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

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Diary of Corporal David L. Day: May 16, 1862


For some time past the pickets of the 17th Massachusetts have been a good deal troubled by being fired on in the night. The enemy's cavalry would come down, a few of them dismount and creeping up would fire on them. They would sometimes have cow bells with them, in order to divert attention and get nearer. But the boys soon learned that dodge, and when, they heard a cow bell, would draw their straightest bead on it and let fly. In this state of affairs it was thought best to make those fellows a call, and if they wanted anything of us to give them an opportunity to take it. So, yesterday morning, we marched out to the Trent road, where we joined the 17th Massachusetts, with five companies of the 3d New York cavalry and a section of a battery, the whole under command of Col. Amory, of the 17th. The cavalry taking the advance, we marched up the road a couple of miles, coming to a deep gully or ravine; crossing this, the advance cavalry guard soon came upon the enemy's pickets, driving them in and beyond their station into a swamp, where they formed an ambuscade, thinking there was only a small cavalry force and that they might capture them. By this time the infantry had come up to their rendezvous, which was a large, nice house, with ample barn room for their horses. Thinking this was too good accommodation for them and too near our line, it was set on fire and burned. We now heard firing ahead and hurried on. They had closed around the advance cavalry guard, and commenced the fight. The other companies being close by soon took a hand in it and were giving them about all they wanted when the infantry came up. When they saw the infantry and artillery they took to their heels towards Trenton, a small village a few miles distant. 

Col. Upton wanted to follow them up and give them some more, but Col. Amory being in command, thought we had accomplished our purpose and had better return. In this skirmish the enemy lost eight killed and two prisoners, one of them wounded. Our cavalry had two wounded. The wounded men were brought out and loaded into an ambulance. When they brought out the wounded rebel they put down the stretcher on which he was lying near where I was standing. He was a smooth-faced, fair-haired boy, and was moaning piteously with pain from a bullet wound in his head, and asking himself what his mother would say when she heard of it. His thoughts turned on his home and of his mother. I pitied the boy, but could not help thinking, as a cavalryman told him, he should have thought of that before being caught here... We arrived back in camp late in the afternoon, tired, hungry and covered with mud. I reckon they will not disturb our pickets any more at present in the way they have done. Creeping up in the dark and firing on a lone picket is mean and cowardly. If they want anything of us let them come in force and get it; that is proper and honorable. 

SOURCE: David L. Day, My Diary of Rambles with the 25th Mass. Volunteer Infantry, p. 58-9

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Diary of Private Daniel L. Ambrose: Monday, April 7, 1862

Last night was a doleful night as the soldiers laid in this wilderness by the Tennessee. All night long there was a chilling rain, and the April wind sighed mournfully around the suffering, wounded warriors. Many a wounded soldier died last night. During the weary hours the insatiate archer was making silent steps.

"One quivering motion, one convulsive throe,
And the freed spirits took their upward flight.”

Would that God would roll back the storms of war and temper the hearts of men ere any more human blood flows down like rivulets to crimson the beautiful waters of the Cumberland and Tennessee. But oh! it seems that more blood must flow; that away up yonder, in those cottage homes, where the prairie winds blow, more tears must sparkle, fall and perish; that more hearts must be broken-more hopes dashed down—more doomed

"In their nightly dreams to hear
The bolts of war around them rattle."

Hark! we hear a rumble and a roar. It is a rattle of musketry and the terrible knell from the cannon's mouth. We are marched to the front, where we find Nelson engaged. His hounds of war are let loose. Inroads are being made. The Seventh is filed into position and ordered to lie down. Though the enemy has given ground, they still show stubbornness. We are now in a sharp place; there is some uneasiness here. A cold chill creeps over the soldiers. How uncomfortable it is to be compelled to remain inactive when these whizzing minies come screaming through the air on their mission of death. From such places, under such circumstances, the Seventh would ever wish to be excused, for it grates harshly with the soldier, and is exceedingly distressing when he is prevented from returning compliment for compliment, as the Seventh will testify to-day. But we do not remain here long, for from this place of inactivity, we are moved to a place of action. The battle is raging furiously. The army of the Ohio and the army of the Tennessee are striking hand to hand. The tables are turning; step by step the rebels are being driven. Position after position the Seventh is now taking. The sharp, positive crack of their musketry makes a terrible din along their line. It is apparent that the rebels are retreating. Another day is waning; a day of sacrifice; a day in which has been held a high carnival of blood on Shiloh's plain. Many patriot, loyal soldiers died to-day, and as they died, many of them were seen to smile as they saw the old flag, the pride of their hearts, riding so proudly over the bloody field. Many shed a tear of joy as they beheld the beautiful streams of light falling on the crimson wings of conquest.

The rebels are now flying. Nelson is making a terrible wreck in the rear of the retreating army. Kind reader, stand with me now where the Seventh stands; look away yonder! Your eye never beheld a grander sight. It is the northwest's positive tread. They move firmly; there is harmony in their steps. Ten thousand bayonets flash in the blazing sunlight. They are moving in columns on the bloody plain. Their tramp sounds like a death knell. The band is playing “Hail to the chief.” Its martial anthems seem to float as it were on golden chords through air, and as they fall around the weary soldier their hopes of glory beat high. They are retreating now; the rear of the rebel army is fast fading from Shiloh's. field. Before the north west's mighty power how they dwindle into littleness, as turrets and spires beneath the stars. They are far away now, and the great battle of Shiloh is over; the fierce wild drama is ended; the curtain falls; the sun is hid, and night has come. The Seventh goes into camp on the battle-field; their camp fires are soon burning, and those noble ones, who have fought so well, lie down, worn and weary, to rest themselves. They have passed through two days of fearful battle; amid thunder, smoke and perils they bore their tattered flag, and when the storm-king was making his most wrathful strides, it still waved in the wind and never went down, for strong arms were there and they held it up. But how painful it is to know that some comrades who were with us in the morning, are not with us now. They have fallen and died-died in the early morning of life. And why did they die? A royal herald will answer, for a country, for a home, for a name. Come walk with me now while the tired soldiers are sleeping. Who is this who lays here beneath this oak, in such agony, such convulsive throes? It is a soldier in gray; a wounded rebel who fought against the old flag to-day. But he is dying; his life is almost gone; he is dead now. Oh! how sad it makes one feel to see a soldier die, and how we pity him who has just died; pity him because he has fallen in such a desperate cause; pity him because no royal herald will ever write his name on the sacred scroll of fame.

SOURCES: Daniel Leib Ambrose, History of the Seventh Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, p. 54-7

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Diary of Colonel Jacob Ammen, April 8, 1862

The line of battle of the Fourth Division is formed before day; all ready to commence the terrible work again. The night, was rainy, disagreeable, yet, the men and officers move promptly and appear ready and willing to meet the enemy. The scouts returning all report the enemy in full retreat for Corinth. There is now time to look over the field and witness the destruction—the dead, wounded, and dying, cannon dismounted, arms scattered, horses killed, &c.

The loss of the Tenth Brigade is as follows:


Each brigade is to bury all the dead on the ground over which it marched. The Tenth has been at work, and buried 112 of the enemy that fell in our front. They took their wounded off the field, except the prisoners we captured.

* But see revised Statement, p. 106, and Ammen’s report, p. 329

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 10, Part 1 (Serial No. 10), p. 336-7

Thursday, September 17, 2020

The society of Southern Mothers in Memphis . . .

. . . return their most grateful thanks to the Messrs. Greenlaw for the use of the rooms recently vacated by them, to remove to others more suitable, most kindly and patriotically tendered for the use of the sick soldiers by Messers. Norton & Cook.  The Munificent donation of the Messrs. Greenlaw is the more deeply  appreciated by the Mothers, as that it came in the vary infancy of their enterprise, when the public had yet to see what they would accomplish, and when but for the patriotic generosity of these gentlemen, they might not have been able to accomplish much.

S. C. LAW, President S. S. M.
MARY E. POPE, Secretary.

SOURCE: Memphis Daily Appeal, Memphis Tennessee, Tuesday, August 13, 1861, p. 4

Monday, August 10, 2020

Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes to Sophia Birchard Hayes, June 30, 1864

Camp [piatt], Ten Miles Above Charleston,
West Virginia, June 30, 1864.

Dear Mother: — We got safely back to this point yesterday after being almost two months within the Rebel lines. . . . We have had a severe and hazardous campaign and have, I think, done a great deal of good. While we have suffered a good deal from want of food and sleep, we have lost very few men and are generally in the best of health. . . . General Crook has won the love and confidence of all. General Hunter is not so fortunate. General Averell has not been successful either. We had our first night's quiet rest all night for many weeks.

Dr. Joe went to Ohio with our wounded yesterday and will see Lucy. He has been a great treasure to our wounded.

We have hauled two hundred [wounded men] over both the Blue Ridge and the Alleghenies and many smaller mountains, besides crossing James River and other streams. Our impression is that the Rebels are at the end of their means and our success now will speedily close the Rebellion.

R. B. Hayes.
Mrs. Sophia Hayes.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 477-8

Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes to Lucy Webb Hayes, July 2, 1864

Charleston, Camp Elk, July 2, 1864.

Dearest: — Back again to this point last night. Camped opposite the lower end of Camp White on the broad level bottom in the angle between Elk and Kanawha. My headquarters on one of the pretty wooded hills near Judge Summers.

Got your letter of 16th. All others gone around to Martinsburg. Will get them soon. Very much pleased to read about the boys and their good behaviour.

Dr. Joe went to Gallipolis with our wounded, expecting to visit you, but the rumors of an immediate movement brought him back. We now have a camp rumor that Crook is to command this Department. If so we shall stay here two or three weeks; otherwise, only a few days, probably.

You wrote one thoughtless sentence, complaining of Lincoln for failing to protect our unfortunate prisoners by retaliation. All a mistake, darling. All such things should be avoided as much as possible. We have done too much rather than too little. General Hunter turned Mrs. Governor Letcher and daughters out of their home at Lexington and on ten minutes' notice burned the beautiful place in retaliation for some bushwhackers' burning out Governor Pierpont [of West Virginia.]

And I am glad to say that General Crook's division officers and men were all disgusted with it.

I have just learned as a fact that General Crook has an independent command or separate district in the Department of West Virginia, which practically answers our purposes. We are styled the "Army of the Kanawha," headquarters in the field.

I have just got your letter of June 1. They will all get here sooner or later. The flag is a beautiful one. I see it floating now near the piers of the Elk River Bridge.

Three companies of the Twelfth under Major Carey are ordered to join the Twenty-third today — Lieutenants Otis, Hiltz and command them, making the Twenty-third the strongest veteran regiment. Colonel White and the rest bid us goodbye today. What an excellent man he is. I never knew a better.

You use the phrase "brutal Rebels." Don't be cheated in that way. There are enough "brutal Rebels" no doubt, but we have brutal officers and men too. I have had men brutally treated by our own officers on this raid. And there are plenty of humane Rebels. I have seen a good deal of it on this trip. War is a cruel business and there is brutality in it on all sides, but it is very idle to get up anxiety on account of any supposed peculiar cruelty on the part of Rebels. Keepers of prisons in Cincinnati, as well as in Danville, are hard-hearted and cruel.

Mrs. Hayes.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 478-9

Friday, February 14, 2020

Captain Charles Wright Wills: September 2, 1864

Six miles south of Jonesboro,
September 2, 1864.

At daylight our skirmish line moved forward and found the Rebels gone. When our boys reached the railroad a train of cars was just loading some wounded; the boys made for it, but it outran them. They left a number of their wounded, and when the 14th broke them on the 1st, we captured several hospitals, in one of which were several officers. I saw in a hole by a hospital two legs and three arms. One can't help pitying these Rebel soldiers. They have been whipped here until they have lost all spirit. They don't fight with any spirit when they are attacked and it's more like a butchery than a battle. Our brigade in advance we started after them. The 100th Indiana and 6th Iowa were deployed as skirmishers, and met the Rebel line almost as soon as they started forward. They drove them finely for four miles, when our skirmishers reported that they had run the Rebel army into fortifications.

The country here is quite open, the fields being from half to a mile or more wide, bordered by a narrow strip of wood. The 46th Ohio and our regiment were now deployed to relieve the skirmishers, and take a close look at the enemy's position. They were shooting at us from some rail fences within range, and a mile away, over the fields, we could see them digging; seemed to be constructing a line of pits. We pushed forward under a heavy skirmish fire, and took from a S. C. Brigade the line of pits we saw them making, and went on a little way until we drew a fire from their main works, when we retired to the pits we had taken and prepared to hold them. Found tools in them. This was 3 p. m. About dark the Rebels made three little sorties, but only in light force. We easily repulsed them. Captain Post was wounded in the right breast. Loss in the regiment is seven wounded, raising the loss in the regiment to 178. The 103d and 46th Ohio captured 19 prisoners and killed and wounded at least 25.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 297-8

Thursday, December 5, 2019

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

General Hunter drove us out to the camp of the black regiment, which he reviewed. After our return I saw Mr. McKim and Lucy off, the steamer being crowded with the wounded and sick from the battle of Edisto. Then Mr. French advised my returning to General Hunter's. Mrs. H. had asked me to stay all night, but I had declined. Now, however, it was too late to go back to Beaufort in the little steamer and there was no other chance but a sail-boat, so after waiting and hesitating a long time, I consented to the intrusion, and Mr. French escorted me back again, explaining to General and Mrs. Hunter my predicament. They were cordial in their invitation, and I had a long talk with them about plantation matters, sitting on their piazza, the sentry marching to and fro and members of the staff occasionally favoring us with their company.

The regiment is General Hunter's great pride. They looked splendidly, and the great mass of blackness, animated with a soul and armed so keenly, was very impressive. They did credit to their commander.

As we drove into the camp I pointed out a heap of rotting cotton-seed. “That will cause sickness,” I said. “I ordered it removed,” he said, very quickly, “and why hasn't it been done?” He spoke to the surgeon about it as soon as we reached Drayton's house, which is just beside the camp. The men seemed to welcome General Hunter and to be fond of him. The camp was in beautiful order.

SOURCE: Rupert Sargent Holland, Editor, Letters and Diary of Laura M. Towne: Written from the Sea Islands of South Carolina 1862-1864, p. 70-1

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Diary of William Howard Russell: July 14, 1861

At six o'clock this morning the steamer arrived at the wharf under the walls of Fortress Monroe, which presented a very different appearance from the quiet of its aspect when first I saw it, some months ago. Camps spread around it, the parapets lined with sentries, guns looking out towards the land, lighters and steamers alongside the wharf, a strong guard at the end of the pier, passes to be scrutinized and permits to be given. I landed with the members of the Sanitary Commission, and repaired to a very large pile of buildings, called “The Hygeia Hotel,” for once on a time Fortress Monroe was looked upon as the resort of the sickly, who required bracing air and an abundance of oysters; it is now occupied by the wounded in the several actions and skirmishes which have taken place, particularly at Bethel; and it is so densely crowded that we had difficulty in procuring the use of some small dirty rooms to dress in. As the business of the Commission was principally directed to ascertain the state of the hospitals, they considered it necessary in the first instance to visit General Butler, the commander of the post, who has been recommending himself to the Federal Government by his activity ever since he came down to Baltimore, and the whole body marched to the fort, crossing the drawbridge after some parley with the guard, and received permission, on the production of passes, to enter the court.

The interior of the work covers a space of about seven or eight acres, as far as I could judge, and is laid out with some degree of taste: rows of fine trees border the walks through the grass plots; the officers' quarters, neat and snug, are surrounded with little patches of flowers, and covered with creepers. All order and neatness, however, were fast disappearing beneath the tramp of mailed feet, for at least 1200 men had pitched their tents inside the place. We sent in our names to the General, who lives in a detached house close to the sea face of the fort, and sat down on a bench under the shade of some trees, to avoid the excessive heat of the sun until the commander of the place could receive the Commissioners. He was evidently in no great hurry to do so. In about half an hour an aide-de-camp came out to say that the General was getting up, and that he would see us after breakfast. Some of the Commissioners, from purely sanitary considerations, would have been much better pleased to have seen him at breakfast, as they had only partaken of a very light meal on board the steamer at five o'clock in the morning; but we were interested meantime by the morning parade of a portion of the garrison, consisting of 300 regulars, a Massachusetts volunteer battalion, and the 2d New York Regiment.

It was quite refreshing to the eye to see the cleanliness of the regulars — their white gloves and belts, and polished buttons, contrasted with the slovenly aspect of the volunteers; but, as far as the material went, the volunteers had by far the best of the comparison. The civilians who were with me did not pay much attention to the regulars, and evidently preferred the volunteers, although they could not be insensible to the magnificent drum-major who led the band of the regulars. Presently General Butler came out of his quarters, and walked down the lines, followed by a few officers. He is a stout, middle-aged man, strongly built, with coarse limbs, his features indicative of great shrewdness and craft, his forehead high, the elevation being in some degree due perhaps to the want of hair; with a strong obliquity of vision, which may perhaps have been caused by an injury, as the eyelid hangs with a peculiar droop over the organ.

The General, whose manner is quick, decided, and abrupt, but not at all rude or unpleasant, at once acceded to the wishes of the Sanitary Commissioners, and expressed his desire to make my stay at the fort as agreeable and useful as he could. “You can first visit the hospitals in company with these gentlemen, and then come over with me to our camp, where I will show you everything that is to be seen. I have ordered a steamer to be in readiness to take you to Newport News.” He speaks rapidly, and either affects or possesses great decision. The Commissioners accordingly proceeded to make the most of their time in visiting the Hygeia Hotel, being accompanied by the medical officers of the garrison.

The rooms, but a short time ago occupied by the fair ladies of Virginia, when they came down to enjoy the sea-breezes, were now crowded with Federal soldiers, many of them suffering from the loss of limb or serious wounds, others from the worst form of camp disease. I enjoyed a small national triumph over Dr. Bellows, the chief of the Commissioners, who is of the “sangre azul” of Yankeeism, by which I mean that he is a believer, not in the perfectibility, but in the absolute perfection, of New England nature which is the only human nature that is not utterly lost and abandoned — Old England nature, perhaps, being the worst of all. We had been speaking to the wounded men in several rooms, and found most of them either in the listless condition consequent upon exhaustion, or with that anxious air which is often observable on the faces of the wounded when strangers approach. At last we came into a room in which two soldiers were sitting up, the first we had seen, reading the newspapers. Dr. Bellows asked where they came from; one was from Concord, the other from New Haven. “You see, Mr. Russell,” said Dr. Bellows, “how our Yankee soldiers spend their time. I knew at once they were Americans when I saw them reading newspapers.” One of them had his hand shattered by a bullet, the other was suffering from a gun-shot wound through the body. “Where were you hit?” I inquired of the first. “Well,” he said, “I guess my rifle went off when I was cleaning it in camp.” “Were you wounded at Bethel?” I asked of the second. “No, sir,” he replied; “I got this wound from a comrade, who discharged his piece by accident in one of the tents as I was standing outside.” “So,” said I, to Dr. Bellows, “whilst the Britishers and Germans are engaged with the enemy, you Americans employ your time shooting each other!”

These men were true mercenaries, for they were fighting for money — I mean the strangers. One poor fellow from Devonshire said, as he pointed to his stump, “I wish I had lost it for the sake of the old island, sir,” paraphrasing Sarsfield's exclamation as he lay dying on the field. The Americans were fighting for the combined excellences and strength of the States of New England, and of the rest of the Federal power over the Confederates, for they could not in their heart of hearts believe the Old Union could be restored by force of arms. Lovers may quarrel and may reunite, but if a blow is struck there is no redintegratio amoris possible again. The newspapers and illustrated periodicals which they read were the pabulum that fed the flames of patriotism incessantly. Such capacity for enormous lying, both in creation and absorption, the world never heard. Sufficient for the hour is the falsehood.

There were lady nurses in attendance on the patients; who followed — let us believe, as I do, out of some higher motive than the mere desire of human praise —the example of Miss Nightingale. I loitered behind in the rooms, asking many questions respecting the nationality of the men, in which the members of the Sanitary Commission took no interest, and I was just turning into one near the corner of the passage when I was stopped by a loud smack. A young Scotchman was dividing his attention between a basin of soup and a demure young lady from Philadelphia, who was feeding him with a spoon, his only arm being engaged in holding her round the waist, in order to prevent her being tired, I presume. Miss Rachel, or Deborah, had a pair of very pretty blue eyes, but they flashed very angrily from under her trim little cap at the unwitting intruder, and then she said, in severest tones, “Will you take your medicine, or not?” Sandy smiled, and pretended to be very penitent.

When we returned with the doctors from our inspection we walked around the parapets of the fortress, why so called I know not, because it is merely a fort. The guns and mortars are old-fashioned and heavy, with the exception of some new-fashioned and very heavy Columbiads, which are cast-iron eight, ten, and twelve-inch guns, in which I have no faith whatever. The armament is not sufficiently powerful to prevent its interior being searched out by the long-range fire of ships with rifle guns, or mortar boats; but it would require closer and harder work to breach the masses of brick and masonry which constitute the parapets and casemates. The guns, carriages, rammers, shot, were dirty, rusty, and neglected; but General Butler told me he was busy polishing up things about the fortress as fast as he could.

Whilst we were parading these hot walls in the sunshine, my companions were discussing the question of ancestry. It appears your New Englander is very proud of his English descent from good blood, and it is one of their is msin [sic] the Yankee States that they are the salt of the British people and the true aristocracy of blood and family, whereas we in the isles retain but a paltry share of the blue blood defiled by incessant infiltrations of the muddy fluid of the outer world. This may be new to us Britishers, but is a Q. E. D. If a gentleman left Europe 200 years ago, and settled with his kin and kith, intermarrying his children with their equals, and thus perpetuating an ancient family, it is evident he may be regarded as the founder of a much more honorable dynasty than the relative who remained behind him, and lost the old family place, and sunk into obscurity. A singular illustration of the tendency to make much of themselves may be found in the fact, that New England swarms with genealogical societies and bodies of antiquaries, who delight in reading papers about each other's ancestors, and tracing their descent from Norman or Saxon barons and earls. The Virginians opposite, who are flouting us with their Confederate flag from Sewall's Point, are equally given to the “genus et proavos.”

At the end of our promenade round the ramparts, Lieutenant Butler, the General's nephew and aide-de-camp, came to tell us the boat was ready, and we met His Excellency in the court-yard, whence we walked down to the wharf. On our way, General Butler called my attention to an enormous heap of hollow iron lying on the sand, which was the Union gun that is intended to throw a shot of some 350 lbs. weight or more, to astonish the Confederates at Sewall's Point opposite, when it is mounted. This gun, if I mistake not, was made after the designs of Captain Rodman, of the United States artillery, who in a series of remarkable papers, the publication of which has cost the country a large sum of money, has given us the results of long-continued investigations and experiments on the best method of cooling masses of iron for ordnance purposes, and of making powder for heavy shot. The piece must weigh about 20 tons, but a similar gun, mounted on an artificial island called the Rip Raps, in the channel opposite the fortress, is said to be worked with facility. The Confederates have raised some of the vessels sunk by the United States officers when the Navy Yard at Gosport was destroyed, and as some of these are to be converted into rams, the Federals are preparing their heaviest ordnance, to try the effect of crushing weights at low velocities against their sides, should they attempt to play any pranks among the transport vessels. The General said: “It is not by these great masses of iron this contest is to be decided; we must bring sharp points of steel, directed by superior intelligence.” Hitherto General Butler's attempts at Big Bethel have not been crowned with success in employing such means, but it must be admitted that, according to his own statement, his lieutenants were guilty of carelessness and neglect of ordinary military precautions in the conduct of the expedition he ordered. The march of different columns of troops by night concentrating on a given point is always liable to serious interruptions, and frequently gives rise to hostile encounters between friends, in more disciplined armies than the raw levies of United States volunteers.

When the General, Commissioners, and Staff had embarked, the steamer moved across the broad estuary to Newport News. Among our passengers were several medical officers in attendance on the Sanitary Commissioners, some belonging to the army, others who had volunteered from civil life. Their discussion of professional questions and of relative rank assumed such a personal character, that General Butler had to interfere to quiet the disputants, but the exertion of his authority was not altogether successful, and one of the angry gentlemen said in my hearing, “I’m d----d if I submit to such treatment if all the lawyers in Massachusetts with stars on their colors were to order me to-morrow.”

On arriving at the low shore of Newport News we landed at a wooded jetty, and proceeded to visit the camp of the Federals, which was surrounded by a strong entrenchment, mounted with guns on the water face; and on the angles inland, a broad tract of cultivated country, bounded by a belt of trees, extended from the river away from the encampment; but the Confederates are so close at hand that frequent skirmishes have occurred between the foraging parties of the garrison and the enemy, who have on more than one occasion pursued the Federals to the very verge of the woods.

Whilst the Sanitary Commissioners were groaning over the heaps of filth which abound in all camps where discipline is not most strictly observed, I walked round amongst the tents, which, taken altogether, were in good order. The day was excessively hot, and many of the soldiers were lying down in the shade of arbors formed of branches from the neighboring pine wood, but most of them got up when they heard the General was coming round. A sentry walked up and down at the end of the street, and as the General came up to him he called out “Halt.” The man stood still. “I just want to show you, sir, what scoundrels our Government has to deal with. This man belongs to a regiment which has had new clothing recently served out to it. Look what it is made of.” So saying the General stuck his fore-finger into the breast of the man's coat, and with a rapid scratch of his nail tore open the cloth as if it was of blotting paper. “Shoddy sir. Nothing but shoddy. I wish I had these contractors in the trenches here, and if hard work would not make honest men of them, they'd have enough of it to be examples for the rest of their fellows.”

A vivacious prying man, this Butler, full of bustling life, self-esteem, revelling in the exercise of power. In the course of our rounds we were joined by Colonel Phelps, who was formerly in the United States army, and saw service in Mexico, but retired because he did not approve of the manner in which promotions were made, and who only took command of a Massachusetts regiment because he believed he might be instrumental in striking a shrewd blow or two in this great battle of Armageddon — a tall, saturnine, gloomy, angry-eyed sallow man, soldier-like, too, and one who places old John Brown on a level with the great martyrs of the Christian world. Indeed one, not so fierce as he, is blasphemous enough to place images of our Saviour and the hero of Harper's Ferry on the mantelpiece, as the two greatest beings the world has ever seen. “Yes, I know them well. I've seen them in the field. I've sat with them at meals. I've travelled through their country. These Southern slave-holders are a false, licentious, godless people. Either we who obey the laws and fear God, or they who know no God except their own will and pleasure, and know no law except their passions, must rule on this continent, and I believe that Heaven will help its own in the conflict they have provoked. I grant you they are brave enough, and desperate too, but surely justice, truth, and religion, will strengthen a man's arm to strike down those who have only brute force and a bad cause to support them.” But Colonel Phelps was not quite indifferent to material aid, and he made a pressing appeal to General Butler to send him some more guns and harness for the field-pieces he had in position, because, said he, “in case of attack, please God I’ll follow them up sharp, and cover these fields with their bones.” The General had a difficulty about the harness, which made Colonel Phelps very grim, but General Butler had reason in saying he could not make harness, and so the Colonel must be content with the results of a good rattling fire of round, shell, grape and canister, if the Confederates are foolish enough to attack his batteries.

There was nothing to complain of in the camp, except the swarms of flies, the very bad smells, and perhaps the shabby clothing of the men. The tents were good enough. The rations were ample, but nevertheless, there was a want of order, discipline, and quiet in the lines which did not augur well for the internal economy of the regiments. When we returned to the river face, General Butler ordered some practice to be made with a Sawyer rifle gun, which appeared to be an ordinary cast-iron piece, bored with grooves on the shunt principle, the shot being covered with a composition of a metallic amalgam like zinc and tin, and provided with flanges of the same material to fit the grooves. The practice was irregular and unsatisfactory. At an elevation of 24 degrees, the first shot struck the water at a point about 2000 yards distant. The piece was then further elevated, and the shot struck quite out of land, close to the opposite bank, at a distance of nearly three miles. The third shot rushed with a peculiar hurtling noise out of the piece, and flew up in the air, falling with a splash into the water about 1500 yards away. The next shot may have gone half across the continent, for assuredly it never struck the water, and most probably ploughed its way into the soft ground at the other side of the river. The shell practice was still worse, and on the whole I wish our enemies may always fight us with Sawyer guns, particularly as the shells cost between £6 and £7 apiece.

From the fort the General proceeded to the house of one of the officers, near the jetty, formerly the residence of a Virginian farmer, who has now gone to Secessia, where we were most hospitably treated at an excellent lunch, served by the slaves of the former proprietor. Although we boast with some reason of the easy level of our mess-rooms, the Americans certainly excel us in the art of annihilating all military distinctions on such occasions as these; and I am not sure the General would not have liked to place a young doctor in close arrest, who suddenly made a dash at the liver wing of a fowl on which the General was bent with eye and fork, and carried it off to his plate. But on the whole there was a good deal of friendly feeling amongst all ranks of the volunteers, the regulars being a little stiff and adherent to etiquette.

In the afternoon the boat returned to Fortress Monroe, and the General invited me to dinner, where I had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Butler, his staff, and a couple of regimental officers from the neighboring camp. As it was still early, General Butler proposed a ride to visit the interesting village of Hampton, which lies some six or seven miles outside the fort, and forms his advance post. A powerful charger, with a tremendous Mexican saddle, fine housings, blue and gold embroidered saddle-cloth, was brought to the door for your humble servant, and the General mounted another, which did equal credit to his taste in horseflesh; but I own I felt rather uneasy on seeing that he wore a pair of large brass spurs, strapped over white jean brodequins. He took with him his aide-de-camp and a couple of orderlies. In the precincts of the fort outside, a population of contraband negroes has been collected, whom the General employs in various works about the place, military and civil; but I failed to ascertain that the original scheme of a debit and credit account between the value of their labor and the cost of their maintenance had been successfully carried out. The General was proud of them, and they seemed proud of themselves, saluting him with a ludicrous mixture of awe and familiarity as he rode past. “How do, Massa Butler? How do, General?” accompanied by absurd bows and scrapes. “Just to think,” said the General, “that every one of these fellows represents some one thousand dollars at least out of the pockets of the chivalry yonder.” “Nasty, idle, dirty beasts,” says one of the staff, sotto voce; “I wish to Heaven they were all at the bottom of the Chesapeake. The General insists on it that they do work, but they are far more trouble than they are worth.”

The road towards Hampton traverses a sandy spit, which, however, is more fertile than would be supposed from the soil under the horses' hoofs, though it is not in the least degree interesting. A broad creek or river interposed between us and the town, the bridge over which had been destroyed. Workmen were busy repairing it, but all the planks had not yet been laid down or nailed, and in some places the open space between the upright rafters allowed us to see the dark waters flowing beneath. The Aide said, “I don't think, General, it is safe to cross;” but the chief did not mind him until his horse very nearly crashed through a plank, and only regained its footing with unbroken legs by marvellous dexterity; whereupon we dismounted, and, leaving the horses to be carried over in the ferry-boat, completed the rest of the transit, not without difficulty. At the other end of the bridge a street lined with comfortable houses, and bordered with trees, led us into the pleasant town or village of Hampton — pleasant once, but now deserted by all the inhabitants except some pauperized whites and a colony of negroes. It was in full occupation of the Federal soldiers, and I observed that most of the men were Germans, the garrison at Newport News being principally composed of Americans. The old red brick houses, with cornices of white stone; the narrow windows and high gables; gave an aspect of antiquity and European comfort to the place, the like of which I have not yet seen in the States. Most of the shops were closed; in some the shutters were still down, and the goods remained displayed in the windows. “I have allowed no plundering,” said the General; “and if I find a fellow trying to do it, I will hang him as sure as my name is Butler. See here,” and as he spoke he walked into a large woollen-draper's shop, where bales of cloth were still lying on the shelves, and many articles such as are found in a large general store in a country town were disposed on the floor or counters; “they shall not accuse the men under my command of being robbers.” The boast, however, was not so well justified in a visit to another house occupied by some soldiers. “Well,” said the General, with a smile, “I dare say you know enough of camps to have found out that chairs and tables are irresistible; the men will take them off to their tents, though they may have to leave them next morning.”

The principal object of our visit was the fortified trench which has been raised outside the town towards the Confederate lines. The path lay through a church-yard filled with most interesting monuments. The sacred edifice of red brick, with a square clock-tower rent by lightning, is rendered interesting by the fact that it is almost the first church built by the English colonists of Virginia. On the tombstones are recorded the names of many subjects of His Majesty George Ill., and familiar names of persons born in the early part of last century in English villages, who passed to their rest before the great rebellion of the Colonies had disturbed their notions of loyalty and respect to the crown. Many a British subject, too, lies there, whose latter days must have been troubled by the strange scenes of the war of independence. With what doubt and distrust must that one at whose tomb I stand have heard that George Washington was making head against the troops of His Majesty King George III.! How the hearts of the old men who had passed the best years of their existence, as these stones tell us, fighting for His Majesty against the French, must have beaten when once more they heard the roar of Frenchman's ordnance uniting with the voices of the rebellious guns of the colonists from the plains of Yorktown against the entrenchments in which Cornwallis and his deserted band stood at hopeless bay! But could these old eyes open again, and see General Butler standing on the eastern rampart which bounds their resting-place, and pointing to the spot whence the rebel cavalry of Virginia issue night and day to charge the loyal pickets of His Majesty The Union, they might take some comfort in the fulfilment of the vaticinations which no doubt they uttered, " It cannot, and it will not, come, to good."

Having inspected the works — as far as I could judge, too extended, and badly traced — which I say with all deference to the able young engineer who accompanied us to point out the various objects of interest — the General returned to the bridge, where we remounted, and made a tour of the camps of the force intended to defend Hampton, falling back on Fortress Monroe in case of necessity. Whilst he was riding ventre a terre, which seems to be his favorite pace, his horse stumbled in the dusty road, and in his effort to keep his seat the General broke his stirrup leather, and the ponderous brass stirrup fell to the ground; but, albeit a lawyer, he neither lost his seat nor his sangfroid, and calling out to his orderly " to pick up his toe plate," the jean slippers were closely pressed, spurs and all, to the sides of his steed, and away we went once more through dust and heat so great I was by no means sorry when he pulled up outside a pretty villa, standing in a garden, which was occupied by Colonel Max Weber, of the German Turner Regiment, once the property of General Tyler. The camp of the Turners, who are members of various gymnastic societies, was situated close at hand; but I had no opportunity of seeing them at work, as the Colonel insisted on our partaking of the hospitalities of his little mess, and produced some bottles of sparkling hock and a block of ice, by no means unwelcome after our fatiguing ride. His Major, whose name I have unfortunately forgotten, and who spoke English better than his chief, had served in some capacity or other in the Crimea, and made many inquiries after the officers of the Guards whom he had known there. I took an opportunity of asking him in what state the troops were. "The whole thing is a robbery," he exclaimed; "this war is for the contractors; the men do not get a third of what the Government pay for them; as for discipline, my God! it exists not. We Germans are well enough, of course; we know our affair; but as for the Americans, what would you? They make colonels out of doctors and lawyers, and captains out of fellows who are not fit to brush a soldier's shoe." "But the men get their pay?" "Yes that is so. At the end of two months, they get it, and by that time it is due to sutlers, who charge them 100 per cent."

It is easy to believe these old soldiers do not put much confidence in General Butler, though they admit his energy. “Look you; one good officer with 5,000 steady troops, such as we have in Europe, shall come down any night and walk over us all into Fortress Monroe whenever he pleased, if he knew how these troops were placed.”

On leaving the German Turners, the General visited the camp of Duryea's New York Zouaves, who were turned out at evening parade, or more properly speaking, drill. But for the ridiculous effect of their costume the regiment would have looked well enough; but riding down on the rear of the ranks the discolored napkins tied round their heads, without any fez cap beneath, so that the hair sometimes stuck up through the folds, the ill-made jackets, the loose bags of red calico hanging from their loins, the long gaiters of white cotton — instead ot the real Zouave yellow and black greave, and smart white gaiter — made them appear such military scarecrows, I could scarcely refrain from laughing outright. Nevertheless the men were respectably drilled, marched steadily in columns of company, wheeled into line, and went past at quarter distance at the double much better than could be expected from the short time they had been in the field, and I could with all sincerity say to Colonel Duryea, a smart and not unpretentious gentleman, who asked my opinion so pointedly that I could not refuse to give it, that I considered the appearance of the regiment very creditable. The shades of evening were now falling, and as I had been up before 5 o'clock in the morning, I was not sorry when General Butler said, “Now we will go home to tea, or you will detain the steamer.” He had arranged before I started that the vessel, which in ordinary course would have returned to Baltimore at eight o'clock, should remain till he sent down word to the Captain to go.

We scampered back to the fort, and judging from the challenges and vigilance of the sentries, and inlying pickets, I am not quite so satisfied as the Major that the enemy could have surprised the place. At the tea-table there were no additions to the General's family; he therefore spoke without any reserve. Going over the map, he explained his views in reference to future operations, and showed cause, with more military acumen than I could have expected from a gentleman of the long robe, why he believed Fortress Monroe was the true base of operations against Richmond.

I have been convinced for some time, that if a sufficient force could be left to cover Washington, the Federals should move against Richmond from the Peninsula, where they could form their depots at leisure, and advance, protected by their gunboats, on a very short line which offers far greater facilities and advantages than the inland route from Alexandria to Richmond, which, difficult in itself from the nature of the country, is exposed to the action of a hostile population, and, above all, to the danger of constant attacks by the enemies' cavalry, tending more or less to destroy all communication with the base of the Federal operations.

The threat of seizing Washington led to a concentration of the Union troops in front of it, which caused in turn the collection of the Confederates on the lines below to defend Richmond. It is plain that if the Federals can cover Washington, and at the same time assemble a force at Monroe strong enough to march on Richmond, as they desire, the Confederates will be placed in an exceedingly hazardous position, scarcely possible to escape from; and there is no reason why the North, with their- overwhelming preponderance, should not do so, unless they be carried away by the fatal spirit of brag and bluster which comes from their press to overrate their own strength and to despise their enemy's. The occupation of Suffolk will be seen, by any one who studies the map, to afford a most powerful leverage to the Federal forces from Monroe in their attempts to turn the enemy out of their camps of communication, and to enable them to menace Richmond as well as the Southern States most seriously.

But whilst the General and I are engaged over our maps and mint juleps, time flies, and at last I perceive by the clock it is time to go. An aide is sent to stop the boat, but he returns ere I leave with the news that “She is gone.” Whereupon the General sends for the Quartermaster Talmadge, who is out in the camps, and only arrives in time to receive a severe “wigging.” It so happened that I had important papers to send off by the next mail from New York, and the only chance of being able to do so depended on my being in Baltimore next day. General Butler acted with kindness and promptitude in the matter. “I promised you should go by the steamer, but the captain has gone off without orders or leave, for which he shall answer when I see him. Meantime it is my business to keep my promise. Captain Talmadge, you will at once go down and give orders to the most suitable transport steamer or chartered vessel available, to get up steam at once and come up to the wharf for Mr. Russell.”

Whilst I was sitting in the parlor which served as the General's office, there came in a pale, bright-eyed, slim young man in a subaltern's uniform, who sought a private audience, and unfolded a plan he had formed, on certain data gained by nocturnal expeditions, to surprise a body of the enemy's cavalry which was in the habit of coming down every night and disturbing the pickets at Hampton. His manner was so eager, his information so precise, that the General could not refuse his sanction, but he gave it in a characteristic manner. “Well, sir, I understand your proposition. You intend to go out as a volunteer to effect this service. You ask my permission to get men for it. I cannot grant you an order to any of the officers in command of regiments to provide you with these; but if the Colonel of your regiment wishes to give leave to his men to volunteer, and they like to go with you, I give you leave to take them. I wash my hands of all responsibility in the affair.” The officer bowed and retired, saying, “That is quite enough, General.”*

At ten o'clock the Quartermaster came back to say that a screw steamer called The Elizabeth was getting up steam for my reception, and I bade good-by to the General, and walked down with his aide and nephew, Lieutenant Butler, to the Hygeia Hotel to get my light knapsack. It was a lovely moonlight night, and as I was passing down an avenue of trees an officer stopped me, and exclaimed, “General Butler, I hear you have given leave to Lieutenant Blank to take a party of my regiment and go off scouting to-night after the enemy. It is too hard that —” What more he was going to say I know not, for I corrected the mistake, and the officer walked hastily on towards the General's quarters. On reaching the Hygeia Hotel I was met by the correspondent of a New York paper, who as commissary-general, or, as they are styled in the States, officer of subsistence, had been charged to get the boat ready, and who explained to me it would be at least an hour before the steam was up; and whilst I was waiting in the porch I heard many Virginian, and old-world stories as well, the general upshot of which was that all the rest of the world could be “done” at cards, in love, in drink, in horseflesh, and in fighting, by the true-born American. General Butler came down after a time, and joined our little society, nor was he by any means the least shrewd and humorous raconteur of the party. At eleven o'clock The Elizabeth uttered some piercing cries, which indicated she had her steam up; and so I walked down to the jetty, accompanied by my host and his friends, and wishing them good-by, stepped on board the little vessel, and with the aid of the negro cook, steward, butler, boots, and servant, roused out the captain from a small wooden trench which he claimed as his berth, turned into it, and fell asleep just as the first difficult convulsions of the screw aroused the steamer from her coma, and forced her languidly against the tide in the direction of Baltimore.

* It may be stated here, that this expedition met with a disastrous result. If I mistake not, the officer, and with him the correspondent of a paper who accompanied him, were killed by the cavalry whom he meant to surprise, and several of the volunteers were also killed or wounded.

SOURCE: William Howard Russell, My Diary North and South, Vol. 1, p. 405-19

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Diary of Captain Luman Harris Tenney: April 4, 1865

Up at daylight. Sent telegram home. Moved up the Appomattox, our Div. in advance. Captured 300 or 400 prisoners, 5 guns and many wagons. Hill's Corps and cavalry on our front. Near Bevil's Bridge enemy made a stand at a crossroads to get a part of their column by. Artillery opened and rebs ran. Our regt. did not become engaged. Went out to pick up wounded. Quite a number of deserters. Camped on this ground. Richmond ours. God hasten peace. Clear and pleasant. Cavalry moved on up the Appomattox. 1st Div. in advance. Would that I could see mother now in her distress. Passed a part of the infantry. Made a feint towards Amelia C. H. Went into camp. 2nd on picket. Moved out again at 11 P. M. Returned to main road and marched all night.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 154

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Captain Charles Wright Wills: May 16, 1864

May 16, 1864, 6 p. m.

The old story — the Rebels evacuated last night. They made two or three big feints of attacking during the night, but are all gone this morning. It is said they have taken up a position some five miles ahead. Prisoners and deserters are coming in. At Resaca we captured eight cannon, not more than 100 prisoners, and some provisions; don't know what we got at Dalton. Some estimate our whole loss up to this time at 2,500 killed and wounded. Everything is getting the road for pursuit. The prisoners say Johnston will make a stand 40 miles south.

Six p. m.—The 16th Corps moved out on the Rome road, and while we are waiting for the 14th Corps to get out of our way word came that the 16th had run against a snag. We were moved out at once at nearly double quick time to help them. Trotted four miles and passed a good many wounded, but we were not needed. We bivouac to-night on the southeast bank of Coosa river. I hear to-night that our loss in the corps is 600 and that no corps has suffered less than ours. Some think the whole will foot over 5,000.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 242-3

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Captain Charles Wright Wills: May 14, 1864

May 14, 1864.

Reveille at 3 a. m. and an order has just come to leave all our knapsacks and move at 7 a. m. Great hospital preparations are going on in our rear. I think we are going to take the railroad and Resaca. Large reinforcements came last night. Could hear the Rebels running trains all night.

Ten-thirty a. m. — Have moved forward about four miles. Saw General Kilpatrick laying in an ambulance by the roadside. He was wounded in the leg this morning in a skirmish. Met a number of men — wounded — moving to the rear, and a dozen or so dead horses, all shot this morning. Quite lively skirmishing is going on now about 200 yards in front of us.

One forty-five p. m. — Moved about 200 yards to the front and brought on brisk firing.

Two thirty-five. — While moving by the flank shell commenced raining down on us very rapidly; half a dozen burst within 25 yards of us. The major's horse was shot and I think he was wounded. In the regiment one gun and one hat was struck in my company. Don't think the major is wounded very badly.

Three thirty p. m. — Corporal Slater of my company just caught a piece of shell the size of a walnut in his haversack.

Four p. m. — Colonel Dickerman has just rejoined the regiment. We would have given him three cheers if it had not been ordered otherwise.

Five p. m. — Have moved forward about a mile and a real battle is now going on in our front. Most of the artillery is farther to the right, and it fairly makes the ground tremble. Every breath smells very powderish. A battery has just opened close to the right of our regiment. I tell you this is interesting. Our regiment is not engaged yet, but we are in sight of the Rebels and their bullets whistle over our heads. The men are all in good spirits.

Eight p. m. — A few minutes after six I was ordered to deploy my company as skirmishers and relieve the 1st Brigade who were in our front. We shot with the Rebels until dark, and have just been relieved. One company of the 12th Indiana who occupied the ground we have just left, lost their captain and 30 men killed and wounded in sight of us. The Rebels are making the axes fly in our front. The skirmish lines are about 200 yards apart. I have had no men wounded to-day. Dorrance returned to the company this evening.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 239-41

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: October 1, 1863

We have a rumor to-day that Meade is sending heavy masses of troops to the West to extricate Rosecrans, and that Gen. Hooker is to menace Richmond from the Peninsula, with 25,000 men, to keep Lee from crossing the Potomac.

We have absolutely nothing from Bragg; but a dispatch from Gen. S. Jones, East Tennessee, of this date, says he has sent Gen. Ranseur [sic] after the rear guard of the enemy, near Knoxville.

A letter from W. G. M. Davis, describes St. Andrew's Bay, Florida, as practicable for exporting and importing purposes. It may be required, if Charleston and Wilmington fall — which is not improbable.

Nevertheless, Bragg's victory has given us a respite in the East, and soon the bad roads will put an end to the marching of armies until next year. I doubt whether the Yankees will desire another winter campaign in Virginia.

The papers contain the following account of sufferings at Gettysburg, and in the Federal prisons:
“A lady from the vicinity of Gettysburg writes: ‘July 18th— We have been visiting the battle-field, and have done all we can for the wounded there. Since then we have sent another party, who came upon a camp of wounded Confederates in a wood between the hills. Through this wood quite a large creek runs. This camp contained between 200 and 300 wounded men, in every stage of suffering; two well men among them as nurses. Most of them had frightful wounds. A few evenings ago the rain, sudden and violent, swelled the creek, and 35 of the unfortunates were swept away; 35 died of starvation. No one had been to visit them since they were carried off the battle-field; they had no food of any kind; they were crying all the time “bread, bread! water, water!” One boy without beard was stretched out dead, quite naked, a piece of blanket thrown over his emaciated form, a rag over his face, and his small, thin hands laid over his breast. Of the dead none knew their names, and it breaks my heart to think of the mothers waiting and watching for the sons laid in the lonely grave on that fearful battle-field. All of those men in the woods were nearly naked, and when ladies approached they tried to cover themselves with the filthy rags they had cast aside. The wounds themselves, unwashed and untouched, were full of worms. God only knows what they suffered.

“‘Not one word of complaint passed their lips, not a murmur; their only words were “Bread, bread! water, water!” Except when they saw some of our ladies much affected, they said, “Oh, ladies, don't cry; we are used to this.” We are doing all we can; we served all day yesterday, though it was Sunday.’ This lady adds: ‘There were two brothers — one a colonel, the other a captain — lying side by side, and both wounded. They had a Bible between them.’ Another letter from Philadelphia says: ‘There are over 8000 on the island (Fort Delaware), the hospitals crowded, and between 300 and 400 men on the bare floor of the barracks; not even a straw mattress under them. The surgeon says the hundred pillows and other things sent from here were a God-send. Everything except gray clothing will be thankfully received, and can be fully disposed of. It is very difficult to get money here. I write to you in the hope that you may be able to send some comforts for these suffering men. Some two or three thousand have been sent to an island in the East River, most of them South Carolinians, and all in great destitution. Your hearts would ache as mine does if you knew all I hear and know is true of the sufferings of our poor people.’

“Another writes: Philadelphia, July 20th, 1863. ‘I mentioned in my last the large number of Southern prisoners now in the hands of the Federal Government in Fort Delaware, near this city. There are 8000, a large portion of whom are sick and wounded; all are suffering most seriously for the want of a thousand things. Those in the city who are by birth or association connected with Southern people, and who feel a sympathy for the sufferings of these prisoners, are but few in number, and upon these have been increasing calls for aid. Their powers of contribution are now exhausted. I thought it my duty to acquaint you and others in Europe of this state of things, that you might raise something to relieve the sufferings of these prisoners. I believe the government has decided that any contributions for them may be delivered to them. There is scarcely a man among them, officers or privates, who has any money or any clothes beyond those in which they stood when they were captured on the battlefield. You can, therefore, imagine their situation. In the hospitals the government gives them nothing beyond medicines and soldier's rations. Sick men require much more, or they perish; and these people are dying by scores. I think it a matter in which their friends on the other side should take prompt and ample action.’”

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 57-9

Friday, March 30, 2018

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Luman Harris Tenney: May 16, 1864

Moved down to the valley near Fredericksburg. Went into town twice and looked at the fortifications and city. It must have been beautiful before the war. Scenery along the river splendid. Went around with Nettleton and Seward. Town full of wounded.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 116

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Elizabeth Adams Lusk to Captain William Thompson Lusk, November 17, 1862

Norwich, Conn.
November 17th, 1862.
My own dear Son:

I think I will commence the week by writing a letter to you who in these times of trouble occupy so large a share of my thoughts. Sam Elliott was here on Saturday, dined with us and stayed some hours. His sad condition makes me feel very melancholy. Poor fellow! How he has suffered. I sometimes wish you were all withdrawn from the Army. Oh! my poor, poor country! It is so grievous to see our sons and friends maimed, sick, or to know that they are dead. He (Elliott) tells me you are well, and seem strong. God has indeed been merciful to spare your life and strength amid such great dangers as you have passed through during the last eighteen months. Elliott talks of returning to his duties this week. He certainly ought not, for he is weak, sick, and unfit for exertion; besides that, he requires the most nourishing diet. He told me that he found you at breakfast on mouldy bread and sloppy coffee, while we who are at home doing nothing, are fattening on luxuries.

Oh! my dear, dear son, I feel so anxious about the effect of this coming cold winter, and I cannot help a feeling of bitterness that you are not provided with proper food. If you should have an attack of rheumatism, do get permission to return to be taken care of properly. I hear nothing more of your prospects in New-York, but am sure your friends will not relax their exertions. We are all well here, and the Grands are doing finely, especially the last. A week from Thursday is our Thanksgiving Day in Conn., so we are expecting Thomas and Lillie to pass the day, after which I shall return with them to New-York for the winter. Elliott told me when he reached New-York, being cold, he wrapped around him the blanket Hunt gave him, and as he staggered from weakness, a police officer arrested him for drunkenness, but released him immediately on discovering that he was ill. What is the general feeling in the Army regarding the removal of McClellan, as far as you can judge? Uncle John is violently opposed to him, and Hunt, I think, partakes of his feelings. Whether justly, or unjustly, there is certainly a strong party against him. The Post and Tribune oppose him, the World and Express uphold him, while the Herald humbly submits its judgment to the will of the President.

Mary Wells and her husband have returned from Europe, and are expected here this week. Hannah has nearly, or quite recovered her strength. I have not much news to tell you. The Twenty-sixth Regt. left last Thursday, to the relief of some of our citizens. They were in town at all hours, and a hundred or more at once would run past the guard and rush to their tents when they pleased. The Lt.-Col. when issuing his orders, would address them thus: “Gentlemen, please to stand back,” or, “Gentlemen, please to stop,” when he wished them to halt. This is the gossip. Very few of them were known in town, and consequently less interest was felt for them than for the Eighteenth and Twenty-First. Edward Ells, and young Meech who married Louisa Bond went with them. Gen. Tyler and Ned, Dr. Osgood saw last week in Chicago. He reports that they are having a rather forlorn time. It is some time since their paroled prisoners have seen the paymaster. I hear you have been inconvenienced by the same cause. The papers state that all are now being paid, so I hope you too will receive your own. Uncle Thomas heard somewhere, that the “De Soto” was off New Orleans on her way home for repairs. If this is true, Charles may soon be home.

Good-bye, my own dear son, may the Almighty God be ever your defence and shield.

Always very lovingly,

Elliott said, if the Medical Examiner forbids his return this week, he should come and see me again. His brother William is in Washington. His arm is still useless.

SOURCE: William Chittenden Lusk, Editor, War Letters of William Thompson Lusk, p. 226-8

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: August 2, 1863

We have warm, fair weather now; but the momentary gloom, hanging like the pall of death over our affairs, cannot be dispelled without a decisive victory somewhere, or news of speedy foreign intervention. The letters which I read at the department this morning, contain no news whatever. I have suggested to the government to prohibit the exchange of newspapers in the flag of truce boat; but I doubt if they will act upon it. It is a manifest injury to us.

The exchange of prisoners is practically resumed; the Federal boat delivering yesterday 750 of our sick and wounded; and we returned 600 of their sick and wounded.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2, p. 4

Friday, September 22, 2017

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Luman Harris Tenney: October 25, 1863

Morning work over, set out for regt. Stopped in town and saw wounded boys. Glad to see the boys so long absent. Reached Watauga about noon. Found most of Co. C absent on a scout. Came in about dark. Grand jubilee. Proposed to re-enlist as regiment. All would like to go home this winter but some don't want to be bound again till time's out.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 94-5

Friday, August 4, 2017

Diary of Sergeant Major Luman Harris Tenney: June 26, 1863

Wounded boys all happy with the promise of going home on furlough. Rebs reported at the river again. Invitation to dinner at Mrs. Vickery's. Col. and his men. Stayed in camp. Bought some cakes, pies and bread from bakery. Still continues to rain. Makes camp life seem rather dull.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 75

Monday, July 31, 2017

Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes to Lucy Webb Hayes, Sunday Evening, December 21, 1862

Log Cabin Camp, December 21, 1862. Sunday evening.

Dearest: — Dr. Jim got his proper resignation papers today and will leave in the morning. Dr. Joe's leave of absence from Washington for thirty days from December 18 came to hand a half an hour after he had left on General Ewing's twenty-day leave. He will not regret the ten day's extension. . . .

I cannot answer all your inquiries about the wounded. Ligget is doing well; is probably at home ere this. I got a letter from Joel tonight. He is the Jew who got eight bullet holes in his person and limbs. He says he thinks he can stand service in a couple of months. He don't want to be discharged. Ritter writes me in good spirits.

Very interesting, all talk about the boys. . . . Webb's surprise that learning is needed in western Virginia hits the position of matters more closely than he knew. Sound teeth and a good digestion are more required than education. I do not know but fear to risk the boys in this eager mountain air; not at present, at any rate. So, of your coming,—

Almost ten years. How happy we have been. But you don't say a word about your health. If that requires you to come, you shall come. Otherwise you perhaps “better not.” Do you comprehend the solicitude I feel? Enough for tonight. — Love [to] all the boys and to Grandma.

Mrs. Hayes.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 378-9

Monday, July 17, 2017

Diary of Sergeant Major Luman Harris Tenney: Thursday, June 11, 1863

In the morning issued beef and rations for 5 days. Pontoons gone to the river. Dr. Smith returned and reported John Devlin found in the morning, wounded in bowels and died at 3 P. M. yesterday. Chapman also died. Uncertain in regard to Case. Badly wounded, brave fellow. He told me to tell the Capt. that he fell at the head of his company. Rebs came in with flag of truce to care for wounded. Made fair bargain not to parole our men, if would let theirs alone. Evidently considered themselves whipped and we still near. Afterwards claimed a victory. Took a good nap. Saw C. G. in evening. Letter from home. A. B. much better.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 73