Showing posts with label Bacon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bacon. Show all posts

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Diary of Private Louis Leon: July 6, 1862

We got orders to march this morning. Left here with two days’ rations of corn meal and bacon in our haversacks. We got to Petersburg in the evening—fifteen miles—after a hard march. It is very warm, and we did not rest on the way, as it was a forced march. We camped on Dunn's Hill.

SOURCE: Louis Leon, Diary of a Tar Heel Confederate Soldier, p. 8

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: February 11, 1864

Night before last 109 Federal prisoners, all commissioned officers, made their escape from prison—and only three or four have been retaken! 

The letter of Mr. Sloan, of North Carolina, only produced a reply from the Secretary that there was not the slightest suspicion against Gen. W., and that the people of North Carolina would not be satisfied with anybody. 

Eight thousand men of Johnston's army are without bayonets, and yet Col. Gorgas has abundance. 

Governor Milton, of Florida, calls lustily for 5000 men—else he fears all is lost in his State. 

To-day bacon is selling for $6 per pound, and all other things in proportion. A negro (for his master) asked me, to-day, $40 for an old, tough turkey gobbler. I passed on very briskly. 

We shall soon have martial law, it is thought, which, judiciously administered, might remedy some of the grievous evils we labor under. I shall have no meat for dinner to-morrow. 

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 147-8

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Diary of Corporal David L. Day: March 25, 1862


There are swarms of negroes here. They are of all sexes, ages, sizes and conditions. They sit along the streets and fences, staring and grinning at every thing they see, laughing and chattering together like so many black-birds. They have very exaggerated notions of freedom, thinking it means freedom from work and a license to do about as they please. There is no use trying to get them to work, for if they can get their hoe-cake and bacon, it is all they want, and they are contented and happy. When a party of them is wanted to unload a vessel or do any job of work, the commissary or quartermaster requests the colonel to send along the men. The colonel orders one of the companies to go out and pick them up and report with them where they are wanted. A patrol is detailed and put in charge of a non-commissioned officer who starts out to pick up his party. On seeing a good, stout looking fellow, the officer halts his squad, and calling the darky's attention, says, “Come here, boy!” The unsuspecting darky comes grining along up and asks, “Wat 'er want 'er me?” “Fall in here, I want you,” “Wat I don’ ’er want me?” “Well, I want you to do something; fall in here,” “O, lor' a gorra, boss, i'se so busy today i'se couldn't go nohow, i'se go tomorrer suah.” “Never mind that, fall in here,” and the darky falls in, his eyes rolling around and his thick lips sticking out, feeling about as mad as he well can, doubtless thinking that freedom is no great thing after all.

In that way the whole party is picked up in a few minutes and marched off to where they are wanted. They are set to work, and at night will all promise to be on hand the next morning, “suah.” The next morning perhaps a few of them will put in an appearance, but the most of them will keep away, and another patrol will be sent out to pick up another lot. But I think, after a little while, they will learn that freedom means something besides idleness and they will feel a willingness to work. They have a curious custom of carrying everything on their heads, toting they call it, and will tote large or small bundles along the street or through a crowd as unconcernedly and safely as though it were a basket slung on their arm. They will tote a brimming pitcher or tumbler of water without spilling scarcely a drop. These darkies are a curious institution.

SOURCE: David L. Day, My Diary of Rambles with the 25th Mass. Volunteer Infantry, p. 51

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: January 23, 1864

The Secretary of War has authorized Mr. Boute, President of the Chatham Railroad, to exchange tobacco through the enemy's lines for bacon. And in the West he has given authority to exchange cotton with the enemy for meat. It is supposed certain men in high position in Washington, as well as the military authorities, wink at this traffic, and share its profits. I hope we may get bacon, without strychnine.

Congress has passed a bill prohibiting, under severe penalties, the traffic in Federal money. But neither the currency bill, the tax bill, nor the repeal of the exemption act has been effected yet and the existence of the present Congress shortly expires. A permanent government is a cumbersome one.

The weather is fine, and I am spading up my little garden.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 133-4

Friday, July 17, 2020

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: January 18, 1864

A flag of truce boat came up, but no one on board was authorized to negotiate for an exchange of prisoners but Gen. Butler, outlawed. It returns without anything being effected. Congress has passed a bill for the reduction of the currency, in secret session. We know not yet what are its main features. The Senate bill increasing the compensation of civil officers has not yet been acted on in the House, and many families are suffering for food.

Anne writes us that Lieut. Minor has returned from his Canada expedition, which failed, in consequence of the gratuitous action of Lord Lyons, the British Minister at Washington, who has been secured in the interest of the Federal Government, it is said, by bribes. Lieut. M. brought his family a dozen cups and saucers, dresses, shoes, etc., almost unattainable here.

The President receives company every Tuesday evening.

Among the letters referred by the Commissary-General to the Secretary of War to-day for instructions, was one from our honest commissary in North Carolina, stating that there were several million pounds of bacon and pork in Chowan and one or two other counties, liable to the incursions of the enemy, which the people were anxious to sell the government, but were afraid to bring out themselves, lest the enemy should ravage their farms, etc., and suggesting that a military force be sent thither with wagons. The Commissary-General stated none of these facts in his indorsement; but I did, so that the Secretary must be cognizant of the nature of the paper.

The enemy made a brief raid in Westmoreland and Richmond counties a few days ago, and destroyed 60,000 pounds of meat in one of the Commissary-General's depots! A gentleman writing from that section, says it is a pity the President's heart is not in his head; for then he would not ruin the country by retaining his friend, Col. Northrop, the Commissary-General, in office.

It appears that Gen. Meade has changed the Federal policy in the Northern Neck, by securing our people within his lines from molestation; and even by allowing them to buy food, clothing, etc. from Northern traders, on a pledge of strict neutrality. The object is to prevent the people from conveying intelligence to Moseby, who has harassed his flanks and exposed detachments very much. It is a more dangerous policy for us than the old habit of scourging the non-combatants that fall in their power.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 130-1

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: January 10, 1864

Letters from Governor Vance received to-day show that he has been making extensive arrangements to clothe and subsist North Carolina troops. His agents have purchased abroad some 40,000 blankets, as many shoes, bacon, etc., most of which is now at Bermuda and Nassau. He has also purchased an interest in several steamers; but, it appears, a recent regulation of the Confederate States Government forbids the import and export of goods except, almost exclusively, for the government itself. The governor desires to know if his State is to be put on the same footing with private speculators.

He also demands some thousands of bales of cotton, loaned the government—and which the government cannot now replace at Wilmington—and his complaints against the government are bitter. Is it his intention to assume an independent attitude, and call the North Carolina troops to the rescue? A few weeks will develop his intentions.

Mr. Hunter is in the Secretary's room every Sunday morning. Is there some grand political egg to be hatched?

If the government had excluded private speculators from the ports at an early date, we might have had clothes and meat for the army in abundance—as well as other stores. But a great duty was neglected!

Sunday as it is, trains of government wagons are going incessantly past my door laden with ice—for the hospitals next summer, if we keep Richmond.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 126-7

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Captain Charles Wright Wills: (A duplicate of dates.) October 13, 1864

October 13, 1864.

The men drew full rations of bacon to-day. There has been some fighting nine miles down the north side of the Coosa river to-day. Our corps moves back on the Kingston road at “retreat.” Don't know where to.

Received two letters from you to-day, also papers, for which am very thankful. Have had a good rest to-day. Everybody is in glorious spirits. Kilpatrick started west today with 50 days' rations of salt. I wish I was with him.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 310

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Major-General William T. Sherman to Salmon P. Chase, August 11, 1862

MEMPHIS, TENN., August 11, 1862.
Hon. S. P. CHASE, Secretary of the Treasury.

SIR: Your letter of August 2d, just received, invites my discussion of the cotton question.

I will write plainly and slowly, because I know you have no time to listen to trifles. This is no trifle; when one nation is at war with another, all the people of the one are enemies of the other; then the rules are plain and easy of understanding. Most unfortunately, the war in which we are now engaged has been complicated with the belief on the one hand that all on the other are not enemies. It would have been better if, at the outset this mistake had not been made, and it is wrong longer to be misled by it. The Government of the United States may now safely proceed on the proper rule that all in the South are enemies of all in the North; and not only are they unfriendly, but all who can procure arms now bear them as organized regiments or as guerrillas. There is not a garrison in Tennessee where a man can go beyond the sight of the flagstaff without being shot or captured. It so happened that these people had cotton, and, whenever they apprehended our large armies would move, they destroyed the cotton in the belief that, of course, we would seize it and convert it to our use. They did not and could not dream that we would pay money for it. It had been condemned to destruction by their own acknowledged government, and was therefore lost to their people; and could have been, without injustice, taken by us and sent away, either as absolute prize of war or for future compensation. But the commercial enterprise of the Jews soon discovered that ten cents would buy a pound of cotton behind our army, that four cents would take it to Boston, where they could receive thirty cents in gold. The bait was too tempting, and it spread like fire when here they discovered that salt, bacon, powder, firearms, percussion caps, etc., were worth as much as gold; and, strange to say, this traffic was not only permitted but encouraged. Before we in the interior could know it hundreds, yea thousands, of barrels of salt and millions of dollars had been disbursed, and I have no doubt that Bragg's army at Tupelo, and Van Dom’s at Vicksburg, received enough salt to make bacon, without which they could not have moved their armies in mass, and from ten to twenty thousand fresh arms and a due supply of cartridges have also been got, I am equally satisfied. As soon as got to Memphis, having seen the effect in the interior, I ordered (only as to my command) that gold, silver, and Treasury notes were contraband of war, and should not go into the interior, where all were hostile. It is idle to talk about Union men here: many want peace, and fear war and its results, but all prefer a Southern, independent government, and are fighting or working for it. Every gold dollar that was spent for cotton was sent to the seaboard to be exchanged for banknotes and Confederate scrip, which will buy goods here and are taken in ordinary transactions. I therefore required cotton to be paid for in such notes, by an obligation to pay at the end of the war, or by a deposit of the price in the hands of a trustee—viz., the United States quartermaster. Under these rules cotton is being obtained about as fast as by any other process, and yet the enemy receives no “aid or comfort.” Under the “gold” rule the country people who had concealed their cotton from the burners, and who openly scorned our greenbacks, were willing enough to take Tennessee money, which will buy their groceries; but now that trade is to be encouraged and gold paid out, I admit that cotton will be sent in by our own open enemies, who can make better use of gold than they can of their hidden bales of cotton.

I may not appreciate the foreign aspect of the question, but my views on this may be ventured. If England ever threatens war because we don't furnish her cotton, tell her plainly if she can't employ and feed her own people to send them here, where they can not only earn an honest living, but soon secure independence by moderate labor. We are not bound to furnish her cotton. She has more reason to fight the South for burning that cotton than us for not shipping it. To aid the South on this ground would be hypocrisy which the world would detect at once. Let her make her ultimatum, and there are enough generous minds in Europe that will counteract in the balance. Of course her motive is to cripple a power that rivals her in commerce and manufactures that threaten even to usurp her history. In twenty more years of prosperity it will require a close calculation to determine whether England, her laws and history, claim for a home the continent of America or the isle of Britain. Therefore, finding us in a death struggle for existence, she seems to seek a quarrel to destroy both parts in detail.

Southern people know this full well, and will only accept the alliance of England in order to get arms and manufactures in exchange for their cotton. The Southern Confederacy will accept no other mediation, because she knows full well that in old England her slaves and slavery will receive no more encouragement than in New England.

France certainly does not need our cotton enough to disturb her equilibrium, and her mediation would be entitled to a more respectful consideration than on the part of her present ally. But I feel assured the French will not encourage rebellion and secession anywhere as a political doctrine. Certainly all the German states must be our ardent friends, and, in case of European intervention, they could not be kept down.

With great respect, your obedient servant,

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.

SOURCES: William T. Sherman, Memoirs of General William T. Sherman, by Himself, Volume 1, p. 266-8; Manning F. Force, General Sherman, 92-4.

Major-General William T. Sherman to Major-General Ulysses S. Grant, August 17, 1862

Memphis, August 17, 1862.
Major-General GRANT, Corinth:

DEAR SIR: A letter from you of August 4, asking me to write more freely and fully on all matters of public interest, did not reach me till yesterday.

I think since the date of that letter you have received from me official reports and copies of orders telling almost everything of interest hereabouts; but I will with pleasure take every occasion to advise you of everything that occurs here.

Your order of arrest of newspaper correspondent is executed, and he will be sent to Alton by the first opportunity. He sends you by mail to-day a long appeal and has asked me to stay proceedings till you can be heard from. I have informed him I would not do so; that persons writing over false names were always suspected by honorable men, and that all I could hold out to him was that you might release him if the dishonest editor who had substituted his newspaper name to the protection of another would place himself in prison in his place. I regard all these newspaper harpies as spies and think they could be punished as such.

I have approved the arrest of the captain and seizure of the steamboat Saline for carrying salt down the river without permit and changing it off for cotton. I will have the captain tried by a military commission for aiding and abetting the public enemy by furnishing them salt wherewith to cure bacon, a contraband article; also for trafficking on the river without license or permit. I hope the court will adopt my views and stop this nefarious practice. What use in carrying on war while our people are supplying arms and the sinews of war? We have succeeded in seizing a good deal of Confederate clothing, percussion caps, &c., some mails, &c.

At our last regular muster I caused all absentees to be reported “deserted,” whereby they got no pay; but inasmuch as the order for the muster for to-morrow, August 18, is universal, I will have the muster to-morrow and all absent then will be treated as deserters, and I will remit the former penalties as they are incurred under my orders.

I have sent out several infantry parties, as also cavalry, and am certain there is nothing but guerrillas between this and Senatobia and Tallahatchie. All the people are now guerrillas, and they have a perfect understanding. When a small body gets out they hastily assemble and attack, but when a large body moves out they scatter and go home.

Colonel Jackson commands at Senatobia, Jeff. Thompson having been ordered away. Villepigue is at Abbeville Station, 18 miles south of Holly Springs. They have guards all along the railroad to Grenada and cavalry everywhere. I think their purpose is to hold us and Curtis here while they mass against you and Buell or New Orleans. Price has been reported coming here, but of this we know nothing. If he comes he can and will take care that we know nothing of it till the last moment. I feel certain that no force save guerrillas have thus far passed north toward McClernand.

All the people here were on the qui vive for Baton Rouge and Nashville, but there seems to be a lull in their talk. I find them much more resigned and less presumptuous than at first. Your orders about property and mine about "niggers" make them feel that they can be hurt, and they are about as sensitive about their property as Yankees. I believe in universal confiscation and colonization. Some Union people have been expelled from Raleigh. I have taken some of the richest rebels and will compel them to buy and pay for all the land, horses, cattle, and effects, as well as damages, and let the Union owner deed the property to one or more of them. This they don't like at all. I do not exact the oath universally, but assume the ground that all within our lines are American citizens, and if they do any act or fail in any duty required of them as such then they can and will be punished as spies.

Instead of furnishing a permanent provost guard I give Colonel Anthony two good officers to assist him and change the regiment weekly. All are in tents and have their transportation ready to move. I am also in tents. I think 4,000 men could land opposite Helena, march rapidly to Panola, destroy that bridge, then to Oxford and Abbeville and destroy that, thus making the Tallahatchie the northern limits of their railroad. Afterward, Grenada, Jackson, and Meridian must be attacked. Break up absolutely and effectually the railroad bridges, mills, and everything going to provide their armies and they must feel it. The maintenance of this vast army must soon reduce their strength.

The lines of the Mississippi must be under one command. As it is, Curtis and I are perfectly independent of each other. He was here the other day. I know him well; he is very jealous of interference and will do nothing at another's suggestion. If you want him to do anything you must get Halleck to order it. Fort progresses too slow; 1,300 negroes at work on it. One installment of guns received; balance expected every hour. Weather heretofore unbearably hot, but now pretty cool.

Yours, truly,
W. T. SHERMAN,                

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 17, Part 2 (Serial No. 25), p. 178-9

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: December 20, 1863

We have nothing new yet from Averill’s raiders; but it is said Gen. Lee has set a trap for them. From East Tennessee there is a report that a battle has taken place somewhere in that region, but with what result is not yet known.

There is much consternation among the Jews and other speculators here, who have put in substitutes and made money. They fear that their substitutes will be made liable by legislative action, and then the principals will be called for. Some have contributed money to prevent the passage of such a law, and others have spent money to get permission to leave the country. Messrs. Gilmer and Myers, lawyers, have their hands full.

The Confederate States Tax act of last session of Congress is a failure, in a great measure, in Virginia. It is said only 30,000 bushels of wheat have been received! But the Governor of Alabama writes that over 5,000,000 pounds of bacon will be paid by that State.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 117-8

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Diary of 5th Sergeant Osborn H. Oldroyd: May 9, 1863

Orders this morning to draw two days' rations, pack up and be ready to move at a moment's warning. We drew hard-tack, coffee, bacon, salt and sugar, and stored them in our haversacks. Some take great care so to pack the hard-tack that it will not dig into the side while marching, for if a corner sticks out too much anywhere, it is only too apt to leave its mark on the soldier. Bacon, too, must be so placed as not to grease the blouse or pants. I see many a bacon badge about me—generally in the region of the left hip. In filling canteens, if the covers get wet the moisture soaks through and scalds the skin. The tin cup or coffee-can is generally tied to the canteen or else to the blanket or haversack, and it rattles along the road, reminding one of the sound of the old cow coming home. All trifling troubles like these on the march may be easily forestalled by a little care, but care is something a soldier is not apt to take, and he too often packs his “grub” as hurriedly as he “bolts” it. We were soon ready to move, and filled our canteens with the best water we have had for months. We did not actually get our marching order, however, until near three o'clock P. M., so that being anxious to take fresh water with us, we had to empty and refill canteens several times. As we waited for the order, a good view was afforded us of the passing troops, and the bristling lines really looked as if there was war ahead.

O, what a grand army this is, and what a sight to fire the heart of a spectator with a speck of patriotism in his bosom. I shall never forget the scene of to-day, while looking back upon a mile of solid columns, marching with their old tattered flags streaming in the summer breeze, and hearkening to the firm tramp of their broad brogans keeping step to the pealing fife and drum, or the regimental bands discoursing “Yankee Doodle” or “The Girl I Left Behind Me.” I say it was a grand spectacle—but how different the scene when we meet the foe advancing to the strains of “Dixie” and “The Bonny Blue Flag.” True, I have no fears for the result of such a meeting, for we are marching full of the prestige of victory, while our foes have had little but defeat for the last two years. There is an inspiration in the memory of victory. Marching through this hostile country with large odds against us, we have crossed the great river and wil1 cut our way through to Vicksburg, let what dangers may confront us. To turn back we should be overwhelmed with hos[t]s exulting on their own native soil. These people can and will fight desperately, but they cannot put a barrier in our way that we cannot pass. Camped a little after dark.

SOURCE: Osborn Hamiline Oldroyd, A Soldier's Story of the Siege of Vicksburg, p. 11-12

Friday, December 20, 2019

Diary of 5th Sergeant Osborn H. Oldroyd: May 8, 1863

We were ready to continue our march, but were not ordered out. Some white citizens came into camp to see the "Yankees," as they call us. Of course they do not know the meaning of the term, but apply it to all Union soldiers. They will think there are plenty of Yankees on this road if they watch it. The country here looks desolate. The owners of the plantations are "dun gone," and the fortunes of war have cleared away the fences. One of the boys foraged to-day and brought into camp, in his blanket, a variety of vegetables—and nothing is so palatable to us now as a vegetable meal, for we have been living a little too long on nothing but bacon. Pickles taste first-rate. I always write home for pickles, and I've a lady friend who makes and sends me, when she can, the best kind of "ketchup." There is nothing else I eat that makes me catch up so quick. There is another article we learn to appreciate in camp, and that is newspapers—something fresh to read. The boys frequently bring in reading matter with their forage. Almost anything in print is better than nothing. A novel was brought in to-day, and as soon as it was caught sight of a score or more had engaged in turn the reading of it. It will soon be read to pieces, though handled as carefully as possible, under the circumstances. We can not get reading supplies from home down here. I know papers have been sent to me, but I never got them. The health of our boys is good, and they are brimful of spirits (not "commissary"). We are generally better on the march than in camp, where we are too apt to get lazy, and grumble; but when moving we digest almost anything. When soldiers get bilious, they can not be satisfied until they are set in motion.

SOURCE: Osborn Hamiline Oldroyd, A Soldier's Story of the Siege of Vicksburg, p. 10-11

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: November 13, 1863

No news of battles yet. But we have a rumor of the burning of the fine government steamer R. E. Lee, chased by the blockaders. That makes two this week.

Gen. Lee dispatched the President, yesterday, as follows:

“Orange C. H., Nov. 12th. — For the last five days we have only received three pounds of corn per horse, from Richmond, per day. We depend on Richmond for corn. At this rate, the horses will die, and cannot do hard work. The enemy is very active, and we must be prepared for hard work any day. — R. E. Lee.”

On the back of which the President indorsed: "Have the forage sent up in preference to anything else. The necessity is so absolute as to call for every possible exertion.—Jefferson Davis."

Perhaps this may rouse the department. Horses starving in the midst of corn-fields ready for gathering! Alas, what mismanagement!

I cut the following from the Dispatch:

Flour. — We heard yesterday of sales of flour at $110 per barrel. We do not, however, give this as the standard price; for, if the article was in market, we believe that even a higher figure would be reached. A few days since a load of flour was sent to an auction-house on Cary Street to be sold at auction. The proprietors of the house very properly declined to receive it, refusing to dispose of breadstuffs under the hammer, where men of money, and destitute of souls, would have an opportunity of buying it up and withdrawing it from market.

corn-meal. — This article is bringing from $18 to $20 per bushel, and scarce at that.

Country Produce And Vegetables. — We give the following as the wholesale rates: Bacon, hoground, $2.75 to $3; lard, $2.25 to $2.30; butter, $3.75 to $4; eggs, $2 to $2.25; Irish potatoes, $7.50 to $8; sweet potatoes, $10.50 to $12; tallow candles, $4 per pound; salt, 45 cents per pound.

groceries. — Coffee — wholesale, $9 per pound, retail, $10; sugar, $2.85 to $3.25; sorghum molasses, wholesale, $10, and $14 to $15 at retail; rice, 30 to 35 cents.

liquors. — Whisky, $55 to $70 per gallon, according to quality, apple brandy, $50; high proof rum, $50; French brandy, $80 to $100.

"In the city markets fresh meats are worth $1.25 to $1.50 for beef and mutton, and $2 for pork; chickens, $6 to $8 per pair; ducks, $7 to $8 per pair; butter, $4.50 to $5 per pound; sweet potatoes, $2.50 per half peck; Irish potatoes, $2 per half peck.

leather. — Sole leather, $6.50 to $7.50 per pound; upper leather, $7.50 to $8; harness leather, $5.50 to $6; hides are quoted at $2.50 to $2.75 for dry, and $1.50 for salted green; tanners' oil, $4 to $5 per gallon.

tobacco. — Common article, not sound, $1 to $1.25; medium, pounds, dark, $1.30 to $2; good medium bright, $2 to $2.75; fine bright, $2 to $4; sweet 5's and 10's scarce and in demand, with an advance."

My friend Capt. Jackson Warner sent me, to-day, two bushels of meal at government price, $5 per bushel. The price in market is $20. Also nine pounds of good beef, and a shank—for which he charged nothing, it being part of a present to him from a butcher.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 96-7

Monday, May 13, 2019

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: November 12, 1863

No accounts of any fighting, but plenty of battles looked for.

A. A. Little writes to the Secretary of War from Fredericksburg, that the attempt to remove the iron from the Aquia Railroad by the government having failed, now is the time for private enterprise to effect it. If the Secretary “will say the word,” it can be done. He says the iron is worth “millions, its weight in gold!” Will Mr. Seddon let it be saved? Yes, indeed.

Mr. Heyliger, agent at Nassau, writes on the 3d instant (just a week ago), that he is shipping bacon by every steamer (three or four per week), leather, percussion caps, and a large amount of quartermaster's stores. But the supply of lead and saltpeter is exhausted, and he hopes the agents in Europe will soon send more. About one in every four steamers is captured by the enemy. We can afford that.

The President sent over to-day, for the perusal of the Secretary of War, a long letter from Gen. Howell Cobb, dated at Atlanta, on the 7th instant. He had just returned from a visit to Bragg's army, and reports that there is a better feeling among the officers for Gen. Bragg, who is regaining their confidence. However, he says it is to be wished that more cordiality subsisted between Generals Bragg and ———, his ——— in command. He thinks Generals B—— and C—— might be relieved without detriment to the service, if they cannot be reconciled to Bragg. He hints at some important movement, and suggests co-operation from Virginia by a demonstration in East Tennessee.

It is generally believed that France has followed the example of England, by seizing our rams. Thus the whole world seems combined against us. And Mr. Seward has made a speech, breathing fire and destruction unless we submit to Lincoln as our President. He says he was fairly elected President for four years of the whole United States, and there can be no peace until he is President of all the States, to which he is justly entitled. A war for the President!

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 95-6

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Diary of Laura M. Towne: Monday, May 23, 1862

Ellen is coming at last. I felt sure no one could stop her. Mr. McKim is also to come as Philadelphia agent, and I am free.

We have been for three days going to various plantations, once to Mr. Zacha's at Paris Island, once to Mrs. Mary Jenkins', Mr. Wells' and to Edgar Fripp's, or to Frogmore, Mr. Saulis'; also to Edding's Point and one other place. At the three places of Mr. Jenkins, Mr. Fripp, and Edding, the wretched hovels with their wooden chimneys and the general squalor showed the former misery. One woman said the differences in the times were as great as if God had sent another Moses and a great deliverance — that it was heaven upon earth and earth in heaven now. They all seemed to love Mr. Wells. We saw there one woman whose two children had been whipped to death, and Mr. Wells said there was not one who was not marked up with welts. He had the old whip which had a ball at the end, and he had seen the healed marks of this ball on their flesh — the square welts showed where it had taken the flesh clean out. Loretta of this place showed me her back and arms to-day. In many places there were ridges as high and long as my little finger, and she said she had had four babies killed within her by whipping, one of which had its eye cut out, another its arm broken, and the others with marks of the lash. She says it was because even while "heaviest" she was required to do as much as usual for a field hand, and not being able, and being also rather apt to resist, and rather smart in speaking her mind, poor thing, she has suffered; and no wonder Grace, her child, is of the lowest type; no wonder she is more indifferent about her clothes and house than any one here. She says this was the cruelest place she was ever in.

The happiest family I know here is old Aunt Bess's Minda and Jerry and herself. They are always joking and jolly but very gentle. When I go there at night to dress Bess's foot I find her lying upon her heap of rags with the roaches running all over her and little Leah or some small child asleep beside her.' Jerry got me some of the pine sticks they use for candles. They hold one for me while I dress the foot.

It is- very interesting to observe how the negroes watch us for fear we shall go away. They are in constant dread of it and we cannot be absent a single day without anxiety on their part. It is very touching to hear their entreaties to us to stay, and their anxious questions. They have a horrible dread of their masters' return, especially here where Massa Dan'l's name is a terror.

They appreciate the cheapness of our goods and especially of the sugar at the Overseer house, and are beginning to distrust the cotton agents who have charged them so wickedly.

The scenes in the cotton-house used to be very funny. Miss W. would say to some discontented purchaser who was demurring at the price of some article, “Well, now, I don't want to sell this. I believe I won't sell it to-day. But if you want to take it very much at a dollar and a half, you may have it. Oh, you don't? Well, then, I can't sell you anything. No, you can't have anything. We are doing the best we can for you and you are not satisfied; you won't be contented. Just go — go now, please. We want all the room and air we can get. You don't want to buy and why do you stay? No, I shall not let you have anything but that. I don't want to sell it, but you may have it for a dollar and a half,” etc., etc. This is one of many real scenes. The people are eager, crazy to buy, for they are afraid of their money, it being paper, and besides, they need clothes and see finer things than ever in their lives before. Except when they are excited they are very polite, always saying "Missus" to us, and "Sir" to one another. The children say, "Good-mornin', ma'am," whenever they see us first in the day, and once I overheard two girls talking just after they had greeted me. One said, "I say good-mornin' to my young missus [Miss Pope] and she say, ‘I slap your mouth for your impudence, you nigger.’” I have heard other stories that tell tales.

The white folks used to have no cooking-utensils of their own here. They came and required certain things. The cooks hunted among the huts and borrowed what they needed till the family went away, of course straining every nerve to get such cooking as should please. "I would do anything for my massa," Susannah says, "if he wouldn't whip me."

On May 7, as Mr. Pierce stepped off the boat at Hilton Head and walked up the pier, a Mr. Nobles, chief of the cotton agents here, came forward saying that he had a letter for him. Then he struck him upon the head, felled him, and beat him, saying that Mr. P. had reported him to the Secretary of the Treasury and had got a saddle and bridle of his. Mr. Pierce got up with difficulty and took only a defensive part. Some soldiers took Mr. Nobles off. Mr. Pierce had really mentioned this man and his agents, which was his duty as guardian of these people, for they were imposing upon the negroes shamefully. They, of course, hate this whole Society of Superintendents, etc., who will not see the negroes wronged. So Mr. P. has had his touch of martyrdom.

The Philadelphia consignment of goods — in all $2000 worth — would have done immense good if it had come in season. The people of these islands, whom Government does not ration (because there is corn here) had nothing but hominy to eat, were naked, were put to work at cotton, which they hated, as being nothing in their own pockets and all profit to the superintendent, who they could not be sure were not only another set of cotton agents or cotton planters; and so discontent and trouble arose. Mr. Pierce said to them that they should be fed, clothed, and paid, but they waited and waited in vain, trusting at first to promises and then beginning to distrust such men as were least friendly to them.

The first rations of pork — "splendid bacon," everybody says — was dealt out the other day and there has been great joy ever since, or great content. If this had only come when first ordered there would have been this goodwill and trust from the first. They even allow the removal of the corn from one plantation to another now without murmuring, and that they were very much opposed to before.

SOURCE: Rupert Sargent Holland, Editor, Letters and Diary of Laura M. Towne: Written from the Sea Islands of South Carolina 1862-1864, p. 57-61

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

John L. Motley Mary Benjamin Motley,* July 20, 1863

Monday, July 20, 1863.

My Dearest Mary: Hurray! I have just got the telegram. Vicksburg surrendered on the glorious Fourth. “Good,” as Turner Sargent says. The details are, of course, wanting. We shall not receive the papers containing the Gettysburg battle history until Thursday. There can be no doubt, however, that Lee has been tremendously licked. Meade occupied his headquarters after the battle, and has since been pursuing him for sixty miles.

Meade seems to me to be a trump, the man we have been looking for ever since the war began. What a tremendous responsibility it was for him to be placed at the head of the army at the eleventh hour, in the very face of the chief rebel general and their best army! So far as we can yet judge, he has acted with immense nerve, rapidity, skill, and I think has achieved a very great success. To us who know the country the telegram says simply, “Lee, after losing 30,000 men [probably 15,000], is trying to get off into Virginia as fast as he can. He may offer battle if he can't get across the Potomac before Meade catches him. If not, not, and if not, why not?” I have never felt so sanguine about our affairs since the very beginning. To be sure, I never believed, as you know, in the fudge about Baltimore and Washington, but one could n't help the fidgets when all the world in Europe was sounding the rebel trumpets in such a stunning way.

Now, if Lee is able to do us much damage, all I can say is that I shall be very much astonished. I suppose he will get back to Winchester, and so to the Rappahannock, with a good deal of bacon and other provender, and then claim a great victory. There is no meaning at all in that bit in the telegram about Buford and Kilpatrick's cavalry being repulsed. Obviously they were only reconnoitering in force to find out where the enemy was, and it could only have been an insignificant skirmish, such as happens daily. If there is any truth in the story about “Vice-President” Stephens wishing to come to Washington, it must have been something about negro troops. Now that we must have taken in Pennsylvania and Vicksburg at least 20,000 prisoners, I do hope the President will issue an unmistakable edict about that hanging officers of black troops. There couldn't be a better time.

Devotedly and affectionately,
J. L. M.

* During a short absence to meet their second daughter on her return from America. See p. 344.

SOURCE: George William Curtis, editor, The Correspondence of John Lothrop Motley in Two Volumes, Library Edition, Volume 2, p. 338-9

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: November 4, 1863

Mr. M——, Major Ruffin’s commissary agent, denies selling government beef to the butchers; of course it was his own. But he has been ordered not to sell any more, while buying for the government.

Mr. Rouss, of Winchester, merchant, has succeeded in getting some brown cotton from the manufacturer, in Georgia, at cost, which he sells for cost and carriage to refugees. My wife got 20 yards to-day for $20. It is brown seven-eighth cotton, and brings in other stores $3 per yard. This is a saving of $40. And I bought 24 pounds of bacon of Capt. Warner, Commissary, at $1 per pound. The retail price is $2.50 — and this is a saving of $36. Without such “short cuts” as these, occasionally, it would be impossible to maintain my family on the salaries my son Custis and myself get from the government, $3000.

How often have I and thousands in our youth expressed the wish to have lived during the first Revolution, or rather to have partaken of the excitements of war! Such is the romance or “enchantment” which “distance lends” “to the view.” Now we see and feel the horrors of war, and we are unanimous in the wish, if we survive to behold again the balmy sunshine of peace, that neither we nor our posterity may ever more be spectators of or participants in another war. And yet we know not how soon we might plunge into it, if an adequate necessity should arise. Henceforth, in all probability, we shall be a military people. But I shall seek the peaceful haunts of quiet seclusion, for which I sigh with great earnestness. O for a garden, a vine and fig-tree, and my library!

Among the strange events of this war, not the least is the position on slavery (approving it) maintained by the Bishop of Vermont.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 88

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: December 24, 1864

This diary must soon come to an end. Will fill the few remaining pages and then stop. Co. “I” boys are very kind. They have reduced soldiering to a science. All divided up into messes of from three to five each. Any mess is glad to have us in with them, and we pay them with accounts of our prison life. Know they think half we tell them is lies. I regret the most of anything, the loss of my blanket that stood by me so well. It's a singular fact that the first day of my imprisonment it came into my possession, and the very last day it took its departure, floating off away from me after having performed its mission. Should like to have taken it North to exhibit to my friends. The infantry move only a few miles each day, and I believe we stay here all day. Went and saw Mr. Kimball. The officers commanding knew him for a Union man, and none of his belongings were troubled. In fact, he has anything he wants now. Announces his intention of going with the army until the war closes. Our good old friend Mrs. Dickinson did not fare so well. The soldiers took everything she had on the place fit to eat; all her cattle, pork, potatoes, chickens, and left them entirly destitute. We went and saw them, and will go to headquarters to see what can be done. Later. — We went to Gen. Smith, commanding 3d Brigade, 2d Division, and told him the particulars. He sent out foraging wagons, and now she has potatoes, corn, bacon, cattle, mules, and everything she wants. Also received pay for burned fences and other damages. Now they are smiling and happy and declare the Yankees to be as good as she thought them bad this morning. The men being under little restraint on this raid were often destructive. Nearly every citizen declared their loyalty, so no distinction is made. Gen. Smith is a very kind man, and asked us a great many questions. Says the 9th Michigan Cavalry is near us and we may see them any hour. Gen. Haun also takes quite an interest in us, and was equally instrumental with Gen. Smith in seeing justice done to our friends the Kimballs and Dickinsons. They declare now that one of us must marry the daughter of Mrs. Dickinson, the chaplain performing the ceremony. Well, she is a good girl, and I should judge would make a good wife, but presume she would have something to say herself and will not pop the question to her. They are very grateful, and only afraid that after we all go away the rebel citizens and soldiers will retaliate on them. Many officers have read portions of my diary, and say such scenes as we have passed through seem incredible. Many inquire if we saw so and so of their friends who went to Andersonville, but of course there were so many there that we cannot remember them. This has been comparatively a day of rest for this portion of the Union army, after having successfully crossed the river. We hear the cavalry is doing some fighting on the right, in the direction of Fort McAllister. Evening. — We marched about two or three miles and are again encamped for the night, with pickets out for miles around. Many refugees join the army prepared to go along with them, among whom are a great many negroes.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 156-7

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: October 22, 1863

Gen. Wheeler has taken 700 of the enemy's cavalry in East Tennessee, 6 cannon, 50 wagons, commissary stores, etc. Per contra, the steamer Venus, with bacon, from Nassau, got aground trying to enter the port of Wilmington, and ship and cargo were lost. There is a rumor that Gen. Taylor, trans-Mississippi, has captured Gen. Banks, his staff, and sixteen regiments. This, I fear, is not well authenticated.

A poor woman yesterday applied to a merchant in Carey Street to purchase a barrel of flour. The price he demanded was $70. “My God!” exclaimed she, “how can I pay such prices? I have seven children; what shall I do?”

“I don't know, madam,” said he, coolly, “unless you eat your children.”

Such is the power of cupidity — it transforms men into demons. And if this spirit prevails throughout the country, a just God will bring calamities upon the land, which will reach these cormorants, but which, it may be feared, will involve all classes in a common ruin.

Beef, to-day, sold in market at $1.50 per pound. There is no bacon for sale, or corn-meal. But we shall not starve, if we have faith in a beneficent Providence. Our daughter Anne, teaching in Appomattox County, writes that she will send us a barrel of potatoes, some persimmons, etc. next Wednesday. And we had a good dinner to-day: a piece of fat shoulder Capt. Warner let me have at $1 per pound — it is selling for $2.50 — and cabbage from my garden, which my neighbor's cow overlooked when she broke through the gate last Sunday. Although we scarcely know what we shall have to-morrow, we are merry and patriotic to-day.

Last night I went to hear Rev. Dr. Hobson, Reformed Baptist, or Campbellite, preach. He is certainly an orator (from Kentucky) and a man of great energy and fertility of mind. There is a revival in his congregation too, as well as among the Methodists, but he was very severe in his condemnation of the emotional or sensational practices of the latter. He said, what was never before known by me, that the word pardon is not in the New Testament, but remission was. His point against the Methodists was their fallacy of believing that conversion was sudden and miraculous, and accompanied by a happy feeling. Happy feeling, he said, would naturally follow a consciousness of remission of sins, but was no evidence of conversion, for it might be produced by other things. It was the efficacy of the Word, of the promise of God, which obliterated the sins of all who believed, repented, and were baptized. He had no spasmodic extravagances over his converts; but, simply taking them by the hand, asked if they believed, repented, and would be baptized. If the answers were in the affirmalive, they resumed their seats, and were soon after immersed in a pool made for the purpose in the church.

I pray sincerely that this general revival in the churches will soften the hearts of the extortioners, for this class is specifically denounced in the Scriptures. There is abundance in the land, but “man's inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn.” I hope the extortioners may all go to heaven, first ceasing to be extortioners.

The Legislature has broken up the gambling establishments, for the time being, and the furniture of their gorgeous saloons is being sold at auction. Some idea of the number of these establishments may be formed from an estimate (in the Examiner) of the cost of the entertainment prepared for visitors being not less than $10,000 daily. Their agents bought the best articles offered for sale in the markets, and never hesitated to pay the most exorbitant prices. I hope now the absence of such customers may have a good effect. But I fear the currency, so redundant, is past remedy.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 78-9

Monday, September 3, 2018

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: October 9, 1863

From the West we have only unreliable reports of movements, etc.; but something definite and decisive must occur shortly.

Gen. Lee's army crossed the Rapidan yesterday, and a battle may be looked for in that direction any day. It is said Meade has only 40,000 or 50,000 men; and, if this be so, Lee is strong enough to assume the offensive.

To-morrow the departments will be closed for a review of the clerks, etc., a piece of nonsense, as civil officers are under no obligation to march except to fight, when the city is menaced.

The mechanics and non-producers have made a unanimous call (in placards) for a mass meeting at the City Hall to-morrow evening. The ostensible object is to instruct Mr. Randolph and other members of the Legislature (now in session) to vote for the bill, fixing maximum prices of commodities essential to life, or else to resign. Mr. Randolph has said he would not vote for it, unless so instructed to do. It is apprehended that these men, or the authors of the movement, have ulterior objects in view; and as some ten or twelve hundred of them belong to the militia, and have muskets in their possession, mischief may grow out of it. Mr. Secretary Seddon ought to act at once on the plan suggested for the sale of the perishable tithes, since the government is blamed very much, and perhaps very justly, for preventing transportation of meat and bread to the city, or for impressing it in transitu.

Capt. Warner, who feeds the prisoners of war, and who is my good "friend in need," sent me yesterday 20 odd pounds of bacon sides at the government price. This is not exactly according to law and order, but the government loses nothing, and my family have a substitute for butter.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 66-7