Battle of Pleasant Hill


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, May 7, 1864

This site features our online archive of Harper's Weekly newspapers. These newspapers have impressive illustrations of the key people, events, and battles of the War. This archive will enable you to study the war in a way not possible before. Browse these papers and watch the war unfold before your eyes.

(Scroll Down to See Entire Page, or Newspaper Thumbnails below will take you to the page of interest)


Union Scout

Union Scout

Equal Pay for Colored Troops

Pleasant Hill

Battle of Pleasant Hill

Chicago Lake Tunnel

Runaway Slave

Runaway Slave

General Gregg

Cane River

Cane River


Battle of Plymouth

Escaping Slaves

Stock Exchange

Battle of Pleasant Hill

Battle of Pleasant Hill

War Bonds





MAY 7, 1864.]



(Previous Page) how is that worth to be established but by a frank expression of opinion ? Are authors also to be allowed to protest against adverse criticism, because it injures the sale of their books ? If, indeed, a man paints a picture as a piece of furniture, and merely wishes to get the highest price he can for it, without regard to its intrinsic value or to the intelligence of the purchaser—counting, indeed, upon the ignorance of the buyer--he must be held to prostitute his art, and be judged accordingly. But in that case the intelligent buyers have a right to protest. They may justly ask why the market should be spoiled by the high prices of poor wares. Every man who is sincerely interested in the elevation of art and the consequent refinement of society, is also interested to see that the prices of pictures, so far as possible, shall have some relation to their excellence.

In fact, the whole discussion comes to this single plain point—shall there be any criticism of pictures whatever? If there may be, who shall criticise--the painters, their friends, their enemies, or the spectator ? If it be allowed that the spectator may be the critic, the question of his competency can not be arbitrarily determined ; it can be settled only by the criticism itself. If this assaults traditions in art and traditional reputations, it may be confounded by an equally strong statement of opposing principles, but it can not be evaded by personal acrimony and indignation. For it should be remembered that every man who attacks any established reputation does so at the risk of annihilating himself. We all know that there has been really very little art criticism in this country at any time, and we ought to welcome heartily any effort at it, however mistaken we may believe the philosophy to be upon which it is founded. For it gives us the opportunity of setting forth what we may believe to be the true philosophy, and of establishing the works of our favorites upon clearly defined grounds. The criticisms in the Tribune are evidently the result of careful study and profound interest in art. They are personally impartial, and evidently wholly sincere. We do not agree with them altogether ; but then, on the other hand, the critic does not probably agree with us. And if there is any painter who can not read them without indignation, we beg him humbly never to show another picture. For all the signs show that criticism as an art is beginning in this country, and " Notices of Pictures" are hereafter to be something else than a weak wash of compliment.


THIS is the title of DICKENS'S new novel, the first part of which will appear in the June number of Harper's Magazine. There has been a good deal of comment upon the title, for it is assumed that the author must know that the phrase is ungram-matical and inelegant, and that he has a special purpose in using it. It is hardly possible that he announced it without submitting it to his literary friends. And as JOHN FORSTER, to whom he dedicated one of his earlier stories, is one of the most intimate of DICKENS'S associates, and one of the most fastidious of writers, it seems that the phrase could not have escaped unchallenged if it had been a slip of the pen. Yet it is so common an error, and DICKENS is so far from being an exact or dainty writer, that there is some reason for supposing that he has made a mistake. Mutual is a word implying reciprocity. Mutual friendship is the feeling entertained by two persons each for the other. A and B are mutual friends. C is their common friend. WEBSTER says that the word mutual may be and often is applied to numbers acting in concert. But the only true standard of language is elegant contemporary use, and that condemns the phrase mutual friend as applied to a third person.

But whatever may be the dispute about the title there is likely to be very little about the story it self. The profuse power and fertility of the author are unsurpassed. There seems to be no exhaustion or even weariness upon his part. We know that there are some readers who can not find the old charm in his new works. But fortunately for our own enjoyment we are not of them, and we believe them to be very few among the multitude of his audience. We look for " Our Mutual Friend" with the same eagerness that the readers of "Ivanhoe" looked for the next work by the author of "Waverley."


THIS elaborate and amply illustrated journal ( just published by HARPER & BROTHERS is the account of the solution of one of the greatest, most interesting, and longest hidden geographical problems, the source of the Nile. Whether Captain SPEKE is entitled to the credit of the theory of the rise of the Nile in the Lake N'yanza, is a question which BEKE will always dispute. But there can be no question whatever that he was the first explorer known to us who actually beheld the lake and the outlet of the stream. His work must take its place as a most essential and crowning chapter of African research.



SENATE.—April 20. Mr. Harris introduced a joint resolution providing for taking an industrial census in 1865 by the several States.—The bill making an additional grant of lands to the State of Kansas to aid in the construction of railroad and telegraph lines was passed, with an amendment requiring the road from Leavenworth to go by way of Lawrence to Emporia, and to carry one line to Fort Riley.--The question of appointing a Committee of Conference on the Montana disagreement was discussed, but no conclusion reached.—The bill repealing the Fugitive Slave Law was taken up, and discussed by Messrs. Foster, Sumner, and Brown until the hour of adjounment.--April 21. The House bill for the relief of Postmasters who have been robbed by the Confederate forces or guerrillas was passed.—The Senate joint resolution to provide for the printing of official reports of the operations of the armies of the United States was passed.—Mr. Howe called up the bill to establish an Assay Office at Carson City in Nevada, and at Dallas City, Oregon. An amendment pro-

posed by Mr. Nesmith, of Oregon, for establishing a Mint at Dallas City, instead of an Assay Office, was adopted, and the bill laid aside.—The Senate then proceeded to the consideration of the bill to repeal the Fugitive Slave Law, and Mr. Van Winkle spoke at length on the certainty of the extermination of slavery.—The House bill to provide for a National Currency was reported, with some amendments in reference to the taxation by States of capital, circulation, and business of banking associations.—April 22. The House bill to establish a bureau of military justice was amended so as to give the Judge-Advocate-General the rank of Brigadier-General with a salary of $4000, and no other allowances. The bill was then passed.—The Army Appropriation bill for the year ending June 30, 1865, came up, and all the amendments of the Finance Committee were agreed to. Other amendments were adopted—that all enlistments hereafter made in the regular army during the continuance of the present rebellion, may be for three years ; that all persons of color who have been or may be mustered into the military service shall receive the same uniform, clothing, arms, emoluments, etc., other than bounty, as other soldiers of the regular or volunteer forces of like arm of service ; and that all persons enlisted and mustered into the service as volunteers under the call of October 17, 1863, who were at the time of enlistment actually enrolled and subject to draft in the State in which they volunteered, shall receive from the same bounty without regard to color. The bill was then passed.—April 25. The subject of the disagreeing votes of the two Houses on the bill to provide a territorial government for Montana was taken up, and Mr. Doolittle, of Wisconsin, made a speech in opposition to the extension of the right of suffrage to negroes. Mr. Wilkinson, who offered the amendment permitting negroes to vote, replied briefly, and the Senate agreed to the request of the House for another Committee of Conference.--April 26. Mr. Hale introduced a bill to amend the act to provide for the efficiency of the Navy, which provides that no officer shall be retired under the age of sixty-two, and whose name shall not have been borne upon the Navy Register forty-five years after the age of sixteen.—Mr. Wilson introduced a resolution, which was referred, that $25,000,000 be appropriated for volunteers that may be received by the President for not less than 100 days after their muster into service by regiments.—The House bill establishing a postal money-order system was passed with amendments.—The Senate resolution in relation to franked matter, which permits all communications to be received by the heads of Executive Departments and Chiefs of Bureaus where entitled to the franking privilege, with out being indorsed "official business," but with the name of the writer thereon, was passed.—Mr. Sherman called up the special order, the House bill to provide a National Currency secured by a pledge of United States bonds, and to provide for the circulation and redemption thereof. No vote was reached.

House—April 20. The day session was occupied in considering the Tax bill. Forty-two sections of the bill were acted upon, and several amendments adopted, mainly of a verbal character.—During the evening session the bill for a new coinage of one and two cent pieces was passed.—The bill for reconstructing overthrown State Governments was then taken up, and Messrs. Norton of Illinois, and Broomall of Pennsylvania, spoke in favor of the bill.—April 21. The House went into Committee for the consideration of the Internal Tax bill, and acted on all the general provisions, comprising 47 sections. Mr. Washburne offered an amendment providing that the stocks of liquors on hand be taxed 50 cents a gallon. Along debate followed, when the amendment was rejected—52 to 79. An amendment was adopted including naphtha in the section which provides that all distilled spirits and all refined coal oil upon which an excise duty is imposed, may be exported without payment of duty when the same is intended for exportation. An amendment was added providing that beer, ale, porter, and all other similar fermented liquors in bottles, shall pay no lower rate of duty than the proportion of $1 a barrel.—At the evening session the bill for the construction of a ship canal to unite the Mississippi and the Northern Lakes was postponed until the next session of Congress.--The bill to encourage emigration was passed.—April 22. The consideration of the Internal Tax bill was renewed. Amendments were adopted under which wholesale liquor dealers are required to pay $50 for license when their sales are under $50,000 a year, and $1 on each $1000 over that ; retail liquor licenses are increased to $25. The other licenses were fixed as follows : brokers with business under $25,000 pay $25, and $1 for each $1000 over that; steamers and vessels carrying passengers (except ferries) pay $25 each; hotel and tavern keepers must have an extra license of $25 to sell liquor to be drunk on the premises ; bowling alleys and billiard saloons $10 for each alley or table ; builders and contractors pay $20 when doing business under $20,000, and $1 per $1000 over ; coal (except pea and dust) is taxed five cents a ton; coal illuminating oil was put up from 20 to 25 cents per gallon ; oils distilled from coal, asphaltum, or shale, were taxed 50 cents per gallon; crude petroleum $1 per barrel ; the duty on pig-iron was raised from $1 to $2 a ton.—April 23. A bill was passed creating an additional Supervising Inspector of Steamboats for New Orleans, and Boards of Local Inspectors at Portland, Oregon, and at Memphis, Tennessee.—A resolution was adopted amending the fourth section of the Act of March 2,1793, empowering United States Commissioners to take bail in criminal cases and providing them with a seal.—The committee who investigated the charges against Representative Blair, of Missouri, of speculating in liquors, while in military command in the Department of Missouri, reported that Mr. Blair had not violated any law. Some remarks followed of a personal character from Mr. Blair and his accuser, Mr. M'Clurg.—The consideration of the Internal Tax bill was then resumed, the House having resolved itself into a committee for that purpose.--April 25. A bill was introduced providing for the more speedy punishment of guerrillas. It authorizes the commanding generals in the field to carry into execution sentences against guerrillas and persons guilty of robbery, arson, burglary, rape, and violation of the laws and customs of war, and spies, mutineers, and murderers.—The Internal Tax bill was then taken up in Committee of the Whole. Amendments were adopted taxing sales of gold, silver, bullion and coin, sterling exchange, promissory notes, and securities of every description one-fifth of one per cent. ; slaughtered swine ten, and sheep and lambs five cents per head ; and increasing the taxes on various other articles.—At the evening session a joint resolution increasing the duties on all imported merchandise, excepting printing paper, fifty per cent, till July 1, was adopted, with not more than a dozen dissenting votes.—On motion of Mr. Dawes a resolution was adopted requesting the President to communicate to the House whether Hon. F. P. Blair, Representative from Missouri, now holds any appointment or commission in the military service; end if so, whether he is now acting under any such appointment.---April 26. The House went into Committee on the Internal Revenue bill. An amendment was adopted that incomes derived from the interest of notes, bonds, or other securities of the United States shall be included in the estimate of incomes under this section, which places the duty at five per centum on all over six hundred dollars. Mr. Frank offered an amendment, which was adopted, providing that on incomes exceeding $600 and no more than $10,000, a tax of five per cent. shall be imposed ; on incomes of $10,000 and not exceeding $25,000, a tax of seven and a half per cent shall be imposed, and on incomes of over $25,000 a tax of ten per cent. shall be imposed--Several bills granting lands to Wisconsin, Iowa, and Michigan, for railroad purposes, were passed.


Further details of the battles on the Red River show them to have been among the most desperately contested of the war. The first battle was fought on the 7th, between our cavalry advance and a body of the enemy, who were driven several miles, with serious loss. The second engagement took place at Sabine Cross-Roads, between the rebel army, some 20,000 strong, under Generals Kirby Smith, Dick Taylor, Moulton, Greene, and Price, and a portion only of General Banks's army. Our troops, though greatly outnumbered, fought with desperate gallantry until 2 o'clock in the afternoon, when another part of General Banks's army came up, and was followed during the afternoon by fresh detachments, all of which became engaged. At last, however, our line gave way, and slowly retired, fighting as it went, to Pleasant Hill. In this engagement we lost heavily in men, guns, and material, a wagon-train falling into the enemy's hands. On the 9th the enemy again attacked our position at Pleasant Hill,

where, during the night, General Andrew Jackson Smith had arrived with fresh troops. Skirmishing was kept up with varying success until 5 o'clock in the afternoon, when the rebels had completed their arrangements for the grand final assault. What followed is thus described by the New Orleans Era:

" About this hour (5 o'clock) General Emory's skirmish line was driven in on the right by the rebels, who appeared in large force. They soon reached the open ground, and moved on to the attack in three lines of battle. Our batteries and infantry opened with terrible effect, doing great slaughter with grape and canister, while the enemy's artillery, being in the woods and in bad position, did scarcely any damage.

" Colonel Benedict's brigade on the left was first engaged, soon followed by Dwight's and M'Millan's. The fighting was terrific—old soldiers say it never was surpassed for desperation. Notwithstanding the terrible havoc in their ranks, the enemy pressed fiercely on, slowly pushing the men of the Nineteenth Corps back up the hill, but not breaking their line of battle. A sudden and bold dash of the rebels on the right gave them possession of Taylor's battery, and forced our line still further back.

" Now came the grand coup de main. The Nineteenth, on arriving at the top of the hill, suddenly filed off over the hill and passed through the lines of General Smith. We must here mention that the rebels were now in but two lines of battle, the first having been almost annihilated by General Emory, what remained being forced back into the second line. But these two lines came on exultant and sure of victory.

" The first passed over the knoll, and all heedless of the long line of cannons and crouching forms of as brave men as ever trod mother earth, pressed on. The second line appeared on the crest, and the death-signal was sounded. Words can not describe the awful effect of this discharge. Seven thousand rifles and several batteries of artillery, each gun loaded to the muzzle with grape and canister, were fired simultaneously, and the whole centre of the rebel line was crushed down as a field of ripe wheat through which a tornado had passed. It is estimated that 1000 men were hurried into eternity or frightfully mangled by this one discharge.

" No time was given them to recover their good order, but General Smith ordered a charge, and his men dashed rapidly forward, the boys of the Nineteenth joining in. The rebels fought boldly and desperately back to the timber, on reaching which a large portion broke and fled, fully 2000 throwing aside their arms. In this charge Taylor's battery was retaken, as were also two of the guns of Nims's battery, the Parrott gun taken from us at Carrion Crow last fall, and one or two others belonging to the rebels, one of which was considerably shattered, besides 700 prisoners. A pursuit and desultory fight was kept up for three miles, when our men returned to the field of battle. " And thus ended this fearful and bloody struggle for the control of Western Louisiana."

Our entire loss in these engagements was over 2000, including many officers. The loss of the rebels was probably 3000. Among their officers killed were Generals Morton, Parsons, and Greene.

At the close of the third day's engagement General Banks fell back to the line of the Red River, and took up position at Grand Ecore, near Natchitoches. On the 9th an engagement took place on the Red River above Grand Ecore, between the gun-boats and a rebel force, in which the latter were routed, with a loss of two guns and 160 killed and wounded.

We give on page 207 a view of the grand repulse of the rebels at Pleasant Hill; and, below, a map showing the scene of the several engagements.

Disaster has befallen our arms in North Carolina. On the 17th a force of from ten to fifteen thousand rebels marched upon Plymouth, and opened an impetuous attack upon its defenses. Fort Gray, about one mile from the town, was vigorously bombarded, and twice attempted to be carried by the bayonet. In each instance, however, the enemy were repulsed with great slaughter. Our gunboats bore the brunt of the fighting, and did effective work. Four of the enemy's gun-boats and one iron-clad ram came down to the obstructions in the Roanoke River, six miles from the town, to co-operate with the land-forces. On the 18th the ram passed the guns at Plymouth without being discovered, and attacked the fleet. She floated with the current, and was not discovered until close under the bows of the Miami. Lieutenant-Commander Flusser rushed forward, sighted and fired the bow-gun loaded with shell, which struck the ram, rebounded, and instantly killed him, a piece of the shell penetrating his breast. The ram then attacked the Southfield, and she sank in five minutes. The Miami was somewhat injured. The ram is 150 feet long, draws about eight feet of water, and carries only two small guns. The Federal gun-boat Bombshell was also sunk, having been struck by a rebel battery. Finally, after four days' fighting, Plymouth was taken by the enemy at noon on the 20th, the captures including General Wessels and his force of 1500 men. The enemy obtained possession of the town at 8 o'clock in the morning. General Wessels and his troops retired into Fort Williams and held out until noon, repulsing the enemy in seven desperate assaults. Their loss is said to be 1700, while our loss was slight. Two companies belonging to the Second North Carolina (Union) Volunteers were among the captured, the most of whom were taken out and shot by the enemy after our forces had surrendered. All the negroes found in uniform were also shot. At last accounts the enemy were moving in force on Washington and Newbern. The ram has control of the inland waters, but Federal gun-boats have been dispatched to the scene, and it is believed she may be destroyed.

The following map illustrates the scene of these operations :


On the 19th a band of eighty mounted rebels attempted an invasion of Kentucky through Pound Gap, but were at once driven back by a detachment of the Forty-fifth Kentucky Mounted Infantry. A band of 150 guerrillas was also driven oat of the State into Macon County, Tennessee, eight of them being killed, and ten captured, as well as fifty of their horses.

The Governors of the several States are taking active measures to place the militia in service, so as to place the volunteers and regulars entirely at the disposal of the general Government. The President has accepted the tender on the part of the Governors of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa of an aggregate of eighty-five thousand volunteer infantry, to serve one hundred days from the time of their being mustered in as regiments. These troops are to be paid, clothed, subsisted, and transported by the Government, and employed in fortifications, either in their several States or wherever required. Governors Brough of Ohio, Yates of Illinois, and Morton of Indiana, have issued proclamations calling on the citizen soldiery to turn out and assist in rendering the approaching campaign a decisive victory.

Advices from the Department of the South report the evacuation of Pilatka, Florida, by General Gillmore, and the destruction of another steamer in the St. John's River by a rebel torpedo. The steamer destroyed was the General Hunter, one of the finest and swiftest light dram transports in the department, and the explosion occurred in precisely the spot where the Maple Leaf was blown up a few weeks since. All on board the boat escaped with their lives, excepting one of the quarter-masters. Fort Sumter attempted, on the 13th, to celebrate the third anniversary of its capture from the United States by a salute from mortars, but its sauciness was effectually rebuked by the fire of Fort Gregg.

Orders have been issued by General Burnside, at Annapolis, to prepare the Ninth Corps for immediate movement.

General Price has evacuated Camden, Arkansas, and General Steele occupied the place.

The Army of the Potomac is preparing to move. The army is said to be larger than ever before. Hospital accommodations in Washington have been greatly enlarged, and every provision made for the contingencies of battle.




IN the British House of Commons, on the 8th, Mr. Layard said, in answer to a question, that the British Government was taking measures to investigate the alleged kidnapping of Irish emigrants into the service of the Federal army. The Financial Budget was announced in the House of Commons on the 7th, by Mr. Gladstone, and made a very favorable impression. The estimated expenditure for the past fiscal year was .£68,283,000, but the actual expenditure was £67,050,000.

The particulars of the rebel cotton scheme are published. A large company has been formed with a capital of $1,000,000, to purchase steamers and run the blockade, for the purpose of bringing out cotton to redeem the rebel loan. Collins J. M'Rae is the rebel agent in the matter.


The Danish war is vigorously prosecuted by the Germans. On the 7th the Prussians opened a terrible bombardment on Duppel and Sonderborg, and it is stated that in the latter place 80 women and children were killed, they not having had notice to leave. The German steamer Rembrandt had been captured by a Danish man-of-war. The Conference would meet in London on the 13th.


Matamoras letters announce the flight from Monterey of Governor Vidaurri, after he had declared his. hostility to President Juarez, and boasted of his ability to defend himself against any force the latter might send to attack him. He left the city in the night, with all the forces he could muster, some time before the soldiers of the Liberal army made their appearance. He fled toward the Texas border, being last heard of at Morelia. The Constitutional forces occupied Monterey on April 3. General Diaz is reported to have defeated a French force of 600 men at Juajuapan, only eighty of the enemy escaping.


THE Secretary of War has ordered that the new regiments of heavy artillery that may be organized and filled up to the legal standard of 1738 officers and men, within the period of twenty days from this date, will be received and credited. if regiments are not full on or before the 10th day of May, the recruits will be put into other artillery or infantry organizations. This order will not postpone the draft, but such troops as may be raised prior to the draft will be deducted from the quotas for draft.

The recent order of General GRANT banishing sutlers from the army rids it of over twenty-eight hundred supernumeraries.

The President has assigned Major-General BLAIR to the command of the Seventeenth (McPHERSON'S Army Corps), now in the Department of the Mississippi. Lieutenant-Commander D. HAVEN has been ordered to the command of the Tallapoosa.

The Petersburg Express reports that the First Auditor of the rebel Treasury has been ordered to remove his bureau from Richmond to Montgomery, Alabama.

General FOSTER has applied for an active command in the field.

Governor PARKER, of New Jersey, has received instructions from the War Department to raise one regiment of twelve batteries of heavy artillery by the 10th of May, which, no doubt, he will accomplish.

Colonel FISH, late Provost Marshal of Baltmore, under General SCHENCK, has been sentenced by court martial to one year in the Albany Penitentiary.

Pleasant Hill Map




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