Monday, August 20, 2018

Official Reports of the Campaign in North Alabama and Middle Tennessee, November 14, 1864 — January 23, 1865: No. 104. Report of Captain Samuel L. Demarest, Twenty-fifth Michigan Infantry, of operations December 15-16, 1864.

No. 104.

Report of Capt. Samuel L. Demarest, Twenty-fifth Michigan Infantry, of operations December 15-16, 1864.

Near Columbia, Tenn., December 22, 1864.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to make the following report of the operations of this regiment on the 15th and 16th instant:

On the 15th instant the regiment marched out with the First Brigade, Second Division, Twenty-third Army Corps, and was identified with all the movements of the brigade on the right flank of the army. About 3 p.m. we supported a charge made by dismounted cavalry, in which 2 batteries of 4 guns each were captured, with a number of prisoners. Immediately after the regiment was engaged in another charge, where 3 pieces of artillery were captured. During this day 2 commissioned officers and 2 men were slightly wounded and 1 man severely wounded. During the night works were constructed; and on the 16th we supported a charge made by a portion of the Sixteenth Corps, a number of the Twenty-fifth Michigan taking active part in the charge, and being instrumental in taking prisoners.

The following is a list of casualties.*

Very respectfully,
Captain, Commanding.
Capt. T. C. HONNELL,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

* Nominal list (omitted) shows 2 officers and 3 men wounded.

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 45, Part 1 (Serial No. 93), p. 374-5

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Last Will and Testament of George Washington, July 9, 1799


I, GEORGE WASHINGTON, of Mount Vernon, a citizen of the United States, and lately President of the same, do make, ordain, and declare this instrument, which is written with my own hand, and every page thereof subscribed with my name,1 to be my last WILL and TESTAMENT, revoking all others.

Imprimis. – All my debts, of which there are but few, and none of magnitude, are to be punctually and speedily paid, and the legacies, herein after bequeathed, are to be discharged as soon as circumstances will permit, and in the manner directed.

Item.—To my dearly beloved wife, Martha Washington, I give and bequeath the use, profit, and benefit of my whole estate, real and personal, for the term of her natural life, except such parts thereof as are specially disposed of hereafter. My improved lot in the town of Alexandria, situated on Pitt and Cameron streets, I give to her and her heirs for ever; as I also do my household and kitchen furniture of every sort and kind, with the liquors and groceries which may be on hand at the time of my decease, to be used and disposed of as she may think proper.

Item.—Upon the decease of my wife, it is my will and desire that all the slaves whom I hold in my own right shall receive their freedom. To emancipate them during her life would, though earnestly wished by me, be attended with such insuperable difficulties, on account of their intermixture by marriage with the dower negroes, as to excite the most painful sensations, if not disagreeable consequences to the latter, while both descriptions are in the occupancy of the same proprietor; it not being in my power, under the tenure by which the dower negroes are held, to manumit them. And whereas, among those who will receive freedom according to this devise, there may be some, who, from old age or bodily infirmities, and others, who, on account of their infancy, will be unable to support themselves, it is my will and desire, that all, who come under the first and second description, shall be comfortably clothed and fed by my heirs while they live; and that such of the latter description as have no parents living, or, if living, are unable or unwilling to provide for them, shall be bound by the court until they shall arrive at the age of twenty-five years; and, in cases where no record can be produced, whereby their ages can be ascertained, the judgment of the court, upon its own view of the subject, shall be adequate and final. The negroes thus bound, are (by their masters or mistresses) to be taught to read and write, and to be brought up to some useful occupation, agreeably to the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia, providing for the support of orphan and other poor children. And I do hereby expressly forbid the sale or transportation out of the said Commonwealth, of any slave I may die possessed of, under any pretence whatsoever. And I do, moreover, most pointedly and most solemnly enjoin it upon my executors hereafter named, or the survivors of them, to see that this clause respecting slaves, and every part thereof, be religiously fulfilled at the epoch at which it is directed to take place, without evasion, neglect, or delay, after the crops which may then be on the ground are harvested, particularly as it respects the aged and infirm; seeing that a regular and permanent fund be established for their support, as long as there are subjects requiring it; not trusting to the uncertain provision to be made by individuals. And to my mulatto man, William, calling himself William Lee, I give immediate freedom, or, if he should prefer it, (on account of the accidents which have befallen him, and which have rendered him incapable of walking, or of any active employment,) to remain in the situation he now is, it shall be optional in him to do so; in either case, however, I allow him an annuity of thirty dollars, during his natural life, which shall be independent of the victuals and clothes he has been accustomed to receive, if he chooses the last alternative; but in full with his freedom, if he prefers the first; and this I give him, as a testimony of my sense of his attachment to me, and for his faithful services during the revolutionary war.

Item. — To the trustees (governors, or by whatsoever other name they may be designated) of the Academy in the town of Alexandria, I give and bequeath, in trust, four thousand dollars, or in other words, twenty of the shares which I hold in the Bank of Alexandria, towards the support of a free school, established at, and annexed to, the said Academy, for the purpose of educating such orphan children, or the children of such other poor and indigent persons, as are unable to accomplish it with their own means, and who, in the judgment of the trustees of the said seminary, are best entitled to the benefit of this donation. The aforesaid twenty shares I give and bequeath in perpetuity; the dividends only of which are to be drawn for and applied, by the said trustees for the time being, for the uses above mentioned; the stock to remain entire and untouched, unless indications of failure of the said bank should be so apparent, or a discontinuance thereof, should render a removal of this fund necessary. In either of these cases, the amount of the stock here devised is to be vested in some other bank, or public institution, whereby the interest may with regularity and certainty be drawn and applied as above. And to prevent misconception, my meaning is, and is hereby declared to be, that these twenty shares are in lieu of, and not in addition to, the thousand pounds given by a missive letter some years ago, in consequence whereof an annuity of fifty pounds has since been paid towards the support of this institution.

Item. —Whereas by a law of the Commonwealth of Virginia, enacted in the year 1785, the Legislature thereof was pleased, as an evidence of its approbation of the services I had rendered the public during the Revolution, and partly, I believe, in consideration of my having suggested the vast advantages which the community would derive from the extension of its inland navigation under legislative patronage, to present me with one hundred shares, of one hundred dollars each, in the incorporated Company, established for the purpose of extending the navigation of James River from the tide water to the mountains; and also with fifty shares, of £100 sterling each, in the corporation of another Company, likewise established for the similar purpose of opening the navigation of the River Potomac from the tide water to Fort Cumberland; the acceptance of which, although the offer was highly honorable and grateful to my feelings, was refused, as inconsistent with a principle which I had adopted, and had never departed from, viz. not to receive pecuniary compensation for any services I could render my country in its arduous struggle with Great Britain for its rights, and because I had evaded similar propositions from other States in the Union; adding to this refusal, however, an intimation, that, if it should be the pleasure of the legislature to permit me to appropriate the said shares to public uses, I would receive them on those terms with due sensibility; and this it having consented to, in flattering terms, as will appear by a subsequent law, and sundry resolutions, in the most ample and honorable manner; – I proceed after this recital, for the more correct understanding of the case, to declare; that, as it has always been a source of serious regret with me, to see the youth of these United States sent to foreign countries for the purpose of education, often before their minds were formed, or they had imbibed any adequate ideas of the happiness of their own; contracting too frequently, not only habits of dissipation and extravagance, but principles unfriendly to republican government, and to the true and genuine liberties of mankind, which thereafter are rarely overcome; for these reasons it has been my ardent wish to see a plan devised on a liberal scale, which would have a tendency to spread systematic ideas through all parts of this rising empire, thereby to do away local attachments and State prejudices, as far as the nature of things would, or indeed ought to admit, from our national councils. Looking anxiously forward to the accomplishment of so desirable an object as this is (in my estimation), my mind has not been able to contemplate any plan more likely to effect the measure, than the establishment of a UNIVERsity in a central part of the United States, to which the youths of fortune and talents from all parts thereof may be sent for the completion of their education, in all the branches of polite literature, in arts and sciences, in acquiring knowledge in the principles of politics and good government, and, as a matter of infinite importance in my judgment, by associating with each other, and forming friendships in juvenile years, be enabled to free themselves in a proper degree from those local prejudices and habitual jealousies which have just been mentioned, and which, when carried to excess, are never-failing sources of disquietude to the public mind, and pregnant of mischievous consequences to this country. Under these impressions, so fully dilated,

Item. —I give and bequeath, in perpetuity, the fifty shares which I hold in the Potomac company, (under the aforesaid acts of the Legislature of Virginia,) towards the endowment of a University, to be established within the limits of the district of Columbia, under the auspices of the general government, if that government should incline to extend a fostering hand towards it; and, until such seminary is established, and the funds arising on these shares shall be required for its support, my further will and desire is, that the profit accruing therefrom shall, whenever the dividends are made, be laid out in purchasing stock in the Bank of Columbia, or some other bank, at the discretion of my executors, or by the Treasurer of the United States for the time being, under the direction of Congress, provided that honorable body should patronize the measure; and the dividends proceeding from the purchase of such stock are to be vested in more stock, and so on, until a sum adequate to the accomplishment of the object is obtained; of which I have not the smallest doubt before many years pass away, even if no aid or encouragement is given by the legislative authority, or from any other source.

Item. — The hundred shares, which I hold in the James River Company, I have given, and now confirm in perpetuity, to and for the use and benefit of Liberty Hall Academy, in the County of Rockbridge, in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Item. – I release, exonerate, and discharge the estate of my deceased brother, Samuel Washington, from the payment of the money which is due to me for the land I sold to Philip Pendleton, (lying in the county of Berkeley,) who assigned the same to him, the said Samuel, who by agreement was to pay me therefor. And whereas, by some contract (the purport of which was never communicated to me) between the said Samuel and his son, Thornton Washington, the latter became possessed of the aforesaid land, without any conveyance having passed from me, either to the said Pendleton, the said Samuel, or the said Thornton, and without any consideration having been made, by which neglect neither the legal nor equitable title has been alienated; it rests therefore with me to declare my intentions concerning the premises; and these are, to give and bequeath the said land to whomsoever the said Thornton Washington (who is also dead) devised the same, or to his heirs for ever, if he died intestate; exonerating the estate of the said Thornton, equally with that of the said Samuel, from payment of the purchase money, which, with interest, agreeably to the original contract with the said Pendleton, would amount to more than a thousand pounds. And whereas two other sons of my said deceased brother Samuel, namely, George Steptoe Washington and Lawrence Augustine Washington, were, by the decease of those to whose care they were committed, brought under my protection, and, in consequence, have occasioned advances on my part, for their education at college and other schools, for their board, clothing, and other incidental expenses, to the amount of near five thousand dollars, over and above the sums furnished by their estate, which sum it may be inconvenient for them or their father's estate to refund; I do for these reasons acquit them and the said estate from the payment thereof, my intention being, that all accounts between them and me, and their father's estate and me, shall stand balanced.

Item. – The balance due to me from the estate of Bartholomew Dandridge, deceased, (my wife's brother,) and which amounted on the first day of October, 1795, to four hundred and twenty-five pounds, (as will appear by an account rendered by his deceased son, John Dandridge, who was the acting executor of his father's will,) I release and acquit from the payment thereof. And the negroes, then thirty-three in number, formerly belonging to the said estate, who were taken in execution, sold, and purchased in on my account, in the year (blank), and ever since have remained in the possession and to the use of Mary, widow of the said Bartholomew Dandridge, with their increase, it is my will and desire shall continue and be in her possession, without paying hire, or making compensation for the same, for the time past or to come, during her natural life; at the expiration of which, I direct that all of them who are forty years old and upwards shall receive their freedom; and all under that age, and above sixteen, shall serve seven years and no longer; and all under sixteen years shall serve until they are twenty-five years of age, and then be free. And, to avoid disputes respecting the ages of any of these negroes, they are to be taken into the court of the county in which they reside, and the judgment thereof, in this relation, shall be final, and record thereof made, which may be adduced as evidence at any time thereafter, if disputes should arise concerning the same. And I further direct, that the heirs of the said Bartholomew Dandridge shall equally share the benefits arising from the services of the said negroes, according to the tenor of this devise, upon the decease of their mother.

Item. – If Charles Carter, who intermarried with my niece, Betty Lewis, is not sufficiently secured in the title to the lots he had of me in the town of Fredericksburg, it is my will and desire, that my executors shall make such conveyances of them as the law requires to render it perfect.

Item.—To my nephew, William Augustine Washington, and his heirs, (if he should conceive them to be objects worth prosecuting,) a lot in the town of Manchester, (opposite to Richmond,) No. 265, drawn on my sole account, and also the tenth of one or two hundred acre lots, and two or three half-acre lots, in the city and vicinity of Richmond, drawn in partnership with nine others, all in the lottery of the deceased William Byrd, are given; as is also a lot which I purchased of John Hood, conveyed by William Willie and Samuel Gordon, trustees of the said John Hood, numbered 139, in the town of Edinburgh, in the County of Prince George, State of Virginia.

Item. — To my nephew, Bushrod Washington, I give and bequeath all the papers in my possession, which relate to my civil and military administration of the affairs of this country. I leave to him also such of my private papers as are worth preserving; and at the decease of my wife, and before, if she is not inclined to retain them, I give and bequeath my library of books and pamphlets of every kind.

Item. — Having sold lands which I possessed in the State of Pennsylvania, and part of a tract held in equal right with George Clinton, late governor of New York, in the State of New York, my share of land and interest in the Great Dismal Swamp, and a tract of land which I owned in the County of Gloucester, — withholding the legal titles thereto, until the consideration money should be paid, and having moreover leased and conditionally sold (as will appear by the tenor of the said leases) all my lands upon the Great Kenhawa, and a tract upon Difficult Run, in the County of Loudoun, it is my will and direction, that whensoever the contracts are fully and respectively complied with, according to the spirit, true intent, and meaning thereof, on the part of the purchasers, their heirs or assigns, that then, and in that case, conveyances are to be made, agreeably to the terms of the said contracts, and the money arising therefrom, when paid, to be vested in bank stock; the dividends whereof, as of that also which is already vested therein, are to inure to my said wife during her life; but the stock itself is to remain and be subject to the general distribution hereafter directed.

Item.—To the Earl of Buchan I recommit the “Box made of the Oak that sheltered the great Sir William Wallace, after the battle of Falkirk,” presented to me by his Lordship, in terms too flattering for me to repeat, with a request “to pass it, on the event of my decease, to the man in my country, who should appear to merit it best, upon the same conditions that have induced him to send it to me.” Whether easy or not to select the man, who might comport with his Lordship's opinion in this respect, is not for me to say; but, conceiving that no disposition of this valuable curiosity can be more eligible than the recommitment of it to his own cabinet, agreeably to the original design of the Goldsmiths' Company of Edinburgh, who presented it to him, and, at his request, consented that it should be transferred to me, I do give and bequeath the same to his Lordship; and, in case of his decease, to his heir, with my grateful thanks for the distinguished honor of presenting it to me, and more especially for the favorable sentiments with which he accompanied it.

Item. — To my brother, Charles Washington, I give and bequeath the gold-headed cane left me by Dr. Franklin in his will. I add nothing to it, because of the ample provision I have made for his issue. To the acquaintances and friends of my juvenile years, Lawrence Washington and Robert Washington, of Chotanck, I give my other two gold-headed canes, having my arms engraved on them; and to each, as they will be useful where they live, I leave one of the spyglasses, which constituted part of my equipage during the late war. To my compatriot in arms, and old and intimate friend, Dr. Craik, I give my bureau (or, as the cabinet-makers call it, tambour secretary) and the circular chair, an appendage of my study. To Dr. David Stuart I give my large shaving and dressing table, and my telescope. To the Reverend, now Bryan, Lord Fairfax, I give a Bible, in three large folio volumes, with notes, presented to me by the Right Reverend Thomas Wilson, Bishop of Sodor and Man. To General de Lafayette I give a pair of finely-wrought steel pistols, taken from the enemy in the revolutionary war. To my sisters-in-law, Hannah Washington and Mildred Washington, to my friends, Eleanor Stuart, Hannah Washington, of Fairfield, and Elizabeth Washington, of Hayfield, I give each a mourning ring, of the value of one hundred dollars. These bequests are not made for the intrinsic value of them, but as mementos of my esteem and regard. To Tobias Lear I give the use of the farm, which he now holds in virtue of a lease from me to him and his deceased wife, (for and during their natural lives,) free from rent during his life; at the expiration of which, it is to be disposed of as is hereinafter directed. To Sally B. Haynie, (a distant relation of mine,) I give and bequeath three hundred dollars. To Sarah Green, daughter of the deceased Thomas Bishop, and to Ann Walker, daughter of John Alton, also deceased, I give each one hundred dollars, in consideration of the attachment of their fathers to me; each of whom having lived nearly forty years in my family. To each of my nephews, William Augustine Washington, George Lewis, George Steptoe Washington, Bushrod Washington, and Samuel Washington, I give one of the swords, or couteaux, of which I may die possessed; and they are to choose in the order they are named. These swords are accompanied with an injunction not to unsheath them for the purpose of shedding blood, except it be for self-defence, or in defence of their country and its rights; and in the latter case, to keep them unsheathed, and prefer falling with them in their hands to the relinquishment thereof. And now, having gone through these specific devises, with explanations for the more correct understanding of the meaning and design of them, I proceed to the distribution of the more important parts of my estate, in manner following;

First. — To my nephew, Bushrod Washington, and his heirs, (partly in consideration of an intimation to his deceased father, while we were bachelors, and he had kindly undertaken to superintend my estate during my military services in the former war between Great Britain and France, that, if I should fall therein, Mount Vernon, then less extensive in domain than at present, should become his property,) I give and bequeath all that part thereof, which is comprehended within the following limits, viz. Beginning at the ford of Dogue Run, near my Mill, and extending along the road, and bounded thereby, as it now goes, and ever has gone, since my recollection of it, to the ford of Little Hunting Creek, at the Gum Spring, until it comes to a knoll opposite to an old road, which formerly passed through the lower field of Muddy-Hole Farm; at which, on the north side of the said road, are three red or Spanish oaks, marked as a corner, and a stone placed; thence by a line of trees, to be marked rectangular, to the back line or outer boundary of the tract between Thompson Mason and myself; thence with that line easterly (now double ditching, with a post-and-rail fence thereon) to the run of Little Hunting Creek; thence with that run, which is the boundary between the lands of the late Humphrey Peake and me, to the tide water of the said creek; thence by that water to Potomac River; thence with the river to the mouth of Dogue Creek; and thence with the said Dogue Creek to the place of beginning at the aforesaid ford; containing upwards of four thousand acres, be the same more or less, together with the mansion-house, and all other buildings and improvements thereon.

Second. — In consideration of the consanguinity between them and my wife, being as nearly related to her as to myself, as on account of the affection I had for, and the obligation I was under to, their father when living, who from his youth had attached himself to my person, and followed my fortunes through the vicissitudes of the late Revolution, afterwards devoting his time to the superintendence of my private concerns for many years, whilst my public employments rendered it impracticable for me to do it myself, thereby affording me essential services, and always performing them in a manner the most filial and respectful; for these reasons, I say, I give and bequeath to George Fayette Washington and Lawrence Augustine Washington, and their heirs, my estate east of Little Hunting Creek, lying on the River Potomac, including the farm of three hundred and sixty acres, leased to Tobias Lear, as noticed before, and containing in the whole, by deed, two thousand and twenty-seven acres, be it more or less; which said estate it is my will and desire should be equitably and advantageously divided between them, according to quantity, quality, and other circumstances, when the youngest shall have arrived at the age of twenty-one years, by three judicious and disinterested men; one to be chosen by each of the brothers, and the third by these two. In the mean time, if the termination of my wife's interest therein should have ceased, the profits arising therefrom are to be applied for their joint uses and benefit.

THIRD. — And whereas it has always been my intention, since my expectation of having issue has ceased, to consider the grandchildren of my wife in the same light as I do my own relations, and to act a friendly part by them; more especially by the two whom we have raised from their earliest infancy, namely, Eleanor Parke Custis and George Washington Parke Custis; and whereas the former of these hath lately intermarried with Lawrence Lewis, a son of my deceased sister, Betty Lewis, by which union the inducement to provide for them both has been increased ; wherefore I give and bequeath to the said Lawrence Lewis, and Eleanor Parke Lewis, his wife, and their heirs, the residue of my Mount Vernon estate, not already devised to my nephew, Bushrod Washington, comprehended within the following description, viz. All the land north of the road leading from the ford of Dogue Run to the Gum Spring, as described in the devise of the other part of the tract to Bushrod Washington, until it comes to the stone and three red or Spanish oaks on the knoll; thence with the rectangular line to the back line (between Mr. Mason and me); thence with that line westerly along the new double ditch to Dogue Run, by the tumbling dam of my Mill; thence with the said run to the ford aforementioned. To which I add all the land I possess west of the said Dogue Run and Dogue Creek, bounded easterly and southerly thereby; together with the mill, distillery, and all other houses and improvements on the premises, making together about two thousand acres, be it more or less.

Fourth. — Actuated by the principle already mentioned, I give and bequeath to George Washington Parke Custis, the grandson of my wife, and my ward, and to his heirs, the tract I hold on Four Mile Run, in the vicinity of Alexandria, containing one thousand two hundred acres, more or less, and my entire square, No. 21, in the city of Washington.

FIFTH. — All the rest and residue of my estate real and personal, not disposed of in manner aforesaid, in whatsoever consisting, wheresoever lying, and whensoever found, (a schedule of which, as far as is recollected, with a reasonable estimate of its value, is hereunto annexed,) I desire may be sold by my executors, at such times, in such manner, and on such credits, (if an equal, valid, and satisfactory distribution of the specific property cannot be made without,) as in their judgment shall be most conducive to the interest of the parties concerned; and the moneys. arising therefrom to be divided into twenty-three equal parts, and applied as follows, viz. To William Augustine Washington, Elizabeth Spotswood, Jane Thornton, and the heirs of Ann Ashton, sons and daughters of my deceased brother, Augustine Washington, I give and bequeath four parts; that is, one part to each of them. To Fielding Lewis, George Lewis, Robert Lewis, Howell Lewis, and Betty Carter, sons and daughters of my deceased sister, Betty Lewis, I give and bequeath five other parts; one to each of them. To George Steptoe Washington, Lawrence Augustine Washington, Harriot Parks, and the heirs of Thornton Washington, sons and daughters of my deceased brother Samuel Washington, I give and bequeath other four parts; one to each of them. To Corbin Washington, and the heirs of Jane Washington, son and daughter of my deceased brother, John Augustine Washington, I give and bequeath two parts; one to each of them. To Samuel Washington, Frances Ball, and Mildred Hammond, son and daughters of my brother Charles Washington, I give and bequeath three parts; one part to each of them. And to George Fayette Washington, Charles Augustine Washington, and Maria Washington, sons and daughter of my deceased nephew, George Augustine Washington, I give one other part; that is, to each a third of that part. To Elizabeth Parke Law, Martha Parke Peter, and Eleanor Parke Lewis, I give and bequeath three other parts; that is, a part to each of them. And to my nephews, Bushrod Washington and Lawrence Lewis, and to my ward, the grandson of my wife, I give and bequeath one other part; that is, a third thereof to each of them. And, if it should so happen, that any of the persons whose names are here enumerated (unknown to me) should now be dead, or should die before me, that in either of these cases, the heirs of such deceased person shall, notwithstanding, derive all the benefits of the bequest, in the same manner as if he or she was actually living at the time. And, by way of advice, I recommend it to my executors not to be precipitate in disposing of the landed property, (herein directed to be sold,) if from temporary causes the sale thereof should be dull; experience having fully evinced, that the price of land, especially above the falls of the river and on the western waters, has been progressively rising, and cannot be long checked in its increasing value. And I particularly recommend it to such of the legatees (under this clause of my will), as can make it convenient, to take each a share of my stock in the Potomac Company, in preference to the amount of what it might sell for; being thoroughly convinced myself, that no uses to which the money can be applied, will be so productive as the tolls arising from this navigation when in full operation, (and thus, from the “nature of things, it must be, ere long,) and more especially if that of the Shenandoah is added thereto.

The family vault at Mount Vernon requiring repairs, and being improperly situated besides, I desire that a new one of brick, and upon a larger scale, may be built at the foot of what is commonly called the Vineyard Enclosure, on the ground which is marked out; in which my remains, with those of my deceased relations (now in the old vault), and such others of my family as may choose to be entombed there, may be deposited. And it is my express desire, that my corpse may be interred in a private manner, without parade or funeral oration.

LAstLY, I constitute and appoint my dearly beloved wife, Martha Washington, my nephews, William Augustine Washington, Bushrod Washington, George Steptoe Washington, Samuel Washington, and Lawrence Lewis, and my ward, George Washington Parke Custis (when he shall have arrived at the age of twenty-one years), executrix and executors of this my will and testament; in the construction of which it will be readily perceived, that no professional character has been consulted, or has had any agency in the draft; and that, although it has occupied many of my leisure hours to digest, and to throw it into its present form, it may, notwithstanding, appear crude and incorrect; but, having endeavoured to be plain and explicit in all the devises, even at the expense of prolixity, perhaps of tautology, I hope and trust that no disputes will arise concerning them. But if, contrary to expectation, the case should be otherwise, from the want of legal expressions, or the usual technical terms, or because too much or too little has been said on any of the devises to be consonant with law, my will and direction expressly is, that all disputes (if unhappily any should arise) shall be decided by three impartial and intelligent men, known for their probity and good understanding; two to be chosen by the disputants, each having the choice of one, and the third by those two; which three men, thus chosen, shall, unfettered by law or legal constructions, declare their sense of the testator's intention; and such decision is, to all intents and purposes, to be as binding on the parties as if it had been given in the Supreme Court of the United States.

In witness of all and of each of the things herein contained, I have set my hand and seal, this ninth day of July, in the year one thousand seven hundred and ninety,2 and of the Independence of the United States the twenty-fourth.


1 In the original manuscript, George Washington's name was written at the bottom of every page.

2 It appears that the testator omitted the word “nine.”

SOURCE: Jared Sparks, The Writings of George Washington; Being His Correspondence, Addresses, Messages, and other Papers Official and Private, p. 569-80

Saturday, August 18, 2018

In The Review Queue: A Broken Regiment

by Lesley J. Gordon

A Broken Regiment recounts the tragic history of one of the Civil War's most ill-fated Union military units. Organized in the late summer of 1862, the 16th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry was unprepared for battle a month later, when it entered the fight at Antietam. The results were catastrophic: nearly a quarter of the men were killed or wounded, and Connecticut's 16th panicked and fled the field. In the years that followed, the regiment participated in minor skirmishes before surrendering en masse in North Carolina in 1864. Most of its members spent months in southern prison camps, including the notorious Andersonville stockade, where disease and starvation took the lives of over one hundred members of the unit.

The struggles of the 16th led survivors to reflect on the true nature of their military experience during and after the war, and questions of cowardice and courage, patriotism and purpose, were often foremost in their thoughts. Over time, competing stories emerged of who they were, why they endured what they did, and how they should be remembered. By the end of the century, their collective recollections reshaped this troubling and traumatic past, and the "unfortunate regiment" emerged as "The Brave Sixteenth," their individual memories and accounts altered to fit the more heroic contours of the Union victory.

The product of over a decade of research, Lesley J. Gordon's A Broken Regiment illuminates this unit's complex history amid the interplay of various, and often competing, voices. The result is a fascinating and heartrending story of one regiment's wartime and postwar struggles.

About the Author

Lesley J. Gordon is professor of history at Akron University, author of General George E. Pickett in Life and Legend, and coeditor of Intimate Strategies of the Civil War: Military Commanders and Their Wives.

ISBN 978-0807157305, LSU Press, © 2014, Hardcover, 408 pages, Photographs, Maps, Appendix, End Notes & Index. $49.95.  To purchase this book click HERE.

Official Reports of the Campaign in North Alabama and Middle Tennessee, November 14, 1864 — January 23, 1865: No. 103. Report of Col. Cicero Maxwell, Twenty-sixth Kentucky Infantry, of operations December 15-16, 1864

No. 103.

Report of Col. Cicero Maxwell, Twenty-sixth Kentucky Infantry, of operations December 15-16, 1864.

Five Miles North of Columbia,, Tenn., December 22, 1864.

CAPTAIN: In compliance with orders I respectfully submit the following report of the part taken by the Twenty-sixth Kentucky Volunteer Infantry in the actions near Nashville, Tenn., on the 15th and 16th instant:

We left our camp near Fort Negley about 8 a, m. on the 15th instant; moved slowly two or three miles toward the right, passed through our outer line of works on the Hardin turnpike, and formed line of battle at 11 a.m., just outside the works and on the left of the pike, the Twenty-sixth Kentucky Volunteers being the right of the First Brigade. In forming line one of our men, James H. Cohron, Company B, was instantly killed by the accidental discharge of his own gun. Between 12 m. and 1 p.m. we were moved forward about a mile, the right considerably advanced, and halted in a lane. A heavy cannonade was going on at the time, and the enemy's shells occasionally exploded near us, but no one was injured. After remaining here an hour or so we were moved by the right flank, changing direction somewhat to the right, a mile perhaps, again formed in line of battle, and moved briskly forward. As we commenced to move a strong position of the rebels in our front was gallantly charged by some dismounted cavalry, and a number of prisoners and several pieces of artillery were captured. We continued to move, our right advancing, until our line was nearly or quite perpendicular to the one first formed in the forenoon; and at little more than a mile from where we formed line the second time our brigade charged a strong position of the enemy on one of the high hills, or knobs rather, between the Hillsborough and Granny White pikes, about five miles from Nashville, and though the men were exposed to a galling front and cross-fire, they moved steadily and rapidly forward, drove the rebels in great disorder from their positions, and captured a number of prisoners and several pieces of artillery. In a few minutes we were moved about half a mile farther, and took position at sundown on a high hill exposed to a cross-fire from the enemy posted on another hill on our right. Here we remained all night and threw up earth-works. Our regiment was not regularly engaged on the 16th, but was moved forward with the First Brigade the final charge was made late in the afternoon, and bivouacked for the night near the new house of Mr. Lea, on the left of the Granny White pike.

The line officers of the Twenty-sixth Kentucky, without exception, and the enlisted men, with few exceptions, behaved very gallantly. We lost 2 men killed, besides Cohron, and had 44 wounded, some severely, but the most of them slightly. Captain Hackett, who, as senior line officer, was assisting me in the absence of the lieutenant-colonel and major, and was mounted, was severely wounded while bravely urging the men forward. The color-bearer, James Scott, was severely wounded in the leg as he ascended the hill but would not go to the rear until he had planted our regimental flag on the top, and he was among the first there. Lieutenant Brown, acting adjutant, behaved with great gallantry and rendered me great assistance.

I inclose herewith a list of the names of the killed and wounded:*

I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

C. MAXWELL,         
Colonel Twenty-sixth Kentucky Volunteer Infantry.
Capt. T. C. HONNELL,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

* Embodied in table, p. 99.

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 45, Part 1 (Serial No. 93), p. 373-4

Statement of Messrs. Miles And Keitt, of what Transpired Between the President and the South Carolina Delegation, between January 1 & 14, 1861

In compliance with the request of the Convention, we beg leave to make the following statement:

On Saturday, the 8th of December, several of the South Carolina delegation, including ourselves, waited upon the President. At this time, there was a growing belief that reinforcements were on the eve of being sent to the forts in Charleston harbor. It was known that the subject was frequently and earnestly discussed in the Cabinet. It was rumored that General Cass and Mr. Holt were urgent that reinforcements should be sent. Upon our being announced, the President, who was then in Cabinet Council, came out to us in the ante-room. We at once entered into a conversation upon the topic, which was so closely occupying his thoughts as well as ours. The President seemed much disturbed and moved. He told us that he had had a painful interview with the wife of Major Anderson, who had come on from New York to see him. She had manifested great anxiety and distress at the situation of her husband, whom she seemed to consider in momentary danger of an attack from an excited and lawless mob. The President professed to feel a deep responsibility resting upon him to protect the lives of Major Anderson and his command. We told him that the news that reinforcements were on their way to Charleston, would be the surest means of provoking what Mrs. Anderson apprehended, and what he so much deprecated. We said, further, that we did not believe that Major Anderson was in any danger of such an attack; that the general sentiment of the State was against any such proceeding. That, prior to the action of the State Convention, then only ten days off, we felt satisfied that there would be no attempt to molest the forts in any way. That, after the Convention met, — while we could not possibly undertake to say what that body would see fit to do, — we yet hoped and believed that nothing would be done until we had first endeavored, by duly accredited Commissioners, to negotiate for a peaceful settlement of all matters, including the delivery of the forts, between South Carolina and the Federal Government. At the same time, we again reiterated our solemn belief that any change in the then existing condition of things in Charleston harbor, would, in the excited state of feeling at home, inevitably precipitate a collision. The impression made upon us was, that the President was wavering, and had not decided what course he would pursue. He said he was glad to have had this conversation with us, but would prefer that we should give him a written memorandum of the substance of what we had said. This we did on Monday, the 10th. It was in these words:

The President did not like the word “provided,” because it looked as if we were binding him while avowing that we had no authority to commit the Convention. We told him that we did not so understand it. We were expressing our convictions and belief, predicated upon the maintenance of a certain condition of things, which maintenance was absolutely, and entirely in his power. If he maintained such condition, then we believed that collision would be avoided until the attempt at a peaceable negotiation had failed. If he did not, then we solemnly assured him that we believed collision must inevitably, and at once, be precipitated. He seemed satisfied, and said it was not his intention to send reinforcements, or make any change. We explained to him what we meant by the words '”relative military status,” as applied to the forts; mentioned the difference between Major Anderson's occupying his then position at Fort Moultrie, and throwing himself into Fort Sumter. We stated that the latter step would be equivalent to reinforcing the garrison, and would just as certainly as the sending of fresh troops, lead to the result which we both desired to avoid. When we rose to go, the President said in substance, “After all, this is a matter of honor among gentlemen. I do not know that any paper or writing is necessary. We understand each other.” One of the delegation, just before leaving the room, remarked, “Mr. President, you have determined to let things remain as they are, and not to send reinforcements; but, suppose that you were hereafter to change jour policy for any reason, what then? That would put us, who are willing to use our personal influence to prevent any attack upon the forts before Commissioners are sent on to Washington, in rather an embarrassing position.” “Then,” said the President, “I would first return you this paper.” We do not pretend to give the exact words on either side, but we are sure we give the sense of both.

The above is a full and exact account of what passed between the President and the delegation. The President, in his letter to our Commissioners, tries to give the impression that our “understanding” or “agreement” was not a “pledge.” We confess, we are not sufficiently versed in the wiles of diplomacy to feel the force of this “distinction without a difference.” Nor can we understand how, in “a matter of honor among gentlemen,” in which “no paper or writing is necessary,” the very party who was willing to put it on that high footing can honorably descend to mere verbal criticism, to purge himself of what all gentlemen and men of honour must consider a breach of faith. The very fact that we (the representatives from South Carolina) were not authorized to commit or “pledge” the State, were not treating with the President as accredited ministers with full powers, but as gentlemen assuming, to a certain extent, the delicate task of' undertaking to foreshadow the course and policy of the State, should have made the President the more ready to strengthen our hands to bring about and carry out that course and policy which he professed to have as much at heart as we had. While we were not authorized to say that the Convention would not order the occupation of the forts immediately after secession, and prior to the sending on of Commissioners, the President, as Commander-in-chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, could most positively say, that so long as South Carolina abstained from attacking and seizing the forts, he would not send reinforcements to them, or allow their relative military status to be changed. We were acting in the capacity of gentlemen holding certain prominent positions, and anxious to exert such influence as we might possess, to effect a peaceful solution of pending political difficulties, and prevent, if possible, the horrors of war. The President was acting in a double capacity; not only as a gentleman, whose influence in carrying out his share of the understanding, or agreement, was potential, but as the head of the army, and, therefore, having the absolute control of the whole matter of reinforcing or transferring the garrison at Charleston. But we have dwelt long enough upon this point. Suffice it to say, that considering the President as bound in honor, if not by treaty stipulation, not to make any change in the forts, or to send reinforcements to them, unless they were attacked, we of the delegation who were elected to the Convention, felt equally bound in honor to do everything on our part to prevent any premature collision. This Convention can bear us witness as to whether or not we endeavored honorably to carry out our share of the agreement.

The published debates at the very commencement of the session, contain the evidence of our good faith. We trusted the President. We believed his wishes concurred with his policy, and that both were directed to avoiding any inauguration of hostilities. We were confirmed in our confidence, and reassured in our belief by a significant event which took place subsequent to our interview. He allowed his premier Cabinet officer, an old and tried friend to resign, rather than yield to his solicitations for the reinforcement of the garrison at Charleston. We urged this as a convincing proof of his firmness and sincerity. But how have we been deceived! The news of Major Anderson's coup produced a sudden and unexpected change in the President's policy. While declaring that his withdrawal from Fort Moultrie to Fort Sumter was “without orders, and contrary to orders,” he yet refused, for twelve hours, to take any action in the matter. For twelve hours, therefore, without any excuse, he refused to redeem his plighted word. No subsequent acts on the part of our State — no after reasons — can wipe away the stain which he suffered to rest upon his “honor as a gentleman,” while those hours, big with portentous events, rolled slowly by. His Secretary of War, impatient of a delay, every moment of which he felt touched his own honor, resigned. He did so solely on the ground that the faith of the government — solemly pledged — was broken, if it failed promptly to undo what had been done contrary to its wishes — against its settled policy — and in violation of its distinct agreement. The President accepted his resignation without comment. He did not attempt to disabuse the mind of his Secretary as to what was the true position of the Government. What a spectacle does the President's vacillating and disingenuous course present! He allows one Secretary to resign rather than abandon a policy which he has agreed upon. Scarcely have a few short weeks elapsed, and he accepts the resignation of another, rather than adhere to that very policy. He makes an agreement with gentlemen which, while he admits that they have faithfully kept it on their part, he himself evades and repudiates. And this he does rather than redress a wrong — correct an error — what he himself considers an error — committed by a subordinate, without his orders, and contrary to his wishes! It was at least due to Mr. Floyd, who, as one of his Cabinet, had officially and personally stood by his administration from its very commencement — through good report, and through evil report — to have explained to him that he was, in the President's opinion, laboring under a misapprehension. At least, to have said to him, “you are mistaken about this matter — do not leave me on a false issue.” But no; he coldly, ungraciously, yet promptly, receives the resignation without a syllable of remonstrance, and thus tacitly, but unequivocally, accepts without shame the issue presented. He does not deny that the faith of his government is pledged, but he deliberately refuses to redeem it.


SOURCE: The Correspondence Between the Commissioners of the State of So. Ca. to the Government at Washington and the President of the United States, p. 21-6, Published in The Richmond Daily Dispatch, Richmond, Virginia, January 14, 1861, p. 1

Friday, August 17, 2018

Amos A. Lawrence to Sarah Lawrence Robinson, about September 1856

Not long since the President wrote to my brother that he had given such instructions as would gratify him and his friends here, especially my mother, whose good opinion he valued more than that of all the politicians.

SOURCE: William Lawrence, Life of Amos A. Lawrence: With Extracts from His Diary and Correspondence, p. 111

Thomas Wentworth Higginson to Louisa Storrow Higginson, 1857

Dearest Mother:

I thought, when waiting for admission to President Quincy's study, that there was really nobody living, except the veteran Humboldt, before whom I should feel so much awe, as in the presence of this ancient Doge. But when finally admitted, the impression of old college times was so strong that I felt an immediate expectation of an English oration or a little good advice. The latter came in the form of his views on Disunion, which he had evidently thought over pretty thoroughly, and stated with the utmost heartiness and even vehemence. He spoke just as he used to do, with occasional pauses for a word, though not often; and with singular vigor and emphasis.

He expressed no sort of fear of Disunion; he was “perfectly willing to look over into this dark chasm which yawns in the midst of the Republic”; and as for fear of saying what he thought, “old age had made him courageous” (an unusual effect of old age, I thought). . . . He thinks that the Union may be dissolved; but that this is more likely to occur from the mere size and weight of our future nation, than from the hostilities arising from slavery, though, he says, this last “would no doubt be by far the most glorious cause of a separation.” He said some very weighty things about the general position and character of the nation, the necessity of discussing first principles, and the wrong done by any distrust of agitation. “Our fathers built our nest upon the waves, and we must not shudder at its rocking motion”; and then he quoted Fisher Ames, that our nation was not a “ship of state,” but a raft; safer, indeed, but one's feet were always in the water.

. . . He described his position very quietly, without egotism; said he felt no sensation of old age, except sometimes in walking; could work in his study from 9 A.M. to 9 P.M. without fatigue. “I am a miracle to myself,” he said. Then he told me of the memoir of J. Q. Adams on which he is now engaged and which will be out in a few weeks. “Then,” said he, with a sort of roguish pause, “I am going to school I smiled interrogatively, and his face lit up with a perfectly boyish smile of triumph. “Yes,” said he, “to school — all existence is a school, and I hope to keep on learning here, till I pass to a higher one.” I said, to draw him out, that after this I supposed he had no new literary plans. “Ah, I won't say that!” he quickly answered with the same gleeful smile, and afterwards quietly said that he had “one or two “ projects of that kind, which would require a great deal of preliminary preparation and on that he was about to enter! Thus tranquilly does this man of eighty-six plan his life from month to month.

SOURCE: Mary Potter Thacher Higginson, Editor, Letters and Journals of Thomas Wentworth Higginson, 1846-1906, p. 88-90

George L. Stearns to William L. Robinson of Boston, December 24, 1860

[December 24, 1860]

I am well satisfied that the Southern Party determined to secede, to see if they could not break up the Republican Party, which they hoped to do by a Northern Panic. They expected to break our banks, paralyze our industry, fail our merchants, and starve our operatives. That this was and is their game is evident by their constant endeavors, both in public and private, to induce the Northerners to make some proposition as a bribe to induce them to remain in the Union.

They have failed. Their plan is exposed, and the effect will be to consolidate the Republican Party more closely than it could be done by any other means. Neither will they be able to secede or break up the Union. It is confessed by the leaders of the Southern Party, they have now lost control of the movement. It is now in the hands of the masses and they tremble before the storm they have raised. If any proof of this was wanting, the fact that eminent Southern men of strong conservative tendencies are now most inveterate Fire-eaters, advocating extreme measures that their private judgment condemns, is conclusive on this point.

Here the leaders are sad; they see the signs of recuperation at the North and the daily depreciation and distress at the South; therefore they are anxious for a compromise. But they will not get it. First, because a compromise is not possible in the nature of things; and secondly, because the Republican Party are fully determined not to make one. An effective compromise is not possible when the parties have no faith in each other, and this is the case with the Northern and Southern parties.

Do you ask, What shall we do? I answer, Keep quiet*

I told you a short time since that no act of Congress or resolution of a convention could be of any avail to settle this controversy. That is in the hands of the Lord. To-day I believe it more firmly than ever.

* This watchword explains Sumner's attitude during the winter of 1861. Perhaps it originated with Sumner.

SOURCE: Preston Stearns, The Life and Public Services of George Luther Stearns, p. 238-40

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Samuel Gridley Howe to Horace Mann, Friday, January 24, 1851

Boston, Friday, 24th Jan’y, 1851.

My Dear Mann: — You will see by the papers that Sumner falls short four votes to-day of his yesterday's vote. I have been doing what I can, and have thrown aside the repugnance I had to being seen in the State House. I was astonished to find that save Downer's there was no energetic Free-soil pressure from without: within, our friends are like a flock of sheep without a shepherd.

I find that one of the Free-soil Whigs who is voting for Phillips is Rev. Mr. Wight of Wayland, father of our Miss W——, an excellent man and very conscientious, but whom Dr. Parkman and others had made to believe that Sumner was a very dangerous demagogue. I have laboured hard with him, and shall bring all the influence to bear upon him that I can. We will fight it out, but alas! it is almost a desperate game.

I wrote you a hasty line yesterday. I will write again to-morrow.

I have had a very heavy pressure of business — Annual Reports and others on my shoulders — but am getting free.

Ever yours,
S. G. Howe.

SOURCE: Laura E. Richards, Editor, Letters and Journals of Samuel Gridley Howe, Volume 2, p. 335-6

William T. Sherman to D. F. Boyd, November 27, 1859

Seminary Of Learning, near Alexandria, Nov. 27, 1859

Dear SIR: Mr. Manning tells me that he has written you that your presence here is not required till after Christmas. That may be, but it would seem to me better that we should all have been here at least a month earlier to confer, agree upon our textbooks, and provide such of them in advance as will be necessary on the start. I have sent to New York for the mathematical textbooks, and will send to New Orleans for the French grammar at least; and I think you had better order at once from New Orleans the grammar you design to teach. I think much of our future success [depends] on the appearance of our start, and therefore any want of preparation at the outset would be embarrassing. With arithmetic, algebra, French and Latin grammar, we can at least begin at once, and then the Academic Board or faculty must as early as we can all come together, agree upon the entire course and textbooks, when by a system I can see that these textbooks are provided in advance.

Little or nothing can be had in Alexandria, and I judge we will receive no part of our salaries till after the legislature meets and appropriates. Therefore I advise you to prepare accordingly, and to bring with you such room furniture as you have that admits of transportation.

I am a stranger in these parts and confess my ignorance of your locality and station, and make the above points for your benefit. Applications for admission come in pretty freely, and I think early in January we will have from sixty to one hundred.

Mr. Vallas and Mr. St. Ange are here, both foreigners. I shall, therefore, count much on your capacity of teaching and social qualities. Think well over the branches assigned to you, and on arrival give us the best course and textbooks you can select. I may have to go to New Orleans to provide for the tables, room furniture, etc., needed by the first of January.

SOURCES: The article is abstracted in Walter L. Fleming’s, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 68-9

John Brown to Thomas B. Musgrave,* November 17, 1859

Charlestown, Jefferson County, Va., Nov. 17, 1859.
T. B. Musgrave, Esq.

My Dear Young Friend, — I have just received your most kind and welcome letter of the 15th inst., but did not get any other from you. I am under many obligations to you and to your father for all the kindnesses you have shown me, especially since my disaster. May God and your own consciousness ever be your rewarders. Tell your father that 1 am quite cheerful; that I do not feel myself in the least degraded by my imprisonment, my chains, or the near prospect of the gallows. Men cannot imprison, or chain, or hang the soul. I go joyfully in behalf of millions that “have no rights” that this great and glorious, this Christian Republic “is bound to respect.” Strange change in morals, political as well as Christian, since 1776! I look forward to other changes to take place in God's good time, fully believing that “the fashion of this world passeth away.” I am unable now to tell you where my friend is, that you inquire after. Perhaps my wife, who I suppose is still with Mrs. Spring, may have some information of him. I think it quite uncertain, however.

Farewell. May God abundantly bless you all!

Your friend,
John Brown.

* The father of this gentleman was Mr. Musgrave, the English manufacturer at Northampton, mentioned in Chapter III.

SOURCES: Franklin B. Sanborn, The Life and Letters of John Brown, p. 593

John Atkinson to William Still, October 5, 1854

ST. CATHARINES, C. W., Oct. 5th, 1854.

MR. WM. STILL: — Dear Sir — I have learned of my friend, Richmond Bohm, that my clothes were in Philadelphia. Will you have the kindness to see Dr. Lundy and if he has my clothes in charge, or knows about them, for him to send them on to me immediately, as I am in great need of them. I would like to have them put in a small box, and the overcoat I left at your house to be put in the box with them, to be sent to the care of my friend, Hiram Wilson. On receipt of this letter, I desire you to write a. few lines to my wife, Mary Atkins, in the care of my friend, Henry Lowey, stating that I am well and hearty and hoping that she is the same. Please tell her to remember my love to her mother and her cousin, Emelin, and her husband, and Thomas Hunter; also to my father and mother. Please request her to write to me immediately, for her to be of good courage, that I love her better than ever. I would like her to come on as soon as she can, but for her to write and let me know when she is going to start.

Affectionately Yours,
John Atkinson.
W. H. Atkinson, Fugitive, Oct., 1854.

SOURCE: William Still, The Underground Railroad: A Record of Facts, Authentic Narratives, Letters &c., p. 300

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

George S. Denison to Salmon P. Chase, May 15, 1862

Washington, May 15th, 1862.

Sir: In compliance with your request, I give you a sketch of my life during the last eight years.

I graduated at the University of Vermont in 1854. My Father died in the year 1848, leaving property only sufficient for the support and education of the younger children of the family, for which reason I thought best to borrow money for the expenses of my own education.

I went to Texas in November 1854, and taught a school in the city of San Antonio for nearly three years with success, thereby paying the indebtedness just referred to.

In 1857 I married Mrs. Cordelia M. Forsyth, a lady born in the North, but whose residence at time was near Pensacola, Florida. Her property was large, including about seventy negroes. We settled in San Antonio where I bought property and commenced studying Law. A little less than one year after our marriage my wife died leaving me a son but a few days old. Not desiring that my child should be reared in the South, I brought him North when somewhat more than a year old, and placed him in the care of my relatives in Vermont, where he now is.

My time not occupied in the study of my profession, was fully taken up in the management of my wife's estate, until July 1860, when I went to Mexico, and traveled over a large portion of that country on horseback, going almost to the City of Mexico. I brought back two hundred horses intending to establish a stock ranch. On my return in December the country was already in confusion, and fearing the great troubles which have since occurred, I sold my stock, and since that time have been occupied in arranging matters so that I could honorably leave the country. My great object was to protect my child's interest in his mother's estate — an object which is secured, if rebels observe even their own laws.

I was in Pensacola when the property there of the United States was captured by the rebels, and, returning to San Antonio two months afterwards, was in considerable danger on account of writing articles for a Union newspaper which was destroyed soon afterwards by a mob, the Editor escaping to Mexico. Since then, I have been offered frequently, a commission in the rebel army, if I would join them.

On the 18th of last February, I left San Antonio in company with Col. Bomford and two other officers of the United States army, prisoners of war, who having been exchanged, recently arrived in this city. At that time we had heard of no important victories of the Union arms, and imagining that the Government needed the services of every truly loyal man, I desired and expected to join the Army of the United States.

Traveling through New Orleans, Corinth, and East Tennessee, I reached Richmond, hoping by the aid of influential friends there, to obtain permission to pass the lines. This was refused, and I was directed to return to Texas. In East Tennessee I left the railroad, and, guided by Union men, walked through woods and over mountains, to Richmond, Ky., a distance by the circuitous route travelled of about two hundred miles — and reached home in April.

It is not improper for me to say, that I am familiar with the people of the Southwest, their opinions and habits of thought and action. I have seen Slavery in all the Southern States, in all its conditions and aspects, and am now fully satisfied that its influence on the best interests of the country, is everywhere disastrous.

SOURCE: Diary and correspondence of Salmon P. ChaseAnnual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1902, Vol. 2, p. 298-300

Gustavus V. Fox to Virginia Woodbury Fox, May 4, 1861

Washington D.C. 4th May 1861
Dr V,

I wrote you yesterday and to-day I forward you a copy of the Prest letter to me. Under no circumstances is any mention of it whatever to get into the papers. The whole history of the affair is in able hands and in due time will appear, and the effect of that coming would be destroyed by any premature notice. I have no objection to Mrs. Wetmore seeing it as she has somewhat shared your feelings. The Prest wants me to take a ship in the navy, but Blair thinks I better go into the navy dept. especially as the naval war will be only one of blockade. So the Prest directed the transfer to another place of the present Ch. Clerk, and I shall take that place and when Congress meets in July the position will be made satisfactory.

I shall take Nell on next week, and I must go to Portsh for clothes &c before I return to Washington.

De Russy got his appointment in the army and Genl Cameron said he gave it upon the recommendation of Miss Ellen Woodbury. Nell has also got two other army appointments,—Kelly is to be 2d Lt. Jesse Woodbury has also applied for an appointment.

[Rest of letter torn off. — Eds.]

SOURCE: Robert Means Thompson & Richard Wainwright, Editors, Publications of the Naval Historical Society, Volume 9: Confidential Correspondence of Gustavus Vasa Fox, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, 1861-1865, Volume 1, p. 44-5

Diary of Gideon Welles: Tuesday, March 8, 1864

Received a telegram from Admiral Lee this P.M., confirming a rumor that was whispered yesterday of the death of young Dahlgren. He was surrounded, it seems, by superior forces near King and Queen Court-House, and fell attempting to cut his way through. Most of his command was captured. A few escaped and got on board of the gunboat which had been sent for their relief.

A more gallant and brave-hearted fellow was not to be found in the service. His death will be a terrible blow to his father, who doted upon him and not without reason. I apprehend this raid was not a wise and well-planned scheme. Tested by results, it was not. Whether the War Department advised it I do not know. I heard it spoken of indefinitely and vaguely, but with no certainty till the expedition had started.

Fox is full of zeal to get hold of the fraudulent contractors and all that belongs to them, and the whole subject is committed to him. I exceedingly dislike these irregular proceedings. There should be proper law officers to whom these matters should be committed, and not impose them upon the heads of Departments. I must try to have Congress take the matter in hand, and pass the necessary laws, or devise some proper action. I do not like matters as they now are.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 1: 1861 – March 30, 1864, p. 537

Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes to Lucy Webb Hayes, August 23, 1863

Camp White, August 23, i863.

Dearest:  — Very glad to get your good letter from Columbus. I wish I could travel with you a few weeks now. Everybody praises our nephew and his wife. That last phrase means Laura.

You must tell me more particulars about Fanny and Minnie, or do they call her Emily now? If she is growing into a young lady as fast as I suppose she is, Emily is the best name.

I got a letter from Mother at the same time with yours. She is very contented and happy at Fremont. You will be together soon. I hope you will manage to have the boys like her. She is not likely to have much time to enjoy with her grandsons, and I hope the most will be made of it.

I see that our beautiful little lost one is in your thoughts a great deal — much more perhaps than you thought he would be when you left here. If it does not sadden your life, as I think it does not, I am not sorry that you remember him so often. He was too lovely to be forgotten. Your moralizing on your want of dignity and all that doesn't disturb me. You'll do for your husband, and I love you so much, darling. Be cheerful and happy. Do as well as you can by the boys, but don't worry about them. They will come out sometime. — Love to all.

Affectionately yours,
Mrs. Hayes.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 429

Isaac E. Holmes* to Howell Cobb, August 21, 1847

Charleston [S. C.], Aug. 21st, ’47.

Dear Sir,  *  *  *  I wish the Southern Representatives would consent to act together without regard to Whig or Democrat. The Wilmot Proviso is paramount to all Party. We are in great danger. The North is resolved to crush Slavery — are we equally in the South resolved at all hazards to defend it? What say you for Benton's proposal to have a Northern President, without regard to the Wilmot Proviso?

* Congressman from South Carolina, 1839-1851.

SOURCE: Ulrich Bonnell Phillips, Editor, The Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1911, Volume 2: The Correspondence of Robert Toombs, Alexander H. Stephens, and Howell Cobb, p. 88

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

In The Review Queue: The Greatest and the Grandest Act

Editied by Christian G. Samito

In this volume ten expert historians and legal scholars examine the Civil Rights Act of 1866, the first federal civil rights statute in American history. The act declared that all persons born in the United States were citizens without regard to race, color, or previous condition of slavery. Designed to give the Thirteenth Amendment practical effect as former slave states enacted laws limiting the rights of African Americans, this measure for the first time defined U.S. citizenship and the rights associated with it.

Essays examine the history and legal ramifications of the act and highlight competing impulses within it, including the often-neglected Section 9, which allows the president to use the nation’s military in its enforcement; an investigation of how the Thirteenth Amendment operated to overturn the Dred Scott case; and New England’s role in the passage of the act. The act is analyzed as it operated in several states such as Kentucky, Missouri, and South Carolina during Reconstruction. There is also a consideration of the act and its interpretation by the Supreme Court in its first decades. Other essays include a discussion of the act in terms of contract rights and in the context of the post–World War II civil rights era as well as an analysis of the act’s backward-looking and forward-looking nature.

About the Editor

Christian G. Samito, who earned a law degree from Harvard Law School and a doctorate in American history, is the editor of Commanding Boston’s Irish Ninth: The Civil War Letters of Colonel Patrick R. Guiney, Ninth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry and “Fear Was Not in Him”: The Civil War Letters of Major General Francis C. Barlow, U.S.A, and the author of Becoming American under Fire: Irish Americans, African Americans, and the Politics of Citizenship during the Civil War Era.

ISBN 978-0809336524, Southern Illinois University Press, © 2018, Papberback, 292 pages, End Notes at the end of each essay, Appendix & Index. $45.00.  To purchase this book click HERE.

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: October 6, 1863

Gen. Bragg and others recommend Gen. Hood for promotion to a lieutenant-generalcy; but the President says it is impossible, as the number authorized by Congress is full. And Gen. Bragg also gives timely notice to the Commissary-General that the supplies at Atlanta will suffice for but a few weeks longer. This, Commissary-General Northrop took in high dudgeon, indorsing on the paper that there was no necessity for such a message to him; that Bragg knew very well that every effort had been and would be made to subsist the army; and that when he evacuated Tennessee, the great source of supplies was abandoned. In short, the only hope of obtaining ample supplies was for Gen. Bragg to recover Tennessee, and drive Rosecrans out of the country.

The President has at last consented to send troops for the protection of Wilmington — Martin's brigade; and also Clingman's, from Charleston, if the enemy should appear before Wilmington.
I read to-day an interesting report from one of our secret agents — Mr. A. Superviele — of his diplomatic operations in Mexico, which convinces me that the French authorities there favor the Confederate States cause, and anticipate closer relations before long. When he parted with Almonte, the latter assured him that his sympathies were with the South, and that if he held any position in the new government (which he does now) he might say to President Davis that his influence would be exerted for the recognition of our independence.

Mr. Jeptha Fowlkes, of Aberdeen, Miss., sends a proposition to supply our army with 200,000 suits of clothing, 50,000 pairs of shoes, etc. etc. from the United States, provided he be allowed to give cotton in return. Mr. Randolph made a contract with him last year, of this nature, which our government revoked afterward. We shall see what will be done now.

It is positively asserted that Gen. Bragg has arrested Lieut. Gen. (Bishop) Polk and Brig.-Gen. Hindman, for disobedience of orders in the battle of Chickamauga.

Letter From President Davis. — The Mobile papers publish the following letter from President Davis to the "Confederate Society," of Enterprise, Miss.:

There is a revival in the city among the Methodists; and that suggests a recent expiring. In my young days I saw much of these sensational excitements, and partook of them: for how can the young resist them? But it is the Cesarean method of being born again, violating reason, and perhaps outraging nature. There was one gratifying deduction derived from my observation tonight, at the Clay Street meeting-house — the absence of allusion to the war. I had supposed the attempt would be made by the exhorters to appeal to the fears of the soldiery, composing more than half the congregation, and the terrors of death be held up before them. But they knew better; they knew that every one of them had made up his mind to die, and that most of them expected either death or wounds in this mortal struggle for independence. The fact is they are familiar with death in all its phases, and there is not a coward among them. They look upon danger with the most perfect indifference, and fear not to die. Hence there was no allusion to the battle-field, which has become a scene divested of novelty. But the appeals were made to their sympathies, and reliance was placed on the force of example, and the contagion of ungovernable emotions.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 62-4