Monday, February 27, 2017

Diary of Gideon Welles: Monday, April 20, 1863

Received Admiral Du Pont's detailed report with those of his officers. The document is not such as I should have expected from him a short time ago, but matters of late prevent me from feeling any real disappointment. Fox went last night to New York in anticipation of such a report. The tone and views of the sub-reports have the ring, or want of ring, of the Admiral in command. Discouragement when there should be encouragement. A pall is thrown over all. Nothing has been done, and it is the recommendation of all, from the Admiral down, that no effort be made to do anything. [Du Pont] has got his subordinates to sustain him in a proceeding that his sense of right tells him is wrong.

I am by no means confident that we are acting wisely in expending so much strength and effort on Charleston, a place of no strategic importance, but it is lamentable to witness the tone, language, absence of vitality and vigor, and want of zeal among so many of the best officers of the service. I cannot be mistaken as to the source and cause. A magnetic power in the head, which should have inspired and stimulated them, is wanting; they have been discouraged instead of being encouraged, depressed not strengthened.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 1: 1861 – March 30, 1864, p. 276-7

Diary of John Hay: Sunday, November 12, 1863

. . . In the evening Miss Chase and Gov. Sprague’s wedding. A very brilliantlooking party. Kate looked tired out and languid, especially at the close of the evening, when I went into the bridal chamber to say good night. She had lost her old severity and formal stiffness of manner, and seemed to think she had arrived. McDowell , Stahel , Schenck , Stoneman , Cameron and others present. The President came for a few minutes.

SOURCES: Clara B. Hay, Letters of John Hay and Extracts from Diary, Volume 1, p. 120; For the whole diary entry see Tyler Dennett, Editor, Lincoln and the Civil War in the Diaries and letters of John Hay, p. 118-9.

Diary of Lieutenant-Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes: Monday July 21, 1862

We are target firing now. The Enfields are a little better sighted than the muskets; the muskets have most power and the longest range. Company C does rather the best shooting, Companies E and A coming next.

A zouave at the Flat Top camp found tied to a tree with five bullet holes through him! Naked too! An enemy's cavalry patrol seen two miles outside of our pickets. Secesh, ten or twelve in number.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 307

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: January 18, 1864

Too much exertion to even write in my diary. Talk of getting away by escaping, but find no feasible plan. Rebs very watchful. Some mail to-day but nothing for me. Saw some papers, and a new prisoner brought with him a New York paper, but not a word in it about “exchange.” Am still outside most every day. Geo. Hendryx at work in the cook house cooking rations for the prisoners. Comes down where I am every day and hands me something to take inside for the boys. He tells the Lieut, he has a brother inside that he is feeding. Although it is against orders, Lieut. Bossieux pays no attention to it.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 26

Diary of Brigadier-General William F. Bartlett: Saturday, October 15, 1864

Rainy. Do not go to town,

SOURCE: Francis Winthrop Palfrey, Memoir of William Francis Bartlett, p. 147

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: February 26, 1863

We have good news from Vicksburg to-day. The Queen of the West, lately captured by us, and another gunboat, attacked the Indianola, the iron-clad Federal gun-boat which got past our batteries the other day, and, after an engagement, sunk her. We captured all the officers and men.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 264

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant George G. Smith: December 20, 1864

Arrived at Vicksburg, where we were transferred to the “Illinois.”

SOURCE: Abstracted from George G. Smith, Leaves from a Soldier's Diary, p. 142

Diary of 1st Lieutenant Lemuel A. Abbott: Sunday, August 14, 1864

Have remained idle all day; enemy occupy the other side of Strasburg. Our pickets are just this side of town; very warm and sultry; are in the shade. Captain Merritt Barber and Lieut. J. M. Read have gone on picket; no skirmishing to-day; rations and mail expected to-night.

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 135

Diary of Sergeant Major Luman Harris Tenney, Wednesday, December 10, 1862

Maj. P., Capt. S., Capt. N. with 25 men came into the fort. Arrived about 2 P. M. Got supper at Mrs. Harris’ — very kind. Other detachment came in. Several boys drunk.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 49

Diary of 1st Lieutenant John S. Morgan: Saturday, April 29, 1865

Work on Muster & Pay rolls all day, boat cam up last night bringing Mobile papers of the 28th with information that at the Mouth of Red river The Rebs were communicating for flag of truce relative to a speedy surrender by Kirby Smith of all the army west of the Mississippi. Many Citizens came in today some from 20 & 25 miles back & all express themselves astonished at the good treatment they rec from our soldiers. We wait patiently for something official from high authority confirmatory of the surrender of Joe Jonston. There is a report that somewhere near there is a rebel force of 400 & that the 1st Brig are ordered out on a scout with 2 days rations, Dick Taylor has not surrendered but is reported with his staff in Mobile. Papers note the arrival at Mobile of a paymaster & rumor says he is paying there. Take a walk after supper with Sergt Miller.

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 8, April 1923, p. 596

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Diary of Gideon Welles: Sunday, April 19, 1863

Several letters from Du Pont on unimportant matters, but no detailed reports of the fight from himself or officers. Advised with Fox and thought best for him to go to New York and see Admiral Gregory and Captain Rowan with a view to more effective action if necessary. Nothing certain when we shall hear from Du Pont. In the mean time it is important to prepare for an emergency.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 1: 1861 – March 30, 1864, p. 276

Diary of John Hay: Sunday, November 8, 1863

The President tells me that Meade is at last after the enemy and that Grant will attack to-morrow.

Went with Mrs. Ames to Gardiner’s gallery and were soon joined by Nico and the President. We had a great many pictures taken. Some of the Prest the best I have seen. Nico and I immortalised ourselves by having ourselves done in group with the Prest.

In the evening Seward came in. He feels very easy and confident now about affairs. He says New York is safe for the Presidential election by a much larger majority, that the crowd that follows power have come over; that the copperhead spirit is crushed and humbled. He says the Democrats lost their leaders when Toombs and Davis and Breckinridge forsook them and went south; that their new leaders, the Seymours, Vallandighams and Woods, are now whipped and routed. So that they have nothing left. The Democratic leaders are either ruined by the war, or have taken the right-about, and have saved themselves from the ruin of their party by coming out on the right side. . . .

He told the Democratic party how they might have saved themselves and their organisation, and with it the coming Presidential election — by being more loyal and earnest in support of the administration than the Republican party — which would not be hard, the Lord knows!

SOURCES: Clara B. Hay, Letters of John Hay and Extracts from Diary, Volume 1, p. 118-9; For the whole diary entry see Tyler Dennett, Editor, Lincoln and the Civil War in the Diaries and letters of John Hay, p. 117-8.

Diary of Lieutenant-Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes: Sunday July 20, 1862

Camp Green Meadows, Mercer County, Virginia. — Morgan's gang, or Rebels encouraged by him, have got into Warrick County, Indiana. This is the first successful (if it turns out successful) invasion of free soil. I regret it on that account. I wished to be able to say that no inch of free soil had been polluted by the footstep of an invader. However, this is rather an incursion of robbers than of soldiers. I suppose no soldiers have yet set foot on our soil.

I wish we were near or amidst the active movements. We ought to be sent somewhere.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 307

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: January 15, 1864

Everything runs along about the same. Little excitements from day to day. The weather is fair, and taken all together thus far this winter has been very favorable to us as prisoners. Lieut. Bossieux lost his dog. Some Yanks snatched him into a tent and eat him up. Bossieux very mad and is anxious to know who the guilty ones are. All he can do is to keep all our rations from us one day, and he does it. Seems pretty rough when a man will eat a dog, but such is the case.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 25

Diary of Brigadier-General William F. Bartlett: Friday, October 14, 1864

Rainy. Letter from Agnes at Copake. Table and brackets came to-day.

SOURCE: Francis Winthrop Palfrey, Memoir of William Francis Bartlett, p. 147

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: February 25, 1863

On the 18th inst. the enemy's battery on the opposite side of the Mississippi River opened on Vicksburg. The damage was not great; but the front of the town is considered untenable.

The Conscription bill has passed the United States Senate, which will empower the President to call for 3,000,000 men. “Will they come, when he does call for them?” That is to be seen. It may be aimed at France; and a war with the Emperor might rouse the Northern people again. Some of them, however, have had enough of war.

To-day I heard of my paper addressed to the President on the subject of an appeal to the people to send food to the army. He referred it to the Commissary-General, Col. Northrop, who sent it to the War Department, with an indorsement that as he had no acquaintance with that means of maintaining an army (the patriotic contributions of the people), he could not recommend the adoption of the plan. Red tape is mightier than patriotism still. There may be a change, however, for Gen. Lee approves the plan.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 264

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant George G. Smith: December 15, 1864

“Sic transit Gloria!” Got orders for good old Donaldsonville, La. As usual, I got my share of the dirty work. The regiment had been paid off, and many soldiers were in the city on passes when the order came, so the Colonel ordered me to take a posse of soldiers and go down to the city and get those out on passes on board “The Metropolitan,” lying at the wharf; so I had a good time of it. Most every saloon had more or less drunken soldiers in it. I hailed a passing market wagon on the street, and told the driver I wanted him to take a load of soldiers down to the boat. “I can't do it: I have not got the time.” “Yes,” I said, “but you must.” He looked at the shoulder straps I had on, and at the posse with me, and decided to go. We soon filled it, put a guard in, and sent them on, and I hailed another. I hailed three in all. When the roll was called they were all there; so, at 5 p. m., the prow of the “Metropolitan” was headed down stream. Lieut. Jones and the negro boys looked after my luggage. We had to coal up two miles below. Got stuck in the mud once, besides having much foggy weather.

General Gilmore came aboard at Helena, Ark., and got off at White River Landing.

SOURCE: Abstracted from George G. Smith, Leaves from a Soldier's Diary, p. 141-2

Diary of 1st Lieutenant Lemuel A. Abbott: Saturday, August 13, 1864

Well, were it natural for me to be despondent, I should say that things looked rather gloomy for our cause. I do not doubt but what General Grant is doing all in his power to prosecute the war. Apparently, however, there is little doubt but what there are those under him who fail to perform their whole duty. If there were only more fighting generals and fewer get-along-easy fellows, what a splendid thing it would be for the country. But Grant will weed 'em out in time — see if he don't! We arrived at Cedar Creek and went about a mile when we again found Early in our front; have remained here all day.

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 134

Diary of Sergeant Major Luman Harris Tenney, Tuesday, December 9, 1862

Saw a good many rebels about Turkey Creek. Camped 30 miles from fort.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 49

Diary of 1st Lieutenant John S. Morgan: Friday, April 28, 1865

A. M. to commissary for stores. The fort is laid out today, & details made to work on it. At noon was detailed for picket to report immediately. The Off of Day did not know where the line of our Brigade was, took us out on the wrong road making a walk extra of about 3 miles, was 4 P. M. when we arrived on our own line, found there the detail of 33 had been sent away to a bayou 1½ miles below the bluffs. Which post was to be relieved, having no place on the line for me The Off of Day ordered me to march my detail to camp. Short picketing that soon after return to camp supper ready. After supper Lt Laughridge & myself go to the river for a bath, talk with a squad of a Sergt of 4 men bearers of dispatch from Mobile & just arrived say a flag of truce from Taylor had been at Whistler for 5 days & rumor said Taylor wished to surrender. Told us of a Reb gunboat running out of Red River past New Orleans & being too closely chased beeched & blew up, saw a little nig. who gathered a mess of ripe haws to make us a pie, we to give him his supper of which he had had none, when we return to camp Lt Sharman says “the dispatch is just recd from Genl Canby announcing the surrender of Genl Taylor & all his forces. & that our men should respect him & his officers enroute to Mobile” as this order is published cheer after cheer rends the air, Lt Stoeker 29th Iowa stays with us tonight, he come up from the Arsenal with an escort of 10 men & says that his segt captured 2 men of the squad who captured the teamsters near Fish river & that all the teamsters were sent to Vicksburgh for exchange. The Lt says there is no doubt this is a correct statement, Fleas Fleas. Fleas

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 8, April 1923, p. 596

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Diary of Gideon Welles: Saturday, April 18, 1863

Went to the President and read to him my letter of this date to Mr. Seward, on the subject of the Peterhoff mail. I have done this that the President may have both sides of the question, and understand what is being done with his “approval,” without consultation with me and the members of the Cabinet in council. The Secretary of State, for reasons best known to himself, if he has any reason for his action, has advised with no one in a novel and extraordinary proceeding on his part, where he has made concessions by which our rights and interests have been given up and the law disregarded. When confronted, he, instead of entering upon investigation himself or consulting with others, has gone privately to the President, stated his own case, and got the President committed to his unauthorized acts. I therefore prepared my letter of this date, and before sending it to Mr. Seward, I deemed it best that the President should know its contents. He was surprised and very much interested; took the letter and reread it; said the subject involved questions which he did not understand, that his object was to “keep the peace,” for we could not afford to take upon ourselves a war with England and France, which was threatened if we stopped their mails; and concluded by requesting me to send my letter to Seward, who would bring the subject to his attention for further action. My object was gained. The President has “approved,” without knowledge, on the representation of Seward.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 1: 1861 – March 30, 1864, p. 275-6

Diary of John Hay: November 2, 1863

The President says Butler has been tendered Foster’s department, while Foster goes to relieve Burnside, who resigns. It is not yet known whether Butler will accept.

I asked about Rosecrans. The President says he sees no immediate prospect of assigning him to command; — that he had thought, when the trouble and row of this election in Missouri is over, and the matter will not be misconstrued, of sending Rosecrans to Missouri and Schofield into the field. He says that it was because of Grant’s  opposition that Rosecrans is not in the Army of the Cumberland. When it was decided to place Grant in command of the whole Military Division, two sets of orders were made out, one contemplating Rosecrans’s retention of the command of his own army, and the other his relief. Grant was to determine the question for himself. He said at once that he preferred Rosecrans should be relieved, — that he (Rosecrans) never would obey orders. This consideration of course involves a doubt as to whether Rosecrans should be placed in command of a district from which Grant must, to a certain extent, derive supplies and reinforcements on occasion.

To-night Schenck sent for copies of the correspondence between the President and Bradford. The Tycoon came into my room with the despatch in his hands, clad in an overcoat, pure and simple, reaching to his knees, and sleepily fumbled for the papers in his desk till he found them, and travelled back to bed. . . .

SOURCES: Clara B. Hay, Letters of John Hay and Extracts from Diary, Volume 1, p. 117-8; For the whole diary entry see Tyler Dennett, Editor, Lincoln and the Civil War in the Diaries and letters of John Hay, p. 114-5.

Diary of Lieutenant-Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes: Saturday July 19, 1862

Some rain. Ride with Quartermaster Reichenbach to the scene of [the] Jumping Branch fight. Read with a good deal of levity the accounts of John Morgan's raid into the blue-grass region of Kentucky. It strikes me that the panic and excitement caused in Cincinnati and Indiana will stimulate recruiting; that Secesh sentiment just beginning to grow insolent in Ohio will be crushed out, and indirectly that it will do much good. All this is on the assumption that Morgan is routed, captured, or destroyed before he gathers head and becomes a power.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 307

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: January 12, 1864

James River very high. A continual roar in our ears caused by the water falling over the cataract just above the island. Rebels fired a large shell over the prison to scare us.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 25

Diary of Brigadier-General William F. Bartlett: Thursday, October 13, 1864

Rain-storm. Wrote letters. Arthur is out. Home to-night. Mulford kept his word. Notes from Ben and F. W. P.

SOURCE: Francis Winthrop Palfrey, Memoir of William Francis Bartlett, p. 147

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: February 24, 1863

Gen. Longstreet is now in command of Gen. Smith's late department, besides his own corps. Richmond is safe.

Our papers contain a most astonishing speech purporting to have been delivered by Mr. Conway, in the United States Congress. Mr. C. is from Kansas, that hot-bed of Abolitionism. He is an avowed Abolitionist; and yet he advocates an immediate suspension of hostilities, or at least that the Federal armies and fleets be ordered to act on the defensive; that the independence of the Confederate States be recognized, upon the basis of a similar tariff; free-trade between the North and South; free navigation of the Mississippi, and co-operation in the maintenance of the Monroe doctrine. I like the indications apparent in this speech. Let us have a suspension of hostilities, and then we can have leisure to think of the rest. No doubt the peace party is growing rapidly in the United States; and it may be possible that the Republicans mean to beat the Democrats in the race, by going beyond them on the Southern question. The Democrats are for peace and Union; the Republicans may resolve to advocate not only peace, but secession.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 263-4

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant George G. Smith: November 28, 1864

Ordered, with the 161st New York, to Memphis, on steamer “Baltic.” Accident to the rudder. Taken in tow by the “John Groesbeck.” Arrived at 3 p. m. on the 30th. Encamped three miles east of the city, near the rebel breast-works. Lieut. Jones and myself made a pretty good tent out of some boards, with fly over the top, and bought a stove and put it in and made it quite comfortable. About December 13th, we had a heavy snow storm, with snow drifts in the company streets, and it was very cold, but it did not last long. There were many amusements in the city — a circus and theatre, so we passed the time very pleasantly.

SOURCE: Abstracted from George G. Smith, Leaves from a Soldier's Diary, p. 139-40

Diary of 1st Lieutenant Lemuel A. Abbott: Friday, August 12, 1864

Another day still finds us marching in dust and under a scorching sun. The heat has indeed been intense. Many a poor soldier has fallen out on the way from exhaustion and sunstroke. We have passed through Newtown and Middletown, both of which were nearly deserted, and those left are bitter secessionists. We have been chasing the enemy, which accounts for our marching so hard; its rear guard left Newtown as we entered it. We camped for dinner here and to wait for stragglers to catch up.

An amusing thing occurred here. Three young officers, Lieutenants D. G. Hill, G. P. Welch and myself, went to the only hotel to get dinner, but found the front door locked and the blinds all drawn. The back yard and garden containing vegetables, fruit trees, flowers, etc., in luxuriance, was inclosed by a high brick wall about eight feet high with an entrance on a side street. A matronly-looking attendant unlocked the door at our request, and admitted us to the garden and back door of the hotel, which stood open to the kitchen, which we entered, the attendant remaining within hearing. Here we found the landlady, who declared in an assumed, distressed manner that she had nothing in the house to eat, the enemy having taken everything she had, at the same time relating a tale of woe which I presumed might be partially true, if not wholly so. Soon, however, after parleying, she produced a plate of fine hot tea biscuit, nervously forcing them into our very faces, saying, "Have biscuit! have biscuit!" which, rest assured, we did.

After this I started to leave. The colored woman who had admitted us, having heard all that was said, hid by the corner of the house en route to the garden entrance, and when I passed shyly told me that a table in the parlor where the curtains were down, was loaded down with a steaming hot dinner with the best the house afforded, prepared for a party of rebel officers who had fled about when it was ready because of the approach of our army. I returned to the kitchen bound to have that dinner just because it had been prepared for rebel officers and told the landlady what I had discovered, and that we must have that dinner, but were willing to pay her for it. Seeing she was outmanoeuvered and that her duplicity was discovered, she looked scared and laughing nervously led the way to the parlor, where we found the table actually groaning with steaming viands as though prepared for and awaiting us. She graciously bade us be seated, presided at the table with dignity and grace as though nothing had happened, and we met her with equal suavity, laughter and dignity as though she was the greatest lady living, she admitting when through, that she had had a “real good time.” We paid for the dinner and parted good friends.*
_______________

* The landlady had a young son — a lad — who a few years later, after the war, graduated from West Point and was assigned to the Sixth U. S. Cavalry, my regiment. One evening years afterwards in quarters at Camp Apache, A. T., among other stories I related this to a lot of officers, when Lieutenant , who was present, to my surprise informed me it was of his mother we got our dinner ,and that he had heard her laughingly relate the incident. He was a good officer and fellow, but knowing what rabid secessionists some members of the family were, including himself, the charm of his friendship was gone, but I never let him know it. He is now many years dead. The landlady was very stubborn, and unwilling to oblige us until cornered, when her detected duplicity disconcerted her, and with a nervous laugh she yielded to our demand because she thought she had to. Otherwise we should have only helped ourselves in a courteous way and paid her for what we got.

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 132-4

Diary of Sergeant Major Luman Harris Tenney, Sunday, December 7, 1862

Up and off as early as usual. I carried a carbine and rode as usual in the ranks. Saw a large flock of wild turkeys. Advance ran after three “butternuts.” Took two horses. Saw any number of rebels around Diamond Grove. Encamped four miles west of Sherwood.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 49

Diary of 1st Lieutenant John S. Morgan: Thursday, April 27, 1865

Genl Inspection at 9 A. M. co come in at 11, an extra Roll call was ordered by Genl Benton at 1. P. M all absentees to be reported to Div Head Quarter. Cos A. & B. were sent out to patrol & bring in soldiers found pillaging, several were sent in, A soldier from Forests army says that his men declare publicly if he does not disband them if Jonston surrenders they will kill him & go home, a slight shower at 1 P. M. and sprinkles semi occasionally during the afternoon after supper walk down to the river, call in to see Lt Cory, & after return to camp take a stroll with Lt Sharman. No boats in, no mail, no news!

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 8, April 1923, p. 596

Friday, February 24, 2017

Diary of Gideon Welles: Friday, April 17, 1863

No reports from Charleston. Am in hopes that side issues and by-play on the Mississippi are about over and that there will be some concentrated action. Porter should go below Vicksburg and not remain above, thereby detaining Farragut, who is below, from great and responsible duties at New Orleans and on the Gulf. The weak and sensitive feeling of being outranked and made subordinate in command should never influence an officer in such an emergency. Porter has great vanity and great jealousy but knows his duty, and I am surprised he does not perform it. Wrote him a fortnight since a letter which he cannot misunderstand, and which will not, I hope, wound his pride.

But little was before the Cabinet, which of late can hardly be called a council. Each Department conducts and manages its own affairs, informing the President to the extent it pleases. Seward encourages this state of things. He has less active duties than others, and watches and waits on the President daily, and gathers from him the doings of his associates and often influences indirectly and not always advantageously their measures and movements, while he communicates very little, especially of that which he does not wish them to know.

Blair walked over with me from the White House to the Navy Department, and I showed him the correspondence which had taken place respecting captured mails. Understanding Seward thoroughly, as he does, he detected the sly management by which Seward first got himself in difficulty and is now striving to get out of it. My course he pronounced correct, and he declared that the President must not be entrapped into any false step to extricate Seward, who, he says, is the least of a statesman and knows less of public law and of administrative duties than any man who ever held a seat in the Cabinet. This is a strong statement, but not so overstated as would be generally supposed. I have been surprised to find him so unpractical, so erratic, so little acquainted with the books, — he has told me more than once that he never opened them, that he was too old to study. He has, with all his bustle and activity, but little application; relies on Hunter and his clerk, Smith, perhaps Gushing also, to sustain him and hunt up his authorities; commits himself, as in the case of the mails, without knowing what he is about.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 1: 1861 – March 30, 1864, p. 274-5

Diary of John Hay: November 1, 1863

This evening Gen'l Schenck ,accompanied by Gen'l Garfield and Judge Kelley , came in to insist upon some order which would prevent disloyal people from voting at the ensuing Maryland election. Before going into the President's room (Kelley and Garfield sitting with me in the ante-room) Kelley spoke very bitterly of Blair’s working against the Union party in Maryland.

After they were gone I handed the President Blair’s Rockville speech, telling him I had read it carefully, and saving a few intemperate and unwise expressions against leading Republicans which might better have been omitted, I saw nothing in the speech which would have given rise to such violent criticism.

“Really,” says the President, “the controversy between the two sets of men represented by him and by Mr. Sumner is one of mere form and little else. I do not think Mr. Blair would agree that the States in rebellion are to be permitted to come at once into the political family and renew the very performances which have already so bedeviled us. I do not think Mr. Sumner would insist that when the loyal people of a State obtain the supremacy in their councils and are ready to assume the direction of their own affairs, that they should be excluded. I do not understand Mr. Blair to admit that Jefferson Davis may take his seat in Congress again as a representative of his people; I do not understand Mr. Sumner to assert that John Minor Botts may not. So far as I understand Mr. Sumner he seems in favor of Congress taking from the Executive the power it at present exercises over insurrectionary districts, and assuming it to itself. But when the vital question arises as to the right and privilege of the people of these States to govern themselves, I apprehend there will be little difference among loyal men. The question at once is presented, in whom this power is vested; and the practical matter for decision is how to keep the rebellious populations from overwhelming and outvoting the loyal minority.”

I asked him if Blair was really opposed to our Union ticket in Maryland. He said he did not know anything about it — had never asked. . . .

SOURCES: Clara B. Hay, Letters of John Hay and Extracts from Diary, Volume 1, p. 115-7; For the whole diary entry see Tyler Dennett, Editor, Lincoln and the Civil War in the Diaries and letters of John Hay, p. 112-3.

Diary of Lieutenant-Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes: Friday, July 18, 1862

Camp Green Meadows. — Rained last night and drizzled all this morning. . . . I feel dourish today; inaction is taking the soul out of us.

I am really jolly over the Rebel Morgan's raid into the bluegrass region of Kentucky. If it turns out a mere raid, as I suppose it will, the thing will do great good. The twitter into which it throws Cincinnati and Ohio will aid us in getting volunteers. The burning and destroying the property of the old-fashioned, conservative Kentuckians will wake them up, will stiffen their sinews, give them backbone, and make grittier Union men of them. If they should burn Garrett Davis’ house, he will be sounder on confiscation and the like. In short, if it does not amount to an uprising, it will be a godsend to the Union cause. It has done good in Cincinnati already. It has committed numbers who were sliding into Secesh to the true side. Good for Morgan, as I understand the facts at this writing!

Had a good drill. The exercise and excitement drove away the blues. After drill a fine concert of the glee club of Company A. As they sang “That Good Old Word, Good-bye,” I thought of the pleasant circle that used to sing it on Gulf Prairie, Brazoria County, Texas. And now so broken! And my classmate and friend, Guy M. Bryan — where is he? In the Rebel army! As honorable and true as ever, but a Rebel! What strange and sad things this war produces! But he is true and patriotic wherever he is. Success to him personally!

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 306

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: January 11, 1864

A steady rain for twenty-four hours, and have not been dry during the time, however it is a warm rain and get along very well. We are still issuing clothing but very slow. About one hundred per day get partly clothed up. No news of exchange. Abe Lincoln reported dead. Papers very bitter on Beast Butler, as they call him. Manage by a good deal of skirmishing to get the papers almost every day in which we read their rebel lies. A plan afoot for escape, but am afraid to say anything of the particulars for fear of my diary being taken away from me. As I came inside to-night with some bread in my haversack some fellows who were on the watch pitched into me and gobbled my saved up rations. I don't care for myself for I have been to supper, but the boys in the tent will have to go without anything to eat for this night. It don't matter much — they are all hungry and it did them as much good as it would our mess.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 25

Diary of Brigadier-General William F. Bartlett: Wednesday, October 12, 1864

Went to Boston. Bought carpet, table and cloth, brackets, etc. A beautiful bust of Garibaldi by Pietro Stefani. It is the best likeness that I ever saw. Horse-car smashed carryall. Saw many that I knew. Boston looks very gay.

SOURCE: Francis Winthrop Palfrey, Memoir of William Francis Bartlett, p. 146

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: February 23, 1863

I saw a letter from Gen. Lee to day, suggesting to the government on appeal to the Governors of the States to aid more directly in recruiting the armies. He says the people habitually expect too much from the troops now in the field; that because we have gained many victories, it does not follow that we shall always gain them; that the legitimate fruits of victory have hitherto been lost, for the want of numbers on our side; and, finally, that all those who fail to go to the field at such a momentous period as this, are guilty of the blood of the brave soldiers who perish in the effort to achieve independence.

This would be contrary to the “rules and regulations” as understood by the Adjutant and Inspector-General (a Northern man), and no doubt the Secretary of War and the President will reject the plan.

The petition of forty members of Congress in my behalf came from Mr. Seddon, the Secretary, to our bureau to-day. He asks the superintendent if there is a necessity for such an officer, one whose rank is equal to that of a commandant of a camp of instruction. He says important services only should require the appointment of such an officer. Well, Gen. Rains recommended it. I know not whether he can say more. I shall not get it, for Congress has but little influence, just now.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 263

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant George G. Smith: November 27, 1864

The regiment was paid off. During our stay in Columbus I visited the fort where the rebel General Forrest massacred the negro garrison a year before. I recognized it as the spot I visited in 1858, on my way South. The boat I was on at that time stopped at Columbus to take on wood and I went on shore. I noticed the high ground on the bluff above the town, and so, as was my wont, I must go up and see it. There was a fine view of the town, and the position commanded the river up and down for a long distance. I thought to myself it would be a good place to build a fort, but I did not dream there would be one there so soon, and that such a horrible tragedy would be enacted there.

SOURCE: Abstracted from George G. Smith, Leaves from a Soldier's Diary, p. 139

Diary of 1st Lieutenant Lemuel A. Abbott: Thursday, August 11, 1864

Marched at 6 o'clock a. m. Our regiment has been train guard; cavalry has had warm work in the locality of Winchester, Va., as considerable cannonading has been heard in that vicinity. We are camped on the same ground the rebs were on last night; should judge we were making for Manassas Gap by the course we are taking; made an easy march to-day.

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 131-2

Diary of Sergeant Major Luman Harris Tenney, Saturday, December 6, 1862

Up at 3 A. M. and off at daylight as usual. Reached Neosho at 8 P. M. Charlie and I got supper at a private house, secesh. Got into a little fuss with Mart Cole in regard to forage. He pushed me off the wagon and I reported him. He was tied up to a tree for an hour. The Major asked me why I did not knock him down. Afterwards I was put under arrest for investigation.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 49

Diary of 1st Lieutenant John S. Morgan: Wednesday, April 26, 1865

The Div gets in about 10, A. M. by land, our camp is made permanent & the officers of the Left wing quarter in a double log cabin near by busy all P. M fixing up. The news is officially announced once more that Genl Jo Jonston has surrendered 30,000 men to Genl Sherman.

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 8, April 1923, p. 595

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Diary of Gideon Welles: Thursday, April 16, 1863

Received a singular letter from Seward respecting the mail of the Peterhoff, undertaking to set aside law, usage, principle, established and always recognized rights, under the pretense that it will not do to introduce new questions on the belligerent right of search. He has, inconsiderately and in an ostentatious attempt to put off upon the English Legation a show of power and authority which he does not possess and cannot exercise, involved himself in difficulty, conceded away the rights of his country without authority, without law, without a treaty, without equivalent; and to sustain this novel and extraordinary proceeding he artfully talks about new questions in the belligerent right of search. The President has been beguiled by ex-parte representations and misrepresentations to indorse “approved” on Seward's little contrivance. But this question cannot be so disposed of. The President may be induced to order the mail to be given up, but the law is higher than an Executive order, and the judiciary has a duty to perform. The mail is in the custody of the court.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 1: 1861 – March 30, 1864, p. 273-4

Diary of John Hay: October 30, 1863

. . . The President and Mrs. Lincoln went to see “Fanchon.” About midnight, the President came in. I told him about Dennison’s note and asked if D. had not always been a Chase man. He said: — “Yes, until recently, but he seems now anxious for my reelection.”

I said Opdyke was expected here to-day, and told the President the story of Palmer and Opdyke. He went on and gave me the whole history of the visit they made to Springfield, — Barney, Opdyke, and Hopboon, — of the appointment of Barney, — of the way Opdyke rode him — of his final protest, and the break.

I said “Opdyke now was determined to have the Custom House cleaned out.”

“He will have a good time doing it.”

He went on telling the history of the Senate raid on Seward, — how he had and could have no adviser on that subject, and must work it out by himself, — how he thought deeply on the matter, — and it occurred to him that the way to settle it was to force certain men to say to the Senators here what they would not say elsewhere. He confronted the Senate and the Cabinet. He gave the whole history of the affairs of Seward and his conduct, and the assembled Cabinet listened and confirmed all he said.


“I do not now see how it could have been done better. I am sure it was right. If I had yielded to that storm and dismissed Seward, the thing would all have slumped over one way, and we should have been left with a scanty handful of supporters. When Chase sent in his resignation I saw that the game was in my own hands, and I put it through. When I had settled this important business at last with much labor and to my entire satisfaction, into my room one day walked D. D. Field and George Opdyke, and began a new attack upon me to remove Seward. For once in my life I rather gave my temper the rein, and I talked to those men pretty damned plainly. Opdyke may be right in being cool to me. I may have given him reason this morning.

"I wish they would stop thrusting that subject of the Presidency into my face. I don't want to hear anything about it. The Republican of to-day has an offensive paragraph in regard to an alleged nomination of me by the mass-meeting in New York last night.”

SOURCES: Clara B. Hay, Letters of John Hay and Extracts from Diary, Volume 1, p. 113-5; For the whole diary entry see Tyler Dennett, Editor, Lincoln and the Civil War in the Diaries and letters of John Hay, p. 111-2.

Lieutenant-Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes to Sardis Birchard, July 17, 1862

Camp Green Meadows, Mercer County, Virginia,
July 17, 1862.

Dear Uncle: — . . . I am not satisfied that so good men as two-thirds of this army should be kept idle. New troops could hold the strong defensive positions which are the keys of the Kanawha Valley, while General Cox's eight or ten good regiments could be sent where work is to be done.

Barring this idea of duty, no position could be pleasanter than the present. I have the Twenty-third Regiment, half a battery, and a company of cavalry under my command stationed on the edge of Dixie — part of us here, fourteen miles, and part at Packs Ferry, nineteen miles from Flat Top, and Colonel Scammon's and General Cox's headquarters. This is pleasant. Then, we have a lovely camp, copious cold-water springs, and the lower camp is on the banks of New River, a finer river than the Connecticut at Northampton, with plenty of canoes, flat-boats, and good fishing and swimming. The other side of the river is enemy's country. We cross foraging parties daily to their side. They do not cross to ours, but are constantly threatening it. We moved here last Sunday, the 13th. On the map you will see our positions in the northeast corner of Mercer County on New River, near the mouth of and north of Bluestone River. Our camps five miles apart — Major Comly commands at the river, I making my headquarters here on the hill. We have pickets and patrols connecting us. I took the six companies to the river, with music, etc., etc., to fish and swim Tuesday.

It is now a year since we entered Virginia. What a difference it makes! Our camp is now a pleasanter place with its bowers and contrivances for comfort than even Spiegel Grove. And it takes no ordering or scolding to get things done. A year ago if a little such work was called for, you would hear grumblers say: “I didn't come to dig and chop, I could do that at home. I came to fight,” etc., etc. Now springs are opened, bathing places built, bowers, etc., etc., got up as naturally as corn grows. No sickness either — about eight hundred and fifteen to eight hundred and twenty men — none seriously sick and only eight or ten excused from duty. All this is very jolly.

We have been lucky with our little raids in getting horses, cattle, and prisoners. Nothing important enough to blow about, although a more literary regiment would fill the newspapers out of less material. We have lost but one man killed and one taken prisoner during this month. There has been some splendid running by small parties occasionally. Nothing but the enemy's fear of being ambushed saved four of our officers last Saturday. So far as our adversaries over the river goes, they treat our men taken prisoners very well. The Forty-fifth, Twenty-second, Thirty-sixth, and Fifty-first Virginia are the enemy's regiments opposed to us. They know us and we know them perfectly well. Prisoners say their scouts hear our roll-calls and that all of them enjoy our music.

There are many discouraging things in the present aspect of affairs, and until frost in October, I expect to hear of disasters in the Southwest. It is impossible to maintain our conquests in that quarter while the low stage of water and the sickness compel us to act on the defensive, but if there is no powerful intervention by foreign powers, we shall be in a condition next December to push them to the Gulf and the Atlantic before winter closes. Any earlier termination, I do not look for.

Two years is an important part of a man's life in these fast days, but I shall be content if I am mustered out of service at the end of two years from enlistment. — Regards to all.

Sincerely,
R. B. Hayes.
S. BIRCHARD.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 304-6

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: January 10, 1864

A brass band over to-day giving us a tune. Looks more like a wandering tribe of vagabonds than musicians. Discoursed sweet music, such as "Bonnie Blue Flag," "The Girl I Left Behind Me," and for their pains got three groans from their enemies in limbo. Dying off very fast on the island.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 25

Brigadier-General William F. Bartlett: October 13, 1864

I don't need to tell you that I am, and have been, impatient to see you, but I have not seen any one, and am not allowed to write, my eyes sharing with the rest of my system a prostration which is something quite new to me. My surgeons put on very grave faces, and tell me I must have perfect rest and quiet, with careful treatment, diet, etc., for six months, and predict very unpleasant things otherwise. I propose to disappoint them in regard to time. . . . .

W. F. B.

SOURCE: Francis Winthrop Palfrey, Memoir of William Francis Bartlett, p. 146

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: February 22, 1863

This is the anniversary of the birth of Washington, and of the inauguration of President Davis, upon the installation of the permanent government of the Confederate States. It is the ugliest day I ever saw. Snow fell all night, and was falling fast all day, with a northwest wind howling furiously. The snow is now nearly a foot deep, and the weather very cold.

My communication to the President, proposing an appeal to the people to furnish the army with meat and clothing (voluntary contributions), was transmitted to the Secretary of War yesterday, without remark, other than the simple reference. The plan will not be adopted, in all probability, for the Secretary will consult the Commissary and Quartermaster-General, and they will oppose any interference with the business of their departments. Red tape will win the day, even if our cause be lost. Our soldiers must be fed and clothed according to the “rules and regulations,” or suffer and perish for the want of food and clothing!

I have some curiosity to learn what the President has indorsed, or may indorse, on the paper sent him by Mr. Lyons, signed by half the members of Congress. Will he simply refer it to the Secretary? Then what will the Secretary do? My friends in Congress will likewise be curious to learn the result.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 262-3

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant George G. Smith: November 26, 1864

On picket guard. Relieved at noon.

SOURCE: Abstracted from George G. Smith, Leaves from a Soldier's Diary, p. 138-9

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Diary of 1st Lieutenant Lemuel A. Abbott: Wednesday, August 10, 1864

Marched this morning at 5 o'clock about fifteen miles to Charlestown, West Virginia, and camped about three miles from Berryville at Clifton; very warm; many fell out from sunstroke and heat; rained this evening; no signs of the enemy.

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 131

Diary of Sergeant Major Luman Harris Tenney, Friday, December 5, 1862

As we neared Cowskin a good many bushwhackers showed themselves, but at a distance. Camped three miles north of Elk Mills.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 49

Diary of 1st Lieutenant John S. Morgan: Tuesday, April 25, 1865

By 6 a. m. all ready march to the river descend at a steep bluff, was possible to get down but impossible to get up if up was the word, were conveyed from the shore to the boat on a coal flat at 2 loads, & at 7.15, the boat started, the weather was fine & had a pleasant ride no accidents, the boat laid in too close in making one short turn & was some 10 minutes getting her clear. All the country until we reach Mc Intoshs Bluffs is over flowed we disembark at Mc Intoshs Bluffs at 11 a. m. Bluffs here are not more than 12 ft high, there are 4 dwellings, 3 families living here one story & a half dwelling house through which one of the gunboats fired a shell just a week ago at a Mr Vaugn who shot at a skiff load of negroes coming down to the Boat, is vacant the family having left soon after the gunboat left which stayed but a short time, a black smith shop with 6 forces & cranes built for heavy work, a large carpenter shop & piles of timber which were to have been a Gunboat had not the yankees come too quick a good saw & grist mill at work, the hull of an unfinished ram built 20 miles above & float here & burned lay at the landing. Several small flats of negros & some whites come down the river, all report the Reb fleet of 2 gunboats & 27 transports at Damopolus, found chickens & pigs plenty, no fat cattle, at 4, P. M. just as a transport was landing we were about to build breastworks, but being reinforced thus did not. & I took a cart & five men to the contry for some bacon. Capt Rankin took two others out to old Parson Rushs (an old nigger driver) for Sweet potatoes. I got back just at dusk, fond the Regt together & camping about ½ mile from the river. The whole Brigade had arrived on Transports. The Regt teams not coming we took the cars & were to 10. P. M. getting all our baggage up to the Regt. Quite a no of citizens come in amongst whom was the wife of Capt Jonston who surrendered the Tennesee. Capt Taylor & river Pilots, Mrs Bates & others. Any no of darkies, the balance of the Division is said to becoming Inland.

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 8, April 1923, p. 595

Diary of Gideon Welles: Wednesday, April 15, 1863

No full reports yet from Du Pont. Am pained, grieved, distressed by what I hear; and that I hear from him so little. We learn that after all our outlay and great preparations, giving him about all our force and a large portion of the best officers, he intends making no farther effort, but will abandon the plan and all attempts to take it. A fight of thirty minutes and the loss of one man, which he witnessed, satisfies the Admiral.

The Ironsides, the flagship, was suspiciously remote from the fight, yet sufficiently near to convince the Admiral he had better leave the harbor. Down to the day of the conflict I had faith in him and his ability, though grieved at his delays. When here last fall, expressly to consult and concert measures for the capture of Charleston, he was as earnest and determined as any of us, did not waver a moment, and would not listen to a suggestion of Dahlgren as an assistant.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 1: 1861 – March 30, 1864, p. 273

Diary of John Hay: October 29, 1863

I went down to Willard’s to-day and got from Palmer, who is here, a free ticket to New York and back for Walt. Whitman, the poet, who is going to New York to electioneer and vote for the union ticket.

Saw Garfield and Hunter. Hunter is just starting for the West on a tour of inspection. I would give my chances for to go with him, but Nicolay still stays in the sunset, and I am here with a ball and chain on my leg. . . .

I told the Tycoon that Chase would try to make capital out of this Rosecrans business. He laughed and said, “I suppose he will, like the blue-bottle fly, lay his eggs in every rotten spot he can find.” He seems much amused at Chase’s mad hunt after the Presidency. He says it may win. He hopes the country will never do worse.

I said he should not, by making all Chase’s appointments, make himself particeps criminis.

He laughed on, & said he was sorry the thing had begun, for though the matter did not annoy him, his friends insisted that it ought to.

SOURCES: Clara B. Hay, Letters of John Hay and Extracts from Diary, Volume 1, p. 112-3; For the whole diary entry see Tyler Dennett, Editor, Lincoln and the Civil War in the Diaries and letters of John Hay, p. 109-11

Diary of Lieutenant-Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes: Wednesday, July 16, 1862

Camp Green Meadows. — A warm, beautiful day. The men busy building shades (bowers or arbors) over their streets and tents, cleaning out the springs, and arranging troughs for watering horses, washing, and bathing. The water is excellent and abundant.

I read “Waverley,” finishing it. The affection of Flora McIvor for her brother and its return is touching; they were orphans. And oh, this is the anniversary of the death of my dear sister Fanny — six years ago! I have thought of her today as I read Scott's fine description, but till now it did not occur to me that this was the sad day. Time has softened the pain. How she would have suffered during this agonizing war! Perhaps it was best — but what a loss!

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 304

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: January 9, 1864

A signal light suspended over the island all last night for some reason unknown to the men confined here. We are cautioned against approaching within eight or ten feet from the bank. One of the raiders went through a man who lay near the bank and started to run after robbing him. A guard who saw the whole affair shot the villain dead and was applauded by all who knew of the affair. Fifteen or twenty carried out this morning dead and thirty or forty nearly so in blankets.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 25

Diary of Brigadier-General William F. Bartlett: Wednesday, October 12, 1864

Went to Boston. Bought carpet, table and cloth, brackets, etc. A beautiful bust of Garibaldi by Pietro Stefani. It is the best likeness that I ever saw. Horse-car smashed carryall. Saw many that I knew. Boston looks very gay.

SOURCE: Francis Winthrop Palfrey, Memoir of William Francis Bartlett, p. 146

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: February 21, 1863

Major-Gen. Hood's division passed through the city to day, and crossed over the river. I hope an attack will be made at Suffolk. It is too menacing a position to allow the invader to occupy it longer.

No attack on Charleston yet, and there is a rumor that the command of the expedition is disputed by Foster and Hunter. If it hangs fire, it will be sure to miss the mark.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 262

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant George G. Smith: November 18, 1864

Col. Fisk seized the freight house at the depot. It was about 200 feet long and was stowed just as full of hard bread as it could be packed; so he had a good large force of men detailed to clear the house and myself to take charge of it. Our occupation was changed from killing men to killing rats. We soon discovered that some of the boxes had rat holes gnawed in them and the bread most all eaten out. By and by we began to see rats. There were two or three little rat terriers running around and they began to see them too. Then they caught two or three. That nearly set them wild, so that every box that was moved they stood ready for the rats. Other dogs came, so that we had ten or a dozen dogs before we got through: but as we proceeded the rats would retreat, so that by the time we got half way through they began to be pretty plentiful. The dogs would not eat them, but as fast as they would kill one they would snatch up another; then the boys would pile them up, and at the final wind up it became a circus. The dogs had all they could do. Of course we did not count them, but the number ran into the hundreds. As the men had slept the night before in wet clothes, I went to the quartermaster and told him I wanted some whiskey for the men; he told me to get what I wanted, and said there was a pail. I got a pail full, and had the men fall in, in one rank, and carried the pail along and told them to drink all they wanted. Some of them would fill their cup pretty full, but they were equal to the occasion. Then I marched them back to their quarters, and broke ranks before the medicine began to take effect. However, I did not see any one any the worse for it. Sheetiron ranges were put in for each company, and they had good comfortable quarters. Most of the officers found accommodations at the hotel.

SOURCE: Abstracted from George G. Smith, Leaves from a Soldier's Diary, p. 137-8

Diary of 1st Lieutenant Lemuel A. Abbott: Tuesday, August 9, 1864

Am making out muster and pay rolls; got a letter from J. R. Seaver and another from Aunt Nancy Merrill of Chelsea, Vt. Lieut. J. M. Read reported to his Company for duty this afternoon. Captain L. D. Thompson and Lieut. G. E. Davis have gone on picket this evening; good news from Sherman and the Gulf Department to-night; rumors of a move this evening.

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 131

Diary of Sergeant Major Luman Harris Tenney, Thursday, December 4, 1862

Marched to Maysville and camped in town. Cold and uncomfortable. Went to the Secesh hospital and got supper of the family. Good visit with the surgeon. Invited me to stay over night.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 49

Diary of 1st Lieutenant John S. Morgan: Monday, April 24, 1865

Night unpleasantly cool, do not move this morning, a. m. to the commissary for grub, after dinner Lt Sherman & I take a walk to the river, go in the garden attached to the house & enjoy a mess of fine ripe straw berries, rec orders late this evening for the left wing of the regt to be ready at 6. a. m. tomorrow to go on board the gunboat Octorara, all to take two days rations. I understand we are to be sent up this way to take possession of a mill so as not to allow it to be burned.

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 8, April 1923, p. 595

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Private William F. Powers, 15th Indiana Infantry: Pension Index Card


Diary of Gideon Welles: Tuesday, April 14, 1863

Little of interest to-day at council.

The War Department, which early in the War claimed that the armed force on the Western rivers should be subject to military control, became involved in difficulty. Naval officers, naval guns, naval men, and naval discipline were wanted and so far as could be done were given, but Congress merely ordered that the armed vessels should be transferred to the Navy. This law had given offense to the War Department, and when the transfer was made, the “ram fleet,” as it was called, was withheld. This was, as I said to Stanton, in disregard of the law and would be likely to lead to difficulty, for, while there might be cooperation, there could not be separate commands without conflict.

The ram fleet was commanded by the family of Ellett, brave, venturous, intelligent engineers, not always discreet or wise, but with many daring and excellent qualities. They had under them a set of courageous and picked men, furnished by the military, styled the Marine Brigade, and did some dashing service, but refused to come under naval orders, or to recognize the Admiral in command of the Mississippi Squadron. The result was, as I anticipated might be the case, an arrest and suspension of Brigadier-General H. W. Ellett from the command of the ram fleet.

Stanton is very laudatory of the Elletts, and violent in his denunciations of Porter, whom he ridicules as a “gas bag and fussy fellow, blowing his own trumpet and stealing credit which belongs to others.” There is some truth in what he says of the Elletts and also of Porter, but the latter with all his verbosity has courage and energy as well as the Elletts.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 1: 1861 – March 30, 1864, p. 272-3

Diary of John Hay: October 28, 1863

The President to-day wrote a letter to Schofield in relation to his alleged army of returned rebels in Missouri. . . . The President added: — “I believe, after all, those radicals will carry the State, and I do not object to it. They are nearer to me than the other side, in thought and sentiment, though bitterly hostile personally. They are utterly lawless — the unhandiest devils in the world to deal with — but after all, their faces are set Zionwards.” . . .

SOURCES: Clara B. Hay, Letters of John Hay and Extracts from Diary, Volume 1, p. 112; For the whole diary entry see Tyler Dennett, Editor, Lincoln and the Civil War in the Diaries and letters of John Hay, p. 108

Diary of Lieutenant-Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes: Tuesday, July 15, 1862

Green Meadows. — Captain Drake with Companies H and I returned this morning. The mounted men crossed the ford just above Bluestone on New River. The water was too deep and current too strong for footmen. They (the horsemen) called at Landcraft's, Young's, etc., etc. They learned that the only enemy now in Monroe is probably the Forty-fifth [Virginia], some cavalry, and artillery; and they have withdrawn from the river towards Centreville or some other distant part of the county. All others gone to or towards the Narrows or railroad.

At 9 o'clock I took four companies, A, C, E, and K, and the band and went to Packs Ferry. There the men went in swimming. Crossed 262 of them in the flying bridge — an affair like this [a crude pen sketch is given] — which swings from side to side of the river by force of the current alone. The bow (whichever way the boat goes) is pulled by means of a windlass up the stream at a small angle. The men enjoyed the spree.

We returned at 6:30 P. M. The scenery is of the finest; the river is a beautiful clear river. Strange, no fish except catfish, but they are of superior quality and often of great size.

The enemy shows signs of activity in Tennessee again. Our men will have a hard time during the next two or three months trying to hold their conquests. We will have our day when cold weather and high water return, not before. About Richmond there is much mystery, but supposed to be favorable.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 303-4

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: January 8, 1864

All taken outside to-day to be squadded over — an all day job, and nothing to eat. The men being in hundreds and some dying off every day, leave vacancies in the squads of as many as die out of them, and in order to keep them filled up have to be squadded over every few days, thereby saving rations. Richmond papers are much alarmed for fear of a break among the prisoners confined within the city. It is said there are six hundred muskets secreted among the Belle Islanders. The citizens are frightened almost to death, double guards are placed over us, and very strict orders issued to them.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 24-5

Diary of Brigadier-General William F. Bartlett: Tuesday, October 11, 1864

Letter from Agnes. Wrote E. C. Adams, C. J. Mills, Brady, Mrs. Bramhall. Anna read Prescott's review of Lockhart's “Life of Scott.” Arthur Curtis is released. Mulford kept his word. Dr. White came down. Bought “Napier's Peninsular War.”

SOURCE: Francis Winthrop Palfrey, Memoir of William Francis Bartlett, p. 146

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: February 20, 1863

We have exciting news from the West. The iron-shod gun-boat, Queen of the West, which run past Pemberton's batteries some time since, captured, it appears, one of our steamers in Red River, and then compelled our pilot to steer the Queen of the West farther up the river. The heroic pilot ran the boat under our masked batteries, and then succeeded in escaping by swimming. The Queen of the West was forced to surrender. This adventure has an exhilarating effect upon our spirits.

Hon. James Lyons sent to the President to-day a petition, signed by a majority of the members of Congress, to have me appointed major in the conscription service.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 262

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant George G. Smith: November 17, 1864

We were ordered to Columbus, Ky., where we landed at dark It was rainy and cold, and the men slept in an old cotton shed.

SOURCE: Abstracted from George G. Smith, Leaves from a Soldier's Diary, p. 137

Diary of 1st Lieutenant Lemuel A. Abbott: Monday, August 8, 1864

All quiet in camp to-day. Lieut. D. G. Hill and Sergt. J. M. Read's commissions came this afternoon. Lieut. Hill has been mustered; haven't done much but read Harper's Weekly and visit; baggage came up this evening; warm and sultry; rumors of a move tonight; men have been enjoying themselves to-day.

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 131

Diary of Sergeant Major Luman Harris Tenney, Wednesday, December 3, 1862

Met the train coming down — some delay. Sorted out the mail. Several letters for me, Fannie, Lucy, Fred, Charley. Marched to our old camp on Lindsley Prairie.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 49

Diary of 1st Lieutenant John S. Morgan: Sunday, April 23, 1865

Inspection at 9. A. M. Lt Hook comes to the Regt with the sad intiligence of the Assassination of President Lincoln & Sec Seward which is published in the Mobile paper. The news quickly spreads & groups of men can be seen all arond talking in low tones with a look of sadness never worn by them before, at 10, a. m the Div Brass Band plays the “dead march” & is followed by the bands of Regts in order. It is truly a solemn day & the boys one & all vow to take vengance in Southern blood, many who favored peace this morning now favor utter extermination; about noon we are greeted with the arrival of Luit Sharman looking like altogether a different man from the Luit Sharman we left at Little Rock the 14 of Feb he brings an extra which states that it is thought Seward is not mortally wounded & hopes of his recovery is enertained, he spent the night last night with Capt Lacy & reports that Genl Steeles Corps proceeded up the Alabama river this morning, embarked on 15 transports escorted by a fleet of gun boats, says a very fine Gulf steamer was blown up in the channel in the Bay by a torpedo of which there remain some yet. Luit Seevers is detailed to proceed to New Orleans to bring up our Books & Records. Weather cool.

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 8, April 1923, p. 594-5