Showing posts with label Joseph Wheeler. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Joseph Wheeler. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Captain Charles Wright Wills: November 28, 1864

November 28, 1864. 

Made a dozen miles to-day through the thickest pine woods I ever saw. There is no white or yellow pine here; it is all pitch. I think the division has been lost nearly all day. We have followed old Indian trails four-fifths of the time. 

The foragers have found a large number of horses and mules in the swamps to-day. Plenty of forage. Sergeant Penney, of my company, died in the ambulance to-day. He was taken sick in the ranks at 8 p. m., 26th, of lung fever. He has never been right healthy, but when well was always an excellent soldier. Lieutenant Dorrance swallowed his false teeth a few nights ago, and complains that they don't agree with him. 

I hear that Wheeler jumped the 20th Corps yesterday and that they salivated him considerably. We caught a couple of his men to-day, on our road, stragglers. We pick up a good many stray Rebels along the road, but they are not half guarded and I think get away nearly as fast as captured. 

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 327-8

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Captain Charles Wright Wills: October 25, 1864

Nine miles northwest of Gadsden, Ala.,
October 25, 1864.

Found the Rebels about noon to-day in position behind a rail work, running across from Lookout Mountain to Coosa river. It was only Wheeler's cavalry, and we blew them out easily. We formed to charge them, but they wouldn't wait. We followed until we were satisfied there was no infantry behind them, and then settled for the night, and sent out foragers. There was some miserable artillery firing by both sides. Not a dozen men were hurt; only one in our brigade, 100th Indiana.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 315-6

Friday, April 3, 2020

Major-General William T. Sherman to Major-General Henry W. Halleck, January 12, 1865

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,                       
In the Field, Savannah, January 12, 1865.
Major-General HALLECK:

MY DEAR FRIEND: I received yours of January 1* about the “negro.” Since Mr. Stanton got here we have talked over all matters freely, and I deeply regret that I am threatened with that curse to all peace and comfort—popularity; but I trust to bad luck enough in the future to cure that, for I know enough of “the people” to feel that a single mistake made by some of my subordinates will tumble down my fame into infamy.

But the nigger? Why, in God's name, can't sensible men let him alone? When the people of the South tried to rule us through the negro, and became insolent, we cast them down, and on that question we are strong and unanimous. Neither cotton, the negro, nor any single interest or class should govern us.

But I fear, if you be right that that power behind the throne is growing, somebody must meet it or we are again involved in war with another class of fanatics. Mr. Lincoln has boldly and well met the one attack, now let him meet the other.

If it be insisted that I shall so conduct my operations that the negro alone is consulted, of course I will be defeated, and then where will be Sambo?

Don't military success imply the safety of Sambo and vice versa? Of course that cock-and-bull story of my turning back negroes that Wheeler might kill them is all humbug. I turned nobody back. Jeff. C. Davis did at Ebenezer Creek forbid certain plantation slaves—old men, women, and children—to follow his column; but they would come along and he took up his pontoon bridge, not because he wanted to leave them, but because he wanted his bridge.

He and Slocum both tell me that they don't believe Wheeler killed one of them. Slocum's column (30,000) reports 17,000 negroes. Now, with 1,200 wagons and the necessary impedimenta of an army, overloaded with two-thirds negroes, five-sixths of whom are helpless, and a large proportion of them babies and small children, had I encountered an enemy of respectable strength defeat would have been certain.

Tell the President that in such an event defeat would have cost him ten thousand times the effort to overcome that it now will to meet this new and growing pressure.

I know the fact that all natural emotions swing as the pendulum. These southrons pulled Sambo's pendulum so far over that the danger is it will on its return jump off its pivot. There are certain people who will find fault, and they can always get the pretext; but, thank God, I am not running for an office, and am not concerned because the rising generation will believe that I burned 500 niggers at one pop in Atlanta, or any such nonsense. I profess to be the best kind of a friend to Sambo, and think that on such a question Sambo should be consulted.

They gather round me in crowds, and I can't find out whether I am Moses or Aaron, or which of the prophets; but surely I am rated as one of the congregation, and it is hard to tell in what sense I am most appreciated by Sambo—in saving him from his master, or the new master that threatens him with a new species of slavery. I mean State recruiting agents. Poor negro—Lo, the poor Indian! Of course, sensible men understand such humbug, but some power must be invested in our Government to check these wild oscillations of public opinion.

The South deserves all she has got for her injustice to the negro, but that is no reason why we should go to the other extreme.

I do and will do the best I can for negroes, and feel sure that the problem is solving itself slowly and naturally. It needs nothing more than our fostering care. I thank you for the kind hint and will heed it so far as mere appearances go, but, not being dependent on votes, I can afford to act, as far as my influence goes, as a fly wheel instead of a mainspring.

With respect, &c., yours,
 W. T. SHERMAN.
_______________

* General Halleck’s copy is dated December 30, 1864; see Vol. XLIV, p. 836

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 47, Part 2 (Serial No. 99), p. 36-7

Major-General Henry W. Halleck to Major-General William T. Sherman, December 30, 1864

PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL.]
HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,                     
Washington, D.C., December 30, 1864.*
Maj. Gen. W. T. SHERMAN,
Savannah:

MY DEAR GENERAL: I take the liberty of calling your attention, in this private and friendly way, to a matter which may possibly hereafter be of more importance to you than either of us may now anticipate. While almost every one is praising your great march through Georgia and the capture of Savannah, there is a certain class, having now great influence with the President, and very probably anticipating still more on a change of Cabinet, who are decidedly disposed to make a point against you—I mean in regard to “Inevitable Sambo.” They say that you have manifested an almost criminal dislike to the negro, and that you are not willing to carry out the wishes of the Government in regard to him, but repulse him with contempt. They say you might have brought with you to Savannah more than 50,000, thus stripping Georgia of that number of laborers and opening a road by which as many more could have escaped from their masters; but that instead of this you drove them from your ranks, prevented then, from following you by cutting the bridges in your rear, and thus caused the massacre of large numbers by Wheeler's cavalry.

To those who know you as I do such accusations will pass as the idle winds, for we presume that you discouraged the negroes from following you simply because you had not the means of supporting them and feared they might seriously embarrass your march. But there are others, and among them some in high authority, who think, or pretend to think, otherwise, and they are decidedly disposed to make a point against you.

I do not write this to induce you to conciliate this class of men by doing anything which you do not think right and proper and for the interest of the Government and the country, but simply to call your attention to certain things which are viewed here somewhat differently than from your standpoint. I will explain as briefly as possible: Some here think that, in view of the scarcity of labor in the South, and the probability that a part, at least, of the able-bodied slaves will be called into the military service of the rebels, it is of the greatest importance to open outlets by which the slaves can escape into our lines, and, they say, that the route you have passed over should be made the route of escape and Savannah the great place of refuge. These I know are the views of some of the lending men in the administration, and they now express dissatisfaction that you did not carry them out in your great raid.

Now that you are in possession of Savannah, and there can be no further fears about supplies, would it not be possible for you to reopen these avenues of escape for the negroes without interfering with your military operations? Could not such escaped slaves find, at least, a partial supply of food in the rice fields about Savannah, and occupation in the rice and cotton plantations on the coast?

I merely throw out these suggestions; I know that such a course would be approved by the Government, and I believe that a manifestation on your part of a desire to bring the slaves within our lines will do much to silence your opponents.

You will appreciate my motives in writing this private letter.

Yours, truly,
H. W. HALLECK.
_______________

* General Sherman’s reply of January 12, 1865, refers to this letter as dated January 1st, but General Halleck’s copy is dated as here given.

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 44 (Serial No. 92), p. 836-7

Friday, July 12, 2019

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: November 20, 1863

We have reports of some successes to-day. Gen. Hampton, it appears, surprised and captured several companies of the enemy's cavalry, a day or two since, near Culpepper Court House. And Gen. Wheeler has captured several hundred of the enemy in East Tennessee, driving the rest into the fortifications of Knoxville. Gen. Longstreet, at last accounts, was near Knoxville with the infantry. We shall not be long kept in suspense — as Longstreet will not delay his action; and Burnside may find himself in a "predicament."

A private soldier writes the Secretary to-day that his mother is in danger of starving — as she failed to get flour in Richmond, at $100 per barrel. He says if the government has no remedy for this, he and his comrades will throw down ,their arms and fly to some other country with their families, where a subsistence may be obtained.

Every night robberies of poultry, salt meats, and even of cows and hogs are occurring. Many are desperate.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 100-1

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Captain Charles Wright Wills: June 12, 1864

June 12, 1864.

It commenced raining before daylight, and has not ceased an instant all day. We are lucky in the roads where it can't get very muddy, but so much rain is confoundedly disagreeable. The only source of consolation is the knowledge that the Rebels fare much worse than we do. They have neither tents nor oilcloths. For once our corps is in reserve. The 16th and 17th united their lines in front of us this morning. The 17th A. C. especially is using ammunition with a looseness. They are just getting their hands in. The rain is real cold. If it were not for hearing the musketry and artillery firing we wouldn't know there was an enemy within 50 miles. This is said to be the Georgia gold country. I could just pick up some beautiful specimens of quartz and a flinty stone (maybe quartz also) in which the isinglass shines, and in some places I have picked off sheets two inches square. No forage here. Four deserters came in to-day.

They say that Johnston had an order read to his troops that Wheeler had cut the railroad in our rear, and destroyed our supply trains. The troops all cheered it heartily, but hardly had they got their mouths shut when our locomotives came whistling into Big Shanty, one mile from their lines. The deserters say it disgusted them so much they concluded they'd quit and go home. I wish Sherman would attack them now, for we would be sure to get what trains and artillery they have here.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 258-9

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Captain Charles Wright Wills: June 11, 1864

June 12, 1864.

It commenced raining before daylight, and has not ceased an instant all day. We are lucky in the roads where it can't get very muddy, but so much rain is confoundedly disagreeable. The only source of consolation is the knowledge that the Rebels fare much worse than we do. They have neither tents nor oilcloths. For once our corps is in reserve. The 16th and 17th united their lines in front of us this morning. The 17th A. C. especially is using ammunition with a looseness. They are just getting their hands in. The rain is real cold. If it were not for hearing the musketry and artillery firing we wouldn't know there was an enemy within 50 miles. This is said to be the Georgia gold country. I could just pick up some beautiful specimens of quartz and a flinty stone (maybe quartz also) in which the isinglass shines, and in some places I have picked off sheets two inches square. No forage here. Four deserters came in to-day.

They say that Johnston had an order read to his troops that Wheeler had cut the railroad in our rear, and destroyed our supply trains. The troops all cheered it heartily, but hardly had they got their mouths shut when our locomotives came whistling into Big Shanty, one mile from their lines. The deserters say it disgusted them so much they concluded they'd quit and go home. I wish Sherman would attack them now, for we would be sure to get what trains and artillery they have here.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 258

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: October 22, 1863

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Major-General Henry W. Halleck to Major-General William T. Sherman, December 30, 1864

PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL.]
HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,         
Washington, D.C., December 30, 1864.*
Maj. Gen. W. T. SHERMAN,
Savannah:

MY DEAR GENERAL: I take the liberty of calling your attention, in this private and friendly way, to a matter which may possibly hereafter be of more importance to you than either of us may now anticipate. While almost every one is praising your great march through Georgia and the capture of Savannah, there is a certain class, having now great influence with the President, and very probably anticipating still more on a change of Cabinet, who are decidedly disposed to make a point against you — I mean in regard to “Inevitable Sambo.” They say that you have manifested an almost criminal dislike to the negro, and that you are not willing to carry out the wishes of the Government in regard to him, but repulse him with contempt. They say you might have brought with you to Savannah more than 50,000, thus stripping Georgia of that number of laborers and opening a road by which as many more could have escaped from their masters; but that instead of this you drove them from your ranks, prevented then, from following you by cutting the bridges in your rear, and thus caused the massacre of large numbers by Wheeler's cavalry.

To those who know you as I do such accusations will pass as the idle winds, for we presume that you discouraged the negroes from following you simply because you had not the means of supporting them and feared they might seriously embarrass your march. But there are others, and among them some in high authority, who think, or pretend to think, otherwise, and they are decidedly disposed to make a point against you.

I do not write this to induce you to conciliate this class of men by doing anything which you do not think right and proper and for the interest of the Government and the country, but simply to call your attention to certain things which are viewed here somewhat differently than from your standpoint. I will explain as briefly as possible: Some here think that, in view of the scarcity of labor in the South, and the probability that a part, at least, of the able-bodied slaves will be called into the military service of the rebels, it is of the greatest importance to open outlets by which the slaves can escape into our lines, and, they say, that the route you have passed over should be made the route of escape and Savannah the great place of refuge. These I know are the views of some of the lending men in the administration, and they now express dissatisfaction that you did not carry them out in your great raid.

Now that you are in possession of Savannah, and there can be no further fears about supplies, would it not be possible for you to reopen these avenues of escape for the negroes without interfering with your military operations? Could not such escaped slaves find, at least, a partial supply of food in the rice fields about Savannah, and occupation in the rice and cotton plantations on the coast?

I merely throw out these suggestions; I know that such a course would be approved by the Government, and I believe that a manifestation on your part of a desire to bring the slaves within our lines will do much to silence your opponents.

You will appreciate my motives in writing this private letter.

Yours, truly,
 H. W. HALLECK.
_______________

* General Sherman’s reply of January 12, 1865, refers to this letter as dated January 1st, but General Halleck’s copy is dated as here given.

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 44, p. 836-7

Major-General William T. Sherman to Major-General Henry W. Halleck, January 12, 1865

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
In the Field, Savannah, January 12, 1865.
Major-General HALLECK:

MY DEAR FRIEND: I received yours of January 1* about the "negro." Since Mr. Stanton got here we have talked over all matters freely, and I deeply regret that I am threatened with that curse to all peace and comfort — popularity; but I trust to bad luck enough in the future to cure that, for I know enough of “the people” to feel that a single mistake made by some of my subordinates will tumble down my fame into infamy.

But the nigger? Why, in God's name, can't sensible men let him alone? When the people of the South tried to rule us through the negro, and became insolent, we cast them down, and on that question we are strong and unanimous. Neither cotton, the negro, nor any single interest or class should govern us.

But I fear, if you be right that that power behind the throne is growing, somebody must meet it or we are again involved in war with another class of fanatics. Mr. Lincoln has boldly and well met the one attack, now let him meet the other.

If it be insisted that I shall so conduct my operations that the negro alone is consulted, of course I will be defeated, and then where will be Sambo?

Don't military success imply the safety of Sambo and vice versa? Of course that cock-and-bull story of my turning back negroes that Wheeler might kill them is all humbug. I turned nobody back. Jeff. C. Davis did at Ebenezer Creek forbid certain plantation slaves — old men, women, and children — to follow his column; but they would come along and he took up his pontoon bridge, not because he wanted to leave them, but because he wanted his bridge.

He and Slocum both tell me that they don't believe Wheeler killed one of them. Slocum's column (30,000) reports 17,000 negroes. Now, with 1,200 wagons and the necessary impedimenta of an army, overloaded with two-thirds negroes, five-sixths of whom are helpless, and a large proportion of them babies and small children, had I encountered an enemy of respectable strength defeat would have been certain.

Tell the President that in such an event defeat would have cost him ten thousand times the effort to overcome that it now will to meet this new and growing pressure.

I know the fact that all natural emotions swing as the pendulum. These southrons pulled Sambo's pendulum so far over that the danger is it will on its return jump off its pivot. There are certain people who will find fault, and they can always get the pretext; but, thank God, I am not running for an office, and am not concerned because the rising generation will believe that I burned 500 niggers at one pop in Atlanta, or any such nonsense. I profess to be the best kind of a friend to Sambo, and think that on such a question Sambo should be consulted.

They gather round me in crowds, and I can't find out whether I am Moses or Aaron, or which of the prophets; but surely I am rated as one of the congregation, and it is hard to tell in what sense I am most appreciated by Sambo — in saving him from his master, or the new master that threatens him with a new species of slavery. I mean State recruiting agents. Poor negro — Lo, the poor Indian! Of course, sensible men understand such humbug, but some power must be invested in our Government to check these wild oscillations of public opinion.

The South deserves all she has got for her injustice to the negro, but that is no reason why we should go to the other extreme.

I do and will do the best I can for negroes, and feel sure that the problem is solving itself slowly and naturally. It needs nothing more than our fostering care. I thank you for the kind hint and will heed it so far as mere appearances go, but, not being dependent on votes, I can afford to act, as far as my influence goes, as a fly wheel instead of a mainspring.

With respect, &c., yours,
 W. T. SHERMAN.
_______________

* General Halleck's copy is dated December 30, 1864; see Vol. XLIV, p. 836.

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I Volume 47, Part 2 (Serial No. 99), p. 36-7

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: April 15, 1863

There is a dispatch, unofficial, from the West, contradicting the news of the defeat of Van Dorn. On the Cumberland River, another dispatch says, we have met with new successes, capturing or destroying several more gun-boats. And Wheeler has certainly captured a railroad train in the rear of the enemy, containing a large sum of Federal money, and a number of officers.

We have nothing from the South, except a letter from Gen. Whiting, in regard to some demonstration at Bull Bay, S. C.

Major Griswold, Provost Marshal, is now himself on trial before a court-martial, for allowing 200 barrels of spirits to come into the city. He says he had an order from the Surgeon-General; but what right had he to give such orders? It is understood he will resign, irrespective of the decision of the court.

Congress, yesterday (the House of Representatives), passed a series of resolutions, denying the authority of the government to declare martial law, such as existed in this city under the administration of Gen. Winder. It was a great blunder, and alienated thousands.

We have a seasonable rain to-day.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 293

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: January 19, 1863

We have rumors of fighting this morning on the Rappahannock; perhaps the enemy is making another advance upon Richmond.

There was a grand funeral to-day, — Gen. D. R. Jones's; he died of heart disease.

Gen. Bragg dispatches that Brig.-Gen. Wheeler, with his cavalry, got in the rear of Rosecrans a few days ago, and burned a railroad bridge. He then penetrated to the Cumberland River, and destroyed three large transports and bonded a fourth, which took off his paroled prisoners. After this he captured and destroyed a gun-boat and its armament sent in quest of him.

We have taken Springfield, Missouri.

Rosecrans sends our officers, taken at Murfreesborough, to Alton, Ill., to retaliate on us for the doom pronounced in our President's proclamation, and one of his generals has given notice that if we burn a railroad bridge (in our own country) all private property within a mile of it shall be destroyed. The black flag next. We have no news from North Carolina.

Mr. Caperton was elected C. S. Senator by the Virginia Legisture on Saturday, in place of Mr. Preston, deceased.

An intercepted letter from a Mr. Sloane, Charlotte, N. C., to A. T. Stewart & Co., New York, was laid before the Secretary of War yesterday. He urged the New York merchant, who has contributed funds for our subjugation, to send merchandise to the South, now destitute, and he would act as salesman. The Secretary indorsed “conscript him,” and yet the Assistant Secretary has given instructions to Col. Godwin, in the border counties, to wink at the smugglers. This is consistency! And the Assistant Secretary writes “by order of the Secretary of War!”

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 241-2

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: January 2, 1863

A dispatch from Gov. Harris gives some additional particulars of the battle near Murfreesborough, Tenn. He says the enemy was driven back six miles, losing four generals killed and three captured, and that we destroyed $2,000,000 commissary and other stores. But still we have no account of what was done yesterday on the “extreme left.”

Gen. Stuart has been near Alexandria, and his prisoners are coming in by every train. He captured and destroyed many stores, and, up to the last intelligence, without loss on his side. He is believed, now, to be in Maryland, having crossed the Potomac near Leesburg.

The mayor of our city, Jos. Mayo, meeting two friends last night, whom he recognized but who did not recognize him, playfully seized one of them, a judge, and, garroter fashion, demanded his money or his life. The judge's friend fell upon the mayor with a stick and beat him dreadfully before the joke was discovered.

The President was at Mobile on the 30th December, having visited both Murfreesborough and Vicksburg, but not witnessing either of the battles.

We are in great exaltation again! Dispatches from Gen. Bragg, received last night, relieve us with the information that the stronghold of the enemy, which he failed to carry on the day of battle, was abandoned the next day; that Forrest and Morgan I were operating successfully far in the rear of the invader, and that Gen. Wheeler had made a circuit of the hostile army after the battle, burning several hundred of their wagons, capturing an ordnance train, and making more prisoners. Bragg says the enemy's telegraphic and railroad communications with his rear have been demolished, and that he will follow up the defeated foe. I think we will get Nashville now.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 229-30

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Lieutenant Colonel Charles Fessenden Morse: January 31, 1865

Headquarters Second Mass. Inf'y,
RoBeRTSVille, S. C, January 31, 1865.

Since my last letter we have pushed farther into this miserable, rebellious State of South Carolina. We came very slowly, as we had to cut our way for the first ten miles through continuous rebel obstructions; but after that distance, the enemy evidently began to think it was no use trying to stop us, and the fallen trees became fewer and further apart. As we marched on from Purysburg, we gradually got out of the swamps and into rich plantations showing signs of the wealth of their old owners. Just think of single fields comprising at least one thousand acres. In the centre or in some part of each one of these great fields, would stand the universal cotton press and cotton gin. The planters' houses were rather better than the average through Georgia, but none of them were what we should call more than second or third class houses in the North; generally they stand half a mile or a mile back from the road, at the end of a perfectly straight, narrow avenue, in fact, nothing more than a cart path.

The most of them are surrounded by magnificent old live oaks and cypress trees, draped all over with the gray Spanish moss which gives to the deserted mansions a very sombre, funereal appearance. In rear of the houses are the rows of negro quarters, and the various outbuildings required on large plantations. So far, on this march, I have seen only one white male inhabitant and very few negroes. Every place is deserted; the valuables and most of the provisions are carried off; but I went into one house where there were rooms full of fine furniture, a fine piano, marble-topped tables, etc.; there was a valuable library in one room, of four or five thousand volumes. I saw a well bound copy of Motley's Dutch Republic, and a good set of Carlyle's works. This property is, of course, so much stuff strewn along the wayside. Unless there happens to be a halt near by, no one is allowed to leave the column to take anything; but stragglers, wagon-train men, and the various odds and ends that always accompany an army on the march, pick up whatever they want or think they want, and scatter about and destroy the rest, and by the time the last of a column five or six miles long gets by, the house is entirely gutted; in nine cases out of ten, before night all that is left to show where the rich, aristocratic, chivalrous, slave-holding South Carolinian lived, is a heap of smoldering ashes.

On principle, of course, such a system of loose destruction is all wrong and demoralizing; but, as I said before, it is never done openly by the soldiers, for every decent officer will take care that none of his men leave the ranks on a march. But there is no precedent which requires guards to be placed over abandoned property in an enemy's country. Sooner or later, of course, as we advanced and occupied all of the country, it would be taken, and I would rather see it burned than to have it seized and sent North by any of the sharks who follow in the rear of a conquering army. Pity for these inhabitants, I have none. In the first place, they are rebels, and I am almost prepared to agree with Sherman that a rebel has no rights, not even the right to live except by our permission.

They have rebelled against a Government they never once felt; they lived down here like so many lords and princes; each planter was at the head of a little aristocracy in which hardly a law touched him. This didn't content these people; they wanted “their rights,” and now they are getting them. After long deliberation, they plunged into a war in order to gratify their aristocratic aspirations for a Government of their own, and to indulge in their insane hatred for us Yankee mud-sills. The days of the rebellion are coming to an end very fast; even its lying press cannot keep up its courage much longer. For a year they have met with a series of reverses sufficient to break the spirit of the proudest nation, and this next spring will see a combination of movements which must destroy their only remaining bulwark, Lee's army, and then the bubble will burst; and I believe that we shall find that Jeff Davis and other leading Confederates will be abused and hated by men of their own section of country more than they will by the Northerners.

No, I might pity individual cases brought before me, but I believe that this terrible example is needed in this country, as a warning to those men in all time to come who may cherish rebellious thoughts; I believe it is necessary in order to show the strength of this Government and thoroughly to subdue these people. I would rather campaign it until I am fifty years old than to make any terms with rebels while they bear arms. We can conquer a peace, and it is our duty to do it.

This little, deserted town of Robertville we reached two days ago; our whole left wing is close by. We shall fill up again with supplies, and in about two days strike into the country. Barnwell, Branchville, Augusta, Columbia, and Charleston are all threatened. I hope the rebels know as little as we do which one is in the most immediate danger of a visit. Wheeler's cavalry is all around us, but as yet no infantry. A regiment of his command tried to stop our coming into this town. The Third Wisconsin, without firing a shot, charged them, broke them all to pieces, and lost only three men.

SOURCE: Charles Fessenden Morse, Letters Written During the Civil War, 1861-1865, p. 209

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Lieutenant Colonel Charles Fessenden Morse: January 2, 1865

Near Savannah, January 2, 1865.

Without going much into detail, I will give you a general idea of our last campaign as we saw it. The minor experiences I shall leave till I come home some time, to amuse you with.

The 15th of November, the whole corps left Atlanta at seven A. M.; previous to that time all heavy buildings had been battered down with rails, tracks torn up, etc., so that everything was ready for the torch. The Fourteenth Corps and our post command was not to move until the 16th. As soon as the city was pretty clear of trains the fires were set. It is impossible for you to imagine, or for me to describe, the magnificent spectacle which this city in flames presented, especially after dark. We sat up on top of our house for hours watching it. For miles around, the country was as light as day. The business portion of Atlanta, embracing perhaps twenty acres, covered with large storehouses and public buildings, situated in the highest part of the city, was all on fire at one time, the flames shooting up for hundreds of feet into the air. In one of the depots was a quantity of old rebel shells and other ammunition; the constant explosion of these heightened the effect. Coming from the sublime to the ridiculous, in the midst of this grand display the Thirty-third Massachusetts band went up and serenaded General Sherman; it was like fiddling over the burning of Rome! While the conflagration was going on, we kept large patrols out to protect the dwellings and other private property of the few citizens remaining in the city; this was effectually done.

On the morning of the 16th, nothing was left of Atlanta except its churches, the City Hall and private dwellings. You could hardly find a vestige of the splendid railroad depots, warehouses, etc. It was melancholy, but it was war prosecuted in deadly earnest. The last of the Fourteenth Corps did not get off till about half-past four P. M. We followed after, being the last United States troops to leave Atlanta. That night we marched eleven miles, going into camp four miles beyond Decatur.

From this time until the 22d, we marched as rear guard of the Fourteenth Corps, crossing the Yellow, Alcofauhachee and Little Rivers, passing through Conyers, Covington and Shadyvale, and arriving at Eatonton Factory on the 21st. Here we left the Fourteenth Corps and followed the track of the Twentieth, which was on the road leading from Madison through Eatonton to Milledgeville.

On the 22d, we passed through Eatonton, and came up with the rear of the Twentieth Corps at Little River, which we crossed on pontoons.

On the 23d, we marched into Milledgeville, joining our division across the Oconee River. The capital of Georgia is a very one-horse place, with a few good public buildings including the Capitol, which is quite handsome. Here, for the first time since leaving Atlanta, we got into camp before dark, and therefore had a little rest, which was much needed. We had averaged getting up at half-past four A. M., and into camp at eight P. M., which, with an intermediate march of fifteen miles, made a pretty good day's work. Two hours are none too many to allow for getting supper and pitching shelters.

At six A. M., on the 24th, we were off again; it being Thanksgiving day, our excellent cook had provided us with a cold roast turkey for lunch at our noon halt, and at night, after getting into camp near Hebron, he served us with turkeys and chickens, sweet potatoes and honey, in a style which did honor to his New England bringing up.

The 25th, we crossed Buffalo Creek, after some delay, the bridge having been destroyed by Wheeler's cavalry, which skirmished with our advance.

On the 26th, Wheeler had the impudence to try and stop our corps. Our brigade, being in advance, was deployed against him. We drove them on almost a double-quick march for six miles into the town of Sandersville; the Fourteenth Corps' advance, coming in from the north, struck their flank and they scattered, leaving their killed and wounded in the streets. Our whole loss was not more than six. That night we struck the railroad at Tennill; we destroyed several miles of it before going into camp.

The 27th, we marched to Davisboro, a pretty little place, rich in sweet potatoes and forage for our animals.

The 28th and 29th, our division destroyed the railroad from Davisboro to Ogeechee River. The army way of “repairing” railroads is this: the regiments of a brigade are scattered along for a mile, arms are stacked, and the men “fall in” on one side of the track. At a given signal, they take hold of the rail, tie, or whatever is in front of them; the order, “Heave,” is then given, which means lift, and lift together; at this, the whole length of railroad begins to move, and the movement is kept up until the whole thing goes over with a smash. The ties are then collected and piled up; across each pile three or four rails are laid; the whole is then set on fire; the heat makes the rails red hot in the middle, and their own weight then bends them almost double. In many cases each rail was twisted besides being bent.

November 30th, we crossed the Ogeechee.

December 1st and 2d, we were rear guard; the roads were bad, and we didn't get into camp before eleven or twelve P. M.

December 3rd, we halted within a quarter of a mile of the pen where our prisoners were kept, near Millen. I rode over and looked at it. No description I have ever seen was bad enough for the reality. Situated in the centre of a moist, dismal swamp, without a tree inside the stockade for shelter: you can imagine what the place must have been in this climate in August. There wasn't a sign of a tent in the whole enclosure; nothing but holes dug in the ground and built up with sod, for our men to live in. Eight bodies, unburied, were found in these huts; they were of men probably too sick to be moved, who were left to die alone and uncared for. Every one who visited this place came away with a feeling of hardness toward the Southern Confederacy he had never felt before.

The marches of the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th brought us to Springfield, twenty-seven miles from Savannah. The country is generally poor and swampy, the roads bad. On the 8th, the corps trains were left in the rear, guarded by the Third Division, the First and Second going along unencumbered. We had to cut our way through the trees which were felled across the road by the rebels.

On the 9th, we encountered a redoubt on the road, fifteen miles from Savannah; this was soon carried with a small loss, our brigade flanking the position.

On the 10th, the army formed line of battle for the first time since leaving Atlanta, six miles from Savannah, fronting the rebel works. The rest of the story you know. Altogether, the campaign was brilliant and successful; in many respects it was a fatiguing one, but to make up for the hard work the men generally had an abundant supply of sweet potatoes, fresh beef and pork. Since the 10th, and up to the present time, rations for men and officers have been very short, but they are now improving.

We are threatened with another campaign immediately; I imagine it will be a move towards Columbia, threatening Augusta and Charleston.

There was no mistake made in the amount of force left with Thomas, as the result has shown. The rebellion has one front only now, — that is in Virginia, and we are going to break that in before next summer.

Savannah is a very pretty, old-fashioned city, regularly laid out, with handsome houses, etc. The officers on duty here are having fine times, even better than ours at Atlanta. Sherman reviewed the whole army, a corps at a time, last week. Considering the ragged and barefooted state of the men, they looked well.

SOURCE: Charles Fessenden Morse, Letters Written During the Civil War, 1861-1865, p. 201-5

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Diary of Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle: Tuesday, June 2, 1863

Colonel Grenfell and I rode to the outposts, starting on the road to Murfreesborough at 6 A.M. It rained hard nearly all day. He explained to me the method of fighting adopted by the Western cavalry, which he said was admirably adapted for this country; but he denied that they could, under any circumstances, stand a fair charge of regular cavalry in the open. Their system is to dismount and leave their horses in some secure place. One man is placed in charge of his own and three other horses, whilst the remainder act as infantry skirmishers in the dense woods and broken country, making a tremendous row, and deceiving the enemy as to their numbers, and as to their character as infantry or cavalry. In this manner Morgan, assisted by two small guns, called bull-dogs, attacked the Yankees with success in towns, forts, stockades, and steamboats; and by the same system, Wheeler and Wharton kept a large pursuing army in check for twenty-seven days, retreating and fighting every day, and deluding the enemy with the idea that they were being resisted by a strong force composed of all three branches of the service.

Colonel Grenfell told me that the only way in which an officer could acquire influence over the Confederate soldiers was by his personal conduct under fire. They hold a man in great esteem who in action sets them an example of contempt for danger; but they think nothing of an officer who is not in the habit of leading them; in fact, such a man could not possibly retain his position. Colonel Grenfell's expression was, “Every atom of authority has to be purchased by a drop of your blood.” He told me he was in desperate hot water with the civil authorities of the State, who accuse him of illegally impressing and appropriating horses, and also of conniving at the escape of a negro from his lawful owner, and he said that the military authorities were afraid or unable to give him proper protection.

For the first nine miles our road was quite straight and hilly, with a thick wood on either side. We then reached a pass in the hills called Guy's Gap, which, from the position of the hills, is very strong, and could be held by a small force. The range of hills extends as far as Wartrace, but I understand the position could be turned on the left. About two miles beyond Guy's Gap were the headquarters of General Martin, the officer who commands the brigade of cavalry stationed in the neighbourhood. General Martin showed me the letter sent by the Yankees a few days ago by flag of truce with Mr Vallandigham. This letter was curiously worded, and ended, as far as I can remember, with this expression: “Mr Vallandigham is therefore handed over to the respectful attention of the Confederate authorities.” General Martin told me that skirmishing and bushwhacking went on nearly every day, and that ten days ago the enemy's cavalry by a bold dash had captured a field-piece close to his own quarters. It was, however, retaken, and its captors were killed.

One of General Martin's staff officers conducted us to the bivouac of Colonel Webb (three miles further along the road), who commanded the regiment on outpost duty there — 51st Alabama Cavalry. This Colonel Webb was a lawyer by profession, and seemed a capital fellow; and he insisted on riding with us to the videttes in spite of the rain, and he also desired his regiment to turn out for us by the time we returned. The extreme outposts were about two miles beyond Colonel Webb's post, and about sixteen miles from Shelbyville. The neutral ground extended for about three miles. We rode along it as far as it was safe to do so, and just came within sight of the Yankee videttes. The Confederate videttes were at an interval of from 300 to 400 yards of each other. Colonel Webb's regiment was in charge of two miles of the front; and, in a similar manner, the chain of videttes was extended by other corps right and left for more than eighty miles. Scouts are continually sent forward by both sides to collect information. Rival scouts and pickets invariably fire on one another whenever they meet; and Colonel Webb good-naturedly offered, if I was particularly anxious to see their customs and habits, to send forward a few men and have a little fight. I thanked him much for his kind offer, but begged he wouldn't trouble himself so far on my account. He showed me the house where Vallandigham had been “dumped down” between the outposts when they refused to receive him by flag of truce.

The woods on both sides of the road showed many signs of the conflicts which are of daily occurrence. Most of the houses by the roadside had been destroyed; but one plucky old lady had steadfastly refused to turn out, although her house was constantly an object of contention, and showed many marks of bullets and shell. Ninety-seven men were employed every day in Colonel Webb's regiment to patrol the front. The remainder of the 51st Alabama were mounted and drawn up to receive Colonel Grenfell on our return from the outposts. They were uniformly armed with long rifles and revolvers, but without sabres, and they were a fine body of young men. Their horses were in much better condition than might have been expected, considering the scanty food and hard duty they had had to put up with for the last five months, without shelter of any kind, except the trees. Colonel Grenfell told me they were a very fair specimen of the immense number of cavalry with Bragg's army. I got back to Shelbyville at 4.30 P.M., just in time to be present at an interesting ceremony peculiar to America. This was a baptism at the Episcopal Church. The ceremony was performed in an impressive manner by Bishop Elliott, and the person baptised was no less than the commander-in-chief of the army. The Bishop took the general's hand in his own (the latter kneeling in front of the font), and said, “Braxton, if thou hast not already been baptised, I baptise thee,” &c. Immediately afterwards he confirmed General Bragg, who then shook hands with General Polk, the officers of their respective staffs, and myself, who were the only spectators.

The soldiers on sentry at General Polk's quarters this afternoon were deficient both of shoes and stockings. These were the first barefooted soldiers I had as yet seen in the Confederacy.

I had intended to have left Shelbyville to-morrow with Bishop Elliott; but as I was informed that a reconnaissance in force was arranged for to-morrow, I accepted General Polk's kind offer of farther hospitality for a couple of days more. Four of Polk's brigades with artillery move to the front to-morrow, and General Hardee is also to push forward from Wartrace. The object of this movement is to ascertain the enemy's strength at Murfreesborough, as rumour asserts that Rosecrans is strengthening Grant in Mississippi, which General Bragg is not disposed to allow with impunity. The weather is now almost chilly.

SOURCE: Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle, Three Months in the Southern States: April-June, 1863, p. 159-64

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Diary of Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle: Monday, June 1, 1863

We all went to a review of General Liddell's brigade at Bellbuckle, a distance of six miles. There were three carriages full of ladies, and I rode an excellent horse, the gift of General John Morgan to General Hardee. The weather and the scenery were delightful. General Hardee asked me particularly whether Mr Mason had been kindly received in England. I replied that I thought he had, by private individuals. I have often found the Southerners rather touchy on this point.

General Liddell's brigade was composed of Arkansas troops — five very weak regiments which had suffered severely in the different battles, and they cannot be easily recruited on account of the blockade of the Mississippi The men were good-sized, healthy, and well clothed, but without any attempt at uniformity in colour or cut; but nearly all were dressed either in grey or brown coats and felt hats. I was told that even if a regiment was clothed in proper uniform by the Government, it would become parti-coloured again in a week, as the soldiers preferred wearing the coarse homespun jackets and trousers made by their mothers and sisters at home. The Generals very wisely allow them to please themselves in this respect, and insist only upon their arms and accoutrements being kept in proper order. Most of the officers were dressed in uniform which is neat and serviceable — viz., a bluish-grey frock-coat of a colour similar to Austrian yagers. The infantry wear blue facings, the artillery red, the doctors black, the staff white, and the cavalry yellow; so it is impossible to mistake the branch of the service to which an officer belongs — nor is it possible to mistake his rank. A second lieutenant, first lieutenant, and captain, wear respectively one, two, and three bars on the collar. A major, lieutenant-colonel, and colonel, wear one, two, and three stars on the collar.

Before the marching past of the brigade, many of the soldiers had taken off their coats and marched past the General in their shirt-sleeves, on account of the warmth. Most of them were armed with Enfield rifles captured from the enemy. Many, however, had lost or thrown away their bayonets, which they don't appear to value properly, as they assert that they have never met any Yankees who would wait for that weapon. I expressed a desire to see them form square, but it appeared they were “not drilled to such a manoeuvre” (except square two deep). They said the country did not admit of cavalry charges, even if the Yankee cavalry had stomach to attempt it.

Each regiment carried a “battle-flag,” blue, with a white border, on which were inscribed the names “Belmont,” “Shiloh,” “Perryville,” “Richmond, Ky,” and “Murfreesborough.” They drilled tolerably well, and an advance in line was remarkably good; but General Liddell had invented several dodges of his own, for which he was reproved by General Hardee.

The review being over, the troops were harangued by Bishop Elliott in an excellent address, partly religious, partly patriotic. He was followed by a congress man of vulgar appearance, named Hanley, from Arkansas, who delivered himself of a long and uninteresting political oration, and ended by announcing himself as a candidate for re-election. This speech seemed to me (and to others) particularly ill-timed, out of place, and ridiculous, addressed as it was to soldiers in front of the enemy. But this was one of the results of universal suffrage. The soldiers afterwards wanted General Hardee to say something, but he declined. I imagine that the discipline in this army is the strictest in the Confederacy, and that the men are much better marchers than those I saw in Mississippi.

A soldier was shot in Wartrace this afternoon. We heard the volley just as we left in the cars for Shelbyville. His crime was desertion to the enemy; and as the prisoner's brigade was at Tullahoma (twenty miles off), he was executed without ceremony by the Provost guard. Spies are hung every now and then; but General Bragg told me it was almost impossible for either side to stop the practice.

Bishop Elliott, Dr Quintard, and myself got back to General Polk's quarters at 5 P.M., where I was introduced to a Colonel Styles, who was formerly United States minister at Vienna. In the evening I made the acquaintance of General Wheeler, Van Dorn's successor in the command of the cavalry of this army, which is over 24,000 strong. He is a very little man, only twenty-six years of age, and was dressed in a coat much too big for him. He made his reputation by protecting the retreat of the army through Kentucky last year. He was a graduate of West Point, and seems a remarkably zealous officer, besides being very modest and unassuming in his manners.

General Polk told me that, notwithstanding the departure of Breckenridge, this army is now much stronger than it was at the time of the battle of Murfreesborough. I think that probably 45,000 infantry and artillery could be brought together immediately for a battle.

SOURCE: Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle, Three Months in the Southern States: April-June, 1863, p. 155-9

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Diary of Dolly Lunt Burge: November 21, 1864

We had the table laid this morning, but no bread or butter or milk. What a prospect for delicacies! My house is a perfect fright. I had brought in Saturday night some thirty bushels of potatoes and ten or fifteen bushels of wheat poured down on the carpet in the ell. Then the few gallons of syrup saved was daubed all about. The backbone of a hog that I had killed on Friday, and which the Yankees did not take when they cleaned out my smokehouse, I found and hid under my bed, and this is all the meat I have.

Major Lee came down this evening, having heard that I was burned out, to proffer me a home. Mr. Dorsett was with him. The army lost some of their beeves in passing. I sent to-day and had some driven into my lot, and then sent to Judge Glass to come over and get some. Had two killed. Some of Wheeler's men came in, and I asked them to shoot the cattle, which they did.

About ten o'clock this morning Mr. Joe Perry [Mrs. Laura's husband] called. I was so glad to see him that I could scarcely forbear embracing him. I could not keep from crying, for I was sure the Yankees had executed him, and I felt so much for his poor wife. The soldiers told me repeatedly Saturday that they had hung him and his brother James and George Guise. They had a narrow escape, however, and only got away by knowing the country so much better than the soldiers did. They lay out until this morning. How rejoiced I am for his family! All of his negroes are gone, save one man that had a wife here at my plantation. They are very strong Secesh [Secessionists]. When the army first came along they offered a guard for the house, but Mrs. Laura told them she was guarded by a Higher Power, and did not thank them to do it. She says that she could think of nothing else all day when the army was passing but of the devil and his hosts. She had, however, to call for a guard before night or the soldiers would have taken everything she had.

SOURCE: Dolly Lunt Burge, A Woman's Wartime Journal, p. 36-8

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Diary of Dolly Lunt Burge: August 2, 1864

Just as I got out of bed this morning Aunt Julia [a slave] called me to look down the road and see the soldiers. I peeped through the blinds, and there they were, sure enough, the Yankees — the blue coats!

I was not dressed. The servant women came running in. “Mistress, they are coming! They are coming! They are riding into the lot! There are two coming up the steps!”

I bade Rachel [a slave] fasten my room door and go to the front door and ask them what they wanted. They did not wait for that, but came in and asked why my door was fastened. She told them that the white folks were not up. They said they wanted breakfast, and that quick, too.

“Thug” [short for "Sugar," the nickname of a little girl, Minnie Minerva Glass, now Mrs. Joe Carey Murphy of Charlotte, North Carolina, who had come to pass the night with Sadai] and Sadai, as well as myself, were greatly alarmed. As soon as I could get on my clothing I hastened to the kitchen to hurry up breakfast. Six of them were there talking with my women. They asked about our soldiers and, passing themselves off as Wheeler's men, said:

“Have you seen any of our men go by?”

“Several of Wheeler's men passed last evening. Who are you?” said I.

“We are a portion of Wheeler's men,” said one.

“You look like Yankees,” said I.

“Yes,” said one, stepping up to me; “we are Yankees. Did you ever see one before?”

“Not for a long time,” I replied, “and none such as you.” [These men, Mrs. Burge says further, were raiders, Illinois and Kentucky men of German origin. They left after breakfast, taking three of her best mules, but doing no further injury.]

To-night Captain Smith of an Alabama regiment, and a squad of twenty men, are camped opposite in the field. They have all supped with me, and I shall breakfast with them. We have spent a pleasant evening with music and talk. They have a prisoner along. I can't help feeling sorry for him.

SOURCE: Dolly Lunt Burge, A Woman's Wartime Journal, p. 10-13

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Major Charles Fessenden Morse: November 22, 1863


Tullahoma, Tenn., November 22, 1863.

We have been moving about so much lately that I have omitted to write my usual quota of letters. A little more than a week ago, General Slocum received orders to remove his headquarters to Murfreesboro; we arrived there about a week ago Friday, and established ourselves in Rosecrans' old headquarters, the residence of a rebel congressman. Before the war, it must have been a very elegant house, and even as we found it, stripped as it was of all furniture, it seemed quite magnificent to us after living in tents. My room had been the front drawing room and was still decorated by a white marble mantle-piece and bronze chandelier. Every room in the house had a fine, open fireplace in it.

We lived here very comfortably till last Monday, when General Slocum was ordered to Tullahoma on account of a new disposition of troops along the road. We left Murfreesboro Wednesday morning; that same morning Colonel Rogers started home on a sick leave, so that I became acting Assistant Adjutant General of the corps for the time being. The day was a perfect one, and both ourselves and horses felt in fine spirits for a march. Our intention was to ride to Shelbyville that day, about twenty miles. We passed through some of the finest farming country in middle Tennessee, and had a fine chance to see and enjoy it. Much of the land had been used for raising cotton, and occasionally we would meet a wagon-load of this valuable article on its way to Nashville. I don't know when I've enjoyed a ride so much as I did the one that day. We arrived in Shelbyville about sunset. This town is the second in size in Tennessee, and has been a very pretty place, almost like a Northern one; it has been the stronghold of the Unionists of the State. During Wheeler's raid the place was entered by the rebels, and every store and many of the houses were stripped of every article of value.

A gentleman named Ramsay invited the General and myself to stop at his house; we accepted the invitation and were treated with great hospitality. Our host was one of the leading Union men of the county, and we have since learned that it was in a great measure owing to him that the neighborhood had been kept so loyal. The county voted against secession by a very large majority. We left Shelbyville about eleven o'clock the next morning. Our ride that day was through a much wilder country than we had passed through on the day preceding; much of the road was nothing more than a cart-path through the woods, but this was very favorable for horseback riding, and we got along pretty fast. General Slocum came near meeting with a severe accident that afternoon. We were galloping along quite fast when his horse, a large, heavy animal, struck a bad place in the road and fell forward upon his knees; before he could be recovered he rolled over on his side, pinning the General's leg to the ground. We all sprang from our horses, and, after some little struggling on the part of the horse, the General was extricated from his dangerous position. We all thought his leg was broken, for he looked deadly pale, but he relieved our anxiety by saying that he was all right, and after lying down a few minutes, he mounted his other horse and we rode on again. Tullahoma was reached about six P. M., after a ride of twenty-three or four miles.

SOURCE: Charles Fessenden Morse, Letters Written During the Civil War, 1861-1865, p. 156-8