1864 Presidential Race


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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.



NOT a sound, not a breath,

All as silent as death,

As we stand on the steep in our bayonet's shine; All is tumult below

Surging friend, surging foe;

But not a hair's-breadth moves our adamant line Waiting so grimly.

The battle-smoke lifts

From the valley, and drifts

Bound the hill, where we stand like a pall for the world; And a glimpse now and then

Shows the billows of men,

In whose black boiling surge we are soon to be hurled—Redly and dimly.

There's the word! Ready all!

See the serried points fall--

The grim horizontal so bright and so bare!

Then the other word—Ha!    We are moving! Huzza!

We snuff the burnt powder, we plunge in the glare—Rushing to glory!

Down the hill, up the glen, O'er the bodies of men,

Then on, with a cheer, to the roaring redoubt!

Why stumble so, Ned? No answer. He's dead!

And there's Dutch Peter down, with his life leaping out,

Crimson and gory !

On! on! Do not think

Of the falling, but drink

Of, the mad, living cataract-torrent of war!

On! "on! let them feel

The cold vengeance of steel!

Catch the Captain—he's hit! ' Tis a scratch—nothing mare! Forward forever!

Huzza! Here's the trench! In and out of it! Wrench

From the jaws of the cannon the guerdon of Fame! Charge! charge! with a yell, Like the shriek of a shell

O'er the abatis, on through the curtain of flame!

Back again? Never!

The rampart! 'Tis crossed

It is ours! It is lost!    No—another dash now and the glacis is won! Huzza! What a dust!

Hew them down! Cut and thrust!

A T-i-g-a-r! brave lads, for the red work is done—Victory! victory!

There's a lull in the fight.

In the glad morning light,

I stand on the works, looking back there, with pain, Where the death-dew of war

Stains the daisy's white star,

And God's broken images scatter the plain.

Hush! Do not speak to me!




THE divisions in the Union ranks are, as we have been always sure they would be, healed. Mr. FREMONT has withdrawn his name from the canvass in a letter far from magnanimous. Mr. COCHRANE has taken strong ground against the Chicago principles and candidates. But much more important is the fact that Mr. CHASE, Mr. WADE, and Mr. WINTER DAVIS

have waived their differences with the Administration upon certain points of policy, and recognizing that there are, and can be, but two parties in this contest, are devoting themselves earnestly to the triumph of the Union and the Government as represented by ABRAHAM LINCOLN and ANDREW JOHNSON.

This frank and hearty union for the sake of union is but one of the innumerable auguries of success which are every where revealing themselves. The doubt of a few weeks since has entirely disappeared. The uncertainty has been utterly dissipated by the Chicago Convention and its candidates—one of whom is an honest and confessed secessionist, while the other looks for his support to the party which either justifies or excuses the rebellion.

Until the Chicago party made their platform and nominations there was a chance, although not much hope, that they might take the path which any truly great leader would have seen to be the only possible way to success ; and the doubt in the public mind a few weeks since arose from the uncertainty whether they would do this. If DOUGLAS had been living the Chicago Convention would not have been managed by the men who controlled it, nor would it have hoped to carry a Presidential election by appealing to national cowardice and relying upon national disgrace. The nomination of Mr. PENDLETON, an extreme State-Sovereignty man, was the victory of JOHN C. CALHOUN over ANDREW JACKSON, of Nullification over Union ; and in surrendering to the ghost of CALHOUN and the threats of South Carolina, ,the Chicago party, usurping the name of Democracy, surrendered the Nation, the Union, and the Government.

It was evident that the public mind would be relieved by the action of the Convention. If by any miracle it should pronounce for a more vigorous war and for the emancipation policy, as a ground of permanent peace, and nominate a man like General Dix, any loyal man, as we have before said, would feel that the canvass was only a generous rivalry of patriotism. Yet such an action as this was no more to be reasonably expected from a Convention officered and managed as the Chicago assembly was sure to be—and as it was—than fidelity to the Union was to be expected in Davis or TOOMBS. Still

there were many who loved the Democratic  name, and who hoped against hope. But when the Chicago party met, declared their principles, and nominated their candidates, the situation was so plain, the consequences of their success so palpable, that no man who did not believe DAVIS to be in the right could possibly support the Chicago action. It was at once evident that all old Democrats who valued the Government more than party must vote for the candidates who represented the unconditional maintenance of the Government ; while all old Republicans, however they might differ upon points of policy with the President, could not fail to see that either he must be re-elected or the Government would be overthrown.

It is not surprising, therefore, that McCLELLAN'S and PENDLETON'S chances have been decreasing ever since they were nominated. The case is too plain. Nobody denies that there are men at the North who wish well to the rebellion —men who, with Mr. PENDLETON, deny the right of the Government to enforce the laws—men who would willingly raise a counter revolution to secure the success of DAVIS and his confederates—and nobody denies that all such persons are ardent supporters of McCLELLAN and PENDLETON. But the mass of the American people do not wish well to the rebellion—they do believe that the Government has the right and the power to maintain itself, and they do not desire a counter-revolution to help Davis. And as they are now shut up to a choice between LINCOLN and JOHNSON and McCLELLAN and PENDLETON, seeing in the two first named men whom the rebellion and all its apologists bitterly hate, and in the last two men whom the friends of the rebellion ardently support, they are in doubt no longer, and are as sure of victory SHERIDAN was when he attacked EARLY.


GENERAL SHERMAN is as terrible a fighter with the pen as with the sword ; and it is an instructive commentary upon our progress in the art of war to compare his letter to the Mayor of Atlanta with that of the other General SHERMAN at Port Royal in the beginning of the struggle.

The rebel Generals have canted throughout the conflict as lustily as the Northern Copperheads. From BEAUREGARD'S " Booty and Beauty" proclamation before the first Bull Run battle, down to HOOD'S charge of "studied and ungenerous cruelty," there has been a steady stream of cant from the mouths of the rebel civil chiefs and military leaders, as well as from all their friends at the North and in Europe.

The war has been described as " fratricidal," " sanguinary," " inhuman," " terrible." Of course it is. All war is. And how fearful, therefore, is their responsibility who begin it. The Copperhead orators and papers are very fond of this strain. If SHERIDAN wins a victory, or SHERMAN, or FARRAGUT, or GRANT, these people fall to shedding tears and bemoaning the families made wretched. Tears enough must indeed be shed, hearts broken, and homes desolated so long as the war lasts. Why, then, do not these canting Mawworms entreat their friends the public enemies to lay down their arms and give us peace ? If the Copperhead heart is so wrung with the misery of wounded soldiers and wretched families, let it urge the deluded men who are resisting the Government which never harmed them to submit to the laws which they themselves helped to make.

When the haughty leaders of the rebels threatened the country before the attack on Sumter, when they declared that if they could not have their own way they would overthrow the Government and dissolve the Union, why did not these plaintive Copperheads hiss them down, and recount to them the horrors of the war which they were provoking ? Instead of that they told the friends of the Union and the Constitution that if they did not submit to the menaces of those leaders, they, the loyal men, would be responsible for the bloodshed ! That is to say, if you awake and find a ruffian with his hand at

your wife's throat, you are guilty, if in the struggle she is hurt.

That is the contemptible cant which crops out in the Chicago platform, and in all the harangues and papers of the Chicago party. The war is shocking, they say, and ought to stop. Certainly it ought, and when those who began it choose to stop fighting it will end. Meanwhile the American people will fight them—spelling fight as SHERIDAN is reported to spell it, "f-i-g-h-t, kill"—until they do choose to stop.

General SHERMAN says to the Mayor of Atlanta what every true heart in the land confirms and approves : " War is cruelty and you can not refine it : and those who brought war on our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out   You might as well appeal against the thunder storm as against these terrible hardships of war. They are inevitable, and the only way the people of Atlanta can hope once more to live in peace and quiet at home is to stop this war, which can alone be done by admitting that it began in error and is perpetuated in pride   Now that war comes home to you you feel very different—you deprecate its horrors, but did not feel them when you sent car loads of soldiers and ammunition, and

moulded shell and shot to carry war into Kentucky and Tennessee, and desolate the homes of hundreds and thousands of good people who only asked to live in peace at their old homes and under the Government of their inheritance.

I want peace, and believe it can only be reached through Union and war, and I will ever conduct war purely with a view to perfect and early success."   

So in his reply to HOOD'S canting talk about "cruelty" General SHERMAN says : "Talk thus to the marines but not to me, who have seen these things.   If we must be enemies, let us be men and fight it out as we propose today, and not deal in such hypocritical appeals to God and humanity."

Fighting is bad enough under any circumstances, but canting is a great deal worse.


MR. JAMES GUTHRIE, one of the makers of the Chicago platform, asks, in a late speech in Indiana, " Who dares say that we shall not have. peace upon the basis of the integrity of the Federal Union ?"

Mr. GEORGE H. PENDLETON, who, with General GEORGE B. McCLELLAN, stands upon Mr. GUTHRIE'S platform, and for whom, as Vice-President of the United States, Mr. GUTHRIE intends to vote, is the man who dares to say it. Mr. PENDLETON says frankly: "If your differences are so great that you can not or will not reconcile them, then, gentlemen, let the seceding States depart in peace."

That is peace upon the basis of the dissolution of the Union. Mr. GUTHRIE is answered by his own candidate.


THERE are some supporters of the Chicago nominations who say that it is unfair to charge them with practical disunionism. They declare that they are as good Union men as are to be found. They point to McCLELLAN'S letter, and insist that it is a Union letter.

But these gentlemen will remember that BRECKINRIDGE called himself very loudly "a Union man" in 1860. His supporters were indignant if they were charged with want of fidelity to the Union ; and they declared that they were, in fact, the only National party.

So to claim to be a Union man is not enough. And if any voter sincerely believes that the Union ought to be and can be maintained, and the authority of the Government re-established over the whole country, and that the war should be prosecuted until that result is achieved, how can he conscientiously support a nomination which, to say the least, is only half way for the Union ? Suppose General McCLELLAN could be separated from his supporters, and their leaders, and their platform, and their policy—which comprise all the disunion elements in the country—how can he be torn from his companion upon the ticket ? Mr. ROBERT C. WINTHROP kicks over the platform—does he also kick over one of the candidates upon it ? He knows, and every body knows, that McCLELLAN can not be voted for without PENDLETON. If McCLELLAN should be elected and die—as Presidents HARRISON and TAYLOR did—then Mr. PENDLETON becomes President, and he will have been made so by the votes of, Mr. WOOD, Mr. WINTHROP, Captain RYNDERS, and their friends. The President of the United States would then be a disunionist. But if Mr. LINCOLN be reelected, and by his decease Mr. ANDREW JOHNSON should become President, there would be as true and tried a Union man in the chair as if the President had lived.

How can any honorable Union man justify his course in taking such a risk as that of elevating Mr. PENDLETON to the Presidency ? There is only one way, and that is by saying, " Oh ! well, General McCLELLAN isn't going to die." Possibly; but still even he may be mortal ; and if it should turn out that he was, how could any sincere Unionist ever excuse himself to his own heart for helping elect a President who believes that JEFFERSON DAVIS is perfectly right ? Let Union men, whatever their personal preferences may be, ponder the following extracts, and remember that, if they vote at all, they must vote for one or the other of the speakers.

In the Congress of 1860-'61 Mr. PENDLETON was a representative from Ohio, and Mr. JOHNSON a Senator from Tennessee. When the secession movement began Mr. PENDLETON in an elaborate speech said ;

" If your differences are so great that you can not or will not reconcile them, then, gentlemen, let the seceding States depart in peace; let them establish their government and empire, and work out their destiny according to the wisdom which God has given them."

Mr. PENDLETON is, in fact, a disunionist of the extremest Calhoun school, and holds exactly the same views now as then. In the same Session ANDREW JOHNSON said :

"I will not give up this Government that is now called an experiment, which some are prepared to abandon for a constitutional monarchy. No. I intend to stand by it; and I entreat every man throughout the nation, who is a , patriot, and who has seen, and is compelled to admit the success of this great experiment, to come forward not in heat, not in fanaticism, not in haste, not in precipitancy, but in. deliberation, in full view of all that is before us, in the spirit of brotherly love and fraternal affection, and

rally around the altar of our common country, and lay the Constitution upon it as our lest libation, and swear by our God and all that is sacred and holy, that the Constitution shall be saved and the Union preserved."

Which of these two men—however blameless the character of each may be—would every true Union man wish to see President of the United States ?


THE Richmond Dispatch, stung to fury by EARLY'S defeat, cries out :

" The Yankees are the most mercenary of God's creatures. If the ministry of our Saviour had been among them instead of the Jews, instead of lasting three years it would not have lasted three days. Some Yankee Judas would have sold him in less than half that time. And yet the Yankee loves his life better even than his interest ; and when the universal nation finds that nothing but death is to be gotten by coming here, they will conclude that it does not pay, and will give it up. The best road to peace lies through the blood of the Yankees. The more we kill, the nearer we approach to peace."

This is precisely the view which the PENDLETON-McCLELLAN Convention takes of the American people; and it proposes to those people to justify the view by surrendering their Government to such armed enemies. If they really were what the rebel paper says and the Chicago party believes, they would submit at once. But as they are not, they will say, " No, thank you," at the ballot box on the 8th of November, as forcibly as SHERIDAN, SHERMAN, FARRAGUT, and GRANT say it from their shotted guns.


IT is in vain that General McCLELLAN, in stepping upon the Chicago Platform and placing himself by the side of Mr. PENDLETON, says : The Union at all hazards."

If he is for the Union at all hazards, why is he the candidate of all who repudiate the Union ?

If he is for the Union at all hazards, why is he the fellow candidate of Mr. PENDLETON, who lately thanked God that he " had never voted or given a dollar in support of the war, or in payment of abolition soldiers ?"

If he is for the Union at all hazards, why is he the candidate of a Convention which declares the war a failure, calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities, and asks for a Convention to surrender the authority of the Government?

If he is for the Union at all hazards, why has he accepted the Chicago nomination without a word of protest against its assumption that the war is a failure, and without a syllable of dissent from its base proposition to surrender the Government by treating with rebels and offering conditions of obedience to the laws ?

If he is for the Union at all hazards, why is he supported by every advocate of State rights against the sovereignty of the Union?

If he is for the Union at all hazards, why does HORATIO SEYMOUR support him, who says that if the Union can not be maintained without emancipation, the Union must go that Slavery may be saved ?

If he is for the Union at all hazards, why did the rebel Senator SEMMES lately say at Jackson, " Our (the rebel) hopes for an early peace are dependent entirely on the success of the Democratic party at the North in the approaching Presidential election ?

If he is for the Union at all hazards, why do the rebel disunion papers declare that " the influence of the South, more powerful in the shock of battle than when throwing our minority vote in an electoral college, will be cast in favor of McCLELLAN ?

If he is for the Union at all hazards, why does the news of Union victories decrease his chances of election?


THE great light which has been shining in the Shenandoah Valley has illuminated the political situation so that it is impossible to misunderstand it. The Richmond Examiner says that " every defeat of LINCOLN'S forces inures to the advantage of McCLELLAN." The Charleston Courier says that the victory of the rebels "insures the success of McCLELLAN; their failure insures his defeat." Have not the Shenandoah victories illustrated the strict truth of these remarks? Have not the political friends and opponents of the Chicago candidate been equally aware that events were confirming the indignant protest of the national heart against the cowardly declaration that the war is a failure, and that we must hasten to implore terms of our victors? Have they not all equally known that the glad bulletins of SHERIDAN'S successes came like tidings of defeat to the Chicago doctrines and their candidates ?

Are the American people conquered ? That is the question which the election decides. The friends of McCLELLAN and PENDLETON declare that they are ; those of LINCOLN and JOHNSON insist that they are not. Therefore, if the tide of battle in the Shenandoah had turned against us, the McCLELLAN-PENDLETON party would have said, "There ! we told yon so. It's no use trying. We are whipped, and we may as well own it at the polls as we did at Chicago." If tomorrow news should come that SHERMAN had been driven front Atlanta and GRANT from (Next Page)




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