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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.]



(Previous Page) try whether they wished slavery to be abolished. There was but one solitary and most honorable exception upon what is called the Democratic side of the House. Every so-called "Democrat" voted in favor of human slavery, except JOHN A. GRISWOLD of Troy, New York, whose name shall be gratefully remembered.

It is a sorrowful and shameful record. Henceforth no service that these gentlemen can render to the country, no protesting enthusiasm for the Union and the Government, no noisy gasconade about liberty and man, can conceal the disgraceful fact that, while the war which slavery has produced holds us all steeped in blood to the lips, and imperils civilization itself, they deliberately voted against the chance of lawful and peaceful emancipation. Mr. GLADSTONE, with the sagacity of a statesman who knows that whoever enlarges liberty, in any direction, is dear to the heart of man, has taken a step which will always rejoice those who follow him and bear his name. But with what bitter regret and indignation will the descendants of these fifty-five gentlemen remember that their ancestors dealt this deliberate blow at justice and liberty !


THE pictures which we publish today of the effect of rebel cruelty to our prisoners are fearful to look upon ; but they are not fancy sketches from descriptions ; they are photographs from life, or rather from death in life, and a thousand fold more impressively than any description they tell the terrible truth. It is not the effect of disease that we see in these pictures; it is the consequence of starvation. It is the work of desperate and infuriated men whose human instincts have become imbruted by the constant habit of outraging humanity. There is no civilized nation in the world with which we could be at war which would suffer the prisoners in its hands to receive such treatment as our men get from the rebels; and the reason is, that none of them are slaveholding nations, for nowhere are human life and human nature so cheap as among those who treat human beings like cattle.

The Committee on the conduct of the war have made the most searching investigation of the condition of our returned prisoners, and their report of the cruelties to which they have been subjected is accompanied by the evidence. But no evidence is like these pictures. The Committee say:

"The evidence proves, beyond all manner of doubt, a determination on the part of the rebel authorities, deliberately and persistently practiced for a long time past, to subject those of our soldiers who have been so unfortunate as to fall into their hands to a system of treatment which has resulted in reducing many of those who have survived and been permitted to return to us to a condition, both physically and mentally, which no language we can use can adequately describe.

The general practice of their captors was to rob them, as soon as they were taken prisoners, of all their money, valuables, blankets, and good clothing, and that, upon their arrival at Richmond, they have been confined, with out blankets or other covering, in buildings without fire, or upon Belle Isle with, in many cases, no shelter, and in others with nothing but old discarded army tents, so injured by rents and holes as to present but little barrier to the wind and storms.

"In respect to the food furnished to our men by the rebel authorities, the testimony proves that the ration of each man was totally insufficient in quantity to preserve the health of a child, even had it been of proper quality, which it was not. It consisted usually, at the most, of two small pieces of corn bread, made in many instances, as the witnesses state, of corn and cobs ground together, and badly prepared and cooked; of, at times, about two ounces of meat, usually of poor quality, and unfit to be eaten, and occasionally a few black, worm eaten beans, or something of that kind. Many of our men were compelled to sell to their guards and others, for what price they could get, such clothing and blankets as they were permitted to receive of that forwarded for their use by our Government, in order to obtain additional food sufficient to sustain life; thus, by endeavoring to avoid one privation, reducing themselves to the same destitute condition in respect to clothing and covering that they were in before they received any from our Government. When they became sick and diseased in consequence of this exposure and privation, and were admitted into the hospitals, their treatment was little, if any, improved as to food, though they doubtless suffered less from exposure to cold than before. Their food still remained insufficient in quantity and altogether unfit in quality.

"Your Committee, therefore, are constrained to say that they can hardly avoid the conclusion, expressed by so many of our released soldiers, that the inhuman practices herein referred to are the result of a determination on the part of the rebel authorities to reduce our soldiers in their power, by privation of food and clothing, and by exposure, to such a condition that those who may survive shall never recover so as to be able to render any effective service in the field. And your Committee accordingly ask that this report, with the accompanying testimony, be printed with the report and testimony in relation to the massacre of Fort Pillow, the one being, in their opinion, no less than the other, the result of a predetermined policy. As regards the assertions of some of the rebel newspapers, that our prisoners have received at their hands the same treatment that their own soldiers in the field have received, they are evidently but the most glaring and unblushing falsehoods. No one can for a moment be deceived by such statements who will reflect that our soldiers, who when taken prisoners have been stout healthy men, in the prime and vigor of life, yet have died by hundreds under the treatment they have received, although required to perform no duties of the camp or the march; while the rebel soldiers are able to make long and rapid marches, and to offer a stubborn resistance in the field."

We hope not to be told that such pictures will make children shudder, for we should certainly be amazed if they did not. Such pictures are for parents to ponder. This is the spirit

which inspires the rebellion. How is it to be cast out ? Can any thing which makes American citizens capable of torturing other American citizens in this fiendish manner be safely tolerated? Shall we lop off the branches, or shall we uproot the tree ?


THE second number of the new story by DICKENS, published in the July number of Harper's Magazine, is delightful. Mr. Silas Wegg and Mr. Nick Boffin are two of his most characteristic figures, and the reading of the Decline-and-Fall-off-the-Rooshan-Empire is one of his most rollicking pieces of melodramatic humor. Indeed the tale opens like a very exciting and complicated melodrama. The two numbers have introduced persons and mysteries and threads of interest enough to keep attention and wonder unflagging for a year. In Lizzie Hexam we have one of the pathetically and powerfully drawn women which, like Little Dorrit and other of his creations, are among the most beautiful tributes in English literature to womanly character. Thus far, with the exception of the second chapter, which undertakes what DICKENS can never accomplish—a good description of "society"—the story is laid in that lower stratum of London life in whose delineation he is unsurpassed. Its queer, quaint, shifting play of light and shadow are nowhere so wonderfully vivid as in his books, as indeed that life is seldom drawn by any one who impresses you as a master. The shop and the business and the personality of Mr. Venus—the street stall and avocations of Mr. Silas Wegg—the Harmony Jail, or Boffin's Bower, the home of Mr. and Mrs. Boffin, with their strict regard for each other's individual taste. "Mrs. Boffin, Wegg," said Boffin, " is a highflier at Fashion, and her make is such, that she does it credit. As to myself, I ain't yet as Fash'nable as I may come to be. Henerietty, old lady, this is the gentleman that's a-going to decline and fall off the Rooshan Empire" —the inn of the Six Jolly Fellowship Porters and Miss Abbey Potterson, who presides over its destiny—all these things are rattled off with a buoyancy which makes the reader almost gasp to reflect that they are written by the author of Pickwick and Nicholas Nickleby, which seem already to have taken their places with Joseph Andrews and Roderick Random.

But THACKERAY'S "Denis Duval," of which the third part is in the July Harper, might have been written by a purified Smollett—purified in genius, in power, and in style. The exquisite finish of this tale is unsurpassed, and the picturesque interest with which it invests the little details of life and the characters of the English sea coast a hundred years ago, are very remarkable. There is a delightful ease of conscious power in it, and as we draw to the end of the number, and, musing over the tender little scene with which it concludes, remember that there is but one more—but one more forever from the kind heart and generous mind that were never so kind and generous as in this story, we close the book with a sigh and a blessing.



SENATE.—June 1. The House bill to amend the act relative to public printing was passed.—A resolution was adopted requesting the Secretary of War to communicate to the Senate all information received by him from our armies, when the same can be given without injury to the public interests.---June 2. The House bill to expedite the settlement of land titles in California, at San Francisco and elsewhere, the bill relieving the professors of the West Point Academy from liability to military orders, and the joint resolution tendering the thanks of Congress to Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph Bailey, Acting Engineer of the Nineteenth Army Corps, for his skill and ability in extricating our gun-boats on the Red River, were passed.—June 3. The consideration of the Internal Revenue bill occupied most of the day; several amendments were adopted in reference to the tax on tobacco—June 4. The House bill to provide for the payment of the Second Regiment, Third Brigade, Ohio Volunteer Militia, was passed.—The bill to extend for five years the time for the reversion to the United States of lands granted by Congress to aid in the construction of a railroad from Marquette to Flint was passed.—The bill to pay Wisconsin her five per cent. on the reserved public lands in her borders was dismissed. —June 6. The bill giving 100,000 acres of land to the State of Wisconsin, to aid in constructing the Ship Canal from Green Bay to Lake Michigan, was passed.—The Internal Revenue bill came up, and several amendments were adopted.--June 7. Several bills were reported but no final action was taken.

HOUSE —June 1. Mr. Davis introduced a bill for the construction of a bridge over the Hudson at Albany for military and postal purposes, which was referred to the Committee on Commerce.—The House concurred in the report of the Committee of Conference on the disagreeing amendments to the National Bank bill.—Mr. Dawes made a report in the Missouri contested election case of Birch contesting the seat of King. After some discussion the House discharged the Committee on Elections from any further consideration of the subject, so that Mr. King, the sitting member, retains his seat.--June 2. The session was mainly occupied in considering the Tariff bill, several gentlemen making speeches.—The Senate bills to compensate the officers and seamen on the gun-boat De Kalb, which was destroyed, for the loss of clothing, and to authorize the honorable discharge of firemen and coal heavers in the naval service, the same as granted to sea-men, were passed.—June 3. A resolution allowing mileage and salary to Mr. M'Henry of Kentucky and Mr. Birch of Missouri, who unsuccessfully contested the seats of Messrs. Yeaman and King, was rejected.—The Senate bill amendatory of the law granting alternate sections of land to Michigan to aid in the construction of railroads was passed.—The House went into Committee on the Tariff, and several amendments were made, the bill occupying all the session until recess.—After recess Mr. Washburne reported a bill, which was passed, authorizing the Secretary of the Treasury to sell the Marine Hospital and grounds at Chicago, and with the proceeds of such sale purchase a more healthy and retired location.—The Bankrupt bill was discussed, after which the Senate bill, to prohibit speculating transactions in coin and bullion, was considered until the adjournment—June 4. The House went into Committee of the Whole on the Tariff bill. A large number of amendments were made, when the Committee rose and reported the bill, with the amendments, to the House. All the amendments were concurred in. The bill was then passed by Yeas, 81; Nays, 26.—June 6. Mr. Garfield reported a bill for the more speedy punishment of guerrillas as murderers, and violators of the laws and customs of war—the sentences to be carried into effect by the commanding Generals and commanders of departments. They have power to mitigate punishment to confinement in the Penitentiary, but not in cases of

sentence of death, or cashiering or dismissal of officers. The bill was passed, 72 to 37.—Mr. Wilson reported back the Senate bill for the summary trial of minor offenses against the United States, which was passed.—The Senate bill, providing that no member of Congress, after his election and continuance in office, nor any head of department or bureau, or clerk, shall receive or agree to receive any compensation, directly or indirectly, for any service rendered or to be rendered either by himself or another in proceedings relative to contracts, etc., was passed.—The House bill placing contractors for supplies for the army and navy under the laws which relate to those branches of the public service was also passed.—The House also passed the Senate joint resolution of thanks to Lieutenant-Colonel Bailey for the relief of the Red River fleet by his engineering skill.---June 7. Mr. Hooper reported a bill to provide ways and means for the support of the Government by authorizing a loan of four hundred millions of dollars, to be borrowed on coupon or registered bonds, bearing six per cent. interest.—The report of the Committee of Conference on the disagreeing amendments to the Consular and Diplomatic Appropriation bill was disagreed to.—The Senate bill prohibiting speculation in coin and bullion was laid on the table.


On the 30th ult., as stated in our last report, our advance was within ten miles of Richmond, having on the 28th beaten the enemy's cavalry, with a loss on his part of 1000. On the morning of that day (30th) our army again advanced an average march of four miles, occupying nearly all day, brought the different corps in connected line of battle close upon the enemy's intrenchments, Warren having the left, Hancock the centre, Wright the right, and Burnside the reserve, though the latter subsequently assumed a portion of the line. Warren and Hancock pressed the enemy's skirmishers from the first. The former crossed the Tolopatomay without serious opposition and intrenched in three lines. A little after dark the enemy attacked his left, first falling upon Crawford's division and forcing a part of it from the first line, but reaching the second line, or rather a line further to the left and so practically a second line, held by Kitchen's brigade, late heavy artillery, they met a terrible repulse. This line was concave toward the enemy, with a battery at each horn of the half moon. Early's division rushed into this snare, and speedily went back, all that was left of it. The repulse was complete; our own loss was trivial, the enemy's terrible. Crawford and Kitchen lost perhaps 200 killed and wounded, and they buried that number of the enemy's dead, took over a hundred prisoners, exclusive of over a hundred rebel wounded left on the ground.

Meanwhile Hancock had been not less successful in gaining the position he wanted. By noon he had pushed back a heavy skirmish line so close to their own works that Barlow's division planted Arnold's battery within 500 yards of a rebel battery. An artillery duel of an hour silenced the rebel guns first engaged, but disclosed others right and left. During the evening while Warren repelled an assault Hancock made one. Barlow's division charged and carried a range of rebel rifle-pits, thus advancing the left and centre of the corps line equally with the right, and cutting off an enfilading fire which might have troubled us. This advance was under cover of an artillery fire of a dozen guns and eight Cohor mortars.

On Tuesday afternoon (31st) General Sheridan, discovering a force of rebel cavalry, which proved to be Fitz Hugh Lee's division, at Cold Harbor, three miles from the Chickahominy, advanced to the attack, and, after a hard fight, routed the division, together with Clingman's brigade of infantry, which came to Lee's support. Sheridan, who remained in possession of the place, took a considerable number of prisoners, many of the rebel dead and wounded also falling into his hands. The position being one of some importance, the Sixth Corps was ordered to occupy it, and late on Tuesday night moved forward for that purpose. On Wednesday an attack was ordered to be made at that point (our left) by the Sixth Corp.., the troops under Smith, who had come up from York River, Warren, Burnside, and Hancock being held in readiness to advance in their respective fronts. The attack was made with spirit about 5 o'clock P.M., continuing until after dark, and resulting in our carrying the enemy's works on the right of the Sixth Corps, and also the first line in front of Smith. The latter, however, were commanded in the rear, which made those carried untenable. The enemy made repeated assaults on each of the corps not engaged in the main assault, but were repulsed with loss in every instance. Seven hundred prisoners were taken. During the night the enemy made several assaults to regain what they had lost, but failed. At one time Warren was assailed after the old plan of hurling massed columns upon his lines ; but having his infantry well posted behind earth works, and his artillery well in position, the enemy was repulsed in three desperate charges with frightful slaughter.

On Tuesday night, 31st ult., while Sheridan was fighting on the left, General Wilson with his cavalrymen had a fight on the right, near Hanover Court House, with Young's brigade of rebel cavalry. The enemy were routed, with a severe loss in killed, wounded, and prisoners. On Wednesday evening our cavalry entered Mechanicsville, after scouting about the old battle fields of the Chickahominy.

On Thursday there was but little fighting, but on Friday morning at 4 o'clock, General Grant made an assault on the enemy's lines, driving him within his intrenchments at all points, but without gaining any decisive advantage. When Barlow's division charged the enemy's works he succeeded in getting possession of seventeen guns and taking two hundred and fifty prisoners. But, not being supported, he was exposed to an enfilading fire, and was compelled to evacuate the works he had as gallantly captured, and also had to abandon the guns. General Grant says: "Our loss was not severe, nor do I suppose the enemy to have lost heavily. We captured over 300 prisoners, mostly from Breckinridge." Another later official report, not from General Grant, estimates the number of our killed and wounded at about 3000. The following officers are among the killed: Colonel Haskell, Thirty-sixth Wisconsin; Colonel Porter, Eighth New York Heavy Artillery; Colonel Morris, Sixty-sixth New York. Among the wounded are: General R. 0. Tyler, seriously—will probably lose a foot ; General John R. Brooks, contusion in stomach; Colonel M'Mahon, One Hundred and Sixty-fourth New York; Colonel Byrnes, Eighth Massachusetts probably mortally; Colonel Brooks, Fifty-third Pennsylvania.

On Friday evening the enemy suddenly attacked Smith's Brigade of Gibbon's Division. The battle lasted with great fury for half an hour. The attack was handsomely repulsed. Smith's losses were inconsiderable. At 6 P.M. Wilson, with his cavalry, fell upon the rear of a brigade of Heth's Division, which Lee had thrown around to his left apparently with the intention of enveloping Burnside. After a sharp but short conflict Wilson drove them from their rifle-pits in confusion. He took a few prisoners. He had previously fought and routed Gordon's brigade of rebel cavalry. During these fights he lost several officers; among them Colonel Preston, Filet Vermont Cavalry, killed; Colonel Benjamin, Eighth New York Cavalry, seriously wounded. General Stannard, serving in the Eighteenth Corps, was severely wounded on Friday.

Our entire loss in killed, wounded, and missing during the three days' operations around Cold Harbor will not exceed, according to the Adjutant-General's report, 7500.

There were no demonstrative movements by either army during Saturday. A desultory cannonading was heard on our extreme left, in the direction of Bottom's Bridge, but it soon ceased. The day was cool, and rain fell in sufficient quantities to refresh, and not deluge, the men in hospital, on picket, and in the trenches.—On Saturday night, about 8 o'clock, the enemy made his accustomed night attack in a furious assault upon Barlow, but, as ever before, was repulsed with severe loss. About midnight he attempted to drive Hancock from his position, and again signally failed. Hancock's lines were brought within 40 yards of the rebel works. The enemy lost 300 in killed and over 1000 wounded. The rebels were very busy on Saturday constructing intrenchments on the west side of the Chickahominy, at Bottom's Bridge, and toward evening threw a party across to the east side.

On Sunday there was no fighting, both armies seeking rest.

About midnight on Monday the rebels made a fierce assault on Burnside, but were successfully repulsed. On the preceding afternoon a hundred picked men of the enemy made a rush to find out what was the meaning of Han-

cock's advancing siege lines. Nine of the party were captured, and the rest killed or driven back.

Several letters have passed between General Grant and General Lee in respect to collecting the dead and the wounded between the two armies. General Grant, in the closing letter, regrets that all his efforts " for alleviating the sufferings of wounded men left on the battle-field have been rendered nugatory."

General Grant's new base is now completely established at the White House, and wagon-trains come and go regularly.

A large number of rebel prisoners have reached White House. Several hundred arrive daily from the field of Grant's operations.

Reinforcements are constantly going forward to General Grant.


General Smith's command, detached from Butler's army, arrived at White House on the 30th ult., landed at once, and pushed forward to join General Grant the next day. There was no difficulty in getting up the Pamunkey, no torpedoes being found. The landing was made on the same spot where the Army of the Potomac made its base in 1862 White House Landing.

During Monday and Tuesday, 30th and 31st ult., every thing was comparatively quiet with General Butler. On Wednesday morning, June 1, the enemy attacked General Butler's left wing, and a spirited fight ensued, resulting in the repulse of the enemy. On Wednesday night the enemy returned to the attack, and made a charge, with the evident intention of capturing our Parrott guns, but were repulsed with heavy loss. The fighting continued until near Thursday morning. About 2 o'clock on that morning the last and grandest effort of the rebels was met by three regiments of Terry's division, who occupied the rifle-pits on our right. Our line was broken, for a time, in two places, but was subsequently re-established on the ground originally occupied. We took several prisoners, but lost as many.


Our record last week closed with the occupation of Dallas, Georgia, by a part of General Sherman's army, on May 28. After bringing up supplies and reinforcements, on Wednesday, June 1, McPherson moved up from Dallas to a point in front of the enemy at New hope Church. On Thursday, June 2, Schofield and Hooker, having been shifted to the extreme left, pushed forward toward Marietta. At the same time Stoneman's and Garrand's cavalry were sent to Altoona Pass, which they reached and held possession of. These movements secured the Pass, which was considered a formidable one, and necessary to our safety in future operations. A dispatch from General Sherman, dated June 5, at Altoona Creek, says that " the enemy discovering us moving round his right flank, abandoned his position last night and matched off. General M'Pherson is moving today for Ackworth, General Thomas on the direct Marietta road, and Schofield on his right. It has been raining hard for three days, and the roads are heavy. An examination of the enemy's abandoned line of works here show an immense line of works, which I have turned with less loss to ourselves than we have inflicted upon them." The army supplies of forage, and provisions are ample.—A dispatch dated Juno 6 says: " I am now on the railroad at Ackworth Station, and have full possession forward to within six miles of Marietta. All well." Ackworth Station is ten miles south of Altoona. A dispatch from Louisville, Kentucky, 6th, says: General Howard was wounded in the feet on May 28. General Johnson had two ribs broken by a piece of shell. Major Hanson, of the One Hundred and Twenty-fourth Ohio, was killed. Captain Stinson, Aid-de-camp to General Johnson, was mortally wounded. In all the fights we have had the advantage. No general battles have yet taken place. Johnson opposes a strong rear guard to Sherman, retarding his advance as much as possible, it is believed, for the purpose of relieving his supplies and getting munitions of war from Atlanta and Augusta. General Sherman, at Ackworth, is in railroad and telegraphic communication with Chattanooga, and in this respect his campaign is without a parallel. His communications are intact, and the army has plenty to eat, and is in fine condition.


A terrible catastrophe, by which forty soldiers of the One Hundred and Thirty-Second and One Hundred and Fifty-Eight New York Regiments and Twelfth New York Cavalry were killed, occurred near Newborn, North Carolina, on the 26th ult. Four monstrous torpedoes accidentally exploded as the train containing them reached Bachelor's Creek station, blowing to pieces the forty soldiers above mentioned, and wounding twenty or thirty others. The signal tower and a commissary building, twenty feet by eighty feet, built of logs, were thrown into the air a distance of eight hundred feet, and strewed the country for a great distance around with the fragments.

Major-General Carl Schurz has been placed in command of the convalescent barracks at Nashville.

Major-General Foster assumed command of the Department of the South on the 20th ult. Brigadier-General Hatch has been assigned to the command of Hilton Head District. During a reconnoissance recently up the Ashepoo River by General Birney the steamer Boston passed further up the stream than was intended, and was opened on by a rebel battery while aground and struck seventy times. She was thus disabled, and during the night was abandoned and burned by our forces. The navy tug-boat Columbine had been captured by the rebels on St. John's River, about ten miles above Pilatka, Florida. She had on board, it is stated, about ninety soldiers (colored) beside the crew. She was armed with two 20 pounder guns.

The Navy Department has received information of the capture off Wilmington of the steamer Caledonia, which was built and registered in Quebec in 1863, and was owned by a rebel agent at Queenstown, from which port she sailed.

Governor Brown, of Georgia, has ordered every civil officer in the State under 50 years of age to go at once to the army ; those who refuse will be subject to drum head court-martial.

Major-General Fremont has resigned from the army, and his resignation has been accepted. A number of the officers of his staff are also said to have left the service.

From the Richmond Examiner of the 3d it is learned that ex-South Carolina Congressman Lawrence M. Keitt was mortally wounded on June 1 at Cold Harbor, and died next day. Also that General Dales, commanding a division of Ewell's Corps, was killed on the 2d, opposite Bartlett's brigade, Fifth Corps.

The following is a list of naval prizes up to the 1st of June, 1864: Steamers, 232; schooners, 627; sloops, 159; barks, 29; brigs, 32 ; ships, 15; yachts and small craft, 133; total, 1227. The aggregate value is $17,000,000, to be distributed among the naval captors.




THE news of the battles in Virginia has created a profound sensation in England. The Confederate loan fell six per cent.—The notorious rains built by the Messrs. Laird have been purchased by the British Government. No particulars are given.—The Prince of Wales recently made his first public appearance as a speaker at the seventy-fifth anniversary dinner of the Royal Literary Fund, at which he presided. The dinner was attended by a large number of men eminent in politics and literature.


The London Conference held another meeting on the 27th of May. It is believed that Austria, Prussia, Germany, and England will consent to the plan of France, to take a vote of the people of the Duchies. Another report says the Conference was about to debate a. proposition for the final separation of Schleswig and Holstein from Denmark. Other demands tending to the disintegration of the kingdom of Denmark had sprung up.


The Duke de Malakoff (Marshal Pelissier), Governor of Algeria, is dead. He was in his 70th year.

Accounts of the Pope's health are said to be unfavorable.




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