Harper's Weekly 08/17/1861



On Tuesday, 30th July, in the Senate, the resolution
approving of the acts of the President was taken up, and
postponed. The Tariff Bill was passed by a vote of 22 to
19. A message was received from the House asking a
committee of conference, which was granted. The bill to
suppress insurrection was taken up, and postponed after
discussion. On the announcement that the House had
passed the Tax Bill, the Senate took it up, and referred it
to the Committee on Finance. A long debate took place
on a report from the Conference Committee with regard
to the construction of steel-clad war vessels. During the
discussion the Senate found itself without a quorum, and
adjourned.—In the House, the Military Committee re-
ported the bill adding to the West Point cadets a number
equal to that of the Senators in Congress, giving the Pres-
ident power to fill the vacancies caused by the rebellion in
the Southern States, and requiring all cadets to take the
oath of allegiance; passed. The bill for making a tem-
porary addition to the number of pupils in the Naval
Academy was also passed; likewise a bill authorizing the
construction by the Navy Department of twelve small side-
wheel steamers, and appropriating twelve hundred thou-
sand dollars therefor. The House also passed the bill pro-
hibiting the sale of intoxicating drinks to soldiers in the
District of Columbia, and that for the punishment of
frauds on the part of government contractors. A report
from the Select Committee appointed to ascertain the
number and names of persons in Government employ
known to be inimical to the Union cause and in league
with the traitors, states that the action of the House in in-
stituting this examination with regard to the personnel of
the Departments is fully justified by the facts. A bill to
define and punish unlawful communication with the ene-
mies of the Union was introduced and referred.

On Wednesday, 31st July, in the Senate, the bill in re-
lation to the superintendents of navy-yards was taken up,
discussed at some length, and passed. The bill supple-
mentary to the act to increase the military establishment
was passed. A bill was introduced, and referred to the
Committee on Commerce, for the repeal of the fishing
bounties. The bill to increase our consular representa-
tives abroad during the continuance of the rebellion was
passed. The report of the Committee of Conference on
the bill providing for the construction of steel-clad war
vessels was considered. All the amendments of the House,
excepting the one in reference to uncompleted vessels, was
agreed to, when a new Conference Committee was appoint-
ed, and the subject laid over.—The House passed the
Senate bill transferring the control over District Attorneys
and Marshals from the Secretary of the Interior to the At-
torney-General; also a bill providing for the monthly pay-
ment of the troops. A resolution was adopted reprobating
the retention in office of rebel sympathizers. A bill was
introduced to give bounty land warrants to the soldiers of
the present war, and granting homesteads to actual set-

On Thursday, August 1, in the Senate, a bill appropri-
ating $100,000 for field fortifications for the defence of the
capital was passed. The bill also prohibits flogging in
the army. The bill to promote the efficiency of the vol-
unteer forces was also passed; likewise a bill reducing
consular fees on vessels running to or between foreign
ports. A bill for the organization of the volunteer militia
was reported, and its consideration postponed till the first
Monday in December. Notice was given of a bill declar-
ing unconstitutional the act retroceding a portion of the
District of Columbia to Virginia. The bill to punish fraud
on the part of officers making contracts for the Govern-
ment, which was returned from the House with amend-
ments, was taken up and passed. The report of the Con-
ference Committee on the bill for the better organization
of the army was adopted, and the bill passed. The bill
providing for the suppression of insurrection was taken up,
and a spirited discussion followed. A motion to postpone
the subject till December was defeated by a vote of 16
against 28. The Conference Committee on the Supple-
mental Loan bill made a report, which was adopted, and
the bill passed. After an executive session the Senate ad-
journed.—In the House a bill was passed authorizing
enlistment in the navy for the war. The bill appropriat-
ing $100,000 for field fortifications for the defense of the
capital was passed. Mr. Stevens, from the Committee of
Conference on the Supplemental Loan bill, made a report
explaining that the disagreements of the two Houses had
been compromised. The report was adopted by 83 against
34. The Senate bill appropriating $10,000,000 for the pur-
chase and manufacture of arms, ordnance, and ordnance
stores was passed. A bill enabling the Secretary of the
Treasury to charter and purchase additional vessels for the
revenue service was passed. An appropriation of $300,000
for ordnance for the navy was agreed to. The question as
to who is responsible for the advance of the army in Vir-
ginia, and the disaster at Bull Run, was brought up by
Mr. Blair. Mr. Richardson made some explanations re-
specting the remarks of general Scott on the subject of the
battle. He (Mr. Richardson) did not understand General
Scott as implying that the President forced him to fight
the battle.

On Friday, August 2, in the Senate, the bill authorizing
the charter or purchase of additional vessels for the reve-
nue marine was passed; also the bill authorizing the con-
struction of twelve small side-wheel war steamers. A bill
repealing the act retroceding Alexandria to Virginia was
referred to the Judiciary Committee. The joint resolution
approving the acts of the President in suppressing the re-
bellion was taken up, briefly discussed, and laid aside in
order to take up the report of the Conference Committee
on the disagreeing votes upon the Tariff and Direct Tax
bills, which was adopted by a vote of 34 to 8. A number
of appropriations were agreed to, including $20,000,000 for
organizing volunteers, and $30,000 for naval night signals.
—In the House, a joint resolution was adopted thanking
the soldiers of the republic for their loyalty and devotion.
The Judiciary Committee reported a substitute for the Sen-
ate bill to confiscate property used for insurrectionary pur-
poses, which was rejected. Mr. Bingham, of Ohio, offered
an amendment which was finally rejected. Further dis-
cussion ensued, and on motion of Mr. Pendleton, of Ohio,
the bill was recommitted, by a vote of 69 against 48. The
chairman of the Conference Committee on the disagreeing
votes of the two Houses on the Tariff and Direct Tax bills
made a report, which was adopted by a vote of 89 against
39. A bill punishing with fine and imprisonment persons
guilty of enlisting men for service against the United States
was passed.

On Saturday, August 3, in the Senate, a memorial from
the Maryland Legislature, relative to the arrest of Ross
Winans by the United States military authorities, was or-
dered to be printed. The Military Committee reported
the bill requiring monthly payments of the troops, with a
recommendation that it do not pass, which was agreed to;
and a resolution was adopted recommending the Secretary
of War to pay the volunteers monthly whenever practica-
ble. The bill supplementary to the act to protect com-
merce and punish piracy was passed.—In the House, the
Military Committee reported back the Senate bill to pro-
mote the efficiency of the volunteer forces, by authorizing
the President to discharge from the service any commis-
sioned volunteer officer for incapacity, inefficiency, miscon-
duct, or neglect of duty. The committee reported a sub-
stitute, applying the principles of the bill to the officers of
the regular army, as well as to those of the volunteers, the
dismissals to take place with the instituting of a board of
inquiry or a court-martial. The substitute was rejected,
and the original bill laid on the table. The Judiciary
Committee reported back the Senate bill confiscating prop-
erty used for insurrectionary purposes, with an amend-
ment in effect confiscating all slaves employed in the mili-
tary or naval service of the rebels, and the bill, as amended,
passed by a vote of 60 against 48. The President commu-
nicated to the House a dispatch from Hon. Alfred Ely a
member from New York, stating that he was a prisoner in
the hands of the rebels at Richmond. A call was made
for information with reference to the charges against Mr.
Harvey, our Minister to Portugal, who is accused of hold-
ing correspondence with the enemy.


General M`Clellan has issued his two first orders as Com-
mander of the Army of the Potomac. Order number one
announces the appointment of his staff, and they comprise
a body of excellent and efficient officers. Order number
two embodies the first step toward reorganizing the army.
It commands the instant return to their several camps of
the officers and soldiers scattered around Washington at
hotels and boarding-houses, reminding them that duty re-
quires their presence at the head-quarters of their regi-
ments, to restore order and discipline among the men. Col-
onel Porter is appointed Provost Marshal to carry out this or-
der, and he has already begun his work by closing up the
liquor saloons in the capital, around which much drunken-
ness and riotous conduct has existed for some days past.


The people will not be disappointed in the new Com-
mander of the Department of the West. Within a week
General Fremont organized and sent from St. Louis to
Cairo a fleet of eight steamers, four regiments of infantry,
two companies of artillery, and several detached companies
of infantry. This is something like work.


An official dispatch received at the War Department last
week from Brigadier-General Rosencranz states that Gen-
eral Cox, with his Union troops, who was following Wise,
reached Gawley Bridge on Monday the 29th ult., where
the Gawley and New rivers conjoin to form the Kanawha,
and that Governor Wise fled before them without showing
fight, leaving 1000 muskets and several kegs of powder in
the hands of General Cox's troops. Wise destroyed the
bridge behind him to prevent pursuit. It was said that
Governor Wise's soldiers were deserting him in large num-
bers, in consequence of the destruction of property which
he permitted on his march. General Rosencranz says that
the Kanawha valley is now entirely free from rebels.


A number of the new military appointments are under-
stood to have been confirmed by the Senate—among them
those of Major-Generals Fremont, M`Clellan, Dix, and
Banks, and Brigadier-Generals Hooker, Curtis, M`Call,
Sherman, Lander, Kelly, Kearney, Pope, Heintzelman,
Porter, Stone, Reynolds, Hunter, Franklin, Rosencranz,
Buell, Mansfield, M`Dowell, and Meigs.


The organization of a Military Board of examination
into the qualifications of officers is beginning already to
operate with good effect. Several resignations of officers
in volunteer regiments have been tendered, the recipients
of commissions not feeling themselves equal to the test of
such a rigid examination as they will be compelled to un-
dergo by the Military Board. By an order just issued
from the War Department all officers are required to re-
port themselves for examination, and those who do not so
report will be considered as having vacated their positions,
and the vacancies will be filled at once by the Depart-


The commissioners who were dispatched with a flag of
truce to the rebel army at Fairfax by the Secretary of War,
to request the delivery of his brother's body (Colonel Cam-
eron, of the Seventy-ninth Highland regiment) have re-
turned to Washington without effecting the object of their
mission. They report that every kindness and courtesy
were shown them by Colonel Stewart, the officer in com-
mand at Fairfax Court House, but their communication
having been addressed, not to any particular individual,
but to “whom it may concern,” they were unable to ob-
tain the remains of Colonel Cameron.


An order of General Beauregard addressed to Colonel
Rust, military commandant of the rebel district of Lou-
don County, Virginia, in which the General asks for sup-
plies of corn, wagons, and teams for the use of the army,
has been published. He expresses the hope that no diffi-
culty will be found in complying with this demand, and
that all classes of citizens will contribute their quota; but
hints, very significantly, that, if necessary, constraint
must be employed with all such people as are forgetful
of their obligations to that army which “has gloriously
maintained the independence and sovereignty of Virginia,
and has driven back, in ignominious flight, the invaders
of her soil.”


The New Orleans True Delta incidentally asserts that
“three-fourths of the gallant men from this city and State
who have abandoned family and home, and all that is dear
to man, to march to the battle-field in defense of Southern
rights and Southern honor, are Irishmen.”


General Butler is so much in earnest in his zeal for the
promotion of temperance and discipline in the forces under
his command that he not only staves the whisky barrels
and drives the grog-selling sutlers out of camp, but he in-
sists upon his officers pledging themselves not to touch
the pernicious cup, and, by way of example, banishes it
from his own quarters. The demoralizing effects of free
drinking upon his soldiers have admonished him that he
must take measures accordingly; and we congratulate the
General that he has gone the right way about it. We
trust his example may be imitated by other commanding


General Butler, in the course of a letter to Secretary
Cameron on the subject of the “contraband” at Fortress
Monroe, asks: “Are these men, women, and children
slaves? Are they free? Is their condition that of men,
women, and children, or of property, or is it a mixed rela-
tion? What their status was under the Constitution and
laws we all know. What has been the effect of rebellion
and a state of war upon that status! When I adopted the
theory of treating the able-bodied negro fit to work in the
trenches as property liable to be used in aid of rebellion,
and so contraband of war, that condition of things was in
so far met, as I then and still believe on a legal and con-
stitutional basis. But now a new series of questions arise.
Passing by women, the children certainly can not be
treated on that basis; if property, they must be considered
the incumbrance, rather than the auxiliary of an army,
and, of course, in no possible legal relation could be treated
as contraband. Are they property? If they were so, they
have been left by their masters and owners, deserted,
thrown away, abandoned, like the wrecked vessel upon
the ocean. Their former possessors and owners have cause-
lessly, traitorously, rebelliously, and, to carry out the fig-
ure, practically abandoned them to be swallowed up by
the winter storm of starvation. If property, do they not
become the property of the salvors? but we, their salvors,
do not need and will not hold such property, and will as-
sume no such ownership; has not, therefore, all propri-
etary relation ceased? Have they not become thereupon
men, women, and children? No longer under ownership
of any kind, the fearful relicts of fugitive masters, have
they not, by their masters' acts and the state of war, as-
sumed the condition which we hold to be the normal one
of those made in God's image? Is not every constitution-
al, legal, and moral requirement, as well to the runaway
master as their relinquished slaves, thus answered? I
confess that my own mind is compelled by this reasoning
to look upon them as men and women. If not free-born,
yet free, manumitted, sent forth from the hand that held
them never to be reclaimed.

“Of course if this reasoning thus imperfectly set forth
is correct, my duty as a humane man is very plain. I
should take the same care of these men, women, and chil-
dren, houseless, homeless, and unprovided for, as I would
of the same number of men, women, and children who, for
their attachment to the Union, had been driven or allowed
to flee from the Confederate States.


“I should have no doubt on this question, had I not
seen it stated, that an order had been issued by General
M`Dowell in his department, substantially forbidding all
fugitive slaves from coming within his lines, or being har-
bored there. Is that order to be enforced in all military
departments? I so, who are to be considered fugitive
slaves? Is a slave to be considered fugitive whose master
runs away and leaves him? Is it forbidden to the troops
to aid or harbor within their lines the negro children who
are found therein; or is the soldier, when his march has
destroyed their means of subsistence, to allow them to
starve because he has driven off the rebel master? How
shall the commander of regiment or battalion sit in judg-
ment upon the question, whether any given black man has
fled from his master, or his master fled from him? In-
deed, how are the free-born to be distinguished? Is one
any more or less a fugitive slave because he has labored
upon the rebel intrenchments? If he has so labored, if I
understand it, he is to be harbored. By the reception of
which are the rebels most to be distressed, by taking those
who have wrought all their rebel masters desired, masked
their battery, or those who have refused to labor and left
the battery unmasked?

“I have very decided opinions upon the subject of this
order. It does not become me to criticise it, and I write
in no spirit of criticism, but simply to explain the full
difficulties that surround the enforcing it. If the enforce-
ment of that order becomes the policy of the Government,
I, as a soldier, shall be bound to enforce it steadfastly, if
not cheerfully. But if left to my own discretion, as you
may have gathered from my reasoning, I should take a
widely different course from that which it indicates.

“In a loyal State I would put down a servile insurrec-
tion. In a State of rebellion I would confiscate that which
was used to oppose my arms, and take all that property
which constituted the wealth of that State and furnished
the means by which the war is prosecuted, beside being
the cause of the war; and if, in so doing, it should be ob-
jected that human beings were brought to the free enjoy-
ment of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, such ob-
jection might not require much consideration.”


Prince Napoleon arrived at Washington Friday evening
from Philadelphia, and repaired immediately to the house
of the French minister at Georgetown without attracting
any extra attention.

He passed the evening quietly at the house of the Min-
ister, where he has decided to remain while at Washing-
ton, having declined the polite offer of the President to
lodge at the White House.

On Saturday he called on the President at twelve o'clock,
and was duly presented by the Secretary of State. The
President received the Prince with marked courtesy, and
welcomed him to the country in a few simple but hearty
words of compliment. Without seeking, he said, to at-
tach to this flattering visit of one so closely allied to the
French throne, at this solemn crisis of the country's his-
tory, an undue importance, he could but feel that his pres-
ence at the capital was a guarantee of the friendly inter-
est and generous sympathy of the French Government.

The Prince, it is reported, listened with deep interest
to the informal address of the President, and replied with
brevity and much feeling. He dined at the White House
that evening. As the Prince travels incognito, the din-
ner was quite en famille. There were twenty-seven per-
sons present. The party was composed of the President
and the Presidential family, Mrs. Lincoln, Mrs. Grimsely,
Mr. Edwards, Mr. R. T. Lincoln, Mr. Mecoukey, and Mes-
sieurs Nicolay and Hay, the private secretaries of the

Prince Napoleon was accompanied by Captain Coufils,
commander of the steamer upon which the imperial party
came to New York; Lieutenant-Colonels Ferri, Pisan,
and Ragon, Aides-de-camp, and Mr. Maurice Sand. The
other guests were Lord Lyons, the British Minister; Mon-
sieur Mercier, French Minister; Monsieur de Geofroy, Sec-
retary of the French Legation; Mr. Banoche, attache; the
Secretaries of State, the Treasury, the Navy, the Interior,
and the Postmaster-General; Lieutenant-General Scott,
Major-General M`Clellan, Senator Foot, President pro tem.
of the Senate; Senator Sumner, Chairman of Senate Com-
mittee on Foreign Relations, and Fred. W. Seward, Esq.,
Assistant Secretary of State.

The Secretary of War was absent from the city, and the
Attorney-General was kept away by illness.


Robert Toombs has resigned his office of Secretary of
State in the “Southern Confederacy,” and R. M. T. Hunt-
er has been appointed to succeed him. The cause of
Toombs's resignation is his acceptance of a general's com-
mission in the rebel army.

General Kelly, who was severely wounded at Philippi,
was presented with a splendid horse by citizens of Wheel-
ing, on the 31st ult., and the next day left to take his
position in the army in Western Virginia.

General Barnard E. Bee, of South Carolina, who was
killed in the rebel army at the battle of Bull Run, was
thirty-five years of age, and has left a wife and one child.
He entered West Point in 1841, and when the rebellion
broke out he was a first lieutenant in the American army.

A young lady was found in a company at Lafayette,
Indiana, on the 29th ult., “enlisted for the war;” but as
the proclamation of the Governor called for abled-bodied
“men,” she was invited to leave the ranks and return her
regimentals to the Quarter-master.

General Frémont, in his orders to the commander of the
Second Missouri Rifle regiment, says he must have for
captains “only such officers as have seen service.”

Austin E. Smith, late Navy Agent of San Francisco, and
son of “Extra Billy Smith,” ex-Governor of Virginia, ar-
rived in New York on Friday by the Northern Light, and
was arrested by United States Marshal Murray, on the
charge of being a defaulter.

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