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Civil War Harper's Weekly, September 17, 1864

During the Civil War, Americans relied on Harper's Weekly as their primary source of news on the war. These newspapers contained detailed accounts of the battle, and insightful analyses of both the war and the politics of the day. Today, they make for incredible reading.

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Abraham Lincoln Comments on Civil War



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SEPTEMBER 17, 1864.]



(Previous Page) to make a proposition embracing the integrity of the Union and the abandonment of slavery will be heard. There is no bar in this, no limit. He does not say that no other proposition upon the same authority will be heard. But to end all mousing diplomacy and intrigue he frankly states the terms upon which, in his estimation, the American people can have peace.

But peace is always at the discretion of the rebels. When they lay down their arms and return to obedience to the laws the rebellion ends. Of course the Government must decide when it is satisfied that the rebels have laid down their arms, and it will take good care not to be betrayed by any false pretenses. But it can not fight without an enemy. And when the rebels leave the constitutionality of the executive acts where the President leaves it, to the Supreme Court, there will be peace, which will be long or short as the Court sustains or annuls the Proclamation.

But the purpose of the rebel leaders is much more earnest than Copperhead doctors believe; and they will yield when they are conquered, not before.


NEWSPAPERS have a bad habit of reporting what they wish to have believed as upon unquestionable authority, and it is often impossible to correct the most injurious and false statements made in this way. But General "BALDY" SMITH has lately effectually exposed this trick, and in a manner which is of the greatest service. One of the stalest and most hackneyed charges against the President is the assertion that he constantly interferes with military movements, and is the moving cause of all mishaps and disasters in the field. Before General GRANT'S campaign began we were gravely informed that if he succeeded it would be on account of his own skill, but if he failed it would be because the President had meddled with his plans. When General BUTLER'S movements were apparently less vigorous than the public, knowing nothing of the intentions of the campaign, thought they ought to be, we were told that such were the consequences of the President's insisting upon retaining civilians in military commands.

" In order to damage the Union cause a story of this kind was lately told, in which the name of General SMITH was used. The General immediately wrote a letter, in which he says:

" In your issue of the 24th is a statement from Washington which demands notice from me, especially as it is prefaced by the remark that it is given upon 'authority which may be regarded beyond contradiction.' The writer states that upon my return to the front I called upon General GRANT, reporting for duty, and then proceeds to say:

" Upon this General GRANT produced an order or letter of instructions from the President for the reinstatement of General BUTLER in full field command, from which he had been relieved by order of the Secretary of War, Mr. LINCOLN adding to General GRANT substantially as follows: 'Having reinstated General BUTLER in his former command as it was before the Secretary of War's late order, you will oblige me, personally, by exerting yourself to avoid all cause of difference or irritation with Major-General BUTLER, at least until after next election.'

" I had two interviews with General GRANT after my return, at which no one was present but ourselves. At these interviews no order or letter of instructions of any description from the President was produced by General GRANT, nor did he state or intimate that he had received such an order."

The General proceeds to correct some other misrepresentations of his conduct and that of General GRANT at the same interview.

This unqualified refutation of an incessant slander disposes of all the brood.


THE Grant County Herald, a Wisconsin paper, contains the following letter from Judge JOHN J. MILLS, giving an account of a recent interview with President LINCOLN, at the Soldiers' Retreat near Washington :

"We" [Ex-Governor RANDALL and Judge MILLS] " entered a neat, plainly-furnished room. A marble table was in the centre. Directly appeared from an adjoining apartment a tall, gaunt-looking figure, shoulders inclined forward, his gait astride, rapid, and shuffling, ample understandings with large slippers, and Brierian arms, with a face radiant with intelligence and humor.

"The Governor addressed him: ' Mr. President, this is my friend and your friend MILLS, from Wisconsin.'

"'I am glad to see my friends from Wisconsin; they are the hearty friends of the Union.'

"' I could not leave the city, Mr. President, without hearing words of cheer from your own lips. Upon you, as the representative of the loyal people, depend, as we believe, the existence of our Government and the future of America.' This introduced political topics.

," Mr. President,' said Governor RANDALL, ' why can't you seek seclusion, and play hermit for a fortnight? it would reinvigorate you.'

" 'Ah,' said the President, 'two or three weeks would do me no good. I can not fly from my thoughts—my solicitude for this great country follows me wherever I go. I don't think it is personal vanity or ambition, though I am not free from these infirmities, but I can not but feel that the weal or woe of this great nation will be decided in November. There is no programme offered by any wing of the Democratic party but that must result in the permanent destruction of the Union.'

"But, Mr. President, General McCLELLAN is in favor of crushing the rebellion by force. He will be the Chicago candidate."

" Sir,' said the President, the slightest knowledge of arithmetic will prove to any man that the rebel armies can not be destroyed with Democratic strategy. It would sacrifice all the white men of the North to do it. There are now in the service of the United States near two hundred thousand able bodied colored men, most of them under arms defending and acquiring Union territory. The Democratic strategy demands that these forces be disbanded, and that the masters be conciliated by restoring them to slavery. The black men who now assist Union prisoners to escape, are to be converted into our enemies in the vain hope of gaining the good will of their masters. We shall have to fight two nations instead of one.

"'You can not conciliate the South if you guarantee to them ultimate success; and the experience of the present war proves their success is inevitable if you fling the compulsory labor of millions of black men into their side of the scale. Will you give our enemies such military advantages as insure success, and then depend on coaxing, flattery, and concession to get them back into the Union? Abandon all the posts now garrisoned by black men; take 200,000 men from our side and put them in the battle-field or corn-field against us, and we would be compelled to abandon the war in three weeks.

" We have to hold territory in inclement and sickly places; where are the Democrats to do this? It was a free fight, and the field was open to the war Democrats to put down this rebellion by fighting against both master and slave long before the present policy was inaugurated.

There have been men base enough to propose to me to return to slavery the black warriors of Port Hudson and Olustee, and thus win the respect of the masters they fought. Should I do so I should deserve to be damned in time and eternity. Come what will, I will keep my faith with friend and foe. My enemies pretend I am now carrying on this war for the sole purpose of abolition. So long as I am President it shall be carried on for the sole purpose of restoring the Union. But no human power can subdue this rebellion without the use of the emancipation policy, and every other policy calculated to weaken the moral and physical forces of the rebellion.

"'Freedom has given us two hundred thousand men raised on Southern soil. It will give us more yet. Just so much it has abstracted from the enemy, and instead of alienating the South, there are now evidences of a fraternal feeling growing up between our men and the rank and file of the rebel soldiers. Let my enemies prove to the country that the destruction of slavery is not necessary to the restoration of the Union. I will abide the issue.'"

"I saw that the President was not a mere joker, but a man of deep convictions, of abiding faith in justice, truth, and Providence. His voice was pleasant, his manner earnest and emphatic. As he warmed with his theme his mind grew to the magnitude of his body. I felt I was in the presence of the great guiding intellect of the age, and that those 'huge Atlantean shoulders were fit to bear the weight of mightiest monarchies.' His transparent honesty, republican simplicity, his gushing sympathy for those who offered their lives for their country, his utter forgetfulness of self in his concern for its welfare, could not but inspire use with confidence that he was Heaven's instrument to conduct his people through this sea of blood to a Canaan of peace and freedom.   J. T. MILLS."


"WHY do you fret, O cowardly North ! When we are your masters still ?

We'll count the roll of our slaves ere long

On the summit of Bunker Hill."

For three long years have we met the foe--

We drive them before us still;

Yet they do claim slaves up in the North, Though not upon Bunker Hill.


We've talked of the black men trodden down

'Neath the iron heel of might;

But oh ! (shame on the dastard race !)

These Northern slaves are white.
Their Southern brothers of darker hue

The lash and the chain controls,

But these step under their master's heels,

And freely offer their souls.


You may seek on the battle-field in vain

For these white slaves of the South—
They dare not follow our brave boys there

So near to the cannon's mouth !

They dare not share in such noble toil, Bidding treason's utterance cease,

So they cover themselves with the Quaker garb, And lustily cry for peace.

When the roll of honor that Fame prepares

Is held to the proud world's gaze,
And men shall read the glorious deeds

Of the heroes of these great days,

We shall see the record of Freedom's sons,

As the pages we unfold,

Traced with the lasting pen of truth In letters of purest gold.


And Fame has another book in press

For the world to read some day,

Of those who their country's cause forsook;

And ran from their flag away

Of those who would aid a traitorous crew

To deluge the land with gore---

They sought for peace with their country's foes,

And peace shall be theirs no more !



THE interest in the Virginia Campaign this week centres upon General Sheridan. His army has an important mission to accomplish, which includes something more than a conflict with Early's army. The rebels are aware of this, and it is for this reason that a strong Confederate force is still kept in the valley. It was thought a few days ago that Early was retreating upon Richmond. But Sheridan's advance develops the enemy in full force north of Winchester. On Saturday, September 3, Crook's command, together with the Nineteenth and Sixth Corps advanced to Berryville. That afternoon a severe battle occurred between the Twenty-third and Thirty-sixth Ohio, in the advance, and a large body of rebels. The latter were repulsed.


A dispatch was received, September 4, by the War Department from General Sherman, dated September 3, twenty-six miles south of Atlanta. Sherman had removed his army from Atlanta during the last week of August, and transferred it to a position on the West Point Road, from which an advance was made upon the Macon Road in three columns—one under Howard, who was to strike the road near Jonesborough on the right ; another under Schofield, whose goal was Rough and Ready on the left ; while the third column, under Thomas, pushed up to the road at Conches in the centre. A part of Hood's army occupying Jonesborough was thus cut off from the main force at Atlanta. This detachment attacked Howard, who had intrenched himself on the road north of Jonesborough, but were easily repulsed. The whole army advanced upon the road, and destroyed it between Jonesborough and Rough and Ready ; and on the 1st of September Jefferson C. Davis, commanding the Fourteenth Corps, attacked and carried the rebel works at Jonesborough, capturing 10 guns and 1000 prisoners. The defeated rebels moved south to Lovejoy's Station, and were pursued. In the mean time Hood blew up his magazines at Atlanta, and evacuated that important position by night. Atlanta was immediately occupied by General Slocum, commanding the Twentieth Corps. General Sherman gives his loss as not more than 1200, and says, "We have possession of over 300 rebel dead, 250 wounded, and over 1500 well."

A later dispatch from General Slocum states that the enemy destroyed seven locomotives and eighty-one cars leaded with ammunition, small-arms and stores, and left fourteen pieces of artillery, most of them uninjured, and a large number of small-arms. A large number of deserters were coming into our lines.

The defeat of McCook and the capture of Stoneman considerably weakened Sherman's cavalry force, and taking advantage of this weakness, Wheeler, Forrest, and Morgan appear to have formed a junction for the purpose of destroying the railroad between Chattanooga and Nashville. Rousseau, however, is confident in his ability to take care of these raiders, who will only be able to effect a temporary damage.

DEFEAT AND DEATH OF JOHN MORGAN. General Gillem, commanding a body of Union troops in East Tennessee, gained a complete victory over John Morgan and his guerrillas on the 4th inst. Morgan's camp at Greenville was surprised, Morgan was killed, his staff and one piece of artillery captured, and his force dispersed, with a loss in killed alone of 15 men.


Fort Morgan surrendered August 23 with a garrison of six hundred men, including General Paige and two Colonels. Sixty guns were taken, but these had been spiked by the rebels. Admiral Farragut and General Granger arranged their vessels and batteries so as to invest the fort on three sides, enveloping it with a raking fire so terrible that it was impossible for the enemy to work his guns. The bombardment commenced on the morning of the 22d and continued all day. In the evening a shell exploded in the citadel and set it on fire. The next day at 2 p.m. the fort surrendered.


On Wednesday, August 31, the Chicago Convention nominated General George B. McClellan as the Democratic candidate for President, and the Hon. George H. Pendleton for Vice-President. The former received 202 1/2 votes. Guthrie stood ahead of Pendleton on the first ballot, receiving 65 1/2 votes, while Pendleton received 54 1/2. On the next ballot all the other candidates were withdrawn, and Pendleton's nomination, on the motion of Mr. Vallandigham, was made unanimous. The Convention resolved itself into a permanent body. Governor Seymour was appointed chairman of the Committee to tender the nomination to General McClellan.


The War Department has credited New York city with 18,448 men enlisted in the navy from April 15, 1861, to February 24, 1864. There was a surplus over the last draft of 1137. This surplus, together with the naval enlistments and 1616 recruits enlisted under the last call, amounts to 22,010. The quota of the city is 23,124, leaving a balance in favor of the Government of 1114 men. There will therefore be no draft in this city.


By a telegram dated London, August 25, we learn that the United States frigate Niagara had captured the rebel privateer Georgia twenty miles off Lisbon. At the time of her capture she was sailing under the British flag:


Vermont, in her election on the 6th inst., carried the Union ticket by a largely-increased majority as compared with that of 1863.



The Spanish Government has issued more stringent regulations in regard to vessels entering within the jurisdictional waters off Forts Tarifa and Isla Verde. These vessels are now required to hoist their flags. Her Catholic Majesty's Minister of Foreign Affairs, says the Queen, in bringing the preceding dispositions to the knowledge of our Government, flatters herself that the Cabinet at Washington will find in the measures adopted a fresh proof of the sentiments of deference which her Government entertains for the American nation.

The chief topic of interest in England is the Belfast riots. The ceremony of laying a corner-stone for a monument of O'Connell, in Dublin, has excited the indignation of the Belfast Orangemen, who have broken out in the most outrageous manner against the Catholics. The riot commenced in burning O'Connell in effigy, and proceeded immediately to more violent disturbances, and became so powerful at length that it required a military force to put it down.

The Ernie Zeitioig of Berlin discusses in a very elated humor the friendship which has suddenly sprung up between Prussia and Austria. It exclaims: " No more Ollmutz, no more Villafranca, so long as the Prussian and Austrian flags shall float side by side. The alliance of the Western Powers, which has so long threatened the peace and public right of Europe, has become so silent and mute that one might say that the representatives of civilization are completely routed. It is not at London or at Paris, but at Vienna and at Berlin, that the destinies of Europe are now decided."


AN instance of the danger of too hasty interments lately occurred at Vienna. A few days since, in the establishment of the Brothers of Charity in that capital, the bell of the dead-room was heard to ring violently, and on one of the attendants proceeding to the place to ascertain the cause he was surprised at seeing one of the supposed dead men pulling the bell-rope. He was removed immediately
   to another room, and hopes are entertained of his recovery.

Dr. HUNTER'S friends had long been desirous to engage him to sit to Sir Joshua Reynolds for his picture, but he had always hitherto declined to do so, not choosing that it should be done at the expense of others, and thinking the price too high for himself to pay. He was, however, at length induced to comply, chiefly to oblige Shape, the eminent engraver, who had received much notice from Hunter, and was very anxious to be permitted to make an engraving from Sir Joshua's picture. Reynolds found Hunter a bad sitter, and had not been able to satisfy himself with the likeness, when one day, after the picture was far advanced, Hunter fell into a train of thought in the attitude in which he is represented in the present portrait. Reynolds, without saying a word, turned the canvas upside down, made a fresh sketch with the head between the legs of the former figure, and so proceeded to lay on over the former painting the colors of that which now graces the walls of the Council Chamber of the Royal College of Surgeons.

The practice of eating at certain conventional periods of the day is never attended by any bad consequences, and is actually necessary in the present state of society. Habit exercises the greatest influence in the matter, and the man who has been in the practice of taking food at a certain hour of the day, will always, while in good health, feel hungry at that hour. Indeed, it sometimes happens that the stomach will only work at these hours to which it has been long accustomed, and infirmity has frequently been traced to a change in the hour of taking a meal, more especially dinner, which, with most people, is the chief meal of the day.

THE phalansterian school, Fourier's disciples, are the most precise and positive in their opinions. They hold that violet is analogous to friendship, blue to love, as suggested by blue eyes and the azure sky. A bunch of violets would, therefore, tell a lady's suitor that friendship is all he has a right to expect. Yellow is paternity or maternity ; it is the yellow ray of the spectrum which causes the germ to shoot. Red figures ambition; indigo, the spirit of rivalry ; green, the love of change, fickleness, but also work; orange, enthusiasm; white, unity; black, favoritism, the influence exerted by an individual. Besides the seven primitive colors, gray indicates poverty; brown, prudery; pink, modesty; silver-gray (semi-white), feeble love ; lilac (semi violet), feeble friendship ; pale-pink, false shame, etc.

THE custom of placing the wedding ring on the fourth finger is explained by some in this way. It was in ancient times the duty of the man to place the ring on the top of the thumb, and on the top of the second and third fingers of the woman successively, and lastly to leave it on her fourth finger, thus—he takes the ring and repeats after the priest, " With this ring I thee wed, with my body I thee worship, with all my worldly goods I thee endow; in the name of the Father (thumb), and of the Son (second or index finger), and of the Holy Ghost (third finger), Amen (fourth finger)." There is also a legend that the fourth finger was selected because a vein runs thence directly to the heart. But all veins run to the heart. The vein reason would apply to any finger, or to the toes. The simplest explanation is that the Greek custom of wearing rings of all kinds on the ring or fourth finger has remained to the present day in the case of that most important of rings—the wedding ring.

WHEN Archbishop Whately was engaged one day in his gardening operations, a companion referred, among other matters, to the great revolution in the medical treatment of lunatics introduced by Pinel, who, instead of the strait waistcoat and other maddening goads, awarded to each patient healthful and agreeable occupation, including agriculture and gardening. "I think gardening would be a dangerous indulgence for lunatics," observed Dr. Whately. "How so?" said his friend, surprised. " Because they might grow madder," was the rejoinder.

WE once heard a story anent the qualifications which induced a certain Lord Lientenant of Ireland to promote a curate to be Dean of St. Patrick's. His Excellency was visiting a country district in the Emerald Isle, partaking of the hospitality of the landed gentry in his rounds. One gentleman, who had been promised the honor of a visit from the Viceroy, was sorely perplexed as to the means of properly receiving the great guest. His house was ample, his menage perfect, his guests unexceptionable,. with only one drawback—none of them could stand as many bottles of wine as his Excellency. What was to be done? It was necessary to find some one who could drink bottle for bottle with the representative of the Sovereign. A happy idea occurred to the host. There was a poor curate in a neighboring parish who could compete with his Excellency in bibbing. He was implored to come, and come he did. When all the other diners, including the host, had sunk under the table, as was our forefathers' custom in the afternoon, his sober Excellency became conscious of the fact that there was only one guest—a curate, too—who kept him in countenance. Fellow feeling rose in his breast for his companion. He inquired into the curate's condition, heard of his poverty, and took a note of his ability. Some time after the Deanery of St. Parick's fell vacant, and the Lord Lieutenant promoted the poor curate to the distinguished position.

SOON after the introduction of the convict system to Ireland a gentleman, known and respected as an ardent advocate of reformatories, boasted to a friend who occupied a responsible office in the Irish government, that he held the system in such high estimation that he employed no servants in his house but those who had passed some time in a reformatory. The party so addressed was much struck by the information and its significance, and, with suitable impressiveness, be communicated both to Arch-bishop Whately. His Grace list.ed attentively to the recital, and at length quietly observed, "Your friend will waken some fine morning, and find himself the only spoon left in the house."

AT Paris, lately, an autograph of Tasso was sold, written by the poet of the Gerusalemme Liberata, in the twenty-sixth year of his age. It is worded as follows : " I, the undersigned, hereby acknowledge to have received from Abraham Levi 25 lire, for which he holds in pledge a sword of my father's, 6 shirts, 4 sheets, and 2 table covers. March 2, 1570. Torquato Tasso."

IT is claimed in Paris that eleven millions of dollars' worth of silks has been exported to this country the last year.

ARCHBISHOP WHATELY when preaching, has been known in the height of his argument to get his leg over the pulpit. He was an inveterate smoker, was usually accompanied by three favorite dogs, whom he had taught various tricks, and was a thorough believer in clairvoyance and Mesmerism.

THE men of Coventry, hearing that Queen Elizabeth liked poetry, welcomed her to their town :

" We men of Coventry Are very glad to see Your gracious Majesty; Good Lord, how fair ye be !"

The royal reply was equally unique:

"Here gracious Majesty

Is very glad to see

The men of Coventry;

Good lack, what fools ye be!"

THERE lately died in Buenos Ayres an old man of seventy-eight years, whose will contained a clause leaving ten thousand cigars for these who might attend his funeral. This eccentric testator also expressed his desire that his friends should not leave the house of mourning without drinking to his memory all the wine left in his cellar.

COFFEE was first introduced into Arabia from Abyssinia, where it originally grew, about the year 1450. It was certainly known in England before either chocolate or tea. It is said to have been first brought there about the year 1652, by a Turkey merchant named Edwards, whose Greek servant made the first dish of coffee ever drunk in En-gland. This caused several coffee-houses to be opened shortly afterward, both in the metropolis and various other towns throughout the country. These were visited periodically by the excise officers, and a duty of four pence per gallon was imposed until 1689.

THE following statistics are given of the senior class just graduated at Bowdoin " Whole number, 43 ; oldest man, 29; youngest, 19; average age at graduation, 23; prospective lawyers, 14; ministers, 4; physicians. 2 ; mineralogist, 1; soldiers, 3; loafer, 1; undecided, 5; republicans, 21 ; abolitionists, 2; copperheads, 6 ; orthodox, 12; Baptist, 5 ; Unitarian, 4 ; Episcopal, 2 ; home Baptist 3; Shaker, 1; Mormons, 2 ; professors of religion, 7; divinely inspired, 1 ; drink whisky, 0; occasionally take it for medicinal purposes, 15; play cards, 16; anti-players, 7; smoke regularly, 15; incessantly, 1."

BARRAGE, in his recently published book, gives the fol. lowing anecdote of the Duke of Wellington : "At a very small dinner-party the characters of the French marshals became the subject of conversation. The Duke, being appealed to, pointed out freely their various qualities and assigned to each his peculiar excellence. One question, the most highly interesting of all, naturally present,' it self to our minds. I was speculating how I could, without impropriety, suggest it, when, to my great relief, one of the party, addressing the Duke, said: 'Well, Sir, how was it that, with such various great qualities, you licked them all, one after another?' The Duke was evidently taken by surprise. He paused for a moment or two, and then said : ' Well, I don't know exactly how it was ; but I think that if any unexpected circumstance occurred in the midst of a battle which deranged its whole plan, I could perhaps organize another plan more quickly than most of them.' "

IF a woman has a heart, she should never suffer it to lie in her bosom as dead capital ; it ought to circulate and pay interest.

CUVIER considers it probable that whales sometimes live to the age of one thousand years. The dolphin and porpoise attain the age of thirty. An eagle died in Vienna at the age of one hundred and four. Ravens frequently mach the age of one hundred. Swans have been known to live three hundred and sixty years. Pelicans are long lived. When Alexander the Great had conquered Phorus, King of India, he took a great elephant which had fought vary valiantly for the king, named him Ajax and dedicated him to the sun, and let him go, with this inscription: "Alexander, the son of Jupiter, hath dedicated Ajax to the sun." This elephant was found, with this inscription, three hundred and fifty-six years after. Camels often live to the age of one hundred years.




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