Monday, June 14, 2021

Diary of Sergeant David L. Day: September 20, 1863

FURLOUGH.

Our last furloughed men have returned, and I have the promise of one next week, and am congratulating myself on the prospect of once more seeing home. I am anticipating a great deal when I get home; among other things the pleasure of once more sitting down to a clean, well-spread table, with a good square dinner before me. In anticipation of such an event, I send by this mail a small bill of fare of such dishes as I think I shall relish, and have ordered them to be ready and smoking hot on my arrival:

Roast—Sirloin of beef, spare rib of pork, breast of veal, turkey with cranberry sauce, chicken.

Baked—Bluefish, oyster dressing. Chicken pie.

Boiled—Halibut. Fried—Pouts.

Chicken salad. Lobster salad.

Oysters—Stewed, fried, escalloped. Clam chowder.

27 dozen Providence river oysters on the half shell.

Mashed potatoes, boiled onions, beets, turnips, squash, sweet corn, string beans, succotash, stewed tomatoes, tomatoes sliced with vinegar or sugar, apple dumplings with sugar sauce; mince, apple, berry, lemon, cream and custard pie.

Also one moderately sized pumpkin pie, say about thirty-six inches across and not less than eight inches deep; that is as small a pumpkin pie as I care to bother with.

Oranges, apples, pears, grapes, chestnuts, walnuts, cider.

N. B. No boiled salt pork, beef soup or rice and molasses. I don't hanker for that.

With that bill of fare, and such other things as my folks will naturally think of, I reckon I can make a tolerable dinner.

SOURCE: David L. Day, My Diary of Rambles with the 25th Mass. Volunteer Infantry, p. 102

Captain Charles Wright Wills: March 11, 1865

Davis Bridge, Rockfish Creek, March 11, 1865.

Ten miles to-day, full seven of which had to be corduroyed. The worst road I ever saw. The 17th corps occupied Fayetteville to-day. The foragers took the place. It is as large as Columbia and has a large arsenal. Heard of two or three men being captured by the Rebels yesterday and a couple today. They also made a little dash on our rear to-day on the 3d division without accomplishing anything. I do wish you could see the crowd of negroes following us. Some say 2,000 with our division. I think fully 1,000.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 360

Captain Charles Wright Wills: March 12, 1865

Fayetteville, N. C., March 12, 1865.

We are camped a couple of miles from town. Marched about 13 miles to-day. Had to put down pontoons at both branches of Rockfish creek. At the town of Rockfish, the 17th A. C. burned a factory, throwing about 150 women out of employment. One of our gunboats came up to this place to-day with dispatches for Sherman. It went back before our division got in and took a lot of mail.

The 14th A. C. is garrisoning this place, but the 17th got in first. The 97th Indiana boys, who were captured back at Lynch's Creek, all got away from the enemy and back to us to-day, five of them. Sherman said yesterday that the campaign ends only with the war. Hear that Hampton whipped Kilpatrick splendidly. Don't think that is any credit to him. Also hear that Bragg whipped Schofield at Kingston, that Thomas has Lynchburg, and 30,000 other rumors. In the last 23 days the commissary has issued only two and one half days' of bread. I lost my sword to-day. Left it where we stopped for dinner. We have lost so much sleep of late that at every halt half the command is asleep in a minute. I lay down and told them not to wake me for dinner nor until the regiment moved. The regiment had started when Frank woke me, and I got on my horse too stupid to think of anything. Did not miss my sword for five miles, when I went back for it, but no use. Foragers for the last week have been counting on rich spoils in the town, and many of them have not reported to their regiments within six or eight days, camping every night with the extreme advance. The day before the place was taken, five men who were 15 miles ahead of the column ventured into town. They were gobbled and one of them killed. Next morning 100 foragers hovered around town until the column was within about six miles, when the foragers deployed as skirmishers, and went for the town.

There were about 1,000 Rebel cavalry herein who fell back before our boys skirmishing lively, clear through the town, when they suddenly charged our fellows and scooped them. Our loss in killed, wounded and captured is 25 or 30. They killed several after they captured them, and one they hung up by the heels and cut his throat. Our boys retreated about a mile from town, and went in again in more solid order. They were too scattered the first time. They were successful and routed Johnny, who left six dead in the streets.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 360-1

Captain Charles Wright Wills: March 14, 1865

March 14, 1865.

It is supposed we will be here two or three days, to get some shoes up the river.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 361

Captain Charles Wright Wills: March 15, 1865

Left bank, Cape Fear River, Opposite Fayetteville,
March 15, 1865.

Everything valuable to the Rebels has been destroyed, and we are about ready to push on to Goldsboro. Fayetteville is about a 3,000 town, nearly all on one street. There was a very fine United States Arsenal burned here, some 20 good buildings, all of which are "gone up.” The rest of the town is old as the hills. We lay on the river bank expecting to cross all last night, and finally reached the bivouac three quarters of a mile from the river just as the troops on this side were sounding the reveille. This is the 21st river we have pontooned since leaving Scottsboro, May 1st, '64. It is more like the Tennessee than any other stream we have crossed. We send from here all the negroes and white refugees who have been following us, also a large train to Wilmington for supplies. The number of negroes is estimated at 15,000. Nearly all the population of this town will go inside our lines. It has rained all day and seems abominably gloomy. Makes me wish for letters from home. Last night while we were standing around fires by the river, some scoundrel went up to a negro not 75 yards from us, and with one whack of a bowie knife, cut the contraband's head one third off, killing him.

At Goldsboro, we are promised a short rest. If it were not that the wagons are so nearly worn out that they must be thoroughly repaired, I don't believe we would get it. Well, time passes more swiftly in campaigning than in camp. Most of the army are moved out.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 361-2

Captain Charles Wright Wills: March 16, 1865

Two miles from left bank of Black River, N. C.,
March 16, 1865.

About 14 miles to-day. About a dozen swamps, as many showers, three hard rains, and an awfully rough march. The men waded, I should think altogether, one-half mile of water from ankle to waist deep. They went through every swamp yelling like Indians. Rained all yesterday and last night. I saw peach and thorn blossoms, some wintergreen and arbor vitae growing wild. Two days like this would demoralize a citizen much. We drew three days' hard bread to-day to last five. In the 26 preceding our division drew besides sugar and coffee, only two and one-half days' of hard bread. Very poor country to-day. The boats brought us some late papers.

The latest account of Sheridan capturing Early. Don't believe it. Saw Herald's account of the inauguration. The writer should be shot. Of half a dozen boats that come to Fayetteville, only two brought cargoes, and both of them oats. Ridiculous, 40,000 pair of shoes would have been sensible. Many of the men are barefoot. Sherman and Hampton are having a spicy correspondence on murdering foragers. Think Hampton is a little ahead at this date. Have only seen the first letter on each side. There is talk of a fight at Goldsboro. I do hope this army will get two weeks in camp before it battles. It is a little too loose now for heavy, steady work. General Wood says that Sheridan with four divisions of cavalry is coming through to join us.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 362-3

Captain Charles Wright Wills: March 17, 1865

Beaman's Cross Roads, March 17, 1865.

About 12 miles, more than half of which had to be corduroyed. Roads awful. If a wagon pulls off the corduroy, it drops to the hub. There are two or three inches of black sand on the surface covering quicksand unfathomable. No one need tell me that bad roads will stop an army. The 20th corps had sharp little affair yesterday. Hear their loss is over 400. Everyone is expecting a fight before we reach Goldsboro. The whole corps is camped together to-night. Our division has been in rear of the corps two days and has not had a fight in the advance since we left Columbia. I believe I have not heard a hostile shot for 27 days. Howard is here to-night. Whole corps is on this road.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 363

Captain Charles Wright Wills: March 18, 1865

Four miles north from Smithfield's, N. C.,
March 18, 1865.

Fifteen miles, good roads, men only waded in swamps. Whole corps in camp before dark. Well settled country and oceans of forage. Our foragers and the 7th Illinois "mounted thieves" had a nice little fight to-day. Came near scaring Wade Hampton's chivalry out of their boots; four dead Yanks, and 11 Rebels is said to be the result. Our fellows run them off to the left of our road into the 14th and 20, who hurried their march a little. We are 27 miles from Goldsboro and 18 from Faisons on the railroad, which point we will probably make to-morrow and possibly get our mail. If I don't get at least six letters from you I will be much disappointed. We are much amused over the Rebel papers we get. All seem to take “gobs” of comfort from Lee's declaration that "Tecumseh” can and must be whipped. Several of them assert that our treatment of citizens is good. Don't believe a word of it, though I wish it were so.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 363-4

Captain Charles Wright Wills: March 19, 1865

Twelve miles from Goldsboro, and six from railroad,
March 19, 1865.

Made 15 miles. Only two bad swamps. Very heavy artillery and musketry on our left (14th and 20th Corps) all day. Hear this evening that our men suffered heavily. General Lee is said to be here. Opinion is divided as to our having a battle to-morrow. First rate country to-day and a good abundance of forage. The farmers here have not many negroes. Rebel cavalry demonstrated on our left to-day, quite lively and captured several foragers. Five foragers from our regiment who had been out five days and whom we had about given up, returned to-night. They have been with the 17th A. C. All quiet on our right.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 364

Captain Charles Wright Wills: March 20, 1865

One and one-half miles from Neuse River,
March 20, 1865.

We moved about a mile north and then west for five miles. Pushed some Rebel cavalry before us all the time. Our brigade was in advance and lost about 25 men.

We are about two miles east of where the battle was fought yesterday by the 14th and 20th corps, and right where the Rebel hospital was. The Rebels are now due west of us, our line running north and south, and I think there can be no difficulty in communicating with Schofield. Goldsboro is undoubtedly evacuated. In the fight yesterday one division of the 14th was worsted at first and driven some distance, but rallied, repulsed the enemy, and the corps getting into line, charged four to six times, and slaughtered the Rebels awfully. Their loss was far greater than ours.

Ten p. m. — A Pennsylvania man, who was wounded in the fight yesterday, and carried in by the Rebels who took off his leg above the ankle, came in to us a few minutes ago. He crawled nearly half a mile, part of the way through a swamp. It seems that the Rebels had a hospital there they evacuated and left him and a half dozen other wounded, two of whom the man saw killed by the skirmish firing. We are on the skirmish line to-night. I suppose it is 400 yards to the Rebel skirmishers, and not a very dangerous line.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 364-5

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Captain Charles Wright Wills: March 21, 1865

March 21, 1865.

We moved out this morning just before daylight and got within 50 yards of the Rebel skirmish line, but nothing going forward on our right or left, we returned to our original position. Had one man in Company H slightly wounded. We could have held our advanced line just as well as not. I think our right must rest on the river. Some 35,000 or 40,000 Rebels are reported here under Johnston. Some prisoners report Lee. I would like to see them whaled, but would like to wait until we refit. You see that too much of a good thing gets old, and one don't enjoy even campaigning after 50 or 60 days of it together. I believe I am surfeited with oven bread — (“death balls” our cook calls them), biscuit, and pork. I feel finely; wet from head to foot, has rained since noon hard most of the time. About 1 p. m. the main line moved out on our skirmish line, and as quick as they get their works up (about one-half hour), our regiment deployed as skirmishers on our brigade front, and our whole corps skirmish line moved forward. I think the 17th drove the enemy on our right at the same time. We took their skirmish pits along the whole front of our division, but they were very close to their main line and we did have a very interesting time holding them, I assure you. I don't think it was more than 75 yards to the main line of the Rebel works, and they in plain sight, only a straggling scrub oak undergrowth and a few large pines intervening. The Rebels came out of their works twice to retake their pits.

The first time the left of our regiment had to fall back, the brigade on our left giving way and exposing our flank, but we all rallied in a minute and made the Johnnies fairly fly back. The next time our brigade again broke, but our men held their pits, and the 26th Illinois, which was just coming out to relieve our regiment, faced its left wing for the pits occupied by the enemy, and went for them with a first-class yell. You should have seen the Rebels run. It did me a power of good. The other brigade then came back to their position, the 26th relieved me, and we are now ready for bed. We have been wonderfully fortunate to-day, only 10 wounded and none killed. The pride of the regiment, Frank Lermond, had his arm broken by a ball, but a resection operation will leave him a tolerably good arm. I think this has been as exciting and lively a p. m. as ever I saw. Terry's 24th Army Corps has come up, and lays about six miles back of us to-night.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 365-6

William Preston Smith to J. B. Ford, October 17, 1859 – 11:30 a.m.

October 17th, 1859—11.30 A, M.
To J. B. Ford,
            Wheeling

Rioters have possession of Harper's Ferry Armory, and threaten our bridge and trains.

Matter is probably much exaggerated and we fear it may injure us if prematurely published.

Don't let our trains be interrupted, as troops have already gone to subdue it.

W. P. SMITH.

SOURCE: B. H. Richardson, Annapolis, Maryland, Publisher, Correspondence Relating to the Insurrection at Harper's Ferry, 17th October, 1859, p. 7

John W. Garrett to Major-General George H. Steuart, October 17, 1859

Maj. Gen. Geo. H. Steuart,

Sir: — It is my duty to inform you forth with that an insurrection is in progress at Harper's Ferry, and on the Maryland side, in which free negroes and whites are engaged.

I am, respectfully, yours,
JOHN W. GARRETT,        
Pres't B. & O. R. R. Co.
Balt., Oct. 17th, 1859.

SOURCE: B. H. Richardson, Annapolis, Maryland, Publisher, Correspondence Relating to the Insurrection at Harper's Ferry, 17th October, 1859, p. 8

George H. Steuart to John W. Garrett, October 17, 1859

Baltimore, 17th October, 1859.
John W. Garrett, Esq.:
            Pres't. of the Baltimore and Ohio R. R. Co.

Sir:— Your communication of this day has been received, and, acting upon such reliable information, I have ordered a detachment of five companies from the First Light Division to be in readiness to proceed to Harper's Ferry in the four o'clock train of this afternoon.

You will oblige me by making the needful arrangements for their transportation.

Yours, very respectfully,
G. H. STEUART.

SOURCE: B. H. Richardson, Annapolis, Maryland, Publisher, Correspondence Relating to the Insurrection at Harper's Ferry, 17th October, 1859, p. 8

John W. Garrett to Governor Henry A. Wise, October 17, 1859

Baltimore, Monday, 17th Oct., 1859,
10½ o'clock, A. M.
Hon. Henry A. Wise,
            Governor, Richmond, Va.:

Rioters are in possession of the United States Armory and of the Rail Road bridge at Harper's Ferry. Fire arms have been used and one man fatally injured. This occurred last night. The wires are cut between Frederick and Harper's Ferry. Telegraph to me, and your orders will be forwarded. Pray issue necessary orders.

JOHN W. GARRETT,            
President of the Baltimore & Ohio R. R. Co.

SOURCE: B. H. Richardson, Annapolis, Maryland, Publisher, Correspondence Relating to the Insurrection at Harper's Ferry, 17th October, 1859, p. 8

John W. Garrett to James Buchanan, October 17, 1859 – 10:30 a.m.

Baltimore, Oct. 17th-10.30 A. M.
His Excellency, James Buchanan,
            Pres’t U.S.:

The United States Armory at Harper's Ferry is in the possession of rioters. The wires are cut west of Frederick. The officers of the mail train have been fired on and one man fatally wounded. You may rely on this. The despatch from the conductor has reached this office. The presence of United States troops is indispensable, for the safety of Government property, and of the mails. A special train will be ordered to be in readiness for any troops ordered to be sent. Secretary Floyd has been telegraphed. The rioters are more than two hundred strong. Please answer.

JOHN W. GARRETT,        
Pres't B. & O. R. R. Co.

SOURCE: B. H. Richardson, Annapolis, Maryland, Publisher, Correspondence Relating to the Insurrection at Harper's Ferry, 17th October, 1859, p. 9

John W. Garret to John B. Floyd, October 17, 1859 – 10:20 a.m.

17th Oct., 1859—10.20 A. M.
Hon. J. B. Floyd,
            Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.:

Telegraphic advices present a serious affair at Harper's Ferry, where United States Armory and our bridges are in full possession of large bands of armed men, said to be abolitionists, and thought to be armory men. The guns from Armory have been taken for offensive use, and the leaders notify our men that no trains shall pass the Armory and bridge. Our officers were fired upon, and a laborer instantly killed. The wires being cut we get our advices from next station, but they are entirely reliable although they may be exaggerated in some degree.

Can you authorize the government officers and military from Washington to go on our train at 3.20 this afternoon to the scene, or send us full authority for volunteers from Baltimore to act. We will take them up on afternoon's Express if necessary.

Please advise us immediately what the government will do, our operations on road being in the meantime suspended.

JOHN W. GARRETT,        
Pres't B & O. R. Co.

SOURCE: B. H. Richardson, Annapolis, Maryland, Publisher, Correspondence Relating to the Insurrection at Harper's Ferry, 17th October, 1859, p. 9

James Buchanan to John W. Garrett, October 17, 1859 – 1:30 p.m.

Washington, Oct. 17th, 1859 — 1.30 P. M.
John W. Garrett, Pres't:

Your dispatch has been received, and it shall be promptly attended to. Orders have already been issued for three companies of artillery from Old Point Comfort, and I have already accepted the service of Capt. Ritchie's company at Frederick. You will soon hear again further from the Secretary of War, or myself.

JAS BUCHANAN.

SOURCE: B. H. Richardson, Annapolis, Maryland, Publisher, Correspondence Relating to the Insurrection at Harper's Ferry, 17th October, 1859, p. 10

Governor Henry A. Wise to John W. Garret, October 17, 1859

Richmond, Oct. 17th, 1859.
John W. Garrett, Pres't B. & 0. R. R. Co.,
            Camden Station, Balt.:

Whereas, Authentic information has been received that a sudden insurrection has happened at Harper's Ferry in the county of Jefferson, and that immediate danger therefrom is to be apprehended, — the commandant of the regiment therein, is hereby commanded to order out a part or the whole of the militia under his command to repel, suppress, or prevent the same. And if necessary he shall call on the commandants of the adjacent regiments who are ordered forth with in like manner to furnish the additional force that may be necessary. Commandants will immediately report to me at Harper's Ferry, and all persons in the State of Virginia will aid and assist in repressing said insurrection by facilitating in all legal and proper manner the transportation of military companies and detachments from this and any other State to that end and otherwise.

HENRY A. WISE,        
Governor of Va.

SOURCE: B. H. Richardson, Annapolis, Maryland, Publisher, Correspondence Relating to the Insurrection at Harper's Ferry, 17th October, 1859, p. 10

William H. Richardson to John W. Garrett, October 17, 1859 – 2:40 p.m.

Richmond, October 17th, 1859–2.40 P. M.
John W. Garrett, Esq.,
            Pres't B. & O. R. R. Co.:

The Governor requests that you will send the following order to Col. Gibson. Three good companies from that regiment can be immediately called out.

WM. H. RICHARDSON,        
Adjutant General.

SOURCE: B. H. Richardson, Annapolis, Maryland, Publisher, Correspondence Relating to the Insurrection at Harper's Ferry, 17th October, 1859, p. 10

Saturday, June 12, 2021

William H. Richardson to Colonel Thomas Gibson, October 17, 1859 – 2:40 p.m.

Richmond, Oct. 17th, 1859–2.40 P. M.
Col. John Thos. Gibson, 55th Regiment,
            Charlestown, Jefferson Co., Va.:
Care John W. Garrett, Esq.,
            (Pres't, Balto.)

Sir:—The commander-in-chief, calls your attention to the provisions of the first section of chapter twenty-nine of the code, and directs that you call out immediately a sufficient force from your regiment to put down the rioters at Harper's Ferry. The commander-in-chief is informed that the Arsenal and Government property at that place are in possession of a band of rioters. You will act promptly and fully in this emergency, and command the troops called out in person.

By command,
WM. H. RICHARDSON,
Adjutant General.    

SOURCE: B. H. Richardson, Annapolis, Maryland, Publisher, Correspondence Relating to the Insurrection at Harper's Ferry, 17th October, 1859, p. 11

Saturday, May 22, 2021

A. Diffey to William Preston Smith, October 17,1859

From Martinsburg via Wheeling.
October 17th, 1859.
W. P. Smith, Baltimore:

A body of armed men have taken possession of the Armory at Harper's Ferry, and have planted guns in our bridge. They have stopped all our trains, tonnage and mail trains east are all west of the bridge, the telegraph wires are cut, no communication east. A body of armed men are getting ready to leave here at once to clear the bridge, that our trains can pass. Great excitement all through the neighborhood.

A. DIFFEY.

SOURCE: B. H. Richardson, Annapolis, Maryland, Publisher, Correspondence Relating to the Insurrection at Harper's Ferry, 17th October, 1859, p. 7

To the Baltimore Newspaper Press, October 17, 1859

Frederick, Oct. 17.
To the Baltimore Newspaper Press:

Information has been received here this morning of a formidable negro insurrection at Harper's Ferry. An armed band of abolitionists have full possession of Harper's Ferry and the United States Arsenal. One of the railroad hands, a negro, was killed whilst trying to get the express train, from Wheeling for Baltimore, through the town.

They have arrested two men who came in with a load of wheat, and took their wagon and loaded it with rifles, and sent them into Maryland. They are led by about two hundred and fifty whites, with a gang of negroes fighting for their freedom. They gave Conductor Phelps notice that they would not allow any more trains to pass.

The telegraph wires are cut east and west of Harper's Ferry. This intelligence was brought by the train from the West. Great excitement here. The leader told Conductor Phelps, of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad train, that they “were determined to have liberty, or die in the attempt.”

Their object in stopping further trains is to save bloodshed by preventing the arrival of troops. One of the passengers was interrogated by them for half an hour.

SOURCE: B. H. Richardson, Annapolis, Maryland, Publisher, Correspondence Relating to the Insurrection at Harper's Ferry, 17th October, 1859, p. 6-7

Thursday, May 20, 2021

John T. Quynn to William Preston Smith, October 17, 1859, 10 a.m.

Frederick, Oct. 17th, 1859–10 o'clock, A. M.

W. P. Smith:

The military here are in arms. Can I send them up to Harper's Ferry?

JOHN T. QUYNN.

SOURCE: B. H. Richardson, Annapolis, Maryland, Publisher, Correspondence Relating to the Insurrection at Harper's Ferry, 17th October, 1859, p. 6

William Preston Smith to John T. Quynn, October 17, 1859, 10:20 a.m.

Baltimore, October 17th, 1859.
10.20 A. M.
To Jno. T. Quynn,
        Frederick.

We believe the reports from Ferry to be much exaggerated. Do not send a train with troops, unless upon the formal requisition of an authorized officer at Harper's Ferry. Should you get this, act promptly.

W. P. SMITH.

SOURCE: B. H. Richardson, Annapolis, Maryland, Publisher, Correspondence Relating to the Insurrection at Harper's Ferry, 17th October, 1859, p. 6

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

A. J. Phelps to William Prescott Smith, October 17, 1859, 7:05 a.m.

Monocacy, 7.05 A. M., October 17, 1859.        
(Rec'd Balto. 7.55 A. M.)
W. P. Smith,
        Baltimore.

Express train bound east, under my charge, was stopped this morning at Harper's Ferry by armed abolitionists. They have possession of the bridge and the arms and armory of the United States. Myself and Baggage Master have been fired at, and Hayward, the colored porter, is wounded very severely, being shot through the body, the ball entering the body below the left shoulder blade and coming out under the left side. The Doctor says he cannot survive. They are headed by a man who calls himself Anderson, and number about one hundred and fifty strong. They say they have come to free the slaves and intend to do it at all hazards.

The leader of those men requested me to say to you that this is the last train that shall pass the bridge either East or West. If it is attempted, it will be at the peril of the lives of those having them in charge. When daylight appeared we were finally permitted to pass, after being detained from half-past one o'clock to half-past six. It has been suggested you had better notify the Secretary of War at once. The telegraph wires are cut East and West of Harper's Ferry, and this is the first station that I could send a despatch from.

A. J. PHELPS.

SOURCE: B. H. Richardson, Annapolis, Maryland, Publisher, Correspondence Relating to the Insurrection at Harper's Ferry, 17th October, 1859, p. 5-6

William Prescott Smith to A. J. Phelps, October 17, 1859, 9 a.m.

Baltimore, October 17th, 1859.
9 A. M.        
A. J. Phelps,

Conductor of the Express East at Ellicott's Mills. Your despatch is evidently exaggerated and written under excitement. Why should our trains be stopped by Abolitionists, and how do you know they are such and that they number one hundred or more? What is their object? Let me know at once before we proceed to extremities.

W. P. SMITH.

SOURCE: B. H. Richardson, Annapolis, Maryland, Publisher, Correspondence Relating to the Insurrection at Harper's Ferry, 17th October, 1859, p. 5-6

A. J. Phelps to William Prescott Smith, October 17, 1859, 11 a.m.

Ellicott's Mills, March, 17th, 1859,
11 A. M.        
W. P. Smith,

My dispatch was not exaggerated, neither was it written under excitement as you suppose. I have not made it half as bad as it is. The Captain told me, that his object was to liberate all the slaves, and that he expected a reinforcement of 1500 men to assist him. Hayward, the negro porter, was shot through the body, and I suppose by this time, is dead. The Captain also said, he did not want to shed any more blood.

I will call at your office immediately on my arrival, and tell you all. One of my passengers was taken prisoner and held as such for some time. I will bring him to see you also.

A.J. PHELPS.

SOURCE: B. H. Richardson, Annapolis, Maryland, Publisher, Correspondence Relating to the Insurrection at Harper's Ferry, 17th October, 1859, p. 6

Monday, May 10, 2021

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: April 11, 1864

Rained all night, but clear most of the day.

There are rumors of Burnside landing troops on the Peninsula; also of preparations for movements on the Rappahannock—by which side is uncertain. It is said troops are coming from Mississippi, Lieut.-Gen. (Bishop) Polk's command.

The FAMINE is still advancing, and his gaunt proportions loom up daily, as he approaches with gigantic strides. The rich speculators, however, and the officers of influence stationed here, who have secured the favor of the Express Company, get enough to eat. Potatoes sell at $1 per quart; chickens, $35 per pair; turnip greens, $4 per peck! An ounce of meat, daily, is the allowance to each member of my family, the cat and parrot included. The pigeons of my neighbor have disappeared. Every day we have accounts of robberies, the preceding night, of cows, pigs, bacon, flour—and even the setting hens are taken from their nests!

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 185

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: April 12, 1864

Cloudy——rained in the afternoon.

This is the anniversary of the first gun of the war, fired at Fort Sumter.

It is still said and believed that Gen. Lee will take the initiative, and attack Grant. The following shows that we have had another success:

MobiLE, April 11th, 1864.

TO GEN. S. COOPER, A. & H. GENERAL.


The following report was received at Baton Rouge, on the 3d inst., from the Surgeon-General of Banks's army: “We met the enemy near Shreveport. Union force repulsed with great loss. How many can you accommodate in hospitals at Baton Rouge 7 Steamer Essex, or Benton, destroyed by torpedoes in Red River, and a transport captured by Confederates.”

Farragut reported preparing to attack Mobile. Six monitors coming to him. The garrisons of New Orleans and Baton Rouge were very much reduced for the purpose of increasing Banks's forces.


D. H. MAURY, Major-General Commanding.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 185-6

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: April 13, 1864

A clear, but cool day. Again planted corn, the other having rotted.

There is an unofficial report that one of our torpedo boats struck the Federal war steamer Minnesota yesterday, near Newport News, and damaged her badly.

I learn (from an official source) to-day that Gen. Longstreet's corps is at Charlottesville, to co-operate with Lee's army, which will soon move, no doubt.

Gen. Bragg received a dispatch yesterday, requesting that commissary stores for Longstreet be sent to Charlottesville, and he ordered his military secretary to direct the Commissary-General accordingly. To this Col. Northrop, C. G. S., took exceptions, and returned the paper, calling the attention of Gen. B.'s secretary to the Rules and Regulations, involving a matter of red tape etiquette. The C. G. S. can only be ordered or directed by the Secretary of War. Gen. B. sent the paper to the Secretary, with the remark that if he is to be restricted, etc., his usefulness must be necessarily diminished. The Secretary sent for Col. N., and I suppose pacified him.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 186

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: April 14, 1864

Bright morning—cloudy and cold the rest of the day.

No reliable war news to-day; but we are on the tip-toe of expectation of exciting news from the Rapidan. Longstreet is certainly in communication with Lee; and if the enemy be not present with overwhelming numbers, which there is no reason to anticipate, a great battle may be imminent.

Read Vice-President Stephens's speech against the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus to-day. He said independence without liberty was of no value to him, and if he must have a master, he cared not whether he was Northern or Southern. If we gain our independence, this speech will ruin Mr. S.; if we do not, it may save him and his friends.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 186-7

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: April 15, 1864

Cloudy—slight showers. I published an article yesterday in the Enquirer, addressed to the President, on the subject of supplies for the army and the people (the government to take all the supplies in the country), the annihilation of speculation, and the necessary suppression of the Southern (Yankee) Express Company. This elicited the approval of Col. Northrop, the Commissary-General, who spoke to me on the subject. He told me the Express Company had attempted to bribe him, by offering to bring his family supplies gratis, etc. He said he had carried his point, in causing Gen. Bragg to address him according to military etiquette. He showed me another order from Bragg (through the Adjutant-General), to take possession of the toll meal at Crenshaw's mills. This he says is contrary to contract, and he was going to the Secretary to have it withdrawn. “Besides,” said he, “and truly, it would do no good. The people must eat, whether they get meal from Crenshaw or not. If not, they will get it elsewhere, and what they do get will be so much diverted from the commissariat.”

There are rumors of the enemy accumulating a heavy force at Suffolk.

The guard at Camp Lee are going in the morning to Lee's army; their places here to be filled by the reserve forces of boys and old men. This indicates a battle on the Rapidan.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 187

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: April 16, 1864

Rained all night, and in fitful showers all day.

We have more accounts (unofficial) of a victory near Shreveport, La. One of the enemy's gun-boats has been blown up and sunk in Florida.

By late Northern arrivals we see that a Mr. Long, member of Congress, has spoken in favor of our recognition. A resolution of expulsion was soon after introduced.

Gen. Lee has suggested, and the Secretary of War has approved, a project for removing a portion of the population from Richmond into the country. Its object is to accumulate supplies for the army. If some 20,000 could be moved away, it would relieve the rest to Some extent.

Troops are passing northward every night. The carnage and carnival of death will soon begin.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 187-8

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: April 17, 1864

Rained until bedtime—then cleared off quite cold. This morning it is cold, with occasional sunshine.

Gen. Beauregard's instructions to Major-Gen. Anderson in Florida, who has but 8000 men, opposed by 15,000, were referred by the Secretary of War to Gen. Bragg, who returned them with the following snappish indorsement: “The enemy's strength seems greatly exaggerated, and the instructions too much on the defensive.”

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 188

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: April 18, 1864

Cleared away in the night—frost. To-day it clouded up again!

We have an account from the West, to the effect that Forrest stormed Fort Pillow, putting all the garrison, but one hundred, to the sword; there being 700 in the fort–400 negroes.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 188

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: April 19, 1864

Cloudy and cold.

We have no authentic war news, but are on the tip-toe of expectation. The city is in some commotion on a rumor that the non-combating population will be required to leave, to avoid transportation of food to the city. Corn is selling at $1.25 per bushel in Georgia and Alabama; here, at $40—such is the deplorable condition of the railroads, or rather of the management of them. Col. Northrop, Commissary-General, said to-day that Gen. Lee and the Secretary of War were responsible for the precarious state of affairs, in not taking all the means of transportation for the use of the army; and that our fate was suspended by a hair.

The President returned the paper to day, relating to the matter of etiquette between Col. Northrop and Gen. Bragg's military secretary. The President says that Gen. B. certainly has the right to give orders—being assigned to duty here, and, I presume, representing the President himself; but that any one of his staff, unless directing those of inferior rank, ought to give commands “by order” of Gen. Bragg. Col. N. says that don’t satisfy him; and that no general has a right to issue orders to him!

The famine is becoming more terrible daily; and soon no salary will suffice to support one's family.

The 1st and 2d Auditors and their clerks (several hundred, male and female) have been ordered to proceed to Montgomery, Ala. Perhaps the government will soon remove thither entirely. This is ill-timed, as the enemy will accept it as an indication of an abandonment of the capital; and many of our people will regard it as a preliminary to the evacuation of Richmond. It is more the effect of extortion and high prices, than apprehension of the city being taken by the enemy.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 188-9

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: April 20, 1864

A clear morning, but a cold, cloudy day. The following dispatch from Gen. Forrest shows that the bloody work has commenced in earnest:

DEMoPolis, ALA., April 19th.

TO GEN. S. COOPER.


The following dispatch has just been received from Gen. Forrest, dated Jackson, Tenn., April 15th.


L. Polk, Lieut.-General.


I attacked Fort Pillow on the morning of the 12th inst., with a part of Bell's and McCulloch's brigades, numbering —, under Brig.-Gen. J. R. Chalmers. After a short fight we drove the enemy, seven hundred strong, into the fort, under cover of their gun-boats, and demanded a surrender, which was declined by Major L. W. Booth, commanding United States forces. I stormed the fort, and after a contest of thirty minutes captured the entire garrison, killing 500 and taking 100 prisoners, and a large amount of quartermaster stores. The officers in the fort were killed, including Major Booth. I sustained a loss of 20 killed and 60 wounded. The Confederate flag now floats over the fort.


N. B. FORREST, Major-General.

There is a rumor that Grant's army is falling back toward Centreville. It is supposed by many that all the departments will follow the Auditor to Montgomery soon. 

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 189

Diary of Private Daniel L. Ambrose: July 3, 1862

Colonel Babcock returns back to his regiment from his sick leave; we are all glad to see him among us again.

SOURCE: Daniel Leib Ambrose, History of the Seventh Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, p. 82

Diary of Private Daniel L. Ambrose: July 4, 1862

[W]e have a soldier's celebration, a barbacue and a grand dinner furnished by the officers of the regiment; we are also favored on the occasion with a good, whole souled speech from General Oglesby, and all this on the ground where but a short time before Van Dorn's and Sterling Price's battle flags stood. But they stand a little farther south now, and in their stead stands another flag, and around it stand soldiers who wear a uniform different from the uniform worn by those who stood around the other flag; the former battles for slavery, the latter for freedom; the former for the annihilation of the first independence, the latter for its maintainance. On this annual anniversary, beneath the heat of a Mississippi sun, these boys renew their allegiance, and swear by the memory of the loved and lost to bear their bristling steel for the first independence that spoke into existence are public, which in its infancy seemed a paragon let down from heaven to inspire the pilgrims of freedom.

SOURCE: Daniel Leib Ambrose, History of the Seventh Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, p. 82

Diary of Private Daniel L. Ambrose: July 4, 1862

[O]ur regiment receives a new stand of colors. The colors we carried through the battles of Fort Donelson and Shiloh are now so mutilated that we are unable to carry them any longer. They will be sent to Springfield to be laid away in their glory, and while they thus rest from battle and storm, back with Illinois' great loyal people, may they ever remember as they gaze upon its hallowed ribbons, the noble ones who went down while its rents and scars were being made; whose lamps of life flickered out while wrathful storms were sweeping along the shores of the Cumberland and the Tennessee, and over the fields of Mississippi; remember that while it was swung in its glory the noble hearts of Captains Mendell and Ward, Lieutenants Myres and Estabrook, Sergeants Wheeler and Mitchell, Corporals William Boring, Seth Hamilton and Nixon, Privates Charles Newton, John Fifer, Andrew McKennon, John Teft, Richard Lamherdt, Isaac Britton, John H. Duff, John Gibland, Ole Porter, Peter Miller, John H. Hopper and others ceased their loyal throbbings for ever. They loved that old banner, made so hallowed on fields of blood. It was the pride of their hearts; for it they lived, for it they died. Those shot-riven folds will speak to the loyal people in a silent language, telling them a thrilling story—a story, the letters of which have been written in blood. We send them back to the good people from whence they came, hoping that the story they tell will find an entrance into their loyal hearts and cause it to start a tear to the memory of those who went down beneath its folds.

SOURCE: Daniel Leib Ambrose, History of the Seventh Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, p. 82-3

Diary of Private Daniel L. Ambrose: July 28, 1862

[W]e strike tents, and move into the camp lately occupied by the Sixth Division. During our camp here the regiment is on picket every other day.  We find the locality very unhealthy.

 SOURCE: Daniel Leib Ambrose, History of the Seventh Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, p. 83

Diary of Private Daniel L. Ambrose: August 7, 1862

[T]he regiment is ordered to advance a short distance and clear off a new camping ground. In the evening we notice some of the Seventh boys escorting in from the picket line a squad of guerrillas. They are taken to Corinth that they may have their names registered and obtain lodgings at the Military Hotel.

SOURCE: Daniel Leib Ambrose, History of the Seventh Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, p. 83-4

Diary of Private Daniel L. Ambrose: August 9, 1862

[W]e move to our new and fresh c├ámping ground, near battery C, Captain Hackney will remember the day we moved, for if we remember correctly the ague shook him like an earthquake, but the soldier's medicine proved a sure remedy. What a god-send! While here our camp and picket duties are heavy. Lieutenant Ring is now detached from his company, having been detailed as Police Officer of Corinth. General Ord has indeed made a good selection, but has damaged Company H. Contrabands are coming in daily. While in this camp some of the boys bring in one of these exiles from bondage, to enlist as a company cook, followed by his master, who enters complaint. The General being strictly averse to the "peculiar institution,” makes disposition of the case by compelling the old man to take the oath of allegiance and make his exit from the lines.

SOURCE: Daniel Leib Ambrose, History of the Seventh Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, p. 84

Diary of Private Daniel L. Ambrose: Monday, August 25, 1862

[w]e strike our tents and move from our camp. The weather is warm and sultry. We pass through Corinth, marching in platoons; it is very dusty, and the boys almost famish for water. We go into camp two miles north of Corinth to stand as outposts for the army surrounding, and the garrison in Corinth.

SOURCE: Daniel Leib Ambrose, History of the Seventh Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, p. 84

Diary of Private Daniel L. Ambrose: August 26, 1862

[w]e are busily engaged cleaning off our camp ground; we have no water here; are compelled to haul it from a distance. To-day we send six trains and a guard for water; they return, but with no water. There is no alternative but to haul it from beyond Corinth, about four miles distant. During our camp here on the Purdy road, we live like kings; the result of the sharp trading of the boys with the citizens who are daily seen in our camp with fruit, milk, chickens and eggs. We dare say our men traded with many a rebel spy, and the information gained by them resulted in making additions to the already long list of names of those who are now sleeping silently in the south-land There was a mistake somewhere; somebody committed an error; where that mistake, and who that somebody was, we are not prepared to say. The world, perhaps, will never know.

SOURCE: Daniel Leib Ambrose, History of the Seventh Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, p. 84-5

Diary of Private Daniel L. Ambrose: September 15, 1862

Company A, Captain McGuire, Company G, Lieutenant Sayles, are detached from the regiment to take charge of a battery. To-day rumor has it that the rebel army under Price is moving upon Corinth. If they come, of course we will meet and extend to them our hospitality. It is also reported that there is fighting going on at Iuka, Mississippi, about thirty miles from Corinth; there may be some truth in it. If so, ere long we may be hurled into battle.

SOURCE: Daniel Leib Ambrose, History of the Seventh Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, p. 85

Diary of Private Daniel L. Ambrose: September 20, 1862

[W]e receive dispatches informing us that Rosecrans is engaged in battle with Price at Iuka. We are expecting every minute to move. It is now towards evening; we know that our men are struggling to-day; we know not the result; we fear that the battle has been desperate, but we hope that the old flag has not been caused to droop.

SOURCE: Daniel Leib Ambrose, History of the Seventh Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, p. 85-6

Diary of Private Daniel L. Ambrose: Sunday, September 21, 1862

It is reported to-day that Price has been beaten, and is now making a flank movement towards Corinth. Soon we are ordered to Corinth, and there we lay in line of battle all day; but no Price comes, and we return to camp in the evening. Dispatches from Rosecrans inform us this evening that he has routed Price. Praises for Rosecrans and the noble Fifth Iowa come from every one. The Illinois soldiers can ever find it in their hearts to speak words of praise about their brothers from Iowa, especially when like the Fifth who maintained such a desperate bayonet charge to save their colors from falling into the hands of the rebels. Right here we would say that the Seventh Illinois Veteran Volunteer Infantry will not soon forget the Seventh and Second Iowa, starting in the service together, fighting side by side in the assault on Fort Donelson, together carrying their flag in the thickest of the battle, camping side by side on the weary march. They seemed to each other as brothers, for brothers they were, fighting in one common cause to keep the old flag on its staff, and to-day there are men in the Seventh that would fling their coats for a fight, should they hear any one speak disparagingly of the Seventh and Second Iowa infantry. They are camped now some where around Corinth, but we do not know exactly where; however, we remember them, and we imagine when the war is over, and when peace comes back to her people, should a soldier from the Seventh Illinois Infantry meet one from the Seventh or Second Iowa Infantry, who fought with him at Donelson, it will be a congenial meeting, and if he does not treat him as a gentleman it may be marked down as a fact that he does not understand the business.

SOURCE: Daniel Leib Ambrose, History of the Seventh Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, p. 86-7

Diary of Private Daniel L. Ambrose: Tuesday, September 23, 1862

We move our camp from the Purdy road to the Pittsburg road to give way for the Sixteenth Wisconsin. We encamp in a beautiful place in the woods, or a dense thicket of Jack Oaks. We are inclined to think that it would be difficult for the rebels to find us here. Yesterday we received some new recruits in our regiment, brought down from Springfield, Illinois, by Capt. Estabrook, which greatly improves the appearance of the regiment.

SOURCE: Daniel Leib Ambrose, History of the Seventh Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, p. 87