Battle of Irish Bend


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, May 16, 1863

You are viewing part of our online archive of original Harper's Weekly newspapers. These newspapers are full of incredible pictures and reports on the Civil War. The collection serves as an excellent source of information on the war.

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


Rappahannock Bridge

Rappahannock Bridge

Charity Grimes

Charity Grimes

Battle of Chancellorsville

Battle of Chancellorsville

Battle of Irish Bend

Fredericksburg Battle Map

Fredericksburg Map

President Lincoln Cartoon

President Lincoln Cartoon

Shelling Vicksburg

Shelling Vicksburg

Russell's Brigade

Russell's Brigade


Pontoon Bridges

Irish Bend

Battle of Irish Bend

Twelfth Massachusetts

Twelfth Massachusetts Regiment



MAY 16, 1863.]



she will not say or do something extravagant or unusual; she seems to suspect sobriety and good taste of being in league with impiety. Here I succeed in bridling her a little; but encounter a female enthusiast in her own house? Merci! After all, there must be something good in her, since she is your friend, and you are hers; let her pass: I have something more serious to say to you before you go there. It is about her brother. He is a flirt: in fact, a notorious one, more than one lady tells me."

Julia was silent, but began to be very uneasy; they were sitting and talking after sunset, yet without candles; she profited, for once, by that amazing gap in the intelligence of "the sex."

"I hear he pays you compliments; and I have seen a disposition to single you out. Now, my love, you have the good sense to know that, whatever a young man of that age says to you, he says to many other ladies; but your experience is not equal to your sense; so profit by mine; a girl of your age must never be talked of with a person of the other sex: it is fatal; fatal! but if you permit yourself to be singled out, you will be talked of inevitably, and distress those who love you. It is easy to avoid injudicious duets in society; oblige me by doing so to-night."

To show how much she was in earnest, Mrs. Dodd hinted that, were her admonition neglected, she should regret, for once, having kept clear of an enthusiast.

Julia had no alternative; she assented in a faint voice. After a pause she faltered out, "And suppose he should esteem me seriously?"

Mrs. Dodd replied quickly, "Then that would be much worse. But," said she, "I have no apprehensions on that score; you are a child, and he is a precocious boy, and rather a flirt. But forewarned is forearmed. So now run away and dress, sweet one: my lecture is quite ended."

The sensitive girl went up to her room with a heavy heart. All the fears she had lulled of late revived. She saw plainly now that Mrs. Dodd only accepted Alfred as a pleasant acquaintance: as a son-in-law he was out of the question. "Oh, what will she say when she knows all?" thought Julia.

Next day, sitting near the window, she saw him coming up the road. After the first movement of pleasure at the bare sight of him, she was sorry he had come. Mamma's suspicions awake at last, and here he was again; the third call in one fortnight! She dared not risk an interview with him, ardent and unguarded, under that penetrating eye, which she felt would now be on the watch.

She rose hurriedly, said as carelessly as she could, "I am going to the school," and, tying her bonnet on all in a flurry, whipped out at the back door with her shawl in her hand just as Sarah opened the front door to Alfred. She then shuffled on her shawl, and whisked through the little shrubbery into the open field, and reached a path that led to the school, and so gratified was she at her dexterity in evading her favorite, that she hung her head, and went murmuring, "Cruel, cruel, cruel!"

Alfred entered the drawing-room gayly, with a good-sized card and a prepared speech. This was not the visit of a friend but a functionary; the treasurer of the cricket-ground, come to book two of his eighteen to play against the All England Eleven next month. "As for you, my worthy Sir (turning to Edward), I shall just put you down without ceremony. But I must ask leave to book Captain Dodd. Mrs. Dodd, I come at the universal desire of the club; they say it is sure to be a dull match without Captain Dodd. Besides, he is a capital player."

"Mamma, don't you be caught by his chaff," said Edward, quietly. "Papa is no player at all. Any thing more unlike cricket than his way of making runs—"

"But he makes them, old fellow; now you and I, at Lord's the other day, played in first-rate form, left shoulder well up, and achieved—with neatness, precision, dexterity, and dispatch —the British duck's-egg."

"Misericorde! What is that?" inquired Mrs. Dodd.

"Why, a round O," said the other Oxonian, coming to his friend's aid.

"And what is that, pray?"

Alfred told her the round O," which had yielded to "the duck's-egg," and was becoming obsolete, meant the cipher set by the scorer against a player's name, who is out without making a run.

"I see," sighed Mrs. Dodd: "It penetrates to your very sports and games. And why British?"

"Oh, 'British' is redundant: thrown in by the universities."

"But what does it mean?"

"It means nothing. That is the beauty of it. British is inserted in imitation of our idols, the Greeks; they adored redundancy."

In short, poor Alfred, though not an M.P., was talking to put off time, till Julia should come in: so he now favored Mrs. Dodd, of all people, with a flowery description of her husband's play, which I, who have not his motive for volubility, suppress. However, he wound up with the captain's "moral influence." "Last match," said he, "Barkington did not do itself justice. Several, that could have made a stand, were frightened out, rather than bowled, by the London professionals. Then Captain Dodd went in, and treated those artists with the same good-humored contempt he would a parish bowler, and, in particular, sent Mynne's over-tossed balls flying over his head for six, or to square leg for four, and, on his retiring with twenty-five, scored in eight minutes, the remaining Barkingtonians were less funky, and made some fair scores."

Mrs. Dodd smiled a little ironically at this

tirade, but said she thought she might venture to promise Mr. Dodd's co-operation, should he reach home in time. Then, to get rid of Alfred before Julia's return, the amiable worldling turned to Edward, "Your sister will not be back; so you may as well ring the bell for luncheon at once. Perhaps Mr. Hardie will join us."

Alfred declined, and took his leave with far less alacrity than he had entered with; Edward went down stairs with him.

Miss Dodd gone on a visit?" asked Alfred, affecting carelessness.

"Only to the school. By-the-by, I will go and fetch her."

"No, don't do that; call on my sister instead, and then you will pull me out of a scrape. I promised to bring her here: but her saintship was so long adorning 'the poor perishable body,' that I came alone."

"I don't understand you," said Edward. "I am not the attraction here. It is Julia."

"How do you know that? When a young lady interests herself in an undergraduate's soul, it is a pretty sure sign she likes the looks of him. But perhaps you don't want to be converted; if so, keep clear of her. 'Bar the fell dragon's blighting way; but shun that lovely snare.' "

"On the contrary," said Edward, calmly, "I only wish she could make me as good as she is, or half as good."

"Give her the chance, old fellow, and then it won't be your fault if she makes a mess of it. Call at two, and Jenny will receive you very kindly, and will show you you are in the 'gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity.' Now, won't that be nice?"

"I will go," said Edward, gravely.

They parted. Where Alfred went the reader can perhaps guess; Edward to luncheon.

"Mamma," said he, with that tranquillity which sat so well on him, "don't you think Alfred Hardie is spoony upon our Julia?"

Mrs. Dodd suppressed a start, and (perhaps to gain time before replying sincerely) said she had not the honor of knowing what "spoony" meant.

"Why, sighs for her, and dies for her, and fancies she is prettier than Miss Hardie. He must be over head and ears."

"Fie child!" was the answer. "If I thought so, I should withdraw from their acquaintance. Excuse me; I must put on my bonnet at once, not to lose this fine afternoon."

Edward did not relish her remark: it menaced more Spoons than one. However he was not the man to be cast down at a word: he lighted a cigar, and strolled toward Hardie's house. Mr. Hardie, senior, had left three days ago on a visit to London; Miss Hardie received him; he passed the afternoon in calm complacency, listening reverently to her admonitions, and looking her softly out of countenance, and into earthly affections, with his lion eyes.

Meantime his remark, so far from really seeming foolish to Mrs. Dodd, was the true reason for her leaving him so abruptly. "Even this dear slow Thing sees it," thought she. She must talk to Julia more seriously, and would go to the school at once. She went up stairs, and put on her bonnet and shawl before the glass, then moulded on her gloves; and came down equipped. On the stairs was a large window, looking upon the open field; she naturally cast her eyes through it, in the direction she was going, and what did she see but a young lady and gentleman coming slowly down the path toward the villa. Mrs. Dodd bit her lip with vexation, and looked keenly at them, to divine on what terms they were. And the more she looked the more uneasy she grew.

The head, the hand, the whole person of a young woman walking beside one she loves, betrays her heart to experienced eyes watching unseen: and most female eyes are experienced at this sort of inspection. Why did Julia move so slowly? especially after that warning. Why was her head averted from that encroaching boy, and herself so near him? The anxious mother would much rather have seen her keep her distance, and look him full in the face. Her first impulse was that of leopardesses, lionesses, hens, and all the mothers in nature; to dart from her ambush and protect her young; but she controlled it by a strong effort; it seemed wiser to descry the truth, and then act with resolution: besides the young people were now almost at the shrubbery; so the mischief, if any, was done.

They entered the shrubbery.

To Mrs. Dodd's surprise and dismay they did not come out this side so quickly. She darted her eye into the plantation; and lo! Alfred had seized the fatal opportunity foliage offers, even when thinnish: he held Julia's hand, and was pleading eagerly for something she seemed not disposed to grant; for she turned away and made an effort to leave him. But Mrs. Dodd, standing there quivering with maternal anxiety, and hot with shame, could not but doubt the sincerity of that graceful resistance. If she had been quite in earnest, Julia had fire enough in her to box the little wretch's ears. She ceased even to doubt, when she saw that her daughter's opposition ended in his getting hold of two hands instead of one, and devouring them with kisses, while Julia still drew her head and neck quite away, but the rest of her supple frame seemed to yield and incline, and draw softly toward her besieger, by some irresistible spell.

"I can bear no more!" gasped Mrs. Dodd aloud, and turned to hasten and part them; but even as she curved her stately neck to go, she caught the lovers' parting; and a very pretty one too, if she could have looked at it, as these things ought always to be looked at: Artistically.

Julia's head and lovely throat, unable to draw the rest of her away, compromised; they turned, declined, drooped, and rested one half moment

on her captor's shoulder, like a settling dove: the next, she scudded from him, and made for the house alone.

Mrs. Dodd, deeply indignant, but too wise to court a painful interview with her own heart beating high, went into the drawing-room: and there sat down, to recover some little composure. But she was hardly seated when Julia's innocent voice was heard calling "Mamma! mamma!" and soon she came bounding into the drawing-room, brimful of good news, her cheeks as red as fire, and her eyes wet with happy tears; and there confronted her mother, who had started up at her footstep, and now, with one hand nipping the back of the chair convulsively, stood lofty, looking strangely agitated and hostile.

The two ladies eyed one another, silent, yet expressive; like a picture facing a statue; but soon the color died out of Julia's face as well, and she began to cower with vague fears before that stately figure, so gentle and placid usually, but now so discomposed and stern.


WE devote pages 305, 308, and 309, to illustrations of the movement of the Army of the Potomac which commenced last week, from sketches by Mr. A. R. Waud. Most of these pictures explain themselves, and it might suffice to say that the various army corps crossed the Rappahannock at various points on 28th, 29th, and 30th April. In some places the crossing was effected at fords, in others on pontoon bridges, in others in boats. Our picture on page 305 shows the construction of a pontoon bridge at a point where the river was too deep to be forded; and other illustrations on page 309 depict the bridges used by General Sedgwick's corps and General Reynolds's corps for their crossing. General Russell, whose brigade was the first to cross, went over in boats. This operation, which was performed in the mist of a cloudy morning before daybreak, is illustrated on page 308, and is thus described in the Herald correspondence:

Toward daybreak twenty-three boats were afloat and ready for the start. Brigadier-General David Russell had the honor to pass the river first. General Russell's brigade consists of the Eighteenth New York, Colonel Myers; the Thirty-second New York, Colonel Pinto; the Forty-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel Irwin; the Ninety-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel Town; and the One Hundred and Nineteenth Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel Ellmaker. Russell's men had been ordered to enter the boats in fifties. General Russell thought that the boats would not hold fifty, and General Brooks therefore made the fifty forty-five.

General Russell went over the Rappahannock at the head of his men. Every boat left the shore at one word —at 4.30 A.M.—and this scene of their departure and quiet movement on the still water, just in the early dawn and in the mist, was one of the romantic ones of war. Regularly the oars fell until the great square tubs got into a race and were lost in the mist; for through the river is here scarcely a hundred yards in width we could not see the other side. Soon after a volley was heard, and the boats returned and began to fill again.

As soon as the boats reached the opposite shore Russell's men clambered up the bank and began to form. But before they were in line the enemy delivered at short distance, and from a rifle-pit directly in front, one volley. Bayonets were fixed and the line advanced, the One Hundred and Nineteenth Pennsylvania Volunteers on the right, and to their left, in order, the Ninety-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers, Forty-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers, Thirty-second New York and Eighteenth New York. Out of the rifle-pits the enemy went in a hurry. One prisoner, an officer, was taken. Out of the first line of rifle-pits and out of the second, and our men had the field before them—an open, clear plain, from Deep Run on our right to Bernard's house on our left.

At this time the bells began to ring in Fredericksburg with all the clamor of which they were capable.

Another picture introduces us to the Eighth Pennsylvania Cavalry operating as skirmishers. Of their performance the New York Times correspondent says:

At about 12 o'clock General Sykes's division was sent forward on the left, by the Banks' Ford Road, to make an attack, and compel the enemy to develop his strength on that bank. He moved promptly into position, with Weed's, now Watson's, regular battery. The first gun was fired by the enemy about 12 o'clock. Heavy skirmishing commenced, our men entering the field with much enthusiasm. The Eighth Pennsylvania Cavalry skirmished in the very front for some time, and sustained a galling fire from the enemy's infantry, but behaved with great intrepidity. They charged and recharged upon the infantry, only to be in turn driven back. General Sykes then threw forward two companies of infantry, without knapsacks, on the double-quick, who supported the cavalry, and checked the further pursuit of the enemy. The action now became quite general between the two forces, each seeming to be about the same strength.

On page 310 we give a fine map of the theatre of the conflict.


WE illustrate on page 316 THE BATTLE OF IRISH BEND, fought on 13th April by General Grover's division of General Banks's army, in the recent campaign in the interior of Louisiana. Our picture is from a sketch by Mr. W. M. Hall, of the Twenty-second Maine Regiment. The following account of the battle is from the Herald correspondence:

About seven o'clock A.M. the advance reached the edge of a dense line of woods, near what is known as Irish Bend (a sharp bend of the Teche), about eleven miles distant from the rebel earth-works, where General Banks was engaging the enemy.

Here our force was met by a strong one of the rebels, in position, from the bank of the Teche, across the front and right flank of General Grover's division.

The enemy was strongly posted at this point, their right flank supported by artillery, and their left extending round into another wood, in such a manner as to completely encircle any force which should simply attack their position in the wood first spoken of.

Colonel Birge, of the Third Brigade, of General Grover's division, at this time in command of the advance, and supported by two sections of Rogers's battery, now skirmished with the rebels in front for about an hour, our skirmishers and their supports engaging the infantry and dismounted cavalry of the enemy. Colonel Birge then ordered the Twenty-fifth Connecticut and One Hundred and Fifty-ninth New York in front of the first skirt of woods.

He had no sooner done this than the enemy commenced a flank attack, endeavoring to take the section of Rogers's battery which was on the right.

These two regiments, assailed by a fire on their front and right from an enemy very perfectly concealed, replied ineffectually to the fire, became shaken, and finally

commenced to fall back, when General Grover rode up to the front and rallied them, at the same time ordering General Dwight to hasten up with his brigade.

The section of Rogers's battery was compelled to limber up and go to the rear, the fire of the enemy being so lively as to pick off nine cannoniers at their guns.

At this time General Dwight moved on to the field with his brigade, and placed the Sixth New York on his right, in such a manner as to outflank the enemy's left, in a similar way that the enemy outflanked our right.

The Ninety-first New York was ordered in front to advance against the woods, with the First Louisiana supporting the Sixth New York, and the Twenty-second Maine and One Hundred and Thirty-first New York in support of the Ninety-first New York.

The order to advance was given, and like veterans they moved forward across the field, through the woods, and over another field, the enemy slowly but surely falling back before them; sweeping on, taking from him all his positions, and finally compelling him to so hasty a retreat that he left over one hundred prisoners in our hands. Then the position which Colonel Birge's brigade failed to take, with a loss of something over three hundred men, was taken by General Dwight, with a loss of only seven killed and twenty-one wounded.

General Dwight was now ordered to halt, take a favorable position, and hold it.

This was done, the enemy continuing to manoeuvre in front of General Dwight's and Colonel Birge's commands for two or three hours.

The Diana did but very little harm during the whole of this time.

Our troops, in the mean time, had been ordered by General Grover to rest in their places until further orders, which they did until about three P.M., when an order was given to feel the enemy on the front and flank, with a view to our attacking their position in force.

Before any considerable advance further was made the enemy evacuated, retreating to the woods and canes, having previously set fire to the gun-boat Diana and transports Gossamer, Newsboy, and Era No. 2.

The retreat was accomplished in such a manner as to prevent effectual pursuit.

The rebel prisoners represent that they had upward of five thousand men engaged in this affair, and that they came up with the intention of driving General Grover's division across the Bayou Teche before General Banks's force could arrive; but they were signally repulsed, with a loss of from three to four hundred.

On the field of battle one hundred and five prisoners were taken, and thirty wounded.

Among the killed is General Riley, and among the wounded Colonel Gray.

The prisoners also report that General Dick Taylor advanced in force on the flank, and was in command of the whole. "Sibley was there," they say; "but he was not in the fight, and never is."

About one hundred and fifty prisoners in all were captured by General Grover's command.

Immediately on the retreat a reconnoissance was sent out, which met a courier from the advance of General Banks's army, when the news arrived for the first time that the enemy had evacuated his works at Beasland.


WE publish on page 317 an illustration of the CAMP OF THE TWELFTH MASSACHUSETTS REGIMENT ON THE RAPPAHANNOCK, from a sketch by Mr. A. R. Waud. This camp was a model one in regard to beauty, order, cleanliness, and distribution, and deserves to be commemorated. The Twelfth Massachusetts Regiment was the first to break camp and cross the river on the new march to Richmond.


WE reproduce on pages 312 and 313 several illustrations of the OPERATIONS IN THE VICINITY OF VICKSBURG, from sketches by Mr. Theodore R. Davis. One of the illustrations represents


Mr. Davis writes:



"Another canal is nearing completion; and from every quarter one hears the utmost confidence expressed that the most satisfactory results may be expected. The length of canal necessary is less than 1500 yards, which completed, we shall, by clearing trees and obstructions from bayous, have inland navigation from a short distance below this point to New Carthage, a place some 20 miles below Vicksburg, where our gun-boats are now at anchor."

Another picture shows us


Mr. Davis writes:


"General Sherman seems to have a determined propensity to carry on the present war in a manner likely to be most offensive to the rebels. The last instance of his beneficence is a continued shelling of the 'Virgin City of Vicksburg,' by a well-protected battery of heavy Parrott guns, under the superintendence of Captain Edwin D. Phillips. The inhabitants of the 'Virgin City' do not, it is evident, like this gentle proclivity of the gallant General's, for they have vacated their homes; in which, en passant, we may soon find it convenient to take up our abode."

The large picture represents


Mr. Davis writes:


Friday Morning, April 17.

"The Benton led by about a mile. She was followed by the Lafayette, which just preceded the 'Turtles' in line; the Forest Queen, Henry Clay, and Silver Wave in the order I have named them; the Tuscumbia, as rear-guard, following.

"In my sketch of Vicksburg you will see, near the river's bank, and to the left, below the Courthouse, a group of wooden buildings. These were evidently prepared with combustible materials, for an instant after the first boat was discovered nearing the whole surface of the river was illumined by the glare of their burning. A shanty on the point opposite was fired at the same moment, lending a bright light.

"The Henry Clay had nearly completed her dangerous journey when she was struck by a shell, set on fire, and burned. Our boats sent shot after shot in return. The night was without a cloud; the stars bright. The fleet has gone down to New Carthage."




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