Confederate Atrocities


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, May 21, 1864

We are happy to present this online archive of our collection of Civil War Harper's Weekly newspapers. Reading these original newspapers enables you to gain new insights into the important people, events, and battles of the Civil War. We have posted over 2,000 pages, and hope you find the material useful.

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Buzzard's Roost

Buzzard's Roost

Harper's Endorses Lincoln


Battle of Spotsylvania

Virginia Map


Richmond Battle Map


General Wadsworth


Confederate Atrocities


Music Festival

Philadelphia Music Festival

City Point Virginia








[MAY 21, 1864.


(Previous Page) between Tunnel Hill and Dalton, Georgia. The Roost forms a very strong natural defense, and in February last, at the time of General PALMER'S advance, the enemy were enabled, in the shelter of the gap, to offer a stubborn resistance with but little risk, while inflicting serious loss upon the assailants. Our picture will enable the reader to form a tolerably accurate idea of the character of the country in which General SHERMAN'S army is now operating.


WE give on page 324 a sketch of the opening scene of the GRAND MUSICAL FESTIVAL in aid of the Sanitary Commission, in Philadelphia, on the night of the 4th instant. The feature of the occasion was the production of a new opera, " Notre Dame of Paris," by WILLIAM H. FRY. The scene is described as most brilliant.

The festival which opened with this representation is the beginning of a series of entertainments preliminary to the great Sanitary Fair to be held in Philadelphia in June. This Fair promises to be the most magnificent and extensive yet held, and will add another substantial evidence to the many which that city has already furnished of unconditional loyalty to the Union, and profound sympathy with the wants and sufferings of those who are battling in its defense.


WE give on page 325 two illustrations, representing the DEPARTURE OF THE UNION FLEET FROM NEWPORT NEWS, in the grand movement against Richmond, and the ARRIVAL OF GENERAL BUTLER'S ADVANCE AT CITY POINT. Our sketches were taken on the spot by a naval officer, and present an interesting view of the formidable character of General BUTLER'S movement.


THE picture on pages 328 and 329 illustrative of the atrocities committed by the rebels upon Union troops, white and black, is of particular interest at this time. The scenes presented represent only a few of the sad facts which rebel inhumanity has forced into the history of the time, but they are significant types of the whole, while the design of the central scene most happily presents the origin of the black flag policy and the persons responsible for its adoption. All these butcheries are the result of the proclamation of JEFFERSON DAVIS, issued December 23, 1862, in which he declared, " That all negro slaves captured in arms be at once delivered over to the Executive authorities of the respective States to which they belong, to be dealt with according to the laws of said States. That the like orders be executed in all cases with respect to all commissioned officers of the United States when found serving in company with said slaves in insurrection against the authorities of the different States of this Confederacy." Under this proclamation the rebels proceeded to act at the first opportunity. At Galveston, January 1, 1863, part of a Massachusetts regiment was captured, and the rebels took two negroes, free born citizens of Massachusetts, residents of Norfolk county in that State, and sold them into Slavery. Near the end of that month, twenty teamsters driving a wagon train of General ROSECRANS'S were captured near Murfreesboro, Tennessee, tied to the trees by the road side, and shot. In May, two negroes in the service and uniform of the United States were captured on picket at Port Hudson and forthwith hanged. On the 27th of May, the first assault on Port Hudson was delivered, and many of the negro troops fighting with great courage were wounded and fell into rebel hands. Of these, some were murdered on the spot in the sight of their comrades. On the 6th of June there was an engagement at Milliken's Bend between about 200 negro troops and an overpowering force of rebels. A large number of the negroes were murdered on the field after they had surrendered. Some of them were shot. Some were put to death by the bayonet. Some were crucified and burned. Of those whom this last fate befell, several were white officers in command of the negro troops. And so at all points the work of butchery went on, culminating finally in the wholesale massacre at Fort Pillow, which is still fresh in the public recollection. The incident presented in one of our sketches —General FORREST murdering the servant of a Union officer—occurred about two years since, and is thus stated by Major-General STANLEY :

About the middle of the summer of 1862, FORREST surprised the post of Murfreesboro, commanded by Brigadier General T. T. CRITTENDEN, of Indiana. The garrison was composed mostly of the Ninth Michigan and Second Minnesota Infantry and the Seventh Pennsylvania Cavalry. After some little fighting the troops were surrendered. A mulatto man, who was a servant of one of the officers of the Union forces, was brought to FORREST on horseback. The latter inquired of him, with many oaths, "what he was doing there? The mulatto answered that he was a free man, and came out as a servant to an officer—naming the officer. FORREST, who was on horseback, deliberately put his hand to his holter, drew his pistol, and blew the man's brains out. The rebel officer stated that the mulatto man came from Pennsylvania, and the same officer denounced the act as one of cold-blooded murder, and declared he would never again serve under FORREST.

The treatment of our prisoners at Belle Isle and in Southern prisons is well known to the public, and need not be referred to here.


WE give on page 332 a MAP OF RICHMOND AND ITS ENVIRONS, showing the fortifications erected by the rebels for its defense, and its railroad connections. Only two of the forts are named ; the others are known by their numbers. It will be seen that on the south side the city is comparatively unprotected.


SAY, when the infant sleeps its wakeless sleep, Its life-blood cold—its heart can beat, no more—Its little eyes, 'erst bright, with hazy film

Are clouded o'er

Say, is this death?

No ! it is only sleep.

Say, when the warrior sinks upon the field, The hard-fought battle o'er, his duty done, The last wild cry that strikes upon his ear

"The fight is won!"

Say, is this death?

No ! it is only sleep.

Say, when, the old man having run his race, And seen his friendships fade and loves decay, Life's evening closes, and in Heaven awaits

A brighter day

Say, is this death?

No! it is only sleep.

Say, when the heart is fresh, and love's young dream Together binds two hearts, two souls, two lives, The loved one perishes, one memory lives,

One heart survives

Say, what is this?

Ah! this is truly death!


"TICKET, Sir, if you please!"

Between dusk and daylight—the warm gold of the sunset sky just fading into crimson, and the Express Train thundering over the iron track like some strong, furious demon. Carll Silver became dimly conscious of these things as he started from a brief, restless slumber, wherein his knapsack had served as pillow, and stared vaguely into the sharp Yankee face of the obdurate conductor.

" Ticket! I suppose I've such a thing about me," he muttered, drowsily, searching first one pocket and then the other. "Oh, here it is ! I say, Conductor, are we near New York?"

"Twenty minutes or so will bring us into Jersey City, Sir—we're making pretty good time."

And the sharp faced official passed on, to harass the next unfortunate man who had neglected to put his ticket in his hat-band; while Captain Silver dragged himself into a sitting posture, putting his two hands back of his head with a portentous yawn, and smiled to remember the fantastic dreams that had chased one another through his brain during that half-hour of cramped, uneasy slumber from which the conductor's challenge had roused him—dreams in which bloody battle-fields and lonely night-marches had blended oddly with sweet home-voices, and the sulphureous breath of artillery had mingled with violet scents from the twilight woods around, and gusts of sweetness from tossing clouds of peach-blooms, through which the flying Express Train shot remorselessly.

And then Carll Silver began to think of other things.

" Conductor !" whispered the fat old lady opposite, in the bombazine bonnet and snuff-colored shawl.

" Yes 'm," said the man of tickets, stopping abruptly in his transit through the cars, and inclining his ear.

"That young man in the military cap, Conductor—I hope he ain't an escaped lunatic dressed up in soldier's clothes. I've heerd o' such things. And I don't a bit like the way he keeps grinnin' to him self and rubbin' his two hands together. He's acted queer all day—and I'm travelin' all alone, Conductor!"

The conductor laughed and passed on. The old lady bridled in offended dignity. Bless her anxious heart ! how was she to know that Captain Silver was only rejoicing in the thoughts of the glorious " surprise" he had in store for his mother and dimple-faced sister that night ? Was it not a year —twelve long, long months—since he had looked upon their faces last ? And now

Oh, speed on your way, Express Train, through quiet villages where daffodils sprinkle all the gardens with gold ! Speed over the sloping hills, where springing grass sends up a faint, delicious smell, and brooks babble under swinging willows—past lonely church-yards, where the white hands of innumerable grave-stones beckon through the twilight and are gone ; for every throb of your iron pulse brings one true heart nearer home ! Shot and shell have spared him for this hour ; fever and pestilence and foul malaria have passed him by; and now-

Suppose there should be an accident ! He had heard of such things on these lightning routes. Suppose he should be carried home a dead, mangled corpse, the words of greeting frozen into eternal silence on his lips, the glad light sealed forever under the heavy eyelids ! Strange that such morbid fancies should never have assailed him in the fire and smoke of Gettysburg, yet come to him now, like guests that would not be driven away, when he was within twenty minutes of home! Would it break his mother's heart ; or would she live on ? And would Kate Meriam care?—Kate Meriam, the blue-eyed, shy little fairy, who never would look at him save through her long brown lashes, and whose coy mouth always made him think of scarlet cherries and roses dashed in dew.

"To think !" ejaculated Carll Silver, bringing down his bronzed fist on the window ledge with a force that made the glass rattle ominously and struck a chill to the heart of the old lady in the bombazine bonnet—"to think that I, who would knock down the man who ventured to tell me I was a coward, should be afraid to say frankly to a little slender girl that I love her ! To think that the very touch of her glove, the sound of her footstep, the rustle of her ribbons can frighten my self possession away, and make a staring, silent idiot of me ! After all, what is a man's courage worth? There's no use in thinking of it. I shall die an old bachelor, for I'll never marry any woman but Kate Meriam, and I never shall dare to plead my cause with Kate. I wish I hadn't such an absurd streak of cowardice through me."

Yet Captain Silver's men had told a different tale when he led them over the bridge in that dread

ful charge at Antietam. Cowardice ! there are several different interpretations to that word.

" Carriage ! carriage ! No, I won't have a carriage. Get away from me you fellows! you're worse than the locusts of Egypt, and ten times as noisy," growled Captain Silver, energetically elbowing his way through the swarms of eager hackmen, who were making night hideous, at the foot of Cortlandt Street. "Do you suppose I'm going to spoil my precious surprise with a carriage?"

Broadway by gaslight ! How strange, yet how familiar it seemed to the returning exile, with its stately facades of freestone and marble, seeming literally to rest on foundations of quivering fire, and its throngs of people, coming and going in everlasting succession, like the tides of a never resting sea. Carll Silver's heart leaped up in his breast with a quick, joyous throb at the old accustomed sights and sounds. It was good to feel his foot-steps ringing on Manhattanese ground.

No lights in the house ! His heart stood still a moment. That was strange—ominous. But then he remembered that his mother was fond of sitting in the twilight, and dismissed the lingering doubt from his mind. How lucky, the door was on the latch and swung noiselessly open.

Mush ! not a creaking stair or clanking spur must betray him ; through the old familiar hall he passed and into his mother's room, lighted only by the ruddy glimmer of a bright coal fire.

"Where the mischief are they all?" ejaculated Captain Silver under his breath. "No matter—they'll be along soon ; meantime I'll wheel this big chair up, and take a bask, for the air's chill if it is the first week in May. Won't they be a little astonished, though, when they come in? Upon my word, things couldn't have happened nicer ! Faugh ! what a smell of paint—whitewash, too, as I'm a living sinner ! Confound it, I've kicked over a pail of the stuff ! If the women folks aren't house cleaning!"

The Captain gave an indignant and contemptuous sniff as he surveyed the desolate scene.

" What comfort a female can find in turning things upside down, and deluging the house with soap and water twice a year, I can't imagine. Carpets all up—floors damp Curtains torn down not one familiar object to greet a fellow's eyes after a twelvemonth's absence from home. Heigh-ho ! I think I'll light a cigar."

Which he did, and began to smoke and meditate.

There was a rustle and a tripping footfall on the stairs. The Captain took out his cigar and listened.

"That's Minny," said he to himself. " Mamma doesn't dance up stairs like that."

He rose, and leaned against the door casing as the dancing feet came nearer and hearer. How his heart beat as the fire light shone upon a crimson merino dress and a little white apron on the thresh old ! And the next moment he had caught the slight form in his arms, and was showering kisses on cheek and brow and lips and hair.

" Caught for once, Miss Minny !" he exclaimed. " That's to pay you for presuming to clean house without my permission ! No, you're not going to escape !"

Such a piercing scream as she rewarded his fraternal demonstrations with ! Carll Silver let go her waist, and retreated against the wall with a faint idea of breaking through the lath and plaster, and hiding himself in the general ruin. For, as truly as he stood there quaking in his regimentals, the voice was not that of his sister Minny, but--Kate Meriam !

"How dare you!" she ejaculated, with crimson cheeks and quivering lips. "I'll ring the bell and call the servants if you don't leave the house this instant !"

" Upon my word I'm not a burglar or an assassin," pleaded Carll, recovering his self possession in a measure as he saw Kate's breathless terror. "It was so dark I couldn't see your face, and I thought it was my sister Ninny. Don't you know me, Miss Meriam—Captain Silver ?"

"You are an impostor," said Kate, with spirit. " Captain Silver is with the Army of the Potomac."

"No, he's not, he's here," urged Carll. " How shall I prove that I'm myself ? Kate ! Miss Meriam—"

For she had sunk into the chair and begun to cry. He knelt beside her with a rough attempt at comfort.

"Kate, you are not sorry to see me back again?" "No," she sobbed, "only—only I was so frightened!"

The little, trembling, blue-eyed thing ! Carll Silver had never seen her in tears before. No shy assumption of dignity now no royal airs only brown disheveled hair and cheeks like red clover blossoms in a shower. He was the brave one now—how natural it seemed to clasp the tiny palms in his one strong hand !

" Kate, dearest, I love you! With my whole heart, Kate. Nay, do not be so frightened—I would die to save you one moment's terror ! Only tell me that your heart is mine!"

And when the tears were dried, leaving the eyes like drenched violets, and the cheeks flushed brightly, Carll Silver had leave and license to keep one little fluttering hand in his, and knew that he was an accepted lover.

"But where are my mother and sister ?" he asked at length. "And what is the solution of this strange riddle ?"

"Don't you know," laughed Kate, " they do not live here any more?"

" Not live here !"

"No; have you forgotten that yesterday was the 1st of May ? We occupy this house now papa, and Aunt Milicent, and I."

" Oho !" quoth Captain Silver. " So they've moved. And I never to hear of it. Upon my word they treat me pretty coolly."

"Ah, but you would have heard of it," said Kate, "if you had staid quietly in camp to get your letters instead of roving over the country without a word of warning to your friends !"

,   " Give me one more kiss, Katie, and I'm off to

see them. One more, my betrothed wife. Does it not seem like a dream ?"

"And you are my soldier now," whispered Kate, playing with the gold buttons of his coat with tremulous fingers. "Mine to send out into the battlefield to dream of and to pray for. Carl, I have always repined that I had no gift for my country, now I can give my best and dearest to aid her cause."

" Spoken like a soldier's wife, Kate," said Silver, with kindling eyes. " If you but knew how much better we rough men fight for knowing that woman's love and woman's prayers enshrine us with a golden, unseen armor nonsense! I'm getting sentimental. Good night."

So there were three surprises that May evening —one for Kate Meriam (wouldn't you have been surprised, Mademoiselle, to be caught and kissed in the dark, and never know who the kisser was ?), one for Captain Silver (a very agreeable one, though), and one—the old original surprise, if we may so term it—for his mother and sister. And Carll has not yet left off congratulating himself that his "leave of absence" happened to fall in the flowery and migratory month of May. For if he hadn't blundered into Miss Meriam's house and kissed her by mistake, thereby bringing matters precipitately to a focus, the probabilities are that to this day he never would have mustered courage to tell her of his love.

And when the golden armadas of the autumn leaves float down the forest brooks, and the blue mist of Indian Summer wraps the hills in dreamy light, Carll Silver is coming back to seal Kate Meriam's destiny with a wedding ring.


MORTON'S GOLD PENS are now sold at the same prices as before the commencement of the war ; this is entirely owing to the Manufacturer's improvements in machinery, his present large Retail Business and Cash in Advance System ; for, until he commenced advertising, his business was done on Credit and strictly with the Trade.

The Morton Gold Pens are the only ones sold at old prices, as the makers of all other gold pens charge the Premium on the Gold, Government Tax, &c. ; but Morton has in no case changed his prices, Wholesale or Retail.

Of the great numbers sent by mail to all parts of the world during the past few years, not one in a thousand has failed to reach its destination in safety ; showing that the Morton Gold Pen can be obtained by any one, in every part of the world, at the same price, postage only excepted.

Reader, you can have an enduring, always ready, and reliable Gold Pen, exactly adapted to your hand and style of writing, which will do your writing vastly cheaper than Steel Pens; and at the present almost universal High Pressure Price of everything, you can have a Morton Gold Pen cheaper, in proportion to the labor spent upon it and material used, than any other Gold Pen in the World. If you want one, see "The Pen is Mightier than the Sword," on page 335.

AMERICAN NEEDLE Co., 442 Broadway, N. Y., Needle Manufacturers for the Sewing-Machines, Bartlett's Burnished Hand Needles, Hackle, Gill, Comb, Card, Pins, &c.

The SELF GUIDE and NEEDLE SETTER, for all Sewing Machines, price $1 50 for both. Sent free by mail, with directions. J. W. BARTLETT, 442 Broadway, N. Y.

5000 Agents Wanted, TO INTRODUCE, OUR NEW GOLD PEN. This gold pen is something entirely new, and is now offered to the public for the first time, and is made by an entirely new process, enabling us to offer them very cheap. Every pen is warranted one year, and to be genuine diamond pointed, and to possess all the elasticity and writing qualities of the highest priced gold pen made. Single pens sent by mail on receipt of the following prices:

WITH SILVER MOUNTED EBONY HOLDERS, IN MOROCCO CASES. No. 2. Medium Pen and Holder,   each 90 cents. No. 3. Large,   each $1 00. No. 4. Engrossing Pen and Holder,   each $1 15. Great inducements to Agents and the Trade. Send for our Circular. GEORGE A. ELY & CO., Sole Manufacturers, No. 181 Broadway, New York.



--My Onguent will force them to grow heavily in six weeks (upon the smoothest face) without stain or injury to the skin. Price $1—sent by mail, post free, to any address, on receipt of an order.   R. G. GRAHAM, No. 109 Nassau Street, N. Y.

$75 A MONTH.—Agents wanted to sell Sewing Ma-chines. We will give a commission on all machines sold, or employ agents who will work for the above wages, and all expenses paid. Address,

D. B. HERRINTON & CO., Detroit, Mich.



Comprising all his issues, except the "Greenbacks," being the Jests and Squibs of President Lincoln.

By Booksellers and News Agents, post-paid, 35 cents. T. R. DAWLEY, Publisher, 13 & 15 Park Row, N. Y.


The best Pill in the world for use, and for all Bilious and Liver complaints. Price 25 cents per box. Address all orders to   J. F. BRIDGE, M.D., Resident Physician GRAEFENBERG COMPANY, No. 139 William Street, near Fulton, New York.


DEMOREST'S NEW YORK ILLUSTRATED NEWS. —The live, spicy and most brilliantly illustrated paper in the world. Yearly, $4 00, with Mme. Demorest's Mirror of Fashions as a premium. Single copies 10 cents, mailed free on receipt of price, at No. 39 Beekman Street, N. Y. DR. B. C. PERRY DERMATOLOGIST, 49 Bond Street, New York, Formerly of 29 Winter Street, Boston, treats successfully all Diseases of the Scalp, Loss of Hair, and Premature Blanching. ALSO, removes Moth Freckles, and other Discolorations from the face, without injury to the texture or color of the skin. Consultations free. For particulars enclose stamp for Circular.




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