Friday, November 27, 2020

Gustavus V. Fox to Flag Officer Samuel F. Dupont, May 12, 1862

Navy Department 
May 12 1862 
Flag Officer S. F. Dupont
Port Royal.

My Dear Sir:

Now things are breaking up entirely in Virginia we are ready to give you a force for Charleston. I wrote you a note about it some time since. If we give you the Galena and Monitor, don't you think we can go squarely at it by the Channel, so as to make it purely navy? Any other plan we shall play second. Port Royal and New Orleans suit me. Please write early as possible. Davis has commenced well out West. I am glad he has had a chance. 

Govt are to have a weekly list of steamers down the coast for the mails. I have not written you lately, that confounded Merrimac has set like a nightmare upon our Dept. If you can finish Charleston with the Navy, the Country will rejoice above all other victories. 

Everything looks well and goes well. With warm regards to Rodgers, 

Most sincerely yours, 
G. V. Fox. 

SOURCE: Robert Means Thompson & Richard Wainwright, Editors, Publications of the Naval Historical Society, Volume 9: Confidential Correspondence of Gustavus Vasa Fox, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, 1861-1865, Volume 1, p. 119-20

Flag Officer Samuel F. Dupont to Gustavus V. Fox, May 25, 1862

Wabash, 25. May, 62 
Port Royal S.C. 
My Dear Mr Fox,

I arrived last evening from a weeks inspection on the Coast from Georgetown to Fernandina, taking two good looks at Charleston in Keystone State. I pushed the Gunboats into Stono! Two batteries were abandoned and I have told Marchand he must knock down the third. After much trouble about the bar we found 13 ft. This brings the military base within ten miles of C——n.

I have yr private letter and the Departments confidential one. All will be done that it is in the power of man and men to do—but do not underrate the work; all the defences for one year now have been seaward. Since Pulaski fell, which has made them shake about Sumpter, a low fort is going up on Cummings point. The middle ground is also fortified. Moultrie and Castle Pinckney strengthened, the defences on Sullivan's island are not much I think, but Ft. Johnson is the key of the position. Then you know we go into a bag, no running past, for after we get up they can all play upon us.

The landward defences are nothing—but these Soldiers are queer people to us. I had to write to Hunter to-day, that on his coming here I had, to avoid delay and circumlocution put myself in official communication with the Brigadier commanding this Division of his department—but that could no longer be and in virtue of my assimilated rank as Major Gen', he (H) must address me on all his wants &c.

I wrote to-night a private letter to Mr. Welles to give Rodgers the Naval Academy when he can be spared here. No man living is more capable or more deserving

Faithfully Yours in haste
S. F. DP. 

SOURCE: Robert Means Thompson & Richard Wainwright, Editors, Publications of the Naval Historical Society, Volume 9: Confidential Correspondence of Gustavus Vasa Fox, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, 1861-1865, Volume 1, p. 120-1

Flag Officer Samuel F. Dupont to Gustavus V. Fox, May 31, 1862

Wabash, 31. May. 62. 
My Dear Sir 

I found the accumulation of men from Prizes so great and the Bienville's Engines so precarious from being out of line, that I determined to send her home.

You will see that we have smashing work with the “Joint Stock company” for running the blockade and I hope we shall catch more of them, but I think you will have to look out for Wilmington, for they will go from Charleston there. Prentiss has fixed Georgetown by going inside as I wrote you. You had better write to McKean about Indian River, there is a possible tran-shipment there, for there is a road from that inlet clear up to Volusia. Except this place Indian River inlet one hd miles below Cape Carnavaral and Wilmington I think all else is as tight as it can be, though I have greatly regretted that the Stono operations have taken so many gunboats from Charleston at this momentbut they are likely to be important for I believe the rebels have discovered the egregious blunder they made in letting go the Forts on Coles island and the old Fort higher up and want to reoccupy the latter fortunately I got Drayton up in time with the Pawnee to go in there, adding Huron to his force—but I am waiting to hear the exact state of things with some earnestness.

The army people have no orders on the matter alluded to in the Confidential dispatch to me, but are studying out things and looking to occupying the Stono.

I see with regret the want of success in the James River with the iron boat, showing more invulnerability on the part of the Monitor than power of aggression.

Think coolly and dispassionately on the main object -remember there is no running the gauntlet, night or day—no bombardment of a week to fatigue and demoralize the defences of the Mississippi the merest shams in comparison—for thirteen long months it has been the remark of our blockading officers that the industry of these rebels in their harbour defences is beyond all praise, it has been ceaseless day and night Sumpter has been strengthened by a water battery attached to it—Cummings Point is covered by heavy works—the Middle ground likewise is piled and fortified-Fort Johnston that reduced Sumpter still improved. Castle Pinckney and Moultrie then come, and all this mind ye in a ‘cul de sac’ or bog. I merely allude to all this, that your own intelligent and brave mind may not be carried away by a superficial view of recent events, where the results have been thank God for his mercies, so great that the difficulties have been naturally overrated. I only have to add on this subject, that if the enemy do their duty as we expect to do ours, then it must be a 'do or die work—but this we are ready for and no mistake.

Since writing the above I have a letter from Drayton who has swept the Stono River up to the fort land. We had unpleasant reports yesterday through the Soldiers that the Gun boats had been driven back, though I told the Gen' there was not a word of truth in it.

I avail myself of Drayton Report to write a full account of our occupation there, having only been informed unofficially of the fact-it is a handsome thing and very important. They have no transportation, five transports have been taken from them lately. They have to throw themselves on me, but—they give me no notice until they are in a state of despondency or despair fortunately I have the Alabama and Bienville in, they will give them important aid; but I have to send my tugs to Beaufort 14 miles to get their troops, they have no Pilots, they have nothing. Still as I have cleared James' Island for them they are anxious to possess it.

They are credited with 18,000 men; if they land 9 thousand they will do well. Wright is in Edisto where our people, Rhind's command are doing everything for them-he is to march over to the Stono, also. They are very helpless. They sent a party to cut the R. R. from Port Royal Ferry, but it was not left to Stevens, and the party came back minus a captain and a private, having done nothing. All this only for your own ear.

I send a boy by Bienville with some arms (trophies) for you to dispose of—the sword is for yrself from Pulaski—a note inside to you explains.

[ocr errors]Please order that the Bienville must leave in two weeks, without fail. Oh that Flag! She left the 9th of March!

Ever yrs faithfully 
S. F. DP

Old Sedgwick is good deal of an elephant with his beef, but it is a good thing and we have got along!

Don't fail to read Drayton's report.

SOURCE: Robert Means Thompson & Richard Wainwright, Editors, Publications of the Naval Historical Society, Volume 9: Confidential Correspondence of Gustavus Vasa Fox, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, 1861-1865, Volume 1, p. 121-4

Flag Officer Samuel F. Dupont to Gustavus V. Fox, May 31, 1862

Private & Confidential 
'Wabash’ Port Royal 
June 1” 1862 
My Dear Sir

An order from Col. Harris came last night detaching Major Doughty from this ship. It had the approval of the Secretary and of course was put in immediate execution and the Major leaves in the morning.

But I have never seen this process before, and it belongs to that system of assumption of authority by the Heads of different departments to withdraw their members from the immediate control and direction of the Secretary of the Navy, a feature which has always given our Department an advantage over that of the Dept. of War. This control of the Secretary and the prestige pertaining to it, is in a measure transmitted to those who represent him on service, whether Flag Officers or Commanding Officers—and that is just where these innovations strike with a bad effect.

The approval of the Secretary, so natural for him to give, is immediately converted into an approval of the system itself, and I suppose the Chiefs of the bureaus will soon order and detach paymasters, Surgeons, Engineers, &c. It is a system of “disintegration,” building up kingdoms within a kingdom, and if not arrested will cause all to crumble some day like a brick wall, from which the mortar has been insidiously abstracted.

If this has been the usage heretofore—then please consider that I have said nothing as the French term it; but I never heard of it and it struck me unpleasantly.

I forgot to mention yesterday that the rough Cutlass in the box I spoke of was also from the Planter.

I have had her appraised by competent officers, who have fixed her value at $9000. I think the guns I sent to New York ought to be added—will you ask the Commandant of the Yard to have them appraised by the Ord. Officers?

Last night heard of Banks' affair—it will do good like Bull Run—two ships detained here with troops on board that I want elsewhere after pretending to hurry us. In case any change should be made of Gen Hunter, which I hope not, I implore that — be not left here in chf command. I say this for no personal feeling, but from the utter incompatibility of the man to fill such a place—this entre nous, tear this up.

Yrs faithfully 
S. F. DP.

SOURCE: Robert Means Thompson & Richard Wainwright, Editors, Publications of the Naval Historical Society, Volume 9: Confidential Correspondence of Gustavus Vasa Fox, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, 1861-1865, Volume 1, p. 124-5

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Major-General Braxton Bragg to Jefferson Davis, February 25, 1861

NEW ORLEANS, February 25, 1861.
His Excellency JEFF. DAVIS:

We have reliable information that the United States troops from Texas are to pass through this city. Shall they be allowed to land? A large number of the officers and men can probably be secured for your service. Please advise me on the subject. General Twiggs was ordered to turn over the command to Colonel Waite, a Northern man, but preferred surrendering to Texas.


Major-General, Commanding.

SOURCES: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 1 (Serial No. 1), p. 608; Don Carlos Seitz, Braxton Bragg, General of the Confederacy, p. 30

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Adjutant-General George Deas to Brigadier-General Braxton Bragg, March 7, 1861

WAR DEPARTMENT, Montgomery, March 7, 1861. 
    Provisional Army, C. S. A., Comdg. Troops near Pensacola, Fla.:

SIR: By the inclosed order you will perceive that you have been signed to the command of the troops at and near Pensacola, Fla. It is of the greatest importance that the Government here should be accurately informed of the state of affairs in that quarter. The Secretary of War, therefore, desires that you will as soon as possible forward to this office a comprehensive report of whatever may come under your observation, especially in regard to affairs immediately connected with Fort Pickens. You will also be pleased to make reports to this Department as often as it may be convenient for you to do so. Very little information in respect to the nature of the service and its requirements at the station to which you have been assigned to command has reached this Government. The Department is anxious to know accurately the condition of things there and the necessities of the service, so that it can act with full intelligence, which is so much wanting at present. A return of your command is required.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

GEO. DEAS,    
Acting Adjutant-General. 

SOURCES: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 1 (Serial No. 1), p. 448; Don Carlos Seitz, Braxton Bragg, General of the Confederacy, p. 3

Leroy P Walker’s Special Orders, No. 1, March 7, 1861

Montgomery, Ala., March 7, 1861. 

1. Brig. Gen. Braxton Bragg, of the Provisional Army, Confederate States of America, is assigned to the command of the troops in and near Pensacola, Fla., to which station he will proceed without delay.

*          *          *          *          *          *          *

By command of the Secretary of War:
GEO. DEAS    ,
Acting Adjutant-General.

SOURCES: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 1 (Serial No. 1), p. 448; Don Carlos Seitz, Braxton Bragg, General of the Confederacy, p. 30

Major-General Braxton Bragg’s General Orders, No. 1, March 11, 1861

March 11, 1861. 

I. In compliance with Special Orders No. 1 from the War Department, Confederate States of America, dated at Montgomery, Ala., March 7, 1861, Brigadier-General Bragg assumes the command of all troops in the service of said States in the vicinity of Pensacola. His headquarters will be at Fort Barrancas.

Brigadier-General, Commanding.

SOURCES: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 1 (Serial No. 1), p. 449; Don Carlos Seitz, Braxton Bragg, General of the Confederacy, p. 31

Major-General Braxton Bragg to Elisa Ellis Bragg, March 11, 1861

[Pensacola, Florida, March 11, 1861.]

My dear Wife: We left New Orleans on Friday. Saturday night at 12 o'clock we reached here, after a stage ride of 48 miles from this side of Mobile Bay over a very bad road.

According to my notions things here are in a most deplorable condition, and that was the reason for sending me; you know it has been my fate all through life to build up for somebody else. Our troops are raw volunteers, without officers, and without discipline, each man with an idea that he can whip the world, and believing that nothing is necessary but to go it and take Fort Pickens and all the navy. All this will give way, I hope, to good counsel, and good sense, but it will require great firmness and management. Some of the privates are men of large means and high position; two of them are just from Washington—Members of Congress. Unless the United States troops attack us, no fighting can occur here for a long time, as we are totally unprepared for anything of the sort, and if they are sensible they will keep us so. Fort Pickens cannot be taken without a regular siege, and we have no means to carry that on, and cannot get any without their Navy will allow it to pass it.

You will be surprised to hear of the very cordial messages I hare received from our old friend President Davis. He says with such men as Beauregard and Bragg at Charleston and Pensacola he feels easy. I hope he may have no cause to change his mind. 


SOURCE:  Don Carlos Seitz, Braxton Bragg, General of the Confederacy, p. 31-2

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Captain Braxton Bragg to Elisa Ellis Bragg, June 6, 1853

Fort Leavenworth, 6th June, 1853. 
Court Room, (Chapel) 

My dear Wife: The whole day on Saturday was consumed in small questions of form, and, as I consider, frivolous objections-A request was made to delay all proceedings until witnesses could be called from New Mexico. The court decided to proceed as far as it could with the witnesses present, and entertain any proposition for delay when the presence of witnesses may become necessary. It has rained all the time excepting one day since my arrival. Today it is fair.—The sun here is infinitely worse than at the Barracks, and any locomotion is out of the question when it exists. The post is in horrible condition as to police and no better discipline. We have just expended two hours in doing nothing but listening to the twaddle of the prisoner and Judge Advocate, all amounting to nothing, except that they are both very learned men (in their own estimation). At length we got the plea of the prisoner, and the Judge Advocate asks an adjournment—he having so much to do. It was refused—a precedent I hope may be followed. The inefficiency of the J. A. surpasses my comprehension and is only equaled by the President. I can draw no other conclusion than that the General is not very anxious to get home. He has had no chill yet, but the sooner one comes the better for us. 

By the last mail we learn the recruits were at the Barracks. The General says, they will be here soon, and then I shall hear from my wife again. That is to be my only consolation for some time, I fear, for it seems to be a determination of both parties to spend the summer here. Some of the members of the court are getting impatient with myself, and are for going ahead. We are at last taking testimony!!! I must retract all expression of hope in regard to my return, and can only say I shall do all I can to urge business.

Time hangs heavily on my hands as I have no books and there are no means of recreation but a billiard table, and I do not play. The weather is so bad and the mud so abundant that visiting is almost suspended. During a call Mrs. Fauntleroy asked for you and wished her regards presented. She pressed me strongly to stay at her house when I first arrived, but I had already accepted Col. Beatty's invitation. Mrs. Barnes is staying with her parents—her husband being at the new post 150 miles west of this--and made special inquiries for her dear friend, Miss Anna Butler. Of course I enlightened her to the extent of my ability.

Miss Kate looks as well as could be expected under the circumstances.” Lt. Whittlesey had a chill day before yesterday, and I should judge required some one to keep him warm. It is to be hoped his family in New Mexico will not interpose any objection to this comfortable arrangement. Miss K. is not so pretty as it was thought she would be when younger—a sort of scowl seems to have settled permanently on her face.-It will certainly not be out of place after the union.

I am unable to pick up any scandal to elongate this poor return for your last loving letter. Accept all my love, dearest wife, and only give puss a kiss this time, for I suppose after my last she does not feel much like loving me or my pills. My health is good.

Your husband,

SOURCE: Don Carlos Seitz, Braxton Bragg, General of the Confederacy, p. 13-4

Braxton Bragg to Elisa Ellis Bragg, February 3, 1856B

Evergreen, Sunday Evening, 3d Feb'y, 1856.

My dear Wife: Pierce will hand you this and probably explain my story before you read it, as he will know better how I stand then than I do now. I have not been to Col. Sparks. On my way there I met with a gentleman in the cay who by accident made my acquaintance, and remarked that he heard I was looking for a plantation, that he was just from the city where he had been to see Mr. Frank Webb and offer him one from a friend and found W. had purchased. He shewed me the note from the owner to Webb. The price seemed reasonable and the location not bad. It was “Leesburg," formerly your father's and uncle's. I concluded to stop one day and see it. So Richard, who was along, took charge of my trunk and I got off at Lafourche and took Mr. Holden's omnibus, paid my fare and in a short distance broke down, got out and walked to Thibodaux, hired a pony and rode up to Leesburg. Found the old man Mr. Shriver, who owns two-thirds, sick in bed, the other one-third owned by a creole, who is overseer. Shriver bought only two years ago, and was very anxious to sell, the other only willing. Their terms are at a cash calculation about $145,000. $30,000 now, the balance in different amounts at from 1 to 8 years. The land is just opposite and same size as Allen's. Negroes 104, 65 hands. Mules, oxen, cows, sheep, implements, corn, hay, etc., plenty. After examining all I accepted the offer. Rode down and spent the night with Pierce. He thought it a very favorable trade. Went back yesterday to close the bargain, and the old man differed in his calculation from mine $8,000 and we broke off. This morning his son and friend arrived here and bro't a note accepting my offer, saying he was in error. They meet me in Thibodaux tomorrow to close the bargain by signing a paper binding us mutually. Should this be done I shall go to the city with Pierce to arrange there for business. The improvements are crude but we can live in them, and the bargain is considered a fine one by all. I hope it may not fail. They have abundant seed well preserved.

It is difficult for me to say what you must expect for a few days, for they are big with events for me. The moment I can do so you shall hear what is to be the end and I will try and say when I shall come for you and what for.

Mr. Shriver and his wife appear to be good plain old people from Virginia, kind hearted and benevolent. They have some servants not of the plantation and must remain some weeks in the house. I take possession of plantation at once and they offer us a room and seat at the table if we desire it. He also offers me his carriage and horses and such of the furniture as we want. Some of it will do for us for the present but these are items to be considered after the trade. I had rather board in Thibodaux two months than miss the trade.

Nannie has a very bad cold from lowneck at the wedding, The rest are very well. Give me all your wishes for success, dear wife, and believe me,

Yr. devoted husband,

Say to Miss Anna, I could not find a pair of gloves in New York small enough for her delicate hands, so I substituted the Piano Cover for the bet she won last spring.

I enclose you a letter from Mr. Burke, which was too strong a temptation for me, so it was opened. It made me really modest for once in my life.

B. B.

SOURCE: Don Carlos Seitz, Braxton Bragg, General of the Confederacy, p. 15-16

Braxton Bragg to Elisa Ellis Bragg, February 5, 1856

N. Orleans, 5th Feb’y.

Dearest Wife: The bargain is closed and Mr. Beatty has orders to prepare the papers. I suppose there can be no failure. If so I have a written offer from Judge Baker. Pierce will explain in detail. He is very kind in advice and assistance. You had probably better return with him but I'll write in time for you to know.

Yr. Husb.
B. B.

SOURCE: Don Carlos Seitz, Braxton Bragg, General of the Confederacy, p. 16

Braxton Bragg, 1856

Thibodaux, Louisiana, 1856]

* * * The History of the American Flag in Mexico, is particularly interesting to us who know the right and dare maintain it. The attempt to make glory by and for a man who passed through the war without being under fire, except by accident, was fully appreciated in the army when first made on the floor of the Senate. It then failed by a timely exposure. This second effort is still more ignoble and fortunately for the truth of history, Gov'r Brown has enlightened the country and deserves the thanks of all lovers of truth, though entirely unknown to me I shall ever esteem him for it. Though I have abandoned my old profession under a pressure of outward circumstances which I resisted until disgusted and worn down, I have not lost my professional pride and sympathy. Finding, however, that my command was destroyed, my usefulness gone and the department resolutely bent on substituting long range rifles 'for light artillery, though nominally keeping it up at a heavy expense, I concluded to retire from the unequal contest. The finest battery I ever saw was destroyed in two years at the cost of $100,000. Our latest view is quite interesting. Nicaragua recognized, Mr. Compton dismissed and old Sumner severely criticized for his impertinence. You can reach the sensibilities of such dogs only through their heads and a big stick. The place was probably injudiciously chosen ; but the balance was well, and were I in the House I should certainly propose a vote of thanks to Mr. Brooks. We shall look in a few days with great interest to the action of our convention. Whoever may be nominated will be surely elected; but we want a man of the age. The time has passed when old fogies or antiquarians can rule the spirit of the age. I see no mention of my friend Davis now; can it be that you have taken the wind out of his sails? He could drive me from the army but not from my party.

SOURCE: Don Carlos Seitz, Braxton Bragg, General of the Confederacy, p. 17

Governor Francis W. Pickens to Jefferson Davis, February 27, 1861

Charleston, S.C., February 27, 1861.
Montgomery, Ala :

DEAR SIR: I received yours dated the 22d instant by Colonel Lucas, inclosing the resolution of Congress expressly taking charge of the military operations in the harbor of Charleston.* I have the fullest confidence that you and Congress will do everything that may be due to the honor and the rights of South Carolina.

Of course we feel that our honor and safety require that Fort Sumter should be in our possession at the very earliest moment possible. We have had great difficulties to contend with. By the extraordinary movement  of the United States garrison from Fort Moultrie we were suddenly and unexpectedly precipitated into a situation which created the most hostile feelings, and were at the outset involved in the most scientific and expensive branches of modern warfare, where the most exact military knowledge and experience were required.

I felt this, and therefore telegraphed you to come by Charleston on your way to Mississippi, in order to consult on military matters, &c. I again sent to the governor of Georgia for General Twiggs, and then sent to you for a military engineer, as I desired the highest military approbation. Before taking the last step I earnestly wished the best military counsels.

Major Whiting is here, and thinks our energies have been too much directed to attacking Fort Sumter, and not enough to the defenses of the harbor, so as to prevent re-enforcements, &c. You will see him, and, of course, now we will await your orders and the directions of Congress, as we feel that our cause is common, and that it is due to our common government that we should do nothing to involve all the States united in a permanent war by any separate act of ours, unless it shall be necessary in self-defense or to prevent re-enforcements; but in the mean time I will go on with the same activity as ever in preparing our defenses and our men for any event that may arise.

We would desire to be informed if when thoroughly prepared to take the fort shall we do so, or shall we await your order; and shall we demand the surrender, or will that demand be made by you?

An answer to this by telegram is desired.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


* Resolution approved February 15 and 22.  See under last date.

SOURCES: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 1 (Serial No. 1), p. 258-9

Leroy P. Walker to Governor Francis W. Pickens, March 1, 1861

Montgomery, March 1, 1861.
GOV. F. W. PICKENS, Charleston, S. C.:

Your letter to President received. This Government assumes the control of military operations at Charleston, and will make demand of the fort when fully advised. An officer goes to-night to take charge.

L. P. WALKER,    
Secretary of War.

SOURCES: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 1 (Serial No. 1), p. 259

Leroy P. Walker to Governor Francis W. Pickens, March 1, 1861

Montgomery, March 1, 1861.

His Excellency F. W. PICKENS, Governor, &c.:

SIR: Your letter of the 27th ultimo addressed to the President has been referred by him to this Department for reply.

In controlling the military operations in the harbor of Charleston the President directs me to say that everything will be done that may be due to the honor and rights of South Carolina.

The President shares the feeling expressed by you that Fort Sumter should be in our possession at the earliest moment possible. But this feeling, natural and just as it is admitted to be, must yield to the necessity of the case. Thorough preparation must be made before an attack is attempted, for the first blow must be successful, both for its moral and physical consequences, or otherwise the result might be disastrous to your State in the loss of many of those whom we can least afford to spare. A failure would demoralize our people and injuriously affect us in the opinion of the world as reckless and precipitate.

Entertaining these opinions, the President directs me to say that he is engaged assiduously in pressing forward measures to effect results in which all are interested. Under the fourth section of an act of Congress to raise Provisional Forces for the Confederate States of America, and for other purposes, a copy of which I have the honor to inclose in another communication of this date, the President has appointed Peter G. T. Beauregard brigadier-general to command the Provisional Forces of this Government in the harbor of Charleston. General Beauregard will be accompanied by an adjutant, whose duty it will be to receive into the Provisional Army, with their officers, under the provisions of the act aforesaid, the forces of your State now in Charleston.

General Beauregard has the entire confidence of the President and of this Department, and I beg to commend him as possessing every soldierly quality.

I have the honor to be, with high regard, your obedient servant,

L. P. WALKER,    
Secretary of War.

SOURCES: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 1 (Serial No. 1), p. 259-60

Jeremiah Clemens to Leroy P. Walker, February 3, 1861

HUNTSVILLE, ALA., February 3, 1861.
Hon. L. P. WALKER, Montgomery:

MY DEAR SIR: There is at Pensacola an immense quantity of powder, shot, and shells, which ought to be removed to the interior at the earliest possible moment. Where they now are they are constantly exposed to the danger of recapture, and if they are permitted to remain, one of Lincoln's first movements will be to concentrate a sufficient force at that point to retake them.

In my judgment there is no hope of a peaceful settlement of our difficulties with the Government of the United States, and all our calculations should be made with reference to the breaking out of a war of vast magnitude and almost unparalleled ferocity. We had the subject of these munitions before the military committee of our Convention, but as they were on the soil of Florida, and beyond our jurisdiction, we could do nothing. Your convention will have more extensive powers.

There is still much discontent here at the passage of the ordinance of secession, but it is growing weaker daily, and unless something is done to stir it up anew will soon die away.

Last week Yancey was burned in effigy in Limestone, but I suppose it was rather a frolic of the "b'hoys" than a manifestation of serious feeling on the part of the older citizens.

I shall be glad to hear from you from time to time during the session of the Convention. 

Very truly and respectfully, your friend and obedient servant,


SOURCES: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 1 (Serial No. 1), p. 447; Don Carlos Seitz, Braxton Bragg, General of the Confederacy, p. 29

Resolution in Relation to the Occupation of Forts Sumter and Pickens, February 15, 1861

Resolved by the Confederate States of America in Congress assembled, That it is the sense of this Congress that immediate steps should be taken to obtain possession of Forts Sumter and Pickens, by the authority of this Government, either by negotiations or force, as early as practicable, and that the President is hereby authorized to make all necessary military preparations for carrying this resolution into effect.*

Passed February 15, 1861.

* Communicated to Governor of South Carolina under date of February 22, but letter of transmittal not found.  See Governor Pickens’ Letter of February 27, 1861, p. 258

SOURCES: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 1 (Serial No. 1), p. 258; Don Carlos Seitz, Braxton Bragg, General of the Confederacy, p. 29

Resolution of the Confederate Congress, February 22, 1861

CONGRESS, February 22, 1861.

Mr. Bartow, from the Committee on Military Affairs, reported the following resolution, which was adopted, viz:

Resolved, That the President of the Confederate States be requested to communicate, in such manner as he may deem expedient, to the governors of South Carolina and Florida the resolution of Congress concerning Forts Sumter and Pickens.


SEE: Resolution in Relation to the Occupation of Forts Sumter and Pickens, February 15, 1861

SOURCES: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 1 (Serial No. 1), p. 258; Don Carlos Seitz, Braxton Bragg, General of the Confederacy, p. 29

Jefferson Davis to Governor Madison S. Perry, February 22, 1861

Montgomery, Ala., February 22, 1861.
His Excellency Governor PERRY

SIR: The subjoined resolution was passed by Congress, in secret session, and the injunction of secrecy, you will perceive, has been removed only so far as to authorize me to communicate in the manner deemed expedient, and I must, therefore, ask that you consider it as confidentially done.* The resolution suggests two methods by which possession of the forts may be had. It was not intended, however, that the progress of the one should retard or affect the preparations for the other; while, therefore, steps are being taken for negotiation, earnest efforts have been made to procure men of military science and experience, and to seek for munitions and machinery suitable to remedy the supposed or known deficiencies in the existing supplies. Congress, probably, did not design to interfere with the progress of Constructions which had been commenced by State authority, the instruction of troops or other preparation, which will be useful in further operations, and I hope you will continue thus to prepare for whatever exigency may arise. As soon as a skillful engineer is available he will be sent to make an examination of the fort within your State and to aid in the works needful to the execution of the resolution of Congress, should force be the means to which we must resort.

Very respectfully and truly, yours,

* See resolution approved February 22, 1861, in Fort Sumter correspondence, p. 258.

SOURCES: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 1 (Serial No. 1), p. 447; Don Carlos Seitz, Braxton Bragg, General of the Confederacy, p. 29-30

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Emory Upton to Maria Upton, February 25, 1857

February 25, 1857.

DEAR SISTER: . . . I am glad to hear of your good health and assiduity to study, and that you are exerting every faculty in the laudable pursuit of education. I am striving equally hard for the same. I am sure that few have the facilities offered for getting an education which I have, and not to take advantage of these privileges is inconsistent. I study from 6 to 7 A. M., and from 8 A. M. to 1 P. M., including recitations; then from 2 to 4 P. M. I read newspapers and write letters; from 4 P. M. till sundown is release from quarters, which I usually spend in the library reading, and then study from 7 to 9.30 P. M.; so that you see my time is pretty well occupied. Perhaps a few of my daily marks would give you an idea of my progress. . . . So long as I can keep up to these marks I am not in danger of being found deficient. . . . I am passionately attached to West Point, and would not give up my appointment here for a million dollars.  I want you to come here next encampment and see the beautiful scenery that I have often tried to describe.

 SOURCE: Peter Smith Michie, The Life and Letters of Emory Upton, p. 12-13

Emory Upton to Maria Upton, April 12, 1857

WEST POINT, April 12,1857.

MY DEAR SISTER: . . . In your last letter you asked if I sincerely believed in a God.  I can say yes.  I also believe in the religion inculcated by the ministers of God. . . . Few men now disbelieve religion, and those are mostly ignorant men.  Voltaire, the greatest modern infidel, shrank from death; and why?  Because of his unbelief.  He was afraid to enter eternity.  I hope that you will never desert the good cause you have espoused, and that you will do much good in your life.  As for myself, I take the Bible as the standard of morality, and try to read two chapters in it daily.

SOURCE: Peter Smith Michie, The Life and Letters of Emory Upton, p. 13

Emory Upton to Maria Upton, September 7, 1857

WEST POINT, September 7, 1857.

MY DEAR SISTER: . . . In your letter you allude to my demerit.  I must say that it gave me the bluest kind of blues; not because it made me have any apprehension of being “found,” but because you look upon them in a wrong light.  Now, I’ll disabuse you of this error.  You use the term “bad marks.” Bad signifies to you, evil, wrong, immoral, and wicked, which placed before Marks signifies that I have been doing something wrong or immoral—something which conscience disapproves.  That is wrong, not only in the sight of a military man, but of God.  Now, what moral wrong is there in “laughing in the ranks,” in being “late at roll-call,” “not stepping off at command,” “not having coat buttoned throughout,” and kindred reports?  Now is that wrong in the sight of God?  I say, no!  But it is wrong only in the sight of a military man, and it is from such reports that I get my demerits or “bad marks.”  I can say I have never received an immoral report, such as “using profane language.”  I thank you for the kind admonition, and to please you I will try to get as few as possible. I have only one so far this month, and if I get no more that will come off. I certainly shall be careful enough to prevent being cut a single day on furlough.

SOURCE: Peter Smith Michie, The Life and Letters of Emory Upton, p. 13-4

Emory Upton to Maria Upton, February 13, 1858

WEST POINT, February 13, 1858.

DEAR SISTER: . . . I received a letter from Sister L— in which she says that she and S— have experienced religion. I hope they may have the strength to defend and exemplify it throughout their whole lives. I also hope they have attained it through a firm conviction of its being right, and that the irresistible current of a protracted meeting did not hasten them to take such an important step. Do not infer from this that I am opposed to such meetings, for I am not; on the contrary, I think they cause two thirds of the true conversions, but you know that young and inconsiderate persons often catch the enthusiasm of an excited minister, and believe they have found religion; but, as soon as the meetings cease, their enthusiasm subsides, from the want of thorough conviction, and they necessarily revert to their primitive state. My reason for not seeking religion can only be ascribed to a queer kind of apathy.

SOURCE: Peter Smith Michie, The Life and Letters of Emory Upton, p. 14

Emory Upton to Maria Upton, February 9, 1859

WEST POINT, February 9, 1859.

MY DEAR SISTER: . . . The perusal of your last letter gave me great pain, yet I am glad you gave me so clear an insight into brother Le Roy’s disease.  I have but little hope of his recovery, and I only ask that he may be prepared for his great change.  Oh, that I could by look, ward, or deed, ease his condition, but I can only thing of and pity him!  My last thoughts at night and my first waking thoughts are of him.  How I wash I was at home, to watch by him and contribute my might toward comforting him!  May he not delay in making his peace with God!  How thankful I am for such parents as we have!  Their sacred influence is ever about us, shielding us from temptation, and teaching us the true object of life.  If Le Roy can not get well, I wish to be sent for; I can not part with him forever without a last farewell.

SOURCE: Peter Smith Michie, The Life and Letters of Emory Upton, p. 15

Emory Upton to Maria Upton, March 26, 1859

WEST POINT, March 26, 1859.

DEAR SISTER: . . . Dear Le Roy’s request to me shall not be unheeded.  I have resolved, yes, begun to seek the Lord, and shall continue till I find him.  “He is slow to anger and of great kindness.”  Relying on the promise that “whosoever will seek mercy shall obtain it.”  I will leave no effort untried, but will work diligently to the end. . . .

SOURCE: Peter Smith Michie, The Life and Letters of Emory Upton, p. 15

Emory Upton to Maria Upton, April 23, 1859

WEST POINT, April23, 1859.

DEAR SISTER: . . . You have doubtless heard that I have my trust in the “Friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”  Such is my hope.  Life is but an instant as compared with eternity, and, when we reflect that our future condition depends upon our actions here in this world, it is but reasonable that we should bow before the Creator, to acknowledge his supremacy and ask his forgiveness for our manifold violations of his law. I feel that I could resign everything to do his will and to gain his approbation. To-day being Easter, the Lord's Supper will be celebrated. I intend to partake of it willingly, and hope that I may be strengthened in my resolutions to serve him faithfully to the end. The army is a hard place to practice religion; though few scoff at it, yet a great majority totally disregard it. Still, through the prayers of others I hope to lead a Christian life, and to do as much good in the army as in any other profession. I do not think that Christians have ever disgraced the profession of arms; on the contrary, they are those who have most ennobled it.

SOURCE: Peter Smith Michie, The Life and Letters of Emory Upton, p. 15-16

Emory Upton to his cousin E——, May 1, 1859

WEST POINT, May 1, 1859.

DEAR COUSIN E——: I have heard that you have experienced a change of heart, and that you propose to live hereafter a Christian life. This gives me great joy. I, too, have given myself up to God. Being, therefore, new laborers in the vineyard of the Lord, I thought that a correspondence might mutually benefit and strengthen us in the determination we have made. I do sincerely hope that you have “offered yourself as a sacrifice, holy and acceptable before the Lord,” and have a hope of immortality. What a blessed thought! Is it not a sufficient inducement to remain faithful to the end? Yes! what is the length of life, compared with never-ending eternity?  Infinitely small.  Yet our actions during this instant are to determine our future condition throughout the eternity.  Let us strive to show ourselves worthy of the kingdom of heaven.  Let us be true to the trust confided in us.  We must necessarily encounter difficulties.  We may have to bear the scoffs of the world, but we should recollect that the Son of God not only had to bear this, but he was crucified, and his blood was shed for us.  Doubts may arise in our minds; but we must remember that we are infinite beings, and God is infinite.  How, therefore, can we expect to comprehend the ways of an Infinite Being?  Let us drop these doubts whenever they arise, and I hope and trust in God, “who is just and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness.” The more difficulties we triumph over, the greater will be our reward.  Let us not, therefore, be discouraged our disheartened, but may we grow in the knowledge and love of God, that we may finally be accounted worthy of a seat at his right hand.

SOURCE: Peter Smith Michie, The Life and Letters of Emory Upton, p. 16-17

Thursday, November 19, 2020

William T. Sherman to George Mason Graham, February 2, 1860


SIR: I enclose you herewith the original proceedings of a Board assembled by my order to examine and ascertain the truth touching the affair between Cadets H—s and H—h. To hesitate one moment in showing the judgment of the institution on the great criminality of actually brandishing and threatening to use a keen dagger, would in my judgment endanger the actual existence of our authority. Therefore I dismissed Mr. H—h forthwith, and after awaiting a day or so will make up his accounts and return to his parents the balance of cash due him and hold his books and private property subject to his order.

In the case of S. M. H—s there was not the same reason for the assumption of power on my part: but there is no less a necessity that even handed justice be done. By the testimony, Mr. H—s did first address H—h, did first use the word "lie,” which is among all boys deemed a fighting insult, and moreover H—s did strike the first blow. He was in a position of trust and authority. He is full grown, larger that H—h, has been at the Military School at Nashville and was every way supposed to be a leader from age, qualifications, and experience.

I therefore think there are no palliating circumstances and on the rule that he caused the blind anger that made H—h resort to a [weapon], he too should suffer the penalty, the same as H—h. And be dismissed firmly, mildly, but without recall.

With two such prominent examples we shall never again I hope hear the lie, or have the life or safety of a cadet in danger from a pistol or knife.

SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 139-40

William T. Sherman to Ellen Ewing Sherman, February 3, 1860

SEMINARY, Feb. 3, 1860.

I am half sick to-night—have had the trouble that I anticipated with these boys. Some of them are very good but some are ill bred and utterly without discipline. A few nights since one cadet reported another—it resulted in mutual accusations, the lie, blow, and finally the knife—fortunately it was not used. I dismissed the one with the knife instanter—the other after examination I thought equally to blame for first giving the lie.

Yesterday the friends of all parties came and after making all sorts of apologies I had to listen. Fortunately both were fine young men and no doubt the affair was one of passion and of sudden broil.

It is against the rules for cadets to use tobacco—but we know that they do use it, but this morning one did it so openly that I supposed he did it in defiance. I went to his room to see him but he was out and in the drawer of his washstand I found plenty of tobacco. I, of course, emptied it into the fireplace. Soon after the young gentleman named C—d came to me, evidently instigated by others and complained of ill treatment and soon complained of my opening his drawer, intimating that it was a breach of propriety. Of course I soon advised him that his concealment and breach of regulations well known to him was the breach of honor. He said he would not stay and after some preliminaries I shipped him. Another came with a similar complaint and I sent him off and then the matter ended. These two last were dull at books and noisy quarrelsome fellows and a good riddance. We had fifty-three now fifty one.

We have refused to receive many after the first instant and I have now an application from thirty in one school, but we think it best now to await the action of the legislature to ascertain what they propose to do for us and I also think it best to prepare some forty steady young men as a nucleus on which to build the hereafter.

The weather has been very fine for the past ten days—except one frosty day. It is now pretty warm and the grass and trees begin to indicate spring—gardens are being fixed for vegetables—here the land is too poor, and yet there are fine orchards of apples, pear, plum, peach, and fig. All say they have abundance of figs and peaches and they also boast of pears and plums. Apples and cherries not so well.

SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 140-2

William T. Sherman to George Mason Graham, February 6, 1860

SEMINARY OF LEARNING, February 6, 1860.

SIR: I have the honor herewith to enclose your two papers, being the resignation of Cadets S. M. H—S, A. P. W—s, and state cadet R. A. W—1.

As these persons have all left the Seminary without leave, or authority and in a spirit of defiance, I shall report them tomorrow as “deserted,” and give their parents a statement of their accounts, with an outline of the facts attending their departure.

Cadet S. M. H—s is the person first installed as acting first sergeant. Whilst in that capacity I reproved him for using his office to expose a young gentleman just arrived as a sentinel with a broom stick on one of the gallaries. Again he was the party who first began the affray with Cadet H—h, for which he was deprived of his office. Since that time he has been careless, absenting himself from roll call, etc. And this morning in connection with Cadet W—s he handed me the enclosed resignation which I told him should be forthwith transmitted to the Board of Supervisors. He told me he should not wait for their action but was going off, as he did not like the way things were managed generally. I informed him he had a perfect right to complain, and if in writing I would forward his complaint—but that he would not do. And without further ado he has gone.

W—s's case is somewhat similar except in this—last week he was reported by Professor Boyd for singing in a loud voice from one of the upper windows in a tone which enabled Professor Boyd on the ground to distinguish the words, “a Blackguard Song." For this, I reproved him. And yesterday, Sunday, he asked leave to go and see his mother. I refused him permission, and told him why.

Many of the cadets have recently made urgent applications to me for spending money. I always must know to what purpose it is applied. And have in most instances refused, because of the quantity of tobacco used, fouling our galleries and rooms to a filthy extent. I will not be privy to the purchase of forbidden articles.

On Saturday a state cadet, W—1, applied for money. I asked him what for—he answered the “Dentist.” I then gave him a written order on a dentist in Alexandria to properly fix his teeth. After some time he returned complaining that that was no way to treat a gentleman, On Sunday, yesterday, he again made application or rather a formal complaint. In the interview I even explained my reasons, but he was evidently pushed forward by others, for he seemed to feel that he was wrong, but this morning he again applied to go to town to the dentist asking for the first time a specific sum of five dollars.

I then told him that I would send in for the dentist and for him to be ready at 11 a.m. —this too puzzled him. He wanted money, for some specific purpose but not for the dentist, for he came again and said I need not send for the dentist. He openly boasted of the wealth of his parents and connections leaving on my mind an inference I need not express, as he is entered as of indigent parents. He too has gone. And I will add that the Seminary is no loser in any who has gone.

We have fifty left, one or two more may renew their vain struggle to do as they please, but I have no apprehensions of more than two. If any cadet absent himself stubbornly, and with avowed purpose from his recitations and roll call, I will dismiss him summarily. If they resign I will refer their resignations. But if they leave without awaiting the answer of the Board, they must stand of record “deserted.

SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 142-4

William T. Sherman to George Mason Graham, February 8, 1860

SEMINARY, Feb. 8, 1860.

It is all moonshine about twenty or thirty leaving. H—s and W—s flattered themselves as being leaders and that their influence would be fatal to us. We have not lost a drill, a recitation, and have all slept more comfortably since. Indeed had I yielded one jot last Sunday and Monday, farewell to government, cadets, not professors would have ruled. I believe all now see their mistake. W—s and H—s thought we could not do without them. The new Orderly Sergeant Cushman is a better soldier than either today.

The affair of H—h was thus: last Saturday at supper, we heard too much noise at the table. Mr. Smith stepped to the door and whilst there H—s, the younger, the one now here made some offensive remark—he was the head of one table; S. M. H—s, the elder, the head of another; Mr. Smith at once removed H—s from his place, and allowed H—h who sat next to him to act as carver temporarily.

He is no longer carver, was changed as soon as this inference was noticed—the boy only acted as marcher from the porch to the table – he had no authority, but even that was temporary. Of course I had nothing to do with this. It fell exceedingly under Mr. Smith, and was accidental. The elder H—s was not spoken to, in no wise concerned, and sat as the carver at the head of his table up to the time of his departure. Therefore no distinction was made between them—both on the same footing. I understand he is over at Mrs. W—s. I enclose a note I got from her yesterday. She understands the point. The whole truth is this: both H—s and W—s presumed on their importance and feeling others creeping up to and past them thought to soften their certain downfall.

I enclose to Bragg to-day your bill (a copy thereof) and wrote him to favor Wickliffe's bill. Let any one who finds fault with the removal of obstreperous apply to Bragg—he understands the case.

Yesterday morning all the blackboards and chairs in Dr. Vallas's section room were bedaubed with hair grease. It took the drummer and two black boys all day to clean it off with hot soap suds; but I got a thread, unravelled it and found the party to blame. He insisted he did not do it and as the proof was not conclusive, I told him he should be charged the expense of cleaning and repainting, which he consented to do. I cannot now overlook anything.

SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 144-5

William T. Sherman to George Mason Graham, February 10, 1860

SEMINARY OF LEARNING, February 10, 1860.

DEAR GENERAL: I received your note yesterday, and feel sorry that you are troubled by the condition of affairs now. All things are working here smoothly. All appearance of dissatisfaction has disappeared and recitations and drills have not been interrupted one moment. Parents too have responded so manfully that the cadets see their mistake – their complaints of tyranny and treatment like negroes are ridiculed by their parents.

I had a very long interview with Mr. H—s and Judge C—1 yesterday. Showed them the record, orders, delinquincies, and class reports and Mr. H—s admitted there was not a break in the chain and that I could not have acted otherwise. I had received two letters for Cadet S. M. H—s which I handed his father. He made us read one from him, which was so proper, manly, and father-like, that I warmed to him at once, and felt deep sympathy. Could I have obeyed my mere feelings I would have offered no obstacle to the return of S. M. H—s, but I am convinced that under the most favorable circumstances he can never hold office here or occupy a position of trust or confidence, that consequently he will never be content but prove a restless example, that all I can now advise is that his resignation be accepted by the Board and the record thus made clear. And then he will return home with his father and study some new profession. The other son is more seemingly anxious to remove some of his reports, already exceeding fifty demerits, and to make an effort to proceed in his studies. If he do this I will favor him all possible.

Mr. Cushman whom we installed as acting first sergeant is intelligent, manly, ambitious – very forward in study, and forms the company and calls the roll better than H—s. Indeed there is a palpable manifest improvement in the tone here since the emeute horrible.

Mr. H—s yesterday remarked unguardedly that the military feature of this school would soon be changed. I expressed myself emphatically that personally I was unconcerned but that it would be fatal. One hundred young men in this building under a civil government would tear down the building and make study impossible. With our frequent roll calls, and the other regulations it is all we can do to keep quiet. I think both Mr. H—s and Judge C—1 changed their opinions before they left. Mr. H—s did not clearly indicate his line of conduct but said he would be out again. I cannot again receive H—s under his old appointment, unless by a formal resolution of the Board of Supervisors, which to me would be an order. I have no objection to his informal resignation. I am sorry I allowed P—n and C—d to resign – but I then thought it safest — and least liable to abuse.

I have just received yours of to-day and will make up an abstract of T—r's recitations — he has been reported to me several times for neglect of studies. If anybody has spoken an unkind word to him I know it not. This general mode of complaint is not worthy of notice. Mr. T—r will be most welcome here, and a visit might benefit the son

SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 145-7

P. T—R to George Mason Graham, February 9, 1860

CHENEYVILLE, LA., Feb. 9, 1860.

DEAR SIR: I am induced to address you in reference to the officers of the State Seminary from the prominent position you occupy and have occupied as the most persevering and untiring friend of that institution. I believe it to be the last best hope of Louisiana's sons. Therefore its interests are mine and every other citizen's.

Will our sons submit to the arbitrary commands of dictators or shall the officers be governed by the laws of the institution? If the Board of Trustees enact and enforce a code of laws which regulates the conduct of officers and students good may be effected; but I fear the effects of stringent personal command. I am aware that boys are hard to be pleased or governed and especially if they suppose the government to originate in the mere will of the superior.

I hope the Board of Directors will speedily enact a code and publish it to the students. I depend particularly upon General Graham for the future usefulness of that institution and hope he will make immediate inquiries into the condition and government of the institution.

SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 147-8

George Mason Graham to P. T—R., February 9, 1860

TYRONE PLANTATION, February 10, 1860.

I understand the subject of your letter to be that the cadets at the State Seminary are spoken to by the officers of the institution in too authoritative a manner, and that their commands are sometimes “arbitrary.” If you will spend a day at the Seminary I think you will understand the better. There everything must move by the clock and to the minute. This requires quick motion on the part of every one (to which, as you doubtless know, our boys are but little accustomed - except, indeed, when they are after mischief, and then they are rather too quick); hence the quick, authoritative, decided tone of voice necessarily assumed by military men. This at first, and for some time, grates harshly on the ears and feelings of boys who have been accustomed to home tones and to take as long time as they pleased to do a thing, or to go to a place that they haven't much fancy for, and it is natural enough therefore that he should be, even unduly, sensitive under it.

It is for us at home, parents and citizens, to guard ourselves that we do not suffer the reflection of this sensitiveness to exercise an undue influence on our feelings. I think that some gentlemen have sent chronic cases to this institution as their last hope for a cure, but we do not intend to keep that kind of a hospital. Before we have been able to get rid of them, however, they have sown some bad seed, which will take a little time, care, and patience all round, to eradicate.

As to the regulations, for the government of all connected with the institution, they were prepared with much care and labor about the middle of November by a Board convened for the purpose by an order of the Board of Supervisors at a meeting in August last, and composed of three members of this Board and the members of the Academic Board. That they were not published and placed in the hands of each as was intended to have been done, was no fault of any member of the institution or myself, but arose from the [illegible], though doubtless well-intentioned, assumption of authority on the part of an individual member, in whose hands the manuscript had been placed for preservation, but [who], when called for it by the superintendent at the moment of his departure for New Orleans, to take with him to be printed, refused to give it up for that purpose, on the ground that they had not been submitted to the Board of Supervisors, although that Board had adjourned from August to next May, having ordered the institution to be opened on the first Monday in January, and the regulations to be prepared for its government.

In this dilemma, I directed the superintendent to have such portions as related to the duties, studies, division of time, and deportment of cadets, copied in writing and placed on order boards in the hall where all could see, read, and copy them.

That the professors should not sometimes be irritated at the unaccountable tricks of the boys, would be expecting too much of even professors' nature. As an example a morning or two since, when the professor of mathematics met his class, he found his own chair and all of his blackboard thickly smeared with hair-grease, which it took the only two servants the institution is able to afford, near half a day to cleanse them of, and then they had to be repainted. The only punishment the superintendent imposed on the offender, who was brought to taw, was to make him pay the expense of cleansing and repainting.

The cadets are allowed, and encouraged, to go to church on Sabbath day. A list is taken of those desiring to go, and they are placed under the charge of the most responsible cadet of the squad. In two instances citizens of Alexandria reported to me that some of them were seen in grogshops. In the first instance I apprised the superintendent, in the second I wrote him a letter designed for effect on the young men. To show you the character of the man it has been our real good fortune to obtain the services of for this position, I enclose you his reply - and have no objection, to your showing it to some of your friends, although it is written with the unreserve of private correspondence.1 . . . Whilst he will require them to discharge their duties, one alike to themselves, their family, and their institution, he is loath to believe ill of them, and I stand up in their defense.

It can hardly be expected that everything will work smooth at the [beginning) in such an institution as this. Time, patience, care, and forethought is – to use a surgical term - the “lubricating fluid” (illegible), and then it will be a gallant ship entering on an open sea of success after having surmounted the shoals and quicksands of navigation.

A great help to this will be in home-folk impressioning the conviction that “there is no other name known unto men, whereby he can” get creditably through this institution, but order and industry.


1 See pages 128-129. — ED.

SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 148-50

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Jonathan Worth to T. C. and B. G. Worth, May 13, 1861

ASHEBORO, May 13, 1861.

There are few men in so unhappy a frame of mind as myself. If I could believe there was a prominent man in the nation, urging and controlling either of the sections; of real probity and honor and fair-mind, uninfluenced by selfish ends, I could find in this conviction some consolation. If I could see beyond the conclusion of the present strife any probability of the re-establishment of a wholesome state and government, either republican or monarchical, it would give me some relief, however much blood and treasure it might cost. The petty monarchies or republics which must spring up on the establishment of the doctrine of secession and the overthrow of Washington's popular idea of a united government, must involve the European plan of preserving government by the Cartridge box, instead of the ballot box. This must bring with it incalculable woe to the masses.

This continent ought to be a united government. Popular government is proving itself a fallacy and delusion. Virtue and order are unequal to a contest with ambition and selfishness. The desire to avoid the carnage and wickedness of war makes me desire a pacification on the only basis now possible, the recognition of the Southern Republic, but I confess that, the argument carries much force to my mind that the evils growing out of the recognition of secession and the immeasurable petty governments which must spring from it, will probably overbalance the loss of life and property which the war will occasion. Will not the North West submit to self-immolation if they recognize secession? Pecuniary selfishness, if the doctrine be once acknowledged, will make N. Y. adopt it.

Another view which distresses me is this. Slavery thus far, has been only a pretext for this sectional contest. The multitude, North and South, regard it as the cause.

This makes the North regard it as the sum of all sins. If the civil war is protracted and Northern troops sent among us they will ultimately incite insurrection. The poor negroes will be killed.

I am pained that I occupy a place in the public counsels, because I am impotent to do anything which my judgment and conscious approve. I can not avert the war, consistent with the re-establishment of a government so good as that we pull down. Whilst I can not hesitate where no choice is left, only to fight for the South and home, or for the North, if I should fall in such a contest, I would find in a dying hour no comfort in the conviction that I had sacrificed my life in a just cause. It is true that I believe Lincoln had no right to call out the militia, make War and blockade the ports, when Congress, with full knowledge of the existing state of the rebellion, had just refused to pass the force bill, and conceding to him the right, if reunion was his object, he showed want of common sense in adopting the course he did. If the restoration of the Union was his object, which I believe was his object, then he is a fool. If his purpose was to drive off all the Slave states, in order to make war on them and annihilate Slavery, then he is a Devil and in the latter supposition I could fight with a hearty good will.

I hope your customers are honorable and that the war and the stay law will not engulph you. I am struggling to make corn, wheat, etc.

[P. S.] I do not expect you to reply. I have unbosomed myself because there is nobody else to whom I can do it [One line illegible] only 703 votes yesterday instead of 2,611. We are getting up volunteers, principally in the class of which armies are commonly composed.

SOURCE: J. G. de Roulhac Hamilton, Editor, The Correspondence of Jonathan Worth, Volume 1, p. 141-2

Jonathan Worth to Springs, Oak & Co., May 13, 1861

ASHEBORO, May 13th, 1861.

I have just returned from Raleigh. The State regards the impending war as a sectional one and all seemed determined to repel it. A large majority up to the issuing of Lincoln's proclamation were firm for the Union. Some of us would have made any sacrifice to preserve it. The small concessions made by the last Congress had strengthened us. Lincoln prostrated us. He could have devised no scheme more effectual than the one he has pursued, to overthrow the friends of Union here. Whether this was his design in order to make war upon slavery, or his purpose only what he professes, we are in doubt. [Next three lines illegible.] Whatever may be his purpose, any sensible man could foresee, and this act of his will prove, that he is the most efficient auxiliary of the secessionists. I have been the most persevering and determined public man in my State to preserve the Union—the last to abandon the hope, that the good sense of the Nation would prevent a collision between the extremes, each of which I viewed with equal abhorrence. I am left no other alternative but to fight for or against my section. I can not hesitate. Lincoln has made us a unit to resist until we repel our invaders or die. I can see no hope in the future, whatever may be the issue of the fight, which now seems inevitable. The best chance for ultimate re-union would be a peaceable separation.

Our Legislature is terrible. You will have seen our new stay law. All collection for creditors at home and abroad is cut off, without any security to creditors.

Will you please let me know how accts. stand between me and you? I intend to pay the little I owe North and South, if I can be permitted to do so without being a traitor.

Read Gov. Graham's speech to the Hillsboro volunteers, published in the Standard this week. It is a true exponent of the views of all quondam Union men here.


SOURCE: J. G. de Roulhac Hamilton, Editor, The Correspondence of Jonathan Worth, Volume 1, p. 143

Jonathan Worth to D. G. Worth, May 15, 1861

ASHEBORO, May 15, 1861.

I have been forced by surrounding facts to take sides, or rather front, with my section. I regard a prudent peace, even accompanied with the contemplated secession of the State, and her union with the Confederate States, as preferable to a civil war on a gigantic scale; but I have not a particle of confidence in the wisdom or the patriotism of the new rulers to whom we submit. I leave the Union and the flag of Washington because I am subjected and forced to submit to my master-democracy, detesting it with more and more intensity, as I become better acquainted with its leaders and its objects. I still believe that no respectable and stable government can ever be established in America, except on the plan of a Union, such as that we are wickedly and foolishly overthrowing. Even on the plan of a peaceful separation, North America will soon become Mexicanized. New York will next secede, the doctrine being once recognized. The great and populous North west, cut off from the Ocean, excepting by the assent of foreign states will open a road to the great highway of Nations with the sword—but if the free States act on the plan they now avow of preserving the Union by force of arms, no odds at what cost of life or treasure, the civil strife will soon beget the most diabolical purposes.

The masses, already deluded, with the notion that Slavery is the cause, when in fact, it is now only the pretext with the leaders of both sections, will proclaim freedom to the slaves and arm them against us.

I think the South is committing suicide, but my lot is cast with the South and being unable to manage the ship, I intend to face the breakers manfully and go down with my companions.

These are my calm conclusions.

I have been deeply pained at the responsibilities of my position. I have become resigned from conscious impotence to do anything to impede the evils upon us, and have concluded to drift with the current, keeping a sharp lookout for some opportunity, by the aid of Divine Providence, to divert the ship of State from the gulf of ruin towards which we are bound.

What are your plans? Will you stay in Wilmington, or return to the back country and make corn till the war is over?

Soon after the Fourth of July war will begin in earnest, if not sooner; or peace will be made. The former, in my opinion, is most probable. I do not think the North is making her military preparations as a mere bravado.

In the event of war can you continue your business with any prospect of success? If an invasion of this State be made, is not Wilmington likely to be one of the first places attacked?

Have you attached yourself to any of the military organizations so as to forbid your removing from Wilmington? In times of war some must remain at home to provide food for the soldiers and protect and feed the women and children. I hope you will not allow the ardor around you or the apprehension of not being deemed brave, to make you forget that you can contribute to the defense of your country, as effectually as you could by going into the army—and at the same time take care of your wife and children.

SOURCE: J. G. de Roulhac Hamilton, Editor, The Correspondence of Jonathan Worth, Volume 1, p. 144-5

Jonathan Worth to Dr. C. W. Woolen, May 17, 1861

ASHEBORO, May 17th, 1861.

I have made special inquiry into the cost question against you and the other securities of Daniel Worth—having first taken the pains to examine the authorities.

It is decided by the Supreme Court in the case State vs. Saunders and others, 1 Hawkes, p. 355, that the securities to an appeal bond in a criminal case, where the judgment from which appeal was taken is confirmed, are liable to all the State costs in the Superior Court and the Supreme Court, excepting the prison fee. I have seen S. G. Worth this morning and learn from him that the State Solicitor has at length given up all claims beyond this. At the Spring Term he was authorized to demand all the costs in both cases, and not to receive forfeitures, but to issue execution for them, unless the whole of the costs was paid. I instructed him to disregard this instruction and throw the responsibility on me, and he accordingly received the amount of the forfeiture and the cost of the proceedings and to enforce them and with the assent of the attorneys, prosecuting for the State, he claims only what he is bound to demand according to law, to wit, the State's costs in the Supr. and Supreme Court in the case tried, excluding prison fees. No costs are now claimed on the case not tried, and none of defendant's costs are cither called for and the County has made an order directing the prison fees to be paid out of the forfeitures. The order given by your nephew is not, I understand, for a sum sufficient to pay the costs for which you are liable as security for the appeal to the Supreme Court.

 I am filled with horror at the condition of our country. According to my notions of Government, there is much that is wrong on both sides. The Abolitionists of the Free States ought not to have agitated the slavery question at all, even conceding that their feeling is right. It only tends to make the treatment of slaves more vigorous and to encourage bitterness between the two sections. When it was seized upon as a party question it was easy to see it must soon become sectional and that is purely sectional. have always regarded the dissolution of the Union as the greatest misfortune which could befall the whole nation and the whole human race. Hence I have abhorred the agitation of the slavery question as tending to this result. Acting on that conviction I have used all the efforts in my power to stay what I regarded as the madness of both sections, and in the immediate sphere of my influence have impressed my views upon others. My immediate constituents sustained me with greater unanimity than did the constituents of any other representative. I was the first public man in the State to call on the people to vote down the Convention on the 28th Feb., on the ground that the calling of it would tend to a dissolution of the Union. Everybody attributed to me a larger share of the credit or discredit of defeating the call of a Convention than to any other man in the State. I regarded the result in N. C. and Tenn. as arresting the march of madness. Union men had gained strength up to the proclamation of Lincoln. If he had withdrawn the garrison of Fort Sumter on the principle of a military necessity and in obedience in what seemed to be the will of Congress in refusing to pass the force bill, this State and Tenn. and the other slave States which had not passed the ordinance of Secession, would have stood up for the Union. In the feverish state of the popular mind, if he be a man of good sense, he knew he would crush the Union men in the Slave States by the policy he adopted. All of 118 who had stood by the Union, felt that he had abandoned us and surrendered us to the tender mercies of Democracy & the Devil. He must have known that he was letting loose on us a torrent to which we could oppose no resistance. It may be said, theoretically, that this should not have been the effect. Statesmen should have common sense. All sensible men knew it would be the effect. We are still at a loss to determine whether he is an old goose, as well as each of his advisers, thinking to preserve the Union by his course, or whether he became apprehensive that the Union men were about to gain strength enough in the South to stay Secession and he desired to drive us all into rebellion, in order to make a crusade against slavery and desolate our section. In the former case he is a fool:—in the latter—a devil. He could have adopted no policy so effectual to destroy the Union. Since the issue of that great proclamation, it is unsafe for a Union man in even N. C. to own he is for the Union. The feeling is to resist to the death. Union men feel that just as they had got so they could stand on their legs, Lincoln had heartlessly turned them over to the mercy of their enemies. We feel that his co-operation with the Secessionists left us no alternative but to take arms against our neighbors, or to defend ourself against his aggression.

I am still a Union man, but for military resistance to Lincoln, believing that Lincoln and his cabinet have acted on their mistaken impression that their policy was the best for the preservation of the Union, and that they do not intend to proclaim servile insurrection. If the latter is the design the South can be conquered only by extermination. If his purpose be, as le says, to respect property and discountenance rebellion or insurrection among our servile population, and our people become satisfied of this, many of our people will not willingly take arms.

I see no hope of any good and stable government except in the United government we are pulling down. It can not be united by war. If peace be immediately made, it will soon re-unite, with an anti-secession clause.

Write me again soon. The Quakers here will not believe your statements as to your Quakers volunteering and the floating of the Stars and Stripes over a Quaker Church. 

SOURCE: J. G. de Roulhac Hamilton, Editor, The Correspondence of Jonathan Worth, Volume 1, p. 145-8