Thursday, October 30, 2014

Lieutenant-Colonel Theodore Lyman to Elizabeth Russell Lyman, November 27, 1863

Headquarters Army Of Potomac
November 27, '63

Here we are, camped south of the Rapid Ann, and I find a leisure moment to write you a letter, or rather to begin one. My last formal note, I believe, informed you we were to move “to-morrow” (26th). And, sure enough, yesterday we kept our Thanksgiving by marching, horse, foot, and artillery, as hard as we could paddle towards Germanna Ford.



The above rough map, with the other I sent when I wrote At Centreville, will sufficiently explain our moves. From Rapid Ann Station to Morton's Ford, the Rebels have a strong line of entrenchments, but, beyond that, it is practicable to force a crossing, because the north bank commands the south. Our forces were encamped in a sort of semi-circle, of which one end rested on Kelly's Ford on the Rappahannock, and the other (at the north) on a tributary of the same river; the centre being about at Brandy Station. . . . The artillery officers had placed two masked batteries, ready to open on the south bank. On the other side of the river there were extensive breastworks, which, however, seemed not occupied. Nevertheless, we could not tell that the woods were not full of them. As the main resistance might be offered here, it was necessary that all the corps should force the passage at the same time, if possible. It so happened that General French was much delayed by heavy roads and other causes, so we had to wait till past twelve before throwing the pontoons. When this was done, there was no opposition whatsoever; but the engineers were stupid enough not to have enough boats, and this made more delay. However, about two p.m. the troops and artillery began to cross, one division having already forded. The solemn and punctual Sykes crossed below, at twelve. But the 3d and 6th, being very large, did not all get over till night, and their artillery, by reason of bad roads, had to come over by Germanna Bridge, and was not over till five the next morning. We (Headquarters) camped on the north bank of the river near the reserve artillery. It was a magnificent night, but cold. The trains came in after dark, and we had quite a time in finding tents and bedding. Everything is comparative: when I got my tent pitched, my roll of bedding in position, and a little end of a candle lighted, I felt as comfortable as if I came home to a nicely furnished house, with a good fire burning and the tea-table just set! I was up this morning a good deal before daylight. The moon shone very bright and the hoar frost glittered on the tents.  . . . At an early hour the Staff crossed, passing on the steep bank crowds of ambulances and waggons, which of course made the General very mad.  . . . Do you know the scrub oak woods above Hammond's Pond, a sort of growth that is hard for even a single man to force his way through for any great distance? That is the growth of most of this country, minus the stones, and plus a great many "runs" and clay holes, where, in bad weather, vehicles sink to their axles. Along this region there are only two or three roads that can be counted on. These are the turnpike, the plank road south of it, and the plank road that runs from Germanna Ford. There are many narrow roads, winding and little known, that in good weather may serve for the slow passage of columns (though they are mere farmers' or woodcutters' thoroughfares); but a day's rain will render them impassable for waggons and artillery. This whole region (which includes the field of Chancellorsville, a little to the east) is known as the "Wilderness." Over much of it there is no chance to deploy troops, scarcely skirmishers, and no place for artillery. . . .

Somewhere about 10.30 we got to the turnpike and halted, say a mile before Robertson's Tavern; where the 2d Corps had arrived and found the enemy in front; about eleven they had heavy skirmishing and drove the enemy back, getting also a few prisoners. They then formed line of battle and waited news from French on the right, and Sykes on the left, coming on the plank road. The day was raw and we stood near the road, over some fires we had built, waiting for news of French, to form a junction and attack at once; for Warren alone formed a weak centre and could not risk an engagement. Officer after officer was despatched to him, piloted by niggers who said they knew the country. The indefatigable Ludlow went in the opposite direction, and reported Sykes coming along all right. . . . At 12.30 we heard cannon on our extreme right, which seemed to announce French; still no authentic news, and the precious minutes fled rapidly. At last, late in the afternoon, came authentic despatches that General French's advance had had a heavy fight with the Rebels, in force, and had driven them from the field; but had thus been greatly delayed, and besides had found no roads, or bad roads, and could not effect a junction that evening. And so there was Sedgwick's Corps jammed up in the woods behind, and kept back also! So we pitched camp and waited for morning.

SOURCE: George R. Agassiz, Editor, Meade’s Headquarters, 1863-1865: Letters of Colonel Theodore Lyman from the Wilderness to Appomattox, p. 51-4

Major-General George G. Meade to Margaretta Sergeant Mead, June 17, 1864 – 12 M

Field Of Battle Near Petersburg,
Headquarters Second Army Corps, 12 M., June 17, 1864.

I have not written you for several days, as we have been moving, our mail facilities for the time being interrupted. Our march from Cold Harbor to this place has been most successful, including, as it has done, the crossing of two streams, the Chickahominy and the James, over the former of which a bridge of one thousand seven hundred feet had to be thrown, and over the James one of two thousand feet, in eighty-five feet of water—an exploit in military bridge building that has never been equaled. I reached this field yesterday, having been placed by General Grant in command of all the troops in front of Petersburg, consisting of the Army of the Potomac, and two portions of Butler's army, Grant being back at City Point. After arriving on the ground, although our men had been marching all the night before and during the day, I at once ordered an attack, which commenced at 6 P. M. and lasted pretty much continuously till 4 A. M. to-day—that is, ten hours—eight of which was by moonlight, another unparalleled feat in the annals of war.

Our attack was quite successful, as we captured several of their works, four guns and five hundred prisoners. The first prisoners brought in replied, on being asked to what command they belonged, Wise's1 Legion. I asked where the general was; they said right in my front. I asked how he was, and they replied, the old man seemed quite well. I inquired what members of his family were with him, and they replied, he had two aides, named Wise, one of whom was his son and the other a nephew. This is the latest intelligence I can send you from your Virginia connections.

We find the enemy, as usual, in a very strong position, defended by earthworks, and it looks very much as if we will have to go through a siege of Petersburg before entering on the siege of Richmond, and that Grant's words of keeping at it all summer will prove to be quite prophetic. Well, it is all in the cruise, as the sailors say.

I have to-day received your letters of the 10th and 12th. Hancock was with me when I read them. Hancock and I have great fun over the sword contest at the fair, I telling him that he made use of his time last winter to make friends with the “Shoddy,” and of course, as they have the money, I can't expect to compete with him. We laugh and joke a good deal about it, and whenever a paper comes in we look for the state of the vote. The last date we have is the 14th, and that shows me about one hundred and fifty ahead, which, as I have been behind him all the time, is the source of much merriment.

Your account of the fair is very interesting. I should think, from the newspapers, you would be likely to beat the New York fair in receipts, and that your expenses would be much less.

I wish Sargie2 would get well enough to travel; he might pay me a visit, now the weather is warm. I don't suppose Sargie cares much about seeing war, but I and George2 would like hugely to see him. The weather is getting quite warm. I continue in excellent health and spirits.
_______________

1 General Henry A. Wise, brother-in-law of Mrs. Meade.
2 Son of General Meade.

SOURCE: George Meade, The Life and Letters of George Gordon Meade, Vol. 2, p. 204-5

Diary of Josiah M. Favill: Tuesday, April 16, 1861

To-morrow we are to meet at the armory, fall in, and march in a body to Develin's clothing store, lower Broadway, there to be measured, each and all of us, for a uniform suit, to consist of dark blue jacket and sky-blue trousers. The jacket will have light blue shoulder-straps and cuffs, and will be made as quickly as possible, and forwarded to us wherever we may be. It is a thousand pities we cannot have them by Sunday, there will be such an enormous crowd to see us off, and in our every-day rig we shall look anything but soldierly.

SOURCE: Josiah Marshall Favill, The Diary of a Young Officer, p. 13-4

Governor Samuel J. Kirkwood to Edwin M. Stanton, June 23, 1863

Executive Office, Iowa,
Iowa City, June 23, 1863.
Hon. Edwin Stanton, Secretary of War,
Washington, D. G.

Sir: — I have received the letter of Brig.-Gen. Canby, A. A. G., covering copy of Surg.-Gen. Hammond's report on my application for the transfer of sick and wounded soldiers from Iowa to hospitals in that State, and confess that I am deeply mortified and much disheartened by their contents.

Surg.-Gen. Hammond reports that on the 27th of May last he reported to you that at hospitals then established, there were 40,000 vacant beds, that a compliance with my request would involve the construction of more hospitals, and therefore he disapproved it; and Gen. Canby's letter merely states that he has been instructed by you to enclose to me a copy of Surg.-Gen. Hammond's report.

I do not at all dispute the correctness of the facts in Surg.-Gen. Hammond's report, but I think you will be troubled, as I certainly have been, to discern the reason why these facts render my request an improper one, when I state to you another fact which certainly would be known to Surg.-Gen. Hammond, to-wit: That one of these hospitals in which these vacant beds are, is in the city of Keokuk in the State of Iowa. Immediately after the battle of Shiloh a hospital was established at Keokuk, and the same has been kept up continually until this time. There are now some 500 or 600 patients there, and “vacant beds” for at least 1,000 or 1,500 more, and when I apply to you to have our sick and wounded men sent there, backed as I suppose myself to be, either by a positive law or joint resolution of Congress, it is exceedingly mortifying and disheartening to learn as I do unfortunately, that the existence of this hospital is unknown at Washington, and that to comply with my request will require the construction of new hospitals. There is room enough in the hospital now established at Keokuk, and now in operation there, for all or nearly all our sick and wounded men, and thus the reason assigned by Surg.-Gen. Hammond for refusing my request being removed, permit me to renew that request and further urge it upon your consideration.

There is a great deal of ill feeling among our sick and wounded men and their friends at home on this subject. When men are suffering from wounds or disease, there is among them a natural desire to be as near home as possible and to see their friends if they can. If you, or Surg.-Gen. Hammond or I were sick or wounded, we would feel thus, and our friends would desire to have us near them so they could see us. Our sick and wounded men feel thus, and it is right that I should say to you plainly and frankly that the belief prevailing among our soldiers and their friends at home that the government refuses to gratify this natural and proper feeling of the soldiers and their friends, when as in this case it can be fairly and properly gratified, is producing results in the public mind unfavorable to the government and prejudicial to the cause of the country. When speaking on this subject men whose sons are in the army begin to say, and to say freely, that it would be well for the government to pay some regard to the feelings and wishes and opinions of those who have given all they have for the country, as well as to be careful to conciliate those who are doing much against it.

I therefore renew my request and base it on the following grounds:

1st. We have already hospital accommodations in the State.

2nd. Our people are well satisfied, and they are sustained in their belief by the best medical authority, that not only will our sick and wounded recover more rapidly in their own climate, but that many will recover if sent here who will die if kept below.

3rd. The sick and wounded can be as well guarded at Keokuk, as elsewhere, and returned to their regiments upon their recovery as well from that point as from any other.

4th. It will be a cause of heartfelt pleasure to many a poor fellow to be in a place where his wife, his sister, or his mother can go to see him and cheer him in his suffering, and will encourage their friends to stand by and support the government that shows a sympathy for those who are suffering for its preservation. Very respectfully

Your obedient servant,
SAMUEL J. KIRKWOOD

SOURCE: Henry Warren Lathrop, The Life and Times of Samuel J. Kirkwood, Iowa's War Governor, p. 235-6

Senator James W. Grimes to Elizabeth Nealley Grimes, May 10, 1864


United States Senate-chamber,
Washington, May 10, 1864.

We have an intense anxiety here about the recent battles, though the people have not been so demonstrative as on many former occasions. The battle on Friday was fiercely contested all day, was almost entirely a musketry-fight, and was a success to us, inasmuch as the enemy did not accomplish his purpose, which was to whip us. We had two men to their one in action. Grant had one hundred and forty thousand men, and all engaged, save one brigade of colored troops, say six thousand men. Grant and Meade estimate Lee's army at seventy thousand, which I suspect is about the truth. On Saturday, Lee slowly and sullenly moved off in the direction of Orange Court-House, expecting, doubtless, that Grant would follow him, and that he would be able to resume the fight where he would have great advantages in the topography of the country. But Grant failed to be caught in that trap, and moved on the direct road to Richmond, via Spottsylvania Court-House. We have all sorts of rumors about battles since that of Friday, but there is nothing whatever reliable. Nearly all of our army was some time or other in the day soundly thrashed, but generally rallied very well. There were very few stragglers, less than were ever known before. The enemy's tactics consisted of the most frantic, impetuous and gigantic efforts to break our line by attacking it with large masses. Their troops are far better at this than ours are. At times they drove our whole line back, and took our positions, but we recovered them. We lost one entire brigade at one time, most of a brigade at another, and a regiment at another, by capture. We lost more prisoners than they did. Had the rebels not gone away from the battle-field, it would not have been claimed as a victory by us, for they lost no guns, comparatively no prisoners, no baggage, and carried away their wounded. They are probably far more exhausted by the battle than we are, and we hope that this is the beginning of the end. The rebels fight, though, like very devils incarnate. It is useless to attempt to disguise it, there is an abandon about their attacks that is not imitated even by most of our men.

SOURCE: William Salter, The Life of James W. Grimes, p. 261-2

Diary of Private Alexander G. Downing: Thursday, December 31, 1863

The weather has been generally mild this month, though changeable, but today it capped the climax. There was a strong gale from the northwest, accompanied by rain and snow. This is regular muster day. The Eleventh Iowa was mustered at 10 o'clock, and we all had to fall in line by companies, and march to the colonel's tent, where we answered to our names as they were called. This is a poor day for "Veterans;" the re-enlisting is not progressing very fast.

Source: Alexander G. Downing, Edited by Olynthus B., Clark, Downing’s Civil War Diary, p. 160

Diary of Private Charles H. Lynch: April 10, 1864

A cold, damp, disagreeable morning. Passed the Point of Rocks early this morning. Saw that the Potomac River was on a rampage owing to the recent heavy rains. On arrival at Harper's Ferry formed in line for a march to Camp Hill, Bolivar Heights. During our absence the 34th Massachusetts Regiment was ordered to take our place, so took possession of our camp. We were forced to take quarters in old buildings until camp could be located and tents put up. A large mail was waiting for us. I received a number of letters.

SOURCE: Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary, 1862-1865, of Charles H. Lynch 18th Conn. Vol's, p. 52

Diary of Luman Harris Tenney: December 3, 1861

Reached Camp Denison where were encamped 8,000 troops.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 4

14th Indiana Infantry

Organized at Terre Haute, Ind., for one year's service May, 1861. Reorganized for three years' service and mustered in June 7, 1861. (1st three years Regiment organized in Indiana.) Moved to Indianapolis, Ind., June 24, thence to Clarksburg, W. Va., July 5. Attached to 1st Brigade, Army of Occupation, West Virginia, to September, 1861. Reynolds' Cheat Mountain District, W. Va., to December, 1861. 1st Brigade, Lander's Division, Army of the Potomac, to March, 1862. 1st Brigade, Shields' 2nd Division, Banks' 5th Army Corps, to April, 1862. and Dept. of the Shenandoah to May 1862. 1st Brigade, Shields' Division, Dept. of the Rappanhannock, to June, 1862. Kimball's Independent Brigade, 2nd Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, to September, 1862. 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 2nd Army Corps, to March, 1864. 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, 2nd Army Corps, to June, 1864.

SERVICE. – Campaign in West Virginia July 7-17, 1861. Battle of Rich Mountain July 11 (Reserve). Moved to Cheat Mountain July 13, and duty there till October. Operations on Cheat Mountain September 11-17. Cheat Mountain Summit September 12. Action at Greenbrier River October 3-4. Duty at Huttonsville, Philippi and Romney till January 10, 1862. Expedition to Blue's Gap January 6-7. Hanging Rock, Blue's Gap, January 7. Moved to Paw Paw Tunnel January 10, and duty there till March 5. Advance on Winchester, Va., March 5-15. Battle of Winchester March 23. Columbia Furnace April 16. Occupation of Mt. Jackson April 17. March to Fredericksburg May 12-21, and return to Front Royal May 25-30. Front Royal May 30. Expedition to Luray June 3-7. Forced march to Port Republic June 8-9. Battle of Port Republic June 9 (Reserve). Moved to Alexandria June 29, thence to Harrison's Landing June 30-July 2. Chickahominy Swamps July 3-5. Saxall's, Herring Creek, Harrison's Landing July 4. At Harrison's Landing till August 15. Moved to Alexandria, thence to Centreville August 16-29. In works at Centreville and cover Pope's retreat to Washington August 29-September 2. Maryland Campaign September 6-22. Battles of South Mountain September 14; Antietam September 16-17. Moved to Harper's Ferry, W. Va., September 22, and duty there till October 30. Reconnoissance to Leesburg October 1-2. Berry's Ford Gap November 1. March to Falmouth, Va., October 30-November 19. Battle of Fredericksburg, Va., December 12-15. "Mud March" January 20-24, 1863. At Falmouth till April. Chancellorsville Campaign April 27-May 6. Battle of Chancellorsville May 1-5. Gettysburg (Pa.) Campaign June 11-July 24. Battle of Gettysburg July 2-4. Pursuit of Lee to Manassas Gap, Va., July 5-24. Detached on duty at New York City during draft disturbances August 16 to September 6. Bristoe Campaign October 9-22. Auburn and Bristoe October 14. Blackburn's Ford October 15. Advance to line of the Rappahannock November 7-8. Mine Run Campaign November 26-December 2. Robertson's Tavern or Locust Grove November 27. Demonstration on the Rapidan February 6-7, 1864. Morton's Ford February 6-7. Campaign from the Rapidan to the James River May 4-June 15. Battle of the Wilderness May 5-7. Laurel Hill May 8. Spottsylvania May 8-12. Po River May 10. Spottsylvania Court House May 12-21. Assault on the Salient "Bloody Angle" May 12. North Anna River May 23-26. On line of the Pamunkey May 26-28. Totopotomoy May 28-31. Cold Harbor June 1-6. Left front June 6. Mustered out June 16, 1864, expiration of term. Veterans and Recruits transferred to 20th Indiana Infantry.

Regiment lost during service 11 Officers and 139 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 72 Enlisted men by disease. Total 222.

SOURCE: Frederick H. Dyer, A Compendium of the War of the 3, p. Rebellion, Part 1124

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Captain Charles Russell Lowell to Anna Jackson Lowell, July 1, 1861

New York, July 1, '61.

Dear Mother, — Got my orders this morning all right — have taken the oath of allegiance, and signified my acceptance of the appointment, —so I am now fairly in the U. S. Army. I shall leave here to-morrow evening for Pittsburg — learn from Captain Cram of our Regiment that the captains will probably be put on recruiting duty for a month or more. This will not be a very pleasant occupation for the summer months, but the barracks and riding school at Pittsburg are not ready, and anything is better than idleness or Washington.

Dr. Stone is very impatient under Scott's wise delay.

It seems to me that the necessity for martial law throughout Virginia and Maryland is daily becoming stronger. Our Army is becoming demoralized — Union men are alienated and treason is encouraged by even Banks's operations in Baltimore: he can arrest men, but what can he do with them without martial law?

You would not like to see me in uniform — I look like a butcher.

SOURCE: Edward Waldo Emerson, Life and Letters of Charles Russell Lowell, p. 213

Diary of Josephine Shaw Lowell: October 29, 1861

We heard today various things to make us proud of Massachusetts men. A man who saw the fight at Balls Bluff says that whenever one of their number fell, he was instantly brought within the lines by some of his comrades who rushed out to get him. The men fought all the way to the line and retired in excellent order. Alice Forbes writes to Mollie: “Wendell Holmes was knocked over, but, jumping up, he waved his sword and was cheering his men on when he received another wound which disabled him. Tell his friends of his gallantry.”

SOURCE: William Rhinelander Stewart, The Philanthropic Work of Josephine Shaw Lowell, p. 21

Diary of Major Rutherford B. Hayes: Monday Evening, August 26, 1861

Marched today up the beautiful valley, “Tygart's Valley” I believe, to this pretty camp in the hills, eighteen miles. Saw our general. About forty-five, a middle-sized, good-looking man, educated at West Point. An army man, good sense, good talker — General Reynolds. Oh, what a lovely spot!

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 76-8

Lieutenant-Colonel Theodore Lyman to Elizabeth Russell Lyman, November 25, 1863

Headquarters Army Of Potomac
November 25, 1863

I write a line, merely to say that the entire army is under marching orders, for daylight to-morrow; the men in high spirits. As to the officers, you would suppose they were all going on a merrymaking, to hear them when the order was issued. Our object is to fight the enemy, which I pray we may do, and with success, but Dieu dispose.

Our stopper has been the weather, which to-night promises to be set fair, and the roads are passable, though not good. I wish some critics, who complain of our inactivity, could be compelled to take a soldier's load and march twenty miles through this mud. Their next article would, I think, clearly set forth the necessity of doing nothing till the driest of weather.

SOURCE: George R. Agassiz, Editor, Meade’s Headquarters, 1863-1865: Letters of Colonel Theodore Lyman from the Wilderness to Appomattox, p. 50-1

Major-General George G. Meade to Margaretta Sergeant Mead, June 12, 1864

Headquarters Army Of The Potomac, June 12, 1864

In my last letter I gave you an account of a wicked and malicious falsehood which I found had been extensively circulated all through the North, and the first intimation of which was a reference to it in the Inquirer of the 2d inst. Since writing, I have received the enclosed message from the Secretary of War, to which I sent the accompanying note. I do not remember whether I ever told you that we were honored with the presence of Mr. Dana, the Assistant Secretary of War, who accompanies this army, as a kind of staff officer of the Secretary, and who keeps the Secretary advised by daily telegrams of the progress and condition of affairs. It is from Mr. Dana's telegrams that Mr. Stanton's despatches to General Dix are made up. This I learned accidentally, yesterday, in a conversation with Grant, in which I commented on some of Mr. Stanton's despatches. Grant agreed fully with me in my views, and then told me he had never sent a despatch to Mr. Stanton since crossing the Rapidan, the few despatches he had sent being directed to General Halleck. I was glad to hear this, because it removed from my mind a prejudice I had imbibed, on the supposition that Mr. Stanton was quoting Grant, and arising from the fact I have mentioned, that in all Mr. Stanton's despatches from Grant's headquarters my name was never alluded to; for which I had held Grant responsible, without cause.

I believe I have saved you some annoyance by informing an officer, who applied to me in the name of Mrs. Judge Daly, of New York, to know if you would not unite in the great woman's movement about dress, that, practically, you had been engaged in that movement ever since your marriage, and that at present your domestic duties were, from your large family, so absorbing, you really had no time to devote to public matters, even as important as the great woman's movement.

To-day we commence a flank march, to unite with Butler1 on the James. If it is successful, as I think it will be, it will bring us to the last act of the Richmond drama, which I trust will have but few scenes in it, and will end fortunately and victoriously for us.

Both George2 and myself are quite well, though the heat, hard service, bad water, and swampy regions are beginning to tell on the health of the army.

I send you an excellent picture of Sedgwick.
_______________

1 General Benjamin F. Butler, commanding the Army of the James.

2 Son of General Meade.

SOURCE: George Meade, The Life and Letters of George Gordon Meade, Vol. 2, p. 203-4

Governor Samuel J. Kirkwood to John Clark, December 16, 1862

Executive Office,
Davenport, Iowa, Dec. 16. 1862.
John Clark, Esq., State Agent,
Springfield, Mo.

Dear Sir: — I have just seen Col. Gifford, who returned night before last. He gives me a deplorable account of the condition of our boys at Springfield. I want you to stay in Missouri as long as you find it necessary. See the Medical Director, Gen. Curtis, Gen. Herron and every one else until you get our boys cared for. You need not be backward or mealy-mouthed in discussing the state of affairs, and in cursing everyone who wont do his duty. Talk right hard, and have our boys cared for. If hay and straw cannot be had, have Gen. Curtis send cots and mattresses, and call on the Sanitary Association of St. Louis for help and supplies.

Very truly,
SAMUEL J. KIRKWOOD.

SOURCE: Henry Warren Lathrop, The Life and Times of Samuel J. Kirkwood, Iowa's War Governor, p. 235

Senator James W. Grimes to Elizabeth Nealley Grimes, April 29, 1864

April 29th. — I was never half so comfortable in Washington, without you, as I am now. I am in one of the best, most genteel, quiet, cultivated families I have ever known in Washington; my apartments are two nice, airy, neat, and convenient rooms, and I have the only breakfasts I have ever eaten at any boarding-house in Washington. My colleague Wilson, and Henderson, of Missouri, dine with me. Fessenden will adopt the same mode of life, and begin to dine with us on Monday, and Clark and Morrill are to be admitted to our club during the week. Of course, we have good dinners. So much for my creature comforts.

I have just received a long letter from Dr. Jonathan Blanchard, formerly of Galesburg, the old Orthodox apostle at Galesburg, in which he compliments me in very undeserved terms, and concludes by saying that all of my merits are to be attributed to your instructions and example. I believe that the general impression is, that I am of myself a most perverse mortal, toned and tempered down by you into a reasonably civilized piece of humanity.

We have no news here. Every one is incensed against Banks, and demands his supersedure. Our disaster in Louisiana was much greater than was reported. There will be no battle here for some weeks, probably; in the mean time a vast force is being concentrated. Last Monday more than forty thousand men marched through town, six thousand negroes, on their way southward. The universal opinion was that the negroes made much the best appearance, and there seemed to be the best of feeling between them and the white soldiers.

SOURCE: William Salter, The Life of James W. Grimes, p. 260-1

Diary of Private Alexander G. Downing: Wednesday, December 30, 1863

The veterans of the Eleventh Iowa were sworn into the United States service today. There were ten from Company E, as follows: Nathan Chase, George Cush, Leroy Douglas, Frank Johnson, James Martin, James Newcom, Henry Newans, James Rankin, Burtis Rumsey, and Orlando Stout.

Source: Alexander G. Downing, Edited by Olynthus B., Clark, Downing’s Civil War Diary, p. 159-60

Diary of Private Charles H. Lynch: April 9, 1864

Still waiting at the Union Relief Rooms for transportation to our camp. Rain — cold — disagreeable weather. Cannot leave the place for we don't know just when a train will be ready for us. Late this P. M. we go on board train for Virginia.

SOURCE: Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary, 1862-1865, of Charles H. Lynch 18th Conn. Vol's, p. 52

Diary of Luman Harris Tenney: December 2, 1861

Wrote and sent a package to Fannie. Bid the friends good-bye and left for Camp Denison. A noisy time — boys drunk —  slept in caboose.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 4

13th Indiana Infantry

Organized at Indianapolis, Ind., for one year's service May, 1861, but reorganized for three years and mustered in June 19, 1861. Left State for West Virginia July 4. Attached to Rosecrans' Brigade, McClellan's Army of West Virginia, July 1861. 1st Brigade, Army of Occupation, West Virginia, to September, 1861. Reynolds' Cheat Mountain Brigade, West Virginia, to November, 1861· Milroy's Command, Cheat Mountain District, W. Va., to January, 1862. 2nd Brigade, Landers' Division, to March, 1862. 2nd Brigade, Shields' 2nd Division, Banks' 5th Army Corps and Dept. of the Shenandoah to May, 1862. 2nd Brigade, Shields' Division, Dept. of the Rappahannock, to July, 1862. Ferry's 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 4th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, to September, 1862. Ferry's Brigade, Division at Suffolk, Va., 7th Army Corps, Dept. of Virginia, September, 1862. Foster's Provisional Brigade, Division at Suffolk, 7th Army Corps, to April, 1863. 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 7th Army Corps, to July, 1863. 1st Brigade, Vogdes' Division, Folly Island, S.C., 10th Army Corps, Dept. of the South, to January. 1864. 1st Brigade, Vogdes Division, Folly Island, S.C., Northern District, Dept. of the South, to February, 1864. 1st Brigade, Vogdes' Division, District of Florida, to April, 1864. 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, 10th Army Corps, Army of the James, Dept. of Virginia and North Carolina, to May, 1864. 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, 18th Army Corps, to June, 1864. 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, 10th Army Corps, to December, 1864. 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, 24th Army Corps, to January, 1865. 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, Terry's Provisional Corps, Dept. of North Carolina, to March, 1865. 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, 10th Army Corps, Dept. of North Carolina, to September, 1865.

SERVICE. – Campaign in West Virginia July 7-17, 1861. Battle of Rich Mountain July 11. Moved to Beverly July 13, thence to Cheat Mountain Pass. Operations on Cheat Mountain September 11-17. Cheat Mountain Pass September 12. Greenbrier River October 3-4. Scouting Expedition through the Kanawha District October 29-November 7. Expedition to Camp Baldwin December 11-14. Action at Camp Allegheny December 13. Moved to Green Springs Run December 18, and duty there till March, 1862. Skirmishes at Bath, Hancock, Great Cacapon Bridge, Alpine Station and Sir John's Run January 1-4. Advance on Winchester, Va., March 5-15. Kernstown March 22. Battle of Winchester March 23. Occupation of Mt. Jackson April 17. Summerville Heights May 7. March to Fredericksburg May 12-21, and return to Front Royal May 25-30. Battle of Port Republic June 9. Moved to the Peninsula, Va., June 29-July 2. At Harrison's Landing till August 16. Moved to Fortress Monroe August 16-23, thence to Suffolk, Va., August 30, and duty there till June 27, 1863. Reconnoissance to Franklin on the Blackwater October 3, 1862. Franklin October 3. Zuni Minor's Ford December 12. Expedition toward Blackwater January 8-10, 1863. Action at Deserted House January 30. Leesville April 4. Siege of Suffolk April 12-May 4. Edenton, Providence Church and Somerton Roads April 13. Suffolk April 17. Edenton Road April 24. Siege of Suffolk raised May 4. Foster's Plantation May 20. Dix's Peninsula Campaign June 24-July 7. Expedition from White House to South Anna Bridge July 1-7. South Anna Bridge July 4. Moved to Folly Island, S.C., July 28-August 3. Siege operations against Fort Wagner, Morris Island and against Fort Sumpter and Charleston, S.C., till February, 1864. Capture of Forts Wagner and Gregg September 7, 1863. Stationed at Folly Island October, 1863, to February, 1864. Reenlisted December, 1863. Moved to Jacksonville, Fla., February 23, 1864, and duty there till April 17. Ordered to Hilton Head, S.C.; thence to Gloucester Point, Va. Butler's operations on Southside of the James River and against Petersburg and Richmond, Va., May 4-28. Occupation of Bermuda Hundred May 5. Port Walthal Junction May 6-7. Swift Creek May 9-10. Operations against Fort Darling May 12-16. Battle of Drury's Bluff May 14-16. Bermuda Hundred May 16-28. Moved to White House, thence to Cold Harbor May 28-June 1. Battles about Cold Harbor June 1-12; before Petersburg June 15-18. Siege operations against Petersburg and Richmond June 16, 1864, to December 6, 1864. Mine Explosion, Petersburg, July 30, 1864. Non-Veterans left front June 19. Mustered out June 24, 1864. Demonstration north of the James at Deep Bottom August 13-20. Battle of Strawberry Plains August 14-18. Chaffin's Farm, New Market Heights, September 28-30. Battle of Fair Oaks October 27-28. Detached duty at New York City during Election of 1864 November 4-17. Expedition to Fort Fisher, N. C., December 7-27. 2nd Expedition to Fort Fisher, N. C., January 3-15, 1865. Assault and capture of Fort Fisher January 15. Town Creek February 19-20. Capture of Wilmington February 22. Campaign of the Carolinas March 1-April 26. Advance on Goldsboro March 6-21. Occupation of Goldsboro March 21. Advance on Raleigh April 10-14. Occupation of Raleigh April 14. Bennett's House April 26. Surrender of Johnston and his army. Duty at various points in North Carolina till September. Mustered out September 5, 1865. Regiment lost during service 3 Officers and 104 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 2 Officers and 146 Enlisted men by disease. Total 255.

SOURCE: Frederick H. Dyer, A Compendium of the War of the 3, p. Rebellion, Part 1123-4

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Major Rutherford B. Hayes to Lucy Webb Hayes, August 25, 1861

Beverly, Virginia, August 25, 1861, Sunday A. M.

Dearest: — Supposing I might have to go on towards Cheat Mountain this morning, I wrote you a very short note last night I now write so soon again to show you how much I love you and how much my thoughts are on the dear ones at home.

I never enjoyed any business or mode of life as much as I do this. I really feel badly when I think of several of my intimate friends who are compelled to stay at home. These marches and campaigns in the hills of western Virginia will always be among the pleasantest things I can remember. I know we are in frequent perils, that we may never return and all that, but the feeling that I am where I ought to be is a full compensation for all that is sinister, leaving me free to enjoy as if on a pleasure tour.

I am constantly reminded of our trip and happiness a year ago. I met a few days ago in the Fifth Regiment the young Moore we saw at Quebec, who went with me to see the animals at Montreal one Sunday. Do you remember the rattlesnakes?

Young Bradford goes to Cincinnati today. — We have our troubles in the Twenty-third of course, but it is happiness compared with the Guthries — fine fellows and many fine officers, but, etc., etc.

We saw nothing prettier [last year] than the view from my tent this morning. McCook's men are half a mile to the right, McMullen's Battery on the next hill in front of us. The Virginia Second a half mile in front, and the Guthries to the left. We on higher ground see them all; then mountains, meadow, and stream. Nothing wanting but you and the boys.

I want to say to you it will be impossible often, as we get further in the hills, to write, and when I do write it will be only a few lines. Don't think I am getting weaned from you and home. It is merely the condition of things compels me.

I saw young Culbertson, looking strong and healthy, Channing Richards, the Andersons, etc., etc., all ditto. Young Culbertson is now in a scouting party that is after guerrillas who murdered some of their men in an ambulance.

I have got a new boy — a yellow lad in Guthrie Gray uniform, aged about sixteen, named Theodore Wilson.

Sunday evening. — Just got orders to go to Huttonsville. Look on my map of Virginia and you will see it geography style, but the beautiful scenery you will not see there. We are to be for the present under General Reynolds, a good officer, and then General Benham or General Rosecrans. All good. The colonel takes our one-half and the German half of McCook and the battery of McMullen. The soldiers are singing so merrily tonight. It is a lovely sweet starlit evening. I rode over to Colonel Sandershoff (I think that is the name of McCook's soldierly and gentlemanly lieutenant-colonel) to tell him about the march, and from his elevated camp I could see all the camps, “sparkling and bright.” I thought of the night you walked with me about Camp Chase.

Good-night. Our most advanced outpost is connected by telegraph, so that in Cincinnati you will know what happens at an early date; earlier far than any letter of mine can reach you. Kisses to all the boys. Love to Grandma and affection enough for you, dearest.

Affectionately,
R. B. Hayes.

P. S. — It would do mother good to know that I read three chapters in the Testament she sent me. Send a quarter's worth of postage stamps in your next.

Mrs. Hayes.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 76-8

Lieutenant-Colonel Theodore Lyman to Elizabeth Russell Lyman, November 19, 1863

Headquarters Army Of Potomac
November 19, '63

The Britons still continue with us. Yesterday we took them, with a small escort, to Buford's Headquarters beyond Culpeper. By Brandy Station we came across a line of rifle-pits that the Rebs had thrown up, probably on the Saturday night of their retreat, so as to cover the trains falling back on the Rapid Ann. We found the cavalry Chief afflicted with rheumatism, which he bore with his usual philosophy. Hence we made haste, across the country, to General Warren's, where he had prepared some manoeuvres of infantry for us. This was one of the finest sights I have seen in the army. There were some 6000 or 7000 men on the plain, and we stood on a little hill to look. The evolutions ended by drawing up the force in two lines, one about 300 yards in rear of the other; and each perhaps a mile long. Then they advanced steadily a short distance, when the order was given to charge, and, as if they were one man, both lines broke into a run and came up the hill, shouting and yelling. I never saw so fine a military spectacle. The sun made the bayonets look like a straight hedge of bright silver, which moved rapidly toward you. But the great fun was when part of the line came to a stone wall, over which they hopped with such agility as to take Colonel Earle prisoner, while Captain Stephenson's horse, which was rather slow, received an encouraging prod from a bayonet. Which events put us in great good humor, and we rode merrily home.

SOURCE: George R. Agassiz, Editor, Meade’s Headquarters, 1863-1865: Letters of Colonel Theodore Lyman from the Wilderness to Appomattox, p. 50

Major-General George G. Meade to Margaretta Sergeant Mead, June 9, 1864 – 9 p.m.

Headquarters Army Of The Potomac, 9 P. M., June 9, 1864.

I fully enter into all your feelings of annoyance at the manner in which I have been treated, but I do not see that I can do anything but bear patiently till it pleases God to let the truth be known and matters set right. I have noticed what you say about the Inquirer, but, as you observe, it is no worse than the other papers. Even Coppée, in the June number of his magazine, shows he, too, is demoralized, he having a flaming editorial notice of the wonderful genius of Grant. Now, to tell the truth, the latter has greatly disappointed me, and since this campaign I really begin to think I am something of a general.

I don't know whether you saw an article in the Inquirer of the 2d inst. on me, which the writer intended to be very complimentary.1 At the close of it he refers to an eventful occasion when Grant saved the life of the nation, when I desired to destroy it. I could not make out what in the world this meant; but fortunately I found the author, one Edward Cropsey, and having sent for him, he explained that he had heard that on the night of the second day's battle of the Wilderness I had urged on General Grant the withdrawal of the army across the Rapidan, but Grant had firmly resisted all my intercessions, and thus the country was saved the disgrace of a retreat. I asked his authority; he said it was the talk of the camp. I told him it was a base and wicked lie, and that I would make an example of him, which should not only serve to deter others from committing like offenses, but would give publicity to his lie and the truth. I accordingly issued an order denouncing the falsehood, and ordering the offender to be paraded through the lines of the army with a placard bearing the inscription, "Libeler of the Press," and then that he should be put beyond the lines and not allowed to return. This sentence was duly executed, much to the delight of the whole army, for the race of newspaper correspondents is universally despised by the soldiers.

General Grant happened to be present when I was making out the order, and fully approved of it, although he said he knew the offender, and that his family was a respectable one in Illinois. After the man had been turned out and the affair had become public, then I learned to my surprise that this malicious falsehood had been circulated all over the country.

We find Lee's position again too strong for us, and will have to make another movement, the particulars of which I cannot disclose.
_______________

1 For article mentioned, see Appendix P.

SOURCE: George Meade, The Life and Letters of George Gordon Meade, Vol. 2, p. 202-3

Governor Samuel J. Kirkwood to Brigadier-General Francis J. Herron, January 6, 1863

Executive Office, Iowa,
Iowa City, Jan. 6, 1863.

General: — I wish I could shake hands with you and express to you verbally my thanks and congratulations for the well fought battle and dearly won victory of Prairie Grove. I have transmitted to the 19th and 20th letters of thanks, which I hope will be read to them. They have proved themselves worthy to be called “Iowa boys.”

General, you are surpassing yourself. Your name is in all men's mouths, and the people delight to speak the praises of our plucky little Iowa general. Wilson's Creek, Pea Ridge and Prairie Grove make a record of which any man may well be proud, and I assure you you can't feel more pride in that record than I do.

Very respectfully your obedient servant,
SAMUEL J. KIRKWOOD.
Brig.-Gen. J. F. Herron,
Commanding 2nd Division Army Frontier

SOURCE: Henry Warren Lathrop, The Life and Times of Samuel J. Kirkwood, Iowa's War Governor, p. 234

Senator James W. Grimes to Elizabeth Nealley Grimes, April 24, 1864

Washington, April 24,1864.

Frank Fessenden has been wounded and captured. It is not known how badly he is wounded. His regiment behaved well, and so did he. Everybody curses Banks loud and deep. I have not seen Fessenden since the news came. I send you Foster's speech on Sumner. It is regarded as capital here.

SOURCE: William Salter, The Life of James W. Grimes, p. 260

Diary of Private Alexander G. Downing: Tuesday, December 29, 1863

I was on camp guard today. The weather is quite pleasant. News came that General Schofield is to be removed from the Department of the Missouri and that Rosecrans is to be placed in command. People are rejoicing over the change. Schofield is in command of a corps with Grant.

Source: Alexander G. Downing, Edited by Olynthus B., Clark, Downing’s Civil War Diary, p. 159

Diary of Private Charles H. Lynch: April 8, 1864

Arrived at midnight last night. Marched to the Union Relief Rooms. Here we wait for transportation to Harper's Ferry. Wishing we were in our camp.

SOURCE: Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary, 1862-1865, of Charles H. Lynch 18th Conn. Vol's, p. 52

Diary of Luman Harris Tenney: December 1, 1861

Sunday. Spent in camp and at Uncle's. Was paid off.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 4

12th Regiment Infantry –1 Year

Organized at Indianapolis, Ind., for one year's State service May 11, 1861. Moved to Evansville, Ind., June 11. Transferred to U.S. service July 18, 1861. Left State for Baltimore, Md., July 23; thence moved to Sandy Hook, Md., July 28. Attached to Abercrombie's Brigade, Banks' Dept. of the Shenandoah, to October, 1861. Abercrombie's Brigade, Bank's Division, Army of the Potomac, to March, 1862. 2nd Brigade, Williams' 1st Division, Banks' 5th Army Corps, to April, 1862, and Dept. of the Shenandoah to May, 1862.

SERVICE. – Duty at Harper's Ferry, W. Va., Williamsport and Sharpsburg, Md., till March, 1862. Advance on Winchester, Va., March 1-12. Skirmish at Stephenson's Station, near Winchester, March 11. Operations in the Shenandoah Valley till April. Duty at Warrenton Junction, Va., April 3-May 5. Reconnoissance to Rappahannock River and skirmish at Rappahannock Crossing April 18. March to Washington, D.C., May 5, and mustered out May 14, 1862. Expiration of term. Regiment lost during service 24 Enlisted men by disease.

SOURCE: Frederick H. Dyer, A Compendium of the War of the 3, p. Rebellion, Part 1122

12th Indiana Infantry – 3 Years

Organized at Indianapolis, Ind., May 27 to August 27, 1862, and mustered in August 17, 1862. Left State for Kentucky August 21. Attached to Cruft's Brigade, Army of Kentucky, and moved to Richmond, Ky. Battle of Richmond, Ky., August 30. Regiment mostly captured. Paroled and sent to Indianapolis, Ind., for reorganization. Action at Lexington, Ky., September 2 (Detachment). Regiment left Indianapolis, Ind., for Memphis, Tenn., November 23, 1862. Attached to 2nd Brigade, District of Memphis, Tenn., 13th Army Corps (Old), to December, 1862. 1st Brigade, 1st Division, District of Memphis, 13th Army Corps, December, 1862.  1st Brigade, 1st Division, 17th Army Corps, Army of the Tennessee, to January, 1863. 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 16th Army Corps, to July, 1863. 1st Brigade, 4th Division, 15th Army Corps, to September, 1864. 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 15th Army Corps, to June, 1865.

SERVICE. – Grant's Central Mississippi Campaign November-December, 1862. Action at Holly Springs, Miss., December 20, 1862. Duty at Grand Junction and Colliersville, Tenn., guarding Memphis & Charleston R. R. till June, 1863. Ordered to Vicksburg, Miss., June 9. Siege of Vicksburg June 12-July 4. Advance on Jackson, Miss., July 4-10. Siege of Jackson July 10-17. Duty at Big Black till September 28. Moved to Memphis, Tenn., thence march to Chattanooga, Tenn., September 28-November 20. Operations on the Memphis & Charleston R. R. in Alabama October 20-29. Chattanooga-Ringgold Campaign November 23-27. Tunnel Hill November 23-25. Missionary Ridge November 25. March to relief of Knoxville, Tenn., November 28-December 8. Duty at Scottsboro, Ala., till May, 1864. Atlanta Campaign May 1-September 8. Demonstrations on Resaca May 8-13. Near Resaca May 13. Battle of Resaca May 14-15. Movements on Dallas May 18-25. Battles about Dallas, New Hope Church and Allatoona Hills May 25-June 5. Operations about Marietta and against Kenesaw Mountain June 10-July 2. Brush Mountain June 15. Assault on Kenesaw June 27. Nickajack Creek July 2-5. Chattahoochie River July 5-17. Battle of Atlanta July 22. Siege of Atlanta July 22-August 25. Ezra Chapel, Hood's 2nd sortie, July 28. Flank movement on Jonesboro August 25-30. Battle of Jonesboro August 31-September 1. Lovejoy Station September 2-6. Operations against Hood in North Georgia and North Alabama September 29-November 3. March to the sea November 15-December 10. Siege of Savannah December 10-21. Campaign of the Carolinas January to April, 1865. Reconnoissance to Salkehatchie River, South Carolina, January 25. Salkehatchie Swamp February 2-5. South Edisto River February 9. North Edisto River February 12-13. Congaree Creek February 15. Columbia February 16-17. Battle of Bentonville, N. C., March 20-21. Occupation of Goldsboro March 24. Advance on Raleigh April 10-14. Occupation of Raleigh April 14. Bennett's House April 26. Surrender of Johnston and his army. March to Washington, D.C., via Richmond, Va., April 29-May 20. March and review June 24, 1865. Veterans and Recruits transferred to the 48th and 59th Indiana Infantry.

Regiment lost during service 8 Officers and 92 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 2 Officers and 193 Enlisted men by disease. Total 295.

SOURCE: Frederick H. Dyer, A Compendium of the War of the 3, p. Rebellion, Part 1122-3

Monday, October 27, 2014

Governor Samuel J. Kirkwood to Milton B. Cochran, January 5, 1863

Executive Office, Iowa,
Iowa City, Jan. 5, 1863.
M. B. Cochran, Surgeon First Regiment Iowa Cavalry,
Acting Medical Director 3d Division Army of Frontier.

Sir: — I returned from Washington on the 2nd and found your letter of 13th December this morning. I am truly rejoiced to hear from you and am both grateful and grieved to hear the particulars of the hard fought battle of Prairie Grove. Iowa as usual did her share of the lighting, and did it nobly, but also as usual lost heavily. I regret the loss of McFarland very much. He was a noble man. How is Thompson doing? *Please write me how he is. He is a gallant fellow. I need not impress on you the necessity of doing all that can be done for our brave boys. Let me say one thing: Don't let them lack for anything, “red tape” or no “red tape;” see that they have all that they need. Please write often.

Very truly your friend,
SAMUEL J. KIRKWOOD.
_______________

* Wm. G., [Maj..] of the 20th Reg’t

SOURCE: Henry Warren Lathrop, The Life and Times of Samuel J. Kirkwood, Iowa's War Governor, p. 234

Senator James W. Grimes to Elizabeth Nealley Grimes, November 26, 1863

Boston, November 26th.

I have been to church at King's Chapel, and heard a good, patriotic sermon (Thanksgiving-day). Judge Collamer is at Cambridgeport with his whole family on their way to Washington.

SOURCE: William Salter, The Life of James W. Grimes, p. 240

Review: General Grant and the Rewriting of History


By Frank P. Varney

Just a few days before his death on July 23, 1885, former President, Ulysses S. Grant, penned the final pages of his memoirs.  Published posthumously, consisting of two volumes, the “Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant,” was an instant best seller, and the income derived from its royalties restored the Grant family fortune which he had lost through several bad business decisions.  Mark Twain, Grant’s publisher, lauded the memoir as a “literary masterpiece.”  The memoirs are highly regarded by military historians and literary critics alike, and nearly 140 years after its author’s death it has yet to go out of print.

Ulysses S. Grant parlayed his fame as the victor of the Civil War into a political victory when he was elected the 18th President of the United States in 1868.  Periodically historians tend to rank the Presidents from best to worst, and Grant’s lack luster performance as President, combined with several political scandals of those in his administration, typically leaves him ranked near the bottom, with most historians summarizing Grant as an honest man but a poor judge of character.

In his memoirs Grant makes several negative representations of a few fellow Union Army generals.  If Grant was such a poor judge of character, then why do most historians take what Grant wrote in his memoirs as the gospel truth?  If Grant could be wrong about the character of the men that he appointed to places of high esteem during his administration, couldn’t his negative characterizations in his memoirs be incorrect as well?  Frank P. Varney, Professor of History at Dickenson State University, has asked that very same question and his research has led him to some startling conclusions about what we think we know about the Civil War, and how much of it was shaped by the writings of Ulysses S. Grant.

Citing multiple historians, tracing their sources Dr. Varney uncovered many noted historians have taken Grant at his word, using his memoirs as a single source for various incidents of the war.  Professor Varney, using multiple primary sources, compared them to Grant’s writings to uncover striking differences compared to what his contemporaries wrote.  And in at least one instance it appears that Grant falsified the records of the War Department to the detriment of others.

Though several of Grant’s brothers-in-arms careers were, or were very nearly ruined, by his unflattering assessments of their abilities, Dr. Varney’s book, “General Grant and the Rewriting of History” focuses mainly on William S. Rosecrans, and discusses in some depth the battles of Shiloh, Iuka, Corinth, Stones River and Chickamauga.

Dr. Varney’s chapters are organized much like a geometric proof.  Each starts out with “The Context” where he sets the stage for what is about to be discussed.  “The Controversies” follow, first giving a brief bullet point list of the controversies discussed in the chapter, and then one by one discussing each controversy in depth.  Varney’s “Evaluation” follows, and when appropriate the professor discusses the historiography of the topic discussed.  He compares what both Grant and other historians have said against the primary records, and states his conclusions.

“General Grant and the Rewriting of History” is a stunning example of the craft of history.  Professor Varney may have changed future narrative of the Civil War, and William S. Rosecrans may at long last get credit where credit is due, for both his triumphs and his failures.

Professor Varney’s book is well and convincingly written and exhaustively written.  Though not a book for Civil War novices, students of the war will have their long held views of the war challenged by this thought provoking work.

ISBN 978-1611211184, Savas Beatie, © 2013, Hardcover, 336 Pages, Photographs, Maps, Footnotes, Appendix, Bibliography & Index. $32.95.  To Purchase the book click HERE.  

Diary of Private Alexander G. Downing: Monday, December 28, 1863

The commanding officers of our post here are “conscripting” every able-bodied citizen for military duty. The order applies to blacks as well as to whites, and aims to provide artisans for labor in connection with the army and army posts.

Source: Alexander G. Downing, Edited by Olynthus B., Clark, Downing’s Civil War Diary, p. 159

Diary of Private Charles H. Lynch: April 7, 1864

Arrived in New York early this morning. Crossed over to Jersey City by ferry-boat. Soon on board train, bound for Philadelphia. Making good time, much better than when home-bound. On arrival had another good dinner at the Cooper Shop, after which we again boarded train for Baltimore. Everything going well, making good time. Nothing important has taken place.

SOURCE: Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary, 1862-1865, of Charles H. Lynch 18th Conn. Vol's, p. 51-2

Diary of Luman Harris Tenney: November 30, 1861

Made several calls with Fannie — enjoyed them so much. Returned to Cleveland with Ma and Theodore.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 4

11th Indiana Infantry – 3 Months

Organized at Indianapolis, Ind., April 21-25, 1861. Duty picketing the Ohio River, near Evansville, Ind., till June 7. Moved to Cumberland, Md., June 7-9. Action at Romney June 13. Seneca Mills June 14. Frankfort and Patterson Creek June 27. March to Bunker Hill July 8 and joined Patterson's command. Expedition to Romney July 11-13. Moved to Indianapolis, Ind., July 29. Mustered out August 2, 1861. Regiment lost 1 Enlisted man by disease during service.

SOURCE: Frederick H. Dyer, A Compendium of the War of the 3, p. Rebellion, Part 1122

11th Indiana Infantry – 3 Years

Organized at Indianapolis, Ind., August 31, 1861. Moved to Paducah, Ky., September 6, and duty there till February 5, 1862. Attached to 5th Brigade, 2nd Division, Army of the Tennessee, February, 1862. 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, Army of the Tennessee, to July, 1862. Helena, Ark., District of East Arkansas, Dept. of Missouri, to December, 1862. 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, District of Eastern Arkansas, Dept. of the Tennessee, to January, 1863. 3rd Brigade, 12th Division, 13th Army Corps, Army of the Tennessee, to February, 1863. 1st Brigade, 12th Division, 13th Army Corps, to July, 1863. 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 13th Army Corps, Army of the Tennessee, to August, 1863, and Dept. of the Gulf to June, 1864. 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 19th Army Corps, to August, 1864. 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 19th Army Corps, Army of the Shenandoah, Middle Military Division, to January, 1865. 2nd Separate Brigade, 8th Army Corps, Middle Department, to July, 1865.

SERVICE. – Operations against Forts Henry and Heiman, Tenn., February 2-6, 1862. Investment and capture of Fort Donelson, Tenn., February 12-16. Expedition to Clarksville, Tenn., February 19-21. Expedition toward Purdy and operations about Crump's Landing, Tenn., March 9-14. Battle of Shiloh, Tenn., April 6-7. Advance on and siege of Corinth, Miss., April 29-May 30. Occupation of Corinth and pursuit to Booneville May 30-June 3. March to Memphis, Tenn., June 3-20, and duty there till July 24. Ordered to Helena, Ark., July 24, and duty there till April, 1863. Expedition from Helena to Arkansas Post, Ark., November 16-21, 1862. Expedition from Helena to Grenada, Miss., November 27-December 5. Tallahatchie November 30. Mitchell's Cross Roads December 1. Moved to Milliken's Bend, La., April 14. Movement on Bruinsburg and turning Grand Gulf April 25-30. Battle of Port Gibson May 1. 14-Mile Creek May 12-13. Battle of Champion's Hill May 16. Siege of Vicksburg, Miss., May 18-July 4. Assaults on Vicksburg May 19 and 22. Advance on Jackson, Miss., July 4-10. Siege of Jackson July 10-17. Duty at Vicksburg till August 6. Ordered to New Orleans, La., August 6; thence to Brasher City, and duty there till October. Western Louisiana Campaign October 3-November 30. Bayou Cortableau October 21. Carrion Crow Bayou November 3. Regiment Veteranize January 1, 1864. Veterans on furlough March 4 to May 8. Duty in District of LaFourche and Defences of New Orleans, La., till May. At New Orleans, La., till July 19. Ordered to Washington, D. C., July 19. Sheridan's Shenandoah Valley Campaign August 7-November 28. Battle of Opequan, Winchester, September 19. Fisher's Hill September 22. Woodstock September 23. Mt. Jackson September 23-24. Battle of Cedar Creek October 19. Duty in the Shenandoah Valley till January, 1865. Duty at Fort Marshall, Baltimore, Md., January 7 to July 26, 1865. Mustered out July 26, 1865.

Regiment lost during service 1 Officer and 114 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 3 Officers and 170 Enlisted men by disease. Total 288.

SOURCE: Frederick H. Dyer, A Compendium of the War of the 3, p. Rebellion, Part 1122

Sunday, October 26, 2014

George William Curtis to John J. Pinkerton, February 11, 1861

North Shore, 11th February, 1861.

My Dear Pinkerton, — Your letter of the 18th of January reached me in Boston while I was upon the wing, where I have been ever since. I wanted to reply at once, but I was to come to Philadelphia this evening, and I hoped to see you and say what was too long to write. But it seems that I am so dangerous a fellow that no hall-owner in Philadelphia will risk the result of my explosive words, and not a place can be had for my fanatical and incendiary criticism of Thackeray; so I shall not see you. Four words in Seward’s speech explain it, and especially “justify” it, as you use the word, — “Concession short of principle.” Do you ask what and why we should concede? Mr. Adams answers; he has learned from history and common sense that no government does wisely which, however lawful, moderate, honest, and constitutional, treats any popular complaint, however foolish, unnecessary, and unjustifiable, with haughty disdain.

Those sentences of Seward and Adams furnish the key to our position, and the wise triumphant policy of the new administration. You have no fear of Lincoln, of course. Well, do you suppose that his secretary of state makes such a speech at such a time without the fullest understanding with his chief? Does any man think that the plan of the new government could wisely be exposed in advance while the traitors had yet nearly two months of legal power? Seward's speech indicates the spirit of the new government, a kindly spirit. Special measures he does not mention, saying only no measure will compromise the principle of the late victory. In his career of thirty-seven years you will find that under every party name he has had but one central principle, — that all our difficulties, including the greatest, are solvable under our Constitution and within the Union. And the Union is not what slavery chooses to decree. It is a word which has hitherto been the cry of a party which sought to rule or ruin the government, without the slightest regard to its fundamental idea. Now the people have pronounced for that idea, and now therefore, when a Republican says Union, he means just what the fathers meant, — not union for union, but union for the purpose of the union. But you say he subordinates his party to the union. Yes, again, but why? Because (as he said two years ago, when, thanks to Hickman and the rest, the Lecompton crime was prevented), because “the victory is won,” the peculiar purpose of the party has been achieved, the territories are free. Even South Carolina concedes that. The South allows that we have beaten them in the territories, and they secede because they think we must go on and emancipate in the District and navy yards, and then, from the same necessity of progress to retain power, emancipate in the States. Remember that by the bargain of 1850 New Mexico has a right to come in slave or free. Mr. Adams proposes that she shall come now, if she wants to; that is all. And he and Seward, and I suppose you and I, know perfectly well that she will come free. Yet even Seward says that, while he would have no objection to voting for such an enabling act, he is not quite sure that it could be constitutionally done.

I shall not tire your soul out by going on, but if we could sit for an evening in MacVeagh's office and smoke the calumet of explanation and consideration, I am perfectly sure that I could make you feel that Seward is greater at this moment than ever before. At least wait, wait until something is done, before you believe that a man who is a Democrat in the only decent sense, — who believes fully and faithfully in a popular government, who for nearly forty years, under the stinging stress of obloquy and slander and the doubt of timid friends, has stood cheerfully loyal to the great idea of liberty, and has seen his country gradually light up and break into the day of the same conviction, with the tragedies of Clay and Webster before him perfectly comprehended by him, with a calmness and clearness of insight and a radical political faith which they never had, — wait, I say, and do not think that such a man has forsworn himself, his career, and his eternal fame in history, until you have some other reason for believing it than that, when his country is threatened with civil war, he says he will do all that he can to avoid it except betray his principles.

All things are possible. Great men have often fallen in the very hour of triumph. But my faith in great men survives every wreck, and I will not believe that our great man is going until I see that he is gone. Indeed, as I feel now, I should as soon distrust my own loyalty as Seward's, and what can any individual say more?

Believe me, full of faith, your friend,

George William Curtis

SOURCE: Edward Cary, George William Curtis, p. 141-4

John Brown to His Family, December 17, 1855

Monday Morning, December 17.

The ground for the first time is barely whitened with snow, and it is quite cold; but we have before had a good deal of cold weather, with heavy rains. Henry and Oliver and, I may [say], Jason were disappointed in not being able to go to war. The disposition at both our camps to turn out was uniform. I believe I have before acknowledged the receipt of a letter from you and Watson. Have just taken one from the office for Henry that I think to be from Ruth. Do write often, and let me know all about how you get along through the winter. May God abundantly bless you all, and make you faithful.

Your affectionate husband and father,
John Brown.1
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1 Soon after this “Wakarusa war,” and perhaps in consequence of his service therein, Brown became the owner of one small share in the Emigrant Aid Company, as appears by this certificate: —


No. 638.
Boston, Jan. 15, 1556.

This is to certify that John Brown, Lawrence, K. T., ls proprietor of one share, of the par value of twenty dollars each, in the capital stock of the New England Emigrant Aid Company, transferable on the books of said Company, on the surrender of this certificate.

John M. S. Williams, Vice-President.
Thomas H. Webb, Secretary.


This paper is indorsed, in John Brown's handwriting, "Emigrant Aid Co., Certificate," and was found among his papers after his death. He derived no profit from it, as indeed was the case with the other shareholders; but it perhaps gave him some standing among his Kansas neighbors to have even this connection with a corporation supposed to be very rich.

SOURCE: Franklin B. Sanborn, The Life and Letters of John Brown, p. 221

Review: Smithsonian Civil War, Inside the National Collection


by Smithsonian Institution,
Edited by Neil Kagan,
Photography by Hugh Talman.

Established in 1846, The Smithsonian Institution has often been described as “the nation’s attic.”  Stored within its many museums and research facilities are 137 million items, the treasures of the United States.  Its facilities contain items from every era of American History, including the 1903 Wright Flier, and Archie Bunker’s chair from the television series “All in the Family.”

One Hundred Fifty years have passed since the end of the Civil War, and the Smithsonian’s collection of items related to the war began during the war and continues to grow today.  The very best of the Smithsonian’s collection has been gathered together in a lush “coffee table” book, “Smithsonian Civil War: Inside the National Collection.”

Issued to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, “Smithsonian Civil War,” contains 150 brief chapters, each dedicated to some aspect of the war, its participants, or items in the Smithsonian’s collections.  Its article by article narrative begins with the antebellum era, works its way through the war and ends with reconstruction.  It also spans the breadth of those who experienced the war, from Secessionist “Fire-Eaters,” abolitionists, The Union, the Confederacy and also African-Americans; men, women and children.

Contained within its covers are hundreds of photographs, sepia toned, black and white, and lush color photographs of the items within the institutions vast collections.  Among the items featured are a slave ship’s cargo manifest, flags of the Confederacy, soldier’s uniforms, weapons and accoutrements, camp equipage, period photographs of many of the war’s participants, letters, drawings and paintings, Major-General Phil Sheridan’s mounted horse “Winchester,” Mary Lincoln’s purple velvet dress and Varina Davis’ jewelery, Abraham Lincoln’s pocket watch and stove-pipe hat, the chairs from Wilmer McClean’s parlor in which Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee sat and the table on which Lee’s surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia was signed, the cuff from Laura Kean’s dress stained with Lincoln’s blood, the hoods that covered the faces of the men accused in the Lincoln assassination conspiracy, just to name but a few.

“Smithsonian Civil War” is a fantastic book, its contents will provide many hours of page turning pleasure for both the Civil War enthusiast, scholar and novice alike.

ISBN 978-1588343895, Smithsonian Books, © 2013, Hardcover, 368 pages, 9.7 x 1.1 x 11.3 inches, 4.4 pounds, Photographs & Illustrations, Object List & Index. $40.00.  To purchase a copy of this book click HERE.

Charles Russell Lowell to Anna Jackson Lowell, June 19, 1861

Washington, June 19, '61.

Don't let any one blame Governor Andrew — he is good and thoughtful, and if he is sometimes misled by good nature, he is never hampered by ulterior personal aims; all the faculty of ways and means in the world, if so hampered, is a curse to the country. At least I am sometimes tempted to say so.1
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1 As for our good and great War-Governor, the doubts concerning him when elected, his early unpopularity, and his triumphant record, I quote the words of that admirable citizen, the late Colonel Henry Lee of his staff: —

Meeting the Governor just after his election, at a political levee, I refrained from joining in the congratulations generally expressed because I was afraid he might be one-sided and indiscreet, deficient in common sense and practical ability.  . . . I unexpectedly received a summons to a position upon his staff.  . . . Work began at once. But it is needless to repeat the hundred-times-told tale of Governor Andrew’s military preparations, the glory whereof has since been comfortably adopted by Massachusetts as her own — by right of eminent domain, perhaps — whereas in fact nearly all Massachusetts derided and abused him at the time, and the glory was really as much his individual property as his coat and hat.

“The war had begun, and Massachusetts, that denounced State which was to have been left out in the cold, had despatched within one week five Regiments of Infantry, one Battalion of Riflemen, and one Battery of Artillery, armed, clothed, and equipped. Behind every great movement stands the man, and that man behind this movement was the ridiculed, despised fanatic, John A. Andrew. As the least backwardness on the part of Massachusetts, whose sons had done more than all others to promote the ‘irrepressible conflict,’ would have endangered the Union and exposed us to the plottings and concessions of the Conservatives and ‘Copperheads,’ so her prompt response, in consequence of the courage and foresight of her Governor, strengthened the timid, rebuked the disaffected, cemented the Union, fused the whole country into one glow of patriotism.

Saint Paul was not more suddenly or more thoroughly converted than were many of those who had, up to that week, been loudest in their lamentations, or denunciations of the Governor. Rich men poured in their gifts.  . . . Conservatives and Democrats rushed to pay their respects and to applaud the very acts which they had so deplored and ridiculed.”  (Memoir of Henry Lee, by John T. Morse, Jr. Boston: Little & Brown, 1905.)

SOURCE: Edward Waldo Emerson, Life and Letters of Charles Russell Lowell, p. 212, 403-4