Showing posts with label Rice. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rice. Show all posts

Sunday, October 11, 2020

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, May 2, 2020

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: January 7, 1864

Gen. J. E. Johnston dispatches from the West that the meat is so indifferent, the soldiers must have an additional quantity of rice.

Beef sells to-day at $1.25 per pound by the quarter. And yet an Englishman at the best hotel yesterday remarked that he never lived so cheaply in any country, his board being only three shillings (in specie) per diem, or about $20 Confederate States notes.

A dozen china cups and saucers sold at auction to-day for $160. Col. Preston, Conscription Bureau, several members of the cabinet, etc. feasted at a cost of $2000! It is said that the Jack was turned up and Jeff turned down in a witticism, and smiled at nem. con. But I don't believe that.

We have a light snow, the first time the earth has been white this winter.

I am reminded daily of the privations I used to read of in the Revolutionary War. Then thorns were used, now we use pins, for buttons. My waistbands of pantaloons and drawers are pinned instead of buttoned.

Gen. Jno. H. Morgan arrived this evening, and enjoyed a fine reception, as a multitude of admirers were at the depot.

About the same hour the President rode past my house alone, to indulge his thoughts in solitude in the suburbs of the city.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 125

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: January 9, 1864

Cold and clear. Gen. Longstreet has preferred charges against Major-Gen. McLaws and another general of his command, and also asks to be relieved, unless he has an independent command, as Gen. Johnston's headquarters are too far off, etc. The Secretary is willing to relieve him, but the President intimates that a successor ought to be designated first.

Beef was held at $2.50 per pound in market to-day—and I got none; but I bought 25 pounds of rice at 40 cts., which, with the meal and potatoes, will keep us alive a month at least. The rich rogues and rascals, however, in the city, are living sumptuously, and spending Confederate States notes as if they supposed they would soon be valueless.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 126

Friday, December 14, 2018

Gerrit Smith to Wendell Phillips, 1855

Considerable as have been the pecuniary sacrifices of abolitionists in their cause, they fall far short of the merits of that precious cause. It is but a small proportion of them who refuse to purchase the cotton and sugar and rice that are wet with the tears and sweat and blood of the slave. And when we count up those who have sealed with their blood their consecration to the anti-slavery cause, we find their whole number to be scarcely half a dozen.

In none of the qualities of the best style of men — and that is the style of men needed to effectuate the bloodless termination of American slavery — have the abolitionists shown themselves more deficient than in magnanimity, confidence, charity. They have judged neither the slaveholders nor each other, generously. . . . The quarrels of abolitionists with each other, and their jealousy and abuse of each other would be far less had they more magnanimity, confidence, charity. Many of them delight in casting each other down, rather than in building each other up. Complain of each other they must; and when there is no occasion for complaint, their ill-natured ingenuity can manufacture an occasion out of the very smallest materials. Were even you, whose trueness to the slave is never to be doubted, to be sent to Congress, many of your abolition brethren would be on the alert to find some occasion for calling your integrity in question.

. . . It is no wonder that slaveholders despise both us and our cause. Our cowardice and vacillation, and innumerable follies have, almost necessarily, made both us and it contemptible. The way for us to bring slaveholders right on slavery is to be right on it ourselves. The way for us to command the respect, ay, and to win the love of slaveholders, is to act honestly, in regard to slavery and to all things else. Do I mean to say that slaveholders can be brought to love abolitionists? Oh yes! and I add, that abolitionists should love slaveholders. We are all brothers; and we are all sinners too; and the difference between ourselves, as sinners, is not so great, as in our prejudice on the one hand and our self-complacency on the other, we are wont to imagine it to be.

SOURCES: Octavius Brooks Frothingham, Gerrit Smith: A Biography, p. 230-1

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: December 15, 1864

Jocko's hut was not across the river as I supposed and wrote yesterday, but on the same side we were on. At about ten o'clock last night we went to his abiding place as directed and knocked. After a long time an old black head was stuck out of the window with a nightcap on. The owner of the head didn't know Jocko or anything about him; was short and crusty; said: “Go way from Dar” Kept talking to him and he scolding at being disturbed. Said he had rheumatics and couldn't get out to let us in. After a long time opened the door and we set down on the door step. Told him we were yankees and wanted help. Was the funniest darky we have met yet. Would give something for his picture as he was framed in his window in the moonlight talking to us, with the picturesque surroundings, and us yankees trying to win him over to aid us. Finally owned up that he was Jocko, but said he couldn't row us across the river. He was lame and could not walk, had no boat, and if he had the river was so swift he couldn't get us across, and if it wasn't swift, the rebels would catch him at it and hang him. Talked a long time and with much teasing. By degrees his scruples gave way, one at a time. Didn't know but he might row us across if he only had a boat, and finally didn't know but he could find a boat To get thus far into his good graces took at least three hours. Went looking around and found an old scow, fixed up some old cars, and we got in; before doing so however, he had warmed up enough to give us some boiled sweet potatoes and cold baked fish. Rowed us way down the river and landed us on the noted Miller plantation and a mile in rear of the negro houses. Jocko, after we forced our acquaintance on him with all kind of argument, proved to be a smart able bodied old negro, but awful afraid of being caught helping runaways. Would give something for his picture as he appeared to us looking out of his cabin window. Just an old fashioned, genuine negro, and so black that charcoal would make a white mark on him. Took us probably three miles from his hut, two miles of water and one of land, and then started back home after shaking us a dozen times by the hand, and “God blessing us.” Said “Ole Massa Miller's niggers all Union niggers,” and to go up to the huts in broad day light and they would help us. No whites at home on the plantation. We arrived where Jocko left us an hour or so before daylight, and lay down to sleep until light. I woke up after a while feeling wet, and found the tide had risen and we were surrounded with water; woke up the boys and scrambled out of that in a hurry, going through two feet of water in some places. The spot where we had laid down was a higher piece of ground than that adjoining. Got on to dry land and proceeded to get dry. At about ten o'clock Dave went up to the negro huts and made himself known, which was hard work. The negroes are all afraid that we are rebels and trying to get them into a scrape, but after we once get them thoroughly satisfied that we are genuine Yanks they are all right, and will do anything for us. The negroes have shown us the big house, there being no whites around, they having left to escape the coming Yankee army. We went up into the cupola and looked way off on the ocean, and saw our own noble gunboats. What would we give to be aboard of them? Their close proximity makes us discuss the feasibility of going down the river and out to them, but the negroes say there are chain boats across the river farther down, and picketed. Still it makes us anxious, our being so near, and we have decided to go down the river to night in a boat and see if we can't reach them It is now the middle of the afternoon and we lay off from the huts eighty rods, and the negroes are about to bring us some dinner. During the night we traveled over oyster beds by the acre, artificial ones, and they cut our feet. Negroes say there are two other runaways hid a mile off and they are going to bring them to our abiding place. Later, — Negroes have just fed us with corn bread and a kind of fish about the size of sardines, boiled by the kettle full, and they are nice. Fully as good as sardines. Think I know now where nearly all the imported sardines come from. Negroes catch them by the thousand, in nets, put them in kettles, and cook them a few minutes, when they are ready to eat. Scoop them out of the creeks The two other runaways are here with us. They are out of the 3d Ohio Cavalry. Have been out in the woods for two weeks. Escaped from Blackshear and traveled this far. I used to know one of them in Savannah. We do not take to them at all, as they are not of our kind. Shall separate to night, they going their way and we going ours. Have secured a dug-out boat to go down the Ogechee River with to-night. The negroes tell us of a Mr. Kimball, a white man, living up the country fifteen miles, who is a Union man and helps runaways, or any one of Union proclivities. He lays up the river, and our gunboats lay down the river. Both have wonderful charms for us, and shall decide before night which route to take. Are on rice plantation, and a valuable one. Before the “wall” there were over fifteen hundred negroes on this place. Cotton is also part of the production. Have decided to go down the river and try to reach our gunboats It's two very hazardous undertaking, and I have my doubts as to its successful termination.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 141-3

Captain Charles Wright Wills: June 6, 1864

June 6, 1864.

I will try and send you this to-day. Our postmaster never calls for letters, though we could send them if he would. I will try hereafter to send oftener, though you must not feel anxious about me. I will take the best care I can of myself (and do my whole duty). I yet think that to be connected with such a campaign as this is well worth risking one's life for. It occasionally gets a little old, but so does everything in this life, and altogether I don't know but that it wears as well as any of life's pleasures. Do you remember when I was at home how little I knew about good eatables? Here it is a great advantage to me. For five weeks we have been living on “hard tack,” pickled pork and coffee, varied by not half a dozen meals of beef, not even beans or rice. Nearly every one grumbles, but I have as yet felt no loss of appetite, and hardly the desire for a change.

Nearly all the prisoners we capture say they are done fighting and shamefully say, many of them, that if exchanged and put back in the ranks they will shirk rather than fight. It would mortify me very much if I thought any of our men that they captured would talk so. It seems to me that the Confederacy is only held together by its officers exercising at least the power of a Czar, and that should we leave it to itself it would crumble. Well, I am calculating that this campaign will end about the 15th of July, in Atlanta. I cannot hope for a leave of absence again until my time is out, unless I resign, and if active campaigning continues, as some think it will, until the war is over, of course I will have no chance to do the latter. Cousin James is near me here, and I expect to see him soon.

Passed Charlie Maple on the road yesterday; also saw Clegget Birney. He is a splendid looking boy. They say the 7th Cavalry will soon be here; also the 8th Illinois. I will try to write you every week hereafter.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 255-6

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

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

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

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

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: December 4, 1864

Another delightfully cool morning. There are not a great many guards here to watch over us, and it would be possible for all to break away without much trouble. The men, however, are so sure of liberty that they prefer to wait until given legitimately. Would like to have seen this guard hold us last summer at Andersonville. Fresh meat again to-day. Rebels go out to neighboring plantations and take cattle, drive them here, and butcher for us to eat. Rice is also given us to eat. Have plenty of wood to cook with. Have traded off the old missmated pair of brogans for a smaller and good pair, and feel quite like a dandy. Have some money to buy extras. Have plenty of food yet from that given me at Doctortown. Divide with the Bucks, or rather, it is all one common mess, and what any one owns belongs equally to the others. Rebels glum and cross, and sometimes we laugh at them, and then they swear and tell us to shut up or they will blow our heads off. Blackshear is a funny name and it is a funny town, if there is any, for as yet I haven't been able to see it. Probably a barn and a hen-coop comprise the place. Cars go thundering by as if the Yanks were after them About every train loaded with troops. Go first one way and then the other. Think they are trying to keep out of the way themselves.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 131-2

Friday, July 20, 2018

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: November 24, 1864

Another beautiful morning, a repetition of yesterday, opens up to me. It is particularly necessary that I procure sustenance wherewith life is prolonged, and will change my head-quarters to a little nearer civilization. Can hear some one chopping not a mile away. Here goes. Later. — Found an old negro fixing up a dilapidated post and rail fence. Approached him and enquired the time of day. (My own watch having run down.) He didn't happen to have his gold watch with him, but reckoned it was nigh time for the horn. Seemed scared at the apparition that appeared to him, and no wonder. Forgave him on the spot. Thought it policy to tell him all about who and what I was, and did so. Was very timid and afraid, but finally said he would divide his dinner as soon as it should be sent to him, and for an hour I lay off a distance of twenty rods or so, waiting for that dinner. It finally came, brought by the same boy I saw go along yesterday. Boy sat down the pail and the old darkey told him to scamper off home — which he did Then we had dinner of rice, cold yams and fried bacon. It was a glorious repast, and I succeeded in getting quite well acquainted with him. We are on the Bowden plantation and he belongs to a family of that name. Is very fearful of helping me as his master is a strong Secesh., and he says would whip him within an inch of his life if it was known. Promise him not to be seen by any one and he has promised to get me something more to eat after it gets dark. Later. — After my noonday meal went back toward the low ground and waited for my supper, which came half an hour ago and it is not yet dark. Had a good supper of boiled seasoned turnips, corn bread and sour milk, the first milk I have had in about a year. Begs me to go off in the morning, which I have promised to do. says for me to go two or three miles on to another plantation owned by LeCleye, where there are good negroes who will feed me. Thanked the old fellow for his kindness says the war is about over and the Yanks expected to free them all soon. It's getting pretty dark now, and I go to bed filled to overflowing; in fact, most too much so.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 122-3

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: October 22, 1864

Lieut. Davis commands the prison in Savannah. Is the same individual who officiated at Andersonville during Wirtz's sickness last summer. He is a rough but not a bad man Probably does as well as he can. Papers state that they will commence to move the prisoners soon to Millen, to a stockade similar to the one at Andersonville. I am hobbling about the hospital with the help of two crutches. Have not heard a word from old Mike, or Battese or any one that ever heard of before, for some days. Sweet potatoes building me up with the luxuries they are traded for. Had some rice in my soup. Terrible appetite, but for all that don't eat a great deal. Have three sticks propped up at the mouth of our tent, with a little fire under it, cooking food. Men in tent swear because smoke goes inside. Make it all straight by giving them some soup. Rebel surgeons all smoke, at least do while among us. Have seen prisoners who craved tobacco more than food, and said of the two would prefer tobacco. I never have used tobacco in any form.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 105

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: August 11, 1863

After all the applications of the railroad companies when Gen. Lee was in Pennsylvania, and the enemy had withdrawn from this side of the Potomac, it appears that the fine iron on the road from Fredericksburg to Aquia Creek was not removed! Mr. Seddon's subordinates must answer for this. The iron was wanted more than anything else but men. The want of men cannot be alleged for not securing it, because the railroad companies would have procured negroes enough for its removal.

Well, the first of August has passed, and the grand scheme of the War Office at Washington of a general servile insurrection did not take place. On the contrary, a large army of slaves might be organized to fight for their masters.

To-day, it must be confessed, I saw some of the booty (if, indeed, it was not fairly bought) of the recent invasion of the North. A number of boxes of fine stationery, brought from Carlisle, Chambersburg, etc., were opened at the War Department.

There is a controversy between the Secretary of War, Assistant Secretary, and Attorney-General on one side, and the Commissary-General, Col. L, B. Northrop, on the other. It appears that one of the assistant commissaries exchanged sugar for flour and rice in Alabama with a merchant or speculator, and then, after the lapse of a month or so, impressed the sugar. The party got the Attorney-General's opinion in his behalf, which was approved by the Assistant Secretary of War, and the Secretary issued an order for the release of the sugar. In response to this, Col. N. rebuts the arguments of the whole three (lawyers) by saying it is not good sense to exempt anything, under any circumstances, from impressment, when needed to carry on the war; and that the way to success is to do justice to the whole country — and not to please the people. A palpable hit at the politicians. He says if the Secretary insists on the sugar being released, it will be done against his (N.'s) judgment.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2, p. 10

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: April 21, 1863

Gen. Longstreet lost, it is said, two 32-pounder guns yesterday, with which he was firing on the enemy's gunboats. A force was landed and captured the battery.

Gen. Lee writes that his men have each, daily, but a quarter pound of meat and 16 ounces of flour. They have, besides, 1 pound of rice to every ten men, two or three times a week. He says this may keep them alive; but that at this season they should have more generous food. The scurvy and the typhoid fever are appearing among them. Longstreet and Hill, however, it is hoped will succeed in bringing off supplies of provision, etc. — such being the object of their demonstrations.

Gen. Wise has fallen back, being ordered by Gen. Elzey not to attempt the capture of Fort Magruder — a feat he could have accomplished.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 296-7

Friday, April 7, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: April 2, 1863

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diary of Private Charles Wright Wills: June 9, 1861

Cairo. I have been over to Bird's Point this morning for the first time. They have thrown up breastworks and dug a deep ditch outside of them, making a pretty strong camp. We don't apprehend, a shade of a fuss here but the officers are making as much preparation as if a Waterloo No. 2 were coming. I went to old Bird's house this morning. It is just like the pictures we have seen in Harper's of southern planters' homes. A wide, railed porch extends around two sides of the house from the floor of each story. On the lower porch sat Bird and his family talking with a number of officers and their ladies. Looked very pleasant. Back of the house were the quarters filled with 46 of the ugliest, dirtiest niggers I ever saw, dressed in dirty white cotton. Awful nasty! The soldiers at the point have plenty of shade. We have but one tree on our grounds. The boys took a lot of ammunition from Bird the other day, and also another lot from a nest five miles back in Missouri. It was all given back, however, as private property. Our whole brigade of six regiments had a parade yesterday. We are all uniformed now and I think we made a respectable appearance. The general gave us a special notice. Are the Canton boys going or not? Do they drill? We have been sleeping on hay up to this week, but have thrown it away, and now have but the bare boards. The change has been so gradual from featherbed at home to plank here that I can't think where it troubled me the least. I had a mattress in Peoria, straw in Springfield, and hay here. Our living is now very good. Fresh beef every day, potatoes, rice and beans.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 17

Monday, February 13, 2017

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: December 31, 1863

Still very cold and no news encouraging. Rebels very strict. One prisoner found a brother among the guards who had been living in the south for a good many years and lately conscripted into the Confederate army. New Year's eve. Man wounded by the guard shooting, and ball broke his leg. Might better have shot him dead for he will surely die. Raw rice and corn bread issued to day in small quantities. Richmond Enquirer spoke of the five hundred who left here day before yesterday and they have reached Washington.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 22

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: November 24, 1863

Very cold weather. Four or five men chilled to death last night. A large portion of the prisoners who have been in confinement any length of time are reduced to almost skeletons from continued hunger, exposure and filth. Having some money just indulged in an extra ration of corn bread for which I paid twenty cents in yankee script, equal to two dollars confederate money, and should say by the crowd collected around that such a sight was an unusual occurrence, and put me in mind of gatherings I have seen at the north around some curiosity. We received for to day's food half a pint of rice soup and one-quarter of a pound loaf of corn bread The bread is made from the very poorest meal, coarse, sour and musty; would make poor feed for swine at home. The rice is nothing more than boiled in river water with no seasoning whatever, not even salt, but for all that it tasted nice. The greatest difficulty is the small allowance given us. The prisoners are blue, downcast and talk continually of home and something good to eat. They nearly all think there will be an exchange of prisoners before long and the trick of it is to live until the time approaches. We are divided off into hundreds with a sergeant to each squad who draws the food and divides it up among his men and woe unto him if a man is wronged out of his share — his life, is not worth the snap of the finger if caught cheating. No wood tonight and it is very cold. The nights are long and are made hideous by the moans of suffering wretches.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 12-3

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Diary of Brigadier-General William F. Bartlett: Friday, August 19, 1864

Another day gone. I am still improving. Walk out on crutches a few steps. Am very, very weak. Rainy still. Major Morfit, commanding prison, must have noticed the scrap of paper on which I wrote Agnes, for to-day he sent me up several sheets of note-paper with his compliments. Reading all day, “Artist's Bride,” Emerson Bennett. Poor trash. I long to hear from home. I have an egg for breakfast now, with some toast, and clover or hay tea; for dinner, boiled rice which has to be examined; for supper, baked apple and tea.

SOURCE: Francis Winthrop Palfrey, Memoir of William Francis Bartlett, p. 127

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Lieutenant Colonel Charles Fessenden Morse: December 24, 1864

Near Savannah, Ga.,
December 24, 1864.

Our campaign has been successfully ended, and we are again in camp preparing for a few weeks' rest and comfort.

Since my note to E–––, we have had the hardest time of the whole campaign since leaving Atlanta. On the 15th, about two P. M., our regiment was ordered to the river; on arriving there, we were shipped on flat boats and crossed to Argyle Island, with considerable difficulty, getting aground once, and being shelled at long range by a rebel gunboat. We camped that night with the Third Wisconsin on a rice plantation. The object of our move was to protect a rice mill which was threshing out rice for the army, and to prepare a crossing into South Carolina. The remainder of our brigade crossed to the island on the 16th. That same morning, our threshing operations were suddenly brought to a standstill by a rebel battery, which opened on us from the South Carolina shore; this caused the most amusing skedaddle of about a hundred negro operatives, men, women and children, that I ever saw.

We got two guns into position and silenced the rebs. On the 19th, after several delays, our regiment, the Third Wisconsin, and the Thirteenth New Jersey, started at daylight, and, under cover of a heavy fog, crossed to the South Carolina side, effecting a landing without loss. We advanced at once, driving in about a brigade of rebel cavalry. After having secured all the desirable positions, we entrenched ourselves, and received the support of the remainder of our brigade and two guns. The enemy were much annoyed by our movement, and in the afternoon made quite a decided attack, charging in one place almost up to the works.

Our position was a peculiar one. With our five regiments, we held a line about two and a half miles long. The whole country is a rice swamp, divided into regular squares by dykes and ditches, with occasional mounds raised a few feet above the water level. On a series of these mounds our regiments were placed, connected along the dykes by a thin line of skirmishers. Our ground being perfectly open and level for miles, we could see every manoeuvre of the enemy.

On the 20th, the enemy pressed as close to our lines as they dared, showing a very superior force to our own, and in the afternoon opened a battery in our front, and fired from a gunboat in our rear, in a manner which was by no means comfortable. Early in the morning of the 21st, news came of the surrender of Savannah, and orders for our immediate crossing into Georgia. Most of our regiments and the two guns were transferred to Argyle Island, when the enemy began to advance rapidly into our old position ; they were easily checked, but with them in our front and a gale blowing on the river, it became a very difficult and dangerous operation to cross. However, by ten P. M., that night, the last man was on the island, though he had to swim the river.

Now I must go back to about four P. M., that same day, when our regiment attempted to cross to the Georgia shore. Arrived at the landing, no boats capable of carrying anybody were to be found. Captain Grafton and I took a light “dugout” and went across to send some over. Two “flats” were found and sent back, and the regiment put on them. The largest of the two, containing the majority of the men, had, with great difficulty, struggled against the wind and tide and nearly reached the shore, when an irresistible gust struck it, turning it round and round, and sending the poor boat up the river towards South Carolina with great speed. Grafton and I pursued them in our light boat, and found them about seven P. M., hard and fast on the lee shore of Hutchison Island, whence, after a deal of work, they were ferried back, a few at a time, to Argyle Island.

Such a row back against the wind as we had is easier imagined than described; however, at twelve at night, we were safe on Georgia soil with a fraction of the regiment. The next day was spent mainly in ferrying the brigade over. Towards night we started for camp, and reached it after a hard march of nine miles. This expedition cost us a few very good men wounded, but no officers.

I haven't as yet heard any estimate of the guns, stores, etc., captured, but I understand that everything was left behind. The city has been well protected since our occupation; the citizens seem very well contented that it has changed hands, and show themselves freely on the streets. We are camped about two miles from the city; the river is not a stone's throw from my tent. We are collecting quite a fleet of light boats, so that we shall have plenty of opportunity for rowing. Our next move will probably be to take Charleston.

SOURCE: Charles Fessenden Morse, Letters Written During the Civil War, 1861-1865, p. 199-200

Friday, August 26, 2016

Lieutenant Colonel Charles Fessenden Morse: December 18, 1864

Argyle Island, Ga.,
December 18, 1864.

An opportunity offers to send a few lines home. We are now on an island in the Savannah river, very near the Carolina shore, our principal duty being to guard a rice mill which is threshing out rice for the army. A gunboat and shore battery have tried to drive us off, but we still hold our own. To-day we shall probably receive rations from the fleet; for the last week, the army has been living entirely on rice and some fresh beef. No operations as yet are going on against the doomed Savannah. I imagine that Sherman is waiting for a force to come through from Port Royal and connect with our left, so as to invest the city thoroughly, and cut off all retreat for the enemy. As soon as we get settled anywhere, I will write an account of our last campaign, though I can't do it justice in any letter. Such a variety of experiences as we have passed through during the last forty days, I never dreamed of.

We had a very jolly Thanksgiving, although we marched that day from Milledgeville to Hebron, fifteen miles. Turkeys and sweet potatoes, honey and various other luxuries, were served at our table at eight P. M., and we drank to the memory of the day in some old apple-jack of the country.

SOURCE: Charles Fessenden Morse, Letters Written During the Civil War, 1861-1865, p. 197-8

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Diary of Colonel William F. Bartlett: Saturday, March 21, 1863

Rode down town this morning to see Dr. Winsor, whom we left sick. He is much better; will be out in a few days.

I invited George Wheatland (of Salem), Major of the Forty-eighth, to dine with me this evening. We dine at six. I gave him a very good dinner. We used the new mess pail; just right for three. I had a pork steak off a young pig, French bread, which Jacques gets in Baton Rouge, and chocolate, which the latter makes very well, fried sweet potatoes, guava jelly, boiled rice, butter, and for dessert, figs, coffee, and cigars, and a thimbleful of whiskey. He said it was the first decent dinner he had had since he left Boston. The mail came this evening too, a letter from Mother and one from Anna and Nellie Putnam.

SOURCE: Francis Winthrop Palfrey, Memoir of William Francis Bartlett, p. 80