Friday, May 19, 2017

Mrs Clara Brown

MRS. CLARA BROWN. – As space was allowed in the Denver volume of Colorado's history for the biographical sketch of one distinguished lady – Miss Alida C. Avery, M. D., it seems but fair that this volume should give space to another. Clara Brown, better known as Aunt Clara, the first colored woman that ever crossed the plains for Pike's Peak, deserves at least a passing notice. Aunt Clara was born Jan. 1, 1800, near Fredericksburg, Va., a slave of one Ambrose Smith, who removed with his family and slaves to Russellville, Logan Co., Ky., in 1809. Aunt Clara was married in her eighteenth year, and was the mother of four children — three girls and one boy, viz., Margaret, Eliza, Palina and Richard. At the death of her master, Ambrose Smith, in 1835, she, with her husband and children, were sold to different purchasers, and they forever parted. Aunt Clara was purchased by George Brown, of Russellville, who died in 1856. She was again sold and purchased by the heirs of Mr. Brown, and emancipated. The laws of Kentucky then requiring that all emancipated slaves should leave the State within one year, Aunt Clara, then in her fifty-seventh year, went to St. Louis, Mo., and thence to Leavenworth, Kan., spending the year 1858, in Leavenworth. Early in 1859, she joined the gold-hunting army for Auraria, Cherry Creek, now Denver, she agreeing to cook for a mess of twenty-five men, out of a party of sixty, the conditions being that they transport her stoves, wash-tubs, wash-board and clothes-box, for her services as cook during the trip. She rode with her things in one of the ox-wagons, there being thirty in the train, drawn by six yoke of oxen each, and, after eight weeks, landed in Auraria, now West Denver. After a few weeks' rest, she again packed up her earthly goods and removed to Gregory Point, thence to Mountain City, now Central City. She soon founded the first laundry ever started in Gilpin Co. The prices being paid her were for blue and red flannel shirts, 50 cents, and other clothes in proportion. In a few years she had accumulated property valued at about $10,000. At the close of the war, she went to her old Kentucky home, and hunted up all her relatives that could be found, thirty-four in number, and brought them to Leavenworth by steamboat, and then purchased a train, crossed the plains, and settled her relatives in Denver, Central City and Georgetown. Feeling the approach of old age, she has recently removed from Central City to Denver, and built herself a little cottage home near the corner of Twenty-third and Arapahoe streets. She is now doing all she can in dispensing charity to all the needy. She is a member of the Presbyterian Church, and has been for the last fifty years. Many interesting incidents might be added of her long and useful life, would space allow.

SOURCE: O. L. Baskin & Co., Publisher, History of Clear Creek and Boulder Valleys, Colorado, p. 443

B. McKiernon to William Still, August 6, 1851

SOUTH FLORENCE ALL 6 Augest 1851

Mr WILLIAM STILL No 31 North Fifth street Philadelphia

Sir a few days sinc mr Lewis Tharenton of Tuscumbia Ala showed me a letter dated 6 June 51 from cincinnati signd samuel Lewis in behalf of a Negro man by the name of peter Gist who informed the writer of the Letter that you ware his brother and wished an answer to be directed to you as he peter would be in philadelphi. the object of the letter was to purchis from me 4 Negros that is peters wife & 3 children 2 sons & 1 Girl the Name of said Negros are the woman Viney the (mother) Eldest son peter 21 or 2 years old second son Leven 19 or 20 years 1 Girl about 13 or 14 years old. the Husband & Father of these people once Belonged to a relation of mine by the name of Gist now Decest & some few years since he peter was sold to a man by the Name of Freedman who removed to cincinnati ohio & Tuck peter with him of course peter became free by the volentary act of the master some time last march a white man by the name of Miller apperd in the nabourhood & abducted the bove negroes was caut at vincanes Indi with said negroes & was thare convicted of steling & remanded back to Ala to Abide the penalty of the law & on his return met his Just reward by Getting drownded at the month of cumberland River on the ohio in attempting to make his escape I recovered & Braught Back said 4 negroes or as You would say coulard people under the Belief that peter the Husband was accessery to the offence thareby putting me to much Expense & Truble to the amt $1000 which if he gets them he or his Friends must refund these 4 negroes are worth in the market about 4000 for thea are Extraordinary fine & likely & but for the fact of Elopement I would not take 8000 Dollars for them but as the thing now stands you can say to peter & his new discovered Relations in philadelphia I will take 5000 for the 4 culerd people & if this will suite him & he can raise the money I will delever to him or his agent at paduca at month of Tennessee river said negroes but the money must be Deposeted in the Hands of some respectabl person at paduca before I remove the property it wold not be safe for peter to come to this countery write me a line on recpt of this & let me Know peters views on the above

I am Yours &c
B. MCKIEBNON

N B say to peter to write & let me Know his viewes amediately as I am determined to act in a way if he dont take this offer he will never have an other opportunity

B MCKIERNON

SOURCE: William Still, The Underground Railroad: A Record of Facts, Authentic Narratives, Letters &c., p. 34-5

Ruth Brown Thompson to John Brown, February 20, 1858

NORTH Elba, Feb. 20, 1858.

My Dear Father, — Your letter of January 30 we received this week, it having lain in the postoffice a week. Oliver went to the office and got our news; there were two letters for me, but the postmaster did not give him yours. We did not get it this week in time to answer it, or we should have done so immediately. I am sorry for such a delay. We were rejoiced to hear that you were so near us, and we hope that you can visit us yet before leaving York State. It really seems hard that we cannot see you, when you have been so long from home; yet we are glad that you still feel encouraged. Dear father, you have asked me rather of a hard question. I want to answer you wisely, but hardly know how. I cannot bear the thought of Henry leaving me again; yet I know I am selfish. When I think of my poor despised sisters, that are deprived of both husband and children, I feel deeply for them; and were it not for my little children, I would go almost anywhere with Henry, if by going I could do them any good. What is the place you wish him to fill? How long would you want him? Would my going be of any service to him or you? I should be very glad to be with him, if it would not be more expense than what good we could do. I say we; could I not do something for the cause? Henry's feelings are the same that they have been. He says: “Tell father that I think he places too high an estimate on my qualifications as a scholar; and tell him I should like much to see him.” I wish we could see you, and then we should know better what to do; but will you not write to us and give us a full explanation of what you want him to do? . . . Please write often.

Your affectionate daughter,
Ruth Thompson.

SOURCE: Franklin B. Sanborn, The Life and Letters of John Brown, p. 441-2

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Robert Blake

ROBERT BLAKE. Contraband on board of the U.S.S. Marblehead in the engagement with the rebel batteries on Stono River, December 25, 1863; serving as a powder-boy, displayed extraordinary courage, alacrity, and intelligence in the discharge of his duties under trying circumstances, and merited the admiration of all.

SOURCE: Government Printing Office, Record of Medals of Honor Issued to the  Bluejackets and Marines of the United States Navy 1862-1910, p. 11

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Caesar Blackwell

Caesar Blackwell. A slave of Lowndes County, Alabama. Said to have been a full-blooded African. He was a gifted preacher. Bought by the Baptist Association of that State, for $1,000. He was not set free, but James McLemore was appointed his guardian. He was ordained and licensed to preach. He is reported to have visited the churches in company with the white preachers and to have occupied the pulpits with them. He aided and assisted the white preachers in their work.

SOURCE: Monroe N. Work, Editor, Negro Year Book and Annual Encyclopedia of the Negro, Volume 6, p. 201

Solomon Bayley

Bayley, Solomon, a colored preacher of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Liberia. He was born a slave in Delaware, and, after cruel hardships, gained his freedom. He emigrated to Liberia about 1832 and, at the organization of the Conference in 1834, was returned supernumerary. He died at Monrovia in great peace in Oct., 1839. “Father Bayley was a good preacher. His language was good, his doctrine sound, and his manner forcible; his conversation was a blessing, and his reward is on high.” — Mott, Sketches of Persons of Color; Minutes of Conferences, iii, 62.

SOURCE: John McClintock, James Strong, Cyclopædia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, Volume 1, p. 704

Levi Coffin to William Still, May 11, 1851

CINCINNATI, 5th Mo., 11th, 1851.

WM. STILL: — Dear Friend — Thy letter of 1st inst., came duly to hand, but not being able to give any further information concerning our friend, Concklin, I thought best to wait a little before I wrote, still hoping to learn something more definite concerning him.

We that became acquainted with Seth Concklin and his hazardous enterprises (here at Cincinnati), who were very few, have felt intense and inexpressible anxiety about them. And particularly about poor Seth, since we heard of his falling into the hands of the tyrants. I fear that he has fallen a victim to their inhuman thirst for blood.

I seriously doubt the rumor, that he had made his escape. I fear that he was sacrificed.

Language would fail to express my feelings; the intense and deep anxiety I felt about them for weeks before I heard of their capture in Indiana, and then it seemed too much to bear. O! my heart almost bleeds when I think of it. The hopes of the dear family all blasted by the wretched blood-hounds in human shape. And poor Seth, after all his toil, and dangerous, shrewd and wise management, and almost unheard of adventures, the many narrow and almost miraculous escapes. Then to be given up to Indianians, to these fiendish tyrants, to be sacrificed. O! Shame, Shame!!

My heart aches my eyes fill with tears, I cannot write more. I cannot dwell longer on this painful subject now. If you get any intelligence, please inform me. Friend N. R. Johnston, who took so much interest in them, and saw them just before they were taken, has just returned to the city. He is a minister of the Covenanter order. He is truly a lovely man, and his heart is full of the milk of humanity; one of our best Anti-Slavery spirits. I spent last evening with him. He related the whole story to me as he had it from friend Concklin and the mother and children, and then the story of their capture We wept together. He found thy letter when he got here.

He said he would write the whole history to thee in a few days, as far as he could. He can tell it much better than I can.

Concklin left his carpet sack and clothes here with me, except a shirt or two he took with him. What shall I do with them? For if we do not hear from him soon, we must conclude that he is lost, and the report of his escape all a hoax. . . . . . . . .

Truly thy friend,
LEVI COFFIN.

SOURCE: William Still, The Underground Railroad: A Record of Facts, Authentic Narratives, Letters &c., p. 33-4

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Richard Allen

ALLEN, Richard, clergyman and founder of the African Methodist church, was born in 1760, of colored parents. In 1777 he joined the Methodist Society in Delaware, and five years later became a local preacher. He was instrumental in erecting the first African church in America, which was built in Philadelphia, in 1793. Some time previous to that difficulties arose between the white and colored members of the Methodist Episcopal church, and an agitation was started among the latter for a separate organization. Led by Richard Allen, a blacksmith shop was purchased in Philadelphia in 1794, and a separate place of worship was opened, which was dedicated by Bishop Asbury, June 29, 1794. The church was named Bethel, and Richard Allen acted as their chief pastor. In 1799 he was ordained deacon by Bishop Asbury, being the first ordained colored minister in this country. He remained in connection with the Methodist Episcopal church until 1816, when, owing to new difficulties having arisen, he withdrew with a large number of the colored membership, and assisted in organizing the African Methodist Episcopal church. On Apr. 9, 1816, a convention met in Philadelphia, whose members constituted themselves into the new religious body. Mr. Allen was elected bishop on the 10th, and was consecrated the next day by Rev. Absalom Jones, a priest of the Protestant Episcopal church, and four other regularly ordained ministers. Although a man of but little education, Bishop Allen was distinguished for his energy and sound judgment, and administered the new organization with much credit. He acted as its spiritual head until his death, which occurred in Philadelphia, Penn., March 26, 1831.

SOURCE: James T. White & Company, Publisher, The National Cyclopedia of American Biography, Volume 13, p. 200-1

Monday, May 15, 2017

Archer Alexander

ALEXANDER, Archer, hero, was born near Richmond, Va., about 1810, a slave, and in 1831 was taken to Missouri by his master. In 1861, at the breaking out of the civil war, he performed a very heroic deed. Learning that a detachment of Federal troops was to pass over a railroad bridge, the timbers of which he knew to have been cut in order to wreck the train, Alexander, at the hazard of his life, gave the information to a prominent Union man, thus preventing disaster to the detachment. He was suspected of doing this, and was taken prisoner by a committee of Confederate sympathizers, but escaped, fleeing to St. Louis, where he obtained employment under protection of the Federal provost-marshal. In the bronze group, “Freedom's Memorial,” in the capitol grounds in Washington, he was the model of Thomas Ball the sculptor, from which “The Freedman” in the group was made. See “The story of Archer Alexander.” He died in St. Louis, Dec. 8, 1879.

SOURCE: John Howard Brown, Editor, Lamb's Biographical Dictionary of the United States, Volume 1, p. 55

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Diary of 1st Lieutenant Lemuel A. Abbott: Monday, September 19, 1864

Part 1

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 150-209

Reverend N. R. Johnston to William Still: Extract

My heart bleeds when I think of those poor, hunted and heart-broken fugitives, though a most interesting family, taken back to bondage ten-fold worse than Egyptian. And then poor Concklin! How my heart expanded in love to him, as he told me his adventures, his trials, his toils, his fears and his hopes! After hearing all, and then seeing and communing with the family, now joyful in hopes of soon seeing their husband and father in the land of freedom; now in terror lest the human blood-hounds should be at their heels, I felt as though I could lay down my life in the cause of the oppressed. In that hour or two of intercourse with Peter’s family, my heart warmed with love to them. I never saw more interesting young men. They would make Remonds or Douglasses, if they had the same opportunities.

While I was with them, I was elated with joy at their escape, and yet, when I heard their tale of woe, especially that of the mother, I could not suppress tears of deepest My joy was short-lived. Soon I heard of their capture. The telegraph had been the means of their being claimed. I could have torn down all the telegraph wires in the land. It was a strange dispensation of Providence.

On Saturday the sad news of their capture came to my ears. We had resolved to go to their aid on Monday, as the trial was set for Thursday. On Sabbath, I spoke from Psalm xii. 5. “For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise,” saith the Lord: “I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at (from them that would enslave) him.” When on Monday morning I learned that the fugitives had passed through the place on Sabbath, and Concklin in chains, probably at the very time I was speaking on the subject referred to, my heart sank within me. And even yet, I cannot but exclaim, when I think of it — O, Father! how long ere Thou wilt arise to avenge the wrongs of the poor slave! Indeed, my dear brother, His ways are very mysterious. We have the consolation, however, to know that all is for the best. Our Redeemer does all things well. When He hung upon the cross, His poor broken-hearted disciples could not understand the providence; it was a dark time to them; and yet that was an event that was fraught with more joy to the world than any that has occurred or could occur. Let us stand at our post and wait God's time. Let us have on the whole armor of God, and fight for the right, knowing, that though we may fall in battle, the victory will be ours, sooner or later.

*          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *

May God lead you into all truth, and sustain you in your labors, and fulfill your prayers
and hopes.

Adieu.
N. R. JOHNSTON.

SOURCE: William Still, The Underground Railroad: A Record of Facts, Authentic Narratives, Letters &c., p. 32-3

Levi Coffin to William Still, April 10, 1851

Cincinnati, 4th Mo., 10th, 1851.

FRIEND WM. STILL:— We have sorrowful news from our friend Concklin, through the papers and otherwise. I received a letter a few days ago from a friend near Princeton, Ind., stating that Concklin and the four slaves are in prison in Vincennes, and that their trial would come on in a few days. He states that they rowed seven days and nights in the skiff, and got safe to Harmony, Ind., on the Wabash river, thence to Princeton, and ere conveyed to Vincennes by friends, where they were taken. The papers state, that they were all given up to the Marshal of Evansville, Indiana.

We have telegraphed to different points, to try to get some information concerning them, but failed. The last information is published in the Times of yesterday, though quite correct in the particulars of the case. Inclosed is the slip containing it. I fear all is over in regard to the freedom of the slaves. If the last account be true, we have some hope that Concklin will escape from those bloody tyrants. I cannot describe my feelings on hearing this sad intelligence. I feel ashamed to own my country. Oh I what shall I say. Surely a God of justice will avenge the wrongs of the oppressed.

Thine for the poor slave,
LEVI COFFIN.

N. B. — If thou hast any information, please write me forthwith.

SOURCE: William Still, The Underground Railroad: A Record of Facts, Authentic Narratives, Letters &c., p. 33

Saturday, May 13, 2017

John Brown to hif Family, January 30, 1858

Rochester, N. Y., Jan. 30, 1858.

My Dear Wife And Children, Every One, — I am (praised be God!) once more in York State. Whether I shall be permitted to visit you or not this winter or spring, I cannot now say; but it is some relief of mind to feel that I am again so near you. Possibly, if I cannot go to see you, I may be able to devise some way for some one or more of you to meet me somewhere. The anxiety I feel to see my wife and children once more I am unable to describe. I want exceedingly to see my big baby and Ruth's baby, and to see how that little company of sheep look about this time. The cries of my poor sorrow-stricken despairing children, whose “tears on their cheeks” are ever in my eyes, and whose sighs are ever in my ears, may however prevent my enjoying the happiness I so much desire. But, courage, courage, courage! — the great work of my life (the unseen Hand that “guided me, and who has indeed hidden my right hand, may hold it still,” though I have not known him at all as I ought) I may yet see accomplished (God helping), and be permitted to return, and “rest at evening.”

O my daughter Ruth! could any plan be devised whereby you could let Henry go “to school” (as you expressed it in your letter to him while in Kansas), I would rather now have him “for another term” than to have a hundred average scholars. I have a particular and very important, but not dangerous, place for him to fill in the “school,” and I know of no man living so well adapted to fill it. I am quite confident some way can be devised so that you and your children could be with him, and be quite happy even, and safe; but God forbid me to flatter you into trouble! I did not do it before. My dear child, could you face such music if, on a full explanation, Henry could be satisfied that his family might be safe f I would make a similar inquiry of my own dear wife; but I have kept her tumbling here and there over a stormy and tempestuous sea for so many years that I cannot ask her such a question. The natural ingenuity of Salmon in connection with some experience he and Oliver have both had, would point him out as the next best man I could now select; but I am dumb in his case, as also in the case of Watson and all my other sons. Jason's qualifications are, some of them, like Henry's also.

Do not noise it about that I am in these parts, and direct to N. Hawkins, care of Frederick Douglass, Rochester, N. Y. I want to hear how you are all supplied with winter clothing, boots, etc.

God bless you all!

Your affectionate husband and father,
John Brown.

SOURCE: Franklin B. Sanborn, The Life and Letters of John Brown, p. 440-1

Diary of Gideon Welles: Friday, June 19, 1863

The illness of Admiral Foote is serious, I fear fatal. Our first intelligence this morning made his case almost hopeless; later in the day we have a telegraph that he is more comfortable. Chase informs me that he has just returned from a visit to Hooker's headquarters, at or near Fairfax Court-House. The troops, he says, are in good spirits and excellent condition, as is Hooker himself. He commends Hooker as in every respect all that we could wish. His (Chase's) tone towards Halleck is much altered since our last conversation. All of which is encouraging. But Chase's estimate and judgment of men fluctuates as he has intercourse with them and they are friendly and communicative or otherwise.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 1: 1861 – March 30, 1864, p. 335

Diary of John Hay: April 28, 1864

Had considerable talk with the President this evening. He understands that the day arranged for Grant’s movement is to be the 2d prox. — Monday. Sherman has asked for a little more time, says that he can't fully come up to his part in the programme before the 5th. Sigel is at work on his.

The stories of Grant’s quarrelling with the Secretary of War are gratuitous lies. Grant quarrels with no one.

The President told a queer story of Meigs. “When McClellan lay at Harrison’s Landing, Meigs came one night to the President and waked him up at the Soldiers' Home to urge upon him the immediate flight of the army from that point — the men to get away on transports, and the horses to be killed, as they could not be saved. Thus often,” says the President, “I, who am not a specially brave man, have had to restore the sinking courage of these professional fighters in critical times.

“When it was proposed to station Halleck in general command, he insisted, to use his own language, on the appointment of a General-in-Chief who should be held responsible for results. We appointed him, and all went well enough until after Pope’s defeat, when he broke down, — nerve and pluck all gone, — and has ever since evaded all possible responsibility, — little more, since that, than a first-rate clerk.”

Granville Moody was here this evening and told a good story about Andy Johnson and his fearful excitement when Buell was proposing to give up Nashville to the enemy. He found him walking up and down the room, supported by two friends. “Moody, I'm glad to see you,” he said. The two friends left, and he and Moody were alone. “We're sold, Moody, we're sold;” fiercely reiterating. “He's a traitor, Moody,” and such. At last, suddenly, “Pray, Moody!” And they knelt down and prayed, Andy joining in the responses like Methodists. After they had done, he said: — “Moody, I feel better. Moody, I'm not a Christian,—no church,—but I believe in God,—in the Bible,—all of it — Moody, but I’ll be damned if Nashville shall be given up.

The President was much amused by a story I told him of Gurowski.

The venomous old Count says:— “I despise the anti-Lincoln Republicans. I say I go against Lincoln, for he is no fit for be President; dé say dé for one term (holding up one dirty finger) bimeby dé beat Lincoln, den dé for two term (holding up two unclean digits): dé is cowards  and Ass!”

A despatch just received from Cameron stating that the Harrisburgh convention had elected Lincoln delegates to Baltimore properly instructed. The President assents to my going to the field for this campaign if I can be spared from here.

SOURCES: Clara B. Hay, Letters of John Hay and Extracts from Diary, Volume 1, p. 186-8; See Michael Burlingame and John R. Turner Ettlinger, Editors, Inside Lincoln’s White House,: the complete Civil War Diary of John Hay, p. 191-2 for the full entry.

Diary of Lieutenant-Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes: Tuesday, September 9, 1862

Marched about eight miles in a westerly direction through a fine-looking, well-improved region. Men very jolly. All came in together, “well closed up,” at night. Major Comly sent with five companies to Seneca Bridge, three-fourths mile west of camp, to “hold it.” Kelly, Company A, a witty Dutch-Irishman, kept up a fusillade of odd jokes in English German. The men cheered the ladies, — joked with the cuffys, and carried on generally.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 349

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

We are digging with an old fire shovel at our tunnel. The shovel is a prize; we also use half of canteens, pieces of boards, &c. Its laborious work. A dozen are engaged in it. Like going into a grave to go into a tunnel. Soil light and liable to cave in. Take turns in digging. Waste dirt carried to the stream in small quantities and thrown in. Not much faith in the enterprise, but work with the rest as a sort of duty. Raiders acting fearful. Was boiling my cup of meal to day and one of the raiders ran against it and over it went. Give him a whack side of the head that made him see stars I should judge, and in return he made me see the whole heavens. Battese, a big Indian, rather helped me out of the scrape. All of our mess came to my rescue. Came near being a big fight with dozens engaged. Battese is a large full blooded six foot Minnesota Indian, has quarters near [us], and is a noble fellow. He and other Indians have been in our hundred for some weeks. They are quiet, attend to their own business, and won't stand much nonsense. Great deal of fighting. One Duffy, a New York rough, claims the light weight championship of Andersonville. Regular battles quite often. Remarkable how men will stand up and be pummeled. Dr Lewis daily getting worse off. Is troubled with scurvy and dropsy. If he was at home would be considered dangerously ill and in bed, but he walks around slowly inquiring for news in a pitiful way. I have probably fifty acquaintances here that visit us each day to talk the situation over. Jimmy Devers, my Michigan friend whom I found on Belle Isle, Sergt. Bullock, of my regiment; Tom McGill, also of Michigan; Michael Hoare, a schoolmate of mine from earliest recollection, Dorr Blakeman, also a resident of Jackson, Michigan, a little fellow named Swan, who lived in Ypsylanti, Mich.; Burckhardt from near Lansing; Hub Dakin, from Dansville, Mich., and many others, meet often to compare notes, and we have many a hearty laugh in the midst of misery I dicker and trade and often make an extra ration. We sometimes draw small cow peas for rations, and being a printer by trade, I spread the peas out on a blanket and quickly pick them up one at a time, after the manner of picking up type. One drawback is the practice of unconsciously putting the beans into my mouth. In this way I often eat up the whole printing office. I have trials of skill with a fellow named Land, who is also a printer. There are no other typos here that I know of.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 47-8

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: April 25, 1863

We have bad news from the West. The enemy (cavalry, I suppose) have penetrated Mississippi some 200 miles, down to the railroad between Vicksburg and Meridian. This if in the rear and east of Vicksburg, and intercepts supplies They destroyed two trains. This dispatch was sent to the Secretary of War by the President without remark. The Enquirer this morning contained a paragraph stating that Gen. Pemberton was exchanging civilities with Gen. Sherman, and had sent him a beautiful bouquet! Did he have any conception of the surprise the enemy was executing at the moment? Well, Mississippi is the President's State, and if he is satisfied with Northern generals to defend it, he is as likely to be benefited as any one else.

Gen. Beauregard is urging the government to send more heavy guns to Savannah.

I saw an officer to-day just from Charleston. He says none of the enemy's vessels came nearer than 900 yards of our batteries, and that the Northern statements about the monitors becoming entangled with obstructions are utterly false, for there were no obstructions in the water to impede them. But he says one of the monitors was directly over a torpedo, containing 4000 pounds of powder, which we essayed in vain to ignite.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 298-9

Diary of 1st Lieutenant Lemuel A. Abbott: Tuesday, October 4, 1864

Cloudy and gloomy; have been up to Carl's drug store, but found it rather difficult walking; am not feeling very well; went up to Carl's again this afternoon for pills; remained on the bed all afternoon; didn't go down to tea; Carl Wilson called this afternoon; wound pains me very badly tonight.

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 216

3rd Sergeant Charles Wright Wills: December 1, 1861

Bird's Point, Mo., December 1, 1861.

This, the beginning of winter, is the warmest and altogether the most pleasant day we have had for several weeks. During our whole trip to Bloomfield and back we had splendid weather, but ever since our return it has been at least very unsplendid. The climax was reached day before yesterday and capped with several inches of snow. I was up the river 15 miles at the time with a party loading a flatboat with logs for our huts. We had a sweet time of it and lots of fun. The mud was from six inches to a foot deep, and by the time we got the logs to the boat they were coated with mud two inches thick, and before we got a dozen logs on the boat we had a second coat on us, from top to toe of mud. It snowed and rained all the time we worked but I heard no complaint from the men, and in fact I have never seen so much fun anywhere as we had that day. There is any amount of game where we were, the boys said that were out, and they brought to camp several skinned “deer.” I tried some of the “venison” but it tasted strangely like hog.

Of course drill is discontinued for the present, and as working on the quarters is almost impossible we sit and lie in the tent and gas and joke and eat and plan devilment. We have a barrel of apples now, lots of pecans and tobacco and not a thing to trouble us. The enemy have quit coming around here and we can stroll six or seven miles without danger if we get past our pickets safely. There was a great deal of firing down at Columbus yesterday and I heard some more this morning. I don't know whether the gunboats are down or not. It may be the Rebels are practicing with their big guns; or maybe they are firing a salute over the fall of Fort Pickens. It will be a great joke if they take that, won't it? I believe myself that they will take it. Two of our new gunboats came down day before yesterday. We will have in all 12 gunboats, 40 flatboats carrying one mortar each and 15 propellers for towing purposes, besides the steamboats for transporting troops. Makes quite a fleet and will fill the river between here and Columbus nearly full. There are not very many troops here now. Only five regiments of cavalry and four or five batteries of artillery. Not over 12,000 in all. We have nearly 1,000 sailors and marines here now and they are such cusses that they have to keep them on a steamboat anchored out in the river. We see by the papers this morning that the fleet has captured another sand bar. A good one on the bar. We are greatly puzzled to know if we really are going down the river this winter. We are preparing winter quarters here for only 12,000 men. Now all these troops they are running into St. Louis cannot be intended for up the Missouri river, for the troops are also returning from there. I don't believe either that they intend to keep them in St. Louis this winter for they have only quarters provided there for a garrison force, so I guess it must mean down the river, but am sure they won't be ready before six weeks or two months. We have a report here that Governor Yates is raising 60 day men to garrison these points while we “regulars” will be pushed forward. Jem Smith is down here trying to get information of his brother Frank who is a prisoner. There are a good many Rebels deserting now. Our pickets bring them into camp. They are mostly Northern men who pretend they were pressed in and are glad to escape. Frank Smith is in Company A, Captain Smith's company, at Paducah. It was Company B, Captain Taylor's, that was in the Belmont fight. You could see just as well as not why I can't come home if you'll take the trouble to read General Halleck's General Order No. 5 or 6, that says, “Hereafter no furloughs will be granted to enlisted men,” etc.

We had a first rate lot of good things from Peoria yesterday. They were sent us for Thanksgiving but were a day late. Chickens, cranberries, cake, etc. The boys say that a Rebel gunboat has just showed his nose around the point and Fort Holt is firing away pretty heavily, but I guess the boat is all in some chap's eye. Hollins is down at Columbus with about a dozen vessels of war. I have just been out to see what the boys said was the pickets coming in on the run, but some say its only a gunboat coming up through woods, so I guess I'll not report a prospect of a fight.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 45-7

Diary of Sergeant Major Luman Harris Tenney: April 28, 1863

Up at daylight, breakfasted, fed and started on at 6. Gen. Carter passed by. Went but two miles and waited an hour or two. River not fordable. Returned and bivouacked on the ground of the night before. Went out foraging corn, hay, and cornbread and milk. Saw two idiots. Rained again. Got somewhat wet. Two of the 2nd O. V. C. companies on picket.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 67