Judah P. Benjamin


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, February 25, 1865

Below we present the February 25, 1865 edition of Harper's Weekly. This original newspaper features important news and illustrations of the war. Our site allows you to read all these original documents online to help you develop a more in depth understanding of this important period in American History.

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


Spring Campaign

Spring Campaign

Mine Explosion

Mine Explosion

Judah Benjamin

Judah P. Benjamin

Philadelphia Fire

Great Philadelphia Fire

Philadelphia Fire

Philadelphia Fire

Black Practitioner

First Black Practitioner


Civil War Clothes

Petroleum Company

Pacific Cost Petroleum Company

Rowanty Creek

The Battle of Rowanty Creek

Home Again

Home Again








FEBRUARY 25, 1865]

(Previous Page) turned. But they knew it no more distinctly. The very papers which now shout at the " extravagant insolence" of the Yankees in proposing union under the Constitution and laws of Congress, are the same papers which have always derided and affected to despise the Yankees as brutes and cowards. Crying more fiercely will not convince more readily. There is no new form of invective against the Union which the rebel leaders can use. The old styles have become stale. And what malignant falsehood and frantic calumny could not do in the first four years of the war, they are not likely to effect when the spirit of the rebellion is broken by the terrible tenacity and increasing skill of the nation.


IN his speech at the Richmond meeting to fire the rebel heart Mr. JUDAH P. BENJAMIN, of Louisiana, the rebel Secretary of State, strongly urged the policy of arming the slaves. When our soldiers in the trenches, said he, are crying out for help, shall we care whether the aid we send is black or white ? " There are in the South," he said, " six hundred and eighty thousand black men of fighting age, and capable of being made fighting men. Let us say to every negro who wants to go into the ranks, Go and fight, and you are free. Don't press them, for that will make them run away, and they will be found fighting against us instead of for us." Without the adoption of some decisive, energetic, full way measure like this there was danger, very great danger.

BENJAMIN is DAVIS'S confidential man. These are DAVIS'S views. And the rebel Senate has almost unanimously refused to adopt this decisive and full way measure. The chivalry find the alternative too bitter. To be saved by our slaves ! To erect our Confederacy, of which Mr. STEPHENS declared that slavery was the chief corner stone, upon abolition ! To owe our independence, which was to be so readily achieved by every Southern gentleman shooting a few dozen Yankee vermin, to " niXXers !" No, Mr. BENJAMIN. It was not to this feast that the chivalry were invited to sit down, and they quite unanimously decline the invitation.

Let JUDAH BENJAMIN look at it. You have always insisted that negroes were meant for slavery, It was resisting the divine order to oppose it. It was flying in the face of Providence. It was blasphemous. The negroes are good for nothing else. They are an inferior race. They require guardianship. They must be forced to work. They are lazy, idle vagabonds. Capital ought to own labor and the laborer. The true order of society is that which rests upon a servile class. The negro is really thankful for slavery. Have we not all of us an old black mammy?

This is what you and the other false Americans who lead this rebellion have always been instilling into the Southern mind. The incessant reiteration of this frantic nonsense to a population kept purposely ignorant and degraded has begotten in their minds a firm conviction that it is truth. All your efforts, and those of your whole political school, have been directed for a generation to proving that slavery, and slavery alone, was the only safe condition for the negroes, even while you were at profound peace, and had the power of the United States Government to call upon.

Who is it, then, you hope to fool? Is it the whites you have so treacherously deluded or the blacks you have so infamously wronged ? Are the whites to reject in a moment all they have been sedulously taught and unlearn in a day the conviction of a life? Or are the blacks to forget at, your bidding all they have suffered at your hands? Do you think that a class which is able to be stimulated by the hope of freedom into fighting for you has not been able to comprehend the war ? Do you think these slaves have not watched, and waited, and scored indelibly upon their souls what they could not speak and could not but think and feel ? Do you sincerely suppose they will trust your word, a life long oppressor of their race avenging upon them the medieval torture of your own kind, when they know that your promise of freedom is extorted only by the direst fear? Do you imagine they think you would hesitate to order them to the paddle and the post, and their children to the auction block, the moment you felt sure of the safety of your own neck ?

Or is it the whites who are to believe that all your teaching which seduced them into rebellion was false ? If the negro is only fit for slavery, why promise him freedom ? If God meant him for it, if it is his own wish, if he be happy in it, why disturb him, why not promise him that God's order and his own choice shall be respected? If, as STEPHENS said, you went out of the old Union to form a new one upon slavery, what do you mean by abolition ? These are questions that will be asked, that ask themselves, and which you can not answer.

JUDAH BENJAMIN knows that the slaves understand this contest as well as he. JUDAH BENJAMIN knows that two hundred thousand armed slaves would be presently masters of " the Confederacy." Every rebel thinks of it and shudders. It is the most terrible alternative he could present. His promise of freedom as a boon

shows that he is conscious that slavery is a wrong. And it has always been so since he has defended it. And he knew it before, as he knows it now. But if a wrong, are the slaves alone unconscious of it ? And when they are summoned to arms upon BENJAMIN'S plain confession that he and his class without their aid are helpless to avert the fate which gives the negro freedom, is the negro likely to be ignorant of his power?

They are not a vindictive class. They are patient, mild, and long broken by bondage. But they have been carefully kept dulled and degraded, and the probabilities of the case are to be judged by prejudiced and ignorant, not by intelligent minds. It is too late, JUDAH BENJAMIN ! There was a moment in the war when you might have tried it. But as a resource of despair it is hopeless. Your little speed is one of the most significant in our history. It concedes the inconceivable iniquity of your rebellion. It slaps in the face all the boasted " statesman ship" of your section for half a century.


MR. RICE, of Massachusetts, lately called attention in the House to an article in a newspaper aspersing his honesty as a legislator, and retorted by causing an article from another paper to be read, which contained an implied aspersion upon the honesty of the first. Thereupon Mr. THADDEUS STEVENS proposed to forbid the first paper to have any reporter in the House, but withdrew the suggestion at the request of Mr. RICE, saying, however, that if members ventured to differ from the dogmas of the newspapers of New York they were attacked in a foul manner by the newspaper scribblers.

There is, indeed, and there ought to be, a comprehensive discussion of all public questions, and a strict criticism of all public men in the great newspapers. We do not understand Mr. STEVENS to object to this. But we do understand him to complain of that personal malevolence and critical asperity which too often characterize our newspaper discussions and correspondence. This disposition has run riot since the war began. It has, indeed, gone so far that the press of this country has seriously damaged its character both for veracity and intelligence. From the beginning of the war, when one leading journal, friendly to the Administration, plainly insinuated that the Secretary of State was a traitor, down to the time when another of the same class sneered at Mr. STEVENS as a superannuated old woman, there seems to have been a total want of that generosity and candor which are entirely compatible with the utmost rigor of criticism. Surely there is something between rose water and bilge water, in which the editorial pen may be dipped. There are various methods of self defense. Tigers have theirs : birds theirs: polecats theirs, and honest men theirs. Vituperation is not force, and abuse is the most ineffective argument.

The foolish personality which calls a journal by the name of its editor springs from this same want of editorial comity, which gains nothing for any paper, and loses something for all. The truth is, that most of the great papers are not the mere organs of individuals. They are an aggregate of individualities, a combination of powers ; all agreeing naturally in general tendency, but as individually different as the voices in a chorus.

Honest wrath, caustic satire, incisive argument, stern denunciation, all these are weapons that every editor and every debater may honorably employ. But there are such things as scurrility and calumny, and of these no public journal which aims at any thing higher than the applause of mean and ignorant men would be guilty more than a private gentleman would be. The power of the press is that of a giant, and it should therefore be most carefully used. To pillory a private or public person by name before the country, to accuse him of dishonesty, and to blow upon his character, is so tremendous a responsibility that it should be assumed only upon the surest knowledge. To do it hastily, vindictively, or wantonly is to wound fatally the power and fame of the newspaper. The press and the public are equally interested in punishing such an offense with rigor.


LIEUTENANT-GENERAL GRANT Stated to the Committee on the Conduct of the War that he alone is charged with the exchange of prisoners, and that he has effected an arrangement for exchange man by man, by which he hopes to receive three thousand of our men every week. He added that there was no impediment upon our side ; and that if the rebels would deliver all they hold, the entire exchange could be made in a very short time.

So far as it goes this is excellent news. The thought of releasing our soldiers from the living death of the rebel military prisons is one that will cheer the whole country. We hope that the terms of the cartel may soon be made public, for every loyal man will wish to know whether the rebels have receded from their determination respecting our colored soldiers, or if not, what terms have been made for them. We have no fear that General GRANT will leave

them in the lurch, or permit the rebels to force upon the Government any discrimination between its soldiers. The rights which the United States flag protects are not to be dictated by those who seek to dishonor that flag.


DR. JOHN W. DRAPER, the author of the " History of the Intellectual Development of Europe," is delivering a course of lectures before the New York Historical Society. The title of the course is " The Historical Influence of Natural Causes." The first lecture, on February 9, was upon the " Influence of Climate;" the second, on the 16th of February, upon the " Effects of Emigration." Two remain : one, on the 23d of February, upon the " Political Force of Ideas ;" and one, on the 2d of March, upon the "Natural Course of National Development."

Dr. DRAPER'S remarkable scholarship and long devotion to the study of this great subject make his lectures an opportunity which no thoughtful man should lose. Since the discourses of AGASSIZ there have been none in the city so valuable and important.



GENERAL GRANT'S movement to the left, resulting in the occupation of the line of rebel works on Hatcher's Run, and General Sherman's advance on Branchville, are the great items of our military record for the past week. Richmond papers of the 13th announce that Sherman has crossed the Edisto River. The importance of this move may be inferred from the following paragraph in the Richmond Dispatch of the 11th:

" From the most recent authentic intelligence, it appears that while a part of Sherman's army is making active demonstrations against the Combahee River, near the Charleston and Savannah Railroad, as if with the design of marching on Charleston, the rest of his forces have appeared at four mints on the Edisto, viz. at New Bridge, five miles below Branchville ; at Bumacker's and Helman's bridges, above, and at the railroad bridge opposite that place. Our troops that held the bridge over the Salkehatchie, west of Branchville, were driven in on last Wednesday. If he succeed in forcing a passage of the Edisto, above and below Branchville, he will tap the railroad to Charleston, and compel our troops to fall back from Branchville. But they will most probably evacuate it, if at any time it shall appear that Sherman can not be prevented from crossing the river."

There is no political news of any importance. The paucity of news from abroad leads us to omit our Foreign record this week. The St. Albans trial is still proceeding at Montreal.


February 8:

In the Senate, a Postal bill was passed. The first section provides that letters unpaid, or lacking more than a single rate of payment, shall be returned to the writers, with notification. At one o'clock the Senate went in a body to the House to proceed with the counting of the Presidential vote.

In the House, a resolution was adopted requesting information from the President relative to the recent Peace Commission. A joint resolution appropriating $1000 to procure a marble bust of the late Chief Justice Taney passed the House. The Senate, having arrived at one, the Presidential vote was counted. The whole number of electoral votes was 233: for Abraham Lincoln for President, and Andrew Johnson for Vice-President, 212; for George B. McClellan and George H. Pendleton, 21.

February 9:

In the Senate, a bill was passed to take one degree of latitude from the Territory of Utah and add the same to the State of Nevada. A bill was passed to build a bridge across the Ohio at Cincinnati. A bill was passed to reimburse Missouri for expenses incurred in calling out the militia.

In the House, the report of the Committee of Conference on the bill to establish a bureau for freedmen was concurred in.

February 10:

In the Senate, the President's communication to the House on the Peace Conference was read and ordered to be printed.

In the House, the amendment to the Internal Revenue bill taxing spirits on hand was defeated by a large majority. The President's communication on the Peace Conference was read.

February 11:

In the Senate, Lieutenant-General Grant made his appearance and received the courtesies of members. The Appropriation bill was passed with amendments, increasing the salaries of the Assistant Secretaries of Departments to $3500 per year, and appropriating $60,000 for the extension of the Congressional Library.

In the House, Mr. Rice read an article in the Evening Post, charging him with interested motives in voting against the repeal of the paper duty. General Grant appeared on the floor, and the members paid their respects. February 13:

In the Senate, a bill to establish a steamship line between the United States and China was passed. The House resolution reducing the paper duty was passed, with an amendment limiting the reduction to 15 per cent. instead of 3 per cent.

In the House, a resolution was adopted appropriating $25,000 for a naval picture by Mr. Powell. The House then took up the Amendatory Revenue bill. Amendments were agreed to exempting Bibles and Testaments, or volumes containing only parts of either, and prayer books, from any duty or tax. School books, and all books printed exclusively for Sunday schools, were also exempted from duty or tax.

February 14:

In the Senate, a resolution was adopted calling upon the President for a report of the Court of Inquiry on the subject of the explosion of the Petersburg mine.

In the House, the Senate bill, giving lands to Wisconsin for the construction of a ship canal, was rejected by the House. The Amendatory Internal Revenue bill was then taken up. Various amendments were discussed, and the provisions in relation to tobacco were amended so as to read as follows: " On smoking tobacco of all kinds, not otherwise herein provided for, thirty-five cents a pound." The Senate bill recognizing as post routes the bridges to be built over the Ohio at Cincinnati and Louisville were passed.


The remains of the gallant Lieutenant B. H. Porter, United States Navy, who was killed while leading his men at the assault on Fort Fisher, were interred on Tuesday the 7th, at Skeneateles, with military honors. The Syracuse Citizens' Corps (Company A), Fifty-first Regiment, attended the funeral.

The gift of fifty-one thousand dollars in Government bonds to Vice-Admiral Farragut by the citizens of New York has had a sequel in the transmission to him of the letter of presentation, inclosed in "a beautiful blue morrocco case, lined with white and red satin, thus combining the loyal colors."

Pascagoula has been evacuated by our troops.

The United States Army Laboratory located at Astoria was consumed by fire on the 13th instant, Loss about $50,000.


The rebel General John H. Winder died at Florence, South Carolina, on the 6th instant. Winder was known only too well by our prisoners.

It is said that the President's son, Mr. Robert Lincoln, intends entering the Army soon as an aid on the staff of Lieutenant-General Grant.

It is stated on good authority that the Calcutta cyclone cost sixty thousand lives. It is known, for example, that before the storm wave struck Saugor Island there were 8200 persons on it. When it had passed only 1200 remained, and this is only one of the many places swept. It is, we believe, in the opinion of geologists not impossible that the storm wave may one day sweep the Sunderbunds, in which case the loss of life would probably be without a parallel, except in the loss which may have been sustained when the Runn of Cutch, then a flourishing province, dropped one night into the sea.

Generals Curtis and Pennybacker, both of whom were wounded at the capture of Fort Fisher, are still at Fortress Monroe, at the Chesapeake Hospital, and at last accounts slowly recovering. General Pennybacker's wound was a very severe one, and it will be some time before he can recover, but he is doing well under the circumstances.

Colonel Mulford Ianded a cargo of a thousand of our exchanged prisoners at Annapolis on the 8th. "The best conditioned lot of our poor boys," said he, " ever delivered to me. Nearly all could walk." He endeavored to bring away from Varina more of our sick and wounded prisoners, but the ice on the river banks made it impossible to ship them. The boats could not be forced up to the dock.

Hon. Thomas H. Hicks, late Governor of Maryland, died on the morning of the 14th, at the Metropolitan Hotel in Washington, in the 68th year of his age. He had been suffering from slight indisposition for two weeks. On the morning of the 10th, after an unusally refreshing sleep, he was seized with paralysis as he was about to rise. From that time until his decease be was speechless. He was visited by the President and numerous friends in his last hours.

Brigadier-General Grierson, the great raider, was, on the 13th, at the request of Lieutenant-General Grant, promoted to be Major-General by brevet.

John Y. Beall, the Lake Erie pirate and spy, was on the 14th condemned to be hung on the 18th, by order of General Dix.


PICKED UP NEAR HARLEM.—The oldest lunatic on record —Time out of mind!

A DEFINITION OF HUMBUG.--A woman was being examined as a witness, when, to a question put by the barrister, Clarkson, she replied, "Don't think to humbug me." Upon which the Recorder said, " Answer the question directly, woman, or I will commit you." "Ay," said Clarkson, "and tell us what you mean by humbug?" "Why," replied the woman, "if I was to tell you, Mr. Clarkson, that the Recorder was a gentleman, that would be humbugging you and the court too."


FACTS NEVER TO BE LOST SIGHT OF.—That wide awake people always keep their eyes open, and " what's more," if you don't keep your eyes open, they'll open them for you.

WOOING IN POETRY.—An old gentleman of the name of Page, finding a young lady's glove at a watering place, presented it to her with the following words:

"If from your glove you take the letter G, Your glove is love, which I devote to thee."

To which the lady returned the following answer :

"If from your Page you take the letter P, Your Page is age, and that won't do for me."


A SMART LAD.—A boy from the country was recently taken into a gentleman's family. One evening, after having been called up into the drawing room, he came down into the kitchen laughing immoderately. "What's the matter?" cried the cook. "Why," said he, "there are twelve on 'em up there, who could not snuff the candle, and they had to ring for I to do it."

A PULPIT JOKE.—At a church in Scotland, where there was a popular call, two candidates offered to preach, of the names of Adam and Low. The last preached in the morning, and took for his text, "Adam, where art thou?" He made a most excellent discourse, and the congregation were much edified. In the evening Mr. Adam preached, and took for his text, " Lo, here am I !" The impromptu and his sermon gained him the church.


Think! "From the cradle to the grave!" my brother, A nurse takes you from one, an ''earse to t'other.

THE POWER OF LATIN.—Andrew Jackson was once making a stump speech out West, in a small village. Just as he was concluding Amos Kendall, who sat behind him, whispered, Tip 'em a little Latin, General. They won't be content without it." Jackson instantly thought upon a few phrases he knew, and in a voice of thunder wound up his speech by exclaiming, "E pluribus unum—sine qua non—ne plus ultra—multum in parvo !" The effect was tremendous, and the shouts could be heard for many miles.


The day after to-morrow will be fine if not otherwise, and the same may be pronounced about the two following days.

The whole of next week will vary considerably, unless there be a continuous run of weather of one character. Although at times the sun will not be visible during the next ten days, it must be understood that he will rise and set at the usual hours, and therefore no anxiety need be felt about him.

If it blows we shall be pretty certain to have wind; if not, it will be more or less calm perhaps both more or less, or even neither.

Should we have any rain it is more than probable that we shall have wet weather. Should it snow we may look for a thaw sooner or later.

The state of the weather for the first half of the year will be mainly dependent on the sort of weather we have for the next six months.

TO TIMID LOVERS.—The most delicate method of giving a lady a key to your feelings is to send her a lock of your hair."

THE DOCTOR AND HIS PATIENTS.—A certain eminent physician, being invited to a dinner party, arrived at the house of his host at a somewhat earlier hour than had been named as the dinner hour. He accordingly strolled out of the house into a church yard which was hard by. When dinner was announced the doctor was absent, and an inquiry was made as to where he was. "Oh," said one of the guests, who had seen him in the church yard, " he is paying a visit to some of his old patients."

There are two points on which the generality of Scotchmen are as daft as they are canny in all other respects. They labor under a delusion with regard to Sunday, which they call the Sabbath, and entertain an insane objection to instrumental church music, whence they name an organ "a kist fu' o' whistles."

Peace makes plenty, plenty makes pride, pride breeds quarrel, and quarrel brings war; war brings spoil, and spoil poverty; poverty patience, and patience peace.






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

Privacy Policy

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