Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Diary of Corporal Alexander G. Downing: Monday, March 28, 1864

I went to Tipton on horseback today, accompanied by John D. Moore, who enlisted in Company E of the Eleventh Iowa Infantry. All of the Inland boys who went before have re-enlisted as veterans, and four or five others besides John Moore are going to enlist in our company and go to the front when we return. I saw several of the boys of my company today, who live at Tipton.

Source: Alexander G. Downing, Edited by Olynthus B., Clark, Downing’s Civil War Diary, p. 176

Diary of Corporal Alexander G. Downing: Tuesday, March 29, 1864

I attended a supper this evening given for the veterans of my company, at the home of Mr. J. W. Stanton on York Prairie. On account of the bad weather, dark night and muddy roads, there were not many there, but we had a fine supper and a pleasant evening with friends.

Source: Alexander G. Downing, Edited by Olynthus B., Clark, Downing’s Civil War Diary, p. 176

Diary of Corporal Charles H. Lynch: June 30, 1864

Up very early this fine morning. A good bath in the waters of the Great Kanawah. A good place to dry our clothes on the bushes. We remain in water for a long time. So refreshing and good. At this point a great battle had taken place when General Rosencrans drove the rebels out of West Virginia, who were under the command of General Robert E. Lee. The bed of the river was covered with shells, solid shot, pieces of exploded shells, and bullets. I never saw anything like it before. This battle took place the first year of the war. I have a bullet picked from the bottom of that river by myself. Received orders to clean up for inspection, and muster for pay. Having a good time and a much needed rest. We are all in good health in our company. Wonderful what men can endure. Thankful for a good rest in this quiet, ideal place where there is so much of interest.

SOURCE: Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary, 1862-1865, of Charles H. Lynch 18th Conn. Vol's, p. 89-90

Diary of Luman Harris Tenney: Wednesday March 6, 1862

The three battalions of the Second Cavalry marched thirty miles to Harrisonville, the county seat of Cass County, once a thrifty town, almost entirely deserted. Day blustering and chilly. A march makes pretty busy times distributing rations, getting forage for so many horses. Letter from Fannie. Encamped by the side of a little stream.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 8

89th Indiana Infantry

Organized at Indianapolis, Ind., and mustered in August 28, 1862. Left State for Louisville, Ky., thence moved to Munfordsville, Ky., September 2. Siege of Munfordsville September 14-17. Regiment captured September 17 and paroled. March to Brandenburg, thence to Jeffersonville, Ind. Duty at Indianapolis, Ind., saw June 27. Ruff's Station July 4. Chattahoochie December 5-8. Attached to District of Memphis, Tenn., 16th Army Corps, Dept. of the Tennessee, to March, 1863. 1st Brigade, District of Memphis, Tenn., 5th Division, 16th Army Corps, to January, 1864. 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 16th Army Corps, to December, 1864. 1st Brigade, 2nd Division (Detachment), Army of the Tennessee, Dept. of the Cumberland, to February, 1865. 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 16th Army Corps (New), Military Division West Mississippi, to July, 1865.

SERVICE. – Guard and fatigue duty at Fort Pickering, Memphis, Tenn., December 21, 1862, to October 18, 1863. Expedition to Hernando, Miss., August 16-20, 1863. Garrison and picket duty at Memphis, Tenn., till January 26, 1864. Expedition after Forest December 24-31, 1863. Lafayette and Grierson's Bridge December 27 (Detachment). Moscow December 27 (Detachment). Moved to Vicksburg, Miss., January 26-31, 1864. Big Black River February 2. Meridian Campaign February 3-March 2. Queen Hill February 4. Meridian February 14-15. Decatur February 22. Red River Campaign March 10-May 22. Fort DeRussy March 14. Occupation of Alexandria March 16. Henderson's Hill March 21. Battle of Pleasant Hill April 9. Fort Bisland April 12. Natchitoches April 20-21. At Alexandria April 26 May 13. Bayou LaMouri May 7. Retreat to Morganza May 13-20. Mansura May 16. Yellow Bayou May 18.  Moved to Vicksburg May 20-24, and to Memphis, Tenn., June 4-9. Old River Lake or Lake Chicot, Ark., June 6. Smith's Expedition to Tupelo, Miss., July 5-21. Harrisburg, near Tupelo, July 14-15. Smith's Expedition to Oxford, Miss., August 1-30. Moved to Jefferson Barracks, Mo., September 8-19. Expedition to DeSoto September 20-October 1. March through Missouri in pursuit of Price October 2-November 19. Greenton November 1. Moved to Nashville, Tenn., November 25-December 1. Battle of Nashville December 15-16. Pursuit of Hood to the Tennessee River December 17-28. Moved to Eastport, Miss., January 1, 1865, and duty there till February 9. Moved to Vicksburg, Miss., thence to New Orleans, La., February 9-21. Campaign against Mobile and its defences March 17-April 12. Siege of Spanish Fort and Fort Blakely March 26-April 9. Assault and capture of Fort Blakely April 9. Occupation of Mobile April 12. March to Montgomery April 13-27, and duty there till June 1. Moved to Mobile June 1 and duty there till July 19. Mustered out July 19, 1865.

Regiment lost during service 6 Officers and 55 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 3 Officers and 188 Enlisted men by disease. Total 252.

SOURCE: Frederick H. Dyer, A Compendium of the War of the 3, p. Rebellion, Part 1151

90th Indiana Infantry

See 5th Regiment Cavalry.

SOURCE: Frederick H. Dyer, A Compendium of the War of the 3, p. Rebellion, Part 1151

Monday, January 26, 2015

Lieutenant-Colonel Theodore Lyman to Elizabeth Russell Lyman, August 6, 1864

August 6, 1864

I took a limited ride along our flank defences, where I discovered a patriotic sentry, sitting with his back to where the enemy might be supposed to come, and reading a novel! He belonged to the 7th Indiana. “What are your instructions?” say I. “Han't got none,” replies the peruser of novels. “Then what are you here for?” “Well, I am a kind of an alarm sentinel,” said this literary militaire. “Call the corporal of the guard,” said I, feeling much disposed to laugh. The sentry looked about a little and then singling out a friend, called out: “Oh, Jim, why, won't you just ask Jeremiah Miles to step this way?” After some delay, Jeremiah appeared. He was in a pleasing state of ignorance. Did not know the sentry's instructions, did not know who the officer of the guard was, did not know much of anything. “Well,” said I, “now suppose you go and find the sergeant of the guard.” This he did with great alacrity. The sergeant, as became his office, knew more than the corporal. He was clear that the sentry should not read a book; also that his conduct in sitting down was eccentric; but, when it came to who was the officer of the guard, his naturally fine mind broke down. He knew the officer if he saw him, but could not remember his name. This he would say, the officer was a lieutenant. “Suppose you should try to find him,” suggested I. Of course that he could do; and soon the “Loo-tenant” appeared. To him I talked like a father; almost like a grandfather, in fact; showed him the man's musket was rusty and that he was no good whatsoever. Loo-tenant had not much to say; indeed, so to speak, nothing; and I left him with a strong impression that you can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear. It is not ludicrous, but sad, to see such soldiers in this Army of the Potomac, after three years of experience. The man could not have been better: tall, strong, respectful, and docile; but no one had ever taught him. It was a clear case of waste of fine material, left in all its crudity instead of being worked up. And this is the grand characteristic of this war — waste. We waste arms, clothing, ammunition, and subsistence; but, above all, men. We don't make them go far enough, because we have no military or social caste to make officers from. Regiments that have been officered by gentlemen of education have invariably done well, like the 2d, 20th, and 24th Massachusetts, and the 1st Massachusetts Cavalry. Even the 44th and the 45th, nine-monthers, behaved with credit; though there was this drawback in them, that the privates were too familiar with the officers, having known them before. However, perfection does not exist anywhere, and we should be thankful for the manifold virtues our soldiers do pre-eminently possess. I see much to make me more contented in reading Napier, before referred to. After the taking of Badajos, the English allowed their own wounded to lie two days in the breach, without an attempt to carry them off. This is the nation that now gives us very good lectures on humanity. As to old Wellington, I suspect he was about as savage an old brute as would be easy to find.

SOURCE: George R. Agassiz, Editor, Meade’s Headquarters, 1863-1865: Letters of Colonel Theodore Lyman from the Wilderness to Appomattox, p. 206-7

Major-General George G. Meade to Margaretta Sergeant Meade, January 22, 1865

Headquarters Army Of The Potomac, January 22, 1865.

There is very little going on here. We have had a violent storm of rain. Grant is still away, and I have heard nothing from Markoe Bache, so that I am ignorant of what turn affairs are taking in Washington. I received a letter yesterday from Cram, enclosing me one from a correspondent in Washington, who advises him (Cram) that he has been reliably informed that I am likely to be rejected. Still, this may be a street rumor, circulated by those who want this result.

To-day Bishop Lee, of Delaware, held service in the chapel tent at these headquarters, and gave us a very good sermon. He came here with Bishop Janeway, of the Methodist Church, and a Mr. Jones, a lawyer from Philadelphia, who were a commission asking admission into the rebel lines, to visit our poor prisoners in their hands to relieve their spiritual wants; but I believe the Confederate authorities declined.

The Richmond papers are very severe on Davis, and there is every indication of discord among them. I hope to Heaven this will incline them to peace, and that there may be some truth in the many reports in the papers that something is going on!1
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1 General Meade left head-quarters for Philadelphia where he arrived January 28. He left Philadelphia on the 30th.

SOURCE: George Meade, The Life and Letters of George Gordon Meade, Vol. 2, p. 257-8

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: May 24, 1861

Congress passed, in secret session, a resolution to remove the seat of government to Richmond; but I learn it has been vetoed by the President. There is a strong feeling against going thither among some of the secessionists in the Cotton States. Those who do not think there will be a great deal of fighting, have apprehensions that the border States, so tardy in the secession movement, will strive to monopolize the best positions and patronage of the new government. Indeed, if it were quite certain that there is to be no war for existence — as if a nation could be free without itself striking the blow for freedom — I think there would be a party — among the politicians, not the people — opposed to confederating with the border slave States.

Some of his fellow-members tell many jokes on Mr. Hunter. They say every time he passes the marble-yards going up to the capitol, and surveys the tomb-stones, he groans in agony, and predicts that he will get sick and die here. If this be true, I predict that he will get the seat of government moved to Richmond, a more congenial climate. He has a way of moving large bodies, which has rarely failed him; and some of his friends at the hotels, already begin to hint that he is the proper man to be the first President of the permanent government. I think he will be President some day. He would be a safe one. But this whisper at the hotel has produced no little commotion. Some propose making him Secretary of War, as a sure means of killing him off. I know a better way than that, but I wouldn't suggest it for the world. I like him very much.

To-day the Secretary placed in my hands for examination and report, a very long document, written by a deposed or resigned Roman priest. He urged a plan to avert the horrors of war. He had been to see Lincoln, Gov. Letcher, etc., and finally obtained an interview on “important business” with President Davis. The President, not having leisure even to listen to his exordium, requested him to make his communication briefly in writing. And this was it — about twenty pages of foolscap. It consisted chiefly of evidences of the exceeding wickedness of war, and suggestions that if both belligerents would only forbear to take up arms, the peace might be preserved, and God would mediate between them. Of course I could only indorse on the back “demented.” But the old man hung round the department for a week afterward, and then departed, I know not whither. I forget his name, but his paper is in the archives of the government. I have always differed with the preachers in politics and war, except the Southern preachers who are now in arms against the invader. I think war is one of the providences of God, and certainly no book chronicles so much fighting as the Bible. It may be to the human race what pruning is to vegetation, a necessary process for the general benefit.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 41-2

Diary of Mary Boykin Chesnut: July 11, 1861

We did hear cannon to-day. The woman who slandered Mrs. Davis's republican court, of which we are honorable members, by saying they — well, were not young; that they wore gaudy colors, and dressed badly — I took an inventory to-day as to her charms. She is darkly, deeply, beautifully freckled; she wears a wig which is kept in place by a tiara of mock jewels; she has the fattest of arms and wears black bead bracelets.

The one who is under a cloud, shadowed as a Yankee spy, has confirmed our worst suspicions. She exhibited unholy joy, as she reported seven hundred sick soldiers in the hospital at Culpeper, and that Beauregard had sent a flag of truce to Washington.

What a night we had! Maria had seen suspicious persons hovering about all day, and Mrs. Preston a ladder which could easily be placed so as to reach our rooms. Mary Hammy saw lights glancing about among the trees, and we all heard guns. So we sat up. Consequently, I am writing in bed to-day. A letter from my husband saying, in particular: “Our orders are to move on,'” the date, July 10th. “Here we are still and no more prospect of movement now than when I last wrote to you. It is true, however, that the enemy is advancing slowly in our front, and we are preparing to receive him. He comes in great force, being more than three times our number.”

The spy, so-called, gave us a parting shot: said Beauregard had arrested her brother in order that he might take a fine horse which the aforesaid brother was riding. Why? Beauregard, at a moment's notice, could have any horse in South Carolina, or Louisiana, for that matter. This man was arrested and sent to Richmond, and “will be acquitted as they always are,” said Brewster. "They send them first to Richmond to see and hear everything there; then they acquit them, and send them out of the country by way of Norfolk to see everything there. But, after all, what does it matter? They have no need for spies: our newspapers keep no secrets hid. The thoughts of our hearts are all revealed. Everything with us is open and aboveboard.

“At Bethel the Yankees fired too high. Every daily paper is jeering them about it yet. They’ll fire low enough next time, but no newspaper man will be there to get the benefit of their improved practise, alas!"

SOURCE: Mary Boykin Chesnut, Edited by Isabella D. Martin and Myrta Lockett Avary, A Diary From Dixie, p. 79-81

Diary of Judith W. McGuire: September 25, 1861

The last two days spent with pleasant friends — one day with Miss M. M., and the other with my old acquaintance, Mrs. Dr. F., of the “White Post.” These ladies, like all others, are busy for the soldiers. To-day I received a copy of “Headley Vicars,” abridged for the camp, by my friend J. J. Mr. M. will take it to-morrow to the camp, when he goes with the wagon. To-day we have been helping the Bishop to pack a barrel of grapes, and another with tomatoes and other fresh vegetables; and yet another Mrs. M. has packed with bread, biscuit, and a variety of things for the sick.

SOURCE: Judith W. McGuire, Diary of a Southern Refugee, During the War, p. 65

Diary of Corporal Alexander G. Downing: Sunday, March 27, 1864

I went with father to meeting today, in our old church at Inland, and attended the Communion of the Lord's Supper with the Disciples. They have no minister at present, but meet every Lord's Day to break bread. It rained nearly all day.

Source: Alexander G. Downing, Edited by Olynthus B., Clark, Downing’s Civil War Diary, p. 176

Diary of Gideon Welles: Friday, August 15, 1862

Received yesterday a note from Chase that the President proposed to change two of the nominees under the new tax law in Connecticut. Called on the President, and stated to him I did it as a duty, that duty alone impelled me. He said he fully believed it, and was glad to do me the justice to say that in matters of appointments, patronage, I had never given him any trouble. Having an appointment this Friday morning at 9 with the President, I met there Babcock1 and Platt2 of Connecticut. They had called and stated their case, which was extremely unjust to Mr. Howard, and, turning to me, Mr. B. said H. claimed he had procured or secured my appointment. The President said he had a slight acquaintance with Mr. H. himself. Had met him in Illinois and knew him as a friend of mine. Had received letters from him expressing regard for me, and one signed jointly by H. and Senator Dixon. But these gentlemen did not originate his action in relation to my appointment. “The truth is,” said he, — “and I may as well state the facts to you, for others know them, — on the day of the Presidential election, the operator of the telegraph in Springfield placed his instrument at my disposal. I was there without leaving, after the returns began to come in, until we had enough to satisfy us how the election had gone. This was about two in the morning of Wednesday. I went home, but not to get much sleep, for I then felt, as I never had before, the responsibility that was upon me. I began at once to feel that I needed support, — others to share with me the burden. This was on Wednesday morning, and before the sun went down I had made up my Cabinet. It was almost the same that I finally appointed. One or two changes were made, and the particular position of one or two was unsettled. My mind was fixed on Mr. Welles as the member from New England on that Wednesday. Some other names passed through my thoughts, and some persons were afterwards pressed upon me, but the man and the place were fixed in my mind then, as it now is. My choice was confirmed by Mr. H., by Senator Dixon, Preston King, Vice-President Hamlin, Governor Morgan, and others, but the selection was my own, and not theirs, and Mr. H. is under a mistake in what he says.”
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1 James F. Babcock, editor of the New Haven Palladium. Lincoln appointed him Collector at New Haven.

2 O. H. Platt, subsequently United States Senator.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 1: 1861 – March 30, 1864, p. 81-2

Diary of Salmon P. Chase: Wednesday August 6, 1862

Nothing much thought of to-day except the great War Meeting — which was immense. None of the Cabinet there except myself and Mr. Bates. The President, after Mr. Chittenden had finished, said to me (the people clamoring for him) “Well! hadn't I better say a few words and get rid of myself?” Hardly waiting for an answer, he advanced at once to the stand. He was received with most uproarious enthusiasm. His frank, genial, generous face and direct simplicity of bearing, took all hearts. His speech is in all the prints, and evinces his usual originality and sagacity.

Prof. Reed and his son, Capt. Reed, and assistant, Secretary Usher dined with me. Mr. Bates and Dr. Schmidt came from meeting with me and stopped at my house. After Mr. Bates went, I played chess with the Doctor, who was far my overmatch — he beating me with ease two or three times, while I only, by accident beat him once.

SOURCE: Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1902, Vol. 2, p. 57

Memorandum of Verbal Instructions to Major Anderson, First Artillery, Commanding Fort Moultrie, South Carolina, December 11, 1860

You are aware of the great anxiety of the Secretary of War, that a collision of the troops with the people of this State shall be avoided, and of his studied determination to pursue a course with reference to the military force and forts in this harbor which shall guard against such collision. He has, therefore, carefully abstained from increasing the force at this point, or taking any measures which might add to the present excited state of the public mind, or which would throw any doubt on the confidence he feels that South Carolina will not attempt by violence to obtain possession of the public works or interfere with their occupancy. But as the counsel and acts of rash and impulsive persons may possibly disappoint these expectations of the Government, he deems it proper that you should be prepared with instructions to meet so unhappy a contingency. He has, therefore, directed me verbally to give you such instructions.

You are carefully to avoid every act which would needlessly tend to provoke aggression; and for that reason you are not, without evident and imminent necessity, to take up any position which could be construed into the assumption of a hostile attitude. But you are to hold possession of the forts in this harbor, and if attacked you are to defend yourself to the last extremity. The smallness of your force will not permit you, perhaps, to occupy more than one of the three forts, but an attack on or an attempt to take possession of any one of them will be regarded as an act of hostility, and you may then put your command into either of them which you may deem most proper, to increase its power of resistance. You are also authorized to take similar steps whenever you have tangible evidence of a design to proceed to a hostile act.

(Signed.)
D. C. Buell,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

Fort Moultrie, South Carolina, December 11, 1860.

SOURCE: Samuel Wylie Crawford, The Genesis of the Civil War: The Story of Sumter, 1860-1861, p. 73

Diary of William Howard Russell: March 22, 1861

A snow-storm worthy of Moscow or Riga flew through New York all day, depositing more food for the mud. I paid a visit to Mr. Horace Greeley, and had a long conversation with him. He expressed great pleasure at the intelligence that I was going to visit the Southern States. “Be sure you examine the slave-pens. They will be afraid to refuse you, and you can tell the truth.” As the capital and the South form the chief attractions at present, I am preparing to escape from “the divine calm” and snows of New York. I was recommended to visit many places before I left New York, principally hospitals and prisons. Sing-Sing, the state penitentiary, is “claimed,” as the Americans say, to be the first “institution” of its kind in the world. Time presses, however, and Sing-Sing is a long way off. I am told a system of torture prevails there for hardened or obdurate offenders — torture by dropping cold water on them, torture by thumb-screws, and the like — rather opposed to the views of prison philanthropists in modern days.

SOURCE: William Howard Russell, My Diary North and South, p. 26

Reverend James Freeman Clarke to Anna Huidekoper Clarke, April 4, 1865

New York, April 4, 1865.

What good news! These things seem to come as apples fall when they are ripe; we pull at them in spring and summer and they hold on, but at last drop of themselves so quietly that we hardly notice it. Abolition of slavery, fall of Charleston, fall of Richmond, — when they arrive they are like things foreordained from the foundation of the world. But there is a sad story to follow of losses, — another great flood of grief to rush over the land, giving its pathetic minor to the music of thanksgiving. But let us hope that the end has come.  . . . We heard of the fall of Richmond, at Springfield. It startled Henry B. Rogers into such unwonted enthusiasm that he clapped a hand on each of my shoulders, and half embraced me. “Negro troops too,” said he, “think of that!” I did think of it, with grateful tears, in my heart if not in my eyes, to that great Wisdom who does all things well. . . .

I shall see Dr. Bellows this morning, — ride down Broadway to Wall Street, and see how the city looks, then come and work on my sermon till the last minute. Let us trust that whether it be good or bad, the Master may make it good to the hearers in its influence and results.

SOURCE: Edwin Everett Hale, Editor, James Freeman Clarke: Autobiography, Diary and Correspondence, p. 290-1

Wilder Dwight to Elizabeth White Dwight, Saturday, July 16, 1861

in Bivouac At Bunker Hill, July 16, 1861.

We paused last evening, on our march toward Winchester, and lay down on the side of a hill in a pine grove. Late Sunday evening, at Martinsburg, the order came to be in readiness to march at five o'clock the next morning. No intimation whither. We had reveillé at three o'clock, packed wagons, breakfasted, formed the battalion, and then came our marching orders. The whole command of General Patterson commenced its movement at five. The march was without incident. We found our place in column at about eight o'clock, and moved on till three, when we reached Bunker Hill. There was firing by our advanced guard, who drove fifteen hundred of the enemy's cavalry before them. We came upon their deserted camp. The movement was steady but slow. From the high ground, and in turnings of the road, the sight was a fine one. Our regiment excited universal admiration. It is already considered the regiment of the whole command. My horse works beautifully, and keeps perfectly well. I have great comfort in him. When one is twelve hours in saddle, it makes a difference what the saddle is on. The camp-ground assigned us was the one we now occupy. It is very much exposed, and in advance of the main body. On taking possession of it, we found every indication of recent occupation, and find that the Rebels occupied it night before last. The men lay right down to rest. I continued upon duty, under direction of the Colonel, till five o'clock in the afternoon. Then, a man who lived near by invited us to tea with him. Our wagons were back in the interminable train, and we had given up all hope of them till late. The man spoke strongly of Union, &c. We accepted his offer, and went down to his farm-house and ate our bacon and eggs in the midst of his pickaninnies and slaves. The poor man could not speak of the American flag without choking. He said the other army had pressed their horses and food, &c., and given them nothing in return but receipts of the Southern Confederacy, and “there ain't any Southern Confederacy,” said he. Still the prevailing tone here is secession. We lay down at night under the trees. I posted a picket-guard outside the lines, and, after attending to other duties, was right glad to go to sleep.

Our men are toughening to it slowly, but their knapsacks still pull heavily at them.

To-day we have been resting the men, and having skirmish-drill in the wheat-fields. One of our companies is off on picket duty, three miles down the road towards Winchester. We had a call this morning from Major Doubleday. His battery is the terror of the enemy. He got out his map, and we studied the localities. He talked very agreeably about Sumter, &c. We have just received (four P. M., Tuesday) our orders for the advance upon Winchester. A very good place is assigned us. The impression is that the advance forms part of a grand concerted movement, and that to-morrow will be a decisive day in the history of the campaign. I hope for a big, worthy battle, one that means something and decides something. And I hope to have strength, courage, and wisdom to do my duty in it. I never felt happier or more earnest than for the last few days, and I never realized more fully the best significance of life. I have always had a dream and theory about the virtues that are called out by war. I have nothing to say of the supply which I can furnish, but I am vividly impressed with the demand. The calling needs a whole man; and it exacts very much from him. Self gets thrown into the background. It straggles out of the column, and is picked up, if at all, very late, by the rear-guard. I am writing this letter upon an empty case of cartridges, which were distributed this morning, sitting under an oak-tree back of the lines by the side of the Colonel, who has just returned from a conference with Colonel Abercrombie, and who is full of the duties of to-morrow. Good by, and God bless you. Love to all.

If anything should happen to me, remember that I meant to do my duty.

SOURCE: Elizabeth Amelia Dwight, Editor, Life and Letters of Wilder Dwight: Lieut.-Col. Second Mass. Inf. Vols., p. 49-50

John Lothrop Motley to Anna Lothrop Motley, March 15, 1861

31 Hertford Street,
March 15, 1861.

My Dearest Mother:  . . . It is not for want of affection and interest, not from indolence, but I can hardly tell you how difficult it is to me to write letters. I pass as much of my time daily as I can at the State Paper Office, reading hard in the old MSS. there for my future volumes; and as the hours are limited there to from ten till four, I am not really master of my own time.

I am delighted to find that the success of the “United Netherlands” gives you and my father so much pleasure. It is by far the pleasantest reward for the hard work I have gone through to think that the result has given you both so much satisfaction. Not that I grudge the work, for, to say the truth, I could not exist without hard labor, and if I were compelled to be idle for the rest of my days, I should esteem it the severest affliction possible.

My deepest regret is that my work should be for the present on the wrong side of the Atlantic. Before leaving the subject of the new volumes, I should like to say that I regret that no one has sent me any of the numerous reviews and notices in the American papers and magazines to which you allude. I received a number of the New York “Times” from the governor, and also the “Courier,” containing notices. The latter, which was beautifully and sympathetically written, I ascribed to Hillard's pen, which I do not think I can mistake. If this be so, I hope you will convey my best thanks to him.

These are the only two which have been sent to me, and it is almost an impossibility for me to procure American newspapers here. Of course both Mary and Lily, as well as myself, would be pleased to see such notices, and it seems so easy to have a newspaper directed to 31 Hertford Street, with a three-cent stamp. Fortunately, I recently subscribed to the “Atlantic Monthly,'” and so received the March number, in which there is a most admirably written notice, although more complimentary than I deserve. It is with great difficulty that I can pick up anything of the sort, and I fear now that as the time passes it will be difficult for me to receive them from America.

The Harpers have not written to me, but I received a line from Tom showing that the book was selling very well considering the times. As to politics I shall not say a word, except that at this moment we are in profound ignorance as to what will be the policy of the new administration, how the inauguration business went off, and what was the nature of Mr. Lincoln's address, and how it was received, all which you at home at this moment have known for eleven days. I own that I can hardly see any medium between a distinct recognition of the Southern Confederacy as an independent foreign power, and a vigorous war to maintain the United States government throughout the whole country. But a war without an army means merely a general civil war, for the great conspiracy to establish the Southern Republic, concocted for twenty years, and brought to maturity by Mr. Buchanan's cabinet ministers, has, by that wretched creature's connivance and vacillation, obtained such consistency in these fatal three months of interregnum as to make it formidable. The sympathy of foreign powers, and particularly of England, on which the seceders so confidently relied to help them on in their plot, has not been extended to them. I know on the very highest authority and from repeated conversations that the English government looks with deepest regret on the dismemberment of the great American Republic. There has been no negotiation whatever up to this time of any kind, secret or open, with the secessionists. This I was assured of three or four days ago.  . . . At the same time, I am obliged to say that there has been a change, a very great change, in English sympathy since the passing of the Morrill Tariff Bill. That measure has done more than any commissioner from the Southern Republic could do to alienate the feelings of the English public toward the United States, and they are much more likely to recognize the Southern Confederacy at an early day than they otherwise would have done. If the tariff people had been acting in league with the secessionists to produce a strong demonstration in Europe in favor of the dissolution of the Union, they could not have managed better.

I hear that Lewis Stackpole is one of the most rising young lawyers of the day, that he is very popular everywhere, thought to have great talents for his profession, great industry, and that he is sure to succeed. You may well suppose with how much delight we hear such accounts of him.

My days are always spent in hard work, and as I never work at night, going out to dinners and parties is an agreeable and useful relaxation, and as I have the privilege of meeting often many of the most eminent people of our times, I should be very stupid if I did not avail myself of it; and I am glad that Lily has so good an opportunity of seeing much of the most refined and agreeable society in the world.

The only very distinguished literary person that I have seen of late for the first time is Dickens. I met him last week at a dinner at John Forster's. I had never even seen him before, for he never goes now into fashionable company. He looks about the age of Longfellow. His hair is not much grizzled and is thick, although the crown of his head is getting bald. His features are good, the nose rather high, the eyes largish, grayish, and very expressive. He wears a mustache and beard, and dresses at dinner in exactly the same uniform which every man in London or the civilized world is bound to wear, as much as the inmates of a penitentiary are restricted to theirs. I mention this because I had heard that he was odd and extravagant in his costume. I liked him exceedingly. We sat next each other at table, and I found him genial, sympathetic, agreeable, unaffected, with plenty of light, easy talk and touch-and-go fun without any effort or humbug of any kind. He spoke with great interest of many of his Boston friends, particularly of Longfellow, Wendell Holmes, Felton, Sumner, and Tom Appleton. I have got to the end of my paper, my dearest mother, and so, with love to the governor and A–––, and all the family great and small, I remain

Most affectionately your son,
J. L. M.

P. S. I forgot to say that another of Forster's guests was Wilkie Collins (the "Woman in White's" author). He is a little man, with black hair, a large white forehead, large spectacles, and small features. He is very unaffected, vivacious, and agreeable.

SOURCE: George William Curtis, editor, The Correspondence of John Lothrop Motley in Two Volumes, Library Edition, Volume 2, p. 117-21

Nassau W. Senior to John M. Forbes, August 20, 1861

CHATEÂU DE TOCQUEVILLE, August 20, 1861.

My Dear Mr. Forbes,—I write from a place in which your name is often mentioned, and always with great gratitude. Madame de Tocqueville, after an illness of thirteen or fourteen years, is better than I have seen her since 1848. The first use that she has made of returning strength has been to unite a little party of her old friends, — the Beaumonts, Ampere, and ourselves, — and we are passing charming mornings in walking and driving, and evenings in talking and hearing Ampere read Moliere, — which is better than most acting.

I find the general opinion in France and in England as to your affairs identical.

It is a general conviction that the secession is one of the wildest and wickedest acts that has ever been committed; that you will beat the seceders, but that you will not so far conquer them as to make them your subjects, or even portions of your federation; that having humiliated and punished them you will dictate your own terms on which you will allow them to go; that those terms will probably be that you will keep New Orleans and Western Virginia; that you will deprive them of any right to territories, and probably prohibit their having a slave trade. As you are fond of tariffs and have not yet found out that they do more harm to the nation that makes them than to the nation against which they are directed, we suppose that you will enact against them a hostile tariff.

We all bitterly deplore the defeat at Bull's Run, believing that it will prolong the war.

We also think that our conduct to you has been perfectly right, and that your complaints of it are the childish folly of a democracy which has never met with a check before, and like other spoilt children beats the chair over which it has fallen. You will not agree with me, I know, for even your good sense has not saved you altogether from participating in the unreasonableness of those about you.

The state of this country is painful. France is a witch, who has sold herself to the devil, on the condition that he shall give power to hurt others. L. N.'s offer to her was made to our Saviour, when Satan, having shown him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory thereof, said, “All this will I give thee if thou wilt worship me.”

The indignation, shame, and depression of the higher and educated classes is indescribable.

We intend to wander over the east and south of France, and return to England in the beginning of October. Kindest regards.

Ever yours,
N. W. Senior.

SOURCE: Sarah Forbes Hughes, Letters and Recollections of John Murray Forbes, Volume 1, p. 245-7

Charles Eliot Norton to George William Curtis, December 31, 1861

Shady Hill, 31 December, 1861.

. . . Lowell has been spending the evening with us, and brought up to read to us his new Biglow Paper. It is one of the best things that he ever did, — it is a true Yankee pastoral and lyric; — not another letter of B. Sawin, but a poem or rather two poems of Hosea's own, — the first a dialogue between Concord Bridge and Bunker Hill monument, — the last a lyric about Jonathan and John, with the most spirited refrain. I am sure that you will be as delighted with it as I am. There is no doubt but that it will touch the popular heart.

I entirely agree with you as to the masterly manner in which Seward has treated the Trent case. If his paper has too much the character of a legal plea for strict diplomatic usage, it is to be remembered that it is to be in reality addressed to the American people and not to Lord Lyons. Shall we yet have to fight England? With all my heart I hope not, — but if need be, I am ready. . . .

SOURCE: Sara Norton and  M. A. DeWolfe Howe, Letters of Charles Eliot Norton, Volume 1, p. 250

George William Curtis to Charles Eliot Norton, March 11, 1863

11th March, 1863.

Not only has the reaction consumed itself, but it is of the greatest significance that the result is not due to a victory, but is a purely intellectual and moral recuperation. I have been very sure that, when the Democratic party found that they could not operate on the base of peace, they would hurry over to war, as McClellan from the Pamunkey to the James. But the movement shows that the strongest and most sagacious men of the party are its old Southern leaders. Jeff and his friends have known from the beginning that it was a war of ideas, which had exhausted compromise and had to fight. The Northern Democrats refuse to acknowledge the truth, but they are forced to act upon it, which comes practically to the same thing.

SOURCE: Edward Cary, George William Curtis, p. 164

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Diary of 1st Lieutenant Charles Fessenden Morse, Thursday, August 15, 1861

I was ordered this morning to be ready, immediately after breakfast, with the company armed with picks, shovels, axes and bars, to proceed to join two other companies and work on a road that was building across the mountain. Captain Curtis did not go, as the road was in charge of another Captain.

SOURCE: Charles Fessenden Morse, Letters Written During the Civil War, 1861-1865, p. 17

Captain Charles Russell Lowell to John C. Bancroft, May 24, 1863

Camp Near Washington, May 24, '63.

We have been ten pleasant, sultry, summer days in camp here, monotonous, but enough occupied not to dislike the monotony, — dry and cool and dewy in the morning, and still and cool in the evenings, — with a very pretty view from my tent front (where we sit under a fly) — nothing striking, only green hills and fields and cattle, and off on the right the Potomac, and beyond rise the heights, where they have put forts, — you would not suppose it, however, it looks as peaceful as a Sunday should. It makes me infernally homesick, John, — I should like to be at home, even to go to church, — nay, I should even like to have a chaplain here to read the service and a few chapters I would select from the New Testament, — you’ll think it must be a peaceful scene to lull me into such a lamblike mood.1

Lamblike, however, seems to be the order of the day, — unless, indeed, Grant's success at Vicksburg is to be believed. The Army of the Potomac is commonly reported to be going into summer quarters.
_______________

1 Soon after, Rev. Charles A. Humphreys was appointed Chaplain of the Second Cavalry, and joined the regiment in Virginia. He was cordially received and treated with consideration by Colonel Lowell, and remained with the regiment until the close of the war, except during some months in the summer and autumn of 1864, when he was in a Southern prison with Major Forbes and Lieutenant Amory, all having been captured in a disastrous fight at Zion's Church. Mr. Humphreys held his Colonel in the highest esteem. He wrote an article about him, in the Harvard Monthly, in February, 1886, to which I am indebted. It was through Chaplain Humphreys' instrumentality that the marble bust of Colonel Lowell., which adorns the Memorial Hall, at Cambridge, was made by the sculptor Daniel Chester French, — a gift of the officers and friends of the regiment.

SOURCE: Edward Waldo Emerson, Life and Letters of Charles Russell Lowell, p. 247, 418

Diary of Josephine Shaw Lowell: September 20, 1862

On the 25th of the month a proclamation is due from Mr. Lincoln and everyone looks for emancipation. If he issues such an edict of course the pro-slavery generals must either resign or fight for freedom with a will, because if slavery is extinct, not to be revived under any circumstances, all their hopes of preserving it are past and they will be tired of shilly-shally when there's no object to be gained by it. Oh, that the Lord would only put it into Lincoln's head to do something strong and decided! We must ride this time through.

SOURCE: William Rhinelander Stewart, The Philanthropic Work of Josephine Shaw Lowell, p. 33

John Brown Jr. to John Brown, August 16, 1856

Aug. 16, 1856.

The prospect now appears so favorable for us that it does seem as though I had better not try to meet you just now. The prospect is that there will be either a writ of habeas corpus issued, or a change of venue, which will in either case take us into the States for trial. Have sent you several letters lately by persons going to Topeka, and I enclose one which I wrote on the 13th.1 The bearer of it, not seeing you there, has returned it. I was in hearing of the attack on Colonel Titus this morning. A messenger has just come in, stating that he (Titus) and several others were taken prisoners; Titus wounded. He also reports that a Free-State man was either killed yesterday or last night, as he was found at Titus's stiff and cold. I saw the fire of Titus's house. Well, it seems that Heaven is smiling on our arms. The case may be that within a few days I shall think it altogether best to try to meet you. A very few days will determine. All well. May God bless you! Good-by.

I should be very glad to see you, if you think it prudent to visit me. There is nothing here, that I know of, in the way. If you come just at edge of evening, no one need know it is you; but don't risk yourself if you are aware of danger. There are spies around. In view of present prospects, the prisoners think best that no attempt should be made at present to release them. We are all well treated here. Captain Sackett is a noble man. Should be very glad to know where I could communicate with you from time to time.

J. B., Jr., in prison.
Indorsed by John Brown.
_______________

1 Not extant.

SOURCE: Franklin B. Sanborn, The Life and Letters of John Brown, p. 310-1

Major Rutherford B. Hayes to Lucy Webb Hayes, October 7, 1861

Camp Lookout, Monday, October 7, 1861.

Dearest: — The mails are in order again. Letters will now come promptly. On the day after I wrote you last we got all the back letters — lots of papers and dates up to October 1. One queer thing, a letter from Platt of July 31 and one from Mother of October 1 got up the same day.

Our campaign is closed. No more fighting in this region unless the enemy attack, which they will not do. We are to entrench at Mountain Cove, eight miles from here, at Gauley Bridge, twenty miles off, and [at] Summersville, about the same. These points will secure our conquest of western Virginia from any common force, and will let half or two-thirds of our army go elsewhere. I hope we shall be the lucky ones to leave here.

The enemy and ourselves left the mountains about the same time; the enemy first, and for the same reason, viz., impossibility of getting supplies. We are now fourteen miles from Mount Sewell and perhaps thirty miles from the enemy. Our withdrawal was our first experience in backward movement. We all approved it. The march was a severe one. Our business today is sending off the sick, and Dr. Joe is up to his eyes in hard work. We have sixty to send to Ohio. This is the severest thing of the campaign. Poor fellows! We do as well as we can with them; but road-wagons in rain and mud are poor places.

Very glad — oh, so glad — you and Ruddy are well again. You did not tell me you were so unwell. I felt so badly to hear it. Do be very careful.

Don't worry about the war. We are doing our part, and if all does not go well, it is not our fault. I still think we are sure to get through with it safely. The South may not be conquered, but we shall secure to the Nation the best part of it.

We hope to go to Kentucky. If so, we shall meet before a month. Our regiment is a capital one. But we ought to recruit. We shall be about one hundred to one hundred and fifty short when this campaign is ended.

Tomorrow is election day.1 We all talked about it today. We are for Tod and victory.

Good-bye. Much love to all.

Affectionately, yours ever,
R.
_______________

1 In Ohio.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 108

Lieutenant-Colonel Eli S. Parker to Major-General Andrew A. Humphreys, April 3, 1865

HEADQUARTERS ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES,
Sutherland's Station, April 3, 1865.
Major-General HUMPHREYS,
Commanding Second Corps:

You will hereafter report to Major-General Meade, commanding Army of the Potomac, for orders. On the morrow, however, you will follow the route of march designated for you by General Sheridan.

By command of Lieutenant-General Grant:
 E. S. PARKER,
 Lieutenant-Colonel and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

SOURCE: Arthur Caswell Parker, The Life of General Ely S. Parker, p. 124; The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 46, Part 3 (Serial No. 97), p. 513

Brigadier-General John A. Rawlins to Mary Emeline Hurlburt Rawlins, January 30, 1864

Nashville, Jan. 30, 1864.

. . . To the theatre I never think of going, although they have here celebrated star actors and actresses sufficient for a constellation. I attend to the various duties of my position with what abilities I possess and think of home. . . .

SOURCE: James H. Wilson, The Life of John A. Rawlins, p. 392-3

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

August 4, 1864

This was quite a festal day for us. The General, accompanied by the Frenchies, Rosencrantz, Bache, Biddle and myself, paid a grand visit to Butler. Butler was in high feather. He is as proud of all his “fixin's” as a farmer over a prime potato patch. We first got on the Greyhound, an elegant steamer (Butler believes in making himself comfortable), and proceeded down the Appomattox, past City Point, and then bore up the James, passing Bermuda Hundred, with its flotilla of schooners and steamers.  . . . We had got a good bit above Bermuda Hundred and were paddling along bravely when we came in sight of two gunboats; that is, common steamers with some heavy guns on board. There are many in the river and they go up and down to keep it clear. As we drew near, I saw the men were at quarters and the guns run out. We passed between the first boat and the high wooded bank, when I beheld the gunboat captain dancing up and down on the paddle-box and roaring to us: “The left bank is lined with sh-a-a-rpshooters!” It would have edified you to have seen the swift dignity with which General Meade and his gallant Staff stepped from the open, upper deck to the shady seclusion of the cabin! Our skipper jingled “Stop her,” with his engine-room bell, and stop she did. Here was a chance for war-god Butler. “Hey? What? Sharpshooters? Pshaw! Fiddledeedee! Stop her! Who said stop her? Mr. DeRay, tell the Captain to go on, instantly! And Butler danced out on the open deck and stood, like George II at Dettingen, in “an attitude of fence.” I, who looked for a brisk volley of musketry, fully expected to see him get a bullet in his extensive stomach. Meanwhile the Captain went on, and, as soon as we were clear, the naval party in the rear (or “astern,” we ought to say) let go one big gun, with a tremendous whang! and sent a projectile about the size of a flour barrel on shore, severely wounding a great many bushes and trees. The other gunboat went ahead of us and kept up a little marine combat, all on her own hook. Whether there really were sharpshooters, I know not: I only think, if there were, it would be difficult to say which party was the more scared. . . .

Finally we went on shore where our horses were waiting, for this is not over three and a half miles from the Appomattox, though it is fifteen or sixteen miles round by the river. From the top of the cliff we had a splendid view of the cultivated country towards Richmond. And so, after inspecting more of Benjamin's apple-pie batteries, we went home.

SOURCE: George R. Agassiz, Editor, Meade’s Headquarters, 1863-1865: Letters of Colonel Theodore Lyman from the Wilderness to Appomattox, p. 204-6

Major-General George G. Meade to Henry A. Cram,* January 21, 1865

Headquarters Army Of The Potomac, January 21, 1865.

I have received yours of the 18th, with enclosures. The intelligence conveyed in Mr. –––'s letter is not news to me, except that I have not been able to believe I was in danger of rejection. I, of course, expected opposition, and that it would be violent and malignant, being based on falsehood and personal hostility; but I did not suppose it would be formidable in numbers, and I have been relying on the truth, my record, and the fact that I was sustained by the Administration and Grant. I have, I know, some friends in the Senate, but they are few in number, being only such as I have accidentally met in the few visits I have paid to Washington. The Military Committee reported favorably on my nomination, but it is a rule of the Senate, when acting on nominations, to lay aside any name as soon as objection is made, so as to avoid discussion until they get through the list of those names to whom there is no objection offered. One man can thus postpone action in any case, and I take it this is all that has yet been done with me. Undoubtedly, when my name came up, either Mr. Wilkinson, of Minnesota, or Anthony, of Rhode Island, has objected, and under the rule I was laid aside. I expect to meet the opposition of the Tribune and Independent clique, then all such as can be influenced by –––, –––, –––, and others, each one of whom, of course, has some friends.  Whether they can concentrate enough votes to defeat me, remains to be seen. Grant is now in Washington. He promised to see Wilson, the Chairman of the Military Committee (who is friendly), and write a letter, to be read in the Senate, urging my confirmation.1 One difficulty I have to contend with is that those who are disposed to hit the President, Secretary or Grant, think they are doing so in hitting me. The nomination is, after all, only a compliment, and of no real practical value, as it will not deprive me of my superior rank in the volunteer service or my present command, the largest in the field. It is, nevertheless, mortifying to have a compliment thus detracted from.
_______________

* Brother-in-law of Mrs. Meade.
1 For letters mentioned see Appendix R.

SOURCE: George Meade, The Life and Letters of George Gordon Meade, Vol. 2, p. 256-7

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: May 23, 1861

To-day the President took the cars for Pensacola, where it had been said everything was in readiness for an assault on Fort Pickens. Military men said it could be taken, and Toombs, I think, said it ought to be taken. It would cost, perhaps, a thousand lives; but is it not the business of war to consume human life? Napoleon counted men as so much powder to be consumed; and he consumed millions in his career of conquest. But still he conquered, which he could not have done without the consumption of life. And is it not better to consume life rapidly, and attain results quickly, than to await events, when all history shows that a protracted war, of immobile armies, always engulfs more men in the grave from camp fevers than usually fall in battle during the most active operations in the field?

To-day I saw Col. Bartow, who has the bearing and eye of a gallant officer. He was attended by a young man named Lamar, of fine open countenance, whom he desired to have as his aid; but the regulations forbid any one acting in that capacity who was not a lieutenant; and Lamar not being old enough to have a commission, he said he would attend the colonel as a volunteer aid till he attained the prescribed age. I saw Ben McCulloch, also — an unassuming but elastic and brave man. He will make his mark. Also Capt. McIntosh, who goes to the West. I think I saw him in 1846, in Paris, at the table of Mr. King, our Minister; but I had no opportunity to ask him. He is all enthusiasm, and will rise with honor or fall with glory. And here I beheld for the first time Wade Hampton; resolved to abandon all the comforts of his great wealth, and encounter the privations of the tented field in behalf of his menaced country.

Arkansas and Tennessee, as I predicted, have followed the example of Virginia and North Carolina; and I see evidence daily in the mass of correspondence, that Missouri and Kentucky will follow in good time.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 40-1

Diary of Mary Boykin Chesnut: July 9, 1861

Our battle summer. May it be our first and our last, so called. After all we have not had any of the horrors of war. Could there have been a gayer, or pleasinter, life than we led in Charleston. And Montgomery, how exciting it all was there! So many clever men and women congregated from every part of the South. Mosquitoes, and a want of neatness, and a want of good things to eat, drove us away. In Richmond the girls say it is perfectly delightful. We found it so, too, but the bickering and quarreling have begun there.

At table to-day we heard Mrs. Davis's ladies described. They were said to wear red frocks and flats on their heads. We sat mute as mice. One woman said she found the drawing-room of the Spotswood was warm, stuffy, and stifling. “Poor soul,” murmured the inevitable Brewster, “and no man came to air her in the moonlight stroll, you know. Why didn't somebody ask her out on the piazza to see the comet?” Heavens above, what philandering was done in the name of the comet! When you stumbled on a couple on the piazza they lifted their eyes, and “comet” was the only word you heard. Brewster came back with a paper from Washington with terrific threats of what they will do to us. Threatened men live long.

There was a soft, sweet, low, and slow young lady opposite to us. She seemed so gentle and refined, and so uncertain of everything. Mr. Brewster called her Miss Albina McClush, who always asked her maid when a new book was mentioned, “Seraphina, have I perused that volume?”

Mary Hammy, having a fiance in the wars, is inclined at times to be sad and tearful. Mrs. Preston quoted her negro nurse to her: “Never take any more trouble in your heart than you can kick off at the end of your toes.”

SOURCE: Mary Boykin Chesnut, Edited by Isabella D. Martin and Myrta Lockett Avary, A Diary From Dixie, p. 79

Diary of Judith W. McGuire: September 22, 1861

mountain View.” — Came down here with Mr. —, a few days ago. Spent this day not quite so profitably as I desired. The ride to the “old chapel,” where we had service, is so long, that we spent a great deal of time upon the road. Bishop Meade delivered a most interesting address. He mentioned with great feeling the death of Mr. John A. Washington, of Mount Vernon, who fell at "Cheat Mountain" a few days ago, while, with some other officers, he was observing the movements of Rosecranz. It is heart-rending to hear of the number of valuable lives which are lost in this cruel war.

SOURCE: Judith W. McGuire, Diary of a Southern Refugee, During the War, p. 64-5

Diary of Corporal Alexander G. Downing: Saturday, March 26, 1864

The friends of the boys in our company gave a dinner for us today at Mr. Ray's, and father took me over. It was a cold, cloudy day and the roads were muddy, but all the friends came out and gave the boys a warm greeting — and a fine dinner we had. We all enjoyed ourselves and are thankful to those who got up this dinner for the returned soldiers. It would be fine soldiering if one could have such dinners in the army. May this war soon come to a close that all may enjoy home, and help where we are needed.

Source: Alexander G. Downing, Edited by Olynthus B., Clark, Downing’s Civil War Diary, p. 176

Diary of Corporal Charles H. Lynch: June 29, 1864

Up very early this morning and on the march. A hot, muggy morn. After being under way about two hours, we could hear in the distance the popping of guns. Sounded like skirmishing firing. We thought there was music ahead for us. We kept pushing on. After a time the road rounded a curve on the mountains, where we could see ahead for a short distance. We could see the men leave the road and some running back. As we came near the point, saw that it was a cliff, a great overhanging rock. We learned that it was known as the Hawk's Nest, giving a grand view of the New River, the mountains and valleys. We were allowed a look and permission to shoot, and listen to the wonderful echo our old muskets made. The view was something grand and awful. Shall never forget that scene. We learned there was a legend connected with its history. Indian lovers jumped from the cliff because the father, a chief, would not let his daughter marry the man of her choice. The story was told us by people living near.

After a time we began to descend the mountains, which I learned were the Gauley Mountains. At the foot of the mountains we came to a halt at the Gauley River, the bridge having been destroyed at the breaking out of the war, when General Rosencrans drove the rebel General, Robert E. Lee, out of West Virginia. We went up the river a short distance, where we managed to cross. The New River and the Gauley meet at this point and form the Great Kanawah River. A short distance from the Gauley River, on the bank of the Kanawah River, an ideal spot, camp was located. At this point rations had been stored for Hunter's hungry army. Good bacon, salt beef, salt pork, rice, beans, coffee, sugar, hardtack. Good water. Fine place for bathing. The Kanawah River was as clear as crystal. Plenty to eat, a chance to bathe, wash our clothes, rest, made a great improvement in our condition in a very short time. This is a very interesting point here, as we learn its history from the old residents. They seem pleased to meet us and give us all the particulars about the location. Great lofty mountains on each side of the rivers. More inhabitants here than we have seen in any place for a long time.

SOURCE: Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary, 1862-1865, of Charles H. Lynch 18th Conn. Vol's, p. 88-9

Diary of Luman Harris Tenney: March 5, 1862

Packed and struck tents. Received a letter from home. Ready to march at 9 A. M. Called for the turkey and received the blessing of the good ladies. Had a very pleasant ride of fifteen miles toward Fort Scott, until we overtook the First Battalion. Trip delightful and novel. The scenes were truly grand as we crossed the rolling prairies and looked over them from some elevated spot — here and there oases, wood-covered and watered by pure clear streams. It made the trip restful and refreshing. I enjoyed it and walked some, leading my horse.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 8

88th Indiana Infantry

Organized at Fort Wayne, Ind., and mustered in August 29, 1862. Ordered to Louisville, Ky., August 29, and duty there till October 1. Attached to 17th Brigade, 3rd Division, Army of the Ohio, September, 1862. 17th Brigade, 3rd Division, 1st Corps, Army Ohio, to November, 1862. 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, Center 14th Army Corps, Army of the Cumberland, to January, 1863. 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 14th Army Corps, Army of the Cumberland, to April, 1863. 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 14th Army Corps, to October, 1863. 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 14th Army Corps, to June, 1865.

SERVICE. – Pursuit of Bragg into Kentucky October 1-15, 1862. Battle of Perryville, Ky., October 8. March to Nashville, Tenn., October 16-November 7, and duty there till December 26. Advance on Murfreesboro December 26-30. Battle of Stone's River December 30-31, 1862, and January 1-3, 1863. Duty at Murfreesboro till June. Middle Tennessee or Tullahoma Campaign June 23-July 7. Occupation of Middle Tennessee till August 16. Passage of the Cumberland Mountains and Tennessee River and Chickamauga (Ga.) Campaign August 16-September 22. Davis Cross Roads or Dug Gap September 11. Battle of Chickamauga September 19-21. Rossville Gap September 21. Siege of Chattanooga, Tenn., September 24-November 23. Chattanooga-Ringgold Campaign November 23-27. Lookout Mountain November 23-24. Mission Ridge November 25. Pea Vine Creek and Graysville November 26. Ringgold Gap, Taylor's Ridge, November 27. March to Charleston December 30, 1863, to January 10, 1864. Demonstration on Dalton, Ga., February 22-27, 1864. Tunnel Hill, Buzzard's Roost Gap and Rocky Faced Ridge February 23-25. Atlanta (Ga.) Campaign May 1-September 8. Demonstration on Rocky Faced Ridge May 8-11. Buzzard's Roost Gap, May 8-9. Battle of Resaca May 14-15. Advance on Dallas May 18-25. 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 Hill June 11-14. Lost Mountain June 15-17. Assault on Kenesaw June 27. Ruff's Station July 4. Chattahoochie River July 5-17. Buckhead, Nancy's Creek, July 18. Peach Tree Creek July 19-20. Siege of Atlanta July 22-August 25. Utoy Creek August 5-7. Flank movement on Jonesboro August 25-30. Near Red Oak August 30. Battle of Jonesboro August 31-September 1. Operations against Hood in North Georgia and North Alabama September 29-November 3. March to the sea November 15-December 10. Siege of Savannah December 10-21. Campaign of the Carolinas January to April, 1865. 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 7, 1865.

Regiment lost during service 9 Officers and 55 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 3 Officers and 147 Enlisted men by disease. Total 214.

SOURCE: Frederick H. Dyer, A Compendium of the War of the 3, p. Rebellion, Part 1150-1

Friday, January 23, 2015

Lieutenant Colonel Eli S. Parker to Major General George G. Meade, April 2, 1865

GRANT'S HEADQUARTERS,
April 2, 1865.
Major-General MEADE:

The following just received:


Brigadier-General RAWLINS:

General Sheridan desired me to inform you that the Second Corps is marching up the Boydton road toward Petersburg, and that Lee and his forces are moving, this direction. We have come up to their rear guard, about two miles on the Claiborne road from their works in front of that road probably; but few stragglers.

P. T. HUDSON,
Aide-de-Camp.


11 A.M.

Miles has carried all the main works on the Claiburne road. We are following the enemy up that road. The enemy evacuated the works about 10 o'clock. Will send particulars as soon as heard.

P. T. HUDSON,
Aide-de-Camp.


E. S. PARKER,
Lieutenant-Colonel and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

SOURCE: Arthur Caswell Parker, The Life of General Ely S. Parker, p. 123; The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 46, Part 3 (Serial No. 97), p. 457

Brigadier-General John A. Rawlins to Mary Emeline Hurlburt Rawlins, January 29, 1864

Nashville, Jan. 29, 1864.

. . . All reports confirm the statements you see in the newspapers. President Lincoln's amnesty proclamation is having a very salutary effect. Many are deserting from the Confederate army and coming into our lines to avail themselves of it by taking the oath it prescribes.

My health is good — my cough has ceased to annoy me. General Grant has not returned from St. Louis, but will be back next Tuesday.

SOURCE: James H. Wilson, The Life of John A. Rawlins, p. 392

Lieutenant-Colonel Theodore Lyman to Elizabeth Russell Lyman, August 1, 1864

August 1, 1864

I waked at about six in the morning and heard the General say, “Very well, then, let the truce be from five to nine.” Whereby I knew that Beauregard had agreed to a cessation of hostilities for the burial of the dead and relief of the wounded. After struggling awhile with my indolence, I tumbled out of bed, waked Rosencrantz and ordered my horse. We speedily got ready and sallied forth to look at the field. We rode into a piece of pine woods, at the corner of which I was during the assault of the 18th of June. Some of the advanced camps were here, the danger of their position being plainly marked by the banks of earth put up by each tent. Getting out of the wood, we came on an open tract, a good deal elevated. Here, on the left, and by the ruins of a house was a heavy battery, known as the Taylor house battery. And here too begins the “covered way.” Before I saw real operations I never could understand the management of cannon. On the principle of your battle on “the great white plain,” I had an idea that all the guns were put in the front line: else how could they hit anybody? But really there are often no cannon at all there, all being placed in a second or a third line, or in isolated batteries in these relative positions. One of our heavy siege guns would sometimes have to fire as many as 1700 yards to hit the enemy's breastwork. You see that cannon-shot must rise high in the air to go any distance; so they fire over each other's heads. In practice this system is not without its dangers, owing to the imperfections of shells. In spite of the great advances, much remains to be done in the fuses of shells; as it is, not a battle is fought that some of our men are not killed by shells exploding short and hitting our troops instead of the enemy's, beyond. Sometimes it is the fuse that is imperfect, sometimes the artillerists lose their heads and make wrong estimates of distance. From these blunders very valuable officers have lost their lives. Prudent commanders, when there is any doubt, fire only solid shot, which do not explode, and do excellent service in bounding over the ground.

We got off our horses at the edge of the wood and took to the covered way (we might better have ridden). A covered way is singularly named, as it is open on top. It is simply a trench, about four feet wide, with the dirt thrown up on the side towards the enemy. It should be deep enough to cover a man standing upright. The great thing is, so to run it that the enemy cannot get a sight of it lengthwise, as they could then enfilade it. To this end the way is run zig-zag, and advantage is taken of every hollow, or knoll, that may afford shelter. I was not impressed with the first part of our covered way, as it could be shot into in many places, and was so shallow that it covered me no higher than the shoulders. Probably it was dug by a small officer who was spiteful against men of great inches. . . . We scrambled up the opposite steep bank and stood at the high breastwork of Burnside's advanced salient. The parapet was crowded with troops, looking silently at the scene of the late struggle. We got also on the parapet and at once saw everything. Opposite, and a little above us, distant about 350 feet, was the rough edge of the crater, made by the mine. There were piles of gravel and of sand, and shapeless masses of hard clay, all tumbled on top of each other. Upon the ridge thus formed, and upon the remains of the breastwork, stood crowds of Rebel soldiers in their slouched hats and ghostly grey uniforms. Really they looked like malevolent spirits, towering to an unnatural height against the sky. Each party had a line of sentries close to his works, and, in the midst, stood an officer with a white flag, where the burial parties were at work.1 I jumped down and passed towards the enemy's line, where only officers were allowed to go, with the details for work. I do not make a practice of describing disagreeable spectacles, and will only say that I can never again see anything more horrible than this glacis before the mine. It did not take long to satisfy our curiosity, and we returned to camp, getting in just as the General was at breakfast. He takes his disappointments before Petersburg in an excellent spirit; and, when the “Herald” this morning said he was to be relieved and not to have another command, he laughed and said: “Oh, that's bad; that's very bad! I should have to go and live in that house in Philadelphia; ha! ha! ha!” The papers will tell you that Grant has gone to Washington. As I don't know what for, I can make Yankee guesses. I presume our father Abraham looks on his election prospects as waning, and wants to know of Ulysses, the warrior, if some man or some plan can't be got to do some thing. In one word he wants to know — WHY THE ARMY OF THE POTOMAC DON'T MOVE. A month since there was a talk of putting Hancock at the head: that is, losing the most brilliant of corps commanders and risking (there is always a risk) the making of a mediocre army commander!
_______________

1 “The Rebels were meanly employing their negro prisoners in this work.” — Lyman's Journal.

SOURCE: George R. Agassiz, Editor, Meade’s Headquarters, 1863-1865: Letters of Colonel Theodore Lyman from the Wilderness to Appomattox, p. 201-4

Major-General George G. Meade to Margaretta Sergeant Meade, January 17, 1865

Headquarters Army Of The Potomac, January 17, 1865.

To-day we have the news that the second expedition has succeeded in taking Fort Fisher, which is a most important and brilliant success. It will, however, have a most damaging effect on Butler's case, and will also materially injure Weitzel's reputation. I must confess I thought Butler's report cleared him in every particular except two. First, he should not have wasted three days, waiting for the enemy, when he knew the fort was weakly garrisoned. Secondly, he should not have left there because an assault was impracticable; and his statement that a siege was not within his instructions, is contradicted by Grant's written instructions, which say that, if a landing is effected, and the work not carried, he is to entrench and hold on. There will, no doubt, be bitter controversy on these points.

Grant has been away for three days, to parts unknown, though I suppose Wilmington.

SOURCE: George Meade, The Life and Letters of George Gordon Meade, Vol. 2, p. 256

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: May 22, 1861

To-day I had, in our office, a specimen of Mr. Memminger's oratory. He was pleading for an installment of the claims of South Carolina on the Confederacy; and Mr. Walker, always hesitating, argued the other side, merely for delay. Both are fine speakers, with most distinct enunciation and musical voices. The demand was audited and paid, amounting, I believe, to several hundred thousand dollars.

And I heard and saw Mr. Toombs to-day, the Secretary of State. He is a portly gentleman, but with the pale face of the student and the marks of a deep thinker. To gaze at him in repose, the casual spectator would suppose, from his neglect of dress, that he was a planter in moderate circumstances, and of course-not gifted with extraordinary powers of intellect; but let him open his mouth, and the delusion vanishes. At the time alluded to he was surrounded by the rest of the cabinet, in our office, and the topic was the policy of the war. He was for taking the initiative, and carrying the war into the enemy's country. And as he warmed with the subject, the man seemed to vanish, and the genius alone was visible, He was most emphatic in the advocacy of his policy, and bold almost to rashness in his denunciations of the merely defensive idea. He was opposed to all delays, as fraught with danger; the enemy were in the field, and their purposes were pronounced. Why wait to see what they meant to do? If we did that, they would not only invade us, but get a permanent foothold on our soil. We must invade or be invaded; and he was for making the war as terrible as possible from the beginning. It was to be no child's play; and nothing could be gained by reliance upon the blunders and forbearance of the Yankees. News had been received of the occupation of Alexandria and Arlington Heights, in Virginia; and if we permitted them to build fortifications there, we should not be able to expel them. He denounced with bitterness the neglect of the authorities in Virginia. The enemy should not have been permitted to cross the Potomac. During the month which had elapsed since the passage of the ordinance in Virginia, nothing had been done, nothing attempted. It was true, the vote on ratification had not been taken; and although that fact might shield the provisional government from responsibility, yet the delay to act was fraught with danger and perhaps irreparable injury. Virginia alone could have raised and thrown across the Potomac 25,000 men, and driven the Yankees beyond the Susquehanna. But she, to avoid responsibility, had been telegraphing Davis to come to the rescue; and if he (Toombs) had been in Davis's place, he would have taken the responsibility.

The Secretary of War well knew how to parry these thrusts; he was not responsible. He was as ultra a man as any; and all he could do was to organize and arm the troops authorized by Congress. Some thirty odd thousand were mustered in already; and at least five thousand volunteers were offering daily. Mr. Toombs said five hundred thousand volunteers ought to be accepted and for the war. We wanted no six or twelve months' men. To this the Secretary replied that the Executive could not transcend the limits prescribed by Congress.

These little discussions were of frequent occurrence; and it soon became apparent that the Secretary of War was destined to be the most important man among the cabinet ministers. His position afforded the best prospect of future distinction — always provided he should be equal to the position, and his administration attended with success. I felt convinced that Toombs would not be long chafing in the cabinet, but that he would seize the first opportunity to repair to the field.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 38-40