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Civil War Harper's Weekly, June 18, 1864

Welcome to our online collection of original Harper's Weekly newspapers. These papers have important illustrations, and first hand accounts of the key events of the war. Study of this material yields a new understanding of the war.

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Starving Prisoners


Cleveland Convention

Cold Harbor

Cold Harbor Battle


Georgia Campaign

Bailey Fleet

Colonel Bailey Saves the Union Fleet

Battle Cold Harbor

Battle Cold Harbor

Battle Map

Richmond Battle Map


Abraham Lincoln Cartoon


Battle of Resaca Georgia

Civil War Battle

Civil War Battle

North Anna River

Battle of North Anna River







[JUNE 18, 1864.


THERE'S a happy time coming

When the boys come home, There's a glorious day coming

When the boys come home. We will end the dreadful story Of this treason dark and gory In a sun-burst of glory

When the boys come home.

The day will seem brighter

When the boys come home ; For our hearts will be lighter

When the boys come home.

Wives and sweet-hearts will press them

In their arms, and caress them, And pray God to bless them, When the boys come home.

The thinned ranks will be proudest

When the boys come home,

And their cheer will ring the loudest

When the boys come home. The full ranks will be shattered,

And the bright arms will be battered, And the battle-standards tattered,

When the boys come home.

Their bayonets may be rusty

When the boys come home, And their uniforms dusty

When the boys come home; But all shall see the traces Of battle's royal graces

In the brown and bearded faces When the boys come home.

Our love shall go to meet them

When the boys come home,
To bless them and to greet them

When the boys come home. And the fame of their endeavor Time and change shall not dissever From the nation's heart forever

When the boys come home.




EVIDENCES of the inhuman treatment of our prisoners by the Confederate authorities at Richmond continue to multiply. We give on the preceding page two illustrations which afford indubitable proof on this point. These illustrations are made from photographs taken in the United States General Hospital, Division No.1, Annapolis, Maryland, under charge of Dr. Z. VANDERKIEFT. They represent two of the unfortunate prisoners as they appeared upon their return from the Richmond prisons. Dr. ELLERSLIE WALLACE, in sending the photographs, writes as follows :

These two pictures are what may be called good specimens of the bad cases which are brought to the hospital from the prisons and Belle Isle. They are from the worst of the cases, and these worst cases form a numerous body. Both are dead.

Out of one hundred bad cases brought in by boat on May 2 thirty have since died. Dr. VANDERKIEFT said they " died from the effects of neglect and cruel treatment a, the hands of the enemy." Dr. V. is an honorable, upright, and warm-hearted gentleman. The question is asked, "Is the condition of the originals of these pictures entirely due to starvation, or is there not some disease which has reduced them?" I answer this by giving the statements of two of the men, which are, with only a little variation of time and place, the statements of very many —of all, in fact, whom I questioned. The various ones whom I did question were in different parts of the hospital, had been brought in at different times, and could have had no collusion with each other in answering my questions.

I take from my note-book first the statement of Corporal W. M. SMITH, aged 22 years, Company D, Eighth Regiment Kentucky Infantry:

"I was captured in September, 1863 ; was on Belle Isle six days and nights without shelter. They took away my blanket and gum-cloth. It rained two or three days. I lay at night in the cold dew and frost. While in prison, after leaving Belle Isle, in December, I got small-pox. I wore the same summer clothes in which I was captured; I lay on the floor; I never had any thing to sleep on or any cover. After I got well of the small-pox I had to wash my clothes, for I had worn them all the time. I came in to this hospital in the same clothes. Diarrhea came on in February."

This poor fellow was so shriveled that his face looked like that of an ape. It was seamed and wrinkled and in folds. I bad his picture taken ; he asked me for one; I promised it to him, and inquired what he wanted it for. He trembled, choked with emotion, calmed himself, again quivered, and, as the, tears gushed from his eyes, said, " To send it home to my mother." I rejoiced when I found that the picture was a failure, for a sight of that face in a picture, I really believe, might have killed his mother, or turned her brain.

Another statement, that of Private JACKSON BROSHERS, aged 20, Company D, Sixty-fifth Regiment Indiana Mounted Infantry, is as follows:

" I was captured December 16, 1863; was two months on Belle Isle; had a piece of a tent over me, but it was full of holes, and the water came through. A good many had no shelter at all; I don't know how many. They took from me my hat and cap, and gave me an old jeans rag hat. They took my overcoat, two blankets, and gum blanket. I had meat but three times on Belle Isle. I think it was mule meat, for I never saw such looking meat, and never tasted any of the same queer taste. I never had enough to eat while I was on Belle Isle; my ration. was not near enough to satisfy my hunger. I got thinner and weaker every day, until in two months my stomach gave out ; and then the weakness came on, oh, so bad ! Well, I had to eat my ration or starve; so I chewed and nibbled it off and on as I could. Then in the last month of my imprisonment diarrhea came on. I came into this hospital on March 24, 1864. I am getting stronger and heavier every day. My weight was about 185 pounds. My height is 6 feet 1 inch."

This man (BROSHERS), who thus weighed originally 185 pounds, I carried down stairs in my arms and weighed. He was 3 1/4 months in the rebels' hands, and had never been sick in his life. He weighed on May 10,1864, 108 1/2 pounds, and he had then been eight weeks in the enjoyment of abundant nutriment, with stimulation and every excellent care in the United States hospital. What must he have weighed when he first came from prison?

I saw one young man who had ben a prisoner in the hands of the rebels for (I think) seven months. He had been released about a month before I saw him. Upon his entrance into the hospital the nurse and the surgeon both

assured me that his forearm was so thin that it was transparent between the bones when held up to the sunlight. Certain it is that I have ever seen a more emaciated human form, whether alive or dead, and yet he said that he was gaining flesh and strength every day. What must he have been one month before I saw him? For at this time he could not change his position in bed without assistance. His stomach was in such condition from starvation, not from disease, that when he was first admitted he was fed on milk, a teaspoonful every fifteen or twenty minutes. It was all that he could bear without vomiting. The kind and earnest efforts put forth day and night in his behalf failed to do more than support him for a time. He died shortly after I left Annapolis—died of inanition.

The daily ration of these men in the prisons and on Belle Isle was, first, a piece of corn bread made of unbolted corn meal, dark and heavy. Its size is five inches long, four inches wide, and one inch and a half thick. I have seen these rations brought here as specimens. Second, as a further ration, they generally have two ounces of meat three times a week. Sometimes not nearly as often. A very few had two ounces of meat once every day. When sick with diarrhea they have the same rations, with the addition of bean soup, coarse and dark, ill-tasted and repulsive.

The process of these men's depletion is perfectly plain. Under the combined effects of bad and deficient food their "stomach gave out;" then came indigestion, loss of appetite, nausea, weakness ; then diarrhea, and often congestion of the lungs of atonic character, the result of impoverished blood and deficient powers of circulation. So they suffer, and hence they die, or are returned to the care of those for whom, for whose country, for whose honor, as for themselves and their own, they have been thus sorely afflicted.


SATURDAY, JUNE 18, 1864.


WE have received the following official decision from the Post-office Department at Washington:

"In reply to your letter of yesterday, I have to state that the 24th sec. of the Postal Law of 1863 authorizing Book Manuscripts to be sent at printed rates of postage can not be so construed as to include articles for Newspapers and Magazines; but must be confined to Book Manuscripts alone. I am, etc.,   ST. JOHN B. L. SKINNER,

"Acting 1st Asst. Postmaster-General."

Section 26 of the Law prescribes " that if any matter on which by law postage is required to be prepaid at the mailing office shall reach its destination without such prepayment, double the prepaid rates shall be charged and collected on delivery."

The Publishers of HARPER'S MAGAZINE and HARPER'S WEEKLY must therefore give notice to Correspondents that all communications sent to them by mail must be prepaid at the rates of letter postage—i. e., three cents for every half ounce; and that communications upon which extra postage is charged will not be taken from the Post-office. —Also, that when the return of MSS. by mail is desired, the full amount for postage should be inclosed. Where this is not done, the amount sent will be affixed ; but in that case the writers will be charged at the Post-office double rates—i. e., six cents per half ounce.

They suggest that, where possible, all MSS. weighing more than four ounces should be sent by express rather than by mail.


THE action of the Cleveland Convention gratified every Copperhead and rebel in the country and every foreign enemy. Its ostensible motive was dissatisfaction with the Administration, but its chief inspiration was the desire of personal revenge. It was the work partly of angry and intriguing, partly of impracticable men. That some of the chief actors in its proceedings have especial personal reasons of dissatisfaction with the Administration is well known ; and that Messrs. PARKER PILLSBURY and STEPHEN S. FOSTER represent in their opinions any great multitude of the people, or that they are by temperament or training or popular sympathy fitted to be leaders in such a crisis as this, nobody familiar with their careers, sincere as each of them doubtless is, can possibly believe. The only name of practical importance connected with the Convention was that of LUCIUS ROBINSON, the Controller of the State of New York, and one of its most honored and honorable citizens, and his letter was read in silence, his suggestions disregarded, and the work the Convention assembled to do was done. It came to nominate General FREMONT, and it nominated him. His friends announced in advance that Mr. LINCOLN should have no chance in the Convention, and, making a puerile and base insinuation, declared that if he sent any of his minions to interrupt the proceedings the consequences should be upon their own heads. Refusing to verify credentials the assembly resolved itself into a mass meeting, and assuming to speak for the American people, made its nominations, baptized itself the Radical Democracy, and adjourned.

It is indisputable that any number of citizens have a perfect right to meet and express their opinions, and nominate candidates for any office. But it is no less indisputable that at a moment of extreme national peril the practical union of all faithful citizens is a high moral necessity, and that calmness, forbearance, and patience are imperative patriotic duties. When, therefore, a practicable and usual method of ascertaining the general popular wish is opened—when all voters who wish the unconditional maintenance of the Government by every efficient means, including the overthrow of Slavery, if that shall be deemed essential, are invited to send representatives of their views to a Convention, then every citizen who wishes to maintain that unity, and who knows that his private preference must, by the highest necessity, yield to the general conviction, will abide by the action of that Convention. If he is of opinion that the policy of the Government is weak or slow he will do what he can to impress the public mind with his views. But, failing to succeed, he will not do all that

he can to change that policy for one which, by giving the Presidency to the friends of rebels, substitutes treachery for weakness, and which, instead of slowly defending the right makes haste to yield to the wrong.

The Cleveland Convention was called by men who despaired of controlling the Union Convention at Baltimore. When they saw that the overpowering tendency of popular preference was for Mr. LINCOLN, they denounced the Baltimore Convention as packed, and called another to meet a week previously and nominate another candidate, with the intention of saying that the nomination at Baltimore, after a Union candidate was in the field, was a willful schism and distraction of the Union party. Was this a loyal and honorable action, or was it an indication that personal passion was stronger than patriotism? Were the gentlemen who met at Cleveland really the representatives of the great mass of the Union men of the country ? Was the response to the call before the meeting general, unanimous, enthusiastic ? Is the response to its action the hearty amen of the nation? The call was welcomed by three classes : some, but by no means all, of the extreme abolitionists ; by the few who are morbidly angry with the Administration ; and by the friends of the rebels, who hope to divide the Union vote and thereby secure the success of the Copperhead candidate. Thus the World, the Herald, and Mr. WENDELL PHILLIPS united in approving the call. Mr. PHILLIPS'S letter was read with enthusiasm to the Convention, while Mr. ROBINSON'S was heard in silence. Now there is no question that the united Union vote would triumphantly prevail in November. There may be a question whether it can be divided and yet the victory be secured. Mr. PHILLIPS and his friends take this chance ; and if McCLELLAN should be elected he will owe the heartiest thanks to Mr. PHILLIPS and the Cleveland Convention.

If it be asked why should not the friends of Mr. LINCOLN give way to those of General FREMONT, the reply is one of fact ; namely, that every sign shows Mr. LINCOLN to be, upon the whole, the candidate most acceptable to the great mass of the Union party. If this were not so, if this were not known to be the truth, why should the Copperhead journals so lustily cheer Mr. PHILLIPS and his Cleveland friends ? It is because they hope and ardently pray that these gentlemen may do what Mr. BIRNEY'S friends did in 1844. They elected Mr. POLK by drawing off just enough votes in one State from Mr. CLAY. Can the better part of the Cleveland gentlemen really wish to draw off enough votes from Mr. LINCOLN to elect the Chicago candidate? Four years ago, when Mr. LINCOLN was nominated, Mr. PHILLIPS denounced him as " the slavehound of Illinois," because he thought that, in some way, he acquiesced in the Fugitive Slave Law. By what name does Mr. PHILLIPS expect to be known if he helps to put this Government into the power of Copperheads and rebellious slaveholders ?

The Presidential question, like every other question in politics, is one of expediency, not of abstract, absolute right. In the conduct of human affairs we must do what we can, upon a fair estimate of the facts. And will any sagacious, unbiased man deliberately say that he thinks it more practicable to elect General FREMONT than Mr. LINCOLN ?


THE Secretary of State has written a letter explaining his action in the ARGUELLES case. He says that our laws make the slave-trade piracy, and in our treaty with Great Britain we pledge ourselves to urge upon all Powers the duty of putting a stop to the traffic. There is no treaty of extradition between Spain and the United States, and the surrender of ARGUELLES was made, he says, in pursuance of the law of nations. There is, indeed, he adds, no obligation to return a criminal without a treaty, but a nation is never bound to furnish asylum to criminals against the human race ; and if the comity of return without treaty might ever be properly practiced, he thinks it was in such a case as that of ARGUELLES.

Now that ARGUELLES was a criminal of the worst kind no one who has read the facts of the case as stated will deny; and we shall all admit that it was very desirable that, the accusation being true, he should be sent home to Cuba to be tried and punished. If there ever were a case in which a man might be summarily seized and secured without form of law, this, if correctly stated, was the case. But the Secretary has only to ask himself whether he would have treated in the same way a pirate who was accused of burning a Spanish ship at sea, and who had escaped to this country, to perceive that the act is not to be allowed. His excuse shows, what was not doubted, the purity of his motive ; and it proves conclusively that there ought to be an extradition treaty with Spain ; but it does not prove that any officer of the Government is authorized arbitrarily to imprison and deport from the country a person who may or may not be the person who may or who may not have committed a crime with which he is charged against the laws of another country with which we have no understanding upon the subject. The Sul-

tan of Turkey never exercised a more absolute despotism.

The slave-trade being the foul crime that it is, and the Spanish Government being, as this case shows, so very anxious to lay hands upon offenders, and the seat of the offense of sale being so near us, the true answer for the Secretary to give the Spanish Government would have been the proposal for an extradition treaty. That would have covered this case and all others. It would have shown to Spain that we did not wish to harbor her most infamous criminal and would have allowed no opportunity for the expression of a general alarm that the guarantees of personal liberty had become less sacred in the stress of the war.

If for any reason an extradition treaty is impracticable, then a law of Congress prescribing the method in which the surrender of criminals shall be made is the other alternative. But if neither course is adopted the extradition of such persons is impossible, because the American people will not submit, and ought not to submit, to the exercise of an arbitrary power which would astonish Russia and justify Austria. We repeat that we do not for a moment forget that in this instance the power was used for a most humane and laudable purpose. But at another time, and in other hands, its exercise might be inconceivably disastrous.


THE good sense of the Secretary of War in issuing daily bulletins of the campaign can not be too highly commended. It is another proof of the fact that we have settled down to war in earnest, and that the country wishes to know only the truth. The good result of the system is seen in the deaf ear which we all turn to the mere rumors of the street and bulletin boards, and in the question universally asked upon every fresh statement, " Is that official?"

This happy result is greatly enhanced by the public confidence in the perfect truthfulness of the reports of Generals GRANT and SHERMAN. There is no rhetorical clap-trap in them. General GRANT drives the enemy to cover, and he does not instantly telegraph that he is pushing them to the wall; he says only, "it is no decisive advantage," and the country is calm because the General is. General SHERMAN tells what he has done, not what he is going to do, and the country, looking at the map, is satisfied.

Every body understands that the task before GRANT and SHERMAN is, as the President says, one of magnitude and difficulty. In the case of GRANT it is easy to see that the work would have been easier could he have beaten LEE upon the Rapidan or at Spotsylvania, because then he would have been spared the necessity of besieging Richmond. Yet great and difficult as the task is, there is a public tranquility which springs from profound confidence in him and in the ultimate success of the cause. There are people who occasionally shake their heads and whisper, " Dear me, if GRANT should fail !" Well, if he should, who could put another army in the field first ? And as for spirit, for resolution, the mind of the country was never so firmly fixed in its purpose of suppressing the rebellion at any cost as it is at this moment.


THE, difference between statesmanship and partisanship was never more conspicuously shown than in two late events. In England the disfranchisement of the laboring classes has long been a source of anxiety, and seemed to threaten the peace of the future. In America the slavery of the negro race has complicated our public affairs until we are engaged in civil war. Yet Mr. GLADSTONE, a member of the British Cabinet, and by birth and sympathy of the governing class in England, does not hesitate to propose that provision shall be made for a great enlargement of the franchise; and he does it upon the grounds of justice and expediency. The men to whom he proposes to give a vote are, he contends, just as fitted for it as those who already have it ; and then he declares that the inevitable agitation of the question ought to be anticipated and prevented by wise concessions. This is Mr. GLADSTONE'S position ; and he is, consequently, more honored and powerful in England today than ever before.

Now in our own country we have the always perplexing and exasperating question of slavery. Whatever its moral excellence as a system may be, there is no doubt that while men are men it will excite the most angry disturbances in peace, as it has hitherto; disturbances and differences which have ended in war. The fundamental law of the land provides a perfectly plain method of emancipation, and of consequent removal of this source of vital irritation. In the very presence of the terrible mischief it has occasioned it might be thought that every legislator, from the highest motives of expediency, would favor its lawful, constitutional disappearance. And vet fifty-five American representatives, facetiously calling themselves Democrats, or friends of equal rights and fair play, voted against the simple proposition to ask the people of the coun- (Next Page)




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