for being dependents of lords in the Government, "and what, pray, are the services for which they have been favored?"

But the late Lord Mayer has distinguished precedents beyond the city. When Lord George Germain, who was American Secretary during our Revolution, was compelled to resign by the surrender of Cornwallis and the failure of the war, the King asked his if he could do any thing to show his gratitude for his services. Upon which Lord George answered very promptly that if his Majesty would raise him to the peerage it would be a very pretty reward. The King assented, and Lord George, in for a penny in for a pound, added that since his Majesty was so gracious, he would perhaps allow him to say that he would like to be created a viscount. The King smiled, and assented again, asking him what title he would choose. Lord George,




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