Ruins of the Norfolk Navy Yard


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, April 8, 1865

This site features our online version of the Harper's Weekly newspapers published during the Civil War. These papers have a wealth of incredible details on the conflict, including news reports and illustrations created by eye-witnesses to the historic events depicted. We hope you enjoy browsing this online resource.

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



Columbia, South Carolina



Fort Steadman

Battle of Fort Steadman

General Barnum

General Barnum

Navy Yard

Ruins of Norfolk Navy Yard


Spring Freshets

Rochester Flood

Rochester Flood


Civil War Bounties

Battle of the Salkehatchie

Columbia, South Carolina

Sherman Burning Columbia, South Carolina


Montevideo, Uruguay





APRIL 8, 1865.]



(Previous Page) mand of a brigade of the Ninth Corps, which he accompanied to the West in the spring of 1863. In the movement on Knoxville he acted as Chief Engineer of the Twenty-third Corps. He took a prominent part in defense of Knoxville against LONGSTREET. He it was who constructed Fort Sanders, which was held against the rebel assault of November 29. In all of SHERMAN'S campaigns since the spring of 1864 Colonel POE has acted as Chief Engineer on his staff. He is now Brevet Colonel in the Regular Army.

The graphic sketch on page 212 of the charge made at White Pond by the First Alabama and Fifth Kentucky, under the command of Colonel SPENCER, deserves particular mention. The First Alabama was organized at Corinth, Mississippi, early in 1863. During the grand campaign against Atlanta this regiment accompanied the Army of the Tennessee, rendering signal service to the lamented General M`PHERSON up to the time of the evacuation of Kenesaw Mountain by the enemy, when it was ordered to Rome on scouting duty. During the movements of HOOD upon our rear this regiment rendered most invaluable information to Gen. SHERMAN, their superior knowledge of the topography of the country, together with their peculiar Southern familiarity with the inhabitants, greatly aiding them in obtaining the most accurate news of the enemy's designs. In the ranks of this regiment are to be found some of the original true blue Southern Unionists, among whom are three exmembers of the last Alabama Union

Legislature, two or three ministers,

two lawyers, besides a large number of intelligent mechanics.

On the same page are illustrations of the first boat which, under the management of Captain AINSWORTH, established communication by way of the Cape Fear River with General SHERMAN'S army, and of the two officers GRINNELL and COLBY and their march through the swamps, bearing dispatches for General SHERMAN. Lieutenant H. W. GRINNELL and Ensign H. B. COLBY left their ship, the Nyack, at Wilmington March 4. They traveled in the full naval uniform, accompanied by two Jack tars in sailors' rig, and with two negro guides succeeded in making their way through the swamps and forests to General SHERMAN, whose they reached on March 12. The only determined attack made upon them was within ten or twelve miles of our lines, when two of SHERMAN'S " bummers," mounted on their mules and armed with Springfield muskets, charged wildly down upon these six well armed men, ordering them to surrender instantly or they'd blow their heads off." The mistake was soon rectified, and the entire party came into SHERMAN'S lines. Upon their return to their ship at Wilmington they were received with hearty cheers by the Jack tars, who never fail to appreciate a brave and successful undertaking.


WE give in the adjoining illustration an interesting picture of the rescue of the crew on board the Enterprise, by the boat of the Richmond, in Mobile Bay. The vessel was lost on the 15th. Our artist says :

" The captain and all the crew save one were safely taken off by our fifth cutter, led by Mr. FLOYD, our boatswain, than whom a braver man scarce lives. Three times was his boat swamped, but these brave men as often hauled her through the breakers upon the beach, righted and baled her out, and dashed into the wild waters. For nearly twenty-four hours they were unceasingly endeavoring to save the men in the brig's tops, and did not leave until the last man was in their boat. The Enterprise left New York on the 24th of January, and the captain was about 100 miles off here when she sprung a leak. Knowing well that his vessel could not live through the storm, leaking as it was, he directed his course to this bay, thinking it better to try to get near succor than to run away from it. He knew this channel well, and had he kept but two ships' lengths to the westward would have come into the haven."


THE war has left nowhere more permanent traces of its destructive work than at the Norfolk Navy yard, which was one of the first objects against which the Confederate revolutionists lifted treasonable hands. We reproduce from a photograph an illustration truthfully showing the present aspect of the place. In 1861 the Norfolk Navy yard was filled with the maritime and military wealth of the nation, and within its limits were the most extensive and complete array of shops, foundries, ship yards, mills, and docks in the country. Here, at that time, were twelve vessels of war of various sizes, from the Pennsylvania of 120 guns to the little brig Dolphin of 4. It will be remembered that among these was the Merrimac, a steam frigate of 40 guns, which was afterward changed into an iron clad ram ; and here also was the sloop Cumberland, which this same ram, in 1862, sent to the bottom of the sea. In addition to these vessels there were in the yard 2500 pieces of heavy ordnance, 300 of which were Dahlgren guns. The quantity of small arms and ammunition was immense; at old Fort Norfolk, which was used as a magazine, there were three hundred thousand pounds of powder. The

value of the military property of the yard was estimated at not less than thirty-five millions of dollars. Commodore M'AULEY was in command of the yard at that time, but delayed to remove the property until it was too late, and he was compelled to destroy it. But the destruction was partial. Nearly all the ordnance and all the immense store of powder fell into the hands of the rebels.


THIS spring the mountains have paid to the sea an unusual tribute. Owing to the unprecedented fall of snow during the winter the freshets throughout the country have been greater than for a generation past, and have been very disastrous. The Hudson, the Mohawk, the Connecticut, the Susquehanna, and all our great rivers, have been swollen with the flood to an almost incredible volume, which has overflowed the land and carried away houses and destroyed factories, and even robbed grave yards of their quiet inhabitants. It is almost impossible to estimate in money the losses which have been sustained.

The Susquehanna, in its sudden rise, tore away hundreds of miles of the Erie Railroad, swept off valuable railroad bridges, submerged a good portion of the city of Harrisburg, and carried away vast quantities of lumber stored along its banks. Its tributaries the Chemung, Chenango, and Juniata, in Western New York and Pennsylvania carried a like destruction in their path. Two-thirds of Elmira, on the Chemung, were un-

der water, and the furniture and people had to be removed in boats. The Genesee River rose at one time at the rate of a foot an hour, and the central and business portion of Rochester, on the west side of the river, was completely inundated. The Erie canal overflowed. The flood swept through the streets. We give on page 220 two illustrations of the flood in Rochester. The following description is given by the Rochester Daily Union :

At least nine-tenths of the streets in the First Ward were under water, and many in the Second and other Wards. On Main Street during all that day thousands stood looking over the flood upon Buffalo Street. And on Buffalo Street, west of Washington, a vast crowd stood looking eastward over a third of a mile of water, the eastern part of which was surging and boiling as if thrown up by some mighty engine below. On Exchange Street, below the Clinton Hotel, people were looking anxiously northward into State Street, submerged to the depth of from one to four feet for half a mile. On State Street, near Engine House No. 3, a multitude gazed southward upon a sea extending to the heart of the city, and in many other streets similar scenes were presented. Small boats could be seen in nearly all the streets, and now and then teams were driven through some of them. People were (Next Page)



Ship Sinking
Norfolk Navy Yard




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