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Civil War Harper's Weekly, March 11, 1865

This site features an online archive of the Harper's Weekly newspapers published during the Civil War. This archive includes incredible eye-witness accounts of the key events of this period. This material offers the serious student of the war a resource not available elsewhere.

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

 

Capture of Wilmington

Capture of Wilmington

Lee Colored Troops

Lee's Plan to use Colored Troops

Capture of Charleston

Capture of Charleston, South Carolina

Field Hospital

Civil War Field Hospital

Transatlantic Telegraph

Laying First Transatlantic Telegraph

Jeff Davis Cartoon

Jeff Davis Cartoon

 

 

Signal Station

Petersburg Signal Station

Harper's Ferry

Harper's Ferry

Telegraph Cable

Telegraph Cable

 

 

 

 

MARCH 11, 1865.]

HARPER'S WEEKLY.

147

(Previous Page) South Carolina, leaving scarcely enough to carry on the government of the State. But there's a lion in his path. Very well. We do not deny that there may be. We know the extreme uncertainty of war. But if South Carolina be, as the Examiner says, abandoned to old women, why does it say in another article in the same number that " the progress of SHERMAN through South Carolina almost unopposed, the fall of Columbia without the slightest resistance, the swiftness of the enemy's movements, and the apparent outgeneralship of the Confederate commander, has created very serious apprehensions on the part of the public as to the military condition in that State ?" But why so? If, as the Examiner insists, there are only " graybeards, old women, and little children,"left in the State, why should not SHERMAN'S progress be almost unopposed? and why should the failure of gray beards and little children to stop the march of a great army and an able soldier create serious apprehensions as to the military situation?

The discrepancy betrays the falsehood. It was evidently supposed that BEAUREGARD would make a stand in South Carolina. That he did not alarms the Richmond leaders. Forced to account for SHERMAN'S unimpeded progress they declare the State emptied of its fighting population, but in the same breath whisper their surprise and alarm.

We know how critical such a campaign as this of General SHERMAN'S is. We know how many and unexpected are the chances of war. We exhort every friend to hold his mind equal to sudden reverse and disappointment. But at the same time we beg him not to suffer his heart to be dismayed by the insinuations, head shakings, and prophecies of the rebel press.

LOSS AND GAIN.

THE rebel newspapers in Richmond not only profess to regard the recent successes of the national arms as blessings in disguise, but they insist that it is a fortunate event for the rebellion that it is deprived of its sea ports. Even the loss of Wilmington they assert will merely compel them to develop their own resources.

Let us take them at their word. Let us concede that it is an advantage to the rebellion to be shut out from the coast entirely. But if it be, why was it not always so ? And if it were, then the holding of the coast has been a military error. Or will it be said that it was necessary to hold it for some time in order to get foreign supplies of arms, and that not having enough they can safely lose it ? But granting this, the ports were as useful for sending out as for taking in. The expenses of the rebel war must be paid in some way. It has never been pretended they could be paid by an internal tax. The great resource is cotton. The very last financial plan of the rebels contemplates the sale of " Government cotton on hand." But with the ports all closed, how is the cotton to be sold ! The rebels have received arms and supplies from Europe, and their foreign loan has been based upon cotton. The closing of the ports cuts off the supply of cotton. The failure of the cotton by their own showing, therefore, spoils their whole financial plan.

But there is another view. Look at the port of Wilmington again. The rebels inform us that it is no disadvantage to them to lose it. Suppose that we grant it. Is it no advantage to us to gain it? That is a consideration for them quite as important as the other. It is not a question to argue. The map settles it. Take the situation of the campaign. See what SHERMAN is doing. See where GRANT is. Wilmington is an empty shell, shout the rebels. But do they suppose that it is considered valuable to us in itself? Wilmington is worthless as a capture, for this is not a war of conquest or aggrandizement in the usual sense. But Wilmington is invaluable as a base for a great army advancing through North Carolina and co-operating with another before Richmond.

Even if it were true that it is an advantage for the rebellion to lose it, it is no less an advantage for us to gain it. And the moral is not less than the military advantage. As Dr. DRAPER well said in his late lecture, there is no force like an idea. It is not the sword alone that ends every war ; it is the sense of the power of the sword. That consciousness conquers the mind, and then mere muscle relaxes.

EXCHANGE OF PRISONERS.

WHEN General GRANT announced that the exchange of prisoners was now left entirely to him we were very sure that he would not be unjust to any soldier that defends our flag, and we are therefore not surprised to read in a late letter from City Point to the Herald that " the first lot of negro soldiers exchanged during the war, fourteen in number, were delivered to Lieutenant-Colonel MULFORD yesterday among a lot of white soldiers. If left to act unofficially there is no question but that the Confederate authorities will gladly exchange negroes for white men ; but If called upon to recognize the rightful status of a black soldier, in any official form other than this they will probably decline to do so." This action of the rebels is taken unquestionably because they intend to put colored soldiers into

the field, and reflect that, if the rule is that such men are not to be exchanged, it is a rule that will work both ways.

SHERMAN'S ACCURACY.

ON the day before SHERMAN moved from Dalton upon his march through Georgia, a gentleman at his head quarters wrote, " We go tomorrow. You will hear of us on the toast at Christmas." He ate his Christmas dinned in Savannah. On January 31st, the day before the present movement began, the same gentle man wrote, " You will hear of us in three weeks from the coast of North Carolina." On the 22d of February Wilmington was evacuated, and SHERMAN'S base was established upon the coast of Carolina.

MR. CHILDS AND THE PHILADELPHIA " LEDGER."

IT is a good thing for the public when a good newspaper falls into good hands : and therefore we record with satisfaction that the Philadelphia Ledger, one of the most popular journals in the country, has passed from the hands of Mr. SWAIN, originally a printer's boy and the founder of the great success of the Ledger, into those of the well known publisher, GEORGE W.

CHILDS.

Mr. CHILDS'S energy, tenacity, skill, and practical genius have been conspicuously displayed as a publisher ; and his shrewd knowledge of the popular taste, and of the conditions of an influential journal, will heighten the singular prosperity of the Ledger. His unswerving patriotism secures the fidelity of the paper to the great interests which are at stake in this war, and his discreet and genial temper assure the public of the urbanity with which all opinions will be expressed. The business circulation of the Ledger is immense. Its daily issues are not less than seventy thousand, and it goes to every part of the community. We cordially wish Mr. CHILDS a continuance in his new relation of that success which he has fairly achieved in his old.

BOUND VOLUMES.

FOR a short time the Publishers have been unable to supply the orders which they have constantly received for complete sets of "HARPER'S WEEKLY," some of the Numbers having become exhausted. These have been reprinted, and the Publishers can now furnish any or all of the bound Volumes, eight in all. Each Volume contains the Numbers for a year, commencing with the 1st of January. The price of each Volume, neatly bound in muslin and lettered, is Seven Dollars. They can not be sent by mail, the weight of the Volumes being greater than is allowed by law to go through the Post-Office. They will be sent by Express, freight paid by the Publishers, for the above sum.

DOMESTIC INTELLIGENCE.

THE SITUATION.

THE rebel papers in Richmond have been prohibited front publishing the news of Sherman's movements north ward. The Times Washington correspondent estimates the army opposed to Sherman, which is reported to be under the command of General Joseph Johnston, at about 30,000 men, made up as follows: from Savannah 8000; from Charleston 5000 ; from Wilmington 6000 ; in various parts of North Carolina 3000 ; 7500 cavalry under Wheeler and Butler. It is not likely that any of the rebel army of the Tennessee is north of Sherman. General Thomas's Western campaign for the possession of Mobile, Selma, and Montgomery, and the perfect occupation of the line of the Alabama River is in active progress. We shall soon hear of its developments.

The House has passed the Enrollment Act. Congress has spent a good portion of its present session in the consideration of projects for reconstructing the South. A bill has passed the House extending the forfeiture of the real estate of rebels beyond the limits of their natural lives. A resolution has been under discussion to recognize the present State Government of Louisiana. Projects of this kind arise from an undue haste to secure the ratification of the Constitutional Amendment.

There is no important news from abroad.

CONGRESS.

February 22:

In the Senate, the House bill to build a ship canal around Niagara, and the bill to construct a canal connecting Lake Michigan with the Mississippi River, were reported back, with a joint resolution as a substitute for both, authorizing surveys to be made with a view to the construction of these works. A bill was passed to amend the Copyright Law so as to authorize the copyrighting of photographs; also to require that a copy of every book copyrighted in the United States shall be forwarded to the library of Congress, a failure to do which forfeiting the copyright.

In the House, A. P. Field was brought before the bar and reprimanded for his recent assault on Mr. Kelley. The Senate resolution freeing the wives and children of colored soldiers was passed.

February 23:

In the Senate, Mr. Sumner's substitute for the report of the Judiciary Committee on the reconstruction of the government in insurrectionary States was rejected by a large majority. This substitute would have excluded the Southern States from representation until that privilege should be accorded them by a law of Congress.

In the House, the bill repealing the law which prohibits the forfeiture of the real estate of rebels beyond their natural lives was passed by a majority of one. In the evening session the Indian Appropriation bill was passed. February 24:

In the Senate, the bill granting $300 to the surviving heroes of the Revolution was passed. The Fortification bill was passed, the appropriations being cut down one half.

In the House, the Senate joint resolution directing inquiry into the condition of the Indian tribes was passed.

February 25:

In the Senate, the joint resolution recognizing the State Government of Louisiana was taken up and debated throughout the entire session.

In the House, a resolution of inquiry was passed as to the number of rebel prisoners who had enlisted into our service.

February 27 :

In the Senate, the Conference reports on ties Army and Navy Appropriation bills were agreed to.

In the House, the Fortification bill was returned from the Senate, and the amendment, reducing the appropriations one half, was concurred in. The Enrollment bill was passed. One section of this bill provides that no person of foreign birth, who has resided in the United States for three years preceding his arrival at the age of twenty one years, shall be exempt from enrollment and draft on account of being an alien. The remaining sections provide that the mustering in of a substitute shall be conclusive in favor of the principal, and exempt him from military service for the term for which he was drafted. Assistant Provost Marshal Generals are to be appointed by the President, and chargeable with the duties intermediate between the Provost Marshal General and the District Provost Marshal. Any person who has been or may be drafted for one year, but who has furnished an acceptable substitute for three years, shall be exempt for this period of time. It shall not be lawful for any person to engage in the business of procuring recruits or substitutes for money or profit without having first obtained from the Secretary of War authority in writing. The party is to file proof of his loyalty and good character, and give bond to the amount of $50,000 that he will faithfully observe and obey the laws and regulations in force governing the obtaining of recruits or substitutes. Any recruiting agent who causes to be enlisted any insane person, or convict, or person under indictment for felony, is to be punished by fine and imprisonment ; and any officer knowingly mustering any deserter, or insane person, or persons in a condition of intoxication, or any minor, without the consent of his parents or guardians, shall, on conviction, be dishonorably dismissed the service. Principals who put in insufficient substitutes are to be notified of the fact, in order that their places may be properly supplied, provided that notice be given to such principals within thirty days. In addition to the other lawful penalties of the crime of desertion from military or naval service, all persons who have deserted, who shall not return or report themselves to a Provost Marshal within sixty days, shall be deemed and taken to have voluntarily relinquished and forfeited their rights of citizenship and their right to become citizens; and all persons who shall hereafter desert on being duly enrolled, or shall depart from the jurisdiction and go beyond the limits of the United States with intent to avoid any draft duly ordered, shall be liable to the penalties of this section, and the President is authorized to issue his proclamation that he will pardon those who return and serve out their original term. This act is to take effect from and after its passage; and nothing therein is to depart from, or interfere with, or postpone the pending draft, or the quotas assigned therefor. The bill repeals the 3d section of the enrollment law, which authorizes Governors of States to send recruiting agents into the rebel States.

February 28:

In the Senate, the House resolution to purchase a painting of Mr. Powell for $25,000 was passed. The Tax Finance Committee's proposition to tax Savings' Banks the same as banks of issue was agreed to.

In the House, the Six Million Loan Bill was passed.

THE CAPTURE OF CHARLESTON.

On the 10th of February General Schemmelfinnig's troops of Gillmore's command, between three and four thousand strong, crossed over from Folly and Cole's Islands to James Island, where they effected a lodgment three miles southwest of Charleston. The enemy was found in force about a mile distant, at Grimball's, on Stono River. The Commodore M'Donough and a mortar schooner, and the iron-clads Augusta and Savannah, came up the river and covered our advance upon this point. Under cover of a bombardment Hartwell's brigade advanced and carried the enemy's rifle-pits. This movement was only a feint to divert the enemy's attention from General Potter's attempt to get upon the line of the rail road north of Charleston. On the night of the 17th Hardee begat to evacuate the city. The garrison of Sullivan's Island and Point Pleasant were quietly withdrawn, as were also the troops in the city, the garrison on James Island, and the troops in and about Sumter and Moultrie. These were transported toward Florence on the only line left to them. The next morning Colonel Bennett, of the Fifty second Pennsylvania, occupied the city with only a few men, and demanded the surrender of the city, which was complied with by Mayor Macbeth. Colonel Bennett, on being informed of the attempts made by the enemy to destroy the city, tendered to the Mayor the services of his troops in extinguishing the fires. The arsenal was taken before it could be destroyed by the enemy. The city was on fire in several places. The Wilmington depot had been blown up, and several lives lost. The accident occurred in the following manner: The rebels had left behind in the depot a large quantity of powder in kegs and cartridges; a number of boys thought it fine sport to throw these cartridges among the burning bales of cotton in the immediate vicinity. The powder dropped along the way to the fires soon communicated with the powder in the depot, and a terrific explosion followed, which left the depot in ruins and in flames. Over a hundred and fifty are thought to have been burned to death, while about a hundred more were wounded more or less seriously by the explosion.

The rebel iron-clad fleet in the river was burned. It is said that over 10,000 bales of cotton are secreted in the city. The mode in which the Government dealt with the Savannah cotton is not likely to promote a rapid discovery of these cotton store houses. In the fortifications of the city over 200 guns of heavy calibre were found spiked and rendered temporarily useless. About ten or twelve thousand inhabitants are left in the city.

NEWS ITEMS.

The following is a letter addressed by Blakely, the celebrated gunmaker, to the London Post, just after the news of the capture of Fort Fisher:

"To the Editor of the London Post :

"Now that Fort Fisher has fallen, in spite of the heroic defense of General Whiting, Colonel Lamb, and the rest of the garrison, there can be no indiscretion in my giving you sense information about its armament.

"The fact most instructive to us is, that the fort contained not one gun powerful enough to sink an iron-clad ship. A very late letter mentions as the most effective gun in the place an 8-inch five ton cannon, rifled on the plan of Commander Scott, of the English Navy, and firing 130-pound shells. Of the rest, about half were 7-inch built-up rifles; half were 10-inch smooth bored cast iron guns.

" Most of these guns were more powerful than any gun mounted on any fort in England, or on any English ship (except one, which has a few of the valuable 9-inch 100-pounders ordered by the Duke of Somerset), yet they failed to injure the Federal fleet. It follows that that fleet could attack Portsmouth or Plymouth with more impunity than Fort Fisher, so far as artillery fire is concerned. I am, Sir, your obedient servant,

" T. A. BLAKELY."

James Y. Beall was executed as a spy on Governor's Island February 24.

Bernard Friery will be executed for the murder of Harry Lazarus March 31.

The case of the St. Albans raiders still occupies the attention of the Montreal court.

General Palmer has assumed command of the New Department of Kentucky.

It is estimated that the desertions from Lee's army amount to six or seven hundred per week.

The bill to arm the negroes has failed to pass the rebel Congress.

INTERESTING ITEMS.

TAKING A DANDY TO PIECES.—A. story is related in Paris of a certain elderly dandy who continues to pass himself off for younger than he is, by the aid of some complicated appliances, and who had recently engaged, as valet de chambre, a young fellow freshly imported from his native village. The valet, who has been much impressed by the grace of his new master's person, and who had no suspicion of their artificial nature, was greatly amazed on assisting him to undress, on the night of his entrance in his new place, at the work of demolition in which he was called upon to assist. The coat and vest carried off with them the beautifully rounded outlines that had showed to such advantage the moment before, and at the unbuckling of the corset the jaunty uprightness of the dandy underwent an equally sudden collapse. The withered

and shrunken form being duly wrapped in a dressing gown, the old beau seated himself at his dressing table, and proceeded to take himself to pieces. The removal of the lustrous brown wig revealed a perfectly bare scalp; the white teeth followed the wig, and were carefully placed in a glass of water for the night. The pail of gutta percha "plumpers," so skillfully placed between the gums and the cheeks were carefully taken out, betraying the hollows they had so effectually distended, and an artificial eye was next removed front the empty socket. The amazement of the unsophisticated servant had been a last deepening into horror as he witnessed these successive transformations; and when the ex-dandy. stomping toward his lower extremities, proceeded to unfasten a pair of false calves, the valet, imagining that his master was going to take himself completely to pieces, exclaimed into tone of mingled anxiety and terror, "Oh, monsieur marquis," pray do leave enough of you for me to put into the bed!"

AN IMPERIAL AUTHOR'S STUDY.--To show how fine a thing it is to be an emperor and an author, it is stated that Napoleon III. with the view to carefully learning the military practice of the Romans at the time of Caesar, and in order to make his forthcoming history of Julius as perfect as study under favorable circumstances will permit caused an able and learned officer of artillery to ascertain the military costume, the arms, armor, accoutrements, trappings, and other warlike instruments including those proper for siege service, the camp and the field, and to reconstruct the same in the most perfect manner that care and boundless wealth allowed. At the Tuileries has been formed a museum of such articles, derived from ancient sculptures, descriptions, and drawings on pottery, etc.; there appear the tents, wagons, standards, haversacks, straps, boats, bridge machinery, shovels, the balista, falarica, catapult, bow and arrow. Each has been carefully reproduced and fitted for use, so that when the author desired to see a tribune, centurion, decurion, or private soldier exactly as Caesar saw him, all that needed to be done was to call a Cent Garde and clothe him from the museum. The ghost of Caesar himself might be invoked with even less of fear than Brutus had, and the "Ay, at Philippi," of the unmatchable spirit have no terror for his successor.

THE CRISIS OF THE BATTLE.—In one of the battles on the Mississippi, the Confederate General Pillow called out to one of his officers, in his usual pompous style, "Captain Duncan, fire! the crisis has come," Duncan, without saying a word, turned to his men who were standing by their guns, already spotted and primed, and simply called out, "Fire!" The men were slightly surprised at the order, there being no particular object within range, e hen an old gray headed Irish sergeant stepped up, "Plaze yer Honor, what shall we fire at ?" "Fire at the crisis," said Duncan. "Didn't you hear the General say it had come?"

THE SOVEREIGNS OF EUROPE.—There are in Europe forty three reigning Sovereigns, not including those who possess titles only. Of those forty three nine belong to the Roman Catholic religion, but one of that number is excommunicated; thirty one are Protestants, one is of the orthodox Greek Church, one a Mohammedan, and the forty third is the Pope. The Catholics are two Emperors Austria and France; four Kings or Queens Bavaria, Spain, Portugal, and Saxony ; two Princes of Lichtenstein and Monaco. The excommunicated Sovereign is King Victor Emanuel. The thirty one who protest the Roman Catholic religion are the nine Kings or Queens of Great Britain, Prussia, Sweden, and Norway, Denmark, Holland, of the Belgians, Hanover, Greece, and Wurtemburg; six Grand Dukes Haden, Hesse Cassel, Mecklenburg Schwerin, Mecklenburg Strelitz, Oldenburg, and Saxe-Weimar ; seven Dukes Anhalt, Brunswick, Nassau, Saxe Meiningen, Saxe Altenburg, Saxe Coburg, and Schleswig Holstein; nine Princes Lippe Detmold, Lippe Shaumberg, Reuss Greiz, Reuss Schleiz, Schwalburg Rudolstadt, Schwarzburg Sonderhausen, and Waldeck : one Elector Hesse Darmstadt ; one Landgrave Hesse Homburg. The orthodox Greek Sovereign is the Emperor of Russia, and the Mussulman Sovereign the Sultan. There are besides in Europe seven republics, two exclusively Catholic San Marino and Andorre ; and five where the majority of the inhabitants are Protestants Switzerland, Bremen, Frankfort, and Lubeck.

A ROMANCE OF THE HAREM.—A Constantinople letter says: "Rare as are conversions from Mussulmauism to Christianity, or from the latter to Islamism, fewer still are the instances in which the proselytes to either faith are women. One of these very exceptional cases has, however, just occurred, in which the neophyte is a young Belgian girl named Cordelier the niece of the proprietress of a well known English shop in Pera who, despite all the popular errors as to the status of women in the Prophet's paradise, has risked every thing and gone boldly over to the faith of Mecca for love of a seductive young Bey. For some months past she has been in the habit of going frequently to harems in Stamboul to take millinery orders, and, in the course of these visits, appears to have made the acquaintance of the young Effendi in question. The acquaintanceship was entirely unknown to her aunt, who, on her sudden disappearance, on Sunday week, remained for several hours in anxious ignorance of her whereabouts. Late in the evening, however, is note from the fair runaway put an end to her relative's suspense by announcing the step she had taken, and firmly stating her determination to embrace her lover's faith in spite of every opposition. A personal interview, on the following day, at the Turkish house near the Atbazar where she had taken sanctuary, failed to shake this resolution; and, accordingly, on Tuesday she went before the cadi and made the first of the necessary declarations which precede formal admission into the pale of Islam. The Belgian Legation then interfered, and later in the week the young convert who is about nineteen years of age, and possesses the buxom personal attractions which are dear to the eyes of Eastern connoisseurs was brought before the Minister of Foreign Affairs, in company with her national dragoman. Here, again, she declared her resolute purpose to abjure Christianity, in spite of all that either A'ali Pacha or the dragoman could do to urge reflection before finally committing herself to so grave a step. In view of this obstinacy the Belgian authorities now deny her right to make the change, on the ground of non-age ; and as the Porte temporarily accedes to the objection her final reception into Mussulmanism is suspended until the receipt from Brussels of specific proof of her age. The affair has been the nine days' talk of Pera."

AN IRISH SCHOOLMASTER PUT OUT.—A country school teacher, preparing for an exhibition of his school, selected a class of pupils and wrote down the questions which he would put to them on examination fay. The day had arrived, and so did the hopefuls, all but one. The pupils took their places as had been arranged, and all went on glibly until the question of the absentee came, when the teacher asked, "In whom do you believe?" "Napoleon Bonaparte," was the answer quickly returned. "You believe in the Holy Catholic Church, do you not?" "No," said the youngster, amidst roars of laughter; "the boy that believes in that Church hasn't come to school to day ; he's at home sick abed."

THE CROWN OF MEXICO.—It may not be forgotten that a member of the Bonaparte family was offered forty years ago the Crown of Mexico. The story is told by the Emperor himself in his sketch of Joseph, eldest brother of the first Napoleon: "While Joseph was living as a philosopher on the banks of the Delaware, thinking of nothing but of doing good to those around him, he received a proposal which surprised and touched him. A deputation of Mexicans came to him to place at his disposal the Crown of Mexico. The ex-King of Naples and Spain answered the deputation in nearly these terms: 'I have borne two Crowns, and I would not take a single step for a third. Nothing can be more flattering to me than to see men who, when I was in Madrid, refused to recognize my authority, come now in my exile to ask of use to put myself at their head. But I do not believe that the throne you wish to raise up can make you happy; and every day I spend on the hospitable soil of the United States proves to me more and more the excellence of republican institutions for America. Preserve them, then, as the precious gift of Providence. Put an end to your intestine quarrels; imitate the United States, and look out among your fellow citizens for some one more capable than I am to play the great part of Washington.'"


 

 

  

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