Showing posts with label Health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Health. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes to Sardis Birchard, July 30, 1864

CAMP FIVE MILES SOUTH OF HARPERS FERRY, VIRGINIA, 
July 30, 1864. 

DEAR UNCLE: – I received your letter of the 13th last night. I hardly know what to think about your bank. It seems likely enough that greenbacks may get lower as compared with gold, and perhaps all property employed in banking may depreciate correspondingly. But I am not thinking much of these things now and have no opinions on them which I think of any value. 

As to that candidacy for Congress, I care nothing at all about it, neither for the nomination nor for the election.* It was merely easier to let the thing take its own course than to get up a letter declining to run and then to explain it to everybody who might choose to bore me about it. 

We are gathering an army here apparently to drive the Rebels out of the Valley. I hope we shall be long enough about it to give the men rest and to heal their sore feet. We have had now three months of hard campaigning - marched one thousand to one thousand two hundred miles, besides [travelling] seven hundred (miles) by railroad and steamboat. Much night marching, four or five pitched battles, and skirmishing every other day. 

My health is good — perfect; bothered with boils from constant riding in hot weather, but of no importance. 

I wish you to send my letters to Mother. It will be a comfort to her to hear oftener than I have time to write. Colonel Mulligan was shot down very near me. We were side by side conversing a few moments before. My orderly was wounded, also my horse. Lieutenant Kelly had the narrowest possible escapes — several — balls grazing his head, ear, and body – Mrs. Zimmerman's brother, you know.

Sincerely,
R. B. HAYES. 
_______________ 

* Hayes had received numerous letters from friends in Cincinnati, William Henry Smith, R. H. Stephenson, E. T. Carson, and others, urging him to be a candidate. He was too busy in the field to bother about politics. But he was nominated August 6, and elected in November, without having taken any part in the canvass. 

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 488-9

Monday, August 10, 2020

Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes to Sophia Birchard Hayes, June 30, 1864

Camp [piatt], Ten Miles Above Charleston,
West Virginia, June 30, 1864.

Dear Mother: — We got safely back to this point yesterday after being almost two months within the Rebel lines. . . . We have had a severe and hazardous campaign and have, I think, done a great deal of good. While we have suffered a good deal from want of food and sleep, we have lost very few men and are generally in the best of health. . . . General Crook has won the love and confidence of all. General Hunter is not so fortunate. General Averell has not been successful either. We had our first night's quiet rest all night for many weeks.

Dr. Joe went to Ohio with our wounded yesterday and will see Lucy. He has been a great treasure to our wounded.

We have hauled two hundred [wounded men] over both the Blue Ridge and the Alleghenies and many smaller mountains, besides crossing James River and other streams. Our impression is that the Rebels are at the end of their means and our success now will speedily close the Rebellion.

Affectionately,
R. B. Hayes.
Mrs. Sophia Hayes.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 477-8

Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes to Sophia Birchard Hayes, July 2, 1864

Charleston, West Virginia, July 2, 1864.

Dear Mother: — We got back here yesterday. I find a letter from you [of] June 11. No doubt others are on the way from Martinsburg — the point to which all our letters were forwarded for some weeks.

I am glad you are back at Columbus again and in tolerable health. We have had altogether the severest time I have yet known in the war. We have marched almost continually for two months, fighting often, with insufficient food and sleep, crossed the three ranges of the Alleghenies four times, the ranges of the Blue Ridge twice, marched several times all day and all night without sleeping, and yet my health was never better. I think I have not even lost flesh.

We all believe in our general. He is a considerate, humane man; a thorough soldier and disciplinarian. He is hereafter to have the sole command of us. I mean, of course, General Crook. General Hunter was chief in command, and is not much esteemed by us. . . . I think Colonel Comly will get home a few days. His health has not been very good during the latter part of our campaign.

I hope you will not be overanxious about me. What is for the best will happen. In the meantime I am probably doing as much good and enjoying as much happiness here as I could anywhere. — Love to all. I knew you would like Mrs. Platt.

Affectionately, good-bye,
R.
P. S. — I expect to remain here a fortnight or more.


Mrs. Sophia Hayes.


SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 479-80

Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes to Sardis Hayes, July 2, 1864

Charleston, West Virginia, July 2, 1864.

Dear UnclE: — We are told this morning that General Crook is to have the command of the “Army of the Kanawha,” independent of all control below Grant. If so, good. I don't doubt it. This will secure us the much needed rest we have hoped for and keep us here two or three weeks. My health is excellent, but many men are badly used up. . . .

I do not feel sure yet of the result of Grant's and Sherman's campaigns. One thing I have become satisfied of. The Rebels are now using their last man and last bread. There is absolutely nothing left in reserve. Whip what is now in the field, and the game is ended.

Sincerely,
R. B. Hayes.
S. BlRCHAKD.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 480

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Diary of 5th Sergeant Osborn H. Oldroyd: May 27, 1863

t was three o'clock this morning before we camped. A tiresome tramp we have had, and after halting, but a few minutes elapsed before we were fast asleep. We were up, however, with the sun, took breakfast and were on the march again at eight o'clock. We halted two hours at noon, during which time we had dinner and rest. Camped again in the evening without having come in contact with the enemy. We do not know where Johnston is, but shall find him if he is in the neighborhood. This excursion party is composed of six regiments, and should we meet Johnston, and his force prove to be the largest, we shall have to fight hard, for we are now some distance from reinforcements. The health of our boys, however, is good-although one of them complains of worms—in his crackers. A change from city to country life seems generally acceptable-and yet as it was, our residence was only suburban.

SOURCE: Osborn Hamiline Oldroyd, A Soldier's Story of the Siege of Vicksburg, p. 37-8

Monday, February 10, 2020

Captain Charles Wright Wills: September 1, 1864

September 1st, '64.

A real autumn morning. We were aroused at 3 a. m. and the air was then almost crisp. A breath of cold air is a luxury we can appreciate. A fresh, cool breeze is now stirring and I can almost hear the leaves falling. It is a real yellow fall and does me more good than aught else could, except a letter from home. Haven't had one from you for ten days. A prisoner says that yesterday's fight was rougher on them than the 28th of July fight. He said their brigade came up in front of our men, and though they did not stay more than long enough to take one look, when they got back under cover they were 500 men short. They afterwards charged again, and he said he doubted whether any of them got off alive and sound.

This is the 124th day of the campaign, exactly 90 of which we have been under fire. Have also moved 340 miles, though the direct road would be much less. The boys say we just finished the summer campaign in time to commence the fall ditto. I guess the movement surprised Hood. Prisoners all say they understood it to be a raiding party. ’Tis a rather mighty one. The country between these two railroads is rather better than any we have seen before in Georgia, but I never saw any in Illinois half as poor. Hardly any of the land has been under cultivation since the war commenced. A little sickly corn and a few patches of sorghum and millet are about all the farming evidence I have seen. Northern Alabama and a few counties in Mississippi are the only passable parts of the Confederacy that I have seen. Mrs. Lee Henty’s grand plantations, with their “hospitable mansions, whose broad verandas, supported by graceful pillars,” etc., are principally “bosh,” at least as far as northern Georgia is concerned. The health of the regiment is excellent, the men being, if anything, healthier than the officers. The lieutenant colonel and major, though both with us, are not yet reported for duty. Captain Boyd, Lieutenants Fox, A. & J. Smith are quite unwell. Captains Post, Vorhees, Smith and myself have at different times been all the officers fit for duty. I believe I am the only one who has never been off duty during the campaign, though Post, Smith, Vorhees and Dorrance have lost but a few days each, Smith, I believe only one. I don't believe these Rebels can be in very good spirits. I am afraid I'd be a little blue if we'd been whipped as often as they have this campaign. Most of the prisoners are great “peace” men, but they all say that their leaders will never give up as long as they can raise a brigade to fight. Every pup of them has hopes that the Chicago Convention will do something for them, they hardly know what. I heard one of the boys say he wished that the Convention could be induced to charge us in these works. There's talk of our going home to vote.

About 2 p. m. a signal officer in a tree reported that he could see our troops moving in line down the railroad toward us. It was the 23d and 4th Corps. The 14th which held the left of our line, about the same time commenced to swing its left around, and by 4 p. m. a battle opened. The 14th broke the enemy's line before the 23d got up, and alone rolled the Rebels up in fine style. By dark the 14th had captured from 12 to 20 pieces of artillery and a large number of prisoners. Three hours more of daylight and Hardee would have had no corps left, for the 4th and 23d were swinging further to the left, and would have been in his rear in less than two hours, when our whole line would have closed in on them.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 295-7

Friday, December 27, 2019

Captain Charles Wright Wills: August 5, 1864

August 5, 1864.

After the fight of the 28th July, we advanced on the 30th, 31st and April [sic] 1st, when we came to a strong line of Rebel rifle pits, densely populated, and their main works about 400 yards behind the pits.

On the 2d details from each brigade in the corps were ordered to drive the Rebels out of said pits. It was done, our division capturing 78 prisoners. The Rebels tried to retake them, but failed, of course, leaving with our boys, among other dead, a colonel and a major. Only one company (K), of our regiment was in the fight; it had two men wounded. I was on picket there the next day; 'twas a lively place, but I lost no men. Some of the men fired over 100 rounds. The 23d and 14th Corps have swung around on our right, the object being to throw our line across the Macon railroad. We have heard that Stoneman was captured with 400 men at Macon. Kilpatrick started on a raid yesterday. Stoneman burned a Rebel wagon train of 600 wagons, and sabered the mules. Cruel, but right. The 14th Corps yesterday gobbled 700 prisoners. There are a few Rebel riflemen who keep the bullets whistling around us here; they killed a Company E man 20 yards to the right on the 4th. Health of the regiment never better, and that is the best index of the morale.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 288

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

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.

RED STICK.

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

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes to Sophia Birchard Hayes, March 26, 1864

Camp White, March 26, 1864.

Dear Mother: — We are now having a cold rain-storm, but are all well. There is considerable sickness among our new recruits of the usual sort — measles, mumps, and a little smallpox and fever. Nothing very serious so far, and as the weather gets warmer we hope to get clear of it altogether.

Mrs. Ellen, a nice lady, wife of our quartermaster, is teaching the two smaller boys regularly and speaks very encouragingly of her scholars. Lucy schools the larger boy with a young soldier who is a good deal older than Birch, but not so far advanced. . . .

I hope you will get through the raw weather of spring without serious illness. — Love to all.

Affectionately, your son,
R.
Mrs. Sophia Hayes.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 452

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Captain Charles Wright Wills: July 16, 1864

July 16, 1864, 76th of the Campaign.

I can hear no firing to-day, but we are so far from the right or center that we could hear nothing less than a 13-inch mortar. I will tell you all I know of the situation just to let you know how little a soldier knows of what is going on. In papers of this date you will see twice as much. The 17th Army Corps lies on the right bank of the river, and to the right of the army, six miles below the railroad crossing, skirmishing with the enemy on the opposite side. Next comes the 20th, 14th and 4th on the same side, the 4th lying across the railroad four miles, further up the 23d crossed the river, but probably only holds a position, as we do. Then the 16th Corps joins the left of the 23d, and the 15th last, both on the left bank. Not being perfect in heavy strategy, I can't exactly see the point, but no doubt Sherman does. I suppose the 4th, 14th and 20th Corps will cross near the railroad bridge, and be the first to occupy Atlanta. If we can't get to give Johnston a sound thrashing, I don't care about marching another step until fall. Health of the regiment still good, but we are expecting sickness soon. We have had a terrific thunderstorm, killed five men and wounded eight in the 18th Missouri, and killed a teamster and some mules. I never saw but one or two more severe ones.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 279-80

Friday, May 31, 2019

Captain Charles Wright Wills: July 7, 1864


July 7, 1864.

The shooting still continues in our front, but hear no Rebel artillery. The water here is excellent, and everybody seems to get a few blackberries. We also stew grapes and green apples, and everything that ever was eaten by anti-cannibals. There is so much confounded fighting to be attended to that we can't forage any, and though fresh beef is furnished to the men regularly there is some scurvy. I have seen several black-mouthed, loose-toothed fellows, hankering after pickles. Teamsters and hangers-on who stay in the rear get potatoes, etc., quite regularly. I do not believe the Johnnies intend fighting again very strongly this side of the river. Our scouts say that between the river and Atlanta the works run line after line as thickly as they can be put in. Per contra, two women who came from Atlanta on the 6th say that after we get across the river we will have no fighting, that Johnston is sending his troops to Savannah, Charleston, Mobile and Richmond, except enough to fight us at different river crossings. Our scouts also say that the Rebels are deserting almost by thousands, and going around our flanks to their homes in Tennessee, Kentucky, etc. I have not been in a house in Georgia, but several citizens I have met in camp said they had heard many soldiers say they would never cross the river with Johnston since the charge of the 27th.

Harrow has kept our brigade in reserve, and I think he will continue to do so unless a general battle is fought. We have suffered more heavily than any other two brigades in the army, and when we started we were one of the smallest. I am willing to see some of the others go in a while, though I want to help if Johnston will stand a fair fight in open ground. The chigres are becoming terrific. They are as large as the blunt end of a No. 12 and as red as blood. They will crawl through any cloth and bite worse than a flea, and poison the flesh very badly. They affect some more than others. I get along with them comparatively well, that is, I don't scratch more than half the time. Many of the boys anoint their bodies with bacon rinds, which the chigres can't go. Salt-water bathing also bars chigres, but salt is too scarce to use on human meat. Some of the boys bathing now in a little creek in front of me; look like what I expect “Sut Lovegood's” father did after plowing through that hornet's nest. All done by chigres. I believe I pick off my neck and clothes 30 varieties of measuring worm every day. Our brigade quartermaster yesterday found, under his saddle in his tent, a rattlesnake, with six rattles and a button.

This is the 68th day of the campaign. We hope to end it by August 1st, though if we can end the war by continuing this until January 1st, '65, I am in. Reinforcements are coming in every day, and I don't suppose we are any weaker than when we left Chattanooga. The Rebels undoubtedly are, besides the natural demoralization due to falling back so much must be awful. My health is excellent. Remember me to all the wounded boys of the 103d you see.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 274-6

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Captain Charles Wright Wills: June 5, 1864

June 5, 1864.

The Rebels run last night. Everything gone this morning slick and clean. Our regiment was the first in their works. I was over their works to-day and find three lines, two of them very strong. A number of dead men lay beween their lines and ours, which neither side could bury. They were killed during Hooker's fight of May 25th.

Well, I expect another heat like this at the Chattahochie river and when we get them out of there, as we are bound to do, ho! for easy times!

My health continues excellent, and I hope it will until this campaign is over. I am making up for some of my easy times soldiering. The Rebels were awful dirty and the smell in their camps dreadful.

We got some 25 prisoners in front of our division. I think one more big stand will wind the thing up. They made no noise whatever in getting away. I was from 12 to 3 o'clock in the night working within 75 yards of them and did not hear them at all. At one place their works ran through a graveyard, and they had torn down all the palings inclosing graves, to make beds for themselves, and unnecessarily destroyed everything of beauty around. I am sure we would not have done so in our own country, and I would not anywhere. I don't give these Rebels half the credit for humanity or any of the qualities civilized beings should possess, that I used to. I estimate loss of our army here at 7,000 — killed, wounded and missing. It may be more. Heavy reinforcements are arriving though, and the strength of the army is much greater than at any time heretofore. Spirits excellent. I could tell some awful stories of dead men, but forbear. We moved at 9 a. m. about four and one-half miles toward the railroad and have gone into camp for the night.

This is the first day since May 26th that I have been out of the range of Rebel guns, and hardly an hour of that time that the bullets have not been whistling and thumping around. I tell you it is a strain on a man's nerves, but like everything else that hurts, one feels better when he gets over it.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 254-5

Sunday, October 28, 2018

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

Still in Blackshear, and quiet. Many incidents happened when I was out in the wood, and I am just crazy to get there once more. Look at the tall trees in sight, and could hug them. My long sickness and the terrible place in which I was confined so long, and my recovering health, and the hope now of getting entirely well and recovering my liberty, has made a new man of me — a new lease of life, as it were. The Bucks are the best of fellows, and having money which they use for my benefit the same as their own, we get along swimmingly. One of these days my Northern friends and relatives will hear from me. Am getting over my lameness, and have an appetite for more than my supply of food. Certainly had a good constitution to stand all that has been passed through, during which time thousands and thousands died, of apparently better health than myself. Of all my many messmates and friends in prison, have lost track of them all; some died, in fact nearly all, and the balance scattered, the Lord only knows where. What stories we can talk over when we meet at the North. This Blackshear country is rather a nice section. Warm and pleasant, although rather low. Don't know where we are located, but must be not far from the coast.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 134

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

George S. Denison to Salmon P. Chase, August 26, 1862

New Orleans, Aug. 26th, 1862.

Dear Sir: The troops at Baton Rouge have evacuated the place, without destroying it, and are now joined to Gen. Phelps' command at Carrolton. His effective force is now about six thousand men and many guns, and is sufficient for the defence of the place. The fortifications are strong, and Gen. Phelps has the entire confidence of his men. An attack on the City was feared, and therefore the troops were brought down from Baton Rouge. The secessionists confidently expect the city to be taken soon, and had they succeeded at Baton Rouge, an attack on the City would have followed immediately. I do not believe it will now be made, but if attempted, will certainly be unsuccessful. They expected aid in the City, but Gen. Butler has disarmed all citizens. About 25,000 arms of various kinds have been given up.

The first Louisiana Reg't. is full and ready for service, and nearly enough men enlisted to form a second Reg't. The men are generally foreigners — many Germans — and will do good service.

A free Colored Reg't. formerly in Rebel service, is being organized. Probably this Regiment will be increased to a Brigade. I urged this matter upon Gen. Butler, but he had already decided upon it favorably. The free negroes of Louisiana, are certainly superior, as a class, to the Creoles (descendants of French and Spanish settlers). They are intelligent, energetic and industrious, as is evident from the fact (as stated to me) that they own one seventh of the real estate in this city. This is their own work, for they commenced with nothing, of course.

These men will be good soldiers. Gen. Phelps has at his camp 1,500 men — escaped slaves. Enough to make a full regiment are drilled (without arms) and go through all movements well. I do not know whether Gen. Butler intends them to have arms. They are good looking men, and I believe will be good soldiers.

The health of the troops is good, except those lately at Vicksburg, among whom however, deaths have been few. The City is quite healthy, and there is no longer much danger from Yellow Fever. This is owing to Gen. Butler's severe quarantine regulations. A few more days of health will render us perfectly secure.

The Union sentiment is developing itself satisfactorily. The laboring classes are our friends. When the great Southern armies are broken up they will no longer be afraid, and all will be well.
Provisions are high, and there is much suffering in the City. It is much to be regretted that the River was not opened, so that provisions might be cheap. The condition of the people now is scarcely better than under rebel rule — as to food, I mean.

For other reasons, the opening of the River is of the utmost consequence.

Much complaint is made by Union men, and justly, that those who have been secessionists, are frequently given employment by the authorities, to the exclusion of Union men. Concerning the Custom House there have been no such complaints, I believe, for I have been particularly careful in selecting officers, but I regret to say that other departments have not exercised the same care.

Col. Butler is a brother of Gen'l. Butler and came out with the army, and immediately commenced doing business. He is not in government employ. He is here for the sole purpose of making money, and it is stated by secessionists — and by some Union men—that he has made half a million dollars, or more. I regret his being here at all, for it is not proper that the brother of the commanding General, should devote himself to such an object. It leads to the belief that the General himself is interested with him, and such is the belief of our enemies and of some of our friends. The effect is bad. General Butler seems entirely devoted to the interests of the Government. I have observed closely his brother's course. I do not believe the General is interested in his speculations. I have delayed mentioning this matter until now, hoping to be better informed. Hon. Reverdy Johnson can give you as much information as I can.1 I believe Gen. Butler is disinterested and that he is a most able officer though in a difficult position. Should I learn anything further, you will be informed.
_______________

1 Hon. Reverdy Johnson, Senator from Maryland, was “appointed by the State Department as a special agent, to proceed to New Orleans and investigate and report upon the complaints made by foreign consuls against the late military proceedings in their respective cases.” (Secretary Stanton to General Butler, June 10, 1862, Rebellion Records, Series I, Vol. XV, p. 471. Cf. Series III, Vol. II. Cf. also the appendix to these letters.)

SOURCE: Diary and correspondence of Salmon P. ChaseAnnual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1902, Vol. 2, p. 310-2

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

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

Saturday, May 26, 2018

William T. Sherman to Ellen Ewing Sherman, October 29, 1859

Steamer L. M. Kennett [at Cairo], Saturday, Oct. 29, 1859.

. . . Should my health utterly fail me or abolition drive me and all moderate men from the South, then we can retreat down the Hocking and exist until time puts us away under ground. This is not poetically expressed but is the basis of my present plans.

I find southern men, even as well informed as ——— as big fools as the abolitionists. Though Brown's whole expedition proves clearly that [while] the northern people oppose slavery in the abstract, yet very few [will] go so far as to act. Yet the extreme southrons pretend to think that the northern people have nothing to do but to steal niggers and to preach sedition.

John's1 position and Tom's2 may force me at times to appear opposed to extreme southern views, or they may attempt to extract from me promises I will not give, and it may be that this position as the head of a military college, south may be inconsistent with decent independence. I don't much apprehend such a state of case, still feeling runs so high, where a nigger is concerned, that like religious questions, common sense is disregarded, and knowledge of the character of mankind in such cases leads me to point out a combination of events that may yet operate on our future.

I have heard men of good sense say that the union of the states any longer was impossible, and that the South was preparing for a change. If such a change be contemplated and overt acts be attempted of course I will not go with the South, because with slavery and the whole civilized world opposed to it, they in case of leaving the union will have worse wars and tumults than now distinguish Mexico. If I have to fight hereafter I prefer an open country and white enemies. I merely allude to these things now because I have heard a good deal lately about such things, and generally that the Southern States by military colleges and organizations were looking to a dissolution of the Union. If they design to protect themselves against negroes and abolitionists I will help; if they propose to leave the Union on account of a supposed fact that the northern people are all abolitionists like Giddings and Brown then I will stand by Ohio and the northwest.

I am on a common kind of boat. River low. Fare eighteen dollars. A hard set aboard; but at Cairo I suppose we take aboard the railroad passengers, a better class. I have all my traps safe aboard, will land my bed and boxes at Red River, will go on to Baton Rouge, and then be governed by circumstances.

The weather is clear and cold and I have a bad cough, asthma of course, but hope to be better tomorrow. I have a stateroom to myself, but at Cairo suppose we will have a crowd; if possible I will keep a room to myself in case I want to burn the paper3 of which I will have some left, but in case of a second person being put in I can sleep by day and sit up at night, all pretty much the same in the long run. . .
_______________

1 John Sherman. — Ed.

2 Thomas Ewing Jr., brother of Mrs. Sherman. - Ed.

3 Nitre paper burned to relieve asthma.— Ed.

SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, Editor, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 43-5

Friday, May 18, 2018

Captain Charles Wright Wills: April 9, 1864

Scottsboro, Ala., April 9, 1864.

Don't be alarmed and imagine that I have “photos” on the brain. This is in all probability the last remittance of the article that I shall make you. General Corse, our old brigade commander, we think a great deal of, and would like to have you preserve his picture. The little soldier, Johnny Clem, was a sergeant at the time of the Chickamauga battle, and fought like a hero. His comrades say he killed a Rebel officer of high rank there. For his gallant conduct in that massacre, General Thomas gave him a lieutenancy and position on his staff, where he now is. He is almost a perfect image of one, Willie Blackburn, who was my orderly in the 7th.

The day of jubilee has come at this post; that is, we have, once more, something fit to eat. This is the first day since we've been here that our commissary has furnished us with aught but regular rations. We can wish for nothing now, except “marching orders.” My men are in splendid condition. Everyone of them in A1 health and spirits. All the veterans of the division are back, except the three regiments of our brigade. The 55th Illinois has at last concluded to veteran. Two hundred of them will be at home shortly. They held a new election, left Malmsberg and Chandler out in the cold, and I understand, a goodly number of their best officers besides. Men who have not been under good disciplinarians, will almost invariably, if an election is allowed, choose good fellows for officers. That is, men who allow everything to go at loose ends, who have no business whatever with commissions. Captain Milt. Hainey and Captain Augustine, I understand, are to be colonel and lieutenant colonel of the 55th. They are said to be good men and officers, and exceptions to the above, but my experience is such exceptions are rare, and I'd rather time would prove them than man's words. I believe my company would veteran, almost unanimously, to-day. I am still on court-martial duty, and having a very easy time. We seldom sit over two hours, and never more than four hours a day. The most of the cases are for desertion, and absence without leave, with occasionally a shooting or cutting affair among some drunken men. The major and several of the other officers are absent at Nashville on a shopping excursion. Captain Wyskoff is commanding. He has been trying for the last eight months to resign, but papers come back every time disapproved. It's hard work now to get out of the army. By a few items I have seen in the papers, believe the 17th Army Corps is coming up the river. Wish they would be sent here. We need another corps to move with us on to Rome. Suppose that Grant thinks he must have the 17th with him at Richmond. Operations cannot possibly commence here for 25 days yet. Wish we could move to-morrow. Colonel Wright and I were out a few miles this p. m. to see a couple of maidens. While we were enjoying our visit a party of excited citizens (all liable to the Southern conscription) rush in, and kindly invite us to go down to Fossets' in the bottom, and clean out a half dozen “guerils” who were there after conscripts. ’Twas only a half mile through the woods to Fossets’ and that was closer than we wanted to be to such a party (we had no arms). So we told the excited citizens that they and the guerillas could all go to the d---1 and we'd go to camp. Within a mile of camp we met a company on the way to look for the Rebels, but I know they might as well look for a religious chaplain in the army as for the Rebels in that swamp. There is hardly a sign of spring here yet. Have certainly never seen vegetation as far advanced North at this season as it is here now. Need a fire every day. The last month has been colder than January was. I met a woman to-day who prides herself on belonging to one of the first families of Virginia and boasts that her grandsire's plantation and George Washington's almost joined, and showed me a negro woman 110 years old, that formerly waited upon George Washington. She claims to be chivalry, par excellence. Her husband is in the Rebel Army. She lives off of the United States Commissary Department, and begs her chewing tobacco of United States soldiers. She's a Rebel, and talks it with her mouth full of Uncle Sam's bread and bacon.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 223-5

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Luman Harris Tenney: July 7, 1864


Got clothing and issued. Not very well today. Have had several good games of chess with Major. Wrote to Roxena yesterday.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 124