Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Diary of Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle: Sunday, June 28, 1863

No officer or soldier under the rank of a general is allowed into Chambersburg without a special order from General Lee, which he is very chary of giving; and I hear of officers of rank being refused this pass.

Moses proceeded into town at 11 A.M., with an official requisition for three days' rations for the whole army in this neighbourhood. These rations he is to seize by force, if not voluntarily supplied.

I was introduced to General Hood this morning; he is a tall, thin, wiry-looking man, with a grave face and a light-coloured beard, thirty-three years old, and is accounted one of the best and most promising officers in the army. By his Texan and Alabamian troops he is adored; he formerly commanded the Texan Brigade, but has now been promoted to the command of a division. His troops are accused of being a wild set, and difficult to manage; and it is the great object of the chiefs to check their innate plundering propensities by every means in their power.

I went into Chambersburg at noon, and found Lawley ensconced in the Franklin Hotel. Both he and I had much difficulty in getting into that establishment — the doors being locked, and only opened with the greatest caution. Lawley had had a most painful journey in the ambulance yesterday, and was much exhausted. No one in the hotel would take the slightest notice of him, and all scowled at me in a most disagreeable manner. Half-a-dozen Pennsylvanian viragos surrounded and assailed me with their united tongues to a deafening degree. Nor would they believe me when I told them I was an English spectator and a noncombatant: they said I must be either a Rebel or a Yankee — by which expression I learned for the first time that the term Yankee is as much used as a reproach in Pennsylvania as in the South. The sight of gold, which I exchanged for their greenbacks, brought about a change, and by degrees they became quite affable. They seemed very ignorant, and confused Texans with Mexicans.

After leaving Lawley pretty comfortable, I walked about the town and witnessed the pressing operations of Moses and his myrmidons. Neither the Mayor nor the corporation were to be found anywhere, nor were the keys of the principal stores forthcoming until Moses began to apply the axe. The citizens were lolling about the streets in a listless manner, and showing no great signs of discontent. They had left to their women the task of resisting the commissaries — a duty which they were fully competent to perform. No soldiers but those on duty were visible in the streets.

In the evening I called again to see Lawley, and found in his room an Austrian officer, in the full uniform of the Hungarian hussars. He had got a year's leave of absence, and has just succeeded in crossing the Potomac, though not without much trouble and difficulty. When he stated his intention of wearing his uniform, I explained to him the invariable custom of the Confederate soldiers, of never allowing the smallest peculiarity of dress or appearance to pass without a torrent of jokes, which, however good-humoured, ended in becoming rather monotonous.

I returned to camp at 6 P.M. Major Moses did not get back till very late, much depressed at the illsuccess of his mission. He had searched all day most indefatigably, and had endured much contumely from the Union ladies, who called him “a thievish little rebel scoundrel,” and other opprobrious epithets. But this did not annoy him so much as the manner in which everything he wanted had been sent away or hidden in private houses, which he was not allowed by General Lee's order to search. He had only managed to secure a quantity of molasses, sugar, and whisky. Poor Moses was thoroughly exhausted; but he endured the chaff of his brother officers with much good-humour, and they made him continually repeat the different names he had been called. He said that at first the women refused his Confederate “trash” with great scorn, but they ended in being very particular about the odd cents.

SOURCE: Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle, Three Months in the Southern States: April-June, 1863, p. 247-50

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