Salmon Chase Declines to Run for President


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, March 26, 1864

Welcome to our online archive of Civil War Harper's Weekly newspapers. These newspapers allow in depth study of the important events of the war, and yield insight not available through the study of modern resources alone.

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Ulric Dahlgren

Salmon Chase Will Not Run for President

Sherman Expedition

General Sherman's Expedition

Mobile Defenses

Mobile Defenses

Soldier's Voting


Ulric Dahlgren Death

Grant and Lincoln

General Grant and Abraham Lincoln


Mobile Alabama

Custer's Raid

Custer's Raid on the Rapidan






COME out to the moors, little friend, with me, For the March winds whistle right cheerily; Shut the Latin books, now our task is done, Out, out, and away for a scampering run.

Ah, wheugh, what a gust! Blow, Boreas, blow, And set my young " rosy cheeks" all in a glow, Play at "hide-and-seek" with his golden hair--There is health in the touch of thee, Jolly March air.

It will brace your young limbs, little play-fellow mine, And make your blue eyes like bright diamonds shine; It will scatter your bonny brown curls out of place, And bring the rich healthy blood into your face.

How the dead leaves rustle! Away, away, To the hills for a game on this glorious day,

The green blades crunch crisp, yet the field-fares sing, 'Tis old Winter having a tassel with Spring.

Whist I away go the gray rabbits one by one, With their white tails erect in a frenzy of fun,

Come along, little Tom, and we'll give them a chase, Let us see which of us will be first in the race!

There's a cunning old raven sits looking at me, From the high bare bough of yon withered tree, The wary old fellow is out for a meal,

And he knows that we know he is longing to steal.

See the first of the lambs to the old ewe creeps, And askant at the fondling the sly bird peeps, But he dare not venture his bold attack Till the mother sheep shall have turned her back.

Get away, cruel thief, shut your greedy beak, 'Tis a coward's act to assault the weak.

How he croaks, and he gloats on the old bare thorn, Come, a good long shout! Ah, the rogue has gone.

O'er the rough plowed fields the gray plovers run, And the purple violets nod at the fun,

In the sere dry brushwood the pheasants " whirr," And the sleepy red squirrel is getting astir.

What a famous wind ! How the high elms shake; How the tall, slim poplars quiver and quake ; How the chattering rooks to the tree-tops swarm, Like rudderless ships blown about in a storm.

Come on, little friend, we are both in a glow, While our arms are strong, and our legs can go, And our voices can make the old woodlands ring: What need we of wealth ? We are each a king!



T HE manifesto of the "War Democracy," as the Tammany party likes to be called, has one proposition which should be very thoughtfully pondered by the citizens of this country. It declares that the next President should be a military man. Yet if the country is truly wise it will never elect a chief magistrate merely upon the ground of military success. The school of the soldier is not the school in which a President of the United States should be trained. Military success dazzles a nation accustomed to despotic rule, but it ought not to deceive a free people who govern themselves. In a warlike community the triumphant chief is naturally the most captivating figure, but in a peaceful free society the qualities of the soldier are by no means those which are best fitted for the work of government.

That those who best serve the country should be most highly honored is true ; but that a century ago any British General in the field or Admiral upon the sea better served England than Lord CHATHAM, who directed the Government, would be difficult to prove. Military success, however essential, however indispensable, is not necessarily the highest service. Military heroes, however pure, however single-hearted, however noble, are, by the necessity of the case, accustomed to regard their own will as law, and will inevitably incline to govern a country as if it were an army. If WASHINGTON was an exception to this rule, JACKSON was not; and WASHINGTON was exceptional among men.

Emerging from any great war, and especially from a civil struggle, the devotion of an army and its officers to their chief is an incentive to personal ambition, and a danger to civil liberty so vast and obvious that it needs but to be named ; for History is the record of governments overthrown and people subjugated by victorious military leaders. But we are not driven to ancient or even modern history to find the evidence of these truths. The spirit which solicits a military head of the Government is simply that of despotism. The ascendency so long maintained in this country by the Southern Policy, under the auspices of what was called " the Democracy," was due to the absolute annihilation of the fundamental right of a free government—the right of debate. And when, under the same name, a plea is made for a military Presidential candidate, it ought to surprise no man that the most ardent supporter of the proposition says plainly of one of the Generals of our armies : "He must have as little respect for these wretches as CAESAR had for those in Rome." By the word " wretches" he describes the lawful, constitutional authorities of the Government, and he calls upon a military leader to set them aside as NAPOLEON did the Convention and CROMWELL the Parliament.

This is the spirit from which a military candidacy springs. It is impatience of constitutional rule. It is the instinct of despotism. Let us-hope that the people of this country, in so momentous a crisis as the present, will be governed in the election of a President by some

principle more profound than mere enthusiasm for a soldier. When the soldier has shown the qualities for civil rule that WASHINGTON displayed, he may justly aspire to the chair that WASHINGTON filled.


THE letter of Mr. CHASE, in which he asks that no further consideration be given to his name as a Presidential candidate, will surprise no one who has watched his patriotic course. The Presidency could not win him a higher honor than that of the masterly management of the national treasury during this war ; and it is to the universal conviction of his great fitness for the office he fills, and the doubt where an adequate successor could be found, that much of the reluctance of the popular response to his nomination was to be attributed. Himself an essential part of the Administration which is now upon trial before the country, it could hardly be supposed that he seriously differed from its general policy, or that an Administration of which he should be the head would radically change that policy. While, therefore, he agreed upon the whole, it was certainly wiser to do as he has done.

Whatever honors may yet await him, Mr. CHASE will be known in our history as one of the most eminent of the leaders who early saw and always resisted the mortal peril which menaced the American Union and human civilization from the essential character of the spirit which now seeks its overthrow. Called into a vitally important responsibility in the Government when the struggle began, he has fulfilled it with singular ability. Nor will it be named among the least of his claims to the permanent regard of his countrymen that, in the midst of the great war, he saw so clearly the necessity of devoting every energy and effort to the suppression of the rebellion, that he would not allow any preference of his friends for his personal advantage to perplex the great issue. It would have been his duty to do so, however, had he felt that the public safety was imperiled.

We differ entirely from those who regret his withdrawal upon the ground that every man's candidacy should remain open until the nomination. We are to deal with facts, and the fact is that the Union candidate will certainly be one of three or four conspicuous gentlemen already indicated. If there were comparative unity of feeling—if, surrendering minor points of difference and criticism, the Union party of the nation could move forward to the election as the Union party of New Hampshire lately did to that of Governor GILMORE, and as that of Connecticut will, on the 4th of April, to that of Governor BUCKINGHAM—would it not be infinitely better for the country and the cause than the ardent debate upon various candidates is likely to be ?

It is upon that ground, unquestionably, that Mr. CHASE has withdrawn, and for that reason his course will command the sincerest public approval.


IT is no secret that General FREMONT and many of his friends think that he has been unfairly treated by the Administration ; that his opportunities of military distinction have been systematically baffled; and whatever explanation the General himself might give, it is very sure that his ardent personal friends attribute his treatment to political jealousy. It is the same feeling that the immediate friends of General McCLELLAN indulge in regard to him, and it is a question which will never be settled to the satisfaction of either side.

We observe that some Union men, who, like the German-American Club of the Seventeenth Ward in this city, are resolved that under no circumstances will they support Mr. LINCOLN'S re-election, are disposed to erect the name of FREMONT as a candidate in any case; and a journal, recently established, attacks the Government with the fury of the most malignant Copperhead writers, and plainly points to FREMONT as its candidate, while the chuckling Copperheads warmly applaud the " FREMONT diversion."

Now FREMONT has been a charmed name because it stood for unswerving fidelity to Liberty and Union ; and to suggest that it could be used as a rallying cry to divide Union men, after they had deliberately decided who was to bear their standard, is insulting both to the General and to his friends. No candidate has any prescriptive right to the nomination. The field is clear; and it is of transcendent importance that the question of fitness shall be thoroughly discussed in every case. That General FREMONT may choose to try the popular confidence in his name so far as to await the action of the Convention is very probable. But that a man, who has been so truly respected, and who, when he was a candidate, was so faithfully supported by as earnest a body of men as ever voted, will permit his name to be used in any manner what ever as a menace—that he will allow any considerable number of persons to declare either that the national Convention must nominate him or some compromise candidate with his assent, or that he will take the field as an inde-

pendent candidate, we no more believe than we should believe any other imputation upon his perfect patriotism.


IF the spring campaign is successful, nothing can prevent Mr. LINCOLN'S renomination. If it fails, nothing can secure it, " says some one.

That may be true ; but it certainly does not follow that the change, however inevitable, will be advantageous. Governor SEYMOUR is a specimen of the kind of candidate that comes in upon a tide of general disgust and reaction. The President will unquestionably be held responsible for any disaster which may occur, and the public indignation may very probably demand that his place be filled by another. That he ought to be held officially responsible we are very far from saying or thinking. But we ask the gentlemen who deprecate any discussion of the Presidential question, and who declare that Mr. LINCOLN'S renomination is impossible in case of defeat, whom they propose as his successor? Nothing is so uncertain as the event of a battle, and the fortune of war is a proverb. In the spring campaign we may suffer reverses. In that case there must be a new President, say the gentlemen. But is it worth while to take one at hazard? If the case occurs we shall need, more than ever, exactly the right man. Are we to know him by instinct ? If so, who is he ? " Oh ! there are twenty men." Yes—and so there are twenty hundred. That is no answer—it is merely a poor evasion.

If the text be true, no man who urges it is justified in refraining from the fullest discussion of the Presidential question. For the contingency suggested is not impossible. Should it arise, do we prefer to find ourselves at a loss among the twenty or twenty hundred ? Is it not rather the part of trusty and loyal and prudent citizens to consider most carefully what hand is fittest to take the helm if the storm shall wash the pilot overboard?


THERE is something very pathetic and utterly futile in the periodical spasms of New York indignation with overcrowded cars and omnibuses. " Brave !" said a caustic critic as he saw people crowding into an omnibus when it was full. " Brave, indeed! Why, we Americans haven't pluck enough to keep the thirteenth man out of an omnibus." But we are trying very hard to do it. We have actually sent a petition to the Legislature asking them to do what we don't dare to. Let us hope the Legislature will reply that if twelve New Yorkers can not keep out the thirteenth from an omnibus, or if twenty in a car choose submit to the tyranny of the twenty-first, they may submit and thank themselves for their own discomfort.

You say that it is very disagreeable to exclude a person. So it is. But it is no less disagreeable to be excluded. And when half New York finds that it can not get into the cars and omnibuses, New York will have sufficient accommodation of the kind. "My dear," says the chastising parent, " I punish you for your good. One day you will thank me for making you smart." So let us say to the thirteenth and twenty-first : " Gentlemen, you can't get in. But one day, when you are amply provided, you will heartily thank us." The advantage is, that every citizen in turn is the luckless thirteenth or twenty-first, so that we shall all know how pleasant it is.

But even if the Legislature passes the most solemn laws our own abominable good-nature will prevent their enforcement. We shall squeeze and crowd, and feel sure that the thirteenth man is going to see his dying parent, or will miss a boat, or will encounter some frightful calamity if we do not suffer him to get in. So in he will get, and sit upon the knees, and grind the feet of his chicken-hearted fellow-citizens, and then jump off at his street and run crowing in to his wife, " My dear, nobody dared to keep me out of the car!"


THE British officers took their race-horses to the Peninsula, and General NAPIER complained bitterly that the luxury of the officers in the East was destroying the army. The Yankees make war after their own fashion, and carry their luxuries to the field. A gentleman was lately surprised by a letter inviting him to speak before the Lecture Association of the First Division, Second Corps, of the Army of the Potomac ! This is the kind of army which the Union sends forth to fight its battles. These are the soldiers who carry brains as well as bullets to subdue the rebellion. This is the spirit and the strength against which hate and desperate fury are powerless. It has taken some time for the Yankee genius to uncoil itself: But an army which so calmly addresses itself to its work as to construct the Lecture Lyceum in camp, serves notice upon the world that it has gone out to stay until it is victorious. It has under its placid exterior the grim earnestness of the exhorting Ironsides of Cromwell.


A FRIENDLY letter from the head-quarters of the Army of the Cumberland is full of the most alluring temptations to a visit :

"About the 1st of April we can show you green grass, and smelling buds, and other evidences of spring, wherever our soldiers have left enough vegetation to sprout, or to recognize at all those blind motions of the Spring,' which come so much earlier here than in your latitude.

MARCH 26, 1864.

"You will find this army in an admirable condition as to spirits, hopefulness, and a determination to finish the war under the guidance of good Father Abraham,' as the most ardent lover of his country can desire."

No man can doubt that the great armies of the West and East, by which the campaign is to be decided, are the most powerful and effective we have ever had in the field. The brave men among the Tennessee mountains know that the hopes and prayers of the sea-coast follow them ; and the host in the shadow of the Blue Ridge are ready for their work. The Blue Ridge will reply to the Alleghanies, as "Jura answers from her misty shroud Back to the joyous Alps, that call to her aloud."


IN another part of this paper there are illustrations of General CUSTER'S late diversion in favor of KILPATRICK, and an account of it so simple and graphic that we are glad to call attention to it as a model of intelligible description.


IN the April number of the Magazine begins the story, " Denis Duval," left unfinished by THACKERAY when he died. DICKENS has said what he thinks of it, and we have no doubt that the public will confirm his verdict. Its interest is profound and pathetic, as the great fragment of his literary life, while from the opening of the work his step is so light and free that the reader understands how fully he was himself and enjoying his work. In the same number there is a most genial and sensible plea for the children, enforcing the text that they are to be treated as children; or, as the old grandfather is quoted as saying, "Babies ort to be brooded jest like chickens." Another paper, "My Escape from Richmond," is a timely and graphic passage of military experience.

In the June number, which begins the volume, the new tale of CHARLES DICKENS will open. We advise our readers to begin it with the beginning, and to secure the regular reading by a prompt subscription to the new volume.


THE Sanitary Fair will have a picture-gallery in which there will be admirable works, and the National Academy will open its doors in April. Meanwhile there are pictures to be seen worthy of the most careful study. Three we have in mind at this moment—KENSETT'S " Lake George," BIERSTADT'S "Rocky Mountains," and THORNDIKE'S "Wayside Inn." They are all very American and very different. Mr. THORNDIKE'S picture, indeed, is now in Boston, but there is a charming photograph of it at GOUPIL'S, one of the truest and most exquisite American domestic winter bits that we remember. The landscape is muffled in snow. The huge comfortable gable-roofed inn sits broad and snug upon the ground, tucked in by the drifts, and unconsciously suggesting a homely comfort and spaciousness which belong to the ideal country tavern. The barn and hay-stack near by—chapel of ease to the Yankee temple of comfort—the exquisite tracery of the boughs of the trees against the gray sky—the rustic bridge—the gentle hill—the brook, and the boy fishing through the ice—all compose a picture so interesting and characteristic that the poet's publishers will greatly err if they do not make it the vignette of all future editions of the poem.

Mr. KENSETT'S " Lake George" is now upon exhibition at GOUPIL'S. It was painted for a noted connoisseur, who understands that one of the chief duties of those who are able to buy pictures is to let others see them. It is a thoroughly characteristic work, representing upon a large scale a certain aspect of American climate and scenery which no painter so exquisitely renders. The view is down the lake toward Caldwell. The fore-ground is a wood, traversed by a small stream which falls in a lovely cascade upon its way to enter the lake ; and the gleam of the lake, broken by the islands, dotted with sails, and walled by the mountains upon the other side, complete the picture. The firm and faithful treatment of the single tree-trunks in the foreground, the perfect quality of the rocks, the clear shadows and the sunny greenness of the forest aisle, are points of artistic excellence which will escape no one. But the exquisite gradation, the delicate airy perspective, the depth of the sky, the fidelity of the mountain forms, are not less remarkable. Yet above them all, and in them all, and through them all, are the spirit and splendor of Nature in the serene triumph of her summer repose. And it is Nature in her American costume. It is not Italy, nor the Orient, nor Switzerland, nor England, nor the Tropics ; it is the clear-breathed, soft-skied America of every day and of common experience. It is pure landscape also. Nothing wins the mind from its brooding delight in the tranquil scene. Fancy follows the bounding deer which the eye does not see. It lingers around the invisible camps. It muses upon the dusky departing race. It remembers the gay Sabbath flotilla of ABERCROMBIE'S army. It hears ETHAN ALLEN thundering in the name of the Continental Congress. Or, still receding, glides along the calm with the canoe of the Jesuit explorers. Thus it has the highest charm of landscape art, the undisturbed presentation of the scene leading on to all its historical and imaginative associations.

From this most thoughtful and masterly work the transition is not difficult to BIERSTADT''S " Rocky Mountains," which is no less thoroughly American. It is a scene upon the head waters of the Colorado at the foot of the great range of the Wind River Mountains, which fill time depth of the canvas, pouring the rills and streams from their sides and glaciers into the calm lake, upon whose broad green meadow, which forms the fore-ground of the picture, is an Indian camp. It is purely au American scene, and from the faithful and elaborate delineation of (Next Page)




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