Friday, August 19, 2016

Diary of Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle: Monday, June 15, 1863

I called on General Beauregard to say good-bye. Before parting, he told me that his official orders, both from the Government and from the Town-Council, were, that he was to allow Charleston to be laid in ashes sooner than surrender it; the Confederates being unanimous in their determination that, whatever happened, the capital of South Carolina should never have to submit to the fate of New Orleans. But General Beauregard did not at all anticipate that such an alternative was imminent. In answer to my thanks for his kindness and courtesy, he said that the more Europeans that came to the South, the more the Southerners were pleased, as seeing was the only way to remove many prejudices. He declared everything here was open and above board, and I really believe this is the case. Most certainly the civil law is not overruled by the military, except in cases of the strongest emergency. The press is allowed the most unlimited freedom, and even licence. Whenever excesses take place, and the law is violated, this is caused by the violence of the people themselves, who take the law into their own hands.

General Beauregard sent his love to Sir James Fergusson, who had visited him during the early part of the war; so also did General Jordan, Chief of the Staff.

Before taking my departure from the hotel, I was much gratified by meeting M'Carthy, who had just returned from Richmond. He had had the good fortune to cross the Mississippi a little later than me, and he had encountered comparatively few obstacles.

I left Charleston by rail at 2 P.M., in company with Mr Sennec, his wife, and daughter; and Major Norris, who was extremely kind and useful to me. I declined travelling in the ladies' car, although offered that privilege — the advantage of a small amount of extra cleanliness being outweighed by the screaming of the children, and the constant liability of being turned out of one's place for a female.

Major Norris told me many amusing anecdotes connected with the secret intelligence department, and of the numerous ingenious methods for communicating with the Southern partisans on the other side of the Potomac.

We reached Florence at 9 P.M., where we were detained for some time owing to a break-down of another train. We then fought our way into some desperately crowded cars, and continued our journey throughout the night.

SOURCE: Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle, Three Months in the Southern States: April-June, 1863, p. 203-5

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