Showing posts with label John Letcher. Show all posts
Showing posts with label John Letcher. Show all posts

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Diary of Gideon Welles: Tuesday, July 26, 1864

Fessenden has got out an advertisement for a new loan and an address to the people in its behalf. Am not certain that the latter is judicious. Capitalists will not as a general thing loan or invest for patriotism, but for good returns. The advertisement gives high interest, but accompanied by the appeal will excite doubt, rather than inspire confidence among the money-lenders. I am inclined to think he will get funds, for his plan is sensible and much wiser than anything of his predecessor. The idea with Chase seemed to be to pay low interest in money but high prices in irredeemable paper, a scheme that might have temporary success in getting friends and popularity with speculators but is ruinous to the country. The errors of Chase in this respect Mr. Fessenden seems inclined to correct, but other measures are wanted and I trust we shall have them.

Only Bates, Usher, and myself were at the Cabinet to day. Stanton sent over to inquire if his attendance was necessary.

There are rumors that the retreating Rebels have turned upon our troops in the valley, and that our forces, badly weakened by the withdrawal of the Sixth Army Corps, are retreating towards Harper's Ferry. This is not improbable. They may have been strengthened as our forces were weakened.

Rode out this evening, accompanied by Mrs. Welles, and spent an hour with the President and Mrs. Lincoln at the Soldiers' Home.

The papers contain a letter from Governor Letcher stating that General Hunter gave the order for burning his (L.'s) house. I shall wish to hear from H. before believing that he could give such an order, and yet I confess I am not without apprehensions, for Hunter is not always possessed of so much prudence as one should have who holds so responsible a position. The burning of the Institute at the same place and time was not creditable to the army, and if there is any justification or ameliorating circumstances, they should be made to appear. The crude and indefensible notions of some of our people, however, are not general. Indiscriminate warfare on all in the insurrectionary region is not general, and few would destroy private property wantonly.

The New York papers are engaged in a covert and systematic attack on the Navy Department, — covert so far as the Republican or Administration press is concerned. Greeley of the Tribune is secretly hostile to the President and assails him indirectly in this way; so of the Evening Post, a paper hitherto friendly but whose publisher is under bail for embezzlement and fraud which the Navy Department would not conceal. The Times is a profligate Seward and Weed organ, wholly unreliable and in these matters regardless of truth or principle. It supports the President because it is the present policy of Seward. The principal editor, Raymond, is an unscrupulous soldier of fortune, yet recently appointed Chairman of the Republican National Executive Committee. He and some of his colleagues are not to be trusted, yet these political vagabonds are the managers of the party organization. His paper, as well as others, are in a combination with Norman Wiard and pretenders like him against the monitors. Let the poor devils work at that question. The people will not be duped or misled to any great extent by them.

There are demonstrations for a new raid into Maryland and Pennsylvania. I told the President I trusted there would be some energy and decision in getting behind them, cutting them off, and not permitting them to go back, instead of a scare and getting forces to drive them back with their plunder. He said those were precisely his views and he had just been to see and say as much to Halleck. I inquired how H. responded to the suggestion. The President said he was considering it, and was now wanting to ascertain where they had crossed the Potomac and the direction they had taken.

I apprehend it is not a large force, but a cavalry raid, which will move rapidly and create alarm. Likely they will go into the Cumberland Valley and then west, for they will scarcely take the old route to return. But these are crude speculations of mine. I get nothing from Halleck, and I doubt if he has any plan, purpose, or suggestion. Before he will come to a conclusion the raiders will have passed beyond his reach.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 2: April 1, 1864 — December 31, 1866, p. 86-8

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Diary of Gideon Welles: Wednesday, July 13, 1864

It is no doubt true that the Rebels have left. I called on General Halleck on a matter of business, and while there, about 11, he had a telegram saying the Rebels passed through Rockville to the northwest about 3 this A.M. They are making, I remarked, for Edwards Ferry and will get off with their plunder if we have no force there to prevent. He said it was by no means certain they would cross at Edwards Ferry. We looked over the map together, and he, like myself, thought it probable they had taken that course. I remarked that they appeared not to have concentrated their force at any one place. Halleck asked by what authority I said that. There was harshness and spite in his tone. I coolly said by my own judgment and the observation of almost any one who had any intelligence on the subject. He said he did not think I had heard so from any military man who knew anything about it. I said no military man or any other had been able to tell me where they were concentrated to the amount of five thousand. Nor have I found any except Halleck, Hitchcock, and a few around the Department express an opinion that there was a large number, or that they were concentrated. They were defiant and insolent, our men were resolute and brave, but the Bureau generals were alarmed and ignorant, and have made themselves and the Administration appear contemptible.

The Rebels, before leaving, burnt the house of Judge Blair, Postmaster-General. This they claimed to have done in retaliation for the destruction of the house of Governor Letcher, — a disgraceful act and a disgraceful precedent. I have no idea that General Hunter or any officer authorized the burning of Letcher's house. It was doubtless done by some miscreants, hangers-on, stragglers, who ought to be punished. But men in authority appear to have had direction in burning Blair's house.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 2: April 1, 1864 — December 31, 1866, p. 76

Monday, August 10, 2020

Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes to Lucy Webb Hayes, July 2, 1864


Charleston, Camp Elk, July 2, 1864.

Dearest: — Back again to this point last night. Camped opposite the lower end of Camp White on the broad level bottom in the angle between Elk and Kanawha. My headquarters on one of the pretty wooded hills near Judge Summers.

Got your letter of 16th. All others gone around to Martinsburg. Will get them soon. Very much pleased to read about the boys and their good behaviour.

Dr. Joe went to Gallipolis with our wounded, expecting to visit you, but the rumors of an immediate movement brought him back. We now have a camp rumor that Crook is to command this Department. If so we shall stay here two or three weeks; otherwise, only a few days, probably.

You wrote one thoughtless sentence, complaining of Lincoln for failing to protect our unfortunate prisoners by retaliation. All a mistake, darling. All such things should be avoided as much as possible. We have done too much rather than too little. General Hunter turned Mrs. Governor Letcher and daughters out of their home at Lexington and on ten minutes' notice burned the beautiful place in retaliation for some bushwhackers' burning out Governor Pierpont [of West Virginia.]

And I am glad to say that General Crook's division officers and men were all disgusted with it.

I have just learned as a fact that General Crook has an independent command or separate district in the Department of West Virginia, which practically answers our purposes. We are styled the "Army of the Kanawha," headquarters in the field.

I have just got your letter of June 1. They will all get here sooner or later. The flag is a beautiful one. I see it floating now near the piers of the Elk River Bridge.

Three companies of the Twelfth under Major Carey are ordered to join the Twenty-third today — Lieutenants Otis, Hiltz and command them, making the Twenty-third the strongest veteran regiment. Colonel White and the rest bid us goodbye today. What an excellent man he is. I never knew a better.

You use the phrase "brutal Rebels." Don't be cheated in that way. There are enough "brutal Rebels" no doubt, but we have brutal officers and men too. I have had men brutally treated by our own officers on this raid. And there are plenty of humane Rebels. I have seen a good deal of it on this trip. War is a cruel business and there is brutality in it on all sides, but it is very idle to get up anxiety on account of any supposed peculiar cruelty on the part of Rebels. Keepers of prisons in Cincinnati, as well as in Danville, are hard-hearted and cruel.

Affectionately,
R.
Mrs. Hayes.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 478-9

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: January 1, 1864

A bright windy day, and not cold. The President has a reception to-day, and the City Councils have voted the hospitalities of the city to Brig.-Gen. J. H. Morgan, whose arrival is expected. If he comes, he will be the hero, and will have a larger crowd of admirers around him than the President. The Councils have also voted a sword to ex-Gov. Letcher, whose term of service ended yesterday. Gov. Wm. Smith—nicknamed Extra-Billy—is to be inaugurated to-day.

Flour is now held at $150 per barrel. Capt. Warner has just sold me two bushels of meal at $5 per bushel; the price in market is $16 per bushel.

I did not go to any of the receptions to-day; but remained at home, transplanting lettuce-plants, which have so far withstood the frost, and a couple of fig-bushes I bought yesterday. I am also breaking up some warm beds, for early vegetables, and spreading manure over my little garden: preparing for the siege and famine looked for in May and June, when the enemy encompasses the city. I bought some tripe and liver in the market at the low price of $1 per pound. Engaged to pay $250 hire for our servant this year.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 122-3

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: January 4, 1864

On Saturday, resolutions were unanimously adopted by the Senate complimenting Gen. Lee. This is his opportunity, if he be ambitious,—and who can see his heart? What man ever neglected such an opportunity?

The weather is dark and threatening. Again the rumor is circulated that ex-Gov. Letcher is to be Secretary of War. I don't believe that.

Major Tachman claims $5000 in gold and $1600 paper, because after raising two regiments in 1861 he was not made a brigadier-general. He says he expended that much money. I thought this Polish adventurer would give the government trouble.

Custis commenced his school to-night, with three scholars,—small beginnings, etc.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 124

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: December 19, 1863

Bright and cold. A resolution passed Congress, calling on the President to report the number of men of conscript age removed from the Quartermaster's and Commissary's Departments, in compliance with the act of last session. The Commissary-General, in response, refers only to clerks—none of whom, however, it seems have been removed.

Capt. Alexander, an officer under Gen. Winder, in charge or Castle Thunder (prison), has been relieved and arrested for malfeasance, etc.

Gen. C. J. McRae, charged with the investigation of the accounts of Isaacs, Campbell & Co., London, with Major Huse, the purchasing agent of Col. J. Gorgas, Chief of Ordnance, reports irregularities, overcharges, etc., and recommends retention of gold and cotton in this country belonging to I., C. & Co.

Mr. ——— informed me to-day that he signed a contract with the Commissary-General last night to furnish meat on the Mississippi in Tennessee, in exchange for cotton. He told me that the proposition was made by the Federal officers, and will have their connivance, if not the connivance of Federal functionaries in Washington, interested in the speculation. Lieut.-Col. Ruffin prefers trading with the enemy at New Orleans.

It is rumored that Mr. Seddon will resign, and be succeeded by Gov. Letcher; notwithstanding Hon. James Lyons asserted in public (and it appears in the Examiner to-day) that Gov. L. told Gen. J. R. Anderson last year, subsequent to the fall of Donelson, "he was still in favor of the Union."

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

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: September 30, 1863

Still nothing additional from Lee's or Bragg's army; but from abroad we learn that the British Government has prevented the rams built for us from leaving the Mersey.

Gen. Pemberton is here, and was closeted for several hours today with the Secretary of War.

Capt. J. H. Wright, 56th Georgia, gives another version of the surrender of Cumberland Gap. He is the friend of Gen. Frazer, and says he was induced to that step by the fear that the North Carolina regiments (62d and 63d) could not be relied on. Did he try them?

A Mr. Blair, Columbus, Miss., applies for permission to bring drugs from Memphis, and refers, for respectability, to President Davis and Gov. Letcher. His letter gives a list of prices of medicines in the Confederate States. I select the following: Quinine, per oz., $100; calomel, $20; blue mass, $20; Opium, $100; S. N. bismuth, $100; soda, $5; borax, $14; oil of bergamot, per lb., $100; indigo, $35; blue-stone, $10.

Boots are selling in this city at $100 per pair, and common shoes for $60. Shuck mattresses, $40. Blankets, $40 each; and sheets, cotton, $25 each. Wood is $40 per cord.

I submitted a proposition to the Secretary (of a quartermaster) to use some idle government wagons and some negro prisoners, to get in wood for the civil officers of the government, which could be done for $8 per cord; but the quartermasters opposed it.

But to-day I sent a letter to the President, suggesting that the perishable tithes (potatoes, meal, etc.) be sold at reasonable rates to the civil officers and the people, when in excess of the demand of the army, and that transportation be allowed, and that a government store be opened in Richmond. I, told him plainly, that without some speedy measure of relief there would be much discontent, for half the families here are neither half-fed nor half-clad. The measure, if adopted in all the cities, would be a beneficent one, and would give popular strength to the government, while it would be a death-blow to the speculators and extortioners. It will be seen what heed the government will give it.

Gen. Wise has his brigade in South Carolina.

The markets.—The quantity of produce in our markets continues large, and of good quality, but the prices remain as high as ever, as the following quotations will show: butter, $4; bacon, $2.75 to $3 per pound; lard, $2.25 per pound; beef, $1 to $1.25; lamb, $1 to $1.25; veal, $1 to $1.50; shote, $1.25 to $1.75; sausage, $1; chickens, $2.50 to $7 per pair; ducks, $5 per pair; salt herrings, $4 per dozen; cabbage, $1 to $1.50; green corn, $1.50 to $2 per dozen; sweet potatoes, $21 to $26 per bushel; Irish potatoes, 50 to 15 cts. per quart; snaps, $1 per quart; peas, 75 cts. to $1.25 per quart; butter-beans, $1 to $1.50 per quart; onions, $1.25 per quart; egg-plant, $1 to $2 a piece; tomatoes, 50 cts. to $1 per quart; country soap, $1 to $1.50 per pound.”

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 56-7

Monday, October 16, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: August 7, 1863

Nothing new from Lee's army — only that his troops are eager for another battle, when they are resolved to gain the day. There will probably not be so many prisoners taken as usual, since the alleged cruel treatment of our men now taken at Gettysburg, and the sending of Gen. Morgan to the Ohio Penitentiary, and shaving his head, by order of Gen. Burnside.

A dispatch from Beauregard, to-day, states that the enemy are getting large reinforcements, and are at work on their island batteries. There was a slow firing — and but one man killed.

It is believed that Governor Letcher will, reluctantly, call the Legislature together; but he says the members will exhibit only the bad spirit of the people they represent. What that means, I know not.

The Governor elect — commonly called “Extra-Billy Smith” — has resigned his brigadiership. But he is a candidate for a major-generalship, until inauguration day, 1st January. He has had an interview with the President, and proposes to take command of the troops defending the city — that Gen. Elzey may take the field. Smith would undoubtedly have a strong motive in defending the capital — but then he knows nothing of military affairs, yet I think he will be appointed.

Gen. Wise's batteries crippled and drove off the enemy's monitor and gun-boats day before yesterday. The monitor was towed down the James River in a disabled condition.

To-day, for the third time since the war began, I derived some money from our farm. It was another interposition of Providence. Once before, on the very days that money was indispensable, a Mr. Evans, a blockade-runner to the Eastern Shore of Virginia, came unexpectedly with $100 obtained from my agent, who has had the management of the farm for many years, and who is reported to be a Union man. To-day, just when my income is wholly insufficient to pay rent on the house — $500 per annum and $500 rent for the furniture, besides subsisting the family — at the very moment when my wife was about to part with the last of her little store of gold, to buy a few articles of furniture at auction, and save a heavy expense ($40 per month), the same Evans came to me, saying that although he had no money from my agent, if I would give him an order on the agent for $300, he would advance that amount in Treasury notes. I accepted the sum on his conditions. This is the work of a beneficent Providence, thus manifested on three different occasions, — and to doubt it would be to deserve damnation!

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2, p. 7-8

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: July 4, 1863

The Department Guard (my son with them) were marched last night back to the city, and out to Meadow Bridge, on the Chickahominy, some sixteen miles! The clerks, I understand, complain of bad meat (two or three ounces each) and mouldy bread; and some of them curse the authorities for fraudulent deception, as it was understood they would never be marched beyond the city defenses. But they had no alternative — the Secretaries would report the names of all who did not volunteer. Most of the poor fellows have families dependent on their salaries for bread — being refugees from their comfortable homes, for the cause of independence. If removed, their wives and little children, or brothers and sisters, must perish. They would be conscribed, and receive only $12 per month.

My friend Jacques did not return to the company yesterday, after all, although I saw him get into an ambulance with a basket of food. He got out again, sending the basket to Mr. K., the young chief of the bureau, and Judge Campbell allowed him to remain.

Mr. Myers the lawyer is much with Judge Campbell, working for his Jew clients, who sometimes, I am told, pay $1000 each to be got out of the army, and as high as $500 for a two months' detail, when battles are to be fought. Mr. M. thinks he has law for all he does.

A letter from Gen. D. H. Hill shows that it was his intention to bring on a battle on the 2d inst., but the enemy fled. It was only a feint below; but we may soon hear news from Hanover County.
Col. Gorgas (ordnance) writes that as his men are marched out to defend the city, he can't send much ammunition to Gen. Lee!

A letter from Lient.-Gen. E. Kirby Smith, dated June 15th, shows he was at Shreveport, La., at that date.

The poor militia were allowed to return to their homes to-day; but an hour after the tocsin sounded, and they were compelled to assemble and march again. This is the work of the Governor, and the Secretary of War says there was no necessity for it, as Confederate troops here now can defend the city, if attacked.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 369

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: Sunday Afternoon, June 28, 1863

Sunday Afternoon. — There are two reports of important events current in the streets: first, that Lee's army has taken and destroyed Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; and second, that Vicksburg has fallen. I am not prepared to credit either, although the first is said to be true by no less a person than Gov. Letcher. And yet one or both may be confirmed to-morrow; and if so, that is, if Vicksburg has fallen, and Lee should retire, as he must sooner or later, there will be a dark and desponding season in the Confederacy. But the war will go on.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 364

Friday, August 11, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: June 27, 1863 – 3. p.m.

3 O'clock P.m. — Three proclamations have just been issued! One (a joint one) from the President and the Governor, calling upon everybody to organize themselves into companies, battalions, and regiments, when they will be armed. They say “no time is to be lost, the danger is great.” The Mayor, in his document, warns the people in time to avoid the fate of New Orleans. He says the enemy is advancing on the city, and may assail it before Monday morning. This is Saturday. The third proclamation is by E. B. Robinson, one of my printers, twenty years ago, at Washington. He calls upon all natives of Maryland and the District of Columbia to report to him, and he will lead them against the enemy, and redeem them from the imputation of skulking or disloyalty cast upon poor refugees by the flint-hearted Shylocks of Richmond, who have extorted all their money from them.

Besides these inflammatory documents, the militia colonels have out notices for all men under forty-five years of age to meet in Broad Street to-morrow, Sunday.

I learn, however, that there are some 25,000 or 30,000 of the enemy at Yorktown; but if we can get together 12,000 fighting men, in the next twenty-four hours, to man the fortifications, there will not be much use for the militia and the clerks of the departments, more than as an internal police force. But I am not quite sure we can get that number.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 361-2

Monday, August 7, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: June 25, 1863

The excitement has subsided. No doubt small detachments of the enemy were seen at the places indicated, and Gen. Elzey (who some say had been drinking) alarmed the Governor with a tale of horror. The reports came through Gen. Winder's detectives, one-half of whom would rather see the enemy here than not, and will serve the side that pays most. Yet, we should be prepared.

I saw an indorsement by the President to-day, that foreigners should give guarantees of neutrality or be sent out of the city.

Nothing from Lee.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 360

Friday, April 7, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: April 2, 1863

This morning early a few hundred women and boys met as by concert in the Capitol Square, saying they were hungry, and must have food. The number continued to swell until there were more than a thousand. But few men were among them, and these were mostly foreign residents, with exemptions in their pockets. About nine A.m. the mob emerged from the western gates of the square, and proceeded down Ninth Street, passing the War Department, and crossing Main Street, increasing in magnitude at every step, but preserving silence and (so far) good order. Not knowing the meaning of such a procession, I asked a pale boy where they were going. A young woman, seemingly emaciated, but yet with a smile, answered that they were going to find something to eat I could not, for the life of me, refrain from expressing the hope that they might be successful; and I remarked they were going in the right direction to find plenty in the hands of the extortioners. I did not follow, to see what they did; but I learned an hour after that they marched through Cary Street, and entered diverse stores of the speculators, which they proceeded to empty of their contents. They impressed all the carts and drays in the street, which were speedily laden with meal, flour, shoes, etc. I did not learn whither these were driven; but probably they were rescued from those in charge of them. Nevertheless, an immense amount of provisions, and other articles, were borne by the mob, which continued to increase in numbers. An eye-witness says he saw a boy come out of a store with a hat full of money (notes); and I learned that when the mob turned up into Main Street, when all the shops were by this time closed, they broke in the plate-glass windows, demanding silks, jewelry, etc. Here they were incited to pillage valuables, not necessary for subsistence, by the class of residents (aliens) exempted from military duty by Judge Campbell, Assistant Secretary of War, in contravention of Judge Meredith's decision. Thus the work of spoliation went on, until the military appeared upon the scene, summoned by Gov. Letcher, whose term of service is near its close. He had the Riot Act read (by the mayor), and then threatened to fire on the mob. He gave them five minutes' time to disperse in, threatening to use military force (the city battalion being present) if they did not comply with the demand. The timid women fell back, and a pause was put to the devastation, though but few believed he would venture to put his threat in executions If he had done so, he would have been hung, no doubt.

About this time the President appeared, and ascending a dray, spoke to the people. He urged them to return to their homes, so that the bayonets there menacing them might be sent against the common enemy. He told them that such acts would bring famine upon them in the only form which could not be provided against, as it would deter people from bringing food to the city. He said he was willing to share his last loaf with the suffering people (his best horse had been stolen the night before), and he trusted we would all bear our privations with fortitude, and continue united against the Northern invaders, who were the authors of all our sufferings. He seemed deeply moved; and indeed it was a frightful spectacle, and perhaps an ominous one, if the government does not remove some of the quartermasters who have contributed very much to bring about the evil of scarcity. I mean those who have allowed transportation to forestalled and extortioners.

Gen. Elzey and Gen. Winder waited upon the Secretary of War in the morning, asking permission to call the troops from the camps near the city, to suppress the women and children by a summary process. But Mr. Seddon hesitated, and then declined authorizing any such absurdity. He said it was a municipal or State duty, and therefore he would not take the responsibility of interfering in the matter. Even in the moment of aspen consternation, he was still the politician.

I have not heard of any injuries sustained by the women and children. Nor have I heard how many stores the mob visited j and it must have been many.

All is quiet now (three p.m.); and I understand the government is issuing rice to the people.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 284-6

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: December 4, 1862

All is quiet (before the storm) on the Rappahannock, Gen. Jackson's corps being some twenty miles lower down the river than Longstreet's. It is said Burnside has been removed already and Hooker given the command.

Gen. S. Cooper takes sides with Col. Myers against Gen. Wise. Gen. W.'s letter of complaint of the words, “Let them suffer,” was referred to Gen. C., who insisted upon sending the letter to the Quartermaster-General before either the Secretary or the President saw it, — and it was done. Why do the Northern men here hate Wise?

Gen. Lee dispatches to-day that there is a very large amount of corn in the Rappahannock Valley, which can be procured, if wagons be sent from Richmond. What does this mean? That the enemy will come over and get it if we do not take it away?

A letter from the President of the Graniteville Cotton Mills, complains that only 75 per ct. profit is allowed by Act of Congress, whose operatives are exempted from military duty, if the law be interpreted to include sales to individuals as well as to the government, and suggesting certain modifications. He says he makes 14,000 yards per day, which is some 4,000,000 per annum. It costs him 20 cts. per yard to manufacture cotton cloth, including, of course, the cotton, and 75 per ct. will yield, I believe, $500,000 profits, which would be equivalent to 32 cts. per yard. But the market price, he says, is 68 cts. per yard, or some $2,000,000 profits! This war is a great encourager of domestic manufacturers, truly!

The Governor sends out a proclamation to-day, saying the President has called on him and other governors for assistance, in returning absent officers and men to their camps; in procuring supplies of food and clothing for the army; in drafting slaves to work on fortifications; and, finally, to put down the extortioners. The Governor invokes the people to respond promptly and fully. But how does this speak for the government, or rather the efficiency of the men who by “many indirect ways” came into power? Alas! it is a sad commentary.

The President sent a hundred papers to the department to-day, which he has been diligently poring over, as his pencil marks bear ample evidence. They were nearly all applications for office, and this business constitutes much of his labor.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 203-4

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Lieutenant-Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes to Sardis Birchard, April 22, 1862

Camp South Of Raleigh, Virginia, April 22, 1862.

Dear Uncle: — The ugly chap on the enclosed bill is Governor Letcher of Virginia. He is entitled to our lasting gratitude. He is doing more for us in this State than any two brigadiers I can think of. He has in all the counties, not occupied by our troops, little squads of volunteers busily engaged in hunting up and “squadding in,” as they call it, all persons capable of military duty. Thousands who wish to escape this draft are now hiding in the mountains or seeking refuge in our lines. Meantime the rascals are plundering and burning in all directions, making friends for the Union wherever they go. The defeat of the enemy in eastern Virginia sends this cobhouse tumbling very fast.

We left Raleigh last week and have been struggling against storms and freshets ever since. Today it has snowed, rained, sleeted, and turned off bright but gusty a dozen times. Camp muddy, tents wet, but all glad to be started.

I have for the present an independent command of the Twenty-third Regiment, a section of McMullen's Battery, and a small body of horse. We are the advance of Fremont's column. We are directed to move by “easy marches” forward south. The design being, I suppose, to overtake us in force by the time we meet any considerable body of the enemy. We meet and hear of small bodies of enemy now constantly, but as yet nothing capable of serious resistance.

I see that Buckland's Seventy-second was in the great battle at Pittsburg. Glad they are not reported as sharing the disgrace which seems to attach to some of the other new regiments. There was shocking neglect there, I should guess. Generals, not the regiments, ought to be disgraced. A sudden surprise by a great army with cavalry and artillery can't be had without gross negligence. The regiments surprised ought not [to] be held up to scorn if they are stricken with a panic in such a case. A few thousand men can slip up unperceived sometimes, but for an army of fifty or sixty thousand men to do it — pshaw! it's absurd. What happened to Buckland's regiment? Send your newspapers of Fremont giving letters from the regiment.

I see that your friend McPherson* is one of the distinguished. Good.

Colonel Scammon is back with the brigade, Thirtieth, Thirty-fourth, and a regiment of cavalry.

Good-bye,
R. B. Hayes.
_______________

* James B. McPherson, a native of Sandusky County. He was at that time chief engineer on General Grant's staff. A brilliant and able officer who rose to the position of corps commander. He was killed in battle at Atlanta, July 22, 1864, — the officer highest in rank and command killed during the war. His grave is at Clyde, Ohio, marked by an imposing monument. One of the entrances to Spiegel Grove bears his name.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 233

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Major Wilder Dwight: March 15, 1862

camp Near Winchester, March 15, 1862.

Of all the platitudes and jingles that ever amused and deluded a chivalrous people, the assertion, “You can't subjugate a State,” is the wildest. These people were first subjugated to secession, and now they are rapidly being subjugated back to loyalty. Subjection is what vast numbers of them sigh for. If only they were sure that the Union authority would last. Therein lies McClellan's wisdom. No step backward, is his motto. With such tactics, and with a bold and confident advance, I care not whether we fight battles or follow retreats, though the former is far better, we restore the Union.

I fear the people will regard the retreat from Manassas as a disappointment to our arms, and almost a Rebel success. I fear that they will think McClellan's preparation and generalship wasted. A little patience, however, may show that they are wrong. We have gained an immense moral victory over the Rebellion, and a short time hence we shall begin to see palpable material results. Only let us not, by a sudden and rash revulsion, begin at once to undervalue our foe. Nothing but the presence everywhere, in the seceded States, of Union bayonets will accomplish the Union's restoration. That is a work of some time and struggle, yet it must be done. The most dangerous heresy seems to me to be the suggestion that the States, having gone out, are to be governed as Territories. This involves the admission of the theory we went to war against. Martial law may be necessary within the States for a time; but the State, as well as the national government, is to be restored, or our contest is fruitless. Changes, rapid and unexpected, are the order of the day. Heintzelman's promotion to a corps d’armée leaves open his division. Yesterday, when I went to town, I found that General Hamilton was promoted to the command of that division. He went off yesterday afternoon, regret following him from every one. He is a great loss to us. His departure leaves a brigade vacant; accordingly our regiment is to-day transferred to Hamilton's old brigade, and Colonel Gordon, as senior Colonel, assigned to its command, as Acting Brigadier. This is a pleasing change, and it gives the Colonel room to show himself. It probably, for the present, may find me in command of the regiment, as Colonel Andrews is still on detached duty; but I shall make every exertion to have him returned to the regiment, in justice to him. He has fairly earned the right to the command, and I should not feel content to have him or the regiment deprived of it, though my own personal ambition might be gratified by so desirable a command. I hope I can sink myself in seeking always the welfare of the regiment, and the interest of so faithful an officer and friend as Colonel Andrews. I think more and more, though I am unwilling to write about it, that we missed the cleverest chance at cutting off and bagging Jackson and his force that ever fell in one's way. Caution is the sin of our generals, I am afraid; but military criticism is not graceful, and I will waive it for the present. Yet if you knew how we ache for a chance at fighting, how we feel that our little army corps out in this valley has no hope of it, you would not wonder that a leaden depression rests heavily upon us, as we think of our hesitating and peaceful advent to Winchester. And now why we do not push on upon Jackson at Strasburg passes my limited conjectural capacity to guess. I presume the reason to be that his evanescent tactics would be sure to result in his evaporation before we got there.

This morning a few companies of cavalry, four pieces of artillery, and five companies of infantry, Massachusetts Thirteenth, went out on an armed reconnoissance, and chased Colonel Ashby's cavalry several miles. The cavalry were too quick for them, and our own cavalry has no more chance of catching them than the wagon train has. They are admirably mounted and thoroughly trained. Where our men have to dismount and take down the bars, they fly over fences and across country like birds.

General Banks has just gone off to Washington. Conjecture is busy, again, with “why”? My guess is, that we have outlived our usefulness in the Shenandoah Valley, and that we shall make a cut through the gap into the path of the Grand Army. At any rate, nothing more can happen this side the mountains, and I certainly hope we shall not be absorbed into any force that is to be handled by General Fremont.

Our little town of Berryville is also called, as you may see on some of the maps, Battletown, probably with prescient sarcasm on –––'s anticipated cannonade of that peaceful agricultural implement, the threshing-machine. Who shall say that we are not engaged in the noble task of fulfilling prophecy and making history!

It is now Sunday morning. After two days' cloud and rain, we have bright sunshine. Colonel Andrews comes back to the regiment, and Colonel Gordon assumes his slippery honors as provisional brigadier.

I should like to go to church with you this morning, even in an east wind. Instead of it, however, I must content myself with thinking of you in my wind-swept camp near Winchester. I see that Governor Letcher appoints Winchester as a place of rendezvous for his new levy of militia. I only wish they would obey his order.

SOURCE: Elizabeth Amelia Dwight, Editor, Life and Letters of Wilder Dwight: Lieut.-Col. Second Mass. Inf. Vols., p. 211-3

Friday, June 24, 2016

Diary of Lieutenant-Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes: April 9, 1862

Rain; cooler than yesterday. Company B sent off to effect a crossing over Piney. Ten refugees from Monroe [County], escaping [Governor] Letcher's draft, just in. A crossing over Piney effected. Captain Haven, with [Companies] G and K, reported to have fifteen prisoners and twenty-five horses. Kept back by the high water. P. M. Cold and windy, but still raining. Have read “Jack Hinton” these two gloomy days with Avery.

How pleased I am to hear from Lucy that Birtie has been a good scholar; that at the school exhibition he was called up to speak and spoke Logan's speech very well. . . .

Captain Drake returned tonight. Sent my money by the paymaster to my wife. He reports that the Thirtieth Regiment is under marching orders for this point; that the Thirty-fourth is at Fayetteville, and that a cavalry regiment, the Second Virginia, is to form part of our brigade.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 226

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Lieutenant-Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes to Lucy Webb Hayes, Sunday Night, March 30, 1862

Raleigh, March 30, 1862. Sunday night.

Dearest: — I received your good letters tonight. I will recollect Will De Charmes and do what I can properly, and more too. I wish you and the boys and Grandma were here tonight to enjoy the sacred music of our band. They are now full (eighteen) and better than ever. The regiment is also strong and looks big and effective. Eight companies on dress parade looked bigger than the regiment has ever seemed since we left Camp Chase. The service performed the last ten days, breaking up bushwhackers and Governor Letcher's militia musters, is prodigious. They have marched in snow four to six inches deep on the mountains sixty-five miles in three days, and look all the better for it. — Much love to Grandma and the dear boys.

Ever so lovingly yours,
R.

I hear of Lippett's arrest and Whitcomb's death; both sad for families, but Lippett better have gone into the army and been killed.

Mrs. Hayes.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 219-20

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Diary of William Howard Russell: April 20, 1861

I visited the editors of the “Charleston Mercury” and the “Charleston Courier” to-day at their offices. The Rhett family have been active agitators for secession, and it is said they are not over well pleased with Jefferson Davis for neglecting their claims to office. The elder, a pompous, hard, ambitious man, possesses ability. He is fond of alluding to his English connections and predilections, and is intolerant of New England to the last degree. I received from him, ere I left, a pamphlet on his life, career and services. In the newspaper offices there was nothing worthy of remark; they were possessed of that obscurity which is such a characteristic of the haunts of journalism — the clouds in which the lightning is hiding. Thence to haunts more dingy still where Plutus lives — to the counting-houses of the cotton brokers, up many pairs of stairs into large rooms furnished with hard seats, engravings of celebrated clippers, advertisements of emigrant agencies and of lines of steamers, little flocks of cotton, specimens of rice, grain, and seed in wooden bowls, and clerks living inside railings, with secluded spittoons, and ledgers, and tumblers of water. I called on several of the leading merchants and bankers, such as Mr. Rose, Mr. Muir, Mr. Trenholm, and others. With all it was the same story. Their young men were off to the wars — no business doing. In one office I saw an announcement of a company for a direct communication by steamers between a southern port and Europe. “When do you expect that line to be opened?” I asked. “The United States cruisers will surely interfere with it.” “Why, I expect, sir,” replied the merchant, “that if those miserable Yankees try to blockade us, and keep you from our cotton, you'll just send their ships to the bottom and acknowledge us. That will be before autumn, I think.” It was in vain I assured him he would be disappointed. “Look out there,” he said, pointing to the wharf, on which were piled some cotton bales; “there's the key will open all our ports, and put us into John Bull's strong box as well.” I dined to-day at the hotel, notwithstanding many hospitable invitations, with Messrs. Manning, Porcher Miles, Reed, and Pringle. Mr. Trescot, who was Under Secretary of State in Mr. Buchanan's Cabinet, joined us, and I promised to visit his plantation as soon as I have returned from Mr. Pringle's. We heard much the same conversation as usual, relieved by Mr. Trescot's sound sense and philosophy. He sees clearly the evils of slavery, but is, like all of us, unable to discover the solution and means of averting them. The Secessionists are in great delight with Governor Letcher’s proclamation, calling out troops and volunteers, and it is hinted that Washington will be attacked, and the nest of Black Republican vermin which haunt the capital, driven out. Agents are to be at once despatched to get up a navy, and every effort made to carry out the policy indicated in Jeff Davis's issue of letters of marque and reprisal. Norfolk harbor is blocked up to prevent the United States ships getting away; and at the same time we hear that the Unites States officer commanding at the arsenal of Harper's Ferry has retired into Pennsylvania, after destroying the place by fire. How “old John Brown” would have wondered and rejoiced, had he lived a few months longer!

SOURCE: William Howard Russell, My Diary North and South, p. 122-4

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Diary of Judith Brockenbrough McGuire: April 2, 1863

We were shocked when the gentlemen returned, to hear of the riot which occurred in Richmond today. A mob, principally of women, appeared in the streets, attacking the stores. Their object seemed to be to get any thing they could; dry-goods, shoes, brooms, meat, glassware, jewelry, were caught up by them. The military was called out—the Governor dispersed them from one part of the town, telling them that unless they disappeared in five minutes, the soldiers should fire among them. This he said, holding his watch in his hand. Mr. Munford, the President of the Young Men's Christian Association, quieted them on another street by inviting them to come to the rooms of the Association, and their wants should be supplied; many followed him — I suppose those who were really in want. Others there were, of the very worst class of women, and a great many who were not in want at all, which they proved by only supplying themselves with jewelry and other finery. The President was out speaking to them, and trying to secure order. The Mayor made them a speech, and seemed to influence them, but I dare say that the bayonets of the soldiers produced the most decided effect. It is the first time that such a thing has ever darkened the annals of Richmond. God grant it may be the last. I fear that the poor suffer very much; meal was selling to-day at $16 per bushel. It has been bought up by speculators. Oh that these hard-hearted creatures could be made to suffer! Strange that men with human hearts can, in these dreadful times, thus grind the poor.

SOURCE: Judith W. McGuire, Diary of a Southern Refugee, During the War, p. 202-3