Monday, December 22, 2014

Diary of Mary Boykin Chesnut: April 4, 1861

Mr. Hayne said his wife moaned over the hardness of the chaperones’ seats at St. Andrew's Hall at a Cecilia Ball.1 She was hopelessly deposited on one for hours. '”And the walls are harder, my dear. What are your feelings to those of the poor old fellows leaning there, with their beautiful young wives waltzing as if they could never tire and in the arms of every man in the room. Watch their haggard, weary faces, the old boys, you know. At church I had to move my pew. The lovely Laura was too much for my boys. They all made eyes at her, and nudged each other and quarreled so, for she gave them glance for glance. Wink, blink, and snicker as they would, she liked it. I say, my dear, the old husbands have not exactly a bed of roses; their wives twirling in the arms of young men, they hugging the wall.”

While we were at supper at the Haynes's, Wigfall was sent for to address a crowd before the Mills House piazza. Like James Fitz James when he visits Glen Alpin again, it is to be in the saddle, etc. So let Washington beware. We were sad that we could not hear the speaking. But the supper was a consolation — pâté de foie gras salad, biscuit glacé and champagne frappé.

A ship was fired into yesterday, and went back to sea. Is that the first shot? How can one settle down to anything; one's heart is in one's mouth all the time. Any moment the cannon may open on us, the fleet come in.
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1 The annual balls of the St. Cecilia Society in Charleston are still the social events of the season. To become a member of the St. Cecilia Society is a sort of presentation at court in the sense of giving social recognition to one who was without the pale.

SOURCE: Mary Boykin Chesnut, Edited by Isabella D. Martin and Myrta Lockett Avary, A Diary From Dixie, p. 30-1

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: April 28, 1861

Saw Judge Scarburg, who has resigned his seat in the Court of Claims at Washington. I believe he brought his family, and abandoned his furniture, etc. Also Dr. Garnett, who left most of his effects in the hands of the enemy. He was a marked man, being the son-in-law of Gov. Wise.

Many clerks are passing through the city on their way to Montgomery, where they are sure to find employment. Lucky men, some of them! They have eaten Lincoln bread for more than a month, and most of them would have been turned out of office if there had been no secession. And I observe among them some who have left their wives behind to take care of their homes.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 29

Diary of Judith W. McGuire: July 1, 1861

A rumour of a skirmish, in which the Messrs. Ashby were engaged, and that Richard Ashby was severely wounded. I trust it may not be true.

SOURCE: Judith W. McGuire, Diary of a Southern Refugee, During the War, p. 33

Diary of Private Alexander G. Downing: Monday, February 22, 1864

We had a long hard day's march, with our brigade leading the corps. There were some wide swamps to cross and we had to build corduroy roads of rails and pine trees, over which to move the artillery. It was late before we went into bivouac.

Source: Alexander G. Downing, Edited by Olynthus B., Clark, Downing’s Civil War Diary, p. 169

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

Called up by daylight. This morning a hot one. Must bid farewell to this town. The people will no doubt be pleased to see us leaving. We had a very quiet time here. Roads very dusty. Our scouts report the enemy in all directions. The boys are in good spirits as we go marching along, taking observations, looking for points of interest. Passed within four miles of Virginia Natural Bridge. Was in hopes that we could see it. These are rough, stony roads. After a hard march we reached the town of Buchanon, near high and lofty mountains. Here the enemy had burned the bridge. The Engineer and Pioneer Corps made the ruins strong enough for us to cross. We camp for the night in a wheat field. Thankful to stop for a rest, after marching about twenty-four miles. It looks to us as though we shall be obliged to climb the mountains tomorrow. The road leads in that direction. This is a wild looking country. The scenery grand. Very few people can be seen as we pass through the towns and villages on the line of march, going farther in the enemy's country, and away from our base of supplies. It makes us feel that we are in for much hard work and marching.

SOURCE: Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary, 1862-1865, of Charles H. Lynch 18th Conn. Vol's, p. 76

Diary of Luman Harris Tenney: February 15, 1862

Theodore surprised me in the morning. Took a ride to Woodland Cemetery. Lizzie and Nettie came to camp. Heard Slade, Riddle and several others in the evening.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 7

71st Indiana Infantry

Organized at Terre Haute, Ind., July 21 to August 18, 1862. Mustered in at Indianapolis August 18, 1862, and left State for Lexington, Ky., August 18. Battle of Richmond, Ky., August 30. Regiment mostly captured, paroled and sent to Indianapolis, Ind. Reorganizing at Indianapolis till December, 1862. Ordered to Kentucky. Action at Muldraugh's Hill, Ky., December 27, 1862. Regiment again captured. Paroled and sent to Indianapolis, and on duty there till August 26, 1863. Designation of Regiment changed to 6th Indiana Cavalry February 22, 1863. (See 6th Indiana Cavalry.)

SOURCE: Frederick H. Dyer, A Compendium of the War of the 3, p. Rebellion, Part 1145

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Diary of Private Alexander G. Downing: Sunday, February 21, 1864

The weather is fine for marching. After a night's rest, we started early this morning and reaching Decatur, went into bivouac. The provision trains aim now to keep one day's march in advance of the army.

Source: Alexander G. Downing, Edited by Olynthus B., Clark, Downing’s Civil War Diary, p. 169

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

A hot morning. All is quiet. Gave my clothes a good washing, hanging them on the bushes to dry. A good swim and bath while waiting for them to dry. Dry quickly in this climate. No change of raiment, only one suit, we are in light marching order. A soldier's life in the field is not always one of cleanliness, marching in the dust and dirt, wading brooks and rivers, sleeping on the ground.

Orders from the Colonel. I have been made a corporal, for bravery on the battlefield of Piedmont, June 5th, 1864. So the orders read. I donned my chevrons for the honorable posish, 4th corporal, Company C, 18th Regiment, Connecticut Volunteers, at Lexington, Virginia, June 13th, 1864.

Marching orders received. We leave here tomorrow morning.

SOURCE: Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary, 1862-1865, of Charles H. Lynch 18th Conn. Vol's, p. 75-6

Diary of Luman Harris Tenney: February 15, 1862

A cold rainy day. Some snow towards night. Spent the evening at the tent. Played checkers and read. Boys played euchre.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 7

70th Indiana Infantry

Organized at Indianapolis, Ind., July 22 to August 8, 1862. Left State for Louisville, Ky., August 13. Attached to District of Louisville, Ky., Dept. of the Ohio, to November, 1862. Ward's Brigade, Dumont's 12th Division, Army of the Cumberland, to December, 1862. Ward's Brigade, Post of Gallatin, Tenn., Dept. of the Cumberland, to June, 1863. 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division Reserve Corps, Dept. of the Cumberland, to October, 1863. Ward's Brigade, Post and District of Nashville, Tenn., Dept. of the Cumberland, to January, 1864. 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 11th Army Corps, Army of the Cumberland, to April, 1864. 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 20th Army Corps, Army of the Cumberland, to June, 1865.

SERVICE.--Moved from Louisville, Ky., to Bowling Green, Ky., August, 1862. Duty there and along line of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad till November. Skirmishes at Russellsville and Glasgow September 30. Moved to Scottsville November 10, thence to Gallatin, Tenn., November 24, and duty along Louisville & Nashville Railroad from Gallatin to Nashville, Tenn., till February 9, 1863. Garrison duty at Gallatin till June 1. Moved to Lavergne June 1, thence to Murfreesboro, Tenn., June 30. Duty at Fortress Rosecrans, Murfreesboro, till August 19. Moved to Nashville, Tenn., August 19, and picket and fatigue duty at that point till February 24, 1864. Skirmish at Tullahoma, Tenn., October 23, 1863. March to Wauhatchie, Tenn., February 24-March 10. Atlanta (Ga.) Campaign May 1-September 8. Demonstrations on Rocky Faced Ridge May 8-11. Battle of Resaca May 14-15. Near Cassville May 19-24. Combat at New Hope Church May 25. Operations on line of Pumpkin Vine Creek and battles about Dallas, New Hope Church and Allatoona Hills May 25-June 5. Operations about Marietta and against Kenesaw Mountain June 10-July 2. Pine Mountain June 11-14. Lost Mountain June 15-17. Gilgal or Golgotha Church June 15. Muddy Creek June 17. Noyes Creek June 19. Kolb's Farm June 22. Assault on Kenesaw June 27. Ruff's or Neal Dow Station, Smyrna Camp Ground, July 4. Chattahoochie River July 5-17. Peach Tree Creek July 19-20. Siege of Atlanta July 22-August 25. Operations at Chattahoochie River Bridge August 26-September 2. Occupation of Atlanta September 2-November 15. Near Turner's and Howell's Ferries, Chattahoochie River, October 19 (Detachment). March to the sea November 15-December 10. Siege of Savannah December 10-21. Campaign of the Carolinas January to April, 1865. Lawtonville, S.C., February 2. Taylor's Hole Creek, Averysboro, N. C., March 16. Battle of Bentonville March 19-21. Occupation of Goldsboro March 24. Advance on Raleigh April 10-14. Occupation of Raleigh April 14. Bennett's House April 26. Surrender of Johnston and his army. March to Washington, D.C., via Richmond, Va., April 29-May 19. Grand Review May 24. Mustered out June 8, 1865. Recruits transferred to 33rd Indiana Infantry.

Regiment lost during service 2 Officers and 96 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 2 Officers and 103 Enlisted men by disease. Total 203.

SOURCE: Frederick H. Dyer, A Compendium of the War of the 3, p. Rebellion, Part 1145

Diary of Reverend James Freeman Clarke: Sunday, January 4, 1863

Preach New Year's sermon on the proclamation. Afternoon, Lord's Supper. Leave for Washington at 11.10.

SOURCE: Edwin Everett Hale, Editor, James Freeman Clarke: Autobiography, Diary and Correspondence, p. 285

Diary of Reverend James Freeman Clarke: January 7, 1863

Tom, Lilian and I leave [Philadelphia] for Washington at 11.35.

SOURCE: Edwin Everett Hale, Editor, James Freeman Clarke: Autobiography, Diary and Correspondence, p. 285

Diary of Reverend James Freeman Clarke: January 8, 1863

To the Capitol; President's levee. Call on Mr. Sam. Hooper, dine with Judge Thomas.1
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1 Hon. Benjamin F. Thomas, then member of Congress for Mr. Clarke's district.

SOURCE: Edwin Everett Hale, Editor, James Freeman Clarke: Autobiography, Diary and Correspondence, p. 285

Diary of Reverend James Freeman Clarke: January 11, 1863

Preach in the Senate Chamber; good congregation. Lilian and I drive with Mrs. S. Hooper to the contraband camp. Dine at Mr. Hooper's with Mr. Sumner and Captain Bliss.

SOURCE: Edwin Everett Hale, Editor, James Freeman Clarke: Autobiography, Diary and Correspondence, p. 285

Diary of Reverend James Freeman Clarke: January 12, 1863

Smithsonian; Sanitary; Capitol; Senate, House, and Library; Long Bridge.

SOURCE: Edwin Everett Hale, Editor, James Freeman Clarke: Autobiography, Diary and Correspondence, p. 285

Diary of Reverend James Freeman Clarke: January 13, 1863

Carriage with Henry Huidekoper and Colonel and Mrs. Ashurst to Arlington Heights, and to Colonel Wells' camp at Alexandria.

SOURCE: Edwin Everett Hale, Editor, James Freeman Clarke: Autobiography, Diary and Correspondence, p. 285

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Wilder Dwight to Elizabeth White Dwight, July 9, 1861

Tuesday Morning, July 9.

Dear Mother, — I suppose you will be glad to hear that we came out of the furnace like gold. Everything has gone well. I feel better than before starting, and the regiment, as soon as it got on board ship, found itself cool and well. We are off this afternoon. Good by. God bless you.

SOURCE: Elizabeth Amelia Dwight, Editor, Life and Letters of Wilder Dwight: Lieut.-Col. Second Mass. Inf. Vols., p. 45

Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. to John Lothrop Motley, April 29, 1860

Boston, April 29, 1860.

It was so pleasant, my dear Lothrop, to get a letter from you. I have kept it a week or two so as to have something more to tell you, yet I fear it will not be much after all. Yesterday the Saturday Club had its meeting. I carried your letter in my pocket, not to show to anybody, but to read a sentence or two which I knew would interest them all, and especially your kind message of remembrance. All were delighted with it; and on my proposing your health, all of them would rise and drink it standing. We then, at my suggestion, gave three times three in silence, on account of the public character of the place and the gravity and position of the high assisting personages. Be assured that you were heartily and affectionately, not to say proudly, remembered. Your honors are our honors, and when we heard you had received that superior tribute, which stamps any foreigner's reputation as planetary, at the hands of the French Institute, it was as if each of us had had a ribbon tied in his own buttonhole. I hoped very much to pick up something which might interest you from some of our friends who know more of the political movements of the season than I do.

I vote with the Republican party. I cannot hesitate between them and the Democrats. Yet what the Republican party is now doing it would puzzle me to tell you. What its prospects are for the next campaign, perhaps I ought to know, but I do not. I am struck with the fact that we talk very little politics of late at the club. Whether or not it is disgust at the aspect of the present political parties, and especially at the people who represent them, I cannot say; but the subject seems to have been dropped for the present in such society as I move about in, and especially in the club. We discuss first principles, enunciate axioms, tell stories, make our harmless jokes, reveal ourselves in confidence to our next neighbors after the Chateau Margaux has reached the emotional center, and enjoy ourselves mightily. But we do not talk politics. After the President's campaign is begun, it is very likely that we may, and then I shall have something more to say about Mr. Seward and his prospects than I have now.

How much pleasure your praise gave me I hardly dare to say. I know that I can trust it. You would not bestow it unless you liked what I had done, but you would like the same thing better if I had done it than coming from a stranger. That is right and kind and good, and notwithstanding you said so many things to please me, there were none too many. I love praise too well always, and I have had a surfeit of some forms of it. Yours is of the kind that is treasured and remembered. I have written in every number of the “Atlantic” since it began. I should think myself industrious if I did not remember the labors you have gone through, which simply astonish me. What delight it would be to have you back here in our own circle of men — I think we can truly say, whom you would find worthy companions: Agassiz, organizing the science of a hemisphere; Longfellow, writing its songs; Lowell, than whom a larger, fresher, nobler, and more fertile nature does not move among us; Emerson, with his strange, familiar remoteness of character, I do not know what else to call it; and Hawthorne and Dana, when he gets back from his voyage round the world, and all the rest of us thrown in gratis. But you must not stay too long; if all the blood gets out of your veins, I am afraid you will transfer your allegiance.

I am just going to Cambridge to an “exhibition,” in which Oliver Wendell Holmes speaks a translation (expectatur versio in lingua vernacula), the Apology for Socrates; Master O. W. Holmes, Jun., being now a tall youth, almost six feet high, and lover of Plato and of art.

I ought to have said something about your grand new book, but I have not had time to do more than read some passages from it. My impression is that of all your critics, that you have given us one of the noble historical pictures of our time, instinct with life and glowing with the light of a poetical imagination, which by itself would give pleasure, but which, shed over a great epoch in the records of our race, is at once brilliant and permanent. In the midst of so much that renders the very existence of a civilization amongst us problematical to the scholars of the Old World, it is a great pleasure to have the cause of letters so represented by one of our own countrymen, citizens, friends. Your honors belong to us all, but most to those who have watched your upward course from the first, who have shared many of the influences which have formed your own mind and character, and who now regard you as the plenipotentiary of the true Republic accredited to every court in Europe.

SOURCE: George William Curtis, editor, The Correspondence of John Lothrop Motley in Two Volumes, Library Edition, Volume 2, p. 87-90

Charles Eliot Norton to George William Curtis, August 24, 1861

Newport, 24 August, 1861.

. . . I do not agree with you that the war is likely to be short. Its issue may soon become certain, but it will be long before we can lay down our arms. Nor am I ready yet to share in any gloomy prognostications. I believe the people will save the country and the government in spite of all the weakness and mismanagement and corruption at Washington. Nor am I afraid of the effect of another defeat, — if another should come. It will indeed bring to the surface an immense show of cowardice, and meanness; but we have no right yet to believe that the temper of our people is so low that it will not rise with the trial and [sic] of calamity. I bate nothing of heart or hope, and I grieve to think that you should ever feel out of heart or despondent. We have not yet more than begun to rouse ourselves; we are just bracing to the work; but we are setting to it at last in earnest.

The practical matter to be attended to at this moment seems to me to be the change in the Cabinet. A change must be made, — and it will be made, if not by the pressure now brought to bear, then by a popular revolution. We shall have public meetings of a kind to enforce their resolves in the course of a few days, if Cameron, Welles and Smith are not removed, or the best reason given for retaining them. Mr. Seward ought to understand that it is not safe for him that they should any longer remain in the Cabinet. If another reverse were to come and they still there, the whole Cabinet would have to go; — and then let Mr. Lincoln himself look out for a Committee of Safety. . . .

Let me hear from you again soon, — and above all do not begin to doubt our final success.

If the fortunes of war go against us, if all our domestic scoundrels give aid to the cause of the rebels, — we still shall not fail, and the issue will be even better than our hopes.

Most affectionately
Yours,
Charles E. N.

SOURCE: Sara Norton and  M. A. DeWolfe Howe, Letters of Charles Eliot Norton, Volume 1, p. 241-2

John M. Forbes to Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe, August 21, 1861

Naushon, August 21,1861.

My Dear Doctor, — I have yours of the 19th. I confess to being one of that average class which constitutes the majority of our people, who as yet hesitate at the dreadful experiment of insurrection; if it comes as a necessity, an alternative to the subversion of republican institutions, we should not hesitate a moment. There seem to me three reasons against it at this time, apart from our natural shrinking from a measure of this sort upon humane grounds.

1st. It may unite the border States against us, and check any tendency to division in the cotton States.

2d. It will, if resorted to from anything but obvious, stern necessity, divide the North.

3d. Its success as a weapon against the South is by no means certain. It is, to my mind, — with the light of the past four months' quiet among the blacks, and of John Brown's experience, — very uncertain unless resorted to under favorable circumstances. At present it seems to me worth more as a weapon to hold in reserve to threaten with, than one to strike with.

If resorted to now it would be in a hesitating, uncertain manner by our administration, and from that, if nothing else, would be likely to fail. Once tried, and failed in, a great source of terror to the South and of confidence to the North is lost.

I go therefore for holding it in reserve until public sentiment, which is the chief motive power behind the administration, drives them to use it decisively. Our people throughout have been ahead of our government, which has followed rather laggingly: — it is not a leading, but a following administration. It does not act, even now, readily when first urged by the popular tide. Nothing but the full force of the current starts it. If we could get a good hurricane to help the tide, it might sweep away some of the weaker materials in the Cabinet, and possibly put a leader in their place who would thenceforward draw after him the Cabinet and the people.

Your suggestion, then, even if it were the best thing, seems to me premature. As to urging on the government to vigor, to making serious war with shot and hemp, there would not, there could not, be two opinions with the people. Governor Andrew could give the hint to our Massachusetts papers, and they would all readily sound the trumpet for vigor and for discipline, and the “Evening Post” and such papers would readily help.

As to anything more, or in the direction you suggest, I want to see the demand come from the people, from the democracy, rather than from either the leaders or the abolitionists!

Perhaps the poverty of the South may soon begin to afflict the slaves, and they may lead off. If they do, the responsibility is not ours.

Very truly yours,
John M. Forbes.

SOURCE: Sarah Forbes Hughes, Letters and Recollections of John Murray Forbes, Volume 1, p. 239-40

George William Curtis to Charles Eliot Norton, December 28, 1862

December 28, '62.

This will be a crucial week. The counter proclamation, the edict of emancipation, the opposition of Seymour & Co., and the mad desperation of the reaction, — all will not avail. The war must proceed, and to its natural result. Even Joseph Harper, the most Southern of the firm, said to me yesterday, “The negroes must be armed, and if Seymour does not support the war he will have no support.” Perhaps, if any possible way of settlement could be devised, there might be a strong party for it, but in deep water we must swim or drown. All our reverses, our despondence, our despairs, bring us to the inevitable issue: shall not the blacks strike for their freedom?

SOURCE: Edward Cary, George William Curtis, p. 161

1st Lieutenant Charles Fessenden Morse, August 11, 1861

Maryland Heights, August 11,1861.

There is nothing very new to write, everything is quiet; drills go on three times daily. I had command of the picket at Sandy Hook Thursday night, consisting of some sixty men. We had frequent alarms, through the night, from the other side of the river, caused by firing across the Shenandoah; the long roll was beaten and several of the battalions turned out under arms, but nothing came of it but a pig and dog being killed on our side. The orders to me were to allow no one to pass the ford or ferry without a pass from General Banks or Colonel Gordon, and to shoot any one who attempted to pass without.

I had an interview with Banks Friday morning, to get some orders from him, and give him some information. He was very pleasant and gave me a great deal of discretionary power about shutting up stores, hotels, etc., whenever I had any trouble with liquor. The whole discipline of the army is improving very fast; the soldiers and officers are all obliged to stay by their camps except on special occasions. There is going to be an examination before a military board of officers which will probably throw out a great many inefficient ones. I am happy to say we get some of our pay very soon now; our muster rolls have gone to Washington, and the Paymaster will be here some time this week. We are paid from May 11th until June 30th, this time; that is for me about one hundred and forty dollars.

I just heard that we were to move away from here tomorrow and join our brigade, some four miles off. I shall be glad, on some accounts, as it will join our regiment together again and get us off from this continual guard duty. The weather here is steadily hot, averaging from ninety to one hundred degrees.

SOURCE: Charles Fessenden Morse, Letters Written During the Civil War, 1861-1865, p. 15-6

Captain Charles Russell Lowell to Josephine Shaw, May 20, 1863 – 9 p.m.

Camp E. Of Capitol, 9 P. M., May 20, 1863.

I wrote yesterday that General Casey1 had ordered a review for to-day. In my baby innocence, I prepared him a nice one, strictly according to tactics, and had rehearsed with my fellows, moving them round by companies at a walk with successful solemnity; but the naughty Casey, when he arrived on the ground, directed me to take them round by platoons at a walk, and then at a trot. I did it, thinking that “’t were done when it were done” and therefore “’t were well it were done quickly” (Shakespeare) — but it was not done, — graceless Casey sent me word to take them round at a gallop. I smiled, — I knew I was well mounted and could keep ahead of my Command,— I knew I could take round most of my horses and perhaps a few of my men, — I smiled, for I thought of Casey's probable fate, — one Major-General less, dead of a review, ridden over by wild horses. When I made the last turn, I glanced backward, the column was half a mile wide where I could last see it and seemed to stretch ad infinitum. When I re-formed my line, there were half a dozen riderless horses, but straight in front in the old place was troublesome Casey, smiling and satisfied as ever. I was disappointed, I thought nothing could resist that charge; I have lost half my faith in cavalry, and Casey, an Infantry General, has lived to see it. Don't blush for us, — we are entirely satisfied with our own appearances, — and there was only one carriage-load of female military judges present, so don't blush.
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1 Brigadier-General Silas Casey, U. S. V., a veteran of the Seminole and Mexican wars and service in the Puget Sound District, was then assisting in organizing the troops in and around Washington. In the previous year he distinguished himself as a division commander at Fair Oaks. He was the author of Infantry Tactics adopted by the Government in 1862.

The summons sent, nine days later, by General Casey to Colonel Lowell, preparing him to take the field, showed that he had seen good promise in the regiment.

SOURCE: Edward Waldo Emerson, Life and Letters of Charles Russell Lowell, p. 240-1, 417

Diary of Josephine Shaw Lowell: August 12, 1862

This has been a sad day for the three houses that stand on the Nahant shore, with the moon looking so calmly down on them, the moon who knew all Saturday night and yet wouldn't tell. Richard Carey is dead and his poor young wife has been crying bitterly all the afternoon, left with her one little girl to whom she has taught her father's name and kept him always in her mind. She had her trunk packed and was much excited this morning, expecting to go soon to nurse him, when came a telegram to her Father from Col. Andrews, saying: "Captains Carey, Abbott, Williams and Goodwin, and Lieut. Perkins were found dead on the field of battle. Send your son on for their bodies."1
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1 This fight was at Cedar Mountain.

SOURCE: William Rhinelander Stewart, The Philanthropic Work of Josephine Shaw Lowell, p. 32

John Brown: An Idea of Things In Kansas, Spring 1857

I propose, in order to make this meeting as useful and interesting as I can, to try and give a correct idea of the condition of things in Kansas, as they were while I was there, and as I suppose they still are, so far as the great question at issue is concerned. And here let me remark that in Kansas the question is never raised of a man, Is he a Democrat? Is he a Republican? The questions there raised are, Is he a Free-State man? or, Is he a proslavery man?

I saw, while in Missouri in the fall of 1855, large numbers on their way to Kansas to vote, and also returning after they had so done, as they said. I, together with four of my sons, was called out to help defend Lawrence in the fall of 1855, and travelled most of the way on foot, and during a dark night, a distance of thirty-five miles, where we were detained with some five hundred others, or thereabout, from five to fifteen days, — say an average of ten days, — at a cost to each per day of $1.50 as wages, to say nothing of the actual loss and suffering it occasioned; many of them leaving their families at home sick, their crops not secured, their houses unprepared for winter, and many of them without houses at all. This was the case with myself and all my sons, who were unable to get any house built after our return. The loss in that case, as wages alone, would amount to $7,500. Loss and suffering in consequence cannot be estimated. I saw at that time the body of the murdered Barber, and was present when his wife and other friends were brought in to see him as he lay in the clothes he had on when killed, — no very pleasant sight!

I went, in the spring of last year, with some of my sons among the Buford men, in the character of a surveyor, to see and hear from them their business into the Territory; this took us from our work. I and numerous others, in the spring of last year, travelled some ten miles or over on foot, to meet and advise as to what should be done to meet the gathering storm; this occasioned much loss of time. I also, with many others, about the same time travelled on foot a similar distance to attend a meeting of Judge Cato's court, to find out what kind of laws he intended to enforce; this occasioned further loss of time. I with six sons and a son-in-law was again called out to defend Lawrence, May 20 and 21, and travelled most of the way on foot and during the night, being thirty-five miles. From that date none of us could do any work about our homes, but lost our whole time until we left, in October last, excepting one of my sons, who had a few weeks to devote to the care of his own and his brother's family, who had been burned out of their houses while the two men were prisoners.

From about the 20th of May of last year hundreds of men like ourselves lost their whole time, and entirely failed of securing any kind of crop whatever. I believe it safe to say that five hundred Free-State men lost each one hundred and twenty days, at $1.50 per day, which would be, to say nothing of attendant losses, $90,000. I saw the ruins of many Free-State men's houses at different places in the Territory, together with stacks of grain wasted and burning, to the amount of, say $50,000; making, in lost time and destruction of property, more than $150,000. On or about the 30th of May last two of my sons, with several others, were imprisoned without other crime than opposition to bogus enactments, and most barbarously treated for a time,—one being held about one month, the other about four months. Both had their families in Kansas, and destitute of homes, being burned out after they were imprisoned. In this burning all the eight were sufferers, as we all had our effects at the two houses. One of my sons had his oxen taken from him at this time, and never recovered them. Here is the chain with which one of them was confined, after the cruelty, sufferings, and anxiety he underwent had rendered him a maniac, — yes, a maniac.

On the 2d of June last my son-in-law was terribly wounded (supposed to be mortally), and two other Free-State men, at Black Jack. On the 6th or 7th of June last one of my sons was wounded by accident in camp (supposed to be mortally), and may prove a cripple for life. In August last I was present and saw the mangled and shockingly disfigured body of the murdered Hoyt, of Deerfield, Mass., brought into our camp. I knew him well. I saw several other Free-State men who were either killed or wounded, whose names I cannot now remember. I saw Dr. Graham, who was a prisoner with the ruffians on the 2d of June last, and was present when they wounded him, in an attempt to kill him, as he was trying to save himself from being murdered by them during the fight of Black Jack. I know that for much of the time during the last summer the travel over a portion of the Territory was entirely cut off, and that none but bodies of armed men dared to move at all. I know that for a considerable time the mails on different routes were entirely stopped, and that notwithstanding there were abundant United States troops at hand to escort the mails, such escorts were not furnished as they might or ought to have been. I saw while it was standing, and afterward saw the ruins of, a most valuable house, full of good articles and stores, which had been burned by the ruffians for a highly civilized, intelligent, and most exemplary Christian Indian, for being suspected of favoring Free-State men. He is known as Ottawa Jones, or John T. Jones. In September last I visited a beautiful little Free-State town called Stanton, on the north side of the Osage or Marais des Cygnes River, as it is called, from which every inhabitant had fled (being in fear of their lives), after having built them, at a heavy expense, a strong block-house or wooden fort for their protection. Many of them had left their effects liable to be destroyed or carried off, not being able to remove them. This was a most gloomy scene, and like a visit to a vast sepulchre.

During last summer and fall deserted houses and cornfields were to be met with in almost every direction south of the Kansas River. I saw the burning of Osawatomie by a body of some four hundred ruffians, and of Franklin afterward by some twenty-seven hundred men, — the first-named on August 30, the last-named September 14 or 15. Governor Geary had been for some time in the Territory, and might have saved Franklin with perfect ease. It would not have cost the United States one dollar to have saved Franklin.

I, with five sick and wounded sons and son-in-law, was obliged for some time to lie on the ground, without shelter, our boots and clothes worn out, destitute of money, and at times almost in a state of starvation, and dependent on the charities of the Christian Indian and his wife whom I before named.1 I saw, in September last, a Mr. Parker, whom I well know, with his head all bruised over and his throat partly cut, having before been dragged, while sick, out of the house of Ottawa Jones, the Indian, when it was burned, and thrown for dead over the bank of the Ottawa Creek.

I saw three mangled bodies of three young men, two of which were dead and had lain on the open ground for about eighteen hours for the flies to work at, the other living with twenty buckshot and bullet-holes in him. One of those two dead was my own son.
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1 Notwithstanding the losses and charities of this good Indian in 1856, he was the next year in condition to make further gifts to Brown, as appears by this letter: —

Ottawa Creek, K. T., Oct. 13, 1857.
Mr. John Brown.

Dear Sir, — Respecting the account you have against us as a band, I would respectfully inform you that I have presented the matter before them two or three different times, and I cannot persuade them but what was paid by them was all that could be reasonably demanded of them, from the bargain they entered into with Jones the agent. For my part I think the charge is just, and it ought to be paid. The Ottawa payment comes off some time this week, and I will present your case before them again, and do what I can to induce them to attend to the account, though I entertain no hopes of its being allowed: but nothing like trying. In contributing my mite in aiding you in your benevolent enterprise, I enclose you ten dollars on the State Bank of Indiana (I presume it is good, though hundreds of other banks are worthless), and throw in the young man's bill and horse-hire, which amounts to four dollars. Accept it, sir, as a free-will offering from your friend.

Times are coming round favorably in Kansas. Mr. Parrott for Congress will have 8,000 to 10,000 majority over Ransom, and both branches of the Legislature the same in proportion. I am quite encouraged that all things will work together for good for those who are trying to work out righteousness in the land. May God bless you in your work of benevolence and philanthropy: and may God reward you more than double for your toil and losses in the work to bring about liberty for all men! Write me if you can, and let me know how you are getting along, etc.

I remain your sincere friend,
John T. Jones.

By "us as a band" is meant the Ottawa tribe of Indians, and their “payment” was the allowance periodically given to them by the Federal Government. I saw one of the last nomadic Indians of this tribe sitting bareheaded on his pony in the busy streets of Ottawa, in August, 1882, staring with his stolid eye at the white man's way of life.

SOURCE: Franklin B. Sanborn, The Life and Letters of John Brown, p. 242-6

Major Rutherford B. Hayes to Lucy Web Hayes, September 22, 1861

Cross Lanes, Virginia, September 22, [1861].
Sunday morning, before breakfast.

Dearest: — It is a cold, drizzly, suicidal morning. The equinoctial seems to be a severe storm. Part of our force has crossed [the] Gauley to operate in conjunction with General Cox who is near us. The enemy have retreated in a broken and disheartened condition twenty or thirty miles to near Lewisburg. Unless largely reinforced, they will hardly make another stand. The first fair day our regiment will cross [the] Gauley and the rest will follow as weather permits. We have such a long line of transportation and as the wet fall months are at hand, I suspect we shall not attempt to go further than Lewisburg, possibly to the White Sulphur Springs, before we go into winter quarters.

You know I am ordered to be attached to headquarters. As soon as my regiment moves they will leave me. This is hard, very. I shall feel badly enough when they march off without me. There are some things pleasant about it, however. In the first place, I shall probably not be kept away more than a month or two before I shall be relieved. Then, I shall be in much more immediate communication with you. I can at any time, if need be, dispatch you; so you are within an hour of me. I shall travel a good deal and may possibly go to Ohio. I began my new duties by trying to do a good thing. I have sent for Channing Richards to be my clerk. He is a private in the Guthries. Enough said. If he comes as he is ordered to by the general, and as no doubt he will, I can easily see how his education, brought to notice as it will be, will get him into the way of promotion. I have also a soldier of the Twenty-third, who has been a sailor, an ostler, and a cook, and will be able to look after me in his several capacities. . . .

The wounded are all doing well. The number now in the hospital is small. The doctor has been getting discharges or furloughs for our sick. The rest are getting hardened to this life and I hope we shall continue healthy. Colonel Matthews has been slightly, or even worse, sick, not so as to confine him to his quarters except one morning. His health generally has been excellent. The “poor blind soldier,” as Birtie called him, is perfectly well again. . . .

It is coming out a bright warm day. Weather is a great matter in camp. A man so healthy and independent of weather as I am can keep up spirits in bad weather; but [to] a camp full, on wet ground, under wet tents, hard to get food, hard to cook it, getting homesick, out of money, out of duds, weather becomes an important thing.

Speaking of duds, I ought to have a neckerchief, a pair of officers' thick gloves, two soldiers' shirts with collars, flannel collars same as the shirt. I have worn but one white shirt in two months, and as only one of my thick shirts has a collar, I am more or less bored for the want of them. I shall get soldiers' shirts by the first arrival.

Love to the dear boys. I am hoping to send you money soon. If the paymaster will only come! Love to all the rest as well and bushels for your own dear self.

Affectionately,
R. B. Hayes.

P. S. — Dr. Clendenin arrived today and is brigade surgeon of our (Colonel Scammon's) brigade. This pleases Joe and all. We are lucky in doctors. Colonel Scammon says, “No doubt Dr. Clendenin is a good man, but I would prefer Dr. Webb.”

Mrs. Hayes.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 99-101

Lieutenant-Colonel Theodore Lyman to Elizabeth Russell Lyman, June 4, 1864


Although there was no battle to-day, both sides were as sensitive as Hotspur when he was “all smarting from my wounds being cold.” The slightest movement would provoke a volley, and any unusual stir would open a battery. This is characteristic of troops in a new position. When they have remained awhile, they begin to be more quiet, the skirmishers fire less and less, and finally cease entirely. The General took three or four of us and went on a sort of tour to his Generals; after a brief visit to General Hancock (who had a battery roaring away close to his Headquarters) and a few words with General Wright, we paid a long visit to "Baldy" Smith, whose tents were pitched between the Woody house and the line of battle. His tent was much better than General Meade's and he displayed, for his benefit, a lunch with champagne, etc., that quite astonished us. Whether it was the lunch, or Baldy, or “Bully” Brooks (a General of that name), I do not know, but the Commander staid there several hours, talking and smoking.

Let me see, I left the party sitting, as it appeared to me, an unnecessarily long time at Baldy Smith's. I say “unnecessarily,” first, because it was several hours, and General Meade had nothing to discuss of any moment; and, secondly, because a round-shot would, every now and then, crash through the neighboring trees, or go hoppity-hop along the open field on the edge of which the tents were. You ought to see them skip! It would be odd, if it were not so dangerous. When they have gone some distance and are going slower, you can see them very plainly, provided you are in front of, or behind them. They pass with a great whish, hit the ground, make a great hop, and so go skip, skip, skip, till they get exhausted, and then tumble — flouf — raising a puff of sand. That is the reason round-shot are more dangerous than conical, which strike perhaps once, vault into the air with a noise like a Catherine's wheel, topple over and over, and drop without further trouble. ... At last the General's confab was broken up by the arrival of Burnside,2 who, in Fredericksburg days, had a furious quarrel with Baldy and Brooks — or they with him. So they don't speak now; and we enjoyed the military icicle in great perfection! All the day there was sharpshooting and cannonading along our front.
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1 “I do think there has been too much assaulting, this campaign! After our lessons of failure and of success at Spotsylvania, we assault here, after the enemy had had thirty-six hours to entrench, and that time will cover them over their heads and give them slashings and traverses besides! The best officers and men are liable, by their greater gallantry, to be first disabled; and, of those that are left, the best become demoralized by the failures, and the loss of good leaders; so that, very soon, the men will no longer charge entrenchments and will only go forward when driven by their officers.” — Lyman's Journal.

2 “Burnside has a short, military jacket, and, with his bell-crowned felt hat, the brim turned down, presents an odd figure, the fat man!” —Lyman's Journal.

SOURCE: George R. Agassiz, Editor, Meade’s Headquarters, 1863-1865: Letters of Colonel Theodore Lyman from the Wilderness to Appomattox, p. 148-9

Major-General George G. Meade to Margaretta Sergeant Mead, October 23, 1864

Headquarters Army Of The Potomac, October 23, 1864.

I have seen to-day for the first time a most virulent attack on me in Henry Ward Beecher's paper, the Independent.1 The piece has been in camp, I find, for several days, and many officers have been talking about it, but purposely refrained from letting me see it. I heard of it accidentally this afternoon at Grant's headquarters, where I was on business. I cannot imagine who is the instigator of this violent assault. The idea that I hang on Grant, like the Old Man of the Sea, and am retained in command in spite of that officer's desire to be rid of me solely on the ground of “fancied political necessity,” is most amusing. I had not seen the article when I was with Grant, or I should have called his attention to it. After all, it is probably not worth while to notice it.
__________

1 For article mentioned, see Appendix Q.

SOURCE: George Meade, The Life and Letters of George Gordon Meade, Vol. 2, p. 235-6

James Louis Petigru to Mrs. Jane Petigru North, November 13, 1860

Charleston, 13 November, 1860.
My dear Jane:

You see how saving I am getting to be, as I will not waste a sheet of paper because it is scratched. There is certainly reason for it, and we have fallen on evil days. It is sorrowful to see things that impair our respect for our countrymen, and nothing can be more efficient to produce that feeling than the scenes that are passing. It is barely possible that Georgia may recoil from the [action] that the Secessionists are driving to. The South Carolina men show by their precipitancy that they are afraid to trust the second thought or even their own people, and if the Georgians take time to reflect they will probably come to the conclusion that there is no necessity for action. But that is very uncertain.

* * * Last night the West Point Mill was burnt; the Governor had $5,000 in it. I was commiserating him and Joe under the load of debt that they are caught in this revolutionary day, when this new addition to the Governor's troubles is upon him. * * * Adieu.

Your Brother

SOURCE: James Petigru Carson, Life, Letters and Speeches of James Louis Petigru: The Union Man of South Carolina, p. 361-2

Diary of Mary Boykin Chesnut: April 3, 1861

Met the lovely Lucy Holcombe, now Mrs. Governor Pickens, last night at Isaac Hayne's. I saw Miles now begging in dumb show for three violets she had in her breastpin. She is a consummate actress and he well up in the part of male flirt. So it was well done.

“And you, who are laughing in your sleeves at the scene, where did you get that huge bunch?” “Oh, there is no sentiment when there is a pile like that of anything!” “Oh, oh!”

To-day at the breakfast table there was a tragic bestowal of heartsease on the well-known inquirer who, once more says in austere tones: “Who is the flirt now?" And so we fool on into the black cloud ahead of us. And after heartsease cometh rue.

SOURCE: Mary Boykin Chesnut, Edited by Isabella D. Martin and Myrta Lockett Avary, A Diary From Dixie, p. 29-30

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: April 27, 1861

We have had a terrible alarm. The tocsin was sounded in the public square, and thousands have been running hither and thither to know its meaning. Dispatches have been posted about the city, purporting to have been received by the governor, with the startling information that the U. S. war steamer Pawnee is coming up the James River for the purpose of shelling the city!

All the soldiery, numbering some thousands, are marching down to Rocketts, and forming in line of battle on the heights commanding the approaches. The howitzers are there, frowning defiance; and two long French bronze guns are slowly passing through Main Street in the same direction. One of them has just broken down, and lies abandoned in front of the Post-Office. Even civilians, by hundreds, are hurrying with shot-guns and pistols to the scene of action, and field officers are galloping through the streets. Although much apprehension is apparent on many faces, it is but just to say that the population generally are resolved to make a determined defense. There is no fear of personal danger; it is only the destruction of property that is dreaded. But, in my opinion, the Pawnee is about as likely to attempt the navigation of the River Styx, as to run up this river within shelling distance of the city.

I walked down to the lower bridge, without even taking a pocket-pistol, and saw the troops drawn up in line of battle awaiting the enemy. Toward evening the howitzers engaged in some unprofitable practice, shelling the trees on the opposite side.

It was a false alarm, if not something worse. I fear it is an invention of the enemy to divert us from the generally conceived policy of attacking Washington, and rousing up Maryland in the rear of Lincoln.

Met with, and was introduced to, Gov. Letcher, in the evening, at the Enquirer office. He was revising one of his many proclamations; and is now undoubtedly as zealous an advocate of secession as any man. He said he would be ready to fight in three or four days; and that he would soon have arrangements completed to blockade the Potomac by means of formidable batteries.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 28-9

Diary of Judith W. McGuire: June 24, 1861

We have been in Winchester for the last two days, at Dr. S's. General Johnston's army encamped at “The Lick.” Some Southern regiments encamped near Winchester. The army at Manassas said to be strongly reinforced. Measles prevailing there, and near Winchester, among the troops. There has been a slight skirmish in Hampshire, on New Creek, and another at Vienna, in Fairfax County. We repulsed the enemy at both places. Captain Kemper, of Alexandria, led our men in the latter fight, and is much extolled for his dexterity and bravery.

SOURCE: Judith W. McGuire, Diary of a Southern Refugee, During the War, p. 33

Diary of Private Alexander G. Downing: Saturday, February 20, 1864

The weather is quite cool and has been for several days. We left Meridian early this morning for Vicksburg, followed by large numbers of contrabands and refugees. Some of the negro women have their bedding tied up in quilts, carrying them on their heads, each with a bundle of clothing in one hand and in the other a corn pone and pieces of bacon tied up in a red handkerchief.

Source: Alexander G. Downing, Edited by Olynthus B., Clark, Downing’s Civil War Diary, p. 169

Diary of Private Charles H. Lynch: June 12, 1864


Sunday. Came off picket. General Hunter is applying the torch to many buildings. I watched them burn. Among them were the Washington Military Institute, and the home of Governor Letcher. It was a grand and awful sight to see so many buildings burning at the same time. A bronze statue of George Washington was removed from the front entrance and saved. It was put in one of the wagons, and in time was to be sent to Washington, D. C. After the fires were out I visited the ruins. The cavalry brought in to our lines many slaves, the owners trying to hide them in the surrounding mountains. They were a husky lot, and could run as fast as a horse. I saw them keep up with cavalry. Visited many points of interest in and around this fine looking town.

SOURCE: Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary, 1862-1865, of Charles H. Lynch 18th Conn. Vol's, p. 75

Diary of Luman Harris Tenney: February 14, 1862

Very busy making out requisitions and settling the wood account.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 7

69th Indiana Infantry

Organized at Richmond, Ind., and mustered in August 19, 1862. Left State for Lexington, Ky., August 20. Attached to Manson's Brigade, Army of Kentucky, Dept. of the Ohio. Battle of Richmond, Ky., August 30. Regiment captured August 30; paroled and sent to Indianapolis, Ind. Reorganizing at Indianapolis till November 27, 1862. Left State for Memphis, Tenn., November 27, 1862. Attached to 1st Brigade, 9th Division, Right Wing 13th Army Corps (Old), Dept. of the Tennessee, to December, 1862. 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, Sherman's Yazoo Expedition, to January, 1863. 1st Brigade, 9th Division, 13th Army Corps, Army of the Tennessee, to July, 1863. 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 13th Army Corps, Army of the Tennessee, to August, 1863, and Dept. of the Gulf to March, 1864. 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 13th Army Corps, to June, 1864. 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, 19th Army Corps, Dept. of the Gulf, to December, 1864. District of Southern Alabama, Dept. of the Gulf, December, 1864. 3rd Brigade, Reserve Corps. Military Division West Mississippi, to February, 1865. 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, Reserve Corps, Military Division West Mississippi, February, 1865. 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 13th Army Corps (New), Military Division West Mississippi, to July, 1865.

SERVICE. – Sherman's Yazoo Expedition December 20, 1862, to January 3, 1863. Chickasaw Bayou December 26-28. Chickasaw Bluff December 29. Expedition to Arkansas Post, Ark., January 3-10, 1863. Assault and capture of Fort Hindman, Arkansas Post, January 10-11. Moved to Young's Point, La., January 17, and duty there till March 8. Moved to Milliken's Bend, La., March 8, and duty there till April 25. Roundaway Bayou, Richmond, March 31. Operations from Milliken's Bend to New Carthage March 31-April 17. James' Plantation, near New Carthage, April 6. Movement on Bruinsburg and turning Grand Gulf April 25-30. Battle of Port Gibson May 1. Battle of Champion's Hill May 16. Big Black Bridge May 17. Siege of Vicksburg May 18-July 4. Assaults on Vicksburg May 19 and 22. Advance on Jackson, Miss., July 4-10. Near Clinton July 8. Near Jackson July 9. Siege of Jackson July 10-17. Moved to New Orleans, La., August 13. Duty at Carrollton, Brashear City and Berwick till October. Western Louisiana "Teche" Campaign October 3-November 30. Ordered to Algiers December 13, thence moved to Texas December 18. Duty at Matagorda Bay and Indianola till February, 1864, and at Matagorda Island till April 19. Moved to New Orleans, thence to Alexandria, La., April 19-27. Red River Campaign April 27-May 22, Actions at Alexandria April 29 and May 2 to 9. Graham's Plantation May 5. Retreat to Morganza May 13-20. Duty at Morganza till December. Expedition to the Atchafalaya May 30-June 6. Expedition to mouth of White River and St. Charles, Ark., September 13-20. Moved to Dauphin Island, Mobile Bay, December 7. Granger's Pascagoula Expedition December 14, 1864, to January 1, 1865. Duty at Pascagoula till January 31. Consolidated to a Battalion of 4 Companies January 22. Moved to Barrancas, Fla., January 31; thence to Pensacola, Fla., March 14. Steele's march through Florida to Mobile March 20-April 1.  Occupation of Pollard March 26. Siege of Spanish Fort and Fort Blakely April 1-9. Assault and capture of Fort Blakely April 9. March to Montgomery and Selma April 13-22. Return to Mobile May 3 and duty there till July. Mustered out July 5, 1865.

Regiment lost during service 3 Officers and 77 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 3 Officers and 248 Enlisted men by disease. Total 331.

SOURCE: Frederick H. Dyer, A Compendium of the War of the 3, p. Rebellion, Part 1144-5

Friday, December 19, 2014

James Louis Petigru to Mrs. Susan Petigru King, November 10, 1860

Charleston, 10 November, 1860.
 My dear Sue:

* * * I am surprised that you are so indifferent about returning, as not to have fixed any time yet. It is not a pleasant place to return to; nearly the last hope of safety is cut off by the last news from Georgia, implying the consent of the majority to follow Carolina. We shall be envied by posterity for the privilege that we have enjoyed of living under the benign rule of the United States. The Constitution is only two months older than I. My life will probably be prolonged till I am older than it is. I must write briefly, and have actually just turned a gentleman out of the office, because his business was not important enough to justify interruption. I saw little Addy Wednesday was a week, when I snatched a brief interval with our Cherry Hill and George Street friends in the car. Adieu.

Your Parent.

SOURCE: James Petigru Carson, Life, Letters and Speeches of James Louis Petigru: The Union Man of South Carolina, p. 361

Diary of Major Rutherford B. Hayes, September 22, 1861

Cold, raw, and damp — probably will rain. I must get two flannel or thick shirts with collars, also one or two pairs of thick gloves.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 99

Lieutenant-Colonel Theodore Lyman to Elizabeth Russell Lyman, June 3, 1864

June 3, 1864

We had very severe fighting this morning, all along the lines. If you look on the map you may follow our lines. The line of battle faced westerly, towards Gaines's Mill and Mechanicsville, with a corps covering the right flank, and the left refused (a wing is “refused” when it is swung back from the direction of the main line). In some sort this was the battle of Gaines's Mill reversed. . . . The Rebel lines were about parallel with ours and they were throwing up dirt as hard as they could. No country could be more favorable for such work. The soldiers easily throw up the dirt so dry and sandy with their tin plates, their hands, bits of board, or canteens split in two, when shovels are scarce; while a few axes, in experienced hands, soon serve to fell plenty of straight pines, that are all ready to be set up, as the inner face of the breastwork. I can't say I heard with any great hope the order, given last night, for a general assault at 4.30 the next morning! You see Wright and Smith took their front line and drove them back Wednesday afternoon. Thursday afternoon was twenty-four, and Friday morning would be thirty-six hours, for them to bring up and entrench their whole army. If we could smash them up, the Chickahominy lay behind them; but I had no more hope of it, after Spotsylvania, than I had of taking Richmond in two days. Half-past four found us at Kelly's, the Headquarters of General Wright; the brave General himself, however, had gone to the front. At that moment the cannon opened, in various directions, and the Rebels replied vigorously. There has been no fight of which I have seen so little as this. The woods were so placed that the sound, even, of the musketry was much kept away, and the fighting, though near us, was completely shut from view. All the warfare for us was an occasional roundshot, or shell, that would come about us from the Rebel batteries. In the direction of the 18th Corps the crash of the musketry was very loud, but elsewhere, scarcely to be noticed.  . . . About five we had a gleam of hope for our success. News came that Barlow had carried their works and taken seventeen guns; and so he did; but it is one thing to get in, another to stay in. His men advanced heroically and went over the breastworks with a rush; but the enemy had reserves massed behind, well knowing that his extreme right was seriously threatened. Before our supports could get up, their forces were down on our men, while a heavy enfilade of canister was kept up from flanking batteries. Barlow was driven out with heavy loss, and succeeded in getting off only about 300 of the prisoners he took. Like good soldiers, however, his men stopped and turned about, close to the works, and there entrenched themselves. At six we got notice that Russell's division could not carry the line in their front. Ricketts, however, on the right of the 6th Corps, got their first line, and so did the 18th Corps on his right; but the 18th people were forced back, and this left Ricketts a good deal exposed to enfilade; but he held on. A singular thing about the whole attack, and one that demonstrated the staunchness of the troops, was, that our men, when the fire was too hot for them to advance and the works too strong, did not retreat as soldiers often do, but lay down where some small ridge offered a little cover, and there staid, at a distance from the enemy varying from forty to perhaps 250 yards. When it was found that the lines could not be carried, General Meade issued orders to hold the advanced position, all along, and to trench. The main fight lasted, I suppose, some three hours, but there was sharp skirmishing and artillery firing the whole day. The Rebels threw canister in large quantities, doing much damage. . . .

In the afternoon came Wright and Hancock, with their Staff officers, to consult with General Meade. They looked as pleasant as if they had been out to dine, instead of standing all day with shells, bullets and canister coming about them; for we now have a set of corps commanders who, in action, go, as they say, where they “can see”; which means sitting calmly in places where many people would be so scared they wouldn't know the left wing from the right. Which reminds me of a ludicrous circumstance — there always is something of the ludicrous mixed in every tragedy. Three or four vulgar and very able-bodied civilians had got down to the army, in some way or other, and were at our standpoint for a little while. Having come from the White House and hearing little musketry, they concluded it would be quite safe to go further to the front. “Come,” said one, in a flippant way, “let's go forward and see the fun.” So off they trotted down the Gaines's Mill road. One of Wright's aides said they came pretty soon, as far as where they were standing. All was quiet, but these braves had hardly dismounted when the Rebel guns again opened and the shells came with fearful precision over the spot! One gentleman, a fat man, rushed wildly to his horse, convulsively clutched the mane and tumbled on the saddle, galloping hotly off. But it so happened that two successive shells, passing with their hideous scream, burst just behind his horse, giving him the wings of panic! The other cit, quite paralyzed, lay down flat behind a ridge; in a few minutes he looked up at a Staff officer and, with the cold sweat rolling off him, exclaimed: “Oh! I wish they would stop! Don't you think, sir, they will stop pretty soon?” What became of the third I know not; but they all “saw the fun.” Not a thing did I have to do till six in the evening, when General Meade told me to go to General Birney, ascertain his position and what he thought of the force in his front; then keep on to Warren and ask him if he could so close in his Corps to the left as to set Birney free to return to the Second Corps. I found General Birney, with his usual thin, Puritanic face, very calmly eating tapioca pudding as a finish to his frugal dinner. He remarked drily that his man had selected that hollow as particularly safe; but, as half a dozen shells had already plumped in there, he did not exactly believe the theory a good one. I had a great mess finding General Warren.1 First I went, by the road leading through the woods, to Bethesda Church. There were his aides and his flag: but the General had “ridden out along the lines” — confound that expression! That is the luck of a Headquarters aide. You say: “Is the General here?” “No, sir, he has gone, I believe, along the line.” “Do you know where?” “Well, Colonel, he did not say exactly; but, if you will follow down the breastworks, I think you will find him.” (Delightful vision of a line of two miles or so of breastworks with the infantry safely crouched behind, and you perched on a horse, riding down, taking the chance of stray shot, canister, and minié balls, looking for a general who probably is not there.) The greatest piece of coolness is when you are advised to make a short cut by the picket line! . . .

Warren looks care-worn. Some people say he is a selfish man, but he is certainly the most tender-hearted of our commanders. Almost all officers grow soon callous in the service; not unfeeling, only accustomed, and unaffected by the suffering they see. But Warren feels it a great deal, and that and the responsibility, and many things of course not going to suit him, all tend to make him haggard. He said: “For thirty days now, it has been one funeral procession, past me; and it is too much! To-day I saw a man burying a comrade, and, within half an hour, he himself was brought in and buried beside him. The men need some rest.”. . .

At nine at night the enemy made a fierce attack on a part of Gibbon's division, and, for a time, the volleys of musketry and the booming of the cannon were louder, in the still night, than the battle had been by day. But that sort of thing has not done with the Rebels, since the brilliant attack of Johnson, the second night of the Wilderness. This time they were repulsed completely. It was then that our men called out: “Come on! Come on! Bring up some more Johnnies! You haven't got enough!” . . .

To-night all the trenching tools were ordered up and the lines were strengthened, and saps run out, so as to bring them still closer to the opposing ones. And there the two armies slept, almost within an easy stone-throw of each other; and the separating space ploughed by cannon-shot and clotted with the dead bodies that neither side dared to bury! I think nothing can give a greater idea of deathless tenacity of purpose, than the picture of these two hosts, after a bloody and nearly continuous struggle of thirty days, thus lying down to sleep, with their heads almost on each other's throats! Possibly it has no parallel in history. So ended the great attack at Cool Arbor. The losses were far greater for us than for the Rebels. From what I can gather I doubt not we lost four or five to one. We gained nothing save a knowledge of their position and the proof of the unflinching bravery of our soldiers.2
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1 “This was Warren's great way, to go about, looking thus after details and making ingenious plans; but it kept him from generalities, and made it hard to find him, so that he finally came to trouble as much by this as by anything else.” —Lyman's Journal.

2 “I do think there has been too much assaulting, this campaign! After our lessons of failure and of success at Spotsylvania, we assault here, after the enemy had had thirty-six hours to entrench, and that time will cover them over their heads and give them slashings and traverses besides! The best officers and men are liable, by their greater gallantry, to be first disabled; and, of those that are left, the best become demoralized by the failures, and the loss of good leaders; so that, very soon, the men will no longer charge entrenchments and will only go forward when driven by their officers.” — Lyman's Journal.

SOURCE: George R. Agassiz, Editor, Meade’s Headquarters, 1863-1865: Letters of Colonel Theodore Lyman from the Wilderness to Appomattox, p. 143-8

Major-General George G. Meade to Margaretta Sergeant Mead, October 22, 1864

Headquarters Army Of The Potomac, October 22, 1864.

Since I wrote to you we have received the news of Sheridan's last victory — this time over Longstreet, and with an army that had been surprised and driven in disorder for four miles. This certainly is very remarkable, and if not modified by any later intelligence, will prove one of the greatest feats of the war, and place Sheridan in a position that it will be difficult for any other general to approach. We are now anxiously waiting to hear of his having followed up his success and taken Gordonsville, when he can destroy the railroad from Lynchburg to Richmond, which runs through Gordonsville, and is called the Virginia Central Road. If he does this, he will aid our operations here most materially, because, until that road is destroyed, we cannot compel the evacuation of Richmond, even if we succeed in seizing or breaking the Southside and the Danville Roads. I suppose, in a short time, a movement will be made to get on the Southside Road and complete the investment of Petersburg, from the Appomattox, below to above the town.

SOURCE: George Meade, The Life and Letters of George Gordon Meade, Vol. 2, p. 235-6

Diary of Mary Boykin Chesnut: April 2, 1861

Governor Manning came to breakfast at our table. The others had breakfasted hours before. I looked at him in amazement, as he was in full dress, ready for a ball, swallow-tail and all, and at that hour. “What is the matter with you?” “Nothing, I am not mad, most noble madam. I am only going to the photographer. My wife wants me taken thus.” He insisted on my going, too, and we captured Mr. Chesnut and Governor Means.1 The latter presented me with a book, a photo-book, in which I am to pillory all the celebrities.

Doctor Gibbes says the Convention is in a snarl. It was called as a Secession Convention. A secession of places seems to be what it calls for first of all. It has not stretched its eyes out to the Yankees yet; it has them turned inward; introspection is its occupation still.

Last night, as I turned down the gas, I said to myself: “Certainly this has been one of the pleasantest days of my life.” I can only give the skeleton of it, so many pleasant people, so much good talk, for, after all, it was talk, talk, talk à la Caroline du Sud. And yet the day began rather dismally. Mrs. Capers and Mrs. Tom Middleton came for me and we drove to Magnolia Cemetery. I saw William Taber's broken column. It was hard to shake off the blues after this graveyard business.

The others were off at a dinner party. I dined tête-a-tête with Langdon Cheves, so quiet, so intelligent, so very sensible withal. There never was a pleasanter person, or a better man than he. While we were at table, Judge Whitner, Tom Frost, and Isaac Hayne came. They broke up our deeply interesting conversation, for I was hearing what an honest and brave man feared for his country, and then the Rutledges dislodged the newcomers and bore me off to drive on the Battery. On the staircase met Mrs. Izard, who came for the same purpose. On the Battery Governor Adams2 stopped us. He had heard of my saying he looked like Marshal Pelissier, and he came to say that at last I had made a personal remark which pleased him, for once in my life. When we came home Mrs. Isaac Hayne and Chancellor Carroll called to ask us to join their excursion to the Island Forts to-morrow. With them was William Haskell. Last summer at the White Sulphur he was a pale, slim student from the university. To-day he is a soldier, stout and robust. A few months in camp, with soldiering in the open air, has worked this wonder. Camping out proves a wholesome life after all. Then came those nice, sweet, fresh, pure-looking Pringle girls. We had a charming topic in common — their clever brother Edward.

A letter from Eliza B., who is in Montgomery: “Mrs. Mallory got a letter from a lady in Washington a few days ago, who said that there had recently been several attempts to be gay in Washington, but they proved dismal failures. The Black Republicans were invited and came, and stared at their entertainers and their new Republican companions, looked unhappy while they said they were enchanted, showed no ill-temper at the hardly stifled grumbling and growling of our friends, who thus found themselves condemned to meet their despised enemy.”

I had a letter from the Gwinns to-day. They say Washington offers a perfect realization of Goldsmith's Deserted Village.

Celebrated my 38th birthday, but I am too old now to dwell in public on that unimportant anniversary. A long, dusty day ahead on those windy islands; never for me, so I was up early to write a note of excuse to Chancellor Carroll. My husband went. I hope Anderson will not pay them the compliment of a salute with shotted guns, as they pass Fort Sumter, as pass they must.

Here I am interrupted by an exquisite bouquet from the Rutledges. Are there such roses anywhere else in the world? Now a loud banging at my door. I get up in a pet and throw it wide open. “Oh!” said John Manning, standing there, smiling radiantly; “pray excuse the noise I made. I mistook the number; I thought it was Rice's room; that is my excuse. Now that I am here, come, go with us to Quinby's. Everybody will be there who are not at the Island. To be photographed is the rage just now.”

We had a nice open carriage, and we made a number of calls, Mrs. Izard, the Pringles, and the Tradd Street Rutledges, the handsome ex-Governor doing the honors gallantly. He had ordered dinner at six, and we dined tête-atête. If he should prove as great a captain in ordering his line of battle as he is in ordering a dinner, it will be as well for the country as it was for me to-day.

Fortunately for the men, the beautiful Mrs. Joe Heyward sits at the next table, so they take her beauty as one of the goods the gods provide. And it helps to make life pleasant with English grouse and venison from the West. Not to speak of the salmon from the lakes which began the feast. They have me to listen, an appreciative audience, while they talk, and Mrs. Joe Heyward to look at.

Beauregard3 called. He is the hero of the hour. That is, he is believed to be capable of great things. A hero worshiper was struck dumb because I said: “So far, he has only been a captain of artillery, or engineers, or something.” I did not see him. Mrs. Wigfall did and reproached my laziness in not coming out.

Last Sunday at church beheld one of the peculiar local sights, old negro maumas going up to the communion, in their white turbans and kneeling devoutly around the chancel rail.

The morning papers say Mr. Chesnut made the best shot on the Island at target practice. No war yet, thank God. Likewise they tell me Mr. Chesnut has made a capital speech in the Convention.

Not one word of what is going on now. “Out of the fulness of the heart the mouth speaketh,” says the Psalmist. Not so here. Our hearts are in doleful dumps, but we are as gay, as madly jolly, as sailors who break into the strong-room when the ship is going down. At first in our great agony we were out alone. We longed for some of our big brothers to come out and help us. Well, they are out, too, and now it is Fort Sumter and that ill-advised Anderson. There stands Fort Sumter, en evidence, and thereby hangs peace or war.

Wigfall4 says before he left Washington, Pickens, our Governor, and Trescott were openly against secession; Trescott does not pretend to like it now. He grumbles all the time, but Governor Pickens is fire-eater down to the ground. “At the White House Mrs. Davis wore a badge. Jeff Davis is no seceder,” says Mrs. Wigfall.

Captain Ingraham comments in his rapid way, words tumbling over each other out of his mouth: “Now, Charlotte Wigfall meant that as a fling at those people. I think better of men who stop to think; it is too rash to rush on as some do.” “And so,'” adds Mrs. Wigfall, “the eleventh-hour men are rewarded; the half-hearted are traitors in this row.”
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1 John Hugh Means was elected Governor of South Carolina in 1850, and had long been an advocate of secession. He was a delegate to the Convention of 1860 and affixed his name to the Ordinance of Secession. He was killed at the second battle of Bull Run in August, 1862.

2 James H. Adams was a graduate of Yale, who in 1832 strongly opposed Nullification, and in 1855 was elected Governor of South Carolina.

3 Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard was born in New Orleans in 1818, and graduated from West Point in the class of 1838. He served in the war with Mexico; had been superintendent of the Military Academy at West Point a few days only, when in February, 1861, he resigned his commission in the Army of the United States and offered his services to the Confederacy.

4 Louis Trezevant Wigfall was a native of South Carolina, but removed to Texas after being admitted to the bar, and from that State was elected United States Senator, becoming an uncompromising defender of the South on the slave question. After the war he lived in England, but in 1873 settled in Baltimore. He had a wide Southern reputation as a forcible and impassioned speaker.

SOURCE: Mary Boykin Chesnut, Edited by Isabella D. Martin and Myrta Lockett Avary, A Diary From Dixie, p. 25-9