Showing posts with label The Confederacy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Confederacy. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Jonathan Worth to D. G. Worth, May 15, 1861

ASHEBORO, May 15, 1861.

I have been forced by surrounding facts to take sides, or rather front, with my section. I regard a prudent peace, even accompanied with the contemplated secession of the State, and her union with the Confederate States, as preferable to a civil war on a gigantic scale; but I have not a particle of confidence in the wisdom or the patriotism of the new rulers to whom we submit. I leave the Union and the flag of Washington because I am subjected and forced to submit to my master-democracy, detesting it with more and more intensity, as I become better acquainted with its leaders and its objects. I still believe that no respectable and stable government can ever be established in America, except on the plan of a Union, such as that we are wickedly and foolishly overthrowing. Even on the plan of a peaceful separation, North America will soon become Mexicanized. New York will next secede, the doctrine being once recognized. The great and populous North west, cut off from the Ocean, excepting by the assent of foreign states will open a road to the great highway of Nations with the sword—but if the free States act on the plan they now avow of preserving the Union by force of arms, no odds at what cost of life or treasure, the civil strife will soon beget the most diabolical purposes.

The masses, already deluded, with the notion that Slavery is the cause, when in fact, it is now only the pretext with the leaders of both sections, will proclaim freedom to the slaves and arm them against us.

I think the South is committing suicide, but my lot is cast with the South and being unable to manage the ship, I intend to face the breakers manfully and go down with my companions.

These are my calm conclusions.

I have been deeply pained at the responsibilities of my position. I have become resigned from conscious impotence to do anything to impede the evils upon us, and have concluded to drift with the current, keeping a sharp lookout for some opportunity, by the aid of Divine Providence, to divert the ship of State from the gulf of ruin towards which we are bound.

What are your plans? Will you stay in Wilmington, or return to the back country and make corn till the war is over?

Soon after the Fourth of July war will begin in earnest, if not sooner; or peace will be made. The former, in my opinion, is most probable. I do not think the North is making her military preparations as a mere bravado.

In the event of war can you continue your business with any prospect of success? If an invasion of this State be made, is not Wilmington likely to be one of the first places attacked?

Have you attached yourself to any of the military organizations so as to forbid your removing from Wilmington? In times of war some must remain at home to provide food for the soldiers and protect and feed the women and children. I hope you will not allow the ardor around you or the apprehension of not being deemed brave, to make you forget that you can contribute to the defense of your country, as effectually as you could by going into the army—and at the same time take care of your wife and children.

SOURCE: J. G. de Roulhac Hamilton, Editor, The Correspondence of Jonathan Worth, Volume 1, p. 144-5

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Order of Statehood of the Confederate States of America

March 13, 1861
Ratified the Confederate Constitution
March 16, 1861
Ratified the Confederate Constitution
March 21, 1861
Ratified the Confederate Constitution
March 23, 1861
Ratified the Confederate Constitution
March 29, 1861
Ratified the Confederate Constitution
South Carolina
April 3, 1861
Ratified the Confederate Constitution
April 22, 1861
Ratified the Confederate Constitution
May 7, 1861
May 18, 1861
North Carolina
May 20, 1861
July 2, 1861
November 28, 1861
December 10, 1861

Monday, April 27, 2020

General P. G. T. Beauregard to General William E. Martin, August 3, 1862

BLADEN, ALABAMA, Aug. 3, 1862.

MY DEAR GENERAL:—I regret much to hear of ——— being wounded. I hope he will soon be able to face the Abolitionists. In this contest we must triumph or perish; and the sooner we make up our minds to it the better. We now understand the hypocritical cry of “Union and the Constitution,” which means, and always did mean, “spoliation and murder.”

We will yet have to come to proclaiming this war “a war to the knife,” when no quarter will be asked or granted. I believe it is the only thing which can prevent recruiting at the North. As to ourselves, I think that very few will not admit that death is preferable to dishonour and ruin.

Our great misfortune is, that we have always relied on foreign intervention “and peace in sixty days.” No nation will ever intervene until it is seen that we can maintain alone our independence; that is, until we can no longer require assistance. England is afraid to admit that she cannot do without our cotton, for then she would virtually be in our power. France is unwilling to interfere, for fear of the treachery of the latter. She always remembers her as “la perfide Albion.”

But if France concludes to take Mexico, she will require the alliance of the Southern Confederacy to protect her from Northern aggression. Nations as well as individuals always consult their own interests in any alliance they may form. Hence, our best reliance must be in our “stout hearts and strong arms.”

I have been very unwell for several months, but could not rest until now. I hope shortly to return to duty, with renewed health and vigour. I know not yet to what point I shall be ordered. I hope to do something shortly by taking the offensive with a well-organized army. However, “l’homme propose et Dieu dispose;” hence, I shall go with alacrity wherever I am ordered.

With kind regards, etc., I remain, yours sincerely,

Gen. WM. E. MARTIN, Pocotaligo, S. C.

SOURCE: Edward Alfred Pollard, Lee and His Lieutenants, p. 255-6

Friday, April 24, 2020

A New Lesson on Dying in the Last Ditch, September 15, 1864

Why didn’t Denmark die in the last ditch? Plucky as she has been she happens to be made of flesh and blood, and this sort of dying is not a thing for flesh and blood to do.  It may be talked about; all mankind has a weakness that way; but it never has happened, and never will.  Of course we refer to people collectively, and not to individuals.  A person here and there, seized with some sublime phrenzy may take death sooner than yield.  A people never dies thus, not even the bravest.  A man my commit suicide; a people cannot.  “Give me liberty, or give me death,” is a very fine sentiment, and ought, we suppose, to be universally adopted, and either lived, or died, up to.  But it isn’t done.  Men in general, somehow can’t overcome the instinct of self-preservation.  They’ll take any measure of wrong sooner than death.  “Better a living dog than a dead lion,” is a maxim that, we are afraid, commends itself to our pour nature now as much as ever.  Are there braver men on earth than Hungarians, or the Poles, or the Cireassians?  And yet have we not lately seen them all, as we now see the brave Danes, bow themselves to their conqueror, sooner than to fight to extermination?  They did this not in any want of courage.  They had courage enough.  It was precisely that no courage could help them that they stopped fighting.  Courage is of no avail without strength; and when their strength had been broken up by their enemies, submission came. Cowards yield because they won’t help themselves.  Brave men yield because they can’t help themselves.  That is just the difference between them.

The Danes never protested so loudly that they would fight to the death, as for a week or two before they gave in.  Nothing is more common than this.  We saw it in the late Crimean war.  When the reverses and discomfitures of two campaigns culminated in the overthrow of Sebastopol itself, Russia had nothing to answer but an order for a new levy of 100,000 men.  From the Czar to the lowest serf, there was an outburst of continued defiance, so imposing that even the cool Richard Cobden who had once declared in Parliament that “Russia might be crumbled up like a sheet of brown paper,” issued a pamphlet maintaining that Russia was unconquerable, and that peace must be made with her own terms.  Yet a month did not collapse before the Czar made known his readiness to accept terms which not only conceded all the points originally in dispute, but others of a yet more humiliating character.  Just so did the Mexicans.  One of their last acts before submission was to create a Dictator, with absolute power for everything except submission; and a proclamation to the provinces, declaring resistance to the death.  This access of new defiance just before succumbing is perfectly natural.  The pride of the worsted party is always the last quality to yield.  It rallies when the strength no longer can.  It is the return of the spirit upon itself when the arm droops—a self-assertion, or self-protest of the soul, Necessarily incident, perhaps to its superiority over the flesh, but for all that, perfectly useless.  We don’t call such exhibitions mere bravado.  They are not.  On the contrary, they are the most apt to be seen in those who are most truly brave.  The higher in the spirit, the sharper the recoil.  At no time have our rebels protested stronger that they will never submit than they are now doing.  Jeff. Davis said the other day with unusual emphasis that “We will have extermination or independence.”  He felt so, undoubtedly; but the truth is, he neither.  His people will not take the one, and we have no intentions to give the other.  Precisely as Tennessee and Louisiana, and Arkansas have neither extermination of independence, so will it be with all the remaining eight States of the so-called Confederacy.  The twenty five millions of loyal states have the ability to overcome the remaining strength of this rebellion.  They mean to do it.  When it is done these people will do precisely what every other people at war have done when their strength was gone—they will submit.  They will yield when exhausted—will stop fighting when they can fight no longer.  All this talk about “extermination” is natural enough, and, after a fashion, credible, but it amounts to nothing.  It will not give these rebels on breath the more or less.  “The thing which hath been, it is that which shall be, and there is no new thing under the sun”—not even under this remarkable southern sun of ours.  We attempt no prediction when this submission will come through it sometimes seems to us that it cannot be far at farthest.  If it is certain that the rebellion has been greatly weakened in fighting material, and that the disparity between its available force and our own is daily becoming greater.  There are those who believe that even now it is sustained only by the hope the last draft ordered by President Lincoln will not be sustained by the Northern people and that he himself will be repudiated at the election in November.  It is expected by some who call themselves close observers, that the rebels will give up the fight next Winter, if this hope of theirs is not realized.  The submission my occur than, and it may not.  It is impossible to tell.  But the particular time is of no essential consequence.  It is enough to know that it must come sooner or later: and just as soon as the warning strength of the rebels comes to the point of exhaustion.  It would appear that we ought to expect an earlier submission than in the other wars we have averted to, because that submission involves no hard terms—nothing but a resumption of equal rights under the same broad Constitution.  But perhaps this rational inducement may have no such effect.  We do not calculate upon it.  We simply affirm that these rebels will succumb sooner than be exterminated, and that this yielding will be preceded by strong talk, and be sudden when it comes.  N. Y. Times.

SOURCES: “A New Lesson on Dying in the Last Ditch,” Janesville Daily Gazette, Janesville, Wisconsin, Thursday, September 15, 1864, p. 2; “A New Lesson on Dying in the Last Ditch,” The Tiffin Tribune, Tiffin, Ohio, Thursday, September 22, 1864, p. 1, “Highly Pertinent,” Detroit Free Press, Detroit, Michigan, Saturday, August 27, 1864, p. 2.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Major-General William T. Sherman to Salmon P. Chase, August 11, 1862

MEMPHIS, TENN., August 11, 1862.
Hon. S. P. CHASE, Secretary of the Treasury.

SIR: Your letter of August 2d, just received, invites my discussion of the cotton question.

I will write plainly and slowly, because I know you have no time to listen to trifles. This is no trifle; when one nation is at war with another, all the people of the one are enemies of the other; then the rules are plain and easy of understanding. Most unfortunately, the war in which we are now engaged has been complicated with the belief on the one hand that all on the other are not enemies. It would have been better if, at the outset this mistake had not been made, and it is wrong longer to be misled by it. The Government of the United States may now safely proceed on the proper rule that all in the South are enemies of all in the North; and not only are they unfriendly, but all who can procure arms now bear them as organized regiments or as guerrillas. There is not a garrison in Tennessee where a man can go beyond the sight of the flagstaff without being shot or captured. It so happened that these people had cotton, and, whenever they apprehended our large armies would move, they destroyed the cotton in the belief that, of course, we would seize it and convert it to our use. They did not and could not dream that we would pay money for it. It had been condemned to destruction by their own acknowledged government, and was therefore lost to their people; and could have been, without injustice, taken by us and sent away, either as absolute prize of war or for future compensation. But the commercial enterprise of the Jews soon discovered that ten cents would buy a pound of cotton behind our army, that four cents would take it to Boston, where they could receive thirty cents in gold. The bait was too tempting, and it spread like fire when here they discovered that salt, bacon, powder, firearms, percussion caps, etc., were worth as much as gold; and, strange to say, this traffic was not only permitted but encouraged. Before we in the interior could know it hundreds, yea thousands, of barrels of salt and millions of dollars had been disbursed, and I have no doubt that Bragg's army at Tupelo, and Van Dom’s at Vicksburg, received enough salt to make bacon, without which they could not have moved their armies in mass, and from ten to twenty thousand fresh arms and a due supply of cartridges have also been got, I am equally satisfied. As soon as got to Memphis, having seen the effect in the interior, I ordered (only as to my command) that gold, silver, and Treasury notes were contraband of war, and should not go into the interior, where all were hostile. It is idle to talk about Union men here: many want peace, and fear war and its results, but all prefer a Southern, independent government, and are fighting or working for it. Every gold dollar that was spent for cotton was sent to the seaboard to be exchanged for banknotes and Confederate scrip, which will buy goods here and are taken in ordinary transactions. I therefore required cotton to be paid for in such notes, by an obligation to pay at the end of the war, or by a deposit of the price in the hands of a trustee—viz., the United States quartermaster. Under these rules cotton is being obtained about as fast as by any other process, and yet the enemy receives no “aid or comfort.” Under the “gold” rule the country people who had concealed their cotton from the burners, and who openly scorned our greenbacks, were willing enough to take Tennessee money, which will buy their groceries; but now that trade is to be encouraged and gold paid out, I admit that cotton will be sent in by our own open enemies, who can make better use of gold than they can of their hidden bales of cotton.

I may not appreciate the foreign aspect of the question, but my views on this may be ventured. If England ever threatens war because we don't furnish her cotton, tell her plainly if she can't employ and feed her own people to send them here, where they can not only earn an honest living, but soon secure independence by moderate labor. We are not bound to furnish her cotton. She has more reason to fight the South for burning that cotton than us for not shipping it. To aid the South on this ground would be hypocrisy which the world would detect at once. Let her make her ultimatum, and there are enough generous minds in Europe that will counteract in the balance. Of course her motive is to cripple a power that rivals her in commerce and manufactures that threaten even to usurp her history. In twenty more years of prosperity it will require a close calculation to determine whether England, her laws and history, claim for a home the continent of America or the isle of Britain. Therefore, finding us in a death struggle for existence, she seems to seek a quarrel to destroy both parts in detail.

Southern people know this full well, and will only accept the alliance of England in order to get arms and manufactures in exchange for their cotton. The Southern Confederacy will accept no other mediation, because she knows full well that in old England her slaves and slavery will receive no more encouragement than in New England.

France certainly does not need our cotton enough to disturb her equilibrium, and her mediation would be entitled to a more respectful consideration than on the part of her present ally. But I feel assured the French will not encourage rebellion and secession anywhere as a political doctrine. Certainly all the German states must be our ardent friends, and, in case of European intervention, they could not be kept down.

With great respect, your obedient servant,

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.

SOURCES: William T. Sherman, Memoirs of General William T. Sherman, by Himself, Volume 1, p. 266-8; Manning F. Force, General Sherman, 92-4.

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

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Captain Charles Wright Wills: June 6, 1864

June 6, 1864.

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 5, 2018

Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes to Sardis Birchard, September 24, 1863

Gallipolis, September 24, [1863].

Dear Uncle: — Lucy arrived here safely last night. We shall go up the Kanawha tomorrow.

I hope that Rosecrans will be able to hold Chattanooga after all. If he does, this struggle will be a most serious disaster to the Confederacy, even if they have gained the battle, as a mere military result.

I hope Birchie will not give you trouble. It gratifies me to hear that he can chop so well, and that he is learning the names of the trees.

R. B. Hayes.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 436-7

Monday, October 29, 2018

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

(Private and Unofficial)

New Orleans, Sept. 24th, 1862.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Lieutenant-Colonel William T. Lusk to Lou Thompson, July 7, 1863

Headquarters Delaware Department,
Wilmington, Del., July 7th, 1863.
Dear, dear Cousin Lou:

I said I would write you so soon as the full purport of the good news was ascertained. And now that it has all broken upon us, although my heels are where my head ought to be, I will try and fulfil my engagement as coherently as possible. We have had the dark hour. The dawn has broken, and the collapsed confederacy has no place where it can hide its head. Bells are ringing wildly all over the city. Citizens grin at one another with fairly idiotic delight. One is on the top of his house frantically swinging a dinner bell, contributing thus his share of patriotic clamor to the general ding-dong. Bully for him! How I envy the heroes of Meade's Army. It would be worth while to die, in order that one's friends might say, “He died at Gettysburg.” But to live to hear all the good news, and now to learn that Vicksburg has surrendered, is a little too much happiness for poor mortal men. I can laugh, I can cry with joy. All hysterical nonsense is pardonable now. Manassas, twice repeated, Fredericksburg and Chickahominy! Bless them as the cruel training that has made us learn our duties to our country. Slavery has fallen, and I believe Heaven as well as earth rejoices. Providence has tenderly removed that grand old hero, Jackson, before the blow came, that the one good, earnest, misguided man might be spared the sight of the downfall of a cause fanaticism led him to believe was right. Slink away ye copperheads to your native slime, and there await until in Hell is ready the place your master has prepared for you! There, Oh Fernando, go reign in torment to all eternity! These enthusiastic citizens of Wilmington, not content with bell-ringing, have taken to firing cannon, and the boys, to help matters, are discharging pistols into empty barrels. The people in a little semi-slaveholding State, when not downright traitors, are noisily, obstreperously loyal, to a degree that New England can hardly conceive of. My letter must be short and jubilant, I cannot do anything long to-day.

Just dance through the house for me, and kiss every one you meet. So I feel now. Good-bye.


SOURCE: William Chittenden Lusk, Editor, War Letters of William Thompson Lusk, p. 284-5

Friday, May 18, 2018

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: November 10, 1864

Pleasant and rather cool. My hair is playing me pranks. It grows straight up in the air and only on the topmost part of my head. Where a man is generally bald, it's right the other way with me. If there is anything else that can happen to make me any more ridiculous, now is the time for it to appear. About all I lack now is to have an eye gouged out. A friend says that the reason my hair grows the way it does is because I have been scared so much, and it has stuck up straight so much, that it naturally has a tendency that way Perhaps that is it. If I thought we were to stay here for any length of time would open up a hair cutting shop; but should hate to get nicely started in business and a trade worked up, then have an exchange come along and knock the whole thing in the head. We are not far from the railroad track, and can listen to the cars going by very often Confederate troops occupy them and they give the old familiar rebel yell. Once in a while the Yanks get up steam enough to give a good hurrah back to them. Seems to be a good deal of transferring troops now in the South I watch all the movements of the rebels and can draw conclusions, and am of the opinion that Mr. Confederacy is about whipped and will soon surrender. It certainly looks that way to me. Rumors that we are to be moved.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 114

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: September 15, 1863

Gov. Vance writes that he has reliable information that the 30,000 troops in New York, ostensibly to enforce the draft, are intended for a descent on North Carolina, and Gen. Whiting has said repeatedly that 3000 could take Wilmington. The Governor says if North Carolina be occupied by the enemy, Virginia and the whole Confederacy will be lost, for all communication now, by rail, is through that State.

Gen. Sam. Jones writes from Abingdon, Va., that from his information he does not doubt Cumberland Gap and its garrison capitulated on the 9th inst. He calls lustily for reinforcements, and fears the loss of everything, including the salt works, if he be not reinforced. Well, he will be reinforced!

Gov. (just elected) R. L. Caruthers (of Tennessee) begs that 20,000 men from Lee's army be sent out on Rosecrans's left flank to save Tennessee, which alone can save the Confederacy. Well, they have been sent!

There must be a “fight or a foot-race” soon in Northern Georgia, and also in Virginia, on the Rappahannock. May God defend the right! If we deserve independence, I think we shall achieve it. If God be not for us, we must submit to His will.

Major Huse is buying and shipping 2000 tons saltpetre, besides millions of dollars worth of arms and stores. If we can keep Wilmington, we can send out cotton and bring in supplies without limit.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 44-5

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: November 2, 1864

Have seen many of my old comrades of Andersonville, among whom is my tried friend Sergt. Wm. B. Rowe; were heartily glad to see one another; also little Bulluck who has improved wonderfully in appearance. Everyone is pleased with this place and are cheerful, hoping and expecting to be released before many weeks; they all report as having been well treated in Savannah and have pleasant recollections of that place; from what could be seen of the city by us prisoners it seems the handsomest one in America. Should judge it was a very wealthy place. My duties as nurse are hard, often too much so for my strength, yet the enforced exercise does me good and continue to improve all the time. A cane will be necessary to my locomotion for a long time as am afraid myself permanently injured; my cane is not a gold headed one; it is a round picket which has been pulled off some fence. Very cheering accounts of the war doings. All who want to can take the oath of allegiance to the confederacy and be released; am happy to say though that out of all here, but two or three has done so, and they are men who are a detriment to any army. The weather now is beautiful, air refreshing, water ditto; all happy and contented and await coming events with interest. Part of the brook, the lower part, is planked and sides boarded up for sanitary privileges; water has also been dammed up and a fall made which carries off the filth with force. Plenty of wood to do cooking with and the men putter around with their cooking utensils such as they have. Sort of prize fight going on now.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 110-1

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

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

Last night I talked with a guard while Mike Hoare went out of his tunnel and got away safely from the hospital. The guard was on the inside and I hobbled to where he was and engaged him in conversation and Mike crawled away. It seems that Mike learned of some union Irish citizens in the city and his idea is to reach them which he may do, as there are scarcely any troops about the city, all being to the front. Now I am alone, best friends all gone one way or the other. The only acquaintances here now are Land and Sergt. Winn, with whom I became acquainted in Andersonville. Not like my other friends though. It is said there are half a dozen hospitals similar to this in Savannah which are filled with Andersonville wrecks. They have need to do something to redeem themselves from past conduct. Don't believe that it is the Confederacy that is taking such good care of us, but it is the city of Savannah; that is about the way it is as near as I can find out.

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

Friday, January 26, 2018

John H. Reagan, April 17, 1865

As the avowed motive of the Government of the United States for the prosecution of the existing war with the Confederate States is to secure a reunion of all the States under one common government, and as wisdom and sound policy alike require that a common government should rest on the consent and be supported by the affections of all the people who compose it: Now, in order to ascertain whether it be practicable to put an end to the existing war and to the consequent destruction of life and property, having in view the correspondence and conversation which has recently taken place between Maj. Gen. W. T. Sherman and myself, I propose the following points as a basis of pacification:

First. The disbanding of the military forces of the Confederacy; and,

Second. The recognition of the Constitution and authority of the Government of the United States on the following conditions:

Third. The preservation and continuance of the State governments.

Fourth. The preservation to the people of all the political rights and rights of person and property secured to them by the Constitution of the United States and of their several States.

Fifth. Freedom from future prosecution or penalties for their participation in the present war.

Sixth. Agreement to a general suspension of hostilities pending these negotiations.

[ Indorsement.* ]

Copy of a project submitted by General Johnston, being the product of Mr. Reagan, Postmaster-General of the Confederacy.

* In General Sherman’s handwriting.

SOURCES: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I Volume 46, Part 3 (Serial No. 97), p. 244-5; The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I Volume 47, Part 3 (Serial No. 100), p. 806-7

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Resolution of the United States House of Representatives, July 22, 1861

In the House of Representatives, July 22, 1861.
On motion of Mr. Wickliffe:

Resolved, That the Secretary of War be requested to inform this House whether the Southern Confederacy (so called) or any State thereof has in their military service any Indians; and if so, what number and what tribes, and also whether they have in said service any negroes.


SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series III, Volume 1 (Serial No. 122), p. 340

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Diary of 1st Lieutenant Lemuel A. Abbott: Monday, December 26, 1864

Received official information from General Sherman this morning that he had taken Savannah, Ga. with thirty-three thousand bales of cotton, one hundred and fifty heavy guns, and eight hundred prisoners; one hundred shotted guns fired in honor of it here; Thomas reports seventeen thousand prisoners, eighty-one guns, etc., taken from General Hood; no news from the Shenandoah Valley; rumored in camp that the Eighth Corps is at Dutch Gap; hut covered and banked up; regimental dress parade to-night; mud drying up; reckon the Confederacy is crumbling rapidly.

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 244-5

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: February 15, 1863

Already, as if quite certain that the great Northwest would speedily withdraw from the Eastern United States, our people are discussing the eventualities of such a momentous occurrence. The most vehement opposition to the admission of any of the non-slaveholding States, whose people have invaded our country and shed the blood of our people, into this Confederacy, is quite manifest in this city. But Virginia, “the Old Mother,” would, I think, after due hesitation, take back her erring children, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, and perhaps one or two more, if they earnestly desired to return to her parental protection.

Some of the Cotton States might revolt at such a project, and even the cabinet might oppose the scheme of adding several powerful free States to the Confederacy; but it would not all suffice to prevent it, if they desire to join us. It is true, the constitution would have to be modified, for it is not to be supposed that slaves would be held in any of the States referred to; but then slavery would be recognized by its proper term, and ample guarantees would be agreed upon by the great free States which abandon the United States on the issue of emancipation.

Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, added to the thirteen Confederate States, would speedily constitute us a people of sufficient military power to defy the menaces of the arms of the greatest powers of the earth; and the commercial and agricultural prosperity of the country would amaze the world.

I am of the opinion that Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Missouri would form a league of union with Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana, even if the rest of the Southern States were to reject the alliance. But who can foresee the future through the smoke of war, and amid the clash of bayonets? Nevertheless, division and subdivision would relieve all of the burden of debt, for they would repudiate the greater part, if not the whole, of the indebtedness of both the present governments, which has been incurred in ravaging the country and cutting each other's throats. The cry will be: “We will not pay the price of blood — for the slaughter of our brothers!”

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 259-60

Monday, October 24, 2016

John L. Motley to Mary Lothrop Motley, November 25, 1862

Vienna, 20 Favoriten Strasse, Wieden,
November 25, 1862.

Dearest Little Mary: We jog on here much as usual. We are fortunate in our pleasant house and garden, so that the external physical influences are not so gloomy as they were last winter; but in other respects we are rather dismal, being so far away from the center of all interest, our own beloved country. It is very probable that I shall not live to see the end of this great tragedy, which seems to have hardly passed its first act. But you may do so, and when you do, you will see a great commonwealth, the freest and the noblest that ever existed in history, purged of the foul disorder which has nearly eaten away its vitals. This war is a purifying process, but it seems that a whole generation of youths has to be sacrificed before we can even see the end.

When the news of the attempt of the French emperor to interfere in our affairs in favor of the slaveholders reaches America, I hope it may open the eyes of our people to the danger ever impending over them from abroad. You will see that this is distinctly intimated in the despatch of Drouyn de l'Huys. The party of peace is supposed to have triumphed, and of course peace to the Europeans means the dismemberment of the Republic and the establishment of the slaveholders' Confederacy. I consider the 25,000 majority in glorious Massachusetts after the proclamation as a greater monument of triumph in the onward march of civilization on our continent than anything that has yet happened. I have somewhat recovered from the spleen and despondency into which I was thrown by the first accounts of the elections in New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. After all, when one makes an arithmetical calculation we see that the popular vote in the great States is very nearly balanced, and when we reflect that it was really a vote upon the Emancipation Proclamation, the progress is enormous. Two years hence there will be a popular majority for emancipation as large as there was for non-extension in 1860. This is true progress. Moreover, our majority in Massachusetts is almost equal to the Democratic majority in New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania combined.

The President's proclamation was just in time. Had it been delayed it is possible that England would have accepted the invitation of France, and that invitation was in reality to recognize the slaveholders' Confederacy, and to make with it an alliance offensive and defensive. I am not exaggerating. The object is distinctly to unite all Europe against us, to impose peace, and to forcibly dismember our country. Nothing has saved us from this disaster thus far except the antislavery feeling in England, which throughout the country, although not so much in high places, is the predominant popular instinct in England which no statesman dares confront. Thank God, Sumner is reelected, or is sure of it, I suppose, and Sam Hooper, too. The “people” of Massachusetts have succeeded in electing five senators out of forty, thirty representatives out of a few hundred, and half a congressman.1 If McClellan had been an abolitionist together with his military talents, which are certainly very respectable, he would have been a great man. This is a great political and social revolution, and not an ordinary war. Goodby, my darling. Your letters give us great pleasure. Mr. Sumner is a high-minded, pure-minded patriot, and his rejection by Massachusetts would be a misfortune and a disgrace. Mr. Hooper, too, is eminently qualified for his post, and I beg you to give him my most sincere congratulations at his reelection, which I at one time felt was rather doubtful.

Ever thine in storm and shine and brine,


1 These senators and representatives were elected to the Legislature of the State by opponents of the national administration.

SOURCE: George William Curtis, editor, The Correspondence of John Lothrop Motley in Two Volumes, Library Edition, Volume 2, p. 294-6

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Major Wilder Dwight, April 26, 1862

camp Near Harrisonburg, April 26, 1862, Saturday.

Rain! rain! rain! March! march! march! What a life! We marched fifteen miles yesterday, in mud and rain, to this point, and got into camp at night in reasonable comfort, but almost without rations, and now we are busy with the miserable interrogatory of what to eat?

Such is our experience. Colonel Andrews is again on detached duty, and, for the past few days, I have been in command. It is impossible to exaggerate the difficulty of taking care of a regiment when the whole Quartermaster and Commissary Departments of the army corps are in such hopeless confusion and debility.

No other army corps has the obstacles to contend against of this kind that we have. At Yorktown they have the sea, and the Western rivers bear supplies as well as gunboats. Here our wagons cannot bring supplies enough to last until they return from a second trip. We shall be driven to forage from the country; and I do not see any system adopted wise enough and prompt enough for that effort. But there is no use in croaking; we shall get out of the woods somehow, I suppose.

Among other short supplies, we are wholly without newspapers since a week ago. What is the news? I hope McClellan is silencing his opponents by silencing the enemy's batteries. That's his best answer.

Well, the first year of my military service expires this week. It has been a busy one. I am willing to enter on another, but I wish I could see the beginning of the end more clearly than I can. We didn't think the Southern Confederacy had a year's life in it a year ago. They have illustrated the power of able and unscrupulous leaders, and we have furnished some hints, at least, of the weakness of feeble and scrupulous leaders. I am in such a trite and moralizing frame of mind that I will spare you any further prosing.

We may go on to Staunton, and we may cross the gap to Gordonsville. We can't stay here much longer, and I hope my next letter may give you some guess at our future.

SOURCE: Elizabeth Amelia Dwight, Editor, Life and Letters of Wilder Dwight: Lieut.-Col. Second Mass. Inf. Vols., p. 240-1