Thursday, January 23, 2020

Major George L. Stearns, writing for Nashville, Tennessee, to John M. Forbes, October 4, 1863


Your letter of the 25th is at hand. Its suggestions are very valuable and will receive immediate attention. I shall send a copy of it to Governor Johnson for his information.

As I intimated to you in Boston, the difficulties of raising colored regiments are not material but political, and will now fully explain my meaning.

I went to Buffalo in February last; the public mind was unprepared for the work, and we had no success until it was shaped and led to a full expression in favor of it. Then our success was marked.

For this vast work we want funds. This is the centre from which operations can be carried on in all directions, and, unless removed, of which I have no fear, I shall probably winter here and urge on the work. All government interference with the slave, except to put him in the army, demoralizes him. It is so here and everywhere. We must urge the government to enlist as many as they can, and let the rest alone. To remove them from their homes is the worst policy. I am taking the able men, and leaving the old men, women and children. The latter will be wanted for labor, and will be well treated, because they will run off if they are badly treated. Next spring there will be a demand for labor on the farms and they will be paid, because others will hire and pay them if the owners do not pay them.

SOURCE: Preston Stearns, The Life and Public Services of George Luther Stearns, p. 311-2

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Speech of Samuel Gridley Howe, September 24, 1856

I have been requested, Fellow-citizens, as Chairman of the Committee of Arrangements for this meeting, to make a statement of the reasons for calling this meeting, and of the objects which it is proposed to attain; and I shall do so very briefly. A few weeks ago, there sailed from New Orleans a vessel belonging to this port, owned and manned by New England freemen, under the flag of our Union—the flag of the free. When she had been a week upon her voyage, and was beyond the jurisdiction of the laws of Louisiana, far out upon a broad and illimitable ocean, there was found secreted in her hold, a man lying naked upon the cargo, half suffocated by the hot and stifled air, and trembling with fear. He begged the sailors who found him not to betray him to the captain, for he had rather die than be discovered before he got to Boston. Poor fellow! he had heard of Boston; he had heard that there all men are free and equal;—he had seen the word Boston written on that ship, and he had said to himself—“I, too, am a man, and not a brute or a chattel, and if I can only once set my foot in that blessed city, my claims to human brotherhood will be admitted, and I shall be treated as a man and a brother,”—and he hid himself in the hold. Well, Sir, the knowledge of his being there could not long be kept from the captain, and he was dragged from his hot and close hiding-place, and brought upon deck. It was then seen that he was a familiar acquaintance,—a bright intelligent mulatto youth, who used to be sent by his master to sell milk on board; he had been a favorite, and every man, from the captain to the cabin-boy, used to have his jokes with “Joe.” They had treated him like a human being, could he expect they would ever help to send him into slavery like a brute?

And now what was to be done? Neither the captain nor any of his officers had been privy to his coming on board; they could not be convicted of the crime of wilfully aiding a brother man to escape from bondage; the man was to them as though he had been dropped from the clouds, or been picked up floating on a plank at sea; he was thrown, by the providence of God, upon their charity and humanity

But it was decided to send him back to New Orleans; to deliver him up to his old owner; and they looked long and eagerly for some ship that would take charge of him. None such, however, was found, and the “Ottoman” arrived safely in our harbor. The wish of the poor slave was gratified; his eyes were blessed with the sight of the promised land. He had been treated well for the most part, on board, could he doubt that the hearts of his captors had softened Can we suppose that sailors, so proverbial for their generous nature, could have been, of their own accord, the instruments of sending the poor fellow back I, for one, will not believe it.

But the captain communicated with his rich and respectable owners, men whom he was accustomed to honor and obey, and they decided that whether a human being or not, poor “Joe” must be sent back to bondage; they would not be a party, even against their will, to setting free a slave. (Loud cries of “Shame,” “Shame,” and “Let us know the name of the owner.”) The name of the firm is John H. Pearson & Co. (Repeated cries of “Shame,” “Shame,” “Shame.”). It was a dangerous business, this that they undertook; they did not fear to break the laws of God—to outrage the laws of humanity; but they did fear the laws of the Commonwealth, for those laws threatened the State's Prison to whoever should illegally imprison another. They knew that no person, except the owner of the runaway slave, or his agent, or a marshal of the United States, had any right to touch him; they were neither the one nor the other; and they therefore hid their victim upon an island in our harbor and detained him there.

But he escaped from their clutches; he fled to our city—to the city of his hopes—he was here in our very streets, fellow-citizens! he had gained an Asylum, he called on us for aid. Of old, there were temples so sacred that even a murderer who had taken refuge in them was free from pursuit; but no such temple did Boston offer to the hunted slave; he was pursued and siezed, and those of our wondering citizens who inquired what it all meant, were deceived by a lie about his being a thief, and he was dragged on board ship. But the news of this got abroad; legal warrants were at once procured; the shield of the habeas corpus was prepared to cover the fugitive; officers of justice were urged to the pursuit; the owner of the vessel was implored to give an order for the man's surrender, but all in vain. A vessel was found, bound for New Orleans, which would consent to be made a slave-ship of (Loud cries for the name of the ship.) The Niagara, belonging to the same owners, and on board of this ship the man was sent back, to receive the lash, and to wear the shackles, for his ill-starred attempt to be free, and to drag out all the days of his life, a degraded, wretched, and hopeless slave!

And now, fellow-citizens, how does all this differ from piracy and the slave-trade? The man was free—free at sea, free on shore; and it was only by a legal process that he could be arrested. He was siezed in our city; bound and carried into slavery by those who had no more right to do so than has the slave-trader to descend upon the coast of Guinea and carry off the inhabitants. All these facts are known and admitted; nay, they are defended by some who call themselves followers of Him who said, “As ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so to them;” they are defended, too, by some of those presses, whose editors arrogate to themselves the name of Watchmen on the towers of Liberty!

And now it will be asked,—it has been asked, tauntingly,–How can we help ourselves? What can this meeting do about it?

In reply, let me first state what it is not proposed to do about it. It is not proposed to move the public mind to any expression of indignation, much less to any acts of violence against the parties connected with the late outrage. As to the captain, it is probable that he was more sinned against than sinning. I am told that he is a kind, good man, in most of the relations of life, and that he was made a tool of Let him go and sin no more. As for the owners and their abettors—the men who used the wealth and influence which God gave them, to kidnap and enslave a fellow-man,—a poor, trembling, hunted wretch, who had fled to our shores for liberty and sought refuge in our borders—let them go too, their punishment will be dreadful enough without our adding to it. Indeed, I, for one, can say that I would rather be in the place of the victim whom they are at this moment sending away into bondage,_I would rather be in his place than in theirs: Aye! through the rest of my earthly life, I would rather be a driven slave upon a Louisiana plantation, than roll in their wealth and bear the burden of their guilt; and as for the life to come, if the police of those regions to which bad men go, be not as sleepy as the police of Boston, then, may the Lord have mercy upon their souls'

But, Mr. Chairman, again it is asked, “What shall we do?” Fellow-citizens, it is not a retrospective but a prospective action which this meeting proposes, and there are many ways in which good may be done, and harm prevented, some of which I hope will be proposed by those who may follow me, and who probably will be more accustomed to such meetings than I am. But first, let me answer some of the objections which have been urged by some of those gentlemen who have been invited to come up here to-night and help us, and have declined to do so. They say, “We must not interfere with the course of the law.” Sir, they know as well as we know, that if the law be the edge of the axe, that public opinion is the force that gives strength and weight to the blow.

Sir, we have tried the “let alone system" long enough ; we have a right to judge the future by the past, and we know that the law will not prevent such outrage in time to come, unless the officers of the law are driven by public opinion to do their duty. What has made the African slave-trade odious? Was it the law, or public opinion?

But, Sir, in order to test the strength of this objection, let us suppose that instead of the poor hunted mulatto, one of the clergymen of Boston had been carried off into slavery. Would the pulpit have been silent? Had one of our editors been carried away, would the press have been dumb Would there have been any want of glaring capitals and notes of exclamation? Suppose a lawyer had been kidnapped in his office, bound, and carried off to work on a slave plantation; would the limbs of the law have moved so lazily as they did week before last Or suppose a merchant had been torn from his counting-room in State street, and shipped for the slave-market of Tunis; would there not have been an excitement all over the city? Think you there would not have been “Indignation meetings” on “Change?”

And yet, Sir, are any of these men more precious in the sight of God than the poor mulattoo Or suppose a slave ship from the coast of Guinea, with her human cargo on board, had been driven by stress of weather into our port, and one of her victims had escaped to our shore, and been recaptured and carried off in the face of the whole community; would there have been any want of “indignation” then ? And, Sir, is there any difference, would it be a greater crime to carry such an one away, except that as this man had been once a slave, he might be made a slave again, that is, that two wrongs might make a right.

No, Mr. Chairman, these are not the true reasons. It is, Sir, that the “peculiar institution,” which has so long been brooding over this country like an incubus, has at last spread abroad her murky wings, and has covered us with her benumbing shadow. It has silenced the pulpit; it has muffled the press; its influence is everywhere. Court street, that can find a flaw in every indictment, and can cunningly devise ways to save the murderer from the gallows—Court street can find no way of escape for the poor slave; State street, that drank the blood of the martyrs of liberty, State street is deaf to the cry of the oppressed slave: the port of Boston, that has been shut up by a tyrant king as the dangerous haunt of freemen, the port of Boston has been opened for the slave-trader; for God's sake, Mr. Chairman, let us keep Faneuil Hall free. Let there be words of such potency spoken here this night as shall break the spell that is upon the community. Let us devise such means and measures as shall secure to every man who seeks refuge in our borders, all the liberties and all the rights which the law allows him.

Let us resolve that even if the slave-hunter comes to this city to seek his runaway victim, we will not lay our hands upon him, but we will fasten our eyes upon him, and will never take them off till he leaves our borders without his prey. Sir, there is a potency, a magic power, in the gaze of honest indignation. I am told that one of the parties of the late outrage—one of the owners of the “Ottoman,” came up here to this temple of liberty the other night to hear Mr. John P. Hale talk about slavery. He was discovered and pointed out. And, Mr. Chairman, what was done to him? Why, Sir, he was fairly looked out of this Hall. No one touched him ; but he could not stand the look of indignation, and he fled away. Sir, this beats the hunters of the West; they boast that they can “grin the varmint off the trees,” but they cannot look a slave-hunter out of countenance, as the freemen of the East Can.

I say, Sir, if ever the slave-hunter come among us in pursuit of his victim, let us not harm a hair of his head—“let us touch not the hem of his garment; but let him be a Pariah among us,” and cursed be he who gives him aid, who gives him food, or fire, or bed, or anything save that which drove his friend and coadjutor from Faneuil Hall the other night.

SOURCES: Laura E. Richards, Editor, Letters and Journals of Samuel Gridley Howe, Volume 2, p. 399-44; Address of the Committee Appointed by a Public Meeting: Held at Faneuil Hall, September 24, 1846, Appendix, p. 2-6

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

William T. Sherman to George Mason Graham, January 20, 1860

SEMINARY, Friday p.m., Jan. 20, 1860.

DEAR SIR: . . . I enclose herewith officially a letter received last night. You know how difficult it is to receive a cadet so far into the session. Indeed one class is kept confused by those arriving now. We have now forty-five. One great point to be arranged in the future is to devise some means whereby our classes will all start fair. I know fully that such a thing is impossible this term, and will receive all pay cadets come as they may – but the state cadets should be held to a stricter compliance or they are not so welcome. There are now eight state cadets now present. This warm weather gives me good time to clean up and I regret that you cannot come out to see us. I want to have the road opened, trees trimmed, and grading done as far as possible by the time the trees begin to leaf. I use only the servants during the time they are not engaged in sweeping and carrying wood. I shall at the end of January pay Jarreau and all the professors, taking vouchers. I think I ought to charge for my services in November and December at $1,000 a year as superintendent — little more than Jarreau received – $83.33 per month, waiving all claims to pay as professor for that time. Will you approve it?

SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 132

W. H., July 27, 1857

Philadelphia, Monday, July 27, 1857.

Yesterday afternoon a rumor was afloat that a negro man named Jim, who had accompanied his master (Mr. Charles Parlange), from New Orleans to this city, had left his master for the purpose of tasting the sweets of freedom. It was alleged by Mr. Parlange that the said “Jim” had taken with him two tin boxes, one of which contained money. Mr. Parlange went, on his way to New York, via the Camden and Amboy Railroad, and upon his arrival at the Walnut street wharf, with two ladies, “Jim ” was missing. Mr. Parlange immediately made application to a Mr. Wallace, who is a Police officer stationed at the Walnut street depot. Mr. Wallace got into a carriage with Mr. Parlange and the two ladies, and, as Mr. Wallace stated, drove back to the Girard House, where “ Jim ” had not been heard of since he had left for the Walnut street wharf.

A story was then set afloat to the effect, that a negro of certain, but very particular description (such as a Louisiana nigger-driver only can give), had stolen two boxes as stated above. A notice signed “Clarke,” was received at the Police Telegraph Office by the operator (David Wunderly) containing a full description of Jim, also offering a reward of $100 for his capture. This notice was telegraphed to all the wards in every section. This morning Mr. Wunderly found fault with the reporters using the information, and, in presence of some four or five persons, said the notice signed “Clarke,” was a private paper, and no reporter had a right to look at it; at the same time asserting, that if he knew where the nigger was he would give him up, as $100 did not come along every day. The policeman, Wallace, expressed the utmost fear lest the name of Mr. Parlange should transpire, and stated, that he was an intimate friend of his. It does not seem that the matter was communicated to the wards by any official authority whatever, and who the “Clarke” is, whose name was signed to the notice, has not yet transpired. Some of the papers noticed it briefly this morning, which has set several of the officers on their tips. There is little doubt, that “ Jim ” has merely exercised his own judgment about remaining with his master any longer, and took this opportunity to betake himself to freedom. It is assumed, that he was to precede his master to Walnut street wharf with the baggage; but, singular enough to say, no complaint has been made about the baggage being missed, simply the two tin boxes, and particularly the one containing money. This is, doubtless, a ruse to engage the services of the Philadelphia police in the interesting game of nigger hunting. Mr. Parlange, if he is sojourning in your city, will doubtless be glad to learn that the matter of his man “ Jim” and the two tin boxes has received ample publicity.

W. H.

SOURCE: William Still, The Underground Railroad: A Record of Facts, Authentic Narratives, Letters &c., p. 405-6

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Major-General Nathaniel P. Banks’ General Order No. 12, January 29, 1863

GENERAL ORDERS,No. 12.}
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF,            
New Orleans, January 29, 1863.

The proclamation of the President of the United States, dated January 1, 1863, is published in general orders for the information and government of the officers and soldiers of this command and all persons acting under their authority. It designates portions of the State of Louisiana which are not to be affected by its provisions. The laws of the United States, however, forbid officers of the Army and Navy to return slaves to their owners or to decide upon the claims of any person to the service or labor of another, and the inevitable conditions of a state of war unavoidably deprive all classes of citizens of much of that absolute freedom of action and control of property which local law and the continued peace of the country guaranteed and secured to them. The forcible seizure of fugitives from service or labor by their owners is inconsistent with these laws and conditions, inasmuch as it leads to personal violence and the disturbance of the public peace and it cannot be permitted. Officers and soldiers will not encourage or assist slaves to leave their employers, but they cannot compel or authorize their return by force.

The public interest peremptorily demands that all persons without other means of support be required to maintain themselves by labor. Negroes are not exempt from this law. Those who leave their employers will be compelled to support themselves and families by labor upon the public works. Under no circumstances whatever can they be maintained in idleness, or allowed to wander through the parishes and cities of the State without employment. Vagrancy and crime will be suppressed by enforced and constant occupation and employment.

Upon every consideration labor is entitled to some equitable proportion of the crops it produces. To secure the objects both of capital and labor the sequestration commission is hereby authorized and directed, upon conference with planters and other parties, to propose and establish a yearly system of negro labor, which shall provide for the food, clothing, proper treatment, and just compensation for the negroes, at fixed rates or an equitable proportion of the yearly crop, as may be deemed advisable. It should be just, but not exorbitant or onerous. When accepted by the planter or other parties all the conditions of continuous and faithful service, respectful deportment, correct discipline, and perfect subordination shall be enforced on the part of the negroes by the officers of the Government. To secure their payment the wages of labor will constitute a lien upon its products.

This may not be the best, but it is now the only practicable system. Wise men will do what they can when they cannot do what they would. It is the law of success. In three years from the restoration of peace, under this voluntary system of labor, the State of Louisiana will produce threefold the product of its most prosperous year in the past.

The quartermaster's department is charged with the duty of harvesting corn on deserted fields and cultivating abandoned estates. Unemployed negroes will be engaged in this service under the control of suitable agents or planters, with a just compensation in food, clothing, and money, consistent with the terms agreed upon by the commission, and under such regulations as will tend to keep families together, to impart self-supporting habits to the negroes, and protect the best interest of the people and the Government.

By command of Major-General Banks:
RICH'D B. IRWIN,  
Lieutenant-Colonel, Assistant Adjutant-General.

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 15 (Serial No. 21),  p. 666-7

Saturday, January 11, 2020

George S. Denison to Salmon P. Chase, February 8, 1863

(Private)
New Orleans, February 8th, 1863.

Dear Sir: I received to-day a letter signed by you, of date Jan. 22nd, whereby I am appointed Special Agent and Acting Surveyor.

Your unofficial letter of 19th January, offered me the place above mentioned, or that of “Commissioner of Internal Revenue,” directing me to choose that which I best liked. I chose the latter, and informed you by letter written yesterday. I do not want to be Acting Surveyor unless you particularly desire it.

The Commissioner of Customs also sends me a bond to be given by myself as Acting Surveyor, in the sum of Five Thousand Dollars. I have just given a bond for Fifty Thousand, as Acting Collector. I shall avoid troubling my friends by asking their names upon so many bonds, and shall, therefore defer compliance with the commissioner's directions until I hear directly from you again.

I did not expect to receive the letters of to-day, because you had given to me the choice. My letter of yesterday was in reply to yours of the 19th. Jan. Wherever I am I shall give Mr. Bullitt all the assistance in my power, and continue, as well as possible, to keep you informed of events occurring here.

Enclosed is an order, and printed statement of a plan regulating the relations between planters and negroes.1 The documents have not been officially issued, and the plan is under consideration. These copies are only proof sheets which I privately obtained from the printing office, to send to you.

There is no news to-day, and I cannot learn positively whether Weitzel's great expedition has started. The troops for the expedition have been collected in the Lafourche Country and have been ready several days.

Mr. Gray, Dy. Collector, should remain here by all means.
_______________

1 General Orders No. 12, January 29, 1863, Rebellion Records, Series I, Vol. XV, pp. 666ff. Ci'. also, letters of March 14, 1863, and March 31.

SOURCE: Diary and correspondence of Salmon P. ChaseAnnual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1902, Vol. 2, p. 357

John M. Forbes to William Bathbone, Jr. of Liverpool, October 31, 1863

Boston, 31 October, 1863.

Your note about Sumner's speech was duly received and has been used so that it will do good. Being marked private, I could not show it to Sumner, but I read it to him without giving your name. I have also sent a copy of its substance to one of our campaign orators who was disposed to pitch into your government and people too!

Sumner was much disturbed at it, and at other similar letters; but insists that he was right in telling the truth, and that he thus best served the interests of Peace. He does not shine in the perceptive faculties; has eloquence, scholarship, high principle, and many other good qualities, but he has not the faculty of putting himself in the position of an opposing party, and conceiving of how things look from a different standpoint than his own.

Nobody can appreciate the extreme sensitiveness of the English mind to anything which can, however remotely, be construed into a threat, unless he has been in the little island within the past year. When to this honest sensitiveness you add the many causes for taking offense in the selfishness of certain parties and the prejudice of others who wish to see our experiment fail, there is an array of dangers against speaking out which will deter most men from doing so. Sumner claims to be, par excellence, the friend of Peace and of England, and therefore thinks he can best sound the alarm when he sees war threatening.

He says that all the arguments you and I use against plain speaking were used with even more force against speaking the truth against slavery. It would irritate the South, would hurt our friends, would strengthen the hands of our enemies, etc., etc., and if he had listened then we should now be the supporters of a mighty slave empire. There is something in this, but analogies are not conclusive, and I shall continue to do my best to keep people's tongues quiet! The more I think and know of the whole subject, however, the more sure I am that the only safeguard against a war, if not now, certainly the first time you get into war when we are at peace, is your prescription, — a radical change of your and our law. I am sure, although I cannot prove it, that if Mr. Adams's whole correspondence were published you would see that we accepted the proposal to modify our laws (and yours) although we had found ours sufficient to protect you up to this time.

But the experience of the doings of the Alabama, etc., has shown that steam changes the practical effect of the law, and that the right to sell ships of war, even if sent out honestly for sale, is incompatible with friendly neutral relations. Moreover, the irritation caused by your privateers will surely change the practical mode of executing our law.

You will then go to war with us for doing precisely what your government have done, — unless you abstain from the same motives we do, expediency. No maritime nation will hereafter see its commerce destroyed and its people irritated by steamers doing such widespread mischief as any steamer can, without going to war about it. Hence the need of new treaties modifying the present construction of the law of nations permitting outfit of vessels adapted to war purposes, whether bona fide for sale or the property of belligerents.

You and I know very well how easy it is to pass over a bill of sale the moment a vessel is three miles from the shore; and that when the law is once fully established that warships may legally be exported for sale, the rebels or any other belligerents can get them delivered at convenient points without the builders or anybody else breaking the letter of the law.

As you told me the day I landed in Liverpool, your law is, under your practice, radically defective. Ours did well under our practice, but you can never for a moment count upon our continuing the same practice in the face of your precedents. You hit the nail on the head when you told me that your law was worthless for our protection. Accept my assurance that ours will be worthless for your protection in your next war. Our mutual safety is to change it, and that promptly, while you are strong and can do it with a good grace, and while we are still in danger from its defects. It is absurd to say that your navy would have been much more efficient than ours in catching the Alabama, etc. All naval ships are loaded down with guns and stores and trash. Our mercantile warships are better for speed than either your or our warships.

I was only yesterday talking with one of our old clipper captains whom I got appointed two years ago volunteer lieutenant, and who has a merchant steamer bought and armed by government. He has been very successful in catching blockade runners and assures me that the Clyde and other trials of speed are perfectly illusory. He has taken several vessels that were going sixteen knots, his ship beating them at ten knots.

It is not the Alabama's or Honda's speed; but the ocean is a big place, and we shall always have numerous light-built, fast steamers that can repeat the Alabama feats even with the whole British navy divided between blockading ports and chasing privateers!

Depend upon it, we can export for sale to any belligerent as many Alabamas as he can pay for. It is for merchants and statesmen to look ahead and avert the mutual danger.

With best regards to your father and all your circle.

SOURCE: Sarah Forbes Hughes, Letters and Recollections of John Murray Forbes, Volume 2, p. 59-63

Gustavus V. Fox to Flag Officer Samuel F. Dupont, February 28, 1862


Navy Department
March 6” 1862.
My dear Commodore:

I had a long talk with McClellan to-day to see if he had any objections to giving Sherman orders to go ahead with the first programme. I was rather surprised to find that he did not know why it had not been carried out, and upon comparing notes more freely, we both found that we were entirely ignorant of what was going on or intended. Meigs was with us, and he had a letter from Sherman one month old, which seemed to intimate that the other expedition was about to move. Under these circumstances, an order will be given by both Departments, suggesting that the matter go forward at once, unless incompatible with some operation now on hand. I do not think, as I have several times written you, that the Government place much importance upon the acquisition of Savannah, beyond the possession of Pulaski, but the recovery of a whole state is a moral victory that cannot be too highly estimated. The people expected Sherman to march at once upon Savannah or Charleston, which was ridiculous, and impossible, though I think he could have cut the railroad. He and his compeers, expected the gun boats to go directly into the Savannah river, and dash up to the city, which was impossible, so that a month ago he seemed to be waiting for the Navy to go South. In the meantime there is an immense force and the sickly season almost upon us. I look forward to it with dire apprehension. The Nashville has got into Wilmington, Southern accounts say by hoisting the American flag and going through our ships. A regular trade seems to be carried on from Nassau and Havana to some parts of our Southern coasts in small vessels. I suppose it cannot be entirely prevented, of course, but I do not believe they use Charleston and Fernandina as they pretend. There are eight steamers fitting out in England for the Southern coast, and the blockade would give us very serious trouble were it not for the desperate condition of the rebels, owing to their sudden reverses in the west. I think Europe will now withdraw their material aid. The Vermont, having met with serious losses, the extent of which are yet unknown, the Relief is now loading for Port Royal. I hope Lenthall and Harwood keep you well up in ammunition and coal. The resolution for you went through unanimously and I trust we shall obtain for you higher honors yet. The Maratanza “double Ender” is nearly ready at Boston and we will send her down for Rodgers. The Miami steered badly but it was the fault of the constructor at Philadelphia. The Octorara is a gem. We shall get off the Vermont again at the earliest possible moment, but she is not yet saved, and I hear has lost her masts. Any little trophies from your district would be most gratefully received by the members of Congress, and as they constantly ask me for such, I have ventured to ask you to make up a box of the most trifling things. One word more, and good night. Don't write confidential letters upon a former flag officer to your short friend.

Yours most truly,
G. V. FOX.
Flag Officer S. F. DuPont, G. V. FOX.
Comd’g So Atlantic Blockd’g Squadron
Port Royal

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. 109-11

Friday, January 10, 2020

Diary of Gideon Welles: Monday, May 16, 1864

I yesterday took a steamer with a small company, consisting among others of Postmaster-General Blair, Senators Doolittle and Grimes, Messrs. Rice and Griswold of the Naval Committee, Count Rosen of the Swedish Navy, Mr. Hale (the newly selected Consul-General to Egypt), G. W. Blunt and Assistant Secretary Fox, Commander Wise, Dr. Horwitz, and two or three others, and went down the Potomac to Belle Plain. The day was pleasant and the sail charming. We reached Belle Plain about two P.M. and left a little past five. Is a rough place with no dwelling, — an extemporized plank-way from the shore some twenty or thirty rods in the rear. Some forty or fifty steamers and barges, most of them crowded with persons, were there. Recruits going forward to reinforce Grant's army, or the wounded and maimed returning from battle. Rows of stretchers, on each of which was a maimed or wounded Union soldier, were wending towards the steamers which were to bear them to Washington, while from the newly arrived boats were emerging the fresh soldiers going forward to the field. Working our way along the new and rough-made road, through teams of mules and horses, we arrived at the base of a hill some two or three hundred feet in height, and went up a narrow broken footpath to the summit, on which were the headquarters of General Abercrombie and staff. The ascent was steep and laborious. We had expected to find the prisoners here, but were told they were beyond, about one and a half miles. The majority were disposed to proceed thither, and, though tired and reluctant, I acquiesced. The prisoners, said to be about 7000 in number, were encamped in a valley surrounded by steep hills, the circumference of the basin being some two or three miles. Returning, we passed through the centre of this valley or basin. The prisoners were rough, sturdy-looking men, good and effective soldiers, I should judge. Most of them were quiet and well-behaved, but some few of them were boisterous and inclined to be insolent.

One of the prisoners, a young man of some twenty-five, joined me and inquired if I resided in the neighborhood. I told him at a little distance. He wished to exchange some money, Rebel for greenbacks. When I told him that his was worthless, he claimed it was better than greenbacks though not current here. I asked him if they had not enough of fighting, opposing the Union and lawful authority. He said no, there was much more fighting yet to be done. Claimed that Lee would be in Fredericksburg before the Union army could get to Richmond. Would not believe that J. E. B. Stuart was killed, news of which I received just as I came on board the boat this morning. He was earnest, though uninformed, and said he was from western North Carolina. Returning, we reached Washington at 9 P.M.

To-day I have been busy in preparing two or three letters and matters for Congress.

Governor Morgan called on me relative to abuses in cotton speculations, and malconduct of Treasury agents and others. Some of the malpractices which are demoralizing the army and the officials and disgusting the whole people in the lower Mississippi are becoming known, and will, I trust, lead to legislative correction. As Morgan introduced the subject and thought proper to consult me, I freely gave him facts and my views, which conflict with Chase and the Treasury management. A bill which Morgan showed me is crudely drawn but introduces, or makes, an entire change. It is not, in some of its features, what I should have proposed, but it will improve on the present system.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 2: April 1, 1864 — December 31, 1866, p. 31-3

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Diary of Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes: May 9, 1864

Battle of Cloyd's Mountain, or as Rebs call it "Cloyd Farm." Lasted one hour and a half. The Twenty-third and Thirty-sixth, under the immediate direction of General Crook, charged across a meadow three hundred yards wide, sprang into a ditch and up a steep wooded hill to Rebel breastworks, carried them quickly but with a heavy loss. Captain Hunter killed. Lieutenant Seaman ditto. Abbott's left arm shattered. Rice a flesh wound. Eighteen killed outright; about one hundred wounded — many mortally. This in [the] Twentythird. [The] Thirty-sixth less, as the Twenty-third led the column. Entered Dublin Depot, ten and one-half miles, about 6:30 P. M. A fine victory. Took some prisoners, about three hundred, [and] five pieces [of] artillery, many stores, etc., etc. A fine country; plenty of forage. My loss, two hundred and fifty [men].

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 456-7

Diary of Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes: Tuesday, May 10, 1864

Went to New River Bridge. They shelled the woods filled with our men killing three or four. A fine artillery duel between our guns on the high ground on the west side of the river, theirs on the east. The Rebel effort was to keep our men from firing the bridge. It was soon done. A fine scene it was, my band playing and all the regiments marched on to the beautiful hills hurrahing and enjoyed the triumph. Marched thence to Pepper's Ferry and spent the afternoon and night fording and ferrying the river. Sixteen miles.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 457

Diary of Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes: Wednesday, May 11, 1864

Blacksburg, nine miles, through a finely cultivated country; constant pursuit of mounted videttes. We caught Colonel Linkus, formerly of [the] Thirty-sixth [Virginia], as he was leaving town. Camped about 2 P. M. on a fine slope in a fierce rain-storm. No comfort.

I protect all the property in my vicinity. I take food and forage and burn rails, but all pillaging and plundering my brigade is clear from. I can't say as much for the Pennsylvania regiments, Third and Fourth, etc. Their conduct is most disgraceful. An officer may be excused for an occasional outrage by some villain in his command, but this infamous and universal plundering ought to dispose of shoulder-straps. Camped on Amos' farm — engaged in the Rebellion.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 457

Diary of Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes: Thursday, May 12, 1864

A most disagreeable rainy day. Mud and roads horrible. Marched from Blacksburg to Salt Pond Mountain. My brigade had charge of the train. I acted as wagon-master; a long train to keep up. Rode all day in mud and rain back and forth. Met "Mudwall" Jackson and fifteen hundred [men]—a poor force that lit out rapidly from near Newport. Got to camp — no tents—[at] midnight. Mud; slept on wet ground without blankets. A horrible day, one of the worst of all my experience. Fifteen miles.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 457-8

Diary of Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes: Friday, May 13, 1864

From Salt Pond Mountain to Peters Mountain. A cold rainy morning. Afternoon, weather good. Bivouacked on east side of Peters Mountain very early. Sun and rest make all happy. Caught a Rebel train and a cannon at the foot of the hill. [At] 3 P. M. ordered to cross Peters Mountain to get forage for animals. A good little march — fifteen miles. Bivouacked at foot of Peters Mountain northeast side.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 458

John A. Quitman to James K. Cook, August 28, 1832

Monmouth, August 28th, 1832.

On my return from the eastern section of the state, I read in your paper of the 10th inst. an editorial suggestion of the names of several citizens as electors for President and Vice-president of the United States, who are known to be in favor of a renewal of the charter of the Bank of the United States, with a request that the individuals named should signify to you their acceptance or rejection of the proposed nomination. My name having been suggested, I conceive it a duty to state that, although I have long considered the Bank of the United States a valuable institution, well calculated to promote the general good by its tendency to lessen the price of exchange, and to produce and preserve a uniform and sound paper currency throughout the Union, and would be pleased to see its charter renewed for a limited period, with such modifications as would prevent an abuse of its powers, yet, without wishing to underrate its consequence, I do not consider the question of rechartering it the only or most important one which is likely to be involved in the election of the first and second officers of the government.

In the present important crisis there are, in my opinion, several great questions of constitutional construction and national policy, much more vitally interesting to the people of the United States, and particularly to the citizens of the South, than any which can arise out of the bank question. I can not, therefore, consistently with these views, agree to become a candidate for elector for President and Vice-president, solely with reference to their opinion on the renewal of the charter of the Bank of the United States.

SOURCES: John F. H. Quitman, Life and Correspondence of John A. Quitman, Volume 1, p. 131

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Henry Clay to John J. Crittenden, May 11, 1826

Washington, May 11, 1826.

Dear Crittenden,—I have received your acceptable favor of the 27th. The affair with Mr. R[andolph], to which you refer with so much kindness, was unavoidable (according to that standard, my own feelings and judgment, to which its decision exclusively belonged). I rejoiced at its harmless issue. In regard to its effect upon me, with the public, I have not the smallest apprehension. The general effect will not be bad. I believe it is the only similar occurrence which is likely to take place here. As to McDuffie and Trimble, the general opinion here is that Trimble obtained a decided advantage, and in that opinion I understand some of the friends of McDuffie concur. You will not doubt it when you read Trimble's speech, who really appears on that occasion to have been inspired. Mr. Gallatin is appointed to England, and there is general acquiescence in the propriety of his appointment. Our senator, Mr. R., made a violent opposition to Trimble's nomination, and prevailed upon four other senators to record their negatives with him. He is perfectly impotent in the Senate, and has fallen even below the standard of his talents, of which, I think, he has some for mischief, if not for good. The judiciary bill will most probably be lost by the disagreement between the two Houses as to its arrangements. This day will decide. My office is very laborious. Amidst sundry negotiations and interminable correspondence, I have, nevertheless, found time during the winter and spring to conclude two commercial treaties,—one with Denmark and one with Guatemala, which have had the fortune to be unanimously approved by the Senate. Publication deferred till ratified by the other parties. I am rejoiced at the prospect you describe of the settlement of our local differences. It will be as I have ever anticipated. I think, with deference to our friends, there has been all along too much doubt and despair. On the other hand, you should not repose in an inactive confidence. I believe with you, that some of the Relief party have been alienated from me. Not so, however, I trust with Blair, to whom I pray you to communicate my best respects.

Yours, faithfully,
Henry Clay.

SOURCES: Mrs. Chapman Coleman, The Life of John J. Crittenden, Volume 1, p. 65; C. N. Feamster, Calendar of the Papers of John Jordan Crittenden, p. 32