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Civil War Harper's Weekly, January 30, 1864

This site features an online archive of our collection of original Harper's Weekly newspapers. Harper's weekly was the most important source of news during the Civil War. Today, these newspapers are used by serious students and researchers go gain deeper insights into the war.

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




Slave Children

Slave Children

Gilmore Shells Charleston

White Slavery

Armstrong Gun

Armstrong Gun

Rebel Submarine

Rebel Submarine

Launch of the Minotaur

Remington Revolver Ad

Soldier in the Snow

White Slaves

White Slaves

New York's Central Park

Central Park





JANUARY 30, 1864.]



doubled up as no living man could lie, as he had been flung headlong from the window. The struggle he had overheard was fearfully accounted for.

"The fool forgot the window!" sneered the robber, his fair face distorted like a fiend's. "Let other fools take warning. Look here!"

He made a sudden movement, as though to leap through the window; but, checking himself suddenly, slipped under the officer's uplifted arm, and, making one bound toward the door, disappeared. Quick and unexpected as the action was, the ready officer had drawn a pistol and fired, even as the door was flung in his face. Then he dashed after. There was an alarm below; there were shouts, and the rattles of the watch, as these latter, roused by the attack of the police upon the house, hastened to contribute their quota of noise if not of assistance. The alarmed inhabitants of the place, which wore the appearance of a low lodging-house, ran to and fro in wild confusion. They were collected, and placed in custody for the moment, while the house was searched from top to bottom. All, however, was in vain. There was no trace of the fugitive nobleman. By what outlet he had escaped no one could divine. Gone he was—and there an end!

Burning with rage and disappointment, Armour hastened round to the rear of the house where he had seen the body of the murdered spy. There it still lay. They lifted it up. The clothes were his sure enough, but the body was represented by a brown pillow. Lord Lob had himself enacted the part of one of his own gang.

"Done, and doubly done!" growled Mr. Armour, as he moved disconsolately home.



NO. I.

OF the many beneficent organizations which the spirit of sympathy with the army has originated undoubtedly the Sanitary Commission possesses by far the greatest capabilities for usefulness, and has accomplished the largest work in the direction of relieving the wants and promoting the comfort of the soldier. Comprehensive and minute in its operations, methodical to a fault, reaching every where, and for the most part extending its aid where no other agency could penetrate, it watches over and cares for the sick, the wounded, and the suffering with the solicitude of parental affection; provides for the comfort and health of the soldier in camp, flies to his relief after every battle, nurses him in the hospital, brings to him in every relation something of the comforts of home, and compels him to feel that his country is not forgetful of his necessities nor indifferent to his services. Co-operating in every thing with the Government this Commission is yet peculiarly the representative of the popular instinct and purpose. It is emphatically the PEOPLE'S minister and almoner in the work of administering relief and consolation. It distributes their clothing, medicines, fruits, vegetables; it repeats their words of cheer and encouragement; it presents the spectacle of their noble sympathy to the soldier's waiting eye. From every corner of the land contributions have poured into and through its treasury to those whose valor has given a new lustre to our flag. The rich have given their thousands; the poor, where money could not be sent, have bestowed such supplies of clothing as they could spare from their scanty wardrobes; the gifted have lent their pens and voices, the unlearned the labor of their hands to the promotion of the common object. From the backwoods the adventurous settlers, in suits of homespun, have driven into market loads of wood, of potatoes, apples, and other fruits, that they might realize something to contribute to this Commission. In the cities noble-hearted women have gathered the dribblets of charity into common channels of benevolence, organizing fairs, concerts, and what not in aid of this cause. In the still darkness of many a night, in lonely farm-houses, and at pleasant hamlet firesides, nimble fingers have worked rejoicingly in the preparation of garments for the lorn and suffering one, in field and garrison; in chill fields, on rustling country slopes, with the same end in view, bronzed and horny hands have "husked" through busy days shocks of yellow corn, heaping the affluent ears in shining mounds, thoughts of the good the proceeds of the labor would do the soldier making warm and glad the hearts beating under the huskers' ragged jackets.

The actual magnitude of the work performed by the people through this Commission can not, of course, be expressed in words. But an approximate estimate has been made, in a late report of the Assistant Secretary, from which it can be stated that the gifts of the women of the country, made through the Commission, exceed in value the sum of $7,000,000. The whole amount, in money, received by the Treasurer of the Commission up to the 1st of October last, was $857,715.33, which has been swelled, including the receipts of the recent great Fairs at Boston, Cincinnati, and Chicago, to certainly more than $1,000,000. These statements, however, by no means present any adequate idea of the results achieved; labors have been performed and services rendered to which no mere money value can be attached. The present expenditures of the Commission, with quiet every where in our armies, amount to $45,000 a month; hundreds of men needing "special relief" are daily cared for at the "homes" it has established; and almost hourly, at some point in the extended theatre of military operations, fresh demands are made upon its resources and met. Not only do its steamboats and wagon teams follow the army every where, but its agents are constantly employed in the equally important works of sanitary and hospital inspection, and the like, the results of which, as revealed in the physical condition of the soldier, no arithmetic could probably estimate.

But while the country will never know, in any adequate degree, what has really been accomplished through this Commission, certain specific results

will undoubtedly be discovered to the public which will amply confirm its title to a place in history. Some results of this character are already developed, and a few of these—as illustrating the vast achievements which must ever remain unknown, and as showing the benefits the Commission has conferred—we shall enumerate in this and succeeding papers.


The work of the Commission at Gettysburg, in July last, was a type of that which it has performed on every important battle-field since the war commenced. With the first news of the battle a depot was established at Westminster, the nearest point of railroad communication. From that place supplies were pushed forward, under fire, to reach the wounded on the left wing of the army, and a large amount of special supplies was also distributed to the corps hospitals, and to scattering groups of wounded on the field, long before any supplies arrived by railroad. Immediately after the battle a Lodge was established on the field, and this became at once the centre of a system of distribution, whose results were most beneficent.

At the railroad depot in the town, the Commission had large tents erected for the reception and refreshment of the wounded when brought in from the distant hospitals. They had also large store-tents filled to repletion with all manner of supplies. A cook-house was erected and fitted up with caldrons, stoves, and a steam apparatus, all of which were in constant operation day and night, ten cooks and between thirty and forty attendants being employed in preparing and dealing out such nourishment as the circumstances admitted. All possible appliances, indeed, which long experience and considerate forethought could anticipate for so extreme a necessity, such as clothes, crutches, shoes, pads, pillows, splints, lint, bandages, and every kind of stimulant were furnished with unceasing diligence and attention. Some of the Commission agents, moreover, labored in the dressing of wounds which the surgeons on the field had been unable to give proper attention; and scores of lives were in this way, it is believed, saved to the country. Before leaving on the trains every wounded soldier had his canteen filled with water, and was supplied with an extra cup of coffee, soup, or broth, as was preferred; subsequently, when the corps hospitals had been relieved of all who were able to be removed a long distance, the more seriously wounded were gathered up by the agents of the Commission, and carried to Camp Letterman, where they established a permanent station, co-operating for a long time afterward with the corps of army surgeons and nurses in the work of relief.


Of course such care as the Commission bestowed on the wounded and the sick deeply affected the majority of those to whom even a cup of cold water was a blessing. One who was present during the whole time the Commission labored in that field says, that of all the sixteen thousand who were transported during their stay not one went away without a comfortable meal; and all, rebels and Unionists alike, were full of gratitude. The rebels seemed especially grateful—the more so, no doubt, as they had been taught to expect very different treatment. Often the men would say, when their wounds were dressed, "That feels so good, I haven't been so cared for since I left home." After the wounds were attended to the men were dressed in clean clothes—socks, slippers, shirts, drawers, and often dressing-gowns, the latter seeming to afford especial delight to the recipients. Lying in clean and comfortable rows—"on dress parade" as they called it—every face, as the nurses passed to and fro, seemed luminous, every hurt and loss was forgotten in the fervent gratitude inspired by the manifestations of interest in their behalf.

Among the contributions sent to the field by a town in New York State was a quantity of cologne. This seemed to reach the hearts of the men quite as quickly as their noses. "Isn't that good, now?" "That kinder gives a fellow life!" and similar exclamations, ran from tent to tent as the bottles were tipped on the clean handkerchiefs, which some other thoughtful aid society had furnished.

The touching incidents which the delegates of the Commission report from this bloody field are, of course, varied and numerous.


Late one afternoon, too late for the cars, a train of ambulances arrived at the Lodge of the Commission with over 100 wounded rebels to be cared for during the night. Many of them were but slightly injured, but one of the number, a Lieutenant, was so weak and faint that it seemed impossible to do any thing to restore him. In appearance he seemed a mere boy, with a clear, innocent face, bright blue eyes, and hair that any New England girl might have worn with pride. One of the nurses took him in charge; but he wanted nothing; he had not been willing to eat for days, his comrades said. Finally, however, he was induced to take a little gruel, which he keenly relished; so much so that for hours afterward he talked of his "good supper," thanking his attendants over and over again for their kindness. But all the while he was growing weaker, and at midnight a change came; and from that time he thought and prattled only of the old days before he was a soldier, when he sang hymns in his father's church. He sang them now again, in a clear, sweet voice, that had the deep longing of a sick soul in it. "Lord, have mercy on me!" he cried now and then; then songs without words—a sort of low intoning—rippled from his pale lips. His father was a Lutheran clergyman in South Carolina; and the lessons of his childhood were floating back upon him in the dark hours through which he was going down into the deeper shadow. All the day following the nurses watched him, sometimes fighting his battles over, often singing his Lutheran chants, till suddenly, at the tent door, close to which, he lay, appeared a rebel soldier, just arrived with other prisoners. He started when he saw the Lieutenant, and, hurriedly kneeling by him, called

him by name; but the ears were deaf then to the call of love. Then, rising, he told the attendants that the Lieutenant's brother was wounded and a prisoner not far away; upon which some of the party started after him, returning not long after, carrying him in their arms. But he too was a stranger to Henry—for so the Lieutenant was called; and the comer lay down at his side on the straw, and there remained for the rest of the day, the little group gathered around watching and listening to the strong, clear voice singing, "Lord, have mercy upon me!" The Lord, looking down, had mercy. The day faded, and the night came on; but with the sunset the troubled heart grew still, and the stars, opening their soft eyes, saw only a pale face with the death dews on it in the midst of the group. A rude coffin was obtained, and the body placed in it; but all night long the wounded brother lay close against it, as if unwilling to be separated even from the ashes of him whose feet had pattered right beside his own all the way up from childhood to the borders of that river which all must cross some solemn day. But in the morning duty called—the prisoners must march; and, with tears on his face, the bereaved one went away with his comrades, leaving Henry to be buried by those who had so tenderly cared for him while living; first, however, thanking them all for what they had done, and giving them all he had to show his gratitude, namely, a palmetto ornament from the dead brother's cap and a button from his coat. That same morning Henry was laid away to his long sleep, a surgeon of the Commission reading the burial service, and a delegate writing his name on the little head-board of his narrow bed: "Lieutenant Rauch, Fourteenth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers."


Among the wounded soldiers who one night came into the Commission Lodge was an elderly man, sick, injured, and crazy, singing and talking constantly of home. The attendants did what they could for him, pleasing him especially with a present of a red flannel shirt, drawers, and red calico dressing-gown, in which he dressed himself, and then wrote to his wife, giving the letter to one of the nurses to mail for him. The next morning he was sent away with a detachment of the wounded, and his case was almost forgotten, when, in the early evening, two tired women appeared at the Lodge, who proved to be his wife and sister. They had come hurriedly from their home to meet him, and had arrived just too late. He had been crazy before the war, his wife said, but not for ten years past. He had been yearning to get home after having been wounded, and had written to his wife to come and carry him away. It seemed almost the wildest insanity for two lone, timid women, who had never been away from their own quiet town, to undertake to find a soldier among so many sent in so many different directions; but the persons at the Lodge helped them all they could, giving them all the information in their possession, and so they started on their search. A week passed, and nothing was heard of either husband or wife; then there came a letter full of gratitude, saying that the lost had been found, and would soon be home again with his dear ones around him to console by tender ministrations for all pains and all losses.


Another night two fathers with their wounded sons and an old German mother with her boy arrived at the Commission Camp, and were furnished its advantages. The old mother had come all the way from Wisconsin, bringing with her a patch-work bed-quilt for her son, thinking he might have lost his blanket; and that night, as he lay in the Lodge, that quilt covered him, and the mother's hand soothed and ministered to him, her kind eyes looking into his, all the deep affection of her soul shining through them. The old woman was intensely patriotic. She had three sons, she said, in the army; one had been killed, and this boy wounded; but she counted her sacrifices as nothing; "she'd be a soldier herself if she could." How the sublime devotion and unselfish patriotism of this noble woman—and of thousands like her all through the land—should shame the miserable cowards who, in nooks and corners, and sometimes openly in the market-place, declaim against this righteous war, and clamor for a peace involving the dishonor and lasting humiliation of the nation.



To the Editor of Harper's Weekly:

THE group of emancipated slaves whose portraits I send you were brought by Colonel Hanks and Mr. Philip Bacon from New Orleans, where they were set free by General Butler. Mr. Bacon went to New Orleans with our army, and was for eighteen months employed as Assistant-Superintendent of Freedmen, under the care of Colonel Hanks. He established the first school in Louisiana for emancipated slaves, and these children were among his pupils. He will soon return to Louisiana to resume his labor.

REBECCA HUGER is eleven years old, and was a slave in her father's house, the special attendant of a girl a little older than herself. To all appearance she is perfectly white. Her complexion, hair, and features show not the slightest trace of negro blood. In the few months during which she has been at school she has learned to read well, and writes as neatly as most children of her age. Her mother and grandmother live in New Orleans, where they support themselves coumfortshly by their own labor. The grandmother, an intelligent mulatto, told Mr. Bacon that she had "raised" a large fanmily of children, but these are all that are left to her.

ROSINA DOWNS is not quite seven years old. She is a fair child, with blonde complexion and silky hair. Her father is in the rebel army. She has one sister as white as herself, and three brothers who are darker. Her mother, a bright mulatto, lives in New Orleans in a poor hut, and has hard work to support her family.

CHARLES TAYLOR is eight years old. His complexion is very fair, his hair light and silky. Three out of five boys in any school in New York are darker than he. Yet this white boy, with his mother, as he declares, has been twice sold as a slave. First by his father and "owner," Alexander Wethers, of Lewis County, Virginia, to a slave-trader named Harrison, who said them to Mr. Thornhill of New Orleans. This man fled at the approach of our army, and his slaves were liberated by General Butler. The boy is decidedly intelligent, and though he has been at school less than a year he reads and writes very well. His mother

is a mulatto; she had one daughter sold into Texas before she herself left Virginia, and one son who, she supposes, is with his father in Virginia.

These three children, to all appearance of unmixed white race, came to Philadelphia last December, and were taken by their protector, Mr. Bacon, to the St. Lawrence Hotel on Chestnut Street. Within a few hours, Mr. Bacon informed me, he was notified by the landlord that they must leave. The children, he said, had been slaves, and must therefore be colored persons, and he kept a hotel for white people. From this hospitable establishment the children were taken to the "Continental," where they were received without hesitation.

WILSON CHINN is about 60 years old, he was "raised" by Isaac Howard of Woodford County, Kentucky. When 21 years old he was taken down the river and sold to Volsey B. Marmillion, a sugar planter about 45 miles above New Orleans. This man was accustomed to brand his negroes, and Wilson has on his forehead the letters "V. B. M." Of the 210 slaves on this plantation 105 left at one time and came into the Union camp. Thirty of them had been branded like cattle with a hot iron, four of them on the forehead, and the others on the breast or arm.

AUGUSTA BROUJEY is nine years old. Her mother, who is almost white, was owned by her half-brother, named Solamon, who still retains two of her children.

MARY JOHNSON was cook in her master's family in New Orleans. On her left arm are scars of three cuts given to her by her mistress with a rawhide. On her back are scars of more than fifty cuts given by her master. The occasion was that one morning she was half an hour behind time in bringing up his five o'clock cup of coffee. As the Union army approached she ran away from her master, and has since been employed by Colonel Hanks as cook.

ISAAC WHITE is a black boy of eight years; but none the less intelligent than his whiter companions. He has been in school about seven months, and I venture to say that not one boy in fifty would have made as much improvement in that space of time.

ROBERT WHITEHEAD—the Reverend Mr. Whitehead perhaps we ought to style him, since he is a regularly-ordained preacher—was born in Baltimore. He was taken to Norfolk, Virginia, by a Dr. A. F. N. Cook, and sold for $1525; from Norfolk he was taken to New Orleans, where he was bought for $1775 by a Dr. Leslie, who hired him out as house and ship painter. When he had earned and paid over that sum to his master, he suggested that a small present for himself would be quite appropriate. Dr. Leslie thought the request reasonable, and made him a donation of a whole quarter of a dollar. The reverend gentleman can read and write well, and is a very stirring speaker. Just now he belongs to the church militant, having enlisted in the United States army.

A large photograph of the whole group which you reproduce has been taken, and cartes de visite of the separate figures. They are for sale at the rooms of the National Freedman's Relief Association, No, 1 Mercer Street, New York, or I will send them by mail on receipt of the price: $1 for the large picture, 25 cents each for the small ones. The profits to go to the support of the
schools in Louisiana.      C. C. LEIGH.


ON the 8th of December last, at Santiago, the capital of Chili, there occurred a tragedy which, in its kind, finds scarcely a parallel in history.

We give on page 65 engravings of THE CHURCH OF THE COMPANIA AND ITS RUINS, front photographs kindly sent to us by CHARLES S. RAND, Esq., Secretary of Legation. Ever since 1857, when the mystery of the Immaculate Conception was born at Rome, this church has celebrated by the most magnificent of festivals the "Month of Mary," beginning with the 8th of November and ending with the 8th of December, under the auspices of the priest Ugarte, who stands at the head of the Sisterhood (or Daughters of the Virgin), in which were enrolled nearly all the ladies of the fashionable capital. For thirty days had this festival been going on, prodigal of splendor, until it was now about to culminate in an illumination which Ugarte had promised the Roman Nuncio should outrival those of Rome herself. The lighting up had taken from mid-afternoon, for there were over twenty thousand lights, mostly camphene; and in the mean time the church had been filling to its utmost capacity, until, at quarter past seven, it contained more than three thousand women and a few hundred men, all in a kneeling posture, the church, unlike those to which we are accustomed, being without pews. Over the altar was an image representing Murillo's Madonna of the Immaculate Conception, her feet resting upon a crescent, which, being illuminated, became a crescent of fire. But no sooner so than, from one extremity, by the overflowing of the gas, a stream of flame issued forth, catching into a blaze the flimsy transparency above, and stretching upward toward the tinsel and gauze with which the roof was decorated, followed the prevailing current of air till a sheet of flame surmounted the kneeling multitude below. Those in the centre were the first to appreciate the peril, and rushed toward the entrance, over those who, still kneeling near the door, were anxious to retain their places, and thus an obstacle was placed in the way of those attempting to escape, who in their haste became hopelessly entangled in each other's dresses, while those still in the rear, hurried by the hurrying flames, pushed on and became themselves entangled above the double embankment of bodies underneath. There were but two avenues of escape, and before these lay the impassable heaps which we have just described, barring all egress. More than two thousand women, most of them girls between fifteen and twenty years of age, were thus imprisoned beyond all hope of escape, when the lamps above, burnt loose from their fastenings, fell among the agonized throng of maidens, sowing new seeds of fire in their very garments. Now the interior became one mass of flame, and the living embankment closing the doors writhed as with one combined muscular effort, until it was so compactly wedged together that the few persons who could be drawn out were saved with great difficulty, and often with the loss of an arm or of life itself. And while this terrible tragedy was being enacted in the church, Ugarte and his fellows were in the vestry—the door being locked to prevent escape in that direction—looking out for the safety of a few gewgaws of their own. It was not long before the entire roof fell through with a crash, and the huge belfry stood wrapped in flames, illuminating the ghastly scene beneath—a scene which we will not attempt to describe, for who can paint the agonies of the dying within, or the charred ruin which Death leaves behind him? or who can portray the feelings of fathers and mothers and brothers, who stood without, looking upon the loved forms which, just at the door, defied all attempts at rescue?




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