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Civil War Harper's Weekly, June 11, 1864

The Civil War was the bloodiest conflict in American History, and nothing can explain the important events of the war better than original newspapers printed during the war. We have made our extensive collection of these historical documents available online on this site.

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General Warren

General Warren

Baltimore Convention

Baltimore Convention

Radical Republican

Radical Republican Convention

Belle Plain

Bell Plain, Virginia

Lincoln and Secretaries

President Lincoln with Secretaries

General Wright Biography

General Wright Biography

Civil War Wounded


Spotsylvania Court House


Battle of Salient


Battle of Resaca


Salient Battle Description

Lee Cartoon

Robert E. Lee Cartoon







[JUNE 11, 1864.


SATURDAY, JUNE 11, 1864.


THE readers of HARPER'S WEEKLY will find it for their advantage to preserve for constant reference the two elaborate and complete Maps of the Seat of War published in Number 387. Every important place and position is so carefully laid down in these Maps that the reader can trace upon them, from day to day, the movements of our armies under GRANT in Virginia and under SHERMAN in Georgia, and those of the enemy under LEE and JOHNSTON, opposed to them. They can thus gain a clear and intelligent view of the design and effect of the various movements and counter movements of the belligerents.


IT seems to be understood that the Baltimore Convention, on the 7th of June, will nominate Mr. LINCOLN for re-election. The views which we have hitherto expressed of the wisdom of this course have not been changed by any of the events of the summer. The charges made against him, of the exercise of arbitrary power by the Copperheads, and of indifference to the Slavery question by Mr. WENDELL PHILLIPS, seem to us to be, in the first case, a mere party clamor, and, in the second, a profound misapprehension. Summary arrests have been made by the Government, as in every war they must be made. The practical question is whether this power has been generally abused. That mistakes may have been made is to say that men are fallible ; but that there has been a peculiarly dangerous exercise of this power, whether in the detail or in the intention, he is a very hardy man who would seriously affirm.

Of course we do not gravely combat the assertion that the President has menaced our liberties, and meant to menace them. There is a phrase in the western part of the State, applied to very difficult enterprises, that you might as well try to scull up Niagara as do that. This is advice of exactly the proper dignity to be offered to gentlemen who, mindful of Junius and the pamphleteers, attempt to depict Mr. LINCOLN as playing the part of CHARLES or JAMES STUART. The President's policy, if an English precedent must be found, is to be sought rather in that of WILLIAM THE THIRD, who established the British Constitution. Nor will the student forget that, while JAMES was the advocate of the divine right of kings, against the political power of the people, so the Copperhead gentlemen who decry the President are the champions of the privileges of rebellious slaveholders against the natural rights of man. It is enough to know that these indignant vindicators of civil rights against executive usurpation are the zealous politicians who repudiate the principles of the Declaration of Independence. JEFFERSON DAVIS, after an election in which he and his friends take part, attempts with them by force of arms to destroy the Government of which he has lost the constitutional control, and these gentlemen smoothly consider that DAVIS and his friends have been goaded and exasperated into an unfortunately erroneous position. The President, in the extreme peril of the country, takes summary steps which the Constitution expressly authorizes, or even, in his zeal to maintain the Government and the national welfare, takes a step which is debatable, and the same gentlemen explode in columns of horror at the wanton invasion of our liberties. It is a party cry, and perfectly understood.

The other complaint urged by gentlemen of whom Mr. PHILLIPS is the spokesman is that the President considers slavery the only sacred thing in the country. This seems to us simply a rhetorical misstatement. But the very fact that one body of opponents decry his interference with slavery, and that another denounce him for hesitating to touch it, shows what ? It shows that he deals warily and wisely with the most difficult of all the questions of the war—neither hindered nor hastened by the sour accusations of one side, or the caustic taunts and bitter misrepresentations of the other. The argument of Mr. PHILLIPS and his friends is, that if the President could set aside the habeas corpus, which is the most sacred of civil rights, as it is conceded he had the power to do, then he might certainly have abolished slavery, which is the most infamous of human wrongs. But the reply to this, which is so obvious that it would seem impossible for it to escape the attention of those who did not wish to avoid it, is plainly this : that both in the suspension of the writ and in any measure of emancipation the President must be controlled by his conviction of public approval. It is very clear that the public mind might be entirely ready for one step, when its opposition to the other might be so resolute as to imperil the very object for which alone both steps were to be taken. Indeed the fallacy of this complaint is that it requires of Mr. LINCOLN to embody in his policy as President the views held by a few of the most advanced Abolitionists, when nothing can be clearer than that the views of these gentlemen are not those of the great mass of the American people. That those

views are right, both as regards slavery and its relation to the war, we individually fully believe. That an enormous stride toward their adoption has been made by the country, under the teaching of the war, is as evident as the progress of General GRANT toward Richmond. But that no policy is wise or practicable which is not supported by popular conviction, is beyond dispute. While, therefore, it is the duty of every sincere citizen to influence public opinion by every means he can command, so that it will take the simple, manly, American ground of fair play for all men, it is idle for him to denounce the Government for not taking for granted what it knows to be untrue.

The Government can not carry on this war by doing what it thinks to be abstractly right, but by doing all the right that is practicable. If we believed Mr. LINCOLN were likely to be unable to see or unwilling to do that, we should oppose him as warmly as we support him. If we thought that he lagged behind public sentiment we should feel that he retarded it. It is because we believe that the nation is heartily in earnest in its resolution to maintain the Union; that it sees every day more and more clearly that Union without Liberty is impossible ; that it will very soon establish the personal, and ultimately the political, liberty of all innocent and capable citizens ; and because Mr. LINCOLN, with marvelous sagacity, with incorruptible honesty, and with conspicuous ability represents this movement of the popular mind, that we hope to see him President for another term. The London Spectator, which has been calmly friendly to us throughout the war, says in words which we cordially approve: " How any honest Northerners who read these noble words [in the Kentucky letter], and see how modestly yet firmly Mr. LINCOLN has acted on the lessons which have opened his eyes to the great Divine purpose of this war, can meditate the substitution of any untried man for the next President, we find it hard indeed to conceive."


IN the late meeting of the Methodist General Conference in Philadelphia the Rev. Dr. MOODY is reported to have said that he " thought God Almighty was going to give us an exodus of the whole colored concern to South America." And what exodus does the good Doctor think that the same beneficence is going to give us for the whole rebel concern, or the whole German concern, or the whole Irish concern, or the whole English or French concern? Above all, what exodus for the whole concern of well meaning but not very philosophical gentlemen who complacently theorize about the wholesale exportation of the class most valuable to any country, the laborers ?

The man of African descent born in America has exactly the same natural rights here, as a man and a native, that the man of European or Asian descent has. All that he asks, and all that any body can fairly ask for him, is that he may be allowed to have the same chance with every other man to enjoy those rights. Why take all the laborious trouble to prove that we must do for him what nobody proposes to do for any one else? He has had immense disadvantages here because he has been enslaved ; but even Bishop HOPKINS knows perfectly well that he was enslaved not because he was unable to take care of himself, nor because we were so nervously anxious about his eternal salvation, but because other men wanted to be rich without working. The most subtle apologist for slavery never quite dared to assert that the Africans would have been stolen to bring them to God if they had not been wanted to serve Mammon. The very urgency of the plea of Christianizing them only shows the depth of the consciousness of the wrong done them.

There is no question whatever that the only thing necessary at present in regard to them is, that we shall all recover from a prejudice which some of us amusingly call an " instinct," and that every man who has been freed by the war shall be protected against the consequences of that prejudice. The " instinct" against the African race is akin to the old " instinct" against Jews, which would hardly at this day be distinguished by men of sense with so fine a name. We are told that the colored men aspire to social and political equality. Somebody, with a shudder, whispers that they aspire to marry our sons and daughters ! Do they? We demand the proof. We challenge any body who says so to state a single instance of the kind, not that he knows, but that he has ever heard of. The fact is, that they no more demand to marry us than we to marry them. Marriage is an affair of mutual inclination, and when there is a general mutual inclination to marriage between the people of different races they will marry. Until then they will not. Social equality is settled by individual taste, not by a theory of races. The people of African descent in this, as in all countries, leave that question to solve itself. Might we not, with advantage, emulate their wisdom?

But they aspire to political equality ! Certainly they do. They would be very poor Americans if they did not. Surely, if an emigrant

from the Isle of Skye, wretched, ignorant, drunken, degraded, utterly useless, or a nuisance and pest to the country, may justly aspire to political equality, as he does, the moment he sets foot upon our shore, it would be very difficult to show why a man native to the soil, half of whose blood may be the blood of the worthy MASON of Virginia, for instance, or the sober WIGFALL of Texas, or the valorous TOOMBS of Georgia, and who is himself honest, industrious, and intelligent should not aspire ? In a Government like ours we would as soon trust to the vote of FREDERICK DOUGLASS, for instance, as to our own, or to that of the last ship load of emigrants from any part of the world. If you say that his is an exceptional case, we reply that it is no more exceptional, the numbers and circumstances considered, than any intelligent vote among the mass of voters. If you say that, however worthy an individual may be, yet that the general feeling against the class makes it unwise to do any thing toward enfranchising them, which is the ground of Mr. DOOLITTLE, of Mr. COWAN, and of Mr. TEN EYCK in the Senate, you merely say that the existence of a prejudice makes it wise to yield to it ; which may be true so far as any specific act is concerned, but which can never be true as regards the duty of resisting and exposing the prejudice. In other words, there may be a choice of evils. We would not have a law which is not supported by general conviction ; for such a law, good or bad, is sure to be evaded and to bring the authority of law into contempt. But we would certainly, by every means possible, endeavor to influence public opinion to demand and to sustain any law based upon natural equity. There is, undoubtedly, a wide opposition to what is called negro suffrage. But that opposition is the sheerest possible prejudice. It is an opposition to the fundamental doctrine of our Government, to experience, and to common sense. It is an opposition springing from no "instinct," but from a prejudice which inevitably exists against a class whose color is the badge of its enforced servility, and a prejudice which is most carefully cherished by the most despicable partisan appeals. Now, while an opposition of this kind must be accepted by every legislator and by every reasoner as a fact, it is still an opposition which no truly sensible and patriotic man will cease to combat until it disappears. Events themselves combat it, and we have yet to see whether the men who have heroically exposed their lives in defense of the flag to more dangers than any other soldiers are to have less privilege under that flag than all others.

If indeed we mean to limit the suffrage then the conditions must be universal, or we sow the seeds of discord and trouble. We may require a stated intelligence, or a certain property, as a qualification ; but if we do, we must not presume against a candidate's satisfaction of the conditions because he is of one race, or country, or color, or another.

We are at war because we have refused to treat one class of our population as we concede that all men should be treated, namely, with perfectly fair play ; and we shall be at war until we have conquered the " instinct" which denies to intelligence, moral worth, and industry that absolute equality before the law which we freely allow to ignorance, immorality, and degradation. May the good Providence upon which Dr. MOODY relies grant us a sure and speedy exodus for " the whole concern" of such " instincts !"


UPON page 373 of this paper we present the latest portrait of the President of the United States. He is represented attended by his two secretaries, Mr. NICOLAY seated by his side, and Mr. HAY standing by the table. In this earnest, care worn face, saddened by a solemn sense of the great responsibility which in God's Providence has devolved upon him, we see the man who said to his neighbors, as he left his home three years ago, that he was called to a graver task than any chief magistrate since WASHINGTON, and whose simple faith and devotion bade him ask them to pray for him.

From that moment to this, through three years of tremendous war, beginning amidst clouds and darkness, and gradually emerging into a more cheerful light of hope and final success ; through an infinite perplexity of events, which have sometimes elated the bitterest enemies of the national life, and sometimes disheartened its most sanguine friends, the faith of the President has never wavered, nor his hand faltered. And now in the beginning of his last year of office, his policy fully declared, and the army of the Union, freed from baffling jealousies, united and resolved, under a military chief whom even the enemy fears and respects, the President commands a more universal respect, a more thorough confidence among all faithful citizens at home and trusty friends abroad than any President since WASHINGTON.

Look thoughtfully at this rugged face. In its candor, its sagacity, its calmness, its steadiness and strength, there is especially conspicuous the distinctive American. The hardy, simple traits of the best American character are there. Turn then to the portrait of General

GRANT in our paper of three weeks ago, and there you see another purely American face. There are the same homely honesty, capacity, and tenacity, the same utter freedom from every kind of cant and affectation, in each. It is to such men, one in the council, the other in the field, in every fibre, in every heart-beat, in every hope and thought and word, in every instinct and quality, American, that the salvation of American institutions has been providentially intrusted. Children of the people both of them, sprung from the poorest and plainest ancestry, as unpretending and unselfish in their high places today as in the time when they were both unknown, these two men illustrate at once the character of American civilization and of the American people. There is but one prayer in the great multitude of American hearts today, God bless President LINCOLN and General GRANT !


MR. SENATOR POWELL lately proposed in the Senate a vote of censure upon the executive authority of the Government, in closing the offices of two papers which had been made vehicles of a forgery of the President's name to the peril of the country at a most critical moment in the war. Mr. POWELL called the act a " violation of the Constitution." But since when has he learned respect for the Constitution ? In the Thirty-sixth Congress, when we were not at war, there was a simple proposition to guarantee free speech in the Southern States, the right of free speech in peace being an express provision of the Constitution, and Mr. Senator POWELL voted No. If he had voted against a trial by jury he could not more fully have disdained the Constitution. We can assure the Senator that he took no more by his last motion than by his former vote. No one who has watched his course can have the least doubt that in his view nothing is more constitutional than a rebellion to overthrow the Government ; and he must be an extraordinary man who believes that the Constitution of the United States would be safer if confided to the interpretation of Mr. Senator POWELL and his friends VALLANDIGHAM, COX, and FERNANDO WOOD, with the assistance of the papers that published the forged Proclamation, than it is in the hands of the Administration. These gentlemen are the friends of the rebels ; how can they be the friends of the Union and the Constitution ?


WHEN the rebel conspiracy was ripening there was entire confidence upon the part of the leaders that the city of New York would stand by them. They counted especially upon the Seventh Regiment. It was the military representation of the fashion and capital of the city, and there could, in their estimation, be no doubt of the course it would take. Little preliminary sops were administered to make every thing pleasant. There was a removal of the remains of MONROE to Virginia, and the Seventh Regiment was the escort. There was a dedication of a WASHINGTON Monument in Washington, when a Virginian was the orator and the Seventh was the guard of honor. It would be a very pleasant beginning, it was thought, to have so pretty a regiment ready drilled to serve the aristocractic insurrection.

The insurrection began in Charleston and Baltimore, and while the news of the massacre of loyal troops in the latter city was trembling along the wire, the Seventh Regiment, with ranks fuller than ever before, was marching down Broadway through that tumult of emotion that will never be forgotten. THEODORE WINTHROP, who had joined it during the week, wrote the sparkling story of its march to Washington. But so sure was the conviction of Southern rebels that the regiment would be true to them and false to the country and Government, that when a friend who was in Mississippi at the time told his host the news of their arrival in Washington, he refused to believe it, and insisted that it could not be. Indeed the prompt movement and heroic front of this regiment was one of the decisive events of the war. It was the first shattering blow to the delusion that party spirit was stronger in the free States than patriotism. And to the moral effect of its action the historian will add that it has furnished some of the noblest and most efficient officers of the army.

We have been recently reminded of the brilliant record of the Seventh Regiment during the war by a characteristic sneer in time Richmond Examiner. General SHALER, who was captured by the rebels with General SEYMOUR in the battle of the Wilderness, was formerly Major of the Seventh Regiment. The rebel paper speaks of the prisoners as follows :

" The two worthies are named SHALER and SEYMOUR; the former has visited Richmond before in his capacity as Captain of a company in the New York Seventh, when that dandy regiment of Gotham cockneys was entertained here on the occasion of the MONROE funeral obsequies. At that time, coining as a friend and (in some sense) compatriot, he and his comrades were received with all the cordial, unsuspicious hospitality of Virginia. Now, ad- (Next Page)




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