William Fessenden


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, July 30, 1864

This site features an online archive of our extensive collection of original Harper's Weekly newspapers. These papers are full of incredible content, including eye-witness drawings of the key elements of the War. Reading these newspapers will give you a better appreciation of this important period of American History.

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



William Fessenden


Drought Poem

Rebel Poetry

Rebel Poetry

Rebel Raid

Rebel Raid



Great Fire

The Great Brooklyn Fire



John Bull

John Bull Cartoon


Battle of Marietta

Destroying Railroad







VOL. VIII.—No. 396.]



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the Year 1864, by Harper & Brothers, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New York


WILLIAM PITT FESSENDEN, the new Secretary of the Treasury, whose portrait we give on this page, was born at Roscowen, New Hampshire, October 16, 1806, and is therefore now fifty-eight years old. He was a graduate of Bowdoin College, at the early age of seventeen, and at twenty-one was admitted to the bar. Remarkable for energy and intelligene his progress was rapid. He was a member of the State Legislature when only twenty-five years of age, and was the youngest member of that body. His insight into the details of Political Economy as connected with legislation was even thus early evidenced in a debate on the United States Bank, in which he won distinction. In 1840 the Whig candidate for Congress, and successful even beyond the limits of a party vote ; in 1843 renominated, but declining from a choice to pursue his profession ; in 1850 again elected, but deprived of his seat by a

mistaken return of ballots; in 1854 elected to the Senate, where he was perhaps the ablest opponent to the Nebraska bill ; again elected in 1859, for the six years which are just expiring; and now, in consonance with the wishes of the whole country, appointed to fill the most difficult and the most rcsponsible position in the Cabinet—these have been the steps by which Mr. FESSENDEN, for more than a generation, has steadily risen in popular estimation and in his power to serve his country. Not known as a man of genius, or even of uncommon brilliancy, experienced in solid

statesmanship rather than superficial policy, he perhaps more than any other man was fitted for the position which he

now fills. This is no blind confidence, since Mr. FESSENDEN, as Chair-man of the Senate Finance Committee, has given a foretaste of his greatness as a financier.


WE give on page 485 three illustrations of the siege of Petersburg, relating chiefly to the operations of our artillery.

Captain ASHBY'S battery, Third New York Artillery, the subject of one of these sketches, is close to the enemy's line, which it incessantly annoys with troublesome messengers, stirring up the rebel infantry and distracting the aim of sharp-shooters, which, in turn, do their best to kill our gunners.

Another sketch exhibits a method by which the gunners protect themselves against sharpshooters. This is effected by means of mantelets, which are really nothing more nor less than ropemats, heavily constructed, made to cover the embrasures, and having an aperture through which the gun's muzzle is thrust.

The Cohorns, which are the subject of the remaining sketch, are small brass mortars, which have proved of great service in demoralizing the enemy in his rifle-pits in places where the lines are so close as

to afford no available positions for light artillery. The Cohorns are fired over our own soldiers at a great elevation, dropping shells with effect upon the unseen defenders of the rebel works.  


GENERAL WILSON'S raid, which we illustrate on pages 488 and 489, dealt a serious blow against ROBERT E. LEE'S lines of communications with the South. This illustration affords the reader a vivid, and at the same time a correct, impression of the manner in which an extensive cavalry raid is carried. So far from being an irregular proceeding, a great raid is now as well organized as any other movement of the army ; each man has his work to do, and one stage of operations succeeds another as regularly as the evolutions on a parade-ground. WILSON'S raid resulted in a destruction of sixty miles of railroad,

a destruction in which the Danville and the South-side road shared about equally. General WILSON reported that it would take the rebels forty days, even if they had the material at hand to repair the loss. The expedition had some difficulty in returning; but it succeeded finally in eluding the enemy, getting back to our lines with a loss of twelve cannon and between 750 and 1000 men.


THE rebel raid in Maryland (illustrated on page 484), which a few days ago was the exciting theme of conversation, has vanished, leaving behind as the traces of its devastation desolated homes, empty roosts and stables, and broken communications. The Government has not been directly a great sufferer, although a considerable amount of commissary

and ordnance stores were captured at Martinsburg. For the most part the burden of loss has fallen upon private citizens. The illustrations which we give refer to a few out of the many scenes connected with this raid; they need no detailed description. The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal runs along the line of the Potomac from Georgetown to Cumberland, where it terminates; it runs side by side with the Baltimore and Ohio railroad. The cost of the work was over twenty-two millions. The damage which the rebels have done will be easily repaired. It is an occasion for regret that they have been able to carry away so much plunder.


ON page 492 we give a sketch illustrating SHERMAN'S advance. The action represented in the cut

was only a part of a grand movement. The fighting was done chiefly by portions of JEFFERSON C. DAVIS'S and NEWTON'S divisions, of the Fourteenth and Fourth Army Corps respectively, who had orders to break the Confederate centre, if possible. At the same time an attack was made on the right and left by LOGAN and BLAIR. The attack on the centre, though gallantly executed, was unsuccessful. NEWTON'S division attacked on the right, DAVIS'S on the left. General HARKER, one of the best-beloved men in the army, a brave soldier and a true patriot, was killed. Colonel DANIEL McCook was badly wounded, and Colonel MITCHELL slightly.


THE great fire which took place on Friday, July 15, in Brooklyn, and which we illustrate on page 493, is the most destructive which has occurred in that city for many years. The fire, occasioned by carelessness, broke out in one of the two great warehouses of Messrs. SCHLENCK & RUTHERFORD, at the foot of Joralemon Street at 12 1/2 o'clock, while the workmen were away at dinner. The two structures, partly of brick and partly of wood, were known as the Free and the Bonded warehouses respectively, extending 300 feet on the waterline and 200 feet deep. They were used for storage, and contained a great quantity of saltpetre, together with sugar, molasses, hides, and guano. As soon as the flames reached the saltpetre a terrific explosion took place, which shook the buildings in New York, and in the immediate neighborhood was very destructive to glass panes and frail ceilings. The explosion was repeated several times, and was so violent as to hurl firemen standing on the pier into the water. The immense crowd gathered about to witness the scene also suffered some annoyance from falling brick and timber which had been hurled into the air like rockets. Some (Next Page)


William Fessenden

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