Showing posts with label Sugar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sugar. Show all posts

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: February 12, 1864

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Captain Charles Wright Wills: November 30, 1864

Eight miles east of Summerville, 
November 30, 1864. 

Passed through the above named town this morning. All pine woods again to-day. Stopped at the first house I came to this morning and asked the resident, an ashcolored negress, something about the country. She said she'd had the chills and fever so long she didn't know anything, but “over dar was a house whar de folks had some sense.” Captain Smith and I walked over to the house she pointed to and found a fine old German, very anxious to know if we intended to burn his house. After he cooled down a little he grew much Union. He said he had been ordered to join the army one, two, three, twenty times, but had told them he would rather be shot than take up arms against the United States. The 12th Indiana band struck up as we passed his house, and the music touched the old fellow's heart. The tears rolled down his face and he blubbered out, “That is the first music I have heard for four years; it makes me think of home. D--n this Georgia pine wood.” He said that sugar is the staple here in peace times. The foragers brought in loads of it this evening. 

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 329

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Major-General Benjamin F. Butler: General Orders No. 22, May 4, 1862

GENERAL ORDERS No. 22.]
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF,            
New Orleans, May 4, 1862.

The commanding general of the department having been informed that rebellious, lying, and desperate men have represented, and are now representing, to honest planters and good people of the State of Louisiana that the United States Government, by its forces, have come here to confiscate and destroy their crops of cotton and sugar, it is hereby ordered to he made known, by publication in all the newspapers of this city, that all cargoes of cotton and sugar shall receive the safe conduct of the forces of the United States; and the boats bringing them from beyond the lines of the United States forces may be allowed to return in safety, after a reasonable delay, if their owners so desire, provided they bring no passengers except the owners and managers of said boat and of the property so conveyed, and no other merchandise except provisions, of which such boats are requested to bring a full supply for the benefit of the poor of this city.

By command of Major-General Butler:
GEO. C. STRONG,               
Assistant Adjutant-General.

SOURCE: The War Of The Rebellion: A Compilation Of The Official Records Of The Union And Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 6 (Serial No. 6), p. 722

Major-General Benjamin F. Butler: General Orders, No. 25, May 9, 1862

GENERAL ORDERS, No. 25.}
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF             
New Orleans, May 9, 1862.

The deplorable state of destitution and hunger of the mechanics and working classes in this city has been brought to the knowledge of the commanding general.

He has yielded to every suggestion made by the city government, and ordered every method of furnishing food to the people of New Orleans that government desired. No relief by those officials has yet been afforded. This hunger does not pinch the wealthy and influential leaders of the rebellion, who have gotten up this war and are now endeavoring to prosecute it without regard to the starving poor, the working man, his wife and child. Unmindful of their suffering fellow-citizens at home, they have caused or suffered provisions to be carried out of the city for Confederate service since the occupation by the United States forces.

Lafayette Square, their home of affluence, was made the depot of stores and munitions of war for the rebel armies, and not of provisions for their poor neighbors. Striking hands with the vile, the gambler, the idler, and the ruffian, they have destroyed the sugar and cotton, which might have been exchanged for food for the industrious and good, and regrated the price of that which is left by discrediting the very currency they had furnished, while they eloped with the specie, as well that stolen from the United States as the banks, the property of the good people of New Orleans, thus leaving them to ruin and starvation.

Fugitives from justice many of them, and others their associates staying because too puerile and insignificant to be objects of punishment by the clement Government of the United States.

They have betrayed their country; they have been false to every trust; they have shown themselves incapable of defending the State they had seized upon, although they have forced every poor man's child into their service as soldiers for that purpose, while they made their sons and nephews officers.

They cannot protect those whom they have ruined, but have left them to the mercies and assassinations of a chronic mob.

They will not feed those whom they are starving.

Mostly without property themselves, they have plundered, stolen, and destroyed the means of those who had property, leaving children penniless and old age hopeless.

Men of Louisiana, workmen, property-holders, merchants, and citizens of the United States, of whatever nation you have had birth, how long will you uphold these flagrant wrongs and by inaction suffer yourselves to be made the serfs of these leaders?

The United States have sent land and naval forces here to fight and subdue rebellious armies in array against her authority. We find substantially only fugitive masses, runaway property-burners, a whisky-drinking mob, and starving citizens, with their wives and children. It is our duty to call back the first, to punish the second, root out the third, feed and protect the last.

Ready only for war, we had not prepared ourselves to feed the hungry and relieve the distressed with provisions. But to the extent possible within the power of the commanding general it shall be done.

He has captured a quantity of beef and sugar intended for the rebels in the field. A thousand barrels of these stores will be distributed among the deserving poor of this city, from whom the rebels had plundered it, even although some of the food will go to supply the craving wants of the wives and children of those now herding at Camp Moore and elsewhere in arms against the United States.

Capt. John Clark, acting chief commissary of subsistence, will be charged with the execution of this order, and will give public notice of the place and manner of distribution, which will be arranged, as far as possible so that the unworthy and dissolute will not share its benefits.

By command of Major-General Butler:
GEO. C. STRONG,               
Assistant Adjutant-General, Chief of Staff.

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 15 (Serial No. 21), p. 425-6

Major-General Benjamin F. Butler to Edwin M. Stanton, May 8, 1862

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF,                  
New Orleans, May 8, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to report my further operations since my dispatch of the 29th ultimo.

I commenced the disembarkation of my men on May 1; when I took formal possession of New Orleans.

The Twenty-first Indiana was landed at Algiers, a small town on the right bank of the river, opposite New Orleans, at the inner terminus of the New Orleans and Opelousas Railroad. All the rolling stock of the road has been seized, and the road is now running under my direction, only for the purpose of bringing in provisions to the city. That regiment under Colonel McMillan, on the 5th of May was sent to Brashear, 80 miles (the whole length of the railway), and Berwick Bay, and there captured two brass 6-pounder field guns, With ammunition for the same, some 1,500 pounds of powder, and some other ordnance stores, and dispersed a military organization there forming, captured and brought off two citizens who persisted in insulting our troops.

There are now no Confederate forces on the right or western bank of the Mississippi within possible reaching distance of which I have any intelligence.

The remainder of my troops which I had been able to take with me by means of any transportation which I had, to wit, Thirtieth and Thirty-first Massachusetts, Fourth Wisconsin and Sixth Michigan, Ninth and Twelfth Connecticut, with Manning's and Everett's Fifth and Sixth Massachusetts Batteries, and Holcomb's Second Vermont Battery, and two companies of cavalry, I landed in the city proper, posting and quartering them at the custom-house, city hall, mint, and Lafayette Square. I thought it necessary to make so large a display of force in the city. I found it very turbulent and unruly, completely under the control of the mob; no man on either side daring to act independently for fear of open violence and assassination. On landing we were saluted with cheers for Jeff. Davis and Beauregard. This has been checked, and the last man that was heard to call for cheers for the rebel chief has been sentenced by the provost judge to three months' hard labor at Fort Jackson, which sentence is being executed. No assassinations have been made of any United States soldiers, with the exception of a soldier of the Ninth Connecticut, who had left his camp without orders in the night and was found dead the next morning in an obscure street, having probably been engaged in a drunken brawl.

My officers and myself now walk in any part of the city where occasion calls by day or night, without guard, obstruction, or annoyance. There is, however, here a violent, strong, and unruly mob; that can only be kept under by fear.

On the 5th instant I sent Brigadier-General Phelps, with the Ninth and Twelfth Connecticut and Manning's battery, to take possession of the rebel works on the north side of the city, which run from the river to the marshes of Lake Pontchartrain, about 7 miles above the city. I could make no earlier movement, because all the steamers captured and in repair were claimed by the Navy, and were used either in towing their supply ships or tugging off the Rhode Island, which had gone on shore and detained us all three days. This point, in the judgment of the engineers on both sides, is a most defensible one on the northerly side, had been fortified by the rebels with heavy earthworks, and can be maintained with a few regiments against any force, however large, that may be brought against it.

The sloop-of-war Portsmouth and the gunboat Iroquois are anchored so as to enfilade the front of the embankments which were abandoned by the rebels. These can easily be put in defensible condition, although before the arrival of the army and after the evacuation by the enemy, who spiked the guns, a party from the advanced gunboats landed and burned the gun-carriages, which we must supply from those captured at the customhouse.

All the rolling stock of the Jackson Railroad was carried away by the retreating General Lovell, and he has cut the road 14 miles above the city. I am now taking measures to possess ourselves of the whole road to Manchac Pass. The fleet have gone up the river as far as Baton Rouge. The flag-officer started yesterday, and I have sent two regiments to accompany him and make any landing necessary.

The projected expedition from Vicksburg to Jackson, of which I spoke in my last dispatch, has become nugatory, because I am reliably informed from different sources that Beauregard has fallen back upon Jackson with his whole army, and is there concentrating his means of defense. My spies inform me that he is suffering greatly for want of food; that his army is daily becoming demoralized and leaving him.

As soon as all necessary points can be occupied here and my instructions carried out as regards Mobile, I will endeavour to march upon his rear with all the force I can spare consistently with reasonable safety of this point.

As in case of defeat he must retreat upon us, it will be perceived that I must be prepared to meet the débris of his army, or indeed, as he has ample rolling stock (the Telegraph says 13 miles of cars), he may precipitate any amount of force upon me at any moment; for which we will try to be ready. I have caused Forts Pike and Wood, the defenses of Lake Pontchartrain, to be occupied by detachments of the Seventh Vermont and Eighth New Hampshire Regiments. I have not yet occupied either the Chalmette, Tower Dupré, or Battery Bienvenue. Our boats hold the lake, and these are only defenses from exterior enemies; are in no need to occupy them at present. The same observation will apply to Fort Livingston.

I have the honor to inclose copies of a proclamation and the several general orders necessary in the administration of the affairs of so large a city.*  The order most questionable is the one in regard to cotton and sugar, No. 22; but it has had a most salutary effect. Both cotton and sugar are now being sent for to be brought into this market, and the burning through the adjacent country has ceased.

My action in regard to provisions was made absolutely necessary by the starvation which was falling upon the "just and the unjust," and as the class of workmen and mechanics on whom it is pressing most heavily, I am persuaded, are well disposed to the Union, I may have to take other measures to feed these.

It will become necessary for me to use the utmost severity in rooting out the various rebel secret associations here, which overawe the Union men, and give expression to the feelings of the mob by assassination and murder, and usurping the functions of government when a government was here pretended to. I propose to make some brilliant examples.

I take leave to suggest whether it might not be well to send to this point or Mobile a large force by which to operate on the rebel rear, so as To cut him off completely.

I send this dispatch by Colonel Deming, a gentleman known to you, who is possessed of my confidence, and will present to you some matters of interest more at length than could be done in this form of communication. I desire, however, to add urgently to anything he may say that there is an immediate necessity for a paymaster here. As well for the spirit, health, and comfort of the troops, I have established the strictest quarantine at the proper point (the quarantine grounds), and hope to preserve the present good health of my command. I hope my action will meet the approval of the President and the Department of War. Much of it has been done in the emergencies called for by a new and untried state of things, when promptness and movement were more desirable than deliberation. I await with anxiety instructions from the Department for my guidance in the future.

I have the honor to be, most respectfully, your obedient servant,

 BENJ. F. BUTLER,             
 Major-General, Commanding.
 The SECRETARY OF WAR.
_______________

* See “Correspondence, etc.,” post.

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 6 (Serial No. 6), p. 506-8

Monday, March 9, 2020

Diary of Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes: Saturday, May 21, 1864

Rations of coffee, sugar, hard bread, etc., filled our camp with joy last night. It now looks as if Grant had failed to crush Lee merely on account of rain and mud. We seem to have had the best of the fighting and to have taken the most prisoners. I suspect we have gained the most guns and lost the most killed and wounded. General Crook thinks Grant will force the fighting until some definite result is obtained.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 464

Saturday, February 1, 2020

George S. Denison to Salmon P. Chase, February 12, 1863

(Private and Confidential)
New Orleans, February 12th, 1863.

Dear Sir: Enclosed is General Orders No. 14—in part concerning Plantation supplies, etc.

Also, copy of contract between T. P. May, an intelligent and progressive planter, and white laborers to be employed by him in raising cotton and sugar. It is a great experiment and Mr. May is the man to succeed in it. He is a young man—at heart an Abolitionist, and his plantation is one of the finest in Louisiana.

My late announcement of the commencement of military movements was premature. Everything moves very slowly here. The movement has not actually commenced however.

A force under Weitzel will advance up the Teche. Another force will advance westwardly from Plaquemine on the River. The two forces will meet at New Iberia or St. Martinsville.

Bute la Rose is a lake or wide bayou between Plaquemine and St. Martinsville, and at this point is a rebel battery and fortifications. This will be reduced by the Plaquemine force aided by gunboats.

After the junction of the two forces at or near St. Martinsville a force of 3,000 or 4,000 will be detached and accompany the gunboats up the Atchafalaya bayou to Red River near its mouth.

The Gunboats to be used are those built by Gen. Butler— of very light draft and iron-clad.

You will understand the above statement by reference to the Rebel map I sent you.

Affairs here are not in a prosperous condition. Great dissatisfaction exists in at least some portions of the army. Even Gen. Banks new troops to some extent—and Butler's old troops to a man, would hail Butler's return with enthusiasm. Banks' policy seems to be conciliatory and hesitating. He seems afraid of responsibilities. General Butler is utterly fearless. Several desertions have occurred, by soldiers who wish to be taken and paroled, but this is kept secret here.

It is my opinion that Government has made exchanges too easy. It would be better to allow no exchange of prisoners. Then we should not hear of disgraceful surrenders—or of desertions by men sick of the service. In this and other respects the war should be made sharper and more earnest. The greater advantage of exchanges as now permitted, is in favor of the Rebels, and the disadvantage is our own. Our men will not so easily surrender and rarely desert, if they know they must endure, for the rest of the war, the privations and discomforts of the Confederacy. Now they have every inducement to do both.

Gen. Banks seems to me to be no judge of men. He selects honest subordinates for the most part—but his staff are, generally, green, inexperienced—of little ability—and one or two of them are fit objects of ridicule. Conciliation, inefficiency, inexperience and hesitation characterize all proceedings. There is no use in such criticism, however, when the President himself sends here as his private correspondent a vulgar little scoundrel like Dr. Zachary—who takes bribes and whose only object is to make money.

Personally I like Gen. Banks exceedingly, but a Northern man needs six months experience here in order to be efficient in this peculiar country and .among its peculiar people. Gen. Butler has that experience, and his return would at once change everything for the better.

The nine months men are dissatisfied and demoralized. I think Butler could not only remove such feeling, but make most of them re-enlist. Whatever Butler did, pleased and satisfied the Army, because they had confidence in, and admired him. This is not at all true of Gen. Banks.

The sooner Gen. Butler comes back the better it will be.

In one respect there is a very disagreeable condition of things here. A host of speculators, Jews and camp-followers, came hither in the track of Banks' expedition. They have continued to arrive and every steamer brings an addition to the number. Each expects to be a millionaire in six months. They have few scruples about the means of satisfying their cupidity.

I regard them as natural enemies, and in our constant war, they are generally worsted. The whole crowd, and Dr. Zachary among them, with eager expectancy like wolves about to seize their prey, await the advent of the new collector, who is a good natured man, and supposed to be easily imposed upon.

I think that spies, intriguers, dishonest speculators, and liars are more abundant here now than any where else in America. It seems as if everything must be accomplished by intrigue and management. It was not so three months ago.

In troublous times like these each man of merit has opinions—proclaims them—defends and sustains them, else he is, politically speaking, a "trimmer."

I told Gen. Banks so the other day.

I am not familiar with Banks' political history. Was he ever a Trimmer?

Perhaps he is a conservative! To a friend of mine Gen. Banks the other day declared himself to be neither a proslavery nor anti-slavery man.

What is he then?

I do not know, Mr. Chase, anything about your feelings toward Gen. Banks or any one else, but write always my own opinions without reference to those of others.

SOURCE: Diary and correspondence of Salmon P. ChaseAnnual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1902, Vol. 2, p. 358-60

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: December 5, 1863

It has begun to rain again; and yet the clerks are kept at Chaffin’s Bluff, although the roads are impracticable, and no approach of the enemy reported.

There is not a word of news from the armies on the Rapidan or in Georgia.

A collision between the Confederate and State authorities in Georgia is imminent, on the question of “just compensation” for sugar seized by the agents of the Commissary-General—whose estimates for the ensuing year embrace an item of $50,000,000 to be paid for sugar. The Supreme Court of Georgia has decided that if taken, it must be paid for at a fair valuation, and not at a price to suit the Commissary-General. It is the belief of many, that these seizures involve many frauds, to enrich the Commissaries.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 111

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Diary of 5th Sergeant Osborn H. Oldroyd: May 9, 1863

Orders this morning to draw two days' rations, pack up and be ready to move at a moment's warning. We drew hard-tack, coffee, bacon, salt and sugar, and stored them in our haversacks. Some take great care so to pack the hard-tack that it will not dig into the side while marching, for if a corner sticks out too much anywhere, it is only too apt to leave its mark on the soldier. Bacon, too, must be so placed as not to grease the blouse or pants. I see many a bacon badge about me—generally in the region of the left hip. In filling canteens, if the covers get wet the moisture soaks through and scalds the skin. The tin cup or coffee-can is generally tied to the canteen or else to the blanket or haversack, and it rattles along the road, reminding one of the sound of the old cow coming home. All trifling troubles like these on the march may be easily forestalled by a little care, but care is something a soldier is not apt to take, and he too often packs his “grub” as hurriedly as he “bolts” it. We were soon ready to move, and filled our canteens with the best water we have had for months. We did not actually get our marching order, however, until near three o'clock P. M., so that being anxious to take fresh water with us, we had to empty and refill canteens several times. As we waited for the order, a good view was afforded us of the passing troops, and the bristling lines really looked as if there was war ahead.

O, what a grand army this is, and what a sight to fire the heart of a spectator with a speck of patriotism in his bosom. I shall never forget the scene of to-day, while looking back upon a mile of solid columns, marching with their old tattered flags streaming in the summer breeze, and hearkening to the firm tramp of their broad brogans keeping step to the pealing fife and drum, or the regimental bands discoursing “Yankee Doodle” or “The Girl I Left Behind Me.” I say it was a grand spectacle—but how different the scene when we meet the foe advancing to the strains of “Dixie” and “The Bonny Blue Flag.” True, I have no fears for the result of such a meeting, for we are marching full of the prestige of victory, while our foes have had little but defeat for the last two years. There is an inspiration in the memory of victory. Marching through this hostile country with large odds against us, we have crossed the great river and wil1 cut our way through to Vicksburg, let what dangers may confront us. To turn back we should be overwhelmed with hos[t]s exulting on their own native soil. These people can and will fight desperately, but they cannot put a barrier in our way that we cannot pass. Camped a little after dark.

SOURCE: Osborn Hamiline Oldroyd, A Soldier's Story of the Siege of Vicksburg, p. 11-12

Friday, December 20, 2019

Diary of Corporal David L. Day: December 20, 1861

We are having cold weather; freezing quite hard at night, and making our lodgings in these little rag houses anything but comfortable. I have been with a detail of men down to the wharf unloading and storing army supplies. Annapolis is a depot of supplies, and immense quantities are landed here and sent by rail to Washington. A person never having given the subject of army preparation and supplies much thought, would be astonished at the immense quantities he would see here, and would begin to calculate how long it would be before Uncle Sam would be bankrupt. Large warehouses are filled and breaking down under the weight of flour, beef, pork, bread, sugar, coffee, clothing, ammunition, etc., while the wharves and adjacent grounds are filled with hay, oats, lumber, coal, guns, mortars, gun-carriages, pontoons and other appendages of an army. I presume the cost of feeding and clothing an army of half a million of-men is not really so much as the same number of men would cost at home, but the army being consumers, instead of producers, the balance will eventually be found on the debit page of the ledger.

SOURCE: David L. Day, My Diary of Rambles with the 25th Mass. Volunteer Infantry, p. 15

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Laura M. Towne: Sunday, June 13, 1862


St. Helena Island, June 13,1862.

You do not know how comfortable and even elegant our apartments are, now that we have all the furniture the cotton agent had in his half of the house. There are no other such accommodations in this region, and we shall be foolish to go away for anything but health. If there should be any likelihood of sickness, we can remove easily to the watering-place of the islands, St. Helenaville, about six miles from here, and then we can ride over twice a week or so to see our people. But I do not see why this place cannot be a good enough location to stay in all summer. As for the late alarm about "Secesh" coming, everybody is ashamed of it, and all try to prove that they were not frightened at such an unlikelihood. It is an impossibility now, as gunboats are stationed on all sides. I am so glad we did not run. It was a great shame we had all the bother of packing our trunks and unpacking them again. . . .

You may imagine that I was not well pleased to see my entire letter printed. That last — “but I must get a little sleep” — seems so boasting, and in other places I would have modified it. But I do not care much. If my present leisure continues, I shall perhaps write for the Tribune an occasional letter; but Mr. McKim is taking notes, and will tell everything, I fancy. Lucy is a very nice girl and she is busy collecting facts, etc. Mr. French, too, is writing a book, and so there will be an overstock of information, I think. . . .

Dr. Hering's looking-glasses have come, but not his violins, and the candy and sugar are enjoyed hugely. . . .

I wish you were as free from every fret as I am, and as happy. I never was so entirely so as now, and no wonder. We found the people here naked, and beginning to loathe their everlasting hominy, — afraid and discontented about being made to work as slaves, and without assurance of freedom or pay, of clothes or food, — and now they are jolly and happy and decently fed and dressed, and so full of affection and gratitude to the people who are relieving them that it is rather too flattering to be enjoyed. It will not last, I dare say, but it is genuine now and they are working like Trojans. They keep up the tasks of those who have gone to the forts and do not complain of any amount of little extra jobs. It is such a satisfaction to an abolitionist to see that they are proving conclusively that they can and will and even like to work enough at least to support themselves and give something extra to Government.

All my affairs go swimmingly (I have the Boston clothing too now, only there is none to sell), so do not think of me as being a martyr of any kind.

SOURCE: Rupert Sargent Holland, Editor, Letters and Diary of Laura M. Towne: Written from the Sea Islands of South Carolina 1862-1864, p. 67-8

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Anti-Slavery Meeting in Andover, published August 8, 1835

MR. EDITOR — I regret that the former account I was sent of your labors of our excellent brothers Thompson and Phelps, was so meager a statement of their untiring efforts among us.  Circumstances, however, obliged me to compress into a small space, what was worthy of being given at much greater length; and for the benefit of those who have not the privilege of listening to the discussion of a question of so much importance to every American citizen as that of slavery, a fuller sketch of the remaining meetings shall be given.  As my remarks will be confined for the most part to the speeches of Mr. Thompson, it must not be supposed that I can give anything like an adequate idea of the cogency of his arguments or of the power of his eloquence.  To eulogize him as an orator would be idle.  It would be like daubing paint upon a finished portrait, which would only soil it instead of adding to its beauty. Those who would form any just conception of Mr. Thompson as a public speaker and a christian philanthropist, must both see and hear him, and those who have once listened to him, are well aware that even an analysis of a speech of his , so closely joined in all its parts, so replete with profound thought, and so profusely embellished with rhetorical flowers of every hue and ever ordour, cannot be embodied in a single brief paragraph.  I shall therefore not attempt to give his own expressions, but merely a general description of his discourse.

On Sunday evening, July 12th, Mr. Thompson addressed a crowded audience, from Ezekiel xxviii. 14, 15, 16 – “Thou art the anointed the cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so : thou wast upon the holy mountain of God: thou hast walked up and down in the midst of these stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.”

Mr. Thompson remarked that though this was a passage of inimitable beauty, it was one of tremendous and awful import. While it drew the picture of the wealth and grandeur of ancient Tyre, it contained the prediction of its downfall. Mr. Thompson then proceeded to portray in matchless colors the prosperity and glory of the renowned city, whose “builders had perfected her beauty, whose borders were in the midst of the sea, whose mariners were the men of Sidon, and who was a merchant to the people of many islands.” Her fir trees were brought from Hermon, her oaks from Bashan, her cedars from Lebanon, her blue and purple and fine linen from Egypt, her wheat and oil and honey from Judea, her spices and gold and precious stones from Arabia, her silver from Tarsus, her emeralds and coral and agate from Syria, her warriors from Persia, and her slaves from Greece. Her palaces were radiant with jewels, and many kings were filled with the multitude of the riches of her merchandise. But iniquity was found in her. She had kept back the hire of the laborer by fraud. By the multitude of her riches she was filled with violence. She made merchandise of the bodies and souls of men, therefore she should be cast down. Many nations should come up against her and destroy her walls and break down her towers. All this had been literally fulfilled.

Mr. Thompson then applied his subject to America. Your country, said he, is peculiarly an anointed cherub. Heaven smiled upon the self-denying enterprise of your praying, pilgrim fathers, and in two centuries a great nation has risen into being — a nation whose territories stretches from the Canadas to the Gulf of Mexico, and from the Atlantic to the Rocky Mountains — a nation whose prowess by land and by sea is unsurpassed by any people that have a name — a nation whose markets are filled with the luxuries of every clime, and whose merchandise is diffused over the world. The keels of your vessels cut all waters. Your ships lie along the docks of every port of Europe, and are anchored under the walls of China. The deer and the buffalo fall before the aim of your hunters, and the eagle is stricken down from his eyry. Your hardy tars visit the ice-bound coasts of the North, and transfix the monsters of the polar seas. Your coasts are thronged with populous and extended cities, and in the interior may be seen the spires of your churches towering above the beautiful villages that surround them. Above every other nation under heaven, yours is distinguished for its christian enterprise. You can give the Bible to every family within the limits of your own territory, and pledge it to the world. Your missionaries are in all quarters of the globe, and your seventeen thousand clergy are preaching salvation, in the midst of your own population. Other nations of Christendom behold with complacency the good effected by your charitable societies, and would be proud to emulate you. No nation has ever been so peculiarly blessed. You are placed upon the holy mountain of God, and walk up and down in the midst of the stones of fire, but you have sinned. Ye make merchandise of the bodies and souls of men. Ye have torn the African from his quiet home, and subjected him to interminable, bondage in a land of strangers. Violence is in the midst of you, and the oppressor walks abroad unpunished. One-sixth part of your whole population are doomed to perpetual slavery. The cotton tree blooms, and the cane field wanes, because the black man tills the soil. The sails of your vessels whiten the ocean, their holds filled with sugar, and their decks burdened with cotton, because the black man smarts under the driver's lash, while the scorching rays of a tropical sun fall blistering upon his skin. He labors and faints, and another riots on the fruits of his unrequited toils. He is bought and sold as the brute, and has nothing that he can call his own. Is he a husband? the next hour may separate him forever from the object of his affections. Is he a father? the child of his hopes may the next moment be torn from his bleeding bosom, and carried he knows not whither, but at best, to a state of servitude more intolerable than death. He looks back upon the past, and remembers his many stripes and tears. He looks forward, and no gleam of hope breaks in upon his sorrow-stricken bosom. Despair rankles in his heart and withers all his energies, and he longs to find rest in the grave. But his dark mind is uninformed of his immortal nature, and when he dies he dies without the consolations of religion, for in christian America there is no Bible for the slave. Your country being thus guilty, it behoves every citizen of your republic to consider lest the fate of Tyre be yours.

Mr. Thompson closed by expressing his determination to labor in behalf of those in bonds, till the last tear was wiped from the eye of the slave, and the last fetter broken from his heel; and then, continued he, then let a western breeze bear me back to the land of my birth, or let me find a spot to lay my bones in the midst of a grateful people, and a people FREE indeed.

Never did the writer of this article listen to such eloquence; and never before did he witness an audience hanging with such profound attention upon the lips of a speaker. But those who take the trouble to read this article, must not suppose that what I have here stated is given in Mr. Thompson's own words. Perhaps I may have made use of some of his expressions, but my object has been to give a general view of this surpassingly excellent address of our beloved brother.

On Monday evening, Mr. Thompson gave a lecture on St. Domingo. It being preliminary to subsequent lectures, it was mostly statistics from the time of the discovery of the island, down to the year 1789. Mr. Thompson remarked that he had a two-fold object in view in giving an account of St. Domingo. First, to show the capacity of the African race for governing themselves; and, second, to show that immediate emancipation was safe, as illustrated by its effects on that island. St. Domingo, he said, was remarkable for being the place where Columbus was betrayed — for its being the first of the West India Islands to which negro slaves were carried from the coast of Africa — for the cruel treatment of the first settlers in the Island to the aborigines — for the triumph of the liberated slaves over the French, and those of the islanders who joined them — for being the birth place of the noble minded, the gifted, the honored, but afterwards, betrayed Toussaint L’Ouverture, who was born a slave, and a great part of his life labored as a slave, yet as soon as his chains were broken off, he rose at once to a man — to a general to a commander-in-chief, and finally to the Governor of a prosperous and happy Republic.

At the close of the exercises, Mr. Thompson informed the audience, that on the next evening they would be addressed by Wm. Lloyd Garrison, Editor of the Liberator, — the much despised and villified Wm. Lloyd Garrison was to address the citizens of Andover on the subject of slavery.

Tuesday evening arrived, and with it arrived Wm. Lloyd Garrison, Editor of the Liberator. The house was crowded by many, who, we doubt not, came from mere curiosity, to see the man who had been held up to the world as the “enemy of all righteousness — the “disturber of the public peace — the “libeller of his country” — the “outlawed fanatic”—the reckless incendiary, who was propagating his seditious sentiments from one end of the land to the other, and yet in this free country, suffered to live notwithstanding.

After prayer and singing, brother Garrison arose, and said, he stood before them as the one who had been represented to the public as the propagator of discord, and the enemy of his country — that almost every opprobrious epithet had been attached to his name; but since one term of reproval had been spared him — since his enemies had never called him a slaveholder, he would forgive them all the rest, and thank them for their magnanimity. He spoke for some time on the supercilious inquiry so often iterated and reiterated by our opponents; Why don't you go to the South? He remarked, that the very individuals who made this inquiry, and were denouncing us as fanatics, well knew that death would be the lot of him who should broach such sentiments at the South, and should the advocates of abolition throw away their lives by recklessly throwing themselves into the hands of those who were thirsting for their blood, then indeed, might these haughty querists smile over their mangled bodies, and with justice pronounce them fanatics. He touched upon several other important points which I must pass over in silence. His manner was mild, his address dignified and dispassionate, and many who never saw him before, and whose opinions, or rather prejudices were formed from the false reports of his enemies, and confirmed by not reading his paper, were compelled, in spite of themselves, to form an idea entirely the reverse of what they had previously entertained of him. His address did much towards removing the prejudice that many had against him, and proved an excellent catholicon to the stomachs of those who are much given to squeamishness, whenever they hear the name of Garrison mentioned.

On Wednesday evening, Mr. Thompson was to have continued his remarks on St. Domingo, but a heavy rain prevented most of the audience from coming together, and by the request of those present, the address was deferred until the next evening, and the time spent in familiar conversation. An interesting discussion took place, and lasted about an hour and a half. Many important questions were canvassed, to the entire satisfaction, we believe, of all who listened to them.

On Thursday evening, Mr. Thompson resumed his account of St. Domingo. Commencing with the year 1790, he showed that the beginning of what are termed “the horrid scenes of St. Domingo,” was in consequence of a decree passed by the National Convention, granting to the free people of color the enjoyment of the same political privileges as the whites, and again in 1791, another decree was passed, couched in still stronger language, declaring that all the free people of color in the French islands were entitled to all the privileges of citizenship. When this decree reached Cape Francais, it excited the whites to great hostility against the free people of color. The parties were arrayed in arms against each other, and blood and conflagration followed. The Convention, in order to prevent the threatening evils, immediately rescinded the decree. By this act, the free blacks were again deprived of their rights, which so enraged them, that they commenced fresh hostilities upon the whites, and the Convention was obliged to re-enact the former decree, giving to them the same rights as white citizens. A civil war continued to rage in the island until 1793, when, in order to extinguish it, and at the same time repel the British, who were then hovering round the coasts, it was suggested that the slaves should be armed in defence of the island. Accordingly in 1793, proclamation was made, promising “to give freedom to all the slaves who would range themselves under the banners of the Republic.” This scheme produced the desired effect. The English were driven from the Island, the civil commotions were suppressed, and peace and order were restored. After this, the liberated slaves were industrious and happy, and continued to work on the same plantations as before, and this state of things continued until 1802, when Buonaparte sent out a military force to restore slavery in the Island. Having enjoyed the blessings of freedom for nine years, the blacks resolved to die rather than again be subjected to bondage. They rose in the strength of free men, and with Toussaint L’Ouverture at their head they encountered their enemies. Many of them, however, were taken by the French, and miserably perished. Some were burnt to death, some were nailed to the masts of ships, some were sown up in sacks, poignarded, and then thrown into the sea as food for sharks, some were confined in the holds of vessels, and suffocated with the fumes of brimstone, and many were torn in pieces by the blood hounds, which the French employed to harass and hunt them in the forests and fastnesses of the mountains. At length the scene changed. The putrifying carcases of the unburied slain poisoned the atmosphere, and produced sickness in the French army. In this state of helplessness they were besieged by the black army, their provisions were cut off, a famine raged among them so that they were compelled at last to subsist upon the flesh of the blood hounds, that they had exported from Cuba as auxiliaries in conquering the islanders. The French army being nearly exterminated, a miserable remnant put to sea, and left the Island to the quiet possession of their conquerors. Mr. Thompson concluded with the following summary: First, the revolution in St. Domingo originated between the whites and the free people of color, previous to any act of emancipation. Second, the slaves after their emancipation remained peaceful, contented, industrious, and happy, until Buonaparte made the attempt to restore slavery in the Island. Third, the history of St. Domingo proves the capacity of the black man for the enjoyment of liberty, his ability of self-government, and improvement, and the safety of immediate emancipation. Friday evening, Mr. Thompson closed his account of St. Domingo, by giving a brief statement of its present condition. He showed by documents published in the West Indies, that its population was rapidly multiplying, its exports annually increasing, and the inhabitants of the Island improving much faster than could be reasonably expected.

After the address, opportunity was given for any individuals to propose questions. A gentleman slaveholder commenced. He made several unimportant inquiries, and along with them, abused Mr. Thompson, by calling him a foreign incendiary. Mr. Thompson answered in his usual christian calmness and dignity, not rendering reviling for reviling. The discusion continued to a late hour, and when it closed the audience gave evidence of being well satisfied with the answers given, and some who attended that evening for the first time, subscribed their names to the Constitution. Thus closed Mr. Thompson's labors with us for the present, and he left town on Saturday, July 18th. Mr. Phelps remained and addressed us on Sabbath evening, but the small space left to me, will not admit of my giving any account of it. As to the good accomplished by the labors of Messrs. Thompson and Phelps, some further account may be given hereafter. At present, I will only say, that upwards of 200 have joined the Anti-Slavery Society since they came among us.

Yours, in behalf of the A. S. Society at Andover,

R. REED, Cor. Secretary.

SOURCES: Isaac Knapp, Publisher, Letters and Addresses by G. Thompson [on American Negro Slavery] During His Mission in the United States, From Oct. 1st, 1834, to Nov. 27, 1835, p. 77-83; “Anti-Slavery Meetings at Andover,” The Liberator, Boston, Massachusetts, Saturday, August 8, 1835, p. 1.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: November 13, 1863

No news of battles yet. But we have a rumor of the burning of the fine government steamer R. E. Lee, chased by the blockaders. That makes two this week.

Gen. Lee dispatched the President, yesterday, as follows:

“Orange C. H., Nov. 12th. — For the last five days we have only received three pounds of corn per horse, from Richmond, per day. We depend on Richmond for corn. At this rate, the horses will die, and cannot do hard work. The enemy is very active, and we must be prepared for hard work any day. — R. E. Lee.”

On the back of which the President indorsed: "Have the forage sent up in preference to anything else. The necessity is so absolute as to call for every possible exertion.—Jefferson Davis."

Perhaps this may rouse the department. Horses starving in the midst of corn-fields ready for gathering! Alas, what mismanagement!

I cut the following from the Dispatch:

Flour. — We heard yesterday of sales of flour at $110 per barrel. We do not, however, give this as the standard price; for, if the article was in market, we believe that even a higher figure would be reached. A few days since a load of flour was sent to an auction-house on Cary Street to be sold at auction. The proprietors of the house very properly declined to receive it, refusing to dispose of breadstuffs under the hammer, where men of money, and destitute of souls, would have an opportunity of buying it up and withdrawing it from market.

corn-meal. — This article is bringing from $18 to $20 per bushel, and scarce at that.

Country Produce And Vegetables. — We give the following as the wholesale rates: Bacon, hoground, $2.75 to $3; lard, $2.25 to $2.30; butter, $3.75 to $4; eggs, $2 to $2.25; Irish potatoes, $7.50 to $8; sweet potatoes, $10.50 to $12; tallow candles, $4 per pound; salt, 45 cents per pound.

groceries. — Coffee — wholesale, $9 per pound, retail, $10; sugar, $2.85 to $3.25; sorghum molasses, wholesale, $10, and $14 to $15 at retail; rice, 30 to 35 cents.

liquors. — Whisky, $55 to $70 per gallon, according to quality, apple brandy, $50; high proof rum, $50; French brandy, $80 to $100.

"In the city markets fresh meats are worth $1.25 to $1.50 for beef and mutton, and $2 for pork; chickens, $6 to $8 per pair; ducks, $7 to $8 per pair; butter, $4.50 to $5 per pound; sweet potatoes, $2.50 per half peck; Irish potatoes, $2 per half peck.

leather. — Sole leather, $6.50 to $7.50 per pound; upper leather, $7.50 to $8; harness leather, $5.50 to $6; hides are quoted at $2.50 to $2.75 for dry, and $1.50 for salted green; tanners' oil, $4 to $5 per gallon.

tobacco. — Common article, not sound, $1 to $1.25; medium, pounds, dark, $1.30 to $2; good medium bright, $2 to $2.75; fine bright, $2 to $4; sweet 5's and 10's scarce and in demand, with an advance."

My friend Capt. Jackson Warner sent me, to-day, two bushels of meal at government price, $5 per bushel. The price in market is $20. Also nine pounds of good beef, and a shank—for which he charged nothing, it being part of a present to him from a butcher.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 96-7

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Diary of Laura M. Towne: Monday, May 23, 1862

Ellen is coming at last. I felt sure no one could stop her. Mr. McKim is also to come as Philadelphia agent, and I am free.

We have been for three days going to various plantations, once to Mr. Zacha's at Paris Island, once to Mrs. Mary Jenkins', Mr. Wells' and to Edgar Fripp's, or to Frogmore, Mr. Saulis'; also to Edding's Point and one other place. At the three places of Mr. Jenkins, Mr. Fripp, and Edding, the wretched hovels with their wooden chimneys and the general squalor showed the former misery. One woman said the differences in the times were as great as if God had sent another Moses and a great deliverance — that it was heaven upon earth and earth in heaven now. They all seemed to love Mr. Wells. We saw there one woman whose two children had been whipped to death, and Mr. Wells said there was not one who was not marked up with welts. He had the old whip which had a ball at the end, and he had seen the healed marks of this ball on their flesh — the square welts showed where it had taken the flesh clean out. Loretta of this place showed me her back and arms to-day. In many places there were ridges as high and long as my little finger, and she said she had had four babies killed within her by whipping, one of which had its eye cut out, another its arm broken, and the others with marks of the lash. She says it was because even while "heaviest" she was required to do as much as usual for a field hand, and not being able, and being also rather apt to resist, and rather smart in speaking her mind, poor thing, she has suffered; and no wonder Grace, her child, is of the lowest type; no wonder she is more indifferent about her clothes and house than any one here. She says this was the cruelest place she was ever in.

The happiest family I know here is old Aunt Bess's Minda and Jerry and herself. They are always joking and jolly but very gentle. When I go there at night to dress Bess's foot I find her lying upon her heap of rags with the roaches running all over her and little Leah or some small child asleep beside her.' Jerry got me some of the pine sticks they use for candles. They hold one for me while I dress the foot.

It is- very interesting to observe how the negroes watch us for fear we shall go away. They are in constant dread of it and we cannot be absent a single day without anxiety on their part. It is very touching to hear their entreaties to us to stay, and their anxious questions. They have a horrible dread of their masters' return, especially here where Massa Dan'l's name is a terror.

They appreciate the cheapness of our goods and especially of the sugar at the Overseer house, and are beginning to distrust the cotton agents who have charged them so wickedly.

The scenes in the cotton-house used to be very funny. Miss W. would say to some discontented purchaser who was demurring at the price of some article, “Well, now, I don't want to sell this. I believe I won't sell it to-day. But if you want to take it very much at a dollar and a half, you may have it. Oh, you don't? Well, then, I can't sell you anything. No, you can't have anything. We are doing the best we can for you and you are not satisfied; you won't be contented. Just go — go now, please. We want all the room and air we can get. You don't want to buy and why do you stay? No, I shall not let you have anything but that. I don't want to sell it, but you may have it for a dollar and a half,” etc., etc. This is one of many real scenes. The people are eager, crazy to buy, for they are afraid of their money, it being paper, and besides, they need clothes and see finer things than ever in their lives before. Except when they are excited they are very polite, always saying "Missus" to us, and "Sir" to one another. The children say, "Good-mornin', ma'am," whenever they see us first in the day, and once I overheard two girls talking just after they had greeted me. One said, "I say good-mornin' to my young missus [Miss Pope] and she say, ‘I slap your mouth for your impudence, you nigger.’” I have heard other stories that tell tales.

The white folks used to have no cooking-utensils of their own here. They came and required certain things. The cooks hunted among the huts and borrowed what they needed till the family went away, of course straining every nerve to get such cooking as should please. "I would do anything for my massa," Susannah says, "if he wouldn't whip me."

On May 7, as Mr. Pierce stepped off the boat at Hilton Head and walked up the pier, a Mr. Nobles, chief of the cotton agents here, came forward saying that he had a letter for him. Then he struck him upon the head, felled him, and beat him, saying that Mr. P. had reported him to the Secretary of the Treasury and had got a saddle and bridle of his. Mr. Pierce got up with difficulty and took only a defensive part. Some soldiers took Mr. Nobles off. Mr. Pierce had really mentioned this man and his agents, which was his duty as guardian of these people, for they were imposing upon the negroes shamefully. They, of course, hate this whole Society of Superintendents, etc., who will not see the negroes wronged. So Mr. P. has had his touch of martyrdom.

The Philadelphia consignment of goods — in all $2000 worth — would have done immense good if it had come in season. The people of these islands, whom Government does not ration (because there is corn here) had nothing but hominy to eat, were naked, were put to work at cotton, which they hated, as being nothing in their own pockets and all profit to the superintendent, who they could not be sure were not only another set of cotton agents or cotton planters; and so discontent and trouble arose. Mr. Pierce said to them that they should be fed, clothed, and paid, but they waited and waited in vain, trusting at first to promises and then beginning to distrust such men as were least friendly to them.

The first rations of pork — "splendid bacon," everybody says — was dealt out the other day and there has been great joy ever since, or great content. If this had only come when first ordered there would have been this goodwill and trust from the first. They even allow the removal of the corn from one plantation to another now without murmuring, and that they were very much opposed to before.

SOURCE: Rupert Sargent Holland, Editor, Letters and Diary of Laura M. Towne: Written from the Sea Islands of South Carolina 1862-1864, p. 57-61

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Diary of Laura M. Towne: Monday, May 19, 1862

Our men have returned from Hilton Head and nearly all are eager to go there again and serve in the forts, though Marcus says he does not wish to fight, but only to learn to fight. . . .

Very much has occurred lately, but I have no time to write. I have received and distributed twenty-one boxes of clothing, having sold over $155 worth and sent out fifteen boxes to the plantations, which will be sold on account or given away. . . . People have come from great distances to buy here and seem almost crazy at the sight of clothes — willing to pay any price.
We have had to refuse to sell, being so overworked. I am sorry to say that I have discovered two cases of pilfering, and the cotton house has been entered again and again, we think, but nothing that we can miss is taken. Our house-servants are honest as the day.

Mr. French spent Saturday night and preached here on Sunday. He thinks good times are coming for us. He says that General Saxton1 will be our friend, and that we shall have the military in our favor instead of against us as before. The danger now seems to be — not that we shall be called enthusiasts, abolitionists, philanthropists, but cotton agents, negro-drivers, oppressors. The mischief has been that on this side of the water, on these islands, the gentlemen have been determined to make the negroes show what they can do in the way of cotton, unwhipped. But they have only changed the mode of compulsion. They force men to prove they are fit to be free men by holding a tyrant's power over them. Almost every one who has attempted this has failed. Those who have not attempted driving are loved and obeyed. On the rationed islands, Port Royal and Edisto, the negroes have worked much better and have been perfectly contented.

Last Saturday the provisions from Philadelphia were distributed, and I heard our folks singing until late, just as they did after their first payment of wages, only then they sang till morning.

Thorp was here the other night. He wanted Mr. Pierce to let him stay in his present position for a time, for Mr. P. had wanted to remove him. He pleaded so that Mr. P. yielded and Mr. T. went back to work, but he is now ill and Sumner is taking his place in the distribution of clothes and food. This has not yet been begun and the people are gloomy. Last Sunday Ria, of Gab. Capers, came over to me and asked me to speak to Mr. Pierce about her horse. Mr. Saulsbury, a cotton agent, had taken away a fine horse (belonging to the estate), which Ria took care of and used, and in its place he gave her an old beast to take her to church, as she is paralytic. She came to church and heard that Mr. Eustis, the provost marshal, who had made a law that no negro should ride any horse without a pass, was going to take away the horses of all the negroes who had come to church without a pass. She appealed to Mr. Pierce. He sent her to Mr. Park. She is afraid of Mr. Park and appealed to me. Park was there and I went directly to him. He heard me, and smiled as if a little pleased to be petitioned, came forward and promised the woman a pass or permission hereafter to use the horse. The Mr. Field, a sutler and friend of the Whitneys, who was here a few days ago, told me he had found a fine horse on the island named Fanny — a thoroughbred, which he meant to take North with him. As Ria's good horse's name was Fanny and he was probably one of Saulsbury's gleanings, I think we can see how the negroes have been wronged in every way. Last Sunday Mrs. Whiting asked me to accept a quarter of lamb. I offered to buy it and we had it for dinner. Afterwards Mrs. W. told me she had no more right to the lamb than I had, that she took it from the estate, had it killed and generously gave me part. I told her of the strict military order against it, when she said Government agents had a right to kill, and that Mr. Mack and others did so. Mr. Pierce instantly wrote to Mr. Mack to ask if he had done this thing. Mr. Whiting has not been a Government agent for two months, and yet he lives in Government property, making the negroes work without pay for him and living upon “the fat of the lamb,” — selling too, the sugar, etc., at rates most wicked, such as brown sugar, twenty-five cents a pound; using Government horses and carriages, furniture, corn, garden vegetables, etc. It is too bad. The cotton agents, many of them, are doing this.
_______________

1 Rufus Saxton, Brigadier-General of Volunteers.

SOURCE: Rupert Sargent Holland, Editor, Letters and Diary of Laura M. Towne: Written from the Sea Islands of South Carolina 1862-1864, p. 54-7

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

George S. Denison to Salmon P. Chase, January 15, 1863

(Private)
New Orleans, January 15th, 1863.

Dear Sir: A fight is progressing on Bayou Teche. Gen. Weitzel commands. He crossed Berwick's Bay yesterday morning, and has advanced up the Teche as far as the enemy's fortifications. The enemy have 1,100 infantry and 1,000 cavalry. Weitzel will succeed without doubt, and advance to New Iberia, where fortifications will be erected by us. The rebel salt works near New Iberia, are yielding one million pounds per day. It is carried all over the Southern States. If this movement is successful, these works will be destroyed. The Teche country is full of sugar. This present movement is simply carrying out Gen. Butler's plan of operations. I urged it a week ago, but advised a flank movement. Gen. Banks has thought best to attack in front. I have traveled through that country several times, and know it well.

The U. S. armed Transport, “Hatteras”, was sunk by the “Alabama” on Sunday the 11th inst. The fight lasted about 45 minutes, and occurred sixteen miles from Galveston. The Flag officer there sent the “Hatteras” out to overhaul a strange sail — which proved to be the “Alabama”, and proved too powerful for her antagonist. Six men of the “Hatteras” escaped in a boat — the rest of the crew were killed or captured. The “Hatteras” carried ninety men. The “Brooklyn” and other vessels lying off Galveston, immediately started for the “Alabama”, but could find nothing of her. The rebels have not attempted to come out of Galveston Bay with the “Harriet Lane”. She is still lying in the Harbor, and I do not know why our Gunboats do not go in and destroy her.

Major Gen. Augur has at last been sent to Baton Rouge to take command, and organize the force there. There begins to be exhibited in this department some little energy and activity. All that is now done, ought to have been done four weeks ago.

The business of “Special Agent” under regulations of August 28th, is not now interfered with by military authorities. In consequence of this non-interference I have organized it with great success. I am satisfied that nothing, or very little, reaches the enemy from this port—and the planters within our lines are supplying themselves rapidly with whatever they need for their own use. I supervise everything myself and have an immense amount of labor to perform. I hear that large amounts of merchandise and supplies reach the enemy from Memphis and vicinity. This can be avoided by honestly adopting the right plan. Trade must be centralized and none allowed except at one or few points. I prevent it as far as possible, outside of the city, and can therefore control it. This plan is well adapted to this country, because property real and personal, is in the hands of a few planters. It is easy (and has been customary heretofore) for each planter to come to the City — take the proper oaths and be made individually responsible for whatever he wishes to take out of the City. Every boat going up the river, carries an “Aid to the Revenue” who sees that the supplies are delivered only at the proper plantation. I have to employ many additional “aids”, but make the system pay its own expenses. My personal supervision of all the details is an immense labor, but I know it will be well done if I attend to it myself — otherwise not.

The planters within and without our lines have been afraid to bring their crops of sugar and cotton because it was seized and must pass through the hands of the military commission. Gen. Butler's military commission was a dishonest plundering concern. By the enclosed order of Gen. Banks, you will see that planters are invited to bring their crops to the City and promised protection. It will have a good and marked effect. This order will not interfere with my action as “Special Agent.”

The system of furnishing supplies to planters — adopted by me, gives satisfaction to planters — but dissatisfaction to the great number of Jews, military speculators, and men from the North, who expect to swindle planters out of fortunes.

It is known here that the President has issued his proclamation, but its terms are not fully known. Gen. Banks told me this morning he is going to raise negro troops, but I fear, not in large numbers. I have information that the number of rebel troops in Texas is about 9,000 — of whom one-third are cavalry. They are provided with good arms brought through Mexico. About one-third of them are conscripts.

The number of troops in Louisiana, west of the Mississippi, is about 4,500 — nearly all of whom are in the Teche country.

SOURCE: Diary and correspondence of Salmon P. ChaseAnnual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1902, Vol. 2, p. 348-50

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: November 7, 1863

No news from any quarter, except the continued bombardment of the debris of Fort Sumter, and the killing and wounding of some 10 or 12 men there — but that is not news.

There is a pause, — a sort of holding of the breath of the people, as if some event of note was expected. The prices of food and fuel are far above the purses of all except speculators, and an explosion must happen soon, of some sort. People will not perish for food in the midst of plenty.

The press, a portion rather, praises the President for his carefulness in making a tour of the armies and ports south of us; but as he retained Gen. Bragg in command, how soon the tune would change if Bragg should meet with disaster!

Night before last some of the prisoners on Belle Isle (we have some 13,000 altogether in and near the city) were overheard by the guard to say they must escape immediately, or else it would be too late, as cannon were to be planted around them. Our authorities took the alarm, and increasing the guard, did plant cannon so as to rake them in every direction in the event of their breaking out of their prison bounds. It is suspected that this was a preconcerted affair, as a full division of the enemy has been sent to Newport News, probably to co-operate with the prisoners. Any attempt now must fail, unless, indeed, there should be a large number of Union sympathizers in the city to assist them.

Several weeks ago it was predicted in the Northern papers that Richmond would be taken in some mysterious manner, and that there was a plan for the prisoners of war to seize it by a coup de main, may be probable. But the scheme was impracticable. What may be the condition of the city, and the action of the people a few weeks hence, if relief be not afforded by the government, I am afraid to conjecture. The croakers say five millions of “greenbacks,” and cargoes of provisions, might be more effectual in expelling the Confederate Government and restoring that of the United States than all of Meade's army. And this, too, they allege, when there is abundance in the country. Many seem to place no value on the only money we have in circulation. The grasping farmers refuse to get out their grain, saying they have as much Confederate money as they want, and the government seems determined to permit the perishable tithes to perish rather than allow the famishing people to consume them. Surely, say the croakers, such a policy cannot achieve independence. No, it must be speedily changed, or else worse calamities await us than any we have experienced.

Old Gen. Duff Green, after making many fortunes and losing them, it seems, is to die poor at last, and he is now nearly eighty years old. Last year he made a large contract to furnish the government with iron, his works being in Tennessee, whence he has been driven by the enemy. And now he says the depreciation of the money will make the cost of producing the iron twice as much as he will get for it. And worse, he has bought a large lot of sugar which would have realized a large profit, but the commissary agent has impressed it, and will not pay him cost for it. All he can do is to get a small portion of it back for the consumption of his employees, provided he returns to Tennessee and fulfills his iron contract.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 91-2

Friday, March 22, 2019

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: November 6, 1863

The President was to have returned to-day, but did not.

Various conjectures are made as to the object of his month's tour of speech-making. Some deem the cause very desperate, others that the President's condition is desperate. If the first, they say his purpose was to reanimate the people by his presence, and to cultivate a renewal of lost friendships, and hence he lingered longest at Charleston, in social intercourse with Gens. Beauregard and Wise, who had become estranged. The latter is the oldest brigadier-general in the service, and still they have failed to promote him. The President's power is felt in the army, and his patronage being almost unlimited, it was natural, they say, that he should be received with cheers. From a lieutenant up to a general, all are dependent on his favor for promotion. At all events, his austerity and inflexibility have been relaxed, and he has made popular speeches wherever he has gone. I hope good fruits will ensue. But he returns to find the people here almost in a state of starvation in the midst of plenty, brought on by the knavery or incompetency of government agents.

What is remarkable is the estimate of $50,000,000 by the Commissary-General for the purchase of sugar, exclusively for the sick and wounded in hospitals, the soldiers in the field being refused any more. One-fourth of the whole estimates ($210,000,000) for sugar, and not an ounce to go to the army! And this, too, when it is understood nearly all the sugar in the Confederacy has been impressed by his agents at from 50 cts. to $1 per pound. It is worth $2.50 now, and it is apprehended that a large proportion of the fifty millions asked for will go into the pockets of commissaries. No account whatever is taken of the tithe in the Commissary-General's estimates.

Flour sold at $125 per barrel to-day. There must be an explosion of some sort soon. Certainly Confederate notes have fallen very low indeed.

Another solution of the President's tour, by the uncharitable or suspicious, is a preparatory or a preliminary move to assuming all power in his own hands. They say the people are reduced by distress to such an extremity that, if he will only order rations to be served them, they will not quarrel with him if he assumes dictatorial powers. Legislation has failed to furnish remedies for the evils afflicting the community; and, really, if the evils themselves were not imputed to the government, and the President were ambitious — and is he not? — he might now, perhaps, play a successful Cromwellian role. But can he control the State governments? The government of this State seems like potter's clay in his hands, the Legislature being as subservient as the Congresses have hitherto been. It is observed — independence first — then let Cromwells or Washingtons come.

My wife, to-day, presented me with an excellent under-shirt, made of one of her dilapidated petticoats. A new shirt would cost $30. Common brown cotton (and in a cotton country!) sells for $3 per yard. I saw common cotton shirts sell at auction today for $40 per pair. Beef is $1.50 per pound, and pork $2. But these prices are paid in Confederate Treasury notes, and they mark the rapid depreciation of paper money.

The enemy, however, in spreading over the Southern territory, are not completing the work of subjugation. It would require a million of bayonets to keep this people in subjection, and the indications are that the United States will have difficulty in keeping their great armies up. It is a question of endurance.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 89-91

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: November 5, 1863

The President has not yet returned, but was inspecting the defenses of Charleston. The Legislature has adjourned without fixing a maximum of prices. Every night troops from Lee's army are passing through the city. Probably they have been ordered to Bragg.

Yesterday flour sold at auction at $100 per barrel; to-day it sells for $120! There are 40,000 bushels of sweet potatoes, taken by the government as tithes, rotting at the depots between Richmond and Wilmington. If the government would wake up, and have them brought hither and sold, the people would be relieved, and flour and meal would decline in price. But a lethargy has seized upon the government, and no one may foretell the consequences of official supineness.

The enemy at Chattanooga have got an advantageous position on Bragg's left, and there is much apprehension that our army will lose the ground gained by the late victory.

The Commissary-General (Northrop) has sent in his estimate for the ensuing year, $210,000,000, of which $50,000,000 is for sugar, exclusively for the hospitals. It no longer forms part of the rations. He estimates for 400,000 men, and takes no account of the tithes, or tax in kind, nor is it apparent that he estimates for the army beyond the Mississippi.

A communication was received to-day from Gen. Meredith, the. Federal Commissioner of Exchange, inclosing a letter from Gov. Todd [sic] and Gen. Mason, as well as copies of letters from some of Morgan's officers, stating that the heads of Morgan and his men are not shaved, and that they are well fed and comfortable.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 89

Monday, February 4, 2019

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: December 23, 1864

It is not yet daylight in the morning, and are anxiously awaiting the hour to arrive when we may go out to the road. Slept hardly any during the night. More or less fighting all night, and could hear an army go by toward Savannah, also some shouting directly opposite us. Between the hours of about twelve and three all was quiet, and then again more travel. We conjecture that the rebel army has retreated or been driven back, and that the Yankees are now passing along following them up. Shall go out about nine o'clock. Later. — Are eating breakfast before starting out to liberty and safety. Must be very careful now and make no mistake. If we run into a rebel squad now, might get shot. We are nervous, and so anxious can hardly eat. Will pick up what we really need and start. Perhaps good bye, little house on the banks of the Ogechee, we shall always remember just how you look, and what a happy time we have had on this little island. Dave says: “Pick up your blanket and that skillet, and come along.” Night.—Safe and sound among our own United States Army troops, after an imprisonment of nearly fourteen months. Will not attempt to describe my feelings now. Could not do it. Staying with the 80th Ohio Infantry, and are pretty well tired out from our exertions of the day. At nine o'clock we started out toward the main road. When near it Eli and I stopped, and Dave went ahead to see who was passing. We waited probably fifteen minutes, and then heard Dave yell out: “Come on boys, all right! Hurry up!” Eli and I had a stream to cross on a log. The stream was some fifteen feet wide, and the log about two feet through. I tried to walk that log and fell in my excitement. Verily believe if the water had been a foot deeper I would have drowned. Was up to my arms, and I was so excited that I liked never to have got out. Lost the axe, which Dave had handed to me, and the old stand-by coverlid which had saved my life time and again floated off down the stream, and I went off without securing it—the more shame to me for it. Dave ran out of the woods swinging his arms and yelling like mad, and pretty soon Eli and myself appeared, whooping and yelling. The 80th Ohio was just going by, or a portion of it, however, and when they saw first one and then another and then the third coming toward them in rebel dress, with clubs which they mistook for guns, they wheeled into line, thinking, perhaps, that a whole regiment would appear next. Dave finally explained by signs, and we approached and satisfied them of our genuineness. Said we were hard looking soldiers, but when we came to tell them where we had been and all the particulars, they did not wonder. Went right along with them, and at noon had plenty to eat. Are the guests of Co. I, 80th Ohio. At three the 80th had a skirmish, we staying back a mile with some wagons, and this afternoon rode in a wagon. Only came about three or four miles to-day, and are near Kimball's, whom we shall call and see the first opportunity. The soldiers all look well and feel well, and say the whole confederacy is about cleaned out. Rebels fall back without much fighting. Said there was not enough to call it a fight at the bridge. Where we thought it a battle, they thought it nothing worth speaking of. Believe ten or so were killed, and some wounded. Hear that some Michigan cavalry is with Kilpatrick off on another road, but they do not know whether it is the 9th Mich. Cav., or not. Say they see the cavalry every day nearly, and I must keep watch for my regiment. Soldiers forage on the plantations, and have the best of food; chickens, ducks, sweet potatoes, etc. The supply wagons carry nothing but hard-tack, coffee, sugar and such things. Tell you, coffee is a luxury, and makes one feel almost drunk. Officers come to interview us every five minutes, and we have talked ourselves most to death to-day. They say we probably will not be called upon to do any fighting during this war, as the thing is about settled. They have heard of Andersonville, and from the accounts of the place did not suppose that any lived at all. New York papers had pictures in, of the scenes there, and if such was the case it seems funny that measures were not taken to get us away from there. Many rebels are captured now, and we look at them from a different stand point than a short time since.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 154-6