Sunday, June 26, 2016

Captain John G. Foster to Brevet Brigadier-General Joseph G. Totten, March 6, 1861

Fort Sumter, S. C,
March 6, 1861.

General: I have the honor to report that during the day, and especially towards night, unusual activity was observed among the South Carolinians around us; several steamer loads of men were landed on Cummings Point. The number was greater than the arrangements for shelter, apparently, for I observe quite a large number grouped about their bivouac fires this morning. Their suffering must have been considerable during the night, for the weather suddenly changed from the warm temperature of the preceding days to a high degree of cold, for this climate, the wind blowing fresh from the north.

I learn that portable hot shot furnaces have been furnished to several, and probably all, of the batteries. The mortar battery on James Island, south of Fort Johnson, is armed, but the number of mortars is not ascertained. The magazine in the flank of this battery is also finished. The mortar battery on Sullivan's Island, west of Fort Moultrie, is also armed. All the batteries on Morris Island are armed. The guns range from 32pounders down, with the exception of the iron bomb-proof, which is (I think, from all reports and observations) armed with 8-inch Columbiads — three of them.

The raft does not meet expectations. It is being covered with railroad strap iron instead of the T rail. This has a crosssection of about three-fourths or one inch by two inches or two and a half inches.

They are now ironing the top portion, the front not being yet commenced. Two 8-inch Columbiads are lying on the wharf ready to be put on board. I do not think this floating battery will prove very formidable.

We have not yet received the inaugural address of President Lincoln, although it is reported from town that it is coercive in its character, and that much excitement prevails.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. G. Foster,
Captain Engineers.
General Jos. G. Totten,
Chief Engineer U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.

SOURCE: Samuel Wylie Crawford, The Genesis of the Civil War: The Story of Sumter, 1860-1861, p. 280-1

Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. to John L. Motley, April 27, 1862

Boston, April 27, 1862.

My Dear Motley: I saw Lowell day before yesterday, and asked him if he had written as you requested and as I begged him to do. He told me he had, and I congratulated you on having a new correspondent to bring you into intelligent relations with American matters, as seen through a keen pair of Boston eyes, and a new channel through which your intense sympathies can be reached. I trust that between us you can be kept pretty well supplied with that particular kind of knowledge which all exiles want, and which the newspapers do not give—knowledge of things, persons, affairs public and private, localized, individualized, idiosyncratized, from those whose ways of looking at matters you know well, and from all whose statements and guesses you know just what to discount to make their “personal equation” square with your own. The general conviction now, as shown in the talk one hears, in the tone of the papers, in the sales of government stocks, is that of fast-growing confidence in the speedy discomfiture of the rebels at all points. This very morning we have two rebel stories that New Orleans has surrendered, its forts having been taken after some thirty hours' attack. At the same time comes the story that the rebels are falling back from Corinth.

Both seem altogether probable, but whether true or not the feeling is very general now that we are going straight to our aims, not, perhaps, without serious checks from time to time, but irresistibly and rapidly. The great interior communications of the rebels are being broken up. General Mitchell has broken the vertebral column of the Memphis and Charlestown Railroad, and while McClellan, with 130,000 men or more, is creeping up to Yorktown with his mounds and batteries, we see McDowell and Banks and Burnside drawing in gradually and sweeping the rebels in one vast battue before them. On the Mississippi, again, and its tributaries, our successes have made us confident. We do not now ask whether, but when. That truly magnificent capture of “No. 10” has given us all a feeling that we are moving to our ends as fate moves, and that nothing will stop us. I think the cutting of that canal through the swamps and forests ranks with the miracles of this war, with the Monitor achievement, and with the Burnside exploit, which last was so heroically carried out in the face of storms such as broke up the Spanish Armada. As for the canal, no doubt we see things in exaggerated proportions on this side, but to me the feat is like that of Cyrus, when he drew off the waters of the Euphrates and marched his army through the bed of the river. So of the Monitor — Minotaur, old Mr. Quincy said to me, “it should have been” — its appearance in front of the great megalosaurus or dinotherium, which came out in its scaly armor that no one could pierce, breathing fire and smoke from its nostrils; is it not the age of fables and of heroes and demigods over again?

And all this makes me think of our “boys,” as we used to call our men, who are doing the real work of the time — your nephews, my son, and our many friends. We have not heard so much of the cavalry, to which I believe Lawrence is attached. But Burnside! how you must have followed him in the midst of storm, of shipwreck, of trial by thirst, if not by famine, of stormy landings on naked beaches, through Roanoke, through Newbern, until at last we find him knocking at the back door that leads to Norfolk, and read this very day that the city is trembling all over in fear of an attack from him, while Fort Macon is making ready at the other end of his field of labor to follow Pulaski. I have heard of Lewis Stackpole; at one time they said his knee troubled him, that he was not able to march as he would like; but you must know more about this than I do. Of course my eyes are on the field before Yorktown. The last note from my boy was on a three-cornered scrap of paper, and began, “In the woods, near the enemy.” It was cheery and manly.

Wendell came home in good health, but for his wound, which was well in a few weeks; but the life he led here was a very hard one, — late hours, excitement all the time, — and I really thought that he would be better in camp than fretting at his absence from it and living in a round of incessant over-stimulating society. I think he finds camp life agrees with him particularly well. Did you happen to know anything of Captain Bartlett, of the Twentieth? I suppose not. He was made a captain when a junior in our college; a remarkable military taste, talent, and air. He lost his leg the other day, when setting pickets before Yorktown. His chief regret was not being able to follow the fortunes of the army any longer. I meant to have told you that my boy was made a captain the other day. He does not care to take the place, being first lieutenant under his most intimate friend Hallowell. The two want to go into battle together, like Nisus and Euryalus. How our little unit out of the six or seven hundred thousand grows in dimensions as we talk or write about it!

I wish I could give you an idea of the momentary phase of the public mind as I see its manifestations here, which are probably not unlike those elsewhere. I will tell you one thing which strikes me. People talk less about what is going on, and more quietly. There is, as I said, a feeling that the curtain is like to drop pretty soon on the first act of the drama, that the military part of the play will be mainly over in a few months. Not extermination, nor pacification, perhaps, but extinction of the hopes of the rebels as to anything they can do with great armies in the field, and the consequent essential break-up of the rebellion. But après? That, of course, is exercising those who have done croaking about the war. I dined at last week, with the Friday Club, and sat next –––. He was as lugubrious on what was to come after the war as he was a year ago with respect to its immediate danger. Then he could hardly bear to think that so accomplished an officer as General Lee was to be opposed to our Northern leaders. Yet who troubles himself very particularly about General Lee nowadays? He thinks there are to be such hatreds between North and South as have not been since the times of the Greek Republic. I suppose seventy years must be at the bottom of all this despondency. Not that everybody does not see terrible difficulties; but let us fight this quarrel fairly out, not patch it up, and it will go hard but we will find some way of living together in a continent that has so much room as this. Of the precise mode no man knoweth. . . .

Yours always,
O. W. H.

SOURCE: George William Curtis, editor, The Correspondence of John Lothrop Motley in Two Volumes, Library Edition, Volume 2, p. 252-6

William Cullen Bryant to Abraham Lincoln, November 10, 1860

New York, November 10, 1860
To A. Lincoln, President-elect:

You will not, I hope, find what I have to say in this letter intrusive or unreasonable. If you should, you will, of course, treat it as it deserves to be treated. I have no doubt that you receive frequent suggestions from various quarters respecting the selection of your Cabinet when you take the Executive chair. It is natural that your fellow-citizens who elected you to office should feel a strong interest in regard to the choice of those men who are to act as your advisers and your special assistants in the administration of affairs. The confidence of the people in the wisdom and the virtue of the Government depends in a good degree on that choice. You will therefore, I trust, most readily pardon a little zeal in this matter, even if it should go somewhat beyond the limits of a well-bred courtesy.

You have numerous friends in this quarter, and they are among the most enlightened and disinterested of the Republican party, who would be greatly pleased if your choice of a Secretary of State should fall on Mr. Salmon P. Chase, of Ohio. He is regarded as one of the noblest and truest of the great leaders of that party, as a man in all respects beyond reproach — which you know few men are. He is able, wise, practical, pure — no associate of bad men, nor likely to counsel their employment in any capacity. A Cabinet with such a man in its principal department, associated with others worthy to be his colleagues, would immediately command the public confidence. Of course, I do not expect you to make any reply to this letter. You will receive it as an expression of my sincere desire for the success of your administration.

SOURCE: Parke Godwin, A Biography of William Cullen Bryant, Volume 1, p. 150

William Cullen Bryant to John M. Forbes, October 16, 1862

Office Of The Evening Post,
New York, October 16, 1862.

My Dear Sir, — What your friend says of Grant may be the truth, so far as he is acquainted with his history. But I have friends who profess to be acquainted with him, and who declare that he is now a temperate man, and that it is a cruel wrong to speak of him as otherwise. I have in my drawer a batch of written testimonials to that effect. He reformed when he got or was put out of the army, and went into it again with a solemn promise of abstinence. One of my acquaintances has made it his special business to inquire concerning his habits, of the officers who have recently served with him or under him. None of them have seen him drunk, or seen him drink. Their general testimony is that he is a man remarkably insensible to danger, active, and adventurous.

Whether he drinks or not, he is certainly a fighting general, and a successful fighter, which is a great thing in these days.

SOURCE: Sarah Forbes Hughes, Letters and Recollections of John Murray Forbes, Volume 1, p. 335-6

Charles Blair to John Brown, March 30, 1857

Hartford, April 15, 1857.
Mr. Brown.

Dear Sir, — I received yours in relation to the funds which you expected from the Kansas Committee, and I would say that I have not taken any further measures with the spears than to ascertain where I can get the handles and ferules, etc. If you do not find it convenient to raise the funds for a thousand, I will make you five hundred at the same rate. I should think the committee were not treating you very fairly by not honoring your drafts after the promise they had made you. I shall wait further orders from you before I proceed further.

Truly yours,
Charles Blair

SOURCE: Franklin B. Sanborn, The Life and Letters of John Brown, p. 378

Brigadier-General Benjamin F. Butler to Governor Thomas H. Hicks, April 21, 1861

Headquarters, Third Brigade, Second Division, Mass. Vol. Militia, April 21, 1861

GovERNOR OF MARYLAND

SIR: I have the honor to receive your note by the hands of Mathews of the United States Naval School at Annapolis. I am sorry that your Excellency should advise against my landing here. I am not provisioned for a long voyage. Finding the ordinary means of communication cut off by the burning of Railroad bridges by a mob, I have been obliged to make this detour, and hope that your Excellency will see that from the very necessity of the case there is no cause of excitement in the minds of any good citizens because of our being driven here by any ordinary casualty.

I should at once obey, however, an Order from the Secretary of war.

Respectfully,
B. F. BUTLER, Brig. Genl.

SOURCE: Jessie Ames Marshall, Editor, Private and Official Correspondence of Gen. Benjamin F. Butler During the Period of the Civil War, Volume 1: April 1860 – June 1862, p. 22

Major-General John A. Dix to Governor Horatio Seymour, August 8, 1863

Head-quarters, Department of the East, New York City, August 8,1863.

His Excellency Horatio Seymour, Governor of the State of New York:

Sir, — I had the honor to receive on the evening of the 5th instant your letter of the 3d, in reply to mine of the 30th ultimo, informing me that you had made a communication to the President of the United States in relation to the draft in this State, and expressing your belief that his answer would relieve you and me from the painful questions growing out of an armed enforcement of the Conscription Act, etc.

Your Excellency promises to write me again on the subject when you shall have received the President's answer. It will afford me great pleasure to hear from you, and to receive an affirmative answer to the inquiry contained in my letter. But I owe it to my position as commander of this Military Department to anticipate his reply by some suggestions arising out of your answer to me.

You are, no doubt, aware that the draft has been nearly completed in the nine Western Districts, and that it has also been completed in several districts and is in successful progress in others in the central part of the State, under the orders of the Provost-marshal General. It is my duty now, as commanding officer of the troops in the service of the United States in the Department, if called on by the enrolling officers, to aid them in resisting forcible opposition to the execution of the law; and it was from an earnest desire to avoid the necessity of employing for the purpose any of my forces which have been placed here to garrison the forts and protect the public property, that I wished to see the draft enforced by the military power of the State in case of armed and organized resistance to it. But, holding such resistance to the paramount law of Congress to be disorganizing and revolutionary — leading, unless effectually suppressed, to the overthrow of the Government itself, to the success of the insurgents in the seceded States, and to universal anarchy — I designed, if your co-operation could not be relied on, to ask the general Government for a force which should be adequate to insure the execution of the law, and to meet any emergency growing out of it.

The act under which the draft is in progress was, as your Excellency is aware, passed to meet the difficulty of keeping up the army, through the system of volunteering, to the standard of force deemed necessary to suppress the insurrection. The service of every man capable of bearing arms is, in all countries — those specially in which power is responsible to the people—due to the Government when its existence is in peril. This service is the price of the protection which he receives, and of the safeguards with which the law surrounds him in the enjoyment of his property and life. The act authorizing the draft is entitled “An act for enrolling and calling out the national forces.” I regret that your Excellency should have characterized it as “the conscription act” — a phrase borrowed from a foreign system of enrolment, with odious features from which ours is wholly free, and originally applied to the law in question by those who desired to bring it into reproach and defeat its execution. I impute to your Excellency no such purpose. On the contrary, I assume it to have been altogether inadvertent. But I regret it, because there is danger that, in thus designating it and deprecating “an armed enforcement” of it, you may be understood to regard it as an obnoxious law, which ought not to be carried into execution, thus throwing the influence of your high position against the Government in a conflict for its existence.

The call which has been made for service is for one-fifth part of the arms-bearing population between twenty and thirty-five years of age, and of the unmarried between thirty-five and forty-five.

The insurgent authorities at Richmond have not only called into service heretofore the entire class between eighteen and thirty-five, but are now extending the enrolment to classes more advanced in age. The burden which the loyal States are called on to sustain is not, in proportion to population, one-tenth part as onerous as that which has been assumed by the seceded States. Shall not we, if necessary, be ready to do as much for the preservation of our political institutions as they are doing to overthrow and destroy them — as much for the cause of stable government as they for the cause of treason and for the disorganization of society on this continent? I say the disorganization of society, for no man of reflection can doubt where secession would end if a Southern Confederacy should be successfully established.

I cannot doubt that the people of this patriotic State, which you justly say has done so much for the country during the existing war, will respond to the call now made upon them. The alacrity and enthusiasm with which they have repeatedly rushed to arms for the support of the Government and the defence of the National flag from insult and degradation have exalted the character and given new vigor to the moral power of the State, and will inspire our descendants with magnanimous resolution for generations to come. This example of fidelity to all that is honorable and elevated in public duty must not be tarnished. The recent riots in this city, coupled as they were with the most atrocious and revolting crimes, have cast a shadow over it for the moment. But the promptitude with which the majesty of the law was vindicated, and the fearlessness with which a high judicial functionary is pronouncing judgment upon the guilty, have done and are doing much to efface what, under a different course of action, might have been an indelible stain upon the reputation of the city. It remains only for the people to vindicate themselves from reproach in the eyes of the country and the world by a cheerful acquiescence in the law. That it has defects is generally conceded. That it will involve cases of personal hardship is not disputed. War, when waged for self-defence, for the maintenance of great principles, and for the national life, is not exempt from the suffering inseparable from all conflicts which are decided by the shock of armies; and it is by our firmness and our patriotism in meeting all the calls of the country upon us that we achieve the victory, and prove ourselves worthy of it and the cause in which we toil and suffer.

Whatever defects the act authorizing the enrolment and draft may have, it is the law of the land, framed in good faith by the representatives of the people; and it must be presumed to be consistent with the provisions of the Constitution until pronounced to be in conflict with them by competent judicial tribunals. Those, therefore, who array themselves against it arc obnoxious to far severer censure than the ambitious and misguided men who are striving to subvert our Government, for the latter are acting by color of sanction under Legislatures and conventions of the people in the States they represent. Among us resistance to the law by those who claim and enjoy the protection of the Government has no semblance of justification, and becomes the very blackest of political crimes, not only because it is revolt against the constituted authorities of the country, but because it would be practically striking a blow for treason, and arousing to renewed efforts and new crimes those who are staggering to their fall under the resistless power of our recent victories.

In conclusion, I renew the expression of my anxiety to be assured by your Excellency at the earliest day practicable that the military power of the State will, in case of need, be employed to enforce the draft. I desire to receive the assurance because, under a mixed system of government like ours, it is best that resistance to the law should be put down by the authority of the State in which it occurs. I desire it also because I shall otherwise deem it my duty to call on the general Government for a force which shall not only be adequate to insure the execution of the law, but which shall enable me to carry out such decisive measures as shall leave their impress upon the mind of the country for years to come.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, yours,

John A. Dix, Major-general.

SOURCE: Morgan Dix, Memoirs of John Adams Dix, Volume 2, p. 78-81

Diary of William Howard Russell: May 19, 1861

The heat out of doors was so great that I felt little tempted to stir out, but at two o'clock Mr. Magee drove me to a pretty place, call Spring Hill, where Mr. Stein, a German merchant of the city, has his country residence. The houses of Mobile merchants are scattered around the rising ground in that vicinity; they look like marble at a distance, but a nearer approach resolves them into painted wood.

Stone is almost unknown on all this seaboard region. The worthy German was very hospitable, and I enjoyed a cool walk before dinner under the shade of his grapes, which formed pleasant walks in his garden. The Scuppernung grape, which grew in profusion — a native of North Carolina — has a remarkable appearance. The stalk, which is smooth, and covered with a close-grained gray bark, has not the character of a vine, but grows straight and stiff like the branch of a tree, and is crowded with delicious grapes. Cherokee plum and rose-trees, and magnificent magnolias, clustered round his house, and beneath their shadow I listened to the worthy German comparing the Fatherland to his adopted country, and now and then letting out the secret love of his heart for the old place. He, like all of the better classes in the South, has the utmost dread of universal suffrage, and would restrict the franchise largely to-morrow if he could.

SOURCE: William Howard Russell, My Diary North and South, p. 226-7

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Diary of Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle: Sunday, May 31, 1863

The Bishop of Georgia preached to-day to a very large congregation in the Presbyterian church. He is a most eloquent preacher; and he afterwards confirmed about twenty people, — amongst others, Colonel Gale (over forty years old), and young Polk. After church, I called again on General Bragg, who talked to me a long time about the battle of Murfreesborough (in which he commanded). He said that he retained possession of the ground he had won for three days and a half, and only retired on account of the exhaustion of his troops, and after carrying off over 6000 prisoners, much cannon, and other trophies. He allowed that Rosecrans had displayed much firmness, and was “the only man in the Yankee army who was not badly beaten. He showed me, on a plan, the exact position of the two armies, and also the field of operations of the renowned guerillas, Morgan and Forrest.

Colonel Grenfell called again, and I arranged to visit the outposts with him on Tuesday. He spoke to me in high terms of Bragg, Polk, Hardee, and Cleburne; but he described some of the others as “political” generals, and others as good fighters, but illiterate and somewhat addicted to liquor. He deplored the effect of politics upon military affairs as very injurious in the Confederate army, though not so bad as it is in the Northern.

At 2 P.M. I travelled in the cars to Wartrace in company with General Bragg and the Bishop of Georgia. We were put into a baggage-car, and the General and the Bishop were the only persons provided with seats. Although the distance from Shelbyville to Wartrace is only eight miles, we were one hour and ten minutes in effecting the trajet, in such a miserable and dangerous state were the rails. On arriving at Wartrace we were entertained by Major-General Cleburne. This officer gave me his history. He is the son of a doctor at or near Ballincolig. At the age of seventeen he ran away from home, and enlisted in Her Majesty's 41st Regiment of foot, in which he served three years as private and corporal. He then bought his discharge, and emigrated to Arkansas, where he studied law, and, eschewing politics, he got a good practice as a lawyer. At the outbreak of the war he was elected captain of his company, then colonel of his regiment, and has since, by his distinguished services in all the western campaigns, been appointed to the command of a division (10,000 men) — the highest military rank which has been attained by a foreigner in the Confederate service. He told me that he ascribed his advancement mainly to the useful lessons which he had learnt in the ranks of the British army, and he pointed with a laugh to his general's white facings, which he said his 41st experience enabled him to keep cleaner than any other Confederate general.* He is now thirty-five years of age; but, his hair having turned grey, he looks older. Generals Bragg and Hardee both spoke to me of him in terms of the highest praise, and said that he had risen entirely by his own personal merit.

At 5 P.M. I was present at a great open-air preaching at General Wood's camp. Bishop Elliott preached most admirably to a congregation composed of nearly 3000 soldiers, who listened to him with the most profound attention. Generals Bragg, Polk, Hardee, Withers, Cleburne, and endless brigadiers, were also present. It is impossible to exaggerate the respect paid by all ranks of this army to Bishop Elliott; and although most of the officers are Episcopalians, the majority of the soldiers are Methodists, Baptists, &c. Bishop Elliott afterwards explained to me that the reason most of the people had become dissenters was because there had been no bishops in America during the “British dominion;” and all the clergy having been appointed from England, had almost without exception stuck by the King in the Revolution, and had had their livings forfeited.

I dined and slept at General Hardee's, but spent the evening at Mrs –––'s, where I heard renewed
philippics directed by the ladies against the Yankees.

I find that it is a great mistake to suppose that the Press is gagged in the South, as I constantly see the most violent attacks upon the President — upon the different generals and their measures. To-day I heard the officers complaining bitterly of the “Chattanooga Rebel,” for publishing an account of Breckenridge's departure from this army to reinforce Johnston in Mississippi, and thus giving early intelligence to the enemy.
_______________

* The 41st Regiment wears white facings; so do the generals in the Confederate army. M. de Polignac has recently been appointed a brigadier: he and Cleburne are the only two generals amongst the Confederates who are foreigners.

SOURCE: Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle, Three Months in the Southern States: April-June, 1863, p. 152-5

Diary of Lieutenant-Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes: April 10, 1862

A. M. Ground whitened with snow; still threatening bad weather.

3. P. M. Captain Haven, Company G, and Lieutenant Bacon, Company K, have just returned. They bring fifteen prisoners and about fifteen horses, with a number of saddles and bridles. They were captured over New River in Monroe County.

At 8 P. M. F. M. Ingram (the silent telegrapher) came in saying we had gained a victory at Corinth; Major-General Lew Wallace killed; [Albert] Sidney Johnston, ditto; Beauregard lost an arm. Later told me that Island Number 10 was taken with six thousand prisoners. Glorious, if true! Night, clear and cold.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 227

Major Charles Fessenden Morse: June 12, 1864

June 12, 1864.

I have another opportunity to write you a few lines. We have moved about a mile to the left and made a slight advance, and taken up a new position.

I would rather go into a pitched battle than be situated as we are now. Within five hundred yards of us is a rebel battery posted on a hill, which completely enfilades our line. We have thrown up heavy traverses, which I hope will protect the men, and I shall select a good tree for myself if there is any vigorous shelling. A little while ago they tossed a shell which killed one man and wounded another in the regiment on my left. This kind of a thing you expect in a battle, but when you are lying peaceably in camp it is rather disgusting.

How many more weeks this style of thing is going to last I can't tell, but I am sure that the majority of this corps is hoping for a general battle to end it.

SOURCE: Charles Fessenden Morse, Letters Written During the Civil War, 1861-1865, p. 170

Major Wilder Dwight: February 25, 1862

Camp Hicks, February 25.

We are under marching orders, and shall leave very soon for Harper's Ferry and “so on. There is an exhilarating cheerfulness in this new life. I am so blazé of sensations that my hope rises feebly. There may, however, be purpose and exploit in our future, — who knows? I have only time to give you greeting.

SOURCE: Elizabeth Amelia Dwight, Editor, Life and Letters of Wilder Dwight: Lieut.-Col. Second Mass. Inf. Vols., p. 199

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: October 15, 1862

A young man showed me a passport to-day to return to Washington. It appears that Secretary Randolph has adopted another plan, which must be a rare stroke of genius. The printed passport is “by order of the Secretary of War,” and is signed by “J. H. Winder, Brig.-Gen.” But this is not all: on the back it is approved — by order of Major-Gen. Gustavus W. Smith,” and signed by one of Smith's “adjutants.” So the command of the Secretary of War is approved by the New Yorker, Smith, after being first manipulated by Winder. It is an improvement, at all events, on the late mode of sending out spies — they cannot get passports for bribes now, without Smith's adjutant knowing something about it. Heretofore the “Plug Uglies” might take the bribe, and by their influence with Gen. Winder, obtain his signature to a blank passport.

The following was received yesterday:

winchester, Va., Oct. 14, 1862.
hon. G. W. Randolph.

The cavalry expedition to Pennsylvania has returned safe. They passed through Mercersburg, Chambersburg, Emmetsburg, Liberty, New Market, Syattstown, and Burnesville. The expedition crossed the Potomac above Williamsport, and recrossed at White's Ford, making the entire circuit, cutting the enemy's communications, destroying arms, etc., and obtaining many recruits.

R. E. Lee, General.

Thus, Gen. Stuart has made another circle round the enemy's army; and hitherto, every time he has done so, a grand battle followed. Let McClellan beware!

A letter, just received from Gen. Lee, says there is no apprehension of an immediate advance of McClellan's army. This he has ascertained from his scouts sent out to obtain information. He says the enemy is in no condition to advance. Will they go into winter quarters? Or will Lee beat them up in their quarters?

But the government has desired Lee to fall back from the Potomac; and Lee, knowing best what he should do at present, declines the honor. He says he is now subsisting his army on what, if he retreated, would subsist the enemy, as he has but limited means of transportation. He says, moreover, that our cavalry about Culpepper and Manassas (belonging to the command of Gen. Gustavus W. Smith), should be more active and daring in dashing at the enemy; and then, a few weeks hence, McClellan would go into winter quarters. That would insure the safety of Richmond until spring.

There is a rumor, generally credited, that Bragg has led the enemy, in Kentucky, into an ambuscade, and slaughtered 25,000. A traveler from the West reports having read an account to this effect in the Louisville Journal. If the Journal really says so — that number won't cover the loss. The Abolitionist journals are incorrigible liars. And, indeed, so are many of those who bring us news from the West.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 170-1

Diary of Dolly Lunt Burge: November 21, 1864

We had the table laid this morning, but no bread or butter or milk. What a prospect for delicacies! My house is a perfect fright. I had brought in Saturday night some thirty bushels of potatoes and ten or fifteen bushels of wheat poured down on the carpet in the ell. Then the few gallons of syrup saved was daubed all about. The backbone of a hog that I had killed on Friday, and which the Yankees did not take when they cleaned out my smokehouse, I found and hid under my bed, and this is all the meat I have.

Major Lee came down this evening, having heard that I was burned out, to proffer me a home. Mr. Dorsett was with him. The army lost some of their beeves in passing. I sent to-day and had some driven into my lot, and then sent to Judge Glass to come over and get some. Had two killed. Some of Wheeler's men came in, and I asked them to shoot the cattle, which they did.

About ten o'clock this morning Mr. Joe Perry [Mrs. Laura's husband] called. I was so glad to see him that I could scarcely forbear embracing him. I could not keep from crying, for I was sure the Yankees had executed him, and I felt so much for his poor wife. The soldiers told me repeatedly Saturday that they had hung him and his brother James and George Guise. They had a narrow escape, however, and only got away by knowing the country so much better than the soldiers did. They lay out until this morning. How rejoiced I am for his family! All of his negroes are gone, save one man that had a wife here at my plantation. They are very strong Secesh [Secessionists]. When the army first came along they offered a guard for the house, but Mrs. Laura told them she was guarded by a Higher Power, and did not thank them to do it. She says that she could think of nothing else all day when the army was passing but of the devil and his hosts. She had, however, to call for a guard before night or the soldiers would have taken everything she had.

SOURCE: Dolly Lunt Burge, A Woman's Wartime Journal, p. 36-8

Diary of Sergeant George G. Smith: April 6, 1862

In the morning at daylight a tremendous racket was heard, the tramping of feet, the rattling of. the chains, and the skipper brawling through his speaking trumpet indicating that something was wrong. Of course I must know what the racket was about; so I crawled up on deck and found the ship at anchor near some shore and among dangerous rocks. I am not much of a sailor, but it looked to me to be not a very desirable condition of affairs, but fortunately the ship was not on the rocks and the wind was still, but how the ship came there and how it was to be got away I was willing to leave to those whose concern it was. The island we were near was called the Indian Key, among the Florida reefs. Next morning a breeze sprang up, the anchor was hoisted, the sails spread, and the vessel was on its way to Ship Island again. Meanwhile some of the officers went ashore while we were at anchor and brought aboard some cocoanuts and shells, with some branches of tropical trees. The sight of them after seeing so much water was refreshing indeed. At sundown we were off Key West. A pilot boat came out to us and all hands sent letters ashore Edward Murphy of Company B died today and was buried in the ocean off Key West.

SOURCE: George G. Smith, Leaves from a Soldier's Diary, p. 6-7

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

Arrived in camp about dark last night and found the regiment in a mud hole without quarters fit to live in. How white men could be content to erect such winter quarters is beyond comprehension. Even the Johnnies do better. These quarters are the worst ever seen, besides being dirty. All are indignant and aggrieved at such ill treatment. It has rained or snowed hard all day to add to our discomfort; received a letter from C. B. Wilson and answered it; am disgusted about not being ordered before the Casey board for examination; fear I waited too long before making my application; probably have all the officers they want.

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 32

Diary of Corporal Charles H. Lynch: October 18, 1864

All quiet since the last date. Nothing special to record. Our regular routine has been going on through the days, picket and labor. When time permits we have to drill and have dress parade. Sunday morning inspection comes regular.

SOURCE: Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary, 1862-1865, of Charles H. Lynch 18th Conn. Vol's, p. 130

Diary of Luman Harris Tenney: July 18, 1862

Ordered to commence on half rations. Visited Capt. Nettleton. Sick since going to Fort Gibson, weak. At 11 P. M. orders came to march at 2 A. M. Second Battalion in advance. Colonel Wier under arrest and a prisoner, Colonel Salomon commanding.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 21

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Monday, March 9, 1863

Travel more rapid, stream more crooked, plantations more abundant cotton burning, negros happy, stayed at night at Mr sharpy's place. Cloudy Heavy thunder.

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 485

Friday, June 24, 2016

Diary of Sergeant George G. Smith: April 2, 1862


Seven sail in sight. Spoke brig Free Lanning from Philadelphia bound for Key West. Passed Hole in the Wall and Abaco Island. In regard to the former I saw no wall or hole either, only just two or three rocks standing out in the ocean; but in regard to the latter it was all that is claimed for it. The shore is precipitous, either clay or white cliffs. The ship sailed so close to it I could toss a biscuit on shore, no trees or shrubs growing on it, nothing but grass, thick and short as though goats had browsed it. All was so silent, no living thing was to be seen except I saw a grasshopper fly and snap his wings, and that was all the sound to be heard. The lighthouse is on the extreme southern point of the island, but the keeper had gone and all the lights had been removed along the southern coasts and islands. The Abaco Island for solitude and loneliness can discount Selkirk's Island two to one and have points left. From this time until the 6th we were becalmed most of the time. George Goldsmith of Company K died and was buried in the ocean. The natives from some of the islands came out in boats with fruit and shells to barter with the soldiers.

SOURCE: George G. Smith, Leaves from a Soldier's Diary, p. 5-6

Diary of Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle: Saturday, May 30, 1863

It rained hard all last night, but General Polk's tent proved itself a good one. We have prayers both morning and evening, by Dr Quintard, together with singing, in which General Polk joins with much zeal. Colonel Gale, who is son-in-law and volunteer aide-de-camp to General Polk, has placed his negro Aaron and a mare at my disposal during my stay.

General Polk explained to me, from a plan, the battle of Murfreesborough. He claimed that the Confederates had only 30,000 troops, including Breckenridge's division, which was not engaged on the first day. He put the Confederate loss at 10,000 men, and that of the Yankees at 19,000. With regard to the battle of Shiloh,* he said that Beauregard's order to retire was most unfortunate, as the gunboats were doing no real harm, and if they (the Confederates) had held on, nothing could have saved the Federals from capture or destruction. The misfortune of Albert Johnston's death, together with the fact of Beauregard's illness and his not being present at that particular spot, were the causes of this battle not being a more complete victory. Ever since I landed in America, I had heard of the exploits of an Englishman called Colonel St Leger Grenfell, who is now Inspector-General of Cavalry to Bragg's army. This afternoon I made his acquaintance, and I consider him one of the most extraordinary characters I ever met. Although he is a member of a well-known English family, he seems to have devoted his whole life to the exciting career of a soldier of fortune. He told me that in early life he had served three years in a French lancer regiment, and had risen from a private to be a sous-lieutenant. He afterwards became a sort of consular agent at Tangier, under old Mr Drummond Hay. Having acquired a perfect knowledge of Arabic, he entered the service of Abd-el-Kader, and under that renowned chief he fought the French for four years and a half. At another time of his life he fitted out a yacht, and carried on a private war with the Riff pirates. He was brigade-major in the Turkish contingent during the Crimean war, and had some employment in the Indian mutiny. He has also been engaged in war in Buenos Ayres and the South American republics. At an early period of the present troubles he ran the blockade and joined the Confederates. He was adjutant-general and right-hand man to the celebrated John Morgan for eight months. Even in this army, which abounds with foolhardy and desperate characters, he has acquired the admiration of all ranks by his reckless daring and gallantry in the field. Both Generals Polk and Bragg spoke to me of him as a most excellent and useful officer, besides being a man who never lost an opportunity of trying to throw his life away. He is just the sort of man to succeed in this army, and among the soldiers his fame for bravery has outweighed his unpopularity as a rigid disciplinarian. He is the terror of all absentees, stragglers, and deserters, and of all commanding officers who are unable to produce for his inspection the number of horses they have been drawing forage for. He looks about forty-five, but in reality he is fifty-six. He is rather tall, thin, very wiry and active, with a jovial English expression of countenance ; but his eyes have a wild, roving look, which is common amongst the Arabs. When he came to me he was dressed in an English staff blue coat, and he had a red cavalry forage-cap, which latter, General Polk told me, he always wore in action, so making himself more conspicuous. He talked to me much about John Morgan, whose marriage he had tried to avert, and of which he spoke with much sorrow. He declared that Morgan was enervated by matrimony, and would never be the same man as he was. He said that in one of the celebrated telegraph tappings in Kentucky, Morgan, the operator, and himself, were seated for twelve hours on a clay-bank during a violent storm, but the interest was so intense, that the time passed like three hours* General Polk's son, a young artillery lieutenant, told me this evening that “Stonewall Jackson” was a professor at the military school at Lexington, in which he was a cadet. “Old Jack” was considered a persevering but rather dull master, and was often made a butt of by cheeky cadets, whose great ambition it was to irritate him, but, however insolent they were, he never took the slightest notice of their impertinence at the time, although he always had them punished for it afterwards. At the outbreak of the war, he was called upon by the cadets to make a speech, and these were his words: “Soldiers make short speeches: be slow to draw the sword in civil strife, but when you draw it, throw away the scabbard. Young Polk says that the enthusiasm created by this speech of old Jack's was beyond description.
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1 Called Pittsburg Landing and Corinth.

2 This was the occasion, when they telegraphed such a quantity of nonsense to the Yankee general, receiving valuable information in return, and such necessary stores by train as Morgan was in need of.

SOURCE: Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle, Three Months in the Southern States: April-June, 1863, p. 148

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

Rain; cooler than yesterday. Company B sent off to effect a crossing over Piney. Ten refugees from Monroe [County], escaping [Governor] Letcher's draft, just in. A crossing over Piney effected. Captain Haven, with [Companies] G and K, reported to have fifteen prisoners and twenty-five horses. Kept back by the high water. P. M. Cold and windy, but still raining. Have read “Jack Hinton” these two gloomy days with Avery.

How pleased I am to hear from Lucy that Birtie has been a good scholar; that at the school exhibition he was called up to speak and spoke Logan's speech very well. . . .

Captain Drake returned tonight. Sent my money by the paymaster to my wife. He reports that the Thirtieth Regiment is under marching orders for this point; that the Thirty-fourth is at Fayetteville, and that a cavalry regiment, the Second Virginia, is to form part of our brigade.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 226

Major Charles Fessenden Morse: June 9, 1864

Near Ackworth's Station,
June 9, 1864.

My last was from Kingston; that place we left on the 4th, being part of a force to guard twelve hundred wagons to the front. Four days of hard work, night and day, carried us over the Altoona mountains to this place, where we joined the brigade.

We now occupy a very strong position, with the enemy in our immediate front. Their pickets and ours are on perfectly good terms: the men off duty meet each other between the lines, exchange papers, and barter sugar and coffee for tobacco. We shall probably make another grand movement in a day or two, which will carry us somewhere near Atlanta.

The loss in our corps so far has been about four thousand killed and wounded, — a heavier loss, I think, than any other corps has sustained in this army. We were about twenty-five thousand strong at the beginning of this campaign. Life is cheap this year almost everywhere in the army.
We don't indulge ourselves now in any irregularities of diet, but stick consistently to our pork and hard-tack moistened with coffee. Most of us probably eat about a third as much in weight as if we were at home doing nothing. Still, I have never felt in better health in my life, and feel strong and fit for work, notwithstanding the hot sun.

We are so far from home (that is, this army) that I don't think the newspapers pay much attention to what we are about, and seem to be conveying the idea that Johnston has only a small force, and is constantly reducing it to help Lee out of his scrape. I don't know how large an army is in our front, but I do know that wherever we bulge out, we find rebels who fire bullets fully as injurious to the health as any I have ever seen used. As yet we have had no great battles, but there has been a great deal of sharp fighting. I think Sherman means to get nearer Atlanta, and then have the grand smash-up.

SOURCE: Charles Fessenden Morse, Letters Written During the Civil War, 1861-1865, p. 169-70

Major Wilder Dwight: February 19, 1862

Cantonment Hicks,
Raining like the recent Federal victories,
and dark and cloudy as the Rebel prospects,
February 19, 1862.

Hurrah for Donelson! Are not the bricks beginning to tumble beautifully?

Glorious Holt has tears of joy filling his eyes. Johnson and Maynard have homes and families again. The “ungenerous” advantage has been taken!

Price, too, as we hear to-night, has at last fallen into the trap, and that fox has lost his tail at last. I am thinking that it will be fashionable soon, in rebeldom, for the foxes to go without their tails. In the midst of all this, where are we? There is not even echo enough to answer the question.

Tell D––– to keep the money raised by the theatricals for sick and wounded soldiers, and intrust it only to such spending as shall wisely guide it in such channels. . . . .

Howard, perchance, has seen service in this Price pursuit and capture. Heaven send him honorable employment. He has the other things needful.

I have, in my time, heard a great deal said of vital faith and trust in God. I have observed very little of its practical working in life. I must say, I should like to have it myself. The last month has been the hardest one since I entered the service. Action, action, action, is what we want.

SOURCE: Elizabeth Amelia Dwight, Editor, Life and Letters of Wilder Dwight: Lieut.-Col. Second Mass. Inf. Vols., p. 198-9

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: October 14, 1862

Congress adjourned yesterday at five o'clock P.M. I have heard nothing of Mr. Brooks and the Passport Bill I drafted. The truth is that, with few exceptions, the members of this Congress are very weak, and very subservient to the heads of departments.

Congress has given him (the President) power to suspend the writ of habeas corpus anywhere, until thirty days after the reassembling of Congress — and they have failed to pass the joint resolution declaring no power exists under the Constitution to institute martial law. They voted it separately, but flinched when put to the test to act conjointly; and martial law still exists in this city.

We have Northern accounts of a dash into Pennsylvania by Gen. Stuart and 1500 of his cavalry. He went as far as Chambersburg, which surrendered; and he was gathering horses, etc., for the use of the army, paying for them in Confederate notes. They say he did not disturb any other description of private property without paying for it. I hope he is safely back again by this time. The Northern papers claim a victory in Kentucky — but I shall wait until we hear from Bragg.

Gen. Magruder has been assigned to duty in Texas. What Genl. Johnston is to do, does not yet appear. A great many new assistant adjutants and inspector-generals are to be appointed for the generals, lieutenant-generals, majors, and brigadier-generals, having rank and pay of colonels, majors, captains, and lieutenants of cavalry. Like the Russian, perhaps, we shall have a purely military government; and it may be as good as any other.

Gold, in the North, is selling at 23 per cent, premium; and Exchange on England at $1.40. This is an indication that the Abolitionists are bringing distress upon their own country.

The financial bill did not pass — so there is to be no forced loan. Neither did a bill, making Confederate notes a legal tender — so there will be a still greater depreciation.

Gen. Hardee is a lieutenant-general.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 169-70

Diary of Dolly Lunt Burge: November 20, 1864

This is the blessed Sabbath, the day upon which He who came to bring peace and good will upon earth rose from His tomb and ascended to intercede for us poor fallen creatures. But how unlike this day to any that have preceded it in my once quiet home. I had watched all night, and the dawn found me watching for the moving of the soldiery that was encamped about us. Oh, how I dreaded those that were to pass, as I supposed they would straggle and complete the ruin that the others had commenced, for I had been repeatedly told that they would burn everything as they passed.

Some of my women had gathered up a chicken that the soldiers shot yesterday, and they cooked it with some yams for our breakfast, the guard complaining that we gave them no supper. They gave us some coffee, which I had to make in a tea-kettle, as every coffeepot is taken off. The rear-guard was commanded by Colonel Carlow, who changed our guard, leaving us one soldier while they were passing. They marched directly on, scarcely breaking ranks. Once a bucket of water was called for, but they drank without coming in.

About ten o'clock they had all passed save one, who came in and wanted coffee made, which was done, and he, too, went on. A few minutes elapsed, and two couriers riding rapidly passed back. Then, presently, more soldiers came by, and this ended the passing of Sherman's army by my place, leaving me poorer by thirty thousand dollars than I was yesterday morning. And a much stronger Rebel!

After the excitement was a little over, I went up to Mrs. Laura's to sympathize with her, for I had no doubt but that her husband was hanged. She thought so, and we could see no way for his escape. We all took a good cry together. While there, I saw smoke looming up in the direction of my home, and thought surely the fiends had done their work ere they left. I ran as fast as I could, but soon saw that the fire was below my home. It proved to be the gin house [cotton gin] belonging to Colonel Pitts.

My boys have not come home. I fear they cannot get away from the soldiers. Two of my cows came up this morning, but were driven off again by the Yankees.

I feel so thankful that I have not been burned out that I have tried to spend the remainder of the day as the Sabbath ought to be spent. Ate dinner out of the oven in Julia's [the cook's] house, some stew, no bread. She is boiling some corn. My poor servants feel so badly at losing what they have worked for; meat, the hog meat that they love better than anything else, is all gone.

SOURCE: Dolly Lunt Burge, A Woman's Wartime Journal, p. 32-6

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Lemuel A. Abbott: Friday, April 1, 1864

Weather quite agreeable to-day. The Lieutenant-Colonel of the One Hundred and Tenth Ohio Infantry is officer of the day, a very pleasant, agreeable man; think I should like him. The Third Division of our Corps has exchanged camp with our old First Division; have very poor quarters.

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 31

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

The long roll called us up very early, before daylight. We turned out on double-quick time leaving camp on the run, out on the Winchester Pike. When out a short distance came to a halt. After waiting a while, was ordered to return to camp. Wondering what it meant. Later in the day we heard that Mosby and his guerillas captured a train on the B. & O. R. R. between Martinsburg and Harper's Ferry. The train was badly damaged, passengers robbed. Mosby knows every road and path in this section.

SOURCE: Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary, 1862-1865, of Charles H. Lynch 18th Conn. Vol's, p. 130

Diary of Luman Harris Tenney: July 17, 1862

Played a little chess. Wrote to Aunt Luna. Slept on the prairie. All the horses of the regiment were out.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 21

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Sabbath, March 8, 1863

Day warm. Passed 2 musketo boats and mortor boats, tore our co. quarters by running into limb, lost 6 guns &c river very crooked. No rebel battery found. Tall cane brakes, and much water, no plantations today.

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 485

Diary of Sergeant George G. Smith: March 27, 1862

At 2 a. m. went on deck, fearful sight, thunder, lightning and rain, wind blowing almost a hurricane, sea roaring and waves running nearly mountain high. At 3 a. m. Michael Dobson died, it was said, of delirium tremens. His berth being near mine, of course I tried to compose his limbs and features for burial, but while doing so the ship gave a tremendous lurch almost sending her on to her beam ends. The dead body of poor Dobson was flung out of his berth, and I found myself lodged against a row of berths in the center of the deck. I got the body back with the assistance of another soldier, and at daylight the wind ceased. Dobson's funeral was at 9 o'clock. The body was sewed up in sail cloth with bags of sand at the feet, placed on a plank shrouded in the U. S. flag and balanced across the rail. The chaplain read the beautiful burial service of the Episcopal church, the inner end of the plank was raised, and the body slid off into the deep. I remembered the words in Revelations, “And the sea gave up the dead that were in it.” From this time on nothing of importance occurred worth relating for several days. We were south of the latitude of Charleston going round the peninsula of Florida, and much of the time we were becalmed, the sea being smooth as a mill pond. One evening there was an alarm of a privateer. Somebody said they saw a dim light in the distance. I did not see any and did not believe anybody else did. To meet an armed vessel of the enemy it is plain would be no joke. All we had was two small smooth bore four-inch guns, worth about as much as toy pistols against modern rifled cannon, so that to meet such a craft everybody knew that our destination would be Andersonville or the bottom of the ocean instead of Ship Island. Off Bermuda, John Haywood died and was buried in the deep.

SOURCE: George G. Smith, Leaves from a Soldier's Diary, p. 3-5

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Diary of Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle: Friday, May 29, 1863

I took a walk before breakfast with Dr Quintard, a zealous Episcopal chaplain, who began life as a surgeon, which enables him to attend to the bodily as well as the spiritual wants of the Tennessean regiment to which he is chaplain. The enemy is about fifteen miles distant, and all the tops of the intervening hills are occupied as signal stations, which communicate his movements by flags in the daytime, and by beacons at night. A signal corps has been organised for this service. The system is most ingenious, and answers admirably. We all breakfasted at Mrs –––'s. The ladies were more excited even than yesterday in their diatribes against the Yankees. They insisted on cutting the accompanying paragraph out of to-day's newspaper, which they declared was a very fair exposition of the average treatment they received from the enemy.2 They reproved Mrs ––– for having given assistance to the wounded Yankees at Wartrace last year; and a sister of Mrs –––'s, who is a very strong-minded lady, gave me a most amusing description of an interview she had had at Huntsville with the astronomer Mitchell, in his capacity of a Yankee general. It has often been remarked to me that, when this war is over, the independence of the country will be due, in a great measure, to the women; for they declare that had the women been desponding they could never have gone through with it; but, on the contrary, the women have invariably set an example to the men of patience, devotion, and determination. Naturally proud, and with an innate contempt for the Yankees, the Southern women have been rendered furious and desperate by the proceedings of Butler, Milroy, Turchin, &c. They are all prepared to undergo any hardships and misfortunes rather than submit to the rule of such people; and they use every argument which women can employ to infuse the same spirit into their male relations.

At noon I took leave for the present of General Hardee, and drove over in his ambulance to Shelbyville, eight miles, in company with Bishop Elliott and Dr Quintard. The road was abominable, and it was pouring with rain. On arriving at General Polk's, he invited me to take up my quarters with him during my stay with Bragg's army, which offer I accepted with gratitude. After dinner General Polk told me that he hoped his brethren in England did not very much condemn his present line of conduct. He explained to me the reasons which had induced him temporarily to forsake the cassock and return to his old profession. He stated the extreme reluctance he had felt in taking this step; and he said that so soon as the war was over, he should return to his episcopal avocations, in the same way as a man, finding his house on fire, would use every means in his power to extinguish the flames, and would then resume his ordinary pursuits. He commanded the Confederate forces at the battle of Perryville and Belmont, as well as his present corps d'armée at the battles of Shiloh (Corinth) and Murfreesborough. At 6.30 P.M., I called on General Bragg, the Commander-in-chief. This officer is in appearance the least prepossessing of the Confederate generals. He is very thin; he stoops, and has a sickly, cadaverous, haggard appearance, rather plain features, bushy black eyebrows which unite in a tuft on the top of his nose, and a stubby iron-grey beard; but his eyes are bright and piercing. He has the reputation of being a rigid disciplinarian, and of shooting freely for insubordination. I understand he is rather unpopular on this account, and also by reason of his occasional acerbity of manner. He was extremely civil to me, and gave me permission to visit the outposts, or any part of his army. He also promised to help me towards joining Morgan in Kentucky, and he expressed his regret that a boil on his hand would prevent him from accompanying me to the outposts. He told me that Rosecrans's position extended about forty miles, Murfreesborough (twenty-five miles distant) being his headquarters. The Confederate cavalry enclosed him in a semicircle extending over a hundred miles of country. He told me that “West Tennessee, occupied by the Federals, was devoted to the Confederate cause, whilst East Tennessee, now in possession of the Confederates, contained numbers of people of Unionist proclivities. This very place, Shelbyville, had been described to me by others as a “Union hole.” After my interview with General Bragg, I took a ride along the Murfreesborough road with Colonel Richmond, A.D.C. to General Polk. About two miles from Shelbyville, we passed some lines made to defend the position. The trench itself was a very mild affair, but the higher ground could be occupied by artillery in such a manner as to make the road impassable. The thick woods were being cut down in front of the lines for a distance of eight hundred yards, to give range. During our ride I met Major-General Cheetham, a stout, rather rough-looking man, but with the reputation of "a great fighter. It is said that he does all the necessary swearing in the 1st corps d'armée, which General Polk's clerical character incapacitates him from performing. Colonel Richmond gave me the particulars of General Van Dorn's death, which occurred about forty miles from this. His loss does not seem to be much regretted, as it appears he was always ready to neglect his military duties for an assignation. In the South it is not considered necessary to put yourself on an equality with a man in such a case as Van Dorn's by calling him out. His life belongs to the aggrieved husband, and “shooting down"”is universally esteemed the correct thing, even if it takes place after a lapse of time, as in the affair between General Van Dorn and Dr Peters.

News arrived this evening of the capture of Helena by the Confederates, and of the hanging of a negro regiment with forty Yankee officers. Every one expressed sorrow for the blacks, but applauded the destruction of their officers.2

I slept in General Polk's tent, he occupying a room in the house adjoining. Before going to bed, General Polk told me an affecting story of a poor widow in humble circumstances, whose three sons had fallen in battle one after the other, until she had only one left, a boy of sixteen. So distressing was her case that General Polk went himself to comfort her. She looked steadily at him, and replied to his condolences by the sentence, “As soon as I can get a few things together, General, you shall have Harry too.” The tears came into General Polk's eyes as he related this episode, which he ended by saying, “How can you subdue such a nation as this!
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1Losses Of William F. Ricks. — The Yankees did not treat us very badly as they returned from pursuing our men beyond Leighton (at least no more than we expected); they broke down our smokehouse door and took seven hams, went into the kitchen and helped themselves to cooking utensils, tin ware, &c.; searched the house, but took nothing. As they passed up the second time we were very much annoyed by them, but not seriously injured; they took the only two mules we had, a cart, our milch cows, and more meat. It was on their return from this trip that our losses were so grievous. They drove their waggons up in our yard and loaded them with the last of our meat, all of our sugar, coffee, molasses, flour, meal, and potatoes. I went to a Lieut.-Colonel who seemed very busy giving orders, and asked him what he expected me to do; they had left me no provisions at all, and I had a large family, and my husband was away from home. His reply was short and pointed — ‘Starve, and be d----d, madam.’ They then proceeded to the carriage-house, took a fine new buggy that we had never used, the cushions and harness of our carriage, then cut the carriage up and left it. They then sent about sixty of the slyest, smoothest-fingered rogues I have ever seen in the Federal army (all the rogues I ever did see were in that army), into the house to search for whisky and money, while the officers remained in the back-yard trying to hire the servants to tell them where we had money hid. Their search proving fruitless, they loaded themselves with our clothing, bed-clothing, &c.; broke my dishes; stole my knives and forks; refused the keys and broke open my trunks, closets, and other doors. Then came the worst of all — the burners, or, as they call themselves, the ‘Destroying Angels.’ They burned our gin-house and press, with 125 bales of cotton, seven cribs containing 600 bolls of corn, our logs, stables, and six stacks of fodder, a waggon, and four negro cabins, our lumberroom, fine spinning-machine and 500 dollars' worth of thread, axes, hoes, scythe-blades, and all other plantation implements. Then they came with their torches to burn our house, the last remaining building they had left besides the negro quarter. That was too much; all my pride, and the resolutions that I had made (and until now kept up) to treat them with cool contempt, and never, let the worst come, humble myself to the thievish cutthroats, forsook me at the awful thought of my home in ruins; I must do something, and that quickly; — hardened, thieving villains, as I knew them to be, I would make one effort for the sake of my home. I looked over the crowd, as they huddled together to give orders about the burning, for one face that showed a trace of feeling, or an eye that beamed with a spark of humanity, but, finding none, I approached the nearest group, and pointing to the children (my sister's), I said, ‘You will not burn the house, will you? you drove those little ones from one home and took possession of it, and this is the only sheltering place they have.’ ‘You may thank your God, madam,’ said one of the ruffians, ‘that we have left you and your d----d brats with heads to be sheltered.’ Just then an officer galloped up — pretended to be very much astonished and terribly beset about the conduct of his men — cursed a good deal, and told a batch of falsehoods about not having given orders to burn anything but corn — made divers threats that were forgotten in utterance, and ordered his ‘Angels’ to fall into line, — thereby winding up the troubles of the darkest day I have ever seen. Mrs. Ricks.

“Losses before this last raid: six mules, five horses, one waggon (four-horse), fifty-two negroes.”

2 This afterwards turned out to be untrue.

SOURCE: Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle, Three Months in the Southern States: April-June, 1863, p. 141-8

Lieutenant-Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes to Sardis Birchard, April 8, 1862

Camp Hayes, Raleigh, Virginia, April 8, 1862.

Dear Uncle: — We are getting ready to move south. Our first halt, unless the enemy stops us, will be at Princeton, forty-two miles from here, the county-seat of Mercer County. We shall stop there for supplies, etc., etc., and to suppress Rebel recruiting and guerrilla bands probably a fortnight, then on to the railroad at Wytheville, Dublin, or some other point. The enemy will try to stop us. They will do their best, as the railroad is of the utmost importance to their grand army in eastern Virginia.

Colonel Scammon has a brigade consisting of [the] Twenty-third, Thirtieth, and Thirty-seventh Ohio Regiments, a fine battery of eight pieces, and a small force of cavalry. I command the Twenty-third which has the advance. General Cox commands the division consisting of three brigades. At present only one brigade (ours) moves up this side of New River.

We should move tomorrow, but heavy rains yesterday and today have filled the streams so that they can't be forded. I have got two companies cut off by the freshet, and have been taxing the Yankee ingenuity of a company from Ashtabula in getting grub to them. I think it has succeeded.
It is much pleasanter carrying on the war now than last campaign. Now the people, harried to death by the Rebel impressment of provisions and also of men, welcome our approach, receive us gladly, send us messages to hurry us forward, and a few turn out to fight. Guides are plenty, information furnished constantly, etc. All which is very different from carrying on an invasion of a hostile people.

I can't think that the new armies of the South will fight as well as the old ones. Besides being raw, large numbers are unwilling. Our troops have improved beyond all expectation. Our regiment is now a beautiful sight. The Thirtieth too has become, under the drilling of the last two months, a capital body in appearance. The Thirty-seventh is a German regiment — has companies from Toledo, Sandusky, and Cleveland. I have not yet seen it.

I prefer Lucy should let the house remain empty this summer, or rented to some [family] to take care of it with my name on the door, etc., and in the fall we will see as to permanent arrangements.

The war will certainly last another campaign — I mean through this summer and until next fall. Even with victories on the Potomac and at Corinth and Memphis, it will take months, if not a year or two, to crush out the Rebellion in all quarters.

Sincerely,
R. B. Hayes.
S. BlRCHARD.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 225-6

Major Charles Fessenden Morse: May 31, 1864


Kingston, Ga., May 31, 1864.

My last letter was written from Cassville, and sent by Colonel Coggswell. On the 23rd the whole army made a movement forward, and successfully crossed the Etowah River by various bridges, camping on the south bank. The next day the Altoona mountains were reached and crossed, no great opposition being made except by cavalry. On the 25th the army moved, by several roads, towards Dallas, and skirmishing began. Suddenly an order came to halt, face about, recross the creek, and move to the left to support Geary. As I was crossing the bridge, an order came to me saying that the Second Massachusetts had been especially detailed by General Hooker to remain on that road and hold the bridge on which we had crossed.

About five P. M., I heard our division “go in” about three miles on my left with a tremendous crash of musketry and artillery; the fighting seemed to last an hour, then suddenly stopped. The next morning I heard about our division's fight.

As soon as they arrived on the ground, they were formed in three lines, and made an impetuous attack on the enemy for nearly a mile into a strong line of works. Then Sherman found that he had the whole of Johnston's army in his front; he therefore immediately began concentrating his army, which was accomplished during the day of the 26th. McPherson, driving the enemy out of Dallas, formed in front of that place. His army constituted the right wing, Thomas the centre, and Schofield the left. Our division suffered severely in the fight, losing about a thousand killed and wounded, one-half being out of our brigade.

On the 29th I reported at headquarters. I found the division in reserve, a large part of it escorting trains to the rear.

SOURCE: Charles Fessenden Morse, Letters Written During the Civil War, 1861-1865, p. 168-9

Major Wilder Dwight: February 16, 1862

Cantonment Hicks, February 16, 1862, near Frederick.

I sent you a howl last Wednesday; but, now that I find there was a plentiful lack of fighting at Roanoke Island, and an equal abundance of running away, I care little about it. Its effect, though, is grand. Still more important is the news from the Mississippi and Tennessee. That “idolatrous devotion to the old Union,” which the Richmond Despatch so feelingly regrets, we shall hear more from soon.

We are approaching consummations in many directions, I opine. At times, I almost fear a sudden collapse, and very little fighting after all. Still, I think this can hardly be. It is not to be desired, I think, because of the weak-kneed settlement that would come. I see no good way out of our present difficulties, except through an overwhelming military superiority established by battles and defeats. Subjugation, the thing that they fear, is the thing I desire.

I hope that father begins to revive his faith in McClellan under the apparent culmination of his plans and combinations. But, unluckily, we are a people without faith in men or in principles, I fear; and that is the most hopeless sign in our condition.

To-day, we have the wintriest morning of the year. Bright sunshine, however, makes it cheerful; and I look upon it as the last effort of winter. This is not a climate in which winter lingers to chill the lap of spring, and we are all ready for a spring.

This evening I shall go into church to the pretty Episcopal Church in Frederick.

Our cook, Tony, came in this morning, in great glee, to report that his pigeon had laid two eggs (and Sunday she lays two). He has several pets, — puppies, kittens, chickens, and doves.

Hurrah for the Union and McClellan!

SOURCE: Elizabeth Amelia Dwight, Editor, Life and Letters of Wilder Dwight: Lieut.-Col. Second Mass. Inf. Vols., p. 197-8

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: October 13, 1862

Northern papers, received last night, speak of a battle at Perryville, Kentucky, on the 9th instant, in which the Abolitionists lost, by their own confession, 2000 killed and wounded, which means 10,000. They say Bragg's forces held a portion of the field after the battle. If this prove not a glorious victory for our arms, I don't know how to read Abolition journals.

I see that our Congress, late on Saturday night (they adjourn to-day), passed an act increasing the salaries of officers and employees in the departments residing at Richmond. This will make the joint compensation of my son and myself $3000; this is not equal to $2000 a year ago. But Congress failed to make the necessary appropriation. The Secretary might use the contingent fund.

Another act authorizes the President to appoint twenty additional brigadier-generals, and a number of lieutenant-generals.

The New York Herald, and even the Tribune, are tempting us to return to the Union, by promises of protecting slavery, and an offer of a convention to alter the Constitution, giving us such guarantees of safety as we may demand. This is significant. We understand the sign.

Letters from Gen. Lee do not indicate an immediate purpose to retire from the Potomac; on the contrary, he has ordered Gen. Loring, if practicable, to menace Wheeling and Pennsylvania, and form a junction with him via the Monongahela and Upper Potomac. But Loring does not deem it safe to move all his forces (not more than 6000) by that route; he will, however, probably send his cavalry into Pennsylvania.

Aud Gen. Lee does not want any more raw conscripts. They get sick immediately, and prove a burden instead of a benefit. He desires them to be kept in camps of instruction, until better seasoned (a term invented by Gen. Wise) for the field.

Senator Brown, of Mississippi, opposed the bill increasing our salaries, on the ground that letters from himself, indorsed by the President, applying for clerkships for his friends, remained unanswered. He did not seem to know that this was exclusively the fault of the head clerk, Mr. Randolph, who has the title of Secretary of War.

And the Examiner denounces the bill, because it seems to sanction a depreciation of our currency! What statesmanship! What logic!

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 168-9