Friday, October 28, 2016

Diary of Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle: Wednesday, July 8, 1863

My conductor told me he couldn't go to-day on account of a funeral, but he promised faithfully to start to-morrow. Every one was full of forebodings as to my probable fate when I fell into Yankee clutches. In deference to their advice I took off my grey shooting-jacket, in which they said I was sure to be taken for a rebel, and I put on a black coat; but I scouted all well-meant advice as to endeavouring to disguise myself as an “American citizen,” or to conceal the exact truth in any way. I was aware that a great deal depended upon falling into the hands of a gentleman, and I did not believe these were so rare in the Northern army as the Confederates led me to suppose.

SOURCE: Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle, Three Months in the Southern States: April-June, 1863, p. 297-8

Diary of John Hay: Monday, April 22, 1861

. . . . The whining traitors from Baltimore were here again this morning. The President, I think, has done with them. In conversation with Major Hunter last night, in reply to the Major's blunt assertion that the troops should have been brought through Baltimore if the town had to be leveled to the earth, he said that that order commanding them to return to Pennsylvania was given at the earnest solicitation of the Maryland conservatives who avowed their powerlessness in Baltimore, but their intention to protect the federal troops elsewhere, granted them as a special extension; as an exhaustion of the means of conciliation and kindness. Hereafter, however, he would interfere with no war measures of the army.

A young lady called to-day from Baltimore, sent by her father, H. Pollock, Esq., to convey to the Government information as to the state of affairs in the Plug-ugly city. She was very pretty and southern in features and voice, and wonderfully plucky and earnest in the enunciation of her devotion to the Stars and Stripes. She stated that the mails had been stopped at the Baltimore Post-office — arms expected from Virginia — Fort McHenry to be attacked tonight — the scared Commanders here thoroughly traitorous, and other things. I met her again this afternoon and talked three hours. Her quiet courage and dauntless patriotism brought back to me the times of De Montfort and Queen Eleanor, and the girl of Dom Remy. I gained a new idea of the possibilities of true, brave hearts being nourished in Republics. Just as she stepped into her carriage, her friend called her “Lilie,” and I knew her name. She seemed so heart whole in her calm devotion to the Union that flirtation died in her presence and better thoughts than politicians often know, stole through the mind of one who listened to the novelty of an American woman, earnest, intelligent, patriotic and pretty.

This afternoon the Pocahontas and the Anacostia came peacefully back from their cruise and folded their wings in the harbor. The Pocahontas has done her duty at Norfolk and is welcome to our bay, with its traitor-haunted shores. She reports no batteries at the White House Point, and makes no record of any hostile demonstration from the banks of Alexandria. The very fact of the Pocahontas coming so quietly in, is a good one.

A telegram intercepted on its way to Baltimore states that our Yankees and New Yorkers have landed at Annapolis. Weary and foot-sore but very welcome, they will probably greet us tomorrow.

. . . . It is amusing to drop in some evening at Clay’s Armory. The raw patriots lounge elegantly on the benches, drink coffee in the ante-room, change the boots of unconscious sleepers in the hall, scribble busily in editorial note-books, while the sentries snore at the doors, and the grizzled Captain talks politics on the raised platform, and dreams of border battle and the hot noons of Monterey.

It was melodramatic to see Cassius Clay come into the President's reception room to-day. He wore, with a sublimely unconscious air, three pistols and an Arkansas tooth pick, and looked like an admirable vignette to 25 cents worth of yellow-covered romance.

Housekeepers here are beginning to dread famine. Flour has made a sudden spring to $18 a barrel, and corn-meal rejoices in the respectable atmosphere of $2.50 a bushel. Willard is preparing for war, furling all sails for the storm. The dinner-table is lorn of cartes, and the tea-table reduced to the severe simplicity of pound-cake.

SOURCES: Clara B. Hay, Letters of John Hay and Extracts from Diary, Volume 1, p. 18-21; Michael Burlingame, Inside Lincoln's White House: The Complete Civil War Diary of John Hay, p. 6-8

Lieutenant-Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes to Colone Eliakim P. Scammon, May 8, 1862

Camp Number 6, Giles Court-house,
May 8, 1862, 4:30 A. M.

Sir: — A citizen came in from Dublin last [night] about 11 o'clock. He reports no troops there except a few guards, and the enemy engaged in removing all stores to Lynchburg; they commenced removing before we came here. He came over Cloyd's Mountain and in the Gap, posted strongly, he found the Forty-fifth and its militia, perhaps five hundred strong, and the Thirty-sixth, which had just joined them from the other side of New River (they had been at Lewisburg), three hundred strong, with five (5) pieces artillery, one large and four small. They had ascertained that the “advance guard of Yankees” which took Giles was only two hundred and fifty strong and were then getting ready to march against us to attack last night, with one cannon. He heard when he came within four miles that we were being reinforced; the negro reporting it thought there must be fifteen thousand now in Giles. He said if they heard of the reinforcements it would certainly stop their coming. They had hope of reinforcements to stop us at Cloyd's Mountain from the men on furlough from Floyd's Brigade. The brigade is to be reorganized immediately. It will form part of three regiments. No other reinforcements hoped for in the camp talk of the enemy.

This is the substance of the information given me. I think it reliable. I doubled the pickets at 12 last night and sent cavalry patrols four miles to the front. I could not help wishing, if our information was correct, that the enemy would be discovered approaching. But all is reported quiet. I suspect they will let us alone. If they had approached in the force reported we should have flogged them well. As to reinforcements, we should have some artillery. All others should bring tents with them. The houses are all occupied. If the Thirtieth comes let them take two days, it is too severe on feet to march twenty-eight miles on stones and hard knobs. The necessity for strengthening this post lies here: The country has a great deal of forage, and we can't get it unless we are strong. The enemy yesterday ran off six hundred bushels of shelled corn from near here. We have two hundred and fifty barrels of flour, nine barrels cornmeal, six barrels salt, sugar, drugs, some corn, and a vast variety of stuff such as ammunition, tools, harness, material of wear in stuff, etc., etc., all hauled into town and under guard. But a great deal is slipping through our fingers for want of force to take and hold it.

This is a lovely spot, a fine, clean village, most beautiful and romantic surrounding country, and polite and educated Secesh people. It is the spot to organize your brigade. For a week or two we are almost independent of quartermasters. The road from you to this place has some very bad places — perhaps five miles in all; the rest is hard, smooth, and dry, a good road. Our teams broke down a good deal but got within twenty miles. I left a guard at Wolf Creek Bridge. That is where the road from Tazewell comes to the river and the bridge is very important. We got Rebel papers to the 5th. Notice the article marked in the Lynchburg paper mentioning our advance. Also letters, etc., which you will find interesting; also important list of captured stores. Our prisoners, the officers and militia, nice gentlemen but of no importance. I found [turned?] them out on parole. You will not greatly disapprove of this when you know the facts. In short, if you can get the permission you want to come here with your brigade, do so by all means as fast as you can get tents for them. We are in no need of reinforcements for defense, if our information is correct, as yet, but the point is too important to lose. You will see some beginnings at fortifying the Narrows. It was a strong place.

I still retain Gilmore's Cavalry. It is a necessity. Captain Gilmore and his two lieutenants pretty much captured this town. They have behaved admirably. Do get a revocation of the order sending them to the rear, at least for the present. You will need them very much. Will you send up their tents and baggage today? They must stay for the present. They can send tents, etc., up with their own teams now there. I say nothing about the major and his command. They deserve all praise. Say what you please that is good of them, and it will be true. The taking of Giles Court-house is one of the boldest things of the war. It was perfectly impudent. There were more Secesh standing on the corners than were in the party with Major Comly and Captain Gilmore when they dashed in.

R. B. Hayes,
Lieutenant-colonel 23D Regiment O. V. I.,
Colonel E. P. Scammon,
Commanding Third Brigade.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 256-8

Major Wilder Dwight: June 6, 1862

The last year has been the richest of my life. For the first time in my life, I have been sure, every day, that I was doing good. I have worked hard in the profession of the law, and gained cases for people, and they have been very grateful to me, but I never knew with certainty whether I had done them good or not. Now I know, every day I live, that I do good to those poor fellows in our regiment, and I shall not give it up. I would not if I could, and I could not if I would, with honor.

Then, as to my life, my experience at Winchester taught me that is God's care, not mine. I took no care of it then myself. I was all the time in front of the line; I went forward into the most exposed positions possible. I saw a dozen men take aim at me. They did not hit me. I was as safe there as I should have been at home. And I shall be so again, till God's time comes to take my life. When that time comes, I am perfectly willing to give it up.

SOURCE: Elizabeth Amelia Dwight, Editor, Life and Letters of Wilder Dwight: Lieut.-Col. Second Mass. Inf. Vols., p. 271

Brigadier-General William F. Bartlett to Harriet Plummer Bartlett, August 6, 1864

Little better this morning; shall try to send this to-day. Write on one leaf, but send the whole sheet and an envelope.

AG. P., — I have the little red velvet case with me all safe. Don't be worried about me.


SOURCE: Francis Winthrop Palfrey, Memoir of William Francis Bartlett, p. 123

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: December 5, 1862

Yesterday there was some little skirmishing below Fredericksburg. But it rained last night, and still rains. Lee has only 30,000 or 40,000 effective men.

We have the Federal President's Message to-day. It is moderate in tone, and is surprising for its argument on a new proposition that Congress pass resolutions proposing amendments to the Constitution, allowing compensation for all slaves emancipated between this and the year 1900! He argues that slaves are property, and that the South is no more responsible for the existence of slavery than the North! The very argument I have been using for twenty years. He thinks if his proposition be adopted that “several of the border States will embrace its terms, and that the Union will be reconstructed.” He says the money expended in this way will not amount to so much as the cost of a war of subjugation. He is getting sick of the war, and therein I see the “beginning of the end” of it. It is a good sign for us, perhaps. I should not be surprised if his proposition had advocates in the South.

Lt.-Col. T. C. Johnson sent in a communication to-day. He alludes to an interview with the Secretary, in which the latter informed him that the government intended to exchange cotton for supplies for the army, and Lt.-Col. J. suggests that it be extended to embrace all kinds of merchandise for the people, and informs him that New York merchants are willing to send merchandise to our ports if we will permit their ships to return laden with cotton, at 50 cts. per pound, and pledging themselves to furnish goods at 50 per cent, advance on cost. He advocates a trade of this nature to the extent of $100,000,000, our government (and not individuals) to sell the cotton. The goods to be sold by the government to the merchants here. I know not what answer the Secretary will make. But I know our people are greedy for the merchandise.

The enemy have shelled Port Royal, below Fredericksburg, in retaliation for some damage done their gun-boats in the river by one of our land batteries. And we have news of the evacuation of Winchester by the enemy. The Northern papers say Burnside (who is not yet removed) will beat Lee on the Rappahannock, and that their army on the James River will occupy Richmond. When Lee is beaten, perhaps Richmond will fall.

A large number of our troops, recruited in Kentucky, have returned to their homes. It is said, however, that they will fight the enemy there as guerrillas.

The President has appointed his nephew, J. R. Davis, a brigadier-general. I suppose no president could escape denunciation, nevertheless, it is to be regretted that men of mind, men who wrought up the Southern people, with their pens, to the point of striking for national independence, are hurled into the background by the men who arranged the programme of our government. De Bow was offered a lower clerkship by Mr. Secretary Memminger, which he spurned; Fitzhugh accepted the lower class clerkship Mr. M. offered him after a prolonged hesitation; and others, who did more to produce the revolution than any one of the high functionaries now enjoying its emoluments, are to be found in the lowest subordinate positions; while Tom, Dick, and Harry, never heard of before, young, and capable of performing military service, rich, and able to live without office, are heads of bureaus, chief clerks of departments, and staff-officers flourishing their stars! Even this is known in the North, and they exult over it as a just retribution on those who were chiefly instrumental in fomenting revolution. But they forget that it was ever thus, and that our true patriots and bold thinkers who furnish our lesser men, in greater positions, with ideas, are still true and steadfast in the cause they have advocated so long.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 204-5

Diary of Sergeant George G. Smith: May 30, 1863

Shooting at each other had begun to be regarded more as a pastime than otherwise, but the enemy did not seem to regard it in that light, and had come to be quite shy, so that our men could hardly get a mark to shoot at, but when they did, five or six bullets would fly at it, and it would be strange indeed if all of them missed. Today one of our shells dismounted a rebel gun.

SOURCE: Abstracted from George G. Smith, Leaves from a Soldier's Diary, p. 67

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Lemuel A. Abbott: Monday, May 23, 1864

We were ordered to be in readiness to march at 4 o'clock this morning, but did not start till near 9 o'clock a. m.; marched until about 11 o'clock a. m., and encamped about three miles from the North Anna river; heavy artillery firing heard in the direction of the river; have not heard the result; very warm all day, but the men bear the heat grandly. General Longstreet's Corps is only about three miles ahead of us from which it would seem we are chasing him — anyway, have captured many of his stragglers. It's intensely hot.

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 64

Diary of Luman Harris Tenney: Sunday, September 14, 1862

In the morning washed out some shirts, went to the creek and bathed and cleaned up generally. Mac Murray came up and spent the afternoon. He is a good boy. In the evening borrowed “Agnes of Sorrento” from Q. M. S. Mason and read till about 11 o'clock, by Capt. Welch's permission. The boys were awake late, talking and making a noise. Col. complained about so much noise being made.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 31-2

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Saturday, December 26, 1863

Last night rainy All day rainy Pine Bluffs at 11. a. m. From the Bluffs 4 P. M.

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 501

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Sabbath, December 27, 1863

At Watkins Plantation begin to load corn

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 501

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Monday, December 28, 1863

Finished loading 1006 bush corn at 1 P. M. and started up up at Red bluffs Negro who had broken in trunk escaped

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 501

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Tuesday, December 29, 1863

At the Rock at 4:30 P. M. in camp at dark.

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 501

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Wednesday, December 30, 1863

A little rainy — Gen review at 10 A. M.

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 501

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Thursday, December 31, 1863

Snowing and blowing cold — 14 below 0 — Spy taken at the picket post.

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 501

Thursday, October 27, 2016

In The Review Queue: A Civil War Captain and His Lady

By Gene Bar

A Civil War Captain and His Lady is a true “Cold Mountain” love story from the Northern perspective.

More than 150 years ago, 27-year-old Irish immigrant Josiah Moore met 19-year-old Jennie Lindsay, a member of one of Peoria, Illinois’s most prominent families. The Civil War had just begun, Josiah was the captain of the 17th Illinois Infantry, and his war would be a long and bloody one. Their courtship and romance, which came to light in a rare and unpublished series of letters, forms the basis of Gene Barr’s memorable A Civil War Captain and His Lady: Love, Courtship, and Combat from Fort Donelson through the Vicksburg Campaign.

The story of Josiah, Jennie, the men of the 17th and their families tracks the toll on our nation during the war and allows us to explore the often difficult recovery after the last gun sounded in 1865.

Josiah’s and Jennie’s letters shed significant light on the important role played by a soldier’s sweetheart on the home front, and a warrior’s observations from the war front. Josiah’s letters offer a deeply personal glimpse into army life, how he dealt with the loss of many close to him, and the effects of war on a man’s physical, spiritual, and moral well-being. Jennie’s letters show a young woman mature beyond her age dealing with the difficulties on the home front while her brother and her new love struggle through the travails of war. Her encouragement to keep his faith in God strong and remain morally upright gave Josiah the strength to lead his men through the horrors of the Civil War. Politics also thread their way through the letters and include the evolution of Jennie’s father’s view of the conflict. A leader in the Peoria community and former member of the Illinois state house, he engages in his own political wars when he shifts his affiliation from the Whig Party to the new Republican Party, and is finally elected to the Illinois Senate as a Peace Democrat and becomes one of the state’s more notorious Copperheads.

In addition to this deeply moving and often riveting correspondence, Barr includes additional previously unpublished material on the 17th Illinois and the war’s Western Theater, including Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Vicksburg, and the lesser known Meridian Campaign―actions that have historically received much less attention than similar battles in the Eastern Theater. The result is a rich, complete, and satisfying story of love, danger, politics, and warfare, and it is one you won’t soon forget.

About the Author

Gene Barr is the president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, the largest broad-based business advocacy group in Pennsylvania. He has spent more than 40 years in the political and government affairs world, including more than twelve years with a Fortune 100 energy company. Barr is a board member and former chair of the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, PA and spent many years engaged in Civil War living history events. He has a bachelor's degree in political science from St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia and lives in Mechanicsburg with his wife Mary.

ISBN 978-1611212907, Savas Beatie, © 2016, Hardcover, 360 Pages, Photographs, Maps, Footnotes, Appendix, Bibliography & Index. $32.95.  To Purchase the book click HERE.

Diary of Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle: Tuesday, July 7, 1863

Lawley, the Austrian, and I drove into Hagerstown this morning, and General Longstreet moved into a new position on the Williamsport road, which he was to occupy for the present. We got an excellent room in the Washington Hotel on producing greenbacks. Public opinion in Hagerstown seems to be pretty evenly divided between North and South, and probably accommodates itself to circumstances. For instance, yesterday the women waved their handkerchiefs when the Yankee cavalry were driven through the town, and to-day they went through the same compliment in honour of 3500 Yankee (Gettysburg) prisoners whom I saw marched through en, route for Richmond. I overheard the conversation of some Confederate soldiers about these prisoners. One remarked, with respect to the Zouaves, of whom there were a few — “Those red-breeched fellows look as if they could fight, but they don't, though; no, not so well as the blue-bellies.”

Lawley introduced me to General Stuart in the streets of Hagerstown to-day. He is commonly called Jeb Stuart, on account of his initials; he is a good-looking, jovial character, exactly like his photographs. He has certainly accomplished wonders, and done excellent service in his peculiar style of warfare. He is a good and gallant soldier, though he sometimes incurs ridicule by his harmless affectation and peculiarities. The other day he rode through a Virginian town, his horse covered with garlands of roses. He also departs considerably from the severe simplicity of dress adopted by other Confederate generals; but no one can deny that he is the right man in the right place. On a campaign, he seems to roam over the country according to his own discretion, and always gives a good account of himself, turning up at the right moment; and hitherto he has never got himself into any serious trouble.

I rode to General Longstreet's camp, which is about two miles in the direction of Williamsport, and consulted him about my difficulties with regard to my leave. He was most good-natured about it, and advised me under the circumstances to drive in the direction of Hancock; and, in the event of being ill-treated on my way, to insist upon being taken before the nearest U.S. officer of the highest rank, who would probably protect me. I determined to take his advice at once; so I took leave of him and of his officers. Longstreet is generally a very taciturn and undemonstrative man, but he was quite affectionate in his farewell. His last words were a hearty hope for the speedy termination of the war. All his officers were equally kind in their expressions on my taking leave, though the last sentence uttered by Latrobe was not entirely reassuring—viz., "You may take your oath he'll be caught for a spy."

I then rode to General Lee's camp, and asked him for a pass to get through his lines. We had a long talk together, and he told me of the raid made by the enemy, for the express purpose of arresting his badly wounded son (a Confederate Brigadier-General), who was lying in the house of a relation in Virginia. They insisted upon carrying him off in a litter, though he had never been out of bed, and had quite recently been shot through the thigh. This seizure was evidently made for purposes of retaliation. His life has since been threatened, in the event of the South retaliating for Burnside's alleged military murders in Kentucky. But few officers, however, speak of the Northerners with so much moderation as General Lee; his extreme amiability seems to prevent his speaking strongly against any one. I really felt quite sorry when I said good-bye to so many gentlemen from whom I had received so much disinterested kindness.

I am now about to leave the Southern States, after travelling quite alone throughout their entire length and breadth, including Texas and the trans-Mississippi country, for nearly three months and a half, during which time I have been thrown amongst all classes of the population — the highest, the lowest, and the most lawless. Although many were very sore about the conduct of England, I never received an uncivil word from anybody, but, on the contrary, I have been treated by all with more than kindness.* I have never met a man who was not anxious for a termination of the war; and I have never met a man, woman, or child who contemplated its termination as possible without an entire separation from the now detested Yankee. I have never been asked for alms or a gratuity by any man or woman, black or white. Every one knew who I was, and all spoke to me with the greatest confidence. I have rarely heard any person complain of the almost total ruin which has befallen so many. All are prepared to undergo still greater sacrifices, — they contemplate and prepare to receive great reverses which it is impossible to avert. They look to a successful termination of the war as certain, although few are sanguine enough to fix a speedy date for it, and nearly all bargain for its lasting at least all Lincoln's presidency. Although I have always been with the Confederates in the time of their misfortunes, yet I never heard any person use a desponding word as to the result of the struggle. When I was in Texas and Louisiana, Banks seemed to be carrying everything before him, Grant was doing the same in Mississippi, and I certainly did not bring luck to my friends at Gettysburg. I have lived in bivouacs with all the Southern armies, which are as distinct from one another as the British is from the Austrian, and I have never once seen an instance of insubordination.

When I got back to Hagerstown, I endeavoured to make arrangements for a horse and buggy to drive through the lines. With immense difficulty I secured the services of a Mr ——, to take me to Hancock, and as much farther as I chose to go, for a dollar a mile (greenbacks). I engaged also to pay him the value of his horse and buggy, in case they should be confiscated by either side. He was evidently extremely alarmed, and I was obliged to keep him up to the mark by assurances that his horse would inevitably be seized by the Confederates, unless protected by General Lee's pass in my possession.

* The only occasion on which I was roughly handled was when I had the misfortune to enter the city of Jackson, Mississippi, just as the Federals evacuated it. I do not complain of that affair, which, under the circumstances, was not to be wondered at.

SOURCE: Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle, Three Months in the Southern States: April-June, 1863, p. 292-7

Diary of John Hay: Sunday, April 21, 1861

This morning came a penitent and suppliant crowd of conditional secessionists from Baltimore, who, having sowed the wind, seem to have no particular desire to reap the whirlwind. They begged that no more federal troops should be sent through Baltimore at present; that their mob was thoroughly unmanageable, and that they would give the government all possible assistance in transporting its troops, safely, across the State by any other route. The President, always inclined to give all men credit for fairness and sincerity, consented to this arrangement, contrary to the advice of some of his most prominent counsellors; and afterwards said that this was the last time he was going to interfere in matters of strictly military concernment; that he would leave them hereafter wholly to military men.

I spoke of the intended resignation of Col. Magruder. The Tycoon was astonished. Three days ago Magruder had been in his room making the loudest protestations of undying devotion to the Union. This canker of secession has wonderfully demoralised the army. Capt. Fry is the firmest and soundest man I meet. He seems to combine great honesty of purpose with accurate and industrious business habits and a lively and patriotic soldier's spirit that is better than anything else to-day.

This morning we mounted the battlements of the Executive Mansion, and the Ancient took a long look down the bay. It was a “water-haul.”

Any amount of feverish rumors filled the evening. The despatch from Mead Addison, in regard to 1,500 Massachusetts troops being seen off Annapolis, seemed to please the President very much. Then there was a Fort Monroe rumor and a 7th Regiment rumor, and a Rhode Island rumor; all which, to-morrow will sift.

We passed the evening pleasantly at Eames', where were the English Legation, and returned to find Vivaldi and his borderers guarding the imperial palace, pacing in belted and revolvered dignity, up and down the wide portico, to give style and tone to the defensive guard, looking, as he said, like gentlemen in feature and dress. We went up and found a despatch stating that no troops had arrived at the Navy Yard. Tant pis we said, and slept.

SOURCES: Clara B. Hay, Letters of John Hay and Extracts from Diary, Volume 1, p. 16-8; Michael Burlingame, Inside Lincoln's White House: The Complete Civil War Diary of John Hay, p. 5-6

Diary of Lieutenant-Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes: Thursday, May 8, 1862

Parisburg [Pearisburg], Virginia. — A perfectly splendid day. No attack or approach last night. Passed out at daylight a mile and a half in direction of enemy. Selected my ground in case of an approach of the enemy. Talked with Mr. Pendleton [and] Colonel English. Find more intelligence and culture here than anywhere else in Virginia. Today Sergeant Abbott found a Rebel picket or scouting party on the mountain overlooking the village, peering into us with a fine glass. A reconnaissance today discovered three regiments in line marching coolly and well to the front as our men crossed Walker's Creek, ten or twelve miles from here. They are said to have three pieces of artillery and some cavalry.

We get no reinforcements today and hear of none on the way. I have asked for artillery two or three times and get none. No message even today. It is a great outrage that we are not reinforced. We are losing stores all the time which the enemy slips away, — not [to] speak of the possibility of an attack by an overwhelming force. Shameful! Who is to blame? I think we shall not be attacked, but I shall have an anxious night.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 256

Telegram from Major Wilder Dwight: June 5, 1862

Have order for exchange with Major Davidson at Fort Warren. Shall come home at once and arrange it.

SOURCE: Elizabeth Amelia Dwight, Editor, Life and Letters of Wilder Dwight: Lieut.-Col. Second Mass. Inf. Vols., p. 269

Brigadier-General William F. Bartlett to Harriet Plummer Bartlett, August 5, 1864

Prisoners' Hospital,
Danville, Va., August 5, 1864.

Dear Mother, — I will write a few lines in the hope that they may reach you at some time. You know, of course, that I was taken prisoner, that my leg (wooden) was crushed; the man next me was killed by the same shell. I was very much used up and have been very weak from diarrhoea since. I was brought from the prison to this place night before last. The other officers were all sent to Columbia, S. C, yesterday, Colonel Weld and Captain Amory included; so I am all alone I shall be sent there when I am well enough, I suppose. I am in a tent here, and have plenty of fresh air. I hope no blame is given me for the failure of Saturday. I certainly did all in my power. I held the pit with, hardly any force after the rest of the line had been retaken. The rebel flag was within six feet of mine, just the ridge of dirt between, for nearly an hour. It was impossible to withdraw without sacrificing all the men, so I held on as long as possible in hope of reinforcements. The negroes were crowded into the same pit with us when they retreated in such confusion, and we have been treated worse, an account of being taken with them.

I shall get better here, I think. I don't suppose you will be able to send me anything. Tufts, the Massachusetts Agent in Washington, will know. Write me. Not more than one page is allowed, I believe. Address Prisoner of War, Danville, Va. Has George got home yet? And my horses? Take good care of Ned. I made arrangements to have him sent home in case anything happened to me. The Chaplain and Dr. White promised to see to it. If you can send me a small box with something to eat and drink, some tea and coffee, I should like it. It might get to me. Send it through Tufts, Massachusetts Agent in Washington. Send this letter to A. P. I shall not be able to write any more at present. I have Uncle Edwin's “letter” with me, and may be able to use it. Don't be worried about me, I shall be well soon. I shall get a pair of crutches made so I can get about soon. My half-dollar pocket-piece did me good service; brought me eight dollars confederate money, with which I bought a tooth-brush. Milk two dollars qt., etc. My love to all. Let them write me often; some will get through.

Your affectionate son,
W. F. Bartlett.
Brigadier-general U. S. A., Prisoner of War.
(Envelopes, $8. a package.)

There has been some talk of exchanging sick and wounded prisoners. I hope it will be effected.

SOURCE: Francis Winthrop Palfrey, Memoir of William Francis Bartlett, p. 121-3

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: December 4, 1862

All is quiet (before the storm) on the Rappahannock, Gen. Jackson's corps being some twenty miles lower down the river than Longstreet's. It is said Burnside has been removed already and Hooker given the command.

Gen. S. Cooper takes sides with Col. Myers against Gen. Wise. Gen. W.'s letter of complaint of the words, “Let them suffer,” was referred to Gen. C., who insisted upon sending the letter to the Quartermaster-General before either the Secretary or the President saw it, — and it was done. Why do the Northern men here hate Wise?

Gen. Lee dispatches to-day that there is a very large amount of corn in the Rappahannock Valley, which can be procured, if wagons be sent from Richmond. What does this mean? That the enemy will come over and get it if we do not take it away?

A letter from the President of the Graniteville Cotton Mills, complains that only 75 per ct. profit is allowed by Act of Congress, whose operatives are exempted from military duty, if the law be interpreted to include sales to individuals as well as to the government, and suggesting certain modifications. He says he makes 14,000 yards per day, which is some 4,000,000 per annum. It costs him 20 cts. per yard to manufacture cotton cloth, including, of course, the cotton, and 75 per ct. will yield, I believe, $500,000 profits, which would be equivalent to 32 cts. per yard. But the market price, he says, is 68 cts. per yard, or some $2,000,000 profits! This war is a great encourager of domestic manufacturers, truly!

The Governor sends out a proclamation to-day, saying the President has called on him and other governors for assistance, in returning absent officers and men to their camps; in procuring supplies of food and clothing for the army; in drafting slaves to work on fortifications; and, finally, to put down the extortioners. The Governor invokes the people to respond promptly and fully. But how does this speak for the government, or rather the efficiency of the men who by “many indirect ways” came into power? Alas! it is a sad commentary.

The President sent a hundred papers to the department to-day, which he has been diligently poring over, as his pencil marks bear ample evidence. They were nearly all applications for office, and this business constitutes much of his labor.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 203-4

Diary of Sergeant George G. Smith: May 28, 1863

At 3 a. m. another tremendous storm of shot and shell. But all except the guard lay sleeping behind the bluff, so that the torrent of lead and iron passed harmlessly over our heads.

At noon another truce was agreed upon until 7 p. m., to bury the dead. Our forces occupied the time in strengthening their works along the bluff, so that when hostilities began again we had very nice breastworks and could stand up and fire, whereas before, in many places, the men had to lie down to fire in order to avoid exposure. At 7 p. m. a rebel gun on the left (an 8 inch Parrot, called the Lady Davis) proclaimed the truce at an end. Now the conflict began with redoubled fury.

A laughable occurrence happened about this time. A shell burst in close proximity to our line, throwing stones and dirt all over us, at the same time knocking down little Pat Murphy. He jumped up, exclaiming, “Be jobbers, an ’twas the strongest wind I ever filt.”

Firing ceased at 8 p. m.

SOURCE: Abstracted from George G. Smith, Leaves from a Soldier's Diary, p. 66-7

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Lemuel A. Abbott: Sunday, May 22, 1864

The enemy appeared on our right flank about 3 o'clock a. m. evidently with the intention of cutting us off from the rest of the army, but didn't succeed. It has been very warm all day, and by far the most difficult marching we have had during the campaign; encamped near Bowling Green. General Hancock is reported ten miles ahead of us; no fighting to-day.

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 63-4

Diary of Luman Harris Tenney: Saturday, September 13, 1862

In the afternoon a brigade left under General Salomon for Carthage. Dispatches from Col. Weir came, stating a fight was soon expected. I went down and got provisions for 88 men going from our regiment under Capt. Welch. No mail again. Read the latest papers.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 31

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Saturday, December 19, 1863

Gen Inspt. at 2 P. M. Small steam boat down from Ft. Smith

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 501

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Sabbath, December 20, 1863

Pleasant 3 boats start down the river

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 501

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan:Monday, December 21, 1863


SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 501

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan:Tuesday, December 22, 1863

A man killed at the theatre tonight — accident—

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 501

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan:Wednesday, December 23, 1863

In camp all day

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 501

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan:Thursday, December 24, 1863

Volunteer to guard boat to Pine bluffs. Delayed

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 501

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Friday, December 25, 1863

Pleasant day Pleasant ride

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 501

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Diary of Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle: Monday, July 6, 1863

Several horses were stolen last night, mine nearly so. It is necessary to be very careful, in order to prevent this misfortune. We started at 6.30, but got on very slowly, so blocked up was the road with waggons, some of which had been captured and burnt by the enemy yesterday. It now turned out that all Ewell's waggons escaped except thirty-eight, although, at one time, they had been all in the enemy's hands.

At 8.30 we halted for a couple of hours, and Generals Lee, Longstreet, Hill, and Willcox had a consultation.

I spoke to about my difficulties with regard to getting home, and the necessity of doing so, owing to the approaching expiration of my leave. He told me that the army had no intention at present of retreating for good, and advised me to stop with them and see what turned up; he also said that some of the enemy's despatches had been intercepted, in which the following words occur: — “The noble but unfortunate army of the Potomac has again been obliged to retreat before superior numbers.” I particularly observed the marching to-day of the 21st Mississippi, which was uncommonly good. This regiment all wear short round jackets, a most unusual circumstance, for they are generally unpopular in the South.

At 12 o'clock we halted again, and all set to work to eat cherries, which was the only food we got between 5 A.M. and 11 P.M.

I saw a most laughable spectacle this afternoon — viz., a negro dressed in full Yankee uniform, with a rifle at full cock, leading along a barefooted white man, with whom he had evidently changed clothes. General Longstreet stopped the pair, and asked the black man what it meant. He replied, “The two soldiers in charge of this here Yank have got drunk, so for fear he should escape I have took care of him, and brought him through that little town.” The consequential manner of the negro, and the supreme contempt with which he spoke to his prisoner, were most amusing. This little episode of a Southern slave leading a white Yankee soldier through a Northern village, alone and of his own accord, would not have been gratifying to an abolitionist. Nor would the sympathisers both in England and in the North feel encouraged if they could hear the language of detestation and contempt with which the numerous negroes with the Southern armies speak of their liberators*

I saw General Hood in his carriage; he looked rather bad, and has been suffering a good deal; the doctors seem to doubt whether they will be able to save his arm. I also saw General Hampton, of the cavalry, who has been shot in the hip, and has two sabre-cuts on the head, but he was in very good spirits.

A short time before we reached Hagerstown there was some firing in front, together with an alarm that the Yankee cavalry was upon us. The ambulances were sent back; but some of the wounded jumped out, and, producing the rifles which they had not parted with, they prepared to fight. After a good deal of desultory skirmishing, we seated ourselves upon a hill overlooking Hagerstown, and saw the enemy's cavalry driven through the town pursued by yelling Confederates. A good many Yankee prisoners now passed us; one of them, who was smoking a cigar, was a lieutenant of cavalry, dressed very smartly, and his hair brushed with the greatest care; he formed rather a contrast to his ragged escort, and to ourselves, who had not washed or shaved for ever so long.

About 7 P.M. we rode through Hagerstown, in the streets of which were several dead horses and a few dead men. After proceeding about a mile beyond the town we halted, and General Longstreet sent four cavalrymen up a lane, with directions to report everything they saw. We then dismounted and lay down. About ten minutes later (being nearly dark) we heard a sudden rush — a panic — and then a regular stampede commenced, in the midst of which I descried our four cavalry heroes crossing a, field as fast as they could gallop. All was now complete confusion; — officers mounting their horses, and pursuing those which had got loose, and soldiers climbing over fences for protection against the supposed advancing Yankees. In the middle of the din I heard an artillery officer shouting to his “cannoneers” to stand by him, and plant the guns in a proper position for enfilading the lane. I also distinguished Longstreet walking about, hustled by the excited crowd, and remarking, in angry tones, which could scarcely be heard, and to which no attention was paid, “Now, you don't know what it is — you don't know what it is.” Whilst the row and confusion were at their height, the object of all this alarm at length emerged from the dark lane in the shape of a domestic four-wheel carriage, with a harmless load of females. The stampede had, however, spread, increased in the rear, and caused much harm and delay.

Cavalry skirmishing went on until quite dark, a determined attack having been made by the enemy, who did his best to prevent the trains from crossing the Potomac at William sport. It resulted in the success of the Confederates; but every impartial man confesses that these cavalry fights are miserable affairs. Neither party has any idea of serious charging with the sabre. They approach one another with considerable boldness, until they get to within about forty yards, and then, at the very moment when a dash is necessary, and the sword alone should be used, they hesitate, halt, and commence a desultory fire with carbines and revolvers.

An Englishman, named Winthrop, a captain in the Confederate army, and formerly an officer in H.M.'s 22d regiment, although not in the cavalry himself, seized the colours of one of the regiments, and rode straight at the Yankees in the most gallant manner, shouting to the men to follow him. He continued to distinguish himself by leading charges until his horse was unfortunately killed. I heard his conduct on this occasion highly spoken of by all. Stuart's cavalry can hardly be called cavalry in the European sense of the word; but, on the other hand, the country in which they are accustomed to operate is not adapted for cavalry.

—— was forced at last to give up wearing even his Austrian forage-cap; for the last two days soldiers on the line of march had been visiting his ambulance in great numbers, under the impression (encouraged by the driver) that he was a Yankee general. The idea now was that the army would remain some days in or near its present position until the arrival of the ammunition from Winchester.

* From what I have seen of the Southern negroes, I am of opinion that the Confederates could, if they chose, convert a great number into soldiers; and from the affection which undoubtedly exists as a general rule between the slaves and their masters, I think that they would prove more efficient than black troops under any other circumstances. But I do not imagine that such an experiment will be tried, except as a very last resort, partly on account of the great value of the negroes, and partly because the Southerners consider it improper to introduce such an element on a large scale into civilised warfare. Any person who has seen negro features convulsed with rage, may form a slight estimate of what the result would be of arming a vast number of blacks, rousing their passions, and then allowing them free scope.

SOURCE: Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle, Three Months in the Southern States: April-June, 1863, p. 287-92

Diary of John Hay: April 20, 1861

Colonel Washington called this morning but could not see the President.

It would seem like a happy chance to have a General Washington living and fighting among us at this time.

The streets were full of the talk of Baltimore. It seems to be generally thought that a mere handful of men has raised this storm that now threatens the loyalty of a State.

I went up with Nicolay, Pangborn and Whitley to see the Massachusetts troops quartered in the Capitol. The scene was very novel. The contrast was very painful between the grey-haired dignity that filled the Senate Chamber when I saw it last, and the present throng of bright-looking Yankee boys, the most of them bearing the signs of New England rusticity in voice and manner, scattered over the desks, chairs and galleries, some loafing, many writing letters slowly and with plough-hardened hands, or with rapid-glancing clerkly fingers, while Grow stood patient by the desk and franked for everybody. The Hall of Representatives is as yet empty. Lying on a sofa and looking upward, the magnificence of the barracks made me envy the soldiers who should be quartered there. The wide-spreading sky-lights overarching the vast hall like heaven, blushed and blazed with gold and the heraldic devices of the married States, while, all around it, the eye was rested by the massive simple splendor of the stalagmitic bronze reliefs. The spirit of our institutions seemed visibly present to inspire and nerve the acolyte, sleeping in her temple beside his unfleshed sword . . . .

The town is full to-night of feverish rumors about a meditated assault upon the town, and one, which seems to me more probable, on Fort McHenry. The garrison there, is weak and inadequate, and in spite of the acknowledged bravery of Robinson and Hazard, it must fall if attacked.

Ellsworth telegraphs that his regiment has been raised, accepted, and that he wants them sent to Fort Hamilton for preliminary drill. Cameron authorised the answer that the commander there should have orders to that effect. Much is hoped from the gallant Colonel's Bloodtubs. They would be worth their weight in Virginia currency in Fort McHenry to-night.

The Massachusetts men drilled to-night on the Avenue. They afford a happy contrast to the unlicked patriotism that has poured ragged and unarmed out of Pennsylvania. They step together well, and look as if they meant business.

Jim Lane wrote a note to the President to-day, offering to bring any assignable number of northern fighting men over the border at the shortest possible notice. Gen. Scott seems to think that four or five thousand men will be a sufficient garrison to hold this town against any force that may be brought out from Maryland or Virginia woods.

SOURCES: Clara B. Hay, Letters of John Hay and Extracts from Diary, Volume 1, p. 13; Tyler Dennett, Editor, Lincoln and the Civil War in the Diaries and Letters of John Hay, Da Cappo Press, 1988 (Paperback), p. 4-6

Lieutenant-Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes to Colonel Eliakim P. Scammon, May 7, 1862 – 6:30 p.m.

Camp Number 6, Giles, May 7, 1862, 6:30 o'clock.

Sir: — We arrived here after a pretty severe march of twenty-eight miles. We know really very little of the enemy. It is reported that the Jenifer Cavalry is at Newbern, the Forty-fifth at Cloyd's Mountain, thirteen miles distant, also the Twenty-second. We are without artillery and perhaps you would do well to send us some. We are told that the enemy are informed of our strength and of the large amount of property of theirs in our hands. There is no reason other than this fact for apprehending an attack. The current rumor is that they intend fortifying Cloyd's Mountain. You can judge from these facts what is required. My opinion is we are perfectly safe. The property is valuable, very valuable, especially for us here. It is worth here not less than five thousand dollars.

R. B. Hayes,
Lieutenant-colonel 23D Regiment O. V. I.,
P. S. — General Heth is nowhere near here.

[colonel E. P. Scammon.]

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 255

Major Wilder Dwight to Elizabeth White Dwight, June 3, 1862

Dear Mother, — I send you my journal. You will see by it that I became a prisoner by carelessness, mixed, perhaps, with good-nature. D—— is with me. I stay here to see about my exchange, &c. I am sorry you had so much anxiety for me, but thankful to be able to relieve it. Love to all. My reception by the regiment is reward enough. I must get back to them.

SOURCE: Elizabeth Amelia Dwight, Editor, Life and Letters of Wilder Dwight: Lieut.-Col. Second Mass. Inf. Vols., p. 269

Brigadier-General William F. Bartlett: Friday, August 5, 1864

No better. Wrote mother, hope it will get through. Officers sent to Columbia, S. C, yesterday. Find two or three old Eclectic Magazines to read, Rogers's Poetical Works, and Caudle Lectures. I never knew what silly things those were before.

Changed $50 U. S. for $200 C. S. currency.

SOURCE: Francis Winthrop Palfrey, Memoir of William Francis Bartlett, p. 121

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: December 3, 1862

One of the President's Aids, Mr. Johnston, has asked the Secretary's permission for Mrs E. B. Hoge, Mrs. M. Anderson, Miss Judith Venable, and Mrs. R. J. Breckinridge, with children and servants, to leave Richmond by flag of truce, and proceed to their homes in Kentucky. Of course it will be granted — the President sanctions it, but does not commit himself by ordering it.

There was no fighting on the Rappahannock yesterday, and no rumors to-day.

Letters were received from Gen. Lee to-day. He says several thousand of his men are barefoot! He suggests that shoes be taken from the extortioners at a fair price. That is right. He also recommends a rule of the department putting cavalry on foot when they cannot furnish good horses, and mounting infantry that can and will procure them. This would cause better care to be taken of horses. Gen. Lee also writes for more arms — which may indicate a battle. But the weather is getting bad again, and the roads will not admit of marching.

Mr. Gastrell, M. C, writes to the Secretary of War for permission for Messrs. Frank and Gemot, a Jew firm of Augusta, Ga., to bring through the lines a stock of goods they have just purchased of the Yankees in Memphis. Being a member of Congress, I think his request will be granted. And if all such applications be granted, I think money-making will soon absorb the war, and bring down the prices of goods.

We are a confident people. There are no symptoms of trepidation, although a hostile army of 150,000 men is now within two day's march of our capital. A few of guilty consciences, the extortioners, may feel alarm — but not the women and children. They reflect that over one hundred thousand of the enemy were within four miles of the city last spring and summer—and were repulsed.

The negroes are the best-clad people in the South. They have their Sunday clothing, and the half-worn garments of their masters and mistresses; and having worn these but once a week, they have a decidedly fresher aspect than the dresses of their owners. They are well fed, too, at any cost, and present a happy-appearance. And they are happy. It is a great mistake of the Abolitionists, in supposing the slaves hail their coming with delight; on the contrary, nearly all the negroes regard their approach with horror.

It might be well for the South if 500,000 of the slaves were suddenly emancipated. The loss would not be felt — and the North would soon be conscious of having gained nothing! My friend, Dr. Powell, near the city, abandoned his farm last summer, when it was partly in possession of the enemy, leaving fifty negroes on it — which he could have sold for $50,000. They promised not to leave him, and they kept their word. Judge Donnell, in North Carolina, has left his plantation with several hundred thousand dollars worth on it — rather risking their loss than to sell them.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 201-3

Diary of Sergeant George G. Smith: May 27, 1863

Early in the morning before sunrise the First Louisiana was ordered into line of battle. Companies B, H, and E, were ordered “as skirmishers.” My company was well posted in the skirmish drill, and I had no fear about them. A dense forest in which was hidden a powerful foe lay between us and his strong fortification, the fearful nature of whose armament we had already been made sensible by the destructive missiles he had previously hurled crashing through the trees at us. But not much time was allowed for these reflections. We were quickly deployed, and Lieutenant Gardner being in command of Company E gave the command of the first platoon to me, and the second to Lieutenant Koblin. Colonel Holcomb was acting Brigadier General and he quickly gave the command “Forward.” Flushed as we were with success, having been continually seeing the enemy fleeing before us for the last two months whenever we came up with them, victory had come to be almost a matter of course with us. So the boys expected a real “picnic,” and it may as well be said that they got it before the day was over. We had not proceeded more than two hundred yards before the grey coats of our enemies appeared among the trees, and they made their presence further known by a shower of bullets. The men returned the fire with interest and a sharp fight was kept up for a few minutes when the rebs gave way. I ordered the men to move forward as rapidly as possible, and not halt to load, but to load and fire as they marched. They had practiced this on the drill ground and knew how. In the excitement of the moment we entirely overlooked the necessity of keeping in line with the rest of the skirmishers and we soon found ourselves alone with one platoon of soldiers. The woods were so dense I could not see the length of my platoon. I was afraid to be in the rear for the danger of firing into them, and if we were forward of them they would fire into us. I could see no remedy, so we kept on our way, loading and firing into the bushes ahead as rapidly as possible, I could hear the stentorian voice of Colonel Holcomb as he gave the command, “Forward on the right!”

This I expected was intended for Company H as I feared they were in my rear: So I reiterated the command and kept up a continual fire into the woods in front. I think when I reiterated the command to “Forward on the right” it drew the fire of the whole rebel picket line on us, immediately in our front. But our fire soon silenced them and they disappeared entirely. This gave us a clear passage so far as the rebels were concerned. But we kept up the fire and pushed forward as fast as the nature of the ground would admit. We continued our course in this way for about a mile and a half, when we arrived at a small creek known as Thompsons creek, crossing this, we ascended a steep bluff. About half way up I halted the skirmishers and myself and another sergeant crept to the top to reconnoiter. About two hundred yards from the top of the bluff across an old cotton field was the rebel breast works. To the right was a deep basin of about seventy-five acres of felled timber commanded by a battery of two guns. Everything was silent and scarcely a man was to be seen, I believed the enemy was concealed behind the breastworks and did not deem it prudent to approach any nearer until support arrived. I told the sergeant next in rank to remain there and I would see if I could find any of the rest of the skirmishers. At the foot of the bluff I found Colonel Holcomb sitting on the bank wounded and Captain George, Company F, near by in command of the reserve. The Colonel said to me, “Sergeant where are your skirmishers?” I saluted him and said “Colonel they are up there (pointing up the bluff). We are in front of the rebel breast works and cannot go further until we have reinforcements.” He said, “I am wounded and cannot go further. A piece of shell struck me on the hip and I am disabled. But you go and tell Captain Parsons to charge on that gun that is firing down on us and take it.” “Very well,” I said, I went out to the right in the direction Captain Parson ought to be but could find nothing of him. I did not look long, and returned to report to the Colonel. But he had gone to the rear. I then returned to my command. I found the remainder of the line of skirmishers had arrived and taken up their positions along the bluff. We had not been there long when the enemy seeing we were not going to make a charge, opened upon us with a terriffic volley of grape canister and musketry splitting the limbs of the trees above our heads into splinters. I had my men stationed in a gully cut out from the side of the bluff by the action of the water, so that the fire of the enemy could not reach us. One poor fellow carelessly exposed himself and was shot through the brain and fell at my feet. I looked down at him. He gasped once, and was dead. His comrades took him away. The firing ceased and I looked round and discovered we were alone. I said to the men, “What does this mean?” One of them said somebody started a report that the rebels had come out from their works and were flanking us.” I said it was all nonsense. “The rebels dare not come out from there works; and we will hold the position until we are compelled to leave it. It has cost us too much hard fighting to abandon it.” So I said to one of the men, “How many cartridges have you got?” “One,” he replied, “besides the one in my gun.” I asked another, and he said, “Four.” This I found was the average number among the men. I said to them, “This is a bad state of things, but I think we can deceive them for a while at any rate.” I told them that there was no possible danger of being captured if we only kept a good lookout so that they could not surprise us. I told them further to fire occasionally when a good mark presented itself, so as to keep the enemy informed that we were there. I then went around to the right of where Company H was posted and found Captain Parsons of Company I and Lieutenant Jenner of Company D with their commands. I told them of my condition and that we were out of ammunition. Lieutenant Jenner generously gave me a few packages of cartridges and I returned to our heroic little band, after promising Captain Parsons and Lieutenant Jenner that I would hold the position to the last extremity. The sight of the cartridges inspired the men, and whenever a mark presented itself it was attended to. The retreat happened at about 12 m. We held the position until 2 p. m., when they returned. Company H, B, and the second platoon of Company E retreated. They had been back to our starting point in the morning. They all felt chagrined that they had retreated so rashly, the officers in particular. One said, “Sergeant Smith, where have you been?” I replied that I had been right there all the time. He said, “You have not.” I replied that I had, and appealed to the men of my command to prove my statement. He became convinced, and said, “Well, by G—d, I would give a thousand dollars to be in your boots.” I did not know before that I was doing anything more than my duty. They brought a supply of ammunition, and I believe some grub, but I don't quite remember about the last. At 5 p. m. a flag of truce was displayed from the breastworks of the enemy. A tremendous cheering was heard all along the line, and contending parties of both sides laid aside their arms and rushed out to see each other as though they had been friends long parted. Two officers met, the flag of truce was found to be a mistake, the two disappointed armies retired behind their breastworks, and the firing begun again. But the truce showed me that I was right in my calculation that there was a large force behind the breastworks in front of us, where we charged up the bluff; for no sooner was the truce proclaimed than the rebel soldiers swarmed out on the parapet like ants on an ant hill. If all the forces in that immediate vicinity had combined and attempted to charge across that plateau, there was force enough there to have swept it away like chaff from the summer threshing floor, or ever they could possibly reach the breastworks. I have thought sometimes that it was a blessing in disguise that Colonel Holcomb was disabled on that morning, or that I failed to find Captain Parsons to deliver his message.

SOURCE: Abstracted from George G. Smith, Leaves from a Soldier's Diary, p. 58-66

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Lemuel A. Abbott: Saturday, May 21, 1864

Very warm and sultry until about 5 o'clock p. m. when quite a hard thunder-storm come up and cooled off the air; remained in our breastworks until about 4 o'clock p. m. when the first line was abandoned for the second where we remained about an hour when all withdrew. Our Division was in rear and had not gone more than twenty-five rods from our works when the rebs charged on our picket line but without effect in our front, except to make us double quick back and reoccupy our intrenchments where we remained about two hours then quietly withdrew and marched all night. It's been a worrying day. Since the fourteenth we've done nothing but march and countermarch and change about.

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 63

Diary of Luman Harris Tenney: Friday, September 12, 1862

Spent a good part of the day building me a bed. Got some boards at a house near camp. Drove down some stakes, made some crossbars and fastened them and laid boards on top, making a very comfortable cot. Archie, Ed and Reeve full of the Old Nick at night. Nothing of interest transpired. Report that we were bound soon for Ohio.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 31

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Tuesday, December 15, 1863

Last night rainy damp day

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 500

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Wednesday, December 16, 1863

Rained hard all day

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 500

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Thursday, December 17, 1863

Tolerably cold

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 500

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Friday, December 18, 1863

Cool all day

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 500

Diary of Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle: Sunday, July 5, 1863

The night was very bad — thunder and lightning, torrents of rain — the road knee-deep in mud and water, and often blocked up with waggons “come to grief.” I pitied the wretched plight of the unfortunate soldiers who were to follow us. Our progress was naturally very slow indeed, and we took eight hours to go as many miles.

At 8 A.M. we halted a little beyond the village of Fairfield, near the entrance to a mountain-pass. No sooner had we done so and lit a fire, than an alarm was spread that Yankee cavalry were upon us. Several shots flew over our heads, but we never could discover from whence they came. News also arrived of the capture of the whole of Ewell's beautiful wagons.* These reports created a regular stampede amongst the waggoners, and Longstreet's drivers started off as fast as they could go. Our medical trio, however, firmly declined to budge, and came to this wise conclusion partly urged by the pangs of hunger, and partly from the consideration that, if the Yankee cavalry did come, the crowded state of the road in our rear would prevent our escape. Soon afterwards, some Confederate cavalry were pushed to the front, who cleared the pass after a slight skirmish.

At noon, Generals Lee and Longstreet arrived, and halted close to us. Soon afterwards Ewell came up. This is the first time I ever saw him. He is rather a remarkable-looking old soldier, with a bald head, a prominent nose, and rather a haggard, sickly face: having so lately lost his leg above the knee, he is still a complete cripple, and falls off his horse occasionally. Directly he dismounts he has to be put on crutches. He was Stonewall Jackson's coadjutor during the celebrated valley campaigns, and he used to be a great swearer — in fact, he is said to have been the only person who was unable to restrain that propensity before Jackson; but since his late (rather romantic) marriage, he has (to use the American expression) joined the Church. When I saw him he was in a great state of disgust in consequence of the supposed loss of his waggons, and refused to be comforted by General Lee.

I joined Longstreet again, and, mounted on Lawley's venerable horse, started at 3 P.M. to ride through the pass. At 4 P.M. we stopped at a place where the roads fork, one leading to Emmetsburg, and the other to Hagerstown. Major Moses and I entered a farmhouse, in which we found several women, two wounded Yankees, and one dead one, the result of this morning's skirmish. One of the sufferers was frightfully wounded in the head; the other was hit in the knee: the latter told me he was an Irishman, and had served in the Bengal Europeans during the Indian Mutiny. He now belonged to a Michigan cavalry regiment, and had already imbibed American ideas of Ireland's wrongs, and all that sort of trash. He told me that his officers were very bad, and that the idea in the army was that M'Clellan had assumed the chief command.

The women in this house were great Abolitionists. When Major Fairfax rode up, he inquired of one of them whether the corpse was that of a Confederate or Yankee (the body was in the verandah, covered with a white sheet). The woman made a gesture with her foot, and replied,”If it was a rebel, do you think it would be here long?” Fairfax then said, “Is it a woman who speaks in such a manner of a dead body which can do no one any harm?” She thereupon coloured up, and said she wasn't in earnest.

At 6 o'clock we rode on again (by the Hagerstown road) and came up with General Longstreet at 7.30. The road was full of soldiers marching in a particularly lively manner — the wet and mud seemed to have produced no effect whatever on their spirits, which were as boisterous as ever. They had got hold of coloured prints of Mr Lincoln, which they were passing about from company to company with many remarks upon the personal beauty of Uncle Abe. The same old chaff was going on of “Come out of that hat — I know you're in it — I sees your legs a-dangling down,” &c. When we halted for the night, skirmishing was going on in front and rear — Stuart in front and Ewell in rear. Our bivouac being near a large tavern, General Longstreet had ordered some supper there for himself and his Staff; but when we went to devour it, we discovered General M'Laws and his officers rapidly finishing it. We, however, soon got more, the Pennsylvanian proprietors being particularly anxious to propitiate the General, in hopes that he would spare their live stock, which had been condemned to death by the ruthless Moses.

During supper women came rushing in at intervals, saying —“Oh, good heavens, now they're killing our fat hogs. Which is the General? which is the Great Officer? Our milch cows are now going.” To all which expressions Longstreet replied, shaking his head in a melancholy manner — “Yes, madam, it's very sad — very sad; and this sort of thing has been going on in Virginia more than two years — very sad.”

We all slept in the open, and the heavy rain produced no effect upon our slumbers.

I understand it is impossible to cross the lines by flag of truce. I therefore find myself in a dilemma about the expiration of my leave.

* It afterwards turned out that all escaped but thirty-eight.

SOURCE: Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle, Three Months in the Southern States: April-June, 1863, p. 283-7

Diary of John Hay: Friday, April 19, 1861

Early this morning I consulted with Major Hunter as to measures proper to be taken in the matter of guarding the house. He told me that he would fulfil any demand I should make. The forenoon brought us news of the destruction of Government property at Harper's Ferry. It delighted the Major, regarding it as a deadly blow at the prosperity of the recusant Virginia.

I called to see Joe Jefferson, and found him more of a gentleman than I had expected. A very intellectual face, thin and eager, with large, intense blue eyes, the lines firm, and the hair darker than I had thought. I then went to see Mrs. Lander, and made her tell her story all over again “just by way of a slant.” Miss Lander the sculptor was there. I liked Jean M. more and more. Coming up, I found the streets full of the bruit of the Baltimore mob,1 and at the White House was a nervous gentleman who insisted on seeing the President to say that a mortar battery has been planted on the Virginia heights, commanding the town. He separated himself from the information and instantly retired. I had to do some very dexterous lying to calm the awakened fears of Mrs. Lincoln in regard to the assassination suspicion.

After tea came Partridge and Petherbridge from Baltimore. They came to announce that they had taken possession of the Pikesville Arsenal in the name of the Government — to represent the feeling of the Baltimore conservatives in regard to the present imbroglio there, and to assure the President of the entire fidelity of the Governor and the State authorities. The President showed them Hick’s and Brown’s despatch, which (said) “Send no troops here. The authorities here are loyal to the Constitution. Our police force and local militia will be sufficient;” meaning as they all seemed to think, that they wanted no Washington troops to preserve order; but, as Seward insists, that no more troops must be sent through the city. Scott seemed to agree with Seward & his answer to a despatch of inquiry was: “Governor Hicks has no authority to prevent troops from passing through Baltimore.” Seward interpolated, “no right.” Partridge and Petherbridge seemed both loyal and hopeful. They spoke of the danger of the North being roused to fury by the bloodshed of to-day and pouring in an avalanche over the border. The President most solemnly assured them that there was no danger. “Our people are easily influenced by reason. They have determinded to prosecute this matter with energy, but with the most temperate spirit. You are entirely safe from lawless invasion.”

Wood came up to say that young Henry saw a steamer landing troops off Fort Washington. I told the President. Seward immediately drove to Scotts’.

About midnight we made a tour of the house. Hunter and the Italian exile Vivaldi were quietly asleep on the floor of the East Room, and a young and careless guard loafed around the furnace fires in the basement; good looking and energetic young fellows, too good to be food for gunpowder, —if anything is.

Miss Dix called to-day to offer her services in the hospital branch. She makes the most munificent and generous offers.

1 Abraham Lincoln, iv, 123. The attack on the Sixth Massachusetts Regiment took place in Baltimore towards noon this day.

SOURCES: Clara B. Hay, Letters of John Hay and Extracts from Diary, Volume 1, p. 11-13: Tyler Dennett, Lincoln and the Civil War in the Diaries and Letters of John Hay, p. 3-4.

Diary of Lieutenant-Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes, Wednesday, May 7, 1862 – 6:30 p.m.

Giles Court-house, or Parisburg [Pearisburg], Camp Number 6. — Just reached here from Princeton after a fatiguing march of twenty-eight miles. Found the major very glad to see us. All anxious, hearing reports of [the] Forty-fifth reinforced by [the] Thirty-sixth or [the] Twenty-second with artillery, etc., etc. Now all safe if we are vigilant. The country after the road strikes New River is romantic, highly cultivated, and beautiful. Giles Court-house is [a] neat, pretty village with a most magnificent surrounding country both as regards scenery and cultivation. The people have all been Secesh, but are polite and intelligent. When Major Comly, Captain Gilmore, and Captain Drake entered town, the people were standing on the corners, idly gossiping — more numerous than the invaders. They did not at first seem to know who it was; then such a scampering, such a rushing into the streets of women, such weeping, scolding, begging, etc., etc.
Spent the night posting pickets and arranging against an attack so as to prevent a surprise. At midnight a citizen came in saying the enemy were preparing to attack us — the Forty-fifth and Twenty-second — when he was at their camp, twelve miles from here at Cloyd's Mountain. I doubled the pickets, dressed myself and kept about quietly all the rest of the night.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 254-5