Showing posts with label R E Lee. Show all posts
Showing posts with label R E Lee. Show all posts

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: February 8, 1864

The air is filled with rumors—none reliable. It is said Gen. Lee is much provoked at the alarm and excitement in the city, which thwarted a plan of his to capture the enemy on the Peninsula; and the militia and the Department Battalions were kept yesterday and to-day under arms standing in the cold, the officers blowing their nails, and “waiting orders,” which came not. Perhaps they were looking for the “conspirators;” a new hoax to get “martial law.”

A Union meeting has been held in Greensborough, N. C. An intelligent writer to the department says the burden of the speakers, mostly lawyers, was the terrorism of Gen. Winder and his corps of rogues and cut-throats, Marylanders, whose operations, it seems, have spread into most of the States. Mr. Sloan, the writer, says, however, a vast majority of the people are loyal.

It is said Congress is finally about to authorize martial law. My cabbages are coming up in my little hot-bed—half barrel. Gen. Maury writes from Mobile that he cannot be able to obtain any information leading to the belief of an intention on the part of the enemy to attack Mobile. He says it would require 40,000 men, after three months' preparation, to take it.

Gov. Brown, of Georgia, says the Confederate States Government has kept bad faith with the Georgia six months’ men; and hence they cannot be relied on to relieve Gen. Beauregard, etc. (It is said the enemy are about to raise the siege of Charleston.) Gov. B. says the State Guard are already disbanded. He says, moreover, that the government here, if it understood its duty, would not seize and put producers in the field, but would stop details, and order the many thousand young officers everywhere swelling in the cars and hotels, and basking idly in every village, to the ranks. He is disgusted with the policy here. What are we coming to?

 Everywhere our troops in the field, whose terms of three years will expire this spring, are re-enlisting for the war. This is an effect produced by President Lincoln's proclamation; that to be permitted to return to the Union, all men must first take an oath to abolish slavery!

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 145-6

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: February 10, 1864

 Gen. Lee wrote to the Secretary of War, on the 22d of January, that his army was not fed well enough to fit them for the exertions of the spring campaign; and recommended the discontinuance of the rule of the Commissary-General allowing officers at Richmond, Petersburg, and many other towns, to purchase government meat, etc. etc. for the subsistence of their families, at schedule prices. He says the salaries of these officers ought to be sufficient compensation for their services; that such allowances deprived the officers and soldiers in the field of necessary subsistence, and encouraged able-bodied men to seek such easy positions; it offended the people who paid tithes, to see them consumed by these non-combating colonels, majors, etc., instead of going to feed the army; and it demoralized the officers and soldiers in the field.

This letter was referred to the Commissary-General, who, after the usual delay, returned it with a long argument to show that Gen. Lee was in “error,” and that the practice was necessary, etc.

To this the Secretary responded by a peremptory order, restricting the city officers in the item of meat.

Again the Commissary-General sends it back, recommending the suspension of the order until it be seen what Congress will do! Here are twenty days gone, and the Commissary-General has his own way still. He don't hesitate to bully the Secretary and the highest generals in the field. Meantime the Commissary-General's pet officers and clerks are living sumptuously while the soldiers are on hard fare. But, fortunately, Gen. Lee has captured 1200 beeves from the enemy since his letter was written.

And Gen. Cobb writes an encouraging letter from Georgia. He says there is more meat in that State than any one supposed; and men too. Many thousands of recruits can be sent forward, and meat enough to feed them.

The President has issued a stirring address to the army.

The weather is still clear, and the roads are not only good, but dusty—yet it is cold.

They say Gen. Butler, on the Peninsula, has given orders to his troops to respect private property—and not to molest noncombatants.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 146-7

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: February 12, 1864

It is warm to-day, and cloudy; but there was ice early in the morning. We have recaptured twenty-odd of the escaped prisoners. 

A bill has passed Congress placing an embargo on many imported articles; and these articles are rising rapidly in price. Sugar sold to-day at auction in large quantity for $8.00 per pound; rice, 85 cents, etc. 

There is a rumor that Gen. Finnegan has captured the enemy in Florida. 

Gen. Lee says his army is rapidly re-enlisting for the war. 

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 148

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Diary of Gideon Welles: Friday, July 15, 1864

We had some talk at Cabinet-meeting to-day on the Rebel invasion. The President wants to believe there was a large force, and yet evidently his private convictions are otherwise. But the military leaders, the War Office, have insisted there was a large force. We have done nothing, and it is more gratifying to our self-pride to believe there were many of them, especially as we are likely to let them off with considerable plunder scot-free.

The National Intelligencer comments with a good deal of truth and ability on our national humiliation, as exemplified in this late affair. There is no getting away from the statements and facts presented.

Seward and Stanton seem disturbed. There is something which does not suit them. Seward followed Stanton out, and had a talk in the anteroom. I met Solicitor Whiting as I left the White House, who was very anxious to talk. Deplored the miserable military management. Imputes the whole folly and scare to General Halleck. Says Stanton has disapproved his policy, but [that] the President clings to Halleck, who is damaging him and the Administration greatly; that Halleck and Blair are both injuring the President. “Why,” said I, “you do not mean to identify Blair with this pitiful business.” “Oh no,” said he, “but Blair is so perverse on the slavery question that he is getting all the radical element of the country against the Administration.” As I did not care to enter into controversy on that topic, and it was late, I left him. But the conversation indicates that Stanton intends to throw off responsibility on to Halleck.

Grant and the Army of the Potomac are reposing in immense force near Richmond. Our troops have been sent from here and drawn from all quarters to reinforce the great army, which has suffered immense losses in its march, without accomplishing anything except to reach the ground from which McClellan was withdrawn. While daily reinforced, Grant could push on to a given point, but he seems destitute of strategy or skill, while Lee exhibits tact. This raid, which might have taken Washington and which has for several days cut off our communications with the North, was devised by Lee while beleaguered at Richmond, and, though failing to do as much as might have been accomplished, has effected a good deal.

The deportment of Stanton has been wholly different during this raid from any former one. He has been quiet, subdued, and apparently oppressed with some matter that gave him disquiet. On former occasions he has been active, earnest, violent, alarmed, apprehensive of danger from every quarter. It may be that he and Halleck have disagreed. Neither of them has done himself credit at this time.

The arrest of Henderson, Navy Agent, and his removal from office have seriously disturbed the editors of the Evening Post, who seem to make his cause their own. This subject coming up to-day, I told the President of the conduct of his District Attorney, Delafield Smith, who, when the case was laid before him by Mr. Wilson, attorney for the Department, remarked that it was not worth while to prosecute, that the same thing was done by others, at Washington as well as New York, and no notice was taken of it. Wilson asked him if he, the prosecuting law officer of the Government, meant to be understood as saying it was not worth while to notice embezzlement, etc. I related this to the President, who thereupon brought out a correspondence that had taken place between himself and W. C. Bryant. The latter averred that H. was innocent, and denounced Savage, the principal witness against him, because arrested and under bonds. To this the President replied that the character of Savage before his arrest was as good as Henderson’s before he was arrested. He stated that he knew nothing of H.’s alleged malfeasance until brought to his notice by me, in a letter, already written, for his removal; that he inquired of me if I was satisfied he was guilty; that I said I was; and that he then directed, or said to me, “Go ahead, let him be removed.” These are substantially the facts. I said to him that the attorneys who had investigated the subject expressed a full conviction of his guilt; that I had come to the same conclusion, and did not see how a prosecution and summary proceedings could be avoided. The Evening Post manifests a belligerent spirit, and evidently intends to make war upon the Navy Department because I will not connive at the malfeasance of its publisher. In a cautious and timid manner they have supported the policy of the Navy Department hitherto, though fearful of being taunted for so doing. Because their publisher was Navy Agent they have done this gently. But they now, since Henderson's arrest and trial, assail the monitors and the monitor system, which they have hitherto supported, and insidiously and unfairly misrepresent them and the Department. I am surprised at the want of judgment manifested in hastening to make this assault. It would have been more politic, certainly, to have delayed, for the motive which leads them to make this abrupt turn cannot be misunderstood. They know it is painful for me to prosecute one of their firm, that it pains me to believe him guilty, but that when the facts are presented, they should know me well enough to be aware that I would not cover or conceal the rascality even to oblige them. I claim no merit, but I deserve no censure for this plain and straightforward discharge of my duty. I hear it said to-day that there has been disagreement between Stanton and Grant; that the latter had ordered General Hinks to Point Lookout and Stanton countermanded the order for General Barnes.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 2: April 1, 1864 — December 31, 1866, p. 77-80

Friday, September 25, 2020

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: February 4, 1864

Clear and pretty cold. We have news of another brilliant affair at Kinston, N. C, where Gen. Pickett has beaten the enemy, killing and wounding and taking some 500 men, besides capturing another gun-boat! Thus the campaign of 1864 opens auspiciously.

And Gen. Early has beaten the foe in Hardy County, Northwest Virginia, capturing, it is said, some 800.

It is supposed that Gen. Pickett will push on to Newbern, and probably capture the town. At all events we shall get large supplies from the tide-water counties of North Carolina. General Lee planned the enterprise, sending some 15,000 men on the expedition.

Yesterday the Senate Committee reported against the House bill modifying the act making all men liable to conscription who have hired substitutes. But they are debating a new exemption bill in the House.

It is true Mr. Toombs was arrested at Savannah, or was ejected from the cars because he would not procure a passport.

To-day Mr. Kean, the young Chief of the Bureau of War, has registered all the clerks, the dates of their appointments, their age, and the number of children they have. He will make such remarks as suits him in each case, and submit the list to the Secretary for his action regarding the increased compensation. Will he intimate that his own services are so indispensable that he had better remain out of the field ?

The following "political card" for the Northern Democrats was played yesterday. I think it a good one, if nothing more be said about it here. It will give the Abolitionists trouble in the rear while we assail them in the front.

The following extraordinary resolutions were, yesterday, introduced in the House of Representatives by Mr. Wright of Georgia. The House went into secret session before taking any action upon them.

whereas: The President of the United States, in a late public communication, did declare that no propositions for peace had been made to that government by the Confederate States, when, in truth, such propositions were prevented from being made by the President of the United States, in that he refused to hear, or even to receive, two commissioners, appointed to treat expressly of the preservation of amicable relations between the two governments.

"Nevertheless, that the Confederate States may stand justified in the sight of the conservative men of the North of all parties, and that the world may know which of the two governments it is that urges on a war unparalleled for the fierceness of the conflict, and intensifying into a sectional hatred unsurpassed in the annals of mankind. Therefore,

"Resolved, That the Confederate States invite the United States, through their government at Washington, to meet them by representatives equal to their representatives and senators in their respective Congress at ——, on the —— day of —— next, to consider,

First: Whether they cannot agree upon the recognition of the Confederate States of America.

Second: In the event of such recognition, whether they cannot agree upon the formation of a new government, founded upon the equality and sovereignty of the States; but if this cannot be done, to consider

Third: Whether they cannot agree upon treaties, offensive, defensive, and commercial.

Resolved, In the event of the passage of these resolutions, the President be requested to communicate the same to the Government at Washington, in such manner as he shall deem most in accordance with the usages of nations; and, in the event of their acceptance by that government, he do issue his proclamation of election of delegates, under such regulations as he may deem expedient.”

Eighteen car loads of coffee went up to the army to-day. I have not tasted coffee or tea for more than a year.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 142-4

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Lieutenant-General Ulysses S. Grant to Major-General Henry W. Halleck, May 11, 1864 – 8:30 a.m.

HEADQUARTERS ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES,                      
Near Spotsylvania Court-House, May 11, 18648.30 a.m.

We have now ended the sixth day of very heavy fighting. The result to this time is much in our favor. But our losses have been heavy, as well as those of the enemy. We have lost to this time 11 general officers killed, wounded, and missing, and probably 20,000 men. I think the loss of the enemy must be greater, we having taken over 4,000 prisoners in battle, while he has taken but few, except stragglers. I am now sending back to Belle Plain all my wagons for a fresh supply of provisions and ammunition, and propose to fight it out on this line if it takes all summer. The arrival of re-enforcements here will be very encouraging to the men, and I hope they will be sent as fast as possible, and in as great numbers. My object in having them sent to Belle Plain was to use them as an escort to our supply train. If it is more convenient to send them out by train to march from the railroad to Belle Plain or Fredericksburg send them so. I am satisfied the enemy are very shaky, and are only kept up to the mark by the greatest exertions on the part of their officers, and by keeping them intrenched in every position they take. Up to this time there is no indication of any portion of Lee's army being detached for the defense of Richmond.

U.S. GRANT,            
Lieutenant-General.
Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK,
Chief of Staff.

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 36, Part 1 (Serial No. 67), p. 4

Friday, August 21, 2020

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: January 27, 1864

Last night, the weather being very pleasant, the President's house was pretty well filled with gentlemen and ladies. I cannot imagine how they continue to dress so magnificently, unless it be their old finery, which looks well amid the general aspect of shabby mendicity. But the statures of the men, and the beauty and grace of the ladies, surpass any I have seen elsewhere, in America or Europe. There is high character in almost every face, and fixed resolve in every eye.

The President was very courteous, saying to each, “I am glad to meet you here to-night.” He questioned me so much in regard to my health, that I told him I was not very well; and if his lady (to whom he introduced us all) had not been so close (at his elbow), I might have assigned the cause. When we parted, he said, We have met before.” Mrs. Davis was in black—for her father. And many of the ladies were in mourning for those slain in battle.

Gen. Lee has published the following to his army:


An eloquent and stirring appeal!

It is rumored that the writ of habeas corpus has been suspended—as the President has been allowed to suspend it—by Congress, in secret session. But Congress passed a resolution, yesterday, that after it adjourns on the 18th February, it will assemble again on the first Monday, in May.

Mr. Lyons, chairman of the Committee on Increased Compensation to the civil officers, had an interview with the Secretary of War yesterday. The Secretary told him, it is said, that unless Congress voted the increase, he would take the responsibility of ordering them rations, etc. etc. And Mr. Smith, of North Carolina, told me, to-day, that something would be done. He it was who moved to lay the bill on the table. He said it would have been defeated, if the vote had been taken on the bill.

Gov. Smith sent to the Legislature a message, yesterday, rebuking the members for doing so little, and urging the passage of a bill putting into the State service all between the ages of sixteen and eighteen and over forty-five. The Legislature considered his lecture an insult, and the House of Delegates contemptuously laid it on the table by an almost unanimous vote. So he has war with the Legislature, while the President is in conflict with the Confederate States Senate.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 136-7

General Robert E. Lee’s General Orders No. 7, January 22, 1864

GENERAL ORDERS No. 7.}
HDQRS. ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA.,               
January 22, 1864.

The commanding general considers it due to the army to state that the temporary reduction of rations has been caused by circumstances beyond the control of those charged with its support. Its welfare and comfort are the objects of his constant and earnest solicitude, and no effort has been spared to provide for its wants. It is hoped that the exertions now being made will render the necessity of short duration, but the history of the army has shown that the country can require no sacrifice too great for its patriotic devotion.

Soldiers! You tread with no unequal step the road by which your fathers marched through suffering, privations, and blood to independence. Continue to emulate in the future, as you have in the past, their valor in arms, their patient endurance of hardships, their high resolve to be free, which no trial could shake, no bribe seduce, no danger appall, and be assured that the just God who crowned their efforts with success will, in His own good time, send down His blessing upon yours.

R. E. LEE,                 
General.

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 33 (Serial No. 60), p. 1117; John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 136-7

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Edwin M. Stanton to Major-General Benjamin F. Butler, May 9, 1864 — 3:20 p.m.

WAR DEPARTMENT,                     
May 9, 1864—3.20 p.m.
Major-General BUTLER:

A bearer of dispatches from General Meade has just reached here by way of Fredericksburg; states that on Friday night Lee's army fell back, and yesterday were in full retreat for Richmond, Grant pursuing with his army. Hancock passed Spotsylvania Court-House before daylight yesterday morning. Meade's headquarters were yesterday at Todd's Tavern. We occupy Fredericksburg. The Twenty-second New York [Cavalry] occupied it about 8 o'clock last night.

EDWIN M. STANTON,                   
Secretary of War.

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 36, Part 2 (Serial No. 68), p. 587

Monday, August 10, 2020

Diary of Gideon Welles: Wednesday, July 6, 1864

Admiral Porter called on me to-day direct from his command. Had a long interview on his affairs.

Received dispatches to-day from Captain Winslow of the Kearsarge relative to sinking the Alabama. Wrote congratulatory letter. There is great rejoicing throughout the country over this success, which is universally and justly conceded a triumph over England as well as over the Rebels. In my first draft, I made a point or two, rather too strong perhaps, against England and the mercenary, piratical spirit of Semmes, who had accumulated chronometers.

While our people generally award me more credit than I deserve in this matter, a malevolent partisan spirit exhibits itself in some, which would find fault with me because this battle did not sooner take place. These assaults disturb me less, perhaps, than they ought; they give me very little uneasiness because I know them to be groundless. Violent attacks have been made upon the Department and myself for the reason that our naval vessels were not efficient, had no speed; but in the account of the battle, the Kearsarge is said, by way of lessening the calamity, to have had greater steaming power than the Alabama, and to have controlled the movement. Our large smooth-bore guns, the Dahlgrens, have been ridiculed and denounced by the enemies of the Navy Department, but the swift destruction of the Alabama is now imputed to the great guns which tore her in pieces.

A summer raid down the valley of the Shenandoah by the Rebels and the capture of Harper’s Ferry are exciting matters, and yet the War Department is disinclined to communicate the facts. Of course, I will not ask. A few words from Stanton about “cursed mistakes of our generals," loss of stores that had been sent forward, bode disaster. General Sigel is beaten and not the man for the command given him, I apprehend. He is always overwhelmed and put on the run. It is represented that the Rebel army is in large force, 30,000 strong, under Ewell. We always have big scares from that quarter and sometimes pretty serious realities. I can hardly suppose Ewell there with such a command without the knowledge of Grant, and I should suppose we would hear of the movement of such a body from other sources. But the military authorities seem not to know of them.

I have sometimes thought that Lee might make a sudden dash in the direction of Washington or above, and inflict great injury before our troops could interfere, or Grant move a column to protect the city. But likely Grant has thought and is prepared for this; yet he displays little strategy or invention.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 2: April 1, 1864 — December 31, 1866, p. 67-8

Diary of Gideon Welles: Saturday, July 9, 1864

The Rebel invasion of Maryland, if not so large or formidable as last year and year before, looks to me very annoying, the more so because I learn nothing satisfactory or reliable from the War Office, and am persuaded there is both neglect and ignorance there. It is evident there have not been sufficient preparations, but they are beginning to move. Yet they hardly have any accurate information. Stanton seems stupid, Halleck always does. I am not, I believe, an alarmist, and, as I have more than once said, I do not deem this raid formidable if rightly and promptly met, but it may, from inattention and neglect, become so. It is a scheme of Lee’s strategy, but where is Grant’s?

The Blairs have left, strangely, it appears to me, at this time, on a fishing excursion among the mountain streams of interior Pennsylvania, and the ladies have hastily run off from Silver Spring to Cape May, leaving their premises at a critical moment.

Our Alabama news comes in opportunely to encourage and sustain the nation’s heart. It does them as well as me good to dwell upon the subject and the discomfiture of the British and Rebels. The perfidy of the former is as infamous as the treason of the latter. Both were whipped by the Kearsarge, a Yankee ship with a Yankee commander and a Yankee crew.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 2: April 1, 1864 — December 31, 1866, p. 70-1

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: January 26, 1864

Gen. Lee recommends the formation of several more brigades of cavalry, mostly from regiments and companies in South Carolina, and to this he anticipates objections on the part of the generals and governors along the Southern seaboard; but he deems it necessary, as the enemy facing him has a vastly superior cavalry force.

The prisoners on Belle Isle (8000) have had no meat for eleven days. The Secretary says the Commissary-General informs him that they fare as well as our armies, and so he refused the commissary (Capt. Warner) of the prisoners a permit to buy and bring to the city cattle he might be able to find. An outbreak of the prisoners is apprehended: and if they were to rise, it is feared some of the inhabitants of the city would join them, for they, too, have no meat—many of them—or bread either. They believe the famine is owing to the imbecility, or worse, of the government. A riot would be a dangerous occurrence, now: the city battalion would not fire on the people—and if they did, the army might break up, and avenge their slaughtered kindred. It is a perilous time.

My wife paid $12, to-day, for a half bushel of meal; meantime I got an order for two bushels, from Capt. Warner, at $10 per bushel.

The President receives visitors to-night; and, for the first time, I think I will go.

Mr. Foote, yesterday, offered a resolution that the Commissary-General ought to be removed; which was defeated by a decided vote, twenty in the affirmative. Twenty he relied on failed him. Letters from all quarters denounce the Commissary-General and his agents.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 135-6

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Captain Charles Francis Adams, Jr., to Charles Francis Adams Sr., August 5, 1864

H.Q. Cav’y Escort, A. of P.               
Before Petersburg, August 5, 1864

*          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *

PHYSICALLY, since I last wrote, I'm glad to say I have picked up amazingly. I have at last shaken off my jaundice and have recovered a white man's looks, my appetite is amazing and I am building up. In fact I have weathered my danger and do not look for any further trouble. Ward Frothingham too has been sent home. His regiment was smashed all to pieces in the assault the other day. The Colonel, Gould, had a thigh shattered, the Lieutenant Colonel killed, and so on. As for Ward, it was the hardest kind of work helping him, for he could n't help himself. Finally however he was sent down to City Point and there gave Dalton my note, and Dalton had him shipped to New York before he could make up his mind as to whether he wanted to go there or not. So he's safe and at home.

Here since I last wrote, too, Burnside has exploded his mine and we have again just failed to take Petersburg. The papers, I see, are full of that mishap and every one is blaming every one, just as though it did any good to cry and quarrel over spilled milk. I did not see the mine exploded, though most of my officers did and they describe it as a most beautiful and striking spectacle — an immense column of debris, mixed with smoke and flame, shooting up in the form of a wheat sheaf some hundred and fifty feet, and then instantly followed by the roar of artillery. At first, and until ten o'clock, rumors came in very favorably — we had carried this and that and were advancing. At about ten I rode out to see what was going on. The fight then was pretty much over. I rode up to the parallels and dismounted and went towards the front. The heat was intense and they were bringing in the wounded, mostly blacks, in great numbers. Very little firing was going on, though occasionally shot went zipping by. Very speedily I began to be suspicious of our success. Our soldiers didn't look or act to my mind like men who had won a victory. There was none of that elation and excitement among the wounded, none of that communicative spirit among the uninjured which always marks a success. I was very soon satisfied of this and so, after walking myself into a tremendous heat and seeing nothing but a train of wounded men, I concluded that I didn't like the sound of bullets and so came home.

My suspicions proved correct. As you know we had been repulsed. How was it? In the papers you'll see all kinds of stories and all descriptions of reasons, but here all seem to have settled down to certain results on which all agree, and certain others on which all quarrel. It is agreed that the thing was a perfect success, except that it did not succeed; and the only reason it did not succeed was that our troops behaved shamefully. They advanced to the crater made by the explosion and rushed into it for cover and nothing could get them out of it. These points being agreed on then begins the bickering. All who dislike black troops shoulder the blame onto them — not that I can find with any show of cause. They seem to have behaved just as well and as badly as the rest and to have suffered more severely. This Division, too, never had really been under fire before, and it was a rough breaking in for green troops of any color. The 9th Corps .and Burnside came in for a good share of hard sayings, and, in fact, all round is heard moaning and wrath, and a scape-goat is wanted.

Meanwhile, as I see it, one person alone has any right to complain and that person is Grant. I should think his heart would break. He had out-generaled Lee so, he so thoroughly deserved success, and then to fail because his soldiers wouldn't fight? It was too bad. All the movements I mentioned in my last turned out to be mere feints and as such completely successful. Deceived by Grant's movement towards Malvern Hill, Lee had massed all his troops in that vicinity, so that when the mine exploded, the rebels had but three Divisions in front of the whole Army of the Potomac. Grant ordered a rapid countermarch of his cavalry from Malvern Hill to the extreme left, to outflank and attack the enemy at daylight, simultaneously with the assault in front. The cavalry did not reach here until the assault had failed. The march was difficult, but it was possible and it was not accomplished. Whose fault was this? Then came the assault, which was no assault, and once more Lee, completely outgeneraled, surprised and nearly lost, was saved by the bad behavior of our troops as in June, and on the same ground and under the same circumstances, he was almost miraculously saved by the stubborn bravery of his own. I find but one satisfaction in the whole thing. Here now, as before in June, whether he got it or no, Grant deserved success, and, where this is the case, in spite of fortune, he must ultimately win it. Twice Lee has been saved in spite of himself. Let him look to it, for men are not always lucky.

If you are curious to know where I myself place the blame, I must freely say on Burnside, and add, that in my own opinion I don't know anything about it. For the whole thing, Burnside's motions and activities deserve great credit. While others were lying idle, he was actively stirring round to see what he could do. The mine was his idea and his work, and he carried it through; no one but himself had any faith in it. So far all was to his credit. Then came the assault. Grant did his part of the work and deceived Lee. Burnside organized his storming column and, apparently, he couldn't have organized it worse. They say the leading brigade was chosen by lot. If so, what greater blunder could have been committed? At any rate a white brigade was put in to lead which could not have been depended on to follow. This being so, the result was what might have been expected. In such a case everything depended on the storming party; for, if they would lead, the column would follow. Volunteers might have been called for, a picked regiment might have been designated; but, no, Burnside sent in a motley crowd of white and black, heavy artillery and dismounted cavalry, and they wouldn't come up to the scratch. So endeth the second lesson before Petersburg.

As to the future, expect no light from me. I do not expect that anything will be done here for six weeks to come. Grant must hold his own, defend Washington and see what Sherman can accomplish, before he really attempts anything heavy here. The news from Sherman is so good, and Hood seems so completely to be playing our game that I think the rebel strength in that region bids fair to be used up. Lee can hold us in check, but, unless we blunder egregiously, he cannot replenish his ranks, and by autumn Grant can resume operations with deadly effect from this base. This I fear is the best view which can be taken of the present attitude of affairs. We have been so unfortunate here and our military lights about Washington — Hunter, Wallace, Halleck, Sigel and the rest — have made such a mess of our affairs in their region, that I don't see but what the army here must, for the present, be reduced to one purely of observation. . . .

As to my new regiment, I see myself gazetted but have as yet received no commission or official announcement. Meanwhile I am maturing my plans for the regiment and shall develop them in a somewhat stately paper distinguished by unusual ability even for me and addressed to Governor Andrew, the which I shall tackle as soon as I have disposed of you. For the rest, I wait here and kill time. There is nothing more for me to do here. This squadron is as contented, as well disciplined and in as good order as I know how to put it, and accordingly I must move or stand still. . . .

SOURCE: Charles Francis Adams, A Cycle of Adams Letters, 1861-1865, Volume 2, p. 170-5

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Lieutenant-Colonel Robert E. Lee, 1856

[Fort Brown, Texas, 1856]

In this enlightened age there are few, I believe, but will acknowledge that slavery, as an institution, is a moral and political evil in any country. I think it, however, a greater evil to the white man than to the black race, and while my feelings are strongly interested in behalf of the latter, my sympathies are stronger for the former. The blacks are immeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, socially and physically. . . . While we see the course of the final abolition of slavery is onward and we give it the aid of our prayers and all justifiable means in our power, we must leave the progress as well as the result in His hands who sees the end, ... and with whom a thousand years are but as a single day.

SOURCE: Randolph Harrison McKim, The Soul of Lee, p. 20

United States Military Installations Named For Confederate General

Military Installation
Named For
Fort A. P. Hill
Ambrose Powell Hill
Camp Beauregard
P.G.T. Beauregard
Fort Benning
Henry L. Benning
Fort Bragg
Braxton Bragg
Fort Gordon
John Brown Gordon
Fort Hood
John Bell Hood
Fort Lee
Robert E. Lee
Fort Pickett
George Pickett
Fort Polk
Leonidas Polk
Fort Rucker
Edmund Rucker

Friday, July 17, 2020

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: January 22, 1864

Troops, a few regiments, have been passing down from Lee's army, and going toward North Carolina. A dispatch, in cipher, from Petersburg, was received to-day at 3 p.m. It is probable the enemy threaten the Weldon and Wilmington Railroad. We shall hear soon.

It is thought the negroes that attempted to burn the President's house (they had heaped combustibles under it) were instigated by Yankees who have been released upon taking the oath of allegiance. But I think it quite as probable his enemies here (citizens) instigated it. They have one of the servants of the War Department under arrest, as participating in it.

The weather is delightful, and I seek distraction by spading in my garden.

Judge Campbell is still "allowing" men to pass out of the Confederate States; and they will invite the enemy in!

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 133

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Colonel Robert E. Lee to Mary Custis Lee, May 25, 1861

Richmond, May 25, 1861.

I have been trying, dearest Mary, ever since the receipt of your letter by Custis, to write to you. I sympathise deeply in your feelings at leaving your dear home. I have experienced them myself, and they are constantly revived. I fear we have not been grateful enough for the happiness there within our reach, and our heavenly Father has found it necessary to deprive us of what He has given us. I acknowledge my ingratitude, my transgressions, and my unworthiness, and submit with resignation to what he thinks proper to inflict upon me. We must trust all then to him, and I do not think it prudent or right for you to return there, while the United States troops occupy that country. I have gone over all this ground before, and have just written to Cousin Anna on the subject.

While writing, I received a telegram from Cousin John Goldsborough*, urging your departure “South.” I suppose he is impressed with the risk of your present position, and in addition to the possibility, or probability, of personal annoyance to yourself, I fear your presence may provoke annoyance to Cousin Anna. But unless Cousin Anna goes with you, I shall be distressed about her being there alone. If the girls went to “Kinloch” or “Eastern View,” you and Cousin Anna might take care of yourselves, because you could get in the carriage and go off in an emergency. But I really am afraid that you may prove more harm than comfort to her. Mr. Wm. C. Rives has just been in to say that if you and Cousin Anna will go to his house, he will be very glad for you to stay as long as you please. That his son has a commodious house just opposite his, unoccupied, partially furnished; that you could, if you prefer, take that, bring up servants and what you desire, and remain there as independent as at home. . . . I must now leave the matter to you, and pray that God may guard you. I have no time for more. I know and feel the discomfort of your position, but it cannot be helped, and we must bear our trials like Christians. . . . If you and Cousin Anna choose to come here, you know how happy we shall be to see you. I shall take the field as soon now as I can. . . .

Ever yours truly and devotedly,
R. E. Lee.
_______________

* A cousin of Mrs. Fitzhugh.

SOURCE: John William Jones, Life and Letters of Robert Edward Lee: Soldier and Man, p. 32-3

Lieutenant-Colonel Robert E. Lee, June 2, 1860

[San Antonio, 2d of June, 1860]

In a letter to Charlotte written since my return, I expressed the gratification I felt at the compliment paid me in your intention to call my first grandchild after me. I wish I could offer him a more worthy name and a better example. He must elevate the first and make use of the latter to avoid the errors I have committed. I also expressed the thought that under the circumstances you might like to name him after his great-grandfather, and wish you both "upon mature consideration” to follow your inclinations and judgment. I should love him all the same, and nothing could make me love you two more than I do. . . . .

SOURCE: John William Jones, Life and Letters of Robert Edward Lee: Soldier and Man, p. 113

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

General Robert E. Lee to James A. Seddon, August 23, 1864

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,                      
August 23, 1864.
Hon. SECRETARY OF WAR,
Richmond:

SIR: The subject of recruiting the ranks of our army is growing in importance and has occupied much of my attention. Unless some measures can be devised to replace our losses, the consequences may be disastrous. I think that there must be more men in the country liable to military duty than the small number of recruits received would seem to indicate. It has been several months since the passage of the last conscript law, and a large number of able bodied men and officers are engaged in enforcing it. They should by this time, if they have not been remiss, have brought out most of the men liable to conscription, and should have no duty to perform, except to send to the army those who arrive at the legal age of service. I recommend that the facts of the case be investigated, and that if the officers and men engaged in enrolling have finished their work, with the exception indicated, they be returned to the army, where their presence is much needed. It is evidently inexpedient to keep a larger number out of service in order to get a smaller. I would also respectfully recommend that the list of detailed men be revised, and that all details of arms-bearing men be revoked, except in cases of absolute necessity. I have myself seen numbers of men claiming to be detailed in different parts of the country who it seemed to me might well be in service. The crops are generally secured, or beyond the necessity of further labor, and I hope some of the agricultural details may be revoked. Our numbers are daily decreasing, and the time has arrived in my opinion when no man should be excused from service, except for the purpose of doing work absolutely necessary for the support of the army. If we had here a few thousand men more to hold the stronger parts of our lines where an attack is least likely to be made, it would enable us to employ with good effect our veteran troops. Without some increase of strength, I cannot see how we are to escape the natural military consequences of the enemy's numerical superiority.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,     
General.

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 42, Part 2 (Serial No. 88), p. 1199-1200

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes to Lucy Webb Hayes, June 9, 1864

Staunton, Vieginia, June 9, 1864.

Dearest: — I wrote you yesterday a letter which if it reaches you at all, will be some days in advance of this. I send this by the men whose term of service has expired and who go to "America" in charge of prisoners captured a few days ago by General Hunter at the battle of Piedmont or "New Hope."

All operations in this quarter have been very successful. We reached here yesterday morning after an exciting and delightful march of nine days from Meadow Bluff. . . .

The men not enlisting (one hundred and sixty) with nine officers left our camp this morning to start tomorrow in charge of Colonel Moore. The hand played “Home, Sweet Home.” The officers who leave are Captains Canby, Rice, Stevens, Sperry, and Hood; First Lieutenants Stephens, Chamberlain, Smith, Jackson, and Hicks. We have left seven full companies and twelve good officers. The old flags go to Columbus to the governor by the color-bearer. We shall quite certainly get more men from the Twelfth in a couple of weeks than we now lose.

I send Carrington with the little sorrel to sell or leave with Uncle Moses if he fails to sell him, and Uncle Moses can do what he pleases with him.

I send a pistol captured at Blacksburg from Lieutenant-Colonel Linkus, Thirty-sixth Virginia, Rebel. Also pencil memorandum of no account. Preserve the handbill showing Lee's appeal to the people of this (Augusta) county.

I have just visited the very extensive hospitals here. They are filled with patients, two-thirds Secesh, one-third our men. Nothing could be finer. In a fine building (Deaf and Dumb Asylum), in a beautiful grove — gas and hydrants — shade, air, etc. The Secesh were friendly and polite; not the slightest bitterness or unkindness between the two sorts. If I am to be left in hospital this is the spot.

Direct to “Second Infantry Division (or General Crook's Division), Department West Virginia, via Martinsburg.”

Love to all. — Affectionately ever,
R.
Mrs. Hayes.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 472-3