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Civil War Harper's Weekly, February 4, 1865

This site features an online archive of Harper's Weekly newspapers published during the Civil War. These old newspapers make fascinating reading, and present first reports of the battles and key events. The woodcut illustrations were created by eye-witnesses to the events and shed new light on this important conflict. This material is simply not available anywhere else.

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


Fort Fisher

Battle of Fort Fisher

Sherman March

Editorial on General Sherman's March


Pardon of Mrs. Hutchins

Surrender of Fort Fisher

Surrender of Fort Fisher

Soldier's Diary

Soldier's Diary

General Ames

General Adelbert Ames

Destruction of the Savannah Ram

Transatlantic Telegraph

Transatlantic Telegraph


Soldiers Celebrating

Battle of Fort Fisher

Battle of Fort Fisher

John Bull Cartoon

John Bull Cartoon






FEBRUARY 4, 1865.]



came up and would make me listen to some stupid story. At last Harry left the piano forte and whispered to me that we had better go, that our remaining was merely a useless distress to Fanny. We took leave with as good grace as possible. I could see triumph in Mrs. Denby's gray eyes as I bowed to her, and I saw how intently she watched Fanny as the girl hurriedly snatched her hand from Harry's lingering grasp.

We agreed that the only thing was for Harry to write to Brown immediately. When we got to my cottage I persuaded the boy to come in and stop the night. I lighted the candles in my little sanctum. Harry sat down at the table pen in hand. I took up a book, which I pretended to read in my arm chair, but I was watching him all the time. He wrote and tore up, and wrote again, till the pen trembled in his hand. It came back to me with wonderful clearness that night of my life when I had been engaged in writing a letter of the same kind. I sympathized in the agitating, feverish anxiety which beset him, for I had experienced it years before.

"I can't tell what to write to Brown!" he exclaimed; " do try and assist me." I put down my book and came close to him. I dictated a sentence, which he wrote. "That's just what I wanted to say !" he exclaimed. The words seemed strangely familiar to me. I looked over his shoulder at what he had written. I remembered it in a moment ; they were the words of my own letter years ago. "Do go on," said he, anxiously. It was not the want of words that kept me silent ; the old words were ready enough on my tongue. I was puzzling out new thoughts and words. I could find no new thoughts ; every sentence insensibly shaped itself to the old form. He kept urging me to dictate; and in the end there was my old letter rewritten, as it seemed to me, word for word.

It was with sad feelings that I conned over that letter to make corrections, Harry looking at it with the young feelings and young eyes with which I had looked at my former letter years ago. I suppose it was a tolerably good letter in its way, because Harry declared it expressed exactly what he had wished to say.

" It's all so true, so convincing !" he exclaimed. "That part where you hint at the uncertainty of wealth, the little value of high worldly position when life is so short considerations like those must influence even a man like Brown."

Well, I could recollect in my day that I had scanned over and over again that bit of moralizing, and its incontestable truth had seemed, to my anxious eyes, certain to turn her father's heart ; but the longer I now looked at the words through my glasses the more trite and unsatisfactory did they become.

I told him he must not be too sanguine.

"But that part of the letter is so true," he urged, kith confidence.

" Quite true," I replied. "Why there's not a man living who would not readily confess that life was very short, that death makes quick ending of social distinctions ; but you must not think that Brown's readiness to acknowledge that proposition will make one jot of difference to his thirst for worldly position and wealth."

He looked at me with mixed surprise and sadness.

" No, no, my boy," I continued ; "logic is very pretty, but it don't rule men's lives. However, we may just as well chance the letter, only I don't want you to build too hopefully upon its effect."

So the letter was sent to Brown ; Harry gave me Brown's answer to read a day or two after in my office. I read the result I had feared in his countenance, he was striving to be so very cairn and self possessed. Well, Brown's reply was very like the answer I had received years ago ; I suppose in these love matters there is a set of stereotyped forms supplied to men's minds which they use and modify at their need. I thought to myself whether it would he any use for me to see Brown, and before I could determine whether it would be any use or not I was off.

It happened I was the very man Brown wanted to see ; he had been on the point of sending for me; be had wished to have a talk about the Company; he had made an appointment with Denby, who would be with us in a few minutes. That man's name started me on my subject at once. I scarcely recollect the details of our conversation, I was so greatly excited ; I believe in my desire to move him I recounted my own history, my early love and disappointment ; how it had cankered my existence, the sorrow which had attended he,' marriage with the man she disliked. Brown stared at me with surprise in his stolid face. "You," said he "you, such a plain, practical, businessman, I could not have believed it !" Brown was not to be changed. I promised to give Harry money, declared I would treat him as my son, but all in vain; and then I found I was talking in the strain of my letter about the vanity of wealth. I told him that we were both of us old, and I asked him if we were not sure to die in a few years?

" Certainly, " he replied, with solemnity ; " whenever God wills."

And then I asked him what was the worth, for the last few years of our lives, of feasting great folks who did not care for us.

Of course he took care to evade the answer, and this greatly provoked my anger, which was very absurd, considering what I had said on the subject to Harry ; but a man can't be perfectly consistent at all times. I abruptly took leave of Brown, ruffled in temper, yet comforted in the conviction that if Harry's case was beyond my mending Brown had at least heard a few words of wholesome truth.

I must say that Harry behaved admirably under the circumstances; I made him come and stay at my house. He was very silent and thoughtful ; we were neither of us inclined for much talking, and when he did speak it was not about his love affair. I had not been quite myself for the last month or so, and I declared that my doctor had recommended me to travel. He readily consented to be my companion, and we began to make arrange

ments for our tour. But Harry, after all, was not destined to be my companion this year. Three days after my interview with Brown, Harry burst into my room with a letter : he could not utter a word; he thrust the letter into my hand; it ran thus:

"DEAR HARRY, Papa and mamma have consented to our marriage; come this evening.

" Ever yours,


Harry declared it was Fanny's writing: for the moment I almost thought it must be some wretched hoax. Harry did go to the Browns in the evening ; Mr. and Mrs. Brown were very polite, though cold, but the marriage was agreed to.

I can safely affirm I was never more puzzled in my life than to discover the reason why the Browns had given their consent. I apologized to Brown for the warmth of my language ; he was very polite, but cold, so was Mrs. Brown ; their manner was just the same to Harry, and they evidently wished us both at the bottom of the sea. Harry, generous like, would have it that my conversation with Brown, or perhaps a second reading of the letter, had touched their hearts ; but this solution was not satisfactory to me.

Harry was to sleep at my cottage that night, and we left Brown's house together. He was in excellent spirits, so was I too ; but happiness at my time of life always makes me rather sedate and meditative. I observed every now and then that Harry broke into a hearty laugh, which rather jarred upon my feelings. "What's the joke, my boy?" I inquired at last.

" I've found out why the Browns gave in," he replied.

" Out with it, Harry," said I, impatiently. "You will never be able to look Brown in the face without laughing."

" I don't mind if that's to be the only penalty."

" Well," said he, " when my letter arrived at the Browns' there was a tremendous disturbance ; they tried every method to make Fanny give me up coaxing, persuading, threatening. Mrs. Denby, too, was brought up to the attack, and very skill fully did she allude to the effect Fanny's youth and beauty would make in the great world, and all the court and honor that would be paid her. One morning Mrs. Brown discovered that I had written several letters to Fanny ; these she confiscated, and carefully placed under lock and key in her own particular and sacred desk."

I felt indignant at this ; but Harry, to my great surprise, only laughed.

" The evening of that day," he continued, "Fanny was by herself in the back drawing room, when her father suddenly entered with the packet of letters in his hand, which he requested her to return to me herself, and also to write a note saying that our affair had come to an end. Fanny of course expostulated ; and then Mr. Brown said that he had just glanced at one or two of the letters as he came down from Mrs. Brown's room, and that he had never read such precious stuff."

I declared that Brown had no right to read the letters.

"I think perhaps he had," said Harry, bursting into a positive fit of laughter. "He declared they were precious stuff, recollect that love in a cottage, and that sort of folly. Presently he took up another letter, and after fumbling at it with his glasses he exclaimed in a state of great indignation, ` Why, Fanny, this is too bad! scandalous the fellow positively asks you to run away !' "

" Harry," said I, seriously, " you never told me about this running-off scheme you must know that I don't approve of such things."

"Fanny would never have agreed," he replied. "Then I am surprised that you should have written such a letter."

" Fanny was surprised too, I can assure you ; she snatched the letter from her father's hand and took it to the light of the window."

"`Whose is this letter, papa?' she exclaimed. ' It's not Harry's handwriting !'

" ' Don't tell me !' said Mr. Brown, angrily.

" ` Why, papa ! it can't be ; yes, yes it is though, here's the date ; why it must be a letter of yours to mamma !'

" The fact is," continued Harry, who was almost choked with laughing, "Mr. Brown had been all the while criticising his own love letters, which Mrs. Brown had in the confusion of the moment and darkness of the room taken from her desk instead I of mine."

" Fanny says she was at first somewhat puzzled by the writing, her father's hand having so greatly changed since he wrote those letters, when he was quite a young man."

Harry went on to say that Brown was overwhelmed with astonishment, and could not be brought for a long time to believe that he had ever written the letters, declaring, notwithstanding the evidence of the writing, that he never could have been such a fool. Mrs. Brown was equally astonished ; she managed with some difficulty to call to mind that many years previously she had sorted out some old letters, burning some, and keeping others. It was evident she had preserved Mr. Brown's early letters, though she had quite forgotten having done so.

It gradually transpired that Mr. and Mrs. Brown's early attachment had been most imprudent in a worldly point of view that they had absolutely married without a penny, and had to be supported by relations for some years.

This sudden resurrection of long buried feelings and sentiments had its effect on Mrs. Brown ; in addition to that, the old arguments which had been used against Fanny were no longer available; and at last, after many entreaties, Mr. and Mrs. Brown reluctantly gave up their cherished plan of forming a grand alliance for their daughter.

Harry and Fanny were married the next day. Mrs. Brown wept immensely; every body said it was so natural, a mother losing her daughter. Mr. Brown declared " it was the happiest day of his life," but he looked most grievously solemn.


MR. EDITOR, I send you a bit of veritable history a leaf from a soldier's diary in the last campaign. The testimony of an eye and ear witness, the personal record and experience of one man is always valuable. But every man in the army has his story or report to give. Collect a hundred thousand such reports, and you have the history of a campaign. Not the dry official report of the general or corps commander, nor even the flaming rhetorical descriptions of " our correspondent." Here, as nothing was done for glory, so nothing is written for effect. But the simple incidents of a soldier's life, told naturally as they fell out, are forever linked with the brightest and the darkest page in a nation's history.

To the writer, of course, and to his family and friends, not to the great public, such a record is most valuable. It will instruct the present, and be an heir-loom to future generations. And to himself it remains a cherished memento of dear bought experience. A note taken on the spot is a wonderful refresher of memory. The mere telling from day to day of what he did and where he was brings up a host of incidents, a thousand associations, just as the items of a business man's experience lay open at a glance his whole plan and economy of life. All common men in the midst of great actions are poets, and write poetically ; that is, truthfully. A bold stroke or two, no matter how rough the writing may be, paints the image to the mental eye, and gives the scenery of war and battle. And as the scene changes and shifts, and unrolls itself to the gaze of the actor and spectator, he is made a participant in all the fortunes of the fight, in all the passions of the combatants, while the glory or disgrace of the action is keenly felt as his own. In after life he lives over again in memory the battles through which he passed, and how he fought all day and marched all night in one of those flank movements which his General was so famed for executing. He remembers that in such an action or skirmish a bullet ticked him, and a comrade was either wounded or killed; that on such a night he worked in the trenches in the rain, or was detailed as picket guard; and that another time he lay with his regiment a long time under a broiling sun, and lay close to keep clear of rebel bullets and shells falling thick about him. He is fond of telling over " hair breadth" escapes, his " moving accidents" by flood and field, and his particular " peril" in the "imminent deadly breach." In short, the whole art of writing or story telling, to the private soldier, consists in putting the greatest quantity of life and action into the fewest possible words.

April 13.—Pleasant morning. Left for our regiment at 8 o'clock ; marched to Alexandria at 10 o'clock; took the cars, got to our regiment at Rappahannock station at 5 o'clock.

April 17.—Sunday. Cloudy, cold morning. Worked all day building our tents. Cleared off in the afternoon heavy fall of snow on the mountains.

April 18.—Cold morning. Finished our house and moved into it four of us   all together.

April 22.—Frosty morning, but pleasant. The regiment presented Colonel Woodard with a splendid horse, saddle, and bridle, worth $305.

May 4.—Started for the front. Marched across the Rapidan at 9 o'clock; camped and got our breakfast; marched to the front and camped for the night.

May 5.—Drawn up in line of battle. Marched into the woods and laid down. Four companies went out skirmishing. At 9 o'clock, drawn up in line of battle; 12 o'clock, charged the rebel lines. Lost a good many boys. Colonel Woodard wounded.

May 6.—Started at 4 o'clock ; marched but two miles to the rebel lines, formed in line of battle, and laid down. Laid all day: shells passed over us pretty thick. Rebs charged our right wing: drove it in. Withdrew to our breast works.

May 7.—At sunrise the rebs made a charge on our centre, but we drove them back: sharp shooters firing at us, we charged on them and drove them back to their breast works. They shelled us all day. Left at 9 o'clock to reinforce the left wing.

May 8.—Marched all night down through Spottsylvania. Went into the fight at 10 o'clock, made two charges on the rebs, got drove back loss very heavy. Rested. Ordered out in front: only 200 men left. Stand picket all night.

May 9.—Pleasant morning. Started early, marched out, formed a line of battle. Laid down. Laid all day in the hot sun, with our straps on. Attacked the rebs a little before night, drove them back, then laid down and slept.

May 10.—Pleasant morning. The battle commenced anew at noon, lasted till 9 o'clock, when we passed to the front to support the skirmishers. Staid there until dark; drew back, lay down for the night.

May 11.—Cloudy, looks like rain. Skirmish firing commenced early. Just commenced to rain a little. Ten o'clock, moved back into the woods, and stopped. Laid there all day and all night, until 4 o'clock. Rained nearly all night.

May 13.—Started at daylight, marched one mile, stopped and wrote a letter home at 11 o'clock. Built a line of breast works rained a good deal put up tents and laid down. Called up at 10 o'clock, and marched all night in the mud.

May 14.—Stopped at 5 o'clock, made our coffee, and ate our breakfast. Laid there all day and all night ; rained a good deal. Drew three days' rations. A good deal of fighting through the day: got shelled some.

May 1T.—Cloudy. All quiet along the lines this morning. Sick today : building fortifications.

May 18.—Warm morning. The battle opened at sunrise ; very heavy artillery firing. Fired all the forenoon. Got letters from home sent a letter home. Threatening rain. Go on picket : rained some in the night.

May 19.—Cloudy. All quiet on the line. Our boys changed papers with the rebs this morning. Wrote a letter home. Relieved from picket at 9 o'clock: laid behind breast works all night.

May 23.—Cloudy and cool. All quiet this morning. We are in Bowling Green, beginning to move forward. Marched nine miles, forded the North Anna River at 2 o'clock. The rebs attacked us at 6 o'clock. Fought an hour and a half : whipped them.

May 28. —Pleasant morning. Started at sunrise, marched 10 miles, crossed the Pamunky River, and formed a line of battle: threw up breast works.

June 3.—Rainy morning. The battle opened at six o'clock. Continual roar of musketry and artillery until evening : rained all the time. I was on the skirmish line from 9 till 5 : balls and shells fell thick all around me.

June 6.—Cloudy, but warm. Stopped at 6 o'clock near Cold Harbor. Cooked our breakfast, washed, got a letter from home: ordered to pack up and go on picket at evening. Got a good night's sleep.

June T.—Cool and cloudy. The boys go in swimming in the mill pond. Went out on picket at 8 o'clock : relieved at sundown. Marched five miles and bivouacked for the night.

That will do for the present. The notes have a sameness, like the duties which the soldier has to perform. But they give some idea of a campaign which the boys commonly describe as "forty days

under fire." 0 ye civilians and pen and ink generals, who manage the war at home and sketch imaginary campaigns over cigars and wine and the daily papers, while you speculate on the rising glory of the country, and the great names of the war, never forget the poor private soldier, nor despise these " short and simple annals" of his existence !


THE IRISHMAN IN SCOTLAND.—Sorr, there is a river that requires milk an' sugar before ye'd dhrihk a dhrop of it. What is it ? Sure 'tis the river Tay.

EXPLOSION AT ROME.—It is our painful duty to record a terrific explosion which has occurred at the Vatican. This accident arose from want of caution on the part of the Pope and the College of Cardinals in projecting a fulminating composition which they had been some time en-gaged in preparing for the demolition of all modern ideas. Almost before the destructive mixture had left their hands it blew up with a noise which was heard all over Europe, and morally brought the venerable edifice in which they were assembled about their ears.

THE LAST NOVELTY IN AMOROUS-IS.—One of our most eminent oculists has just performed a successful operation on a gentleman who had a lady in his eye.

A LITERARY MEM.—One fault leads to many, but an author's only chance of avoiding errors is to have slips.

VERY NATURAL.—Speaking of the imaginative nature of woman, a certain writer says : " The only time a woman does not exaggerate is when she's talking of her own age."   

THE PRE-ADAMITE PERIOD— Lizard Point to the Isle of Man.

TWO IN ONE—A servant girl, who is often "the maid and the magpie" as well.

AN APPROPRIATE TOAST. At an election dinner at Kidderminster—a place celebrated for its manufacture of carpets this toast was proposed by a townsman : " May the trade of our town always be trodden under foot."

ONE FOR JACK.—Why should the capture of Fort Fisher be credited to the navy? Because it was taken by a salt (assault).

A young lady was told by a married lady that she had better precipitate herself off the Niagara Falls into the basin beneath than marry. The young lady replied, " I would, if I thought I could find a husband at the bottom."

Pat, what's the best way of traveling ?—Troth, sure, an' isn't it the " rale" way (railway) ?

CHEMICAL ANALYSIS.—A Scotch laird, on a market day in Kilmarnock, went into a tavern with a friend, and ordered some whisky. The waiter, when he set down the measure, asked if they wished to have water along with the spirits. " Na," said the laird; " had ye no better try to tak' out the water that's in't already?"

It was proposed to tax ladies corsets, but it was objected to, on the ground that such a tax would diminish consumption.

Old Rowe kept a hotel, where, as he used to say, you could get any thing that was ever made to eat. One day in came a Yankee, and stepping up to the bar, asked old Rowe what he could give him for dinner. " Any thing, Sir," said old Rowe, " any thing, from a pickled elephant to a canary bird's tongue." " Wa'al," said the Yankee, eying Rowe, " I guess I'll take a piece of pickled elephant." " Well, we've got 'em ; got 'em all ready, right here in the house, but you'll have to take a whole 'no, 'cause we never cut 'em" The Yankee "thought he would take some codfish and potatoes."

It is well known that the philosopher Thales believed water to be the first principle. Query: Was Thales a milkman ?

Don't sleep with your coat on, or its nap and yours will be taken together.

A SPIRITUAL JOKE.—A captain of a militia company, encamped at Camp Hall, discovered a canteen of whisky in the possession of one of his men, it night or two ago, and at once confiscated the fluid. He placed it in his tent, and went out to invite some of his brother officers to partake of the spiritual comfort. Returning with his shoulder-strap friends, who smacked their lips in anticipation of the treat, the canteen was reversed over the tin cups, and the health of the gallant Captain C— was proposed. The captain was the first to taste, but he quickly spirted the fluid from his mouth, and exclaimed, "By thunder, some one has changed the whisky to water !" There was a laugh among the privates, but the captain did not join in it.   

PARENTHESIS IN PRAYER. –A pastor of a small congregation of dissenters in the west of Scotland, who in prayer often employed terms of familiarity toward the great Being whom he invoked, was addressing his petition in the season of an apparently doubtful harvest, that He would grant such weather as was necessary for ripening and gathering in the fruits of the ground; when, pausing suddenly, he added, " But what need I talk? when I was up at the Shotts the other day every thing was as green as leeks."

A DOCTOR'S EPITAPH.—Doctor I. Letsome wrote the following epitaph for his own tombstone; but it is not likely that he allowed his friends, or at least his patients, to read it until he was under the turf, or out of practice:

When people's ill they comes to I;

I physics, bleeds, and sweats 'em.

Sometimes they lives, sometimes they die; What's that to I? I. Letsome (let's 'em).

ABERNETHY'S PRESCRIPTION.—An Irishman called in great haste upon Dr. Abernethy, stating that, " Be jabers, my boy Tim has swallowed a mouse." ' Then, be jabers," said Abernethy, " tell your boy Tim to swallow a cat."

A SPANISH watchmaker, we learn from a contemporary, has recently constructed a watch that only requires winding up once a year. We should fancy the promoters of joint stock companies (limited) would be very glad to get hold of the secret, as their works don't run as long as that in most instances.

A DOCTOR'S REASON.—A practitioner being asked by his patients why he had put up so many ingredients into his prescription, is said to have answered, more facetiously than philosophically, " In order that the disease may take which it likes best."

"Cato, what do you think is the reason that the sun goes toward the South in the winter?" " Well, I don't know, massa, unless he no stand the 'clemency of do Norf, and so am 'bilge to go to the Souf, where he'speriences warmer longitude."

A wag seeing a lady at a party with it very low-necked dress and bare arms, expressed his admiration by saying she " outstripped" the whole party.

A STRANGE FACT.—That people of " loose" habits should be so often tight."

MUSIOAL.—We know several fiddlers who are now suffering from violint coughs!




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