1864 Democratic Convention


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, September 10, 1864

Harper's Weekly was the most popular illustrated newspaper of the Civil War period. Many Americans relied on Harper's for news of the war each week. The paper was read by over a million people each wee. Today, you can get this same news by browsing our online collection.

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Archbishop McCloskey

1864 Presidential Campaign

Democratic Convention

Democratic Convention

Water Spout

Water Spout

Metacomet and Selma

Nathan Forrest Raid

Nathan Bedford Forrest Memphis Raid

General John Geary

General John Geary

Wall Street Cartoon

Wall Street Cartoon

Virginia Map

Map of Grant's Virginia Campaign


Rebel Ironclad Ram "Tennessee"







SEPTEMBER 10, 1864.]

(Previous Page) SHERMAN in the field and LINCOLN at the polls is the aim of all their efforts. Then they say that the way is clear " to commence negotiations for peace." Will negotiations for which our military disasters and the overthrow of an Administration pledged to maintain the Government pave the way be likely to end in an honorable or permanent peace ?"

Granting that the Chicago Convention was an assembly of the purest patriots—that mere party success was scouted by them—that they were inspired by the most holy horror of corruption in every shape, from swindling your partner in business up to stealing Indian funds in the War Department—yet considering that the rebels show so morbid an anxiety for the success of the Chicago candidate, may not every loyal hearted citizen who wishes the rebellion subdued and the Union unconditionally maintained; properly ask whether the way to secure these results is to vote the ticket which the rebels recommend?


THE Platform of the Chicago Convention will satisfy every foreign and domestic enemy of American Union and Liberty. It declares that the Government of the United States is guilty of resisting rebellion, and that the American people can not maintain the authority of their laws. It has no word of righteous wrath against the recreant citizens who have plunged the country in the blood of civil war, but lavishes its fury upon the constituted authorities which have steadily defended the Union. It has no censure for any act of rebellion, but the war measures taken by the Administration, under the authority of the Constitution, are branded as tyrannical and despotic. There is not a word in it that can cheer any soldier or sailor fighting for his country ; not a syllable that stirs the blood of a patriot. It is craven, abject, humiliating. It confesses the defeat of the Union cause, and covertly implores the mercy of JEFFERSON DAVIS and his crew.

And this at a moment when stout old FARRAGUT is thundering at Mobile ; when the inexorable GRANT clutches at the Weldon Road, which, as an officer in his army writes, is " like touching the cubs of a tigress ;" when EARLY'S Shenandoah invasion is too late for success; when SHERMAN is closing around Atlanta ; when State after State is supplying its quota of fresh soldiers ; when gold steadily declines ; when a universal public confidence is awakening ; and when the rebels are plainly, palpably struggling to hold out only long enough to see if the election, by the elevation of the Chicago candidate, will not turn to their advantage.

Never again will this nation have a fairer chance of maintaining its constitutional authority than it has now. For three years it has, at every disadvantage, battled against this formidable conspiracy, and never was the conspiracy in so desperate a strait. The country has it by the throat. A little more force, a closer pressure, and the monster falls strangled, dead forever. A little less force, a relaxed hold, a wavering purpose, and the scaly folds of rebellion thrill with hope to the extremity ; it renews its strength, it recruits its venom, and darts a deadlier blow at the life of the country.

As the Chicago Platform declares the war hopeless, its friends will of course wish to see its position confirmed. Every victory of GRANT, of FARRAGUT, and of SHERMAN will therefore be unwelcome. Every brave man who enlists will be grudged. The rise of prices will be hailed with delight ; while universal disaster to our armies and navies, and the victories of the rebel armies will be hailed with exultation as conclusive proof of the " failure to restore the Union by the experiment of war." There is not an English lord or European aristocrat, not a sneerer at popular government and friend of despotism in the world, who will not applaud the Chicago Platform and hope for the success of its candidate.

The political campaign is opened. It will be short, sharp, and decisive, and the most momentous the country has ever known. If Mr. LINCOLN is re-elected the Union, the authority of the Government, and the national honor will be maintained unconditionally ; the rebellion, strained and baffled on every side, will be suppressed; and the peace and prosperity of the country be permanently re-established. If General McCLELLAN is elected there will be an attempt to negotiate, to compromise, to bargain with the rebels. In the effort it is not the disputed point, it is the dignity and character of the Government which will be compromised. A treacherous truce will be patched up and labeled peace, and after staggering under its dishonor and disgrace for a miserable while the country will plunge forward again into the flaming gulf of war.

The issue is simple and sublime. It is the life or the degradation of the nation. It is to show that a Government of the people is equal to every exigency—ready for taxation, ready for military service, ready for endurance, ready for forbearance—that it is as strong as any Government in the world, and stronger—that in war it is as powerful and resolute and orderly as in peace it is industrious and prosperous. There seems to us but one way in which this can be



shown, but one way in which utter national humiliation can be avoided, and that is by the steady and strong hand of war until the rebels confess the authority of the Government. That is the policy which is personified in ABRAHAM LINCOLN and ANDREW JOHNSON, and which we shall most strenuously support, for it is the cause of the peace and happiness of the American people.


WE hope our readers have not failed to see General SEYMOUR'S letter to Mr. W. E. DODGE, Jun., and printed in the daily papers. It is full of matter, and inspires the most loyal confidence. The General, it will be remembered, was captured in the Wilderness, and was afterward taken to Charleston, and could not be suspected of any peculiar prejudice against the rebels, for he had had no political sympathies against them, and was—we believe unjustly—accused of injustice to colored troops of his command.

General SEYMOUR'S conviction agrees with that of every judicious observer—that the rebel cause is approaching exhaustion. This is apparent from various considerations, but from none more strikingly than the universal and forcible conscription ordered by Governor BROWN in Georgia. A letter from one rebel to another, which fell into the hands of a fellow prisoner of the General's, confirms this view of the depletion of the rebel cause. " The people are soul sick and heartily tired of this hateful, hopeless strife....The men who, to aggrandize themselves, or to gratify their own political ambition, brought this cruel war upon a peaceful and prosperous country, will have to render a fearful account of their misdeeds to a wronged, robbed, and outraged people."

To release this people of the South who have been taught by false leaders that the people of the North are their enemies, the sole want of the moment is men. Our armies are large and brave, and skillfully commanded. They fight with indomitable courage, and in this summer's campaign have driven the rebellion to bay. But, as General SEYMOUR says, we ought to have four to one in the field, and an army of reserve now would confirm the hold that the terrible GRANT has upon the rebellion, and enable him to shake it speedily to death. The one hope of the rebels, he says, " is the result of our next election for President. If a Democrat succeeds to Mr. LINCOLN they profess to feel sure of negotiations, and sure of their Confederacy. They believe a Democrat will be elected. In Mr. LINCOLN'S re-election they see only subjugation, annihilation, for the war must then continue, and continuance is their failure and ruin. In military affairs it is an excellent rule never to do what the enemy desires—is it not equally true in politics ? Certain it is that the only remaining hope of the South lies in Mr. LINCOLN'S defeat."

The whole letter is a manly rebuke of the pusillanimity which sighs and sobs that we " can not conquer the South." Of course we can't do it by whining that it is impossible. But, says General SEYMOUR, " behind the James only boys and old men are to be seen, while here men buy and sell as in the olden days of quiet, and regiments of able bodied citizens crowd the street." With just and patriotic indignation the soldier who has fought and suffered exclaims in conclusion—redeeming the name of SEYMOUR in this war—" There are some who speak of peace ! Of all Yankees the Southron most scorns those who do not fight, but are glad enough to employ them, as they do their slaves, to perform their dirty work. Peace for the South will be sweet indeed ; for us, except through Southern subjugation, but anarchy and war forever. The Pacific, the Western, the Eastern States would at once fall asunder. The South would be dominant, and the people of the North would deserve to be driven afield under negro overseers, to hoe corn and cotton for Southern masters."


The Richmond Examiner of August 22 says :

"General GRANT'S army may now be considered as utterly and signally and finally defeated. Whether the moment is come when the remnant of it is to be driven to its ships, General LEE is the best and sole judge. That measure, however, when he shall decide upon it, will be a noble movement in the interest of peace."

The Richmond Enquirer of August 23 says:

GRANT'S plans on the Danville Road are now revealed, and all the energy and gallantry of the army under LEE and BEAUREGARD will not be too much to beat back this bold movement to the south of Petersburg."



ON Wednesday, August 24, the rebels disappeared from the front of the Fifth and Ninth Corps; and it was inferred that Lee was contracting his lines. The Second Corps and the Tenth had recrossed the James to the south side on Saturday night, the 20th; and the former was sent to the support of the Fifth on the Weldon Road. On the 25th, while the First and Second Divisions of the Second Corps were engaged in tearing up the road, they were attacked by a portion of Hill's and Longstreet's corps. The battle occurred at Reams Station, the Second Division falling back to that point in order to connect with the left of the First. The line was a crescent, the right flank being nearly at right angles with the railroad, the centre a little beyond and nearly parallel with it, and the left recrossing and receding from it. It appears that the rebels, disappearing from Warren's front, had gone around westwardly, with the intention of flanking the Federal force holding the road. The enemy first assaulted in front, and then made two charges on the extreme right, and were each time repulsed with severe loss. Then another charge was made against the right; two regiments stationed outside of our works wavered; the entire rebel force came on without firing until they reached our works. They were mown down by our musketry ; still they pushed on. Some new recruits on the right centre gave way, and the enemy gained an advantage, compelling the two divisions to withdraw into the shelter of some woods,

where they again formed in line and advanced against the rebels in their works, flanking them, and compelling them to abandon the position. The attack had been made late in the afternoon, and night now put an end to the conflict. The rebels, fearing that we would be so strongly reinforced that they could not expect to hold their ground, abandoned the field, leaving their dead and wounded. Our loss in this battle is stated at about 2000, while that of the rebels is estimated at 5000. The length of Grant's line may be estimated from the fact that Reams Station is twenty miles to the left of Butler's head-quarters. Our forces still hold the Weldon Road, and a railroad has been projected to connect City Point with General Warren's Corps.

In the fight on Thursday we lost nine guns. Captain Henry Sleeper, of the Tenth Massachusetts Cavalry, was wounded. The Weldon Road had been destroyed for a distance of eleven or twelve miles.

From Sherman there are no detailed reports, and our only information is Secretary Stanton's dispatch stating that that General's movements to place his army on the communications of Hood's army have been successful. On the 21st of August the rebel General Forrest made a raid into Memphis, Tennessee, probably for the purpose of securing the persons of Generals Washburne and Hurlburt. The particulars are given on page 588.

Early, it seems, has disappeared from Sheridan's front ; but as the reabsorption of his force into Lee's army would leave the Lynchburg Road open to our forces in the Valley, it is probable that the rebel retreat was necessitated by the want of supplies. A portion of this force will doubtless join Lee's army to assist in driving our forces off from the Weldon Road, and this will prepare the way for Sheridan's advance southward. The rebels are now at every point driven to a purely defensive conduct of the war. This has not been true before since the war commenced, and is a most encouraging sign that the war is speedily drawing to a close.

From Mobile we have the simple announcement made in rebel journals that Fort Morgan is now in our possession.


The Chicago Convention met August 29, and Ex-Governor Bigler was appointed temporary President. A Committee of delegates was chosen to report resolutions. The next day, upon the assembling of the Convention, Governor Seymour was elected its President, and the following Platform was adopted with but four dissentient voices:

Resolved, That in the future, as in the past, we will adhere with unswerving fidelity to the Union under the Constitution as the only solid foundation of our strength, security, and happiness as a people, and as a frame-work of government equally conducive to the welfare and prosperity of all the States, both Northern and Southern.

Resolved, That this Convention does explicitly declare, as the sense of the American people, that after four years of failure to restore the Union by the experiment of war, during which, under the pretense of a military necessity, or war power higher than the Constitution, the Constitution itself has been disregarded in every part, and public liberty and private right alike trodden down, and the material prosperity of the country essentially impaired, justice, humanity, liberty, and the public welfare demand' that immediate efforts be made for a cessation of hostilities, with a view to an ultimate Convention of all the States, or other peaceable means, to the end that at the earliest practicable moment peace may be restored on the basis of the Federal Union of the States.

Resolved, That the direct interference of the military authority of the United States in the recent elections held in Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, and Delaware, was a shameful violation of the Constitution, and a repetition of such acts in the approaching election will be held as revolutionary, and resisted with all the means and power under our control.

Resolved, That the aim and object of the Democratic party is to preserve the Federal Union and the rights of the States unimpaired, and they hereby declare that they consider the Administrative usurpation of extraordinary and dangerous powers not granted by the Constitution, the subversion of the civil by military law in States not in insurrection, the arbitrary military arrest, imprisonment, trial and sentence of American citizens in States where civil law exists in full force, the suppression of freedom of speech and of the press, the denial of the right of asylum, the open and avowed disregard of State rights, the employment of unusual test oaths, and the interference with and denial of the right of the people to bear arms, as calculated to prevent a restoration of the Union and the perpetuation of a Government deriving its just powers from the consent of the governed.

Resolved, That the shameful disregard of the Administration to its duty in respect to our fellow citizens, who now and long have been prisoners of war in a suffering condition, deserves the severest reprobation on the score alike of public and common humanity.

Resolved, That the sympathy of the Democratic party is heartily and earnestly extended to the soldiery of our army who are and have been in the field under the flag of our country, and in the event of our attaining power they will receive all the care, protection, regard, and kindness that the brave soldiers of the republic have no nobly earned.

On Wednesday General GEORGE B. McCLELLAN was elected as the Democratic candidate for President, receiving 162 votes.


MR. CHARLES BABBAGE, in "Passages from the Life of a Philosopher," tells the following anecdote: Once, at a large dinner-party, Mr. Rogers was speaking of an inconvenience arising from the custom, then commencing, of having windows formed of one large sheet of plate-glass. He said that a short time ago he sat at dinner with his back to one of these single panes of plate-glass : it appeared to him that the window was wide open, and such was the force of imagination, that he actually caught cold. It so happened that I was sitting just opposite to the poet. Hearing this remark, I immediately said, " Dear me, how odd it is, Mr. Rogers, that you and I should make such a very different use of the faculty of imagination. When I go to the house of a friend in the country, and unexpectedly remain for the night, having no night-cap, I should naturally catch cold. But by tying a bit of pack-thread tightly round my head, I go to sleep imagining that I have a night-cap on ; consequently I catch no cold at all." This sally produced much amusement in all around, who supposed I had improvised it ; hut odd as it may appear, it is a practice I have often resorted to. Mr. Rogers, who knew full well the respect and regard I had for him, saw at once that I was relating a simple fact, and joined cordially in time merriment it excited.

ABOUT ten months ago two gentlemen of San Francisco laid a wager, by which one of the parties was bound to the following condition: If the Federal forces did not capture Richmond within three days from that date, he was to give his opponent a single, sound, eatable apple; if Richmond held out sixty days he was to give him two apples, and as on, doubling the number for each mouth until Richmond was taken—to the end of time, if that event did not occur before. Nine months have passed since the first apple was handed over, and the list of apples delivered at the end of the successive mouths is as follows: 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256—total 511. Apples are 4 cents. If Richmond be taken within the present month he will get back all the apples he has lost, and one more, which would make him more than even; but should it hold out a year longer and he continues to pay his losses, his last payment would cost him 40,960 dollars, and he would be 81,900 dollars out ; in three months more he would be out 686,340 dollars.

TORTURE applied to extort confession was discontinued, it is said, in the public courts of Portugal, in consequence of the following circumstances: A conscientious judge, having observed the effects of the rack upon supposed criminals, in making them confess any thing, to the sacrifice of their lives, to get released from the torture, determined to try an experiment. It is a capital crime in that country to kill a horse or mule; and he had one of the former which he much valued. He took care one night to have all his servants employed, so that no one but the groom could go into the stable. When all were fast asleep in their beds, he stole thither himself, and cut the horse

so that he bled to death. The groom was apprehended and committed to prison. He plead not guilty ; but the presumption being strong against him, he was ordered to the rack, where the extremity of the torture soon wrung from him a confession of the crime. Upon this confession, he had sentence of hanging passed on him, when his master went to the tribunals, and there exposed the fallibility of confessions obtained by such means, by owning the fact himself, and disclosing the motives which had influenced him in making the experiment.

"I REMEMBER," says Dr. Leichfield, in his Autobiography, " being particularly struck with the personal neatness of John Wesley as he came out of his carriage. His coachman also attracted my notice ; for he seemed to be his master's valet de chaining, his clerk when necessary, and his deputy, to converse and even argue with people. I heard that on one occasion an individual, who was one of the class of captious questioners, addressed himself to Mr. Wesley with an air of impertinent curiosity. The preacher had no time to spare, and, furthermore, felt it necessary to check annoyances of this kind for the future. He therefore gravely asked his questioner, ' Can you read Greek?' ' No, Sir, I can not,' was the reply. ' Oh, then,' rejoined Mr. Wesley,' my coachman will be able to satisfy you."'

WHENEVER you find a man whom you know little about oddly dressed, or talking ridiculously, or exhibiting any eccentricity of manner, you may be sure that be is not a. married man; for the little corners are rounded off, the little shoots are pruned away, in married men. Wives generally have much more sense than their husbands, especially when the husbands are clever men. The wife's advices are like the ballast that keeps the ship steady. They are like the wholesome though painful shears snipping off little growths of self conceit and folly.

IN the burial-register of Lymington, Hants, there is the following entry: "12th August, 1722. This forenoon the body of Samuel Baldwin, late inhabitant of this parish, was conveyed in a vessel off to sea, and was committed to the deep off the Needle rocks, near the Isle of Wight." "This appears to have been done," says a Hampshire paper, "in accordance with the wish of the deceased, to prevent his wife from dancing over his grave, which she threatened to do."

CURIOUS anecdotes are related of the effect of music upon animals. Manville has given the following amusing ac-count of his experiments : "While a man was playing on a trump-marine I made my observations on a cat, a clog, a horse, an ass, a hind, some cows, small birds, and a cock and liens, who were in a yard under the window. The cat was not the least affected; the horse stopped short from time to time, raising his head up now and then as he was feeding on the grass ; the dog continued for above an hour seated on his hind-legs, looking steadfastly at the player; the ass did not discover the least indication of his being touched, eating his thistles peaceably; the hind lifted up her large wide ears, and seemed very attentive; the cows slept a little, and after gazing at us, went for-ward ; some little birds that were in an aviary, and others on trees and bushes, almost tore their little throats with singing; but the cock, who minded only his hens, and the hens, who were solely employed in scraping a neighboring dung-hill, did not show in any manner that the trump-marine afforded them pleasure." That dogs have an ear for music can not be doubted. Steibelt had one which evidently knew one piece of music from the other; and it modern composer had a pug-dog that frisked merrily about the room when a lively piece was played, but when a slow melody was performed he would seat himself down by the piano, and prick up his ears with intense attention until the player came to the forty-eighth bar: as the discord was struck he would yell most piteously, and, with drooping tail, seek refuge from the unpleasant sound under the chairs or tables.

Eastcot relates that a hare left her retreat to listen to some choristers who were singing on the banks of the Mersey, retiring whenever they ceased singing, and reappearing as they recommenced their strains. Bossuet asserts that an officer confined in the Bastile drew forth mice and spiders, to beguile his solitude, with his flute; and a mountebank in Paris had taught rats to dance on the rope in perfect time. Chateaubriand states as a perfect fact that he has seen the rattlesnakes in Upper Canada appeased by a musician. And the concert given in Paris to two elephants in the Jardin des Plantes leaves no doubt in regard to the effect of harmony on the brute creation. Every instrument seemed to operate distinctly as the several modes of the pieces were slow or lively, until the excitement of these intelligent creatures had been carried to such an extent that further experiments were deemed dangerous.

SIR WILLIAM NAPIER was one day taking a long country walk near Freshford, when he met a little girl about five years old sobbing over a broken bowl ; she had dropped and broken it in bringing it back from the field to which she had taken her father's dinner in it, and she said she would be beaten on her return home for having broken it then, with a sudden gleam of hope, she innocently looked up into his face, and said, "But yes can mend it, can't ee?" Sir William explained that he could not mend the bowl, but the trouble he could, by the gift of a sixpence to buy another. However, on opening his purse it was empty of silver, and he had to make amends by promising to meet his little friend in the same spot at the same hour next day, and to bring the sixpence with hint, bidding her, meanwhile, tell her mother she had seen a gentleman who would bring her the money for the bowl next clay. The child, entirely trusting him, went on her way comforted. On his return home he found an invitation awaiting him to dine in Bath the following evening, to meet some one whom he specially wished to see. He hesitated for some little time, trying to calculate the possibility of giving the meeting to his little friend of the broken bowl and of still being in time for the dinner party in Bath; but finding this could not be, he wrote to declined accepting the invitation on the plea of is "pre-engagement," saying to one of his family as he did so, "I can not disappoint her, she trusted me so implicitly."

Tam number of looms employed in making Cashmere shawls does not exceed five hundred. Of the finest shawls not more than half an inch is completed in a day, although three workmen are employed on each piece, the shawl being composed of a number of separate pieces, which, as they rarely correspond in size, will account for that peculiar defectiveness which is often to be observed in the real "Cashmere." A long, narrow, but heavy shuttle is used ; those of which the pattern is variegated are worked with wooden needles, there being a separate needle for the thread of each color. The people at the loom are superintended by is foreman, who is a skillful artist, with a fine eye for color and ornamental design. He explains to them, in a peculiar chanting tone, the figures, colors, and threads they are to use. During the whole operation the rough side of the shawl is uppermost on the frame, notwithstanding which the foreman never mistakes the most intricate designs. The shawl is not complete until all the separately-woven pieces of which it is composed are taken to the men who are employed in sewing all these portions together, so as to form a harmonious whole. At this tedious, and, as it would seem, puzzling work, they earn about a penny a day; and the experienced superintendent who overlooks their operations is very little better off than themselves.

We could give scores of instances of bad taste shown in the choice of patterns on our walls. The difficulty would be to find many which are not. In the choice of paper for the walls of rooms, it ought to be borne in mind that in most instances the covering of walls is only a back ground for prints, water-color drawings, or paintings , rooms may be seen hung with valuable drawings, papered with the gayest colored flowers. The force and beauty of works of art are completely destroyed by such a mounting. In addition to the bad choice of time paper, much damage is often done to prints and pictures, which now supply the place of the ancient tapestry, by the style of the Gaines.

THERE are above a quarter of a million of persons in England and Wales bearing the cosmopolitan surname of Smith, and above 45,000 persons in Scotland. If you meet 73 persons in England, or even 68 in Scotland, you may expect to find a Smith among them. Next to Smith there comes in each country a purely local name—Jones in England and Wales, Macdonald in Scotland; in every 78 persons in Scotland there is a Macdonald.




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