Friday, February 5, 2016

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: May 16, 1862

McClellan is intrenching — that is, at least, significant of a respite, and of apprehension of attack.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 125

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: May 17, 1862

Gen. Lee has admonished Major Griswold on the too free granting of passports. Will it do any good?

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 125

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: May 18, 1862

All quiet to-day except the huzzas as fresh troops arrive.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 126

Diary of Mary Boykin Chesnut: June 1, 1865


The New York Herald quotes General Sherman as saying, “Columbia was burned by Hampton's sheer stupidity.'” But then who burned everything on the way in Sherman's march to Columbia, and in the line of march Sherman took after leaving Columbia? We came, for three days of travel, over a road that had been laid bare by Sherman's torches. Nothing but smoking ruins was left in Sherman's track. That I saw with my own eyes. No living thing was left, no house for man or beast. They who burned the countryside for a belt of forty miles, did they not also burn the town? To charge that to “Hampton's stupidity “ is merely an afterthought. This Herald announces that Jeff Davis will be hanged at once, not so much for treason as for his assassination of Lincoln. “Stanton, '” the Herald says, '”has all the papers in his hands to convict him.”

The Yankees here say, “The black man must go as the red man has gone; this is a white man's country.” The negroes want to run with the hare, but hunt with the hounds. They are charming in their professions to us, but declare that they are to be paid by these blessed Yankees in lands and mules for having been slaves. They were so faithful to us during the war, why should the Yankees reward them, to which the only reply is that it would be by way of punishing rebels.

Mrs. Adger1 saw a Yankee soldier strike a woman, and she prayed God to take him in hand according to his deed. The soldier laughed in her face, swaggered off, stumbled down the steps, and then his revolver went off by the concussion and shot him dead.

The black ball is in motion. Mrs. de Saussure's cook shook the dust off her feet and departed from her kitchen to-day—free, she said. The washerwoman is packing to go.

Scipio Africanus, the Colonel's body-servant, is a soldierly looking black creature, fit to have delighted the eyes of old Frederick William of Prussia, who liked giants. We asked him how the Yankees came to leave him. “Oh, I told them marster couldn't do without me no how; and then I carried them some nice hams that they never could have found, they were hid so good.”

Eben dressed himself in his best and went at a run to meet his Yankee deliverers — so he said. At the gate he met a squad coming in. He had adorned himself with his watch and chain, like the cordage of a ship, with a handful of gaudy seals. He knew the Yankees came to rob white people, but he thought they came to save niggers. “Hand over that watch!” they said. Minus his fine watch and chain, Eben returned a sadder and a wiser man. He was soon in his shirt-sleeves, whistling at his knife-board. “Why? You here? Why did you come back so soon?” he was asked. “Well, I thought may be I better stay with ole marster that give me the watch, and not go with them that stole it.” The watch was the pride of his life. The iron had entered his soul.

Went up to my old house, “Kamschatka.” The Trapiers live there now. In those drawing-rooms where the children played Puss in Boots, where we have so often danced and sung, but never prayed before, Mr. Trapier held his prayer-meeting. I do not think I ever did as much weeping or as bitter in the same space of time. I let myself go; it did me good. I cried with a will. He prayed that we might have strength to stand up and bear our bitter disappointment, to look on our ruined homes and our desolated country and be strong. And he prayed for the man '”we elected to be our ruler and guide.” We knew that they had put him in a dungeon and in chains.2 Men watch him day and night. By orders of Andy, the bloody-minded tailor, nobody above the rank of colonel can take the benefit of the amnesty oath, nobody who owns over twenty thousand dollars, or who has assisted the Confederates. And now, ye rich men, howl, for your misery has come upon you .You are beyond the outlaw, camping outside. Howell Cobb and R. M. T. Hunter have been arrested. Our turn will come next, maybe. A Damocles sword hanging over a house does not conduce to a pleasant life.
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1 Elizabeth K. Adger, wife of the Rev. John B. Adger, D. D., of Charleston, a distinguished Presbyterian divine, at one time a missionary to Smyrna where he translated the Bible into the Armenian tongue. He was afterward and before the war a professor in the Theological Seminary at Columbia. His wife was a woman of unusual judgment and intelligence, sharing her husband's many hardships and notable experiences in the East.

2 Mr. Davis, while encamped near Irwinsville, Ga., had been captured on May 10th by a body of Federal cavalry under Lieutenant-Colonel Pritchard. He was taken to Fortress Monroe and confined there for two years, his release being effected on May 13, 1867, when he was admitted to bail in the sum of $100,000, the first name on his bail-bond being that of Horace Greeley.

SOURCES: Mary Boykin Chesnut, Edited by Isabella D. Martin and Myrta Lockett Avary, A Diary From Dixie, p. 396

Diary of Judith Brockenbrough McGuire: Tuesday Morning, May 17, 1864

For some days the cannon has been resounding in our ears, from the south side of James River. Colonel Garnett has come in to tell us that for the first two days there was only heavy skirmishing, but that on yesterday there was a terrific fight all along the lines. Yesterday evening a brigadier, his staff, and 840 men, were lodged in the Libby Prison. Nothing definite has been heard since that time. The impression is, that we have been generally successful. Very brilliant reports are afloat on the streets, but whether they are reliable is the question. My nephew, Major B., has just called to tell me that his brother W. is reported “missing.” His battery suffered dreadfully, and he has not been seen. God grant that he may be only a prisoner! We suppose that it would have been known to the fragment, of his battery which is left, if he had fallen.

SOURCE: Judith W. McGuire, Diary of a Southern Refugee, During the War, p. 268

Diary of Sarah Morgan: Thursday, January 1, 1863

1863! Why I have hardly become accustomed to writing '62 yet! Where has this year gone? With all its troubles and anxieties, it is the shortest I ever spent! '61 and '62 together would hardly seem three hundred and sixty-five days to me. Well, let time fly. Every hour brings us nearer our freedom, and we are two years nearer peace now than we were when South Carolina seceded. That is one consolation. ... I learn, to my unspeakable grief, that the State House is burned down.

SOURCE: Sarah Morgan Dawson, A Confederate Girl's Diary, p. 307

Diary of 5th Sergeant Alexander G. Downing: Friday, March 17, 1865

Our division is still in the lead. We started at 7 a. m. and marched fifteen miles. Our regiment was train guard and we did not get into bivouac until midnight. The rebels are in our front and hard to drive; their main force, however, is on our left, in front of the Fourteenth and Twentieth Corps. It was clear today and quite pleasant.

Source: Alexander G. Downing, Edited by Olynthus B., Clark, Downing’s Civil War Diary, p. 262

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: May 15, 1862

The enemy's gun-boats, Monitor, Galena, etc. are at Drewry's Bluff, eight miles below the city, shelling our batteries, and our batteries are bravely shelling them. The President rode down to the vicinity this morning, and observed the firing.

The guns are heard distinctly in the city, and yet there is no consternation manifested by the people. If the enemy pass the obstructions, the city will be, it is true, very much at their mercy. They may shell us out of it, and this may occur any hour. South of the city the enemy have no forces, and we can find refuge there. I suppose the government would go to Lynchburg. I shall remain with the army, and see that the tobacco be burnt, at all hazards, according to law. I have seen some of our generals, and am convinced that the Baltimore rabble, and those that direct them, will be suppressed, or exterminated, if they attempt to throw impediments in the way of our soldiers in the work of destroying the tobacco, as enjoined by Congress.

Our marksmen will keep up an incessant fire into the port-holes of the gun-boats; and if it be at all practicable, we will board them. So hope is by no means extinct. But it is apprehended, if the enemy get within shelling distance of the city, there will be an attack along our lines by McClellan. We must beat him there, as we could never save our guns, stores, etc. retreating across the river. And we will beat him, for we have 80,000 men, and more are coming.

Joyful tidings! the gun-boats have been repulsed! A heavy shot from one of our batteries ranged through the Galena from stem to stern, making frightful slaughter, and disabling the ship; and the whole fleet turned about and steamed down the river! We have not lost a dozen men. We breathe freely; and the government will lose no time in completing the obstructions and strengthening the batteries.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 125

Diary of Mary Boykin Chesnut: May 21, 1865

They say Governor Magrath has absconded, and that the Yankees have said, “If you have no visible governor, we will send you one.” If we had one and they found him, they would clap him in prison instanter.

The negroes have flocked to the Yankee squad which has recently come, but they were snubbed, the rampant freedmen. “Stay where you are,” say the Yanks. “We have nothing for you.” And they sadly “peruse”  their way. Now that they have picked up that word “peruse,” they use it in season and out. When we met Mrs. Preston's William we asked, “Where are you going?” “Perusing my way to Columbia,” he answered.

When the Yanks said they had no rations for idle negroes, John Walker answered mildly, “This is not at all what we expected.” The colored women, dressed in their gaudiest array, carried bouquets to the Yankees, making the day a jubilee. But in this house there is not the slightest change. Every negro has known for months that he or she was free, but I do not see one particle of change in their manner. They are, perhaps, more circumspect, polite, and quiet, but that is all. Otherwise all goes on in antebellum status quo. Every day I expect to miss some familiar face, but so far have been disappointed.

Mrs. Huger we found at the hotel here, and we brought her to Bloomsbury. She told us that Jeff Davis was traveling leisurely with his wife twelve miles a day, utterly careless whether he were taken prisoner or not, and that General Hampton had been paroled.

Fighting Dick Anderson and Stephen Elliott, of Fort Sumter memory, are quite ready to pray for Andy Johnson, and to submit to the powers that be. Not so our belligerent clergy. “Pray for people when I wish they were dead?” cries Rev. Mr. Trapier. '”No, never! I will pray for President Davis till I die. I will do it to my last gasp. My chief is a prisoner, but I am proud of him still. He is a spectacle to gods and men. He will bear himself as a soldier, a patriot, a statesman, a Christian gentleman. He is the martyr of our cause.” And I replied with my tears.

“Look here: taken in woman's clothes?” asked Mr. Trapier. “Rubbish, stuff, and nonsense. If Jeff Davis has not the pluck of a true man, then there is no courage left on this earth. If he does not die game, I give it up. Something, you see, was due to Lincoln and the Scotch cap that he hid his ugly face with, in that express car, when he rushed through Baltimore in the night. It is that escapade of their man Lincoln that set them on making up the woman's clothes story about Jeff Davis.”

Mrs. W. drove up. She, too, is off for New York, to sell four hundred bales of cotton and a square, or something, which pays tremendously in the Central Park region, and to capture and bring home her belle fille, who remained North during the war. She knocked at my door. The day was barely dawning. I was in bed, and as I sprang up, discovered that my old Confederate night-gown had to be managed, it was so full of rents. I am afraid I gave undue attention to the sad condition of my gown, but could nowhere see a shawl to drape my figure.

She was very kind. In case my husband was arrested and needed funds, she offered me some “British securities” and bonds. We were very grateful, but we did not accept the loan of money, which would have been almost the same as a gift, so slim was our chance of repaying it. But it was a generous thought on her part; I own that.

Went to our plantation, the Hermitage, yesterday. Saw no change; not a soul was absent from his or her post. I said, “Good colored folks, when are you going to kick off the traces and be free?” In their furious, emotional way, they swore devotion to us all to their dying day. Just the same, the minute they see an opening to better themselves they will move on. William, my husband's foster-brother, came up. “Well, William, what do you want?” asked my husband. “Only to look at you, marster; it does me good.”

SOURCES: Mary Boykin Chesnut, Edited by Isabella D. Martin and Myrta Lockett Avary, A Diary From Dixie, p. 394-6

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Diary of Judith Brockenbrough McGuire: May 14, 1864

The cavalry fight on the Chickahominy was very severe. The Yankees escaped on Thursday night; they should not have been allowed to get off. Our sad deficiency in numbers is always in our way.

The death of another of our beloved E. H. S. boys has shocked us greatly — I mean that of Colonel Robert Randolph, of Fauquier, for a long time the chivalric captain of the famous “Black Horse Company.” After fighting desperately for hours, he was ordered to change his position; he immediately raised himself in his saddle, exclaiming, “Boys, we will give them one round more before we go!” fired, and was at that moment struck in the forehead by a Minié ball, and laid low, a few hours after the fall of his General. Thus our young men, of the first blood of the country — first in character and education, and, what is more important to us now, first in gallantry and patriotism — fall one by one. What a noble army of martyrs has already passed away! I tremble for the future ; but we must not think of the future. “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

General Lee's last telegram tells of a furious fight on Thursday, near Spottsylvania Court-House. The enemy was repulsed, and driven back; and yet General Grant prepares for a fresh attack. It is said that 15,000 wounded Yankees are in Fredericksburg. We have heard cannon all day in the direction of Drury's Bluff; yet we are calm!

SOURCE: Judith W. McGuire, Diary of a Southern Refugee, During the War, p. 267-8

Diary of Sarah Morgan: Friday, December 26, 1862

Monday Dr. Woods and Mr. Van Ingen stopped, just from their regiment in Kentucky and on their way home, and I begged so hard to see the Doctor, and promised so faithfully to retire if I suffered too much, that Mrs. Badger yielded, like an angel, and I carried my point. The Doctor! We looked in vain at each other; I for my dandy friend in irreproachable broadcloth, immaculate shirt bosoms and perfect boots; he for the brusque, impulsive girl who in ordinary circumstances would have run dancing into the parlor, would have given him half-glad, half-indifferent greeting, and then found either occasion to laugh at him or would have turned elsewhere for amusement. We looked, I say, in vain. Before me stood my pattern of neatness in a rough uniform of brown homespun. A dark flannel shirt replaced the snowy cambric one, and there was neither cravat nor collar to mark the boundary line between his dark face and the still darker material. And the dear little boots! O ye gods and little fishes! they were clumsy, and mud-spattered! If my mouth twitched with laughter as I silently commented, the Doctor's did not! I, who always danced on my way, came in lying back on my pillows, and wheeled in by a servant. The Doctor's sympathy was really touching, and poor consolation he gave when he heard the story. “You will recover, to a certain extent; but will feel it more or less all your life.”

I am the ruin of all these puns; the gentlemen will hate me; I must learn to ignore their conundrums until they answer them themselves, and to wait patiently for the pun instead of catching it and laughing before it is half-spoken. Why can't I do as the others do? There was Mr. Van Ingen with his constant stream of them, that I anticipated several times. He said to me, “If I were asked what town in Louisiana I would rather be in this evening, what would my answer be?” I should have looked perfectly innocent, and politely inquisitive; but I did neither. I saw the answer instantly, and laughed. “Ah, you have guessed! I can see it in your eyes!” he said. Of course I had, but I told him I was afraid to say it, for fear he might think I was flattering myself. Then we both laughed. The place he referred to was Bayou, Sarah. . . .

Yesterday, being a beautiful day, I was carried down in honor of Christmas, to meet Captain Fenner and Mr. Duggan who were to dine with us. The cars had brought Miriam a beautiful little set of collars and cuffs from Dellie, and the oddest, sweetest little set for me, from Morgan, for our Christmas gift. It is all Lilly. . . .

We had an exquisite Christmas gift the night before, a magnificent serenade, a compliment from Colonel Breaux. It very singularly happened that Miriam, Anna, and Ned Badger were sitting up in the parlor, watching alone for Christmas, when the band burst forth at the steps, and startled them into a stampede upstairs. But Gibbes, who came with the serenaders, caught them and brought them back into the parlor, where there were only eight gentlemen; and in this novel, unheard-of style, only these two girls, with Gibbes to play propriety, entertained all these people at midnight while the band played without. . . .

I commenced writing to-day expressly to speak of our pleasant Christmas; yet it seems as though I would write about anything except that, since I have not come to it yet. Perhaps it is because I feel I could not do it justice. At least, I can say who was there. At sunset came Captain Bradford and Mr. Conn, the first stalking in with all the assurance which a handsome face and fine person can lend, the second following with all the timidity of a first appearance. . . . Again, after a long pause, the door swung open, and enter Mr. Halsey, who bows and takes the seat on the other side of me, and Mr. Bradford, of Colonel Allen memory, once more returned to his regiment, who laughs, shakes hands all around, and looks as happy as a schoolboy just come home for the holidays, who has never-ending visions of plumcakes, puddings, and other sweet things. While all goes on merrily, another rap comes, and enter Santa Claus, dressed in the old uniform of the Mexican War, with a tremendous cocked hat, and preposterous beard of false hair, which effectually conceal the face, and but for the mass of tangled short curls no one could guess that the individual was Bud. It was a device of the General's, which took us all by surprise. Santa Claus passes slowly around the circle, and pausing before each lady, draws from his basket a cake which he presents with a bow, while to each gentleman he presents a wineglass replenished from a most suspicious-looking black bottle which also reposes there. Leaving us all wonder and laughter, Santa Claus retires with a basket much lighter than it had been at his entrance. ... Then follow refreshments, and more and more talk and laughter, until the clock strikes twelve, when all these ghosts bid a hearty goodnight and retire.

SOURCE: Sarah Morgan Dawson, A Confederate Girl's Diary, p. 304-7

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Diary of 5th Sergeant Alexander G. Downing: Thursday, March 16, 1865

We had a thunderstorm yesterday at 2 p. m. and today we had an all-day rain. We marched twelve miles in the mud, our division taking the lead. Our regiment crossed the South river after dark, on the stringers of the bridge, the rebels having burned a part of the bridge. The engineers have to lay the pontoons for the artillery and teams to cross. The country is very poor and forage is scarce.

Source: Alexander G. Downing, Edited by Olynthus B., Clark, Downing’s Civil War Diary, p. 262

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: May 14, 1862

Our army has fallen back to within four miles of Richmond. Much anxiety is felt for the fate of the city. Is there no turning point in this long lane of downward progress? Truly it may be said, our affairs at this moment are in a critical condition. I trust in God, and the chivalry and patriotism of the South in the field.

The enemy's fleet of gun-boats are ascending James River, and the obstructions are not completed. We have but one or two casemated guns in battery, but we have brave men there.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 124-5

Diary of Mary Boykin Chesnut: May 18, 1865

A feeling of sadness hovers over me now, day and night, which no words of mine can express. There is a chance for plenty of character study in this Mulberry house, if one only had the heart for it. Colonel Chesnnt, now ninety-three, blind and deaf, is apparently as strong as ever, and certainly as resolute of will. Partly patriarch, partly grand seigneur, this old man is of a species that we shall see no more — the last of a race of lordly planters who ruled this Southern world, but now a splendid wreck. His manners are unequaled still, but underneath this smooth exterior lies the grip of a tyrant whose will has never been crossed. I will not attempt what Lord Byron says he could not do, but must quote again: “Everybody knows a gentleman when he sees him. I have never met a man who could describe one.” We have had three very distinct specimens of the genus in this house—three generations of gentlemen, each utterly different from the other — father, son, and grandson.

African Scipio walks at Colonel Chesnut's side. He is six feet two, a black Hercules, and as gentle as a dove in all his dealings with the blind old master, who boldly strides forward, striking with his stick to feel where he is going. The Yankees left Scipio unmolested. He told them he was absolutely essential to his old master, and they said, “If you want to stay so bad, he must have been good to you always.” Skip says he was silent, for it “made them mad if you praised your master.”

Sometimes this old man will stop himself, just as he is going off in a fury, because they try to prevent his attempting some feat impossible in his condition of lost faculties. He will ask gently, “I hope that I never say or do anything unseemly! Sometimes I think I am subject to mental aberrations.” At every footfall he calls out, “Who goes there?” If a lady's name is given he uncovers and stands, with hat off, until she passes. He still has the old-world art of bowing low and gracefully.

Colonel Chesnut came of a race that would brook no interference with their own sweet will by man, woman, or devil. But then such manners has he, they would clear any man's character, if it needed it. Mrs. Chesnut, his wife, used to tell us that when she met him at Princeton, in the nineties of the eighteenth century, they called him “the Young Prince.” He and Mr. John Taylor,1 of Columbia, were the first up-country youths whose parents were wealthy enough to send them off to college.

When a college was established in South Carolina, Colonel John Chesnut, the father of the aforesaid Young Prince, was on the first board of trustees. Indeed, I may say that, since the Revolution of 1776, there has been no convocation of the notables of South Carolina, in times of peace and prosperity, or of war and adversity, in which a representative man of this family has not appeared. The estate has been kept together until now. Mrs. Chesnut said she drove down from Philadelphia on her bridal trip, in a chariot and four — a cream-colored chariot with outriders.

They have a saying here — on account of the large families with which people are usually blessed, and the subdivision of property consequent upon that fact, besides the tendency of one generation to make and to save, and the next to idle and to squander, that there are rarely more than three generations between shirt-sleeves and shirt-sleeves. But these Chesnuts have secured four, from the John Chesnut who was driven out from his father's farm in Virginia by the French and Indians, when that father had been killed at Fort Duquesne,2 to the John Chesnut who saunters along here now, the very perfection of a lazy gentleman, who cares not to move unless it be for a fight, a dance, or a fox-hunt.

The first comer of that name to this State was a lad when he arrived after leaving his land in Virginia; and being without fortune otherwise, he went into Joseph Kershaw's grocery shop as a clerk, and the Kershaws, I think, so remember that fact that they have it on their coat-of-arms. Our Johnny, as he was driving me down to Mulberry yesterday, declared himself delighted with the fact that the present Joseph Kershaw had so distinguished himself in our war, that they might let the shop of a hundred years ago rest for a while. '”Upon my soul,” cried the cool captain, “I have a desire to go in there and look at the Kershaw tombstones. I am sure they have put it on their marble tablets that we had an ancestor one day a hundred years ago who was a clerk in their shop.” This clerk became a captain in the Revolution.

In the second generation the shop had so far sunk that the John Chesnut of that day refused to let his daughter marry a handsome, dissipated Kershaw, and she, a spoiled beauty, who could not endure to obey orders when they were disagreeable to her, went up to her room and therein remained, never once coming out of it for forty years. Her father let her have her own way in that; he provided servants to wait upon her and every conceivable luxury that she desired, but neither party would give in.

I am, too, thankful that I am an old woman, forty-two my last birthday. There is so little life left in me now to be embittered by this agony. “Nonsense! I am a pauper,” says my husband, “and I am as smiling and as comfortable as ever you saw me.” “When you have to give up your horses? How then?”
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1 John Taylor was graduated from Princeton in 1790 and became a planter in South Carolina. He served in Congress from 1806 to 1810, and in the latter year was chosen to fill a vacancy in the United States Senate, caused by the resignation of Thomas Sumter. In 1826 he was chosen Governor of South Carolina. He died in 1832.

1 Fort Duquesne stood at the junction of the Monongahela and Alleghany Rivers. Captain Trent, acting for the Ohio Company, with some Virginia militiamen, began to build this fort in February, 1754. On April 17th of the same year, 700 Canadians and French forced him to abandon the work. The French then completed the fortress and named it Fort Duquesne. The unfortunate expedition of General Braddock, in the summer of 1755, was an attempt to retake the fort, Braddock's defeat occurring eight miles east of it. In 1758 General Forbes marched westward from Philadelphia and secured possession of the place, after the French, alarmed at his approach, had burned it. Forbes gave it the name of Pittsburg.

SOURCES: Mary Boykin Chesnut, Edited by Isabella D. Martin and Myrta Lockett Avary, A Diary From Dixie, p. 390-3

Diary of Judith Brockenbrough McGuire: May 13, 1864

General Stuart died of his wounds last night, twenty-four hours after he was shot. He was a member of the Episcopal Church, and expressed to the Rev. Dr. Peterkin his resignation to the will of God. After much conversation with his friends and Dr. P., and joining them in a hymn which he requested should be sung, he calmly resigned his redeemed spirit to the God who gave it. Thus passed away our great cavalry general, just one year after the immortal Jackson. This seems darkly mysterious to us, but God's will be done. The funeral took place this evening, from St. James's Church. My duty to the living prevented my attending it, for which I am very sorry; but I was in the hospital from three o'clock until eight, soothing the sufferers in the only way I could, by fanning them, bathing their wounds, and giving them a word of comfort. Mr. –––– and others of our household were at the funeral. They represent the scene as being very imposing.

SOURCE: Judith W. McGuire, Diary of a Southern Refugee, During the War, p. 267

Diary of Sarah Morgan: Sunday, December 14, 1862

Yesterday evening, some time before sunset, Mr. Enders was announced, to our great surprise, as we knew he had been in Clinton all the week, having been transferred there instead of to Jackson, as he threatened. He was the most miserable, unhappy creature one could possibly imagine; even too melancholy for me to laugh at him, which expresses the last degree of wretchedness. To all our questions, he had but one answer, that he had had the most dreadful attack of "blues" ever since he was here Sunday; that he had waited every evening at the cars, expecting us, and at last, seeing that we had no intention of coming, he could no longer stand the temptation, so got permission to come down for a day to Port Hudson so he could come out to see us. . . . Before we could fairly get him cheerful, Will Carter and Ned Badger, who returned only this week from Kentucky, entered. Will was in a bad humor, and wanted to vent it on us; so after waiting some time, he proposed that the two young men should go with him, pocketing at the same moment the cards which had won Miriam and saying they would have a nice game together, and just the rarest old whiskey! He looked around to see the effect produced. We girls did not move, but Mr. Enders said he must really return immediately to Port Hudson, and start for Clinton from there in the night. Will thought it would be such a triumph over us to carry him off, that he insisted. They'd have a fine time! cure the blues! etc. Ned was more than willing; and at last Mr. Enders said, Well! he felt just so desperate that he did not care what he did; he believed he would go. I saw he was in a reckless humor, and that Will knew it, too, and I promised to make at least an effort to save him. Miriam spoke to him apart, but he said he had promised now; he must go. Will ran down triumphant to mount his horse, calling him to follow. All ran out to see him off, when Frank came back to tell me good-bye. I seized the opportunity, and didn't I plead! I told him I would not ask him to stay here, though he knew we would be happy to have him stay; and begged him to go back to the camp, and leave Will alone.  . . . I suggested other resources; talked of his mother whom he idolizes, pleaded like a grandmother; and just as I wound up, came Will's voice from below, “Why the devil don't you come, Enders? Hurry!” He moved a step, looked at me; I dropped my head without a word. Here I must confess to the most consummate piece of acting; I am sorry, but as long as it saved him from doing what I knew he would have cause to regret, I am not ashamed of having tried it. Will called impatiently again, as he stood hesitating before me; I did not say, “Stay,” I just gave the faintest sigh imaginable. ... He went down and told Will he would not go! Of course, Will went off in a rage with us.

SOURCE: Sarah Morgan Dawson, A Confederate Girl's Diary, p. 302-4

Diary of 5th Sergeant Alexander G. Downing: Wednesday, March 15, 1865

We were on the move at 7 a. m. and marched ten miles today. Went into bivouac near the Black river. The section of the country through which we passed today is almost one continuous swamp and heavily timbered. There is a small farm now and then. The corps took different roads and so we all got into bivouac earlier. Our division, the Fourth, had the center. When the road was wide enough the infantry would march at one side, allowing the artillery and teams to occupy the roadway. This made it equal to a double column, and we could move faster and save time.

Source: Alexander G. Downing, Edited by Olynthus B., Clark, Downing’s Civil War Diary, p. 261-2

Theodore Stanford Garnett, Jr.


GARNETT, THEODORE STANFORD, lawyer, was born in Richmond, Virginia, October 28, 1844, and is the son of Theodore S. and Florentina I. (Moreno) Garnett . His father was a civil engineer, and was distinguished for integrity, energy, and ability. Mrs. Florentina Garnett, wife of Theodore S., Sr., and mother of Theodore S., Jr., was the daughter of Francisco Moreno, a Spaniard, who settled in Pensacola, Florida, when Florida was still a Spanish colony.

The Garnetts are one of the most distinguished families in Virginia. The founder of the family in America was John, who settled in Gloucester county, Virginia, early in the colonial period. Some of John's descendants removed to Essex county, Virginia, where they became the progenitors of some of the most eminent Virginians, such as James Mercer Garnett, the famous agriculturist and rural economist; Robert Selden, the congressman; Richard B. and Robert Selden, Jr., prominent soldiers of the Southern Confederacy; Muscoe Russell Hunter Garnett, a prominent political leader of the last generation; and James Mercer Garnett (his brother) one of the best living scholars of the present day.

In his childhood and youth, Theodore S. Garnett was active, healthy, and strong, fond of outdoor and athletic sports. He had no tasks except such as were entirely voluntary and afforded amusement. At ten years of age, he learned something of bricklaying, during a summer vacation — and he believes that every boy should be taught some form of manual labor. His elementary education was received at the Episcopal high school, of Virginia, and he took higher academic studies at the University of Virginia while studying law. In between these two periods of study, he gave four years of his life to the service of his state in the War between the Sections. At seventeen years of age he obeyed the call of Virginia, and enrolled himself in her forces. First he served in the Hanover artillery; afterward, he served as a private in company F, 9th Virginia cavalry; was a courier for General J. E. B. Stuart, and was promoted January 27, 1864 aide-de-camp. After General Stuart's death, he was reappointed first lieutenant of the Provisional Army Confederate States and assigned to duty on the staff of General W. H. F. Lee, and on March 1, 1865, was made captain and assistant adjutant general of General W. P. Roberts's North Carolina cavalry brigade, and served as such up to the surrender at Appomattox. In October, 1900, he was elected major-general commanding Virginia division of United Confederate veterans.

After the war, young Captain Garnett entered the University of Virginia, to complete his academic education and to study law. At that institution, he came under the influence of John B. Minor, the great law professor, and of William H. McGuffey, the famous professor of moral philosophy; scholars differing widely in mental characteristics and in methods of teaching, and yet both well fitted to influence a young man in the formative period of life.

After completing his course at the University of Virginia, Theodore S. Garnett was licensed to practice law, which was his profession through his own personal choice, influenced to some extent by the advice of his elder brother, and which he has pursued continuously in the state and federal courts since 1869. He served three years (1870-73) as judge of Nansemond county, Virginia. For over thirty years, he has practiced in Norfolk, Virginia, where he stands high with his colleagues at the bar and with his fellow-citizens in general.

Judge, Garnett is a member of the Virginia state library board, of the board of trustees of the Virginia Theological seminary and high school, a member of the Virginia bar association and of the American bar association. Recently he was elected to membership in the Phi Beta Kappa society of the College of William and Mary, a just recognition of his high attainments.

From his youth to the present time, Judge Garnett has “borne without abuse the grand old name of gentleman.” Fortunate in his parentage and rearing, fortunate in his early opportunities for study and reading, he has not only maintained the prestige of his family, but has earned personally high and honorable positions and reputation.

Judge Garnett has been twice married: first to Emily Eyre Baker, of Norfolk, Virginia; second, to Mrs. Louisa Bowdoin, of Northampton county, Virginia. His home is in Norfolk, Virginia.

SOURCE: Lyon G. Tyler, Editor, Men of Mark in Virginia: Ideals of American Life, Vol. 4, p. 134-6

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: May 13, 1862

This morning I learned that the consuls had carried the day, and were permitted to collect the tobacco alleged to be bought on foreign account in separate warehouses, and to place the flags of their respective nations over them. This was saving the property claimed by foreigners whose governments refused to recognize us (these consuls are accredited to the United States), and destroying that belonging to our own citizens. I told the Provost Marshal that the act of Congress included all tobacco and cotton, and he was required by law to see it all destroyed He, however, acknowledged only martial law, and was, he said, acting under the instructions of the Secretary of State. What has the Secretary of State to do with martial law? Is there really no Secretary of War?

Near the door of the Provost Marshal's office, guarded by bayoneted sentinels, there is a desk presided over by Sergeant Crow, who orders transportation on the cars to such soldiers as are permitted to rejoin their regiments. This Crow, a Marylander, keeps a little black-board hung up and notes with chalk all the regiments that go down the Peninsula. To day, I saw a man whom I suspected to be a Yankee spy, copy with his pencil the list of regiments; and when I demanded his purpose, he seemed confused. This is the kind of information Gen. McClellan can afford to pay for very liberally. I drew the Provost Marshal's attention to this matter, and he ordered a discontinuance of the practice.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 124

Diary of Mary Boykin Chesnut: May 16, 1865

We are scattered and stunned, the remnant of heart left alive within us filled with brotherly hate. We sit and wait until the drunken tailor who rules the United States of America issues a proclamation, and defines our anomalous position.

Such a hue and cry, but whose fault? Everybody is blamed by somebody else. The dead heroes left stiff and stark on the battle-field escape, blame every man who stayed at home and did not fight. I will not stop to hear excuses. There is not one word against those who stood out until the bitter end, and stacked muskets at Appomattox.

SOURCES: Mary Boykin Chesnut, Edited by Isabella D. Martin and Myrta Lockett Avary, A Diary From Dixie, p. 390

Diary of Judith Brockenbrough McGuire: Thusday, May 12, 1864

The cannon is now roaring in our ears. It cannot be more than three miles off. The Lord reigneth; in that is our trust. There was a severe cavalry fight yesterday morning, in which our brilliant cavalry leader, General J. E. B. Stuart, was severely wounded. He was brought to the city last night. One of his aids, our relative, Lientenant T. S. Garnett, has told us with what difficulty they got him here; in an ambulance, going out of the way, hither and thither, to avoid the enemy; of course, every jolt inflicting intense agony. He is now at the house of his brother-in-law, Dr. Brewer, surrounded by the most efficient surgeons and devoted friends. The prayers of the community are with him.

My time, when out of the office, is much absorbed by the hospital. Many wounded are brought in from both sides of the river. This morning, as I entered St. James's Church, I saw the smoke from the cannon distinctly. I stood for a moment on the steps and listened to the continued roaring, and felt that the contest was fearfully near to us. The prayers, hymns, psalms, and address were most comforting. God be praised for his goodness, that we are still surrounded by Christian people, and have the faith and trust of Christians. The town is as calm as if it were not the great object of desire to hundreds of thousands of implacable enemies, who desire nothing so much as its destruction.

General Lee's telegram last night gave us an account of another repulse given General Grant, with great slaughter. “We suffered little in comparison;” such was his telegram, signed “R. E. Lee.” His signature is always cheering to our people. For some time we had not seen it, in consequence of cut telegraphic wires. Both armies are now fortifying. The Yankees have such indomitable perseverance, that they will never give up.

SOURCE: Judith W. McGuire, Diary of a Southern Refugee, During the War, p. 266-7

Diary of Sarah Morgan: Friday, December 12, 1862

My cripple friend that I mentioned so far back continues to send me the most affecting messages. “He is really wretched about me; never was more distressed; thinks of nothing else”; and so on through the whole list. To cap the climax, he sends me word that he can now walk on crutches, and the first time he can venture in a buggy, means to call on me. Que le ciel m’en preserve! What could we talk about? “His’n” and “her’n” several misfortunes? That's too bad! Every one teases me unmercifully about my new conquest. I can't help but be amused; and yet, beware, young girls, of expressing sympathy, even for soldiers! There is no knowing what effect it may produce.

SOURCE: Sarah Morgan Dawson, A Confederate Girl's Diary, p. 301-2

Diary of 5th Sergeant Alexander G. Downing: Tuesday, March 14, 1865

I went out early this morning with the foraging party of our division, in search of feed for the horses and mules. We came to a rich plantation about four miles out, with corncribs well filled, and in a short time we had the wagons loaded. Some of us had been put to loading the wagons while others went to get the chickens and other things. After the boys had caught and loaded all the chickens and upset fully a hundred beehives, they called out, “The rebels are coming!” We had just finished loading the wagons, but that call was enough to frighten the teamsters, and they put the whip to the mules, starting off on a dead run. The road ran through a heavy timber, but it was wide and perfectly level, and they galloped the teams the whole way back to our bivouac. It was every fellow for himself, and I never ran faster in my life. A commissioner from Cornell College1 was in camp today for the purpose of raising money to educate the orphan children of soldiers and sailors. Our company raised $229.00.
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1 College at Mt. Vernon, Iowa.

Source: Alexander G. Downing, Edited by Olynthus B., Clark, Downing’s Civil War Diary, p. 261

Monday, February 1, 2016

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: May 12, 1862

I suggested to the Provost Marshal several days ago that there was an act of Congress requiring the destruction of tobacco, whenever it might be in danger of falling into the hand's of the enemy. He ran to Gen. Winder, and he to some one else, and then a hundred or more negroes, and as many wagons, were “pressed” by the detectives. They are now gathering the weed from all quarters, and piling it in “pressed” warehouses, mixed with “combustibles,” ready for the conflagration.

And now the consuls from the different nations are claiming that all bought on foreign account ought to be spared the torch. Mr. Myers, the little old lawyer, has been employed to aid them. He told me to-day that none ought to be burnt, that the Yankees having already the tobacco of Missouri, Kentucky, and Maryland, if we burn ours it will redound to their benefit, as it will enhance the price of that in their hands. That is a Benjamite argument. He hastened away to see the Secretary of State, and returned, saying, in high glee (supposing I concurred with him, of course), Mr. B. agreed with him. I told him, very gravely, that it mattered not who agreed with him; so soon as the enemy came to Richmond all the tobacco would be burned, as the retiring army would attend to it; several high officers were so resolved. He looked astounded, and departed.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 123-4

Diary of Mary Boykin Chesnut: May 10, 1865

A letter from a Pharisee who thanks the Lord she is not as other women are; she need not pray, as the Scotch parson did, for a good conceit of herself. She writes, “I feel that I will not be ruined. Come what may, God will provide for me.” But her husband had strengthened the Lord's hands, and for the glory of God, doubtless, invested some thousands of dollars in New York, where Confederate moth did not corrupt nor Yankee bummers break through and steal. She went on to tell us: “I have had the good things of this world, and I have enjoyed them in their season. But I only held them as steward for God. My bread has been cast upon the waters and will return to me.”

E. M. Boykin said to-day: “We had a right to strike for our independence, and we did strike a bitter blow. They must be proud to have overcome such a foe. I dare look any man in the face. There is no humiliation in our position after such a struggle as we made for freedom from the Yankees.” He is sanguine. His main idea is joy that he has no negroes to support, and need hire only those he really wants.

Stephen Elliott told us that Sherman said to Joe Johnston, “Look out for yourself. This agreement only binds the military, not the civil, authorities.” Is our destruction to begin anew? For a few weeks we have had peace.

Sally Reynolds told a short story of a negro pet of Mrs. Kershaw's. The little negro clung to Mrs. Kershaw and begged her to save him. The negro mother, stronger than Mrs. Kershaw, tore him away from her. Mrs. Kershaw wept bitterly. Sally said she saw the mother chasing the child before her as she ran after the Yankees, whipping him at every step. The child yelled like mad, a small rebel blackamoor.

SOURCES: Mary Boykin Chesnut, Edited by Isabella D. Martin and Myrta Lockett Avary, A Diary From Dixie, p. 389-90

Diary of Judith Brockenbrough McGuire: Wednesday, May 11, 1864

The last three days have been most exciting. The enemy on the south side of the river have made heavy demonstrations; their force is perhaps 40,000; ours not half that number. The militia, the City Battalion, and the clerks have gone from Richmond. They have had a heavy fight at Port Walthall, and another near Chester, in which we had, upon the whole, the advantage of them. In the mean time a large body of raiders are going over the country. They have cut the Central Railroad, and burnt three trains of cars, laden with provisions for General Lee's army, and are doing all manner of mischief to public and private property. Not a word can we hear from General Lee, except through private telegrams sent from Guiney's Station. The wires (telegraph) above that place have been cut. Our accounts from Guiney's are very encouraging. It is astonishing how quiet everybody is — all owing, I must believe, to an abiding faith in the goodness of God. Prayer-meetings are held in almost all the churches, and we take great comfort in them. It seems to me evident that the Lord is fighting our battles for us.

The last was a most disturbed night. We knew that the attaches of the War Department had received orders to spend the night there, and our son had promised us that if any thing exciting occurred he would come up and let us know. We were first aroused by hearing a number of soldiers pass up Broad Street. I sprang up, and saw at least a brigade passing by. As we were composing ourselves to sleep, I heard several pebbles come against the window. On looking out, I saw J. standing below. In a moment the door was opened and he was in our room, with the information, brought by a courier, that 7,000 raiders were within sixteen miles of us, making their way to the city. He also said that 3,000 infantry had marched to meet them. Every lady in the house dressed immediately, and some of us went down to the porch. There we saw ladies in every porch, and walking on the pavements, as if it were evening. We saw but one person who seemed really alarmed; every one else seemed to expect something to occur to stop the raiders. Our city had too often been saved as if by a miracle. About two o'clock a telegram came from General Stuart that he was in pursuit of the enemy. J. came up to bring us the information, and we felt that all was right. In a very short time families had retired to their chambers, and quietness reigned in this hitherto perturbed street. For ourselves, we were soon asleep. To-day General Stuart telegraphs that the enemy were overtaken at Ashland by Lomax's Brigade, and handsomely repulsed. We have just heard that they have taken the road to Dover's Mills, and our men are in hot pursuit.

SOURCE: Judith W. McGuire, Diary of a Southern Refugee, During the War, p. 264-6

Diary of Sarah Morgan: Sunday, December 7, 1862

I have had a shock! While writing alone here (almost all have gone to church), I heard a step ascending the stair. What, I asked, if it should be Will? Then I blamed myself for supposing such a thing possible. Slowly it came nearer and nearer, I raised my head, and was greeted with a ghastly smile. I held out my hand. “Will!” “Sarah!” (Misery discards ceremony.) He stood before me the most woebegone, heartbroken man I ever saw.

With a forced laugh he said, “Where is my bride? Pshaw! I know she has gone to Clinton! I have come to talk to you. Wasn't it a merry wedding?” The hollow laugh rang again. I tried to jest, but failed. “Sit down and let me talk to you,” I said. He was in a wayward humor; cut to the heart, ready to submit to a touch of silk, or to resist a grasp of iron. This was the man I had to deal with, and get from him something he clung to as to — not his life, but — Miriam. And I know so little how to act in such a case, know so little about dealing gently with wild natures!

He alarmed me at first. His forced laugh ceased; he said that he meant to keep that license always. It was a joke on him yesterday, but with that in his possession, the tables would be turned on her. He would show it to her occasionally. It should keep her from marrying any one else. I said that it would be demanded, though; he must deliver it. The very devil shot in his eye as he exclaimed fiercely, “If any one dares demand it, I'll die before giving it up! If God Almighty came, I'd say no! I'll die with it first!” O merciful Father, I thought; what misery is to come of this jest. He must relinquish it. Gibbes will force him into it, or die in the attempt; George would come from Virginia. . . . Jimmy would cross the seas. . . . And I was alone in here to deal with such a spirit!

I commenced gently. Would he do Miriam such a wrong? It was no wrong, he said; let him follow his own will. “You profess to love her?” I asked. “Profess? Great God! how can you? I adore her! I tell you that, in spite of all this, I love her not more — that is impossible, — but as much as ever! Look at my face and ask that!” burst from him with the wildest impulse. “Very well. This girl you love, then, you mean to make miserable. You stand forever between her and her happiness, because you love her! Is this love?” He was sullenly silent. I went on: “Not only her happiness, but her honor is concerned. You who love her so, do her this foul injury.” “Would it affect her reputation?” he asked. “Ask yourself! Is it quite right that you should hold in your hands the evidence that she is Mrs. Carter, when you know she is not, and never will be? Is it quite honorable?” “In God's name, would it injure Miriam? I'd rather die than grieve her.”

My iron was melted, but too hot to handle; I put it on one side, satisfied that I and I only had saved Miriam from injury and three brothers from bloodshed, by using his insane love as a lever. It does not look as hard here as it was in reality; but it was of the hardest struggles I ever had —indeed, it was desperate. I had touched the right key, and satisfied of success, turned the subject to let him believe he was following his own suggestions. When I told him he must free Miriam from all blame, that I had encouraged the jest against her repeated remonstrances, and was alone to blame, he generously took it on himself. “I was so crazy about her,” he said, “that I would have done it anyhow. I would have run any risk for the faintest chance of obtaining her”; and much more to the same purpose that, though very generous in him, did not satisfy my conscience. But he surprised me by saying that he was satisfied that if I had been in my room, and he had walked into the parlor with the license, she would have married him. What infatuation! He says, though, that I only prevented it; that my influence, by my mere presence, is stronger than his words. I don't say that is so; but if I helped save her, thank Heaven!

It is impossible to say one half that passed, but he showed me his determination to act just as he has heretofore, and take it all as a joke, that no blame might be attached to her. “Besides, I'd rather die than not see her; I laugh, but you don't know what I suffer!” Poor fellow! I saw it in his swimming eyes.

At last he got up to go before they returned from church. “Beg her to meet me as she always has. I told Mrs. Worley that she must treat her just the same, because I love her so. And — say I go to Clinton to-morrow to have that record effaced, and deliver up the license. I would not grieve her; indeed, I love her too well.” His voice trembled as well as his lips. He took my hand, saying, “You are hard on me. I could make her happy, I know, because I worship her so. I have been crazy about her for three years; you can't call it a mere fancy. Why are you against me? But God bless you! Good-bye!” And he was gone.

Why? O Will, because I love my sister too much to see her miserable merely to make you happy!

SOURCE: Sarah Morgan Dawson, A Confederate Girl's Diary, p. 298-301

Diary of 5th Sergeant Alexander G. Downing: Monday, March 13, 1865

The Seventeenth Corps crossed the river this morning and marched out about a mile, where we halted till late in the afternoon, when we moved forward three miles and went into bivouac for the night. Three more boats came up from Wilmington today. They are to be loaded with the refugees and contrabands gathered up by Sherman's army.

Source: Alexander G. Downing, Edited by Olynthus B., Clark, Downing’s Civil War Diary, p. 261

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Diary of William Howard Russell: May 4, 1861

Very warm, and no cold water, unless one went to the river. The hotel baths were not promising. This hotel is worse than the Mills House or Willard's. The feeding and the flies are intolerable. One of our party comes in to say that he could scarce get down to the hall on account of the crowd, and that all the people who passed him had very hard, sharp bones. He remarks thereupon to the clerk at the bar, who tells him that the particular projections he alludes to are implements of defence or offence, as the case may be, and adds, “I suppose you and your friends are the only people in the house who haven't a bowie-knife, or a six-shooter, or Derringer about them.” The house is full of Confederate congressmen, politicians, colonels, and place-men with or without places, and a vast number of speculators, contractors, and the like, attracted by the embryo government. Among the visitors are many filibusters, such as Henningsen, Pickett, Tochman, Wheat.1 I hear a good deal about the association called the Knights of the Golden Circle, a Protestant association for securing the Gulf provinces and States, including— which has been largely developed by recent events — them in the Southern Confederacy, and creating them into an independent government.

Montgomery has little claims to be called a capital. The streets are very hot, unpleasant, and uninteresting. I have rarely seen a more dull, lifeless place; it looks like a small Russian town in the interior. The names of the shopkeepers indicate German and French origin. I looked in at one or two of the slave magazines, which are not unlike similar establishments in Cairo and Smyrna. A certain degree of freedom is enjoyed by some of the men, who lounge about the doors, and are careless of escape or liberty, knowing too well the difficulties of either.

It is not in its external aspects generally that slavery is so painful. The observer must go with Sterne, and gaze in on the captives’ dungeons through the bars. The condition of a pig in a sty is not, in an animal sense, anything but good. Well fed, over fed, covered from the winds and storms of heaven, with clothing, food, medicine, provided, children taken care of, aged relatives and old age itself succored and guarded — is not this——? Get thee behind us, slave philosopher! The hour comes when the butcher steals to the sty, and the knife leaps from the sheath.

Now there is this one thing in being an [ăvaέ ăvδpὣv1] that be the race of men bad as it may, a kind of grandiose character is given to their leader. The stag which sweeps his rivals from his course is the largest of the herd; but a man who drives the largest drove of sheep is no better than he who drives the smallest. The flock he compels, must consist of human beings to develop the property of which I speak, and so the very superiority of the slave master in the ways and habits of command proves that the negro is a man. But, at the same time the law which regulates all these relations between man and his fellows, asserts itself here. The dominant race becomes dependent on some other body of men, less martial, arrogant, and wealthy, for its elegances, luxuries, and necessaries. The poor villeins round the Norman castle forge the armor, make the furniture, and exercise the mechanical arts which the baron and his followers are too ignorant and too proud to pursue; if there is no population to serve this purpose, some energetic race comes in their place, and the Yankee does the part of the little hungry Greek to the Roman patrician.

The South has at present little or no manufactures, takes everything from the Yankee outside or the mean white within her gates, and despises both. Both are reconciled by interest. The one gets a good price for his manufacture and the fruit of his ingenuity from a careless, spendthrift proprietor; the other hopes to be as good as his master some day, and sees the beginning of his fortune in the possession of a negro. It is fortunate for our great British Catherine-wheel, which is continually throwing off light and heat to the remotest parts of the world — I hope not burning down to a dull red cinder in the centre at last — that it had not to send its emigrants to the Southern States, as assuredly the emigration would soon have been checked. The United States has been represented to the British and Irish emigrants by the Free States — the Northern States and the great West — and the British and German emigrant who finds himself in the South, has drifted there through the Northern States, and either is a migratory laborer, or hopes to return with a little money to the North and West, if he does not see his way to the possession of land and negroes.

After dinner at the hotel table, which was crowded with officers, and where I met Mr. Howell Cobb and several senators of the new Congress, I spent the evening with Colonel Deas, Quartermaster-General, and a number of his staff, in their quarters. As I was walking over to the house, one of the detached villa-like residences so common in Southern cities, I perceived a crowd of very well-dressed negroes, men and women, in front of a plain brick building which I was informed was their Baptist meeting-house, into which white people rarely or never intrude. These were domestic servants, or persons employed in stores, and their general appearance indicated much comfort and even luxury. I doubted if they all were slaves. One of my companions went up to a young woman in a straw-hat, with bright red-and-green ribbon trimmings and artificial flowers, a gaudy Paisley shawl, and a rainbow-like gown, blown out over her yellow boots by a prodigious crinoline, and asked her “Whom do you belong to? She replied, “I b'long to Massa Smith, sar.” Well, we have men who “belong” to horses in England. I am not sure if Americans, North and South, do not consider their superiority to all Englishmen so thoroughly established, that they can speak of them as if they were talking of inferior animals. To-night, for example, a gallant young South Carolinian, one Ransome Calhoun,3 was good enough to say that “Great Britain was in mortal fear of France, and was abjectly subdued by her great rival.” Hence came controversy, short and acrimonious
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1 Since killed in action.

2 This is as close of an approximation to the words printed in the original text as I could get.  Please see original text for the exact typography.

3 Since killed.

SOURCE: William Howard Russell, My Diary North and South, p. 164

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: May 11, 1862

The Baltimore detectives are the lords of the ascendant. They crook a finger, and the best carriages in the street pause, turn round, and are subject to their will. They loll and roll in glory. And they ride on horseback, too — government horses, or horses pressed from gentlemen's stables. One word of remonstrance, and the poor victim is sent to Castle Godwin.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 123

Diary of Mary Boykin Chesnut: May 4, 1865


Home again at Bloomsbury. From Chester to Winnsboro we did not see one living thing, man, woman, or animal, except poor William trudging home after his sad disaster. The blooming of the gardens had a funereal effect.

Nature is so luxuriant here, she soon covers the ravages of savages. No frost has occurred since the seventh of March, which accounts for the wonderful advance in vegetation. This seems providential to these starving people. In this climate so much that is edible can be grown in two months.

At Winnsboro we stayed at Mr. Robertson's. There we left the wagon train. Only Mr. Brisbane, one of the general's couriers, came with us on escort duty. The Robertsons were very kind and hospitable, brimful of Yankee anecdotes. To my amazement the young people of Winnsboro had a May-day celebration amid the smoking ruins. Irrepressible is youth.

The fidelity of the negroes is the principal topic. There seems to be not a single case of a negro who betrayed his master, and yet they showed a natural and exultant joy at being free. After we left Winnsboro negroes were seen in the fields plowing and hoeing corn, just as in antebellum times. The fields in that respect looked quite cheerful. We did not pass in the line of Sherman's savages, and so saw some houses standing.

Mary Kirkland has had experience with the Yankees. She has been pronounced the most beautiful woman on this side of the Atlantic, and has been spoiled accordingly in all society. When the Yankees came, Monroe, their negro manservant, told her to stand up and hold two of her children in her arms, with the other two pressed as close against her knees as they could get. Mammy Selina and Lizzie then stood grimly on each side of their young missis and her children. For four mortal hours the soldiers surged through the rooms of the house. Sometimes Mary and her children were roughly jostled against the wall, but Mammy and Lizzie were stanch supporters. The Yankee soldiers taunted the negro women for their foolishness in standing by their cruel slave-owners, and taunted Mary with being glad of the protection of her poor ill-used slaves. Monroe meanwhile had one leg bandaged and pretended to be lame, so that he might not be enlisted as a soldier, and kept making pathetic appeals to Mary.

“Don't answer them back, Miss Mary,” said he. “Let ’em say what dey want to; don't answer 'em back. Don't give ’em any chance to say you are impudent to ’em.”

One man said to her: “Why do you shrink from us and avoid us so? We did not come here to fight for negroes; we hate them. At Port Royal I saw a beautiful white woman driving in a wagon with a coal-black negro man. If she had been anything to me I would have shot her through the heart.” “Oh, oh!” said Lizzie, “that's the way you talk in here. I'll remember that when you begin outside to beg me to run away with you.”

Finally poor Aunt Betsy, Mary's mother, fainted from pure fright and exhaustion. Mary put down her baby and sprang to her mother, who was lying limp in a chair, and fiercely called out, “Leave this room, you wretches! Do you mean to kill my mother? She is ill; I must put her to bed.” Without a word they all slunk out ashamed. “If I had only tried that hours ago,” she now said. Outside they remarked that she was “an insolent rebel huzzy, who thinks herself too good to speak to a soldier of the United States,” and one of them said: “Let us go in and break her mouth.” But the better ones held the more outrageous back. Monroe slipped in again and said: “Missy, for God's sake, when dey come in be sociable with 'em. Dey will kill you.”

“Then let me die.”

The negro soldiers were far worse than the white ones.

Mrs. Bartow drove with me to Mulberry. On one side of the house we found every window had been broken, every bell torn down, every piece of furniture destroyed, and every door smashed in. But the other side was intact. Maria Whitaker and her mother, who had been left in charge, explained this odd state of things. The Yankees were busy as beavers, working like regular carpenters, destroying everything when their general came in and stopped them, He told them it was a sin to destroy a fine old house like that, whose owner was over ninety years old. He would not have had it done for the world. It was wanton mischief. He explained to Maria that soldiers at such times were excited, wild, and unruly. They carried off sacks full of our books, since unfortunately they found a pile of empty sacks in the garret. Our books, our letters, our papers were afterward strewn along the Charleston road. Somebody found things of ours as far away as Vance's Ferry.

This was Potter's raid.1 Sherman took only our horses. Potter's raid came after Johnston's surrender, and ruined us finally, burning our mills and gins and a hundred bales of cotton. Indeed, nothing is left to us now but the bare land, and the debts contracted for the support of hundreds of negroes during the war.

[A]. H. Boykin was at home at the time to look after his own interests, and he, with John de Saussure, has saved the cotton on their estates, with the mules and farming utensils and plenty of cotton as capital to begin on again. The negroes would be a good riddance. A hired man would be a good deal cheaper than a man whose father and mother, wife and twelve children have to be fed, clothed, housed, and nursed, their taxes paid, and their doctor's bills, all for his half-done, slovenly, lazy work. For years we have thought negroes a nuisance that did not pay. They pretend exuberant loyalty to us now. Only one man of Mr. Chest nut's left the plantation with the Yankees.

When the Yankees found the Western troops were not at Camden, but down below Swift Creek, like sensible folk they came up the other way, and while we waited at Chester for marching orders we were quickly ruined after the surrender. With our cotton saved, and cotton at a dollar a pound, we might be in comparatively easy circumstances. But now it is the devil to pay, and no pitch hot. Well, all this was to be.

Godard Bailey, editor, whose prejudices are all against us, described the raids to me in this wise: They were regularly organized. First came squads who demanded arms and whisky. Then came the rascals who hunted for silver, ransacked the ladies' wardrobes and scared women and children into fits — at least those who could be scared. Some of these women could not be scared. Then came some smiling, suave, well-dressed officers, who " regretted it all so much." Outside the gate officers, men, and bummers divided even, share and share alike, the piles of plunder.

When we crossed the river coming home, the ferry man at Chesnut's Ferry asked for his fee. Among us all we could not muster the small silver coin he demanded. There was poverty for you. Nor did a stiver appear among us until Molly was hauled home from Columbia, where she was waging war with Sheriff Dent's family. As soon as her foot touched her native heath, she sent to hunt up the cattle. Many of our cows were found in the swamp; like Marion's men they had escaped the enemy. Molly sells butter for us now on shares.

Old Cuffey, head gardener at Mulberry, and Yellow Abram, his assistant, have gone on in the even tenor of their way. Men may come and men may go, but they dig on forever. And they say they mean to “as long as old master is alive.” We have green peas, asparagus, lettuce, spinach, new potatoes, and strawberries in abundance — enough for ourselves and plenty to give away to refugees. It is early in May and yet two months since frost. Surely the wind was tempered to the shorn lamb in our case.

Johnny went over to see Hampton. His cavalry are ordered to reassemble on the 20th — a little farce to let themselves down easily; they know it is all over. Johnny, smiling serenely, said, “The thing is up and forever.”

Godard Bailey has presence of mind. Anne Sabb left a gold card-case, which was a terrible oversight, among the cards on the drawing-room table. When the Yankee raiders saw it their eyes glistened. Godard whispered to her: “Let them have that gilt thing and slip away and hide the silver.” “No!” shouted a Yank, “you don't fool me that way; here's your old brass thing; don't you stir; fork over that silver.'” And so they deposited the gold card-case in Godard's hands, and stole plated spoons and forks, which had been left out because they were plated. Mrs. Beach says two officers slept at her house. Each had a pillow-case crammed with silver and jewelry—" spoils of war,” they called it.

Floride Cantey heard an old negro say to his master: “When you all had de power you was good to me, and I 'll protect you now. No niggers nor Yankees shall tech you. If you want anything call for Sambo. I mean, call for Mr. Samuel; dat my name now.”
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1 The reference appears to. be to General Edward E. Potter, a native of New York City, who died in 1889. General Potter entered the Federal service early in the war. He recruited a regiment of North Carolina troops and engaged in operations in North and South Carolina and Eastern Tennessee.

SOURCES: Mary Boykin Chesnut, Edited by Isabella D. Martin and Myrta Lockett Avary, A Diary From Dixie, p. 384-9

Diary of Judith Brockenbrough McGuire: Sunday, May 8, 1864

By the blessing of God, I now record that, as far as heard from, our arms have been signally notorious, On Thursday and Friday the enemy were driven off, and the telegram of yesterday from General Lee spoke of our cause as going on prosperously, and with comparatively little loss to us. Grant had been driven back, and 10,000 prisoners taken, but how far he has gone is not yet known. General Lee's telegram last night was very encouraging; he speaks of having captured two major-generals and killed three brigadiers. We have not yet heard of our casualties, except in one or two instances. We have been dreadfully shocked by the death of Colonel William Randolph, of Clarke County. He fell on the 6th of May. The country has lost no more devoted patriot, the army no more gallant officer, and society no more brilliant member. It was but last Sunday that his sister-in-law, Miss Margaret Stuart, said to me with natural pride and pleasure: "William Randolph has been promoted; he is now colonel of the Second.” I expressed the pleasure which I then felt; but as she passed out of the room, and my thoughts again turned to the subject, a superstitious horror came over me, and I said to those around me, “This is a fatal honour conferred upon W. R.,” and I could not get rid of the impression. The Second Regiment has invariably lost its field officers. It is one of the most gallant regiments of the Stonewall Brigade, and has frequently had what is called the post of honour. Colonel Allen, Colonel Botts, Lientenant-Colonel Lackland, Lientenant-Colonel Colston, Major Jones, and now Colonel Randolph, have fallen! and Colonel Nadenboush, of the same regiment, has been so mutilated by wounds, as to be obliged to retire from the service.

The fleet upon James River has landed about 30,000 or 40,000 troops. One of their gunboats ran upon a torpedo, which blew it to atoms. We repulsed them near Port Walthall. Yesterday they came with a very strong force upon the Petersburg Railroad. They were too strong for us, and we had to fall back; the enemy consequently took the road, and, of course, injured it very much; but they have fallen back; why, we do not know, unless they have heard of Grant's failure. The alarm-bell is constantly ringing, making us nervous and anxious. The militia have been called out, and have left the city, but where they have gone I know not. It is strange how little apprehension seems to be felt in the city. Our trust is first in God, and, under Him, in our brave men. At this moment Yankee prisoners are passing by. I do not know where they were captured. Those taken at the battle of “The Wilderness” were sent South.

I went to the Monumental Church this morning. Mr.— read the service, and Mr. Johnston, of Alexandria, preached.

SOURCE: Judith W. McGuire, Diary of a Southern Refugee, During the War, p. 262-4

Diary of Sarah Morgan: Thursday, December 4, 1862*

It would be only the absurd tableaux I agreed to, with plenty of fun, and nothing more. So I tried to be merry and content, and so I should have been, for there was plenty to talk about, and every one was so solicitous for my comfort; and there was Mr. Enders who would wheel my chair for me wherever I wished it, and was as kind and attentive as a brother. Surely my first trip should have been a gay one! Miriam sat down by the piano, Mr. Enders drew me by her, and we three sang until dark together. A Mr. Morse, his wife, and mother, who are spending a week here, were our audience. The first two retired at candle-light, while the latter, present at the play the night before, remained to the last. But while we sang, every noise at the parlor door caused us to turn with the apprehension of we hardly knew what. A dozen times Mr. Enders consulted his watch, and telegraphed his fears to me, though I persisted in thinking it only the fun that had been intended.

Half-past six came, and with it, Mrs. Worley. Now, she knew better. For Dr. Dortch had come to see me, and was guiding me in my game of euchre in which I was not even as wise as my partner, Mr. Enders, when her note came. Instantly we put down our cards, while Miriam begged him to write and tell her the true story. He wrote and we all read it. Not only that, but Miriam added a postscript which I think was this, word for word: “Mrs. Worley, it is only a bet at cards, intended as the merest joke. There is not a word of truth in it, and I will consider it the greatest favor if you will contradict the report whenever you may hear it!” Explicit enough, one would think; but still she came, and sent word into the parlor that one of the ladies present when Will made the announcement had sent her contribution to the evening's fun. It turned out to be a complete bridal suit, worn by the lady a year ago! That was too serious a jest. Miriam went into the other room to speak to Mrs. Worley, who, cold as an icicle, refused to receive or make explanation, beyond “I won't kiss you; this is too cruel.” There was nothing to do; she returned laughing, but certainly feeling herself the injured one, and so she was.

In fifteen minutes, another stir. I held my breath with expectation. Lydia introduced — Mr. G——.  Ten miles he had ridden through mud and water that freezing evening, at Will Carter's request, to perform the ceremony between him and Miriam. Lydia laughed until she could hardly introduce him. He, hat in hand, bowed around the convulsed circle with a countenance shining with the most sublimely vacant expression. O that man's idiotic face, and solemn, portentous look, brought a writhe even to my trembling lips! Mr. Enders would have given one an excellent idea of the effect produced by a real old piney-woods chill; he shook as with suppressed laughter. But when the tremendous preacher (tremendous because composed of gigantic Nothing) turned his lugubrious face towards Mrs. Morse, and addressed her as Mrs. Morgan under the impression that she had come down to see her daughter married, Miriam's risibles could no longer stand it, and she flew from the room in time to avoid a disgraceful explosion.

I was growing frightened. Mr. Enders was leaning over my chair, and involuntarily it burst from me with a groan, “For God's sake, help me save her!” “Hush! Lie back in your chair! I will!” he whispered. “But for the love of Heaven, save my sister!” “I’ll do what you will, if you will only keep still and not hurt yourself. I’ll do my best.” It was all whispered, that the minister and Mrs. Morse might not hear. “If it were your sister, what would you do?” “My God! I'd meet him on the front gallery and kick him out! Then I'd know one of us must die to-morrow!” “But under the circumstances it is impossible for Gibbes to act!” I urged, while we agreed that it was the most unwarrantable piece of insolence ever perpetrated. While we talked, Gibbes had seized Miriam and, without interfering or advising further, advised her to keep her room and not meet Will.

But I skipped the most important part. She came back when she had recovered her composure, and sat by me. Mr. Enders, when I asked what was best to do, whispered that to spare Will's feelings, and avoid a most painful scene, as well as to show that she had no serious intentions whatever, she should see that the minister was put in full possession of the facts before it went any farther. He felt keenly his unpleasant situation, and it was only our earnest request that induced him to remain, or give his advice. Who should explain? Certainly not the General. He thought the joke carried too far, and retired to his room before Mr. G–– came. How take part against his own nephew? Not Gibbes either, for he had gone upstairs too worried and annoyed to talk to any one; besides, it was his wife's cousin. Who then? Miriam is one woman in a thousand. Rising, she crossed the room slowly and as dignified as though she only meant to warm herself. I think I see her before me now, as she stood before the fire, facing Mr. G––, looking so handsome and stylish in her black grenadine with the pale-green trimming, telling her story. Plainly, earnestly, distinctly, without hurry or embarrassment, in the neatest, prettiest, most admirable speech I ever heard, she told everything just as it was. Bravo for Miriam! There lives not the woman in this State who could do so painful a thing in such a beautiful way. I felt like hugging her. Oh, it was magnificent! He heard her in surprise, but when once satisfied of its truth, he said, “Well, Miss Morgan, when you stand on the floor, when I ask if you will, it is your privilege to answer, ‘No.’” Miriam is not one to do so cruel a thing; she is too noble to deceive him so far and wound him so cruelly before all, when he believed himself so near happiness. She said that it was mockery, she would not suffer him to believe for an instant that she meant to marry him; if he believed it, he was deceiving himself wilfully, for he already knew that she had told him it could never be. He agreed to take it only as a jest, promised that he would not feel hurt; and with the most admirable tact, Miriam, the trump (I have been playing euchre, excuse me), settled the minister, and the wedding, by her splendid behavior, with no trouble.

A rapid step was heard in the hall; the bridegroom had come! I know he must have killed his horse. He certainly did not leave his house before one o'clock; it is twenty miles by the road to Clinton; he went there, procured his license, and was here at seven, in full costume. He bounded upstairs to meet the bride-elect.

I can fancy him going to Clinton, doubting, fearing, believing against all evidence, yet trembling; securing the license at last, persuading himself that she would not dare refuse when the deeds were recorded in court, and he held them in his hand; — and very few women would have been brave enough, too; he did not know My Miriam! I can fancy the poor horse lashed through the heavy mire, tired, foaming, panting, while his strong arm urged it on, with whip and spur; I can hear the exulting beating of his heart, that wild refrain that was raging as his death-knell — “Mine! Mine at last!” I could hear it, I say. It rung in my ears all night. He held her in his power; she must be his; hastily, yet carefully he performs his toilet; I dare say he stopped to think which cravat she liked best. “Mine! Mine!” the song is ringing in every stroke of his throbbing breast. Mount! Mount! Two miles fly past. He sweeps through the moonlight like Death riding on a pale horse; yonder shine lights in the parlor; and that above; is it hers? He throws himself from his horse; his hour has come, hers too; with the license and minister, his own adoration — and she must love him too! — he will win! Show him the way to her! She is his forever now! His? My God! had I not reason to cry, “In God's name, save her, Frank!” He reaches Mrs. Carter's room, and triumphantly throws the license on her table. He is ready now; where is his bride?

Some one meets him. “Will!”

The story is told; she is not to be won by force; she has appealed to the minister; he has carried the jest too far. The strong man reels; he falls on the bed in his bridal array in agony too great for tears. I dare not ask what followed; they tell me it was awful. What madness and folly, to dream of forcing her to marry him! Why, if she had loved him, the high-handed proceeding would have roused the lion of her spirit! He is no mate for her. He has but one thought, and at last words come. “Miriam! Miriam! Call her, for the love of God!” One word! one look! Oh, she will take pity on him in his misery. Let her come for one instant! she cannot be so cruel! she will marry him if only to save him from death, or worse! And fortunate it was that he was not armed, one of the two would have died; perhaps both. The heartbroken prayer goes on. The exulting “Mine! Mine!” has changed to the groan of despair, “Miriam! for the love of God! come to me!”

And where is the bride? Gibbes has her caged in the next room, this one where I am now lying. He has advised her not to appear; to go to bed and say no more. Sent to bed like a baby on her wedding night! She says that she laughed aloud when the door closed on her. She laughing in here, he groaning in there, it is to be hoped they each drowned the voice of the other. . . . The minister said good-night. He disclaimed all feeling of pique; he felt chiefly for the young lady — and the disappointed groom. (Ouf!) I sent to ask Will to come to me alone for a moment; no, he could not see me; write to him.

Slowly, as though an aged, infirm, tottering man, we heard him descending the steps. How different from the step that carried him up! We, conscience-stricken, sat within, with doors closed. He was off. He has again mounted his horse, and the brokenhearted man, hardly less cruel than the expectant bridegroom, dashes the rowel in his side and disappears like a whirlwind.

I can fancy mother's and Lilly's agony, when they hear of the wedding. All Clinton knew it last night, and if they did, too, I know there was as little sleep for them as for us. I know mother shrieked, "My child! My child!" while Lilly cried. How could he believe she meant to marry him, without even sending word to mother when he was going to the very town? Bah! What a jolly go if those two got hysterics about the supposed Moral Suicide! Glad I was not at the tea-party! Well, fearing the effect of such a shock in mother's nervous state, Gibbes advised Miriam to go on the cars this evening, and convince her that it had not occurred, court records and licenses and minister to the contrary notwithstanding; so my duck, my angel, she whom I call my Peri with the singed wings (children who play in the fire must expect to be burned), set off on her pious errand, without the protecting arm of her bridegroom.
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* A page is here torn from the Diary. It evidently related the beginning of an incident of which my sister and I have often heard our mother tell: how, after the Jackson tableaux, our aunt Miriam laughingly staked herself in a game of cards with Will Carter — and lost. The sequel follows, the scene at the house of his uncle, General Carter, beginning in the middle of a sentence. — W. D.

SOURCE: Sarah Morgan Dawson, A Confederate Girl's Diary, p. 290-8