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Civil War Harper's Weekly, October 8, 1864

Welcome to our collection of Harper's Weekly newspapers. These papers, published during the Civil War years, contain incredible reports and analysis of the key events of the war. They also have impressive drawings of the key people and battles in the war.

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General Phil Sheridan

Presidential Race

1864 Presidential Race

Battle of Fisher's Hill

Atlanta, Georgia


Virginia Map

General Russell

General Russell

General Sherman in Camp

Battle of Winchester

Battle of Winchester

Battle of Winchester

Siege of Petersburg

Siege of Petersburg

Peace Cartoon






OCTOBER 8, 1864.]



(Previous Page) Petersburg, the same party would exult in the rebel triumph, and see in the national humiliation and disgrace the grounds of hope for their candidates. On the other hand, if Richmond should fall before November, would there be much doubt of the election of the Union candidates ?

Facts like these tell the whole story. The cause and the candidates which are helped by the victories of GRANT and SHERIDAN, of SHERMAN and FARRAGUT, are the cause and candidates of the country. But the party whose prospects improve with the defeat of American soldiers and sailors is not the party that any loyal American heart supports.


IN the midst of a heroic and successful war to maintain the Government against traitors in arms a Major-General of the United States army accepts the nomination for the Presidency, offered him by a Convention in which every enemy of that Government was represented, and the leaders of which were fresh from interviews with foreign agents and rebel emissaries in Canada. This Major-General accepts the nomination of a Convention which, on the eve of the fall of Atlanta, calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities, and just as SHERIDAN in the Shenandoah lifts his hand to strike declares the war to be a failure. The Major-General accepts, and has not a word of censure for such craven and un-American sentiments as these, but has plenty to say of conciliation and statesmanship.

Yet on the very day when the electrified land thrilled with the glad tidings from SHERIDAN, when every loyal heart was devoutly thanking God for victory, and overflowing in gratitude to the brave soldiers who had given it to us, this Major-General is called upon by a number of his fellow-citizens. There is scarcely a civilian in the land whose joy in the victory would not have leaped from his lips in exulting strains; but this Major-General, who had been formerly very fond of speaking of " my own army," and of " sharing the fate" of his soldiers, did not utter a solitary word of sympathy or admiration of the army of the Shenandoah, and did not make the least allusion to the great victory.

Why did he not ? Because the crowd were his political supporters, and he knew that such news was not welcome to them.

But there was another General that heard the news, and he—Lieutenant-General GRANT sent his hearty congratulations to SHERIDAN and his men, and ordered a salute of a hundred shotted guns to be fired against the enemy's lines in honor of the Shenandoah victory.

And there was another crowd that heard the same news. It was the army before Petersburg. And they hailed the tidings from their comrades with such jubilant shows that they were heard in Petersburg, and conveyed to the rebels the first news of their defeat.

Which was the Union crowd? Which means the Union at all hazards ?


IT is pleasant to know that our paper goes to the army, and that its sentiments are approved at the front. We can not be far wrong if the men who are periling their lives for the cause send us back a cheer. We receive many letters of recognition, which have always a hearty welcome if we can not find room to print them. But here is one which is sure to interest our readers. It is from a cavalry private:

"NEAR PETERSBURG, VA., September, 1864.

" Editor Harper's Weekly:

" SIR,—I am a soldier this last three years, and intend to be during the war. I read your paper, and as a soldier I sincerely thank you for the manly, patriotic tone it bears.

" During the last two months I stood picket every alternate day within 400 yards of the rebels, and have very frequently exchanged your Weekly for the Richmond journals. During that time I have read at least two every day of their papers, and am conversant with their views of the war and of peace. During the same time I have conversed with at least 100 of their men representing different States, while we met between the lines. As a whole, they place little reliance on their own journals, and look to ours for the news, and, I must here say, sympathy. They have told me that they do not expect to whip us themselves, but expect their friends the Copperheads—i. e., Democrats—to decide the contest in their favor at the right moment. I expect they mean next election.

" The Virginians are by far our strongest opponents. They rule the Confederacy; their Generals lead the armies. They are the men we want to catch. They think they are able to whip the whole North alone. Their State has been completely devastated by our armies, and in consequence they have lost every thing, so they are very defiant.

" North Carolina is a Conservative, lukewarm State, and wishes they were out of the war.

" South Carolinians are appalled at our resources, and think it is all up with them; still, as they were first in, they can't very well back out. If Atlanta and Mobile are taken the Georgians will not have much to say any way. Alabama ditto. Mississippi same. Now what is left that is formidable ? Nothing but LEE and his army.

" We soldiers are for no peace while a rebel lives. No compromise, no armistice; but we are for subjugation, confiscation, emancipation, and annihilation.

"The blood of the best of our land calls for this. Their children must and shall have a home in the land of their slavers.

I shall cast my first vote this election, and it will be for an honest man, ABE LINCOLN.

" The Chicago nominee, whoever he will be, will be either a traitor or will be governed by traitors.

" If SEYMOUR is a Democrat so is JEFF DAVIS; so were all the Southern statesmen; so are all the rebel Generals ; so

was the man who shot my best friend. A Copperhead would say ANDREW JACKSON was a Democrat; but ANDREW was down on all seceders or rebels of any name; and if he was President he would have put the Governor of the mighty State of New York in Fort Lafayette, not so bad a place, Messrs. Chicago Conventionists, as Belle Isle with crows picking at you.

"I sha'n't say much of McCLELLAN. The rebels think too much of him for me.

" We will vote for old ABE, and we are in earnest. If you were here at this moment and heard the shells bursting over us you would think so too.

" Persevere, Mr. Editor. You will win, and we will. Then we will have a meeting—a peace meeting."


WE are glad to know that the pictures published in the Weekly are felt to be helpers in the good cause. From among the letters from all parts of the country approving them, we select this hearty one from a Captain in the Michigan Cavalry :

" MR. EDITOR,—Allow me to suggest that those two excellent designs of Mr. NAST—' Compromise with the South,' and ' Blessings of Victory'—published in your Weekly, be offered to the public on durable paper, that they may be framed and hung up in every hotel, railroad depot, and other places of general resort throughout the North, as being the most truthful and powerful explanations of the issues to be settled by our armies and by the November election.

"I am here recovering from a wound received before Atlanta, and when I return to my regiment I shall carry with me those pictures to show to my boys, though your truly loyal and superior paper circulates so generally in the army that they may see them before my return ; but I shall make sure of it."


A LETTER from an officer in SHERMAN'S army shows how firmly fixed its heart is upon unconditional surrender, and how it despises the peace that is to be bought by national dishonor and cowardice :

" ATLANTA, GEORGIA, September 14, 1864.

" Thanks for the picture in Harper's Weekly in honor of the nameless heroes dead. It only remains now to give us one commemorative of the living heroes laying down their arms, and humbly suing pardon of JEFF Davis and his cohorts for the pain and grief caused them by our most unjustifiable and uncalled for invasion of their 'rights.' Can't we have it?

" Let the long procession begin with the President of the United States reading backward all his declarations in favor of the Union, all his warnings to the insurgents, all his words of hope and encouragement to the enslaved, every good and true sentiment which he has spoken as the head of a great nation. Let the Lieutenant-General commending the armies recross and erase all the lines of battle on which he has fought it out thus far, and return a dishonored waster of human life to his little place at Galena. Let SHERMAN, and THOMAS, and FARRAGUT, and all the rest lay down their swords, tear off their coats of blue, and their badges of rank, and, clad in dingy butternut or dirty gray, receive at the hands of the triumphant arch conspirator new commissions of a rank befitting those who have spent profitless years in an unholy war, and accept service under the orders of those chivalric men who have striven with superhuman energy to build up a black despotism on the ruins of the republic. Let the long procession close with the countless multitudes of those brave men who have risked all the storms and dangers of the battle field, returning cowed and despairing, and ragged and unpaid, to their homes—scarce home any more—their banners dragged in the dust, the scorn and derision of the cowards and knaves who had enriched themselves by the peace which these soldiers had kept at the North by forming the living wall against the desolation of hostile armies.

" I can not but think that it is to just such an entertainment as this that our Chicago friends, if they succeed, have invited us. The Dunciad doesn't contain a sadder picture. Really that which has wakened the most anxiety in our minds in the latter days or this campaign, now so happily ended, has not been the enemy in our front but that in our rear. It was not so much the bullets of Hood's army which gave us apprehension as the feeling that while we were all trying, so many, too, at the sacrifice of life it-self, to save the nation, even to the extremity of new-creating it, if so be we must, so large a number, that they boasted themselves a majority of people belonging to the nation of which we too are a part, should be doing all they could to alienate that nation from us. I wonder if these men really knew what they were doing? Is it possible that they want, now in the hour of our approaching triumph, to turn their backs on this glorious history, and treat us as if we did not exist?

"This army is a unit, and means that the nation shall be also. For the utterances at Chicago, so full of discord, and lacking every thing in which any true American can take pride, it has nothing but contempt. I do not know but we shall yet be called upon to give the greatest proof yet of the devotion of the army to the Union in again and again risking the lives of these brave men on the battlefield to save to these demented people the blessings which they spurn from them. I thought, at the outbreak of the war, that we should only have to do that for our Southern enemies ; and now I begin to think we must do it for the North likewise Pray do not let any thing like apathy, or indifference, or failure to say and do the right thing, lose us the great object of all our struggles, and so imperil the future of the country and of humanity."


WHILE the army and navy are pressing on in front, the soldiers and sailors are remembered at home. The Sanitary Fairs, which have already carried so much consolation and assistance to the field, are not yet at an end--nor, we hope, will they be while one soldier is exposed to wounds and sickness and danger. The Western Illinois Sanitary Fair will open on the 11th of October, at Quincy, Illinois, and appeals now to the sympathy and aid of all the generous and patriotic hearts in the land. Illinois has contributed nearly 200,000 men to the army and navy, and, as the circular truly says :

" From Belmont to Mission Ridge, throughout the long list of battles and victories which have immortalized the career of that Great Captain whom our State has furnished to the chief command of the Army; from Resaca to Atlanta, along the route of the great Georgia campaign, which stands unrivaled in all the chronicles of war, and in the remoter conflicts in Virginia and the States along the coast, the soldiers of Illinois have ever been among the first to hurl hack the legions of the enemy and secure victory to our arms."

Illinois soldiers stand by the Union ; let the

Union stand by the Illinois soldiers. The address of the General Agent, to whom contributions may be sent, is Colonel JAMES T. TUCKER, office of Miner's Central Railroad, 31 Nassau Street, New York.


In speaking, a few weeks since, of General SEYMOUR'S admirable letter after his return from Charleston, we implied that his sympathies had been rather with "the South" than against it. We have received a letter from a friend of the General's, dated " In the field, near Petersburg," for which we can not find room entirely, but most gladly insert what we can :

"EDITOR OF ' HARPER'S WEEKLY,'-You unintentionally do injustice to General SEYMOUR in your last editorial. You say, after referring to his capture and imprisonment, ' and could not be suspected of any peculiar prejudice against the rebels, for he had no political sympathies against them.' How is this? General SEYMOUR has the same prejudices, if you call them such, against the rebels that all high minded, chivalrous soldiers of the Union have, and he certainly never has had any political sympathies with them. Great injustice has been done to General SEYMOUR in accusing him of proslaveryism, and all that sort of thing. Because he bears the same name with a couple of public men whose loyalty, to say the least, is of a very mild type, he has been supposed to be of the same politics, and one journal at least has asserted that he is their cousin. General SEYMOUR'S father is a venerable Methodist clergyman, of the Troy Conference, and the General has never been recreant to the anti-slavery principles taught him in his boyhood.

" True it is that, in common with most West Point officers, he has not believed that officers of the regular army should be politicians, at least violent partisans ; but never has he uttered a word to indicate sympathy with the cause of the South. When in Charleston, before the rebellion (he had spent seven years there altogether), they used to call him an Abolitionist—or at least some did.

" It is true that he is opposed to the idea that an officer should secure promotion merely by his political opinions, believing that merit as a soldier should be the sole ground. 

"I know what efforts he made to arouse the Government in 1860, foreseeing, as he did, that the rebels meant fight. He foresaw the war long before, and refused the Presidency of the North Carolina Military Institute to which he had been elected, chiefly on that account. He comprehended the war at the very beginning. The day after he arrived from Fort Sumter he said that the President should at once call out 500,000 men, for we were going to have a great war   

"His letter has struck a chord responsive in every loyal heart in the army. We are neither going to submit to peace-men at home nor yield to Southern rebels. We intend to fight it out, and compel all rebels every where to obey the laws of the land.

" We shall vote for Mr. LINCOLN—not because we care a fig about him personally, and some things in his administration we especially dislike—his large assortment of political Brigadier and Major Generals, for instance—but because we believe he is necessary to the Union. To lay him aside would be to ignominiously give up the contest. We find fault with him because, while we have been shedding our blood in defending the country against traitors, he has allowed men at home to talk treason and publish it, and hinder the draft and discourage enlistments, and encourage the rebels to continued resistance. But we are not on this account going to throw ourselves into the arms of those who take traitors into their counsels, and honor them and adopt their speeches as their party platform. God forbid that we should so stultify ourselves ! God for-bid that we should to dishonor the memories of the illustrious dead, whose blood poured out here has made the soil sacred indeed—consecrated it to liberty and law forever!"

Our correspondent speaks warmly of the injustice which he believes has been done to General SEYMOUR by not promoting him. We hope sincerely that his merit may be properly recognized; but meanwhile we can assure his friend who writes us that the General has promoted himself to the honorable admiration and respect of every loyal American.


WE learn from the circular of Messrs. FISK and HATCH, bankers in New York, that this patriotic loan, of which we have already spoken at length, is being rapidly taken. Its advantages are briefly that it pays a certain rate of interest, unaffected by the fluctuations in gold and larger than upon ordinary investments ; it is convertible in three years into bonds precisely like the Five-Twenties now in such immense demand ; it directly aids the Government, and consequently enhances the value of all Government securities. There can be no investment safer or more promising. The notes are issued in denominations of $50, $100, $500, $1000, $5000.



SHERIDAN'S important victories in the Shenandoah Valley have very much simplified General Grant's combinations for the defeat of General Lee's army and the capture of the rebel capital. The campaign in the West had hardly been sealed with victory before the roar of Sheridan's cannon was heard in Early's rear. The first step taken by General Grant, in the execution of his grand campaign last May, was an attempt to put his army between Lee and Richmond. In this he failed of success. He then attempted to take Petersburg by assault, and thus cut Lee off from his Southern communications. In this also he failed. He then placed his left wing firmly on the Weldon Railroad. This was the first decisive success of the Virginia campaign. In order to appreciate the position of the two armies after the occupation of the Weldon Road we need to glance at the other communications which connect Lee's army with the Confederacy. Of the four railroads which enter Richmond, two, viz., the Fredericksburg and the York River railroads, are of no account ; they drain a country already exhausted. But the Gordonsville Road, connecting Richmond with the fertile valley of the Shenandoah, was of great importance. But it was not of sufficient importance to justify Lee in keeping a strong force in the Valley. It was, indeed, a part of Early's mission to guard this communication; but a more important part of that mission was to cover the approach to Lynchburg. It was evident to Lee that one of the first things which Grant would attempt would be an advance on Lynchburg, and the same army would, in its advance, also completely destroy the Gordonsville used. After the occupation of the Weldon Road the safety of Lynchburg became absolutely essential to the maintenance by Lee of any defensive position in Virginia. For Lynchburg was then the key to all the communications left to the rebel army. Once captured

by the Federal forces and made a military station, it could be held by a small army, and made the centre of a new system of operations on the west side of Richmond. The investment of the rebel capital would then be as complete as was that of Atlanta when Sherman transferred his army to a position on the Macon Road. There would then be but a single alternative to the evacuation of Richmond, and consequently of Virginia, viz., a pitched battle. To await the result of a siege would be fatal to Lee's army. To defend Lynchburg, then, is to defend Richmond.

Sheridan's victories, therefore, occurring at just this time, simplify the system of operations against the Virginia rebels.

These victories have put out of combat more than one half of Early's command, and have demoralized and paralyzed the other half. If Early is not heavily reinforced Lynchburg will certainly be captured. But to reinforce Early is to weaken Lee's own army. He may, indeed, succeed in saving Lynchburg, but it will take so many men to effect this that it will he at the risk of losing Richmond. An army on the defensive, strongly fortified, and holding an interior position, has great advantages; but in addition it must have strength of numbers when it becomes necessary to resist approaches made from so many points and at such distances from each other Richmond and Petersburg are over twenty miles apart. The line confronting Grant from Deep Bottom to a point west of the Weldon Road is over twenty miles long. Grant threatens Richmond from the north side of the James, and takes the Weldon Road. Lee's army, weak in numbers as compared with Grant's, dissipates its strength and weakens its advantage of position by these long lines of defense. There can be no doubt, in view of all these considerations, that the crisis of the war in Virginia is now come, and is indeed already nearly past.


After driving Early's columns through Winchester, September 19, Sheridan continued the pursuit. Three miles beyond Strasburg, at Fisher's Hill, Early made a stand, and on Thursday, the 22d, was attacked by Sheridan. At half past 3 o'clock Crook's command attacked the rebel left, throwing one of his divisions in their rear. At the same time the Sixth and Nineteenth Corps attacked in front. Crook's magnificent charge threw the enemy's left wing into disorder, and the position, which was considered almost impregnable, was abandoned together with twenty guns. Between one and two thousand prisoners were taken. The routed army pushed on down the Valley, the road behind them strewn with caissons, small arms, haversacks, and every other impediment to flight. Our loss was estimated at less than a thousand men. Kershaw's division of Longstreet's corps, which Early had detached to guard his communications, came up in time to take part in the battle, but too late to be of any use. On Friday morning, the 23d, Sheridan had reached Woodstock, having pursued the enemy all night.

Early was driven beyond Jackson Mountain without further resistance, and on Saturday night Sheridan had reached a point six miles south of New Market.


The following proclamation by Governor Brown, of Georgia, tells its own story :

MILLEDGEVILLE, Sept. 10, 1864.

General J. B. Hood, Commanding Army of Tennessee: GENERAL,—As the militia of the State were called out for the defense of Atlanta during the campaign against it which has terminated by the fall of the city into the hands of the enemy, and as many of them left their homes with out preparation, expecting to be gone but a few weeks, who have remained in service over three months (most of the time in the trenches), justice requires that they be permitted, while the enemy are preparing for the winter campaign, to return to their homes and look, for a time, after important interests, and prepare themselves for such service as may be required when another campaign commences against other important points in the State. I therefore hereby withdraw said organization from your command, in the hope that I shall be able to return it, with greater numbers and equal efficiency, when the interests of the public service requires it. In this connection, I beg leave to tender to you, General, my sincere thanks for your impartiality to the State troops, and for your uniform courtesy and kindness to me individually. With assurances of my high consideration and esteem,

I am, very respectfully, your humble servant, JOSEPH E. BROWN.

RETIREMENT OF FREMONT AND COCHRANE. September 22 General Fremont, in a letter to Messrs. George L. Stearns and others, publicly withdrew his name from the political contest for the sake of securing harmony in the Union party. The day before Cochrane had adopted a similar course. It will be remembered that Fremont and Cochrane were the nominees of the Cleveland Convention for President and Vice-President.


NEWS FOR LORD PAM.  LORD PALMERSTON, in his attitude toward the Southern Independence Association and the numerous abettors of secession in England, although he has steadfastly resisted the policy of recognizing the Confederacy, has yet invariably expressed the hope that the time would yet come for the adoption of that policy. This hope was expressed in very sanguine terms in a speech lately delivered at Tiverton. The following illustration represents the manner in which the noble lord will sink into his boots on receipt

of the news of Sherman's, Farragut's, and Sheridan's victories, which will doubtless convince the honorable gentleman that not only has his time not yet come, but that it is long gone by.





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