Black Labor after the Civil War


This Site:

Civil War

Civil War Overview

Civil War 1861

Civil War 1862

Civil War 1863

Civil War 1864

Civil War 1865

Civil War Battles

Confederate Generals

Union Generals

Confederate History

Robert E. Lee

Civil War Medicine

Lincoln Assassination


Site Search

Civil War Links


Revolutionary War

Mexican War

Republic of Texas


Winslow Homer

Thomas Nast

Mathew Brady

Western Art

Civil War Gifts

Robert E. Lee Portrait

Civil War Harper's Weekly, May 20, 1865

The May 20, 1865 edition of Harper's Weekly is full of interesting Civil War content.  It features details on the capture of John Wilkes Booth, and provides detailed descriptions of the Funeral and Burial of Abraham Lincoln.  We have posted the entire newspaper for your research and perusal.  Simply click on a thumbnail to be taken to a complete, readable version of that page.


The Capture of John Wilkes Booth

Black Vote After the Civil War

Black Labor After the Civil War

Abraham Lincoln's Cleveland Funeral

Abraham Lincoln's Cleveland Funeral

Abraham Lincoln House

Abraham Lincoln's Springfield Home

Savannah Georgia

Savannah Georgia Johnson Square

Abraham Lincoln's Chicago Funeral

Abraham Lincoln's Chicago Funeral

General Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant





MAY 20, 1865.]



(Continued from Previous Page)

The villains who tried to throw railroad trains from the track—who descended upon remote inland villages to pillage, burn; and kill—who would have burned down museums and hotels full of innocent women and children—who bought plague-tainted rags to disseminate promiscuous death—are surely not too virtuous to poison wells or to murder with the pistol or knife. And the men who did these things bore the commissions and pleaded the authority of JEFFERSON DAVIS and his Confederates. Did DAVIS or HUNTER or any of the chiefs ever repudiate these acts ? On the contrary, the Richmond rebel Congress adopted the crimes of BEALL and made them their own.

Those who begin and prosecute a bloody war for the destruction of a mild and equal Government, and for the sole purpose of perpetuating the most odious outrage upon human nature—who deliberately spurn and deny the most sacred rights of man, embark in an enterprise of which arson, theft, assassination, and every form of inhumanity are the natural means and allies. Slavery imbrutes the masters, at least, whatever it does to the slaves. The spirit of a society which honored and applauded BROOKS for trying to murder Senator SUMNER is not too humane to inspire BOOTH to murder President LINCOLN.

Individuals, of course, will be held innocent until they are proved to be guilty. But the guilt in one point of those who are guilty in others quite as revolting, is not improbable. You may be as innocent as you assert, said the house-keeper to a man whom he found in his silver closet ; you may not have stolen my purse, but what are my spoons doing in your pocket ?


WE are glad to see that General SCHOFIELD, who commands in North Carolina, has issued a proclamation calling attention to the fact that the persons formerly held as slaves in that State are now free, and exhorting them to go to work, and to make their own bargains with such employers as they choose. General HALLECK, in Virginia, has issued a similar proclamation, but announces that for minors not cared for by parents the apprenticeship system will be introduced as soon as possible. Of course this intention includes minors of all races and colors. But General HALLECK will soon learn that no forcible general apprenticeship system will work.

Both of the proclamations recommend the masters to acquiesce in the new order. This is wise, for the practical difficulty in emancipation always proceeds from the masters, not from the slaves. This has been curiously illustrated in some parts of the British West Indies, where the planters refused to submit heartily to the conditions of the case. They would not pay fair average wages. The laborers withdrew to the bush, and lived quietly and humbly there. The great estates languished. The crops failed, and the sullen proprietors, who were too angry and foolish to hire laborers upon fair terms, swore at the sentimental fanaticism which had ruined the fortunes of West India gentlemen.

But it does not seem to a candid mind a very terrible misfortune that gentlemen who have been living luxuriously without paying any wages for labor should be a little straitened because they can no longer force men to work for them for nothing. " Good for nothing, shiftless set !" sneered the planting gentlemen ; " we knew they would not work without the whip." But if not working argues that a man is good for nothing, what were the planting gentlemen good for ?

If the former masters of slaves in this country are wise they will not follow the West Indian examples.


As we suggested last week, the President of the Christian Commission has hastened to disavow the act of a Rev. Dr. PARKER and seven others in calling " to pay their respects" to ROBERT E. LEE. He states that Dr. PARKER is not connected with the Christian Commission, but is a member of the American Union Commission, and asserts that no authorized representative of the Christian Commission has ever called upon General LEE ; and if any person connected with that body has so far forgotten his duty and self-respect, his conduct is severely condemned by the Commission.

The universal indignation with which the story of this call has been received shows how general and profound is the national conviction that the chief soldier of rebellion is not considered a person to be " respected" by loyal men. The maudlin sentimentality which could call General LEE "magnanimous" has been most impressively rebuked.



IT is an agreeable duty to record that Professor GOLDWIN SMITH, whose delightful paper upon the " University of Oxford," the first part of which was published in the May number of Harper's Magazine, and which will be concluded in the June number, requested that the sum he was to receive from it should be given to the National Freedmen's Association. He thus adds another to his many practical

 tokens of sympathy for our cause which are al-ready known. The friends of Professor SMITH will hear with regret that his physician forbids another visit to America, which he was contemplating. There is no man in England more justly honored by this country than GOLDWIN SMITH, and none who will more sincerely rejoice in our great success or more fully comprehend its scope and significance.


IN the large hall Mr. W. H. FURNESS has a portrait, No. 425, which pleases us more than any in the exhibition. The fine, firm modeling of the head, the force of the painting, and the skill with which the expression is seized and perpetuated, are all remarkable. The work is hard in some parts. The hands are awkwardly placed, and the drapery is rather stiff. But there is so much conscience and delicacy and power in the picture that a place in the first rank of our portrait painters can not be denied to the artist. His evident respect for his art, his subject, and himself, are inspiring, and give the work a sincerity which we find in few portraits. The fascination of a face in which archness is overflowed by serious sweetness, the virgin dignity of the figure, a lark-like purity of impression--

"True to the kindred points of heaven and home,"

are rendered simply, and with a careful detail which does not destroy the technical breadth of the work. It is a picture as carefully studied as a poem. The artist has evidently not thrown it off, or dashed it in. He has worked at it with knowledge and patience and sympathy, and the result is worth all the pains and doubts and thoughts it has cost him. It is not pleasant to make comparisons by name. But let the spectator stand before No. 425 and compare it with some portraits near it, large and small. This is not muddy, nor mottled, nor superficial. It is not dramatic, nor vulgar, nor cold, nor conventional. It is solid, thoughtful, tranquil, and superlatively honest. The artist has evidently much to do. Every truly good picture shows the painter and the spectator how much lies beyond. But the fidelity and skill which this portrait reveals are the best possible auguries of the future works of Mr. FURNESS, for which we shall look with entire faith in their increasing excellence.

Near by, No. 423, by R. M. STAIGG, is another admirable portrait. It has a certain refined and elegant character, and although wrought with great delicacy is not weak or frivolous. Mr. STAIGG has ascended from miniature to portraiture with remarkable success. His pictures are always notable for a modest repose, which is as delightful in art as in life, as charming upon the walls as upon the floor of the exhibition.

" Passing into the Shade" (318), by GEORGE H. BOUGHTON, is a delightful picture. To see it upon your wall would be. like a constant glimpse into a cheerful autumn landscape. For it is autumn in the picture, but not sadness altogether, nor decay. Two old French peasant women are advancing over withered leaves into the shade of the wood. They are very poor. Their dress is very coarse, and they stump along in sabots. One bends forward slightly, her eyes cast down. She leans upon a stick on one side, and upon the other on the arm of her

friend. She is sober doubtful, sad. As she goes

deeper into the shadows   she possibly recall, has

she ever heard— from the gay artist sketching at her door, perhaps, in other years and singing the summer away—the yearning regret for youth and love breathed in BERANGER's " Garret ?" Does she too remember, and wistfully, with her old heart aching, recall

"The hopes that dawned at twenty when I dwelt
In attic cell!"

If she does, her companion does not. With cheery face uplifted, rude, ignorant, but brightly confident, she supports her bending sister and moves erectly forward into a shadow that can not dismay, and with a faith which fills the deepening autumn wood with all the bird voices and flowers and buds of spring. It is long since we have seen a more imaginative or poetic picture. Yet it is entirely unobtrusive. It is poetic not sensational.

"A Lost Mind" (601), by ELIHU VEDDER, is an interesting but painful picture. Yet a picture which leaves a painful impression still lacks an essential quality. Mr: VEDDER'S" Sea Serpent" of last year we can hardly recall now without a shudder. That is a tribute certainly to the talent of the painter, but not to the character of the picture. " A Lost Mind" might be HAGAR, if there were an ISHMAEL. That is to say, that it is not at once seen to be an insane woman. Yet it is a work which commands attention. There is nothing commonplace in it. Indeed, the heaving, startling, restless hurry of the movement is most striking. The bare cliff, the blank sands behind, and on, on, no matter what lies before, on, on ; and as you gaze steadfastly it seems as if she might stride forth out of the canvas. Just above to the left is another sketch by VEDDER, " Jane Jackson, formerly a slave" (589). It is a head merely, but there is a quaint vigor in the sketch which well hefts the strange, dusky, tragic-al face. Yet our great romancer, HAWTHORNE, thought we had no material for romances in this country !

Among the landscapes, Mr. JERVIS M'ENTEE's " Last of October" (291) is admirable for its fidelity to the spirit and aspect of the American autumn. No artist seems to feel every part of his pictures more conscientiously than M'ENTEE. Every twig and tendril and leaf and spire of grass is as affectionately rendered as the whole scene, and this without the technical Pre-Raphaelite treatment, but with a fidelity that reveals the enamored eve and the sensitive heart. In M`ENTEE's landscapes there is not a careful study of the form only, there is also that transfusion of the soul and character of the scene which makes his works seem like reminiscences. This " Last of October," for instance, strikes the spectator like a remembered melody.

He may hold the May anemones in his hand, but his heart is sobered by the actual presence of the sad, though splendid, autumn fields and woods. These pictures also are truly American, yet none the less romantic. Our landscape, even if unstoried, inspires such exquisite melody as KEATS'S "La belle Dame sans Merci" as much as any landscape KEATS ever saw. This is the only picture Mr. M`ENTEE contributes. He has achieved the happy triumph of making the spectator wish for more.


THE joy of Palm Sunday was sadly overshadowed before the week was ended. But the great event of that day will be more and more gladly hailed as time passes. It was the day on which GRANT, our peace-maker in chief, received the surrender of the head of the rebel armies, and by his magnanimity added new lustre to his laurels. Mr. NAST has simply and strikingly commemorated upon pages 312 and 313 of this paper the festival and the event which will be always associated with it in our history. The Lieutenant-General represents the true peace-makers, the fidelity, the love of liberty and union, and the unwavering resolution of the American people. These are the qualities which have conquered peace in the field, and they will confirm it in the council. LEE surrendering to GRANT is barbarous feudalism yielding to Christian civilization.


ALL who knew him will hear with the sincerest sorrow of the death of PETER F. ROSENQUEST, for many years foreman of the Bookbindery of HARPER & BROTHERS. So faithful was this honorable and efficient man to his duty, so cheerful and serene in his demeanor, that the news of his death was a painful surprise even to some who had been in the constant habit of meeting him at his work. Mr. ROSENQUEST was a type of the intelligent, sagacious, industrious, and patriotic men who are the glory of this country. Throughout the war his loyalty has been devoted and inspiring. His heart was sensitive to every shadow of misfortune that darkened over us, and full of honest joy in our triumph. It is to the fidelity of such hearts that we owe the victory. Mr. ROSENQUEST had a true love of the work in which he excelled. He was always busy, and by preserving his self-respect never failed to secure that of his subordinates. He had been with the HARPERS for thirty-three years, and their relations were never ruffled. His home was happy. His wife and children loved and honored him, and those who knew him best will mourn most truly the brave, kind, earnest, and honorable man.


THE day of war bulletins is about over. There is no farther doubt respecting Dick Taylor's surrender, which has been made on terms similar to those granted to Lee. We wait to hear from Kirby Smith only before peace shall be known to have been fully consummated. It is reported that President Johnson has already submitted to his Cabinet a proclamation declaring peace throughout the country. The guerrilla stage of the war, about which there has been so much apprehension, will never probably be inaugurated upon any large scale. We hear of a few raids on railroad trains in some quarters; but the fact that these men will be liable to all the penalties which, in a time of peace, would attach to wantonness and violence, will deter even the more desperate from their out-rages. It is certain that all the prominent rebel generals are opposed to operations from which the Southern people has far more to fear than the North. It is perhaps, after all, better for the country that rebel desperadoes should show their real temper by overt acts of insurrection, as this will more speedily insure their punishment.

It is now supposed that when Johnston first proposed a surrender his army numbered nearly 50,000 men. Of these about 20,000 started off in irregular bands the moment their General began to talk of capitulation. About 110 pieces of artillery were surrendered, and about 15.000 stand of arms. The following was

General Johnston's farewell order to his troops:



COMRADES,—In terminating our official relations I expect you to observe the terms of the pacification agreed upon, and to discharge the obligations of good and peaceful citizens to the powers as well as you have performed the duties of soldiers in the field. By such a course you will secure comfort and restore tranquillity to your country. You will return to your homes with the admiration of our people, won by the courage and noble devotion you have displayed in this long war. I shall always remember with pride the loyal support you have given me. I part from you with regret, and bid you farewell with feelings of cordial friendship and with earnest wishes that you may prosper.   J. E. JOHNSTON, General."

As soon as Major-General Schofield took command of the Department of North Carolina he issued the following important order in relation to the social status of the negroes in that State:

" To remove a doubt which seems to exist in the minds of some of the people of North Carolina, it is hereby declared that, by virtue of the proclamation of the President of the United States, dated January 1, 1863, all persons in this State heretofore held as slaves are now free, and that it is the duty of the army to maintain the freedom of such persons.

"It is recommended to the former masters of the freed men to employ them as hired servants at reasonable wages. And it is recommended to the freed men that, when allowed to do so, they remain with their former masters and labor faithfully so long as they shall be treated kindly and paid reasonable wages : or that they immediately seek employment elsewhere in the kind of work to which they are accustomed. It is not well for them to congregate about towns or military camps. They will not be supported in idleness."

General Wilson's cavalry command arrived at Savannah April 28, after having completed a most sweeping and magnificently successful tour of over six hundred and fifty miles through the heart of Alabama and Georgia, in a region of country before but little touched by the war. General Wilson left Chickasaw, Alabama, on the 22d of March, and moved southward through that State as far as Selma, in the mean time defeating and routing in several engagements the forces of Forrest, Roddy, Adams, and other notorious rebels, capturing towns and seizing and destroying immense amounts of rebel property. Thence he marched eastward and crossed into Georgia, carrying every thing before him. Four important towns, six thousand prisoners, over two hundred cannon, and large supplies of small-, arms were captured, and five hundred million dollars' worth of property belonging to the rebel Government was destroyed. General Wilson's entire casualties were less than five hundred.

Captain Reed, who commanded the ram Webb on her exploit down the Red and Mississippi rivers, and several of his officers and crew, arrived as prisoners on board

the gunboat Florida, and are now under guard at the Brooklyn Navy-yard. It was Reed's design to take the Webb to Havana, destroying on the way all the national vessels he encountered, there sell his cargo of cotton, and then return and run the blockade of Galveston. Once in that harbor, he intended to convert his vessel into a torpedo-boat, and thus destroy or drive away the blockading fleet. Ninety-two out of the one hundred and twenty-five men belonging to the Webb were captured and taken to New Orleans.

It appears now that Davis will find hard work to escape. Stoneman's cavalry are close upon his heels in Georgia; and as he has turned westward in his flight there is good reason to hope that he will be intercepted by some of Wilson's cavalry. Telegraphic communication is open from Washington to Macon. It is said that the evidence in possession of the Government in regard to Davis's complicity in President Lincoln's murder is such that no foreign government will for a moment hesitate to give him up if he should succeed in making his escape. In regard to the assassination the Meridian Clarion, a rebel journal, says: "Wilkes Booth, we are told, was an actor in the Richmond theatre. He is said to be an illegitimate son of the great tragedian. We regret the truth of this story, if it be truth. We deem the independence of the South eminently desirable, but never dreamed that it was to be achieved by assassins. Providence rarely rewards crimes against which humanity revolts with the greatest blessings of which humanity dreams."

Now that our civil war is over, there is great uneasiness in some quarters lest the country should be left in quiet and peace. Advertisements are beginning to appear in some of our journals. The following is a sample:


" Now that our war is over, all who wish to emigrate to Mexico, in accordance with the Mexican decree, will call at e58 Pennsylvania Avenue, and register their names and address, or address by note Colonel A. J. M., 380 E Street, Washington, D. C. Offices will also be opened in New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and other cities. Office hours, at 258 Pennsylvania Avenue, between nine and four."


General Halleck has established in Richmond a court whose duty will be to arbitrate and decide upon the right to the possession of real and personal property in that city and vicinity.

The Raleigh (North Carolina) Progress of the 2d inst. announces that it is now known in that city to be the settled policy of President Johnson to entirely ignore Governor Vance and the rebel Legislature of that State.

The Tennessee Senate has adopted a resolution in favor of offering a reward of five thousand dollars for the arrest of the fugitive rebel self-styled Governor of that State, Isham G. Harris.


OUR foreign files this week are of unusual interest. The comments made by the English journals on Lee's surrender are characteristic. Those more in sympathy with the rebellion were not yet willing to believe that the Confederacy was subdued.

The London Times speaks eulogistically of our great Generals: "The war has brought out commanders of ability in the persons of Grant, Sheridan, and Sherman. These drilled and disciplined their mixed forces until they were fit for every contingency of war, and when this was done the end of the Confederacy was plainly near. The superiority of the Federal armies enabled them to prevail in actual conflict; their progress in discipline enabled them to take advantage of victory. Two years ago General Lee would probably have escaped to Lynchburg, even after such a defeat as that which he sustained the other day. But now the Federal Generals move with the rapidity and attack with the promptness of Napoleon's marshals. Their cavalry, which at the beginning of the war was the laughing-stock of the Confederates, is now excellent, and they know how to use with effect the plentiful appliances of warfare with which their Government can furnish them. If the North has not gained in this struggle that reputation for desperate valor which has been achieved by the Confederates, they have shown a patience, a fortitude, and an energy which entitle them to rank among the very first of military nations. They have now sufficiently shown that the attempt to establish the Southern Confederacy must be abandoned."

The news of President Lincoln's assassination created the most intense excitement. The Liverpool Post the next day was printed in mourning. The London Times editorially says that the news will be received throughout Europe with a sorrow as sincere and profound as it awoke even in the United States. Mr. Lincoln's perfect honesty speedily became apparent, and Englishmen learned to respect him. It also says: "Unjust as we believe it to be, the Confederate cause will not escape the dishonor cast upon it by these wanton murders."

The London Telegraph says : "From vulgar corruption, from factious hatred, from meanest jealousy and uncharitableness, this great ruler was wholly free. At last came what seemed to be the fruition of his labor—the reward of his patience and courage. He entered Richmond as a conqueror, but he launched no decree of proscription against the South, for the fight appeared to him to be over, and it was not in his large heart to bear malice against a beaten foe. He spoke very kindly of General Lee, says Secretary Stanton ; and on that same night that he pleaded for mercy and for peace a villain killed him. Not for Lincoln himself can the end be considered as unhappy."

On Wednesday there was only a day session of Parliament. The attendance was very slim, only about sixty members being present. They all signed the following address, which was presented the same evening to Mr. Adams :

" We, the undersigned members of the House of Commons, have learned, with the deepest regret and horror, that the President of the United States has been deprived of life by an act of violence, and we desire to express our sympathy at the sad event to the American Minister now in London, as well as to declare our hope and confidence in the future of that great country, which we trust will continue to be associated with enlightened freedom and peaceful relations with this and every other country."

" WEBB."

ON Monday, April 24, the rebel ram Webb passed New Orleans having escaped from Red River. The excitement in New Orleans was very great, and astonished crowds ran on the levee to witness the extraordinary spectacle. She passed under a full head of steam and hoisted the rebel flag. The hollyhock followed in pursuit, under command of Lieutenant-Commander GHERADI. After running some 24 miles below New Orleans Captain REED, of the Webb, discovered that not only was the hollyhock in pursuit but that the Richmond was coming up in her front. The Webb turned, but when the Hollyhock dashed straight at her, she ran in shore, and the officers and crew, springing on the levee, fled into the swamps, first firing the vessel in several places. The United States vessel sent out boats, and the Webb was boarded and every effort made to subdue the flames, but in vain. Upon entering the engine-room a man was found lying asleep, who had been cruelly abandoned by his comrades to a fiery death. He was saved by our gallant seamen. His name is CHARLES PRESTON. The place where the vessel was burned was M'Call's Flats. After burning two hours the vessel blew up. Two hundred and seven-teen bales of cotton were destroyed.




Site Copyright 2003-2018 Son of the South.  For Questions or comments about this collection, contact

Privacy Policy

Are you Scared and Confused? Read My Snake Story, a story of hope and encouragement, to help you face your fears.