Showing posts with label Food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Food. Show all posts

Monday, November 16, 2020

Diary of Private Louis Leon: August 26, 1862

Up to date did not get half enough to eat.

SOURCE: Louis Leon, Diary of a Tar Heel Confederate Soldier, p. 10

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Major-General Benjamin F. Butler to Edwin M. Stanton, May 16, 1862

New Orleans, May 16, 1862.
Secretary of War:

SIR: Since my dispatch of May 8* I received information that a large amount of specie was concealed in the liquor store of one Am Couturee, who claims to be consul for the Netherlands.

*          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *

The necessity having now passed which led me to allow the temporary use of Confederate notes, I have ordered them suppressed in ten days from to-day. Please see General Orders, No. 29, to that effect. I beg leave to call your attention to the subject of opening the port of New Orleans. No measure could tend more to change the entire feelings and relations of the people here than this. If not opened to foreign ships and ports, why not with the Northern ports? Have we not a right as against aliens to carry our own products from one part of our own country to the other?

Nothing has tended so much to the quiet acquiescence of the well-disposed people here to the rule of the United States as the opening, which I have done, of postal facilities North and with Europe, under proper restrictions. It was a measure which seemed to me so essential and so relieved the mercantile portion of the community that I have allowed it, and shall so do until further orders from the Department.

Upon the same ground I have the honor to urge the opening of the port of New Orleans at least to the limited extent above mentioned. As a question of the supply of food it is vital. A different state of things exists here from every other point taken before during the war, with the exception of Baltimore. Here is a community, large and wealthy, living and substantially quietly submitting to, if they all do not relish, our Government.

We need their products; they need ours. If we wish to bind them to us more strongly than can be done by the bayonet, let them again feel the beneficence of the United States Government as they have seen and are now feeling its power. Specially will this affect favorably the numerous and honestly conducting foreign residents residing here. How does this city now differ from Baltimore in June last, save that it is occupied by a smaller force and is more orderly? In the matter of trade, importation and exportation, I cannot distinguish the two.

It was found absolutely necessary to take some measures in addition to those taken by the city government to relieve the immediate sufferings of the poor people from hunger. I accordingly took the action set forth in General Orders, No. 25. Its effect has been to diminish much suffering and aid in bringing back the citizens to a sense of duty.

I forward also copies of General Orders, 27, 28, 29, which will explain themselves. No. 28 became an absolute necessity from the outrageous conduct of the secession women here, who took every means of insulting my soldiers and inflaming the mob.

Here I am happy to add that within the city of New Orleans the first instance of wrong or injury done by any soldier to any man or woman or any instance of plunder above a petty theft yet remains to be reported to me. There is an instance of gross outrage and plunder on the part of some of the Wisconsin regiment at Kenner, some 12 miles above here, while on the march to possess ourselves of the Jackson Railroad, who when they return will be most exemplarily punished. I must send home some of my transport ships in ballast by the terms of their charter. In accordance with the terms of my order No. 22 I have caused to be bought a very considerable quantity of sugar, but as yet very little cotton. This has gone very far to reassure the planters and factors. They are sending their agents everywhere into the interior to endeavor to stop the burning of the crops.

Nobody can be better aware than myself that I have no right to buy this property with the money of the United States, even if I had any of it, which I have not. But I have bought it with my own money and upon my individual credit. The articles are sugar, rosin, and turpentine. I have sent these as ballast in the several transport ships, which otherwise would have to be sent to Ship Island for sand. These articles will be worth more in New York and Boston than I paid for them here through my agents. If the Government choose to take them and reimburse me for them I am content. If not, I am quite content to keep them and pay the Government a reasonable freight. Whatever may be done the Government will save by the transaction. I only desire that neither motives nor action shall be misunderstood.

I have sent General Williams, with two regiments and a light battery, to accompany the flag-officer up the river to occupy or land and aid in taking any point where resistance may be offered. Baton Rouge has already surrendered and the flag is raised over it. The machines from the Arsenal for making arms are removed to a distance, but where they cannot be at present used. The naval forces with General Williams have gone above Natchez, and the gunboats are proceeding to Vicksburg, which the rebels are endeavoring to fortify, but I do not believe, from all I learn, with any success. The flag-officer is aground just below Natchez in the Hartford, and I have dispatched two boats to light him off.

I should have sent more troops with General Williams, but it was impossible to get transportation for them. The rebels had burned and disabled every boat that they did not hide, and then their machinists refused to work on their repair.

By dint of the most urgent measures I have compelled repairs, so that I am now getting some transportation, and have sent a boat to Fort Pickens for General Arnold, of which I understand him to be in the utmost need. I have sent into the various bayous and have succeeded in digging out of the bushes several steamers; one or two very good ones.

Colonel McMillan, of the Twenty-first Indiana Regiment, on Monday last, in a little creek leading out of Berwick Bay, some 80 miles from here, succeeded with an ox-cart in cutting out the rebel steamer Fox, loaded with 15 tons of powder and a large quantity of quicksilver, medicines, and stores. The steamer was formerly the G. W. Whitman, of New York, and has succeeded in running the blockade four times.

Colonel McMillan is now engaged in scouring the bayous and lagoons through which the rebels have been supplied with ammunition, causing large quantities to be destroyed and capturing some where the pursuit is quick enough. In no other way can the same amount of distress be brought upon the rebel army, as they are much in want of ammunition, and we are intercepting all supplies. A very large amount of ordnance and ordnance stores have been captured here and are now being cared for and inventoried.

Large numbers of Union men—Americans, Germans, and French—have desired to enlist in our service. I have directed the regiments to fill themselves up with these recruits. I can enlist a regiment or more here, if the Department think it desirable, of true and loyal men. I do not think, however, that Governor Moore would commission the officers. Such a corps being desirable, would it not be possible to have an independent organization, with commissions from the President. These troops would be very useful in manning the forts at Pontchartrain and down the river, which are fearfully unhealthy. They might have a company or two of Northern soldiers for instructors and for fear of possible accident.

I shall have the transportation ready for a movement on Mobile as soon as the flag-officer returns from up the river. I am engaged in arranging for it. I will get the transportation, so as to go across the lake by the inside route.

I have endeavored in several ways to get communication with General Buell, so as to co-operate with him, but as yet have failed. Although I am not by the terms of my instructions enjoined to penetrate the interior, yet I shall do so at once, if the public service can be aided.

General Lovell, when he retreated from this city, took with him to Camp Moore between 8,000 and 9,000 men. He is 80 miles away, and such is the height of the water that it is nearly impossible to march, he having gone on the railroad and taken all his rolling stock with him. More than one-half of that army has left him, and perhaps one-third has returned to this city, put on citizens' clothes, and are quiet. I think General Lovell is doing as well as he can for the present. A defeat could hardly disorganize his forces more rapidly.

I trust my requisitions will be promptly forwarded, especially for food and mosquito-nets, which are a prime necessity.

The city council have endeavored to excite the French population here and to act by resolution upon the arrival of the French war steamer Catina as to induce the belief that there was some understanding between themselves and the French Government.

I append copy of letter to the council upon that subject, marked L; also copy of letter to the French consul as to spoliations at Kenner, marked M.

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

BENJ. F. BUTLER,              
Major-General, Commanding.

† For portion of the letter here omitted and which relates to seizures of the specie referred to and complications with other consuls, see inclosures to letter from the Secretary of state to Hon. Reverdy Johnson, June 10, 1862, Series III, Vol. 2.


[Inclosure L.]

[Inclosure M.]

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 15 (Serial No. 21), p. 422-4. For inclosures see p. 425-7.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Major-General Benjamin F. Butler: General Orders, No. 25, May 9, 1862

New Orleans, May 9, 1862.

The deplorable state of destitution and hunger of the mechanics and working classes in this city has been brought to the knowledge of the commanding general.

He has yielded to every suggestion made by the city government, and ordered every method of furnishing food to the people of New Orleans that government desired. No relief by those officials has yet been afforded. This hunger does not pinch the wealthy and influential leaders of the rebellion, who have gotten up this war and are now endeavoring to prosecute it without regard to the starving poor, the working man, his wife and child. Unmindful of their suffering fellow-citizens at home, they have caused or suffered provisions to be carried out of the city for Confederate service since the occupation by the United States forces.

Lafayette Square, their home of affluence, was made the depot of stores and munitions of war for the rebel armies, and not of provisions for their poor neighbors. Striking hands with the vile, the gambler, the idler, and the ruffian, they have destroyed the sugar and cotton, which might have been exchanged for food for the industrious and good, and regrated the price of that which is left by discrediting the very currency they had furnished, while they eloped with the specie, as well that stolen from the United States as the banks, the property of the good people of New Orleans, thus leaving them to ruin and starvation.

Fugitives from justice many of them, and others their associates staying because too puerile and insignificant to be objects of punishment by the clement Government of the United States.

They have betrayed their country; they have been false to every trust; they have shown themselves incapable of defending the State they had seized upon, although they have forced every poor man's child into their service as soldiers for that purpose, while they made their sons and nephews officers.

They cannot protect those whom they have ruined, but have left them to the mercies and assassinations of a chronic mob.

They will not feed those whom they are starving.

Mostly without property themselves, they have plundered, stolen, and destroyed the means of those who had property, leaving children penniless and old age hopeless.

Men of Louisiana, workmen, property-holders, merchants, and citizens of the United States, of whatever nation you have had birth, how long will you uphold these flagrant wrongs and by inaction suffer yourselves to be made the serfs of these leaders?

The United States have sent land and naval forces here to fight and subdue rebellious armies in array against her authority. We find substantially only fugitive masses, runaway property-burners, a whisky-drinking mob, and starving citizens, with their wives and children. It is our duty to call back the first, to punish the second, root out the third, feed and protect the last.

Ready only for war, we had not prepared ourselves to feed the hungry and relieve the distressed with provisions. But to the extent possible within the power of the commanding general it shall be done.

He has captured a quantity of beef and sugar intended for the rebels in the field. A thousand barrels of these stores will be distributed among the deserving poor of this city, from whom the rebels had plundered it, even although some of the food will go to supply the craving wants of the wives and children of those now herding at Camp Moore and elsewhere in arms against the United States.

Capt. John Clark, acting chief commissary of subsistence, will be charged with the execution of this order, and will give public notice of the place and manner of distribution, which will be arranged, as far as possible so that the unworthy and dissolute will not share its benefits.

By command of Major-General Butler:
GEO. C. STRONG,               
Assistant Adjutant-General, Chief of Staff.

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 15 (Serial No. 21), p. 425-6

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: December 24, 1863

Another interposition of Providence in behalf of my family. The bookseller who purchased the edition of the first volume of my “Wild Western Scenes—new series,” since Mr. Malsby's departure from the country, paid me $300 to-day, copyright, and promises more very soon. I immediately bought a load of coal, $31.50, and a half cord of wood for $19. I must now secure some food for next month.

Among the papers sent in by the President, to-day, was one from Gen. Whiting, who, from information received by him, believes there will be an attack on Wilmington before long, and asks reinforcements.

One from Gen. Beauregard, intimating that he cannot spare any of his troops for the West, or for North Carolina. The President notes on this, however, that the troops may be sent where they may seem to be actually needed.

Also an application to permit one of Gen. Sterling Price's sons to visit the Confederate States, which the President is not disposed to grant.

The lower house of Congress yesterday passed a bill putting into the army all who have hitherto kept out of it by employing substitutes. I think the Senate will also pass it. There is great consternation among the speculators.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 118-9

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Diary of Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes: Wednesday, May 11, 1864

Blacksburg, nine miles, through a finely cultivated country; constant pursuit of mounted videttes. We caught Colonel Linkus, formerly of [the] Thirty-sixth [Virginia], as he was leaving town. Camped about 2 P. M. on a fine slope in a fierce rain-storm. No comfort.

I protect all the property in my vicinity. I take food and forage and burn rails, but all pillaging and plundering my brigade is clear from. I can't say as much for the Pennsylvania regiments, Third and Fourth, etc. Their conduct is most disgraceful. An officer may be excused for an occasional outrage by some villain in his command, but this infamous and universal plundering ought to dispose of shoulder-straps. Camped on Amos' farm — engaged in the Rebellion.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 457

Monday, October 14, 2019

Letter from “Red Stick,” December 4, 1861

CAMP NEVIS, Ky., December 4, 1861:—I have another opportunity of talking with my pen to you and to the readers of the JOURNAL.  As expected, we are still here, not knowing when we will advance.  Our force here is sufficient for a good hand to hand encounter with the rebels.  So far we are like Old Maids are said to be: “Ready but not wanted!” It is openly proclaimed in camp to-day that we will be able for an advance as soon as one million freemen unite their destiny with ours, and march from their homes in the Great Free West, for they need a body guard at the houses of every man in the State of Kentucky.

This is a singular war and it must be carried on with more regard to the wishers of the rebels than of interest to the country.  The property of well known secessionists must be strongly guarded and protected.  Away with this childish play.  If there is any law let its supremacy be vindicated.  Let the world know that we are capable of self government.  Let us stop boasting of our Nationality, and have a rigid enforcement of all laws.

The health of the 49th regiment is fast improving, and the men are satisfied.  They endure a soldier’s life like old campaigners.  The friends of soldiers in the 49th regiment need have no fears, for no man suffers.  They have plenty to eat of good and substantial food, but our Camp does not abound with luxuries.  It is hard bread, bacon, rice, beef, potatoes, coffee, &c.; the &c. being what is accidently picked up by the men.  They also have sufficient clothes to keep them dry and warm. All that we require of friends at home, is to write us cheering letters and not forget to send us the papers.

On Thanksgiving Day, while our friends in Ohio were living on the fat of the land—I know that in many households a seat was vacant at the festive board by the absence of a son, husband or father, who had gone forth to battle for their country—our Thanksgiving was passed on picket guard!  For thirty-six hours we stood at the post of duty, during the whole of which time it rained very hard.  We were compelled to ford creeks where the water was three feet deep, and during the whole time lived upon two scanty meals.  With the creeks and the rain together we get pretty thoroughly soaked, but not a murmur was heard.

Lieut. Wilcox is on the sick list, but he is now convalescent, and bids fair to soon be entirely recovered.

On the third day of December it snowed all day, and we now have about seven inches of snow, good skating and excellent sleighing.—The boys only regret that the Buckeye girls they left behind could not enjoy the pleasure of a sleigh with them.

Capt. Bartlett and squad of men, have gone out rabbit-hunting.  By the way, the captain is extremely popular with his men.

This morning Capt. Lovejoy accidently shot himself in the mouth with his revolver.  The ball lodged in the upper jaw.  The wound is not considered dangerous.

So far the Paymaster has not made the acquaintance of the 49th regiment, but we are all anxious for an introduction.

In the 49th regiment we have Bob Morris’ Sheep Skin Band, whose music reminds one of the croackings of the bull-frogs in some dismal swamp.  Their music is unearthly and should be abolished.

John Stoner, a Printer boy in Company F, makes a good soldier.

The railroad bridge across salt river has washed away and cut of supplies.  Some regiments are reported as having nothing but bacon and coffee.  With them hard bread would be a luxury.

Winter has come, and with it its pelting storms, but we hope it may not be a “winter of discontent.

We are willing, if necessary, to have the 72nd regiment track the 49th in their victorious marches, through snow-drifts and rivers of ice making our tracks traceable by bloody footsteps upon the frozen snow.  Our blood may chill but our love of country shall remain unchilled forever.


SOURCE: “Army Correspondence,” The Freemont Weekly Journal, Freemont, Ohio, Friday, December 13, 1861, p. 2.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Laura M. Towne: Sunday, June 13, 1862

St. Helena Island, June 13,1862.

You do not know how comfortable and even elegant our apartments are, now that we have all the furniture the cotton agent had in his half of the house. There are no other such accommodations in this region, and we shall be foolish to go away for anything but health. If there should be any likelihood of sickness, we can remove easily to the watering-place of the islands, St. Helenaville, about six miles from here, and then we can ride over twice a week or so to see our people. But I do not see why this place cannot be a good enough location to stay in all summer. As for the late alarm about "Secesh" coming, everybody is ashamed of it, and all try to prove that they were not frightened at such an unlikelihood. It is an impossibility now, as gunboats are stationed on all sides. I am so glad we did not run. It was a great shame we had all the bother of packing our trunks and unpacking them again. . . .

You may imagine that I was not well pleased to see my entire letter printed. That last — “but I must get a little sleep” — seems so boasting, and in other places I would have modified it. But I do not care much. If my present leisure continues, I shall perhaps write for the Tribune an occasional letter; but Mr. McKim is taking notes, and will tell everything, I fancy. Lucy is a very nice girl and she is busy collecting facts, etc. Mr. French, too, is writing a book, and so there will be an overstock of information, I think. . . .

Dr. Hering's looking-glasses have come, but not his violins, and the candy and sugar are enjoyed hugely. . . .

I wish you were as free from every fret as I am, and as happy. I never was so entirely so as now, and no wonder. We found the people here naked, and beginning to loathe their everlasting hominy, — afraid and discontented about being made to work as slaves, and without assurance of freedom or pay, of clothes or food, — and now they are jolly and happy and decently fed and dressed, and so full of affection and gratitude to the people who are relieving them that it is rather too flattering to be enjoyed. It will not last, I dare say, but it is genuine now and they are working like Trojans. They keep up the tasks of those who have gone to the forts and do not complain of any amount of little extra jobs. It is such a satisfaction to an abolitionist to see that they are proving conclusively that they can and will and even like to work enough at least to support themselves and give something extra to Government.

All my affairs go swimmingly (I have the Boston clothing too now, only there is none to sell), so do not think of me as being a martyr of any kind.

SOURCE: Rupert Sargent Holland, Editor, Letters and Diary of Laura M. Towne: Written from the Sea Islands of South Carolina 1862-1864, p. 67-8

Friday, August 2, 2019

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: November 21, 1863

We have further reports from the West, confirming the success of Longstreet. It is said he has taken 2200 prisoners, and is probably at Knoxville.

The President left the city this morning for Orange Court House, on a visit to Gen. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia.

We are a shabby-looking people now — gaunt, and many in rags. But there is food enough, and cloth enough, if we had a Roman Dictator to order an equitable distribution.

The Secretary of War is destined to have an uncomfortable time. After assuring the Legislature and the people that provisions in transitu would not be impressed, it is ascertained that the agents of the Commissary-General are impressing such supplies, and the Secretary is reluctant to interfere, the Commissary-General being understood to have the support of the President.

A committee of the Grand Jury yesterday submitted a paper to the President, on the subject of provisions — indicating the proximity of famine, and deprecating impressments. The President sent it to the Secretary, saying Mr. Seddon would no doubt take measures to keep the people of Richmond from starving; and directing the Secretary to "confer" with him. But to-day he is off to the army, and perhaps some may starve before any relief can be afforded.

A genteel suit of clothes cannot be had now for less than $700. A pair of boots, $200—if good. I saw to-day, suspended from a window, an opossum dressed for cooking, with a card in its mouth, marked "price, $10." It weighed about four pounds. I luxuriated on parsnips to-day, from my own little garden.

A dollar in gold sold for $18 Confederate money, to-day. Our paper is constantly depreciating; and I think it is past redemption, unless we adopt Mr. Moseley's plan, and cause some six or eight hundred millions to be canceled, and fix a maximum price for all commodities necessary for the support of life. Congress will never agree upon any measure of relief. But if the paper money be repudiated, nevertheless we shall have our independence, unless the Southern people should become mad, divided among themselves. Subjugation of a united people, such as ours, occupying such a vast extent of territory, is impossible. The tenure of its occupation by an invading army would always be uncertain, and a million would be required to hold it.

A hard rain commenced falling this evening, and continued in the night. This, I suppose, will put an end to operations in Virginia, and we shall have another respite, and hold Richmond at least another winter. But such weather must cause severe suffering among the prisoners on Belle Isle, where there are not tents enough for so large a body of men. Their government may, however, now consent to an exchange. Day before yesterday some 40,000 rations were sent them by the United States flag-boat — which will suffice for three days, by which time I hope many will be taken away. Our Commissary-General Northrop has but little meat and bread for them, or for our own soldiers in the field. It must be confessed they have but small fare, and, indeed, all of us who have not been "picking and stealing," fare badly. Yet we have quite as good health, and much better appetites than when we had sumptuous living.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 101-2

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: October 25, 1863

We have nothing new this morning; but letters to the department from North and South Carolina indicate that while the troops in Virginia are almost perishing for food, the farmers are anxious to deliver the tithes, but the quartermaster and commissary agents are negligent or designedly remiss in their duty. The consequence will be the loss of the greater portion of these supplies, and the enhancement of the price of the remainder in the hands of the monopolists and speculators.

The Southern Express Co. has monopolized the railroads, delivering cotton for speculators, who send it to the United States, while the Confederate States cannot place enough money in Europe to pay for the supplies needed for the army.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 82

Sunday, December 16, 2018

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

And another day of vicissitudes. We traveled last night about four miles, piloted by a young negro. It was a terrible walk to me; slow and painful. Were fed, and have food for to-day. Are now about three miles from a canal which we must cross before another morning. Negroes say “Sherman most here” and “Bress de Lord!” Mr. Kimball lives nine miles away and we must reach him some way, but it seems an impossibility for me to go so far. Are now in a high and fine country, but too open for us. Have to lay down all day in the bushes. David is a thorough scout. Goes crawling around on his hands and knees taking in his bearings. Troops are encamped on the main road. Every cross road has its pickets, and it is slow business to escape running into them. Eli S. Buck has a sore throat and is hoarse. Pretty good jaunt for him, tough as he is. Shall have no guide to-night, as Dave thinks he can engineer us all right in the right direction. Some thinks he will leave us both and reach Kimball's to-night, and then come back and see us through. Guess I will be on hand to go along however.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 144-5

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: December 14, 1864

We are now three miles from yesterday's resting place, and near the Miller plantation. Soon as dark last night we went to the negro huts and found them expecting us. Had a jubilee. No whites near, but all away. The Buck boys passed near here before when out in the woods, and knew of many darkys who befriended them. Had a surfeit of food. Stayed at the huts until after midnight, and then a woman brought us to this place. Tonight we go to Jocko's hut, across the river. A darky will row us across the Little Ogechee to Jocco's hut, and then he will take us in tow. It is a rice country about here, with canals running every way. Negroes all tickled to death because Yankees coming. I am feeling better than yesterday, but difficult to travel. Tell the boys they had better leave me with the friendly blacks and go ahead to our lines, but they won't. Plenty to eat and milk to drink, which is just what I want. The whites now are all away from their homes and most of the negroes. Imagine we can hear the booming of cannon, but guess we are mistaken. Dave is very entertaining and good company. Don't get tired of him and his talk. Both of them are in rebel dress throughout, and can talk and act just like rebels. Know the commanders of different rebel regiments. They say that when out before they on different occasions mixed with the Southern army, without detection Said they didn't wonder the widow woman knew I was a Yankee. Ain't up to that kind of thing.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 138-41

Monday, October 29, 2018

Diary of Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes: September 20, 1863

Abbott and party returned. Found the mountains filled with deserters and refugees, the roads and paths patrolled by Rebel soldiers in pursuit of them. Food scarce; returned in consequence of difficulty of getting food and the great number patrolling all routes. Many very desperate gangs of Union men in the mountains.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 436

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: December 8, 1864

There are many men of many minds here. That used to be a favorite copy at writing school in Jackson, Mich. “Many men of many minds, many birds of many kinds.” How a person's thoughts go back to the old boyhood days in such a place as this. Happiest times of life are those of youth, but we didn't know it. Everybody told us so, but we didn't believe it; but now it is plain. Every one, I think, has that experience. We all see where we might have done different if we only had our lives to live over, but alas, it is not to be. A majority of the men here have about half enough to eat. Our mess has enough to eat, thanks to our own ingenuity. Now expect to go away from here every day. Have borrowed a needle, begged some thread, and have been sewing up my clothing; am well fixed up, as are also the Bucks Am quite handy with the needle, and it is difficult to make some of them believe I am not a tailor by trade. If I always keep my ways mended as I do my clothes, I shall get along very well. Eli has come with four large yams bought of a guard and we will proceed to cook and eat a good supper, and then go to bed and perhaps dream of something pleasant to remember the next day. Rumors of all kinds in camp, and rebels say something is up that will interest us, but I can get no satisfaction as to what it is. Drew cuts for the extra potato, and Dave won, and he cut that article of food into three pieces and we all had a share. Good boy.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 133-4

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: December 3, 1864

Blackshear is an out-of-the-way place, and shouldn't think the Yankee army would ever find us here. The climate is delightful. Here it is December and at the North right in the middle of winter, and probably good sleighing, and cold; while here it is actually warm during the day time, and at night not uncomfortably cold. The Buck boys are jolly good fellows, and full of fun. Seem to have taken a new lease of life myself. Both of them are in good health and fleshy, and open for an escape any hour. And we don't stay here but a few days, the guards say. Why not keep us on the cars and run us around the country all the time? There is no wall or anything around us here, only guards. Encamped right in the open air. Have food once a day, just whatever they have to give us. Last night had sweet potatoes. I am getting considerably heavier in weight, and must weigh one hundred and forty pounds or more. Still lame, however, and I fear permanently so. Teeth are firm in my mouth now, and can eat as well as ever, and oh! such an appetite. Would like to see the pile of food that I couldn't eat. Found Rowe and Bullock, and Hub Dakin. They are well, and all live in jolly expectancy of the next move. The old coverlid still protects my person. The Bucks have also each a good blanket, and we are comfortable. Some fresh beef given us to-day; not much, but suppose all they have got. Guard said he wished to God he was one of us prisoners instead of guarding us.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 131

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: November 18, 1864

None being taken away to-day, I believe on account of not getting transportation. Notice that rebel troops are passing through on the railroad and immense activity among them. Am now well satisfied of the correctness of my views as regards this movement. Have decided now to stay here until the last. Am getting ready for action however. Believe we are going to have a warm time of it in the next few months. Thank fortune I am as well as I am. Can stand considerable now. Food given us in smaller quantities, and hurriedly so too. All appears to be in a hurry. Cloudy, and rather wet weather, and getting decidedly cooler. My noble old coverlid is kept rolled up and ready to accompany me on my travels at any moment. Have my lame and stiff leg in training. Walk all over the prison until tired out so as to strengthen myself. Recruiting officers among us trying to induce prisoners to enter their army. Say it is no exchange for during the war, and half a dozen desert and go with them. Even if we are not exchanged during the war, don't think we will remain prisoners long.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 118

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: November 19, 1864

A car load went at about noon, and are pretty well thinned out. Over half gone — no one believes to our lines now; all hands afraid of going to Charleston. Believe I shall try and escape on the journey, although in no condition to rough it. Am going to engineer this thing to suit myself and have a little fun. Would like to be out from under rebel guard once more. When I can look around and not see a prison wall and a gun ready to shoot me, I shall rejoice. Have edged up to another comrade and we bunk together. Said comrade is Corporal Smith, belonging to an Indiana regiment. While he is no great guns, seems quite a sensible chap and a decided improvement on many here to mess with. The nights are cool, and a covering of great benefit. My being the owner of a good blanket makes me a very desirable comrade to mess with. Two or three together can keep much warmer than one alone. It is said that a number of outsiders have escaped and taken to the woods. Another load goes to-night or early in the morning. My turn will come pretty soon. Nothing new in our situation or the prospects ahead Food scarce, but of good quality. More go and I go to-morrow.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 118

Monday, May 21, 2018

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: November 11, 1864

Very well fed. There it goes again. Had determined not to say anything more about how we were fed, and now I have done it. However, I was not grumbling about it any way. Will merely add that I have an appetite larger than an elephant. Will also say that there are rumors of exchange, for exchange — a subject that has been spoken of before. Cannot possibly refrain from saying that I am feeling splendidly and worth a hundred dead men yet. Have two dollars in Confederate money and if I can sell this half canteen of dishwater soup shall have another dollar before dark. “Who takes it? Ah, here ye are! Sold again; business closed for to-night, gentlemen. Early in the morning shall have a fresh supply of this delicious soup, with real grease floating on top.” Shutters put up and we settle down for the night without depositing in the bank. Shan't go to sleep until ten or eleven o'clock, but lay and think, and build those air castles that always fall with a crash and bury us in the debris. Often hear the baying of hounds from a distance, through the night — and such strange sounds to the Northern ear. Good night. In rather a sentimental mood. Wonder if she is married?

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 114-5

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Luman Harris Tenney: Friday, August 12, 1864

Drew and issued more clothing during the day. At 5 P. M. division moved. A. B., Thede and I went ahead. Had two dishes of ice cream at expense of George Palmer. Went to the depot and saw 150 O. N. G. starting home. It makes us almost homesick and yet we do not envy them much. Called at Mr. Holtslander's — away. Then at Mr. Mills'. Much pleased with the family — pretty children — Flint, Leof and Lyra. Marched 15 miles. Crossed the river at Chain Bridge. Went into camp about midnight.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 127

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: November 9, 1864

This diary would seem to treat of two things principally, that of food and exchange. Try to write of something else, but my thoughts invariably turn to these two subjects. Prisoners of war will know how to excuse me for thus writing. A dead line has also been fixed up in Camp Lawton, but thus far no one has been shot. Rebel doctors inside examining men who may be troubled with disease prison life might aggravate. Those selected are taken outside and either put in hospitals or sent to our lines. Yankee ingenuity is brought into play to magnify diseases, and very often a thoroughly well man will make believe that he is going to die in less than a week unless taken away. Have laughed for an hour at the way a fellow by the name of Sawyer fooled them. The modus operandi will hardly bear writing in these pages, but will do to tell. Have made a raise of another pair of pants with both legs of the same length, and I discard the old ones to a “poor” prisoner. An advantage in the new pair is that there is plenty of room, too, from being three or four sizes too large, and the legs as long as the others were short. My one suspender has a partner now, and all runs smoothly. Although Bullock is fleshing up and getting better in health, he is a wreck and always will be. Seems to be a complete change in both body and mind. He was a favorite in our regiment, well known and well liked. Rowe is the same stiff, stern [patrician] as of old, calmly awaiting the next turn in the wheel of fortune.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 113-4

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: November 7, 1864

A rather cold rain wets all who have not shelter. Many ladies come to see us; don't come through the gate, but look at us through that loophole. Any one with money can buy extras in the way of food, but, alas, we have no money. Am now quite a trader — that is, I make up a very thin dish of soup and sell it for ten cents, or trade it for something. Am ravenously hungry now and can't get enough to eat. The disease has left my system, the body demands food, and I have to exert my speculative genius to get it. am quite a hand at such things and well calculated to take care of myself. A man belonging to the Masonic order need not stay here an hour. It seems as if every rebel officer was of that craft, and a prisoner has but to make himself known to be taken care of. Pretty strong secret association that will stand the fortunes of war. That is another thing I must do when I get home — join the Masons. No end of things for me to do: visit all the foreign countries that prisoners told me about, and not forgetting to take in Boston by the way, wear silk underclothing, join the masons, and above all educate myself to keep out of rebel prisons. A person has plenty of time to think here, more so than in Andersonville; there it was business to keep alive. Small alligator killed at lower part of the stream.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 112-3