Saturday, February 25, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: February 24, 1863

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, February 24, 2017

Diary of Gideon Welles: Friday, April 17, 1863

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

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

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

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

Diary of John Hay: November 1, 1863

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

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

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

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

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

Diary of Lieutenant-Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes: Friday, July 17, 1862

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: February 23, 1863

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Diary of Gideon Welles: Thursday, April 16, 1863

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

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

Diary of John Hay: October 30, 1863

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

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

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

“He will have a good time doing it.”

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

W. F. B.

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

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: February 22, 1863

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

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

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

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

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

On picket guard. Relieved at noon.

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

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diary of Gideon Welles: Wednesday, April 15, 1863

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

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

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

Diary of John Hay: October 29, 1863

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: February 21, 1863

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

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


Diary of Gideon Welles: Tuesday, April 14, 1863

Little of interest to-day at council.

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

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

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

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

Diary of John Hay: October 28, 1863

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: February 20, 1863

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, February 20, 2017

Gideon Welles to William H. Seward, April 13, 1863

Navy Department,
13 April, 1863.
Sir,

I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 11th inst., enclosing a note of Lord Lyons and correspondence relative to the mail of the Peterhoff.

His Lordship complains that the Peterhoff's mails were dealt with, “both at Key West and at New York in a manner which is not in accordance with the views of the Government of the United States, as stated in your letter to the Secretary of the Navy, of the 31st Oct. last.”

Acting Rear Admiral Bailey, an extract from whose letter is enclosed, in the correspondence transmitted on the 14th ulto., gave Her Majesty's Consul at Key West an authenticated copy of the law of the United States, and of the instructions based thereon, on the subject of papers which strictly belong to the captured vessels and the mails.

By special direction of the President, unusual courtesy and concession were made to neutrals in the instructions of the 18th August last to Naval Officers, who themselves were restricted and prohibited from examining or breaking the seals of the mail bags, parcels, &c. which they might find on board of captured vessels, under any pretext, but were authorized at their discretion to deliver them to the Consul, commanding naval officer, or the legation of the foreign government to be opened, upon the understanding that whatever is contraband, or important as evidence concerning the character of a captured vessel, will be remitted to the prize court, &c.

On the 31st of October last, I had the honor to receive from you a note suggesting the expediency of instructing naval officers that, in case of capture of merchant vessels suspected or found to be vessels of insurgents, or contraband, the public mails of every friendly or neutral power, duly certified or authenticated as such, shall not be searched or opened, but be put as speedily as may be convenient on the way to their designated destination. As I did not concur in the propriety or “expediency” of issuing instructions so manifestly in conflict with all usage and practice, and the law itself, and so detrimental to the legal rights of captors, who would thereby be frequently deprived of the best, if not the only, evidence that would insure condemnation of the captured vessel, no action was taken on the suggestions of the letter of the 31st October, as Lord Lyons seems erroneously to have supposed.

In the only brief conversation that I ever remember to have had with you, I expressed my opinion that we had in the instructions of the 18th of August gone to the utmost justifiable limit on this subject. The idea that our Naval officers should be compelled to forward the mails found on board the vessels of the insurgents — that foreign officials would have the sanction of this government in confiding their mails to blockade runners and vessels contraband, and that without judicial or other investigation, the officers of our service should hasten such mails, without examination, to their destination, was so repugnant to my own convictions that I came to the conclusion it was only a passing suggestion, and the subject was therefore dropped. Until the receipt of your note of Saturday, I was not aware that Lord Lyons was cognizant such a note had been written.

Acting Rear Admiral Bailey has acted strictly in accordance with the law and his instructions in the matter of the Peterhoff’s mail. The dispatch of Lord Lyons is herewith returned.

I am, respectfully,
Your Obd't Serv't,
Gideon Welles,
Secty. of Navy.
Hon. Wm. H. Seward,
Secty. of State.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 1: 1861 – March 30, 1864, p. 270-2

Diary of John Hay: October 24, 1863

This morning the President said that Dana has continually been telegraphing of Rosecrans’s anxiety for food; but Thomas now telegraphs that there is no trouble on that score. I asked what Dana thought about Rosecrans. He said he agreed that Rosecrans was for the present completely broken down. The President says he is “confused and stunned like a duck hit on the head,” ever since Chickamauga. . . .

SOURCES: Clara B. Hay, Letters of John Hay and Extracts from Diary, Volume 1, p. 112; For the whole diary entry see Tyler Dennett, Editor, Lincoln and the Civil War in the Diaries and letters of John Hay, p. 106-7

Lieutenant-Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes to Lucy Webb Hayes, July 14, 1862

Camp Green Meadows, July 14, 1862.

Dearest: — I am so pleased with your affectionate letter, that I sit down merely to “jaw back,” as the man said of the responses in the Episcopal service.

I love you just as much as you love me. There now! Yes, dearest, this separation so painful does, I think, make us both dearer and better. I certainly prize you more than ever before, and am more solicitous about your happiness. . . .

We came here yesterday. It is a fine camp, but warm and summery compared with Flat Top. There is no noticeable scenery in view from camp, but we are near New River at the mouth of Bluestone River where the scenery is truly grand. I rode down there this morning to enjoy it. We marched fifteen miles yesterday — the happiest gang of men you ever saw. We are nearer the enemy, and have more of the excitement incident to such a position than at Flat Top. I am in command here, having six companies of the Twenty-third, Captain Gilmore's Cavalry (the men who behaved so well when we fought our way out of Giles), and a section of McMullen's Artillery, besides two squads of First and Second Virginia Cavalry. Everyone seems to be happy that we are out by ourselves. Besides, Major Comly with the other four companies Twenty-third is only five miles from us.

Drs. Joe and Jim are still at Flat Top. Dr. Joe will join us in a day or two. Colonel Scammon is not expected here to stay.

I sent off Captain Drake and two companies with a squad of cavalry just now to effect a diversion in favor of Colonel Crook who is threatened by a force said to be superior to his own. The captain is instructed to dash over and “lie like a bulletin” as to the immense force of which he is the advance and then to run back “double-quick.” Risky but exciting.

Richmond is not so bad as it was. Our men, certainly, and our general, perhaps, did admirably there. . . . Don't worry about the country. “It's no good.” We can't help it if things go wrong. We do our part and I am confident all will come right. We can't get rid of the crime of centuries without suffering. So, good-bye, darling.

Lovingly, as ever,
R.
Mrs. Hayes.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 302-3

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: January 7, 1864

Rainy, cold and disagreeable weather. Henry Stimson, a fellow who was captured with me, was carried out dead this morning He was diseased when taken, and fell an easy prey to their cruelties. A good deal of raiding is going on among the men. One Captain Moseby commands a band of cutthroats who do nearly as they please, cheating, robbing and knocking down — operating principally upon new prisoners Who are unacquainted with prison life. Moseby is named after the rebel guerrilla, his real name being something else. He is from New York City, and is a regular bummer.

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

Diary of Brigadier-General William F. Bartlett: Monday, October 10, 1864

Sent long letter to Agnes. Down stairs in evening. Anna reading “Pendennis.”

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

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: February 19, 1863

The resignation of Gen. Gustavus W. Smith has been accepted by the President. It was well done — the acceptance, I mean. Who will Gen. Winder report to now? Gen. Winder has learned that I am keeping a diary, and that some space in it may be devoted to the history of martial law. He said to Capt. Warner, his commissary of prisons, that he would patronize it. The captain asked me if Gen. Winder's rule was not dwelt upon in it. I said doubtless it was; but that I had not yet revised it, and was never in the habit of perusing my own works until they were completed. Then I carefully corrected them for the press.

Major-Gen. Pickett's division marched through the city to-day for Drewry's Bluff. Gen. Lee writes that this division can beat the army corps of Hooker, supposed to be sent to the Peninsula. It has 12,000 men — an army corps 40,000. Brig.-Gen. Hood's division is near the city, on the Chickahominy. Gen. Lee warns the government to see that Gens. French and Pryor be vigilant, and to have their scouts closely watching the enemy at Suffolk. He thinks, however, the main object of the enemy is to take Charleston; and he suggests that every available man be sent thither. The rest of his army he will keep on the Rappahannock, to watch the enemy still remaining north of that river.

I sent a communication to the President to-day, proposing to reopen my register of “patriotic contributions” to the army, for they are suffering for meat. I doubt whether he will agree to it. If the war be prolonged, the appeal must be to the people to feed the army, or else it will dissolve.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 261-2

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

Finished my quarters — they were very good ones too. It was boarded up about four feet and the tent put over the top, and the soldiers built me a brick chimney.

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

Diary of 1st Lieutenant Lemuel A. Abbott: Sunday, August 7, 1864

This morning found us in line about two miles outside of Harper's Ferry, but no signs of an enemy in our immediate front; has been quite warm all day; have written Pert and Will Clark; most of the regiments have had dress parade, but Colonel Henry can't see it quite yet that way. It is rumored that General Sheridan is to command this army — good!

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 130-1

Diary of Sergeant Major Luman Harris Tenney, Tuesday, December 2, 1862

Saw Shattuck. $9.00 extra. Refused. Up early with orders to report with the train to Fort Scott. Most of the boys glad. Marched to Cincinnati (Ark.).

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

Diary of 1st Lieutenant John S. Morgan: Saturday, April 22, 1865

Quiet all night, a little shower about Midnight. As I was not notified that we would march today lay in bed until late. Our Nigger Charlie brought breakfast for me which I greatly relished. It is talked that this is about the only place on the river the jonnies could bring guns to bear on transports & is to be fortified & held by a garrison a gunboat lies in the river here & I hear that 5 more are 5 miles above. I am relieved & return to camp at 11. a m after dinner Lt Loughridge & I walk to the river about ¼ mile from camp. The bank a very steep bluff 50 ft high, on the bank a good & large frame house splendidly furnished & the folks at home. I hear the man is a parolled prisoner from Lees army. I understand that there are two cuts off one about 3 miles & the other about 10 or 15 miles above here & that it is the object to go above these & plant guns large enough to keep the Reb fleet which is above from coming down. Patrolls arrest quite a no of men for foraging and more fore nothing, march them to Div Hd Quarters, all punished alike riding a wooden horse, a beautiful day but Evening somewhat cool, a negro dance in the battery near by. Amusing.

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

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Diary of Gideon Welles: Monday, April 13, 1863


Wrote Seward a letter on the subject of captured mails, growing out of the prize Peterhoff. On the 18th of August last I prepared a set of instructions embracing the mails, on which Seward had unwittingly got committed. The President requested that this should be done in conformity with certain arrangements which Seward had made with the foreign ministers. I objected that the instructions which Mr. Seward had prepared in consultation with the foreigners were unjust to ourselves and contrary to usage and to law, but to get clear of the difficulty they were so far modified as to not directly violate the statutes, though there remained something invidious towards naval officers which I did not like. The budget of concessions was, indeed, wholly against ourselves, and the covenants were made without any accurate knowledge on the part of the Secretary of State when they were given of what he was yielding. But the whole, in the shape in which the instructions were finally put, passed off very well. Ultimately, however, the circular containing among other matters these instructions by some instrumentality got into the papers, and the concessions were, even after they were cut down, so great that the Englishmen complimented the Secretary of State for his liberal views. The incense was so pleasant that Mr. Seward on the 30th of October wrote me a supercilious letter stating it was expedient our naval officers should forward the mails captured on blockade-runners, etc., to their destination as speedily as possible, without their being searched or opened. The tone and manner of the letter were supercilious and offensive, the concession disreputable and unwarrantable, the surrender of our indisputable rights disgraceful, and the whole thing unstatesmanlike and illegal, unjust to the Navy and the country, and discourteous to the Secretary of the Navy and the President, who had not been consulted. I said to Mr. Seward at the time, last November, that the circular of the 18th of August had gone far enough, and was yielding more than was authorized, except by legislation or treaty. He said his object was to keep the peace, to soothe and calm the English and French for a few weeks.

Lord Lyons now writes very adroitly that the seizure of the Peterhoff mails was in violation of the order of our Government as “communicated to the Secretary of the Navy on the 31st of October.” He makes no claim for surrender by right, or usage, or the law of nations, but it was by the order of our Government to the Secretary of the Navy. No such order was ever given by the Government. None could be given but by law of Congress. The Secretary of the Navy does not receive orders from the Secretary of State, and though I doubt not Mr. Seward in an excitable and inflated moment promised and penned his absurd note, which he called an order when conversing with them, — gave it to them as such, — yet I never deemed it of sufficient consequence to even answer or notice further than in a conversation to tell him it was illegal.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 1: 1861 – March 30, 1864, p. 269-70

Diary of John Hay: October 22, 1863

I spoke to the President to-day about Blair, his Rockville speech, and the action of the Union League of Philadelphia leaving out his name in Resolutions electing the Cabinet honorary members of the League. He says Blair is anxious to run Swann and beat Winter Davis. The President on the contrary says that as Davis is the nominee of the Union Convention, and as we have recognised him as our candidate, it would be mean to do anything against him now.

Things in Maryland are badly mixed. The unconditional Union people are not entirely acting in concert. Thomas seems acceptable to everyone. Crisswell is going to make a good run. But Schenck is complicating the canvass with an embarrassing element, that of forcible negro enlistments. The President is in favor of the voluntary enlistment of the negroes with the consent of their masters and on payment of the price. But Schenck's favorite way, (or rather Birney's, whom Schenck approves) is to take a squad of soldiers into a neighborhood and carry off into the army all the able-bodied darkies they can find, without asking master or slave to consent. Hence results like the case of White and Sothoron. “The fact is,” the Tycoon observes, “Schenck is wider across the head in the region of the ears, and loves fight for its own sake, better than I do.” . . .

SOURCES: Clara B. Hay, Letters of John Hay and Extracts from Diary, Volume 1, p. 111-2; For the whole diary entry see Tyler Dennett, Editor, Lincoln and the Civil War in the Diaries and letters of John Hay, p. 105-6

Diary of Lieutenant-Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes: Monday July 14, 1862

Ditto. — I rode today with Captain Gilmore and Avery to the mouth of Bluestone and a ford on New River. The pickets are so placed that an enterprising enemy would by crossing New River and passing by mountain paths to their rear, cut them off completely.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 302

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: January 6, 1864

Still prisoners of war, without the remotest idea as to how long we are to remain so. Some of the paroled Yankees on the outside curse and treat the inside prisoners more cruel (when they have a chance,) than the rebels themselves. Blass, a Spaniard, who has been a prisoner over a year and refuses to be exchanged, is the lieutenant's right hand man. He tied up a man a few days ago for some misdemeanor and whipped him. He is afraid to come inside, knowing he would lose his life in a jiffy. He also raises the rebel flag at the island mornings, and lowers it at night.. It is a dirty rag, and the appearance of it ought to disgust any sensible person.

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

Diary of Brigadier-General William F. Bartlett: Sunday, October 9, 1864

Beautiful day. Family go up to church. Anna stays at home with me. Wrote Agnes in morning. Anna told me about their visit here.

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

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: February 18, 1863

Mr. H——s, another of Gen. Winder's detectives, has gone over to the enemy. He went on a privateering cruise from Wilmington; the vessel he sailed in captured a brig, and H——s was put in command of the prize, to sail into a Confederate port. Instead of this, however, H——s sailed away for one of the West India islands, and gave up his prize to Com. Wilkes, of the United States Navy.

One or two of the regiments of Gen. Lee's army were in the city last night. The men were pale and haggard. They have but a quarter of a pound of meat per day. But meat has been ordered from Atlanta. I hope it is abundant there.

All the necessaries of life in the city are still going up higher in price. Butter, $3 per pound; beef, $1; bacon, $1.25; sausage-meat, $1; and even liver is selling at 50 cents per pound.

By degrees, quite perceptible, we are approaching the condition of famine. What effect this will produce on the community is to be seen. The army must be fed or disbanded, or else the city must be abandoned. How we, “the people,” are to live is a thought of serious concern.

Gen. Lee has recommended that an appeal be made to the people to bring food to the army, to feed their sons and brothers; but the Commissary-General opposes it; probably it will not be done. No doubt the army could be half fed in this way for months. But the “red tape” men are inflexible and inscrutable. Nevertheless, the commissaries and quartermasters are getting rich.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 260-1

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant George G. Smith: November 1, 1864

Moved up on higher ground, by the fort.

SOURCE: Abstracted from George G. Smith, Leaves from a Soldier's Diary, p. 136-7

Diary of 1st Lieutenant Lemuel A. Abbott: Saturday, August 6, 1864

As I expected, I hadn't more than nicely gotten asleep when the bugle sounded the assembly, and in less than thirty minutes we were on the march for Frederick Junction; arrived there about midnight; got orders to make ourselves comfortable for two hours, and then take the cars for Harper's Ferry, but did not start until about noon; saw Grant at the Junction; looks like fighting ahead; is probably arranging the campaign in his car with others.

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 130

Sergeant Major Luman Harris Tenney to Emeline Harris Tenney et al, December 2, 1862

Camp at Ray's Mills, Arkansas, Dec. 1, 1862.
My Dear Friends:

I guess you wonder a little why you don't hear from your soldier boy. Well, I presume you will wonder often if we stay in the field and keep up our scouts and marches. Since last Tuesday, my regular day for writing and the day I intended to write, I haven't had a minute's opportunity for writing until yesterday, and then I was busy till night, when I was too tired to write.

Tomorrow another train leaves for the Fort. Several sick boys return. I should have liked to go back for comfort, but after all as long as there is a man in the Regiment in the field, I want to be there, too, though there must be some suffering and sacrifices.

Today I had an opportunity to go into the Brigade Commissary as clerk and get $12 a month extra. Lt. Shattuck, brother of Nina, is acting Brigade Commissary and wanted me to help him. N. thought I hadn't better go. I don't care much. Should have liked the little spondulics though.

Sunday night when we arrived here I found six letters, three from home, two from Fannie, and one from Will. I guess I was happy that night and as usual dreamed of home. Thede, I thank you very much for your good long letter. You did me proud. Please do so more.

I see by the papers that Col. Ford has received his just deserts. I enjoy all the particulars of the home circle visits, calls and town gossip. It is always my Thanksgiving Day when my letters come. My letters both received and written have been quite irregular of late and I presume will be in future.

During the last week we have been on our horses most of the time. My ague left me just in time. Tuesday and Wednesday our detachment was out on a scout down below here a little. We had the pleasure of overtaking 400 of Quantrell's men Tuesday night and turned their course from the north southward on double quick. The Major had 115 men. I had the pleasure of being in the advance and had two or three little skirmishes with the rear guard. None of us, how I don't know, was hurt. Afterwards some of the 3rd Wis. were sent ahead of us and when a few rods in advance were fired into from the bushes and two of the men wounded.

I suppose you have heard by this time of the fight at Cane Hill and beyond.

Thursday our detachment went in advance of the whole division but Friday we were rear guard and the Brigade was left at Cane Hill as a reserve. It was aggravating to hear the roar of artillery and not partake. There will be some hard fighting if we go over the mountains.

I have no ambition to die immediately or anything of that sort. I guess life, real life, is precious to the most wicked, but I do long to have our armies hasten on to victory or defeat. If Schofield's forces join ours, I believe our success will be sure, though earned by a good deal of sacrifice.

Lt. Shattuck has been acting Adj. but has gone now. So I have enough to do his duties and those of Sergt. Major.

I have just been out doors and I could see the “fire on the mountains” along our line of march over the hills from the North.

Tonight the air is cold and the fire in our little stove is comfortable and cozy enough. We are getting well used to bivouacking in the open air with few blankets and no fires. When out scouting we go without fires so as not to let the enemy know our movements. Sometimes we can't get much sleep, though. Don't you believe I occasionally long to creep into that soft bed at home and to sit down at our little supper table? Oh no, never!

Please excuse another hasty letter. The Independents have come as usual. I presume we will remain here a few days and then go over the mountains. I hope so.

The boys are all talking as loudly as can be and I can't think overmuch straight.

With much love,
Luman.



SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 46-9

Diary of 1st Lieutenant John S. Morgan: Friday, April 21, 1865

Has been an unlucky day. begins to rain at 3. A. M. Revelie at 3:30 & Genl sounded at 4. The rain pouring down & no one having breakfast, fortunately our cook had coffee. It rained hard while we loaded the wagons. The Regt moved out at 5. rain slackes up. & we cross a swamp of a mile which much rain would render impassible, it was half knee deep of water as it was. at 6.20. We march through the Arsenal at Mt Vernon no town ½ doz houses within a mile or so, some of them very fine and nice flower gardens. The Arsenal was deserted is a much finer gronds & buildings than the Little Rock Arsenal & all in good repair, is enclosed by a thick wall of Brick 10 ft high, begins to rain as hard as I ever experienced as we pass through. this Arsenal, & keeps it up almost incessantly until 2. P. M. creeks & sloughs from 2 to 3 ft deep & all have to wade. No dry feet in this army. The pine flats are covered with water 6 inches deep. Camp at 12. at Monroe — hubhah bluffs, on the Tombigbee R. I am detailed for picket. & by the time I am on post is 2. P. M. & the rain ceases, build up large fires & dry off. The 29th Iowa send in for rations from the Arsenal where they are left with one section (2 pieces) of artilery. I send to camp for my supper, & as soon as it is night make arrangements with the non commissioned offs. to run the guard & lie down for a nap & sleep.

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 8, April 1923, p. 593-4