Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Major-General George G. Meade to Margaretta Sergeant Mead, March 29, 1864

Headquarters Army Of The Potomac, March 29, 1864.

Spencer1 and the Whipple boys continue to enjoy themselves. Yesterday was a fine day, and they rode over with me to Hancock's, some five miles. We then rode to Culpeper Court House, five miles, where I met General Grant, just from Washington. After which we returned to headquarters, a distance of six miles, making in all sixteen miles for the day's riding. En route the boys ascended Pony Mountain, a hill of some five hundred feet elevation, near Culpeper, on which we have a signal station and a fine telescope, and from whence you have a good view of the country, the rebel lines, camps, etc. At night Pennie was pretty well fatigued. But this morning he was up bright and early, and started with me, before eight o'clock, to go to Culpeper, where General Grant reviewed two divisions of infantry, and one of cavalry. It commenced to rain, however, during the review, which curtailed the ceremonies, and after spending an hour with Grant, we returned home in the rain. I borrowed an India rubber poncho for Pennie, so that he came back dry, but on the way his horse, and Willie Whipple's, became excited and started off with them at full speed. The boys, however, kept their seats beautifully till George2 and an orderly headed off the horses and stopped them.

Grant continues very affable and quite confidential. He laughs at the statement in the papers of his remarks about balls, etc., and says he will be happy to attend any innocent amusement we may get up, he including among these horse races, of which he is very fond.

I join with you in the regret expressed at the relief of Sykes. I tried very hard to retain Sykes, Newton, and even French, as division commanders, but without avail. I had very hard work to retain Sedgwick. As to Pleasanton, his being relieved was entirely the work of Grant and Stanton.

I hear Butterfield has been swearing terribly against me. I shall go up day after to-morrow to meet his charges.

It is storming now violently.
_______________

1 Son of General Meade.
2 Son of General Meade.

SOURCE: George Meade, The Life and Letters of George Gordon Meade, Vol. 2, p. 185

Brigadier-General Thomas Kilby Smith to Elizabeth Budd Smith, May 27, 1865

Saturday, May 27th.

Enclosed herewith I hand you the only copy of Mobile paper I can procure; the details therein will be sufficient without further comment from me. To-day is deliciously cool, too cool for comfort without woollen clothes. My little boat has just arrived, bringing me cargo of chickens, green peas, string beans, cucumbers, blackberries, sweet potatoes, and peanuts, with beautiful bouquets sent to me from Mount Louis Island, a blossom or two you will find pressed.

I cannot say what my future will be, a resignation would not be accepted, inasmuch as I have a full major-general's command, and I am in uncertainty as to the day or hour when I may be mustered out, or ordered hence to another field. It is only left to me to be patient to the bitter end. There is a growing disposition through many parts of the country to pay more honor to the base rebels who have been conquered in their efforts to overthrow the best government in the world than to the brave defenders of their flag. It will not be long before the United States uniforms will cease to be a badge of honor. How base the treatment of Sherman, how nobly he has emerged from the fiery furnace. I dare not trust myself in speculation upon passing events, or anticipation of the future.

I rejoice to note by the price current that most of the staples of life are largely reduced in value; corn, oats, flour, etc. You will now be able to make your dollar purchase pretty nearly a dollar's worth, and thus your income be virtually increased.

I am not much in the habit of telling dreams, and there is no Joseph to interpret; but three that have been lately dreamed, are so peculiar in connection with passing events, that, without giving them in full detail, I will let you have the outline. The first dream I dreamed myself about the time of the assassination of the President, and it was to this effect; that General Canby sent for me to be the bearer of despatches to President Lincoln, and that I went to heaven to deliver the despatches. You will naturally ask how heaven appeared to me in my dream. I can only give you a vague idea of my impressions. The scene was a spacious apartment something like the East Room of the White House; but vast with shadowy pillars and recesses and one end opening into space skyward, and by fleecy clouds made dim and obscure, just visible, with a shining radiance far away in the perspective, farther away than the sun or stars appear to us. I have no remembrance of my interview, but a clear recollection of my sensations that were those of perfect happiness, such as I have never had waking or dreaming. I would not tell this dream to anyone, till some weeks afterwards the Provost Marshal of my staff told me of a strange dream in which he had awakened the night before, and that had made a serious impression on his mind. The scene of his vision was laid at Carrollton, near New Orleans. I was standing surrounded by my staff, Jemmy Sherer and Joe, when a man approached and asked me to retire to the back yard on plea of private and important business. I walked out with him and a moment after a rebel officer followed us, with his hand upon a pistol, partially concealed in his breast. Mrs. Stone, the wife of my Inspector-General, called the attention of the dreamer to this fact, with a solemn warning that I was about to be assassinated. He at once sprang to the door for the guard, and perceiving an officer in command of an escort approaching, called halt, that from him he might procure the guard, but as he neared, discovered he was escorting a long funeral procession of mourners clad in white, in the centre of which was a hearse with towering white plumes. A colloquy and quarrel ensued, and pending the denouement he awoke. He told his dream to me, and on the instant, my own being recalled to mind, I told him mine, but neither of us mentioned the matter to others. Lastly, the Adjutant, Captain Wetmore, had his dream. The march and the battle, and all the vicissitudes of the campaign, in the rapid kaleidoscope of thought, had passed through his brain, when at last Jeff Davis appeared, a captured prisoner, then he was indicted, tried, and convicted, all in due course, and finally the sentence, that he be banished to “Australia” for twenty years, provided the consent of the British government could be obtained thereto.

These dreams were all vivid and interesting in detail, the last the most sensible of the three, and certainly as easy of interpretation as those of the butler and the baker of the King of Egypt. Yet they only serve to remind us of the words of him, who wrote as never man wrote, who knew the human heart, and springs to human action, and the world, and all its contents, better than anyone on earth,

“All Spirits,
And are melted into air, into thin air;
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve;
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind: We are such stuff
As dreams are made of, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep. . . .”

My next letter will be dated from New Orleans, events transpiring, foreshadow my early departure from my headquarters at Dauphine Island, to which I have become a good deal attached. I have had some lonely hours on its shores, but the waves have made sweet music in my ears.

I have some fresh accounts of the horrid accident at Mobile; language fails to do justice to the terrors of the scene. The professional sensation writers will fill the columns of the daily press with details, and I will not attempt to harrow up your soul with my tame pen.

SOURCE: Walter George Smith, Life and letters of Thomas Kilby Smith, p. 403-6

Diary of Private Alexander G. Downing: Tuesday, November 24, 1863


The weather is clear and cool, and the regiment is in good health. No news of importance.

Source: Alexander G. Downing, Edited by Olynthus B., Clark, Downing’s Civil War Diary, p. 154

Diary of Private Charles H. Lynch: January 28, 1864

This morning the Pennsylvania boys are packing up to leave, they having received marching orders. Ordered to New Creek, West Virginia. Our boys lined up, bid them good bye, good luck, with hearty cheers. These regiments, the 3d and 4th were known as the reserves and the Buck Tails, they having seen hard service. We found them a good lot of boys, and visited back and forth very much while they were in camp near us.

SOURCE: Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary, 1862-1865, of Charles H. Lynch 18th Conn. Vol's, p. 37

Diary of Luman Harris Tenney: October 9, 1861

My mother's birthday. The Wellington Three Hundred came to camp. Somewhat indisposed. Had a good time though.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 2

Battery "F" 1st Ohio Light Artillery.

Organized at Camp Lucas, Ohio, August, 1861. Moved to Camp Dennison, Ohio, September 1, and mustered in December 2, 1861. Left State for Louisville, Ky., December 3. Attached to 4th Division, Army of Ohio, to February, 1862. Artillery, 6th Division, Army of Ohio, to July, 1862. Artillery, 4th Division, Army of Ohio, to September, 1862. 19th Brigade, 4th Division, 2nd Corps, Army of Ohio, to November, 1862. Artillery, 2nd Division, Left Wing 14th Army Corps, Army of the Cumberland, to January, 1863. Artillery, 2nd Division, 21st Army Corps, Army of the Cumberland, to October, 1863. Artillery, 1st Division, Artillery Reserve, Dept. of the Cumberland, to March, 1864. 2nd Division, Artillery Reserve, Dept. of the Cumberland, to March, 1864. Garrison Artillery, Decatur, Ala., District of Northern Alabama, Dept. of the Cumberland, to July, 1865.

SERVICE. – Moved to Nashville, Tenn., February 10-25, 1862. March to Savannah, Tenn., March 18-April 6. Battle of Shiloh April 7. Advance on and siege of Corinth, Miss., April 29-May 30. Pursuit to Booneville May 31-June 12. Buell's Campaign in North Alabama and Middle Tennessee June to August. March to Louisville, Ky., in pursuit of Bragg August 21-September 26. Pursuit of Bragg to London, Ky., October 1-22. Battle of Perryville, Ky., October 8 (Reserve). Danville October 11. Wild Cat Mountain October 16. Big Rockcastle River October 16. Near Mt. Vernon October 16. Near Crab Orchard October 16. March to Nashville, Tenn., October 23-November 7. Duty at Nashville till December 26. Advance on Murfreesboro December 26-30. Battle of Stone's River December 30-31, 1862, and January 1-3, 1863. Woodbury, Tenn., January 24. At Readyville till June. Middle Tennessee (or Tullahoma) Campaign June 23-July 7. At Manchester till August 16. Passage of Cumberland Mountains and Tennessee River and Chickamauga (Ga.) Campaign August 16-September 22. Battle of Chickamauga, Ga., September 19-20. Siege of Chattanooga, Tenn., September 24-November 23. Battles of Chattanooga November 23-27. Moved to Nashville, Tenn., and duty there till March, 1864. Moved to Decatur, Ala., and duty there till July, 1865. Expedition from Decatur to Moulton, Ala., July 25-28, 1864. Action at Courtland, Ala., July 25. Siege of Decatur October 26-29, 1864. Mustered out July 22, 1865.

Battery lost during service 1 Officer and 7 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 28 Enlisted men by disease. Total 36.

SOURCE: Frederick H. Dyer, A Compendium of the War of the 3, p. Rebellion, Part 1485

Monday, September 22, 2014

Diary of Private Alexander G. Downing: Monday, November 23, 1863

It was warm and pleasant again with rain in the afternoon. The "chuck luck" banks at the spring are in full operation this morning. At each bank there are from twelve to twenty of our boys down on their knees laying their money on certain figures, as the "banker" throws the dice. After each throw the operator picks up the largest number of dollars. Some of the men in less than five days lose every dollar received from the paymaster.

Source: Alexander G. Downing, Edited by Olynthus B., Clark, Downing’s Civil War Diary, p. 153-4

Diary of Private Charles H. Lynch: January 26, 1864

In camp today we have a visitor, a minister from Woodstock, Connecticut, Rev. Mr. White. The day being fine, our regular routine was carried out. At dress parade, Mr. White delivered an address, a message from home. A pleasure to hear direct from old Connecticut.

SOURCE: Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary, 1862-1865, of Charles H. Lynch 18th Conn. Vol's, p. 37

Diary of Luman Harris Tenney: Tuesday, October 1, 1861

My birthday (twenty) — what a contrast between this one and that of the year before. Spent the day about as usual.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 2

Battery "E" 1st Ohio Light Artillery.

Organized at Camp Dennison, near Cincinnati, Ohio, and mustered in October 7, 1861. Action at West Liberty, Ky., October 23. Expedition into Eastern Ohio and West Virginia after Jenkins' Cavalry November 23-29. Moved to Louisville, Ky., December 2, 1861; thence to Bacon Creek, Ky., and duty there till February, 1862. Attached to 3rd Division, Army of Ohio, December, 1861, to September, 1862. Artillery, 2nd Division, 1st Army Corps, Army of Ohio, to November, 1862. 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, Right Wing 14th Army Corps, Army of the Cumberland, to January, 1863. Post of Nashville. Tenn., Dept. of the Cumberland, to June, 1863. Artillery, 2nd Division, Reserve Corps, Army of the Cumberland, to October, 1863. Unassigned, Dept. of the Cumberland, to November, 1863. 1st Division, Artillery Reserve, Dept. of the Cumberland, to December, 1863. Garrison Artillery at Bridgeport, Ala., Dept. of the Cumberland, to July, 1864. 1st Division, Artillery Reserve, Dept. of the Cumberland, to November, 1864. Garrison Artillery, Nashville, Tenn., Dept. of the Cumberland, to July, 1865.

SERVICE. – Advance on Bowling Green, Ky., and Nashville, Tenn., February 10-25. Occupation of Nashville February 25. Reconnoissance to Shelbyville and McMinnville March 25-29. Advance on Fayetteville April 4-7, and on Huntsville April 10-11. Capture of Huntsville April 11. Advance on and capture of Decatur, Florence and Tuscumbia April 11-14. Action at West Bridge, near Bridgeport. April 29. Destruction of railroad bridge across the Tennessee River. Relief of 18th Ohio at Athens May 1 and dispersement of Scott's Forces. Negley's Chattanooga Campaign May 27-June 14. Duty at Battle Creek June-July. Action at Battle Creek June 21. Occupy Fort McCook August 20-25. March to Louisville, Ky., in pursuit of Bragg August 25-September 26. Pursuit of Bragg into Kentucky October 1-15. Lawrenceburg October 6. Dog Walk October 9. March to Nashville, Tenn., October 20-November 7, and duty there till December 26. Reconnoissance from Lavergne November 19. Advance on Murfreesboro December 26-30. Battle of Stone's River December 30-31, 1862, and January 1-3, 1863. Battery captured December 31. Ordered to Nashville, Tenn., January 20, 1863, and duty there till September. Moved to Stevenson, Ala., September 6; thence to Battle Creek, Anderson's Cross Roads and Chattanooga. Chattanooga-Ringgold Campaign November 23-27. Battles of Chattanooga November 23-25. Garrison duty at Bridgeport, Ala., till July, 1864, and at Nashville, Tenn., till July, 1865. Battle of Nashville December 15-16, 1864. Mustered out July 10, 1865.

Battery lost during service 3 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 29 Enlisted men by disease. Total 32.

SOURCE: Frederick H. Dyer, A Compendium of the War of the 3, p. Rebellion, Part 1484-5

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Official Reports of the Action at and Surrender of Murfreesborough, Tenn., July 13, 1862: No. 6. – Report of Col. John C. Walker, Thirty-fifth Indiana Infantry.

No. 6.
 SHELBYVILLE, TENN., July 13, 1862.

SIR: An engagement has been going on at Murfreesborough nearly all day between our troops at that place and the enemy under Colonel Starnes. I give you the reports as they come to me through messengers of Colonel Hambright, who is stationed at Wartrace. It seems from these reports that Colonel Starnes, with about 5,000 cavalry and two pieces of artillery, attacked Murfreesborough this morning. After two or three hours' fighting he succeeded in taking prisoners seven companies of the Ninth Michigan Regiment and the entire provost guard. It is said that General Crittenden, of Indiana, is also taken prisoner. Since this the First Kentucky Battery was engaged for several hours in shelling the rebels. The battery, I believe, is sustained by the Third Minnesota Regiment. Toward evening the enemy withdrew to the woods.

I cannot vouch for the details of this statement, but will add that the cannonading has been heard distinctly at this place during nearly the entire day. Colonel Matthews, Fifty-first Ohio, arrived at this place this evening and will await further orders. Under existing circumstances I have taken the responsibility of ordering my regiment to this place, for the purpose of co-operating, if necessary, with the other troops in this vicinity. In the course of a day or two I will have the regiment proceed to Elk River Bridge, unless orders are received directing me to do otherwise.

Trusting that my action in the premises will meet with your approbation, I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

 J. C. WALKER,
 Colonel Thirty-fifth Indiana.
 Col. J. B. FRY,
 Chief of Staff, Huntsville,.Ala.

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 16, Part 1 (Serial No. 22), p. 800

Governor Samuel J. Kirkwood to Governor Israel Washburne Jr., April 8, 1862

executive Office, Iowa, April 8, 1862.

Hon. Israel Washburne, Jr., Governor of Maine, Augusta, Maine:

sir — I have just received a certified copy of a resolution of the General Assembly of your State in reference to our victories in the West. Please accept my thanks for this compliment paid to our Western troops.

Permit me, however, to state, in my judgment, strict justice has not been done to the troops from Iowa. The troops of Illinois are especially selected in the resolution for commendation for their gallant conduct at Fort Donelson. Too much honor cannot be given to the Illinois men for their gallantry there, unless in this case it be done by preferring them to the troops of other States. The men of Illinois did bravely and well, and 1 shall never seek to pluck one leaf from the wreath of honor they there so nobly won; but it is not true, as is implied in the resolution, that they did more bravely or better than the men of Iowa. There was not any better fighting done by any of our troops at Fort Donelson than at the right of their intrenchments. There the crest of a long and steep hill was crowned by well-built rifle pits, defended by three of the best regiments in the rebel service. To their left, some 1500 yards, was a rebel battery that swept the face of the hill with a cross-fire. The face of the hill had been heavily timbered, but every standing thing had been cut down and thrown with the top down hill in such manner as to most effectually retard the approach of an attacking force. At that point, through the fallen timber, exposed to that cross-fire, in face of the three rebel regiments behind the rifle-pits, a regiment of Western men, with fixed bayonets, with guns at the trail and without firing a shot, steadily and unswervingly, charged up the hill and over the intrenchments, and planted the first Union flag in that stronghold of treason. The men who did this were men of Iowa. The flag borne by them, and the first planted by Union men in Fort Donelson, now hangs over the chair of the Speaker of our House of Representatives, and will soon be deposited in our Historical Society as one of the most sacred treasures of the State. I cannot, therefore, by my silence acquiesce in the implied assertion of your General Assembly that any other troops did better service at the capture of Fort Donelson than the troops of Iowa. Three other Iowa regiments were engaged in the same fight, and although our gallant Second, from the fact that they led the charge, deserved and received the greater honor, all did their duty nobly. Elsewhere than at Donelson — at Wilson's Creek — at Blue Mills — at Belmont and at Pea Ridge — our Iowa men have been tried in the firey ordeal of battle and never found wanting. Their well-earned fame is very dear to our people, and I trust you will recognize the propriety of my permitting no suitable occasion to pass of insisting upon justice being done them.

I have sent a copy of this letter to his Excellency the Governor of Illinois. Very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,
samuel J. Kirkwood.

SOURCES: Henry Warren Lathrop, The Life and Times of Samuel J. Kirkwood, Iowa's War Governor, p. 180-1

Major-General Charles F. Smith to Senator James W. Grimes, March 13, 1862

Savannah, Tenn., March 13, 1862.

Your kind and complimentary note of the 24th ult., addressed to me at Paducah, was not received by me until this morning. I fear that yourself and others overrate the value of my services recently; I did not suppose I was doing anything remarkable; however, I am not the less sensible of the kindness and manliness you have exhibited toward one so entirely a stranger to you as myself. I am deeply grateful to you, believe me. As I know it will gratify your State pride, it affords me great pleasure to say that, although all of the Iowa regiments acted creditably, the behavior of the Second was, during the assault of the 15th, as fine an exhibition of soldierly conduct as it has ever been my fortune to witness.

I am here with a large force on a rather delicate mission, which will be developed in a few days. Again thanking you for your manliness and kindness, I remain

Very truly your friend and servant,
C. F. Smith.
The Hon. James W. Grimes, Washington.

SOURCE: William Salter, The Life of James W. Grimes, p. 183

Diary of Major Rutherford B. Hayes: Friday, August 16, 1861

A morning of small excitements. A wagon train stopped on its way towards Sutton to search for arms or ammunition concealed in boxes of provisions.  . . . Drake, Captain, and Woodward search train in vain for contraband.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 67

Major-General George G. Meade to Margaretta Sergeant Mead, March 27, 1864

Headquarters Army Of The Potomac,
Easter Sunday, March 27, 1864.

Your letter of the 25th inst. arrived this afternoon. I am very much distressed to hear of Sergeant's continued weakness. As to my going home, that is utterly out of the question. You must not expect to see me till next winter, unless, as before, I am brought home on a litter. Whatever occurs, I shall not voluntarily leave the field.

We have had most interesting services to-day by Bishop Whipple, who administered the Holy Communion to quite a number of officers and soldiers, hastily collected from the staff and the detachments on duty at these headquarters. We had afternoon services, and afterwards the bishop and his assistant, with General Seth Williams, dined with me. The bishop brought down with him a magnificent bouquet of flowers, with which our rude altar was adorned. The bishop is a most interesting man, about forty years of age, but full of life and energy. He preached two most appropriate and impressive discourses, well adapted to all classes of his hearers.

General Grant went up to Washington to-day, expecting to return to-morrow. You do not do Grant justice, and I am sorry to see it. You do not make a distinction between his own acts and those forced on him by the Government, Congress and public opinion. If left to himself, I have no doubt Grant would have let me alone; but placed in the position he holds, and with the expectations formed of him, if operations on a great scale are to be carried on here, he could not well have kept aloof. As yet he has indicated no purpose to interfere with me; on the contrary, acts promptly on all my suggestions, and seems desirous of making his stay here only the means of strengthening and increasing my forces. God knows I shall hail his advent with delight if it results in carrying on operations in the manner I have always desired they should be carried on. Cheerfully will I give him all credit if he can bring the war to a close.

SOURCE: George Meade, The Life and Letters of George Gordon Meade, Vol. 2, p. 184-5

Brigadier-General Thomas Kilby Smith to Elizabeth Budd Smith, May 26, 1865

Headquarters District Of South Alabama,
Fort Gaines, Ala., May 26, 1865.

You had received my recountal of our narrow escape from perishing at sea. The varied experience of the past few years has showed me the uncertainty of human life. “We are such stuff as dreams are made of, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.” I often wish you were with me here, that you might have leisure for reflection, and opportunity to study the wonders of the deep, the great sea, fitting emblem of eternity. To watch with me the changes on its surface, now dimpled and glittering in the sunlight, then glassy as a mirror, reflecting the bright moon, or by starlight lambent with phosphorescent glare; and again maddened by the wind, tossing and roaring and foaming with rage. To see the sun rise from the ocean in the morning and set beneath its waters at eve; to see the sweet sight of “sunset sailing ships,” to wander by the shore and watch the graceful seabirds dip their wings. Nothing that poet has written or traveller described, can give to the mind an idea of the heart emotions awakened by the ocean, whether in repose or agitated by storm. I am never weary of it, or the southern gales that sweep its bosom. You remember old Governor Duval's description of the breeze at Pensacola. How its influence made one dream of “bathing in a sea of peacock's plumes.” Here you can realize how graphic was his description. The weather is perfectly delicious; you never saw so blue a sky. In the early morning it is hot, but about ten o'clock the sea breeze springs up and sitting in the shade you have nothing in the way of atmosphere to desire. My house is favorably situated close to the beach, or rather on the beach, close to the water's edge, so close that the spray of the waves sometimes falls in light mist on my brow, as I sit on the long and wide piazza, facing due east. Here I linger far into the night, sometimes till the early morning, watching the stars and chewing the cud of sweet and bitter fancy, with nothing to break the silence but the tread of the sentry and the splash of the waves, drinking in deep draughts of night air that give no cold. They tell me the coming months are hot, and the mosquitoes troublesome. I know not how that may be; the present is the perfection of climate, and I wish you could enjoy it with me. My health is improving. I am taking iron and quinine, and within a few days my disease seems brought under subjection.

It is strange that as I have been writing and endeavoring to moralize upon the uncertainty of human life and the futility of human plans, another and terrible lesson has been read to me. Yesterday, while writing to Walter my house was shaken by a tremendous explosion, that I supposed to be a clap of thunder, though the sky was clear. I called to “J. L.” to know if any of the guns at the fort had been discharged; he said no, but thought one of the “men-of-war” in the offing had fired a gun. I thought it rather strange, it being about two o'clock in the afternoon. At night, I discovered a bright light in the north and feared for a while that a steamboat was on fire; but just at this moment the mystery has been solved by the intelligence brought me that the magazines at Mobile have been blown up, half the city destroyed, thousands of lives lost, and a scene of misery and destruction terrible to imagine. I shall cease writing now and close my letter by giving you full particulars, as they will be brought me by the next boat. Truly in life we are in death. Thousands of soldiers and refugees, women and children, have been hurried to eternity without warning, and many hundreds of mangled and wounded are craving death to relieve them from misery.

SOURCE: Walter George Smith, Life and letters of Thomas Kilby Smith, p. 401-3

Diary of Private Alexander G. Downing: Sunday, November 22, 1863

This morning when our detail was relieved from picket, we were marched to brigade headquarters and put to target shooting. This is to be done regularly from now on, in order to give the boys practice. To encourage good marksmanship a reward is given; those who hit the bull's-eye are excused from picket duty, once for every time they hit the mark.

Source: Alexander G. Downing, Edited by Olynthus B., Clark, Downing’s Civil War Diary, p. 153

Diary of Private Charles H. Lynch: January 18-25, 1864

Rain, sunshine, snow, very windy, has been the weather for the past week. At times very disagreeable. Target practise has taken the place of drilling. Daily routine does not change very much from day to day. Many are ill at this time, in hospital. Occasional death takes place.

SOURCE: Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary, 1862-1865, of Charles H. Lynch 18th Conn. Vol's, p. 37

Diary of Luman Harris Tenney: Monday, September 30, 1861

Thede returned in the morning. I felt rather ill from a hard cold.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 2

Battery "D" 1st Ohio Light Artillery.

Organized at Camp Dennison, near Cincinnati, Ohio, September, 1861. Moved to Mt. Sterling, Ky., October 1-10. Attached to Nelson's Command, Mr. Sterling, Ky., to December, 1861. Artillery, 2nd Division, Army of Ohio, to February, 1862. Artillery, 4th Division, Army of Ohio, to September, 1862. Captured at Munfordsville, Ky. 33rd Brigade, 10th Division, 1st Corps, Army of Ohio, to November, 1862 (1 Section). 2nd Brigade, Cavalry Division, Army of the Cumberland, to December, 1862 (Section). Artillery, 1st Cavalry Division, Army of the Cumberland, to March, 1863. Artillery, 2nd Cavalry Division, Army of the Cumberland, to December, 1863 (Section). Battery at Columbus, Ohio, January to April, 1863. 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 23rd Army Corps, Army of Ohio, to July, 1863. 1st Brigade, 4th Division, 23rd Army Corps, to August, 1863. 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 23rd Army Corps, to April, 1864. Artillery, 3rd Division, 23rd Army Corps, to February, 1865. Artillery, 3rd Division, 23rd Army Corps, Dept. of North Carolina, to July, 1865.

SERVICE. – Skirmish at West Liberty, Ky., October 23, 1861. Nelson's Expedition up the Big Sandy October 23-November 17. Ivy Creek November 7, Ivy Mountain November 8. Moved to Louisville, Ky., November 17-25; thence to Munfordsville, Ky., November 28-29. Moved to Nashville, Tenn., February 13-25, 1862. Occupation of Nashville February 25. Moved to Pittsburg Landing, Tenn., March 18-April 6. Battle of Shiloh, Tenn., April 7. Advance on and siege of Corinth, Miss., April 29-May 30. Occupation of Corinth May 30. Pursuit to Booneville October 31-June 12. Buell's Campaign in Northern Alabama and Middle Tennessee till August. March to Lebanon, thence to Munfordsville, Ky., August 23-September 6. Siege of Munfordsville September 14-17. Battery captured September 17, except Newell's Section, which participated in the pursuit of Bragg into Kentucky October 1-15. Battle of Perryville, Ky., October 8. Assigned to duty with Minty's Cavalry Brigade November, 1862. Gallatin, Tenn., November 8. Lebanon November 9. Rural Hill November 15. Hollow Tree Gap December 4. Wilson's Creek Road December 11. Franklin December 12. Advance on Murfreesboro December 26-30. Lavergne December 26. Battle of Stone's River December 30-31, 1862, and January 1-3, 1863. Stewart's Creek January 1, 1863. Lavergne January 1. Expedition against Forest January 9-19. Expedition to Franklin January 31-February 10. Unionville and Rover January 31. Rover February 13. Bradysville February 16. Expedition toward Columbia March 4-14. Rover March 4. Expedition from Franklin to Columbia March 8-12. Thompson's Station March 9. Rutherford Creek March 10-11. Expedition to Auburn, Liberty, Snow Hill, etc., April 2-6. Snow Hill, Woodbury, April 3. Franklin April 10. Expedition to McMinnville April 20-30. Near Murfreesboro June 3. Shelbyville Pike and operations on Edgefield Pike, near Murfreesboro, June 4. Marshall's Pass June 4. Scout on Middleton and Eagleville Pike June 10. Middle Tennessee (or Tullahoma) Campaign June 23-July 7. Eagleville and Rover June 23. Middleton June 24. Fosterville, Guy's Gap and Shelbyville June 27. Occupation of Middle Tennessee till August 16. Expedition to Huntsville July 13-22. Chickamauga (Ga.) Campaign August 16-September 22. Reconnoissance toward Rome, Ga., September 11. Alpine and Dirt Town, Lafayette Road, Chattanooga River, September 12. Reconnoissance toward Lafayette and skirmish September 13. Near Stevens' Gap September 18. Battle of Chickamauga September 19-21. Cotton's Ferry September 30. Anderson's Cross Roads October 2. Farmington October 7. Rejoined Battery at Knoxville, Tenn., December. Battery reorganized at Columbus, Ohio, January, 1863. Ordered to Lexington, Ky., thence to Mt. Vernon, Ky., April 4-18. Saunder's Raid into East Tennessee June 14-24, Knoxville June 19-20. Strawberry Plains June 20. Powder Springs, Ga., June 21. Burnside's Campaign in Fast Tennessee August 16-October 17. Expedition to Cumberland Gap September 3-7. Operations about Cumberland Gap September 7-10. Knoxville Campaign November 4-December 23. Siege of Knoxville November 17-December 4. Reenlisted January, 1864. Atlanta (Ga.) Campaign May to September, 1864. Movements on Dalton May 5-8. Demonstration on Rocky Faced Ridge May 8-11. Battle of Resaca May 13-15. Cartersville May 20. Kingston May 24. Operations on line of Pumpkin Vine Creek and battles about Dallas, New Hope Church and Allatoona Hills May 25-June 5. Operations about Marietta and against Kenesaw Mountain June 10-July 2. Muddy Creek June 17. Noyes Creek June 19. Cheyney's Farm June 22. Olley's Farm June 26-27. Assault on Kenesaw June 27. Nickajack Creek July 2-5. Chattahoochie River July 6-17. Battle of Atlanta July 22. Siege of Atlanta July 22-August 25. Utoy Creek August 5-7. Flank movement on Jonesboro August 25-30. Battle of Jonesboro August 31-September 1. Lovejoy Station September 2-6. Pursuit of Hood into Alabama October 3-26. Nashville Campaign November-December. Columbia, Duck River, November 24-27. Columbia Ford November 28-29. Franklin November 30. Battle of Nashville December 15-16. Pursuit of Hood to the Tennessee River December 17-28. Movement to North Carolina January 15-February 9, 1865. Fort Anderson February 18-19. Town Creek February 19-20. Capture of Wilmington February 22. Campaign of the Carolinas March 1-April 26. Advance on Goldsboro March 6-21. Occupation of Goldsboro March 21. Gulleys March 31. Advance on Raleigh April 10-14. Occupation of Raleigh April 14. Bennett's House April 26. Surrender of Johnston and his army. Duty at Raleigh and Greensboro, N. C., till July. Mustered out July 15, 1865.

Battery lost during service 8 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 28 Enlisted men by disease. Total 36.

SOURCE: Frederick H. Dyer, A Compendium of the War of the 3, p. Rebellion, Part 1484

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Colonel Turner Ashby to Dora Ashby Moncure, July 7, 1861

Camp Washington, July 7th, 1861.
Dear Dora:

I received your letter a few days ago, and take this evening to write you a few lines, urging and entreating, that you may all look upon our affliction as patriots, not selfishly mourning over our untimely loss, but regarding it as a sacrifice made upon the altar of our country, which we ought to congratulate ourselves that we could furnish. Poor Dick went into the war like myself, not to regard himself or our friends, but to serve our country in this the time of peril. I know your Ma and Mary will all be too good soldiers to grudge giving to your country the dearest sacrifice that you could provide. Yours is the good fortune to be called upon to provide so great an offering. — His country has lost the services of a brave man with a strong arm, which he proved upon her enemies in losing his life. As he has ever won praises from them for the greatest bravery they ever saw, you all (and I mean this for you all) do not know what a weight it would take from me to know you bore our loss like soldiers. I had rather it had been myself. He was younger and had one more tie to break than I. But seeing him through the time of his prostration from his wounds, I know that he felt that he was but losing his life in the cause of duty, and seemed entirely resigned, not desponding at the doubts which he knew there existed of his life. We all believed a part of the time that he would recover; at one time he thought so too. But the exposure without attention for several hours upon the battle-field so prostrated him as to make it hard for reaction to take place, which kept him from having any appetite. He lived until the eighth day, suffering very little for one so cut to pieces.

He was buried with all the honors of war, and never was greater respect paid to the memory of one man; it was indeed a triumph of his bravery. I had him buried in a beautiful cemetery in Romney; and should I live through the war, I will have him moved to Fauquier. Mine has been the heaviest loss. I lose the strength of his arm in the fight as well as the companion of my social hours. I mean to bear it as a soldier, and not as one who in this time for sacrifices regards only his own loss. You must all try to bear it in the same way. Let it be your boast that you have given a brother for the safety of your country and the preservation of your homes, and Ma that she has given a son for such a cause as ours. When men die as he has died, (and as he prepared to die), for liberty, it shows our enemies that we cannot be conquered. It saves the lives of many

* George is well and sends his love to his wife. Our movements from here are not yet determined. I may not write often, but should there be anything the matter will do so at once.

Yours truly,
Turner Ashby.

SOURCE: James B. Avirett, The memoirs of General Turner Ashby and his Compeers, p. 113-5

Governor Samuel J. Kirkwood to Senator James W. Grimes, March 24, 1862

How about our Brigadiers? You know I long ago recommended Dodge, Crocker and Perczel, and I yet think them among our best Colonels as you will find, as they are tried. Dodge has been tried at Pea Ridge and has turned out just as I expected. I think him one of the very best military men in our State. Has Lauman been appointed? He acted manfully at Belmont and deserves it. Tuttle's charge at Donelson is one of the most brilliant things of this or any other war. I have been on the ground he charged over, and I believe that none but Iowa troops could have done it. Vandever did nobly at Pea Ridge, so far as I have learned, and all our Colonels and all our men will do the same when they get a chance. Can't we get some more Brigadiers?

SOURCES: Henry Warren Lathrop, The Life and Times of Samuel J. Kirkwood, Iowa's War Governor, p. 180

Senator James W. Grimes to Captain Samuel F. Du Pont, March 15, 1862

Washington, March 15, 1862.

I beg you to receive my thanks for your kind remembrance of me as shown by the valuable rifle sent me by Captain Davis. The gun of itself is valuable, but the fact that it comes from you renders it doubly so. You may be assured that your services on the South Atlantic coast are fully appreciated by the country.

I send you the Globe newspaper, containing some remarks of mine in the Senate on the operations of the Western flotilla under Captain Foote. There was to my mind a manifest intention on the part of the military commanders to do Captain Foote injustice; and, although I have no acquaintance with him, I was resolved to see “the record made right,” as not only an act of justice to him, but also to the service. I flatter myself that the sentiment here is now with Foote; I know that it is wholly so in the Senate. He intended to attack the rebel forts at New Madrid, on the Mississippi River, to-day.

SOURCE: William Salter, The Life of James W. Grimes, p. 182-3

Major Rutherford B. Hayes to Lucy Webb Hayes, Thursday, August 15, 1861

Weston, Virginia, August 15, 1861.
Thursday Morning.

Dearest L—: — We had four days of rain ending yesterday morning — such rain as this country of hills and mountains can afford. It was gloomy and uncomfortable but no harm was done. It cleared off beautifully yesterday morning and the weather has been most delicious since. This is a healthful region. Nobody seriously sick and almost everybody outrageously healthy. I never was better. It is a luxury to breathe. Dr. Joe — but don't he go into the corn? He has it three times a day, reminding me of Northampton a year ago and your order for supper on our return from Mount Holyoke.

Our regiment has had divers duties which keep up excitement enough to prevent us from stagnating. Colonel Matthews and right wing is fifty miles south. Captain Drake and Captain Woodward, with their companies, spent the four rainy days scouring the steepest hills and deepest gullies for the rascals who waylay our couriers and wagon trains. They captured three or four of the underlings, but the leaders and main party dodged them. Captain Zimmerman and his company have gone west forty miles to escort provisions to Colonel Moor (Second German Regiment of Cincinnati in which Markbreit is Lieutenant) and to clean out an infected neighborhood between here and there. A sergeant and six men are at Clarksburg escorting a prisoner destined for Columbus. Lieutenant Rice and twenty men are escorting cattle for Colonel Tyler's command south of here. A part of our cavalry are gone west to escort a captain and the surgeon of the Tenth to Glenville, thirty-seven miles west. On Saturday I go with Captain Drake's company to meet Captain Zimmerman's company returning from the west, and with the two companies, to go into the hills to the south to hunt for a guerrilla band who are annoying Union men in that vicinity. I shall be gone almost a week so you will not hear from me for some time. The telegraph is now extended south to a station near where I am going to operate, so that we are in reach of humanity by telegraph but not by mail.

Dr. Joe has got the hospital in good condition. A church (Methodist South) in place of the court-house for the merely comfortable, and a private house for the very sick. None of our regiment are seriously ill. The sick are devolved upon us from other regiments — chiefly lung complaints developed by marching, measles, or exposure. Very few, if any, taken here. Divers humane old ladies furnish knickknacks to the hospital and make glad the poor fellows with such comforts as women can best provide.

We find plenty of good Union men, and most of our expeditions are aided by them. They show a good spirit in our behalf. A large part of our friends in the mountains are the well-to-do people of their neighborhoods and usually are Methodists or other orderly citizens.

Good-bye, dearest. I love you very much. Kiss the boys and love to all. Tell Webby that during the rain the other night, dark as pitch, my horse, Webb, fell down the hill back of the camp into the river. Swam over to the opposite shore, and at daylight we saw him frisking about in great excitement trying to get back to his companion Birch. When we got him he was not hurt or scratched even. He stumbles a little, which doesn't do for a riding horse, so I have taken a government horse which looks very much like him; same color and size but not quite so pretty, and given Webb to Uncle Joe for an ambulance horse. I shall call my new horse Webb, so there are to be two Webbys in the regiment. My next horse I shall call Ruddy. Love to Grandma.

Affectionately,
R
Mrs. Hayes

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 65-7

Major-General George G. Meade to Margaretta Sergeant Mead, March 26, 1864

Headquarters Army Of The Potomac, March 26, 1864.

Pennie1 arrived yesterday, looking very well and quite delighted with his journey and at getting to camp. Willie and Davy Whipple came with him. Unfortunately they came in a storm of rain, and although to-day has been blustering and raw, they have been out on horseback, commencing their sight seeing. This evening they have gone over to one of the neighboring camps, where the soldiers are going to have a negro minstrel exhibition.

The weather has been so unpropitious that no inspection has been practicable by General Grant. I spent several hours with him yesterday. He appears very friendly, and at once adopts all my suggestions. I believe Grant is honest and fair, and I have no doubt he will give me full credit for anything I may do, and if I don't deserve any, I don't desire it.

I think I wrote you I had a long and friendly letter from Mr. Harding, in which he said he had seen Mr. Stanton, who told him of my letter in reference to Sickles, asking for a court of inquiry, which Mr. Stanton said he should not grant, for the reason that he did not deem one necessary; that I had been made a brigadier general in the regular army and thanked by Congress for my services at Gettysburg, and that no attention should be paid to such a person as Sickles. Mr. Stanton told Mr. Harding he thought I was unnecessarily nervous about these attacks, and that I ought not to give them a thought. I, however, think differently, and do not believe in the policy of remaining quiet, under the false and slanderous charges of even the most insignificant.

Tell Sargie2 two copies of the famous “Life and Services of Major General Meade” have been sent me by the publishers. I had no idea my services would take up so much printing matter. I must confess I think a little more space might be given to my services prior to the Rebellion. I always thought my services in the construction of lighthouses, and subsequently on the Lake Survey, were of considerable importance.
_______________

1 Spencer Meade, son of General Meade.
2 Son of General Meade.

SOURCE: George Meade, The Life and Letters of George Gordon Meade, Vol. 2, p. 183-4

Brigadier-General Thomas Kilby Smith to Elizabeth Budd Smith, May 17, 1865

Mobile, Ala., May 17, 1865.
My Dear Wife:

We have news this morning that Jeff Davis has been arrested and sent to Washington under guard. It remains to be seen if Johnson has the grit to put him through, or if he is not made a lion and a martyr of, and permitted to go scot free.

I have been for a few days past, and still am, a very favored guest of Madame Octavia Walton LeVert, who has been more kind to me than words can tell. She has been friend, mother, most delightful companion to me. A very noble woman, she fully deserves the splendid encomiums that have been so freely lavished upon her at home and abroad. I have forgotten if before I have alluded to her history, that, perhaps, you are familiar with; even if such is the case, it will do no harm to again advert more particularly to your husband's friend. I have been somewhat of an invalid, and she has nursed me, and been so sweetly kind to me, that I can hardly write too much about her. So I shall make no excuse for quoting very freely from a graceful biographical sketch of her history by Mary Forrest, who edited the Women of the South, among whom she ranks her as prima donna. Frederica Bremer calls her the “sweet rose of Florida,” and she certainly is a rose that all are praising. George Walton, her grandfather, was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, was wounded at the head of his regiment at the siege of Savannah, was a member of Congress (the first convened at Philadelphia), and afterwards held successively the offices of Governor of Georgia and Judge of the Supreme Court. He married Miss Camber, the daughter of an English nobleman, a short time before the Revolution. Madame LeVert has now in her possession many letters addressed to Colonel Walton by General Washington, Lafayette, the elder Adams, Jefferson, and other noted men of those days, expressive of their high confidence and regard.

George Walton, the second, married Miss Sally Walker, the daughter of an eminent lawyer of Georgia. In 1812, he became a member of the legislature of Georgia. In 1821, he was appointed Secretary of State under General Jackson, then Governor of Florida, and, when the old chief retired to the '”Hermitage,” succeeded him in office. He was himself succeeded by our old friend of Washington memory, Governor Duval . . . whom you doubtless remember. Here I may be permitted to say, par parenthese, that as a high compliment and one accorded to but few guests, I have been assigned to what was the private chamber of Mrs. Walton, and have been sleeping upon a bed and bedstead upon which General Jackson slept for years, and which, as a precious relic, was presented to Mrs. Walton by General Jackson while he was President.

Octavia Walton was born at Bellevue, near Augusta, Georgia, but her parents, moving soon after to Florida, her first memories are of the sunshine and flowers of Pensacola, in her own vivid words “of the orange and live-oak trees, shading the broad veranda; of the fragrant acacia, oleander, and Cape jasmine trees, which filled the parterre sloping down to the sea beach; of merry races with my brother along the white sands, while the creamy waves broke over my feet and the delicious breeze from the gulf played in my hair, and of the pet mocking-birds in the giant old oak by my window, whose songs called me each morning from dreamland.”

I quote now from my authoress. Pensacola, situated on a noble bay, was the rendezvous of the United States vessels of the Gulf Station. It was a gala time when they returned from their cruises; balls and parties at the governor's house; splendid entertainments on board the ships; moonlight excursions upon the bay, and picnics in the magnolia groves. The well-educated and chivalric officers were a large element in the society to which our author was thus early accustomed; and while yet a child she had little to learn in the way of drawing-room ease and elegance.

Amid such scenes her receptive nature seems to have absorbed that tropical exuberance of thought, feeling, language, and presence, which has made her name famous; while at the same time, an early and close relation with nature, in one of her most tender and bounteous aspects, preserved intact amid all precocious tendencies, the naive simplicity of the child, which is to this day her crowning grace.

Before the age of twelve years, she could write and converse in three languages with facility. So unusual was her talent as a linguist, that it was the custom of her father to take her to his office to translate from the French or Spanish the most important letters connected with affairs of state. There, perched upon a high stool, (she was too tiny in stature to be made available otherwise), she would interpret with the greatest ease and correctness, the tenor and spirit of foreign despatches, proving herself thus early, quite worthy of her illustrious descent.

During her father's administration as Governor of Florida, he located the seat of government, and, at the request of his little daughter Octavia, called it by the Indian name of “Tallahassee.” Its signification, “beautiful land,” fell musically upon the ear of the imaginative child; she was greatly interested, too, in the old Seminole King Mamashla, who, in the days of his power, struck his tent-pole in that ground, made it his resting-place, and called it first by this sweet name. The chief grew fond of her, and she was known in his tribe as “the White Dove of Peace.”

Octavia was never placed within the walls of a schoolroom. Her mother and grandmother, both women of intellect and cultivation, vied with each other in developing her earlier mental life, and private tutors were provided to meet the needs of her advance.

When she first was presented to General Lafayette, a long and interesting interview ensued; the young Octavia, seated upon the knee of the old hero, holding him spellbound with her piquant and fluent use of his native tongue. He then folded her to his heart, and blessed her fervently, remarking to one of the committee, as she left the room, a “truly wonderful child, she has been conversing all this while, with intellect and tact, in the purest French. I predict for her a brilliant career.” Oracular words, which the record of years have more than confirmed. But Octavia Walton did not sit passively down to await the fulfillment of Lafayette's prophecy. One great secret of her life lies in her indefatigable industry. Only by close application has she taken the true gauge of herself; brought into view every resource; into play every faculty; only thus has she become acquainted with classical and scientific studies, made herself mistress of many languages, a proficient in music, an eloquent conversationalist, and a ready writer; and by a no less fine and careful culture, has she been able in every phase of her life to evolve only light and warmth from her large human heart; to bring to the surface the best qualities of all who come within her influence; to charm away distraction, and to preserve, apart from her world woman aspect a child nature as pure and undimmed as a pearl in the sea.

. . . In 1836 she married Dr. Henry Le Vert of Mobile, a man noted equally for his professional skill and high moral worth. His father was a native of France, and came to America with Lafayette.  . . . Frederica Bremer says of her:

“It is so strange that that little worldly lady, whom I have heard spoken of as a belle, and as a most splendid ornament of society, wherever she went, has yet become almost as dear to me as a young sister. But she has become so from being so excellent, because she has suffered much, and because, under a worldly exterior, there is an unusually sound and pure intellect, and a heart full of affection, which can cast aside all the vanities of the world for the power of gratifying those whom she loves. This fair daughter of Florida, is surrounded by a circle of relatives who seem to regard her as the apple of their eye,” etc.

What I have hastily written and more hastily selected, may serve to give you some faint idea of this most charming lady. It is a good thing to have a sensible, well-educated sweet woman for one's friend, and I thank God, who has vouchsafed to me one or two such in the course of my pilgrimage.

I enclose a sketch of my friend Ransom, of whom I have written and spoken to you. I fear I weary you with long letters. I shall return to Fort Gaines to-morrow or next day. I am not very well. That terrible diarrhoea hangs on and will not give me rest. I shall never recover from that disease, which will only be temporarily palliated or relieved, and I shall pray to God to let me die at home.

SOURCE: Walter George Smith, Life and letters of Thomas Kilby Smith, p. 397-401

In The Review Queue: Rebel Yell


By S. C. Gwynne

From the author of the prizewinning New York Times bestseller Empire of the Summer Moon comes a thrilling account of how Civil War general Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson became a great and tragic American hero.

Stonewall Jackson has long been a figure of legend and romance. As much as any person in the Confederate pantheon, even Robert E. Lee, he embodies the romantic Southern notion of the virtuous lost cause. Jackson is also considered, without argument, one of our country’s greatest military figures. His brilliance at the art of war tied Abraham Lincoln and the Union high command in knots and threatened the ultimate success of the Union armies. Jackson’s strategic innovations shattered the conventional wisdom of how war was waged; he was so far ahead of his time that his techniques would be studied generations into the future.

In April 1862 Jackson was merely another Confederate general in an army fighting what seemed to be a losing cause. By June he had engineered perhaps the greatest military campaign in American history and was one of the most famous men in the Western world. He had, moreover, given the Confederate cause what it had recently lacked—hope—and struck fear into the hearts of the Union.

Rebel Yell is written with the swiftly vivid narrative that is Gwynne’s hallmark and is rich with battle lore, biographical detail, and intense conflict between historical figures. Gwynne delves deep into Jackson’s private life, including the loss of his young beloved first wife and his regimented personal habits. It traces Jackson’s brilliant twenty-four-month career in the Civil War, the period that encompasses his rise from obscurity to fame and legend; his stunning effect on the course of the war itself; and his tragic death, which caused both North and South to grieve the loss of a remarkable American hero.


About The Author

Sam Gwynne is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared extensively in Time, for which he worked as bureau chief, national correspondent and senior editor from 1988 to 2000, and in Texas Monthly, where he was executive editor. His work has also appeared in the New York Times, Harper's, and California Magazine. His previous book Outlaw Bank (co-authored with Jonathan Beaty) detailed the rise and fall of the corrupt global bank BCCI. He attended Princeton and Johns Hopkins and lives in Austin, Texas with his wife Katie and daughter Maisie.

ISBN 978-1451673289, Scribner, © 2014, Hardcover, 688 pages, Maps, Photographs, Appendix, End Notes, Bibliography & Index. $32.00.  To purchase this book click HERE.

Diary of Private Alexander G. Downing: Saturday, November 21, 1863

The weather is quite cool today. The Fifteenth Iowa got their pay today. Pay time for the soldiers is the time for the gamblers.1 It is then that they start up their “chuck luck” games. These banks or games are set up south of town, about the springs where the boys from our brigade go for their water.

Source: Alexander G. Downing, Edited by Olynthus B., Clark, Downing’s Civil War Diary, p. 153

Diary of Private Charles H. Lynch: January 10-17, 1864

Weather fine. Weather permitting, company drill in the forenoon, battalion drill in the afternoon, also dress parade. No matter what the weather conditions were guard and picket duty must be done. Mild weather brings on the sticky Virginia mud, disagreeable. My greatest trouble at this time is an ingrowing toe nail, causing me much trouble. Doctor trying to cure it. At times forced to wear an old shoe. Wrote and received many letters, also reading everything that we can get in the way of reading matter. Everything being quiet along the lines, furloughs are granted for a short visit home. Two to four are allowed at a time, for an absence of ten days, from each company.

SOURCE: Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary, 1862-1865, of Charles H. Lynch 18th Conn. Vol's, p. 36-7

Diary of Luman Harris Tenney: Sunday, September 29, 1861

Went over to see Thede. Attended Mr. White's church — Thede the Cathedral. Took tea at Byron's. Heard Mr. Van Meter again in the evening.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 2

Battery "C" 1st Ohio Light Artillery.

Organized at Camp Dennison, near Cincinnati, Ohio, and mustered in September 9, 1861. Left State for Camp Dick Robinson, Ky., October 1. Attached to Schoepf's Brigade, Army of Ohio, to December, 1861. Artillery, 1st Division, Army of Ohio, to September, 1862. Artillery, 1st Division, 3rd Army Corps, Army of the Ohio, to November, 1862. Artillery 3rd Division (Centre), 14th Army Corps, Army of the Cumberland, to January, 1863. Artillery, 3rd Division, 14th Army Corps, to October, 1863. 1st Division, Artillery Reserve, Dept. of the Cumberland, to March, 1864. Artillery, 2nd Division, 11th Army Corps, Army of the Cumberland, to April, 1864. Artillery, 3rd Division, 20th Army Corps, Army of the Cumberland, to July, 1864. Artillery Brigade, 20th Army Corps, to June, 1865.

SERVICE. – Advance on Camp Hamilton, Ky., January 1-17, 1862. Battle of Mill Springs January 19-20. Moved to Louisville, Ky., thence to Nashville, Tenn., February 11-March 3. Moved to Savannah, Tenn., March 20-April 8. Advance on and siege of Corinth, Miss., April 29-May 30. Pursuit to Booneville May 31-June 12. March to Iuka, Miss., and Tuscombia, Ala., June 17-29; thence to Winchester July 29-August 7; thence to Dechard and Pelham Gap August 19-31. Moved to Nashville, Tenn., September 1-7; thence march to Louisville, Ky., in pursuit of Bragg September 14-26. Pursuit of Bragg into Kentucky October 1-15. Battle of Perryville, Ky., October 8 (Reserve). March to Gallatin, Tenn., October 20-November 7, and duty there till December 25. Expedition through Kentucky to intercept Morgan December 25, 1862, to January 2, 1863. Boston December 29, 1862. Action at Rolling Fork December 29-30. Duty at Lavergne till June, 1863. Expedition toward Columbia March 4-14. Middle Tennessee (or Tullahoma) Campaign June 24-July 7. Hoover's Gap June 24-26. Occupation of Middle Tennessee till August 16. Passage of the Cumberland Mountains and Tennessee River and Chickamauga (Ga.) Campaign August 16-September 22. Battle of Chickamauga, Ga., September 19-21. Siege of Chattanooga, Tenn., September 24-November 23. Chattanooga-Ringgold Campaign November 23-27. Battles of Mission Ridge November 24-25. Reenlisted January 4, 1864. Atlanta (Ga.) Campaign May to September, 1864. Demonstrations against Rocky Faced Ridge and Dalton May 5-13. Battle of Resaca May 14-15. Near Cassville May 19. New Hope Church May 25. Battles about Dallas, New Hope Church and Allatoona Hills May 25-June 5. Big Shanty June 4. Operations about Marietta and against Kenesaw Mountain June 10-July 2. Pine Hill June 11-14. Lost Mountain June 15-17. Golgotha or Gilgal Church June 15. Muddy Creek June 17. Noyes Church June 19. Kolb's Farm June 22. Assault on Kenesaw June 27. Ruff's Station July 4. Chattahoochie River July 5-17. Peach Tree Creek July 19-20. Siege of Atlanta July 22-August 25. Operations at Chattahoochie River Bridge August 26-September 2. Occupation of Atlanta September 2-November 15. March to the sea November 15-December 10. Siege of Savannah December 10-21. Campaign of the Carolinas January to April, 1865. Chesterfield, S.C., and Thompson's Creek, near Chesterfield, March 2. Taylor's Hole Creek, Averysboro, N. C., March 16. Battle of Bentonville March 19-21. Occupation of Goldsboro and Raleigh, N. C. Near Smithfield April 11. Bennett's House April 26. Surrender of Johnston and his army. March to Washington, D.C., via Richmond, Va., April 29-May 20. Grand Review May 24. Mustered out June 15, 1865.

Battery lost during service 7 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 29 Enlisted men by disease. Total 36.

SOURCE: Frederick H. Dyer, A Compendium of the War of the 3, p. Rebellion, Part 1483-4

Brigadier-General Don Carlos Buell’s General Orders No. 4a, January 20, 1862

GENERAL ORDERS No. 4a.

HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO,
Louisville, Ky., January 20, 1862.

The general commanding takes occasion to thank Colonel Garfield and his troops for their successful campaign against the rebel force under General Marshall on the Big Sandy and their gallant conduct in battle. They have overcome formidable difficulties in the character of the country, the condition of the roads, and the inclemency of the season, and without artillery have, in several engagements, terminating with the battle on Middle Creek on the 10th instant, driven the enemy from his intrenched position and forced him back into the mountains with the loss of a large amount of baggage and stores and many of his men killed or captured. These services have called into action the highest qualities of a soldier – perseverance and courage.

By command of General Buell:
 JAMES B. FRY,
 Assistant Adjutant-Genera, and Chief of Staff.

SOURCES: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 7 (Serial No. 7), p. 24; William Ralston Balch, The Life of James Abram Garfield, p. 181-2

Friday, September 19, 2014

Diary of Major Rutherford B. Hayes: Thursday, August 15, 1861

A bright, lovely day and the prettiest evening of the month. The bright moonlight exhibits the landscape enough to show its loveliness and the lights and shadows. The hills and woods are very picturesque. It makes me long for wife and boys and friends behind. How Lute would enjoy roaming with me through camp tonight.

More rumors of attacks by guerrillas, or “bushwhackers” as they are here called, on our couriers and trains. A courier and captain and some wagoners are reported killed or taken below Sutton.

My box containing pistols and sash, etc., by mistake sent from Clarksburg to Buckhannon. Made arrangements to send Lieutenant Richardson and two men with ambulance after it

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 65

Major-General George G. Meade to Margaretta Sergeant Mead, March 24, 1864

Headquarters Army of The Potomac, March 24, 1864.

I have been very busy to-day. The much-talked-of order for reorganizing the Army of the Potomac has at last appeared. Sykes, French and Newton are relieved. Sedgwick, Hancock and Warren command the three corps. This evening an order has arrived relieving General Pleasanton, which, although I did not originate it, yet was, I presume, brought about by my telling the Secretary that the opposition I had hitherto made to his removal I no longer should make. As the Secretary has been desirous of relieving him ever since I have had command, and I have been objecting, he has taken the first chance to remove him as soon as my objections were withdrawn.

Grant arrived to-day. I met him at the depot near my headquarters and accompanied him to Culpeper, where I spent several hours and returned. He was as affable as ever, and seems not at all disposed to interfere with my army in any details.

I hear Butterfield is in Washington, and is going to swear that I told him to prepare an order to retreat, and from what Gibbon writes me, it is evident he did prepare such an order; but I trust by the concurrent testimony of every other officer on the field, the documentary evidence in the shape of orders at different periods of the day, and my own sworn statement, to prove that the preparation of this order was not authorized by me, and that it was due to Butterfield's own fears. I understand the Secretary is very indignant at his coming to Washington, and has ordered him back to his post.

Get the last number of the Spirit of the Times, in which there is a scathing article on Grant, Sherman, McPherson, Schofield and myself, and lauding, as usual, Joe Hooker.

SOURCE: George Meade, The Life and Letters of George Gordon Meade, Vol. 2, p. 182-3

Brigadier-General Thomas Kilby Smith, April 26, 1865

Headquarters District Of South Alabama,
Fort Gaines, Ala., April 26, 1865.

I had somewhat of an adventure yesterday, and came near imitating the wise men of Gotham who went to sea in a bowl. I have a pretty little sailboat with capacity for four or five people, and the day being fair and the sea smooth, I concluded to go over to Sand Island, distant four or five miles from here, just at the mouth of the bay. With my adjutant and a crew of two sailors, I set sail about nine o'clock in the morning, and with a favoring breeze soon made my point of destination. Anchoring my little ship, I went ashore, made examination of the lighthouse, and after a stroll upon the beach, it being near noon, made preparations to return; but no sooner had I weighed anchor than I discovered the wind was dead ahead and a strong tide was beating out to sea. Nevertheless, I spread my sail, and by tacking to and fro, sought to beat up against wind and tide; in this endeavor we rounded the point of the island, and, to the dismay of my crew, soon discovered we were drifting out to sea; fortunately, we at this time had not got quite into the channel, and by bending on all the spare rope to our anchor cable, were able to touch bottom and ride in safety. It was now three o'clock, and I determined to lie down and get a nap, hoping that in the course of an hour or two, the tide, which was rushing past us at the rate of six miles an hour, would turn, and that, by the help of a breeze, we would be able to turn the point. I slept a couple of hours, pleasantly rocked by the swell of the waves, but woke to find my hopes disappointed. The tide was rushing by more furiously than ever, the wind had died away, and to make matters worse, our anchor was dragging, and we were rapidly going to sea. We had had no food or water since breakfast, and there was nothing to eat or drink on board. We had no compass, and as the lighthouse began to sink below the horizon, and the pine trees grow dim in the rays of the declining sun, the prospect was anything but encouraging. But hope came to us in the shape of a tug, that was towing a large schooner out through the channel. We watched her with anxious eyes, till she had taken the ship to the offing, and then turned to go back to the bay. She passed within some three miles of us, and we made signal with our white handkerchiefs displayed from the top of our little mast, but in vain. She steamed along regardless of our motions and went back to the bay. That hope was gone, and remembering the story of the Irish pilot, who followed the big ship night and day, till he had crossed the ocean, I determined to keep the schooner in sight as long as I could, and to that end spread sail and endeavored to get into her wake. But in vain; the wind would not blow, and the sail flapped limp. We got just headway enough to throw us into the channel and sped along towards the Atlantic Ocean about as fast as a horse could trot. Our situation was not enviable; we were out of the bay, fairly in the gulf, and the heavy rollers of the ocean tossed our frail little bark like an egg shell. We had to sit steady to keep her trimmed, and feared that if the wind we had prayed for an hour before came, we should be capsized, for she was flat-bottomed, and not in ballast. However, I kept a stiff upper lip, and directly, when hope had almost fled, discovered the tug again steaming down, towing a large ship. We now made every effort to throw ourselves across her forefoot, and not caring so much about drifting to sea, as to so change our course that we might get within signal distance, succeeded in making some way towards the approaching vessels, but again the tug cast off and returned as before. Now was really an anxious moment; one handkerchief was displayed at the masthead, the other I made the adjutant wave, standing in the prow. The pilot of the tug saw us, rounded to, and in a few moments I was aboard and my little vessel towed astern. We were picked up ten miles below Sand Island, and fairly out to sea, and, as we have been informed since, in a channel that has hurried more than one little craft to destruction. Not long since two professional pilots were drawn into and carried out to perish. But as we say, “a miss is as good as a mile,” only that the next time I go to sea I shall take some grub and some water and a compass, and “if the court know herself, as she think she do,” I shall hardly venture in a craft not much bigger than a washing tub. One is never out of danger in this world. The other day I was riding the colt, who was fractious, and cavorting around with me, jumped into a well; he succeeded in struggling out before he had reached the bottom, and fell heavily on his side with my right leg under him; of course, people thought my leg was broken, and that the beast would roll over upon me, but he didn't, and the leg was only bruised.

So I have had two more warnings that man is mortal, that as to circumstances and events he is like a thistledown wafted upon the autumn breeze, that a day, an hour, nay, the passing moment, may terminate his earthly existence; that, without note or warning, he may be summoned to the presence of his Maker, to the report of the deeds done in the body.

SOURCE: Walter George Smith, Life and letters of Thomas Kilby Smith, p. 395-7

Diary of Private Alexander G. Downing: Friday, November 20, 1863

It is rainy and blustery today, but otherwise all is quiet. We received two months' pay, being paid in crisp new greenbacks. The paymaster always has a guard with him to guard the strong iron box containing the bills.

Source: Alexander G. Downing, Edited by Olynthus B., Clark, Downing’s Civil War Diary, p. 153

Diary of Private Charles H. Lynch: Sunday, January 10, 1864

A very pleasant day. Attended church in town morning and evening. Service conducted by Chaplain, 3d Pennsylvania Reserves. Attendance by the towns-people and soldiers good. Chaplains from the different regiments were invited to occupy the pulpits in the churches. Special service was held evenings during the week, when no extra duty was demanded.

SOURCE: Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary, 1862-1865, of Charles H. Lynch 18th Conn. Vol's, p. 36

Diary of Luman Harris Tenney: Saturday, September 28, 1861

Went down and tried some horses. Took one that John Devlin chose for me. I stayed in camp. Thede at Uncle's.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 2

Battery "B" 1st Ohio Light Artillery

Battery organized at Camp Dennison, Ohio, and mustered in October 8, 1861. Ordered to Camp Dick Robinson, Ky. Attached to 1st Division, Army of Ohio, to March, 1862. 7th Independent Brigade, Army of Ohio, to July, 1862. Artillery, 4th Division, Army of Ohio, to September, 1862. Artillery, 4th Division, 2nd Corps, Army of Ohio, to November, 1862. Artillery, 2nd Division, Left Wing 14th Army Corps, Army of the Cumberland, to January, 1863. Artillery, 2nd Division, 21st Army Corps, Army of the Cumberland, to October, 1863. 1st Division, Artillery Reserve, Dept. of the Cumberland, to March, 1864. Artillery, 2nd Division, 12th Army Corps, Army of the Cumberland, to April, 1864. Garrison Artillery, Bridgeport, Ala., Dept. of the Cumberland, to July, 1865.

SERVICE. – Action at Rockcastle Hills or Camp Wildcat, Ky., October 21, 1861. Duty at Fishing Creek November 5, 1861, to January 17, 1862. Action at Logan's Cross Roads, Ky., January 19. Battle of Mill Springs January 20. At Somerset, Ky., till February 10. Movement to Nashville, Tenn., February 10-March 4. Expedition to Rodgersville May 13-14. Lambs Ferry, Ala., May 14. Action at Chattanooga June 7. Engaged by sections in Expeditions through Middle Tennessee till July 10. Moved to Murfreesboro, Tenn., July 18. March in pursuit of Bragg to Louisville, Ky., September 3-22. Pursuit of Bragg into Kentucky October 1-10. Battle of Perryville, Ky, October 8 (Reserve). Pursuit of Bragg to Loudon October 10-22. Wild Cat October 17. Nelson's Cross Roads October 18. March to Nashville, Tenn., October 22-November 7, and duty there till December 26. Advance on Murfreesboro, Tenn., December 26-30. Lavergne December 26-27. Battle of Stone's River December 30-31, 1862, and January 1-3, 1863. Outpost duty at Cripple Creek January 7 to June 24. Expedition to Woodbury April 2. Middle Tennessee or Tullahoma Campaign June 24-July 7. Occupation of Middle Tennessee till August 16. Passage of Cumberland Mountains and Tennessee River and Chickamauga (Ga.) Campaign August 16-September 22. Lee and Gordon's Mills September 11-13. Battle of Chickamauga September 19-21. Siege of Chattanooga, Tenn., September 24-November 23. Chattanooga-Ringgold Campaign November 23-27. Battles of Mission Ridge November 24-25. Moved to Nashville, Tenn., December 4, and duty there till March, 1864. Moved to Bridgeport, Ala., March 26, and garrison duty there till July, 1865. Elrod's Tan Yard January 27, 1865 (Detachment). Mustered out July 22, 1865.

Battery lost during service 11 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 1 Officer and 28 Enlisted men by disease. Total 40.

SOURCE: Frederick H. Dyer, A Compendium of the War of the 3, p. Rebellion, Part 1483

Thursday, September 18, 2014

In The Review Queue: American General:


By John S.D. Eisenhower

A century and a half after the Civil War, Sherman remains one of its most controversial figures—the soldier who brought the fight not only to the Confederate Army, but to Confederate civilians as well. Yet Eisenhower, a West Point graduate and a retired brigadier general (Army Reserves), finds in Sherman a man of startling contrasts, not at all defined by the implications of “total war.” His scruffy, disheveled appearance belied an unconventional and unyielding intellect. Intensely loyal to superior officers, especially Ulysses S. Grant, he was also a stalwart individualist. Confident enough to make demands face-to-face with President Lincoln, he sympathetically listened to the problems of newly freed slaves on his famed march from Atlanta to Savannah. Dubbed “no soldier” during his years at West Point, Sherman later rose to the rank of General of the Army, and though deeply committed to the Union cause, he held the people of the South in great affection.

 In this remarkable reassessment of Sherman’s life and career, Eisenhower takes readers from Sherman’s Ohio origins and his fledgling first stint in the Army, to his years as a businessman in California and his hurried return to uniform at the outbreak of the war. From Bull Run through Sherman’s epic March to the Sea, Eisenhower offers up a fascinating narrative of a military genius whose influence helped preserve the Union—and forever changed war.


About the Author

John S. D. Eisenhower (1922-2013) was a brigadier general (Army Reserves), a U.S. ambassador to Belgium during the Nixon administration, and the author of numerous works of military history and biography. He was the son of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

ISBN 978-0451471352, NAL Caliber Hardcover, © 2014, Hardcover, 352 pages, Photographs, Appendices, End Notes, Bibliography & Index. $32.00.  Click HERE to purchase this book.