Sunday, May 29, 2016

Major Wilder Dwight: Sunday, December 23, 1861

Camp Hicks, December 23, 1861.

Dear D——, — I do assure you that your Christmas remembrance has warmed and cheered and brightened this sombre morning in camp. Our wooded camp had been hail-rattled and rain-rattled all night. The half-broke morning was dull with falling snows. The ice-crowned trees bowed their heads and bent their branches, winter-laden. A moaning wind chimed to the ear the sad tones whose corresponding hues darkened the eye. But just as your gift arrived the sun broke, also the clouds. Sun-lightened was the air, and sun-lightened, also, was my spirit. I rejoiced in home memories and associations. And now, the day really is a good day. I expect many empty hours in camp this winter, and hope to fill some of the pleasantest of them with Napier. Unless something more serious than the present threatenings indicate should occur at Falling Waters, we shall probably pass a quiet winter in our present favorable camp. The division is placed here because of the abundant forage of this county and the direct rail communication. I am quite a convert to the wisdom and necessity of taking good care of our army, and saving it up for spring. Events are favoring us rapidly now of their own accord.

The English question does not yet take shape enough to enable one to judge of it. I have no fear of a war with England. The cause is inadequate. The right of search and seizure is one that I hope we shall exercise sparingly. The game is not worth the candle. Still, I enjoy the joke of the seizure of Slidell and Mason, and am curious to see the ground of England's vigorous protest. England is base and mean in her treatment of us; and if we were only stronger, I should enjoy a war with her. As it is, I suppose we must wait, like Dr. Winship, till we have trained a couple of years, and then, perhaps, we shall be up to a fight with her.

It really seems, this evening, as if winter, Northern winter, had come. If he visits Manassas as he does Frederick, how the Rebels must be shivering in their shoes, if, indeed, they have any shoes to shiver in.

Howard's position I rejoice in. I quite believe that he will rise in his regiment and see service. I repeat my thanks, and wish you Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

SOURCE: Elizabeth Amelia Dwight, Editor, Life and Letters of Wilder Dwight: Lieut.-Col. Second Mass. Inf. Vols., p. 179-80

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Lemuel A. Abbott: Saturday, March 12, 1864

It cleared during the night and it's fine this morning. I was on duty the last part of the night, but passed no one; wind blew furiously all day. A large party of citizens came through the lines destitute of nearly everything. A Colonel from the Third Brigade is officer of the day, and a strange fellow.

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 25-6

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Lemuel A. Abbott: Sunday, March 13, 1864

This is truly a fine day. A squadron of cavalry passed on the pike this morning to extend the cavalry picket line to Madison Court House; was relieved this afternoon by the Sixth Maryland Infantry ; Major C. G. Chandler is officer of the day; arrived in camp about 5 p. m.; found Lieuts. Kingsley and Hill had returned from Vermont.

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 26

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Lemuel A. Abbott: Monday, March 14, 1864

Beautiful day. Most of the officers met at the hall this forenoon to make arrangements for another ball this evening; am on the committee to decorate the hall; have worked very hard all day, but am well repaid as all seem to be pleased with what I have done. Pretty decorations always add to the pleasure of all such gatherings. A large party was present.

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 26

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Lemuel A. Abbott: Tuesday, March 15, 1864

Cold but pleasant; no wind; four hours' drill today, but I was excused being so busy at the chapel. I forgot to mention that Captain J. A. Sheldon returned from Vermont last night where he has been on recruiting service since November. The Third Corps is to be reviewed to-morrow by Major-General French.

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 26

Diary of Corporal Charles H. Lynch: September 12, 1864

Cold cloudy morning. Ordered to the east side of the town, to make camp. Shelter tents put up. Picket line established out near the Shenandoah River. The fords must be guarded. Must keep a sharp lookout for Mosby and his guerillas. They know every foot of this country and all the fording places, so it is reported to us. A cold rain has come. I am detailed for picket. Have charge of the outpost, near the river. Captain Tiffany in command of our regiment. The town and vicinity in command of our Brigade Commander, Colonel Rodgers, 2d Maryland Regiment. Many army wagons are parked here.

SOURCE: Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary, 1862-1865, of Charles H. Lynch 18th Conn. Vol's, p. 124

Diary of Corporal Charles H. Lynch: September 13, 1864

Clear cool morning. On picket. A shot rang out last night on the still air, fired by one of the pickets. Caused a little excitement. There was no real cause for an alarm. All became quiet. Pickets make a mistake at times. The regiment guarded a wagon train on to Halltown, about five miles. Returned quite late this afternoon, when we were relieved from picket duty.

SOURCE: Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary, 1862-1865, of Charles H. Lynch 18th Conn. Vol's, p. 124

Diary of Corporal Charles H. Lynch: September 14, 1864

A quiet morning in our camp. Resting and trying to get a little comfort out of life. Talking and living over our service during the past year, not forgetting our unfortunate comrades who were killed and wounded, prisoners. The life of a soldier in war is a severe and sad one. Wonderful what men can endure.

SOURCE: Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary, 1862-1865, of Charles H. Lynch 18th Conn. Vol's, p. 124

Diary of Corporal Charles H. Lynch: September 15, 1864

Weather fine. At this time duty is light in our camp near this town. Getting all the comfort we can out of our soldier life. Writing many letters to friends in good old Connecticut.

SOURCE: Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary, 1862-1865, of Charles H. Lynch 18th Conn. Vol's, p. 124-5

Diary of Luman Harris Tenney: Friday, June 27, 1862

Was busy as usual. Battery came. Issued rations to them.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 19

Diary of Luman Harris Tenney: Saturday, June 28, 1862

Got my horse shod. A good many ladies in camp. Straightened the provision returns and wrote letter to Fannie, and sent them by Corp. I., Co. M. Didn't get to bed till 12 P. M.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 19

Diary of Luman Harris Tenney: Sunday, June 29, 1862

Started from camp at 5 A. M. Marched by long road from Neosho towards Cowskin. Encamped on a high piece of ground, over an excellent spring of water.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 19

Diary of Luman Harris Tenney: Monday, June 30, 1862

Arose at 2:30. Marched at 4 A. M. Reached Cowskin at noon, and Rains' camp at 3 P. M., which he had deserted the day before. Found the Indians before us encamped near by. Four companies, Ninth Rabb's Battery and Second and Third Battalion came from Neosho. Nothing particular by the way. Noticed some places well remembered when Major Purington was down. Mustered for pay. Pitched tent loosely for the Major and Adjutant and made our beds outside. Thunderstorm camp up, tent blew over and such a time I never had before. Soaking wet all of us, but nearly the whole force fared the same way.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 19

Friday, May 27, 2016

Diary of Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle: Monday, May 11, 1863

General Hébert is a good-looking creole.* He was a West-Pointer, and served in the old army, but afterwards became a wealthy sugar-planter. He used to hold Magruder's position as commander-in-chief in Texas, but he has now been shelved at Munroe, where he expects to be taken prisoner any day; and, from the present gloomy aspect of affairs about here, it seems extremely probable that he will not be disappointed in his expectations. He is extremely down upon England for not recognising the South.

He gave me a passage down the river in a steamer, which was to try to take provisions to Harrisonburg; but, at the same time, he informed me that she might very probably be captured by a Yankee gunboat.

At 1 P.M. I embarked for Harrisonburg, which is distant from Munroe by water 150 miles, and by land 75 miles. It is fortified, and offers what was considered a weak obstruction to the passage of the gunboats up the river to Munroe.

The steamer was one of the curious American river boats, which rise to a tremendous height out of the water, like great wooden castles. She was steered from a box at the very top of all, and this particular one was propelled by one wheel at her stern.

The river is quite beautiful; it is from 200 to 300 yards broad, very deep and tortuous, and the large trees grow right down to the very edge of the water.

Our captain at starting expressed in very plain terms his extreme disgust at the expedition, and said he fully expected to run against a gunboat at any turn of the river.

Soon after leaving Munroe, we passed a large plantation. The negro quarters were larger than a great many Texan towns, and they held three hundred hands.

After we had proceeded about half an hour, we were stopped by a mounted orderly (called a courier), who from the bank roared out the pleasing information, “They're a-fighting at Harrisonburg.” The captain on hearing this turned quite green in the face, and remarked that he'd be “dogged” if he liked running into the jaws of a lion, and he proposed to turn back; but he was jeered at by my fellow-travellers, who were all either officers or soldiers, wishing to cross the Mississippi to rejoin their regiments in the different Confederate armies.

One pleasant fellow, more warlike than the rest, suggested that as we had some Enfields on board, we should make “a little bit of a fight,” or at least “make one butt at a gunboat.” I was relieved to find that these insane proposals were not received with any enthusiasm by the majority.

The plantations, as we went further down the river, looked very prosperous; but signs of preparations for immediate skedaddling were visible in most of them, and I fear they are all destined to be soon desolate and destroyed.

We came to a courier picket every sixteen miles. At one of them we got the information, “Gun-boats drove back,” at which there was great rejoicing, and the captain, recovering his spirits, became quite jocose, and volunteered to give me letters of introduction to a “particular friend of his about here, called Mr Farragut;” but the next news, “Still a-fightin’,” caused us to tie ourselves to a tree at 8 P.M., off a little village called Columbia, which is half-way between Munroe and Harrisonburg.

We then lit a large fire, round which all the passengers squatted on their heels in Texan fashion, each man whittling a piece of wood, and discussing the merits of the different Yankee prisons at New Orleans or Chicago. One of them, seeing me, called out, “I reckon, Kernel, if the Yankees catch you with us, they’ll say you're in d----d bad company;" which sally caused universal hilarity.
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* The descendants of the French colonists in Louisiana are called Creoles; most of them talk French, and I have often met Louisianian regiments talking that language.

General Hébert is the only man of education I met in the whole of my travels who spoke disagreeably about England in this respect. Most people say they think we are quite right to keep out of it as long as we can; but others think our Government is foolish to miss such a splendid chance of “smashing the Yankees,” with whom we must have a row sooner or later.

SOURCE: Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle, Three Months in the Southern States: April-June, 1863, p. 87-90

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: September 16, 1862

Intelligence from Missouri states that the Union militia have rallied on the side of the South.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 153

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: September 17, 1862

Everything seems to indicate the “breaking up” of the armies of our enemies, as if our prayers had been answered, and the hosts of Lincoln were really to be “brought to confusion.”

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 153

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: September 18, 1862

To-day, in response to the President's proclamation, we give thanks to Almighty God for the victories He has blessed us with.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 153

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: September 19, 1862

And God has blessed us even more abundantly than we supposed. The rumor that our invincible Stonewall Jackson had been sent by Lee to Harper's Ferry, and had taken it, is True. Nearly 12,000 men surrendered there on the 15th inst., after the loss of two or three hundred on their side, and only three killed and a few wounded on ours. We got 90 guns, 15,000 stand of small arms, 18,000 fine horses, 200 wagons, and stores of various kinds, worth millions.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 153

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: September 20, 1862

While Jackson was doing his work, McClellan, who has been restored to command, marched at the head of 100,000 men to the rescue of Harper's Ferry, but D. P. Hill, with his single division, kept him at bay for many hours, until Longstreet came to his assistance, and night fell upon the scene.

But Lee soon concentrated his weary columns at Sharpsburg, near Shepherdstown, and on the 17th inst. gave battle. We got the first news of this battle from a Northern paper — the Philadelphia Inquirer — which claimed a great victory, having killed and taken 40,000 of our men, made Jackson prisoner, and wounded Longstreet! But the truth is, we lost 5000 and the enemy 20,000. At the next dawn Lee opened fire again — but, lo! the enemy had fled!

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 153-4

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Captain Charles Fessenden Morse: May 7, 1863

Headquarters Twelfth Corps,
June 12, 1863.

The picked regiments of the different corps were sent off with the cavalry Saturday evening on an expedition; of course, this took in the Third Wisconsin and the Second Massachusetts. I see by the papers that there has been a fight and that our regiments have lost several men each.

SOURCE: Charles Fessenden Morse, Letters Written During the Civil War, 1861-1865, p. 139

Major Wilder Dwight: December 20, 1861

camp Hicks, near Frederick, December 20, 1861.

It was only the immediate pressure of another topic that crowded out the mention of the arrival of the box of shirts and drawers, &c., from Mrs. Ticknor. They were equally distributed among the men needing them most. They were most gladly welcomed. In size, shape, and substance, they are all we could desire. The gay-colored handkerchiefs warmed the fancy of the men, and were eagerly snatched at. The mittens, too, notwithstanding the finger deformity, were grasped by eager hands. I think it would reward the effort of our friends if they could have seen the opening of the box, and the scattering of the clothing to the companies. The eyes of the men chosen for the gifts glistened, and the eyes of the others fell, as those of children. Indeed, in many respects, soldiers are like children; and the idea that there is a box from home with a present in it is, you know, the crowning joy of childhood. There is a certain flavor to these arrivals, of warmth and comfort, that seems to dwell with peculiar relish on the mind. They make a day glad and cheerful. But I must protest against this form of “soldier’s mitten. Make a good, honest mitten, in which there shall be no aristocracy or seclusion among the fingers, but where they may dwell together in unity. When the man is to use his gun he won't wear a mitten. At other times he wants the old, warm mitten, not this eccentric innovation. By this criticism I do not wish to discourage the sending of mittens of this or any other shape. We want those of any shape. I speak only in the interests of science and truth.

I wish you could have seen the regiment this evening at parade. We got fresh white gloves for the men to-day; and the steady line, with its regular and precise movement, the shining brass of the equipments, and general neatness, was a fine sight. Our old uniforms, after all their service, look better than most new ones. General Banks was present, and afterwards came up and admired my tent-house.

My friend Colonel Geary has gone back to Point of Rocks. General Hamilton is off to Williamsport, and the Board will meet again “some day next week.”

I enjoyed Colonel Geary's talk very much. He has seen a good deal of rough life; was a colonel during the Mexican War, then a Californian, and the last alcalde of San Francisco, then a governor of Kansas. He speaks of events of which he was himself no small part.

Colonel ——, of the Sixteenth Indiana, is a character, — a tall, gaunt Western lawyer turned colonel. He has just returned from a visit to Washington and his home. Speaking of the crowds of officers and soldiers who throng Pennsylvania Avenue, he said, “I told my friends if we could only get the Confederates into Pennsylvania Avenue, we could give them an awful thrashing. I never saw so many officers in my life. We could thrash ’em to death, sir.”

I was glad to receive news from Howard. Glad, too, to find him in service and promoted. His success is certain, if he holds on. I shall write to him not to be discouraged, and not to regret being in Missouri. Halleck will reorganize, correct, discipline the force; and he will belong to a grand army, and perhaps share in glorious achievement. . . . .

SOURCE: Elizabeth Amelia Dwight, Editor, Life and Letters of Wilder Dwight: Lieut.-Col. Second Mass. Inf. Vols., p. 176-8

Major Wilder Dwight: Sunday, December 22, 1861

It is now Sunday morning, and quite cold. We have been building a log-kitchen, and are now building a stable. The government has, I understand, decided to allow us lumber enough to make us quite comfortable. And I think we shall give the coming week to it. If we are to remain for the winter, I incline to think I shall build me a house, by way of pastime, if not for comfort.

This fine open weather, which has hastened the month of December to its close, seems made for use. Perhaps if McClellan could have foreseen it, he would have used it. Now, however, it is too late. Still, events march, — Kentucky swarming with Union soldiers, and soon to be a battle-field; Missouri even now the scene of Federal victory

I think the birds of spring will sing Hail Columbia and the Star Spangled Banner all over the South, though the Christmas chimes and carols may be sadly out of tune. I hope this letter may reach you in season to bring my greeting for Christmas eve. We can hardly receive the Christmas message, “On earth peace, good-will toward men,” in any obvious and literal sense this year. It is said to be the appointed time for a holiday massacre and uprising among the slaves. It is certain that few Christmas firesides which do not miss a soldier from their circle can gather in our land. “Not peace, but a sword.” Yet I can confidently wish a Merry Christmas to you, and look forward to a happier New Year. We are fighting a good fight; if only we can be true to our cause and ourselves, we have the right to indulge the brightest hopes and rely on the best promises. God is with us.

Hang up every sign of Christmas, — the freshest green. Commemorate the message and the Prince of Peace. Gather the Christmas family-circle, and remember the absent; for family ties are never so close as in these days of separation and trial. Love to all at home. I wish I could send a token to every one, but, instead, must content myself with good wishes.

Remember me most kindly to all friends. I should like to drop down among you Christmas morning and catch C——, as I certainly should, after my reveillé experience of the past six months.

SOURCE: Elizabeth Amelia Dwight, Editor, Life and Letters of Wilder Dwight: Lieut.-Col. Second Mass. Inf. Vols., p. 178-9

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Lemuel A. Abbott: Friday, March 11, 1864

It has rained hard all day. Lieut. J. S. Thompson and I have charge of the post on the pike. It is not a desirable one to be on, as the cavalry reserve is directly in front and they are continually passing and repassing, and the orders are very strict about passing anyone in or out of the lines. Colonel Ball is officer of the day and a good fellow.

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 25

Diary of Corporal Charles H. Lynch: September 11, 1864

Marching orders came early this morning. On the backward march towards Charlestown. Go into camp on the south side of the town. A good bath in a large brook over on the east side of the town. Remain here for the night.

SOURCE: Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary, 1862-1865, of Charles H. Lynch 18th Conn. Vol's, p. 124

Diary of Luman Harris Tenney: June 26, 1862

Turned over some commissary stores to the 4th and 9th Wisconsin, who came in that evening. Wrote to Fannie. Another false alarm. Citizens expected an attack.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 19

Diary of Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle: Sunday, May 10, 1863

I spent a very rough night in consequence of the badness of the road, the jolting of the carriage, and having to occupy a centre seat.

In the morning we received news from every one we met of the fall of Alexandria.

The road to-day was alive with negroes, who are being “run” into Texas out of Banks's way. We must have met hundreds of them, and many families of planters, who were much to be pitied, especially the ladies.

On approaching Munroe, we passed through the camp of Walker's division (8000 strong), which was on its march from Arkansas to meet Banks. The division had embarked in steamers, and had already started down the “Wachita” towards the Red River, when the news arrived of the fall of Alexandria, and of the presence of Federal gunboats in or near the Wachita itself. This caused the precipitate return and disembarkation of Walker's division. The men were well armed with rifles and bayonets, but they were dressed in ragged civilian clothes. The old Matagorda man recognised his son in one of these regiments — a perfect boy.

Munroe is on the “Wachita” (pronounced Washtaw), which is a very pretty and wide stream. After crossing it we arrived at the hotel after dark.

Universal confusion reigned there; it was full of officers and soldiers of Walker's division, and no person would take the slightest notice of us.

In desperation I called on General Hebert, who commanded the post. I told him who I was, and gave him a letter of introduction, which I had fortunately brought from Kirby Smith. I stated my hard case, and besought an asylum for the night, which he immediately accorded me in his own house.

The difficulty of crossing the Mississippi appeared to increase the nearer I got to it, and General Hebert told me that it was very doubtful whether I could cross at all at this point. The Yankee gunboats, which had forced their way past Vicksburg and Port Hudson, were roaming about the Mississippi and Red River, and some of them were reported at the entrance of the Wachita itself, a small fort at Harrisonburg being the only impediment to their appearance in front of Munroe.
On another side, the enemy's forces were close to Delhi, only forty miles distant.

There were forty or fifty Yankee deserters here from the army besieging Vicksburg. These Yankee deserters, on being asked their reasons for deserting, generally reply, — “Our Government has broken faith with us. We enlisted to fight for the Union, and not to liberate the G-d d----d niggers.” Vicksburg is distant from this place about eighty miles.

The news of General Lee's victory at Chancellorsville had just arrived here. Every one received it very coolly, and seemed to take it quite as a matter of course; but the wound of Stonewall Jackson was universally deplored.

SOURCE: Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle, Three Months in the Southern States: April-June, 1863, p. 85-7

Friday, May 13, 2016

Diary of Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle: Saturday, May 9, 1863

Started again by stage for Munroe at 4.30 A.M. My companions were, the Mississippi planter, a mad dentist from New Orleans (called, by courtesy, doctor), an old man from Matagorda, buying slaves cheap in Louisiana, a wounded officer, and a wounded soldier.

The soldier was a very intelligent young Missourian, who told me (as others have) that, at the commencement of these troubles, both he and his family were strong Unionists. But the Lincolnites, by using coercion, had forced them to take one side or the other— and there are now no more bitter Secessionists than these people. This soldier (Mr Douglas) was on his way to rejoin Bragg's army. A Confederate soldier when wounded is not given his discharge, but is employed at such work as he is competent to perform. Mr Douglas was quite lame; but will be employed at mounted duties or at writing.

We passed several large and fertile plantations. The negro quarters formed little villages, and seemed comfortable: some of them held 150 or 200 hands. We afterwards drove through some beautiful pine forests, and were ferried across a beautiful shallow lake full of cypresses, but not the least like European cypress trees.

We met a number more planters driving their families, their slaves, and furniture, towards Texas — in fact, everything that they could save from the ruin that had befallen them on the approach of the Federal troops.

At 5 P.M. we reached a charming little town, called Mindon, where I met an English mechanic who deplored to me that he had been such a fool as to naturalise himself, as he was in hourly dread of the conscription.

I have at length become quite callous to many of the horrors of stage travelling. I no longer shrink at every random shower of tobacco-juice; nor do I shudder when good-naturedly offered a quid. I eat voraciously of the bacon that is provided for my sustenance, and I am invariably treated by my fellow travellers of all grades with the greatest consideration and kindness. Sometimes a man remarks that it is rather “mean” of England not to recognise the South; but I can always shut him up by saying, that a nation which deserves its independence should fight and earn it for itself — a sentiment which is invariably agreed to by all.

SOURCE: Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle, Three Months in the Southern States: April-June, 1863, p. 83-4

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Diary of Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle: Friday, May 8, 1863

We reached Marshall at 3 A.M., and got four hours' sleep there. We then got into a railroad for sixteen miles, after which we were crammed into another stage.

Crossed the frontier into Louisiana at 11 A.M. I have therefore been nearly a month getting through the single state of Texas.

Reached Shrieveport at 3 P.M., and after washing for the first time in five days, I called on General Kirby Smith, who commands the whole country on this side of the Mississippi.

He is a Floridian by birth, was educated at West Point, and served in the United States cavalry. He is only thirty-eight years old; and he owes his rapid rise to a lieutenant-general to the fortunate fact of his having fallen, just at the very nick of time, upon the Yankee flank at the first battle of Manassas.1

He is a remarkably active man, and of very agreeable manners; he wears big spectacles and a black beard.

His wife is an extremely pretty woman, from Baltimore, but she had cut her hair quite short like a man's. In the evening, she proposed that we should go down to the river and fish for cray-fish. We did so, and were most successful, the General displaying much energy on the occasion.

He told me that M'Clellan might probably have destroyed the Southern army with the greatest ease during the first winter, and without running much risk to himself, as the Southerners were so much overerated by their easy triumph at Manassas, and their army had dwindled away.

I was introduced to Governor Moore, of Louisiana, to the Lieutenant-Governor Hyams, and also to the exiled Governor of Missouri, Reynolds.

Governor Moore told me he had been on the Red Eiver since 1824, from which date until 1840 it had been very unhealthy. He thinks that Dickens must have intended Shrieveport by “Eden.”2

Governor Reynolds, of Missouri, told me he found himself in the unfortunate condition of a potentate exiled from his dominions; but he showed me an address which he had issued to his Missourians, promising to be with them at the head of an army to deliver them from their oppressors.

Shrieveport is rather a decent-looking place on the Red River. It contains about 3000 inhabitants, and is at present the seat of the Louisianian Legislature vice Baton Rouge. But only twenty-eight members of the Lower House had arrived as yet, and business could not be commenced with less than fifty.

The river now is broad and rapid, and it is navigated by large steamers; its banks are low and very fertile, but reputed to be very unhealthy.

General Kirby Smith advised me to go to Munroe, and try to cross the Mississippi from thence; he was so uncertain as to Alexandria that he was afraid to send a steamer so far.
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1 Called by the Yankees "Bull Run."
2 I believe this is a mistake of Governor Moore. I have always understood Cairo was Eden.

SOURCE: Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle, Three Months in the Southern States: April-June, 1863, p. 80-3

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Diary of Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle: Thursday, May 7, 1863

We started again at 1.30 A.M. in a smaller coach, but luckily with reduced numbers, viz. — the Louisianian Judge (who is also a legislator), a Mississippi planter, the boatswain, the Government agent, and a Captain Williams, of the Texas Rangers.
 
Before the day broke we reached a bridge over a stream called Mud Creek, which was in such a dilapidated condition that all hands had to get out and cover over the biggest holes with planks. The Government agent informed us that he still held a commission as adjutant-general to ——. The latter, it appears, is a cross between a guerilla and a horse thief, and, even by his adjutant-general's account, he seems to be an equal adept at both professions. The accounts of his forays in Arkansas were highly amusing, but rather strongly seasoned for a legitimate soldier.
 
The Judge was a very gentlemanlike nice old man. Both he and the adjutant-general were much knocked up by the journey; but I revived the former with the last of the Immortality rum. The latter was in very weak health, and doesn't expect to live long; but he ardently hoped to destroy a few more bluebellies”* before he “goes under.”
 
The Mississippi planter had abandoned his estate near Vicksburg, and withdrawn with the remnant of his slaves into Texas. The Judge also had lost all his property in New Orleans. In fact, every other man one meets has been more or less ruined since the war, but all speak of their losses with the greatest equanimity.
 
Captain Williams was a tall, cadaverous backwoodsman, who had lost his health in the war. He spoke of the Federal general, Rosecrans, with great respect, and he passed the following high encomium upon the North-Western troops, under Rosecrans's command —
 
“They're reglar great big h—llsnorters, the same breed as ourselves. They don't want no running after, — they don't. They ain't no Dutch cavalry — you bet!”
 
To my surprise all the party were willing to agree that a few years ago most educated men in the south regarded slavery as a misfortune and not justifiable, though necessary under the circumstances. But the meddling, coercive conduct of the detested and despised abolitionists had caused the bonds to be drawn much tighter.
 
My fellow-travellers of all classes are much given to talk to me about their “peculiar institution,” and they are most anxious that I should see as much of it as possible, in order that I may be convinced that it is not so bad as has been represented, and that they are not all “Legrees,” although they do not attempt to deny that there are many instances of cruelty. But they say a man who is known to illtreat his negroes is hated by all the rest of the community. They declare that Yankees make the worst masters when they settle in the South; and all seem to be perfectly aware that slavery, which they did not invent, but which they inherited from us (English), is and always will be the great bar to the sympathy of the civilised world. I have heard these words used over and over again.
 
All the villages through which we passed were deserted except by women and very old men; their aspect was most melancholy. The country is sandy and the land not fertile, but the timber is fine.
 
We met several planters on the road, who with their families and negroes were taking refuge in Texas, after having abandoned their plantations in Louisiana on the approach of Banks. One of them had as many as sixty slaves with him of all ages and sizes.
 
At 7 P.M. we received an unwelcome addition to our party, in the shape of three huge, long-legged, unwashed, odoriferous Texan soldiers, and we passed a wretched night in consequence. The Texans are certainly not prone to take offence where they see none is intended; for when this irruption took place, I couldn't help remarking to the Judge with regard to the most obnoxious man who was occupying the centre seat to our mutual discomfort, — “I say, Judge, this gentleman has got the longest legs I ever saw.” “Has he?” replied the Judge; “and he has got the d----dest, longest, hardest back I ever felt.” The Texan was highly amused by these remarks upon his personal appearance, and apologised for his peculiarities.
 
Crossed the Sabine river at 11.30 P.M.
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* The Union soldiers are called “bluebellies” on account of their blue uniforms. These often call the Confederates “greybacks."
 
German dragoons, much despised by the Texans on account of their style of riding.
 
SOURCE: Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle, Three Months in the Southern States: April-June, 1863, p. 77-80