Sunday, November 29, 2015

Diary of 5th Sergeant Alexander G. Downing: Saturday, February 11, 1865

Very pleasant weather. We started at 8 o'clock this morning and moved forward twelve miles. There was some skirmishing in front, and our forces routed the enemy from some strong positions.1

1 When the Confederates had good positions, they were unable to make a strong stand and retain them. For although they could delay our army for a time at the main crossings of rivers, there was always another part of our army reaching the same river by some byroad, which after crossing would flank them, or coming up in the rear would drive them out of their defense – A. G. D.

Source: Alexander G. Downing, Edited by Olynthus B., Clark, Downing’s Civil War Diary, p. 252

Diary of 5th Sergeant Alexander G. Downing: Sunday, February 12, 1865

Our division relieved the Third Division on the skirmish line at the bridge this morning, while they went down the river about a mile, laid the pontoons and crossed over. The skirmishing was commenced at an early hour all along the line for a distance of fifteen miles. Our men threw shells across the river into Orangeburg, and the rebels left the bridge about 1 o'clock. Our division crossed the bridge two hours later and took possession of the town.1

Orangeburg is nicely situated on the north bank of the Edisto river, and on the railroad running from Charleston to Columbia. The town is almost deserted, but before the war it had a population of three thousand. We destroyed the railroad and went into camp for the night.

1 The town was on fire when we arrived. The report was that the town was set on fire by a Jew, in revenge for the enemy's setting fire to his cotton, about fifty bales, when they evacuated the place. The high winds which prevailed rapidly spread the fire in spite of the efforts of the soldiers to extinguish it.

Source: Alexander G. Downing, Edited by Olynthus B., Clark, Downing’s Civil War Diary, p. 252

Captain Charles Fessenden Morse, February 14, 1863

Camp Near Stafford C. H., Va.,
February 14, 1863.

I have been appointed Provost Marshal of the corps, and shift my quarters to-morrow to General Slocum's headquarters. I am to have my company and another one from my regiment, and a company of cavalry for my guard. The duties I don't imagine to be very heavy, except in the office. I am allowed a horse and a wall-tent to myself. I rather like the idea of a change for a little while at any rate; if we begin active movements again, I shall try and get back to the regiment. I like General Slocum very well, from what I have seen of him, and he has some very good men on his staff. I shall probably see a good deal of them.

SOURCE: Charles Fessenden Morse, Letters Written During the Civil War, 1861-1865, p. 121

Major Wilder Dwight: November 26, 1861

camp Near Seneca, November 26, 1861.

If you are to have another letter from a major commanding, I suppose it had better be written to-night. Tomorrow, I feel sure, will bring back Colonel Gordon, and I shall very gladly shift that burden to his shoulders. There are some objections to holding the reins, very long, of power that you are not to continue in the exercise of; and, though I must say the Colonel has got a very easily managed regiment, and I have had no difficulty in my path, yet the temptation to mould things to your own will is a strong one, not to be indulged in temporary command. On the whole, this is probably better for the regiment, — it is certainly safer for me. The month of November, though we have spent it quietly in camp, has been the most trying one to the regiment in its whole history. I am glad to be able to persuade myself that we stand firmer than we did three weeks since. I hope we shall steadily improve. There is a hopeless desperation chilling one when engaged in a contest with disease. The unseen malaria has such an advantage in the fight. I had rather meet anything for the regiment than the enemy who surprised us in our former camping-ground, and who seems hardly yet to have given up beat. Two weeks ago I had something as much like depression as I ever allow myself the indulgence of. Now I feel quite glad again. This afternoon, for example, a blue, overcast November sky, but a keen, bracing air, we bad a lively battalion drill, which went quite well. The regiment turned out full companies, and, altogether, looked its old self — There, I was just in the midst of this last exultant sentence, when what should happen but a knock at my tent. Enter Captain . “Major, two men of my company are very sick in quarters, and ought to be in hospital, but there is not room.” “Well, sir, I can't make room.” Then the same complaint from another captain. I send for the Doctor. He is abed, having been sick for the past three days. I send for the Assistant Surgeon. He says, “Yes, it is so; but the Brigade Surgeon promises a tent soon. The measles cases have increased within two days.”

I require from him a report of every case in quarters, and a statement of how many sick men ought to be in hospital. This is the nature of the work to be done. To make bricks without straw. Our sick officers have not yet returned to duty. The Adjutant is still away. I have to look after everything myself. Still, I do insist that we are getting better. A week on a high piece of ground three miles from the river would put us all on our feet again. But as long as the morning sun rises only to quicken the fatal exhalations from this pestilent Potomac, and the evening dews fall only to rise again with fever in their breath, the contest is unequal and the victory uncertain. Well, we can only hope for better things, and be thankful for what we have. You will see, however, that the constant maintenance of military efficiency under all these circumstances exacts constant effort. I rejoice in continued health and increasing strength, and am thankful and happy. I think, too, that our experience will be a sort of seasoning. One thing is certain, — we cannot have the measles again!

I have just come in from my nightly round through the camp; and, as taps have sounded, all is quiet. I sit alone in my tent a-thinkin' o' nothin' at all, — and writing about it, too. Yes, I can tell you about our domestic arrangements, — I mean our mess.

We have intruded upon an elderly lady who lives near our lines. She has given us her parlor and the use of her cooking-stove. Tony is in great feather. He rejoices in all kinds of culinary eccentricities.

The old lady, meantime, is repaid by our protection. She confides to me her griefs for the losses of fence-rails and cabbages, of pigs and poultry. This happened when a former regiment was here. Now she is safe. Tony and she observe an armed neutrality over the common cooking-stove. This evening she told us the history of Jack Cross, the husband of the lady who owns the house where Colonel Andrews is sick. Jack is in prison — at Fort Warren perhaps — as a traitor. The good lady described his capture. Said she: “The officers came to me, and says they, ‘Do you know of Jack Cross's hanging or shooting any one?’ “As for shooting,” says I, “I've known him from a boy, and a more peaceable man I never knew; and as for hanging,” says I, “I never knew him to hang anything except a big black dog.” Which was true, indeed, and I recollect how the dog looked, and he most frightened me to death. But they took him. He was an unfortunate man, but he was a good neighbor; and a good neighbor can't be a bad man. But this business has got him into trouble; but I can't seem to understand it no how. I'm for the Union and peace before I die.” I think she would have talked till now, had we not left the table, her ideas running in a beaten track of puzzlement and dread. She evidently does not either understand or enjoy civil war.

I said our camp was still. I ought to admit that the night is full of echoes with the barking cough that prevails, — an unwholesome sound. Good night, and God bless you all at home.

SOURCE: Elizabeth Amelia Dwight, Editor, Life and Letters of Wilder Dwight: Lieut.-Col. Second Mass. Inf. Vols., p. 157-9

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Farewell Address of Major-General John A. Dix to the Middle Department, June 1, 1862

Head quarters, Middle Department, Baltimore, Md., June 1,1862.
General Orders, No. 14:

The Major-general commanding, having received orders to repair to Fort Monroe and assume the command at that point, and having but two hours to prepare for his departure, takes leave of the troops under his command in the only mode left to him — through the medium of a General Order.

Of the corps composing his command when he first assumed it, more than ten months ago, two regiments — the Third New York Volunteers, under Colonel Alford; the Fourth New York Volunteers, under Colonel Taylor; and the regular garrison of Fort McHenry, under Colonel Morris — are all that remain. The admirable discipline of these deserves the highest commendation; and he returns to all his sincere thanks for their promptitude and fidelity in the performance of their duties.

It is a source of great regret to him that he is compelled to leave without being able to review the regiments of New York Militia — the Seventh, Eighth, Thirteenth, Twenty-second, Thirty-seventh, and Forty-seventh — which, under a second appeal from the Chief Magistrate of the Union, have laid aside their various occupations on the briefest notice, at great personal sacrifice, and, hurrying to the field, are now occupying positions in and around Baltimore. In their patriotism and their devotion to the Government of their country the Union feeling of the city will meet with a cordial sympathy. It is a great alleviation of the regret with which the Major-general commanding parts with them, that he is soon to be succeeded by a distinguished general officer of the regular army from their own State. In the interim the command of the Department devolves on Brigadier-general Montgomery, United States Volunteers.

The Major-general commanding cannot forbear, in taking leave of the citizens of Baltimore, among whom his duties have been discharged, to express the grateful sense he will ever retain of the aid and encouragement he has received from those of them who have been true, under all the vicissitudes of a wicked and unnatural contest, to the cause of the Union. The ladies of the Union Relief Association are entitled to a special acknowledgment of his obligations to them. It is believed that the records of philanthropic devotion do not contain a brighter example of self-sacrificing service than that which is to be found in their own quiet and unobtrusive labors. The military hospitals have, from the commencement of the war, borne unceasing testimony to their untiring zeal and sympathy. The wounded prisoners of the insurgent army have, like our own, been solaced in their dying hours by the ministrations of these devoted ladies: nobly suggesting to the misguided masses who are in arms against the Government that suffering humanity, under whatever circumstances it may present itself, has the same claim on our common nature for sympathy and ministering care. And it is to be hoped that this lesson of magnanimity may not be without its proper influence on those who, under the influence of bad passions, seem to have lost sight of their moral responsibility for indifference and cruelty.

It is a source of great gratification to the Major-general commanding that in the eight months during which the municipal police was under his control no act of disorder disturbed the tranquillity of the city, and that the police returns, compared with those of a corresponding period of the previous year, exhibit a very great reduction, in some months as high as fifty per cent., in the aggregate of misdemeanors and crimes. The police having on the 20th of March last been surrendered to the city authorities, they have since then been responsible for the preservation of the public order. The zeal and promptitude of the Police Commissioners and Marshal of Police on the occurrence of a recent disturbance, provoked by a brutal expression of disloyal feeling, gives earnest of their determination to arrest at the outset all breaches of the public peace, which, by whatever provocation they may seem to be palliated, are sure to degenerate, if unchecked, into discreditable and fatal excesses.

The Major-general commanding, with this imperfect acknowledgment of his obligations to the loyal citizens of Baltimore and their patriotic defenders, tenders to them all, with his best wishes, a friendly and cordial farewell.

By order of Major-general Dix.
Danl. T. Van Buren, Colonel and Aide-de-camp.

SOURCE: Morgan Dix, Memoirs of John Adams Dix, Volume 2, p. 47-8

Diary of Lieutenant-Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes: Sunday Morning, March 16, 1862

Another change — a snow-storm; March fuss and fury. Received a note from Lieutenant-Colonel Jones, directing vigilance and to be in readiness for an attack by the enemy or for a forward movement, — the abandonment by the Rebels of eastern Virginia on the Potomac rendering it likely that the enemy will come here or we go there!! . . .

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 209

Diary of Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle: Saturday, April 11, 1863

Mr –––, the Unionist, came to me this morning, and said, in a contrite manner, “I hope, Kernel, that in the fumes of brandy I didn't say anything offensive last night.” I assured him that he hadn't. I have now become comparatively accustomed and reconciled to the necessity of shaking hands and drinking brandy with every one.*

The ambulance returned from Bagdad to-day. Captain Hancock had managed to cross the bar in Mr Oetling's steamer or lighter, but was very nearly capsized.

I went to a grand supper, given by Mr Oetling in honour of Mr Hill's departure for the city of Mexico. This, it appears, is the custom of the country.

* This necessity does not exist except in Texas.

SOURCE: Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle, Three months in the southern states: April-June, 1863, p. 21-2

Diary of William Howard Russell: April 28, 1861

The church is a long way off, only available by a boat and then a drive in a carriage. In the morning a child brings in my water and boots — an intelligent, curly-headed creature, dressed in a sort of sack, without any particular waist, barefooted. I imagined it was a boy till it told me it was a girl. I asked if she was going to church, which seemed to puzzle her exceedingly; but she told me finally she would hear prayers from “uncle” in one of the cottages. This use of the words “uncle” and “aunt” for old people is very general. Is it because they have no fathers and mothers? In the course of the day, the child, who was fourteen or fifteen years of age, asked me “whether I would not buy her. She could wash and sew very well, and she thought missus wouldn't want much for her.” The object she had in view leaked out at last. It was a desire to see the glories of Beaufort, of which she had heard from the fishermen; and she seemed quite wonderstruck when she was informed I did not live there, and had never seen it. She had never been outside the plantation in her life.

After breakfast we loitered about the grounds, strolling through the cotton-fields, which had as yet put forth no bloom or flower, and coming down others to the thick fringes of wood and sedge bordering the marshy banks of the island. The silence was profound, broken only by the husky mid-day crowing of the cocks in the negro quarters.

In the afternoon I took a short drive “to see a tree,” which was not very remarkable, and looked in at the negro quarters and the cotton-mill. The old negroes were mostly indoors, and came shambling out to the doors of their wooden cottages, making clumsy bows at our approach, but not expressing any interest or pleasure at the sight of their master and the strangers. They were shabbily clad; in tattered clothes, bad straw hats and felt bonnets, and broken shoes. The latter are expensive articles, and negroes cannot dig without them. Trescot sighed as he spoke of the increase of price since the troubles broke out.

The huts stand in a row, like a street, each detached, with a poultry-house of rude planks behind it. The mutilations which the poultry undergo for the sake of distinction are striking. Some are deprived of a claw, others have the wattles cut, and tails and wings suffer in all ways. No attempt at any drainage or any convenience existed near them, and the same remark applies to very good houses of white people in the south. Heaps of oyster shells, broken crockery, old shoes, rags, and feathers were found near each hut. The huts were all alike windowless, and the apertures, intended to be glazed some fine day, were generally filled up with a deal board. The roofs were shingle, and the whitewash which had once given the settlement an air of cleanliness, was now only to be traced by patches which had escaped the action of the rain. I observed that many of the doors were fastened by a padlock and chain outside. “Why is that?” “The owners have gone out, and honesty is not a virtue they have towards each other. They would find their things stolen if they did not lock their doors.” Mrs. Trescot, however, insisted on it that nothing could exceed the probity of the slaves in the house, except in regard to sweet things, sugar, and the like; but money and jewels were quite safe. It is obvious that some reason must exist for this regard to the distinctions twixt meum and tuum in the case of masters and mistresses, when it does not guide their conduct towards each other, and I think it might easily be found in the fact that the negroes could scarcely take money without detection. Jewels and jewelry would be of little value to them; they could not wear them, could not part with them. The system has made the white population a police against the black race, and the punishment is not only sure but grievous. Such things as they can steal from each other are not to be so readily traced.

One particularly dirty looking little hut was described to me as “the church.” It was about fifteen feet square, begrimed with dirt and smoke, and windowless. A few benches were placed across it, and “the preacher,” a slave from another plantation, was expected next week. These preachings are not encouraged in many plantations. They “do the niggers no good” — “they talk about things that are going on elsewhere, and get their minds unsettled,” and so on.

On our return to the house, I found that Mr. Edmund Rhett, one of the active and influential political family of that name, had called — a very intelligent and agreeable gentleman, but one of the most ultra and violent speakers against the Yankees I have yet heard. He declared there were few persons in South Carolina who would not sooner ask Great Britain to take back the State than submit to the triumph of the Yankees. “We are an agricultural people, pursuing our own system, and working out our own destiny, breeding up women and men with some other purpose than to make them vulgar, fanatical, cheating Yankees — hypocritical, if as women they pretend to real virtue; and lying, if as men they pretend to be honest. We have gentlemen and gentlewomen in your sense of it. We have a system which enables us to reap the fruits of the earth by a race which we save from barbarism in restoring them to their real place in the world as laborers, whilst we are enabled to cultivate the arts, the graces, and accomplishments of life, to develop science, to apply ourselves to the duties of government, and to understand the affairs of the country.”

This is a very common line of remark here. The Southerners also take pride to themselves, and not unjustly, for their wisdom in keeping in Congress those men who have proved themselves useful and capable. “We do not,” they say, “cast able men aside at the caprices of a mob, or in obedience to some low party intrigue, and hence we are sure of the best men, and are served by gentlemen conversant with public affairs, far superior in every way to the ignorant clowns who are sent to Congress by the North. Look at the fellows who are sent out by Lincoln to insult foreign courts by their presence.” I said that I understood Mr. Adams and Mr. Dayton were very respectable gentlemen, but I did not receive any sympathy; in fact, a neutral who attempts to moderate the violence of either side, is very like an ice between two hot plates. Mr. Rhett is also persuaded that the Lord Chancellor sits on a cotton bale. “You must recognize us, sir, before the end of October.” In the evening a distant thunder-storm attracted me to the garden, and I remained out watching the broad flashes and sheets of fire worthy of the tropics till it was bedtime.

SOURCE: William Howard Russell, My Diary North and South, p. 146-8

Friday, November 27, 2015

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: April 17, 1862

To-day Congress passed an act providing for the termination of martial law within thirty days after the meeting of the next session. This was as far as they could venture; for, indeed, a majority seem to be intimidated at the glitter of bayonets in the streets, wielded by the authority of martial law. The press, too, has taken the alarm, and several of the publishers have confessed a fear of having their offices closed, if they dare to speak the sentiments struggling for utterance. It is, indeed, a reign of terror! Every Virginian, and other loyal citizens of the South — members of Congress and all — must now, before obtaining Gen. Winder's permission to leave the city for their homes, bow down before the aliens in the Provost Marshal's office, and subscribe to an oath of allegiance, while a file of bayonets are pointed at his back!

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 120

Diary of Mary Boykin Chesnut: March 27, 1865

I have moved again, and now I am looking from a window high, with something more to see than the sky. We have the third story of Dr. Da Vega's house, which opens on the straight street that leads to the railroad about a mile off.

Mrs. Bedon is the loveliest of young widows. Yesterday at church Isaac Hayne nestled so close to her cap-strings that I had to touch him and say, “Sit up!” Josiah Bedon was killed in that famous fight of the Charleston Light Dragoons. The dragoons stood still to be shot down in their tracks, having no orders to retire. They had been forgotten, doubtless, and they scorned to take care of themselves.

In this high and airy retreat, as in Richmond, then in Columbia, and then in Lincolnton, my cry is still: If they would only leave me here in peace and if I were sure things never could be worse with me. Again am I surrounded by old friends. People seem to vie with each other to show how good they can be to me.

To-day Smith opened the trenches and appeared laden with a tray covered with a snow-white napkin. Here was my first help toward housekeeping again. Mrs. Pride has sent a boiled ham, a loaf of bread, a huge pancake; another neighbor coffee already parched and ground; a loaf of sugar already cracked; candles, pickles, and all the other things one must trust to love for now. Such money as we have avails us nothing, even if there were anything left in the shops to buy.

We had a jolly luncheon. James Lowndes called, the best of good company. He said of Buck, “She is a queen, and ought to reign in a palace. No Prince Charming yet; no man has yet approached her that I think half good enough for her.”

Then Mrs. Prioleau Hamilton, née Levy, came with the story of family progress, not a royal one, from Columbia here: “Before we left home,” said she, “Major Hamilton spread a map of the United States on the table, and showed me with his finger where Sherman was likely to go. Womanlike, I demurred. “But, suppose he does not choose to go that way?” “Pooh, pooh! what do you know of war?” So we set out, my husband, myself, and two children, all in one small buggy. The 14th of February we took up our line of march, and straight before Sherman's men for five weeks we fled together. By incessant hurrying and scurrying from pillar to post, we succeeded in acting as a sort of avant-courier of the Yankee army. Without rest and with much haste, we got here last Wednesday, and here we mean to stay and defy Sherman and his legions. Much the worse for wear were we.”

The first night their beauty sleep was rudely broken into at Alston with a cry, “Move on, the Yanks are upon us!” So they hurried on, half-awake, to Winnsboro, but with no better luck. There they had to lighten the ship, leave trunks, etc., and put on all sail, for this time the Yankees were only five miles behind. “Whip and spur, ride for your life!” was the cry. “Sherman's objective point seemed to be our buggy,” said she; “for you know that when we got to Lancaster Sherman was expected there, and he keeps his appointments; that is, he kept that one. Two small children were in our chariot, and I began to think of the Red Sea expedition. But we lost no time, and soon we were in Cheraw, clearly out of the track. We thanked God for all his mercies and hugged to our bosoms fond hopes of a bed and bath so much needed by all, especially for the children.

At twelve o'clock General Hardee himself knocked us up with word to “March! march!” for “all the blue bonnets are over the border.” In mad haste we made for Fayetteville, when they said:  “God bless your soul! This is the seat of war now; the battle-ground where Sherman and Johnston are to try conclusions.” So we harked back, as the hunters say, and cut across country, aiming for this place. Clean clothes, my dear? Never a one except as we took off garment by garment and washed it and dried it by our camp fire, with our loins girded and in haste.” I was snug and comfortable all that time in Lincolnton.

*          *          *          *          *          *          *

To-day Stephen D. Lee's corps marched through — only to surrender. The camp songs of these men were a heartbreak; so sad, yet so stirring. They would have warmed the blood of an Icelander. The leading voice was powerful, mellow, clear, distinct, pathetic, sweet. So, I sat down, as women have done before, when they hung up their harps by strange streams, and I wept the bitterness of such weeping. Music? Away, away! Thou speakest to me of things which in all my long life I have not found, and I shall not find. There they go, the gay and gallant few, doomed; the last gathering of the flower of Southern pride, to be killed, or worse, to a prison. They continue to prance by, light and jaunty. They march with as airy a tread as if they still believed the world was all on their side, and that there were no Yankee bullets for the unwary. What will Joe Johnston do with them now?

The Hood melodrama is over, though the curtain has not fallen on the last scene. Cassandra croaks and makes many mistakes, but to-day she believes that Hood stock is going down. When that style of enthusiasm is on the wane, the rapidity of its extinction is miraculous. It is like the snuffing out of a candle; “one moment white, then gone forever.” No, that is not right; it is the snow-flake on the river that is referred to. I am getting things as much mixed as do the fine ladies of society.

Lee and Johnston have each fought a drawn battle; only a few more dead bodies lie stiff and stark on an unknown battle-field. For we do not so much as know where these drawn battles took place.

Teddy Barnwell, after sharing with me my first luncheon, failed me cruelly. He was to come for me to go down to the train and see Isabella pass by. One word with Isabella worth a thousand ordinary ones! So, she has gone by and I've not seen her.

Old Colonel Chesnut refuses to say grace; but as he leaves the table audibly declares, “I thank God for a good dinner.” When asked why he did this odd thing he said: '' My way is to be sure of a thing before I return thanks for it." Mayor Goodwyn thanked Sherman for promised protection to Columbia ; soon after, the burning began.

I received the wife of a post-office robber. The poor thing had done no wrong, and I felt so sorry for her. Who would be a woman? Who that fool, a weeping, pissing, faithful woman? She hath hard measures still when she hopes kindest. And all her beauty only makes ingrates!

SOURCES: Mary Boykin Chesnut, Edited by Isabella D. Martin and Myrta Lockett Avary, A Diary From Dixie, p. 369-72

Diary of Judith Brockenbrough McGuire: February 15, 1864

A pause in my diary; but nothing of importance has occurred, either at home or with the country. The armies are mud-bound — I wish they could continue so. I dread the approach of Spring, with its excitements and horrors.

Prices of provisions have risen enormously — bacon $8 per pound, butter $15, etc. Our old friends from the lower part of Essex, Mr. –––’s parishioners for many years, sent over a wagon filled most generously with all manner of necessary things for our larder. We have no right to complain, for Providence is certainly supplying our wants. The clerks' salaries, too, have been raised to $250 per month, which sounds very large; but when we remember that flour is $300 per barrel, it sinks into insignificance.

SOURCE: Judith W. McGuire, Diary of a Southern Refugee, During the War, p. 252

Diary of Sarah Morgan: Wednesday, October 22, 1862

Linwood. We left Clinton this morning, and have just now arrived by the cars. Charlie came in last evening, to our great surprise, so we did not scruple to leave Lilly. . . .

The Baton Rouge party returned late this evening. In spite of all preparation, Gibbes was horrified at the appearance of home.

SOURCE: Sarah Morgan Dawson, A Confederate Girl's Diary, p. 263

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Diary of 5th Sergeant Alexander G. Downing: Wednesday, February 8, 1865

Our division started out on the railroad at 7 o'clock this morning and destroyed about ten miles of track. We then returned to camp for the rest of the day and night. All is quiet in front.

Source: Alexander G. Downing, Edited by Olynthus B., Clark, Downing’s Civil War Diary, p. 251

Diary of 5th Sergeant Alexander G. Downing: Thursday, February 9, 1865

We remained in camp until noon, when we moved forward again about ten miles and went into bivouac on the east bank of the Edisto river. The First Division waded the river to drive the rebels back so that the engineers with our corps could lay the pontoons for the corps to cross. The Fifteenth Corps crossed the river about a mile above. A great deal of property is being destroyed by our army on this raid. The familiar clouds of smoke are becoming more numerous every day, while out on the left we can count from ten to twenty of the red clouds in the heavens every night.

Source: Alexander G. Downing, Edited by Olynthus B., Clark, Downing’s Civil War Diary, p. 251-2

Diary of 5th Sergeant Alexander G. Downing: Friday, February 10, 1865

We lay in camp all day, but large foraging parties were sent out. They brought in great quantities of forage — pork and potatoes, also feed for the animals. The farming is all done here by the negro women and old men, the able-bodied men, white and black, being in the army. We received a large mail today, the first for a month. I got two letters and two packages.

Source: Alexander G. Downing, Edited by Olynthus B., Clark, Downing’s Civil War Diary, p. 252

Diary of Judith Brockenbrough McGuire: January 15, 1864

Nothing new from the armies — all quiet. At home we are in statu quo, except that we have had a very agreeable accession to our family party in the person of Colonel Charles F. M. Garnett. He sleeps in his office, and messes with us. He cheers us every day by bringing the latest news, in the most pleasant form which the nature of the case will admit. My occupation at home just now is as new as that in the office — it is shoe-making. I am busy upon the second pair of gaiter boots. They are made of canvas, presented me by a friend. It was taken from one of our James River vessels, and has been often spread to the breeze, under the “Stars and Bars.” The vessel was sunk among the obstructions at Drury's Bluff. The gaiters are cut out by a shoemaker, stitched and bound by the ladies, then soled by a shoemaker, for the moderate sum of fifty dollars. Last year he put soles on a pair for ten dollars. They are then blacked with the material used for blacking guns in the navy. They are very handsome gaiters, and bear polishing by blacking and the shoe-brush as well as morocco. They are lasting, and very cheap when compared with those we buy, which are from $125 to $150 per pair. We are certainly becoming very independent of foreign aid. The girls make beautifully fitting gloves, of dark flannel, cloth, linen, and any other material we can command. We make very nice blacking, and a friend has just sent me a bottle of brilliant black ink, made of elderberries.

SOURCE: Judith W. McGuire, Diary of a Southern Refugee, During the War, p. 251-2

Diary of Sarah Morgan: Sunday, October 19, 1862

CLINTON. – What an unexpected change! I am surprised myself! Yesterday as the Baton Rouge party were about leaving, Miriam thought Lilly would be lonesome alone here with her sick baby, and decided that we should leave by the cars, and stay with her until mother returned. There was no time to lose; so dressing in haste, we persuaded Anna to accompany us, and in a few moments stood ready. We walked down to the overseer's house to wait for the cars, and passed the time most agreeably in eating sugar-cane, having brought a little negro expressly to cut it for us and carry our carpet-bag. Three young ladies, who expected to be gone from Saturday until Wednesday, having but one carpet-bag between them! Can it be credited? But, then, we knew we had clothes here, and depended upon them for supplies, when we now find they are in the trunk and mother has the key.

We walked aboard alone, in the crowded train, and found ourselves in the only car reserved for ladies, which was already filled with a large party returning from Port Hudson, consisting of the fastest set of girls that I have seen for some time. Anna and I had to content ourselves with a seat on a small box between the benches, while Miriam was established on the only vacant one, with a sick soldier lying at her feet. The fast girls talked as loud as possible and laughed in a corresponding style in spite of the sick man. They must have been on a picnic, from the way they talked. One in a short dress complained that she had not seen her sweetheart. A pert little miss of thirteen cried, “You can bet your head I never went to any place where I did not see one of my sweethearts.” One of about seventeen, a perfect beauty, declared she would die of thirst. “So will I! and I don't want to die before I get a husband!” exclaimed her vis-a-vis. They evidently expected to produce an impression on us. At every “brilliant” remark (“stupid” understood), they looked at us to see what we thought. All of them sat with bare heads in the strong light, an unfailing proof of la basse classe on steamers and cars. Every time my veil blew aside, they made no difficulty about scanning my features as though they thought it might be agreeable. I must confess I was equally impolite in regard to the Beauty; but then her loveliness was an excuse, and my veil sheltered me, besides. While this young Psyche was fascinating me, with her perfect face and innocent expression, one of her companions made a remark — one that I dare say is made every day, and that I never imagined could be turned into harm. My Beauty uttered a prolonged “Oh!” of horror, and burst out laughing, followed by all the others. My disgust was unspeakable. Mock modesty is always evident. A modest girl could not have noticed the “catch”; the immodest, on the lookout for such an opportunity, was the only one who could have perceived it. Well! after all, no one can be perfect; this may be the single stain on my Beauty, though I confess I would rather have any other failing than this, almost.

Putting this aside, I hardly know which I was most amused by: the giddy, lively girls to my right, or the two ladies to my left who were as cross and ill-natured as two old cats and railed unmercifully at the silly creatures behind them, and carried their spite so far as to refuse to drink because the conductor (the husband of one of them) gave the young ladies water before passing it to their two elders. Didn't the poor man get it! She wouldn't taste a drop of that nasty dirty drippings, that she wouldn't! Might have had the decency to attend to his kinsfolks, before them creatures! And why didn't he wait on those two young ladies behind her? He did ask them? Well, ask them again! they must want some! Poor Henpecked meekly passed the can again, to be again civilly declined. I confess the “drippings” were too much for me also, though I did not give it as my excuse. Mrs. Hen recommenced her pecking; poor Mr. Hen at last surlily rejoined, "For Heaven's sake, don't make a fuss in the cars," with an emphasis on the last word that showed he was accustomed to it at home, at least. With my veil down, I leaned against the window, and remembering Colonel Breaux's remarks two nights before concerning cross people, I played his “little philosopher” for the remainder of the journey.

At sunset we walked in at Lilly's gate, and astonished her by standing before her as she sat alone with her poor sick little Beatrice in her arms. . . .

SOURCE: Sarah Morgan Dawson, A Confederate Girl's Diary, p. 260-3

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Diary of 5th Sergeant Alexander G. Downing: Tuesday, February 7, 1865

We had another all day, cold, drizzling rain. We left our bivouac at 7 o'clock and after marching fourteen miles stopped for the night. With every mile the road got better as we moved upon higher ground, and the forage also became more plentiful. Just after we had stacked arms to go into bivouac, our regiment was ordered to fall in again. We marched out on the Augusta and Charleston railroad to burn the bridge over the Edisto river, but the pickets, on hearing our approach, for it was too dark to see anything, all hastened across the bridge and set fire to it themselves. This saved us the trouble and we went back, reaching our bivouac about midnight, after marching in all about ten miles.

Source: Alexander G. Downing, Edited by Olynthus B., Clark, Downing’s Civil War Diary, p. 251

Diary of Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle: Friday, April 10, 1863

We roused up at daylight, and soon afterwards Colonel Duff paraded some of his best men, to show off the Texan horsemanship, of which they are very proud. I saw them lasso cattle, and catch them by the tail at full gallop, and throw them by slewing them round. This is called tailing. They pick small objects off the ground when at full tilt, and, in their peculiar fashion, are beautiful riders; but they confessed to me they could not ride in an English saddle, and Colonel Duff told me that they could not jump a fence at all. They were all extremely anxious to hear what I thought of the performance, and their thorough good opinion of themselves was most amusing.

At 9 o'clock Colonel Buchel and I rode back to Brownsville; but as we lost our way twice, and were enveloped in clouds of dust, it was not a very satisfactory ride. Poor Captain Hancock must be luxuriating at Bagdad; for with this wind the bar must be impassable to the boldest mariner.
In the evening, a Mr –––, a  Texan Unionist, or renegado, gave us his sentiments at the Consulate, and drank a deal of brandy. He finished, however, by the toast, “Them as wants to fight, let 'em fight — I don't.”

SOURCE: Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle, Three months in the southern states: April-June, 1863, p. 20-1

Diary of William Howard Russell: April 27, 1861

Mrs. Trescot, it seems, spent part of her night in attendance on a young gentleman of color, who was introduced into the world in a state of servitude by his poor chattel of a mother. Such kindly acts as these are more common than we may suppose; and it would be unfair to put a strict or unfair construction on the motives of slave owners in paying such attention to their property. Indeed, as Mrs. Trescot says, “When people talk of my having so many slaves, I always tell them it is the slaves who own me. Morning, noon, and night, I'm obliged to look after them, to doctor them, and attend to them in every way.” Property has its duties, you see, madam, as well as its rights.

The planter's house is quite new, and was built by himself; the principal material being wood, and most of the work being done by his own negroes. Such work as window-sashes and panellings, however, was executed in Charleston. A pretty garden runs at the back, and from the windows there are wide stretches of cotton-fields visible, and glimpses of the river to be seen.

After breakfast our little party repaired to the river side, and sat under the shade of some noble trees waiting for the boat which was to bear us to the fishing grounds. The wind blew up stream, running with the tide, and we strained our eyes in vain for the boat. The river is here nearly a mile across, — a noble estuary rather, — with low banks lined with forests, into which the axe has made deep forays and clearings for cotton-fields.

It would have astonished a stray English traveller, if, penetrating the shade, he heard in such an out-of-the-way place familiar names and things spoken of by the three lazy persons who were stretched out — cigar in mouth — on the ant-haunted trunks which lay prostrate by the seashore. Mr. Trescot spent some time in London as attaché to the United States Legation, was a club man, and had a large circle of acquaintance among the young men about town, of whom he remembered many anecdotes and peculiarities, and little adventures. Since that time he was Under-Secretary of State in Mr. Buchanan's administration, and went out with Secession. He is the author of a very agreeable book on a dry subject, “The History of American Diplomacy,” which is curious enough as an unconscious exposition of the anti-British jealousies, and even antipathies, which have animated American statesmen since they were created. In fact, much of American diplomacy means hostility to England, and the skilful employment of the anti-British sentiment at their disposal in their own country and elsewhere. Now he was talking pleasantly of people he had met — many of them mutual friends.”Here is the boat at last!” I had been sweeping the broad river with my glass occasionally, and at length detected a speck on its broad surface moving down towards us, with a white dot marking the foam at its bows. Spite of wind and tideway, it came rapidly, and soon approached us, pulled by six powerful negroes, attired in red-flannel jackets and white straw hats with broad ribbons. The craft itself — a kind of monster canoe, some forty-five feet long, narrow, wall-sided, with high bow and raised stern — lay deep in the water, for there were extra negroes for the fishing, servants, baskets of provisions, water buckets, stone jars of less innocent drinking, and abaft there was a knot of great strong planters, — Elliots all — cousins, uncles, and brothers. A friendly hail as they swept up along-side, — an exchange of salutations.

“Well, Trescot, have you got plenty of Crabs?"

A groan burst forth at his insouciant reply. He had been charged to find bait, and he had told the negroes to do so, and the negroes had not done so. The fishermen looked grievously at each other, and fiercely at Trescot, who assumed an air of recklessness, and threw doubts on the existence of fish in the river, and resorted to similar miserable subterfuges; indeed, it was subsequently discovered that he was an utter infidel in regard to the delights of piscicapture.

“Now, all aboard! Over, you fellows, and take these gentlemen in!" The negroes were over in a moment, waist deep, and, each taking one on his back, deposited us dry in the boat. I only mention this to record the fact, that I was much impressed by a practical demonstration from my bearer respecting the strong odor of the skin of a heated African. I have been wedged up in a column of infantry on a hot day, and have marched to leeward of Ghoorkhas in India, but the overpowering pungent smell of the negro exceeds everything of the kind I have been unfortunate enough to experience.

The vessel was soon moving again, against a ripple, caused by the wind, which blew dead against us; and, notwithstanding the praises bestowed on the boat, it was easy to perceive [t]hat the labor of pulling such a dead-log-like thing through the water told severely on the rowers, who had already come some twelve miles, I think. Nevertheless, they were told to sing, and they began accordingly one of those wild Baptist chants about the Jordan in which they delight, — not destitute of music, but utterly unlike what is called an Ethiopian melody.

The banks of the river on both sides are low; on the left covered with wood, through which, here and there, at intervals, one could see a planter's or overseer's cottage. The course of this great combination of salt and fresh water sometimes changes, so that houses are swept away and plantations submerged; but the land is much valued nevertheless, on account of the fineness of the cotton grown among the islands. “Cotton at twelve cents a pound, and we don't fear the world.”

As the boat was going to the fishing ground, which lay towards the mouth of the river at Hilton Head, our friends talked politics and sporting combined, — the first of the usual character, the second quite new.

I heard much of the mighty devil-fish which frequents these waters. One of our party, Mr. Elliot, sen., a tall, knotty, gnarled sort of man, with a mellow eye and a hearty voice, was a famous hand at the sport, and had had some hair-breadth escapes in pursuit of it. The fish is described as of enormous size and strength, a monster ray, which possesses formidable antennae-like horns, and a pair of huge fins, or flappers, one of which rises above the water as the creature moves below the surface. The hunters, as they may be called, go out in parties, — three or four boats, or more, with good store of sharp harpoons and tow-lines, and lances. When they perceive the creature, one boat takes the lead, and moves down towards it, the others following, each with a, harpooner standing in the bow. The devil-fish sometimes is wary, and dives, when it sees a boat, taking such a long spell below that it is never seen again. At other times, however, it backs, and lets the boat come so near as to allow of the harpooner striking it, or it dives for a short way and comes up near the boats again. The moment the harpoon is fixed, the line is paid out by the rush of the creature, which is made with tremendous force, and all the boats at once hurry up, so that one after another they are made fast to that in which the lucky sportsman is seated. At length, when the line is run out, checked from time to time as much as can be done with safety, the crew take their oars and follow the course of the ray, which swims so fast, however, that it keeps the line taut, and drags the whole flotilla seawards. It depends on its size and strength to determine how soon it rises to the surface; by degrees the line is warped in and hove short till the boats are brought near, and when the ray comes up it is attacked with a shower of lances and harpoons, and dragged off into shoal water to die.

On one occasion, our Nimrod told us, he was standing in the bows of the boat, harpoon in hand, when a devil-fish came up close to him; he threw the harpoon, struck it, but at the same time the boat ran against the creature with a shock which threw him right forward on its back, and in an instant it caught him in its horrid arms and plunged down with him to the depths. Imagine the horror of the moment! Imagine the joy of the terrified drowning, dying man, when, for some inscrutable reason, the devil-fish relaxed its grip, and enabled him to strike for the surface, where he was dragged into the boat more dead than alive by his terror-smitten companions, — the only man who ever got out of the embraces of the thing alive. “Tom is so tough that even a devil-fish could make nothing out of him.”

At last we came to our fishing ground. There was a substitute found for the favorite crab, and it was fondly hoped our toils might be rewarded with success. And these were toils, for the water is deep and the lines heavy. But to alleviate them, some hampers were produced from the stern, and wonderful pies from Mrs. Trescot's hands, and from those of fair ladies up the river whom we shall never see, were spread out, and bottles which represented distant cellars in friendly nooks far away. “No drum here! Up anchor, and pull away a few miles lower down.” Trescot shook his head, and again asserted his disbelief in fishing, or rather in catching, and indeed made a sort of pretence at arguing that it was wiser to remain quiet and talk philosophical politics; but, as judge of appeal, I gave it against him, and the negroes bent to their oars, and we went thumping through the spray, till, rounding a point of land, we saw pitched on the sandy shore ahead of us, on the right bank, a tent, and close by two boats. “There is a party at it!” A fire was burning on the beach, and as we came near, Tom and Jack and Harry were successfully identified. “There's no take on, or they would not be on shore. This is very unfortunate.”

All the regret of my friends was on my account, so to ease their minds I assured them I did not mind the disappointment much. “Hallo Dick! Caught any drum?” “A few this morning; bad sport now, and will be till tide turns again.” I was introduced to all the party from a distance, and presently I saw one of them raising from a boat something in look and shape and color like a sack of flour, which he gave to a negro, who proceeded to carry it towards us in a little skiff. “Thank you, Charley. I just want to let Mr. Russell see a drum-fish.” And a very odd fish it was, — a thick lumpish form, about four and a half feet long, with enormous head and scales, and teeth like the grinders of a ruminant animal, acting on a great pad of bone in the roof of the mouth, — a very unlovely thing, swollen with roe, which is the great delicacy.

“No chance till the tide turned,” — but that would be too late for our return, and so unwillingly we were compelled to steer towards home, hearing now and then the singular noise like the tap on a large unbraced drum, from which the fish takes its name. At first, when I heard it, I was inclined to think it was made by some one in the boat, so near and close did it sound; but soon it came from all sides of us, and evidently from the depths of the water beneath us, — not a sharp rat-tat-tap, but a full muffled blow with a heavy thud on the sheepskin. Mr. Trescot told me that on a still evening by the river side the effect sometimes is most curious, — the rolling and pattering is audible at a great distance. Our friends were in excellent humor with everything and everybody, except the Yankees, though they had caught no fish, and kept the negroes at singing and rowing till at nightfall we landed at the island, and so to bed after supper and a little conversation, in which Mrs. Trescot again explained how easily she could maintain a battalion on the island by her simple commissariat, already adapted to the niggers, and that it would therefore be very easy for the South to feed an army, if the people were friendly

SOURCE: William Howard Russell, My Diary North and South, p. 141-6

Monday, November 23, 2015

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: April 15, 1862

Gen. Beauregard has written to Gen. Wise, offering him a command in his army, if the government will consent to it. It will not be consented to.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 120

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: April 16, 1862

Troops are being concentrated rapidly in Virginia by Gen. Lee.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 120

Diary of Mary Boykin Chesnut: March 24, 1865

I have been ill, but what could you expect? My lines, however, have again fallen in pleasant places. Mrs. Da Vega is young, handsome, and agreeable, a kind and perfect hostess; and as to the house, my room is all that I could ask and leaves nothing to be desired; so very fresh, clean, warm, and comfortable is it. It is the drawing-room suddenly made into a bedroom for me. But it is my very own. We are among the civilized of the earth once more.

SOURCES: Mary Boykin Chesnut, Edited by Isabella D. Martin and Myrta Lockett Avary, A Diary From Dixie, p. 369

Diary of Judith Brockenbrough McGuire: January 3, 1864

Entered on the duties of my office on the 30th of December. So far I like it well. “The Major” is very kind, and considerate of our comfort; the duties of the office are not very onerous, but rather confining for one who left school thirty-four years ago, and has had no restraint of the kind during the interim. The ladies, thirty-five in number, are of all ages, and representing various parts of Virginia, also Maryland and Louisiana. Many of them are refugees. It is melancholy to see how many wear mourning for brothers or other relatives, the victims of war. One sad young girl sits near me, whose two brothers have fallen on the field, but she is too poor to buy mourning. I found many acquaintances, and when I learned the history of others, it was often that of fallen fortunes and destroyed homes. One young lady, of high-sounding Maryland name, was banished from Baltimore, because of her zeal in going to the assistance of our Gettysburg wounded. The society is pleasant, and we hope to get along very agreeably. I am now obliged to visit the hospital in the afternoon, and I give it two evenings in the week. It is a cross to me not to be able to give it more time; but we have very few patients just now, so that it makes very little difference.

SOURCE: Judith W. McGuire, Diary of a Southern Refugee, During the War, p. 250-1

Parole of Louis T. Wigfall, alias J. A. White, April 10, 1865

appomattox Court House, Va.,
April 10th, 1865.

The Bearer, pri. J. A. White, of Co. M. First Regt. of Texas Vols., a paroled Prisoner of the Army of Northern Virginia, has permission to go to his home, and there remain undisturbed.

Jno. N. Wilson, Capt.

SOURCE: Louise Wigfall Wright, A Southern Girl in ’61, p. 243

Diary of Sarah Morgan: Saturday, October 18, 1862

Last night mother arrived from Clinton with Gibbes and Lydia, who had gone there the day before to get her to go to Baton Rouge.

SOURCE: Sarah Morgan Dawson, A Confederate Girl's Diary, p. 260

Diary of 5th Sergeant Alexander G. Downing: Thursday, February 2, 1865

This is a beautiful morning and we started early on our march. We had better roads than yesterday, on higher ground, and covered thirteen miles. We drove the rebels forward all day, doing some lively skirmishing in the front. The rebels have all crossed the Salkehatchie river, but have possession of the two bridges about eight miles apart. We went into camp near the river. We lost some good officers and brave men in the skirmishing today. It makes one sorrowful to think that they have to be buried here in this God-forsaken swamp country.

Source: Alexander G. Downing, Edited by Olynthus B., Clark, Downing’s Civil War Diary, p. 250

Diary of 5th Sergeant Alexander G. Downing: Friday, February 3, 1865

It rained quietly nearly all day, and we remained in camp until 1 p. m., when we received marching orders. Our division under General Giles E. Smith then made ready to wade and swim the river midway between the two bridges. The river is one and one-fourth miles wide, having at least one hundred and thirty-three different channels or branches, from two to four feet deep. It took us an hour and a half to cross over, General Smith leading on foot, for no horse could go across. We were not allowed to talk or let our accouterments make any noise. We found the rebel pickets on the opposite side, but they fired only a single shot each and made for tall timber. We remained here on guard. The First and Third Divisions crossed the river above us and also drove in the rebel pickets.1 Our teams and batteries were left in the rear.

1 Our division, after successfully crossing the river, effected a lodgment on the main Charleston road Just before the arrival of eight regiments which had been sent up to make good the enemy's position at this bridge.—A. G. D.

Source: Alexander G. Downing, Edited by Olynthus B., Clark, Downing’s Civil War Diary, p. 250

Diary of 5th Sergeant Alexander G. Downing: Saturday, February 4, 1865

We remained in line of battle all night, not being allowed to build any fires. This morning we moved out about two miles nearer the upper bridge, the rebels having left the vicinity during the night. We remained here, fortifying the bridge. Our teams and batteries came across the bridge this morning. General Mower's division lost several men here at the bridge yesterday morning about the time that we were crossing below.1

1 There was a concerted move by the Union army all along the line. —Ed.

Source: Alexander G. Downing, Edited by Olynthus B., Clark, Downing’s Civil War Diary, p. 250

Diary of 5th Sergeant Alexander G. Downing: Sunday, February 5, 1865

The atmosphere is clear and it is getting quite warm. We remained in our rifle pits all day, but had to put up our shelter tents, for we actually suffered from the heat. All is quiet in front. We had company inspection this morning and dress parade in the evening. We drew two days' rations to last ten days, but we have an abundance of forage. The boys brought in smoked bacon by the wagon load, also great quantities of corn meal, sweet potatoes, honey and other good things.

Source: Alexander G. Downing, Edited by Olynthus B., Clark, Downing’s Civil War Diary, p. 250-1

Diary of 5th Sergeant Alexander G. Downing: Monday, February 6, 1865

The weather changed again, and we had a rather cold, drizzling rain nearly all day. We left our trenches at 7 o'clock this morning and were all day in marching ten miles, the country being so very swampy. We had a great deal of corduroy to build, and the rebels blocked our way by burning a bridge over a deep channel in the swamp. There was some skirmishing in the front. We were ordered to leave all our surplus bacon in the company parade ground, and the quartermaster would send a wagon with the extra forage for us; but we were skeptical and carried all that our haversacks would hold.1

1 Our company alone left a load of the finest bacon, besides other articles. It was the last we saw of our store of surplus forage. We learned later that the officers took that way of having the forage left for the negroes and poor people of the vicinity, for we had cleaned the vicinity of everything. — A. G. D.

Source: Alexander G. Downing, Edited by Olynthus B., Clark, Downing’s Civil War Diary, p. 251

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Diary of Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle: Thursday, April 9, 1863

Captain Hancock and Mr Anderson left for Bagdad in Mr Behnsen's carriage at noon.

I crossed over to Brownsville at 11.30, and dined with Colonels Luckett, Buchel, and Duff, at about one o'clock. As we were all colonels, and as every one called the other colonel tout court, it was difficult to make out which was meant. They were obliged to confess that Brownsville was about the rowdiest town of Texas, which was the most lawless state in the Confederacy; but they declared they had never seen an inoffensive man subjected to insult or annoyance, although the shooting-down and stringing-up systems are much in vogue, being almost a necessity in a thinly-populated state, much frequented by desperadoes driven away from more civilised countries.

Colonel Luckett gave me a letter to General Van Dorn, whom they consider the beau ideal of a cavalry soldier. They said from time immemorial the Yankees had been despised by the Southerners, as a race inferior to themselves in courage and in honourable sentiments.

At 3 P.M. Colonel Buchel and I rode to Colonel Duffs camp, distant about thirteen miles. I was given a Mexican saddle, in which one is forced to sit almost in a standing position. The stirrups are very long, and right underneath you, which throws back the feet.

Duff's regiment is called the Partisan Eangers. Although a fine lot of men, they don't look well at a foot parade, on account of the small amount of drill they have undergone, and the extreme disorder of their clothing. They are armed with carbines and six-shooters.

I saw some men come in from a scouting expedition against the Indians, 300 miles off. They told me they were usually in the habit of scalping an Indian when they caught him, and that they never spared one, as they were such an untamable and ferocious race. Another habit which they have learned from the Indians is, to squat on their heels in a most peculiar manner. It has an absurd and extraordinary effect to see a quantity of them so squatting in a row or in a circle.

The regiment had been employed in quelling a counter revolution of Unionists in Texas. Nothing could exceed the rancour with which they spoke of these renegadoes, as they called them, who were principally Germans.
When I suggested to some of the Texans that they might as well bury the body of Mongomery a little better, they did not at all agree with me, but said it ought not to have been buried at all, but left hanging as a warning to other evil-doers.

With regard to the contentment of their slaves, Colonel Duff pointed out a good number they had with them, who had only to cross the river for freedom if they wished it.

Colonel Buchel and I slept in Colonel Duffs tent, and at night we were serenaded. The officers and men really sang uncommonly well, and they finished with "God save the Queen!"

Colonel Duff comes from Perth. He was one of the leading characters in the secession of Texas; and he said his brother was a banker in Dunkeld.

SOURCE: Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle, Three months in the southern states: April-June, 1863, p. 18-20

Diary of William Howard Russell: April 26, 1861

Bade good-by to Charleston at 9:45 A. M., this day, and proceeded by railway, in company with Mr. Ward, to visit Mr. Trescot's Sea Island Plantation. Crossed the river to the terminus in a ferry steamer. No blockading vessels in sight yet. The water alive with small silvery fish, like mullet, which sprang up and leaped along the surface incessantly. An old gentleman, who was fishing on the pier, combined the pursuit of sport with instruction very ingeniously by means of a fork of bamboo in his rod, just above the reel, into which he stuck his inevitable newspaper, and read gravely in his cane-bottomed chair till he had a bite, when the fork was unhitched and the fish was landed. The negroes are very much addicted to the contemplative man's recreation, and they were fishing in all directions.

On the move again. Took our places in the Charleston and Savannah Railway for Pocotaligo, which is the station for Barnwell Island. Our fellow-passengers were all full of politics — the pretty women being the fiercest of all — no! the least good-looking were the most bitterly patriotic, as if they hoped to talk themselves into husbands by the most unfeminine expressions towards the Yankees.

The country is a dead flat, perforated by rivers and watercourses, over which the rail is carried on long and lofty trestle-work. But for the fine trees, the magnolias and live-oak, the landscape would be unbearably hideous, for there are none of the quaint, cleanly, delightful villages of Holland to relieve the monotonous level of rice swamps and wastes of land and water and mud. At the humble little stations there were invariably groups of horsemen waiting under the trees, and ladies with their black nurses and servants who had driven over in the odd-looking old-fashioned vehicles, which were drawn up in the shade. Those who were going on a long journey, aware of the utter barrenness of the land, took with them a viaticum and bottles of milk. The nurses and slaves squatted down by their side in the train, on perfectly well-understood terms. No one objected to their presence — on the contrary, the passengers treated them with a certain sort of special consideration, and they were on the happiest terms with their charges, some of which were in the absorbent condition of life, and dived their little white faces against the tawny bosom of their nurses with anything but reluctance.

The train stopped, at 12:20, at Pocotaligo; and there we found Mr. Trescot and a couple of neighboring planters, famous as fishers for “drum,” of which more by and by. I had met old Mr. Elliot in Charleston, and his account of this sport, and of the pursuit of an enormous sea monster called the devil-fish, which he was one of the first to kill in these waters, excited my curiosity very much. Mr. Elliot has written a most agreeable account of the sports of South Carolina, and I had hoped he would have been well enough to have been my guide, philosopher, and friend in drum-fishing in Port Royal; but he sent over his son to, say that he was too unwell to come, and had therefore despatched most excellent representatives in two members of his family. It was arranged that they should row down from their place and meet us to-morrow morning at Trescot's Island, which lies above Beaufort, in Port Royal Sound and River.

Got into Trescot's gig, and plunged into a shady lane with wood on each side, through which we drove for some distance. The country, on each side and beyond, perfectly flat — all rice lands — few houses visible — scarcely a human being on the road — drove six or seven miles without meeting a soul. After a couple of hours or so, I should think, the gig turned up by an open gateway on a path or road made through a waste of rich black mud, “glorious for rice,” and landed us at the door of a planter, Mr. Heyward, who came out and gave us a most hearty welcome, in the true Southern style. His house is charming, surrounded with trees, and covered with roses and creepers, through which birds and butterflies are flying. Mr. Heyward took it as a matter of course that we stopped to dinner, which we were by no means disinclined to do, as the day was hot, the road was dusty, and his reception frank and kindly. A fine specimen of the planter man; and, minus his broad-brimmed straw hat and loose clothing, not a bad representative of an English squire at home.

Whilst we were sitting in the porch, a strange sort of booming noise attracted my attention in one of the trees. “It is a rain-crow,” said Mr. Heyward; “a bird which we believe to foretell rain. I'll shoot it for you.” And, going into the hall, he took down a double-barrelled fowling-piece, walked out, and fired into the tree; whence the rain-crow, poor creature, fell fluttering to the ground and died. It seemed to me a kind of cuckoo — the same size, but of darker plumage. I could gather no facts to account for the impression that its call is a token of rain.

My attention was also called to a curious kind of snake-killing hawk, or falcon, which makes an extraordinary noise by putting its wings point upwards, close together, above its back, so as to offer no resistance to the air, and then, beginning to descend from a great height, with fast-increasing rapidity, makes, by its rushing through the air, a strange loud hum, till it is near the ground, when the bird stops its downward swoop and flies in a curve over the meadow. This I saw two of these birds doing repeatedly to-night.

After dinner, at which Mr. Heyward expressed some alarm lest Secession would deprive the Southern States of “ice,” we continued our journey towards the river. There is still a remarkable absence of population or life along the road, and even the houses are either hidden or lie too far off to be seen. The trees are much admired by the people, though they would not be thought much of in England.

At length, towards sundown, having taken to a track by a forest, part of which was burning, we came to a broad muddy river, with steep clay banks. A canoe was lying in a little harbor formed by a slope in the bank, and four stout negroes, who were seated round a burning log, engaged in smoking and eating oysters, rose as we approached, and helped the party into the “dug-out,” or canoe, a narrow, long, and heavy boat, with wall sides and a flat floor. A row of one hour, the latter part of it in darkness, took us to the verge of Mr. Trescot's estate, Barnwell Island; and the oarsmen, as they bent to their task, beguiled the way by singing in unison a real negro melody, which was as unlike the works of the Ethiopian Serenaders as anything in song could be unlike another. It was a barbaric sort of madrigal, in which one singer beginning was followed by the others in unison, repeating the refrain in chorus, and full of quaint expression and melancholy:—

“Oh, your soul! oh, my soul! I'm going to the churchyard to lay this body down;
Oh, my soul! oh, your soul! we're going to the churchyard to lay this nigger down.”

And then some appeal to the difficulty of passing “the Jawdam,” constituted the whole of the song, which continued with unabated energy through the whole of the little voyage. To me it was a strange scene. The stream, dark as Lethe, flowing between the silent, houseless, rugged banks, lighted up near the landing by the fire in the woods, which reddened the sky — the wild strain, and the unearthly adjurations to the singers' souls, as though they were palpable, put me in mind of the fancied voyage across the Styx.

“Here we are at last.” All I could see was a dark shadow of trees and the tops of rushes by the river side. “Mind where you step, and follow me close.” And so, groping along through a thick shrubbery for a short space, I came out on a garden and enclosure, in the midst of which the white outlines of a house were visible. Lights in the drawing-room — a lady to receive and welcome us — a snug library — tea, and to bed: but not without more talk about the Southern Confederacy, in which Mrs. Trescot explained how easily she could feed an army, from her experience in feeding her negroes.

SOURCE: William Howard Russell, My Diary North and South, p. 137-40