Confederate Amnesty


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, May 13, 1865

The May 13, 1865 edition of Harper's Weekly featured the new president Andrew Johnson, who took office with the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln.  We have posted the newspaper below.  Click on the thumbnails to be taken to a complete, readable version of the page.


President Andrew Johnson

President Andrew Johnson

Confederate Amnesty

Confederate Amnesty

Capture of John Wilkes Booth

Capture of John Wilkes Booth

Death of John Wilkes Booth

Death of John Wilkes Booth

John Wilkes Booth Death

Abraham Lincoln's New York Funeral

Confederate Ship "Stonewall"

The Confederate Warship "Stonewall"

Abraham Lincoln Funeral Procession

President Abraham Lincoln's New York Funeral Procession







[MAY 13, 1865.



"The orders for the return of our troops have dread] gone forth and the columns are beginning to move."

WE are marching home at last,

Now the cruel war is past,

And the time of peace draws near ; We are marching home at last,

Now the cruel war is past,

To the homes our hearts hold dear.

With our banners stained and torn, That through many a fight were borne

Where death rained thick and fast, Now our glorious work is done,

Now the Union cause is won,

We are marching home at last.

Marching home to those we love ; See the veteran columns move,

Hear the drums and shrill fifes play, Hear our voices raised in song

As we proudly march along

On our homeward way !

With our trusty arms we come, To the sound of fife and drum,

Now the cruel war is past; Light of heart and glad are we, Having served the cause, to be

Marching home at last.

All day long we march till night, Then beside the camp-fire's light,

Underneath the starry dome, It is sweet to close our eyes, While the night-wind softly sighs,

On cur march toward home;

And in sleep to dream we hear Friendly voices sounding near, Bidding welcome as we come, Till at length the morning breaks, And the happy dreamer wakes To the beating of the drum.

Then once more upon the way, March we on at dawn of day, Now the cruel war is past; Light at heart and glad are we, Having proved the Right, to be Marching home at last.


SATURDAY, MAY 13, 1865.


THE country is very much obliged to ROBERT E. LEE and BEVERLY TUCKER for an exhibition of the real spirit of the conquered rebel leaders. They are conquered, not converted. ROBERT E. LEE is today as utter a rebel as he was on the day when he deliberately resolved to betray the country which had educated him and to fire upon the flag which he had engaged in honor to defend.

Three days after LEE had surrendered the forces which he commanded, while he was still a paroled prisoner, he issued an order to the soldiers of his dispersing army, in which he reminds them that they will take with them "the satisfaction that proceeds from the consequences of a duty faithfully performed." The duty of which he speaks is armed resistance to the constitutional government of his country. Its faithful performance is the slaughter upon many fields of men spotlessly true to their own government. LEE proceeds to say that he bids his troops farewell "with an increasing admiration of your constancy and devotion to your country." What country? The country of which DAVIS and BENJAMIN and SLIDELL and MASON have spoken for the last four years—a certain section of the United States of America called the South," or " the Confederacy." That is " the country" to which they have been faithful ; and for that fidelity, which, if successful, would have destroyed this nation, ROBERT E. LEE declares that he has an increasing admiration.

Mr. BEVERLY TUCKER belongs to the third class of rebel chiefs. The first comprises those who fought and at least risked their lives in the field for what they professed to believe. The second consists of those who, like SLIDELL, slipped off to Europe when the fighting began, and believing that naught is every thing and every thing is naught, have been placidly enjoying the money they had made by the trade of politics, while they laughed in their sleeves at the more earnest conspirators whom they had outwitted. The third and infinitely the most contemptible class is composed of those who sneaked into Canada too far to be reached by the military conscriptions of the rebel despotism at Richmond, but near enough to the loyal part of the country to plot thefts, raids, railway slaughters, the burning alive of innocent women and children in theatres and hotels, and to instigate assassination. These three classes, were made up of men who had lived by the government which they tried to overthrow, and which they had taken solemn oaths to respect and maintain; and to the third class, as we said, Mr. BEVERLY TUCKER belongs.

This man has written a letter, since the surrender of LEE, professing horror that he, a sup-

' porter of the rebellion which hunted, hung, starved, and froze thousands of helpless Union men and prisoners, should be suspected of any complicity in the murder of one man. In the same letter TUCKER declares himself a public enemy of the United States, and adds, that before the assassination of Mr. LINCOLN, he had asked permission to go to Richmond and assist in the reconstruction of a government to the supreme authority of which he has always been and always shall be opposed.

Such are the vanquished rebel leaders as they describe themselves. The country needs no other proof of their spirit, and no more startling warning of the peril of allowing them the least voice in the political settlement of the nation. There is not one of LEE'S former slaves, the men whom he and his fellow-conspirators, like BEVERLY TUCKER, have outraged and despised —the men who have been as unswervingly true to their country as LEE and TUCKER have been basely false—who is not at this moment a their citizen of the United States and fitter to be entrusted with a vote than ROBERT E. LEE, who, in his tent, might have almost heard the groans of the starving, rotting soldiers of the Union upon Belle Isle and in Libby prison, yet who spoke never a word nor lifted a finger for their relief; and who publishes his increasing admiration of the fidelity of traitors to their treason ; or than BEVERLY TUCKER, who insolently proclaims his pride that he is a public enemy.

These men are representatives of that class of leaders at the South who inspired and consummated the bloody rebellion. They are silent guns, but loaded still ; silent, not spiked or broken, and ready at any favorable moment to open fire again upon the national life and honor. They are the dragon's teeth, which are now in the strong hand of the American Government and people. That hand may hold them harm-less, or it may sow them again, and reap an-other bloody harvest of armed men. But if the nation is as true as it is strong, it will se-cure peace by the entire political disfranchisement of such avowed public enemies as ROBERT E. LEE and BEVERLY TUCKER, with all the other ringleaders of the rebellion.


THERE is no excuse for mobs in this country. Actions and words which the law does not condemn, and which the officers of the law are not obliged to regard, can well be disregarded by the public. If a crowd is to create crimes and punish them summarily at its pleasure, we are at the end of civil society. Had we been al-ways faithful to the fundamental principle of our Government, which allows the supreme law to deal with all offenses and offenders, we should hardly have come to civil war.

But for many and many a year we have suffered the mob in the slave States to overbear the guarantees of the Constitution. Freedom of speech is the fundamental condition of popular government, and is expressly secured to every citizen of the United States; but the mob has destroyed it at the South and tried to destroy it at the North, and the fatal blow which the toleration of the mob struck at the country we have failed to perceive. So permanent was mob rule in the slave States, that we had really come to believe not only that a man denounced slavery there at the peril of his life, but we seemed to suppose that there was nothing to be done. Yet every man whom the Southern mob or the Northern mob hunted and burned or hanged for expressing his opinion of slavery was a martyr to the country; and a thoughtful man might have seen that in time of peace the free discussion of every question must he protected every where or war would inevitably follow.

Curses like chickens come home to roost. The men who have supported slavery and accused its discussion as an attack upon the rights of slaveholders—with as much reason as they might stigmatize the discussion of free trade as an attack upon the rights of manufacturers—the men who have incited and excused the mobs against anti-slavery discussions at the North, are now occasionally reaping what they have sown. But the danger is the same. The mob of Boston which would have hung Mr. GARRISON, thirty years ago, for denouncing slavery, and the Philadelphia mob which assaulted a man named INGERSOLL for sympathizing with the most infamous traitors, are equally guilty. If Mr. GARRISON had not offended the law, he had the right to go untouched. If INGERSOLL, whose offense was known, was not arrested by the authorities, no man had a right to molest him.

That a man's opinions are an outrage to the public sentiment is not a crime to be punished until the law ordains it ; and when it does ordain it, the authorized agents of the law must execute its will. That a man hopes for the ruin of his country, that he is a foul-mouthed traducer of good men and a base calumniator of the acts and motives of the Government, is mason enough in a time of war for his arrest and imprisonment by the Government, if, in its opinion, he is dangerous to public safety; and reason enough at all times for honest men to shun. him. The common sense of the country fully justified the arrest of VALLANDIGHAM by

the Government. But if the authorities had suffered him to. be at large that should have been the end of any forcible action.

This INGERSOLL is doubtless utterly despicable. But it will not do to allow ten or ten hundred men to beat or assault any person whoa they do not like. If he has committed an offense, let him be accused before a magistrate. He was committed for carrying concealed weapons. That was an offense for which he may properly be punished. But the crowd had no right to beat him with a cane for carrying concealed weapons. The duty of the captain who accosted him was to complain to the magistrate, not to cane the culprit. If the report be correct that the captain struck the first blow, it was the duty of the police to arrest the captain for an assault as well as INGERSOLL for carrying weapons.

There is safety in no other course than in leaving the law to deal with offenders against its authority. But the offenses which are not legal crimes must be punished by public contempt, not by actual force. The country can not now be harmed as it might have been two or three years since by the rebel speeches of men like INGERSOLL. At that time he would properly have been arrested. Let him and his fellows sink into present contempt and future infamy.


By his proclamation of the 8th of December, 1863, President LINCOLN granted a full pardon —with certain exceptions which we will presently state—to all who had been in rebellion, with a full restoration of all rights of property except in slaves and in cases where the rights of third parties had intervened, and upon condition of taking and subscribing and keeping in-violate an oath to support and defend the Constitution and the Union under it, and to abide faithfully by all the laws of Congress, and by the proclamations of the President in regard to slaves, so far as they are not repealed or declared void by the Supreme Court.

The persons excepted from this amnesty were all who are or have been civil or diplomatic officers and agents of the rebel Government—all who have left judicial stations under the United States to aid the rebellion—all who are or have been military and naval officers above the rank of colonel in the army or lieutenant in the navy —all who left seats in the United States Congress, or resigned commissions in its army or navy, and afterward aided the rebellion—and all who have treated colored or white soldiers and sailors of the United States otherwise than as prisoners of war.

On the 26th of March, 1864, President LINCOLN by proclamation defined that the amnesty was limited to those who were not prisoners of war, but who, being free from any arrest, voluntarily took the oath.

On the 6th of December, 1864, in his last annual Message to Congress, the President said that when he issued the amnesty he stated that the excepted classes might still be within special clemency. " During the year," he continued, "many availed themselves of the general provision, and many more would, only that the signs of bad faith in some" led to precautions. Special pardons had also been granted to persons of the excepted classes. " The door has been for a full year open to all." But he adds, " The time may come, probably will come, when public duty shall demand that it be closed, and that, in lieu, more rigorous measures than heretofore shall be adopted."

Such measures were not suggested by President LINCOLN, nor have they been adopted. The amnesty remains in full force until it is modified by President JOHNSON. It excludes the class of conspirators known as leaders. It includes the rank and file, the real people of the rebel section.


IF the statement of a letter in the Worcester Spy he correct, the officers and managers of the United States Christian Commission owe a public apology to the American people for the con-duct of a body of their agents. The letter of which we speak asserts that "a detachment of the United States Christian Commission consisting of seven" called to pay their " respects" to General ROBERT E. LEE. It was unfortunate for these gentlemen that "President" JEFFERSON DAVIS, and " Secretary" BENJAMIN, and "Senator" WIGFALL had left Richmond. Had they remained, this detachment of seven might have completed their homage to abortive and bloody treason by "paying their respects" to the other chief traitors—or as the New York Tribune politely calls the rebel agents in Canada, these " distinguished Americans to the other party in our civil war."

The loyal fathers, mothers, sisters, wives, husbands, and sons in this country have generously contributed thousands and thousands of dollars to the United States Christian Commission for the purpose of binding the wounds, soothing the agony, and smoothing the dying pillows of brave and innocent men done to death by the command of ROBERT E. LEE. These contributors have hoped also that they might as

suage some of the inconceivable suffering of the poor victims of Andersonville and Belle Isle. The faithful hand and heart of the country have been opened at the entreaty of the Christian Commission ; yet, if this story be true, some of the agents of this great beneficence have been eager to lick the boots of the man who caused so much of the sorrow which the charity was intended to relieve.

If these agents were so anxious to pay their respects to somebody at the South there were men enough there who might have moved their very hearts' homage, and whom it was a crime to forget. The Union men who have not faltered in their love and loyalty to the flag which LEE betrayed and sought to dishonor; the slaves whose souls are white with fidelity to the country which had forgotten them ; the brave hearts which have suffered and waited and prayed and believed, through all the malice of DAVIS and amidst the fiery lines of LEE—surely these were the men and women who should have received from the agents of the Christian Commission that respect which they so publicly offered to a man who is red with the innocent blood of his fellow-citizens.

The offense is so flagrant that before these words are printed it is very probable the United States Christian Commission will have officially censured the conduct of its agents. The farmer in Vermont and Iowa who has lost his brave boy before Richmond did not give his hard-earned money to send men into that city to "pay their respects to General ROBERT E. LEE ;" and the-farmers and the contributors every where are entitled to an explanation of this extraordinary act.

Whether they receive it or not, let us remember that LEE is not magnanimous, or Christian, or great, or admirable, because he fought in a cause which he confesses was not justified in appealing to arms. He is not a hero because he staid behind entrenchments until GRANT forced him out. He is not a gentleman because he lived by the sweat of other men's brows. He is not less guilty of the highest crime against his country because he excuses himself as all traitors do. He is by his own words as much a rebel to his Government and to humanity now as he was six weeks ago, and if the agents of the Christian Commission would not have " paid their respects" to him then, their homage is still more contemptible now. 


SURELY every generous heart will sympathize with the peculiarly crushing blow which has be-fallen Mr. EDWIN BOOTH. A gentleman whose retiring courtesy has universally commanded respect—an actor whose genius and success have delighted his country—a citizen whose sole vote was cast for ABRAHAM LINCOLN—a man whose character has made hosts of friends—it is a cruel fate which identifies his name with the national sorrow. "Don't Don't speak to me of politics," said he several months since to a friend who differed from him, " for we can not agree. ABRAHAM LINCOLN will be loved and honored hereafter not loss than WASHINGTON."

Mr. BOOTH at once, and naturally, withdrew from his present professional engagements. But he should understand that he is not to be ruined by the crimes of any one who bears his name. The powers which he has always so nobly used are not to be lost to us by any offenses but his own. When the bitterness of the hour has somewhat passed, and the event which now afflicts us can be more calmly contemplated, he will resume his work, we hope, sure of the approval of those whose kind thoughts he most values, and of the public which be charms and instructs. Mean-while it is our duty to take care that no taint of prejudice attaches to his name.


IN quoting an admirable article from the Belfast Northern Whig, describing Mr. LINCOLN with singular felicity, we ascribed it to Professor CAIRNES. But a letter from an Irishman who knows informs us that it is written by Mr. HILL, the editor of the paper. We gladly make the correction, as our correspondent suggests, "for the sake of justice, and to prove, too, that we have other treed friends be-sides those already known on the other side."

Indeed, we have had no clearer eyed or more stalwart champion than Mr. HILL, in The Northern Whig. Upon the receipt of time news of the fall of Richmond he wrote an admirable article, from which we extract the following striking passages:

"The public writers and speakers who, during the last three years and a half, have occupied themselves in demonstrating that the North could never conquer the South are now busied with a very different and not altogether consistent problem. They establish, to their nail momentary satisfaction, that the South, of whose ultimate 'subjugation' they scarcely venture to hint a doubt, can never be held and administered as part of a. free republic. It will be, they urge, the Poland or Hungary—on the continent they are so unkind as to say the Ireland--of America. If the authors of these doleful presages luau ever been right in any single point arming out of the rebellion - If they had not blundered from first to last 'Ten the military problem—we should entertain greater confidence, than it is possible for us now to feel in their political vaticinations. (in every element of the great theme they lave gone wildly astray. They understood neither the material strength nor the moral character of the Northern and Southern populations, nor the social organizations which are divided from each other by Mason and Dixon's line. This ignorance--including a total indifference to the facts




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