Showing posts with label Stragglers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Stragglers. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Captain Charles Wright Wills: November 28, 1864

November 28, 1864. 

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Captain Charles Wright Wills: (A duplicate of dates.) October 12, 1864

October 12, 1864.

Last night while our train was passing through Cassville, a town four miles south of Kingston, an ambulance gave out and the driver unhitched and concluded to stay all night. That was some three miles from where we stayed. Nine stragglers also laid down beside the ambulance for the night. The 17th Corps came through there to-day and found the driver dead, with a bayonet thrust through him, and the traps of the nine men laying around. The horses and nine men are missing. I heard to-night that the bodies of the nine men had been found altogether. Our men burned the town. I expect we will lie here tomorrow, and if Hood's army is in this vicinity go for it next day. Nobody thinks he will dare to fight us. We have parts of five corps here.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 310

Friday, April 17, 2020

Captain Charles Wright Wills: October 6, 1864 – 12 m.

Rained all last night, and has just suspended for a few minutes, I expect. Kept dry, thanks to our rubber blankets. Drew five days' rations this morning, full of everything except beans; plenty of beef, though. We only drew one-quarter of a pound per man for the whole five days. Part of our railroad bridge across the Chattahoochie washed away a few days ago. It will be finished again today. There was some fighting up near Allatoona Pass yesterday, in which, rumor says, our folks were worsted. The Rebels are moving up the road in that direction. They will have to leave there or wait and fight us. I hear that Kilpatrick burned 200 or 300 of their wagons yesterday. We'll warm those fellows if they will only wait for us somewhere. We are under orders to start at a moment's notice. Mud is not over a foot deep and everything else is lovely in proportion. I was confoundedly sick all day yesterday, could not eat any supper, but about 9 p. m. the boys brought some beans about half cooked, and the notion taking me I ate a couple of quarts thereof. Have felt splendidly ever since. Our pickets that we left at Eastpoint have just got in. The division field officer of the day who had charge of them misunderstood his instructions and marched to the river at Sandtown, 15 miles below where we crossed. The Rebels fired into them and I suppose captured half a dozen stragglers.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 306

Monday, September 16, 2019

Major-General Braxton Bragg to General Pierre G. T. Beauregard, April 8, 1862 – 7:30 a.m.

April 8, 1862 7.30 a.m.

MY DEAR GENERAL: Our condition is horrible. Troops utterly disorganized and demoralized. Road almost impassable. No provisions and no forage; consequently everything is feeble. Straggling parties may get in to-night. Those in rear will suffer much. The rear guard, Breckinridge commanding, is left at Mickey's in charge of wounded, &c. The enemy, up to daylight, had not pursued. Have ordered Breckinridge to hold on till pressed by the enemy, but he will suffer for want of food. Can any fresh troops, with five days' rations, be sent to his relief?
It is most lamentable to see the state of affairs, but I am powerless and almost exhausted.

Our artillery is being left all along the road by its officers; indeed I find but few officers with their men.

Relief of some kind is necessary, but how it is to reach us I can hardly suggest, as no human power or animal power could carry empty wagons over this road with such teams as we have.

Yours, most truly,

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 10, Part 2 (Serial No. 11), p. 398-9

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

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Luman Harris Tenney: Saturday, November 12, 1864

Gen. Rosser attacked 1st Conn. on reconnoissance. 2nd Ohio charged to help them. Both driven back after several charges, in some confusion. Brigade out and drove rebs back — at Shells — hand-to-hand encounter — charge after charge. Col. Hull killed. Drove rebs over the creek, four miles. Rebel brigade came in rear and picked up many stragglers. 2nd Ohio lost 20. Had my horse wounded. Early's whole army at Middletown.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 135

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Luman Harris Tenney: September 20, 1864

Followed up, picking up stragglers. Halted near Front Royal.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 131

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes to Lucy Webb Hayes, April 5, 1863

Camp White, April 5, 1863.

Dearest: — The weather is good, our camp dry, and everybody happy. Joe has got a sail rigged on his large skiff and he enjoys sailing on the river. It is pleasant to be able to make use of these otherwise disagreeable spring winds to do our rowing.

Visited the hospital (it being Sunday) over in town this morning. It is clean, airy, and cheerful-looking. We have only a few there — mostly very old cases.

Comly heard a couple of ladies singing Secesh songs, as if for his ear, in a fine dwelling in town. Joe has got his revenge by obtaining an order to use three rooms for hospital patients. The announcement caused grief and dismay — they fear smallpox (a case has appeared). I think Joe repents his victory now.

Enclosed photographs, except Comly's, are all taken by a Company B man who is turning a number of honest pennies by the means — Charlie Smith, Birch will recollect as Captain Avery's orderly.

Five companies of the Twenty-third had a hard race after Jenkins. They got his stragglers. Colonel Paxton and Gilmore are after him with their cavalry. General Jenkins has had bad luck with this raid. He came in with seven hundred to eight hundred men. He will get off with four hundred to five hundred, badly used up, and nothing to pay for his losses. We lost half a dozen killed. They murdered one citizen of Point Pleasant, an old veteran of 1812, aged eight-four. They will run us out in a month or two, I suspect, unless we are strengthened, or they weakened. General Scammon is prepared to destroy salt and salt-works if he does have to leave.

I think of you and the boys oftener than ever. Love to 'em and oceans for yourself.

Affectionately ever,

P. S. — I sent by express three hundred and fifty dollars in a package with two hundred dollars of Joe's. It ought to reach Mother Webb in a day or two after this letter. Write if it doesn't or does.

Mrs. Hayes.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 402-3

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Luman Harris Tenney: November 20, 1863

Troops still passing. Various rumors as to the position of Burnside in Knoxville. Got breakfast. 2nd O. V. C. came along. Nearly 20 ate with us. Moved on at 9. Got over the mountain nicely. Two wagons broken. Long hill and rather steep but smooth road. Went down into the valley and fed. Made me sad to see 6 mountain stragglers passing, all half famished and worn out — poor fellows, no rations and no prospect for any. Left flour for Command and 6 beeves. Moved on to Tazewell in rain. Went to Mr. Epp's, Union man, and heard some music. After supper remembered hearing Maj. Nettleton speak of him. Good time. Camped at T. Rained steadily all night. Many poor, hungry and footsore soldiers and citizens today and tonight.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 98

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Captain Charles Wright Wills: April 24, 1863

Camp 103d Illinois Infantry, Lagrange, Tenn.,
April 24, '63.

We have just returned from the hardest and yet by far the most pleasant scout in which I have up to this time participated. We started from here one week ago to-day, Friday, and my birthday (how old I am getting) on the cars. We were four and a half regiments of infantry, one six-gun battery and no cavalry. At 3 o'clock p. m. we were within seven miles of Holly Springs and found two bridges destroyed. We worked that p. m. and night and finished rebuilding the bridges by daylight the 18th. We had only moved two miles further when we reached another bridge which we found lying around loose in the bed of the stream. The general concluded to abandon the railroad at this point, so we took up the line of march. We passed through Holly Springs at 12 m. I don't believe that I saw a human face in the town. A more complete scene of desolation cannot be imagined. We bivouacked at dark, at Lumpkin's mill, only one mile from Waterford. At 9 p. m. a dreadful wind and rain storm commenced and continued until 1. We were on cleared ground, without tents, and well fixed to take a good large share of both the wind and water. I'm positive that I got my full portion. 'Twas dark as dark could be, but by the lightning flashes, we could see the sticks and brush with which we fed our fire, and then we would feel through the mud in the right direction. Nearly half the time we had to hold our rubber blankets over the fire to keep the rain from pelting it out. After the storm had subsided I laid down on a log with my face to the stars, bracing myself with one foot on each side of my bed. I awoke within an hour to find that a little extra rain on which I had not counted, had wet me to the skin. That ended my sleeping for that night.

Nineteenth. — We went down to Waterford and then turned westward, which course we held until nearly to Chulahoma. When we again turned southward and reached the Tallahatchie river at "Wyatt," where we camped for the night. Our regiment was on picket that night and an awful cold night it was. We marched through deep, yellow mud the 19th nearly all day, but I don't know that I marched any harder for it. Up at 3 o'clock and started at 4, the 20th, and marched 25 miles southwest, along the right bank of the Tallahatchie. Our rations were out by this time and we were living off the "citizens." The quartermaster with a squad of men he had mounted on contraband horses and mules would visit the chivalric planters, take their wagons, load them with their hams, meal and flour, and when we would halt for dinner or supper, issue the chivalries' eatables to us poor miserable Yankees. While the quartermaster attended to these principal items the "boys" would levy on the chickens, etc., including milk and cornbread. Gen. W. S. Smith commanded and the butternuts failed to get much satisfaction from him. The first night out a "citizen" came to him and complained that the soldiers had killed nine of his hogs, and asked what he should do to get his pay. "My dear sir," said the general, "you'll have to go to the boys about this matter, they will arrange it satisfactorily to you, I have no doubt." “Citizen” didn't go to the boys though. Another one came to ask pay for his hams. "Your hams, why everything in this Mississippi belongs to these boys, a great mistake, that of your's, sir." The men soon found out what kind of a general they had and whenever a butternut would appear among us they would greet him with a perfect storm of shouts of, "here’s your ham, here's your chicken," etc., and often a shower of bones of hams or beef would accompany the salute. On the 20th the general decided to make some cavalry, and on the 21st at night we had nearly 400 men on "pressed" horses and mules. These soldiers would just mount anything that had four legs, from a ram to an elephant, and the falls that some of the wild mules gave the boys would have made any man laugh that had life enough in him to breathe. How the women would beg for a favorite horse! I saw as many as five women wringing their hands and crying around a little cream-colored mare on whose head a soldier was arranging a rope bridle as coolly as though he was only going to lead her to water. You could have heard those women a quarter of a mile begging that cuss of an icicle to leave the pony, and he paid no more attention to them than he would have done to so many little chickens. An officer made the man leave the animal and I think the women took her in the house. I saw two girls, one of them perfectly lovely, begging for a pair of mules and a wagon a quartermaster was taking from their place. They pushed themselves in the way so much that the men could hardly hitch the animals to the wagon. But we had to take that team to haul our provisions. The night of the 20th at 8 o'clock, the general called all the officers up to his quarters and told us that we would have a fight with General Chalmers before breakfast the next morning. He ordered all the fires put out immediately and gave us our instructions for defense in case we should be attacked during the night. After he was through I, with eight other officers, was notified that we should sit at once as a court martial to try the adjutant of the 99th Indiana, for straggling and conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman in taking from a house sundry silver spoons, forks, etc. I'll tell you our sentence after it is approved. That kept us until 11 o'clock. At 1 o'clock a. m. we were wakened without bugles or drums, stood under arms, without fires until 3, and then marched northwest. At this point we were only eight or nine miles from Panola, Miss. We marched along through Sardis on the Grenada and Memphis R. R. and northwest about 15 miles to some cross roads, which we reached just 20 minutes after the Rebels had left. 'Twas useless for our infantry to follow their mounted men, so we turned homeward with 75 miles before us. Just look over and see how much sleep I got in the last four nights. We marched through the most delightful country from the time we left Wyatt. I think it will almost compare favorably with Illinois. We saw thousands of acres of wheat headed out which will be ready to harvest by the 15th or 20th of May. Some of the rye was as tall as I am. Peaches as large as filberts and other vegetation in proportion. There seemed to be a plenty of the necessaries of life, but I can assure you that eatables are not so plentiful now as they were before we visited the dear brethren. We reached the railroad at Colliersville last night. That is 26 miles west, making in all some 175 miles in eight days. The guerrillas fired on one column a number of times but hurt no one until yesterday, when they killed two of the 6th Iowa, which regiment was on another road from ours, the latter part of the trip. We took only some 20 prisoners but about 400 horses and mules. They captured about a dozen of stragglers from us and I am sorry to say two from my company, Wilson Gray and Stephen Hudson. The last three days we marched, every time that we would halt ten minutes one-fourth of the men would go to sleep. You should have seen the boys make bread after their crackers gave out; some lived on mush and meal, others baked cornbread in cornshucks, some would mix the dough and roll it on a knotty stick and bake it over the fire. It was altogether lots of fun and I wouldn't have missed the trip for anything.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 171-4

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Luman Harris Tenney: November 6, 1863

After breakfast sent out forage and provision detail. About 8 heavy firing in the direction of Rogersville. Ordered to be ready to march as soon as detail sent for comes in. Got in. Just got supper ready and had to move out. Rested an hour in field — disgusting. A very tedious night ride, heavy frost, boys without coats and half naked. A great number of stragglers — getting warm. Clear. Thousand fires.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 96

Friday, September 22, 2017

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Luman Harris Tenney: October 23, 1863

Cloudy, started out at 8. Commenced raining. Slippery and nasty roads. Passed the train. When 6 miles from Jonesboro stopped at a big house for dinner and feed. Old rebel wanted Confederate money for pay. Let the boys stay over night. Went on and found all regiment but stragglers gone to Watauga River. Two letters from home, seemed good.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 94

Thursday, June 22, 2017

1st Lieutenant Charles Wright Wills: March 26, 1862

Camp near Point Pleasant, Mo., March 26, 1862.

It is, to-day, very much warmer. I'm altogether too hot to be comfortable in my shirt sleeves. Don't know what is to become of us in July if it is so hot in proportion. I shake in my boots at the thought of the mosquitoes, flies, etc., we will have to endure. Vegetation is giving the surroundings a greenish appearance already, and have seen a peach tree in nearly full bloom. Wheat is about three or four inches above ground. Makes a very respectable sod. I think there are more Union people here than in any part of Missouri that I have been in, and fewer widows. Men are nearly all at home and putting in their crops as coolly as though there was no war. Some of our soldiers impose on the natives pretty badly. You don't know how thankful you ought to be that you don't live in the invaded country. Wherever there is an army, for 10 or 15 miles around it there will be hundreds of stragglers. Some out of curiosity, some to see the natives and talk with them, but the majority to pick up What they can to eat. There is not a farm house within ten miles of camp, notwithstanding the positive orders against straggling, that has not, at least, 50 soldier visitors a day, and they are the poorest soldiers and the meanest men that do all the straggling, or nearly all. They will go into a house and beg what they can and then steal what is left. Rough, dirty, coarse brutes, if they were all shot, our army would be better off. Most of these fellows are bullies at home, and that class makes plunderers in war. I've seen enough of war to know that it isn't the brawling, fighting man at home that stands the bullet whistle the best. A favorite game of these chaps, where they are not utterly depraved (there are a good many of the latter), is for a couple of them to go in the house and make themselves as interesting as possible while the others clean out the smokehouse, chicken yard, and the premises generally. The greatest objection and the only one I have to being in the army, is the idea of being associated, in the minds of the people of this country, as well as the home folks, with such brutes. But I tell you, that I have always acted the gentleman to the best of my ability since I entered the army, and I don’t believe I’m a whit worse than I was at home. I haven't drank one-tenth as much liquor as I did in the same length of time at home, and you know how much that was, and that I hate the stuff too much to ever taste it unless forced upon me. The last I touched was with poor George Shinn just before the 17th left the cape. We drank to “Our next shake hands, may it be at the end of the war, at home and before three months.” George was a No. 1 soldier. We bays all think everything of him. Tell him we all sympathize with him and wish him a speedy recovery, and that his services may not be needed any more. Seems to me I write you nearly every day, but haven't had a letter from home for two or three weeks. Our mail is very irregular though, and I can excuse, but I would like you to get all of mine and save them, for I would like to look these over myself when I get home, as I keep no diary. The day is so warm that our boys are all out bathing in a little swamp lake near here. The Lord knows some of them need it. Cleanliness is undoubtedly the best preventive of disease in the army. Hardly any of the boys that are cleanly suffer from disease. The colonel and Sidney went to Cairo yesterday. The colonel with dispatches from General Pope, I believe, and Sid. just because he could. We buried our two boys yesterday morning that were killed at Cane Bridge, and I (never felt sadder in my life. I’m sure that knowing I would be killed to-morrow wouldn’t hurt me half as much. These poor fellows have suffered all the hardships and trials of the private soldier's life, and are now put under the ground in the dark-swamp, without a friend here, save their comrades, and probably after the army leaves, a friendly eye will never see their graves. I sent a package of letters back to a young lady that one of them was engaged to. Our men have been living on mush and the other messes, makeable from cornmeal for a week, without coffee or any thing else. Couldn't get provisions through from Cairo near fast enough, and Pope gobbled up everything that did come for the troops at Madrid. Chet. Caswell, a Canton boy, is here now and cooking for our mess, I can live on fried mush as long as the next man. The frogs, bugs, blackbirds and sich like, keep up a perfect bedlam around us the whole time.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 73-5

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Diary of Lieutenant-Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes: Sunday, September 7, 1862

Washington City. — Left the suburbs of Washington to go on Leesboro Road about twelve to fifteen miles. Road full of horse, foot, and artillery, baggage and ambulance waggons. Dust, heat, and thirst. “The Grand Army of the Potomac” appeared to bad advantage by the side of our troops. Men were lost from their regiments; officers left their commands to rest in the shade, to feed on fruit; thousands were straggling; confusion and disorder everywhere. New England troops looked well; Middle States troops badly; discipline gone or greatly relaxed.

On coming into camp Major-General Reno, in whose corps we are, rode into the grounds occupied by General Cox's troops in a towering passion because some of the men were taking straw or wheat from a stack. Some were taking it to feed to horses in McMullen's Battery and to cavalry horses; some in the Twenty-third Regiment were taking it to lie upon. The ground was a stubble field, in ridges of hard ground. I saw it and made no objection. General Reno began on McMullen's men. He addressed them: “You damned black sons of bitches.” This he repeated to my men and asked for the colonel. Hearing it, I presented myself and assumed the responsibility, defending the men. I talked respectfully but firmly; told him we had always taken rails, for example, if needed to cook with; that if required we would pay for them. He denied the right and necessity; said we were in a loyal State, etc., etc. Gradually he softened down. He asked me my name. I asked his, all respectfully done on my part. He made various observations to which I replied. He expressed opinions on pilfering. I remarked, in reply to some opinion, substantially: “Well, I trust our generals will exhibit the same energy in dealing with our foes that they do in the treatment of their friends.” He asked me, as if offended, what I meant by that. I replied. “Nothing — at least, I mean nothing disrespectful to you.” (The fact was, I had a very favorable opinion of the gallantry and skill of General Reno and was most anxious to so act as to gain his good will.) This was towards the close of the controversy, and as General Reno rode away the men cheered me. I learn that this, coupled with the remark, gave General Reno great offense. He spoke to Colonel Ewing of putting colonels in irons if their men pilfered! Colonel Ewing says the remark “cut him to the quick,” that he was “bitter” against me. General Cox and Colonel Scammon (the latter was present) both think I behaved properly in the controversy.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 346-7

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Diary of Lieutenant-Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes: Saturday, September 6, 1862

Left Upton's Hill at 7:30 A. M. Marched through Georgetown and Washington to the outskirts of Washington towards Leesboro Road, a very dusty, hot, oppressive day; Twenty-third in the rear. Men kept well closed up through Washington but stopped at a grove, near where we stopped to camp, in large numbers. Lieutenant Christie reported that only three hundred of the Twenty-third marched into camp. This was substantially true, but conveyed an erroneous impression that we fell out and straggled badly. All corrected however soon.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 345

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Diary of 1st Lieutenant Lemuel A. Abbott: Friday, August 12, 1864

Another day still finds us marching in dust and under a scorching sun. The heat has indeed been intense. Many a poor soldier has fallen out on the way from exhaustion and sunstroke. We have passed through Newtown and Middletown, both of which were nearly deserted, and those left are bitter secessionists. We have been chasing the enemy, which accounts for our marching so hard; its rear guard left Newtown as we entered it. We camped for dinner here and to wait for stragglers to catch up.

An amusing thing occurred here. Three young officers, Lieutenants D. G. Hill, G. P. Welch and myself, went to the only hotel to get dinner, but found the front door locked and the blinds all drawn. The back yard and garden containing vegetables, fruit trees, flowers, etc., in luxuriance, was inclosed by a high brick wall about eight feet high with an entrance on a side street. A matronly-looking attendant unlocked the door at our request, and admitted us to the garden and back door of the hotel, which stood open to the kitchen, which we entered, the attendant remaining within hearing. Here we found the landlady, who declared in an assumed, distressed manner that she had nothing in the house to eat, the enemy having taken everything she had, at the same time relating a tale of woe which I presumed might be partially true, if not wholly so. Soon, however, after parleying, she produced a plate of fine hot tea biscuit, nervously forcing them into our very faces, saying, "Have biscuit! have biscuit!" which, rest assured, we did.

After this I started to leave. The colored woman who had admitted us, having heard all that was said, hid by the corner of the house en route to the garden entrance, and when I passed shyly told me that a table in the parlor where the curtains were down, was loaded down with a steaming hot dinner with the best the house afforded, prepared for a party of rebel officers who had fled about when it was ready because of the approach of our army. I returned to the kitchen bound to have that dinner just because it had been prepared for rebel officers and told the landlady what I had discovered, and that we must have that dinner, but were willing to pay her for it. Seeing she was outmanoeuvered and that her duplicity was discovered, she looked scared and laughing nervously led the way to the parlor, where we found the table actually groaning with steaming viands as though prepared for and awaiting us. She graciously bade us be seated, presided at the table with dignity and grace as though nothing had happened, and we met her with equal suavity, laughter and dignity as though she was the greatest lady living, she admitting when through, that she had had a “real good time.” We paid for the dinner and parted good friends.*

* The landlady had a young son — a lad — who a few years later, after the war, graduated from West Point and was assigned to the Sixth U. S. Cavalry, my regiment. One evening years afterwards in quarters at Camp Apache, A. T., among other stories I related this to a lot of officers, when Lieutenant , who was present, to my surprise informed me it was of his mother we got our dinner ,and that he had heard her laughingly relate the incident. He was a good officer and fellow, but knowing what rabid secessionists some members of the family were, including himself, the charm of his friendship was gone, but I never let him know it. He is now many years dead. The landlady was very stubborn, and unwilling to oblige us until cornered, when her detected duplicity disconcerted her, and with a nervous laugh she yielded to our demand because she thought she had to. Otherwise we should have only helped ourselves in a courteous way and paid her for what we got.

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 132-4

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant John S. Morgan: Wednesday, April 12, 1865

Were waked up at daylight & most of the men had made coffee when the Regt. was ordered on board the Gulf Steamer. Genl Banks, Genl Granger & suit embark on the same boat, as we are about the last Regt to embark the fleet set sail immediately, the fleet consisted of 6 musketo gunboats & about as many transports, two men of war, these boats carried the 13th A. C. the gunboat Cincinatti took the lead across the Bay arond with a torpedo rake. I was surprised that the Land batteries in the Bay did not open on us as we were in good range of it, crossed over to cat fish landing. A man of war run up close & lifted a shell over which called no reply but caused a display of white rags at every house along the landing. A boat was sent ashore which brought back word that there was no enemy in Mobile & the Mayor would surrender the city at the approach of our army. Genl Grangers orders were to beach the boats & men to wade on shore, but these orders were not carried out where it was certain there was no enemy, the boats run up to an old pier hardly stout enough to hold itself up. & the men disembarked. slowly, our boat was not light enough draft to move up to the pier & we were transferred to another boat and landed at 11. o clock. Admiral Thatcher was on board our boat before we disembarked. I hear the navy feel very soar about the little work they have done to reduce Mobile. When the sand forts were fond to be evacuated Genl Granger determined to run the Genl Banks to the city although the Admiral was afraid to run his musketo boat with a torpedo rake to the city. Col. Mackey wanted to have the regt remain on the boat & go in with the Genl but he would not allow it saying “I dont want to loose the men but if they blow me up with a torpedo they may blow & be D—d” his boat went in without running on any torpedo although the pilot was unacquainted with the channel & run by guess we lay arond on the banks after disembarking until 1. P. M. when we started for Mobile but from some cause we moved slow moving about 200 yds & then rest an hour so it took until dusk to get us in camp between the 1st & 2d lines of fortification about the city & about 1 mile from the city, I take a look at some of the forts an the line of forts which are the best earth works I ever saw & cannot understand how Genl Maury got the consent of his mind to leave such works without firing a gun. The forts mounted large Siege guns of heavy calibre many of them marked “Selma Mob 1865.” the guns were all well spiked & carriages mostly destroyed most of the magazines were open & much of the ammunition destroyed although there was a great amont left, the citizens close by tell me that not much of the cotton was burned for Genl Canby sent in word if the cotton was burned he would burn the city. The big fire we noticed last night was the burning of the navy yard. Say when the Rebs left the commissaries with 6 months rations for the men were thrown open & citizens helped themselves, in the rush several citizens were hurt. a Co of Reb cavalry did not leave until our army was disembarkng & a small squad remained in town until the straglers who run ahead of the command were entering the city they snatched up one of these straglers & made off with him. The 1st Brig marched into town & 8th Ill was put on provost duty.

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 8, April 1923, p. 589-90

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Lemuel A. Abbott: Sunday, July 10, 1864

Oh! I'm so tired and used up I can hardly write; have been marching all day on the pike, and my feet are badly blistered, besides being so lame, sore and stiff from my wound I can hardly move without groaning and crying out with pain after being still a little while. We arrived at Ellicott's Mills, Md., about 4 o'clock p. m. where we remained about two hours and took the cars for the Relay House. The Sixty-seventh Pennsylvania is with us. The balance of the division is yet at the mills. Stragglers still continue to pour in. Our regiment was never before in such disorder, i. e. so many stragglers. The tension was so great though, having held the enemy all day with such an attenuated line, that when it did collapse, being nearly surrounded, it was every man for himself in order to keep from being captured. The stragglers report the enemy's cavalry close after them all along the retreat in order to pick up prisoners. We arrived at the Relay House at sundown with only about ninety men. But the regiment fought valiantly yesterday up to the last moment when we were obliged to fall back in disorder or be made prisoners of war, and anybody could have played checkers on my coat-tail, I know, if they could have kept up, for Libby Prison had terrors for me, and I have always looked upon it as being a disgrace to be taken prisoner by the enemy; but in this I am wrong — still it would hurt my pride to be captured. We found no troops but a regiment of hundred days' men here, and they were greatly frightened. We are camped a short distance in rear of the hotel on a side hill in the woods.

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 118-9

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: December 15, 1862

Yesterday evening several trains laden with wounded arrived in the city. The remains of Brig.-Gen. T. R. R. Cobb, of Georgia, were brought down. Brig.-Gen. Gregg, of South Carolina, is said to be mortally wounded. It is now believed that Major-Gen. Hood, of Texas, did not fall. The number of our killed and wounded is estimated, by a surgeon who came with the wounded, to be not over a thousand.

To-day, stragglers from the battle-field say that our loss in killed and wounded is 3000. It is all conjecture.

There was heavy skirmishing all day yesterday, and until to day at noon, when the telegraph operator reports that the firing had ceased. We know not (yet) what this means. We are still sending artillery ammunition to Gen. Lee.

Gen. Evans dispatches from Kinston, N. C., that on the 14th, yesterday, he repulsed the enemy, 15,000 strong, and drove them back to their boats in Neuse River. A portion of Gen. R. A. Pryor's command, in Isle of Wight County, was engaged with the enemy's advance the same day. They have also landed at Gloucester Point. This is pronounced a simultaneous attack on our harbors and cities in Virginia and North Carolina. Perhaps we shall have more before night. Our people seem prepared for any event.

Another long train of negroes have just passed through the city, singing, to work on the fortifications.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 213-4

Friday, October 28, 2016

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Lemuel A. Abbott: Monday, May 23, 1864

We were ordered to be in readiness to march at 4 o'clock this morning, but did not start till near 9 o'clock a. m.; marched until about 11 o'clock a. m., and encamped about three miles from the North Anna river; heavy artillery firing heard in the direction of the river; have not heard the result; very warm all day, but the men bear the heat grandly. General Longstreet's Corps is only about three miles ahead of us from which it would seem we are chasing him — anyway, have captured many of his stragglers. It's intensely hot.

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 64