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Civil War Harper's Weekly, July 30, 1864

This site features an online archive of our extensive collection of original Harper's Weekly newspapers. These papers are full of incredible content, including eye-witness drawings of the key elements of the War. Reading these newspapers will give you a better appreciation of this important period of American History.

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William Fessenden


Drought Poem

Rebel Poetry

Rebel Poetry

Rebel Raid

Rebel Raid



Great Fire

The Great Brooklyn Fire



John Bull

John Bull Cartoon


Battle of Marietta

Destroying Railroad








[JULY 30, 1864.


(Previous Page) shipping in the vicinity caught fire but experienced no serious damage. We give in the illustration a representation of the boats towing out the Russian frigate from the point of danger. The entire loss, merely considering the contents of the warehouses, sums up to nearly a million of dollars. Large business houses and private cottages in the vicinity were seriously damaged. When the explosion commenced there was a panic on Furman Street which it is impossible to describe. Mothers were running about with their babies, and the street was filled with furniture, and the greatest excitement prevailed.


THE sky is brass, the lordly sun

Looks down with a fiery eye, The shallow rivers scarcely run,

The streamlet's bed is dry.

The meadow's crust is stiff and hard, The trees have a sombre hue,

The threadbare coat of the rusty sward Needs patching with verdure anew.

Still bearing down, still staring down, The remorseless rays are cast,

And scorching hamlet and seething town Both swoon in their fiery blast.

The dust lies thick in the village road, The cattle crowd to the muddy pool,

The swarming flies high revel hold—Drowsily buzzes the village school.

Oh heavily droops the bearded grain, The summer flowers wilt and die,

And stretch their tiny stems in vain To the clouds for tears of sympathy

None come ; but the sound men ache to hear
Is the hurtling rush of the arrowy rain

Hurling its cohorts from far and near On roof-tree and window-pane.

A thousand tongues for its coming pray,

A thousand hearts for its advent long: Oh come and chase our gloom away--

Descend, and fill the land with song !

July 20, 1864.


SATURDAY, JULY 30, 1864.

THE Government calls for more men. The call has been long expected, and will be greeted with satisfaction by every loyal citizen. True wisdom consists in reinforcing ourselves upon every point at the very moment that the rebellion is straining its utmost strength against us : nor should any man forget for an instant the greatness of the work in which we are engaged.

We are fighting with a section which has no other thought or interest than the war. Every man who can bear arms or do any work whatever is dragged into the service. As a resident of the South writes to the Hartford Press : "The infirm even are not exempt from the practical operation of the conscription. The lame, the halt, and the blind, almost, are taken. They are food for cannon, and a diseased man fills a ditch as well as another   The reign of terror keeps down in a great measure home opposition ......There is no instance in history of a more centralized despotism than that of the so called Confederacy." The whole rebel region eats, drinks, and thinks war. It has no commerce; it has no trade. It raises its own food, and it agrees to consider brown paper money. Its soldiers are seized and forced to fight as long as the war lasts, at small wages or none. Its disaffected, the men who tacitly oppose the rebellion as our Copperheads favor it, are hunted and tortured and shot and hung. The rebellion has the fierceness, the unity, and the tyranny of a savage despotism.

It is very clear that we shall not put down such a rebellion by swinging our heels and grumbling at the Government. We shall not do it by counting our superior numbers and calculating our greater resources. We shall do it only by bringing those numbers and resources to bear. At this moment, when the rebellion is playing its most strenuous and desperate game, the Government wants men. Why do we not see that they are supplied, instead of sneering that we ought to have them ? The rebels dash over the border into Maryland. " Why does the Government allow it ?" somebody indignantly asks. The chances are that the somebody who says so has neither been to the war, nor sent a substitute, nor tried to do so, and that he pays his income-tax with a groan or an oath.

Our business is not to sneer and grumble at the Government, but to help it. If somebody stops in his growling to say that it is useless to trust men or money to such a Government, then somebody merely reasons in a circle. For why grumble at a Government for not doing what you will not give it the means to do? But besides reasoning in a circle, somebody implies that the men are not put to good service. But if serving with GRANT and SHERMAN, with FARRAGUT and WINSLOW is not good service, what is?

Those eminent philanthropists, the " Conservatives," who massacred negroes last summer, declare that the wicked Government is piling up hecatombs of our fellow-citizens to glut its fierce lust of political power. But is an armed rebellion, of the scope of this, to be gently patted down with olive branches or extinguished with smooth drivel?

The Government asks us all to stand by it in this great war, with men and money. While the armies penetrate Georgia and Virginia it asks an army for the frontier—an army of reserves. To make assurance sure it must have the great reserve of the country to call upon at any moment. Every arm-bearing man in the free States who cares enough for his country to fight for it at need should be enrolled and drilled every week. When Captain WINSLOW'S crew shipped in the Kearsarge twenty-five of them could scarcely stir the eleven-inch Parrotts. After a season of steady drill they whipped them about like marline-spikes. Let us be drilled, and our raw militia becomes the skillful crew. The pirate SEMMES says he hoped to board the Kearsarge. The brave tars of that glorious ship were trained for exactly that attempt, and longed for the rebs to try it. Let us be trained, and when the rebs try boarding the free States we shall show them, likewise, that we have them just where we want them.

The tortoise outran the hare because he meant to win. Our enemy is equally in earnest. Let us be in earnest, and not go to sleep again in Pennsylvania and Maryland, and we shall take the victory that belongs to us.


THE gentlemen who ardently sustained the Administration of which the late lamented General JOHN B. FLOYD, and Mr. JACOB THOMPSON, and Mr. HOWELL COBB, and Mr. ISAAC TOUCEY were members and ornaments, and of which Messrs. WIGFALL, SLIDELL, JEFFERSON DAVIS, and TOOMBS were eminent supporters, are lost in horror at the corruption and treachery of the present Administration. There was such fidelity to the Union, such impartial love of country, such devotion to the Constitution among the gentlemen who received the pay of a government they were conspiring to destroy, that their friends and supporters can see little hope of the Union or of the Government except in the immediate return to office of their old associates and allies. " Conservative" doctors, especially, are extremely despondent over the fact that the political sympathizers of Mr. JEFFERSON DAVIS are not likely to be triumphantly put at the head of the Government by the loyal American people, and loudly bewail official corruption and the degenerate times.

That there are great frauds upon the Government, trials and convictions like that of KOHNSTAMM clearly establish. That there are gentlemen in uniform who take pay and play " old soldier" is undeniable. That there are rogues still abroad, and even sometimes in the employ of the Government, is as true as it was when FLOYD and DAVIS were Secretaries of War. That there are weak spots in the revenue service is as true as in the days when names which it would be painful to specify gave that service its reputation. And finally, that public abuses and corruptions are proportionably much less now than they have been for many years is as true as that liberty is nobler than slavery.

When so immense a war burst upon the country, involving the raising, equipping, and supplying of an enormous army and navy, the opportunity of swindling and plunder was increased ten thousand fold. No Government could possibly prevent it. The only hope of escaping it lay in the universal honesty of the people; and if that failed—if it chanced that the people were not entirely honest—the rogues would have their game. The duty of the Government was to expose and punish the gamesters as fast as it could find them ; and this duty has not been omitted, but has been faithfully and constantly performed. The public commission that sat in the Western Department, where a vast system of frauds was alleged, and the incessant private watchfulness of special agents, show that there has been no disposition to slur this duty; while the personal character of the gentlemen who have permanently composed the Administration has been such as to persuade every honest man in the land that, at least, corruption had not its head-quarters in the Cabinet itself, as in the regime of rebels and their friends, whose return is so naturally desired by the pure and "Conservative" patriots who had no objection to Mr. FLOYD, but who find Mr. STANTON altogether culpable.

If any loyal man, therefore, is pained by the discovery of dishonesty among contractors, soldiers, agents, or ostensible friends of the Government, let him remember the circumstances of the country, and reflect that such things are inevitable under any administration whatever during a war. JOHN HOOK hoarsely bawling beef, beef, beef, through the Continental camp in the Revolution, shows that even the times that tried men's souls could not destroy selfishness. Let every good citizen, therefore, strenuously demand and support the investigation of all charges of corruption, wherever they may be laid and upon whomsoever they may fall. But at the

same time let him discriminate. When he hears any ancient ally of FLOYD & Co. piously decrying corruption, let him suggest to the critic that the characters of the men and of the policy which he has always unshrinkingly supported make his criticisms suspicious. When Robert Macaire accuses his neighbor of stealing, Master Robert must not be surprised if people feel of his own pockets before they touch his neighbor's.


THE duration of the war and its cost in life and money incline some quiet souls, who would never consent to disunion, to ask whether we had not better try to find a shorter road to peace than fighting. But is there any such road? Is there any so short a way out of the war as through it? Suppose that the Government should order General GRANT to send in a flag of truce and propose an armistice. What should follow?

Should we ask the rebels upon what terms they would agree to return to the Union? But they do not wish to return. They have done with the Union. The error of the honest peace men is that they do not see the rebellion to be the expression of a determination of the rebel leaders to found a separate government. They know, if we do not, that a system of free labor and of slavery can not coexist in a political society like ours. It has been tried from the beginning of our Government, and was practicable for seventy years only because during that time the interest of slavery constantly overbore that of freedom. The moment it was clear that freedom was to prevail, the friends of slavery tried to withdraw to form a new nation. They did not question the fairness or constitutionality of the election. They did not even wait to see if any illegal acts were to be attempted. They said simply, as Mr. RHETT expressed it, that " it is nothing produced by Mr. LINCOLN'S election or the Fugitive Slave Law. It is a matter which has been gathering head for thirty years."

The rebels armed, then, in the firm conviction that freedom and slavery were incompatible in the same Union. They were willing to risk war with an established Government, with a much greater population, with infinitely superior resources. For three years they have maintained the contest, although they have been steadily reduced in territory and power. And if now they were asked what terms they would accept, they must needs answer " disunion." They would say, ' Let us part in peace. You want liberty ; we want slavery. We said so before we began to fight. After these three years we certainly say nothing less."

But if we should reply that they might dictate terms, would they be more pliable ? If we should say that we would agree to tolerate slavery in any State, and in all the Territories ; that its discussion should be a penal offense ; that any body who denied its humane and religious and civilizing character should be imprisoned for life, and that the mention of the word should be a capital crime, would they return ? Certainly not. They would say, and with perfect truth, that we were promising more than we could perform. They would say, and truly, that they knew the sincere sentiment of the loyal States was averse to slavery, and that consequently the mind and heart and conscience of the North would inevitably break any such agreement. They would say that they originally rebelled not because of any violation of law, but because of a difference of conviction ; and they would add, that while any kind of material interest might be adjusted a radical moral difference could never be permanently compromised.

What arguments could we offer them that would break the force of such convictions ? What more could we do than promise to let them have their own way ? When they declined such terms, what, would remain but either to consent to disunion, or to compel them to submission to the Government ?


SINCE " Conservatism" culminated in the bloody riots of last summer it has not paraded its name very conspicuously. But of late we have observed that it begins to plume itself a little, " Conservative" men are invited to do this and that. Certain movements are described as " Conservative." "Conservative" opinions are warmly commended. Let us see, then, what Conservatism truly is, and test the claims of that which just now in our history endeavors to assume the name.

The inevitable and eternal activity of the human mind tends constantly to draw society into ceaseless progress. This is the spirit we call Reform. It is the wind that forever fills the sails and moves the ship. Conservatism is the rudder which holds the moving ship to its course. The happy progress of society is achieved by the harmonious co-operation of both. Reform stimulates; Conservatism directs. In this true sense young men are reformers, old men are conservatives ; or, as was anciently said, youth for action, age for counsel. But both are for progress ; for without movement society, like the individual, dies.

Each of these tendencies, of course, has its extremes. There is an extravagance of reform which blows upon the sails with a fury that splits them, and a foolishness of Conservatism which deserts the rudder for the anchor. Both produce the same result ; they stop the ship.

Apply these plain truths to our own situation. We are maintaining a Government founded in impartial liberty against a rebellion for the destruction of the Government and the perpetuity of Slavery. What is true Conservatism in such a contest ? It is that course which steadily and strongly promotes the success of the Government and the overthrow of the rebellion. A true Conservatism aims first and always to preserve the vital principle of the Government.

Are then the ignorant, drunken brawlers who lustily denounce " niXXers," or the better dressed and educated who accuse the Executive of pure despotism; who destroy public confidence in the management of the finances, of the army, of the navy ; who sneer at all measures proposed; who exaggerate our military misfortunes ; who extol rebel successes ; who charge the guilt of beginning the war upon the loyal States, and that of continuing it upon the Constitutional authorities; and who deny the valor of soldiers if they are negroes, in the face of the plainest facts—are these persons, who in every way embarrass the Government, dishearten the people, and favor the triumph of the rebellion and slavery " Conservatives ?" Yet there is not a single journal or orator or convention which now calls itself " Conservative" that does not do some or all of these things.

To such dull folly does this kind of " Conservatism" naturally fall that recently one of its organs deliberately declared the assault of the colored troops upon Fort Wagner, a year ago, to be a fiction. Anxious to pander to the meanest prejudice that ever imbruted any portion of a civilized people, and fearing lest slavery should become more revolting in the light of the glorious heroism of men of the enslaved race, a newspaper peculiarly fond of calling itself " Conservative" denies that there was any such assault. It might as well deny that there was any Fort Wagner or any battle ; and it may hope to be believed when it can heal the hearts that ache and break because of that battle ; when it can restore the brave youth who led his heroes to the parapet, fell with them, and was " buried with his niXXers" by the enemies of God, of man, and of the country, whose cause this " Conservatism" obsequiously serves.

Just as true, just as loyal, just as patriotic, just as humane, generous, and noble as this statement is the spirit that calls itself " Conservatism." It is the same spirit which formerly denounced the lawful opposition of the country to the encroachment of the slave power—first as fanaticism, and then as sectionalism. It is the same spirit which toadied the leaders of rebellion when they were in power, and called JAMES BUCHANAN and JEFFERSON DAVIS "national" men. It is the same spirit which beheld with equanimity the annihilation of free speech and the overthrow of the Constitution in all the slave States, and denied the moral right of citizens in the free States to discuss slavery. It is the same spirit of folly, which, despising human nature and history, was incarnated in the monseigneur of France, and produced the French Revolution : in CHARLES and JAMES STUART of England, and convulsed the kingdom for fifty years : in GEORGE III., and occasioned our great Revolution ; and, finally, in the devotees of human slavery at the North and South in this country, who have plunged us into this bloody war.

The true Conservatism of our Revolution protested with OTIS, ADAMS, and WASHINGTON against the encroachment of parliamentary power. The false cried, with Dr. JOHNSON, " taxation no tyranny." The true persisted, tried every legal form of redress, and, when it failed, was deluded by no siren song of peace and quiet and prosperity, but declared the independence of America and fought for six years. The false Conservatism decried the true, then as always, as radical, revolutionary, and incendiary. And the same spirit today, despising the real significance of the word it misuses, opposes a dull resistance to every form of progress and development which an enlightened people necessarily makes under free institutions. Consequently it is at once impotent, ridiculous, and contemptible. The Lamia, in the Greek story, smiled like a lovely woman ; but the eye of the philosopher saw what she was, and brought her writhing to the ground a loathsome snake. The modern Lamia will find the common sense of the Yankee as terrible as the philosopher's eye.


IT is only gradually that the facts appear which illustrate the terrorisrn under which the people of the rebellious States have long suffered. Thus we find in a MS. letter now in our possession, written and sent from New York by a "friend of the South" in January, 1861, less than two months after the secession of South Carolina, the following passage:

" I find much money from the Gulf States is seeking investment here. I see letters from South Carolina bitterly denouncing the forced collection of money. One gentleman writes that he was Visited the day he wrote by 25 (Next Page)




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