General Kilpatrick's Raid


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, March 19, 1864

Harper's Weekly was the most popular news source during the Civil War. The paper was read by millions of Americans during the war, and is popular today among historians and serious students of the War. Browsing this collection will allow you to develop a more complete understanding of the Civil War.

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General Custer

Kilpatrick's Raid

Kilpatrick's Raid

Sherman in Tennessee

General Sherman's March in Tennessee

General Kilpatrick

General Kilpatrick Biography

Lookout Creek

Lookout Creek

Sanitary Fair Cartoon

Map of the Rebellion

Map of the Rebellion

Huntsville, Alabama

Huntsville, Alabama







MARCH 19, 1864.



WITH measured tread along his lonely beat,

At twilight, dawn, or in the darksome night, Or when at noon the sun, with growing heat,

Lets fall his dazzling light— 

The watchful sentinel, up and down the shore, Paces with weary feet the yielding sand, While the salt waves, with deep and sullen roar,

Shout hoarsely to the land.

At dawn he sees the glitt'ring morning star Set like a jewel in the roseate sky;

And glimmering to the sight, within the bar,
The fleet at anchor lie.

He sees the city, distant, dull, and gray,

Its quaint old roofs and slender, tapering spires, When darkly painted at the close of day

Against the sunset's fires.

At night he sees the heavens all spangled o'er

With shining gems that like bright watch-fires burn; And though far off, and on a hostile shore,

His thoughts to home will turn,

Or maybe, in the pitiless, cold storm,

While moans the wind like some poor soul in pain, With drooping head and weary, bended form He braves the pelting rain,

And in his mind there dwells a picture fair--A cottage-room with walls like purest snow, And round the hearth-stone friendly faces there

Shine in the fire's warm glow.

An aged man, with locks all silver white;

An aged dame, his helpmate she through life; And still a third, with mild eyes beaming bright,

Perhaps the soldier's wife;

And rosy children climb upon her knee—With smiling face looks on the aged dame—They, laughing, clap their little hands in glee,

And sweetly lisp his name.

Now from the frowning batteries bristling side Peals forth the murderous cannon's awful roar, Waking the answering echoes, far and wide,

From shore to farthest shore.

So fades the picture: each loved form is fled—That waking vision, beautiful yet brief; And up the beach with solid, steady tread

Comes on the brave "Relief."

Then on his bed, while falls the chilly rain

And other sentinels their vigils keep,

Sweet thoughts of home go flitting through his brain, And fill his dreamful sleep.



THE preliminary operations of the campaign of 1864 have not been entirely satisfactory, but, with the exception of the battle of Olustee, in Florida, they have resulted in no disaster. The rebels have been kept wide awake along their whole line, and the lesson which was taught us by General Jeb STUART'S ride around McCLELLAN's army upon the Peninsula, KILPATRICK'S second raid proves that we have very thoroughly learned. This last movement was a rapid dash, breaking communications and scaring Richmond. Its result is inevitably a sense of insecurity in the rebel capital. It teaches that city and every spectator of the great struggle that we have at last learned war, and that the daring Yankee genius has recovered from the astonishment and apparent paralysis into which the outbreak of the rebellion seemed to have plunged it.

There has been considerable lamentation over the result of this raid and of SHERMAN'S mystic march. But any man who has closely watched affairs can only be amused by it, When SHERMAN moved from Vicksburg the advance of his column was accompanied by the most imposing newspaper columns of military speculation and promise. He was on his way to Mobile. He was flanking JOHNSON'S army. His "objective" was Meridian, or Selma, or Montgomery, or the Gulf. He would enter Georgia at this point or at that. It was a very fine array of hopes, surmises, theories, possibilities, probabilities. Meanwhile the solitary fact was that he had moved with an uncertain number of men and with the lightest artillery. If we had waited for some definite news from him we should have been spared much distress and disappointment. It is to the positive assertions upon half knowledge, and to the peculations upon inaccurate data, that we owe much of our chagrin at the problematical result. A mere raid, a reconnoissance in force, a diversion, were theories quite as plausible and more probable than the capture of Mobile or the turning of Johnson's flank. Very much of our ill-humor is simply revenge upon our own mistake.

So with KILPATRICK'S raid. We had the usual mysterious leakage in the newspapers that the Army of the Potomac was in motion; that news might be expected ; that there was no battle up to 10 A.M. ; and all the rest of it, with which three years' experience ought to have made us good-humoredly familiar. Then KILPATRICK was fairly off. He was to destroy LEE'S communications. He was to sack Richmond, release our prisoners, and bag the rebel authorities. BUTLER was to join him—had join. ed him—and victory was settling and about to perch upon his flag. MEADE was to advance, fall upon LEE with no retreat behind him, and

effectually finish him. And all this because the brave KILPATRICK with three or four thousand men was off upon a raid through the enemy's rear.

He makes his raid. He destroys railroads, canals, and bridges. He captures prisoners, and burns mills and supplies. He fights his way through the first line of defenses about Richmond. Colonel DAHLGREN is misled by a guide whom he hangs, and is therefore unable to join him in time. KILPATRICK withdraws. He comes riding safely into General BUTLER'S lines, his total loss in every way not more than a hundred and fifty men; and after three days' rest soldiers and horses will be ready again for duty. It is a brilliant foray; but because Richmond is not taken, nor LEE defeated, nor the rebel leaders snared, we cry pish! and exclaim, " Is that all ?"

Now is this fair? Is not our disappointment the result of the failure of our theories rather than of the expedition? We make a plan which looks very admirable. It does not chance to be the plan of the movement, and we are disgusted. There can be no doubt that KILPATRICK'S plan was to do all he could; all that the force, the circumstances, and good fortune permitted. That he and his brave troops have done, and most gallantly. All honor to them! The next time a movement begins with the usual mysterious intimations, let us try, at least, to shape our anticipations as nearly as possible by what we know, and not by what we wildly wish, and we shall have less occasion to feel or to express disappointment. There is nothing in the opening of the campaign, except the sad day at Olustee and the retreat of SMITH, which need dishearten any man. We must remember that the rising of the tide is not shown by every single wave at every moment, but by the great body of water from time to time. How often last spring we were foiled at Vicksburg! But last year's was a grand campaign. Don't grumble at the waves. Watch the tide-marks.


THERE is surely no need of misunderstanding the reported correspondence between Mr. LINCOLN and Mr. CHASE. After the Pomeroy Circular appeared Mr. CHASE asked the President if the attitude in which his friends had placed him of a candidate for the Presidency could prejudice the public interests under his charge. The President replied that he could not see why it should, but that, of course, Mr. CHASE must be the judge.

Nothing could be simpler or fairer on both sides. Yet it is equally clear that, if Mr. CHASE had known the contents of the Pomeroy Circular, he could not honorably remain in his position : not because he is a candidate for the Presidency, but because he is the confidential adviser of the President, and the Circular charges Mr. LINCOLN with corruption and with treachery to the nation and liberty. But when Mr. CHASE assures the President that he had no knowledge of the Pomeroy Circular, there is no more occasion for his withdrawal from the Cabinet than for that of Mr. STANTON.

The contest for the nomination promises to be warm, as is natural when men are in earnest. But it should be remembered that it is for the nomination, not for the election. And when the Westliche Post, a German paper in St. Louis, raises the standard of FREMONT, and says that it means to fight under that, whatever the Convention may decide, it merely declares that it will gratify itself at any cost or risk to the country. It is to be hoped that the Westliche Post does not regard such a course as loyal or patriotic. For while every man has a right to vote for whomsoever he will, yet at a time like this every loyal citizen will ask, If I can't have my own may exactly, what is the next best course? If the friends of Mr. LINCOLN, of Mr, CHASE, of General FREMONT, or of General BUTLER, should all take the ground that they will in any case vote for their favorite, and for nobody else, it certainly is neither worth while for Union men to go into an election nor to pay another penny for the prosecution of the war.

We do not anticipate such an early suicide of the country. Such expressions are but the first ardors of the canvass. They last often until the nomination, but if the heart of the people is sound they do not last until the election. We can remember very well that when Mr. LINCOLN was nominated at Chicago eminent political friends of Mr. SEWARD gnashed their teeth and vowed that New York would not vote for him. The eminent gentlemen thought better of it before the election, and imperial New York gave Mr. LINCOLN fifty thousand majority. Unless the party spirit of Union men is stronger than their patriotism the Union candidate will be surely elected. The question for us then is, simply, who of all the gentlemen mentioned is, under the circumstances, most likely to carry the country with the least peril through the necessary excitement of a renewal of the Administration, and to prosecute, with the largest share of public confidence upon all sides, the present policy of the war. It seems to us that to ask the question is to answer it with the name of Mr. Lincoln.


UNION SQUARE is fast becoming historic ground. Less than ten years ago we stood there one evening while a band played a serenade; after which FERNANDO WOOD introduced JAMES BUCHANAN from the balcony of the Everett House to the crowd beneath. Last week we stood there, while from a platform beneath the balcony the son of RUFUS KING, in lofty and touching words, presented the flag of the Union and of Liberty to the first regiment of colored troops that has marched from this city to de-fend both. Elsewhere in this paper there is a picture of the scene ; and no scene of the war has been more striking or significant. In the same Square three years ago there was the first great gathering of the American people in sup-port of the war ; when General ANDERSON and the soldiers of Sumter were the heroes of the hour, and the war begun in Charleston harbor had been continued in the streets of Baltimore. Last spring, in the same Square, was the great meeting upon the anniversary of Sumter, preceded by the formal dedication of the Loyal Club-House. This spring's spectacle completes the cycle. The seed that BUCHANAN planted and WOOD watered produced the attack on Sumter, and the riots in Baltimore and New York; and no less, by God's grace, it produced the meetings of April 1861 and 1863, and the honorable and hearty God-speed to the colored soldiers.

The day was soft and bright. The winds of March forgot to blow; and at 11 o'clock the regiment arrived from Riker's Island, where it had been encamped, and marched down the Fifth Avenue. Windows and door-steps were thronged with eager forms, and under waving handkerchiefs and friendly salutations the brave men marched by. At 1 o'clock they wheeled into Union Square from Fourteenth Street. The music of drums and trumpets mingled with the loud huzzas of the great crowd. The windows and steps here also were solid with welcoming hands and faces, and on the Loyal Union Club-House the flag was flying, as on the chief buildings in the Square. A line of policemen kept the space clear where Seventeenth Street crosses the Square. The tops of the houses were dotted with spectators. A huge platform was built out from the windows of the Club-House and filled with ladies; and a smaller stage, from which the speech of presentation was to be made, stood between the Club-House and the Everett House. The regiment advanced into the open space amidst the cheers and tears of those who felt the significance of the spectacle. The soldiers had handled their muskets but five days; but when they obeyed the "order arms" there was a solid, simultaneous ring upon the pavement, which enforced the heartiest applause. Then President KING of Columbia College rose, and in a few noble and thrilling sentences, fervent, cheering, and pathetic, addressed Colonel BARTRAM, and handed him the national and regimental flags. The Colonel, who has seen constant service since the war begun, and who has commanded colored troops, and believes in them, made a manly and modest reply. Cheers were given for the Colonel and the troops. The band played the national airs. Then the regiment raised a mighty shout, and was dismissed for a time to lunch and say good-by. The officers went into the Club-House for oysters and coffee; and toward 4 o'clock the line was formed, and the march began down Broadway.

Every where the soldiers were greeted as a great city ought to greet its defenders, and as it has saluted every departing regiment since the Seventh marched on the 19th of April, three years ago. The flag of the country waved over them in benediction. The prayers of all noble hearts follow them. For these soldiers go to peculiar dangers. Officers and men, they have counted the cost ; and for union, liberty, and peace they are willing to pay the price. " It has been the habit of those among us," said Colonel BARTRAM, " who sympathize with the traitors now in arms against us, to sneer at what they are pleased to term the cowardice of the negro. I hope that Port Hudson, Fort Wagner, and Olustee have forever settled this question." Yes, and he and his soldiers will settle it still further, and thereby help to lift the bitter prejudice from the national heart. To no holier work could any man be devoted. God bless the Colonel, the officers, and the men of the Twentieth United States Colored Regiment and the cause they go to defend !


"A PRISONER states that a Colonel with one foot had been captured," said the first report of KILPATRICK'S raid.

"A rebel deserter informs one of my Aids that a one-legged Colonel and about a hundred men were taken prisoners," telegraphed General BUTLER to the President.

"Of one thing the public may rest assured that these officers will escape if such a thing is within the region of possibilities," said a later account.

"The President received a dispatch from Fortress Monroe this afternoon stating that Colonel DAHLGREN, with his hundred men, had safely arrived within our lines. The Colonel was at Fortress Monroe. The President and Secretary STANTON imme-

diately called upon Admiral DAHLGREN, to convey the glad tidings and congratulate him upon the safety of his gallant son," said one still later.

"Colonel DAHLGREN is dead," said yet another report.

ULRIC DAHLGREN is scarcely more than twenty years old. He was wounded in the leg last summer, just after the battle of Gettysburg, in the daring dash by which he succeeded in capturing the rebel dispatches from JEFFERSON DAVIS to General LEE. His leg was subsequently taken off. Four weeks ago he was a tall, slight, pale-faced boy, sitting quietly in Washington, and saying, pleasantly : "I am waiting for my new leg, and then I shall see whether I can ride again." Four weeks ago ! We all know now whether he can ride again. The brave boy has not only dashed at the outworks of the rebel city, but, living or dead, he has ridden straight into the love and honor of his countrymen.


By the death of the Rev. Thomas STARR KING the country loses a most valuable citizen ; and the large circle which knew him as a preacher, a lecturer, or a friend, deplores the loss of a most genial and delightful companion. Characteristically an American; devoted to every good work; hospitable to every new thought and movement; of the most cheerful temperament and sweet good sense; vigorous, incisive, and brilliant in his public discourse; racy, thoughtful, and generous in his private intercourse, his life is ended before he had completed his fortieth year.

Until five years ago Mr. KING was generally known as one of the most eloquent and brilliant of lyceum lecturers, and in a smaller sphere as a liberal preacher of the most charming gifts. Re-moving to California, the newness of the country and the exigency of the times at once developed all the peculiar force of his genius, and he was universally recognized as a most efficient and successful worker in the great cause. His clear perception, his fervid eloquence, his simple manners and life, his unassuming piety, his signal sagacity took the heart of the young and distant State, and held it fast to the common mother. It was a noble work nobly done. That mother has seen many of her best and dearest fall in the great struggle ; some in the field, in the camp, at home, in the hospital, by sudden shot or by lingering disease. But no son of hers had consecrated himself more entirely to the service for which his powers had fitted him, of deepening and strengthening the purest patriotism, and inspiring the most faithful love to God and man, than THOMAS STARR KING.


THE loiterer along Broadway who stops to look at the monument of General MONTGOMERY in St. Paul's church, will be glad to read this touching incident related by Mr. HUNT in his lately published " Life of Edward Livingston." MONTGOMERY was a captain in the British army when he first met Livingston's sister, Janet, whom he afterward married. When the revolutionary war began he was made one of the eight Brigadier-Generals of the army of the United Colonies. He had been married but two years, but his wife did not oppose his departure, and he took leave of her at Saratoga, in 1775, upon his way to Canada. His parting words to her were, " You shall never have cause to blush for your MONTGOMERY;" and she never saw him again.

In the year 1818 the Legislature of New York resolved to transfer his remains from Canada, and EDWARD LIVINGSTON'S son, Lewis, the nephew of Mrs. MONTGOMERY, was commissioned by Govern-or DE W ITT CLINTON to superintend the removal. On the 9th of July they reached Albany, and lay in state in the Capitol. On Monday they were taken under military escort upon the steamer Richmond to New York. Mr. HUNT says:

"The Governor had advised Mrs. MONTGOMERY at about what hour the boat, bearing the remains of her husband, would pass her house, Montgomery Place. By her own request she stood alone upon the portico at the appointed time. She had lived with the General but two years. It was then almost forty-three years since she had parted with him at Saratoga. For a third of a century out of this latter period the waters of the Hudson, like all other wa-terrs, had been ignorant of steam vessels. The change which, in the mean time, had come over her person was not greater than that which the face of the country, its government, and all the objects with which she was familiar, had undergone. Yet she had continued as faithful to the memory of her 'soldier,' as she called him, as if she still looked for him to come back alive and unaltered. The steamer halted before her: the 'Dead March' was played by the band, a salute was fired, and the ashes of the de-parted hero passed on. The attendants of the venerable widow now sought her. She had succumbed to her emotions, and fallen to the floor in a swoon."


THACKERAY, at the time of his death;, was en-gaged upon a Novel, to be published simultaneously in the Cornhill and Harper's Magazine. He had completed and corrected about four of the monthly parts. The fragment will appear in Harper's Magazine, commencing in the April Number. The title is "Denis Duval;" the opening scenes are laid in France some half century ago. Of this story Charles Dickens says: " In respect of earnestness, far-seeing purpose, character, incident, and certain loving picturesqueness blending the whole, I believe it to be much the best of all his works. That he fully meant it to he so, that he had become strongly attached to it, and that he had bestowed great pains upon it, I trace in almost every page. It contains one picture which must have cost him extreme distress, and which is a master-piece." This picture, which is essentially a chapter from Thackeray's own life, is contained, we presume, in the first part, now before us.—We find upon our table a new edition of " Vanity Fair," published by (Next Page)




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