Monday, August 15, 2022

Official Reports: Action at Rockcastle Hills, or Camp Wildcat, Ky.. October 21, 1861. No. 6. — Report of Col. Taz. W. Newman, Seventeenth Tennessee Infantry.

No. 6.

Report of Col. Taz. W. Newman, Seventeenth Tennessee Infantry.


As ordered, I formed my regiment from hill-top to hill-top at open intervals to move in rear of Colonel Rains' regiment and support him. Lieutenant-Colonel Miller was ordered to take command of the left wing, composed of Companies A, D, F, and I, commanded by Captains Hoyle, Finch, Hunter, and Mathews, and for the movements of said companies upon the field I refer you to the report of Lieutenant-Colonel Miller, which is hereto appended and made a part of my report.* The six companies, viz, B, C, E, G, H, and K, commanded by Captains Marks, McDearman, and Armstrong, and Lieutenants Davis, Holden, and Harrison, constituting the right wing, were under my immediate command, and moved forward in line of battle in the direction of the heights in front of our position.

Upon reaching a point within eighty yards of the heights, we discovered a number of men ascending the heights and entering the fortifications, but supposing these men to be a portion of Colonel Rains' command, I did not order them to be fired upon.

At this point we received a heavy volley of rifles and musketry. The command moved on, however, without returning the fire, until within forty paces of the enemy's works, before we discovered they were not Colonel Rains' men, at which time the men were ordered to cover as well as they could and to return the enemy's fire. In this position we maintained a heavy fire for twenty-five minutes, when I ordered Captain Armstrong and Lieutenant Harrison to move their companies around to my extreme right, to prevent a flank movement of the enemy, which I saw they were about to make. These officers executed the order with promptness and alacrity under fire. The fire was kept up by all the companies for an hour and ten minutes, and seeing that it was impossible to fall back without great loss, I ordered the works to be charged. Four companies gallantly charged the works as ordered, officers and men seemingly vieing with each other as to who should be first to reach the works of the enemy.

After the fortification was reached, and many of my men had got within the works, driving the enemy from the first parallel, not receiving  any support, and being nearly destitute of cartridges, I ordered my command to fall back, which it did in good order. While this was being executed the other two companies maintained their position as ordered.

I take pleasure in stating that the officers and men all acted with great coolness and firmness, such as would do credit to veteran troops, and for more than an hour sustained a heavy fire.

Killed, 11; wounded, 34.

All of which is respectfully submitted.
TAZ. W. NEWMAN,        
Colonel Comdg. Seventeenth Regiment Tennessee Volunteers.
        Brigadier-General, Commanding.

* Not found.

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 4 (Serial No. 4), p. 213-4

Thursday, August 11, 2022

William T. Sherman to Ellen Ewing Sherman, November 23, 1860

ALEXANDRIA, Nov. 23, 1860.

We are having a cold raw day and I avail myself of it to do a good deal of indoor work. I was out for some hours directing the making of the fence around our new house, but the work within proceeds very slowly indeed. Our house is all plastered and the carpenters are putting in the doors, windows, and casings. Also the painter is tinkering around, but at present rate the building will not be ready before Christ

I now have all arrangements made for your coming down about that time, but prudence dictates some caution as political events do seem portentous.

I have a letter from the cashier that he sent you the first of exchange, the second I now enclose to you for two hundred ninety dollars. But by the very mail which brought it came the rumor that the banks are refusing exchange on the North, which cannot be true; also that goods were being destroyed on the levee at New Orleans and that the Custom House was closed. I also notice that many gentlemen who were heretofore moderate in their opinions now begin to fall into the popular current and go with the mad foolish crowd that seems bent on a dissolution of this confederacy.

The extremists in this quarter took the first news of the election of Lincoln so coolly, that I took it for granted all would quietly await the issue; but I have no doubt that politicians have so embittered the feelings of the people that they think that the Republican Party is bent on abolitionism, and they cease to reason or think of consequences.

We are so retired up here, so much out of the way of news, that we hear nothing but stale exaggerations; but I feel that a change is threatened and I will wait patiently for a while. My opinions are not changed.

If the South is bent on disunion of course I will not ally our fate with theirs, because by dissolution they do not escape the very danger at which they grow so frantically mad. Slavery is in their midst and must continue, but the interest of slavery is much weaker in Missouri, Kentucky, Virginia, and Maryland than down here. Should the Ohio River become a boundary between the two new combinations, there will begin a new change. The extreme South will look on Kentucky and Tennessee as the North, and in a very few years the same confusion and disorder will arise, and a new dissolution, till each state and maybe each county will claim separate independence.

If South Carolina precipitate this Revolution it will be because she thinks by delay Lincoln's friends will kind of reconcile the middle, wavering states, whereas now they may raise the cry of abolition and unite all the Slave States. I had no idea that this would actually begin so soon, but the news from that quarter does look as though she certainly would secede, and that Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and Texas would soon follow. All these might go and still leave a strong, rich confederated government, but then come Mississippi and Louisiana. As these rest on the Mississippi and control its mouth I know that the other states north will not submit to any molestation of the navigation by foreign states. If these two states go and Arkansas follows suit then there must be war, fighting, and that will continue until one or the other party is subdued.

If Louisiana call a convention I will not move, but if that convention resolve to secede on a contingency that I can foresee, then I must of course quit. It is not to be expected that the state would consent to trust me with arms and command if I did not go with them full length. I don't believe Louisiana would of herself do anything; but if South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Texas resolve no longer to wait, then Louisiana will do likewise. Then of course you will be safer where you are. As to myself I might have to go to California or some foreign country, where I could earn the means of living for you and myself. I see no chance in Ohio

A man is never a prophet in his own land and it does seem that nature for some wise purpose, maybe to settle wild lands, does ordain that man shall migrate, clear out from the place of his birth.

I did not intend to write so much, but the day is gloomy, and the last news from New Orleans decidedly so, if true. Among ourselves it is known that I am opposed to disunion in any manner or form. Prof. Smith ditto, unless Lincoln should actually encourage abolitionism after installed in office. Mr. Boyd thinks the denial to the southern people of access to new territories is an insult to which they cannot submit with honor and should not, let the consequences be what they may. Dr. Clarke is simply willing to follow the fortunes of the South, be what they may. Vallas and St. Ange, foreigners, don't care, but will follow their immediate self interests.

Thus we stand, about a fair sample of a mixed crowd; but 'tis now said all over the South the issue is made, and better secession now when they can than wait till it is too late. This is a most unfortunate condition of things for us, and I hardly know how to act with decency and firmness, and like most undecided men will wait awhile to see what others do; if feeling in South Carolina continues they must do something, else they will be the laughing stock of the world, and that is what they dread. For of all the states they can least afford to secede, as comparatively she is a weak and poor state. This on the contrary is destined to be a rich and powerful one. . .

SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 305

William T. Sherman to Ellen Ewing Sherman, November 26, 1860

ALEXANDRIA, Nov. 26, 1860.

 . . . I commenced writing a letter last night to Minnie, but a friend sent us out a newspaper of New Orleans, November 22 which had come up from New Orleans in a boat. For some reason the papers come to us very irregularly. The stage whenever it has passengers leaves behind the paper mail and only brings the bags when there are few or no passengers. Well, of late though letters come about as usual our papers come along very straggling. This newspaper so received brings intelligence, how true I know not, of a panic in New York, Baltimore, Virginia, and everywhere. Of course panics are the necessary consequence of the mammoth credit system, the habit of borrowing which pervades our country, and though panics transfer losses to the wrong shoulders still they do good.

But along with this comes the cause, the assertion that South Carolina will secede certain. Georgia ditto. And Alabama. Mississippi will of course, and with her Arkansas and Texas. This will leave Louisiana no choice. If these premises be true then indeed is there abundant cause for panic, disorder, confusion, ruin and Civil War. I am determined not to believe it till to withhold belief would be stupidity. The paper also announces that Governor Moore has called the legislature together for December 10, and specially to consider the crisis of the country and to call a convention. You know that the theory of our government is, as construed by the southern politicians, that a state, one or more, may withdraw from the Union without molestation, and unless excitement abates Louisiana will follow the lead of her neighbors.

You will hear by telegraph the actions of the conventions of South Carolina and Alabama. Should they assert their right to secede and initiate measures to that end, then you may infer that I will countermand my heretofore preparations for a move. Then it would be unsafe for you even to come south. For myself I will not go with the South in a disunion movement, and as my position at the head of a State Military College would necessarily infer fidelity and allegiance to the state, my duty will be on the first positive act of disunion to give notice of my purpose.

December 10 the legislature meets. It is hardly possible a convention will be called before January and until the convention acts the state is not committed. Still I think the tone of feeling in the legislature will give me a clew [sic] to the future. I confess I feel uneasy from these events, and more so from the fact that the intelligence comes so piecemeal and unsatisfactory. . .

SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 308-9

William T. Sherman to Ellen Ewing Sherman, November 29, 1860

ALEXANDRIA, Nov. 29, 1860.

 . . . This is a holiday, thanksgiving and prayer, but holidays and Sundays are my worst days, as then the cadets are idle and mischievous.

Governor Moore has issued his proclamation calling the legislature together for December 10, and the proclamation is couched in ugly language, different from his usual more conservative tone. It is manifest to me now that the leading politicians of the state have conferred together and have agreed to go out of the Union, or at all events to favor the new doctrine of secession. The legislature will determine the call of a convention, and the convention will decide very much according to the other events that may occur in the meantime. This imposes on us a change of purpose, and it will not do for you or any one to come south unless the state of feeling changes. I know the governor and believe him an excellent thermometer of the political atmosphere of Louisiana. I hear that business is dead in New Orleans, all of which is evidence that the abolitionists have succeeded in bringing on the “Inevitable Conflict.”

I am sick of this everlasting subject. The truth has nothing to do with this world. Here they know that all you have to do in Ohio is to steal niggers, and in Ohio though the people are quiescent yet they believe that the South are determined to enlarge the area of niggers. Like Burton in Toodles I say, Damn the niggers. I wish they were anywhere or be kept at their work.

I observe more signs of a loosened discipline here. Boys are careless and last night because the supper did not please them they smashed the crockery and made a riot generally. Pistols were fired, which scared Joe very much — his education has been neglected, but I think he will get used to it. We have dismissed five cadets and others must share their fate. I fear the institution is in danger from causes which arose after I left last summer. The alterations made after I left were

in principle, causing General Graham to resign, and since then he will take no interest in our affairs. Governor Moore is intent on politics, same of Dr. Smith, so we are left to the chances of the caprices of a parcel of wild boys. Still this is a small matter susceptible of remedy, but the secession movement underlies the very safety of everything. . .

SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 309-11

William T. Sherman to Senator John Sherman, December 1, 1860

ALEXANDRIA, Dec. 1, 1860.

DEAR BROTHER: . . . The quiet which I thought the usual acquiesence of the people was merely the prelude to the storm of opinion that now seems irresistible. Politicians, by hearing the prejudices of the people and running with the current, have succeeded in destroying the government. It cannot be stopped now, I fear. I was in Alexandria all day yesterday, and had a full and unreserved conversation with Dr. S. A. Smith, state senator, who is a man of education, property, influence, and qualified to judge. He was during the canvass a Breckenridge man, but, though a Southerner in opinion, is really opposed to a dissolution of our government. He has returned from New Orleans, where he says he was amazed to see evidences of public sentiment which could not be mistaken.

The legislature meets December 10 at Baton Rouge. The calling a convention forthwith is to be unanimous, the bill for army and state ditto. The convention will meet in January, and two questions will be agitated: Immediate dissolution, a declaration of state independence, and a general convention of Southern States, with instructions to demand of the Northern States to repeal all laws hostile to slavery and pledges of future good behavior. . .

When the Convention meets in January, as they will assuredly do, and resolve to secede, or to elect members to a general convention with instructions inconsistent with the nature of things, I must quit this place, for it would be neither right for me to stay nor would the governor be justified in placing me in this position of trust; for the moment Louisiana assumes a position of hostility, then this becomes an arsenal and fort. . . Let me hear the moment you think dissolution is inevitable. What Mississippi and Georgia do, this state will do likewise. . .

SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 311-2

Senator John Sherman to William T. Sherman, December 9, 1860

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 9, 1860.

. . . I am clearly of the opinion that you ought not to remain much longer at your present post. You will in all human probability be involved in complications from which you cannot escape with honor. Separated from your family and all your kin, and an object of suspicion you will find your position unendurable. A fatal infatuation seems to have seized the southern mind, during which any act of madness may be committed. . . If the sectional dissensions only rested upon real or alleged grievances, they could be readily settled, but I fear they are deeper and stronger. You can now close your connection with the Seminary with honor and credit to yourself, for all who know you speak well of your conduct, while by remaining you not only involve yourself but bring trouble upon those gentlemen who recommended you.

It is a sad state of affairs, but it is nevertheless true, that if the conventions of the Southern States make anything more than a paper secession, hostile collisions will occur and probably a separation between the free and the slave states. You can judge whether it is at all probable that secession of this capital, the commerce of the Mississippi, the control of the territories, and the natural rivalry of enraged sections can be arranged without war. In that event you cannot serve in Louisiana against your family and kin in Ohio. The bare possibility of such a contingency, it seems to me renders your duty plain, to make a frank statement to all the gentlemen connected with you, and with good feeling close your engagement. If the storm shall blow over, your course will strengthen you with every man whose good opinion you desire; if not, you will escape humiliation. When you return to Ohio, I will write you freely about your return to the army, not so difficult a task as you imagine. . .

SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 312-3

William T. Sherman to Minnie Sherman, December 15, 1860

ALEXANDRIA, LA., Dec. 15, 1860.

DEAREST MINNIE: I have been intending to write you a good long letter, and now I wish I could send you all something for Christmas, but I thought all along that Mama and you and Lizzie, Willie, Tommy, and all would be here in our new house by New Year's day. The house is all done, only some little painting to be done. The stable is finished, but poor Clay1 has been sick. In the front yard are growing some small oak trees, to give shade in the hot summer days; now however it is raw and cold, the leaves are off and it looks like winter, though thus far we have had no snow. Maybe we will have some snow at Christmas. In the back yard I have prepared for a small garden, but the soil is poor and will not produce much, except early peas, lettuce and sweet potatoes. The house itself looks beautiful. Two front porches and one back, all the windows open to the floor, like doors, so that you can walk out on the porch either upstairs or downstairs. I know you would all like the house so much — but dear little Minnie, man proposes and God disposes — what I have been planning so long and patiently, and thought that we were all on the point of realizing, the dream and hope of my life, that we could all be together once more in a home of our own, with peace and quiet and plenty around us. All, I fear, is about to vanish, and again I fear I must be a wanderer, leaving you all to grow up at Lancaster without your Papa.

Men are blind and crazy, they think all the people of Ohio are trying to steal their slaves, and incite them to rise up and kill their masters. I know this is a delusion — but when people believe a delusion, they believe it harder than a real fact, and these people in the South are going, for this delusion, to break up the government under which we live. You cannot understand this but Mama will explain it to you. Our governor here has gone so far that he cannot change, and in a month maybe you will be living under one government and I another.

This cannot last long, and as I know it is best for you all to stay in Lancaster, I will not bring you down here at all, unless some very great change takes place. If this were only a plain college I could stay with propriety, but it is an arsenal with guns and powder and balls, and were I to stay here I might have to fight for Louisiana and against Ohio. That would hardly do; you would not like that I know, and yet I have been asked to do it. 2

But I hope still this will yet pass away, and that our house and garden will yet see us all united here in Louisiana. Your loving papa,

1 The horse given to Sherman by Mr. Ewing. - Ed.

2 This probably means that he was asked to stay as a neutral in case of Sherman's later letters indicate that such a proposition was made. - ED.

SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 313-4

William T. Sherman to Ellen Ewing Sherman, December 15, 1860

December 15[?], 1860.

. . . I started to write a letter to Minnie but got drawn into this political strain that is not for her but you. Read her so much of the letter as you please and the rest to yourself.

Governor Moore has assembled the legislature in extra session at Baton Rouge and I have seen his message which is positive on the point of secession. You will doubtless have the substance of it before you get this; and I observe such men as Dick Taylor, the general's son, are in favor of immediate secession. I have scarce room now to doubt that Louisiana will quit the Union in all1 January. The governor recommends the establishment of a large arsenal here. We now have a limited supply of arms.

I have announced my position; as long as Louisiana is in the Union I will serve her honestly and faithfully, but if she quits I will quit too. I will not for a day or even hour occupy a position of apparent hostility to Uncle Sam. That government is weak enough, but is the only thing in America that has even the semblance of a government. These state governments are ridiculous pretences of a government, liable to explode at the call of any mob. I don't want to be premature and will hold on to the last moment in hopes of change, but they seem to be pushing events ridiculously fast.

There is an evident purpose, a dark design, not to allow time for thought and reflection. These southern leaders understand the character of their people and want action before the spirit subsides. Robert Anderson commands at Charleston, and there I look for the first actual collision. Old Fort Moultrie, every brick of which is as plain now in my memory as the sidewalk in Lancaster, will become historical. It is weak and I can scale any of its bastions. If secession, dissolution and Civil War do come South Carolina will drop far astern and the battle will be fought on the Mississippi. The Western States never should consent to a hostile people holding the mouth of the Mississippi. Should I be forced to act promptly I will turn up either at St. Louis or at Washington. T. knows full well where I am but he is angry at me about his charge against Ohio of nigger stealing. You remember my answer from Lancaster. I am very well. Weather cold and overcast. . .

1 "In all January" means "all in January.” Sherman made frequent use of this peculiar construction. – ED.

SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 314-6

William T. Sherman to Ellen Ewing Sherman, December 18, 1860

ALEXANDRIA, Dec. 18, 1860.

. . . I cannot remain here much beyond January 23, the time set for the state convention to dissolve the connection of this state with the U.S. The legislature only sat three days and passed unanimously the bills for arming the state and calling a convention. That convention has only to decree what has already been resolved on and proclaimed by the Governor, that Louisiana cannot remain under a Black Republican president. The opinion is universal that disunion is resolved on, and the only open questions are what states will compose the Southern Confederacy.

I regard the failure of Buchanan to strengthen Maj. Anderson at Ft. Moultrie as absolutely fatal, as the evidence of contemptible pusilanimity of our general government, almost convincing me that the government is not worth saving. No wonder Gen. Cass forthwith resigned. . .

SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 316

William T. Sherman to Ellen Ewing Sherman, December 23, 1860

ALEXANDRIA, Dec. 23, 1860.

. . . There certainly are symptoms of a general breaking up or dissolution of all government everywhere. The people of the parish on the other side of Red River have constituted themselves into a kind of vigilance committee with power to execute their own sentence on suspected parties. These are the best gentlemen of the country and though I can never approve of organizations that may as easily be adopted by the evil disposed as the well disposed, yet they show the tendency toward a general anarchy here as well as all over the United States.

I take it for granted South Carolina has "seceded” and that other Southern States will follow and that Louisiana will be precipitated along. Her convention meets Jan. 23 and I will await patiently her action. . .

SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 316-7

William T. Sherman to George Mason Graham, December 25, 1860

SEMINARY, Christmas, 1860.

DEAR GENERAL: They [the cartridges] are a most appropriate present, and I hope they may all be used for holiday salutes, or mere practice. As you request I will not put them on my returns. Else they would have certainly gone on the books. When did you get cartridges? I could procure none in Washington or in New Orleans, and when the Parish Jury appropriated two hundred fifty dollars for ammunition to be stored here, I invested the money in twenty kegs of powder, lead, and fifteen thousand percussion caps: and now wait for the return of the Rapides for balls and buck-shot, intending if necessity should arise to use our powder flasks and pouches till we have leisure for making cartridges. The mere fact of our having here these arms and munitions will be a great fact. Still, should unfortunately an occasion arise I could leave a strong guard here, and with a part of the cadets could move promptly to any point.

I have to Governor Moore, to Dr. Smith, and to the magistrate of this precinct defined my position. As long as Louisiana is in the Union and I occupy this post I will serve her faithfully against internal or external enemies. But if Louisiana secede from the general government, that instant I stop.

I will do no act, breathe no word, think no thought hostile to the government of the United States. Weak as it is, it is the only semblance of strength and justice on this continent, as compared with which the state governments are weak and trifling If Louisiana join in this unhallowed movement to dismember our old government, how long will it be till her parishes and people insult and deride her? You now profess to have a state government and yet your people, your neighbors, good, intelligent, and well-meaning men have already ignored its laws and courts, and give to an unknown, irresponsible body of citizens the right to try, convict, and execute suspected persons. If gentlemen on Rapides Bayou have this absolute right and power to try and hang a stranger, what security have you or any stranger to go into these pine woods where it may become a popular crime to own a good horse or wear broadcloth?

My dear General, we are in the midst of sad times. It is not slavery — it is a tendency to anarchy everywhere. I have seen it all over America, and our only hope is in Uncle Sam. Weak as that government is, it is the only approach to one. I do take the [National] Intelligencer and read it carefully. I have read all the items you call my attention to, and have offered them to cadets but they seem to prefer the [New Orleans] Delta.

I do think Buchanan made a fatal mistake. He should have reinforced Anderson, my old captain, at my old post, Fort Moultrie and with steam frigates made Fort Sumpter [sic] impregnable. This instead of exciting the Carolinians would have forced them to pause in their mad career. Fort Sumpter with three thousand men and the command of the seas would have enabled the government to execute the revenue laws, and to have held South Carolina in check till reason could resume its sway. Whereas now I fear they have a contempt for Uncle Sam and will sacrifice Anderson. Let them hurt a hair of his head in the execution of his duty, and I say Charleston must [be] blotted from existence. 'Twill arouse a storm to which the slavery question will be as nothing else I mistake the character of our people.

Of course I have countermanded my orders for Mrs. Sherman to come south, and I feel that my stay here is drawing to a close. Still I will not act till I conceive I must and should, and will do all that a man ought, to allow time for a successor. Smith and Dr. Clarke are up at Judge Boyce's, St. Ange lives in Alexandria. Boyd and I are alone. I have provided for a Christmas dinner to the cadets. Still your present to them is most acceptable, and what was provided by Jarreau can be distributed along. . .

SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 317-9

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Diary of Gideon Welles: Thursday, June 22, 1865

I called early on the President in relation to Seward's letter concerning the blockade and courtesy to British vessels. He concurred in my views. I went to the State Department and saw Mr. Hunter. He agreed with me and complimented my letter, and also one I wrote a few days since regarding the Japanese vessel, which seems to have made an impression upon him, and which he complimented as very statesmanlike and instructive.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 2: April 1, 1864 — December 31, 1866, p. 320

Diary of Gideon Welles: Friday, June 23, 1865

Rear-Admiral Dahlgren returned this morning from Charleston. Two years since he left. Simultaneous with his return come tidings of the death of Rear-Admiral Du Pont, whom he relieved, and who died this A.M. in Philadelphia. Du Pont possessed ability, had acquirements, was a scholar rather than a hero. He was a courtier, given to intrigue, was selfish, adroit, and skillful. Most of the Navy were attached to him and considered his the leading cultured mind in the service. He nursed cliques. There are many intelligent and excellent officers, however, who look upon him with exceeding dislike; yet Du Pont had, two and three years ago, greater personal influence than any man in the service. He knew it, and intended to make it available in a controversy with the Department on the subject of the monitor vessels, to which he took a dislike. Although very proud, he was not physically brave. Pride would have impelled him to go into action, but he had not innate daring courage. He was determined not to retain his force or any portion of it in Charleston Harbor, insisted it could not be done, disobeyed orders, was relieved, and expected to rally the Navy and country with him, but was disappointed. Some of his best friends condemned his course. He sought a controversy with the Department, and was not successful. Disappointed and chagrined, he has been unhappy and dissatisfied. I believe I appreciated and did justice to his good qualities, and am not conscious that I have been at any time provoked to do him wrong. He challenged me to remove him, and felt confident I would not do it. I would not have done it had he obeyed orders and been zealous for operations against Charleston. As it was, I made no haste, and only ordered Foote and Dahlgren when I got ready. Then the step was taken. Du Pont was amazed, yet had no doubt the Navy would be roused in his favor, and that he should overpower the Department. Months passed. He procured two or three papers to speak for him, but there was no partisanship in the Navy for him, except with about half a dozen young officers, whom he had petted and trained, and a few mischievous politicians.

Returning to Delaware, he went into absolute retirement. None missed or called for him. This seclusion did not please him and became insupportable, but he saw no extrication. He therefore prepared a very adroit letter in the latter part of October, 1863, ostensibly an answer to a dispatch of mine written the preceding June. This skillful letter, I have reason to believe, was prepared in concert with H. Winter Davis, and was intended to be used in an assault on me at the session of Congress then approaching. Although much engaged, I immediately replied, and in such a manner as to close up Du Pont. Davis, however, made his attack in Congress, but in such a way as not to draw out the correspondence. Others remedied that deficiency, and Davis got more than he asked. Du Pont sank. He could rally no force, and the skill and tact at intrigue which had distinguished him in earlier years and in lower rank was gone. He felt that he was feeble and it annoyed him. Still, his talent was not wholly idle. False issues were put forth, and doubtless some have been deceived by them.

Admiral Porter is ordered to superintend the Naval School. In some respects a good officer, but is extravagant in expenditure sometimes, and I am apprehensive has a tendency to be partial. I trust, however, he may prove successful.

A letter of General Grant, urging the necessity of prompt action against the Imperial Government of Mexico, was read in Cabinet. Differences of opinion were expressed, but there was not a general concurrence in the apprehensions expressed by General Grant, who, naturally perhaps, desires to retain a large military force in service.

In a long conversation with Blair this evening he told me he had put himself in communication with some of the New York editors. Greeley had disappointed him, and was unreliable. Marble of the World he commends highly. I incline to think he has ability and he, or some of his writers, exhibits more comprehension of the true principles and structure of the government than in other journals. There is in the World more sound doctrine in these days than in most papers.

Blair still holds on to McClellan, — stronger, I think, than he did a year ago. Perhaps Marble and his New York friends have influenced him more than he supposes, and that he, instead of, or as well as they, may have been at least partially converted.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 2: April 1, 1864 — December 31, 1866, p. 320-22

Diary of Gideon Welles: Saturday, June 24, 1865

Senator Trumbull called on me today. Says he is and has been Johnsonian. Is not prepared to say the Administration policy of Reconstruction is not the best that could be suggested. As Trumbull is by nature censorious, — a faultfinder, — I was prepared — to hear him censure. But he has about him some of the old State-rights notions which form the basis of both his and my political opinions.

He expressed a hope that we had more regular Cabinet meetings and a more general submission of important questions to the whole council than was the case under Mr. Lincoln's administration. Trumbull and the Senators generally thought Seward too meddlesome and presuming. The late President well understood and rightly appreciated the character and abilities of Trumbull, and would not quarrel with him, though he felt him to be ungenerous and exacting. They had been pretty intimate, though of opposing parties, in Illinois, until circumstances and events brought them to act together. In a competition for the seat of Senator, Mr. Lincoln, though having three fourths of the votes of their combined strength,1 when it was necessary they should have all to succeed in choosing a Senator, finding that Trumbull would not give way, himself withdrew and went for T., who was elected. The true traits of the two men were displayed in that contest. Lincoln was self-sacrificing for the cause; Trumbull persisted against great odds in enforcing his own pretensions. When L. was taken up and made President, Trumbull always acted as though he thought himself a more fit and proper man than Lincoln, whom he had crowded aside in the Senatorial contest.

Preston King thinks that D. D. T. Marshall had better be retained as storekeeper at Brooklyn for the present, unless there is evidence of fraud or corruption. On these matters K. is very decided and earnest and would spare no one who is guilty. I have always found him correct as well as earnest. King is domiciled at the Executive Mansion, and I am glad the President gives him so truly and fully his confidence, and that he has such a faithful and competent adviser.

The President permits himself to be overrun with visitors. I find the anteroom crowded through the day by women and men seeking audience, often on frivolous and comparatively unimportant subjects which belong properly to the Departments, often by persons who have cases which have been investigated and passed upon by the Secretaries or by the late President. This pressure will, if continued, soon break down the President or any man. No one has sufficient physical endurance to perform this labor, nor is it right.


1 On the first ballot Lincoln had 45 votes and Trumbull 5.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 2: April 1, 1864 — December 31, 1866, p. 322-3

Diary of Gideon Welles: Monday, June 26, 1865

A very wet day. Was to have visited Admiral Dahlgren on the Pawnee with the President, but, the day being inclement and the President somewhat indisposed, the visit was deferred.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 2: April 1, 1864 — December 31, 1866, p. 323-4

Diary of Gideon Welles: Tuesday, June 27, 1865

The President still ill, and the visit to the Pawnee further postponed. No Cabinet-meeting. The President is feeling the effects of intense application to his duties, and over-pressure from the crowd.

A great party demonstration is being made for negro suffrage. It is claimed the negro is not liberated unless he is also a voter, and, to make him a voter, those who urge this doctrine would subvert the Constitution, and usurp or assume authority not granted to the Federal government. While I am not inclined to throw impediments in the way of the universal, intelligent enfranchisement of all men, I cannot lend myself to break down constitutional barriers, or to violate the reserved and undoubted rights of the States. In the discussion of this question, it is evident that intense partisanship instead of philanthropy is the root of the movement. When pressed by arguments which they cannot refute, they turn and say if the negro is not allowed to vote, the Democrats will get control of the government in each of the seceding or rebellious States, and in conjunction with the Democrats of the Free States they will get the ascendency in our political affairs. As there must and will be parties, they may as well form on this question, perhaps, as any other. It is centralization and State rights. It is curious to witness the bitterness and intolerance of the philanthropists in this matter. In their zeal for the negro they lose sight of the fundamental law of all constitutional rights and safeguards, and of the civil regulations and organization of the government.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 2: April 1, 1864 — December 31, 1866, p. 324

Diary of Gideon Welles: Friday, June 30, 1865

The weather for several days has been exceedingly warm. For some time there have been complaints of mismanagement of affairs in the storekeeper's department at Boston, and on Monday last I made a change, appointing an officer who lost a leg in the service. Mr. Gooch comes to me with an outcry from the Boston delegation wanting action to be deferred. Told G. if there was any reason for it I would give it consideration. He wished to know the cause of the change. I told him the welfare and best interest of the service. It is not my purpose in this and similar cases to be placed on the defensive. I do not care to make or prefer charges, yet I feel it a most unpleasant task to remove even objectionable men.

The President is still indisposed, and I am unable to perfect some important business that I wished to complete with the close of the fiscal year. There are several Radical Members here, and have been for some days, apparently anxious to see the President. Have met Senator Wade two or three times at the White House. Complains that the Executive has the control of the government, that Congress and the Judiciary are subordinate, and mere instruments in his hands; said our form of government was on the whole a failure; that there are not three distinct and independent departments but one great controlling one with two others as assistants. Mentions that the late President called out 75,000 men without authority. Congress, when it came together, approved it. Mr. Lincoln then asked for 400,000 men and four hundred millions of money. Congress gave him five of each instead of four. I asked him if he supposed or meant to say that these measures were proposed without consulting, informally, the leading members of each house. He replied that he did not, and admitted that the condition of the country required the action which was taken, that it was right and in conformity with public expectation.

Thad Stevens called on me on business and took occasion to express ultra views, and had a sarcastic hit or two but without much sting. He is not satisfied, nor is Wade, yet I think the latter is mollified and disinclined to disagree with the President. But his friend Winter Davis, it is understood, is intending to improve the opportunity of delivering a Fourth-of-July oration, to take ground distinctly antagonistic to the Administration on the question of negro suffrage.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 2: April 1, 1864 — December 31, 1866, p. 324-6

Diary of Gideon Welles: Saturday, July 1, 1865

I am this day sixty-three years old have attained my grand climacteric, a critical period in man's career. Some admonitions remind me of the frailness of human existence and of the feeble tenure I have on life. I cannot expect, at best, many returns of this anniversary and perhaps shall never witness another.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 2: April 1, 1864 — December 31, 1866, p. 327

Diary of Gideon Welles: Saturday, July 8, 1865

The week has been one of intense heat, and I have been both busy and indolent. Incidents have passed without daily record. The President has been ill. On Friday I met him at the Cabinet. He has been threatened, Dennison tells me, with apoplexy. So the President informed him.

Mr. Seward has undertaken to excuse and explain his strange letter to me stating “our vessels will withhold courtesy from the English.” He was not aware what he wrote. Damns the English and said he was ready to let them know they must not insult us, and went into pretty glib denunciation of them. Says the French want to get out of Mexico and will go if we let them alone. In Cabinet yesterday, Dennison mentioned a call he had from Sir Frederick Bruce, who desired him to bring to the notice of the President the grievance of an Englishman. Seward and Stanton objected to the informality of the proceedings, which should come through the State Department. The objection was well taken, but Seward could not well prevent, having been constantly committing irregularities by interfering with other Departments.

McCulloch is alarmed about the Treasury. Finds that Fessenden had neither knowledge nor accuracy; that it would have been as well for the Department and the country had he been in Maine, fishing, as to have been in the Treasury Department. His opinion of Chase's financial abilities does not increase in respect as he becomes more conversant with the finances. But McCulloch, while a business man, and vastly superior to either of his two immediate predecessors, or both of them, in that respect, has unfortunately no political experience and is deficient in knowledge of men.

In some exhibits yesterday, it was shown that the military had had under pay during the year about one million men daily. Over seven hundred thousand have been paid off and discharged. There are still over two hundred thousand men on the rolls under pay. The estimates of Fessenden are exhausted, the loan is limited by law, and McCulloch is alarmed. His nerves will, however, become stronger, and he can he will - find ways to weather the storm. Stanton has little idea of economy, although he parades the subject before the public. It is notorious that no economy has yet penetrated the War Department. The troops have been reduced in number, - men have been mustered out, - because from the cessation of hostilities and the expiration of their terms they could not longer be retained, but I have not yet seen any attempt to retrench expenses in the quartermasters', commissary, or any other branch of the military service, - certainly none in the War Department proper.

On Tuesday the 4th, I went with Mrs. Welles and Mrs. Bigelow, wife of John B., our minister to France, to Silver Spring, a pleasant drive. The Blairs, as usual, were hospitable and interesting. They do not admire Louis Napoleon and want his troops should be expelled from Mexico. Mrs. B. is joyous, pleasant, and happy, and it is evident her husband wished her to see and get something of the views of the Blairs, but, while intelligent and charming, she is not profound on matters of State, and was a little disconcerted at the plain, blunt remarks of the elder Mr. and Mrs. Blair. She has, however, a woman's instincts.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 2: April 1, 1864 — December 31, 1866, p. 327-9

Diary of Gideon Welles: July 9, 1865

I yesterday proposed to the President to take a short excursion down the river. He is pale and languid. It is a month since he came to the Executive Mansion, and he has never yet gone outside the doors. I told him this would not answer, — that no constitution would endure such labor and close confinement. While impressing him with my views, Speed came in, who earnestly joined me and implored the President to go and take Stanton with him. It would, he said, do them both good. Stanton was not well,—was overworked. There was, Speed said, a beautiful boat, the River Queen, the President's yacht, intended by Stanton for his use, in which Mr. Lincoln had taken his excursions to Hampton Roads and to Richmond. He made some appeal to me on this point. But I told him that I knew nothing of such a boat; that she did not belong to the Navy, nor had I any control over her. Speed said that he knew the boat, that he came from Richmond on board of her.

The President said he thought he would go and would send me word. About noon, his clerk, Muzzy, sent me word that the President would go the next day at 11 A.M. on the River Queen. Here was a dilemma. I went over to the White House to ask whether it was expected I would go, for I could not order the Queen. Muzzy said the Queen was not the boat; it was his mistake; that the President would not put his foot on that vessel, would go with me on a Navy vessel, etc. While talking, the President came in from the library and said he wanted a naval vessel.

Went with the President, his daughter Mrs. Patterson, her two children, Mrs. Welles, Edgar, and John, Marshal Gooding, Horace Maynard, and two or three of the President's secretaries on the Don, and proceeded down the Potomac below Acquia Creek. It was a cloudy summer day, extremely pleasant for a sail. The President was afflicted with a severe headache, but the excursion was of benefit to him.

Commander Parker gave us a specimen of squadron drill and movements which was interesting. We returned to Washington about 8 P.M.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 2: April 1, 1864 — December 31, 1866, p. 329-30

Diary of Gideon Welles: Monday, July 10, 1865

A rainy day. We were to have had an excursion to the Pawnee, the flag-ship of Admiral Dahlgren, but the weather has prevented.

I read to the President two letters from Senator Sumner of the 4th and 5th of July, on the subject of negro suffrage in the Rebel States. Sumner is for imposing this upon those States regardless of all constitutional limitations and restriction. It is evident he is organizing and drilling for that purpose, and intends to make war upon the Administration policy and the Administration itself. The President is not unaware of the scheming that is on foot, but I know not if he comprehends to its full extent this movement, which is intended to control him and his Administration.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 2: April 1, 1864 — December 31, 1866, p. 330

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Brigadier-General Rutherford B. Hayes to Sophia Birchard Hayes, May 12, 1865

New CREEK, May 12, 1865.

DEAR MOTHER:— I have returned from Washington, and shall start this afternoon for Chillicothe. I do not leave the army for a few days until I know what is to be done with my favorite troops. As soon as that is known I quit. I shall bring Lucy here to await events.

Affectionately, your son,

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 583

Brigadier-General Rutherford B. Hayes to Sophia Birchard Hayes, May 14, 1865

MARIETTA, Ohio, May 14, 1865.

DEAR MOTHER:— Having business on this end of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, I came on this far to meet Lucy. She will go back to New Creek with me, and remain as long as I stay in the army that is about two weeks.

The weather is very fine, and I never saw the Ohio River and its hills and bottoms looking so well. We shall probably go up the Ohio to Wheeling, and thence by railroad back. I now intend to leave the army so as to get settled up and ready for home by the 10th to 15th of June. I shall go to Delaware and Fremont before Cincinnati.

Affectionately, your son,

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 583

Rutherford B. Hayes to Sophia Birchard Hayes, May 20, 1865


DEAR MOTHER:— I got here safely with Lucy last night. I have resigned to take effect the week after next, and will probably be at Delaware within three weeks to see you. We shall travel about a few days before starting West.

The soldiers are leaving for home very rapidly. They are all in excellent spirits and glad to go. I have no idea that many of them will ever see as happy times again as they have had in the army. — I shall perhaps return by way of Fremont.

Affectionately, your son,

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 583-4

Rutherford B. Hayes to Sardis Birchard, May 20, 1865


DEAR UNCLE:— Lucy arrived here last night with me from Chillicothe. We expect to go to Washington in a few days, and after a little run about, home probably by way of Fremont about the 5th to 10th of June. I have sent my resignation, and shall be out of service just four years after entering it. My chest will go to Fremont by express; my horse and equipments, flag, sword, etc., etc., start tomorrow with my orderlies. If they need cash, please let them have it


SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 584

Rutherford B. Hayes to Lieutenant-Colonel Russell Hastings, May 20, 1865

New CREEK, WEST VIRGINIA, May 20, 1865.

DEAR COLONEL:— My wife came here last evening. I have sent in my resignation and asked to be relieved. I hope to get to Washington to the great doings to come off next week.

I take "Old Whitey” home (to Fremont, Ohio,) and hope you will be able to ride him again.

It is not yet known when troops of the class of Twenty-third, Thirty-sixth, and First West Virginia Veterans will be mustered out. They are all now at Staunton and appear to enjoy it much.

I have had the Cincinnati papers withdraw my name from the candidate list. I am of course much obliged to the brigade, but it would not be the thing for me to allow it.

My wife says she is glad you have sound views on the treatment of Rebels. She doubts her husband.

If Sherman did it with an eye to political advancement, as some say, of course it is bad, but if he thought to follow the policy of Lincoln as indicated by Weitzell's programme (and this I believe), he surely ought not to be abused for it.

My wife sends regards to your sister and yourself. Excuse haste.


SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 584

Rutherford B. Hayes to Sophia Birchard Hayes, May 28, 1865

WASHINGTON, D. C., May 28, 1865.

DEAR MOTHER:— Mr. and Mrs. Phelps of Fremont joined us here this morning. We expect to finish our trip together. I suppose that week after next I shall start home, done with the war. Laura and Lucy are enjoying themselves very much. General Mitchell and myself have been busy a large part of the time, leaving our wives to follow their own plans. We shall probably leave here tomorrow to visit Richmond, and will come West soon after. Mitchell will perhaps stay in service a few weeks or months longer. — Love to friends.

Affectionately, your son,

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 584-5

Rutherford B. Hayes to Sophia Birchard Hayes, June 11, 1865

CHILLICOTHE, June 11, 1865.

DEAR MOTHER:— We are once more all together in good health. The three larger boys are all going to school and are improving in their books. Little George is a very fine-looking and promising child. We had a pleasant trip to Richmond.

I expect to go to Cincinnati in a few days and will probably be at Delaware to spend Sunday with you. I am now out of the army. Laura and General Mitchell will come home soon. General Mitchell has also resigned and will be out of the army in a few days. I am very happy to be through with the war.

Affectionately, your son,

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 585

Rutherford B. Hayes to Lucy Webb Hayes, June 22, 1865

FREMONT, June 22, 1865.

DEAREST:— I came here Monday, and am enjoying life as well as could be expected without my darling. Uncle has enlarged on Old Whitey's* merits until he is the most remarkable horse since the Bucephalus of Alexander.

I shall go over to Willoughby to see Hastings before I come home. You need not look for me until the middle of next week. I am talking over the future with Uncle. I suspect we shall final[ly] leave "events to shape themselves," as McClellan used to do.

Affectionately, ever,

* "Old Whitey" was Hayes's war horse. He lived a pensioner at Spiegel Grove for fifteen years. His grave in the grove is marked by a great boulder.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 3, p. 1-2

Rutherford B. Hayes to Sardis Birchard, July 6, 1865

CINCINNATI, July 6, 1865.

DEAR UNCLE:— Lucy will still remain, as heretofore, at Chillicothe; if she leaves at all, it will only be for a short visit. The two big boys, Birch and Webb, are both very anxious to go to Fremont, and will do so, I think, in about a couple of weeks.

I have taken a room, southeast corner of Fourth and Elm Streets, and will make headquarters for the present at the office of Stephenson and Noyes. I left Chillicothe yesterday. All very well. Our present purpose is to arrange some way to keep house next winter and have Mother Hayes with Lucy, but perhaps nothing better be said to Mother yet. Lucy will like to live with me at Spiegel Grove whenever I am ready to go there.

R. B. H.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 3, p. 2

Rutherford B. Hayes to Lucy Webb Hayes, July 9, 1865

CINCINNATI, July 9, 1865.

MY DEAREST:— I have got a large, airy third-story room on the southeast corner of Fourth and Walnut, and find myself remarkably well camped. A little hot, and somewhat lonely of nights. Thus far I find occupation enough with correspondence, listening to all sorts of applications, and hunting up old acquaintances. . . .

General Buckland here today, also Senator Sherman. "Politics a bad trade" runs in my head often. Guess we'll quit. . . .


SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 3, p. 2

Monday, August 8, 2022

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: September 1, 1864

Clear, bright, and cool.

The intelligence from the North indicates that Gen. McClellan will be nominated for the Presidency. Judge Campbell, Assistant Secretary of War, shakes his head, and says he is not the right man. Our people take a lively interest in the proceedings of the Chicago Convention, hoping for a speedy termination of the war.

Senator Johnson, of Missouri, has a project of taxation for the extinguishment of the public debt—a sweeping taxation, amounting to one-half the value of the real and personal estate of the Confederate States. He got me to commit his ideas to writing, which I did, and they will be published.

Gen. Kemper told me to-day that there were 40,000 able-bodied men in Virginia now detailed.

There is a project on the tapis of introducing lady clerks into this bureau—all of them otherwise able to subsist themselves while the poor refugees, who have suffered most, are denied places. Even the President named one to-day, Mrs. Ford, who, of course, will be appointed.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 275-6

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: September 2, 1864

Bright, and cool, and dry.

It is reported that a battle has occurred at Atlanta; but I have seen no official confirmation of it.

It is rumored that Gen. McClellan has been nominated by the Chicago Convention for President, and Fernando Wood for Vice-President. There is some interest felt by our people in the proceedings of this convention, and there is a hope that peace candidates may be nominated and elected.

Senator Johnson (Missouri) told me to-day that he had seen Mrs. Vaughan (wife of our Gen. V.), just from the United States, where she had been two months; and she declares it as her belief that Gen. McClellan will be elected, if nominated, and that he is decidedly for peace. She says the peace party would take up arms to put an end to Lincoln's sanguinary career, but that it is thought peace can be soonest restored by the ballot-box.

The President to-day arrested the rush of staff appointments. To-day an old gentleman, after an interview with Mr. Secretary ——, said he might be a good man, an honest man; but he certainly had a “most villainous face."

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 276

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: September 3, 1864

Slight rain in the morning.

There is an ugly rumor on the streets to-day—disaster to Gen. Hood, and the fall of Atlanta. I cannot trace it to an authentic source; and, if true, the telegraph operatives must have divulged it.

A dispatch from Petersburg states that there is much cheering in Grant's army for McClellan, the nominee of the Chicago Convention for the Presidency.

I think the resolutions of the convention amount to a defiance of President Lincoln, and that their ratification meetings will inaugurate civil war.

The President has called upon the Governor of Alabama for the entire militia of the State, to be mustered into the service for the defense of the States. It is dated September 1st, and will include all exempted by the Conscription Bureau as farmers. Every farm has its exempted or detailed man under bonds to supply meat, etc.

I incline to the belief that Hood has met with disaster at Atlanta. If so, every able-bodied man in that State will be hunted up for its defense, unless, indeed, the Union party should be revived there.

There will be a new clamor against the President, for removing Johnston, and for not putting Beauregard in his place.

But we may get aid from the North, from their civil dissensions. If Lincoln could precipitate 500,000 additional men upon us now, we should be compelled to give back at all points. But this he cannot do. And the convention at Chicago did not adjourn sine die, and may be called again at any time to exercise other functions than the mere nomination of candidates, etc.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 276-7

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: September 4, 1864


Atlanta has fallen, and our army has retreated some thirty miles; such is Hood's dispatch, received last night.

The cheering in Grant's camp yesterday was over that event. We have not had sufficient generalship and enterprise to destroy Sherman's communications.

Some 40,000 landowners, and the owners of slaves, are at their comfortable homes, or in comfortable offices, while the poor and ignorant are relied upon to achieve independence, and these, very naturally, disappoint the President's expectations on momentous occasions.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 277

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: September 5, 1864

Clear and warm.

Gen. Lee has called for 2000 negroes (to be impressed) to work on the Petersburg fortifications. Gen. Lee has been here two days, giving his advice, which I hope may be taken. He addresses Gen. Bragg as "commanding armies C. S." This ought to be an example for others to follow.

The loss of Atlanta is a stunning blow.

I am sick to-day-having been swollen by beans, or rather cowpeas. 

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 277

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: September 6, 1864

Raining moderately, and cool.

Gen. Bragg has taken the Bureau of Conscription in hand, since Col. August, "acting superintendent," wrote him a "disrespectful and insubordinate” note. He required a report of the officers in the bureau, from Lieut.-Col. Lay, "Acting Superintendent,"—there have been three "acting superintendents” during the last three days,—and Col. Lay furnished it. On this Gen. B. remarks that one young and able-bodied colonel (August) was here while his regiment was in the field, and recommended that he be permitted to have an opportunity to see some “service” before the war is ended, and military experience, which will teach him to be more respectful to seniors, etc.; and that the able-bodied lieutenant-colonel (Lay), from whom he can get no report of inspections, and who remains here idle most of his time, could render more efficient service in the field.

And he thought Lieut. Goldthwait, relative of the Assistant Secretary of War, in the bureau, was performing functions that would better pertain to an older and more experienced man. In short, the whole organization required modification.

These papers, with this indorsement, being sent to the President, that functionary sends them to the Secretary of War, with an indorsement intimating that such remarks from Gen. Bragg required action.' Here's a row! Perhaps the Secretary himself may flare up, and charge Gen. B. with interference, etc.;- but no, he must see that Gen. B. is acting with the concurrence of the President.

But the Assistant Secretary, Col. August, Lieut.-Col. Lay, etc. will be like so many hornets stirred up with a pole, and no doubt they are rich enough to defy the emoluments of office.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 277-8

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: September 7, 1864

Clear and cool; rained in the night.

Gen. J. H. Morgan is dead,—surprised and killed in Tennessee,—and his staff captured.

Gen. Hood telegraphs that the enemy is still retreating—toward Atlanta, I suppose.

The cruiser Tallahassee having run into Wilmington, that port is now pretty effectually closed by an accumulation of blockaders.

It is said Gen. Forrest has blown up Tunnel Hill; if so, Sherman must be embarrassed in getting supplies of ordnance stores.

Sir Wm. Armstrong has sent from England one or two splendid guns (a present) to our government, with equipments, etc. And the manufacturers have presented us with a battery of Whitworth guns, six in number, but they have not arrived yet.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 278-9

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: September 8, 1864

Bright and cool; subsequently cloudy and warm.

Dispatches from Gen. Hood (Sept 7th) state—1st dispatch: that Sherman still holds his works one and a half miles from Jonesborough. 2d dispatch, same date: “Sherman continues his retreat!” He says, in a 3d dispatch, that Sherman visited the hospitals, and said he would rest awhile at Atlanta, and then march away to Andersonville, where we keep the Federal prisoners. Although Hood attaches no importance to declarations from such a source, yet he deems it a matter of first importance to remove the prisoners, which suggestion Gen. Bragg refers to the Secretary of War without remark. Gen. Hood also urges the reinforcing of his army from the trans-Mississippi Department. He is sending a brigade to Opelika, to await a raid.

Gen. Forrest has been ordered, the President approving, to Middle Tennessee; but, contrary to his desire, he is not allowed to proclaim amnesty to the thousands of deserters expected to join him, so firmly do the President and Gen. Bragg adhere to Gen. Lee's advice never to proclaim pardon in advance to deserters, even at this critical epoch in our affairs.

All of us have been made sick by eating red peas, or rather overeating

Our cause is in danger of being lost for want of horses and mules, and yet I discovered to-day that the government has been lending horses to men who have but recently suffered some of the calamities of war! I discovered it in a letter from the Hon. R. M. T. Hunter, of Essex County, asking in behalf of himself and neighbors to be permitted to retain the borrowed horses beyond the time specified—Oct. 1st. Mr. Hunter borrowed two horses and four mules. He is worth millions, and only suffered (having a mill burned) his first loss by the enemy a few weeks ago! Better, far better, would it be for the Secretary to borrow or impress one hundred thousand horses, and mount our infantry to cut the communications of the enemy, and hover on his flanks like the Cossacks in Russia.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 279

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: September 9, 1864

Rained last night; clear to-day.

We hear of great rejoicing in the United States over the fall of Atlanta, and this may be premature. President Lincoln has issued a proclamation for thanksgiving in the churches, etc.

Mr. Benjamin informs the Secretary of War that the President has agreed to facilitate the emigration of Polish exiles and a few hundred Scotchmen, to come through Mexico, etc. The former will enter our service.

The "Hope" has arrived at Wilmington with Sir Wm. Armstrong's present of a fine 12-pounder, all its equipments, ammunition, etc. Also (for sale) two 150-pounder rifled guns, with equipments, etc.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 279-80

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: September 10, 1864

Slight showers, and warm.

Gen. J. H. Morgan was betrayed by a woman, a Mrs. Williamson, who was entertaining him.

Custis made an estimate of the white male population in seven States this side of the Mississippi, leaving out Tennessee, between the ages of fifteen and fifty, for Gen. Kemper, for Gen. Lee, which is 800,000, subject to deduction of those between fifteen and seventeen, disabled, 250,000, leaving 550,000—enough for defense for several years yet, if the Bureau of Conscription were abolished and a better system adopted.

It is said the draft is postponed or abandoned in the United States. I hope so.

Two 32-pounder guns passed down the river to-day on this side. We shall probably hear from them soon, and then, perhaps—lose them.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 280

Diary of Private Daniel L. Ambrose: Saturday, October 3, 1863

Last night some guerrillas made a demonstration on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, burning a bridge between Chewalla, Tenn., and Corinth. In the evening we receive marching orders with camp and garrison equipage, destination Chewalla, to relieve the Eighteenth Missouri, now stationed there guarding the railroad.

SOURCE: Daniel Leib Ambrose, History of the Seventh Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, p. 198

Diary of Private Daniel L. Ambrose: Sunday, October 4, 1863

This morning at seven A. M., we leave our old camp at Corinth, with all our camp and garrison equipage. The Seventh, as they move through Corinth with their knapsacks strapped to their mules, and with their long train of pack mules, look very much like an immense caravan starting on a pilgrimage. After about three hours ride we arrive at Chewalla, finding fine quarters and fine grounds, &c. The Eighteenth Missouri are now leaving, and as fast as they vacate we take possession. This evening the men are busy cleaning up and arranging their quarters.

SOURCE: Daniel Leib Ambrose, History of the Seventh Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, p. 198