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Civil War Harper's Weekly, May 14, 1864

This site presents our complete collection of Harper's Weekly newspaper. You can browse these newspapers and read first hand descriptions of the war, and look at the pictures drawn by artists deployed to the front lines. These newspapers will help you better understand the important events of the war.

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

 

Red River

Battle of Red River

Freedmen

Freedmen

Fort Pillow

Fort Pillow

Red River Gun Boats

Botts

John Botts

Bitters

Golden Bitters

 

 

Aqueduct

Washington Aqueduct

Parrot Gun

Parrot Gun

Swamp

Swamp

Foraging

Soldier's Foraging for Food

 

 

HARPER'S WEEKLY.

[MAY 14, 1864.

306

THE SHARP-SHOOTER.

SOMETIMES I climb to the top of a tree, And sometimes I hide in a thicket, Or, crouching low in the tall, lank grass, I fire on the enemy's picket.

All's fair, it is said, in love and war, And both are concerned in my story; To the lover, why, life and love are all—To the soldier death is glory.

'Twas down in Virginia ; the sky was fair, And the hour of noon was nearing;

The sun poured down with a Southern fire;

And I stood at the edge of a clearing

While opposite lurked a rebel in gray,

Where the open space was bounded

By a dark pine wood ; and shrill and sharp

The crack of our rifles sounded.

Then a deadly aim I took at my foe—Now hear to the end of my story, And I'll tell you what to a lover is love, And how death to the soldier is glory.

Advance !" came the word along our lines; Then woke the echoes infernal !

And clear and loud above crash and roar Rang the voice of our grim old Colonel.

I glanced as I passed at my fallen foe—Do you wonder if I faltered?

'Twas the man who married the girl I loved, Though his face was strangely altered.

I rather had lain where he lay that day, On the field, all rigid and gory,

If she had but loved me as she loved him—And so ends this sharp-shooter's story.

HARPER'S WEEKLY.

SATURDAY, MAY 14, 1864.

THE SITUATION.

THE summer opens upon a situation which is every where most interesting. In Europe the question of general war will be virtually decided by the success of our campaigns. Europe is undoubtedly ripe for revolution. The Governments mistrust each other, and the people watch the Governments. Austria and Prussia have rushed into a war with Denmark, in order that they may continue their hold on Germany and thwart the free constitutional tendencies of Denmark, which would inevitably affect the German frontier and be felt in Berlin and Vienna. The London Conference will doubtless agree upon some way to avoid a continuance of the war, which is a threat to the present condition of affairs, and which makes Europe more sensitive to the chances of our struggle. In England the ministry of Lord PALMERSTON, strongly intrenched for many years in the lymph of the British people, now begins to totter. It has been defeated in Parliament. Even the liberal journals prophecy its fall, and it has yielded to the Tory assaults in the resignation of Mr. STANSFELD. Meanwhile the Queen is losing her popularity by her long seclusion, nor does she regain it by announcing that she can no longer fulfill the merely ceremonial duty of her position. Ceremonial duty ! And your Majesty's self— ? The Prince of Wales, the dull looking youth who came to us four years ago, is inclined to Toryism. If the Queen abdicates, and the old mill continues to grind, as PALMERSTON goes out DERBY will come in. It is always a choice of cake or smelts in England. If they can not have the traditional Whig, they must take the traditional Tory. Whether there is any secret reason for the Queen's privacy is not generally understood. But it is not easy to forget, under the circumstances, the rumors that have been always whispered about the misfortune of insanity in the royal family.

But while there is evidently the sign of change in England, it is amusing to watch the recent conduct of the governing families. GARIBALDI, who is the incarnation of the popular revolution in Europe, was announced as on his way to England. Instantly public expectation was on the alert, and the papers fell to wondering and speculating. If London is not to see the most formidable riot of many years, said one of them, let the Government be well prepared. GARIBALDI is the Anti-POPE, and a commotion of the Romanist masses was feared. But, also, GARIBALDI is the Anti-LOUIS NAPOLEON, and the friend of MAZZINI, and LOUIS NAPOLEON had just condemned MAZZINI (if he could only catch him) to transportation for an alleged attempt at assassination ; and England had re-fused the conference proposed by the Emperor. Poor John Bull was dreadfully perplexed. What could be done to keep right with every body? First, Mr. STANSFELD, a personal friend of MAZZINI'S, had to go out of the Government. Then came the irrepressible GARIBALDI, and immediately called upon STANSFELD and MAZZINI. John, at his wit's end treats the Liberator as Mr. PICKWICK treated the horse, of which he was mortally afraid, and which he could not mount. "Poor fellow!" said Mr. PICKWICK, soothingly. "Poor old horssy!" and he revolved around him in the effort to placate his possible wrath, until he declared that it was like

a horrible dream. So John Bull pats GARIBALDI: " Good and great man, please come and dine with PALMERSTON, and ride in the DUKE OF SUTHERLAND'S carriage ; and three cheers for the noble patriot who says that he wishes no political demonstration ! No, no ; of course not. Let's go to the navy yard. Let us show all the sights to this great and good GARIBALDI, who has promised to behave so sweetly !" and while he shouts this cheerful speech he whispers to Lord CLARENDON, "For Heaven's sake, run over to Paris and tickle LOUIS NAPOLEON. Tell him that it is nothing but a tub to this terrible whale of the people ; and that John Bull now, as in the time of CHARLES and JAMES SECOND, of blessed memory, is the most humble servant of his dear ally !" That the noble and best men in England see with shame and sorrow that KINGLAKE was right, and that Great Britain is humiliated by France, is beyond question. They feel as we Americans felt when the policy of our Government, a few years since, was to bully the world and truckle at home to the meanest despotism.

France, meanwhile, crosses the sea, and enthrones herself in Mexico in the person of MAXIMILIAN. When she is once there, and has ascertained that we do not assent to the Mexican conquest and subjugation, she will be ready, directly or indirectly, to become a party to our war. The assent of the Governments of Europe to French participation in our affairs will be based upon their natural and earnest wish that a popular Government may conspicuously fail; for our success would be an inspiration to the people of Europe too threatening to be calmly contemplated by the aristocratic class. On the other hand, any European interference in our war would be the signal for the rising of the people all over the European Continent.

Thus every where the most momentous movements undoubtedly depend upon the issue of our campaigns ; and by a curious fortune General GRANT has become a pivotal man. Yet in any case there is for us no cause of profound apprehension. If he fails, and France in any way interferes, even with the tacit assent of the great Powers, the people of the free States will rise as they have not yet risen. What France did in her old Revolution, namely, maintain herself against domestic intrigue and foreign combination upon contiguous soil, that the United States are perfectly capable of surpassing. Every European State will suddenly bristle with our friends and allies. On the other hand, if GRANT succeeds, LOUIS NAPOLEON will bow himself out of Mexico as soon as possible.

In all these speculations upon contingencies and possibilities the true ground of faith in the issue lies, for a loyal American citizen, in the good sense of the people. The history of the war is the history of the steady development of that good sense. There are doubt; dissent, apprehension, and open hostility to the people and their purpose. But that purpose was never clearer, nor the popular mind more resolved, than at this moment.

WORDS.

IN the blessed days when that incorruptible patriot, FERNANDO WOOD, was lamenting to ROBERT TOOMBS that he could not send him rifles to shoot loyal men with, there was a great deal said about "coercing" States. The right of secession was not exactly clear to some minds, but the wrong of " coercion" was palpable. In other words, it was doubtful to these minds whether the Government of the United States had the right to enforce its laws ; or, in truer words, a convenient sophism being wanted by which the Northern mind might be cajoled into assent to anarchy and the overthrow of the Government by a defeated faction, it was declared that " coercion" was unconstitutional. Those were the days in which all practicable methods of saving the Government were unconstitutional—when the only clearly constitutional thing was to connive at the destruction of the Constitution.

The word " coerce" played a great part in the debates of those days ; but since the first battle of Bull Run it has gone out of fashion. Since the American people have soberly addressed themselves to the maintenance of the Union and Government we have not heard so much of the Constitutional duty of submitting to national ruin. But another word now serves the purpose for which the word " coercion" was employed. The new word is "subjugation." Mr. LONG informed us in his famous speech that the alternative is now concession of the success of the rebellion, or the subjugation of the rebels. He calls them States, but that does not alter the fact.

We beg to ask Mr. LONG if there has ever been any other alternative ? Either the rebellious citizens of the United States are to be compelled by force of arms, and by every other effective measure, to submit to the Government, or they are to overthrow the Government. There is no middle ground, and there never has been. The insurrection has taken the proportions of a war. It is treated of necessity as a war. All warlike methods are properly invoked. The struggle has endured now for three years. But it still remains what it was at first—an armed and powerful insurrection of citizens of the

United States against their Government ; and either that Government will subjugate the insurgents, or the insurgents will subjugate the Government. The word subjugate means bringing under the yoke. And that is exactly the business in which we are now engaged. The rebels are being brought under the yoke ; that is, the authority of the Government.

If the question is asked, " What then becomes of the assent which is declared to be the basis of the Government ?" the reply is, that it is the assent of the people collectively which is intended. When a people have formed a Government by common consent which provides for its own amendment and change, no portion of that people, without appealing to the prescribed method of amendment, can insist that their interest shall prevail by arms over the interest of the whole. Nor in half the region in revolt was that assent ever given, while today those who do not assent are brutally murdered. When it is said that the Government rests upon common consent, it is not meant that every citizen is at liberty to obey or disobey the laws. If he disobeys he justly pays the penalty. If the County of Chautauqua should refuse to obey the laws of New York, what would New York do ? She would compel the citizens of New York living in Chautauqua County to submit to the laws, exactly as the United States are compelling the citizens of the United States living in the State of Georgia to obey the laws. For the Government of the United States exists, or it does not. If it does, its first duty is to enforce itself against armed citizens in rebellion, and to subjugate them ; that is, to compel them to yield to the laws which they, in common with all other citizens, have made.

This process was formerly called coercion. It is now called subjugation. In both cases it is exactly the same thing. It is the forcible maintenance of the authority of the Government. ALEXANDER HAMILTON long ago declared what all experience confirms, that the vigor of government is essential to the security of liberty. This will henceforth be the first lesson in our political primer.

THE FREEDMEN.

IF our conduct toward the colored race in this country during the war has been harsh, unkind, uncertain, and most tardily just, how noble and generous theirs has been ! Despised and insulted as an inferior race, as less than human, as properly enslaved and degraded, the history of these three years is full of stories of their heroism, humanity, and unfailing fidelity. And while their bearing as soldiers is now beyond question there is a point hardly less interesting and important, and that is their temper and capacity as freemen. This point is touched in a most timely and able paper in the North American Review for April upon the present aspect of the cotton question. We commend its clear and conclusive summary to the most careful attention of every reader who wishes to understand the prospects of the cotton supply hereafter, and the capacity of the freedmen as successful cultivators.

We may add to the testimony of the article that of a gentleman who for a year past has had several hundred freedmen in his employ on the Mississippi River. He affirms that they are in every respect superior as a working class to the " mean whites" of the South ; that they are faithful, industrious, and comparatively provident ; that they display the utmost eagerness to acquire useful information ; and that they are in every instinct loyal to the Government and solicitous for its success. On the two plantations worked by this gentleman nearly every laborer has grouped about his cabin—in addition to a little garden—a variety of improvements, exhibiting at once an appreciation of his home, and a sentiment of taste suggestive of a deeper nature than we have been generally willing to allow to his race. In the cultivation of his " patch" of ground, and the raising of poultry and pigs, lie takes the greatest delight, giving every moment of time not otherwise employed to this pleasing work. In a word, the freedman, whenever an opportunity is afforded him, is demonstrating that he is a man, with the instincts, feelings, and yearnings of a man, and anxious most of all to qualify himself for the responsibilities and duties to which he has been at last restored.

The manifest desire of very many of the freedmen in Government service and the employ of planters on the Mississippi to save the proceeds of their toil has suggested to General Thomas and others, as we are trustworthily informed, the propriety of establishing savings banks on the various plantations, in which the laborers may deposit their earnings, and so provide for future contingencies. Plantation hands of the first class under the present regulations receive twenty-five dollars a month with rations; and as they for the most part support their old and infirm, as well as their small children, from the sale of the products of their henneries and gardens, they are able to put by the greater portion of this amount, and with proper encouragement would immediately do so. It is to be hoped that General THOMAS, who has so far exhibited a most benevolent interest in the welfare of this unfortunate class, will at the earliest moment

establish some system by which this spirit of providence and thrift may be developed into practical results, and the freedmen set on the high road to that prosperity which they have already demonstrated their capacity properly to appreciate and employ.

AN ACT OF JUSTICE.

THE House of Representatives has at last agreed to the Senate's amendments to the Army Appropriation Bill, by which the merest justice is done to the colored soldiers in the army ; and by the time these words are printed we trust it will have the President's signature and be a law. The act of justice was, of course, resisted to the last by the representatives who steadily and consistently repudiate the fundamental principle of the American Government, equal rights, and who, being the most industrious panders of an aristocracy and of class legislation, call themselves Democrats, but are called by the common sense of the American people, and will be known in history, as Copperheads. The vote was eighty-one yeas to forty-nine nays. Among the yeas we are heartily glad to see the names of two representatives from New York, Mr. GRISWOLD, of Troy, and Mr. ODELL, of Brooklyn ; who, if they are unwilling to relinquish the party name of Democrat, yet often show by their votes that they conceive Democracy to be something else than contemptible subservience to the system of human slavery. Of course Messrs. JAMES BROOKS, WINTHROP CHANLER, and FERNANDO WOOD, from the city of New York, voted against the proposition ; and it would be difficult to name a single measure for the maintenance of the national honor, the salvation of the American Government, and the advancement of liberty and justice, against which Messrs. JAMES BROOKS, WINTHROP CHANLER. and FERNANDO WOOD did not vote.

Mr. HOLMAN, of Indiana, was very anxious lest Congress should "equalize" men. Mr. HOLMAN, of Indiana, need be under no concern. No Congressional act can ever make a base man equal to a noble one ; an unjust man equal to a just one ; an enemy of equal rights as true an American as a friend of liberty. No power in Congress can make a tool of prejudice and an advocate of caste so safe a legislator for this country as a man who believes the doctrines of the Declaration of Independence. No law can " equalize" intelligence and ignorance ; generosity and meanness; treason and loyalty; or sympathy with rebels and devotion to the country. No legislative act, however unanimous and stringent, could ever "equalize" the infamy of ROBERT TOOMBS and the heroism of ROBERT SMALLS ; or the spirit that grudges a soldier his fair pay with that which inspires the same soldier to fight and fall in the front of battle ; or to enlist notwithstanding a threat and prospect of massacre if he is captured. Let Mr. HOLMAN be comforted. Congress can not put asunder what God has joined ; as, for instance, heroism and instinctive admiration of it : nor unite what he has severed, as, for instance, patriotism and party spirit.

MISSISSIPPI VALLEY SANITARY
FAIR.

THE Fair of the Western Sanitary Commission will begin on the 17th of May in St. Louis, and we are sure that the same charity which has not tired of well doing at the East will not shrink from the new demand. Missouri is a State which has been tried by fire. The war has wasted it for three years. Lying upon the border, and being a Slave State, it has been full of rebels and ruffians; and, on the other hand, like every border State, it has been the scene of the most devoted heroism and the most patient endurance of suffering. The loyalty of loyal border men is the most vital of all. It means personal proscription by traitors and constant danger and alarm. But the heroic fidelity of such men has held Missouri fast in the Union, has sent GRATZ BROWN to the Senate, and will redeem the Slate from the last desperate clutch of Slavery. To help them in their work her true sons and daughters now make their appeal to us. General ROSECRANS is the President of their Committee ; Governor HALL is the first Vice-President, and Mayor FILLEY second, and General FISH third. JAMES E. YEATMAN, the steadfast, energetic, and sagacious head of the Western Sanitary Commission, is chairman of the Standing Committee, and to him every thing is to be addressed ; while bills of lading or notices are to be sent to Major ALFRED MACKAY.

But no proof of the earnestness of border Union men could be more striking than this, that in a Slave State, almost upon debatable ground, the Western Sanitary Fair is the first of all, so far as we know, to assign by the unanimous vote of its Executive Committee a special Department for the interests of Freedmen and Union Refugees, and, as we are informed, one of the tables will be under the charge of a man who was a slave until a few months since. And this is in a city where slaves are still held and sold.

Whatever is sent to the Fair and is intended for this Department should be marked F. and U. R. Department, and it will be so appropriated. "It is not a sectional work," say the committee, "and they make no sectional appeal." We hope that our friends every where will do all they can for this great, good work ; not forgetting that of the vast receipts of the Eastern Fairs for the United States Sanitary Commission the Western Commission receives nothing, as it is a separate, although co-operative organization.


 

 

  

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