Sunday, July 5, 2015

Diary of Salmon P. Chase: Friday, September 19, 1862

Recd. letter from Robt. Dale Owen (addressed to the President) eloquently urging General Emancipation; which I handed to the President at Cabinet. Stanton showed me Halleck's telegram to McClellan, dated Aug. 31, which was substantially as follows:—

“I do not know the terms of Order. I expected to leave you in full command, except of troops temporarily detached to Pope. I beg you to come up and give me the benefit of your talents, experience and judgment at this critical moment. Am completely tired out.”

This telegram announced the surrender of Halleck to McClellan. It saddens me to think that a Commander in Chief, whose opinion of his subordinate's military conduct is such as I have heard Halleck express of McClellan, should, in a moment of pressure, so yield to that very subordinate. Good may come of it, but my fears are stronger than my hopes. How differently old Genl. Scott would have acted! When up all night at the critical period immediately following the first battle of Bull Run, he was never heard to complain of being “completely tired out,” or known to try to shift any part of his responsibility upon another.

SOURCE: Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1902, Vol. 2, p. 86

Diary of Salmon P. Chase: Wednesday, September 17, 1862

Bannister breakfasted with me. — At Department finished Proclamation declaring States in insurrection, without the exception formerly made, with view to taking exclusive control of all purchases of cotton, sugar, tobacco and rice in insurgent States.

Judge Hoadly came. Went to War Department with him. Stanton promised the Generals he wanted, but could promise nothing else. Went also to Genl. Halleck's. Found the President and Reverdy Johnson there, talked with a Union Captain who was at Harpers Ferry at the time of its surrender. Says Maryland Heights were surrendered to the surprise of every one; that Miles was struck by a shell after the surrender of the post, just as he had put the white flag in the hands of an orderly; that there was no necessity whatever for the surrender, and that the officers were very indignant.

Warrants to-day enormous — over $4,000,000 — and unpaid Requisitions still accumulating — now over $40,000,000. Where will this end?

Gen. Hunter came to dine with me. Expressed his decided opinion that if his Order had not been revoked, he would now have had the whole coast lined with disciplined loyal Southern men — black to be sure, but good soldiers and true.

SOURCE: Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1902, Vol. 2, p. 85-6

Diary of Salmon P. Chase: Tuesday, September 16, 1862

Bannister at Breakfast. Went to Department, and from Department with Deputation of Friends from Mt. Pleasant, O., and Wilmington, Del., to the President and introduced them. Asked for Bishop McIlvain, the appointment of Revd. Mr. Telford as chaplain at Camp Chase — which the President directed.

Went to Navy Department and advised Expedition up the James River; and said if Gen. Wool or other good General could be sent I would go myself as Volunter Aid. Mr. Welles seemed pleased with the idea; and said the “Ironsides” and “Passaic” would be ready by the time troops could be, and might take Richmond as preliminary to Charleston. — Spoke to the Secretary of Commodore Barbheads remark to Harrington, that the Government ought to be superseded by McClellan. — Went to War Department. Surrender of Harpers Ferry is confirmed. McClellan's victory of Sunday was probably over the rear of Longstreet's Division, which made a stand.

Weed called with Morgan, who wished to enquire about Texas Bonds issued under authority of the Rebel Government. Told him they would not be recognized and promised him copies of papers relating to the subject, from files and records of the Department. Told Weed that we must have decided action and that he could ensure it. Was going to Meeting of Heads of Departments not to Cabinet. Went over to White House. Met Seward, who said the President was busy with Gen. Halleck and there would be no meeting.

Returned to Department. Rode out to Sigel's Camp, by way of Chain Bridge, with Harrington and Dr. Schmidt. Saw Sigel and Schurz. They want to have corps organized for operations in the field. Sigel said scouts returned from Drainesville report large rebel force at Leesburgh.

Home to late dinner. — Harrington with me. Sent message to War Department for news.

SOURCE: Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1902, Vol. 2, p. 84-5

Diary of Salmon P. Chase: Monday, September 15, 1862

Went to Department soon after nine, stopping at Franklin's to buy glasses. Got a pair, not, I fear, exactly the best for me. Received letters from John Sherman, O. Follett, Horace Greeley, and others. Greeley's assured me that the “Tribune” had no interest in the Labor Contract, which I was very glad to learn. — Called on Attorney-General about citizenship of colored men. Found him adverse to expressing official opinion. — Met Eliot and Tabor, Mayor of New Bedford, and invited them to dine with me. — Commenced letter to Greeley; when I was reminded of my promise to accompany Mr. Case to the President's. Went with him. Found Eliot and Tabor in ante-chamber. Went in and found Blair with the President discussing affairs. Told him of the gentlemen outside, and was permitted to bring them in. Did so. Introduced Case, who shoke hands, and we two came away.

Parted from Case at Department. Finished letter to Greeley, and wrote Judge Mason about Rodney, promising to do what I could for trial. Several callers — among them Col. Lloyd of Ohio Cavalry, and Col. Mason of Ohio Infantry, with two Captains. Lloyd said that the cavalry was very badly used; that forage was insufficient and irregular, and needlessly wasted; that sometimes a squadron, company or regiment was ordered out early in the morning, and left all day without any further orders. Pope he said, had nominally about 2,000 cavalry when he went South, and when he returned had not 500 fit for service. Sometimes the cavalry was ordered to march, when five or six horses in a Company would die from sheer exhaustion. Artillery horses better cared for. Lloyd desired Mason to be made Brigadier-General. Promised to make inquiries, and, if found all right, promote object.

Mr. Wetmore called about Cotton and Tobacco. Proposed that Government should take all Cotton at 20 cents and tobacco at —— cents — pay this price — send it to New York — sell it for Gold — keep account with each owner, and, at the end of the war, pay him the difference, if loyal. The idea struck me very favorably, and I promised to see him again tomorrow.

Weed called and we had a long talk. He expressed again his conviction that more decided measures are needed in an Anti-Slavery direction; and said there was much dissatisfaction with Seward in New York because he is supposed to be averse to such measures. I told him, I did not doubt Mr. Seward's fidelity to his ideas of progress, amelioration and freedom; but that I thought he adhered too tenaciously to men who proved themselves unworthy and dangerous, such as McClellan; that he resisted too persistently decided measures; that his influence encouraged the irresolution and inaction of the President in respect to men and measures, although personally he was as decided as anybody in favor of vigorous prosecution of the war, and as active as anybody in concerting plans of action against the rebels. Mr. Weed admitted that there was much justice in my views, and said he had expressed similar ideas to Mr. Seward himself. He said he would see him again, and that Seward and I must agree on a definite line, especially on the Slavery question, which we must recommend to the President. We talked a good deal about our matters — about the absence of proper Cabinet discussion of important subjects — about Tax appointments in New York, with which he is well satisfied, etc., etc.

Went to War Department between 3 and 4, and saw telegrams of McClellan. They state that the action of yesterday resulted in a decided success — that the enemy driven from Mountain Crest, did not renew the action this morning but retreated in disorder — that Lee confessed himself “shockingly whipped”, with loss of 15,000 men, killed, wounded, missing and prisoners — that he has 700 prisoners at Frederick, and that 1000 have been taken by Hooker and held — that he proposed pursuit as rapidly as possible — that Franklin on the right in advance towards Harpers Ferry, had succeeded as well as the troops on the right. News from the West also good. Nothing from Miles at Harpers Ferry but it is believed that he still holds out.

Returned to the Department, closed the business of the day, and went home. Eliot, Tabor and Harrington dined with me. After dinner, rode with Harrington. Stopped at Mr. Cutts, to inquire for Mrs. Douglas — glad to hear she was better. Stopped also at War Department. No further news. Stanton thinks Halleck begins to realize his mistake. Said he intended to make Birney Major-General, but Halleck (or rather McClellan) had designated Stoneman. Told him that Birney had sent his letter of resignation to me, but I had declined to present it. Nothing new from the army, except report from operator at Point of Rocks of firing apparently between that place and Harpers Ferry, — which may indicate Franklin or Miles in that position. Nothing from McClellan since noon.

Dropped Harrington at Ebbit House, and called on General Schenck at Willards. Helped dress his wound which looked very bad, but the surgeons say he is improving rapidly and will be able to sit up in two or three days. His daughter is with him, and most assiduous and devoted.

Home. Friend Butler and Benedict called wishing to be introduced to the President, in order to present petition for exemption of society from draft. Promised to go with them, or write note, tomorrow morning. — Gov. Boutwell called and we talked of Tax Law, Stamp distribution, etc.

SOURCE: Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1902, Vol. 2, p. 82-4

Governor Salmon P. Chase to James S. Pike, April 2, 1860

Columbus, April 2, 1860.

My Dear Sir: Your letter reached me just as I was leaving home, and I take the first moments at my command since my return for reply.

You have doubtless learned ere this that I had anticipated Mr. Seward's suggestion by sending to Mrs. B. a list of the subscribers to the Chicago Block purchase who have not already assigned to her the shares held by them, with a suggestion that some friend in Washington write or speak to each suggesting similar transfers. I have no doubt that all, or nearly all, will act at once; and I suppose this property must be actually worth even now (say) three thousand dollars. This will certainly be some help; but it cannot be permanent. Nor is it easy to say what can be done in the way of permanent help. After the neglect of the obvious duty of providing for the Era by the Republican members of Congress, it is hard to say what can be expected from political friends. If I had power I am very sure I should find a way of testifying a proper sense of the worth of the father by giving such honorable employment to his sons as would enable them to support the family. In time the rise of property at Chicago will, I think, afford a competency, with proper efforts and success of the boys so aided. But meanwhile what is to be done? I see no way in which the Era can be made available. It will be hard to find anybody who would be willing to take its list and supply its subscribers for the good-will; much harder to find anybody to pay anything in addition. But perhaps I am wrong in saying that I see no way of availing of the Era. Mr. Clapham thinks, I understand, that with a vigorous editor associated with himself the paper might and could be placed on a paying basis and made profitable. So it seems to me. If such a person, then, could be found, and the Era could be revived in friendly hands, Mrs. B. might start the child's paper she proposes with an excellent prospect of success. It seems to me certain that a good Republican paper in Washington, seeking no public patronage, but taking that which would naturally come to it, would not only live but prosper. You with your abilities might from such a point do great good — exceedingly great good — with no detriment, but with advantage, to yourself. To be sure it would require work; but you have the intellectual and physical energy which would sustain it.

Should it be impossible to revive the Era, I will join in whatever other plan may be agreed on by our friends at Washington in aid of Mrs. B. and her family to the extent of my means. These, however, are now so thoroughly exhausted by the heavy drafts made on me by the necessary expenses of my position during the last four years (for you perhaps know that we have no governor's house, nor rent for one, and only a salary of $1800). I cannot advance any money immediately. In the course of the year, however, I would do my share.

If I were to consult my own feelings I should not thus restrict my offer; but I am compelled to bow to absolute necessity.

I wish there were some way of giving employment to the boys. But there is not. Our public employes are wretchedly paid; but the positions, badly compensated as they are, are sought in this time of general depression by three applicants at least for every post, and those who have them to dispose of think themselves bound to prefer Ohio applicants. Being myself out of office, I have no influence which would sway them to different views or action.

The neglect of Mrs. B. and the Era by our political friends at Washington has produced a deep and painful impression in many quarters, and may have wide and unhappy influences. It is greatly to be deplored on all accounts.

For myself I have felt for some time an increasing disposition to quit political life. It would have been entirely satisfactory to me had our friends here in Ohio been willing to allow me to close it with the expiration of my term as governor. But they thought that I ought to consent to an election to the Senate as an indorsement with reference to another place, and I did consent, perhaps unadvisedly. But, having consented, I shall abide the issue. The indications are that the choice of Ohio will not be confirmed by the Republican preferences of other States. Should such be the fact, I shall give an honest, independent support to the man whom the Republicans do prefer, and at the close of the struggle feel myself at liberty to consult my own inclination and judgment with regard to further public service.

Cordially your friend,
S. P. Chase.
J. S. Pike, Esq.

SOURCE: James Shepherd Pike, First Blows of the Civil War: The Ten Years of Preliminary Conflict in the United States from 1850 to 1860, p. 504-6

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Major Robert Anderson to Governor Francis W. Pickens, January 9, 1861

Fort Sumter, South Carolina, January 9, 1861.

Sir: Two of your batteries fired this morning upon an unarmed vessel bearing the flag of my Government. As I have not been notified that war has been declared by South Carolina against the Government of the United States, I cannot but think that this hostile act was committed without your sanction or authority. Under that hope, and that alone, did I refrain from opening fire upon your batteries. I have therefore respectfully to ask whether the above-mentioned act, one I believe without a parallel in the history of our country or of any other civilized government, was committed in obedience to your instructions, and to notify you, if it be not disclaimed, that I must regard it as an act of war, and that I shall not, after a reasonable time for the return of my messenger, permit any vessel to pass within range of the guns in my fort. In order to save, as far as lies within my power, the shedding of blood, I beg that you will have due notice of this, my decision, given to all concerned. Hoping, however, that your answer may be such as will justify a further continuance of forbearance upon my part, I have the honor to be,

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Robert Anderson,
Major First Artillery, Commanding.

To His Excellency the Governor of South Carolina.

SOURCE: Samuel Wylie Crawford, The Genesis of the Civil War: The Story of Sumter, 1860-1861, p. 188

Major Robert Anderson to Governor Francis W. Pickens, January 9, 1861

Headquarters, Fort Sumter, S. C,
January 9, 1861.
To His Excellency F. W. Pickens,
Governor of the State of South Carolina.

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of to-day, and to say that, under the circumstances, I have deemed it proper to refer the whole matter to my Government and that I intend deferring the course indicated in my note of this morning, until the arrival from Washington of the instructions I may receive. I have the honor, also, to express a hope that no obstructions will be placed in the way of, and that you will do me the favor to afford every facility to, the departure and return of the bearer, Lieutenant T. Talbot, United States Army, who has been directed to make the journey.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully,
Robert Anderson,
Major U. S. A., commanding."

SOURCE: Samuel Wylie Crawford, The Genesis of the Civil War: The Story of Sumter, 1860-1861, p. 190-1

Diary of William Howard Russell: Monday, April 15, 1861

Up at dawn. Crossed by ferry to Portsmouth, and arrived at railway station, which was at no place in particular, in a street down which the rails were laid. Mr. Robinson, the superintendent, gave me permission to take a seat in the engine car, to which I mounted accordingly, was duly introduced to, and shook hands with the engineer and the stoker, and took my seat next the boiler. Can any solid reason be given why we should not have those engine sheds or cars in England? They consist of a light frame placed on the connection of the engine with the tender, and projecting so as to include the end of the boiler and the stoke-hole. They protect the engineer from rain, storm, sun, or dust. Windows at each side afford a clear view in all directions, and the engineer can step out on the engine itself by the doors on the front part of the shed. There is just room for four persons to sit uncomfortably, the persons next the boiler being continually in dread of roasting their legs at the furnace, and those next the tender being in danger of getting logs of wood from it shaken down on their feet. Nevertheless I rarely enjoyed anything more than that trip. It is true one's enjoyment was marred by want of breakfast, for I could not manage the cake of dough and the cup of bitter, sour, greasy nastiness, called coffee, which were presented to me in lieu of that meal this morning.

But the novelty of the scene through which I passed atoned for the small privation. I do not speak of the ragged streets and lines of sheds through which the train passed, with the great bell of the engine tolling as if it were threatening death to the early pigs, cocks, hens, and negroes and dogs which walked between the rails — the latter, by the by, were always the first to leave — the negroes generally divided with the pigs the honor of making the nearest stand to the train — nor do I speak of the miserable suburbs of wooden shanties, nor of the expanse of inundated lands outside the town. Passing all these, we settled down at last to our work: the stoker fired up, the engine rattled along over the rugged lane between the trees which now began to sweep around us from the horizon, where they rose like the bank of a river or the shores of a sea, and presently we plunged into the gloom of the primeval forest, struggling as it were, with the last wave of the deluge.

The railroad, leaving the land, boldly leaped into the air, and was carried on frailest cobweb-seeming tracery of wood far above black waters, from which rose a thick growth and upshooting of black stems of dead trees, mingled with the trunks and branches of others still living, throwing out a most luxuriant vegetation. The trestle-work over which the train was borne, judged by the eye, was of the slightest possible construction. Sometimes one series of trestles was placed above another, so that the cars ran on a level with the tops of the trees; and, looking down, we could see before the train passed the inky surface of the waters, broken into rings and agitated, round the beams of wood. The trees were draped with long creepers and shrouds of Spanish moss, which fell from branch to branch, smothering the leaves in their clammy embrace, or waving in pendulous folds in the air. Cypress, live-oak, the dogwood, and pine struggled for life with the water, and about their stems floated balks of timber, waifs and strays carried from the rafts by flood, or the forgotten spoils of the lumberer. On these lay tortoises, turtles, and enormous frogs, which lifted their heads with a lazy curiosity when the train rushed by, or flopped into the water as if the sight and noise were too much for their nerves. Once a dark body of greater size plashed into the current which marked the course of a river. “There's many allygaitors come up here at times,” said the engineer, in reply to my question; “but I don't take much account of them.”

When the trestle-work ceased, the line was continued through the same description of scenery, generally in the midst of water, on high embankments which were continually cut by black rapid streams, crossed by bridges on trestles of great span. The strange tract we are passing through is the “Dismal Swamp,” a name which must have but imperfectly expressed its horrors before the railway had traversed its outskirts, and the canal, which is constructed in its midst, left traces of the presence of man in that remnant of the world's exit from the flood. In the centre of this vast desolation there is a large loch, called “Lake Drummond,” in the jungle and brakes around which the runaway slaves of the plantations long harbored, and once or twice assembled bands of depredators, which were hunted down, broken up, and destroyed like wild beasts.

Mr. Robinson, a young man some twenty-seven years of age, was an excellent representative of the young American — full of intelligence, well-read, a little romantic in spite of his practical habits and dealing with matters of fact, much attached to the literature, if not to the people, of the old country; and so far satisfied that English engineers knew something of their business, as to be anxious to show that American engineers were not behind them. He asked me about Washington politics with as much interest as if he had never read a newspaper. I made a remark to that effect. “Oh, sir, we can't believe,” exclaimed he, “a word we read in our papers. They tell a story one day, to contradict it the next. We never know when to trust them, and that's one reason, I believe, you find us all so anxious to ask questions and get information from gentlemen we meet travelling.” Of the future he spoke with apprehension; “but,” said he, “I am here representing the interests of a large number of Northern shareholders, and I will do my best for them. If it comes to blows after this, they will lose all, and I must stand by my own friends down South, though I don't belong to it.”

So we rattle on, till the scene, at first so attractive, becomes dreary and monotonous, and I tire of looking out for larger turtles or more alligators. The silence of these woods is oppressive. There is no sign of life where the train passes through the water, except among the amphibious creatures. After a time, however, when we draw out of the swamp and get into a dry patch, wild, ragged-looking cattle may be seen staring at us through the trees, or tearing across the rail, and herds of porkers, nearly in the wild-boar stage, scuttle over the open. Then the engineer opens the valve; the sonorous roar of the engine echoes though the woods, and now and then there is a little excitement caused by a race between a pig and the engine, and piggy is occasionally whipped off his legs by the cow-lifter, and hoisted volatile into the ditch at one side. When a herd of cattle, however, get on the line and show fight, the matter is serious. The steam horn is sounded, the bell rung, and steam is eased off, and every means used to escape collision; for the railway company is obliged to pay the owner for whatever animals the trains kill, and a cow's body on one of these poor rails is an impediment sufficient to throw the engine off, and “send us to immortal smash.”

It was long before we saw any workmen or guards on the line; but at one place I got out to look at a shanty of one of the road watchmen. It was a building of logs, some twenty feet long by twelve feet broad, made in the rudest manner, with an earthen roof, and mud stuffed and plastered between the logs to keep out the rain. Although the day was exceedingly hot, there were two logs blazing on the hearth, over which was suspended a pot of potatoes. The air inside was stifling, and the black beams of the roof glistened with a clammy sweat from smoke and unwholesome vapors. There was not an article of furniture, except a big deal chest and a small stool, in the place; a mug and a teacup stood on a rude shelf nailed to the wall. The owner of this establishment, a stout negro, was busily engaged with others in “wooding up” the engine from the pile of cut timber by the roadside. The necessity of stopping caused by the rapid consumption is one of the désagrémens of wood fuel. The wood is cut down and stacked on platforms, at certain intervals along the line; and the quantity used is checked off against the company at the rate of so much per cord. The negro was one of many slaves let out to the company. White men would not do the work, or were too expensive; but the overseers and gangsmen were whites. “How can they bear that fire in the hut?” “Well. If you went into it in the very hottest day in summer, you would find the niggers sitting close up to blazing pine-logs; and they sleep at night, or by day when they've fed to the full, in the same way.” My friend, nevertheless, did not seem to understand that any country could get on without negro laborers.

By degrees we got beyond the swamps, and came upon patches of cleared land — that is, the forest had been cut down, and the only traces left of it were the stumps, some four or five feet high, “snagging” up above the ground; or the trees had been girdled round, so as to kill them, and the black trunks and stiff arms gave an air of meagre melancholy and desertion to the place, which was quite opposite to its real condition. Here it was that the normal forest and swamp had been subjugated by man. Presently we came in sight of a flag fluttering from a lofty pine, which had been stripped of its branches, throwing broad bars of red and white to the air, with a blue square in the upper quarter containing seven stars. “That's our flag,” — said the engineer, who was a quiet man, much given to turning steam-cocks, examining gauges, wiping his hands in fluffy impromptu handkerchiefs, and smoking tobacco — “That's our flag! And long may it wave — o'er the land of the free and the home of the ber-rave!” As we passed, a small crowd of men, women, and children, of all colors, in front of a group of poor broken-down shanties or log-huts, cheered — to speak more correctly — whooped and yelled vehemently. The cry was returned by the passengers in the train. “We're all the right sort hereabouts,” said the engineer. “Hurrah for Jeff Davis!” The right sort were not particularly flourishing in outward aspect, at all events. The women, pale-faced, were tawdry and ragged; the men, yellow, seedy looking. For the first time in the States, I noticed barefooted people.

Now began another phase of scenery — an interminable pine-forest, far as the eye could reach, shutting out the light on each side by a wooden wall. From this forest came the strongest odor of turpentine; presently black streaks of smoke floated out of the wood, and here and there we passed cleared spaces, where in rude-looking furnaces and factories people more squalid and miserable looking than before were preparing pitch, tar, turpentine, rosin, and other naval stores, for which this part of North Carolina is famous. The stems of the trees around are marked by white scars, where the tappings for the turpentine take place, and many dead trunks testified how the process ended.

Again, over another log village, a Confederate flag floated in the air; and the people ran out, negroes and all, and cheered as before. The new flag is not so glaring and gaudy as the Stars and Stripes; but, at a distance, when the folds hang together, there is a considerable resemblance in the general effect of the two. If ever there is a real sentiment du drapeau got up in the South, it will be difficult indeed for the North to restore the Union. These pieces of colored bunting seem to twine themselves through heart and brain.

The stations along the roadside now gradually grew in proportion, and instead of a small sentry-box beside a wood pile, there were three or four wooden houses, a platform, a booking office, an “exchange” or drinking room, and general stores, like the shops of assorted articles in an Irish town. Around these still grew the eternal forest, or patches of cleared land dotted with black stumps. These stations have very grand names, and the stores are dignified by high-sounding titles; nor are “billiard saloons” and “restaurants” wanting. We generally found a group of people waiting at each; and it really was most astonishing to see well-dressed, respectable-looking men and women emerge out of the “dismal swamp,” and out of the depths of the forest, with silk parasols and crinoline, bandboxes and portmanteaux, in the most civilized style. There were always some negroes, male and female, in attendance on the voyagers, handling the baggage or the babies, and looking comfortable enough, but not happy. The only evidence of the good spirits and happiness of these people which I saw was on the part of a number of men who were going off from a plantation for the fishing on the coast. They and their wives and sisters, arrayed in their best — which means their brightest, colors-—were grinning from ear to ear as they bade good-by. The negro likes the mild excitement of sea fishing, and in pursuit of it he feels for the moment free.

At Goldsborough, which is the first place of importance on the line, the wave of the Secession tide struck us in full career. The station, the hotels, the street through which the rail ran was filled with an excited mob, all carrying arms, with signs here and there of a desire to get up some kind of uniform — flushed faces, wild eyes, screaming mouths, hurrahing for “Jeff Davis” and “the Southern Confederacy,” so that the yells overpowered the discordant bands which were busy with “Dixie's Land.” Here was the true revolutionary furor in full sway. The men hectored, swore, cheered, and slapped each other on the backs; the women, in their best, waved handkerchiefs and flung down garlands from the windows. All was noise, dust, and patriotism.

It was a strange sight and a wonderful event at which we were assisting. These men were a levy of the people of North Carolina called out by the Governor of the State for the purpose of seizing upon forts Caswell and Macon, belonging to the Federal Government, and left unprotected and undefended. The enthusiasm of the “citizens” was unbounded, nor was it quite free from a taint of alcohol. Many of the volunteers had flint firelocks, only a few had rifles. All kinds of head-dress were visible, and caps, belts, and pouches of infinite variety. A man in a large wide-awake, with a cock's feather in it, a blue frock-coat, with a red sash and a pair of cotton trousers thrust into his boots, came out of Griswold's Hotel with a sword under his arm, and an article which might have been a napkin of long service, in one hand. He waved the article enthusiastically, swaying to and fro on his legs, and ejaculating “H'ra for Jeff Dav's — H'ra for S'thern E’r’rights!” and tottered over to the carriage through the crowd amid the violent vibration of all the ladies' handkerchiefs in the balcony. Just as he got into the train, a man in uniform dashed after him, and caught him by the elbow, exclaiming, “Them's not the cars, General! The cars this way, General!” The military dignitary, however, felt that if he permitted such liberties in the hour of victory he was degraded forever, so, screwing up his lips and looking grave and grand, he proceeded as follows: “Sergeant, you, go be ––. I say these are my cars! They're all my cars! I'll
send them where I please — to –– if I like, sir. They shall go where I please — to New York, sir, or New Orleans, sir! And sir, I'll arrest you.” This famous idea distracted the General's attention from his project of entering the train, and muttering, “I'll arrest you,” he tacked backwards and forwards to the hotel again.

As the train started on its journey, there was renewed yelling, which split the ear — a savage cry many notes higher than the most ringing cheer. At the wayside inn, where we dined — pièce de résistance being pig — the attendants, comely, well-dressed, clean negresses were slaves — “worth a thousand dollars each.” I am not favorably impressed by either the food or the mode of living, or the manners of the company. One man made very coarse jokes about “Abe Lincoln” and “negro wenches,” which nothing but extreme party passion and bad taste could tolerate. Several of the passengers had been clerks in Government offices at Washington, and had been dismissed because they would not take the oath of allegiance. They were hurrying off full of zeal and patriotism to tender their services to the Montgomery Government.

*          *          *          *          *          *

I had been the object of many attentions and civilities from gentlemen in the train during my journey. One of them, who told me he was a municipal dignitary of Weldon, having exhausted all the inducements that he could think of to induce me to spend some time there, at last, in desperation, said he would be happy to show me “the antiquities of the place.” Weldon is a recent uprising in wood and log-houses from the swamps, and it would puzzle the archaeologists of the world to find anything antique about it.

At nightfall the train stopped at Wilmington, and I was shot out on a platform under a shed, to do the best I could. In a long, lofty, and comfortless room, like a barn, which abutted on the platform, there was a table covered with a dirty cloth, on which lay little dishes of pickles, fish, meat, and potatoes, at which were seated some of our fellow-passengers. The equality of all men is painfully illustrated when your neighbor at table eats with his knife, dips the end of it into the salt, and disregards the object and end of napkins. But it is carried to a more disagreeable extent when it is held to mean that any man who comes to an inn has a right to share your bed. I asked for a room, but I was told that there were so many people moving about just now that it was not possible to give me one to myself; but at last I made a bargain for exclusive possession. When the next train came in, however, the woman very coolly inquired whether I had any objection to allow a passenger to divide my bed, and seemed very much displeased at my refusal; and I perceived three big-bearded men snoring asleep in one bed in the next room to me as I passed through the passage to the dining-room.

The “artist” Moses, who had gone with my letter to the post, returned, after a long absence, pale and agitated. He said he had been pounced upon by the Vigilance Committee, who were rather drunk, and very inquisitive. They were haunting the precincts of the post-office and the railway station, to detect Lincolnites and Abolitionists, and were obliged to keep themselves wide awake by frequent visits to the adjacent bars, and he had with difficulty dissuaded them from paying me a visit. They cross-examined him respecting my opinion of Secession, and desired to have an audience with me in order to give me any information which might be required. I cannot say what reply was given to their questioning; but I certainly refused to have any interview with the Vigilance Committee of Wilmington, and was glad they did not disturb me. Rest, however, there was little or none. I might have as well slept on the platform of the railway station outside. Trains coming in and going out shook the room and the bed on which I lay, and engines snorted, puffed, roared, whistled, and rang bells close to my key-hole.

SOURCE: William Howard Russell, My Diary North and South, p. 87-94

John L. Motley to Mary L. Motley, December 1, 1861

Vienna,
December 1, 1861.

My Darling Little Mary: I am only writing you a note to say that we three are all well, but, as you may suppose, most unhappy. The prospect that our ports are to be blockaded by the English fleets, and no communications possible perhaps for years, fills us with gloom.  . . . We have just received intelligence that the English crown lawyers have decided that the arrest of Mason and Slidell was illegal and an insult to England, and that the government has decided to demand their liberation, together with an apology to them and compensation. This intelligence is only telegraphic, and may be exaggerated. If it prove genuine it is simply a declaration of war. From America our latest dates are a telegram, dated November 15, announcing the arrival of Mason and Slidell at Fortress Monroe. If that, too, be correct, it shows that the government had no intention of releasing them, and of course cannot do so when summoned by England. Our next letters and newspapers should arrive to-morrow or next day, with dates to the 20th.

With regard to the war, we have only the rumored, but not authentic, intelligence that 15,000 men had been landed by the fleet at Beaufort. Now I must thank you for your nice, long, interesting letter of November 9-11. I cannot tell you how much we all depend upon your letters. You are our only regular correspondent and mainstay. You cannot write too much, or give us too many details. Everything you tell us about persons is deeply interesting.

Your affectionate
Papagei.1
_______________

1 "Parrot," a familiar signature to his daughters.

SOURCE: George William Curtis, editor, The Correspondence of John Lothrop Motley in Two Volumes, Library Edition, Volume 2, p. 220-1

John M. Forbes to Edward Atkinson, March 6, 1862 – 4 p.m.

Boston, May 23,1862.

My Dear, Sir, — . . . I would gladly do anything, except come before the public, to help your good work. You may use my testimony in any other way than over my signature, and the indorsements of the “Daily”1 and other journals would seem to answer all purposes. I have watched the Educational Commission from its very inception with the greatest interest, and, while in Secessia, had every opportunity to gauge it, not only by the criticisms of its many enemies, and by the statements of its friends, but by personal observation. It was started very late, and when only the most prompt and even hasty measures gave it a chance of success. These measures were taken chiefly at Boston, with that efficiency which marks our good city and State. A large number of volunteers were hurried from various pursuits, down into South Carolina, where, in about ten days after the enterprise was first thought of, they found themselves landed, with bare floors to sleep upon, soldier's rations to eat, and the obloquy and ridicule of all around them for “sauce piquante.”

Under all their inexperience, and all these disadvantages, they have worked their way quietly on, and up to the time when I left, May 14th, when the new rule of military governor was about beginning, they had accomplished the following results.

First and foremost. They had inspired confidence in the blacks by their kindness, and especially by their bringing the first boon which these forlorn creatures had received from us, namely, an opportunity for education. In all else the negroes have been materially worse off than under their old masters, — with only their scanty ration of Indian corn, no shoes, blankets, clothing, molasses, or other necessaries, and no luxuries given them, of which they formerly had a moderate allowance. Against all this they had had only the doubtful advantage of idleness or precarious employment, and the promises of the cotton agents. It was a great point to put over them intelligent and Christian teachers, and this they have fully appreciated.

Second. The material benefits which have resulted, namely: beginning very late, the forces of the plantation have been organized to reasonably steady labor; a full crop of food has been planted in common, besides many much larger private, or, as these are called, “Negro Grounds,” planted than ever before. I saw repeatedly whole gangs who had finished their plantation work by ten A. M., and had all the rest of the day for their own patches, some of which are four or five times as large as usual.

Third. In addition to the food crop, enough cotton land has been planted to give the negroes, if they are allowed to take care of the crop and enjoy its fruits, more of the necessaries and indeed comforts of life than they have ever had before.

To sum up, we have then for some of the results,

The confidence of the blacks;
The education, so far as it goes;
The encouragement of industry; and
The material advantage of food and cotton crops;

instead of leaving the negroes alone to run into vice and pauperism, or turning them over to the tender mercies of hard speculators.

Of course, the agents of the commission have made mistakes in some cases, and some of them have been ill chosen, and have helped the enemies of the enterprise to bring it into local discredit; but generally the whole has been a most successful undertaking, and most of those sent from this quarter have, by their patience, faithfulness, and disinterested zeal, been a credit to Massachusetts. They, as a whole, form a noble band of men and women. They have had everything to contend with, especially the opposition of many with whose interests they interfered, and of others whose prejudices they offended. Their predecessors on the plantations, the cotton agents and military, had begun to look upon themselves as the successors to the planters, entitled to the use of all that was left, houses, horses, negroes, crops.

When the agents of the commission came down to take charge of the plantations, they were looked upon as interlopers, and in most cases every obstacle, short of absolute disobedience to the orders of the commanding general, was thrown in their way. All the little mistakes of the new-comers were magnified; all the good they did ignored, and a local public opinion thus created against them, which many of our own soldiers, who ought to have known better, gave in to. “What a ridiculous thing for these philanthropists to come down and teach the stupid negroes, and occupy the plantations, and use the secesh ponies which had been so convenient for our pickets!”

Such was the natural feeling of the unthinking, and of some who ought to have reflected. This false opinion was largely availed of by the “Herald” and other kindred papers, to create prejudice at the North against an enterprise aiming to improve the condition of the blacks. How much more satisfactory to this class would it have been to have had the negroes left to their own devices, and then given all the enemies of improvement a chance to say, “We told you so! The negroes are worse off than before, — idle, vicious, paupers. The sooner you reduce them to slavery again, and the more firmly you bind the rest of their race to eternal slavery, the better!”

It would take too long to go into the question of what is to be done hereafter; but there was an emergency three months ago which has, in my opinion, been successfully met; and among other results I believe you will have the testimony of all who have been engaged in the experiment, that it has distinctly proved that the negro has the same selfish element in him which induces other men to labor. Give him only a fair prospect of benefit from his labor, and he will work like other human beings. Doubtless hereafter this selfish element must be appealed to more than it could be by the agents of the commission. There must be less working in common, and more done for the especial benefit of each laborer. It is much to establish the fact that this element of industry exists.

In conclusion, I consider the Educational Commission up to this time a decided success. I congratulate you and your associates upon having added another to the good deeds of Massachusetts, not by any means forgetting the share which New York has had in the good work; and I sincerely hope that General Saxton, cooperating with you, may in a manner worthy of his high reputation complete what has been so well begun.

Very truly yours,
J. M. Forbes.
_______________

1 The Boston Daily Advertiser.

SOURCE: Sarah Forbes Hughes, Letters and Recollections of John Murray Forbes, Volume 1, p. 309-13

Charles Eliot Norton to James Russell Lowell, August 10, 1864

Ashfield, 10 August, 1864.

. . . George Curtis spent last Sunday with us, and desired me not to forget to send you his love. He was very pleasant and gave us very animated and interesting accounts of the Baltimore Convention, and of the visit of the Committee of the Convention to the President. He is firm in his confidence in the excellence of Mr. Lincoln's judgment, and in his strong common sense. He agreed with me in thinking that Woodman's1 stories of his interference with military affairs might have such foundation that they could not be called false, but that they would bear a very different aspect did we know the whole concerning them. Mr. Lincoln is obliged to carry on this war as a civil as well as a military leader, and civil considerations may often compel him to act in a manner which would be very unwise were he guided by purely military conditions.

I dare say you have heard that Arthur Sedgwick2 has been taken prisoner. We have heard nothing directly from him.  . . . This is a pretty severe experience for him, — and for his sisters, especially for Sara, but she bears it with great strength and cheerfulness.

Curtis has promised me an article on Hawthorne, and we must squeeze some dull article out of the next number to get it in. I like Howells' paper on Modern Italian Dramatists. It is pleasantly written and full of agreeable information. I hope you have asked him to write again. I have been writing a short article on Goldwin Smith. . . .
_______________

1 Probably Governor Andrew's intimate friend, Cyrus Woodman.

1 Mrs. Norton's brother was a first Lieutenant in the Twentieth Massachusetts Volunteers.

SOURCE: Sara Norton and  M. A. DeWolfe Howe, Letters of Charles Eliot Norton, Volume 1, p. 274

1st Lieutenant Charles Fessenden Morse, April 7, 1862

April 9th, 1862.

As the mail has not yet gone, I open my letter to write a few more lines. We had a sad accident happen to our company this morning. We were returning from picket from across the Shenandoah; the river was very high and running like a mill-race. The only means of crossing was in a small flat-boat which would carry but six; the boat was making one of its last trips, when a man named Freeman, sitting in the stern, gave a jump, capsizing the boat; four of the men swam ashore, but Freeman and our fourth sergeant were drowned; their bodies have not yet been recovered. It is a very sad loss. Sergeant Evans was a faithful, intelligent man, and we shall miss him a great deal. The storm of sleet and rain still continues; everything and everybody looks miserable and uncomfortable.

SOURCE: Charles Fessenden Morse, Letters Written During the Civil War, 1861-1865, p. 52

Major Wilder Dwight: August 31, 1861

camp Near Darnestown, August 31, 1861.

If you have a good map, you can see our present position just on Seneca Creek, two miles from Darnestown. We were ordered to Darnestown, but there is no water nearer than this point. We are within striking distance of Washington, and also vis-à-vis of Leesburg, about.

I wish you to buy, and forward by express, a large coffee-roaster, which will roast thirty or forty pounds at a time. There is a kind, I am told. It would be of immense advantage to us.

SOURCE: Elizabeth Amelia Dwight, Editor, Life and Letters of Wilder Dwight: Lieut.-Col. Second Mass. Inf. Vols., p. 90

Major Wilder Dwight: September 2, 1861

camp Near Darnestown, Monday, September 2, 1861,
Supply Train Camp.

I have got a chance at pen and paper in the Commissary's office, and improve the chance for a letter. I am here in charge of two companies guarding our Division Supply Train, but shall be relieved to-day. The duty is a tedious one. The event of yesterday was the arrival of the coffee-mills. Colonel Gordon reports that the men are in ecstasies with them. I am only a witness by his report, for I was ordered off on this duty just as the coffee-mills arrived. I know how badly they were needed, and I hear how admirably they work. Since our arrival here at this new camp we have undergone the invariable inconveniences attending the moving of a division, and for the past two days my mind and time have been absorbed with the problem of how to overcome them. Night before last, having accumulated the evidence from reports of captains, and from our own quartermaster, about the want of tea, hard bread, salt pork, &c., I went up to General Banks's head-quarters, and had a long talk with him, urging the remedies which have occurred to me. The General promises to change all this, and to accomplish the regular and constant issue of the ration to the soldier in the form and at the moment required by law. I was so much struck with the difference between our condition and that of the grand army about Washington, that I have been the more exercised since my return. One consolation I have, that we are learning lessons and acquiring habits which will have to be learned, perhaps, under less favorable circumstances by others; and I have hopes that something may be done to make feeding easier. We have had a grand reduction of baggage going on, in order to get us into easier moving train. I am persuaded that the true equipment for the soldier is the combination tent and knapsack, which enables him to carry his shelter on his back, and which dispenses with more than one half of the wagons of a regiment. By that arrangement every four men would carry their tent. It is put up in a moment, and they are never separated from it. In the future, if the war lasts, I hope to get our regiment equipped with it. The autumn campaign, however, must be made in our present trim, and we must prepare, as best we can, to make it. Where are the enemy? In our isolated position we hear nothing of them. I confess that this quietness puzzles me. If they only knew their opportunities, what fine fun they might have had.

My head-quarters in my present guard duty are on a pine hill, under a bower built of pine-boughs. We had a good camp-fire last night, and I enjoyed it very much. This morning I visited all my pickets and outposts very early, and had a fine ride through the woods. I am writing in the midst of a Babel of mule-teams, and am surrounded by huge piles of barrels of flour and hard bread, boxes of soap, bags of oats and corn, and other stores. The wagons are packed in two fields, and the work of distribution is going on all the time. The portable forges are just back of the tent where I write, and a dozen busy blacksmiths are ringing their anvils. It is a lively scene. I do not know that there is anything of narrative or prophecy that I can send you entertaining. I hope father will send the coffee-roaster, and have it as portable as the required result will allow. It will complete my effort in that direction. I have been some time without a letter, because our mail has not yet found us out in our new position. I hope it will do so tomorrow. I must get on my horse and go about to visit my guard. We sent our pay-rolls to Washington to-day, which is prompt work. Our pay will come again next week. The men of our regiment are now contented and efficient, illustrating my statement, that the only trouble was the want of pay. All those questions of enlistment, &c., have died out. They never had any real hold on the men, but were a form of grumbling. The change was abrupt and sudden. The paymaster came like a sunbeam. Good by. Love to all.

SOURCE: Elizabeth Amelia Dwight, Editor, Life and Letters of Wilder Dwight: Lieut.-Col. Second Mass. Inf. Vols., p. 90-2

Gerrit Smith to John Brown, December 30, 1856

Peterboro', Dec. 30, 1856.

Captain John Brown, — You did not need to show me letters from Governor Chase and Governor Robinson to let me know who and what you are. I have known you many years, and have highly esteemed you as long as I have known you. I know your unshrinking bravery, your self-sacrificing benevolence, your devotion to the cause of freedom, and have long known them. May Heaven preserve your life and health, and prosper your noble purposes!

Gerrit Smith.

SOURCE: Franklin B. Sanborn, The Life and Letters of John Brown, p. 364

Governor Salmon P. Chase to John Brown (a.k.a. Nelson Hawkins), June 6, 1857

Columbus, Ohio, June 6,1857.
Nelson Hawkins.

My Dear Sir. — Captain John Brown lately wrote me, requesting that I put a subscription paper in aid of the cause of freedom in Kansas in the hands of some reliable and efficient person here. I am sorry to say that on consideration I do not find there is any probability of obtaining any contributions here beyond the twenty-five dollars which I obtained for the Captain when here early last winter. The capital of a State, where calls are so constant and must have attention, is a hard place to raise money; and there are very few indeed who can be brought to see that the cause of freedom in Kansas at this time requires further contributions. I write this note to you at the request of Captain Brown, who speaks of you as his special friend.

Very respectfully and truly,
S. P. Chase.

SOURCE: Franklin B. Sanborn, The Life and Letters of John Brown, p. 363-4

Colonel Charles Russell Lowell to Henry Lee Higginson, September 10, 1864

Ripon, Va., Sept. 10, '64.

My Dear Henry, — I have been meaning to write to you ever since you became Mr. again, to ask about your health and prospects; or haven't you any of either?

I felt very sorry, old fellow, at your being finally obliged to give up, for I know you would have liked to see it out; however, there is work enough for a public-spirited cove everywhere. Labour for recruits and for Linkum, and you will do more than by sabring six Confederates. How do you earn your bread nowadays: or, if you are not earning it, how do you manage to pay for it? I daily congratulate myself that I drink no sugar in my coffee, that butter and eggs are unattainable, and that army beef is still only 13 cents, — for how should I be able to live on my pay? And for a civilian, Mr. Chase's successes must be awful to contemplate. I hope, Mr. Higginson, that you are going to live like a plain Republican, mindful of the beauty and the duty of simplicity. Nothing fancy now, Sir, if you please. It's disreputable to spend money, when the Government is so hard up, and when there are so many poor officers. I hope you have outgrown all foolish ambitions and are now content to become a “useful citizen.”  . . . Don't grow rich; if you once begin, you will find it much more difficult to be a useful citizen. The useful citizen is a mighty unpretending hero. But we are not going to have any Country very long unless such heroism is developed. There! what a stale sermon I'm preaching; but being a soldier, it does seem to me that I should like nothing else so well as being a useful citizen. That's modest, is it not? — well, trying to be one, I mean. I shall stay in the service, of course, till the war is over, or till I'm disabled; but then I look forward to a pleasanter career, one in which E. can be even a more better half. By Jove! what I have wasted through crude and stupid theories. I wish old Stephen were alive. I should like to poke fingers through his theories and have him poke through mine. How I do envy (or rather admire) the young fellows who have something to do now without theories, and do it. I believe I have lost all my ambitions, old fellow (military ambition Abraham has the “dead thing” on; he cures us all of that). I don't think I would turn my hand to be a distinguished chemist or a famous mathematician. All I now care about is to be a useful citizen with money enough to buy bread and firewood, and to teach my children how to ride on horseback and look strangers in the face, especially Southern strangers. I'll stop now; don't be alarmed.

Where are you going to live? — New York or further West; not Boston, I presume, unless your father wants you very much, and then why not move him too? What are you going to do? I am beginning to think old Cato was about right — “graze well,” “graze, graze ill.” Grazing is a good business, though it does take one away from the big plans. If I could stand the life, however, and could get enough to live upon, I suppose I should yield to the temptation of New York.  . . . Don't take this letter as a sample of my usual tone now. I measure every word now when I talk. (Did you not caution my wife to stop my abuse of the Administration in my letters to a certain Army officer, — Major H. of First Massachusetts Cavalry, — the said talk being dangerous, and the said Major untrustworthy? Know, young man, that I am a good enough friend of the Administration to be able to abuse its errors and its oversights without stint to safe ears, but I choose my ears carefully.) 1

I'm forty years old, — yes, forty-five,2 — and I never talk without thinking now — “a devil of a thinking.” I wonder whether I shall ever see you again to prove this. I fancy the hard fighting in the Valley has hardly begun yet, though the cavalry has been very busy, and this autumn campaign will run well into December. About December 15th I shall try for a leave of absence, 30 days, if I can get it; and then perhaps we'll pass an evening together.

I wish you could have got to Falls Church. I was very glad that Mother and Father paid me a visit there, when they did, to see how comfortable a wife can be in quarters. However, what are quarters to you now, or you to quarters? . . .
_______________

1 Colonel Lowell only permitted himself to criticise the Administration — always within bounds — to one or two of his closest friends. One of these, Mr. Forbes, he believed able to influence the Government in favour of special acts or general policies that seemed wise, honourable, and just, and hence necessary. Lowell's temperament was very different from Lincoln's, — he could not have waited for the slow growth of public opinion, — and, moreover, he judged him by such imperfect information as was accessible. He did not, like us, see him from afar, his work successfully done and crowned with his halo.

2 This is a statement of Colonel Lowell's momentary feeling. He was then twenty-nine years old.

SOURCE: Edward Waldo Emerson, Life and Letters of Charles Russell Lowell, p. 340-3, 461

Major-General John Sedgwick to his Sister, April 20, 1863

April 20, 1863.
My dear sister:

I have not heard from you for several days, so long that I began to fear that something had happened to prevent your writing. We are still stuck in the mud, and to-day is one of the rainiest of the season. All the streams are up, and no move can take place for a few days. Yesterday the President, Secretary of War, and General Halleck met General Hooker at Aquia Creek; what the subject of the conversation was of course no one but themselves know. A little piece of good news came this morning from Suffolk, which you will see in the papers. I hear they are making demonstrations to draw supports from this army, as they did last year by sending Jackson into the Shenandoah Valley; I hope the plan may not succeed. Many of our oldest and best regiments are soon to be discharged, as well as the nine months' troops. I am afraid the measures taken to secure their reenlistment will not prove effective. No troops with but a few days to leave are going to risk much in a fight.

I send in this mail two books directed to myself; please lay them aside.

I believe I told you that Mr. Heine had resigned. I received from him to-day a beautiful gold and silver box, for either snuff or tobacco. I liked him very much; he was very true and faithful in the discharge of his duties. I send his photograph, also one of Colonel Batchelder, another very good friend. With love to all,

I am, as ever,
J. S.

SOURCES: George William Curtis, Correspondence of John Sedgwick, Major-General, Volume 2, p. 90-1

Diary of Lieutenant-Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes: Saturday, January 4, 1862

Major Comly calls his camp at Raleigh “Camp Hayes.” It rained last night as if bent to make up for the long drouth. Foggy this morning; warm and muddy enough to stop all advances. Besides, yesterday the Twenty-sixth Regiment was ordered from here to Kentucky. Two other regiments go from below. Ten regiments from New York in same direction. Such an immense force as is gathering ought to open the Mississippi River, capture Memphis, New Orleans, and Nashville before the heat of summer closes operations on that line. Oh, for energy, go-ahead! With horses here we could do wonders, but such a rain as last night forbids any extensive movement.

Sent today as recruiting officers for the regiment Captains Lovejoy and Skiles, Sergeants Hicks and Powers, privates Seekins and Lowe, to report at Camp Chase to Major McCrea, U. S. A.

No rain today, but mist and clouds with occasional flakes of snow.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 177

Francis Lieber to Major-General Henry W. Halleck, August 2, 1863

New York, August 2, 1863.

My Dear General, — Doubtless you agree with me that now, the Mississippi being cleared, we shall have prowling assassins along its banks, firing on passengers from behind the levees. You share, I know, my opinion, expressed in my Guerilla pamphlet, regarding these lawless prowlers. Will it not be well to state distinctly, in a general order, that they must be treated as outlaws? Or would a proclamation touching this point —and the selling or massacring of our colored soldiers, as well as the breaking of the parole — be better? I cannot judge of this from a distance, but it reads very oddly that a rebel officer who has broken his parole was among the prisoners that recently arrived at Washington, as all the newspapers had it. I hope it is not true; and if not true, Government should semi-officially contradict it. That Government has too much to do, would be no answer. Napoleon even wrote occasionally articles for the “Moniteur.”  . . . I have pointed out a most important military position, near my house, in case of repeated riot. It is the highly elevated crossing of Fourth Avenue and Thirty-fourth Street. It has been adopted. Did I tell you that I, too, patrolled for three nights during that infamous, fiendish, and rascally riot. To be sure, wholly unprotected as we were, our patrolling was hardly for any other purpose than to take away in time our wives and children. The one good feature in this riot was that no blank cartridges were fired. The handful of troops we had — invalids and full combatants, as well as the police — behaved well, I believe, and did what was possible. My son Hamilton was in the midst of it during the whole time with his invalids. . . .

SOURCE: Thomas Sergeant Perry, Editor, The Life and Letters of Francis Lieber, p. 335-6

Francis Lieber to Major-General Henry W. Halleck, August 10, 1863

August 10.

. . . I have the pleasure of sending you a copy of the Memoir to Mr. Secretary Stanton, of which I spoke in my letter of yesterday. Mr. Petigru has always been acknowledged, by friend and foe, to be the most accomplished lawyer of the South. He was a decided and efficient Union man in the times of Nullification. He is now seventy-five years old, and remains unmolested, as the “only Union man of South Carolina,” on account of his age and almost complete retirement, he has always been a good friend of mine. . . .

SOURCE: Thomas Sergeant Perry, Editor, The Life and Letters of Francis Lieber, p. 336

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: October 23, 1861

The President is highly delighted at the result of the battle of Leesburg; and yet some of the red-tape West Point gentry are indignant at Gen. Evans for not obeying orders, and falling back. There is some talk of a court-martial; for it is maintained that no commander, according to strict military rules, should have offered battle against such superior numbers. They may disgrace Gen. Evans; but I trust our soldiers will repeat the experiment on every similar occasion.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 87

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: October 24, 1861

We made a narrow escape; at least, we have a respite. If the Yankee army had advanced with its 200,000 men, they would not have encountered more than 70,000 fighting Confederate soldiers between the Potomac and Richmond. It was our soldiers (neither the officers nor the government) that saved us; and they fought contrary to rule, and even in opposition to orders. Of course our officers at Leesburg did their duty manfully; nevertheless, the soldiers had determined to fight, officers or no officers.

But as the man in the play said, “it will suffice.” The Yankees are a calculating people: and if 1500 Mississippians and Virginians at Leesburg were too many for 8000 Yankees, what could 200,000 Yankees do against 70,000 Southern soldiers? It made them pause, and give up the idea of taking Richmond this year. But the enemy will fight better every successive year; and this should not be lost sight of. They, too, are Anglo-Saxons.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 87-8

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: October 25, 1861


Gen. Price, of Missouri, is too popular, and there is a determination on the part of the West Pointers to “kill him off.” I fear he will gain no more victories.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 88

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: October 26, 1861

Immense amounts of patriotic contributions, in clothing and provisions, are daily registered.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 88

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: October 27, 1861

Still the Jews are going out of the country and returning at pleasure. They deplete the Confederacy of coin, and sell their goods at 500 per cent. profit. They pay no duty; and Mr. Memminger has lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in this way.

The press everywhere is thundering against the insane policy of permitting all who avow themselves enemies to return to the North; and I think Mr. B. is beginning to wince under it. I tremble when I reflect that those who made the present government, and the one to succeed it, did not represent one-third of the people composing the inhabitants of the Confederate States.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 88

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: October 28, 1861

The most gigantic naval preparations have been made by the enemy; and they must strike many blows on the coast this fall and winter. They are building great numbers of gun-boats, some of them iron-clad, both for the coast and for the Western rivers. If they get possession of the Mississippi River, it will be a sad day for the Confederacy. And what are we doing? We have many difficulties to contend against; and there is a deficiency in artisans and material. Nevertheless, the government is constructing a monster at Norfolk, and several similar floating batteries in the West. But we neglect to construct casemated batteries! Our fortifications, without them, must fall before the iron ships of the enemy. The battle of Manassas has given us a long exemption from the fatigues and horrors of war; but this calm will be succeeded by a storm.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 88

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: October 29, 1861

The election to take place during the ensuing month creates no excitement. There will be less than a moiety, of the whole vote cast; and Davis and Stephens will be elected without opposition. No disasters have occurred yet to affect the popularity of any of the great politicians; and it seems no risks will be run. The battle of Manassas made everybody popular — and especially Gen. Beauregard. If he were a candidate, I am pretty certain he would be elected.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 89

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: October 30, 1861

I understand a dreadful quarrel is brewing between Mr. Benjamin and Gen. Beauregard. Gen. B. being the only individual ever hinted at as an opponent of Mr. Davis for the Presidency, the Secretary of War fights him on vantage-ground, and likewise commends himself to the President. Van Buren was a good politician in his day, and so is Mr. Benjamin in his way. I hope these dissensions may expend themselves without injury to the country.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 89

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: October 31, 1861

Mr. Benjamin, it is understood, will be a candidate for a seat in the C. S. Senate. And I have learned from several members of the Louisiana legislature that he will be defeated. They charge him with hob-nobbing too much with Northern friends; and say that he still retains membership in several clubs in New York and Boston.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 89

Diary of Mary Boykin Chesnut: January 23, 1864

My luncheon was a female affair exclusively. Mrs. Davis came early and found Annie and Tudie making the chocolate. Lawrence had gone South with my husband; so we had only Molly for cook and parlor-maid. After the company assembled we waited and waited. Those girls were making the final arrangements. I made my way to the door, and as I leaned against it ready to turn the knob, Mrs. Stanard held me like Coleridge's Ancient Mariner, and told how she had been prevented by a violent attack of cramps from running the blockade, and how providential it all was. All this floated by my ear, for I heard Mary Preston's voice raised in high protest on the other side of the door. “Stop!” said she. “Do you mean to take away the whole dish?” “If you eat many more of those fried oysters they will be missed. Heavens! She is running away with a plug, a palpable plug, out of that jelly cake!”

Later in the afternoon, when it was over and I was safe, for all had gone well and Molly had not disgraced herself before the mistresses of those wonderful Virginia cooks, Mrs. Davis and I went out for a walk. Barny Heyward and Dr. Garnett joined us, the latter bringing the welcome news that “Muscoe Russell's wife had come.”

SOURCE: Mary Boykin Chesnut, Edited by Isabella D. Martin and Myrta Lockett Avary, A Diary From Dixie, p. 282-3

Diary of Judith Brockenbrough McGuire: November 25, 1862

Just from the depot. The cars have gone to Richmond, filled with non-combatants from Fredericksburg — ladies, with their children, many of whom know not where to go. They will get to Richmond after dark, and many propose staying in the cars this cold night, and seeking a resting-place to-morrow. The feeling of desolation among them is dreadful. Oh, how I wish that I had even one room to offer! The bombardment has not commenced, but General Lee requested last night that the women and children who had not gone should go without delay. This seems to portend hot work.

SOURCE: Judith W. McGuire, Diary of a Southern Refugee, During the War, p. 172

Charlotte Cross Wigfall to Louise Wigfall, April 12, 1861

April 12.

I was awakened about half past four, this morning, by the booming of a cannon, and it has been going on steadily ever since — the firing is constant and rapid — with what results we don't yet know. Your father has gone to Morris's Island to obtain a report from the command there, and in order to avoid the guns of Sumter he has taken Major Whiting's row boat, so as to run in by the Inlets. I don't know how long he will be gone.

11 o'clock. The news we hear so far is good. No one killed on Morris's Island so far — and a breach reported in Fort Sumter. The iron battery is working well and the balls from Sumter have no effect on it. All is excitement of the most painful kind. Another story is that the Harriet Lane which was off the bar last night has been fired into and injured.

SOURCE: Louise Wigfall Wright, A Southern Girl in ’61, p. 38-9

Diary of Sarah Morgan: April 26, 1862

What a day! Last night came a dispatch that New Orleans was under British protection, and could not be bombarded; consequently, the enemy's gunboats would probably be here this morning, such few as had succeeded in passing the Forts; from nine to fifteen, it was said. And the Forts, they said, had not surrendered. I went to church; but I grew very anxious before it was over, feeling that I was needed at home. When I returned, I found Lilly wild with excitement, picking up hastily whatever came to hand, preparing for instant flight, she knew not where. The Yankees were in sight; the town was to be burned; we were to run to the woods, etc. If the house had to be burned, I had to make up my mind to run, too. So my treasure-bag tied around my waist as a bustle, a sack with a few necessary articles hanging on my arm, some few quite unnecessary ones, too, as I had not the heart to leave the old and new prayer books father had given me, and Miriam's, too; — pistol and carving-knife ready, I stood awaiting the exodus. I heaped on the bed the treasures I wanted to burn, matches lying ready to fire the whole at the last minute. I may here say that, when all was over, I found I had omitted many things from the holocaust. This very diary was not included. It would have afforded vast amusement to the Yankees. There may yet be occasion to burn them, and the house also. People fortunately changed their minds about the auto-da-fé just then; and the Yankees have not yet arrived, at sundown. So, when the excitement calmed down, poor Lilly tumbled in bed in a high fever in consequence of terror and exertion.

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I was right in that prophecy. For this was not the Will Pinckney I saw last. So woebegone! so subdued, careworn, and sad! No trace of his once merry self. He is good-looking, which he never was before. But I would rather never have seen him than have found him so changed. I was talking to a ghost. His was a sad story. He had held one bank of the river until forced to retreat with his men, as their cartridges were exhausted, and General Lovell omitted sending more. They had to pass through swamps, wading seven and a half miles, up to their waists in water. He gained the edge of the swamp, saw they were over the worst, and fell senseless. Two of his men brought him milk, and “woke him up,” he said. His men fell from exhaustion, were lost, and died in the swamp; so that out of five hundred, but one hundred escaped. This he told quietly and sadly, looking so heartbroken that it was piteous to see such pain. He showed me his feet, with thick clumsy shoes which an old negro had pulled off to give him; for his were lost in the swamp, and he came out bare-footed. They reached the Lafourche River, I believe, seized a boat, and arrived here last night. His wife and child were aboard. Heaven knows how they got there! The men he sent on to Port Hudson, while he stopped here. I wanted to bring his wife to stay with us; but he said she could not bear to be seen, as she had run off just as she had happened to be at that moment. In half an hour he would be off to take her to his old home in a carriage. There he would rejoin his men, on the railroad, and march from Clinton to the Jackson road, and so on to Corinth. A long journey for men so disheartened! But they will conquer in the end. Beauregard's army will increase rapidly at this rate. The whole country is aroused, and every man who owns a gun, and many who do not, are on the road to Corinth. We will conquer yet.

SOURCE: Sarah Morgan Dawson, A Confederate Girl's Diary, p. 20-2

Diary of Corporal Alexander G. Downing: Saturday, September 17, 1864

The fight is all over and no one was hurt. The troops remained under arms all night to be in readiness for the rebels should they come across the river. Everything is quiet today.

Source: Alexander G. Downing, Edited by Olynthus B., Clark, Downing’s Civil War Diary, p. 215