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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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Harper's Endorses Lincoln


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Confederate Atrocities


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City Point Virginia








[MAY 21, 1864.



LIKE a furnace of fire blazed the midsummer sun When to saddle we leaped at the order, Spurred on by the boom of the deep-throated gun That told of the foe on our border.

A mist in our rear lay Antietam's dark plain, And thoughts of its carnage came o'er us;

But smiling before us surged fields of ripe grain, And we swore none should reap it before us.

That night, with the ensign who rode by my side, On the camp's dreary edge I stood picket,

Our ears intent lest every wind-rustle should hide A spy's stealthy tread in the thicket;

And there, while we watched the first arrows of dawn Through the veil of the rising mist's quiver, He told how the foeman had closed in upon

His home by the Tennessee River.

He spoke of a sire in his weakness cut down, With last breath the traitor flag scorning

(And his brow at the mem'ry grew dark with a frown That paled the red light of the morning). For days he had followed the cowardly band, And when one lagged to forage or trifle Had seared in his forehead the deep Minie brand, And scored a fresh notch on his rifle.

"But one of the rangers had cheated his fate—For him he would search the world over."

Such cool-plotting passion, such keenness of hate, Ne'er saw I in woman-scorned lover.

0 who would have thought that beneath those dark curls Lurked vengeance as sure as death-rattle;

Or fancied those dreamy eyes, soft as a girl's,

Could light with the fury of battle?

To horse! pealed the bugle, while grape-shot and shell Overhead through the forest were crashing. A cheer for the flag! and the summer light fell On the blades from a thousand sheaths flashing, As mad ocean waves to the storm-revel flock, So on we dashed, heedless of dangers ; A moment our long line surged hack at the shock, Then swept through the ranks of the Rangers. .

I looked for our ensign—ahead of his troop, Pressing on through the conflict infernal,

His torn flag furled round him in festoon and loop, He spurred to the side of his Colonel.

And his clear voice rang out, as I saw his bright sword Through shako and gaudy plume shiver, With "this for the last of the murderous horde!" And "this for the home by the river!"

At evening, returned from pursuit of the foe, By a shell-shattered caisson we found him; And we buried him there in the sunset glow, With the dear old flag knotted around him.

Yet how could we mourn when every proud strain Told of foemen hurled back in disorder,

When we knew that the North reaped her rich harvest


Unharmed by a foe on her border!

SATURDAY, MAY 21, 1864.

THE earnestness with which the loyal people of this country are sustaining the war has been in nothing more signally shown than the sobriety with which the great news of GRANT'S victory was received. Before he moved, every thing that was heard from the Army of the Potomac revealed a unity, an unselfishness, a hearty faith in the cause, a grave resolution to fight to the end, which prepared us for a campaign entirely unprecedented. " My ground of confidence," said one who returned from the head-quarters of GRANT a fortnight before he moved, " is in the moral as much as in the physical condition of the army."

In an hour like this comparisons are untimely and vain. We only know that the popular faith in the ultimate triumph of our cause—which no disaster, however grievous, has ever been fierce enough to shake—enables the country to contemplate its success without levity, but with a universal and sorrowful sympathy with the thousands of brave men whose dauntless constancy has saved human liberty, although it could not save themselves from bitter wounds ; and with a lasting and regretful remembrance of the dead. The desperate contest upon the Rapidan, the shock of battle through two long summer days, shows upon both sides the qualities which will make the regenerated nation invincible. LEE and his rebels had every prestige in their favor. They stood upon ground which their valor had maintained against us for three years. They were intrenched upon the Rapidan, where they had defeated POPE. They were near Fredericksburg, from which BURNSIDE had been forced to retire. They were flanked by Chancellorsville, where they had worsted HOOKER. They had before them Gettysburg, from which they had retreated in good order to recuperate ; and Antietam, from which they had been allowed to retire. Far to their rear were the melancholy swamps of the Chickahominy, in which a noble army had been encamped so long within an easy possibility of victory, which had been surrendered with terrible disaster. All around them were the famous places of their triumphs or of their secure retreats. They were confronted with an army whose unwearied bravery they had tested, but which they knew lacked the prestige of success. They saw new toils spreading for them, but they confided in the past, and believed they could secure the future.

Against such men, with such advantages; General GRANT organized his army and laid his plans. He knew the key of the military position. The defeat of LEE was the essential blow that must be struck, First of all, therefore,

General GRANT secured absolute unity of purpose among his Generals. He established that moral discipline which is the source of permanent strength in every army. He brought with him the personal inspiration of vast and continuous success. He assembled a host. He and his officers, filled with the profoundest conviction of the importance of victory, imparted it by all they did and by all they were to the men. And when March and April were passed, when the soft May sun announced steady weather, and all the elemental conditions were ripe, he gave the word to his faithful and indomitable ally, BUTLER, and the Union armies moved to a battle which they knew must be desperate, and which all men believed would be decisive.

The chapter of our history which opened on the 3d of May is not ended as these words are written. But the first week's work is of such augury that we have the right to hope for a success which should bring every true American to his knees in religious gratitude—a success which will be a victory for the people of every country, and will mark an epoch in the advance of civilization. The words of the President are echoed instinctively by the popular heart. " While what remains undone demands our most sincere prayers to and reliance upon Him (without whom all human effort is vain), I recommend that all patriots, at their homes, in their places of public worship, and wherever they may be, unite in common thanksgiving and prayer to Almighty God."


A CALM and pleasant letter from "a Jackson Democrat" in Indiana, gives us an occasion to explain more fully our position in regard to the Presidency. Our correspondent says that he is one of the four hundred thousand War Democrats who have sustained Mr. Lincoln heartily, because he is the constitutional President and is trying to save the Government. But he complains that we, with many others, evince a determination to have Mr. Lincoln nominated at Baltimore, and that War Democrats have been rejected by Republican Conventions as delegates because they were not in favor of him as a candidate. Does not sound policy, he asks, require the formation of a new Union party ; and if so, ought not the Baltimore candidate to be a War Democrat ?

Since the appeal is made to us, we answer, frankly, that for ourselves we know no other party than the Union men : than the men, that is to say, who, before the war, belonged to all the parties, Democrats, Republicans, and Bell Everett men, and who are now united in an unflinching and intelligent support of the policy of the Administration in conducting the war. It is for that very reason that we deprecate such an attitude as that of our correspondent. Are you a War Democrat or a Union man ? If you are a War Democrat, what do you mean by it ? If you are a Union man, why do you insist upon using a name which is not agreeable to other Union men who have not been Democrats ? And what prevents the formation of a genuine Union party, except the refusal of gentlemen like you to renounce your old party name ? The Union men who were lately Republicans do not call themselves War Republicans, or Republican Union, or Union Republican. They say truly that they are not Republicans, in a party sense, but that they are Union men. And they say as plainly as men can that they will support heartily any true Union man whom the Convention shall nominate. Why should not you do the same? Do you not see that your insistence upon recognition as a Democrat is entirely inadmissible, unless you recognize other Union men as Bell-Everetts, or Republicans, which is plainly absurd?

Therefore the call to the Baltimore Convention, although issued by a Committee appointed at Chicago by the Republican Convention in 1860, is perfectly free from the least party allusion. General Dix, Mr. DICKINSON, Governor BROUGH, Mr. EVERETT, General GRANT, or General BUTLER have no more reason to complain that they are not invited, because nothing is said of War Democrats, than Senators SUMNER, or SHERMAN, or LANE, or Speaker COLFAX have to make the same complaint because nothing is said in it of Republicans. General Dix, Governor BROUGH, Mr. EVERETT, and Senator SUMNER are invited as Union men. If they stand on any other platform they will, of course, not feel themselves summoned.

Now Union men may certainly have decided preferences among candidates. Our correspondent prefers General BUTLER. That General is a man whom the whole country honors. But we, for our parts, prefer Mr. LINCOLN ; and we do so, not because he is a Republican, for he is not. He is simply a Union man, and the strongest opposition to him springs from those who were formerly Republicans. We prefer him because he has proved by his administration of public affairs, that he has the qualities, the sagacity, the fidelity, and the ability which seem to us essential to our final success ; and he has the experience, which at this time must count for much. We do not say that other men have not the indispensable requirements ; but we think that we see very plainly, making every allowance, that he has, And we put it to our

friend whether it would not be extremely foolish in us to advocate his giving place to another man, who seems to us less desirable, merely because that other had been formerly a " Democrat ?"

If the majority of Union men, at any primary meeting or convention in the land, have been formerly Republicans and are now in favor of Mr. LINCOLN'S nomination, and send delegates to secure it, we can not see why our correspondent or any man, who is only a Unionist, should have any other than the common feeling of disappointment when we do not have our way. He may be very sure that the old Republican party will no more be revived than the old Democratic party ; and if the Baltimore Convention shall nominate a candidate of Democratic antecedents, our friend will see the Union men who were Republicans working and voting for him just as earnestly as they expect, and have a right to expect, their late Democratic friends will work and vote for a candidate of Republican antecedents, should he be nominated.

Meanwhile our "determination" that Mr. LINCOLN shall be nominated is only a very profound conviction that it is best for the country that he should be.


THE expulsion of GARIBALDI from England is the announcement to the world that the pleasure of LOUIS NAPOLEON is the policy of Great Britain. It has long been the proud boast of that country that it offered exile to the political refugees of every land. Tyrants and their victims. CHARLES TENTH, LOUIS PHILIPPE, DON MIGUEL, ROSAS, LEDRU ROLLIN, MAZZINI, LOUIS BLANC, METTERNICH, GALENGA - the escaped from the dungeons of Spandau, and Spielberg, and Siberia ; the fugitives from the palaces of the Continent, she would receive them all, and the foreign hand that would seize them should fall paralyzed as it touched the British shore. And now comes a hero, such as does not appear in modern history, not from a dungeon, but from the heart of his countrymen and the confidence of his King, who is welcomed to England by the great multitude of the people, from the poorest weaver in a London cellar, to whom the name of GARIBALDI has a certain music of hope, to the Prince of Wales. The people, the Government, the town, the country, conspire in the greeting; the nation salutes him; his foot is raised for a triumphal progress through the summer land.

Behold what a people ! was the cry. They salute the man whom nations love and kings hate. What a country, which is so strong that feasts GARIBALDI, and sits at council with Austria and France ! What a--, when Louis NAPOLEON says quietly, " GARIBALDI must go ;" and Louis NAPOLEON is obeyed ! He does not prevent his coming. He does not whisper dissent to keep him at Caprera. No, for he will have the humiliation utter and overwhelming. He waits for the very crowning moment of the English enthusiasm and delight in their guest, and then orders England to expel him, and England obeys ! So grievous a humiliation has not befallen so proud a State since JAMES SECOND'S prostitution to Louis FOURTEENTH. CARLYLE'S picture of the posture of England during the Continental wars of the last century is not flattering, but it shows nothing so sad as this. It is the most melancholy confirmation of KING-LAKE'S picture of English submission to the same man in the Crimean war. It suggests the impotence of England and the ascendency of France more than any contemporary event.

In one of its very able articles the London Spectator, a liberal and sagacious journal, frankly admits that " for the present there is nothing for it but alliance as hearty as common interests can make it between Great Britain and France." Alliance—yes ; but upon such terms ? alliance upon condition that lips warm with welcoming a national guest shall quiver into whispering " Please go ; he says you must not stay." What makes it worse is, that the same article confesses that there is no diminution of the ancient jealousy and the ancient fear. " England was and is armed against France, and France alone." Put this sentence with the other we have just quoted, and what a condition of things it reveals ! Surely when it is known that GARIBALDI went not because he was ill, not because his physician said he must go, as Lord PALMERSTON declared, who, two years ago, declared that there might be war with this country when for a fortnight he had had Mr. SEWARD'S disclaimer in his pocket, but because the French Emperor ordered Lord PALMERSTON to order him away, there will either be a popular tempest which will whirl the present ministry from power, or Great Britain deliberately accepts the post of French lackey.


IN the Gallery of the Metropolitan Fair there was a very striking and painful picture of "The Last Day of the Guillotine." It represents a huge room in the Conciergerie or some other of the prisons of Paris swarming with the victims of the terror. Of gentle and refined aspect, most of them, dressed in the fashion of the

time made familiar to us by the portraits of MARIE ANTOINETTE and CHARLOTTE CORDAY, the crowd sits or stands, cowed and shuddering, while a wretch, who seems the very incarnation of the hideous ferocity of the Revolution, has climbed a column, and, elevated above the heads of the crowd, points leeringly at a woman whose name he calls, to join the melancholy procession to the scaffold which is seen in the corridor passing the grated door. The victim has half risen from her seat, clasping her hands, but without turning her head, while her lover sits not far away, mute, motionless, frozen with horror.

It is one of the most tragical pictures ever painted. At the first glance it seems too great an outrage upon human nature to perpetuate a moment so terrible. But after a little while the real justification of the work is apparent in the utter loathing which seizes the mind of the spirit from which such atrocities spring. A thousand fold more fervent than the most eloquent description or denunciation the picture exposes the true character of the great crime, and helps to explain the profound indignation which thrilled the world at that time, and has made the very words French Revolution synonymous with the most revolting inhumanity. The student who in reading the English history of that period is disposed to quarrel with PITT'S coercive domestic policy, no longer wonders as he contemplates this palpitating scene, at the wide and willing support that policy received from the British people. What sacrifice was not cheap, he asks, that tended to keep the English annals unstained by such crime as this? It is a terrible picture. It represents unalleviated human suffering. But its moral is clear, and the pain it occasions is justified by the lesson it teaches and the influence it exerts.

This is the reply we make to the friendly expostulations we receive upon the publication of such cuts as will be found in this paper today. They depict the most shocking barbarities, the bloodiest crimes. " How can I take the paper home ? How can I show such things to my children ? Is this a family paper, if you curdle us with such horrors ?" are the questions asked, and in a kindly spirit. But may not the children well be taught the character of the enemy with which their fathers and brothers are struggling, and the spirit of the barbarism which is seeking to overthrow the Government, and ruin the country? The earlier they learn it, the stronger the impression will be, the better and truer Americans they will become. Our paper is and ought to be a vivid history of the time, and it can not avoid the tragical details. And for every child who may be grieved by the spectacle of this suffering and crime, how many a manly heart will be strengthened with a wholesome detestation of the infamy of this rebellion and the means to which it naturally resorts ! A hundred descriptions of the massacres of our faithful soldiers will not strike home so deeply as a vivid picture of them. This little sheet goes into a thousand homes, and into the camps of the army, from the ocean to the prairies. To the quiet home circle it reveals with sad emphasis the perils which brave men confront and endure to secure the happiness of those homes. To the camp it brings a living witness of the constant sympathy and care which follow the fortunes of the soldier, when they are tragical as well as picturesque. Perhaps in some such considerations our friends who differ may find a little justification for strengthening the public nerve as well as pleasing the public heart.


OUR victory is costly. We all knew it would be. None knew it more certainly than General WADSWORTH, and none was more willing than he that the price should be paid. The story of his public service is simple. He early saw the danger that threatened the country. Before the first shot was fired, he knew that war had begun in the country between the principles of despotism and democracy. He devoted his time, his influence, his means, every power he had, to the sacred duty of arousing the public mind, and standing fast for the great original principles of the Government. As the crisis approached he went to the Peace Congress, and did willingly all that a man and an American could honorably do. When the smoke of the opening battle cleared he was seen in the van of the brave men who hastened to the front, wishing only to serve his country and her cause. Personal ambition, self seeking of every kind he put aside as naturally as every other dishonor. An aid to the young McDOWELL at Bull Run, General of a Division at the Wilderness, his heart beat and his hand struck for the same object, the true welfare of his fellow men.

In the midst of the war, solicited to stand in another post of duty not less important than the purely military one he held, he became a candidate for Governor of New York, upon the simple issue of unconditional maintenance of the Government and Union. He frankly expressed his views of public affairs in a letter full of sagacity and earnestness. He was not elected, and remained in the field. He was not elected ; but his memory will be precious and sacred to the people of his State and of the country when that of many Governors will be forgotten or recalled with shame. (Next Page)




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