Friday, February 21, 2020

Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes to Sardis Birchard: Thursday, May 19, 1864

Meadow Bluff, Greenbrier County, West Virginia,
May 19. l864.

Dear Uncle: — We are safely within what we now call “our own lines” after twenty-one days of marching, fighting, starving, etc., etc. For twelve days we have had nothing to eat except what the country afforded. Our raid has been in all respects successful. We destroyed the famous Dublin Bridge and eighteen miles of the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad and many depots and stores; captured ten pieces of artillery, three hundred prisoners, General Jenkins and other officers among: them, and killed and wounded about five hundred, besides utterly routing Jenkins' army in the bloody battle of Cloyd's Mountain. My brigade had two regiments and part of a third in the battle. [The] Twenty-third lost one hundred killed and wounded. We had a severe duty but did just as well as I could have wished. We charged a Rebel battery entrenched in [on] a wooded hill across an open level meadow three hundred yards wide and a deep ditch, wetting me to the waist, and carried it without a particle of wavering or even check, losing, however, many officers and men killed and wounded. It being the vital point General Crook charged with us in person. One brigade from the Army of the Potomac (Pennsylvania Reserves) broke and fled from the field. Altogether, this is our finest experience in the war, and General Crook is the best general we have ever served under, not excepting Rosecrans.

Many of the men are barefooted, and we shall probably remain here some time to refit. We hauled in wagons to this point, over two hundred of our wounded, crossing two large rivers by fording and ferrying and three ranges of high mountains. The news from the outside world is meagre and from Rebel sources. We almost believe that Grant must have been successful from the little we gather.

R. B. Hayes.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 463-4

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes to Lucy Webb Hayes: Thursday, May 19, 1864

Meadow Bluff, May 19, 1864

Dearest: — We got safely to this point in our lines, two hours ago, after twenty-one days of constant marching, frequent fighting, and much hardship, and some starvation. This is the most completely successful and by all odds the pleasantest campaign I have ever had. Now it is over I hardly know what I would change in it except to restore life and limbs to the killed and wounded.

My command in battles and on the march behaved to my entire satisfaction. None did, none could have done better. We had a most conspicuous part in the battle at Cloyd's Mountain and were so lucky. You will see the lists of killed and wounded. We brought off two hundred of our wounded in our train and left about one hundred and fifty. But we have good reason to think they will fare well. . . .

We took two cannon which the regiment has got along here by hard work. The Thirty-sixth and Twenty-third are the only regiments which went into the thickest of the fight and never halted or gave back. The Twelfth did well but the "Flatfoots" backed out. The Ninety-first well, but not much exposed. The Ninth Virginia did splendidly and lost heavier than any other. The Potomac Brigade, (Pennsylvania Reserves, etc., etc.,) broke and fled. I had the dismounted men of the Thirty-fourth. They did pretty well. Don't repeat my talk. But it is true, the Twenty-third was the Regiment. The Thirty-sixth I know would have done as well if they had had the same chance. The Twenty-third led and the Thirty-sixth supported them. General Crook is the best general I have ever known.

This campaign in plan and execution has been perfect. We captured ten pieces of artillery, burned the New River Bridge and the culverts and small bridges thirty in number for twenty miles from Dublin to Christiansburg. Captured General Jenkins and three hundred officers and men; killed and wounded three to five hundred and routed utterly his army.*

We shall certainly stay here some days, perhaps some weeks, to refit and get ready for something else. You and the boys are remembered and mentioned constantly.

One spectacle you would have enjoyed. The Rebels contested our approach to the bridge for two or three hours. At last we drove them off and set it on fire. All the troops were marched up to see it — flags and music and cheering. On a lovely afternoon the beautiful heights of New River were covered with our regiments watching the burning bridge. It was a most animating scene.

Our band has been the life of the campaign. The other three bands all broke down early. Ours has kept up and played their best on all occasions. They alone played at the burning of the bridge and today we came into camp to their music.

I have, it is said, Jenkins' spurs, a revolver of the lieutenant-colonel of [the] Rebel Thirty-sixth, a bundle of Roman candles, a common sword, a new Rebel blanket, and other things, I would give the dear boys if they were here. — Love to all.

Affectionately ever
Mrs. Hayes.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 461-3

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Dr. Joseph T. Webb to Marietta Cook Webb, May 24, 1864

[Meadow Bluff, May 24, 1864]

The more we learn of the Rebels, etc., at Cloyd's Mountain, the greater was our victory. It is well ascertained now that in addition to their strong position and works, they had more men in the fight than we had, and also more killed and wounded. They not only expected to check us there, but fully counted on capturing our whole force. Their officers whom we captured complain bitterly of their men not fighting. Our new recruits, whom we were disposed to smile at, did splendidly. One of them, whom Captain Hastings on inspection at Camp White told he must cut off his hair, as men with long hair could not fight, meeting the captain in the midst of the fight, the fellow at the head of his company, playfully remarked, shaking his locks at the captain: “What do you think of longhair fighting now?”

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 462

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: December 16, 1863

The Examiner to-day discovers that if the President's project of enrolling all men, and detailing for civil pursuits such as the Executive may designate, be adopted, that he will then be constituted a Dictator—the best thing, possibly, that could happen in the opinion of many; though the Examiner don't think so. It is probable the President will have what he wants.

Per contra, the proposition of Senator Johnson, of Arkansas, requiring members of the cabinet to be renominated at the expiration of every two years, if passed, would be a virtual seizure of Executive powers by that body. But it won't pass.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 116

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: December 17, 1863

Averill (Federal) made a raid a day or two since to Salem (Roanoke County, Va.), cutting the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad, destroying the depot, bridges, court-house, etc.

Gen. J. E Johnston has been ordered to take command of Bragg's army.

I saw a communication from Lieut.-Col. Ruffin (Commissary Bureau), suggesting the trade of cotton to the enemy in New Orleans for supplies, meat, etc., a Mr. Pollard, of St. Louis, having proposed to barter meat for cotton, which Col. Ruffin seems to discourage.

Gen. Halleck has proposed a plan of exchange of prisoners, so far as those we hold go. We have 15,000; they, 40,000.

A letter from Mr. Underwood, of Rome, Ga., says our people fly from our own cavalry, as they devastate the country as much as the enemy.

We have a cold rain to-day. The bill prohibiting the employment of substitutes has passed both Houses of Congress. When the Conscription act is enlarged, all substitutes now in the army will have to serve for themselves, and their employers will also be liable.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 116

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: December 18, 1863

Yesterday evening the battalion of clerks was to leave for Western Virginia to meet the raiders. After keeping them in waiting till midnight, the order was countermanded. It is said now that Gen. Lee has sent three brigades after Averill and his 3000 men, and hopes are entertained that the enemy may be captured.

It is bright and cold to-day.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 116-7

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: December 19, 1863

Bright and cold. A resolution passed Congress, calling on the President to report the number of men of conscript age removed from the Quartermaster's and Commissary's Departments, in compliance with the act of last session. The Commissary-General, in response, refers only to clerks—none of whom, however, it seems have been removed.

Capt. Alexander, an officer under Gen. Winder, in charge or Castle Thunder (prison), has been relieved and arrested for malfeasance, etc.

Gen. C. J. McRae, charged with the investigation of the accounts of Isaacs, Campbell & Co., London, with Major Huse, the purchasing agent of Col. J. Gorgas, Chief of Ordnance, reports irregularities, overcharges, etc., and recommends retention of gold and cotton in this country belonging to I., C. & Co.

Mr. ——— informed me to-day that he signed a contract with the Commissary-General last night to furnish meat on the Mississippi in Tennessee, in exchange for cotton. He told me that the proposition was made by the Federal officers, and will have their connivance, if not the connivance of Federal functionaries in Washington, interested in the speculation. Lieut.-Col. Ruffin prefers trading with the enemy at New Orleans.

It is rumored that Mr. Seddon will resign, and be succeeded by Gov. Letcher; notwithstanding Hon. James Lyons asserted in public (and it appears in the Examiner to-day) that Gov. L. told Gen. J. R. Anderson last year, subsequent to the fall of Donelson, "he was still in favor of the Union."

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 117

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: December 20, 1863

We have nothing new yet from Averill’s raiders; but it is said Gen. Lee has set a trap for them. From East Tennessee there is a report that a battle has taken place somewhere in that region, but with what result is not yet known.

There is much consternation among the Jews and other speculators here, who have put in substitutes and made money. They fear that their substitutes will be made liable by legislative action, and then the principals will be called for. Some have contributed money to prevent the passage of such a law, and others have spent money to get permission to leave the country. Messrs. Gilmer and Myers, lawyers, have their hands full.

The Confederate States Tax act of last session of Congress is a failure, in a great measure, in Virginia. It is said only 30,000 bushels of wheat have been received! But the Governor of Alabama writes that over 5,000,000 pounds of bacon will be paid by that State.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 117-8

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Diary of Private Daniel L. Ambrose: October 1, 1861

This morning Colonel Cook leaves for Springfield on a leave of absence.

SOURCES: Daniel Leib Ambrose, History of the Seventh Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, p. 16

Diary of Private Daniel L. Ambrose: October 3, 1861

This evening at 10 o'clock Lieutenant Colonel Babcock receives orders to report to post headquarters. Reporting, he receives orders to proceed the following day to Fort Holt, Kentucky, with his regiment, and relieve the Seventeenth Illinois.

SOURCES: Daniel Leib Ambrose, History of the Seventh Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, p. 16

Diary of Private Daniel L. Ambrose: October 4, 1861

At 10 A, M., we strike our tents; 12 M., we march in a thunder storm to the river, and embark on the steamer Aleck Scott. Leave the Cape at 6 P. M., run down the river fifteen miles and anchor for the night.

SOURCES: Daniel Leib Ambrose, History of the Seventh Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, p. 16

Diary of Private Daniel L. Ambrose: October 5, 1861

Weigh anchor at daylight, and soon after proceeding on our way, we run on to a sandbar, where we remain three and a-half hours. Extricating ourselves, we move on and arrive at Fort Holt at 3 P. M.

SOURCES: Daniel Leib Ambrose, History of the Seventh Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, p. 16

Diary of Private Daniel L. Ambrose: October 6, 1861

This morning, as the morning gun was fired from Fort Prentiss, at Cairo, through some carelessness of the gunner, a solid shot was fired which came across the Ohio river and over the Seventh's camp, performing general havoc among the tree-tops. No damage done, save what was done in scaring the men within its range. The ball is now on exhibition at Colonel Babcock's tent as a war trophy.

SOURCES: Daniel Leib Ambrose, History of the Seventh Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, p. 16-7

Diary of 5th Sergeant Osborn H. Oldroyd: May 14, 1863

Started again this morning for Jackson. When within five miles of the city we heard heavy firing. It has rained hard to-day and we have had both a wet and muddy time, pushing at the heavy artillery and provision wagons accompanying us when they stuck in the mud. The rain came down in perfect torrents. What a sight! Ambulances creeping along at the side of the track—artillery toiling in the deep ruts, while Generals with their aids and orderlies splashed mud and water in every direction in passing. We were all wet to the skin, but plodded on patiently, for the love of country.

When within a few miles of Jackson, the news reached us that Sherman had slipped round to the right and captured the place, and the shout that went up from the men on the receipt of that news was invigorating to them in the midst of trouble. I think they could have been heard in Jackson. Sherman's army at the right and McPherson in our immediate front, with one desperate charge we ran without stopping till we reached the town. The flower of the confederate forces, the pride of the Southern States who had never yet known defeat, came up to Jackson last night to help demolish Grant's army, but for once they failed. Veterans of Georgia stationed as reserves were also forced to yield in dismay, and never stopped retreating till they had passed far south of the Capital which they had striven so valiantly to defend. To-night the stars and stripes float proudly over the cupola of the seat of government of Mississippi—and if my own regiment has not had a chance to-day to cover itself with glory it has with mud.

I shall not soon forget the conversation I have had with a wounded rebel. He said that his regiment last night was full of men who had never before met us, and who felt sure it would be easy to whip us. How they were deceived! He said part of his regiment was behind a hedge fence, where they felt comparatively safe, but the Yankees jumped right over without stopping, and swept everything before them. I never saw finer looking men than the killed and wounded rebels of to-day, and with the smooth face of one of them, lying in a garden mortally wounded, I was so taken, that I eased his thirst with a drink from my own canteen. His piteous glance at me at that time I shall never forget. It is on the battle field and among the dead and dying we get to know each other better—nay, even our own selves. Administering to a stranger, we think of his mother's love, as dear to him as our own to us. When the fight is over, away all bitterness. Let us leave with the foe some tokens of good will, that, when the cruel war at last is over, may be kindly remembered. I trust our enemies may yet be led to hail in good faith the return of peace and the restoration of the Union. This is a domestic war, the saddest of all, being fought between those whose hearts should be as brothers; and when it is at an end, may those hearts again throb together beneath the folds of the flag that once waved for defence over their sires and themselves —a flag whose proud motto will be, "peace on earth and good will to men."

Some of the boys went down into the city to view our new possession. It seems ablaze, but I trust only public property is being destroyed, or such as might aid and comfort the enemy hereafter.

I am very tired, and of course can easily get excused, so I will go to my bed on the ground.

SOURCE: Osborn Hamiline Oldroyd, A Soldier's Story of the Siege of Vicksburg, p. 20-2

Diary of Corporal David L. Day: January 11, 1862

As I look out on the Old Dominion, the Mother of presidents, statesmen and heroes, my mind is filled with historical reminiscences of its past greatness and glory. Alas! that Virginia, a state that bore such a proud record in the history of our country, a state that has done so much and sacrificed so much to gain our independence and establish our government, should now be sunk in the mire and slough of rebellion.

There is no appearance of leaving here today; many of the officers are going ashore to look around, and the boys are amusing themselves as best they can. Many and various are the speculations and conjectures as to our destination. Some think we are to make an attack on Yorktown, others that Norfolk is the point of attack. Some prophesy that we shall go up the James river, others that we are going far down the coast. I have not bothered myself much about it, but conclude we shall fetch up somewhere. As one looks on “old glory” proudly waving over the frowning battlements of Fortress Monroe and the rip raps, he would naturally conclude that this part of Virginia had not passed the ordinance of secession. Fortress Monroe is built of granite and earthworks, and is calculated, I believe, to mount some 400 or 500 guns. It is the largest and strongest fort on the coast and the only complete work in this country; hence it is called a fortress. The rip raps is an unfinished work, built on an artificial island, and situated about a mile east of Fortress Monroe. When completed, it will be a powerful work, and all vessels going to Norfolk or up the James river will have to pass between the two forts.

Looking west we can see the ruins of Hampton, burned last fall by order of Gen. Magruder. Speaking of Magruder reminds me of an anecdote I have somewhere read of him. While serving in Mexico, he ranked as captain of infantry in the regular army. While there he was in the habit of spreeing it pretty hard, and early one morning, after he had been out on a pretty rough time, his regiment received orders to march. By some strange oversight, the captain failed to replenish his canteen, and in a little while he began to experience an intolerable thirst. In this dilemma he called on one of his privates, whom he supposed might have something, and asked him what he had in his canteen. He was told that it contained a certain kind of Mexican liquor, of which the captain was very fond. After taking a pretty good bumper, he said, “Private Jones, you will hereafter rank as corporal, and be obeyed and respected as such.” After a while, his thirst again coming on, he goes and calls for some more of the liquor. This time he about found the bottom of the canteen, and thanking the corporal for his politeness, said to him, “Corporal Jones, you will hereafter rank as sergeant, and be obeyed and respected as such.” And, as the story went, if the canteen had held out a while longer, private Jones might have ranked as brigadier general.

SOURCE: David L. Day, My Diary of Rambles with the 25th Mass. Volunteer Infantry, p. 19-20

Diary of Corporal David L. Day: January 12, 1862


The big expedition, with colors flying and bands playing, sailed this afternoon, leading seaward. No one on board will know our destination until we round Cape Henry, when the seals are to be broken. A little before night we passed Cape Henry and headed south. We are now fairly at sea; the wind is blowing hard and the schooners are going past us as though we were anchored. Night has settled down on us and darkness covers the face of the deep. There is nothing more to be seen, we are now the creatures of chance, with the chances against us, and we must learn to adapt ourselves to the circumstances by which we are surrounded. Acting on this philosophy, we will lie down on our hard bunks and listen to the splashing of the water against the sides of our boat.

SOURCE: David L. Day, My Diary of Rambles with the 25th Mas

Friday, February 14, 2020

Captain Charles Wright Wills: September 2, 1864

Six miles south of Jonesboro,
September 2, 1864.

At daylight our skirmish line moved forward and found the Rebels gone. When our boys reached the railroad a train of cars was just loading some wounded; the boys made for it, but it outran them. They left a number of their wounded, and when the 14th broke them on the 1st, we captured several hospitals, in one of which were several officers. I saw in a hole by a hospital two legs and three arms. One can't help pitying these Rebel soldiers. They have been whipped here until they have lost all spirit. They don't fight with any spirit when they are attacked and it's more like a butchery than a battle. Our brigade in advance we started after them. The 100th Indiana and 6th Iowa were deployed as skirmishers, and met the Rebel line almost as soon as they started forward. They drove them finely for four miles, when our skirmishers reported that they had run the Rebel army into fortifications.

The country here is quite open, the fields being from half to a mile or more wide, bordered by a narrow strip of wood. The 46th Ohio and our regiment were now deployed to relieve the skirmishers, and take a close look at the enemy's position. They were shooting at us from some rail fences within range, and a mile away, over the fields, we could see them digging; seemed to be constructing a line of pits. We pushed forward under a heavy skirmish fire, and took from a S. C. Brigade the line of pits we saw them making, and went on a little way until we drew a fire from their main works, when we retired to the pits we had taken and prepared to hold them. Found tools in them. This was 3 p. m. About dark the Rebels made three little sorties, but only in light force. We easily repulsed them. Captain Post was wounded in the right breast. Loss in the regiment is seven wounded, raising the loss in the regiment to 178. The 103d and 46th Ohio captured 19 prisoners and killed and wounded at least 25.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 297-8

Captain Charles Wright Wills: September 3, 1864

September 3, 1864.

Rebels still here. Congratulatory order from Sherman commences, “Slocum occupied Atlanta yesterday at 11 a. m.” We can see nothing of our position here. I don't know where the 23d and 14th are. Our line here is very crooked, but generally faces southeast. Commencing at our right our line runs 17th, 15th, 16th and 4th. Kilpatrick is on our right or in the enemy's rear. Can't hear a word of Hood's or Polk's old corps or the militia. Hardee is in our front, and they are the only Rebel troops I know aught of. Cheatham's Division faces us, and a S. C. Brigade is opposite our brigade. Captain Wilkinson was wounded in the arm to-day.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 298

George S. Denison to Salmon P. Chase, February 26, 1863

New Orleans, February 26th, 1863.

Dear Sir: The military movements lately in contemplation, have, I think, been given up. This opinion may be incorrect, but is based upon the best information I can gather. The authorities attempt to maintain great secrecy in all their steps. All the contortions of the Sybil are presented without any of her inspiration. Thus far, except in preparation, the accomplishments of Gen. Banks amount to nothing. It is my opinion that a grand attack direct upon Port Hudson, is intended. If so, it may come off in four or five weeks, and I should think the chances of failure and of success will be about equal.

I do not think Gen. Banks favors the enlistment of negroes. There has been some trouble about Butler's three regiments, because most of their officers are colored, and the New England soldier could not consent to present arms to a colored officer and treat him with necessary respect. The good sense of the negroes themselves would have obviated this difficulty, if Gen. Banks had followed their suggestions. They presented to him a petition asking that the three Regiments be brigaded together, and not be mingled with the other troops, but, as they have often requested, be assigned to some post of danger where they might be able to establish a good name for themselves. This request has not been granted.

The 4th. Reg't. Native Guards, authorized by Gen. Banks, is nearly full. I understand he has permitted a Fifth to be raised. But this is nothing compared with what can and should be done. Gen. Banks seems to be much guided by his West Point officers, most of whom for some reason or other, have prejudices against negro troops. Gen. Phelps is a distinguished exception. I am glad to see his nomination as Major General. Except Gen. Phelps no officer in this Department came near Gen. Butler in ability. And this was the real ground, 1 believe, of their disagreement. The Department of the Gulf was not large enough for two such men. Each was of too emphatic character, too self willed and determined in opinion, to get along well with the other. The fortifications built by the Rebels about the city are being strengthened and guns mounted on them. We never used to think the recapture of the City possible, defended by only a few thousand men and Gen. Butler.

I used to have great admiration for McClellan, based on opinions formed among the rebels, who always spoke of him with respect—as well as of Buell. Gen. Banks is regarded by them as a gentleman. This is not a good sign. But they hated Lyon, and hate Rosecrans and Hunter and Butler and Phelps, and all who do not believe in conciliation. They like to be conciliated.

The Department of the Gulf is too big a machine to be run by any one except B. F. Butler. 1 am afraid from late accounts that he is not to return here. Perhaps Mr. Seward is hostile to him.

This is less a Union City now than when Gen. Banks came here. There is more manifestation of disloyalty than at any time during the Summer. And the reason is that no punishment, or insufficient punishment, follows offenses. It won't do, you know, to be hard on a gentleman for exercising his constitutional right of abusing the United States. Judge Peabody of the Provisional Court, is also Provost Judge. Judge Peabody is a mistake. As Provost Judge, he is only a small magistrate. A man throws up his hat and hurrahs for Jeff. Davis in the street. Judge P. fines him five dollars. An enthusiastic rebel does not repent that price for so great a privilege. Butler would have sent the offender to Fort Jackson and neither he nor any acquaintance of his, would have committed the offense again.

The policy of conciliation, in whatever form, is useless, absurd and hurtful, and whoever adopts it may justly be accused of expecting a nomination for the Presidency. I expect Mr. Bullitt on Sunday the 1st. of March. We shall work well together, and nothing shall be wanting on my part, to make the management of the Custom House as efficient as heretofore.

SOURCE: Diary and correspondence of Salmon P. ChaseAnnual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1902, Vol. 2, p. 360-2

Thursday, February 13, 2020

John M. Forbes et al to Gideon Welles, July 10, 1863

While failing to accomplish any great object, we hope that we have done something to enlighten public opinion by our constant intercourse with leading public and literary men and others, and also by aiding and encouraging our consuls in their efforts to stop the outfit of pirates in what ought to be the friendly ports of Great Britain.

SOURCE: Sarah Forbes Hughes, Letters and Recollections of John Murray Forbes, Volume 2, p. 64

Flag Officer Samuel F. Dupont to Gustavus V. Fox, March 14, 1862

Off St. Augustine
14 March 62
My Dear Sir

All these reports are interesting. Do have them published, they encourage the officers more than anything else.

The great want of the Govt. is an official Organ for National effect, if not for Political. The Nat, Intellg will publish everything. I think the Ass. Press concern a curse.

I hope to catch the Casslin—but I have nothing to cross that Mosquitoe Inlet bar, but this ship's launches and they are away up at Jacksonville—and lucky they are there. I am sending to Wright to hurry troops there—he thought it ought not to be occupied—but it must be to secure loyal people.

I recd the Dept's mail—will take an early oppy. to write about the blockade. None of those vessels reported from London and Liverpool ever dare approach the coast, showing what they think of the blockade— but transship at Nassau N.P. aided and abetted by those English hypercritical scoundrels—into vessels about the size of our launches.

The Fingal was the last foreign vessel that got into Savannah, after the gale of the 24, but has never got out and is sold to the rebels.

The Isabel and Nashville, with local Pilots of extraordinary skill, fogs and accident, and Steam have eluded us—but how many have been kept out? Skiddy run through Lord Cochrane's whole fleet blockading one port. Steam has quadrupled the advantage to those who run the blockade, over those who cover the ports.

But the game is up with them now, I promise you. The merchants ought to be glad the Nashville is in. This place Smyrna which I knew nothing about, has let in good many arms I am now satisfied.

Much disappointed about the Vermont, but expected nothing less. A clever old Port Captain would have taken that place.

Now my friend for the last time let me implore you to send coal. I have begged in vain. Two weeks more and this whole fleet will be laid up. Lardner writes only one vessel has arrived and this gulf people swallow that up.

The coming Equinoxial gales, will upset half the ships I have—all their Paddle wheels are nearly out of the water.

I can't tell you how I feel about it. I have written and begged Lenthall and you—but it produces nothing —two miserable schooners on the way, which will not both of them fill up the Bienville.

Yrs faithfully

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. 112-3

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Diary of Gideon Welles: Wednesday, May 18, 1864

Selected the Visitors to the Naval Academy, although we have not yet the appropriation bill, but we can no longer delay, if there are to be Visitors. Congress is very dilatory in necessary business, and yet impatient of delay in others.

Mr. Seward called on me this afternoon at a late hour in reference to alleged misconduct of the Marigold, which is charged with firing a gun at a blockade-runner within six hundred yards of Morro Castle. As Temple, Fleet Captain of the East Gulf Squadron, had left me but a few moments previously, I sent for him, there having been no report of the case. While waiting for Temple, Mr. S. informed me that a forged proclamation had been published by sundry papers in New York, among others by the World and Journal of Commerce, imposing a fast on account of the failures of Grant and calling for a draft of 300,000 men. Seward said he at once sent on contradicting it and had ordered the English steamer to be delayed. He then had called on Stanton to know whether such a document had passed over the regular telegraph. Stanton said there had not. He (S.) then ordered that the other line should be at once seized, which was done. Seward then asked if the World and Journal of Commerce had been shut up. Stanton said he knew of their course only a minute before. Seward said the papers had been published a minute too long; and Stanton said if he and the President directed, they should be suspended. Seward thought there should be no delay.

Gold, under the excitement, has gone up ten per cent, and the cotton loan will advance on the arrival of the steamer at Liverpool with the tidings. It seems to have been a cunningly devised scheme, — probably by the Rebels and the gold speculators, as they are called, who are in sympathy with them.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 2: April 1, 1864 — December 31, 1866, p. 34-5

Diary of Gideon Welles: Thursday, May 19, 1864

The bogus proclamation has been the principal topic to-day. The knowledge that it is a forgery has not quieted the public mind.

There seems to be fighting both in front and on the James River, but nothing decisive is accomplished. I feel solicitous in regard to Butler, who, though a man of ability, has not the military knowledge and experience for so large and responsible a command.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 2: April 1, 1864 — December 31, 1866, p. 35

Diary of Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes: Tuesday, May 17, 1864

Rained last night of course. Camp at Alderson's Ferry on Centreville road; very wet. Ordered to send a regiment to Union to report to General Averell. Sent five companies from Colonel Duval's command [and] five companies of Twenty-third, all under Lieutenant-Colonel Comly; Major Adney also went with [the] Thirty-sixth companies, [and] Dr. Barrett, surgeon. I don't believe the enmy is in force near Union. All busy with a small ferry-boat getting over wagons, etc.; horses and mules swim. General Crook and staff all at work, clubbing mules into the river. Considerable quantities of corn, etc., got here. Corn in the ear issued to men. Some parch, some boil, some pound up. Regular rations all gone long ago. A prodigious rain-storm about noon; no escape from the flood of falling and running water. The river we are crossing fell two feet last night. This will fill it booming full again.

We are now nearly three weeks without news from the outside or inside world. Great movements have taken place, we know, but “with us or with our foes,” we can't answer. The Rebels we see seem to have heard news which they construe in their own favor, but there is no elation of feeling as we would expect if they had met with decided success. We are so absorbed in our own fate that the more important operations of Grant do not fill us with anxiety.

Lieutenant Hamlin, Thirty-sixth, goes with twenty-two men, three seregants, etc., on Centreville Road.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 460-1

Diary of Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes: Wednesday, May 18, 1864

A foggy morning. Teams still slowly crossing. Brigade flag carried by Brigdon hit two or three times in battle of Cloyd's Mountain. Once struck out of Brigdon's hands.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 461

Diary of Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes: Thursday, May 19, 1864

From three miles north of Greenbrier River to Meadow Bluff ten miles. Forgot a picket of twenty men on south side of Greenbrier River; got them up all right. Reached Meadow Bluff at 12:30 P. M. Found Colonel Enochs with three companies of Fifth Virginia. Rest at Lewisburg. The Fifth did its duty well. They divided into two regiments, built fires, and played tattoo, as if a division were coming, and deceived the Rebels completely. We camp here as if for time enough to refit, etc., etc. Lieutenant-Colonel Comly tells me that ——— is disposed to find fault with me and my doings. Very well. I shall do my duty to the best of [my] ability and give myself as little trouble as possible about faultfinders grumblers.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 461