General Sherman's Freedmen


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, January 28, 1865

This Harper's Weekly newspaper from the Civil War features unique news of the war, and fascinating illustrations. It covers some important events that occurred during the closing days of the War. This site features our entire collection of newspapers from the war for your perusal and study.

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General Slocum


Sherman's Freedmen

Fort Fisher

Capture of Fort Fisher

Savannah Holidays

Savannah Holidays

Savannah Occupied

Occupied Savannah

Howlett House

Howlett House Battery

Chicago Waterworks

Chicago Waterworks

Butler Command

General Butler Removed from Command

Sailors Reading

Sailors Reading Newspaper

Federal Point

Bombardment of Federal Point

Old Ads

Old Ads







[JANUARY 28, 1865.



FIVE hundred thousand evangels Sent to a million hearts

With the messages of triumph

In the strength which love imparts;

Sent to the gray-haired fathers

With a second gift of time,

To turn back their failing moments

Into the years of prime ;

Sent to dim-sighted mothers

With results of years gone by,
To witness the work accomplished,
And sweeten the time to die;

Sent to the fair child-brothers

With the might of the sword and pen, And the prophecy of conquest

When they shall be bearded men ;

Sent to unweary sisters

As the mystic-lined device, Whereon is the recognition Of their glory of sacrifice ;

Sent to the wife and children, Dearer than life's sweet breath, With the holy lesson of duty

That looks in the eyes of death.

The volumes of sage and scholar

Grow lifeless and dim beside The life of these winged letters

And their meaning glorified.



GENERAL BUTLER has made a grave mistake. In his farewell order to the Army of the James he says : " I have refused to order useless sacrifices of the lives of such soldiers and I am relieved of your command." Does he really believe that he has been removed because he would not slaughter his soldiers ? He is unjust to himself and to the Government in permitting himself to utter such an insinuation.

Of the patriotism, ability, and energy of General BUTLER there can be no doubt. But of the fact that, from Great Bethel to Wilmington, the purely military movements which he has directed have not been successful there is also no doubt. Certainly it is no shame to so effective a military governor that he should be proved to be no soldier. A man's qualities, however eminent, are not necessarily equal in every direction ; and his removal from a military command is really no more discreditable to him than the withdrawal from the chair of mathematics of a professor who had no taste for algebra.

When the war began, and there was an imperative need of soldiers, they were not to be found. The few regularly educated officers were all employed, while the demand for thousands more was unsatisfied. The Government was compelled, therefore, to call civilians to the service ; and those who had shown general intelligence, fidelity, capacity, and promptness, and who from their antecedents and positions were likely to inspire general confidence, were naturally and properly selected. Among such no one was more conspicuous than General BUTLER. He was the earliest hero of the war. His decision and comprehension and rapidity gave us Annapolis and Baltimore ; but they were moral rather than military victories. When FARRAGUT took New Orleans the same qualities made General BUTLER an unsurpassed head of the government of that city. But in all these instances he shone by the force of his executive and administrative skill rather than by distinctive military superiority. Yet such was the public admiration of his services and capacity that his recall from New Orleans and his replacement by General BANKS were felt to be misfortunes.

That his campaign before Petersburg was a public disappointment will not be denied. That he had not cut off reinforcements from Richmond, as he supposed, is clear; and that the subsequent military operations in his department, down to the failure at Wilmington, have not been successful, is indisputable. It is merely the truth to say that the public faith in his purely military ability is shaken, and that his retirement from a purely military command can not be considered a public misfortune. The war has winnowed our soldiers. The genius of GRANT, SHERMAN, THOMAS, and SHERIDAN has been established. Their names certify success. But when the reverse is the case, there can be no general complaint of the mere fact of removal.

It is very foolish and untrue, therefore, to speak of the removal of General BUTLER as in itself a disgrace. It is no more disgraceful to him than it would be to General GRANT to be found out of place on a ship of the line. Nor is it just or wise to assume that his removal is due to any kind of jealousy. When there are fair and obvious reasons for an action, there is no need of assuming foul and obscure ones. If THOMAS, or SHERIDAN, or SHERMAN were removed from military command at this time the

country would justly demand to know the reasons, and there might well be suspicion of intrigue or doubtful purpose. But with the military career of General BUTLER plainly before us it is not difficult to see that his removal does not necessarily imply discredit either to himself or to the Government.

Every friend of General BUTLER must regret the words we have quoted from his farewell order, and every enemy of his and the country will smile. That he has always been peculiarly obnoxious to rebels and Copperheads and foreign foes was his glory. Such hate was the profoundest homage to his patriotism and efficiency. He never pleased them when in command, and it is only the more painful that he should gratify them in retiring. When he accuses the Government of removing him because he would not slaughter his soldiers he purposely insults it, and makes his recall to any active service very difficult. Even if he felt that he could no longer remain upon terms with the Administration, he should have remembered how surely his fling would react upon himself. If he thought that he was parting with all active service in the war magnanimity would have been a final laurel.


THE air is full of the cooing of doves and the rustle of olive boughs. Mr. BLAIR has flown to Richmond as Mr. GREELEY flew to Niagara Falls. It is to be seen whether the cooing of the one is more effective than that of the other.

So far as we can understand what the doves propose, it is to ascertain whether a true peace be now attainable. But how is that to be done by unofficial visits to JEFFERSON DAVIS, and how often are they to be made? To say that we ought to spare no effort to ascertain how the war is to be stopped is idle, because we do spare no effort, and we interpose no bar. The Government has said and repeated the terms upon which peace is possible. Have doves numbers one or two any new terms to offer?

"But we ought to strive," says Dove PARKER, of New Jersey, " to let the deluded people of the South understand that there is no question of subjugation by the North, but that the Union and the Constitution are the sole objects of the war." Certainly we ought ; and how is it to be done ? Clearly not by any number of unofficial doves fluttering about the eaves of the Spottswood House in Richmond. Such embassies can serve no possible purpose. For Davis will naturally say, if you do not come from your Government we decline to declare upon what terms we will make peace. Or, if he did say, as to JAQUESS and KIRKE, that his first condition is independence, how does any one know that he speaks for the Southern people, or, on the other hand, that he might not say something else to official bearers of the olive ?

If the doves wish to inform the people of the South what the purpose of the United States Government is, let them ask the President to repeat officially what he has incessantly reiterated. Or, if the object be to satisfy some people at the North that the rebels will listen to nothing but separation, why are those people more likely to believe Mr. BLAIR than Col. JAQUESS? If the intention be to prove to Europe that the Government is not resolved to hear no proposition of peace, certainly an unofficial offer to hear what Davis has to say will not be so convincing as the plain statement of the Government itself officially made by the President, of the terms upon which peace is possible.

For we suppose one thing to be settled. Peace is possible only when the rebels lay down their arms, and submit to the laws, and leave all differences between the citizens and Government of the United States to constitutional arbitration. Are not those terms imperative? If they are, what does it matter what terms DAVIS has to propose ? If they are, how can the Southern people and Europe learn them except by official notification, and not by private interviews ?

An infinite mischief is done by this well intentioned private cooing. It implies that the Government is remiss in informing itself of the possibilities of peace ; that it is resolved to persist in war for some ulterior end; and consequently the effort increases the very doubt and dissatisfaction which it proposes to allay. More over, it can not fail to suggest to the rebels and to Europe that the Government is tired of a war which it is constantly trying in an underhand way to stop ; and if tired, then conscious of weakness or of a doubt of popular support.

The doves are very obliging, but the eagle is quite competent to conclude and confirm peace.


THE great corporation of the State, the New York Central Railroad Company, has applied to the Legislature for permission to increase its rates of fare ; in other words, to be paid more highly for its utterly inadequate accommodation of travelers, for its enormous and profitable through freight transport, and for its curious and constant disregard of the interests of the trade of the State of New York.

The business of this road, which appears in the light of a mendicant asking for public charity, transcends its utmost. capacity to perform, and

its profits are proportional. Its line groans with the incessant passage of cars. The Sabbath air hums with its ponderous traffic. The wretched sheds in which it huddles its passengers are thronged by them all day and all night, wearily waiting for the trains delayed for hours and hours by the vast weight and length caused by the crowds of travelers who make the best shift they can. Meanwhile the warehouses of traders along the route are piled with merchandise which there is no means of carrying. Merchants buy and sell at one point, return home to another, and vainly wait week after week for a chance to send or to receive their goods. The through Western freight is so immense that the way freight along the line of the road is sacrificed, although the road was built to accommodate the State of New York. One of the officers of the road lately remarked that it had not half power enough to do its work.

And this Company, staggering under this vast business, so pressed with it that it has not means enough to do it, a great monopoly of the whole winter carriage through the most populous region of the State, now asks for a repeal of the law by which its rates of fare are limited. Its hunger grows by feeding. It pleads that all prices have risen. If they had fallen, would this modest Company have asked that its rates might be reduced? That it needs any such succor to save it from actual loss is a ludicrous joke to those who know what persons and influences control the road. The object is to get a firmer hold of larger profits, at the expense of the people of the State and of all who travel upon it.

The power of the Central Railroad as a political engine is notorious. It has not quite subdued the State to itself as the Camden and Amboy has the State of New Jersey ; but its direct political influence, not to say coercion, is known. It is one of the demoralizing powers of the State, and, it is no untruth to say, attempts to carry its ends in the Legislature by means which it would not openly confess. If it does not directly or indirectly bribe, it is as much maligned as it is modest.

If it is impossible to prevent the Company from laying another heavy tax upon the traveling. part of the public, we humbly hope that at least some conditions may be imposed with the grant ; as, for instance, that a certain percentage of the local freight shall be regularly transported ; that decent and sufficient station houses shall replace the bleak and shameful sheds at Albany, Utica, Syracuse, and other points ; that the new patent brake and raised roof car shall be substituted for those now often used ; that the conductor shall be obliged to furnish every passenger a seat or to refund the fare, and, in general, that this towering corporation, which exists by the public consent and is supported by the money of the public, shall be compelled to conduct itself as what it is, the servant and not the master of the people of New York.


KING CANUTE sat upon the shore and commanded the sea to retire, but he had the good sense to reprove his courtiers for flattering him that the sea would obey. Pope PIUS NINTH orders the tide back again, and really believes it will withdraw. His late letter is both one of the most amusing and the most humiliating performances of modern times. It is a bull against Protestantism. It is an edict against civilization. Every traveler in Italy recalls the worn out old house dogs who sleep in the sun, infirm, toothless, and voiceless, who open their eyes when a horse trots by, and feebly go through the motions of barking, for they can do no more. But here is an old guardian who opens his eyes languidly, and snarls at the sun traveling up the sky. He growls at the time of day, and affects to bark at the inevitable hours.

It will be nineteen years in June since Cardinal MASTAI FERRETTI was elected Pope, and took the name of PIUS NINTH. His accession was hailed as a new era. GREGORY SIXTEENTH, the old Pope, was a bigot, a narrow-minded monk ; but it was fondly believed that "PIO NONO" was a man of such generous nature and enlightened experience that he would not only reform the abuses of administration in the Church, but would gladly place himself at the head of the most intelligent party in it, and adapt himself and the Church to the conditions of the time, in order that it might still be a real power and retain the confidence and love of its wisest children. He began by some political amnesties, and by removing the Papal residence from the Vatican to the Quirinal. Both acts were hailed as of the best augury, and during the first year of his reign the popular homage to the Pope was scarcely less than the recent adoration of GARIBALDI. There was even a hint of a constitution, and so good and just he seemed that even that was believed possible.

Then came the French revolution of 1848, and all was over. A blanker disappointment than the succeeding years of his reign was never known. In the hands of ANTONELLI, an unscrupulous priest, he has been a passive instrument of reaction, until at last he fulminates if so Gregorian a word may be used to describe a bleat instead of a roar this melancholy protest against the activity of the human mind.

The Pope's encyclical letter of the 8th of

December, 1864, is a resume of all his denunciations against religious and political liberty, with a fresh effort " to destroy new opinions." This poor old gentleman in Rome sighs for the rack, and sobs for thumb screws. It is a wicked error, he exclaims, that the civil power ought not to punish religious heresy. My excellent predecessor, GREGORY, he cries, declared that the doctrine of the right of every man to liberty of conscience and of worship is a " delirium," and I say Amen ! Freedom of speech and common schools are no better. And why indeed should we wonder that a potentate whose power depends upon intellectual darkness should complain of increasing light ? That public opinion should have any weight whatever he declares to be a monstrous heresy. And why should he not say so of public opinion, since he knows what public opinion says of him?

The reason of the expiring power of the great institution that once controlled Christendom is nowhere more fully manifested than in this letter. It proposes to deal with man in the world, and it refuses to understand either. It is like a parent who does not see that his son at thirty years old is not his son of two years, and who threatens him with the dark closet and the rod if he does not go to bed at sunset. Meanwhile the thoughtful men of the Church of which the Pope is chief bishop men who know and delight in the inevitable progress of the race and the amelioration of its condition must be confounded by this futile and foolish wail. If today they are to be told by the highest authority they recognize that religious liberty is a naughty chimera, that honest differences of opinion ought to be punished by the brute force of the strongest, that governments existing by popular consent are contrary to the divine purpose, and that education is pernicious to the spiritual welfare of man, they can only hang their heads, and, as they are more or less heroic, decide either that the infallible head of the Church is the most foolish of mortals, or that he is miraculously allowed to say what common sense denies. There is nothing which the best and wisest have urged against the inevitable moral and intellectual tendency of the Romish Church which is not justified by the Pope's encyclical letter.


EVERY great military success upon our side brings equally great responsibilities. None of them is more obvious, none more pressing, than the condition of the freedmen in the States which we occupy, or who flock to our lines. Their coming is natural and inevitable. Even the opponents of what is called the emancipation policy have always agreed that the march of our armies would free the slaves. Those opponents are men, and they know very well that they themselves would rather take the chances of liberty than the certainties of slavery. It was hoped, it was known, that SHERMAN'S great march would bring thousands of slaves with it. It has done so. Did we think, also, how we should be ready to receive them ?

After SHERMAN reached Savannah he sent this message to General SAXTON at Beaufort, with a ship load of negroes: "Please find inclosed seven hundred contrabands, the first installment of fifteen thousand. Many of them are from far up in Georgia, and a long, weary, and sorrowful tramp they have had. Many of them with little children have not brought a thing with them, and have most miserable covering. Bales of clothing could be disposed of among them." On Christmas Day the agent of the National Freedmen's Relief Association at Beaufort was called upon to prepare for these seven hundred, mostly old men, women, and children, who would arrive within an hour. Half of them had come from Macon, Atlanta, and even Chattanooga. They were intelligent and healthy, but footsore and weary. They were utterly with out blankets, stockings, and shoes. Among the seven hundred there were not fifty pots or kettles for cooking, no axes, and few coverings for the head. The agents of the Association at once set vigorously to work, and had the unfortunates housed in a disused commissary building through the rainy night that followed.

The next morning four hundred were sent off properly guarded, and were encamped upon the island of Port Royal, to be scattered among the plantations as soon as possible. What little superfluous stores were in General SAXTON'S hands were distributed among them. But the agent reports that there are no stockings, no children's clothing, no cloth for shirts or petticoats, no needles or thread to make them. The blankets are almost gone. Through exposure two hundred of the four hundred are sick ; and before his report could reach the officers of the association in New York, the agent says that from three to five thousand more, equally destitute, will arrive to join his suffering colony.

The story is its own appeal. These people are thrown upon our care. We can not avoid it if we would. The most needed supplies are cooking utensils, axes, large and heavy shoes, wool socks and stockings, heavy pantaloons, petticoats, children's dresses of all kinds, blankets, thread, and needles. Money may be sent to JOSEPH B. COLLINS, Treasurer, 40 Wall Street; goods and clothing to C. C. LEIGH, 1 Mercer Street, New York. (Next Page)




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