Showing posts with label Florida. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Florida. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

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 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 15, 2020

Dr. Seth Rogers to his daughter Dolly, January 30, 1863

ALBERTI's Mills, 40 miles from FERNANDINA.
January 30, 1863. 

This river is rebellious to the last degree. It is very crooked and sluggish and black and got us aground so many times in the long, sleepless night that rebel pickets might have picked off many of our men and officers. Again and again we had to turn points at right angles and we were never more than two rods from one or the other shore. Often the sides of our boat were swept by the boughs of the mournful looking trees. The shores are generally low and marshy, and the moss droops so low as to give the appearance of weeping willows. It is now eleven, A.M. and we are starting homeward. Oh, it is a queer night, so queer that more than once I laughed outright, when I thought of the curious fact that T. W. H. and I were so industriously trying to get a peep at real rebels, while they would undoubtedly do something to get a peep at us. In my time I have seen considerable mismanagement of one kind and another, but do not remember that I ever dreamed that so much of that article could be employed in one night on board a steamboat. Among the boat's officers there was no mutual understanding, and it is fortunate for us that the rebels did not know it. But at daylight we did reach Alberti's Mills, and then came for me an hour of fitful, dreamy sleep. I had made three vigorous efforts to sleep during the night, but enjoyed the calm moonlight and strange scenery and spice of danger too much for drowsiness. We passed picket fires and felt the possibility that our return might be obstructed, or greatly harassed. Very few officers have voluntarily dared such a responsibility as that resting on our Colonel, but he patiently and vigilantly met all the obstacles and had his pickets and skirmishers so arranged. . . .

Evening and Ben Deford again, thank God!

 I had written thus far when the rebels began firing from the shore and I found myself among our soldiers, who replied with spirit and precision that sent more than one poor fellow to the dust.

Captain Clifton of the John Adams was shot through the head and died instantly. The Major's [J. D. Strong] head escaped by about two inches.

Strange to say no other accidents occurred in this nor in the subsequent firing from the bluffs on the Florida shore. The first attack was from the Georgia bluffs. They were both desperate, but of short duration. One fellow actually jumped on the flat-boat in tow, and was immediately shot by one of our soldiers. I afterwards asked Robert Sutton what he himself was about during the conflict, and found that he was deliberately shooting from the pilot house, with two guns, having a man to load one while he fired the other. But now I will go back to the sunrise. As I was saying, the pickets and skirmishers were so placed that there was no escape for the white families at Alberti’s Mills. The Colonel had gone ashore and a little after sunrise sent for me to go off and take with me some copies of the President's proclamation. I found a little village, all included in the A. estate, and the mansion was occupied by Madame A. and her family. She was a New Yorker by birth and her deceased husband was a native of Philadelphia. Mr. B., former business partner of his - A.'s was at the house on a visit, ill with chronic bronchitis. He, being an important person, must be made prisoner, unless too feeble to be removed from the house. I found, on examination, that he could be taken with us without danger to himself. Madame A. spent much time trying to convince me that she and her husband had been wonderfully devoted to the interests of their slaves, especially to the fruitless work of trying to educate them. The truth of these assertions was disproved by certain facts, such as a strong slave jail, containing implements of torture which we now have in our possession, (the lock I have), the fact that the slaves have “mostly gone over to the Yankees,” and the yet other fact that Robert Sutton, a former slave there, said the statement was false. The statement of a black man was lawful in Dixie yesterday. I called Madame A.'s attention to a former slave of hers, whom she remembered as “Bob,” but never before knew as Robert Sutton, corporal in the army of the United States. Robert begged me to forgive him for breaking through my order that he should not exert himself at all till the danger of inflammation of the brain should be averted. The white bandage about his head was conspicuous at the points of danger through all the twenty-four eventful hours of our expedition. It finally devolved upon him and Sergeant Rivers1 to examine the persons of our six rebel prisoners, for concealed weapons of defense. This last process was so very anti-slavery, that I fancied the rebels enjoyed it somewhat less than I.

I am told that thirteen riderless horses went back to camp after that fight in the woods the other night; that the lieutenant [Jones] in command and five others were killed and many others wounded. Could our party have known the exact state of affairs, the camp might have been destroyed and many prisoners taken. But it was safer and wiser for infantry not to follow cavalry in the night. Our comrades on the Ben Deford greeted us heartily and the Provost Marshal was in readiness to take charge of our prisoners. We shall probably take Mr. B. to Beaufort with us. He is a wealthy and influential rebel and may become a very important hostage when Jeff Davis begins to hang us. We brought off two or three negroes, and rice, corn, sheep and other valuable things, strictly contraband of war. I wanted the Colonel to take a piano already boxed, and in a store-house at the wharf, but we had no room for it. I thought it would especially please Miss Forten to have it in her school.


1 Prince Rivers.

SOURCE: Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Volume 43, October, 1909—June, 1910: February 1910. p. 352-4

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Salmon P. Chase to Thomas M. Key, January 26, 1864

WASHINGTON, D. C., January 26, 1864.

My Dear JUDGE: Mr. Goodrich sent me your kind note, and it was a real delight to me to see your handwriting once more. God grant that it may foretoken your complete restoration to health.

Among the gratifications which have more than compensated the vexation and chagrin I have had to endure here, I prized few more highly than that which your appreciation of my work and your prompt award to me of your esteem and friendship gave me. Would that your chief had had the wisdom to see and the courage to act as you would have had him! How much might have been spared to our country!

What I did to aid you when you first came from Ohio, I should have done for any one charged with the same mission. I simply did my duty. How generously you overpaid me by your confidence and good-will will pass from memory only when memory retains no traces.

If it is too much trouble for you to write yourself, will you oblige me by having some friend write me how you are? You remember that I proposed to you when in New York to take a Southern voyage on one of the revenue cutters. If your health will now permit you to go round to Fernandina, I shall be very glad to have you avail yourself of her accommodations, which are really good, while she cruises for the coming two or three months on the Florida and South Carolina coasts. Can't you do so?

I am terribly worked and had no time to talk with Mr. Goodrich about his plan, but referred him to a friend in the Senate. As to political affairs and prospects, it is absolutely impossible for me to keep myself posted. Some friends are sanguine that my name will receive favorable consideration from the people in connection with the Presidency. I tell them that I can take no part in anything they may propose to do, except by trying to merit confidence where I am.

Faithfully your friend,
Hon. Thomas M. Key, Cincinnati, Ohio.

SOURCE: Robert Bruce Warden, An Account of the Private Life and Public Services of Salmon P. Chase, p. 563-4

Sunday, December 9, 2018

George Thompson: Lecture at Lowell, Massachusetts, October 5, 1834

On Sunday evening, October 5th, GeoRGE THOMPsoN, Esq. the abolitionitst, delivered a lecture on Slavery in the Town Hall, Lowell. The spacious room was filled some time before the commencement of the proceedings, and when Mr. Thompson began his lecture, there were upwards of one thousand persons present. The meeting was opened with singing and prayer.

The following is a faint sketch of Mr. Thompson's discourse, which occupied an hour and three quarters in the delivery.

He (the lecturer) felt truly grateful for the present very favorable opportunity of discussing before an American audience, the merits and bearings of a question, which, more than any other that could agitate their minds, was connected with the honor, happiness, and prosperity of the people of this land. He besought a kind, patient, and attentive hearing. He asked no favor for his doctrines, his arguments, or his opinions. Let these be subjected to the severest ordeal. Let them be tested by reason, truth and scripture, and if they squared not with the dictates and requirements of these, let them be repudiated. The West Indies had already witnessed the operation of the great measure, which the justice and humanity of the British Nation had obtained for the slave. All eyes were now turned towards the United States of America, to see if that land of Liberty, of Republicanism, of Bibles, of Missions, of Temperance Societies, and Revivals, would direct her matchless energies to the blessed work of enfranchising her slaves, and elevating her entire colored population.

As a feeble and unworthy instrument in the hand of Him, without whom there was neither wisdom, nor strength, nor goodness, he (Mr. T.) had come amongst them to tell of the conflicts and triumphs he had witnessed in his native land, and to encourage, and, if possible, aid his brethern here in the accomplishment of a similarly great and glorious object. His was no sectarian or political embassay. Higher and broader principles than those of politics or party animated and sustained him. He came not to uphold the dogmas of a faction, or to expound the charter of human rights according to the latitude, longitude, clime, or color. As a citizen of the world, he claimed brotherhood with all mankind. The medium through which he contemplated the varied tribes of this peopled earth, was one which blended all hues, and brought out only the proud and awful distinctive mark of one common nature — “the image of God.” He honored that ‘image in whomsoever he found it, and would labor lest a prize so glorious should be lost, lest a being so capable should be wretched here and forever. Such were the views he cherished, and the principles he maintained, and he hoped he should be enabled to discuss them with temper and christian charity. He knew that men were all compounded of the same common elements — all sinful, erring and guilty; and, therefore, it became not any human being to assume the tone of innocence or infallibility, but to address himself to others as their fellow sinner, and be grateful to God, if divine grace had caused him in any degree to differ from the rest. He deemed such feelings perfectly consistent with a fearless denunciation of vicious principles and oppressive practices. Towards sin in every form, no mercy should be shown. A war of extermination should be waged with the works of the devil, under all their manifold and delusive appearances, and that man was the truest and kindest friend of the sinner, who, with a bold and unsparing hand, dragged forth to light and condemnation the abomination that would have ruined his soul.

After this introduction, the lecturer took a compendious view of slavery as its exists in the Southern States. He spoke of it as reducing man to the condition of a thing — a chattel personal — a marketable brute — the property and fee simple of his fellow-man — consigning the helpless victim to bondage, wretchedness, ignorance and crime here, and ruining his soul forever and ever. The lecturer next proceeded to speak of the prevailing prejudice against the free people of color, and attributed it principally to an antichristian and guilty feeling of pride. That this prejudice did not originate in a natural repugnance to color, was evident from the fact, that while the colored person remained in a state of civil and intellectual degradation, no indisposition was shown to the nearest physical approach. It was only when the colored person attempted to rise in intellect or station to a level with the white, that the hatred and prejudice appeared. He (Mr. T.) solemnly and affectionately exhorted all who heard him to renounce their cruel and unholy antipathies. This prejudice was an offence against God. The controversy was not with him who wore the colored skin, but with the being who had formed him with it. Who was bold enough to stand before God, and vindicate the prejudice which dishonored and defaced the image and superscription of the Deity, as stamped upon his creature man?

Such was the state of things in these christian States. What was the remedy? The immediate emancipation of the whites from prejudice, and the blacks from slavery. Mercy implored it. Justice demanded it. Reason dictated it. Religion required it. Necessity urged it.

Fear cried, “No! The danger of immediate emancipation!”

Prejudice exclaimed, “You want to amalgamate the races — to break the cast to lift the blacks into our ranks. It must not be!”

A misguided Patriotism spread the alarm, “The Union is in danger!”

Interest muttered, “You will ruin our manufactures you will destroy our commerce — you will beggar the planter!”

Despotism vociferated, “Let my victims alone! Rob me not of my dominion!” and a

Mistaken philanthrophy would set on foot a piecemeal reformation, and recommend gradualism for the special benefit of the pining slave.

Whom, then, should they obey? He boldly answered, God; who required that men should cease to do evil.” But that he might not be accused of dealing only in abstract views of this question, he would take up the various objections to immediate emancipation, and endeavor to show that in the eye of reason and selfishness too, they were groundless and absurd.

Mr. Thompson proceeded to prove the safety, practicability and advantages of immediate emancipation. It would be impossible to do justice to this part of the lecture in this brief notice.

The question was frequently asked, “Why should New England interfere in the slave-system of the South?” Because, said Mr. T., the slaves are your fellow-men — they are your neighbors, and you are commanded to love them as yourselves, and to remember them in bonds as bound with them. They are your fellow-citizens — declared to be so by your glorious Declaration of Independence. You supply the South, and therefore are connected with this trade of blood. You consume the produce of the South, and thus effectually promote the cause of oppression there. You are taxed to maintain the Slavery of the South. You are in the habit of giving up the slaves of the South who seek refuge amongst you. Your colored citizens are liable to be seized and sold, if they go to the South. You live under the same Constitution as the South, and are therefore bound to amend that constitution, if it be at present unjust in any of its parts. Your Congress has supreme control over the District of Columbia, Arkansas, and Florida, and you ought, therefore, to call for the immediate extinction of Slavery in these places. You exert a powerful influence over the South and the States generally. You are able to control the destinies of the shaves in this country. You are responsible to God for the employment of your moral energies. Come, then, to the work. First, let the question be fairly discussed amongst you. Do not be afraid to entertain it. Sooner or later, you must grapple with it. The speedier the better. Discard your prejudices. Give up your pre-conceived opinions, and bring to the consideration of this great subject, open and impartial minds, a tender regard for the interests of your fellowman, — a sincere and enlightened desire for your country's true honor and greatness, and a deep sense of your accountability to God.

Mr. Thompson next addressed the ladies present, and urged the necessity of their engaging in this work of mercy. It was not a political, but a moral and religious question. All were called upon to labor in the cause — all were able to do so. While some preached and lectured on the subject, others could distribute tracts, collect contributions, and converse with their friends. The principles of justice and truth would thus be diffused — prejudice and ignorance would give way, and an amount of influence finally created, sufficient to purge the stain of slavery forever from the land.

Mr. Thompson was listened to throughout with the most profound attention, and every appearance of deep interest. The Rev. Messrs. Rand, Twining, and Pease, were present. At the conclusion of the lecture, the last named gentleman gave out a hymn suited to the occasion, which was sung by the choir, and after a benediction had been pronounced, the audience separated.

SOURCE: Isaac Knapp, Publisher, Letters and Addresses by G. Thompson [on American Negro Slavery] During His Mission in the United States, From Oct. 1st, 1834, to Nov. 27, 1835, p. 1-5

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Diary of Gideon Welles: Saturday, February 27, 1864

A very busy day, and I am very indifferently well to discharge the mass of business; but got through with it before 5 P.m. Am surprised that I do not commit more serious mistakes. Received the charges and specifications against Wilkes. Convened the court, or ordered it to be convened, on the 9th. Am sorry to be compelled to do this, but there is no alternative.

Sedgwick calls about the prize law which Judge Sprague and Dana have got up. In the main it is pretty well done, but needs some amendments.

Seward told me in a whisper that we had met a serious reverse in Florida. It is [not] mentioned in the papers. This suppressing a plump and plain fact, already accomplished, because unfortunate, is not wise. The Florida expedition has been one of the secret movements that have been projected, I know not by whom, but suspect the President has been trying a game himself. He has done such things, and, I believe, always unfortunately. I may be wrong in my conclusions, but his secretary, John Hay, was sent off to join the forces at Port Royal, and this expedition was then commenced. Admiral Dahlgren went off on it without orders from me, and had only time to advise me he was going. Though he has general directions to cooperate with the army, he would not have done this but from high authority.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 1: 1861 – March 30, 1864, p. 531-2

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: November 17, 1864

It is now said that the prisoners are being moved down on the coast near Florida. That coincides with my own view, and I think it very probable. Will try and go about to-morrow. Hardly think I can go to-day. later. —The to-day's batch are going; out of the gate. Makes me fairly crazy to wait, fearful I am missing it in not going. This lottery way of living is painful on the nerves. There are all kinds of rumors. Even have the story afloat that now the raid is over that drove us away from Andersonville, we are going back there to stay during the war. That would be a joke. However, I stick to my resolution that the rebels don't really know themselves where we are going. They move us because we are not safe here. They are bewildered. Believing this am in a comparatively easy state of mind. Still I worry. Haven't said a word in a week about my health. Well, I am convalescing all the time. Still lame, and always expect to be; can walk very well though, and feeling lively for an old man.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 117-8

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Thomas Hart Benton to Colonel James Patton Preston, December 16, 1821

Washington City, Dec. 16th, 1821.
dear Sir:

We left Missouri 13th Oct. We were all very well there during the summer, Elizabeth better than she had been for several years. We staid two weeks in Kentucky, and left all our friends well there. Mr. and Mrs. McDowell travelled with us from that place. In the Cumberland mountains we were stopped five days by some alarming symptoms in Elizabeth and afterwards travelled slowly to Abingdon, where I left her to proceed leisurely with her father and mother, and I came on in the stage. She has wrote to me several times since, the last from Mrs. Madison's, on the 7th, having left your house the day before. Your mother, wife and family were well, but suffering an excessive solicitude on your account, not having heard from you for a great while. Mrs. Preston expected you might be here, but I have written to her to the contrary.

I expect to be at Col. McDowell's at Christmas, and again about the first of February. My dear Elizabeth expects to be a mother at that time.

Nothing essential going on here. The Captain General of all the Floridas* has resigned. A letter from Nashville states he is now bestowing his inconsiderate and intemperate abuse upon his old friend the President.

Pray write to us, and let us know how you are and when we are to see you.

Your sincere friend,
Thomas H. Benton.
Col. Preston, Athens, Georgia.

SOURCE: William Montgomery Meigs, The Life of Thomas Hart Benton, p. 130

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Cheering News From Alabama, Mississippi, And Georgia

The editor of the Carolinian has conversed with a gentleman who brings cheering news from the Executives of the above States.  Gov. PETTUS, of Mississippi, on the receipt of the news of LINCOLN’S election, will immediately convene the Legislature.  The Disunion vote will be overwhelming.  The Governor of Georgia will call for a large appropriation to arm the State.  Gov. MOORE, of Alabama, will immediately issue writes of election for a new Legislature.  In Louisiana it is thought that the Disunion movement will prevail, and Florida is said to consider herself in advance of South Carolina.  We have no fears of Southern co-operation.  The cotton States at least must be united.

— Published in The Abbeville Press, Abbeville, South Carolina, Friday Morning, November 9, 1860, p. 2

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Diary of John Hay: June 5, 1864

For a day or two the house has been full of patriots on the way to Baltimore who wish to pay their respects, and engrave on the expectant mind of the President their images in view of future contingencies. Among the genuine delegations have come some of the bogus and the irregular ones. Cuthbert Bullitt is here with Louisiana in his trousers' pocket. He has passed through New York and has gotten considerably stampeded by the talk of the trading pettifoggers of politics there. He feels uneasy in his seat.

The South Carolina delegation came in yesterday. The President says “let them in.” “They are a swindle,” I said. “They won't swindle me,” quoth the President. They filed in; a few sutlers, cotton-dealers and negroes presented a petition and retired.

Florida sends two delegations; neither will get in. Each attacks the others as unprincipled tricksters.

Lamon hurt himself badly yesterday by falling from his carriage on the pavement. I went to see him this morning; found him bruised but plucky. Says he intends to go to Baltimore to-morrow. Says he feels inclined to go for Cameron for the Vice-Presidency, on personal grounds. Says he thinks Lincoln rather prefers Johnson or some War Democrat as calculated to give more strength to the ticket.

Nicolay started over to-day in company with Cameron. . . . .

SOURCES: Clara B. Hay, Letters of John Hay and Extracts from Diary, Volume 1, p. 196-7; see Michael Burlingame & John R. Turner Ettlinger, Editors, Inside Lincoln’s White House: The Complete Civil War Diary of John Hay, p. 199-200 for the full diary entry.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

John Hay to Charles G. Halpine, April 13, 1864

April 13, [1864]

I thank you for your kind and most unjust letter. I did call at your house on Bleecker Street, and you were not at home—nor was M. la Generale. I am too old a soldier to pass through your camp without reporting.

I thank you for offering to set me right with the pensive public. But the game is not worth so bright a candle. The original lie in the Herald was dirty enough, and the subsequent commentaries were more than usually nasty. But the Tycoon never minded it in the least, and, as for me, at my age the more abuse I get in the newspapers, the better for me. I shall run for constable some day on the strength of my gory exploits in Florida.

I am stationed here for the present. I fear I shall not get away soon again. I have a great deal to do. It is the best work that I can do if I must stay here.

I am yours,

SOURCES: Clara B. Hay, Letters of John Hay and Extracts from Diary, Volume 1, p. 182. Michael Burlingame, Editor, At Lincoln’s Side: John Hay’s Civil War Correspondence and Selected Writings, p. 80; Tyler Dennett, Editor, Lincoln and the Civil War in the Diaries and Letters of John Hay, p. 171.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Diary of John Hay: March 24, 1864

I arrived at Washington this morning, finding Nicolay in bed at 7 o'clock in the morning. We talked over matters for a little while and I got some ideas of the situation from him.

After breakfast I talked with the President. There was no special necessity of presenting my papers, as I found he thoroughly understood the state of affairs in Florida, and did not seem in the least annoyed by the newspaper falsehoods about the matter. Gen. Halleck, I learn, has continually given out that the expedition was the President's and not his (Halleck’s),—so Fox tells me. The President said he has not seen Gillmore’s letters to Halleck, but said he had learned from Stanton that they had nothing to bear out Halleck’s assertion. I suppose Halleck is badly bilious about Grant. Grant, the President says, is Commander-in-Chief, and Halleck is now nothing but a staff officer. In fact, says the President, “when McClellan seemed incompetent to the work of handling an army and we sent for Halleck to take command, he stipulated that it should be with the full power and responsibility of Commander-in-Chief. He ran it on that basis till Pope’s defeat; but ever since that event he has shrunk from responsibility whenever it was possible."

SOURCES: Clara B. Hay, Letters of John Hay and Extracts from Diary, Volume 1, p. 179-80. See Michael Burlingame & John R. Turner Ettlinger, Editors, Inside Lincoln's White House: The Complete Civil War Diary of John Hay, p. 183 for the full diary entry.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: April 18, 1863

We have nothing more from the Peninsula, Suffolk, N. C, or South Carolina; but it is rumored that the enemy's gun-boats (seven or eight) have passed down the Mississippi in spite of our batteries at Vicksburg, which sunk one of them. If this be true, it is bad news.

We have lovely weather now, and vegetation shows signs of the return of the vernal season. We shall soon have blossoms and roses in abundance, and table vegetables too, to dispel the fears of famine. But we shall also have the horrid sounds of devastating war; and many a cheerful dame and damsel to-day, must soon put on the weeds of mourning.

Gen. Jos. E. Johnston has assumed the command of the army of Tennessee. Gen. Howell Cobb is preparing for the defense of Florida. We do not hear a word from Lee or Jackson — but this is the ominous silence preceding their decisive action.

Bacon fell to-day from $2 to $1 50 per pound, and butter from $3.50 to $3.25; potatoes are $16 per bushel. And yet they say there is no scarcity in the country. Such supplies are hoarded and hidden to extort high prices from the destitute. An intelligent gentleman from North Carolina told me, to-day, that food was never more abundant in his State; nevertheless, the extortioners are demanding there very high prices.

This evening we have dispatches (unofficial) confirmatory of the passing of Vicksburg by the enemy's gun-boats. One of them was destroyed, and two disabled, while five got by uninjured. This is not cheering. No doubt an attack by land will be made, by superior numbers, and blood will gush in streams!

It is now said that Longstreet has captured two gun-boats in the Nansemond, and taken 600 prisoners; and that the Yankees in Norfolk have been thrown into great commotion. The general in command there, Veille, has adopted very stringent measures to keep the people sympathizing with our cause in subjection. Perhaps he fears an outbreak.

The weather continues fine, and we must soon have important operations in the field.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 295-6

Friday, April 28, 2017

Diary of John Hay: March 3, 1864

We went out to the bar and passed it. I heard the sea hammering on the guards, and turned over for another nap. Came back to Fernandina. The sea was very heavy; a steady line of breakers rolling in over the bar without a break in three fathoms water. . . .

I spent part of evening on board the Peconic. Trash for a little while till I got opportunity to talk to Judge Fraser who seems a sincere and candid man with clear views. He thinks the time is not yet come for Florida.

I am very sure that we cannot now get the President's 10th, and that to alter the suffrage law for a bare tithe would not give us the moral force we want. The people of the interior would be indignant against such a snap-judgment taken by incomers and would be jealous and sallow.

SOURCES: Clara B. Hay, Letters of John Hay and Extracts from Diary, Volume 1, p. 170-1; The entire entery may be found in Michael Burlingame’s Inside Lincoln's White House: The Complete Civil War Diary of John Hay, p. 173.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Diary of John Hay: February 21, 1864

Hilton Head. Got over bar this morning soon after day. Bingham woke me up with the miserable news of Henry’s death, loss of seven pieces, capture of four hundred wounded, and our total repulse about seven miles beyond Sanderson. He has despatches from Turner to Gillmore.

Arrived at Hilton Head about 9½ after a good run of 14½ hours. Delivered our news to Gen'l Gillmore. The General was much shocked. He said: — “This comes of disobeying orders.” He dwelt on this for some time. He said afterwards: — “I should rather he had lost these men in obedience to orders than in disobedience.”

Seymour has been very unsteady and queer since the beginning of this campaign. He has been subject to violent alternations of timidity and rashness, now declaring Florida loyalty was all bosh, now lauding it as the purest article extant; now insisting that Beauregard was in his front with the whole confederacy, and now asserting that he could whip all the rebels in Florida with a good brigade. He was ordered to fortify St. Mary's and Baldwin, but pushed out beyond Sanderson instead and got severely punished.

SOURCES: Clara B. Hay, Letters of John Hay and Extracts from Diary, Volume 1, p. 167-8; Tyler Dennett, Editor, Lincoln and the Civil War in the diaries and letters of John Hay, p. 164; Michael Burlingame, Editor, Inside Lincoln's White House: The Complete Civil War Diary of John Hay, p. 169.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Diary of John Hay: Wednesday, January 20, 1864

On arriving at Hilton Head yesterday afternoon I found that Gen. Gilmore’s Headquarters were now at Hilton Head. I went on shore, met Col. Smith, and made an appointment to be presented to Gen. G. later. Took tea at the Port Royal House and was told by the gentlemanly proprietor that I had better forage on my friends for a bed. Was presented to the General and delivered my letter to Gen. G. He seemed perplexed rather, and evidently thought he was expected to undertake some immediate military operation to effect the occupation and reconstruction. He dwelt on the deficiency of transportation in the Department and the immobility of his force for the purposes of land attack. He has only now after great efforts succeeded in mounting a regiment of infantry for cavalry service, etc., etc. I told him it was not the President's intention to do anything to embarrass his military operations; that all I wished from him was an order directing me to go to Florida and open my books of record for the oaths; as preliminary to future proceedings.

He said we would speak farther of it. Meanwhile I will wait for my papers delayed at New York.

SOURCES: Clara B. Hay, Letters of John Hay and Extracts from Diary, Volume 1, p. 156-7; for the entire diary entry see Tyler Dennett, Editor, Lincoln and the Civil War in the Diaries and Letter of John Hay, p. 155-6.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Diary of John Hay: Tuesday, December 28, 1863

I received to-night letters from Page and Stickney asking me to come down to Florida and be their Representative in Congress.

Talked with the President about the matter of the reconstruction of Florida. He wants me to take one of his Oath-books down to Point Lookout, and get the matter going there, and after that he will appoint me a Commissioner to go to Florida and engineer business there. By their meeting at St. Augustine, the other day, there seems a prospect of getting the State under way early next Spring. I will go down and form my plans after I get there as to my own course. . . .

SOURCES: Clara B. Hay, Letters of John Hay and Extracts from Diary, Volume 1, p. 145-6; for the entire diary entry see Tyler Dennett, Editor, Lincoln and the Civil War in the Diaries and Letter of John Hay, p. 145-6.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Diary of Gideon Welles: Friday, December 26, 1862

Some talk in Cabinet of Thayer's scheme of emigration to Florida.1

Blair read his opinion of the proposition for making a new State of Western Virginia. His views correspond with mine, but are abler and more elaborately stated. Mr. Bates read a portion of his opinion on the constitutional point, which appeared to me decisive and conclusive. The President has called for opinions from each of his Cabinet. I had the first rough draft of mine in my pocket, though not entirely copied. Chase said his was completed, but he had not brought it with him. Seward said he was wholly unprepared. Stanton assured the President he would be ready with his in season. The President said it would answer his purpose if the opinions of each were handed in on or before Tuesday.

1 This was a proposal to colonize Florida with loyal citizens from the North. Its author was Eli Thayer, whose Emigrant Aid Company had been largely instrumental in making Kansas a Free State. He afterwards advocated it in a public speech at the Cooper Institute, New York, February 7, 1863.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 1: 1861 – March 30, 1864, p. 206-7

Saturday, October 8, 2016

William Cullen Bryant to Richard H. Dana, Esq., May 14, 1863

roslyn, May 14, 1863

How this war drags on! Yet I cannot help believing that it will end suddenly, almost unexpectedly, as the Indian War did in Florida, twenty years ago, when General Worth penetrated to the Everglades, to the wigwams where the savages had their families, and they, seeing that further resistance was hopeless, yielded themselves as submissive as lambs. We have all along, in my opinion, conducted the war on a false principle, weakening our forces by the loosest dispersion, and strengthening the rebels by keeping them in a compact body, when there was no necessity for all this. I think I see symptoms of a disposition to depart from this policy; and, when we do, I shall conclude the war is near an end.

I have been looking over Cowper's translation of Homer lately, and comparing it with the original. It has astonished me that one who wrote such strong English as Cowper in his original compositions, should have put Homer, who wrote also with simplicity and spirit, into such phraseology as he has done. For example, when Ulysses, in the fifth book of the Odyssey, asks, “What will become of me?” Cowper makes him say:

“—what destiny at last
Attends me?”

and so on. The greater part is in such stilted phrase, and all the freedom and fire of the old poet is lost.

SOURCE: Parke Godwin, A Biography of William Cullen Bryant, Volume 1, p. 192