Showing posts with label Southern Unionists. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Southern Unionists. 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

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Diary of Corporal David L. Day: May 11, 1862


This place is what is called a turpentine plantation, where they get the pitch from which turpentine is distilled. The owner, Mr. Bogey, a harmless, inoffensive old gentleman, claims to be a Union man, and I reckon he is, because he does not run away or seem to be afraid of us. He tells me he owns 2000 acres of land, nearly all turpentine forest, and has 10,000 trees running pitch. He said the war had ruined him and thinks it has the whole south. He said the rebels had taken all but one of his horses and about everything else he had that they wanted. His niggers had all left him and gone down town. He expected that when we came, but cared very little about it, as he had only a few and they were about as much trouble and expense to him as they were worth. He said he was getting old, his business was all broke up and by the time the war was over and things settled he would be too old for anything. I asked him if all those pigs running about in the woods were his. He reckoned they were. I inquired if he knew how many he had. He couldn’t tell exactly, but reckoned there was right smart. The thought occurred to me that if that was as near as he could tell, if a few of them were gobbled they would never be missed, provided the squeal could be shut off quick enough. I learn that Gen. Burnside has given Mr. Bogey a protection, whatever that is. That perhaps may do well enough for him, but I should not want to warrant it a sure thing for all these pigs and sheep running about here. 


Our camp is named Camp Bullock, in honor of Alex. H. Bullock of Worcester, Mass. Today the boys are busy writing letters home, and it troubles them to tell where to date their letters from. They invent all sorts of names; some of them with a romantic turn of mind, date from Camp Rural, Woodlawn, Forestdale, Riverdale, etc., but Mason, with a more practical turn of mind, dates his from Hell Centre. The boys who were out in the woods last night say it is great fun, although they were not disturbed; there is just enough excitement and mosquitoes to keep them from getting drowsy. 

SOURCE: David L. Day, My Diary of Rambles with the 25th Mass. Volunteer Infantry, p. 56-7

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Jonathan Worth’s Address to People Of Randolph And Alamance, January 31, 1861

To My Constituents of the Counties of Randolph and Alamance:

On the 28th of February next you are called upon, by the question of a an act of the General Assembly, by your vote to declare whether or not you want a State Convention, restricted to the consideration of our National Affairs; and also, at the same time, to vote for delegates for said Convention, in case a majority of the whole State shall call it. The Act provides that the action of the Convention shall have no validity until ratified by a vote of the people. I voted against this act because neither the Constitution of the United States, nor of this State, contemplates any such convention, and because I can see no way by which it can do any good, and I fear it may do much mischief. Such a convention is a modern invention of South Carolina, to bring about a sort of legalized revolution. It has been adopted in most of the Southern States. All its original advocates were disunionists. Wherever such a convention has assembled, it has asserted the power to sever the State from the Union, and declare it an independent government. Under my oath to support the Constitution of the United States, I could not vote to call a convention to overthrow that instrument. I thought it improper for the General Assembly to ask you whether you want an unconstitutional Convention. What can it do o lt can do nothing only as a revolutionary body. Everybody looks for a remedy for our national troubles, to an amendment of the Constitution of the United States. The Fifth Article of the Constitution of the United States prescribes two modes of amendment. I give you the words:

“The Congress, whenever two-thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution; or on the application of the Legislatures of two-thirds of the several States shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid, for all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratifical by the Legislatures of three-fourths of the several States, or by conventions in three-fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress.”

Our wise fathers did not intend that the great fundamental law—the Constitution—should be lightly altered. If bare majorities of the popular vote could have altered it, a written Constitution would have been idle.

You will see that there are two constitutional modes of amendment. Congress has been endeavoring to agree on amendments. There is little prospect that two-thirds of both houses can agree on anything. The members were all elected as partizans. Many of them have indulged in crimination and recrimination in mutual abuse of each other till they are not in the temper to act as patriots and statesmen. They have become excited—excited men rarely act prudently and wisely. The other mode of amendment has not been tried. Shall we not try all constitutional modes of amendment before we resort to strange and unconstitutional modes? That other mode seems peculiarly adapted to our present condition. Let a National Convention be called. Surely two-thirds of the State will join in such a call. If called, it is hoped wise and discreet men, not men lately engaged in party strife, will be called to fill it. Can anybody doubt that such an assembly could compose the National commotions. I do not doubt it. The provision for such a convention, in common with all their works, shows the forecast and wisdom of our fathers. In such an assembly, composed of calm and prudent men, all sections could be heard, could interchange views, each could make some concessions to the feelings and prejudices of others, the same sort of concession we all have to make to each other in religion, morals, and everything else, which makes civilized society.

They would agree on a basis of settlement. In all the States excepting South Carolina, perhaps in a few other Southern States, the people still cherish a love for the name of Washington and for the Union. The doings of such a convention would be likely to be heartily ratified by three-fourths of the States. At all events let no one break up this great Union till we have fully tried all constitutional modes of amendment.

If the proposed State Convention does what its most ardent advocates desire it to do, it will be what all conventions south of us have done—declare the State out of the Union and an independent State. Every artifice will be employed to make you believe that a convention is to be 
called to save the Union. Believe it not. It is true, many members who are Union men voted for submitting it to a vote of the people whether they would have a convention or not, throwing upon you, with little time to consider, a responsibility which I think they should have met themselves. A majority refused to pass an amendment allowing you to endorse on your tickets whether you are for Union or disunion. It will be said that the convention can do no harm since whatever it may do will have no validity till ratified by you. The disunion leaders boldly maintain that the Legislature can not restrict the convention, that it may pass whatever ordinance it pleases, regardless of the restraints attempted to be imposed upon it by the Act of Assembly; and that it may, or may not, at its pleasure, submit its action to the people for ratification. If war begins it will probably be brought on during the sitting of the convention.

It is now the policy of disunionists to postpone hostilities until President Buchanan goes out and President Lincoln comes in. They will probably court a fight as soon as Lincoln takes the reins. If war shall have actually commenced before the convention closes its session, and an ordinance of secession be passed, it is to be feared that its action will not be referred to the people for ratification. Not one of the five States which seceded, though acting under no emergency, has submitted its action to the people for ratification. We have not yet exhausted constitutional remedies. We can not have exhausted them before this convention shall assemble. Believe not those who may tell you this convention is called to save the Union. It is called to destroy it. If you desire to preserve the Union vote “No Convention,” and at the same time, be careful for whom you vote as delegates.

When we shall have seen what the Commissioners shall effect, who are to meet in Washington on the 4th of February, to look for a remedy for the National disturbances, when we shall have called for a National Convention and it shall be refused, or shall have failed to accomplish a pacification, it will be time enough to resort to revolution. I think that those only should vote for a convention who regard disunion as the only remedy for the disease of the times.

I have felt it due to you to present this hasty explanation of my views, on a momentous question on which you are called upon to vote with such extraordinary haste.

To go into a discussion of the ground on which the disunionists claim that we ought to dissolve the Union, would require more time than I could properly withdraw from my legislative duties. I content myself with saying that I have carefully read nearly all the debates in Congress, and I see no sufficient reason for abandoning the counsels of the Father of his Country, and the Government under which we have become the freest and most powerful nation of the earth, and launching, probably through civil war, upon the dark sea of experiment.

January 31, 1860 [sic]

SOURCES: “Circular,” Fayetteville Semi-Weekly Observer, Fayetteville, North Carolina, published February 7, 1861, p. 2;  J. G. de Roulhac Hamilton, Editor, The Correspondence of Jonathan Worth, Volume 1, p. 129-33

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Major-General William T. Sherman to Major-General Henry W. Halleck, September 17, 1863

Camp on Big Black, Miss., September 17, 1863.
Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK,
General-in-Chief, Washington, D.C.:

DEAR GENERAL: I have received your letter of August 29, and with pleasure confide to you fully my thoughts on the important matters you suggest, with absolute confidence that you will use what is valuable and reject the useless or superfluous.

That part of the continent of North America known as Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas is in my judgment the key to the whole interior. The Valley of the Mississippi is America, and although railroads have changed the economy of intercommunication, yet the water channels still mark the lines of fertile land and afford carriage to the heavy products of it. The inhabitants of the country on the Monongahela, the Illinois, the Minnesota, the Yellowstone, and Osage are as directly concerned in the security of the Lower Mississippi as are those who dwell on its very banks in Louisiana, and now that the nation has recovered its possession this generation of men would commit a fearful mistake if we again commit its charge to a people liable to mistake their title, and assert, as was recently done, treat because they dwell by sufferance on the banks of this mighty stream they had a right to control its navigation.

I would deem it very unwise at this time, or for years to come, to revive the State Governments of Louisiana, &c., or to institute in this quarter any civil government in which the local people have much to say. They had a government, and so mild and paternal that they gradually forgot they had any at all, save what they themselves controlled; they asserted absolute right to seize public moneys, forts, arms, and even to shut up the natural avenues of travel and commerce. They chose war; they ignored and denied all the obligations of the solemn contract of government and appealed to force. We accepted the issue, and now they begin to realize that war is a two-edged sword, and, it may be, that many of the inhabitants cry for peace. I know them well and the very impulses of their nature; and to deal with the inhabitants of that part of the South which borders the great river we must recognize the classes into which they have naturally divided themselves.

First, the large planters owning lands, slaves, and all kinds of personal property. These are on type whole the ruling class. They are educated, wealthy, and easily approached. In some districts they are as bitter as gall, and have given up slaves, plantations, and all, serving in the armies of the Confederacy, whereas in others they are conservative. None dare admit a friendship to us, though they say freely that they were opposed to war and disunion. I know we can manage this class, but only by action; argument is exhausted, and words have not their usual meaning. Nothing but the logic of events touches their understanding, but of late this has worked a wonderful change. If our country were like Europe, crowded with people, I would say it would be easier to replace this population than to reconstruct it subordinate to the policy of the nation; but as this is not the case, it is better to allow them, with individual exceptions, gradually to recover their plantations, to hire any species of labor, and adapt themselves to the new order of things. Still their friendship and assistance to reconstruct order out of the present ruin cannot be depended on. They watch the operations of our armies, and hope still for a Southern Confederacy that will restore to them the slaves and privileges which they feel are otherwise lost forever. In my judgment we have two more battles to win before we should even bother our minds with the idea of restoring civil order, viz, one near Meridian in November, and one near Shreveport in February and March, when Red River is navigable by our gunboats. When these are done, then, and not until then, win the planters of Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi submit. Slavery is already gone, and to cultivate the land negro or other labor must be hired. This of itself is a vast revolution, and time must be afforded to allow men to adjust their minds and habits to the new order of things. A civil government of the representative type would suit this class far less than a pure military rule, one readily adapting itself to actual occurrences and able to enforce its laws and orders promptly and emphatically.

Second, the smaller farmers, mechanics, merchants, and laborers. This class will probably number three-fourths of the whole, have in fact no real interest in the establishment of a Southern Confederacy, and have been led or driven into war on the false theory that they were to be benefited somehow, they knew not how. They are essentially tired of the war, and would slink back home if they could. These are the real tiers-├ętat of the South, and are hardly worthy a thought, for they swerve to and fro according to events they do not comprehend or attempt to shape. When the time for reconstruction comes they will want the old political system of caucuses, legislatures, &c., something to amuse them and make them believe they are achieving wonders, but in all things they will follow blindly the lead of the planter. The Southern politicians, who understand this class, use them as the French use their masses. Seemingly consulting their prejudices, they make their orders and enforce them. We should do the same.

Third, the Union men of the South. I must confess I have little respect for this class. They allowed a clamorous set of demagogues to muzzle and drive them as a pack of curs. Afraid of shadows, they submit tamely to squads of dragoons, and permit them, without a murmur to burn their cotton, take their horses, corn, and everything, and when we reach them they are full of complaints if our men take a few fence rails for fire or corn to feed our horses. They give us no assistance or information, and are loudest in the complaints at the smallest excess of our soldiers. Their sons, horses, arms, and everything useful are in the army against us, and they stay at home, claiming all the exemptions of peaceful citizens. I account them as nothing in this great game.

Fourth, the young bloods of the South, sons of planters, lawyers about towns, good billiard players, and sportsmen—men who never did work nor never will. War suits them, and the rascals are brave; fine riders, bold to rashness, and dangerous subjects in every sense. They care not a sou for niggers, land, or anything. They hate Yankees per se, and don't bother their brains about the past, present, or future. As long as they have good horses, plenty of forage, and an open country, they are happy. This is a larger class than most men supposed, and are the most dangerous set of men which this war has turned loose upon the world. They are splendid riders, shots, and utterly reckless. Stuart, John Morgan, Forrest, and Jackson are the types and leaders of this class. This class of men must all be killed or employed by us before we can hope for peace. They have no property or future, and therefore cannot be influenced by anything except personal considerations. I have two brigades of these fellows to my front, commanded by Cosby, of the old army, and Whitfield, of Texas, Stephen D. Lee in command of the whole. I have frequent interviews with the officers and a good understanding. Am inclined to think when the resources of their country are exhausted we must employ them. They are the best cavalry in the world, but it will tax Mr. Chase's genius of finance to supply them with horses. At present horses cost them nothing, for they take where they find and don't bother their brains who is to pay for them. Some of the corn-fields which have, as they believe, been cultivated by a good-natured people for their special benefit, we propose to share with them the free use of these corn-fields planted by willing hands that will never gather it.

Now that I have sketched the people who inhabit the district of country under consideration, I will proceed to discuss the future. A civil government for any part of it would be simply ridiculous. The people would not regard it, and even the military commanders of the antagonistic party would treat it lightly. Governors would be simply petitioners for military assistance to protect supposed friendly interests, and military commanders would refuse to disperse and weaken their armies for military reasons. Jealousies would arise between the two conflicting powers, and instead of contributing to the end we all have in view, would actually defer it. Therefore I contend that the interests of the United States and of the real parties concerned demand the continuance of the simple military rule till long after all the organized armies of the South are dispersed, conquered, and subjugated. All this region is represented in the Army of Virginia, Charleston, Mobile, and Chattanooga. They have sons and relations in each, and naturally are interested in their fate. Though we hold military possession of the key-points of this country, still they contend, and naturally, that should Lee succeed in Virginia or Bragg at Chattanooga, a change will occur here also. We cannot for this reason attempt to reconstruct parts of the South as we conquer it till all idea of the establishment of a Southern Confederacy is abandoned. We should avail ourselves of the lull here to secure the geographical points that give us advantage in future military movements, and should treat the idea of civil government as one in which we as a nation have a minor or subordinate interest. The opportunity is good to impress on the population the truth that they are more interested in civil government than we are, and that to enjoy the protection of laws they must not be passive observers of events, but must aid and sustain the constituted authorities in enforcing the laws; they must not only submit themselves, but pay their taxes and render personal services when called on. It seems to me, in contemplating the past two years history, all the people of our country, North, South, East, and West have been undergoing a salutary political schooling, learning lessons which might have been taught all by the history of other people, but we had all become so wise in our own conceit that we would only learn by actual experience of our own.

The people, even of small and unimportant localities, North as well as South, had reasoned themselves into the belief that their opinions were superior to the aggregated interest of the whole nation. Half our territorial nation rebelled on a doctrine of secession that they themselves now scout, and a real numerical majority actually believed that a little State was endowed with such sovereignty that it could defeat the policy of the great whole. I think the present war has exploded that notion, and were this war to cease now, the experience gained, though dear, would be worth the expense.

Another great and important natural truth is still in contest and can only be solved by war. Numerical majorities by vote is our great arbiter. Heretofore all have submitted to it in questions left open, but numerical majorities are not necessarily physical majorities. The South, though numerically inferior, contend they can whip the Northern superiority of numbers, and therefore by natural law are not bound to submit. This issue is the only real one, and in my judgment all else should be deferred to it. War alone can decide it, and it is the only question left to us as a people. Can we whip the South? If we can, our numerical majority has both the natural and constitutional right to govern. If we cannot whip them, they contend for the natural right to select their own government, and they have the argument. Our armies must prevail over theirs. Our officers, marshals, and courts must penetrate into the innermost recesses of their land before we have the natural right to demand their submission.

I would banish all minor questions and assert the broad doctrine, that as a nation the United States has the right, and also the physical power, to penetrate to every part of the national domain, and that we will do it; that we will do it in our own time, and in our own way; that it makes no difference whether it be in one year or two, or ten or twenty; that we will remove and destroy every obstacle—if need be, take every life, every acre of land, every particle of property, everything that to us seems proper; that we will not cease until the end is attained. That all who do not aid are enemies, and we will not account to them for our acts. If the people of the South oppose, they do so at their peril; and if they stand by mere lookers-on the domestic tragedy, they have no right to immunity, protection, or share in the final result.

I even believe, and contend further, that in the North every member of the nation is bound by both natural and constitutional to "maintain and defend the Government against all its opposers whomsoever." If they fail to do it they are derelict., and can be punished or deprived of all advantage arising from the labors of those who do. If any man, North or South, withholds his share of taxes or physical assistance in this crisis of our history, he should and could be deprived of all voice in the future elections of this country, and might be banished or reduced to the condition of a denizen of the land.

War is upon us; none can deny it. It is not the act of the Government of the United States but of a faction. The Government was forced to accept the issue or submit to a degradation fatal and disgraceful to all the inhabitants. In accepting war it should be pure and simple as applied to the belligerents. I would keep it so till all traces of the war are effaced; till those who appealed to it are sick and tired of it, and come to the emblem of our nation and sue for peace. I would not coax them or even meet them half way, but make them so sick of war that generations would pass before they would again appeal to it.

I know what I say when I repeat that the insurgents of the South sneer at all overtures looking to their interest. They scorn the alliance with copperheads. They tell me to my face that they respect Grant, McPherson, and our brave associates who fight manfully and well for a principle, but despise the copperheads and sneaks who profess friendship for the South and opposition to the war as mere covers for their knavery and poltroonery.

God knows that I deplored this fratricidal war as much as any man living; but it is upon us, a physical fact, and there is only one honorable issue from it. We must fight it out, army against army and man against man, and I know and you know and civilians begin to realize the fact that reconciliation and reconstruction will be easier through and by means of strong, well-equipped and organized armies than through any species of conventions that can be framed. The issues are made, and all discussion is out of place and ridiculous.

The section of 30-pounder Parrott rifles now drilling before my tent is a more convincing argument than the largest Democratic meeting the State of New York could assemble at Albany, and a simple order of the War Department to draft enough men to fill our skeleton regiments would be more convincing as to our national perpetuity than an humble pardon to Jeff. Davis and all his misled host.

The only government now needed or deserved by the States of Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi now exists in Grant's army. It needs simply enough privates to fill its ranks; all else will follow in due season. This army has its well-defined code of laws and practice, and can adapt itself to the wants and necessities of a city, the country, the rivers, the sea; indeed, to all parts of this land. It better subserves the interest and policy of the General Government, and the people prefer it to any weak or servile combination that would at once, from force of habit, revive and perpetuate local prejudices and passions. The people of this country have forfeited all right to a voice in the councils of the nation. They know it and feel it, and in after years they will be the better citizens from the dear-bought experience of the present crisis. Let them learn now, and learn it well, that good citizens must obey as well as command. Obedience to law—absolute, yea, even abject—is the lesson that this war, under Providence, will teach the free and enlightened American citizen; as a nation we will be the better for it. I never have apprehended foreign interference in our family quarrel. Of course governments founded on a different, and it may be antagonistic, principle with ours, would naturally feel a pleasure at our complications, but in the end England and France will join with us in jubilations in the triumph of a constitutional government over faction; even now the English manifest this.

I do not profess to understand Napoleon's design in Mexico, but I do not see that his taking military possession of Mexico concerns us. We have as much territory as we want. The Mexicans have failed in self-government, and it was a question to what nation she would fall a prey. That is solved, and I don't see that we are damaged. We have the finest part of the North American continent, all we can people and take care of, and if we can suppress rebellion in our land and compose the strife generated by it, we will have people, resources, and wealth which, if well combined, can defy interference from any and every quarter.

I therefore hope the Government of the United States will continue as heretofore in collecting in well-organized armies the physical strength of the nation; apply it as heretofore in asserting the national authority, persevering without relaxation to the end. This, whether near or far off, is not for us to say, but, fortunately, we have no choice. We must succeed; no other choice is left us but degradation. The South must be ruled or will rule. We must conquer them ourselves or be conquered. There is no middle course. They ask and will have nothing else, and all the talk of compromise is bosh, for we know they would even now scorn the offer. I wish the war could have been deferred for twenty years, till the superabundant population of the North should flow in and replace the losses sustained by war, but this could not be, and we are forced to take things as they arise.

All therefore I can now venture to advise is the pushing the draft to its maximum, fill the present regiments to as large a standard as possible, and push the war, pure and simple.

Great attention should be paid to the discipline of our armies, for on them will be founded the future stability of our Government. The cost of the war is of course to be considered, but finances will adjust themselves to the-actual state of affairs, and even if we would we could not change the cost. Indeed, the larger the cost now the less will it be in the end, for the end must be attained somehow, regardless of cost of life and treasure, and is merely a question of time.

Excuse so long a letter.

With great respect,
W. T. SHERMAN,                

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 30, Part 3 (Serial No. 52), p. 694-700

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Brigadier-General William T. Sherman to Ellen Ewing Sherman, April 3, 1862

Pittsburg Landing, Tenn.
Camp.  April 3, 1862.
Dearest Ellen,

I have really neglected writing for some days.  I don’t know why, but I daily become more and more disposed to stop writing.  There is so much writing that I am sick & tired of it & put it off on Hammond who is sick cross and troublesome.  I have plenty of aids but the writing part is not very full.  I have been pretty busy, in examining Roads & Rivers.  We have now near 60,000 men here, and Bragg has command at Corinth only 18 miles off, with 80 Regiments and more coming.  On our Part McCook, Thomas & Nelsons Divisions are coming from Nashville and are expected about Monday, this is Thursday when I Suppose we must advance to attack Corinth or some other point on the Memphis & Charleston Road.  The weather is now springlike, apples & peaches in blossom and trees beginning to leave.  Bluebirds singing and spring weather upon the hillsides.  This part of the Tennessee differs somewhat from that up at Bellefonte.  There the Alleghany Mountains still characterized the Country whereas here the hills are lower & rounded covered with oak, hickory & dogwood, not unlike the Hills down Hocking.  The people have mostly fled, abandoning their houses, and Such as remain are of a neutral tint not Knowing which side will turn up victors.  That enthusiastic love of the Union of which you read in the newspapers as a form of expression easily written, but is not true.  The poor farmers certainly do want peace, & protection, but all the wealthier classes hate us Yankees with a pure unadulterated hate.  They fear the Gunboats which throw heavy shells and are invulnerable to their rifles & shotguns, and await our coming back from the River.

I have been troubles some days by a Slight diarrhea but am well enough for work.  My Division is very raw and needs much instruction.  Brigade commanders are McDowell, Stuart, Hildebrand & Buckland.  Genl. Grant commands in chief, and we have a host of other Generals, so that I am content to be in a mixed crowd.

I don’t pretend to look ahead far and do not wish to guide events.  They are too momentous to be a subject of personal ambition.

We are constantly in the presence of the enemys pickets, but I am satisfied that they will await our coming at Corinth or some point of the Charleston Road.  If we don’t get away soon the leaves will be out and the whole country an ambush.

Our letters come very irregularly I have nothing from you for more than a week but I know you are well and happy at home and that is a great source of consolation.  My love to all

Yrs. ever
W. T. Sherman

SOURCES: William Tecumseh Sherman Family Papers, Archives of the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, Box 1, Folder 144, image #’s 03-0046 & 03-0047; M. A. DeWolfe Howe, Editor, Home Letters of General Sherman, p. 219-20; Brooks D. Simpson, Jean V. Berlin, Editors, Sherman's Civil War: Selected Correspondence of William T. Sherman, 1860-1865, p. 170-1; 

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Captain Charles Wright Wills: July 17, 1864

June 17, 1864.

After erecting some good works at Roswell (the best we have yet built), capable of holding at least 25,000 men, we were provided with three days’ rations and cartridges “ad libitum,” for another of what an Augusta paper calls “Sherman leap-frog-like advance.” Our corps is the extreme left of the army. We moved out this morning, our brigade in advance of our division, and Osterhaus and Smith's Divisions following on the Decatur road. Did I tell you in my last among the “locals,” that these Roswell factories have been turning out 35,000 yards per day of jeans, etc., for the Confederate Army, that there is the greatest abundance of blackberries and whortleberries here, that one of the 48th Illinois was drowned in the Chattahoochie while bathing, and that of several hundred factory girls I have seen, hardly one who is passably handsome? Some fine fat ones, and a few neat feet, but they are not “clipper built,” and lack “get up” and “figure heads.”

We moved six miles without meeting a Rebel, and then only a squadron of cavalry that lacked a devilish sight of being “chivalry,” for they more than ran without just cause. We only went two miles farther and then bivouacked. Our brigade was thrown half a mile in front and across the road. We put up a rail barricade across the road and a temporary rail-work along our front, and then abandoned ourselves to the longings of our breadbaskets, and desisted not until every man was in himself a miniature blackberry patch. The boys brought me pint after pint of great black fellows they had picked in the shade of dense woods or on a steep bank, and I assure you they disappeared without an exception. This road, the last 10 days, has been filled with refugee citizens running from the Yankees. An old gentleman in whose yard the reserve pickets have stacked their arms, told me that all the men of his acquaintance over 45 years old are, and always have been, Unionists, and are to-day ready and willing to give up slavery for our cause. I have been a deluded believer in the hoax of fine “Georgia plantations,” but I assure you I am now thoroughly convalescent. I haven't seen five farm houses equal to Mrs. James ———, and only one that showed evidences of taste. That was where I saw the Rebel General Iverson dead among the flowers. The country is all hilly, and the soil, where there is any, is only fit for turnips. The timber is all scrub oak and pine, and some more viney bushes peculiar to the climate.

I notice some of the white moss hanging from the trees, like that there was so much of at Black river. The 16th Corps is on our right moving on a parallel road, and the 23d joins them. I don't know whether our other corps have crossed yet or not.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 280-1

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

George S. Denison to Salmon P. Chase, December 4, 1862

New Orleans, December 4th, 1862.

Dear Sir: The mail is about to close and I write in haste, to inform you of the result of the election.

In the 1st. Con. District, Mr. Flanders is elected by an overwhelming majority. His only competitor was Mr. Bouligny. So far as returns are known Mr. Flanders received more than ten times as many votes as Mr. Bouligny. You already know as much of Mr. Flanders as I can tell you. He expects to start for Washington by the next steamer.

In the other (2nd.) Congressional District, the candidates were Durell, Hahn, Barker, and Greathouse, Dr. Cottman having withdrawn his name by request (order?) of Gen. Butler, and Mr. Hahn took his place.1

Mr. Hahn is elected by a good majority. He was an original and continuous Union man, and is understood to be unconditional in his loyalty. Durell was unfortunately the candidate of the Union Association — unfortunately, for he is not popular and many members voted for Hahn, against whom I know of no objections.

Enclosed is an account of Mr. Hahn, published this morning which is correct so far as it goes.

I do not understand why Dr. Cottmann was prevented from continuing to be a candidate — by Gen. Butler. He would certainly have been elected and is a good and very popular man, who has suffered much, for the ''Confederates" have destroyed his plantations. I understand he intends visiting Washington soon, when he will probably explain the matter.

The result of the election seems to me to be very satisfactory. A good vote was cast, considering the number of men Gen. Butler has enlisted, & the number who are absent with the rebel army.

1 The vote was:

First district:

B. F. Flanders
All others

Second district:

M. F. Hahn
Judge Durell


(House Reports, Thirty-seventh Congress, Third session, No. 22.)

On the floor of the House, Representative Dawes, of Massachusetts, chairman of the Committee on Elections, represented that one candidate withdrew because he was suspected of disloyalty. (Congressional Globe, February 9, 1863.)

On Dr. Cottman cf. April 30,1863, also letters following; also November 5, 1863.

Messrs. Hahn and Flanders were admitted and took the oath of office, the former on February 17, and the latter on February 23, 1863. The Thirty-seventh Congress expired on March 3, 1863.

SOURCE: Diary and correspondence of Salmon P. ChaseAnnual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1902, Vol. 2, p. 336-7

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: December 19, 1864

We are now less than half a mile from Mr. Kimball's. After dark last night we went to Mrs. Dickinson's house and partook of a splendid supper. I wrote a paper directed to the officer commanding the first Yankee troops that should arrive here telling what she had done for us runaway Yankees. She talked a great deal, and I thought was careless leaving the front door open. Three or four times I got up and shut that door. We had taken off our blankets and other wraps and left them in a sort of a kitchen, and were talking in the best room. I heard the gate click, and on looking out saw two rebel officers coming to the house and not six rods off. We jumped into the other room and out of the back door and behind a corn house, bare headed. The officers were asked into the front room by the daughter. They asked who the parties were who ran out of the back way. She said she reckoned no one. They kept at her and jokingly intimated that some of her skulking lovers had been to see her. See kept talking back and finally said: “Mother, did any one just go away?” And the old lady said: “Why, yes, brother Sam and his ‘boy’ just went off home.” Them confounded rebels had come to see the girl and spend the evening, and we shivering out in the cold. Joked her for an hour and a half about her lovers and we hearing every word. Finally they got up and bid her good night, saying they would send back some men to guard the house and keep her lovers away. Just as soon as they were down the road a ways, the daughter came out very frightened and said for us to hurry off, as they would send back troops to look for us. Hurried into the house, got our things and some dried beef, and started off toward Mr. Kimball's house. Reached here just before daylight and lay down back of the house about eighty rods, in the corner of the fence, to sleep a little before morning. Just at break of day heard some one calling hogs. David got up and went toward an old man whom we knew was our friend Kimball. Came to us, and was glad to shake hands with genuine Yankees. Said one of his neighbors was coming over early to go with him to hunt some hogs, and for us to go farther off and stay until night, and he would think up during the day what to do with us. Did not want anything to eat. Came to this place where we now are, and feeling that our journey was most ended. Mr. Kimball said that Sherman was not over fifty miles off, and coming right along twenty miles per day, and our plan was to hide and await coming events. Mr. Kimball is an old man, probably sixty years old, white haired and stoop shouldered. He had five sons, all drafted into the rebel army. All refused to serve: Two have been shot by the rebels, one is in some prison for his Union proclivities, and two are refugees. The old man has been imprisoned time and again, his stock confiscated, property destroyed, and all together had a hard time of it. Still he is true blue, a Union man to the back bone. Really think our troubles coming to an end. Kimball said: “Glory to God, the old Stars and Stripes shall float over my house in less than a week!” It's a noble man who will stand out through all that he has, for his principles, when his interests are all here. Is not only willing, but glad to help us, and says anything he has is ours, if it will help us toward our escape. Later. — Have been laying all day watching Kimball's house. Along in the morning the neighbor spoken of came to Kimball's, and they both went off on horseback to shoot hogs. The swine here roam over a large territory and become most wild, and when they want fresh pork they have to go after it with a gun. You may be sure the hunters did not come near us with Mr. Kimball for a guide. A negro boy went with them with a light wagon and mule attached. Near noon they returned with some killed hogs in the wagon. At three or four o'clock the old man came down where we were “to look after his boys,” he said. Is in the best of spirits. says we are to hide to-night where he tells us, and stay until our troops reach us. That is jolly good news for me, as I hate to travel. Said come to the house after dark and he would have a supper prepared for us, and has just left us. Later. — Have just eaten a splendid supper at Kimball's and getting ready to travel three miles to a safe hiding place.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 146-8

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: December 18, 1864

Six days of freedom and what a sight of hardship, sweetened by kind treatment and the satisfaction of being out from under guard. We traveled last night some four miles and now are in a very precarious position. When almost daylight we came to the canal, and found cavalry pickets all along the tow-path; walked along until we came to a lock. A cavalryman was riding his horse up and down by the lock. At the lock there was a smouldering fire. It was absolutely necessary that we get across before daylight. As the mounted picket turned his horse's head to go from us, Dave slid across the tow-path and went across the timbers which formed the lock, and by the time the picket turned around to come back Dave was hid on the opposite shore. At the next trip of the rebel Eli went the same as Dave. The third one to go was myself, and I expected to get caught, sure. Could not go as as quiet as the rest, and was slower. Thought the picket saw me when half way across but kept right on going, and for a wonder made it all right. Was thoroughly scared for the first time since jumping off the train. Am very nervous. All shook hands when the picket turned about to go back the fourth time. Getting light in the east and we must move on, as the country is very open. Dare not travel over half a mile, and here we are hid almost in a woman's door yard, not over thirty rods from her very door. Are in some evergreen bushes and shrubs, It's now most noon, and have seen a rather elderly lady go out and in the house a number of times. The intrepid Dave is going up to the house to interview the lady soon.  later. — Dave crawled along from our hiding place until he came to the open ground, and then straightened boldly up and walked to the house. In fifteen minutes he came back with some bread and dried beef, and said the woman was a Union woman and would help us. Her daughter slept at her uncle's a mile off last night, and expected her back soon, and perhaps the uncle, who is a violent Secesh, with her. Said for us to lay low. Later. — The daughter came home on horseback and alone. Could see the old lady telling the daughter about us and pointing our way. About the middle of the afternoon the old lady started out toward us. Behind her came a young darky, and behind the darky came another darky; then a dog, then a white boy, then a darky, and then the daughter. Old lady peeked in, and so did the rest except the grown up girl, who was too afraid. Finally came closer, and as she got a good view of us she says: “Why, mother, they look just like anybody else.” She had never seen a Yankee before. Brought us some more food, and after dark will set a table for us to come to the house and eat. Her name is Mrs. Dickinson. They went back to the house and we proceeded to shake hands with one another. During the afternoon five rebel soldiers came to the house, one at a time. It is now most dark and we are about ready to go to the house and eat. Mr. Kimball lives only four miles away.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 145-6

Monday, October 29, 2018

George S. Denison to Salmon P. Chase, September 24, 1862

(Private and Unofficial)

New Orleans, Sept. 24th, 1862.

Dear Sir: Your kind letter of the 8th. inst. reached me yesterday. I showed it to Gen. Butler, as you gave me permission to do. The General requests me to present to you his kindest regards. He is satisfied that Slavery must be abolished, and he will do his part at such time as he thinks proper. He humorously remarked that his colored Brigade was of about the complexion, (upon the average) of the Vice President. He says that after properly organizing and drilling them, he believes they can march triumphantly from here to Kentucky. To-morrow the first Reg't. receives arms and joins the army. The second is fully enlisted and is being drilled. A third will be organized, but the General has arms for no more. His order says none are to be received but those who have received freedom through some recognized legal channel — but these are of three classes, viz: — Those who have received freedom from their owners.  2nd. Those who are made free by the present military courts.  3rd. All who come in from the enemy's lines. You see this includes almost all colored people. Gen. Butler will manage this matter wisely and well.

Gen. Butler does more work than any other man in Louisiana. Every thought seems to be given to the interest of the Government, and his powers of endurance are remarkable. No other man could fill his place here. His popularity among Union men is great and increasing. As I told you in a former letter, it is to be regretted that his brother does business here, but I do not think the General is interested in his speculations. He learns everything and forgets nothing. He comes in contact with the best minds in the State, and is equal, or superior, to them till.

During the week ending last night, the number of people who have taken the oath of allegiance, is very great. Every place where the oath was administered, was thronged. Secessionists can be tamed and Gen. Butler can do it. I should say three-fourths, at least, of the citizens have taken the oath, and yet not a threat was made against such as should not take it. I have reason to believe the General will be very severe toward those who persist in calling themselves loyal to the Southern Confederacy. I think he will confiscate their property and remove them beyond the lines.

Notwithstanding Federal reverses, the Union feeling develops itself satisfactorily, and many have realty ceased to be secessionists

The Prussian Ship “Essex” has on board many cases of plate and bullion shipped by rebels. Gen. Butler directed me to grant no clearance to the ship until the cases were landed. The ship has been waiting for a clearance three days, but will (probably) land the cases soon, when there will be no more trouble.

Since I have been here, two small vessels have cleared for Pensacola with Gen. B.’s permit. Admiral Farragut may perhaps complain of these vessels, for one or both, ran into rebel ports or were captured by the enemy. At any rate, they did not reach Pensacola. The Navy seized the Prize Schooner “Emma”1 at Ship Island, sent by me to New York. I had put iron on her to complete cargo. She was released and continued her voyage.

The business of the Custom House goes on very satisfactorily. The Mr. Flanders2 I spoke of is not the one you know, but his brother, and is not perhaps a proper person for Surveyor. He is a proper person for Clerk to perform the duties of Deputy Surveyor and for this office I have nominated him the office of Surveyor being included, I suppose, in my position as Special Agent and Acting Collector.

1 In the next letter this name is given as "Elma."

2 Mr. B. F. Flanders is frequently mentioned (June 23, 1862, etc.) and, except toward the close of the period, with approval. The second Mr. Flanders is not elsewhere mentioned, either in these letters or in the important printed sources bearing on the period.

SOURCE: Diary and correspondence of Salmon P. ChaseAnnual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1902, Vol. 2, p. 315-7

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

George S. Denison to Salmon P. Chase, September 19, 1862

New Orleans, Sept. 19th, 1862.

Dear Sir: Hon. A. J. Hamilton will present this letter to you, and also a letter of introduction from myself. In this private letter I wish to add a few statements not proper for an open letter.

Mr. Hamilton refused to leave his seat in the House of Representatives, when Texas seceded. After his term expired, he returned to Texas, and has constantly fought secession up to the time of his forced departure from the State.

Mr. Hamilton is well known throughout Western Texas, and probably has more influence there than any other man. He is brave and determined, and stands high in the estimation of all honest men. Whatever statements he makes to you you can rely on implicitly.

Mr. H. thoroughly appreciates the character of the present struggle, and imposes no conditions upon his loyalty. This is the man to make Western Texas a Free State and he will do it wisely and surely. He knows the country and the people and is such an orator as they love to listen to.

Col. Hamilton can raise a Brigade of Union troops in Texas more quickly than any other man in the State, and I believe he only wants an authority to raise such a Brigade when an expedition goes there.

Mr. H. is to Western Texas, what Brownlow, Maynard and Johnson are to East Tennessee.

In common with all Union men of Texas, I hope he will receive that encouragement to which his abilities and unfaltering loyalty entitle him, and under his wise management Western Texas will be freed, at the same time, from rebellion and Slavery.

SOURCE: Diary and correspondence of Salmon P. ChaseAnnual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1902, Vol. 2, p. 314-5

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

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

New Orleans, Aug. 26th, 1862.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Captain Charles Wright Wills: May 23, 1864

May 23, 1864.

Weather is getting very hot. We have made 21 miles today, and the distance, heat and dust have made it by far the hardest march we have had for a year. Excepting about six miles of dense pine woods the country we have passed through has been beautiful, quite rolling, but fertile and well improved. In the midst of the pine woods we stopped to rest at Hollis' Mill, a sweet looking little 17-year old lady here told me she was and always had been Union, and that nearly all the poor folks here are Union. In answer to some questions about the roads and country, she said, “Well, now, I was born and raised right here, and never was anywhere, and never see anybody, and I just don't know anything at all.”

I never saw so many stragglers as to-day. For 12 miles no water was to be had; then we came to a spring, a very large one, say 4 or 5 hogsheads a minute. All the officers in the army could not have kept the men in ranks. Saw no cases of sunstroke, but two of my men from heat turned blue with rush of blood to the head, and had to leave the ranks. Some think we are moving on Montgomery, Ala. Our orders say we need not hope for railroad communications for 20 days; I think that Atlanta is our point, although we were 50 miles from there this morning and 60 to-night. The planters in this country own thousands of negroes, and they've run them all off down this road. They are about two days ahead of us, and the poor people say as thick on the road as we are. Have passed several to-day who escaped from their masters.

Four miles southeast of Van Wirt, Ga.,

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 245-6

Thursday, September 6, 2018

George S. Denison to Salmon P. Chase, June 28, 1862

New Orleans, June 28th, 1862.

Sir: I have collected the information which you wished to receive by a private letter. The persons about whom you particularly enquired were Thos. H. Hewes, J. P. Harrison, Benj. F. Flanders, and Randell Hunt.

Thomas Hewes was born in this city — is about 35 years old — a lawyer — was in California seven or eight years — returned home in 1860. Went to Texas for a few months — returned to this City and opened an office in partnership with James B. Eustis, brother of Slidell's secretary. He was inclined to be a Union man at first, but afterwards became a strong secessionist, and with his father who was from the first an active and bitter rebel, worked hard for the rebel government.

Young Hewes used to be dissipated, but in California he married and reformed. It is said that he has recently returned to former bad habits. He is regarded as a man of talent and is much liked by his acquaintance. He left this city when the fleet arrived and has not yet returned.

James P. Harrison came to this city from Natches, Miss., about sixteen years ago, a lawyer of good standing. In this city he has been in business as a merchant, being one of the firm of Payne and Harrison. He is a respectable and able man. He was a “Co-operationist”, but became an active rebel, and with his House strongly supported the rebel government. Being a man of high standing he had great influence for evil. When the fleet arrived he left the city and has not yet returned.

Benjamin F. Flanders is a native of New Hampshire, but has lived in Louisiana many years. He was the Secretary and Treasurer of the Opelousas railroad. He is much respected, and is regarded as an able, honest man. He is a good business man, and has much influence. He has been invariably a thorough Union man, and was so obnoxious to the ruling powers, that he was sent out of the “Confederacy” into Kentucky a few months ago, his family being left at their residence in this city. All the Union men I have met in this city (and they are many) speak of Mr. Flanders in the highest terms. Mr. Flanders returned to this city a few days ago. I have seen him, and the opinion formed of him before making his acquaintance, is confirmed. Rev. Mr. Duncan recently in Washington, made application of the N. O. post office. I saw him here a few days ago, and was told by him that Mr. Flanders made application to be surveyor of this Port. When you think best to appoint a Surveyor, I do not think a more deserving and capable man than Mr. Flanders can be found, nor one whose appointment would give greater satisfaction to Union men here. In politics he is with the Republican party.

Mr. Randell Hunt is probably known to you,1 and I shall not say anything of him except in reference to the present troubles. Mr. Hunt was an able and active opponent of secession from the first, and did all he could to prevent it. It is believed by all, that his opinions are entirely unchanged, but since the beginning of the war, he has been perfectly passive. He has never gone over to secession, and Union men here have the greatest confidence in him, though he does not come out a declared Union man even now. His position is embarrassing, for his brother Judge Hunt (Theodore G. Hunt) is a colonel in the Confederate army and is now in active service in Virginia. I have seen Mr. Hunt several times but without opportunity of talking on political subjects. I delivered to him your letter, and offerred to forward any letter to you. Enclosed is the reply to your letter.

Dr. M. F. Bonzano, whom you made Special Agent for the N. O. Mint, has given me great assistance. He possesses great scientific knowledge, and mechanical skill — is perfectly honest and thoroughly devoted to the government. He is strongly opposed to the institution of slavery, and out of limited means, has purchased and emancipated several negroes during the last few years. As a man of learning, he has few superiors, and all his statements and suggestions will be of value to you.

The labor devolving upon me is great, but our success exceeds my expectations. It will take some weeks, at least, to organize every department of the Custom House, and teach the inexperienced employees. I am determined to accomplish three principal objects, viz:—

1. To appoint to office such men and of such political opinions, that the Government (through its officials) can present here a strong nucleus for a Republican party.

2. To recover, or assist in recovering all property and duties (paid to others than the government) and settle up all old business.

3. To suppress smuggling and other abuses and to establish a good character for this heretofore notorious Custom House.

The name of the Deputy Collector (furnished from the New York Custom House by Mr. Barney) is William C. Gray. I am glad to mention to you the name of such a man. He knows his business thoroughly and is entirely devoted to the interests of the Government. From early morning until night he (as well as myself) is at the Custom House and nothing escapes his vigilance or care.

The city is very healthy and there is no indication aw yet, of an epidemic this year.

I shall take the liberty of writing private letters to you occasionally whenever I can give information which I may think you would like to receive.

1 Mr. Chase and Mr. Hunt married sisters, daughters of James C. Ludlow of Cincinnati. Miss Sarah Ludlow was Mr. Chase's third wife and was married to him November 6, 1846. Warden gives (366-367) a letter of Chase's to Mrs. Hunt November 30,1860. Schuckers (199-200) gives the same letter with some verbal changes as one sent to Mr. Hunt. Warden, Schuckers, and Professor Hart spell Mr. Hunt's first name “Randall.”

SOURCE: Diary and correspondence of Salmon P. ChaseAnnual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1902, Vol. 2, p. 306-9

Friday, May 18, 2018

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: September 19, 1863

The reports from Western North Carolina indicate that much bad feeling prevails there still; and it is really something more than a military trick to obtain a command. But I think the government had better keep out of the field its assistant adjutant-generals, and especially those in the Bureau of Conscription, unless they are put in subordinate positions. Some of them have sought their present positions to keep aloof from the fatigues and dangers of the field; and they have contributed no little to the disaffection in North Carolina. Gen. Whiting suggests that one of Gen Pickett's brigades be sent to Weldon; and then, with Ransom's brigade, he will soon put down the deserters and tories. The Governor approves this plan, and I hope it will be adopted.

The Northern papers say President Lincoln, by proclamation, has suspended the writ of habeas corpus throughout the United States. This is good news for the South; for the people there will strike back through the secret ballot-box.

They also say an expedition is about to sail up the Rio Grande, where it will come in collision with the French, now occupying Matamoras.

And it appears that Lord John Russell will not prevent the sailing of our monitor-rams from British ports without evidence of an intention to use them against the United States. He will do nothing on suspicion; but must have affidavits, etc.

A young lady, Miss Heiskell, applied yesterday, through the Hon. A. H. H. Stuart, for a passport to Philadelphia, to be married to a young merchant of that city. Her father was a merchant of that city, though a native of Virginia. I believe it was granted.

The country is indignant at the surrender of Cumberland Gap by Brig.-Gen. Frazier, without firing a gun, when his force was nearly as strong as Burnside's. It was too bad! There must be some examples of generals as well as of deserting poor men, whose families, during their absence, are preyed upon by the extortioners, who contrive to purchase exemption from military service. The country did not know there was such a general until his name became famous by this ignominious surrender. Where did Gen. Cooper find him?

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 47-8

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Captain Charles Wright Wills: November 1, 1863

Florence, Ala., November 1, 1863.

We struck tents on the 27th ult. at Iuka, Miss., and marched to Eastport, eight miles, that night. We had in our division some 200 wagons, all of which with 1,200 horses and mules were to be crossed in a barge over the Tennessee river. I received a complimentary detail to superintend the crossing of the wagons belonging to one brigade. I think I never worked harder than I did from 7 o'clock that night until 6:30 o'clock the next day, a. m. It occupied two days and nights crossing the whole train, but we marched at 3 p. m., the 28th, and camped that night at Gravelly springs, 15 miles from Eastport. The road ran for some ten miles along the foot of the river bluff, and the numerous springs sparkling their beautifully clear and fresh jets of limestone water on the road, from which they rippled in almost countless little streamlets to the river, although adding much to the wild beauty of the country, made such a disagreable splashy walking for we footmen that (I speak more particularly for myself) we failed to appreciate it. We bivouacked for the night at about 9 p. m. The morn of the 29th we started at 8 o'clock, and after ascending the bluff, marched through a magnificent country to this place, 15 miles. Some three miles from here at the crossing of Cypress creek, something like 50 or 60 girls, some of them rather good looking, had congregated and they seemed much pleased to see us. All avowed themselves Unionists.

There had been a large cotton mill at this crossing, Comyn burned it last summer, which had furnished employment for these women and some 200 more. This is a very pretty little town. Has at present some very pretty women. Two of the sirens came very near charming me this a. m. Bought two dozen biscuits of them. Have been out of bread for two days before, but had plenty of sweet potatoes and apples. During the march on the 29th we heard Blair pounding away with his artillery nearly all day across the river, I should think about a dozen miles west of Tuscumbia. I was down to the bank the morning of the 30th ult. and the Rebels across shot at our boys, watering mules, but without effecting any damage. I saw a white flag come down to the bank and heard that Ewing sent over to see what was wanted, nothing more. There was some musketry fighting yesterday near Tuscumbia, but don't know who it was. We are four and one-half miles from there. Two companies of the 4th Regular Cavalry reached here on the 30th from Chattanooga, bearing dispatches to Sherman. He is at Iuka. All of these movements beat me completely. Can't see the point and doubt if there is one. We have commenced fortifying here. Have seen much better places to fight. We are "fixed up" most too nicely to hope to live here long. I have a stove, a good floor covered with Brussels carpet, plenty of chairs and a china table set under my tent. Eatables are plenty and would offer no objection if ordered to stay here a couple of weeks. Understand that not a farthing's worth of the above was “jayhawked.” Got it all on the square. I wish I could send you the mate to a biscuit I just ate. Twould disgust the oldest man in the world with the Sunny South. By hemp, but it is cold these nights. Last night there was an inch of white frost. I was nearly frozen. Dorrance swears that Mattison and I were within an ace of killing him in our endeavors to “close up” and keep warm.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 199-200

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: September 28, 1864

Sent word to Battese by a convalescent who is being sent to the large prison, that I am getting well. Would like to see him. Am feeling better. Good many union men in Savannah. Three hundred sick here, with all kinds of diseases — gangrene, dropsy, scurvy, typhoid and other fevers, diarrhea, &c. Good care taken of me. Have medicine often, and gruel. Land does the writing.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 98

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: September 30, 1864

Am decidedly better and getting quite an appetite but can get nothing but broth, gruel, &c. Mouth very bad. Two or three teeth have come out, and can't eat any hard food any way. They give me quinine, at least I think it is quinine. Good many visitors come here to see the sick, and they look like union people. Savannah is a fine place from all accounts of it, Mike is getting entirely over his troubles and talks continually of getting away, there are a great many Irish about here, and they are principally union men. Mike wishes I was able to go with him. Nurses are mostly marines who have been sick and are convalescent. As a class they are good fellows, but some are rough ones. Are very profane. The cords in my legs loosening up a little. Whiskey and water given me to-day, also weakened vinegar and salt. Am all the time getting better. Later — My faithful friend came to see me to-day. Was awful glad to see him. He is well. A guard came with him. Battese is quite a curiosity among the Savannah rebels Is a very large, broad shouldered Indian, rather ignorant, but full of common sense and very kind hearted. Is allowed many favors.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 98-9

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Senator Charles Sumner to John Bright, February 15, 1865

[February 15, 1865.]

I am glad of your assurance, in harmony with Mr. Cobden's, that intervention is played out. I am glad also of your speech. It amuses me to read the criticisms, which I can appreciate at their value, as I have been exposed to the same. For years it was said I was governed by hatred for the slave-masters, and did not care at all for the slaves. Oh, no! not at all.

You will read the report of the conferences.1 It appears that the President was drawn into them by the assurances of General Grant, who was led to expect something.2 Perhaps the country sees now more clearly than ever that the war must be pushed to the entire overthrow of the rebel armies. The interview was pleasant. Seward sent the commissioners on their arrival three bottles of choice whiskey, which it was reported they drank thirstily. As they were leaving, he gave them a couple of bottles of champagne for their dinner. Hunter, who is a very experienced politician, and had been all his life down to the rebellion, in Washington, said, after the discussions were closed, “Governor, how is the Capitol? Is it finished? This gave Seward an opportunity of picturing the present admired state of the works, with the dome completed, and the whole constituting one of the most magnificent edifices of the world. Campbell, formerly of the Supreme Court of the United States, and reputed the ablest lawyer in the slave States, began the conference by suggesting peace on the basis of a Zollverein, and continued free-trade between the two sections, which he thought might pave the way to something hereafter; but he could not promise anything. This was also the theory of the French minister here, M. Mercier, now at Madrid, who insisted that the war must end in that way. It was remarked that the men had nothing of the haughty and defiant way which they had in Washington formerly. Mr. Blair, who visited Richmond, still insists that peace is near. He says that the war cannot go on another month on their side unless they have help from Louis Napoleon. But here the question of a monarchical government may arise. Jefferson Davis, whom he describes as so emaciated and altered as not to be recognized, sets his face against it. He said to Mr. Blair that “there was a Brutus who would brook the eternal devil as easily as a king in Rome;” and he was that Brutus in Richmond.

Meanwhile the war goes on with converging forces. Mr. Stanton was with me yesterday, and gave me fully his expectations. He thinks that peace can be had only when Lee's army is beaten, captured, or dispersed , and there I agree with him. To that end all our military energies are now directed. Lee’s army is sixty-five thousand men. Against him is Grant at Petersburg, a corps now demonstrating at Wilmington, and Sherman marching from Georgia. The latter will not turn aside for Augusta or Charleston, or any fortified place, but will traverse the Carolinas until he is able to co-operate with Grant. You will see from this statement something of the nature of the campaign. Mr. Stanton thinks it ought to be finished before May. I have for a long time been sanguine that after Lee’s army is out of the way the whole rebellion will disappear. While that is in a fighting condition there is still a hope for the rebels, and the Unionist of the South are afraid to show themselves.

I am sorry that so great and good a man as Goldwin Smith, who has done so much for us, should fall into what Mr. Canning would call “cantanker.” He rushed too swiftly to his conclusion;3 but I hope that we shall not lose his powerful support for the good cause. I have felt it my duty to say to the British charge here that nothing could be done to provide for British claims on our government arising out of the war, which are very numerous, until Lord Russell took a different course with regard to ours. He tosses ours aside haughtily. I am sorry, for my system is peace and good-will, which I shall try in my sphere to cultivate, but there must be reciprocity.

P. S. Did I mention, as showing the good nature of the peace conferences, that after the serious discussions were over, including allusions on the part of the rebels to what was gently called “the continental question.” Mr. Stephens asked the President to send back a nephew of his, a young lieutenant, who was a prisoner in the North! The President said at once, “Stephens, I’ll do it, if you will send back one of our young lieutenants.” It was agreed; and Mr. Stephens handed the President on a slip of paper the name of his nephew, and the President handed Mr. Stephens the name of an officer of corresponding rank. This was the only stipulation on that occasion; and the President tells me it has been carried out on each side. Mr. Schleiden, the new minister of the Hanse Towns to London, has been long in Washington, and knows us well. Few foreigners have ever studied us more. I commend him to you and Mr. Cobden.

1 At Hampton Roads, February 3, between Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Seward on the one side, and Stephens, Hunter, and Campbell on the other.

2 Nicolay and Hay's “Life of Lincoln,” vol. x. p. 127.

3 Reply of Goldwin Smith in Boston “ Advertiser," January 28, to his critics, — Theophilus Parsons and George Bemis.

SOURCE: Edward Lillie Pierce, Memoir and Letters of Charles Sumner, Volume 4, p. 205-6