Monday, April 27, 2015

The Confiscation Act of 1862: July 17, 1862

AN ACT to suppress insurrection, to punish treason and rebellion, to seize and confiscate the property of rebels, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That every person who shall hereafter commit the crime of treason against the United States, and shall be adjudged guilty thereof, shall suffer death, and all his slaves, if any, shall be declared and made free; or, at the discretion of the court, he shall be imprisoned for not less than five years and fined not less than $10,000, and all his slaves, if any, shall be declared and made free; said fine shall be levied and collected on any or all of the property, real and personal, excluding slaves, of which the said person so convicted was the owner at the time of committing the said crime, any sale or conveyance to the contrary notwithstanding.

SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That if any person shall hereafter incite, set on foot, assist, or engage in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States, or the laws thereof, or shall give aid or comfort thereto, or shall engage in, or give aid and comfort to, any such existing rebellion or insurrection, and be convicted thereof, such person shall be punished by imprisonment for a period not exceeding ten years, or by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars, and by the liberation of all his slaves, if any he have; or by both of said punishments, at the discretion of the court.

SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, That every person guilty of either of the offenses described in this act shall be forever incapable and disqualified to hold any office under the United States.

SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, That this act shall not be construed in any way to affect or alter the prosecution, conviction, or punishment of any person or persons guilty of treason against the United States before the passage of this act, unless such person is convicted under this act.

SEC. 5. And be it further enacted, That, to insure the speedy termination of the present rebellion, it shall be the duty of the President of the United States to cause the seizure of all the estate and property, money, stocks, credits, and effects of the persons hereinafter named in this section, and to apply and use the same and the proceeds thereof for the support of the Army of the United States – that is to say:

First. Of any person hereafter acting as an officer of the army or navy of the rebels in arms against the Government of the United States.

Secondly. Of any person hereafter acting as President, Vice-President, member of Congress, judge of any court, cabinet officer, foreign minister, commissioner or consul of the so-called Confederate States of America.

Thirdly. Of any person acting as Governor of a State, member of a convention or Legislature, or judge of any court of any of the so-called Confederate States of America.

Fourthly. Of any person who, having held an office of honor, trust, or profit in the United States, shall hereafter hold an office in the so-called Confederate States of America.

Fifthly. Of any person hereafter holding any office or agency under the government of the so-called Confederate States of America, or under any of the several States of the said Confederacy, or the laws thereof, whether such office or agency be national, state, or municipal in its name or character: Provided, That the persons thirdly, fourthly, and fifthly above described shall have accepted their appointment or election since the date of the pretended ordinance of secession of the State, or shall have taken an oath of allegiance to, or to support the Constitution of, the so-called Confederate States.

Sixthly. Of any person who, owning property in any loyal State or Territory of the United States, or in the District of Columbia, shall hereafter assist and give aid and comfort to such rebellion ; and all sales, transfers, or conveyances of any such property shall he null and void; and it shall be a sufficient bar to any suit brought by such person for the possession or the use of such property, or any of it, to allege and prove that he is one of the persons described in this section.

SEC. 6. And be it further enacted, That if any person within any State or Territory of the United States, other than those named, as aforesaid, after the passage of this act, being engaged in armed rebellion against the Government of the United States, or aiding or abetting such rebellion, shall not, within sixty days after public warning and proclamation duly given and made by the President of the United States, cease to aid, countenance, and abet such rebellion, and return to his allegiance to the United States, all the estate and property, money, stocks, and credits of such person shall be liable to seizure, as aforesaid, and it shall be the duty of the President to seize and use them as aforesaid or the proceeds thereof. And all sales, transfers, or conveyances of any such property after the expiration of the said sixty days from the date of such warning and proclamation shall be null and void; and it shall be a sufficient bar to any suit brought by such person for the possession or the use of such property, or any of it, to allege and prove that he is one of the persons described in this section.

SEC. 7. And be it further enacted, That to secure the condemnation and sale of any of such property, after the same shall have been seized, so that it may be made available for the purpose aforesaid, proceedings in rein shall be instituted in the name of the United States in any district court thereof, or in any Territorial court or in the United States district court for the District of Columbia, within which the property above described, or any part thereof, may be found, or into which the same, if movable, may first be brought, which proceedings shall conform as nearly as may be to proceedings in admiralty or revenue cases; and if said property, whether real or personal, shall be found to have belonged to a person engaged in rebellion, or who has given aid or comfort thereto, the same shall be condemned as enemies' property and become the property of the United States, and may be disposed of as the court shall decree, and the proceeds thereof paid into the Treasury of the United States for the purposes aforesaid.

SEC. 8. And be it further enacted, That the several courts aforesaid shall have power to make such orders, establish such forms of decree and sale, and direct such deeds and conveyances to be executed and delivered by the marshals thereof where real estate shall be the subject of sale, as shall fitly and efficiently effect the purposes of this act, and vest in the purchasers of such property good and valid titles thereto. And the said courts shall have power to allow such fees and charges of their officers as shall be reasonable and proper in the premises.

SEC. 9. And be it further enacted, That all slaves of persons who shall hereafter be engaged in rebellion against the Government of the United States, or who shall in any way give aid or comfort thereto, escaping from such persons and taking refuge within the lines of the Army; and all slaves captured from such persons or deserted by them and coming under the control of the Government of the United States, and all slaves of such persons found on [or] being within any place occupied by rebel forces and afterward occupied by the forces of the United States shall be deemed captives of war, and shall be forever free of their servitude, and not again held as slaves.

SEC. 10. And be it further enacted, That no slave escaping into any State, Territory, or the District of Columbia, from any other State, shall be delivered up, or in any way impeded or hindered of his liberty, except for crime, or some offense against the laws, unless the person claiming said fugitive shall first make oath that the person to whom the labor or service of such fugitive is alleged to be due is his lawful owner, and has not borne arms against the United States in the present rebellion, nor in any way given aid and comfort thereto; and no person engaged in the military or naval service of the United States shall, under any pretense whatever, assume to decide on the validity of the claim of any person to the service or labor of any other person, or surrender up any such person to the claimant, on pain of being dismissed from the service.

SEC. 11. And be it further enacted, That the President of the United States is authorized to employ as many persons of African descent as he may deem necessary and proper for the suppression of this rebellion, and for this purpose he may organize and use them in such manner as he may judge best for the public welfare.

SEC. 12. And be it further enacted, That the President of the United States is hereby authorized to make provision for the transportation, colonization, and settlement, in some tropical country beyond the limits of the United States, of such persons of the African race, made free by the provisions of this act, as may be willing to emigrate, having first obtained the consent of the government of said country to their protection and settlement within the same, with all the rights and privileges of freemen.

SEC. 13. And be it further enacted, That the President is hereby authorized, at any time hereafter, by proclamation, to extend to persons who may have participated in the existing rebellion in any State or part thereof, pardon and amnesty, with such exceptions and at such time and on such conditions as he may deem expedient for the public welfare.

SEC. 14. And be it further enacted, That the courts of the United States shall have full power to institute proceedings, make orders and decrees, issue process, and do all other things necessary to carry this act into effect.

Approved July 17, 1862.

SOURCE: SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series III, Volume 2 (Serial No. 123), p. 275-6

The Confiscation Act of 1861: August 6, 1861

An Act to confiscate Property used for Insurrectionary Purposes.

Be it enacted . . . , That if, during the present or any future insurrection against the Government of the United States, after the President of the United States shall have declared, by proclamation, that the laws of the United States are opposed, and the execution thereof obstructed, by combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, or by the power vested in the marshals by law, any person or persons, his, her, or their agent, attorney, or employé, shall purchase or acquire, sell or give, any property of whatsoever kind or description, with intent to use or employ the same, or suffer the same to be used or employed, in aiding, abetting, or promoting such insurrection or resistance to the laws, or any person or persons engaged therein; or if any person or persons, being the owner or owners of any such property, shall knowingly use or employ, or consent to the use or employment of the same as aforesaid, all such property is hereby declared to be lawful subject of prize and capture wherever found; and it shall be the duty of the President of the United States to cause the same to be seized, confiscated, and condemned.

Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That such prizes and capture shall be condemned in the district or circuit court of the United States having jurisdiction of the amount, or in admiralty in any district in which the same may be seized, or into which they may be taken and proceedings first instituted.

Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That the Attorney-General, or any district attorney of the United States in which said property may at the time be, may institute the proceedings of condemnation, and in such case they shall be wholly for the benefit of the United States; or any person may file an information with such attorney, in which case the proceedings shall be for the use of such informer and the United States in equal parts.

Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, That whenever hereafter, during the present insurrection against the Government of the United States, any person claimed to be held to labor or service under the law of any State, shall be required or permitted by the person to whom such labor or service is claimed to be due, or by the lawful agent of such person, to take up arms against the United States, or shall be required or permitted by the person to whom such labor or service is claimed to be due, or his lawful agent, to work or to be employed in or upon any fort, navy yard, dock, armory, ship, entrenchment, or in any military or naval service whatsoever, against the Government and lawful authority of the United States, then, and in every such case, the person to whom such labor or service is claimed to be due shall forfeit his claim to such labor, any law of the State or of the United States to the contrary notwithstanding. And whenever thereafter the person claiming such labor or service shall seek to enforce his claim, it shall be a full and sufficient answer to such claim that the person whose service or labor is claimed had been employed in hostile service against the Government of the United States, contrary to the provisions of this act.

SOURCES: William MacDonald, Editor, Documentary Source Book of American History, 1606-1913, p. 443-4; Frank Moore, Editor, The Rebellion Record, Volume 2, p. 475-6

Sunday, April 26, 2015

William Cullen Bryant to John Bigelow, Esq., December 14, 1859

new York, December 14, 1859.

Probably Mr. Seward stays in Europe till the first flurry occasioned by the Harper's Ferry affair is over; but I do not think his prospects for being the next candidate for the Presidency are brightening. This iteration of the misconstruction put on his phrase of “the irrepressible conflict between freedom and slavery” has, I think, damaged him a good deal, and in this city there is one thing which has damaged him still more. I mean the project of Thurlow Weed to give charters for a set of city railways, for which those who receive them are to furnish a fund of from four to six hundred thousand dollars, to be expended for the Republican cause in the next Presidential election. This scheme was avowed by Mr. Weed to our candidate for mayor, Mr. Opdyke, and others, and shocked the honest old Democrats of our party not a little. Besides the Democrats of our party, there is a bitter enmity to this railway scheme cherished by many of the old Whigs of our party. They are very indignant at Weed's meddling with the affair, and between Weed and Seward they make no distinction, assuming that, if Seward becomes President, Weed will be “viceroy over him.” Notwithstanding, I suppose it is settled that Seward is to be presented by the New York delegation to the convention as their man.

Frank Blair, the younger, talks of Wade, of Ohio, and it will not surprise me if the names which have been long before the public are put aside for some one against which fewer objections can be made.

Our election for mayor is over. We wished earnestly to unite the Republicans on Havemeyer, and should have done so if he had not absolutely refused to stand when a number of Republicans waited on him, to beg that he would consent to stand as a candidate.

Just as the Republicans had made every arrangement to nominate Opdyke, he concluded to accept the Tammany nomination, and then it was too late to bring the Republicans over. They had become so much offended and disgusted with the misconduct of the Tammany supervisors in appointing registrars, and the abuse showered upon the Republicans by the Tammany speakers, and by the shilly-shallying of Havemeyer, that they were like so many unbroke colts; there was no managing them. So we had to go into a tripartite battle; and Wood, as we told them beforehand, carried off what we were quarrelling for. Havemeyer has since written a letter to put the Republicans in the right. “He is too old for the office,” said many persons to me when he was nominated. After I saw that letter I was forced to admit that this was true.

Your letters are much read. I was particularly, and so were others, interested with the one — a rather long one — on the policy of Napoleon, but I could not subscribe to the censure you passed on England for not consenting to become a party to the Congress unless some assurance was given her that the liberties of Central Italy would be secured. By going into the Congress she would become answerable for its decisions, and bound to sustain them, as she was in the arrangements made by her and the other great powers after the fall of Napoleon — arrangements the infamy of which has stuck to her ever since. I cannot wonder that she is shy of becoming a party to another Congress for the settlement of the affairs of Europe, and I thought that reluctance did her honor. I should have commented on your letter on this subject if it had been written by anybody but yourself. . . .

The Union-savers, who include a pretty large body of commercial men, begin to look on our paper with a less friendly eye than they did a year ago. The southern trade is good just now, and the western rather unprofitable. Appleton says there is not a dollar in anybody's pocket west of Buffalo.

SOURCE: Parke Godwin, A Biography of William Cullen Bryant, Volume 2, p. 127-8

Diary of Edward Bates: October 26, 1859

R. M. Field14 brot' to my office and introduced to me, his college mate, Judge Saml. Miller, of Rochester N. Y. He is retired from business – being rich, I suppose – and has been travelling thro' the Southern states, Cuba &c[.] He seems to be a warm politician, a whig, I suppose, as he claims special friendship with Govr. Hunt15 – He has served in the N. Y. Senate, and has been a Judge.

Says he is personally very friendly with Mr. Douglas, who is a relative of his wife.

Also, there was introduced to me today, Mr. Henry Livingston, editor of the Alta California.

I had an hours [sic] talk with him and find him a pleasant, intelligent man. Judge Miller (who casually met him in my office) says he knew him in his youth, that his father is a worthy citizen of Rochester, now fallen poor.

[Three clippings from the St. Louis Evening News : 1. “Gov. Wise16 and Old Brown”17 quoting at length from a Richmond speech in which Governor Wise characterized Brown; 2.”Pierce for President” predicting that the Pierce men will lie low until Douglas, Wise, Hunter,18 and Breckinridge6 have defeated each other and will then try to secure Pierce's nomination as a dark  horse; 3. “Gov. Wise Ahead” pointing out how fortunate the John Brown raid was for Governor Wise's aspirations for the nomination for President.]
_______________

14 Roswell M. Field : St. Louis lawyer who initiated and tried the Dred Scott case in the Circuit Court ; a staunch unionist who helped prevent Missouri's secession ; an authority on land-title disputes arising out of the conflicting claims under Spanish, French, and congressional grants prior to the organization of the State.

15 Washington Hunt: Whig governor of New York, 1850-1852 ; congressman, 1843-1849; supporter of the Compromise of 1850 ; chairman of the Whig National Convention in 1856; chairman of the Constitutional Union Convention which nominated Bell and Everett in 1860; McClellan Democrat in 1864 ; delegate to Johnson's National Union Convention in 1866.

16 Supra, April 28, 1859, note 38.

17 Supra, Oct. 25, 1859.

18  Rohert M. T. Hunter of Virginia : Democratic congressman, 1837-1861; Confederate secretary of State, 1861-1862; then Confederate senator, 1862-1865; representative of the Confederacy at the Hampton Roads Conference with Lincoln and Seward in 1865. He was a leading advocate of states' rights and a strong candidate for the nomination for the Presidency in the Democratic Convention at Charleston in 1860. He remained in the Senate in 1861 until Virginia seceded.

19 John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky: Democratic congressman, 1851-1855; vice-president of the U. S., 1857-1861; U. S. senator, 1861; candidate of the Southern Democracy for the Presidency in 1860 ; opponent of congressional action on slavery in the Territories. When the War came he believed in the abstract right of secession but opposed it in practice, and yet also opposed coercion of states to keep them in the Union. He tried to secure adoption of the Crittenden Compromise, but finally joined the Confederate Army, became brigadier-general, fought in Kentucky in 1861-1862, at Shiloh. Vicksburg, Baton Rouge, and Port Hudson in 1862, at Jackson, Chickamauga, and Missionary Ridge in 1863, and in southwest Virginia, at Cold Harbor, in the Shenandoah, and in Early's raid on Washington in 1864. In February, 1865, he was made Confederate secretary of War.

SOURCE: Howard K. Beale, Editor, The Diary of Edward Bates, 1859-1866, p. 51-2

Captain William Francis Bartlett to Harriett Plummer Bartlett, April 10, 1862

Camp Before Yorktown, April 10, 1862.

Dear Mother: — I have been through some danger safely since I wrote you Sunday. Monday morning our regiment, with the Nineteenth Massachusetts, went out on a reconnoissance towards Yorktown. We marched three or four miles through the woods and mud, when we came to a rebel entrenchment on the opposite side of a swamp, which they had made by damming a stream.

The engineer who went with the General reconnoitered it, covered by our skirmishers. We exchanged perhaps a hundred shots with them, without doing any damage to any one, and, the engineer having accomplished his object, we left, and kept to the left; about two miles. We came to another battery on the same stream. Here they opened on us with shell from a thirty-two-pounder. Three men of the Nineteenth were wounded. One died that night. We got under the cover of some woods and covered the engineer while he reconnoitered. It looked pretty squally when they opened on us with shell, as we had no artillery with us. We withdrew about dark, having effected the object of the reconnoissance. We had to march home in the dark, through the woods, in mud up to our knees. It had rained hard all day.

I had the fortune to wear my rubber coat, so that I wasn't much wet above my waist. I walked, and wore my shoes. We were pretty tired when we got back. The Colonel and I had a tent to sleep in, but the men had nothing to do but lie down in the mud and let it rain. Most of them stood up round the fires all night to keep warm. I managed to get two dozen bottles of whiskey from the sutler, which he had brought for officers, and distributed it so that each man got a small drink of hot whiskey and water. I stayed out till eleven o'clock in the rain doing it. I then came in, took off my stockings and pants, which were wet through, rubbed my feet dry, and lay down and slept soundly enough. I woke all right in the morning. It was still raining, and is today, the third day. I hope it will stop soon. This has delayed the advance very much, as it is impossible to move artillery.

John Putnam is going back to Fort Monroe; he can't stand this, it is too rough for him. Riddle, the same.

Two or three of the officers are sick, but I am as well as ever. Arthur is a little unwell to-day, but you needn't tell his mother, because he will be all right tomorrow, and she would be only worried. General Sumner arrived to-day with the rest of his corps. I haven't seen General McClellan since he passed on the road. He is here. Colonel Lee is at the fort. He will not join us at present, he thinks.

Love to all.
W.

SOURCE: Francis Winthrop Palfrey, Memoir of William Francis Bartlett, p. 37-8

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Diary of Gideon Welles: Sunday, September 7, 1862

The report prevalent yesterday that the Rebels had crossed the upper Potomac at or near the Point of Rocks is confirmed, and it is pretty authentic that large reinforcements have since been added.

Found Chase in Secretary's room at the War Department with D. D. Field. No others present. Some talk about naval matters. Field censorious and uncomfortable. General Pope soon came in but stayed only a moment. Was angry and vehement. He and Chase had a brief conversation apart, when he returned to Stanton's room.

When I started to come away, Chase followed, and after we came down stairs asked me to walk with him to the President's. As we crossed the lawn, he said with emotion everything was going wrong. He feared the country was ruined. McClellan was having everything his own way, as he (Chase) anticipated he would if decisive measures were not promptly taken for his dismissal. It was a reward for perfidy. My refusal to sign the paper he had prepared was fraught with great evil to the country. I replied that I viewed that matter differently. My estimate of McClellan was in some respects different from his. I agreed he wanted decision, that he hesitated to strike, had also behaved badly in the late trouble, but I did not believe he was unfaithful and destitute of patriotism. But aside from McClellan, and the fact that it would, with the feeling which pervaded the army, have been an impolitic step to dismiss him, the proposed combination in the Cabinet would have been inexcusably wrong to the President. We had seen the view which the President took of the matter and how he felt at the meeting of the Cabinet on Tuesday. From what I have seen and heard within the last few days, the more highly do I appreciate the President's judgment and sagacity in the stand he made, and the course he took. Stanton has carried his dislike or hatred of McC. to great lengths, and from free intercourse with Chase has enlisted him, and to some extent influenced all of us against that officer, who has failings enough of his own to bear without the addition of Stanton's enmity to his own infirmities. Seward, in whom McC. has confided more than any member of the Administration, from the common belief that Seward was supreme, yielded to Stanton's malignant feelings, and yet, not willing to encounter that officer, he went off to Auburn, expecting the General would be disposed of whilst he was away. The President, who, like the rest of us, has seen and felt McClellan's deficiencies and has heard Stanton's and Halleck's complaints more than we have, finally, and I think not unwillingly, consented to bring Pope here in front of Washington; was also further persuaded by Stanton and Chase to recall the army from Richmond and turn the troops over to Pope. Most of this originated, and has been matured, in the War Department, Stanton and Chase being the pioneers, Halleck assenting, the President and Seward under stress of McClellan's disease “the slows,” and with the reverses before Richmond, falling in with the idea that a change of commanders and a change of base was necessary. The recall of the army from the vicinity of Richmond I thought wrong, and I know it was in opposition to the opinion of some of the best military men in the service. Placing Pope over them roused the indignation of many. But in this Stanton had a purpose to accomplish, and in bringing first Pope here, then by Pope's assistance and General Scott's advice bringing Halleck, and concerting measures which followed, he succeeded in breaking down and displacing McClellan, but not in dismissing and disgracing him. This the President would not do or permit to be done, though he was more offended with McC. than he ever was before. In a brief conversation with him as we were walking together on Friday, the President said with much emphasis: “I must have McClellan to reorganize the army and bring it out of chaos, but there has been a design, a purpose in breaking down Pope, without regard of consequences to the country. It is shocking to see and know this; but there is no remedy at present, McClellan has the army with him.”

My convictions are with the President that McClellan and his generals are this day stronger than the Administration with a considerable portion of this Army of the Potomac. It is not so elsewhere with the soldiers, or in the country, where McClellan has lost favor. The people are disappointed in him, but his leading generals have contrived to strengthen him in the hearts of the soldiers in front of Washington.

Chase and myself found the President alone this Sunday morning. We canvassed fully the condition of the army and country. Chase took an early opportunity, since the report of Pope was suppressed, to urge upon the President the propriety of some announcement of the facts connected with the recent battles. It was, he said, due to the country and also to Pope and McDowell.  I at once comprehended why Chase had invited me to accompany him in this visit. It was that it might appear that we were united on this mission. I therefore promptly stated that this was the first time I had heard the subject broached. At a proper time, it seemed to me, there would be propriety in presenting a fair, unprejudiced, and truthful statement of late disasters. The country craved to know the facts, but the question was, Could we just now with prudence give them? Disclosing might lead to discord and impair the efficiency of the officers. The President spoke favorably of Pope, and thought he would have something prepared for publication by Halleck.

When taking a walk this Sunday evening with my son Edgar, we met on Pennsylvania Avenue, near the junction of H Street, what I thought at first sight a squad of cavalry or mounted men, some twenty or thirty in number. I remarked as they approached that they seemed better mounted than usual, but E. said the cavalcade was General McClellan and his staff. I raised my hand to salute him as they were dashing past, but the General, recognizing us, halted the troop and rode up to me by the sidewalk, to shake hands, he said, and bid me farewell. I asked which way. He said he was proceeding to take command of the onward movement. “Then,” I added, “you go up the river.” He said yes, he had just started to take charge of the army and of the operations above. “Well,” said I, “onward, General, is now the word; the country will expect you to go forward.” “That,” he answered, “is my intention.” “Success to you, then, General, with all my heart.” With a mutual farewell we parted.

This was our first meeting since we parted at Cumberland on the Pamunkey in June, for we each had been so occupied during the three or four days he had been in Washington that we had made no calls. On several occasions we missed each other. In fact, I had no particular desire to fall in with any of the officers who had contributed to the disasters that had befallen us, or who had in any respect failed to do their whole duty in this great crisis. While McClellan may have had some cause to be offended with Pope, he has no right to permit his personal resentments to inflict injury upon the country. I may do him injustice, but I think his management has been generally unfortunate, to say the least, and culpably wrong since his return from the Peninsula.

He has now been placed in a position where he may retrieve himself, and return to Washington a victor in triumph, or he may, as he has from the beginning, wilt away in tame delays and criminal inaction. I would not have given him the command, nor have advised it, strong as he is with the army, had I been consulted; and I feel sad that he has been so intrusted. It may, however, be for the best. There are difficulties in the matter that can scarcely be appreciated by those who do not know all the circumstances. The army is, I fear, much demoralized, and its demoralization is much of it to be attributed to the officers whose highest duty it is to prevent it. To have placed any other general than McClellan, or one of his circle, in command would be to risk disaster. It is painful to entertain the idea that the country is in the hands of such men. I hope I mistake them.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 1: 1861 – March 30, 1864, p. 111-5

Diary of Salmon P. Chase: Thursday, September 4, 1862

McDowell came over to-day and gave me a circumstancial account of the recent battles — attributing our ill success to the conduct of McClellan in not urging forward reinforcements, and especially to the conduct of Porter and his division on the day of the last battle. He stayed all night.

SOURCE: Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1902, Vol. 2, p. 66

Horace Greeley to James S. Pike, February 26, 1860

New York, February 26, 1860.

Friend P.: Before you say much more about John Bell, will you just take down the volumes of the Congressional Globe for 1853-4 and refresh your recollection of the part he played with regard to the Nebraska bill? Will you look especially at his votes, February 6th, on Chase's amendment; February 15th, on Douglas's amendment (the present slavery proviso); March 2d, on Chase's amendment (allowing the people of the Territories to prohibit slavery); March 2d, against Chase again, etc. It does seem to me that you or I must be mad or strangely forgetful about this business. I venture to say that Bell's record is the most tangled and embarrassing to the party which shall run him for President of any man's in America. And as to his wife's owning the slaves — bosh! We know that Bell has owned slaves — how did he get rid of them? That's an interesting question. We knowhow to answer it respecting Bates.

But I don't care what is done about the nomination. I know what ought to be done, and having set that forth am content. I stand in the position of the rich old fellow, who, having built a church entirely out of his own means, addressed his townsmen thus:

“I've built you a meeting-house,
And bought you a bell;
Now go to meeting,
Or go to h---!”

Yours,
Horace Greeley.
James S. Pike, Washington City, D. C.

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. 499-500

Major Robert Anderson to Colonel Samuel Cooper, January 6, 1861

fort Sumter, S. C, January 6, 1861.
Col. S. Cooper, Adjutant-General:

Colonel: Through the courtesy of Governor Pickens I am enabled to make this communication, which will be taken to Washington by my brother, Larz Anderson, Esq. I have the honor to report my command in excellent health and in fine spirits. We are daily adding to the strength of our position by closing up embrasures which we shall not use, mounting guns, etc. The South Carolinians are also very active in erecting batteries and preparing for a conflict, which I pray God may not occur. Batteries have been constructed bearing upon and, I presume, commanding the entrance to the harbor. They are also to-day busily at work on a battery at Fort Johnson intended to fire against me. My position will, should there be no treachery among the workmen, whom we are compelled to retain for the present, enable me to hold this fort against any force which can be brought against me, and it would enable me, in the event of a war, to annoy the South Carolinians by preventing them from throwing supplies into their new posts except by the out-of-the-way passage though Stono River. At present it would be dangerous and difficult for a vessel from without to enter the harbor, in consequence of the batteries which are already erected and being erected. I shall not ask for any increase of my command, because I do not know what the ulterior views of the Government are. We are now, or soon will be, cut off from all communication, unless by means of a powerful fleet, which shall have the ability to carry the batteries at the mouth of this harbor.

Trusting in God that nothing will occur to array a greater number of States than have already taken ground against the General Government,

I am, Colonel, respectfully, your obedient servant,

Robert Anderson,
Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

SOURCE: Samuel Wylie Crawford, The Genesis of the Civil War: The Story of Sumter, 1860-1861, p. 127

Diary of William Howard Russell: April 5, 1861

Dined with the Southern Commissioners and a small party at Gautier's, a French restaurateur in Pennsylvania Avenue. The gentlemen present were, I need not say, all of one way of thinking; but as these leaves will see the light before the civil war is at an end, it is advisable not to give their names, for it would expose persons resident in Washington, who may not be suspected by the Government, to those marks of attention which they have not yet ceased to pay to their political enemies. Although I confess that in my judgment too much stress has been laid in England on the severity with which the Federal authorities have acted towards their political enemies, who were seeking their destruction, it may be candidly admitted, that they have forfeited all claim to the lofty position they once occupied as a Government existing by moral force, and by the consent of the governed, to which Bastilles and lettrès de cachêt, arbitrary arrests, and doubtful, illegal, if not altogether unconstitutional, suspension of habeas corpus and of trial by jury were unknown.

As Col. Pickett and Mr. Banks are notorious Secessionists, and Mr. Phillips has since gone South, after the arrest of his wife on account of her anti-federal tendencies, it may be permitted-to mention that they were among the guests. I had pleasure in making the acquaintance of Governor Roman. Mr. Crawford, his brother commissioner, is a much younger man, of considerably greater energy and determination, but probably of less judgment. The third commissioner, Mr. Forsyth, is fanatical in his opposition to any suggestions of compromise or reconstruction; but, indeed, upon that point, there is little difference of opinion amongst any of the real adherents of the South. Mr. Lincoln they spoke of with contempt; Mr. Seward they evidently regarded as the ablest and most unscrupulous of their enemies; but the tone in which they alluded to the whole of the Northern people indicated the clear conviction that trade, commerce, the pursuit of gain, manufacture, and the base mechanical arts, had so degraded the whole race, they would never attempt to strike a blow in fair fight for what they prized so highly in theory and in words. Whether it be in consequence of some secret influence which slavery has upon the minds of men, or that the aggression of the North upon their institutions has been of a nature to excite the deepest animosity and most vindictive hate, certain it is there is a degree of something like ferocity in the Southern mind towards New England which exceeds belief. I am persuaded that these feelings of contempt are extended towards England. They believe that we, too, have had the canker of peace upon us. One evidence of this, according to Southern men, is the abolition of duelling. This practice, according to them, is highly wholesome and meritorious; and, indeed, it may be admitted that in the state of society which is reported to exist in the Southern States, it is a useful check on such men as it restrained in our own islands in the last century. In the course of conversation, one gentleman remarked that he considered it disgraceful for any man to take money for the dishonor of his wife or his daughter. “With us,” he said, “there is but one mode of dealing known. The man who dares tamper with the honor of a white woman, knows what he has to expect. We shoot him down like a dog, and no jury in the South will ever find any man guilty of murder for punishing such a scoundrel.” An argument which can scarcely be alluded to was used by them, to show that these offences in Slave States had not the excuse which might be adduced to diminish their gravity when they occurred in States where all the population were white. Indeed, in this, as in some other matters of a similar character, slavery is their summum bonum of morality, physical excellence, and social purity. I was inclined to question the correctness of the standard which they had set up, and to inquire whether the virtue which needed this murderous use of the pistol and the dagger to defend it, was not open to some doubt; but I found there was very little sympathy with my views among the company.

The gentlemen at table asserted that the white men in the Slave States are physically superior to the men of the Free States; and indulged in curious theories in morals and physics to which I was a stranger. Disbelief of anything a Northern man — that is, a Republican — can say, is a fixed principle in their minds. I could not help remarking, when the conversation turned on the duplicity of Mr. Seward, and the wickedness of the Federal Government in refusing to give the assurance Sumter would not be relieved by force of arms, that it must be of very little consequence what promises Mr. Seward made, as, according to them, not the least reliance was to be placed on his word. The notion that the Northern men are cowards is justified by instances in which congressmen have been insulted by Southern men without calling them out, and Mr. Sumner's case was quoted as the type of the affairs of the kind between the two sides. I happened to say that I always understood Mr. Sumner had been attacked suddenly and unexpectedly, and struck down before he could rise from his desk to defend himself; whereupon a warm refutation of that version of the story was given, and I was assured that Mr. Brooks, who was a very slight man, and much inferior in height to Mr. Sumner, struck him a slight blow at first, and only inflicted the heavier strokes when irritated by the Senator's cowardly demeanor In reference to some remark made about the cavaliers and their connection with the South, I reminded the gentleman that, after all, the descendants of the Puritans were not to be despised in battle: and that the best gentry in England were worsted at last by the train-bands of London, and the “rabbledom” of Cromwell's Independents.

Mr., or Colonel, Pickett, is a tall good-looking man, of pleasant manners, and well-educated. But this gentleman was a professed buccaneer, a friend of Walker, the gray-eyed man of destiny — his comrade in his most dangerous razzie. He was a newspaper writer, a soldier, a filibuster; and he now threw himself into the cause of the South with vehemence; it was not difficult to imagine he saw in that cause the realization of the dreams of empire in the south of the Gulf, and of conquest in the islands of the sea, which have such a fascinating influence over the imagination of a large portion of the American people. He referred to Walker's fate with much bitterness, and insinuated he was betrayed by the British officer who ought to have protected him.

The acts of Mr. Floyd and Mr. Howell Cobb, which must be esteemed of doubtful morality, are here justified by the States' Rights doctrine. If the States had a right to go out, hey were quite right in obtaining their quota of the national property which would not have been given to them by the Lincolnites. Therefore, their friends were not to be censured because they had sent arms and money to the South.

Altogether the evening, notwithstanding the occasional warmth of the controversy, was exceedingly instructive; one could understand from the vehemence and force of the speakers the full meaning of the phrase of “firing the Southern heart,” so often quoted as an illustration of the peculiar force of political passion to be brought to bear against the Republicans in the Secession contest. Mr. Forsyth, struck me as being the most astute, and perhaps most capable, of the gentlemen whose mission to Washington seems likely to be so abortive. His name is historical in America — his father filled high office, and his son has also exercised diplomatic function. Despotisms and Republics of the American model approach each other closely. In Turkey the Pasha unemployed sinks into insignificance, and the son of the Pasha deceased is literally nobody. Mr. Forsyth was not selected as Southern Commissioner on account of the political status acquired by his father; but the position gained by his own ability, as editor of “The Mobile Register,” induced the Confederate authorities to select him for the post. It is quite possible to have made a mistake in such matters, but I am almost certain that the colored waiters who attended us at table looked as sour and discontented as could be, and seemed to give their service with a sort of protest. I am told that the tradespeople of Washington are strongly inclined to favor the Southern side.

SOURCE: William Howard Russell, My Diary North and South, p. 63-6

The Duke of Argyll to Mary Benjamin Motley, August 20, 1861

Inveraray, August 20, 1861.

My Dear Mrs. Motley: Many thanks for the inclosed. You need not apologize for sending me letters containing details. All that I have seen in your husband's letters tends to increase our warm esteem and regard for him. I was sure he would feel the Manassas affair very keenly, and we feel much for him. It seems certain that the defeat was made far worse by the exaggeration of the press, though Russell's account in the "Times" is so far confirmatory of the papers. But Russell never reached the real front of the Federal line, and consequently saw nothing of the troops that behaved well.

I think your husband's argument against Lord Russell's advice (at least as that advice is quoted) is excellent. It does seem probable that to have allowed secession without a fight would have led to the complete disintegration of the Northern States.

I fear you have now before you a long war. It is clear that a regular trained army must be formed before the subjugation of the South can be rendered possible, and I confess I am not so hopeful of the result as I once was.

You may set Mr. Motley's mind at rest, I think, as regards any possibility of our interfering — provided, of course, the contest is carried on with a due regard to the law of nations and the rights of neutrals. But we have been in some alarm lest the government were about to adopt measures which that law does not recognize. I hope that danger also has passed away.

May I ask you to direct the inclosed letter to your husband?

I am, my dear Mrs. Motley,
Yours very sincerely,
Argyll.

SOURCE: George William Curtis, editor, The Correspondence of John Lothrop Motley in Two Volumes, Library Edition, Volume 2, p. 200-1

John M. Forbes to William Cullen Bryant, January 22, 1862

Boston, January 22, 1862.

. . . I have not seen set forth so distinctly as it deserves the point that while speculators, and gamblers, and indeed shrewd men in active business can take care of themselves, no matter how vicious the currency tinkering may be, it is the women and minors, the helpless and the poor generally, upon whom a vicious currency and its consequences are sure to fall hardest. The savings banks represent the accumulations of the poor, and the effect on them ought to be strongly painted; but in point of fact the savings in the hands of the people are larger than those in the banks, and these belong to a still poorer class, who do not accumulate enough to make deposits, or who have not the habits of thrift of the savings bank depositors. Upon this poorer class the loss is going to be still sharper. . . .

SOURCE: Sarah Forbes Hughes, Letters and Recollections of John Murray Forbes, Volume 1, p. 281-2

Charles Eliot Norton to George William Curtis, March 9, 1863

Shady Hill, 9 March, 1863.

. . . The Democrats seem to me to have come to a consciousness of their danger. They are now setting themselves right and securing power in the future. If we can fairly kill slavery during the next two years, make it really and truly powerless as a political institution, then I have no objection to the Democrats coming back to their old and familiar places of power. The Republican party has not proved itself able in administration; it is better on the whole for the progress of the country and for the improvement of public opinion that the party founded on the essential principles of right and justice should be in the opposition. Moreover there are questions to be settled after the war is over which can be better settled by the unprincipled party in power, than by one bound by its timidities, and unaccustomed to impose restraints. We shall probably require some “conservatism” at the close of the war, and the Democratic party in power is likely to be conservative in some matters on which the Republicans would be weak and divided. I do not think that there is much chance of the formation of a real Union party. The Democrats will keep their organization, will exclude their too open peace members, and will reject all union with the honest men of our side. The odium of the war, of taxes, of disregard of personal liberty, of a violated constitution will be thrown on the Republicans, or the Unionists if that be their name, and the glory of securing victory and peace, and of reestablishing the Union, will be claimed by the Democrats. With which I shall not grumble. The Millennium is not at hand, but there is a good time coming, — and the country, with a thousand evils remaining, will be the better for the war, and Democrats like you and me may rejoice at the triumph of popular government and the essential soundness of the people.

Is this inveterate optimism? Are we at the beginning, on the contrary, of the epoch of the Lower Republic? . . .

SOURCE: Sara Norton and  M. A. DeWolfe Howe, Letters of Charles Eliot Norton, Volume 1, p. 261-3

1st Lieutenant Charles Fessenden Morse, November 22, 1861


November 22, 1861.

I have just passed a very pleasant Thanksgiving, and will give you a little description of it. Yesterday was very pleasant, quite mild for a change. In the morning at ten o'clock, we had church services. Mr. Quint officiated and read the Governor's proclamation, music by the band, etc. After this we officers had a “turkey shoot.” Then came dinner for the men. I provided our company the following: eleven turkeys, seven geese, eighteen chickens, one hundred and forty pounds of plum pudding. It was all nicely cooked at a farm house and looked as well as need be. It was quite a feast and was enjoyed highly. Other companies were treated accordingly. I doubt if most of the men ever had as good a Thanksgiving before. The turkeys we shot we gave to the non-commissioned officers. At four thirty, after dress parade, we had our dinner. The tent was nicely warmed by a fireplace running under it, and well lighted by candles in festoons. We had very nice stewed and raw oysters to start off with, followed by roast turkeys, geese, celery, etc. We had plenty of champagne and plum pudding, and everything passed off pleasantly. In the midst of the dinner, Lieutenants Grafton and Shelton arrived (very opportunely for them), and joined us. We sat till near “tattoo,” smoking and singing; then dispersed. The usual supper of cold goose without mince pie, was eaten about eleven o'clock. Altogether, it was a very pleasant day, much more so than I anticipated. The band played during dessert, in the approved style.

Tuesday, Wheaton was taken sick. I have been acting as Adjutant ever since. I like it very well for a change.

If you see Rufus Choate, tell him about our Thanksgiving; we were very sorry to lose his company on that occasion, he is such a good fellow.

SOURCE: Charles Fessenden Morse, Letters Written During the Civil War, 1861-1865, p. 30-1

Major Wilder Dwight: August 15, 1861

department Shenandoah, Maryland Heights,
August 15, 1861.

I have, probably, just time, this morning, to report to you our progress. The cold and wet made our tents an absolute necessity to us, and so yesterday General Banks ordered them brought on to the hill. The bushes were swept away, and again the plain whitened with our tents; and, as if to celebrate the occasion, the dull sky broke, the sun came out, and at evening the band was playing in the moonlight, and we were in camp again. Only our tents were left by the wagons. The rest of the baggage prudently retired behind the hill before sunset.

Yesterday the accounts from down the river of skirmishings and of a movement of the enemy kept up a flight of lively rumors through the camps. Two of the pieces of our battery were taken down the hill, and there was a preparation for movement, if necessary. We heard nothing during the night, however, and this morning, as the mist rises, it does not disclose the rapid advance of cavalry or the frowning presence of angry batteries. It is odd, however, to notice how imaginative are the optics of some men in camp. They are always seeing the enemy. A wagonload of rails seems a squadron of cavalry. A large Monday's wash near the horizon is an encampment. A clump of firs with two cows and a flock of sheep are as many as a thousand infantry. Their heated fancy detects a heavy cannonading or the rattle of musketry in every sound. All these thick-coming fancies are dissipated by a correct ear, or resolved by a good glass. It is a part of our life.  . . . I am giving personal attention to every detail of feeding and clothing, and expect to get the system so organized that it must always work right. It does work so now, but, in the exigencies of service, there are hitches and rubs inevitable. To allow for friction in human affairs, and to overcome it, is a problem that, in all new enterprises, has to be learned out of practical, experimental teachings.

What an outrage it is that the newspaper reporters cannot be checked! Yesterday's New York Times contains a full statement of number and strength of the regiments with this Division. These papers go South freely. Think what it would be to us if we could have daily papers from the South with statements of their forces, positions, and movements. It would give certainty to what is now the chief element of uncertainty. But the South does not allow the printing of such information, and would not let it come North if it did. I do not see how we can succeed, if we do
not take the obvious precaution of military affairs.  . . . I must go and see about a survey of condemned bread, about an issue of new shoes, about drill, &c., &c.  . . . We are building a road over the mountain fit for the passage of artillery and wagons. That keeps two companies busy every day.

SOURCE: Elizabeth Amelia Dwight, Editor, Life and Letters of Wilder Dwight: Lieut.-Col. Second Mass. Inf. Vols., p. 73-4

Charles H. Branscomb to John Brown, September 22, 1856

Boston, Sept. 22, 1856.
No. 3 Winter Street.
John Brown, Esq.

Dear Sir, — The Messrs. Chapin, who keep the Massasoit House in Springfield, in this State, wish to give you fifty or one hundred dollars, as a testimonial of their admiration of your brave conduct during the war. Will you write to them, stating how they can send you the money? Call upon Mr. S. N. Simpson, of Lawrence. He will tell you who I am.

Yours truly,
Charles H. Branscomb.

SOURCE: Franklin B. Sanborn, The Life and Letters of John Brown, p. 343

Colonel Charles Russell Lowell to John M. Forbes, July 27, 1863

Centreville, July 27, '63.

My experience is that, for cavalry, raw recruits sent to a regiment in large numbers are worse than useless; they are of no account themselves and they spoil the old men, — they should be drilled at least four months before they join their regiment. Now has not Governor Andrew the power — I mean can he not get it — to establish a camp of instruction and Reserve Depot for his two cavalry regiments at Readville? There is a good drill-ground there, good water and good stabling for 400 horses, all that are ever likely to be there at one time. I should have the horses, arms, and equipments a permanency, — with raw recruits, trained horses are of immense importance — 150 trained horses are enough, however. If some such arrangement could be made, Harry put in charge of both regiments and all new officers and men sent there to learn their A B C's, I think the Massachusetts regiments would be started on a footing that would keep them more effective than I see a chance of any regiments being under the present system.

SOURCE: Edward Waldo Emerson, Life and Letters of Charles Russell Lowell, p. 287-8

Diary of Lieutenant-Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes: Wednesday November 20, 1861

A wet disagreeable day. Captain Reynolds returned from a trip to Raleigh with a flag of truce. Town of Raleigh abandoned. Floyd on beyond. They treated the captain and his party well. The impression is they are not averse to peace. Once taught to respect the North, they will come to terms gladly, I think.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 149

Lieutenant-Colonel Theodore Lyman to Elizabeth Russell Lyman, March 11, 1865

From Grant we got a despatch that he would come up, with some ladies and gentlemen, to see our left and to review a few troops. The General rode down to the terminus of the railroad (which is not very far from Hatcher's Run), and soon after came the train, with Grant and his party. Among them was our old friend Daddy Washburn, the same who came to the Rapid Ann, last May, to behold Grant swallow Lee at a mouthful, and — didn't see it! Two divisions of the 2d Corps were turned out under the eye of the redoubtable Humphreys. They made a fine appearance, marching past; but I could have cried to see the Massachusetts 20th with only a hundred muskets or so, and commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Curtis, whom I used to see at Culpeper with a lieutenant's shoulder-straps. How changed from last spring, when they passed in review with full ranks, and led by Abbot! . . .

That evening we were invited to City Point, to see a medal given to General Grant. This medal had been voted by Congress in honor of him and his soldiers, after the battle and capture of Vicksburg. And you now see the rationale of the Hon. Washburn's presence. He was to present it. The Corps commanders with a few aides, and some division commanders, were all the General took with him in the special train. We arrived about 8.30 P.M. and at 9 the ceremony began, in the upper saloon of the steamer Martyn, lying at the wharf. The solemnities were these: General Grant stood on one side of a small table, with an expression as if about to courageously have a large tooth out. On the other stood Washburn, with what seemed an ornamental cigar-box. Whereupon W., with few words, remarked that the Congress of the United States of Amerikay had resolved to present him a medal, and a copy of their resolutions engrossed on parchment. “General” (unrolling a scroll), “this is the copy of the resolutions, and I now hand it to you.” (Grant looked at the parchment, as much as to say, “That seems all right,” rolled it up, in a practical manner, and put it on the table.) “This, General” (opening the ornamental cigar-box, taking out a wooden bonbonnière and opening that), “is the medal, which I also hand to you, together with an autograph letter from President Lincoln.” The “all-right” expression repeated itself on Grant's face, as he put down the bonbonnière beside the scroll. Then he looked very fixedly at Mr. Washburn and slowly drew a sheet of paper from his pocket. Everyone was hushed, and there then burst forth the following florid eloquence: “Sir! I accept the medal. I shall take an early opportunity of writing a proper reply to the President. I shall publish an order, containing these resolutions, to the troops that were under my command before Vicksburg.” As he stopped, Major Pell drew a long breath and said: “I thought we were sure of a speech this time, but now we never shall get one out of him.” The medal was of gold, three pounds in weight; on one side a bad likeness of Grant; on the reverse a goddess, in an impossible position, who, as General Meade remarked, “seemed to keep a general furnishing shop of guns and sabres.” “What is the meaning of the allegory?” he enquired of the Lieutenant-General. “I don't know,” replied Grant, with entire simplicity, “I don't know, but I am going to learn, so as to be able to explain it to people!” Then the distinguished militaries crowded round to gaze. Major-General Ord, who can't get over his Irish blood, said: “I believe, sir, you are the first man who medalled with his battalion.” To which Grant, not taking the point in the faintest degree, replied gravely: “I don't know but I was.” There was a heavy crowd of Hectors, I can tell you. Generals Meade, Warren, Wright, Parke, Humphreys, Ord, Gibbon, Ayres, Griffin, Rawlins, Ingalls, etc., etc. Very few ladies. After this a moderate collation, and so home to bed.

SOURCE: George R. Agassiz, Editor, Meade’s Headquarters, 1863-1865: Letters of Colonel Theodore Lyman from the Wilderness to Appomattox, p. 318

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: August 5, 1861

Col. Bledsoe has a job directly from the President: which is to adapt the volume of U. S. Army Regulations to the service of the Confederate States. It is only to strike out U. S. and insert C. S., and yet the colonel groans over it.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 70

Diary of Mary Boykin Chesnut: June 12, 1862

New England's Butler, best known to us as "Beast" Butler, is famous or infamous now. His amazing order to his soldiers at New Orleans and comments on it are in everybody's mouth. We hardly expected from Massachusetts behavior to shame a Comanche.

One happy moment has come into Mrs. Preston's life. I watched her face to-day as she read the morning papers. Willie's battery is lauded to the skies. Every paper gave him a paragraph of praise.

South Carolina was at Beauregard's feet after Fort Sumter. Since Shiloh, she has gotten up, and looks askance rather when his name is mentioned. And without Price or Beauregard who takes charge of the Western forces? “Can we hold out if England and France hold off?” cries Mem. “No, our time has come.”

“For shame, faint heart! Our people are brave, our cause is just; our spirit and our patient endurance beyond reproach.” Here came in Mary Cantey's voice: “I may not have any logic, any sense. I give it up. My woman's instinct tells me, all the same, that slavery's time has come. If we don't end it, they will.”

After all this, tried to read Uncle Tom, but could not; too sickening; think of a man sending his little son to beat a human being tied to a tree. It is as bad as Squeers beating Smike. Flesh and blood revolt; you must skip that; it is too bad.

Mr. Preston told a story of Joe Johnston as a boy. A party of boys at Abingdon were out on a spree, more boys than horses; so Joe Johnston rode behind John Preston, who is his cousin. While going over the mountains they tried to change horses and got behind a servant who was in charge of them all. The servant's horse kicked up, threw Joe Johnston, and broke his leg; a bone showed itself. “Hello, boys! come here and look: the confounded bone has come clear through,” called out Joe, coolly.

They had to carry him on their shoulders, relieving guard. As one party grew tired, another took him up. They knew he must suffer fearfully, but he never said so. He was as cool and quiet after his hurt as before. He was pretty roughly handled, but they could not help it. His father was in a towering rage because his son's leg was to be set by a country doctor, and it might be crooked in the process. At Chickahominy, brave but unlucky Joe had already eleven wounds.

SOURCE: Mary Boykin Chesnut, Edited by Isabella D. Martin and Myrta Lockett Avary, A Diary From Dixie, p. 183-4

Diary of Judith W. McGuire: August 4, 1862

The girls just returned from a visit to Mrs. A. of several days, which they enjoyed greatly. Every thing there very bright and cheerful, except the hearts of the parents — they yearn for their sons on the field of danger! A battle is now expected between Jackson and Pope.

SOURCE: Judith W. McGuire, Diary of a Southern Refugee, During the War, p. 130

Diary of Margaret Junkin Preston: May 19, 1863

My birthday. I would record my thankfulness to God for His special favors to me through the past year. I would commit into His wise and gracious hands all the future. I would set before myself three special things for the coining year; an aiming after spiritual-mindedness; the cultivation of a spirit of prayer; and the daily keeping in view God's glory.

SOURCE: Elizabeth Preston Allan, The Life and Letters of Margaret Junkin Preston, p. 166

Diary of Corporal Alexander G. Downing: Saturday, June 25, 1864

We remained out in the rifle pits till this evening, when we were relieved by the Fifteenth Iowa. John Esher was shot through the face this afternoon by a rebel sharpshooter. The shot was fired through one of the “portholes” under the head log of our defenses, where he was at the time loading his gun. The ball struck his jaw bone, knocking out some of his teeth, but it is thought that he will recover.1 There is no news from Richmond.
_______________

1 Esher said to me, “I'm going to see what I'm shooting at,” and walked up to peer through the porthole, when all of a sudden a ball crashed in, knocking him down, and as he fell back his heels kicked up. He was right by my side when he was struck and as he fell he cried out. “Oh, boys, I'm killed!” After he recovered, we laughed a great deal over it, at his expense, for he thought that now he was really Killed. But although Esher recovered from the wound, yet he was deformed for life. His head was drawn down on the side of the wound, since the cords of the neck were shorter than on the other side. — A. G. D.

Source: Alexander G. Downing, Edited by Olynthus B., Clark, Downing’s Civil War Diary, p. 201

Diary of Corporal Charles H. Lynch: July 20, 1864

Called up early, this hot, muggy morning. The 6th Corps early on the move. Watching them cross the Shenandoah River at Snicker's Ford. No enemy in sight. We follow on after the 6th Corps. As we wade the river I think it was never known to rain harder. We were soaked from head to foot. Crossing the river we filed to the right, going down the river into camp on the battlefield of the 18th, two days before. Looking over the field we were surprised to see that the enemy had not decently buried our dead who fell into their hands. Our boys gave them a decent burial.

Camp in the woods that were occupied by the enemy during the battle. Raining very hard. We build a large campfire which helps to keep us more comfortable during the night.

SOURCE: Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary, 1862-1865, of Charles H. Lynch 18th Conn. Vol's, p. 102

Diary of Luman Harris Tenney: March 26, 1862

Played several games of chess and read. Helped in the Q. M. department.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 10

Friday, April 24, 2015

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: August 4, 1861

To-day Mr. Walker inquired where my son Custis was. I told him he was with his mother at Newbern, N. C. He authorized me to telegraph him to return, and he should be appointed to a clerkship.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 70

Diary of Mary Boykin Chesnut: June 10, 1862

General Gregg writes that Chickahominy1 was a victory manqué, because Joe Johnston received a disabling wound and G. W. Smith was ill. The subordinates in command had not been made acquainted with the plan of battle.

A letter from John Chesnut, who says it must be all a mistake about Wade Hampton's wound, for he saw him in the field to the very last; that is, until late that night. Hampton writes to Mary McDuffie that the ball was extracted from his foot on the field, and that he was in the saddle all day, but that, when he tried to take his boot off at night his foot was so inflamed and swollen, the boot had to be cut away, and the wound became more troublesome than he had expected.

Mrs. Preston sent her carriage to take us to see Mrs. Herbemont, whom Mary Gibson calls her “Mrs. Burgamot.” Miss Bay came down, ever-blooming, in a cap so formidable, I could but laugh. It was covered with a bristling row of white satin spikes. She coyly refused to enter Mrs. Preston's carriage — “to put foot into it,” to use her own words; but she allowed herself to be over-persuaded.

I am so ill. Mrs. Ben Taylor said to Doctor Trezevant, “Surely, she is too ill to be going about; she ought to be in bed.” “She is very feeble, very nervous, as you say, but then she is living on nervous excitement. If you shut her up she would die at once.” A queer weakness of the heart, I have. Sometimes it beats so feebly I am sure it has stopped altogether. Then they say I have fainted, but I never lose consciousness.

Mrs. Preston and I were talking of negroes and cows. A negro, no matter how sensible he is on any other subject, can never be convinced that there is any necessity to feed a cow. “Turn 'em out, and let 'em grass. Grass good nuff for cow.”

Famous news comes from Richmond, but not so good from the coast. Mrs. Izard said, quoting I forget whom: “If West Point could give brains as well as training!” Smith is under arrest for disobedience of orders — Pemberton's orders. This is the third general whom Pemberton has displaced within a few weeks — Ripley, Mercer, and now Smith.

When I told my husband that Molly was full of airs since her late trip home, he made answer: “Tell her to go to the devil — she or anybody else on the plantation who is dissatisfied; let them go. It is bother enough to feed and clothe them now.” When he went over to the plantation he returned charmed with their loyalty to him, their affection and their faithfulness.

Sixteen more Yankee regiments have landed on James Island. Eason writes, “They have twice the energy and enterprise of our people.” I answered, “Wait a while. Let them alone until climate and mosquitoes and sand-flies and dealing with negroes takes it all out of them.” Stonewall is a regular brick, going all the time, winning his way wherever he goes. Governor Pickens called to see me. His wife is in great trouble, anxiety, uncertainty. Her brother and her brother-in-law are either killed or taken prisoners.

Tom Taylor says Wade Hampton did not leave the field on account of his wound. “What heroism! “ said some one. No, what luck! He is the luckiest man alive. He'll never be killed. He was shot in the temple, but that did not kill him. His soldiers believe in his luck.

General Scott, on Southern soldiers, says, we have élan, courage, woodcraft, consummate horsemanship, endurance of pain equal to the Indians, but that we will not submit to discipline. We will not take care of things, or husband our resources. Where we are there is waste and destruction. If it could all be done by one wild, desperate dash, we would do it. But he does not think we can stand the long, blank months between the acts — the waiting! We can bear pain without a murmur, but we will not submit to be bored, etc.

Now, for the other side. Men of the North can wait; they can bear discipline; they can endure forever. Losses in battle are nothing to them. Their resources in men and materials of war are inexhaustible, and if they see fit they will fight to the bitter end. Here is a nice prospect for us —  as comfortable as the old man's croak at Mulberry, “Bad times, worse coming.”

Mrs. McCord says, “In the hospital the better born, that is, those born in the purple, the gentry, those who are accustomed to a life of luxury, are the better patients. They endure in silence. They are hardier, stronger, tougher, less liable to break down than the sons of the soil.” “Why is that?” I asked, and she answered, “Something in man that is more than the body.”

I know how it feels to die. I have felt it again and again. For instance, some one calls out, “Albert Sidney Johnston is killed.” My heart stands still. I feel no more. I am, for so many seconds, so many minutes, I know not how long, utterly without sensation of any kind — dead; and then, there is that great throb, that keen agony of physical pain, and the works are wound up again. The ticking of the clock begins, and I take up the burden of life once more. Some day it will stop too long, or my feeble heart will be too worn out to make that awakening jar, and all will be over. I do not think when the end comes that there will be any difference, except the miracle of the new wind-up throb. And now good news is just as exciting as bad. “Hurrah, Stonewall has saved us!” The pleasure is almost pain because of my way of feeling it.

Miriam's Luryea and the coincidences of his life. He was born Moses, and is the hero of the bombshell. His mother was at a hotel in Charleston when kind-hearted Anna De Leon Moses went for her sister-in-law, and gave up her own chamber, that the child might be born in the comfort and privacy of a home. Only our people are given to such excessive hospitality. So little Luryea was born in Anna De Leon's chamber. After Chickahominy when he, now a man, lay mortally wounded, Anna Moses, who was living in Richmond, found him, and she brought him home, though her house was crowded to the door-steps. She gave up her chamber to him, and so, as he had been born in her room, in her room he died.
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1 This must be a reference to the Battle of Seven Pines or to the Campaign of the Chickahominy, up to and inclusive of that battle.

SOURCE: Mary Boykin Chesnut, Edited by Isabella D. Martin and Myrta Lockett Avary, A Diary From Dixie, p. 180

Diary of Judith W. McGuire: June 30, 1862

McClellan certainly retreating. We begin to breathe more freely; but he fights as he goes. Oh, that he may be surrounded before he gets to his gun-boats! Rumours are flying about that he is surrounded; but we do not believe it — only hope that he may be before he reaches the river. The city is sad, because of the dead and dying, but our hearts are filled with gratitude and love. The end is not yet — oh that it were!

SOURCE: Judith W. McGuire, Diary of a Southern Refugee, During the War, p. 126-7

Diary of Judith W. McGuire: July 15, 1862

Mecklenburg County. — Mr. —— and myself summoned here a short time ago to see our daughter, who was very ill. Found her better — she is still improving.

Richmond is disenthralled — the only Yankees there are in the “Libby” and other prisons. McClellan and his "Grand Army," on James River, near Westover, enjoying mosquitoes and bilious fevers. The weather is excessively hot. I dare say the Yankees find the “Sunny South” all that their most fervid imaginations ever depicted it, particularly on the marshes. So may it be, until the whole army melts with fervent heat. The gun-boats are rushing up and down the river, shelling the trees on the banks, afraid to approach Drury's Bluff. The Northern papers and Congress are making every effort to find out to whom the fault of their late reverses is to be traced. Our people think that their whole army might have been captured but for the dilatoriness of some of our generals. General Magruder is relieved, and sent to take command in the West.

SOURCE: Judith W. McGuire, Diary of a Southern Refugee, During the War, p. 126-7

Diary of Judith W. McGuire: July 21, 1862

Mr. ––– sick, but better to-day. This is the anniversary of the glorious battle of Manassas. Since that time we have had many reverses, but our victories, of late, have atoned for all, except the loss of life.

We have had another naval fight on the Mississippi, just north of Vicksburg. Our large gun-boat, Arkansas, ran into the Federal fleet of twelve or thirteen gun-boats and rams, and overcame them completely. Vicksburg stands the bombardment with unflinching gallantry. No news from the Army of the Potomac. It is reported that General Jackson has gone to meet General Pope, who is on this side of the Blue Ridge, marching, it is supposed, to join McClellan.

Mr. ––– takes a ride to-day; the first since his sickness.

My heart is full of gratitude for public and private blessings.

SOURCE: Judith W. McGuire, Diary of a Southern Refugee, During the War, p. 127