Friday, September 30, 2016

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: November 19, 1862

Hon. James A. Seddon (Va.) has been appointed Secretary of War. He is an able man (purely a civilian), and was member of our Revolutionary Convention, at Metropolitan Hall, l6th April, 1861. But some thought him then rather inclined to restrain than to urge decisive action. He is an orator, rich, and frail in health. He will not remain long in office if he attempts to perform all the duties.

Two letters were received from Gen. Lee to-day. Both came unsealed and open, an omission of his adjutant-general, Mason. The first inclines to the belief that Burnside intends to embark his army for the south side of James River, to operate probably in Eastern North Carolina.

The second, dated 17th inst. P.M., says the scouts report large masses advancing on Fredericksburg, and it may be Burnside's purpose to make that town his base of operations. (Perhaps for a pleasant excursion to Richmond.) Three brigades of the enemy had certainly marched to Fredericksburg. A division of Longstreet's corps were marched thither yesterday, 18th, at early dawn. Lee says if the reports of the scouts be confirmed, the entire corps will follow immediately. And he adds: “Before the enemy's trains can leave Fredericksburg (for Richmond) this whole army will be in position.” These letters were sent immediately to the President.

A letter from Gen. Holmes' calls for an immediate supply of funds ($24,000,000) for the trans-Mississippi Department. A letter from Gen. Pike says if Gen. Hindman (Ark.) is to control there, the Indian Country will be lost.

We shall soon have a solution of Burnside's intentions. Lee is in spirits. He knows Burnside can be easily beaten with greatly inferior numbers.

We hear of sanguinary acts in Missouri — ten men (civilians) being shot in retaliation for one killed by our rangers. These acts exasperate our people, and will stimulate them to a heroic defense.

The cars this afternoon from the vicinity of Fredericksburg were crowded with negroes, having bundles of clothing, etc., their owners sending them hither to escape the enemy. A frightened Jew, who came in the train, said there was an army of 100,000 near Fredericksburg, and we should hear more in a few days. I doubt it not.

Salt sold yesterday at auction for $1.10 per pound. Boots are now bringing $50 per pair; candles (tallow) 75 cts. per pound; butter $2.00 per pound. Clothing is almost unattainable. We are all looking shabby enough.

Mr. K., the young Chief of the Bureau, who came in with Mr. Randolph, declines the honor of going out with him, to the great chagrin of several anxious applicants. It is an office “for life.”

I shall despair of success unless the President puts a stop to Gen. Winder's passport operations, for, if the enemy be kept advised of our destitute condition, there will be no relaxation of efforts to subjugate us. And Europe, too, will refuse to recognize us. I believe there are traitors in high places here who encourage the belief in the North and in Europe that we must soon succumb. And some few of our influential great men might be disposed to favor reconstruction of the Union on the basis of the Democratic party which has just carried the elections in the North.

Everything depends upon the result of approaching military operations. If the enemy be defeated, and the Democrats of the North should call for a National Convention — but why anticipate?

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 191-3

Diary of Sergeant George G. Smith: April 13, 1863

The army had passed up the lake and had a fight at Franklin on the Tache Bayou, whipping them badly and capturing two thousand prisoners. The battle was fought on the twelth and thirteenth of April, Major Fiske of the First Louisiana and several privates were wounded besides two or three killed. My old regiment the thirteenth C V was said to have lost heavily in this battle. The troops were hot in the pursuit. Three gunboats', the Estella, Arazona, and Calhoun came down the lake with eighty prisoners, a part of the crew of the Queen of the West, our gunboats had destroyed in the morning. The commander of the Queen, Captain Fuller was among them. At 4 p. m. eighty more prisoners came in on a transport. As I stood by the gang plank of the transport, Captain Fuller was brought out on a stretcher. Seeing me with my orderly sergeant's insigna he saluted me and I returned the salute. His feet were scalded. Went on board the St. Mary with the wounded, steamed up the lake ten miles and came to anchor with three gunboats. The three wounded soldiers' wives were left behind as being too cumbersome and they return to New Orleans. Ten miles further up meeting with obstructions in the Bayou, we were compelled to leave the steamer and march fifteen miles to Franklin. On the way ravages of war was seen almost everywhere. But my gun, sword knapsack and equipments were my chief concern on account of their great weight and I was not sorry when we arrived in Franklin. The town was full of soldiers and prisoners of war but we found an empty negro shanty and turned in. The former occupants in their flight had left some of their live stock which annoyed us so much that our rest was not as quiet as might have been desired.

SOURCE: Abstracted from George G. Smith, Leaves from a Soldier's Diary, p. 44-6

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Lemuel A. Abbott: Monday, May 9, 1864

Our army's line is about five miles long this morning and runs northwest by southeast. General Hancock occupies the right followed by General Warren, Generals Sedgwick and Burnside in the order mentioned. Our batteries have been shelling the enemy fiercely all day and this evening, but the heaviest fighting seems to be on our left. Our regiment was terribly shelled when supporting batteries which has been all day. We were ordered to lie flat on the ground in one instant and there's no doubt but what we did for the ground was a dead level and the shells whistled and shrieked very thickly and closely over us. It was terribly nerve-trying. The Johnnies didn't want to see us bad enough though, to come over and call. We could see many dead between the lines in our front a little to the left of where we supported a battery this morning, of both armies, as a result of the assault last night. It is a shocking sight, but such is war.

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 51-2

Diary of Corporal Charles H. Lynch: April 12, 1865

Not much duty done since the last date. Talking and rejoicing over the events of the past few days. Orders to resume drilling. It creates opposition and much kicking. What's the use. The war is over although peace has not been declared. Our term ends with the close of the war. Three years, or during the war.

SOURCE: Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary, 1862-1865, of Charles H. Lynch 18th Conn. Vol's, p. 148

Diary of Corporal Charles H. Lynch: April 13, 1865

Our happiness continues. Ten minutes walk from camp, towards town, is a pump where we are obliged to go for water. Good water. A great meeting place for the people and the soldiers. News of the day is talked over. It is known as the news pump. Newspapers are not very plenty. They come from Baltimore and Ohio. Those who are first at the pump in the morning bring the news and stories that can be picked up, and are soon circulated through camp. So we look for the morning news from the pump.

SOURCE: Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary, 1862-1865, of Charles H. Lynch 18th Conn. Vol's, p. 148

Diary of Corporal Charles H. Lynch: April 14, 1865

Orders to clean up and prepare for a parade in town to celebrate the surrender of General Lee, and the capture of Richmond. The parade to take place in the afternoon. All troops in this vicinity to take a part in the big parade. Our company, C, color company, made a fine appearance in the parade, every man doing his best. During the parade there was great excitement, cheering, and rejoicing, all along the line of march. After the parade we were allowed our liberty for the rest of the day and evening. In the evening the townspeople illuminated the best they could under present conditions. Returned to camp quite late tonight, tired but happy.

SOURCE: Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary, 1862-1865, of Charles H. Lynch 18th Conn. Vol's, p. 148

Diary of Corporal Charles H. Lynch: April 15, 1865

Early morning news from the pump. Reported the assassination of our beloved President. At first it could not be believed. I saw an orderly galloping into camp, going right to the Colonel's quarters. He brought the official report. It was soon known through camp. It was a great shock and cast a great gloom over our camp. How sudden the change. Joy turned to sorrow, when we were rejoicing over the prospects of peace and the end of the cruel war. At first it was reported that he might recover. Later report he was dead. We could not do anything but talk over the sad event. We all became angry and hated the South worse than ever. Thought all the leaders should be condemned to death. Indignation and rage was expressed alike by citizens and the soldiers. We wondered who could do such an awful thing. Later we were informed who the assassin was. Excitement continues in our camp as this sad day comes to a close.

SOURCE: Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary, 1862-1865, of Charles H. Lynch 18th Conn. Vol's, p. 148-9

Diary of Luman Harris Tenney: Saturday, August 30, 1862

In the morning was on picket in the town. Roasted corn for breakfast. Ate and slept on a porch to a jayhawked store. Slept soundly. Went to the tannery and had a good wash. Got some peaches. Went out about noon and joined the main command, two miles out. Went out a mile where Capt. Welch was staying with a picket guard. Got plenty of melons to eat from a Mrs. Dade, whose husband was in the secesh army, a surgeon. Scouting parties went out ten and twelve miles each way, north and east. Went out and met our command. Slept in a house on floor. Strange.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 29

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Wednesday, October 28, 1863

Nothing important.

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 499

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Thursday, October 29, 1863

Rainy

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 499

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Friday, October 30, 1863

Forenoon rainy afternoon cold.

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 499

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Saturday, October 31, 1863

Clear but cold. ice last night 5-8 inch thick.

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 499

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Diary of Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle: Thursday, June 25, 1863

We took leave of Mrs —— and her hospitable family, and started at 10 A.M. to overtake Generals Lee and Longstreet, who were supposed to be crossing the Potomac at Williamsport. Before we had got more than a few miles on our way, we began to meet horses and oxen, the first fruits of Ewell's advance into Pennsylvania. The weather was cool and showery, and all went swimmingly for the first fourteen miles, when we caught up M'Laws's division, which belongs to Longstreet's corps. As my horse about this time began to show signs of fatigue, and as Lawley's pickaxed most alarmingly, we turned them into some clover to graze, whilst we watched two brigades pass along the road. They were commanded, I think, by Semmes and Barksdale* and were composed of Georgians, Mississippians, and South Carolinians. They marched very well, and there was no attempt at straggling; quite a different state of things from Johnston's men in Mississippi. All were well shod and efficiently clothed. In rear of each regiment were from twenty to thirty negro slaves, and a certain number of unarmed men carrying stretchers and wearing in their hats the red badges of the ambulance corps; — this is an excellent institution, for it prevents unwounded men falling out on pretence of taking wounded to the rear. The knapsacks of the men still bear the names of the Massachusetts, Vermont, New Jersey, or other regiments to which they originally belonged. There were about twenty waggons to each brigade, most of which were marked U.S., and each of these brigades was about 2800 strong. There are four brigades in M'Laws's division. All the men seemed in the highest spirits, and were cheering and yelling most vociferously.

We reached Martinsburg (twenty-two miles) at 6 P.M., by which time my horse nearly broke down, and I was forced to get off and walk. Martinsburg and this part of Virginia are supposed to be more Unionist than Southern; however, many of the women went through the form of cheering M'Laws's division as it passed. I daresay they would perform the same ceremony in honour of the Yankees to-morrow.

Three miles beyond Martinsburg we were forced by the state of our horses to insist upon receiving the unwilling hospitality of a very surly native, who was evidently Unionist in his proclivities. We were obliged to turn our horses into a field to graze during the night. This was most dangerous, for the Confederate soldier, in spite of his many virtues, is, as a rule, the most incorrigible horse-stealer in the world.
_______________

* Barksdale was killed, and Semmes mortally wounded, at the battle of Gettysburg.

SOURCE: Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle, Three Months in the Southern States: April-June, 1863, p. 237-9

Lieutenant-Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes to Colonel Eliakim P Scammon, May 2, 1862

Camp Number 5, Princeton, May 2, 7:30 A. M., 1862.

Sir: — Your strictures on the expedition under Lieutenant Bottsford are very severe. I wrote you my account of it hastily during a momentary delay of the column and am perhaps blamable for sending to you anything so imperfect as to lead to such misapprehension. I was, however, compelled to write such an account or none at all. I trusted to your favorable judgment of what was done rather than to the fulness and accuracy of what I was writing. I thought that a most meritorious thing in all respects had been done and did not imagine that it could be so stated as to give you such a view of it as you have taken.

You seem to think that the expedition was an improper one and that Lieutenant Bottsford or his men must have been guilty of great negligence. I think the expedition was strictly according to the spirit and letter of instruction given by both you and General Fremont and that no blame ought to attach to any one for the manner of it in any particular. I knew by reliable information, which turned out to be perfectly correct, that Captain Foley and his notorious gang of bushwhackers were camped within sixteen or eighteen miles of the camp at Shady Spring where I was stationed; that Foley's force was from thirty to sixty men, and that the only way of catching him was by surprising his camp at night or early daylight. I sent Lieutenant Bottsford with about seventy-five men of Company C, aided by Sergeant Abbott and his scouts, six in number, to do this service. I was satisfied that the enemy had no force worth naming nearer than Princeton, and at Princeton their force was small, probably not over two hundred or three hundred. All this information has turned out to be correct. Lieutenant Bottsford left camp at 9 P. M., April 29, and reached Foley's about daylight. He found the nest warm but the bird was gone. I can find no blame in this. He was compelled to move slowly in a strange country at night. A scout could easily give the required warning without fault on our part.

On the 30th, Lieutenant Bottsford scouted the country for the bushwhackers; camped in a house very defensible within four to six miles of where he knew I was to camp with the regiment. In the meantime Lieutenant-Colonel Fitz Hugh, or Fitzhugh, had marched with the whole force at Princeton, four companies of Jenifer's Cavalry, dismounted, numbering over two hundred, to aid Foley. This was done on the morning of the 30th, and on that evening Foley with bushwhackers and militia, to the number of seventy-five or one hundred, joined Fitzhugh. During the night they got as near Lieutenant Bottsford as they could without alarming his pickets, not near enough to do any mischief. In the morning Lieutenant Bottsford prepared to return to camp. He drew in his pickets, formed his line, and then for the first time, the enemy came within gunshot. Bottsford's men, in line of battle in front of a log house, saw the enemy approaching. A volley was fired on each side, when Lieutenant Bottsford, finding the strength of the attack, took shelter in the house and fired with such spirit and accuracy as to drive the enemy out of gunshot, leaving his dead and four of his wounded on the field, all of whom were taken possession of by Lieutenant Bottsford's men immediately, besides four wounded prisoners who didn't run far enough before hiding.

This attack was in no blamable sense “a surprise.” It found Lieutenant Bottsford perfectly prepared for it.

You seem to think there was nothing gained by this affair; that it is a “disaster” and that “we lost twenty men.” Surely I could have said nothing to warrant this. Of the twenty wounded over two-thirds were able and desired to march to Princeton with us. Our loss was one killed, two dangerously, perhaps mortally, wounded, and two, possibly three, others disabled, — perhaps not more than one. The enemy's loss was thirteen dead and disabled that “we got.” Captain Foley was disabled and we know of four others in like condition and I know not how many slightly wounded. This is not a disaster, but a fight of the sort which crushes the Rebellion.

You speak of Company C as advanced beyond “supporting distance.” We heard the firing and if the enemy had been stubborn should have been in good time to help drive him off. He reported here that our advance did in fact drive him off. If this is not supporting distance, parties cannot leave camp without violating an important rule. Lieutenant Bottsford had retreated to within four miles of us.

Upon the whole, I think that the affair deserves commendation rather than censure, and I take blame to myself for writing you a note under circumstances which precluded a full statement; such a statement as would prevent such misapprehension as I think you are under.

Respectfully,
R. B. Hayes,
Lieutenant-colonel 23RD Regiment, O. V. I.,
Commanding.
[colonel Scammon.]

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 240-2

Lieutenant Colonel Charles Fessenden Morse: May 23, 1865

Headquarters Second Mass. Inf'y,
Near Alexandria, May 23, 1865.

I have been sorely exercised for the last few days on account of learning, when I joined my command, that I had been mustered out of service by order of the War Department, on account of being absent from the effects of wounds received in action.* Yesterday, through the kindness of General Slocum, I obtained an interview with General Townsend, Adjutant General, and presented to him an application for the rescinding of the order; it had received pretty heavy endorsements from all my superiors, and was at once granted. The veteran regiments are probably to be retained, for the present at any rate; they will be filled up to the maximum by consolidation.

Everybody is scrubbing up for the review to-morrow, which will be a great affair. I am sorry you are not coming on. I am getting along very well with my wound.
_______________

* Immediately after the surrender of Lee's and Johnston's army, the War Department issued a General Order honorably discharging every officer then absent from his command on account of wounds or sickness.

SOURCE: Charles Fessenden Morse, Letters Written During the Civil War, 1861-1865, p. 213-4

Colonel George H. Gordon to Captain William D. Wilkins, May 28, 1862

HEADQUARTERS THIRD BRIGADE,
Camp near Williamsport, Md.
[May 28, 1862.]

CAPTAIN: Agreeably to instructions received from headquarters of the division, I have the honor to report the movements of my brigade in all engagement with the enemy on the 25th instant in front of and less than a third of a mile from the town of Winchester, Va.. At dawn in the morning I received information through the officer commanding the pickets that the enemy in large numbers were driving them in and approaching the town. I immediately formed my brigade in line of battle, the right resting upon the commanding ridge, the left extending into the valley. The ridge surrounds the town, which it holds as in a basin. It is less than one-third of a mile distant, and presents many key-points for positions. I placed my artillery, Battery M, of First New York, composed of six 6-pounder Parrotts, under Lieutenant Peabody, upon the ridge, and thus awaited further developments.

About 5 a.m. skirmishers from the Second Massachusetts, on the right and crest of the hill, became sharply engaged. At about the same time I directed the battery to open upon the columns of the enemy evidently moving into position just to the right and front of my center. This was done with admirable effect. The columns disappeared over the crest. For more than an hour a fire of shell and canister from several rebel batteries was directed upon my position. My brigade, being somewhat protected by a ravine, suffered but little loss. The fire of our skirmishers and the spirited replies of the battery, with heavy musketry and artillery firing on our left in Donnelly's brigade, were the only marked features of the contest until after 6 a.m.

At about 6.30, perhaps nearer 7 a.m. large bodies of infantry could be seen making their way in line of battle toward my right. They moved under cover of the dense wood, thus concealing somewhat their numbers. I directed the Twenty-ninth Pennsylvania Regiment, Colonel Murphy, and the Twenty-seventh Indiana Regiment, Colonel Colgrove, to change position from the left to the right of line, holding the Second Massachusetts, Lieutenant-Colonel Andrews, first on the right, in the center, the Third Wisconsin Regiment, Colonel Ruger, forming the left. This movement I had hardly completed, despite a new battery which opened upon my line, when three large battalions of infantry moving in order of battle, came out from their cover and approached my brigade. They were received with a destructive fire of musketry, poured in from all parts of my line that could reach them. Confident in their numbers and relying upon larger sustaining bodies (suspicions of which behind the covering timbers in our front were surely confirmed), the enemy's lines moved on, but little shaken by our fire. At the same time, in our front, a long line of infantry showed themselves, rising the crest of the bills just beyond our position. My little brigade, numbering in all just 2,102, in another moment would have been overwhelmed. On its right, left, and center immensely superior columns were pressing. Not another man was available; not a support to be found in the remnant of his army corps left General Banks. To withdraw was now possible; in another moment it would have been too late.

At this moment I should have assumed the responsibility of requesting permission to withdraw, but the right fell back under great pressure, which compelled the line to yield. I fell back slowly, but generally in good order, the Second Massachusetts, in column of companies, moving by flank; the Third Wisconsin, in line of battle, moving to the rear. On every side above the surrounding crest surged the rebel forces. A sharp and withering fire of musketry was opened by the enemy from the crest upon our center, left, and right. The yells of a victorious and merciless foe were above the din of battle, but my command was not dismayed. The Second Massachusetts halted in a street of the town to reform its line, then pushed on with the column, which, with its long train of baggage wagons, division, brigade, and regimental, was making its way in good order toward Martinsburg.

My retreating column suffered serious loss in the streets of Winchester. Males and females vied with each other in increasing the number of their victims, by firing from the houses, throwing hand grenades, hot water, and missiles of every description. The hellish spirit of murder was carried on by the enemy's cavalry, who followed to butcher, and who struck down with saber and pistol the hapless soldier, sinking from fatigue, unheeding his cries for mercy, indifferent to his claims as a prisoner of war.

This record of infamy is preserved for the females of Winchester. But this is not all. Our wounded in hospital, necessarily left to the mercies of our enemies, I am credibly informed, were bayoneted by the rebel infantry. In the same town, in the same apartments where we, when victors on the fields of Winchester, so tenderly nursed the rebel wounded, were we so more than barbarously rewarded. The rebel cavalry, it would appear, give no quarter. It cannot be doubted that they butchered our stragglers; that they fight under a black flag; that they cried as they slew the wearied and jaded, “Give no quarter to the damned Yankees.”

The actual number of my brigade engaged was 2,102.

In estimating the force of the enemy I turn for a moment to the movement of the First Division from Strasburg to Winchester on the preceding day, the 24th, and my engagement with the enemy during the march, which assured me of their presence in great force upon our right flank.
The capture and destruction of Colonel Kenly's command (First Brigade) on the 23d at Front Royal while guarding our railroad communication with Washington and the facts set forth in my report of my engagement on the 24th tended to a conviction of the presence of a large force under General Ewell in the valley of the Shenandoah. The union of Jackson with Johnson, composing an army larger by many thousands than the two small brigades, with some cavalry and sixteen pieces of artillery,, which comprised the entire army corps of General Banks, furnishes evidence justifying a belief of the intention of the enemy to cut us off first from re-enforcements, second to capture us and our material, beyond peradventure.

From the testimony of our signal officers and from a fair estimate of the number in rebel lines drawn up on the heights, from fugitives and deserters, the number of regiments in the rebel army opposite Winchester was 28, being Ewell's division, Jackson's and Johnson's forces, the whole being commanded by General Jackson. These regiments were full, and could not have numbered much less than 22,000 men, with a corresponding proportion of artillery, among which were included two of the English Blakely guns. Less than 4,000 men in two brigades, with sixteen pieces of artillery, kept this large and unequal force in check for about three hours; then retreating in generally good order, preserved its entire trains and accomplished a march of 36 miles.

Where all the regiments in my brigade behaved so well it is not intended to reflect in the least upon others in mentioning the steadiness and perfect discipline which marked the action of the Second Massachusetts, Lieutenant-Colonel Andrews, and Third Wisconsin, Colonel Ruger. The enemy will long remember the destructive fire which three or four companies of the Third Wisconsin and a like number of the Second Massachusetts poured into them as these sturdy regiments moved slowly in line of battle and in column from the field.

I herewith inclose a list* of the killed, wounded, and missing of the several regiments of my brigade, hoping that the numbers will hereafter be reduced by arrivals of those marked missing. How many were captured it is impossible now to determine.

Colonel Murphy, Twenty-ninth Pennsylvania, is known to be a prisoner. Major Dwight, of the Second Massachusetts, while gallantly bringing up the rear of the regiment, was missed somewhere near or in the outskirts of the town. It is hoped that this promising and brave officer, so cool upon the field, so efficient everywhere, so much beloved by his regiment, and whose gallant services on the night of the 24th instant will never be forgotten by them, may have met no worse fate than to be held a prisoner of war.

To my personal staff, Lieut. C. P. Horton, Second Massachusetts Regiment, my assistant adjutant-general; to Lieut. H. B. Scott, of the same regiment, my aide-de-camp, I am indebted for promptness in transmission of orders, for efficiency and gallant services in action.

I desire to express my thanks to Colonels Murphy, Ruger, Colgrove, and Andrews, and to the officers and men generally of my command, especially to officers and men of Battery M, whose skill and courage tended so much by their destructive fire to disconcert the enemy and hold him in check.

In fine, in the two days of the 24th and 25th of May the larger portion of my brigade marched 61 miles, the Second Massachusetts skirmishing on the 24th for more than six hours with infantry, cavalry, and artillery, the entire command on the 25th fighting a battle.

I herewith inclose such reports of colonels of regiments as have been forwarded.

Respectfully,
 GEO. H. GORDON,
Colonel Second Massachusetts Regt., Comdg. Third Brigade.
 Capt. WILLIAM D. WILKINS,
 A. A. G., -Fifth Army Corps.
_______________

* See revised statement, p. 553

SOURCE: Elizabeth Amelia Dwight, Editor, Life and Letters of Wilder Dwight: Lieut.-Col. Second Mass. Inf. Vols., p. 247; The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 12, Part 1 (Serial No. 15), p. 616-8

Brigadier-General William F. Bartlett to Harriet Plummer Bartlett, July 24, 1864

Headquarters First Brigade.
July 24, 1864, 10 P. M.

Dear Mother, — I write, as I promised. I got back safely from the lines. Just before I went there, a captain of the Fifty-sixth and two lieutenants of the Fifty-seventh were badly wounded by a shell which fell and exploded where they were sitting. Lieutenant Bowman of the Fifty-seventh cannot live.

This makes six officers of the Fifty-seventh who have been killed or badly wounded since I have been here. It is too bad. The firing has not ceased since I wrote you last, nor indeed since I first got within sound of it. The bullets are singing around my tent as usual. Spat! there goes one into the tree, making the bark fly. It is raining to-night, but it does not diminish the ardor of these patriotic sportsmen, who keep up their target practice with great zeal.

The weather has been very cool and pleasant.

I slept beautifully last night, and hope to to-night.

Love to all at home. No letters yet; two Advertisers to-night, — 20th, 21st

Affectionately,
W. F. B.

Did I tell you I went over to see the Twentieth yesterday? Saw Patten, John Perry, and Dr. Hayward. They are a mile and a half in rear of us.

SOURCE: Francis Winthrop Palfrey, Memoir of William Francis Bartlett, p. 115-6

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: November 18, 1862

Well, the President is a bold man! He has put in Randolph's place, temporarily at least, Major-Gen. Gustavus W. Smith — who was Street Commissioner in the City of New York, on the day that Capt. G. W. Randolph was fighting the New Yorkers at Bethel!

Gen. Wise is out in a card, stating that in response to a requisition for shoes for his suffering troops, Quartermaster-Gen. A. C. Myers said, “Let them suffer.”

The enemy attacked Fredericksburg yesterday, and there was some skirmishing, the result of which we have not heard. It is rumored they are fighting there to-day. We have but few regiments between here and Fredericksburg.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 191

Diary of Sergeant George G. Smith: April 12, 1863

Left Donaldsonville. Eighteen of us went to New Orleans where Lieutenant Jones turned over to me the convalescent squad, consisting of eighteen men and three women. He and Corporal Olmstead remained in the city. We crossed the river and took the cars at Algiers for Brashear City, where we arrived at dark. The road passes through what I should say was a salt marsh, being low swampy land covered with cotton-wood trees or a long coarse grass through which crawled slimy snakes and aligators. An ugly looking bird like a crane also inhabits these dismal abodes.

SOURCE: Abstracted from George G. Smith, Leaves from a Soldier's Diary, p. 44

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Lemuel A. Abbott: Sunday, May 8, 1864

It has been very warm and sultry. Our forces commenced a flank movement last night. We withdrew from the enemy's front about 10 o'clock p. m. and marched, via the Chancellorsville turnpike — where we passed many trains, our wounded and Burnside's Corps — through the old battlefield of Chancellorsville of a year ago, as far as Piney Branch Church, when we left the pike at Alsop's house, and after marching southerly some time on the Todd's Tavern road formed line of battle near Alsop's farm about 3 o'clock p. m., our Division being on the right of the Sixth Corps. We advanced across the Ny river — a mere creek — but meeting with a sharp artillery fire from a rebel battery on the opposite ridge to us skirting the valley, we were ordered to halt. This was about three miles north of Spottsylvania Court House and is called the Battle of Alsop's Farm. Our regiment lost sixteen men here. Generals Robinson and Griffin's Divisions of the Fifth Corps took two thousand prisoners and lost about one thousand.

We continued to change position from one point to another till just after passing Spottsylvania when just before dark we found the enemy in our front in force. It had felled trees across the road which delayed us considerably, but our artillery soon opened the way for us. We proceeded about two miles and found the enemy strongly intrenched across an open slightly rising field from us in the edge of the woods which was fiercely charged by us but without effect except to be repulsed with the field covered largely with our killed and badly wounded. General Meade was in rear of our regiment which formed a rear line in our assaulting column, superintending the assault, and when jocularly reminded by a wag that he (Meade) was in a dangerous place, he graciously replied: “It's safe enough behind a Vermont regiment anywhere!” Which was a clever thing to say to the men and they appreciated it. We threw up breastworks after the assault, uncomfortably close to the enemy and are well fortified, but not in as naturally a strong position as the enemy. Assaulting in the dark is unsatisfactory and very demoralizing. It ought not to be done when it can be avoided, one is so apt to shoot his own men and straggle into the enemy's lines and be captured; it's very trying and nerve-taxing. It has been a strenuous day.

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 50-1

Diary of Corporal Charles H. Lynch: April 5, 1865

Orders received this morning to fall in without arms for a march into town and report at headquarters. Surprised to hear that we were to receive four months pay. It was overdue. No one left in camp but the camp guard. We were allowed more liberty than ever before. We remained in town all day. I was the only corporal in town with the company. Many of the boys are on the sick list. I was ordered to receive the pay for those of our company in the hospital, visit the hospital and give the boys their money. All were thankful to get the money and pleased to see me and were made happy over the good news I brought to them about General Grant's success in routing the enemy. Returned to camp late tonight. I felt that I had put in a very busy day. Weather damp, cool, and very cloudy.

SOURCE: Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary, 1862-1865, of Charles H. Lynch 18th Conn. Vol's, p. 146-7

Diary of Corporal Charles H. Lynch: April 6, 1865

A cold rain storm this morning. Nothing to do but try and keep comfortable. Discussing the war question, and what the indications are about our getting home. General Lee has not surrendered as yet. Perhaps there may be much more fighting. One question is, it may turn into a guerilla warfare, owing to so many mountains in the South.

SOURCE: Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary, 1862-1865, of Charles H. Lynch 18th Conn. Vol's, p. 147

Diary of Corporal Charles H. Lynch: April 9, 1865

Detailed for picket duty. Located out on Tuscaror road, in charge. One duty I had to perform was to examine all citizens who enter town, as the town is under martial law, and they must have passes to go in and out, which are obtained from the Provost Marshal. They must take the oath of allegiance to the United States. They can then go in and out on business.

SOURCE: Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary, 1862-1865, of Charles H. Lynch 18th Conn. Vol's, p. 147

Diary of Corporal Charles H. Lynch: April 10, 1865

The firing of heavy field guns at midnight aroused everybody. Great rejoicing when we learned that General Lee has surrendered to our Grant. Crowds of people began to come to town very early to hear the latest news. It was hard for some to believe it. We hope the four years of struggling with death and destruction are at an end. As the people returned to their homes, informed me that they would again have an open road, and not be stopped to answer questions and show a pass. They won't be any more pleased about it than these same soldiers who are very anxious to return to our homes in Yankee land. This is a fine country. We are happy over the prospects that the war is coming to an end. Passed a very pleasant time in charge of the picket post, out on the Tuscaror road.

SOURCE: Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary, 1862-1865, of Charles H. Lynch 18th Conn. Vol's, p. 147-8

Diary of Luman Harris Tenney: Friday, August 29, 1862

Morning passed as usual in reading the late papers and loafing. Washed dishes. No encouraging news. Several commissions came over — some very just and deserved ones. In the afternoon came a detail of all well mounted men to go on an expedition into Mo. Archie and I went. 50 men in all under Capt. Welch. 9th Wisconsin, Allen's Battery, and part of the 9th Kansas along under Gen. Salomon. We went as advance. Rode all night. Slept a good deal in saddle. Was very sleepy. Reached Montebello just before sunrise. Went in on all roads, dashing down at full gallop, but never an enemy. Expected to find 1200 there.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 29

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Wednesday, October 21, 1863

Last night heavy rains Continued raining until 10. A. M. Order on parade to report all convalescents in the co's for the Invalid corps. Weather cold health better—

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 499

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Thursday, October 22, 1863

Begun to rain soon after day. Rained all day.

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 499

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Friday, October 23, 1863

Mail this morning Cold and windy all day. Williamson, Shull and Vanderkamp come to the co.

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 499

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Saturday, October 24, 1863

Cold and clear

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 499

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Sabbath, October 25, 1863

Cold and clear teams all busy hauling brick.

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 499

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Monday, October 26, 1863

quite a pleasant day Our brigade was ordered out and left town at 2 A. M. before day.

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 499

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Tueday, October 27, 1863

Weather fine.

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 499

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Diary of Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle: Wednesday, June 24, 1863

Lawley being in weak health, we determined to spend another day with our kind friends in Winchester. I took the horses out again for six hours to graze, and made acquaintance with two Irishmen, who gave me some cut grass and salt for the horses. One of these men had served and had been wounded in the Southern army. I remarked to him that he must have killed lots of his own countrymen; to which he replied, “Oh yes, but faix they must all take it as it comes.” I have always observed that Southern Irishmen make excellent “Rebs,” and have no sort of scruple in killing as many of their Northern brethren as they possibly can.

I saw to-day many new Yankee graves, which the deaths among the captives are constantly increasing. Wooden, head-posts are put at each grave, on which is written, “An Unknown Soldier, U.S.A. Died of wounds received upon the field of battle, June 21, 22, or 23, 1863.”

A sentry stopped me to-day as I was going out of town, and when I showed him my pass from General Chilton, he replied with great firmness, but with perfect courtesy, “I'm extremely sorry, sir; but if you were the Secretary of War, or Jeff Davis himself, you couldn't pass without a passport from the Provost-Marshal.”

SOURCE: Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle, Three Months in the Southern States: April-June, 1863, p. 236-7

Diary of Lieutenant-Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes: Friday, May 2, 1862

Camp No. 5, Princeton. — A fine day. The cavalry yesterday took the Bluff Road and came into [the] road from Princeton to Giles five miles. They came across tracks leading to Princeton. Soon saw soldiers, opened fire and had a fusillade of wild firing, the enemy fleeing to the mountains. It was the Forty-fifth Virginia coming to reinforce Princeton. Slightly “too late.” Spent A. M. organizing detachment of occupation.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 2     40

Lieutenant Colonel Charles Fessenden Morse: March 12, 1865


Camp Near Fayettevtlle, N. C,
March 12, 1865.

An hour ago, we were all astounded by the announcement that a mail would leave headquarters at four P. M. If you had quietly stepped up to my shelter and asked me to come and take a comfortable Sunday dinner at home, I should have hardly been more astonished. It seems that there is a steam tug up from Wilmington, and that we have captured two steamers at this city. I write now only to say that I am perfectly well, and have been in but one skirmish since leaving Savannah. When I have time, I will give you a history of this campaign; all I will say of it now is that it has been a hard one. We have had a great many severe storms; the roads have been awful, and the obstacles in the shape of rivers, streams, and swamps, most numerous; but we have conquered them as we have everything else.

When I tell you that since the eighth day of February I have not drawn from the commissariat a single government ration, you can understand how entirely we have lived on the country. There have been times of great anxiety, when it seemed as if the country could yield nothing, but we have always had great herds of cattle to fall back on, so that there was never much danger of suffering. This has been no picnic excursion, I can assure you, and I am not sorry we are nearing a base. Another Sunday will, I hope, see us in Goldsborough. I hope to get some express matter soon, as I am in sad condition in the way of clothing.

We have marched from Cheraw since last Tuesday morning, about seventy miles.

[The writer was wounded at the battle of Averysboro, March 16, and went to Massachusetts, where he remained about sixty days.]

SOURCE: Charles Fessenden Morse, Letters Written During the Civil War, 1861-1865, p. 212-3

Major Wilder Dwight, May 9, 1862

camp Near New Market, Virginia, May 9, 1862.

After passing three days in bivouac on the other side of the gap, we returned here last night, and went again into camp

Our cavalry made a brisk and bold charge the other day. They are coming up finely under the new general, Hatch. They actually brought in ten men wounded with sabre-cuts; a thing not before done in the war, and really a most healthy indication.

Our life in the woods on the mountain was listless, but pleasant enough. I got a letter from Mrs. Ticknor, which I have answered. I hope your funds will all be saved against the wants which weather or battle will surely develop before autumn. It is a pity that your fund should not do its utmost good, and in this direction that work can best be done.

Just now our own prospects are not such as to give us much claim on home solicitude or benevolence. The Secretary of War has ordered us back to Strasburg.

Shields, now a major-general! takes his division across the gap to McDowell. General Banks remains with two brigades, one of them ours, at Strasburg. This is the programme.

With that pitiful force to which Banks's “army corps” is now reduced, and at that point fifty miles back of our recent advance, we have no other hope or purpose than protecting Maryland! A proud sequel, is it not?

Of course all this is a severe trial to me, — the severest, I think, of my life. But equally, of course, I keep a cheerful spirit, and mean to do my best to the end. Whether the whirligig of time has any revenges in our favor or not we must wait to see.

Service is obeying orders, and we are in service. Perhaps we shall make some effort to get into an active department as soon as things have taken shape. We certainly shall if we can see any way to do so. It is rather hard luck for the first regiment recruited for the war, isn't it?

We are having very bright, warm weather, and this valley is beautiful under it. On our night march through the gap, we had sunrise just at the crest of the mountain. Both the valleys lay beneath us in their morning bath of sunshine, picturesque with camps and wheat-fields and villages.

Yesterday the box arrived; the blanket is just what I want; the stockings went right on men's feet

I wait patiently for news from William. It may well be that his opportunity will soon come or has come.

It is a year since our camp life at West Roxbury. What a different year from that to which we then looked forward!

May the next year be a different one from that which now appears before us.

Love to all at home.

SOURCE: Elizabeth Amelia Dwight, Editor, Life and Letters of Wilder Dwight: Lieut.-Col. Second Mass. Inf. Vols., p. 244-5

Diary of Brigadier-General William F. Bartlett: July 24, 1864

July 24. Quiet night. I go now down to the lines. I hope I may get safely back. If not, His will be done. . . . . Went through the second line. Got back safely, thank God Bullets flying very lively to-night .

SOURCE: Francis Winthrop Palfrey, Memoir of William Francis Bartlett, p. 115

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: November 17, 1862

A profound sensation has been produced in the outside world by the resignation of Mr. Randolph; and most of the people and the press seem inclined to denounce the President, for they know not what. In this matter the President is not to blame; but the Secretary has acted either a very foolish or a very desperate part. It appears that he wrote a note in reply to the last letter of the President, stating that as no discretion was allowed him in such matters as were referred to by the President, he begged respectfully to tender his resignation. The President responded, briefly, that inasmuch as the Secretary declined acting any longer as one of his constitutional advisers, and also declined a personal conference, no alternative remained but to accept his resignation.

Randolph's friends would make it appear that he resigned in consequence of being restricted in his action; but he knows very well that the latitude allowed him became less and less circumscribed; and that, hitherto, he was well content to operate within the prescribed limits. Therefore, if it was not a silly caprice, it was a deliberate purpose, to escape a cloud of odium he knew must sooner or later burst around him.

A letter from Gen. Magruder, dated 10th inst., at Jackson, Mississippi, intimates that we shall lose Holly Springs. He has also been in Mobile, and doubts whether that city can be successfully defended by Gen. Forney, whose liver is diseased, and memory impaired. He recommends that Brig.-Gen. Whiting be promoted, and assigned to the command in place of Forney, relieved.

A letter from Gen. Whiting, near Wilmington, dated 13th. inst., expresses serious apprehensions whether that place can be held against a determined attack, unless a supporting force of 10,000 men be sent there immediately. It is in the command of Major-Gen. G. A. Smith.

More propositions to ship cotton in exchange for the supplies needed by the country. The President has no objection to accepting them all, provided the cotton don't go to any of the enemy's ports. How can it be possible to avoid this liability, if the cotton be shipped from the Mississippi River?

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 190-1

Diary of Sergeant George G. Smith: April 9, 1863

Much better. Lieutenant Jones came back for convalescents and baggage.

SOURCE: Abstracted from George G. Smith, Leaves from a Soldier's Diary, p. 43

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Lemuel A. Abbott: Saturday, May 7, 1864

Weather very warm, but suited to the work we have got to do. We fell back about a half mile last night, just after Generals Meade and Sedgwick passed our regiment, to some breastworks in which we lay on our arms all night. This morning we were moved to a stronger position on a ridge just to the left of the position we occupied last night, and threw up very strong breastworks, several brass cannon having been placed along the ridge before our arrival. We have remained as support to this artillery all day, but it hasn't been used. The enemy made an attempt to carry the works to our left on the pike early this morning but were repulsed in less than five minutes with a loss of two hundred. We have remained on the defensive all day. The Second Corps repulsed the enemy just at dark, as it was trying to carry their works.

Our regiment has not been engaged to-day, but the suspense has been wearing. The rebel yell when they have made their various assaults at other places on the line to our left, and the ominous bull-dog-like silence along our lines till the roar of musketry commenced when the enemy got in range, made one at the time almost breathless and his heart to stand still on any part of the line. It is awful! But the rebel yell makes one clinch his teeth and determine that it shall be victory for us or death before we will give up our works. But I don't like war and wish it was well over. This is the real thing, though! Grant don't play fight.

Our casualties in the Wilderness including the Ninth Corps were 10,220 wounded, 2,902 missing, and 2,265 killed, making a total of 15,387. The Confederate loss was 6,000 wounded, 3,400 missing, and 2,000 killed, making a total of 11,400. The Tenth Vermont lost nine wounded and three killed.

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 48-50

Diary of Corporal Charles H. Lynch: April 1, 1865

Weather improving, for which we are thankful. Good reports come from General Grant's army, pushing General Lee. General Sheridan left the valley with his cavalry corps. Infantry left at Winchester. Great excitement over reports that come to headquarters. Many visitors from town witness our dress parade. Boys are doing their best to make a fine appearance on parade, which takes place at 5 P. M.

SOURCE: Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary, 1862-1865, of Charles H. Lynch 18th Conn. Vol's, p. 145

Diary of Corporal Charles H. Lynch: April 2, 1865

New recruits continue to come to our regiment. Some are assigned to our company. Our regiment in good condition, and ready for any kind of duty. Good news continues to come from the front. All are happy over the prospects of the war ending soon.

SOURCE: Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary, 1862-1865, of Charles H. Lynch 18th Conn. Vol's, p. 145-6

Diary of Corporal Charles H. Lynch: April 3, 1865

Detailed for picket. Located out on outpost on the Tuscaror road, leading to the North Mountain, about one mile out of town. Have done picket duty on this road many times. At the edge of town all roads are barricaded and closed for the nights, to prevent a sudden dash from the guerillas and Confederate scouts. Report comes tonight that General Grant has taken Richmond and that General Lee has retreated. Good news.

SOURCE: Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary, 1862-1865, of Charles H. Lynch 18th Conn. Vol's, p. 146

Diary of Corporal Charles H. Lynch: April 4, 1865

Relieved from picket this morning. On reaching camp there was great rejoicing over the good news. Reports continue to come about General Grant's success. Shouting and singing, glory hallelujah on all sides. Citizens and soldiers cheering over the good news. Bands and drum corps making all the music they can. We are at liberty to go and come as we please. Duty suspended as far as can be. In and out of town as we please. A happy time. The Union people in town are keeping open house. The soldiers are made welcome. The glorious Yankee Army are surely in Richmond. We are all thankful for the good news. This summer will surely find us in good old Connecticut. The singing and cheering is continuous.

SOURCE: Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary, 1862-1865, of Charles H. Lynch 18th Conn. Vol's, p. 146

Diary of Luman Harris Tenney: Thursday, August 28, 1862

In the morning came the detail for the 2nd Kansas Battery. Heretofore officers had said that such a detail should not be made. But the order came to the Colonel for 150 men and the Colonel gave orders to Batt. commanders for the detail and they to their companies. The detail was made but not a man would go. Three or four companies marched to guard house. Finally after several Orderly calls and speeches by Majors to Battalions, the detail submitted. The wrangle about the to-be colonel of the regiment continues. Papers went on signed by ten in favor of Doubleday and nine against. Miner, Burnett and Ratliff rascals — selfish. Major P. sent in his resignation.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 29

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Sabbath, October 11, 1863

Paymasters and commissioners to rec votes of regts in town.

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 498

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Monday, October 12, 1863

Nothing important Later — Report in that yesterday was a fight at Benton & Pine bluffs, enemy worsted at both places—

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 498

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Tuesday, October 13, 1863

Election passes off pleasantly. the regt vote for Stone 292, for Tuttle 46. Unwell most of day

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 499

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Wednesday, October 14, 1863

Feel tolerably well visit 1st cav. in evening stay all night.

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 499

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Thursday, October 15, 1863

Very sick, send word to co P. M. and am taken over to co. in ambulance

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 499

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Friday, October 16, 1863

Recd pay this afternoon for two months. Much better today

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 499

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Saturday, October 17, 1863

A repetition of the miseries of Thursday

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 499

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Sabbath, October 18, 1863

Well enough to be up a little

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 499

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Monday, October 19, 1863

Worse carried to Hospital weather windy

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 499

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Tuesday, October 20, 1863

some better

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 499

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Diary of Sergeant George G. Smith: Sunday, March 31, 1863

Whole division of twelve regiments, General Dwight commanding, started down Bayou Lafourche towards Burwick Bay. I remained in hospital.

SOURCE: Abstracted from George G. Smith, Leaves from a Soldier's Diary, p. 43

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Lemuel A. Abbott: Friday, May 6, 1864

We slept on our arms last night. Report says that we forced the enemy's right flank back about three miles yesterday besides capturing a goodly number of prisoners, but I doubt it. It is also rumored that the Vermont Brigade of our Corps was badly cut up yesterday afternoon, but I hope it's not true; it was hotly engaged, though, on our left. We were led further off into the woods this forenoon to form another line of battle evidently, but General Seymour who was in charge seemed to be dazed, and while poking around alone in front of and too far away from his command without a skirmish line in his front, was taken prisoner.* A part of our brigade was finally detached and taken north of and just to the right of the Orange turnpike including our regiment where we formed line behind some natural breastworks with the enemy's earthworks about fifty yards more or less in our front across a pretty, level, green field, in the edge of the woods; this work of theirs was in front, I am told, of the enemy's main line. We were shelled more or less at times through the day until about mid-afternoon when we were let alone.

Later in the day all at once hearing heavy firing on the right flank of our army not far away, Colonel W. W. Henry excitedly called us to attention, faced us to the right and then turning the head of the column directly to the rear we ran with all speed possible — there was no double quick about it — for a mile or more into the woods in rear of where the heavy firing on our right was, stumbling over logs, ditches, brush, etc., till our faces, hands and shins smarted from bruises and scratches, when we were halted all out of breath, faced to the left and ordered to give the charging war cry which, being a good deal wrought up, not knowing what had happened but that a disaster had occurred to our forces as panic-stricken men were hastening to the rear from our defeated right through our lines, and not knowing our own position relatively speaking to any other of our forces, or but what we would be pounced upon any moment, for we had but a small part of our brigade even, with us, so far as I could see in the woods, and annihilated, we, together with the One Hundred and Sixth New York Volunteer Infantry and Fourteenth New Jersey repeatedly gave the war cry as we had never given it before or did give it again afterwards. It reverberated again and again in the forest until the echo died away in the gloaming as softly as a fond mother's lullaby, and it pleased me at the time to think that perhaps it was God's offering through us and the medium of nature, or His lullaby to the thousands of wounded and dying heroes both of the blue and the grey within hearing, for the softly dying echoes certainly were soothing and restful in the quiet twilight even to me. This war cry had the effect not only to stop the enemy's firing but its advance, thinking probably it was a counter-assault to meet theirs, and it saved many a poor fellow from being captured, as the enemy ceased its aggressive tactics in order to reform and be prepared to meet our anticipated assault.

General Jubal A. Early's Division of three brigades had stolen round in rear of General Shaler's veteran brigade of the First Division and the Second Brigade (formerly General Seymour's) of green men of the Third Division, Sixth Corps, which were on the right of our army in the order mentioned, attacked vigorously both in rear and front, threw Shaler's veterans into disorder as well later as the Second Brigade, captured Shaler and created temporary confusion among the trains and hospital corps nearby. Seemingly it was the result of bad generalship by someone on our side. If I had been a General in command there, I'll bet the Johnnies wouldn't have got away with me! It was evidently lack of alertness, and the Johnny fellow got the best of it because the most alert.

Generals Meade and Sedgwick probably returning from an investigation of that part of the battlefield after the fight just after dark near our regiment where I was, inquired what troops were there and on being told it was the Tenth Vermont at that particular point Sedgwick said to Meade, “We are safe enough with that regiment!” as though they doubted the security of their surroundings.
_______________

* In a letter to Chaplain E. M. Haynes of my regiment by me which he used in his history of our regiment, I state that Seymour was taken prisoner when the right flank of our army was thrown into confusion late May 6, 1864. From what source I got the information I don't recollect, but supposed it correct. I had not then seen my diary for many years, and had forgotten about the matter. My diary is correct, for I recall having heard of Seymour being taken prisoner that day before the fighting on our right flank later in the day. I wondered when I saw him so far in front of his column why he didn't have a skirmish line in his front. An alert General wouldn't have been captured, I don't think. — L. A. A.

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 45-8

Diary of Corporal Charles H. Lynch: March 24, 1865

The past few days have been windy, with a cold rain, turning to hail and snow. The wind howling through our camp, coming from the North Mountain. Winter is hanging on. Every day we are led to believe that the war is about over with. No enemy has been reported in this vicinity for a long time. Picket duty is kept up.

SOURCE: Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary, 1862-1865, of Charles H. Lynch 18th Conn. Vol's, p. 145

Diary of Corporal Charles H. Lynch: March 30, 1865

Nothing special for the past few days. Daily routine is kept up. When off duty tramp through the country, calling at the farms, meeting the old men. The young men are mostly in the army, either in the Union or the Confederate. Religious service is held in the log chapel, conducted by our good Chaplain, Walker, assisted by Chaplains from other regiments and the Christian Commission.

SOURCE: Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary, 1862-1865, of Charles H. Lynch 18th Conn. Vol's, p. 145

Diary of Luman Harris Tenney: Wednesday, August 27, 1862

In the morning did very little. Read some. In the afternoon Delos and I went down to see Charlie. He was about going to water his horses. Stayed a short time and read a Lorain News. Nothing particular. Saw a corpse, a Co. A. man. Went in and saw several sick men. Two from Co. H. are doomed to die. Boys sat about as carelessly as ever, playing cards and swearing. Washed the dishes when I got home. Played ball a little.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 28-9

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Thursday, October 1, 1863

Return to the co. Detail from our regt to guard prisonors to Memphis—

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 498

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Friday, October 2, 1863

Sign pay rools — Sutlers opens chabang in regt. Weather fine — health improveing. Officers have a noisy spree after night.

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 498

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Saturday, October 3, 1863

Mail in—

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 498

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Sabbath, October 4, 1863

Frost. attend church in town.

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 498

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Monday, October 5, 1863

Heavy frost fine day. Marching Orders rec'd

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 498

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Tuesday, October 6, 1863

A. M. Rainy. Camp equipage and clothing left at Helena arrive—

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 498

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Wednesday, October 7, 1863

Get our tents up

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 498

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Thursday, October 8, 1863

Nothing important

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 498

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Friday, October 9, 1863

Return to duty today. Orders on parade that Gen Salomon should assume comand of 3d Div. Gen Rice of 2d brigade

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 498

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Saturday, October 10, 1863

Serg Ritner and Corp Herbert reduced to ranks for inability — both absent Sick

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 498

Monday, September 26, 2016

Frederick Douglass to Rev. Samuel Hanson Cox, October 30, 1846

SALISBURY ROAD, EDINBURGH, Oct. 30, 1846.
Samuel Hanson Cox, D. D.:

SIR—I have two objects in addressing you at this time. The first is, to deny certain charges, and to correct certain injurious statements, recently made by yourself, respecting my conduct at a meeting of the “World’s Temperance Convention,” held in Covent Garden Theatre, London, in the month of August last. My second object will be to review so much of your course as relates to the Anti-Slavery question, during your recent tour through Great Britain and a part of Ireland. There are times when it would evince a ridiculous sensibility to the good or evil opinions of men, and when it would be a wasteful expenditure of thought, time, and strength, for one in my circumstances to reply to attacks made by those who hate me more bitterly than the cause of which I am an humble advocate. While all this is quite true, it is equally true, that there are times when it is quite proper to make such replies; and especially so, when to defend one’s self is to defend great and vital principles, the vindication of which is essential to the triumph of righteousness throughout the world.

Sir, I deem it neither arrogant nor presumptious to assume to represent three millions of my brethren, who are, while I am penning these words, in chains and slavery on the American soil, the boasted land of liberty and light. I have been one with them in their sorrow and suffering — one with them in their ignorance and degradation — one with them under the burning sun and the slave-driver’s bloody lash — and am at this moment freed from those horrible inflictions, only because the laws of England are commensurate with freedom, and do not permit the American man-stealer, whose Christianity you endorse, to lay his foul clutch upon me, while upon British soil. Being thus so completely identified with the slaves, I may assume that an attack upon me is an attack upon them — and especially so, when the attack is obviously made, as in the present instance, with a view to injure me in the advocacy of their cause. I am resolved that their cause shall not suffer through any misrepresentations of my conduct, which evil-minded men, in high or low places, may resort to, while I have the ability to set myself right before the public. As much as I hate American Slavery, and as much as I abominate the infernal spirit which in that land seems to pervade both Church and State, there are bright spots there which I love, and a large and greatly increasing population, whose good opinion 1 highly value, and which I am determined never to forfeit, while it can be maintained consistently with truth and justice.

Sir, in replying to you, and in singling out the conduct of one of your age, reputation, and learning, I should, in most cases, deem an apology necessary — I should approach such an one with great delicacy and guardedness of language. But, in this instance, I feel entirely relieved from all such necessity. The obligations of courtesy, which I should otherwise be forward to discharge to persons of your age and standing, I am absolved from by your obviously bitter and malignant attack. I come, therefore, without any further hesitancy, to the subject.

In a letter from London to the New York Evangelist, describing the great meeting at Covent Garden Theatre, you say:

“They all advocated the same cause, showed a glorious unity of thought and feeling, and the effect was constantly raised — the moral scene was superb and glorious — when Frederick Douglass, the colored abolition agitator and ultraist, came to the platform, and so spoke a la mode, as to ruin the influence, almost, of all that preceded! He lugged in Anti-Slavery, or Abolition, no doubt prompted to it by some of the politic ones who can use him to do what they would not themselves adventure to do in person. He is supposed to have been well paid for the abomination.

“What a perversion, an abuse, an iniquity against the law of reciprocal righteousness, to call thousands together to get them, some certain ones, to seem conspicuous and devoted for one sole and grand object, and then, all at once, with obliquity, open an avalanche on them for some imputed evil or monstrosity, for which, whatever be the wound or injury inflicted, they were both too fatigued and too hurried with surprise, and too straitened for time to be properly prepared. I say it is a trick of meanness! It is abominable!

“On this occasion Mr. Douglass allowed himself to denounce America and all its temperance societies together, as a grinding community, and the enemies of his people; said evil, with no alloy of good concerning the whole of us; was perfectly indiscriminate in his severities; talked of the American delegates, and to them, as it he had been our schoolmaster, and we his docile and devoted pupils; and launched his revengeful missiles at our country, without one palliative, as if not a Christian or a true Anti-Slavery man lived in the whole of the United States. The fact is, the man has been petted, and flattered, and used, and paid by certain Abolitionists not unknown to us, of the ne plus ultra stamp, till he forgets himself; and though he may gratify his own impulses, and those of old Adam in others, yet sure I am that all this is just the way to ruin his influence, to defeat his object, and to do mischief, not good, to the very cause he professes to love. With the single exception of one cold-hearted parricide, whose character I abhor, and who has, I fear, no true patriotism or piety within him, all the delegates from our country were together wounded and indignant. No wonder at it! I write freely. It was not done in a corner. It was inspired, I believe, from beneath, and not from above. It was adapted to re-kindle, on both sides of the Atlantic, the flames of national exasperation and war. And this is the game which Mr. Frederick Douglass and his silly patrons are playing in England and in Scotland, and wherever they can find ‘some mischief still for idle hands to do.’ I came here his sympathizing friend — I am so no more, as I more know him.

“My own opinion is increasingly that this abominable spirit must he exorcised out of England and America, before any substantial good can be effected for the cause of the slave. It is adapted only to make bad worse, and to inflame the passions of indignant millions to an incurable resentment. None but an ignoramus or a madman could think that this was the way of the inspired apostles of the Son of God. It may gratify the feelings of a self-deceived and malignant few, but it will do no good in any direction — least of all to the poor slave ! It is short-sighted, impulsive, partisan, reckless, and tending only to sanguinary ends. None of this, with men of sense and principle.

“We all wanted to reply, but it was too late; the Whole theatre seemed taken with the spirit of the Ephesian uproar; they were furious and boisterous in the extreme; and Mr. Kirk could hardly obtain a moment, though many were desirous in his behalf, to say a few words, as he did, very calmly and properly, that the cause of temperance was not at all responsible for Slavery, and had no connection with it. There were some sly agencies behind the scenes — we know!”

Now the motive for representing, in this connection, “the effect constantly raised,” the “moral scene sublime and glorious,” is very apparent. It is obviously not so much to do justice to the scene, as to magnify my assumed offence You have draw an exceedingly beautiful picture, that you might represent me as roaming and defacing its beauty, in the hope thereby to kindle against me the fury of its admirers.

“Frederick Douglass, the colored Abolitionist and ultraist, came to the platform.” Well, sir, what if I did come to the platform? How did I come to it? Did I come with or without the consent of the meeting? Had your love of truth equalled your desire to cover me with odium, you would have said, that after loud and repeated calls from the audience, and a very pressing invitation from the chairman “Frederick Douglass came to the platform.” But, sir, this would not have served your purpose — that being to make me out an intruder, one without the wedding garment, fit to be cast out among the unbidden and unprepared. This might do very well in America, where for a negro to stand upon a temperance platform, on terms of perfect equality with white persons, it would be regarded as an insolent assumption, not to be borne with; but, sir, it is scarcely necessary to say, that it will not serve your purpose in England. It is now pretty well known throughout the world that colour is no crime in England, and it is becoming almost equally known, that colour is treated as a crime in America. “ Frederick Douglass, the coloured abolition agitator and ultraist, came to the platform!” Shocking! How could democratic Americans sit calmly by, and behold such a flagrant violation of one of the most cherished American customs — this most unnatural amalgamation! Was it not an aggravating and intolerable insult, to allow a negro to stand upon a platform, on terms of perfect equality with pure white American gentlemen! Monarchical England should be taught better manners; she should know that democratic America has the sole prerogative of deciding what shall be the social and civil position of the coloured race. But, sarcasm aside, sir, you claim to be a Christian, a philanthropist, and an Abolitionist. Were you truly entitled to any one of these names, you would have been delighted at seeing one of Afric’s despised children cordially received, and warmly welcomed, to a world's temperance platform, and in every way treated as a man and a brother. But the truth probably is, that you felt both yourself and your county severely rebuked by my presence there; and, besides this, it was undoubtedly painful to you to be placed on the same platform, on a level with a negro, a fugitive slave. I do not assert this positively—it may not be quite true. But if it be true, I sincerely pity your littleness of soul.

You sneeringly call me an “abolition agitator and ultraist.” Sir, I regard this as a compliment, though you intend it as a condemnation. My only fear is, that I am unworthy of those epithets. To be an abolition agitator, is simply to be one who dares to think for himself — who goes beyond the mass of mankind in promoting the cause of righteousness — who honestly and earnestly speaks out his soul’s conviction, regardless of the smiles or frowns of men — leaving the pure flame of truth to burn up whatever hay, womb and stubble, it may find in its way. To be such an one is the deepest and sincerest wish of my heart. It is a part of my daily prayer to God, that he will raise up and send forth more to unmask a pro-slavery church, and to rebuke a man-stealing ministry — to rock the land with agitation, and give America no peace till she repent, and be thoroughly purged of this monstrous iniquity. While heaven lends me health and strength, and intellectual ability, I shall devote myself to this agitation; and I believe that by so acting, I shall secure the smiles of an approving God, and the grateful approbation of my down-trodden and long-abused fellow-countrymen. With these on my side, of course I ought not to be disturbed by your displeasure; nor am I disturbed. I speak now in vindication of my cause, caring very little for your good or ill opinion.

You say I spoke so as to ruin the influence of all that had preceded! My speech, then, must have been very powerful; for I had been preceded by yourself, and some ten or twelve others, all powerful advocates of the temperance cause, some of them the most so of any I ever heard. But I half fear my speech was not so powerful as you seem to imagine. It is barely possible that you have fallen into a mistake, quite common to persons of your turn of mind — that of confounding your own pride with the cause you may happen to plead. I think you will, upon reflection, confess that I have now hit upon a happy solution of the difficulty. As I look back to that occasion, I remember certain facts, which seem to confirm me in this view of the case. You had eulogized in no measured or qualified terms, America and American temperance societies; and in this your co-delegates were not a whit behind you. Is it not possible that the applause, following each brilliant climax of I your fulsome panegyric, made you feel the moral effect raised, and the scene superb and glorious? I am not unaware of' the effect of such demonstrations; it is very intoxicating, very inflating. Now, sir, I should be very sorry, and I would make any amends within my power, if I supposed I had really committed the “abomination” of which you accuse me. The temperance cause is dear to me. I love it for myself, and for the black man, as well as for the white man. I have labored both in England and America to promote the cause, and am ready still to labor; and I should grieve to think of any act of mine which would inflict the slightest injury upon the cause. But I am satisfied that no such injury was inflicted. No, sir, it was not the poor bloated drunkard who was “ruined” by my speech, but your own bloated pride, as I shall presently show — as 1 mean to take up your letter in the order in which it is written, and reply to each part of it.

You say I lugged in Anti-Slavery, or Abolition. Of course you meant by this to produce the impression, that I introduced the subject illegitimately. If such were your intention, it is an impression utterly at variance with the truth. 1 said nothing, on the occasion referred to, which in fairness can be construed into an outrage upon propriety, or something foreign to the temperance platform — and especially a “world's temperance platform.” The meeting at Covent Garden was not a white temperance meeting, such as are held in the United States, but a “World's Temperance meeting,” embracing the black as well as the white part of the creation — practically carrying out the scriptural declaration, that “God has made of one blood, all nations of men, to dwell on all the face of the earth.” It was a meeting for promoting temperance throughout the world. All nations had a right to be represented there; and each speaker had a right to make known to that body, the peculiar difficulties which lay in the way of the temperance reformation, in his own particular locality. In that Convention, and upon that platform, I was the recognized representative of the colored population of the United States; and to their cause I was bound to be faithful. It would have been quite easy for me to have made a speech upon the general question of temperance, carefully excluding all reference to my enslaved, neglected, and persecuted brethren in America, and thereby secured your applause; but to have pursued such a course would have been selling my birthright for a mess of portage — would have been to play the part of Judas, a part which even you profess to loathe and detest. Sir, let me explain the motive which animated me, in speaking as I did at Covent Garden Theatre. As I stood upon that platform, and surveyed the deep depression of the colored people of America, and the treatment uniformly adopted by white temperance societies towards them — the impediments and absolute barriers thrown in the way of their moral and social improvement, by American Slavery, and by an inveterate prejudice against them on account of their color — and beheld them in rags and wretchedness, in fetters and chains, left to lie devoured by intemperance and kindred vices — and Slavery, like a very demon, standing directly in the way of their reformation, as with a drawn sword, ready to smite down any who might approach for their deliverance — and found myself in a position where I could rebuke this evil spirit, where my words would be borne to the shores of America, upon the enthusiastic shouts of congregated thousands — I deemed it my duty to embrace the opportunity. In the language of John Knox, “I was in the place where I was demanded of conscience to speak the truth — and the truth I did speak — impugn it who so list.” But, in so doing, I spoke perfectly in order, and in such a manner as no one, having a sincere interest in the cause of temperance, could take offence at — as I shall show by reporting, in another part of this letter, my speech as delivered on that occasion.

“He was, no doubt, prompted to do it by, some of the politic ones, who can use him to do what they themselves would not adventure to do in person.” The right or wrong of obeying the prompting of another, depends upon the character of the thing to be done. If the thing be right, I should do it, no matter by whom prompted; if wrong, I should refrain-from it, no matter by whom commanded. In the present instance, I was prompted by no one I acted entirely upon my own responsibility. If, therefore, blame is to fall anywhere, it should fall upon me.

“He is supposed to have been well paid for the abomination.” This, sir, is a cowardly way of stating your own conjecture. I should be pleased to have you tell me, what harm there is in being well paid! Is not the labourer worthy of his hire? Do you preach without pay? Were you not paid by those who sent you to represent them in the World’s Temperance Convention? There is not the slightest doubt that you were paid — and well paid. The only difference between us, in the matter of pay, is simply this — you were paid, and I was not. I can, with a clear conscience, affirm, that, so far from having been well paid, as you suppose, I never received a single farthing for my attendance— or for any word which I uttered on the occasion referred to — while you were, in all probability, well supported, “well paid,” for all you did during your attendance. My visit to London was at my own cost. I mention this, not because I blame you for taking pay, or because I regard as specially meritorious my attending the meeting without pay; for I should probably have taken pay as readily as you did, had it been offered; but it was not offered, and therefore I got none.

You stigmatize my speech as an “abomination;” but you take good care to suppress every word of the speech itself. There can be but one motive for this, and that motive obviously is, because there was nothing in the speech which, standing alone, would inspire others with the bitter malignity against me, which unhappily rankles in your own bosom.

Now, sir, to show the public how much reliance ought to be placed on your statements, and what estimate they should form of your love of truth and Christian candor, I will give the substance of my speech at Covent Garden Theatre, and the circumstances attending and growing out of its delivery. As “the thing was not done in a corner,” I can with safety appeal to the FIVE THOUSAND that heard the speech, for the substantial correctness of my report of it. It was as follows:—

“Mr. Chairman — Ladies and Gentlemen — I am not a delegate to this Convention. Those who would have been most likely to elect me as a delegate, could not, because they are to-nigbt held in the most abject Slavery in the United States. Sir, I regret that I cannot fully unite with the American delegates, in their patriotic eulogies of America, and American temperance societies. I cannot do so, for this good reason — there are, at this moment, three millions of the American population, by Slavery and prejudice, placed entirely beyond the pale of American temperance societies. The three million slaves are completely excluded by Slavery — and four hundred thousand free coloured people are, almost as completely excluded by an inveterate prejudice against them, on account of their colour. (Cries of shame! shame!)

“I do not say these things to wound the feelings of the American delegates. I simply mention them in their presence, and before this audience, that, seeing how you regard this hatred and neglect of the coloured people, they maybe inclined, on their return home, to enlarge the field of their temperance operations, and embrace within the scope of their influence, my long neglected race — (great cheering and some confusion on the platform.) Sir, to give you some idea of the difficulties and obstacles in the way of the temperance reformation of the coloured population in the United States, allow me to state a few facts. About the year, 1840, a few intelligent, sober, and benevolent coloured gentlemen in Philadelphia, being acquainted with the appalling ravages of intemperance among a numerous class of coloured people in that city, and finding themselves neglected and excluded from white societies, organized societies among themselves — appointed committees — sent out agents — built temperance halls, and were earnestly and successfully rescuing many from the fangs of intemperance.

“The cause went nobly on till the 1st of August, 1842, the day when England gave liberty to eight hundred thousand souls in the West Indies. The coloured temperance societies selected this day to march in procession through the city, in the hope that such a demonstration would have the effect of bringing others into their ranks. They formed their procession, unfurled their teetotal banners, and proceeded to the accomplishment of their purpose. It was a delightful sight. But, sir, they had not proceeded down two streets, before they were brutally assailed by a ruthless mob — their banner was torn down and trampled in the dust — their ranks broken up, their persons beaten, and pelted with stones and brickbats. One of their churches was burned to the ground, and their best temperance hall utterly demolished.” Shame! shame! shame! from the audience — great confusion and cries of “sit down,” from the American- delegates on the platform.

In the midst of this commotion, the chairman tapped me on the shoulder, and whispering, informed me that the fifteen minutes allotted to each speaker had expired; whereupon the vast audience simultaneously shouted — “Don’t interrupt! don’t dictate ! go on! go on! Douglass! Douglass!” This continued several minutes; after which, I proceeded as follows :—

“Kind friends, I beg to assure you that the chairman has not, in the slightest degree, sought to alter any sentiment which I am anxious to express on the present occasion. He was simply reminding me, that the time allotted for me to speak had expired. I do not wish to occupy one moment more than is allotted to other speakers Thanking you for your kind indulgence, I will take my seat.”

Proceeding to do so, again there were loud cries of “go on! go on!” with which I complied, for a few moments, but without saying anything more that particularly related to the coloured people of America.

When I sat down, the Rev. Mr. Kirk, of Boston, rose, and said: “Frederick Douglass has unintentionally misrepresented the temperance societies of America. I am afraid that his remarks have produced the impression on the public mind, that the temperance societies support slavery — (“No! no! no ! no!” shouted the audience.) If that be not the impression produced, I have nothing more to say.”

Now, Dr. Cox, this is a fair, unvarnished story of what took place at Covent Garden Theatre, on the 7th of August, 1846. For the truth of it, I appeal to all the temperance papers in the land, and the “Journal of the American Union,” published at New — York, Oct. 1, 1846. With this statement, I might safely submit the Whole question to both the American and British Public; but I wish not merely to correct your misrepresentations, and expose your falsehoods, but to show, that you are animated by a fierce, bitter, and untruthful Spirit towards the whole Anti-Slavery movement.

And for this purpose, I shall now proceed to copy and comment upon extracts from your letter to the New York Evangelist. In that letter, you exclaim, respecting the foregoing speech, delivered by me, every word of which you take pains to omit: “ What a perversion, an abuse, an iniquity against the reciprocal law of righteousness, to call thousands together, and get them, some certain ones, to seem conspicuous and devoted for one-sole and grand object, and then, all at once, with obliquity, open an avalanche on them, for some imputed evil or monstrosity, for which, whatever he the wound or the injury inflicted, they were both too fatigued and too hurried with surprise, and too straitened for time, to' be properly prepared. I say it is a trick of meanness! It is abominable!”

As to the “perversion,”, “abuse,” “iniquity against the law of reciprocal righteousness,” “obliquity,” “a trick of meanness,” “abominable,” — not one word is necessary to show their inappropriateness, as applied to myself, and the speech in question, or to make more glaringly apparent the green and poisonous venom with which your mouth, if not your heart, is filled. You represent me as opening “an avalanche upon you for some imputed evil or animosity.” And is Slavery only an imputed evil? Now, suppose I had lugged in Anti-Slavery, (which I deny,) you profess to be an Abolitionist. You, therefore, ought to have been the last man in the world to have found fault with me, on that account. Your great love of liberty, and sympathy for the down-trodden slave, ought to have led you to “pardon something to the spirit of Liberty,” especially in one who had the scars of the slave-driver’s whip on his back, and who, at this moment, has four sisters and one brother in slavery. But, sir, you are not an Abolitionist, and you only assumed to be one during your recent tour in this country, that you might sham your way through this land, and the more effectually stab and blast the character of the real friends of emancipation. Who ever heard of a true Abolitionist speaking of slavery as an “imputed evil,” or complaining of being “wounded and injured” by an allusion to it — and that, too, because that allusion was in opposition to the infernal system? You took no offence when the Rev. Mr. Kirk assumed the Christian name and character for slaveholders in the World’s Temperance Convention. You were not “wounded or injured,” it was not a “perversion, an abuse, an iniquity against the reciprocal law of righteousness.” You have no indignation to pour out upon him. Oh, no! But when a fugitive slave merely alluded to slavery, as obstructing the moral and social improvement of his race, you were “wounded and injured,” and rendered indignant! This, sir, tells the whole story of your abolitionism, and stamps your pretensions to abolition as brazen hypocrisy or self-deception.

You were “too fatigued, too hurried by surprise, too straitened for time.” Why, sir, you were in “an unhappy predicament.” What would you have done, had you not been “too fatigued, too hurried by surprise, too straitened for time,” and unprepared? Would you have denied a. single statement in my address? I am persuaded you would not; and had you dared to do so, I could at once have given evidence in support of my statements, that would have put you to silence or to shame. My statements were in perfect accordance with historical facts — facts of so recent date, that they are fresh in the memory of every intelligent American. You knew I spoke truly of the strength of American prejudice against the coloured people. No man knows the truth on this subject better than yourself. I am, therefore; filled with amazement that you should seem to deny, instead of confirming; my statements.

Much more might be said on this point; but having already extended this letter to a much greater length than I had intended, I shall simply conclude by a reference to your remark respecting your professed sympathy and friendship for me, previous to the meeting at Covent Garden. If your friendship and sympathy be of so mutable a character as must be inferred from your sudden abandonment of them, I may expect that yet another change will return me the lost treasure. At all events, I do not deem it of sufficient value to purchase it at so high a price as that of the abandonment of the cause of my coloured brethren, which appears to be the condition you impose upon its continuance.

Very faithfully,
FREDERICK DOUGLASS.

SOURCE: American Anti-Slavery Society, Correspondence between the Rev. Samuel H. Cox, D. D., of Brooklyn, L. I. and Frederick Douglass, a Fugitive Slave, p. 7-16