The Civil War… 150 years ago today… May 25, 1861

May 25, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

We continue our weekly feature of reflecting upon the appropriate 150 year old issue of “Harper’s Weekly” from the perspective of a subscriber in 1861:

Today’s issue, dated May 25, 1861, has the entire front page taken up with a a very dramatic fire at Willard’s Hotel in the nation’s capital, showing the New York Fire Zouaves working feverishly to t out the blaze. One firemen is being held by his legs as he is suspended upside down with a fire hose!

Other prints inside deal more with the war, including: “Camp Cameron…” from Washington, D.C., a nice print of “Evening  Parade at Fort Pickens…” which provides a nice overview of the fort. Another print shows troops leaving from Dubuque, Iowa, aboard two of the large paddle wheeler boats which ply the Mississippi. The interior of the rotunda of the Capitol in Washington shows a Mass. regiment resting there, with support braces for the construction work going on evident. I understand the new dome is in the early stages of completion.

A full page print shows: “The  79th Regiment (Highlanders) ” of the New York Militia marching down the street in kilts! What a sight! And there is also an impressive full page print of “Camp Scott, York, Pennsylvania” showing many troops encamped there.

Yet another page has a map of the United States showing the strategic routes in the interior of the country. I always look forward to maps concerning the war as they provide a perspective which makes the battle strategies in the various parts of the country more understandable.