New Years Day


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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.

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




McClellan's Presidential Prospects

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Death of General Buford

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New Years Day

You are viewing an original 1864 illustration of New Years Day by Thomas Nast.  The picture compares and contrasts the state of affairs in the North and the South during the Civil War year of 1864.  The left of the pictures presents scenes of happiness and joy in the North.  Union Soldiers are pictures on Furlough, celebrating the new year with their family.  A small inset image shows former slaves celebrating their recent emancipation.  Children are seen happy and playing.  A picture of a union soldier shows him to be well fed, clothed and equipped.

In contrast, the images on the right show the sad state of affairs in the South at this time. A woman and several children are shown weeping and grieving over a fresh grave . . . presumably that of the woman's husband, and the father of the children.  A rebel soldier is seen in a tattered uniform, unable to protect himself from the bitter cold. 

The upper inset image implies a spiritual component to the Civil War, with scenes of heavenly and demonic beings pitted against one another.

With the 1864 presidential campaign about to get underway, and with the Democratic Party arguing strongly for Compromise with the South, Thomas Nast used this illustration to remind people of what had been accomplished, and how victory was close at hand, if the country would stay the course.




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