Thursday, August 27, 2015

Lieutenant-Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes to William A. Platt: January 28, 1862

Fayetteville, Western Virginia, January 28, 1862.

Dear Brother William: — The excellent glass has reached me. It is all I could ask. I will settle with you when I see you. In the meantime, accept thanks.

I have applied for leave of absence during February, and if granted, shall leave for home the last of the week. We are a good deal in the field just now, and have made some good moves lately, considering the weakness of our forces, and that we have but forty cavalrymen. I see in the papers a good deal said about “too much cavalry accepted.” If we had only five hundred now, we could do more injury to the enemy than has yet been done by the Port Royal expedition. We are elated with the victory in Kentucky. I am especially pleased that McCook gets the plumes.

R. B. Hayes.
W. A. Platt,
Columbus, Ohio.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 196

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: January 16, 1862

To-day, Mr. Benjamin, whom I met in the hall of the department, said, “I don't grant any passports to leave the country, except to a few men on business for the government. I have ceased to grant any for some time past.” I merely remarked that I was glad to hear it.

Immediately on returning to my office I referred to my book, and counted the names of fifty persons to whom the Secretary had granted passports within thirty days; and these were not all agents of the government. Mr. Benjamin reminded me of Daniel Webster, when he used to make solemn declarations that his friends in office were likewise the partisans of President Tyler.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 105

Diary of Mary Boykin Chesnut: September 2, 1864

The battle has been raging at Atlanta,1 and our fate hanging in the balance. Atlanta, indeed, is gone. Well, that agony is over. Like David, when the child was dead, I will get up from my knees, will wash my face and comb my hair. No hope; we will try to have no fear.

At the Prestons' I found them drawn up in line of battle every moment looking for the Doctor on his way to Richmond. Now, to drown thought, for our day is done, read Dumas's Maîtres d'Armes. Russia ought to sympathize with us. We are not as barbarous as this, even if Mrs. Stowe's word be taken. Brutal men with unlimited power are the same all over the world. See Russell's India — Bull Run Russell's. They say General Morgan has been killed. We are hard as stones; we sit unmoved and hear any bad news chance may bring. Are we stupefied?

1 After the battle, Atlanta was taken possession of and partly burned by the Federals.

SOURCE: Mary Boykin Chesnut, Edited by Isabella D. Martin and Myrta Lockett Avary, A Diary From Dixie, p. 326

Diary of Judith Brockenbrough McGuire: May 20, 1863

I feel depressed to-night. Army news from the South bad. General Pemberton has been repulsed between Jackson and Vicksburg. General Johnston is there; I hope, by the mercy of God, he may be able to keep the enemy out of Vicksburg. Besides the depressing news, the day has been distressing in the hospital — so much suffering among the wounded. One fine young man has the appearance and manner of imbecility, from having been struck on the head by a piece of shell. No relief can be given him, and the surgeons say that he must die.

Mr. ––– staid in town to attend the Church “Council,” as it is now called. This new name may be more appropriate to an ecclesiastical meeting, yet “Virginia Convention” has a sweet, hallowed sound to me.

SOURCE: Judith W. McGuire, Diary of a Southern Refugee, During the War, p. 216

Charlotte Cross Wigfall to Francis H. Wigfall, May 12, 1863

I have just come up from witnessing the funeral procession of dear “old Stonewall.” I never saw a more solemn scene and hope never to see another such. This morning early I went to the Governor's and saw the body lying in state. He looks perfectly natural, more as if he were asleep than dead. No one seems to know who will succeed to his command.

SOURCE: Louise Wigfall Wright, A Southern Girl in ’61, p. 127

Diary of Sarah Morgan: Sunday, July 20, 1862

Last night the town was in a dreadful state of excitement. Before sunset a regiment, that had been camped out of town, came in, and pitched their tents around the new theatre, in front of our church. All was commotion and bustle; and as the pickets had been drawn in, and the soldiers talked freely of expecting an attack, everybody believed it, and was consequently in rather an unpleasant state of anticipation. Their cannon were on the commons back of the church, the artillery horses tied to the wheels; while some dozen tents were placed around, filled with men who were ready to harness them at the first alarm. With all these preparations in full view, we went to bed as usual. I did not even take the trouble of gathering my things which I had removed from my “peddler sack”; and slept, satisfied that, if forced to fly, I would lose almost everything in spite of my precaution in making a bag.

Well! night passed, and here is morning, and nothing is heard yet. The attack is delayed until this evening, or to-morrow, they say. Woman though I am, I am by no means as frightened as some of these men are. I can't get excited about it. Perhaps it is because they know the danger, and I do not. But I hate to see men uneasy! I have been so accustomed to brave, fearless ones, who would beard the Devil himself, that it gives me a great disgust to see any one less daring than father and the boys.

I have been so busy preparing to go to the city that I think if the frolic should intervene and prevent my departure, I would be disappointed, though I do not want to go. It would be unpleasant, for instance, to pack all I own in my trunk, and just as I place the key in my pocket to hear the shriek of “Van Dorn!” raised again. This time it is to be Ruggles, though. I would not mind if he came before I was packed. Besides, even if I miss the fun here, they say the boats are fired into from Plaquemine; and then I have the pleasure of being in a fight anyhow. Mother is alarmed about that part of my voyage, but Miriam and I persuaded her it is nothing.

If I was a man — oh, wouldn't I be in Richmond with the boys!  . . . What is the use of all these worthless women, in war times? If they attack, I shall don the breeches, and join the assailants, and fight, though I think they would be hopeless fools to attempt to capture a town they could not hold for ten minutes under the gunboats. How do breeches and coats feel, I wonder? I am actually afraid of them. I kept a suit of Jimmy's hanging in the armoir for six weeks waiting for the Yankees to come, thinking fright would give me courage to try it (what a seeming paradox!), but I never succeeded. Lilly one day insisted on my trying it, and I advanced so far as to lay it on the bed, and then carried my bird out — I was ashamed to let even my canary see me; — but when I took a second look, my courage deserted me, and there ended my first and last attempt at disguise. I have heard so many girls boast of having worn men's clothes; I wonder where they get the courage.

To think half the men in town sat up all night in expectation of a stampede, while we poor women slept serenely! Everybody is digging pits to hide in when the ball opens. The Days have dug a tremendous one; the Wolffs, Sheppers, and some fifty others have taken the same precaution. They may as well dig their graves at once; what if a tremendous shell should burst over them, and bury in the dirt those who were not killed? Oh, no! let me see all the danger, and the way it is coming, at once. To-morrow, — or day after, — in case no unexpected little incident occurs in the interval, I purpose going to New Orleans, taking father's papers and part of Miriam's and mother's valuables for safe-keeping. I hate to go, but they all think I should, as it will be one less to look after if we are shelled — which I doubt. I don't know that I require much protection, but I might as well be agreeable and go. Ouf! how I will grow homesick, before I am out of sight!

SOURCE: Sarah Morgan Dawson, A Confederate Girl's Diary, p. 118-21

Diary of Corporal Alexander G. Downing: Thursday, November 10, 1864

All is quiet in camp. I borrowed $25.00 from William Barrett until next pay day. Several trains came in from the North this morning. We received a large mail. All men unable to stand the march on our Southern expedition are being sent North. Each regiment will be allowed but one wagon, and the number of headquarters wagons will be greatly reduced. Every man in the ranks will have to carry his shelter tent.

Source: Alexander G. Downing, Edited by Olynthus B., Clark, Downing’s Civil War Diary, p. 227

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Diary of Judith Brockenbrough McGuire: Monday, May 18, 1863

This morning we had the gratification of a short visit from General Lee. He called and breakfasted with us, while the other passengers in the cars breakfasted at the hotel. We were very glad to see that great and good man look so well and so cheerful. His beard is very long, and painfully gray, which makes him appear much older than he really is. One of the ladies at table, with whom he is closely connected, rallied him on allowing his beard to grow, saying, “Cousin R., it makes you look too venerable for your years.” He was amused, and pleaded as his excuse the inconvenience of shaving in camp. “Well,” she replied, “if I were in Cousin Mary's place (Mrs. L’s) I would allow it to remain now, but I would take it off as soon as the war is over.” He answered, while a shade passed over his bright countenance, “When the war is over, my dear L., she may take my beard off, and my head with it, if she chooses.” This he said as the whistle summoned him to his seat in the cars, not meaning to depress us, or imagining for an instant that we would think of it again; but it proved to us that he knew that the end was not yet, and disappointed us, for after every great victory we cannot help hoping that the Federal Government may be tired of war and bloodshed, rapine and murder, and withdraw its myriads to more innocent pursuits.

Yesterday evening we were agreeably surprised by a call from W. B. C., just recovered from his dreadful wound, received at Fredericksburg last winter. He is an infantry captain of the Stonewall Brigade, and is just returning to his company. Alas! alas! his great Captain has passed away during his absence, which makes his return very sad. He thinks that General Ewell is the man of all others to put in his place, though no man can fill it. General Ewell, he says, is one of General Jackson's most enthusiastic admirers, believing him to have been almost an inspired man. General E. relates an incident of him, when on their victorious march through the Valley last summer, which is beautifully characteristic of General J. One night, when it was evident that there must be a battle next day, he (General E.) went to General Jackson for his plans. General J. replied that he would give them to him next morning, as they had not yet been formed. General E. felt uneasy and restless, and could not sleep. About midnight he arose, and, passing through the sleeping multitudes, he reached General Jackson's tent, and was about to raise the curtain to enter it, when his attention was arrested by the voice of prayer. General Jackson was praying fervently for guidance through the coming day. General E. remarked to a friend that he had never before heard a prayer so devout and beautiful; he then, for the first time, felt the desire to be a Christian. He retired to his tent quietly, without disturbing General J., feeling assured that all would be well. The next morning a fight came off, replete with victory. General Ewell was subsequently wounded at the second battle of Manassas, and it is said that he has since become a Christian. God grant that it may be so!

I have been in Richmond for two days past, nursing the wounded of our little hospital. Some of them are very severely injured, yet they are the most cheerful invalids I ever saw. It is remarked in all the hospitals that the cheerfulness of the wounded in proportion to their suffering is much greater than that of the sick. Under my care, yesterday, was one poor fellow, with a ball embedded in his neck; another with an amputated leg; one with a hole in his breast, through which a bullet had passed; another with a shattered arm; and others with slighter wounds; yet all showed indomitable spirit; evinced a readiness to be amused or interested in every thing around them; asked that the morning papers might be read to them, and gloried in their late victory; and expressed an anxiety to get well, that they may have another “chance at them fellows. The Yankees are said to have landed at West Point, and are thence sending out raiding parties over the country. Colonel Davis, who led the party here on the third, has been severely wounded by a scouting party, sent out by General Wise towards Tunstall's Station. It is said he has lost his leg. So may it be!

SOURCE: Judith W. McGuire, Diary of a Southern Refugee, During the War, p. 214-6

Charlotte Cross Wigfall to Francis H. Wigfall, May 11, 1863

May 11th, 1863.

We are all saddened to the heart to-night by hearing the death of our hero Jackson! In addition to our own irreparable loss, it will put new life and courage into our cruel foe. It will cause mourning all over our land and each person seems to feel as if he had lost a relative. I feel more disheartened about the war now than I have ever felt before. It seems to me, it is to be interminable, and what a wretched life of anxiety it is to look forward to! I suppose the death of Jackson has affected us all and I can't help thinking it will put new life into the enemy and give him courage to make another attempt very soon. You see by the papers they claim having taken almost as many prisoners as we have and I am sure the loss of Jackson has turned the last fight into a calamity, if not a curse. I expect you will think I am really blue — but you know Jackson has been my hero and favorite for a long time. We must, though, hope on, hope ever!

SOURCE: Louise Wigfall Wright, A Southern Girl in ’61, p. 126

EDITOR’S NOTE: Francis H. Wigfall was then with Fitz Lee’s Cavalry Division.

Diary of Sarah Morgan: Thursday, July 17, 1862

It is decided that I am to go to New Orleans next week. I hardly know which I dislike most, going or staying. I know I shall be dreadfully homesick; but —

Remember — and keep quiet, Sarah, I beg of you. Everything points to an early attack here. Some say this week. The Federals are cutting down all our beautiful woods near the Penitentiary, to throw up breastworks, some say. Cannon are to be planted on the foundation of Mr. Pike's new house; everybody is in a state of expectation. Honestly, if Baton Rouge has to be shelled, I shall hate to miss the fun. It will be worth seeing, and I would like to be present, even at the risk of losing my big toe by a shell. But then, by going, I can save many of my clothes, and then Miriam and I can divide when everything is burned — that is one advantage, besides being beneficial by the change of air. They say the town is to be attacked to-night. I don't believe a word of it.

Oh, I was so distressed this evening! They tell me Mr. Biddle was killed at Vicksburg. I hope it is not true. Suppose it was a shot from Will's battery?

SOURCE: Sarah Morgan Dawson, A Confederate Girl's Diary, p. 117-8

Diary of Corporal Alexander G. Downing: Wednesday, November 9, 1864

It is still raining. I went out on picket this morning. We received orders to be ready to move at a moment's notice, for the purpose of tearing up the railroad tracks. Citizens all around Atlanta, hearing that the Yankees are going to leave the place, are coming in larger numbers to go North. Women leave their homes and all they have, and with their children walk a distance of thirty miles, for the sake of getting to the North. Where both armies have been ravaging the country, the people are destitute — haven't anything to eat — and therefore they have to leave their homes. No news from the North.

Source: Alexander G. Downing, Edited by Olynthus B., Clark, Downing’s Civil War Diary, p. 227

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Diary of Sarah Morgan: July 14, 1862 – 3 p.m.

Another pleasant excitement. News has just arrived that Scott's cavalry was having a hard fight with the Yankees eight miles from town. Everybody immediately commenced to pick up stray articles, and get ready to fly, in spite of the intense heat. I am resigned, as I hardly expect a shelling. Another report places the fight fourteen miles from here. A man on horseback came in for reinforcements. Heaven help poor Howell, if it is true. I am beginning to doubt half I hear. People tell me the most extravagant things, and if I am fool enough to believe them and repeat them, I suddenly discover that it is not half so true as it might be, and as they themselves frequently deny having told it, all the odium of “manufacturing” rests on my shoulders, which have not been accustomed to bear lies of any kind. I mean to cease believing anything, unless it rests on the word of some responsible person. By the way — the order I so confidently believed, concerning the proclamation, turns out not quite so bad. I was told women were included, and it extended to private houses as well as public ones, though I fortunately omitted that when I recorded it. When I read it, it said, “All discussions concerning the war are prohibited in bar-rooms, public assemblies, and street corners.” As women do not frequent such places, and private houses are not mentioned, I cannot imagine how my informant made the mistake, unless, like me, it was through hearing it repeated. Odious as I thought it then, I think it wise now; for more than one man has lost his life through discussions of the kind.

SOURCE: Sarah Morgan Dawson, A Confederate Girl's Diary, p. 116-7

Diary of Corporal Alexander G. Downing: Tuesday, November 8, 1864

Still in camp. Some rain today. Ten train loads of army supplies left for the North. A great many refugees are being sent north, as it will be impossible for them to make a living down here during the coming winter. This is election day and everything is very quiet in camp, as political speeches are not allowed in the army. The election went off fine. Our regiment is strong for Old Abraham — three hundred and fourteen votes for Lincoln and forty-two for McClellan. I bought a watch of John Aubin for $18.50. Some of the boys are having lively times down town; they are going in on their nerves, to make up for lost time.

Source: Alexander G. Downing, Edited by Olynthus B., Clark, Downing’s Civil War Diary, p. 227

Official Reports of the Advance of the Union Forces to the Line of the Rappahannock, Va., November 7-8, 1863: No. 17. Report of Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick, U.S. Army, commanding Right Column, of engagement at Rappahannock Station, with Congratulatory Orders.

No. 17

Report of Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick, U.S. Army, commanding Right Column, of engagement at Rappahannock Station, with congratulatory orders.

NEAR BRANDY STATION, January 3, 1864
Brigadier-General S. WILLIAMS,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

GENERAL: I respectfully submit the following report of the operations of the Right Column of the Army of the Potomac, on the 7th of November ultimo, at Rappahannock Station:

In compliance with the order of the general commanding, the Fifth Corps (Major-General Sykes) and the Sixth Corps (Brigadier-General Wright) took the positions assigned them on the left and right of the railroad near the enemy's intrenched position at Rappahannock Station, and at 3 p.m. pushed forward their skirmishers to the river bank on the left and right of the general line. The enemy's skirmishers were driven to their rifle-pits. These extended from the railroad a distance of 1,000 yards up the river upon a slope of excellent command. Near the railroad and upon the crowning points of this slope redoubts had been erected, which covered all approaches from the front. This position was one of unusual strength.

During the afternoon three batteries of the Sixth Corps, two of the Fifth Corps, and one of the Artillery Reserve maintained a vigorous fire upon the redoubts, to which the enemy as vigorously replied. At dusk an assault was ordered, and brilliantly executed by Brigadier-General Russell with two brigades of his division, commanded, respectively, by Colonels Upton and Ellmaker. The works were carried gallantly. Two brigades of the enemy, numbering over 1,700, including the brigade commanders, and 130 commissioned officers, 4 pieces of artillery, with caissons and ammunition, 2,000 stand of arms, 8 colors, and a pontoon bridge were captured in the assault.

I desire to call the attention of the general commanding to the fact that the enemy's intrenchments were defended by a force numerically equal to the attacking party, and to say that the officers and troops engaged in the assault, particularly Brigadier-General Russell, Colonels Upton and Ellmaker, and the Fifth Wisconsin and the Sixth Maine Volunteers, deserve the highest praise that can be bestowed upon a soldier.

The casualties in my command were as follows:

Fifth Corps: Killed, 7 enlisted men; wounded, 3 officers and 42 enlisted men.*

Sixth Corps: Killed, 8 officers and 68 enlisted men; wounded, 26 officers and 258 enlisted men.*

A list of names has already been forwarded.
For a more detailed account of the operations herein generally described, I respectfully refer to the accompanying reports of Major-General Sykes and Brigadier-General Wright.

I am, general, very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
Major-General, Commanding Rigid Column.
 Brig. Gen. S. WILLIAMS,
Assistant Adjutant-General.



* See revised statement, p. 558

SOURCES: George William Curtis, Correspondence of John Sedgwick, Major-General, Volume 2, p. 169-71; The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 29, Part 1 (Serial No. 48), p. 574-5

Monday, August 24, 2015

Major-General John Sedgwick’s General Orders, No. 1, November 8, 1863


November 8, 1863.

The general commanding the Right Column congratulates the troops of his command on the admirable success which attended their operations of yesterday. The enemy was attacked in an intrenched position of great strength, in inclosed works, defended by artillery and infantry, and compelled to surrender, after a sharp conflict, to an assaulting column actually inferior in numbers to the force defending the works. Four pieces of artillery, 4 caissons, filled with ammunition, the enemy's pontoon bridge, 8 battle-flags, 2,000 stand of small-arms, 1,600 prisoners, including 2 brigade commanders, and 130 commissioned officers are the fruits of the victory.

The prompt advance of the Fifth Corps to the river, the assault from the right of its line, and its gallant entry into the redoubt simultaneously with the troops of the Sixth Corps, are worthy of high praise.

The taking of the heights on the right by Neill's and Shaler's brigades of the Sixth Corps, under Brigadier-General Howe, to obtain position for the batteries, was admirably accomplished.

The assault of the storming party, under General Russell, conducted over rough ground in the full fire of the works, could not be surpassed in steadiness and gallantry. The brigades of Colonel Ellmaker and Colonel Upton, and the troops of the Fifth Corps which participated in the assault, have nobly earned the admiration and gratitude of their comrades and commanders.

The Sixth Maine and Fifth Wisconsin Volunteers, for carrying the redoubts; the One hundred and twenty-first New York, Fifth Maine, and Forty-ninth and One hundred and nineteenth Pennsylvania Volunteers, for taking the line of rifle-pits with the bayonet and seizing the enemy's bridge, deserve especial honor.

By command of Major-General Sedgwick:
Chief of Staff, and Assistant Adjutant-General.

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 29, Part 1 (Serial No. 48), p. 575-6

Major-General George G. Meade’s General Orders, No. 101, November 9, 1863


November 9, 1863.

The commanding general congratulates the army upon the recent successful passage of the Rappahannock in the face of the enemy, compelling him to withdraw to his intrenchments behind the Rapidan.

To Major-General Sedgwick and the officers and men of the Sixth and Fifth Corps participating in the attack – particularly to the storming party under Brigadier-General Russell – his thanks are due for the gallantry displayed in the assault on the enemy's intrenched position at Rappahannock Station, resulting in the capture of 4 guns, 2,000 small-arms, 8 battle-flags, 1 bridge train, and 1,600 prisoners.

To Major-General French and the officers and men of the Third Corps engaged – particularly to the leading column, commanded by Colonel De Trobriand – his thanks are due for the gallantry displayed in the crossing at Kelly's Ford and the seizure of the enemy's intrenchments, and the capture of over 400 prisoners.

The commanding general takes great pleasure in announcing to the army that the President has expressed his satisfaction with its recent operations.

By command of Major-General Meade:

Assistant Adjutant-General.

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 29, Part 1 (Serial No. 48), p. 576

Lieutenant-Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes to Lucy Webb Hayes: Tuesday Morning, January 28, 1862

[fayetteville], January 28, 1862.
Tuesday A. M. — before breakfast.

Dear Lute: — I am getting impatient to be with you. I have sent for leave of absence during the month of February. I expect to get a favorable answer so as to leave here by the last of the week. If so, nothing but some inroad of the enemy south of us will delay my coming. They are threatening “Camp Hayes” — mustn't let that be taken — and we sent Captain Sperry's company and two of McMullen's Battery there in the night, last night. I suspect that will settle the thing. I am delighted with the Kentucky victory, and particularly that my friend McCook and his regiment take the honors. .We were good friends before the war, but much more intimately so since we came into service. Our regiments, too, fraternized more cordially with each other than with anybody else.

Do not give it up, if I should not come quite so soon as I wish. I am bent on coming as soon as possible — am getting ready. Sold my horse. Sorry to do it, but he was unsafe — would sometimes stumble. Will get another in Ohio. I do want to see you “s'much,” and I love you “s'much.” Good-bye.

Mrs. Hayes.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 195-6

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: January 15, 1862

I forgot to mention the fact that some weeks , ago I received a work in manuscript from London, sent thither before the war, and brought by a bearer of dispatches from our Commissioner, Hon. Ambrose Dudley Mann, to whom I had written on the subject. I owe him a debt of gratitude for this kindness. When peace is restored, I shall have in readiness some contributions to the literature of the South, and my family, if I should not survive, may derive pecuniary benefit from them. I look for a long war, unless a Napoleon springs up among us, a thing not at all probable, for I believe there are those who are constantly on the watch for such dangerous characters, and they may possess the power to nip all embryo emperors in the bud.

Some of our functionaries are not justly entitled to the great positions they occupy. They attained them by a species of snap-judgment, from which there may be an appeal hereafter. It is very certain that many of our best men have no adequate positions, and revolutions are mutable things.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 105

Diary of Mary Boykin Chesnut: August 29, 1864

I take my hospital duty in the morning. Most persons prefer afternoon, but I dislike to give up my pleasant evenings. So I get up at five o'clock and go down in my carriage all laden with provisions. Mrs. Fisher and old Mr. Bryan generally go with me. Provisions are commonly sent by people to Mrs. Fisher's. I am so glad to be a hospital nurse once more. I had excuses enough, but at heart I felt a coward and a skulker. I think I know how men feel who hire a substitute and shirk the fight. There must be no dodging of duty. It will not do now to send provisions and pay for nurses. Something inside of me kept calling out, “Go, you shabby creature; you can't bear to see what those fine fellows have to bear.”

Mrs. Izard was staying with me last night, and as I slipped away I begged Molly to keep everything dead still and not let Mrs. Izard be disturbed until I got home. About ten I drove up and there was a row to wake the dead. Molly's eldest daughter, who nurses her baby sister, let the baby fall, and, regardless of Mrs. Izard, as I was away, Molly was giving the nurse a switching in the yard, accompanied by howls and yells worthy of a Comanche! The small nurse welcomed my advent, no doubt, for in two seconds peace was restored. Mrs. Izard said she sympathized with the baby's mother; so I forgave the uproar.

I have excellent servants; no matter for their shortcomings behind my back. They gave me all thought as to household matters, and they are so kind, attentive, and quiet. They must know what is at hand if Sherman is not hindered from coming here — “Freedom! my masters!” But these sphinxes give no sign, unless it be increased diligence and absolute silence, as certain in their action and as noiseless as a law of nature, at any rate when we are in the house.

That fearful hospital haunts me all day long, and is worse at night. So much suffering, such loathsome wounds, such distortion, with stumps of limbs not half cured, exhibited to all. Then, when I was so tired yesterday, Molly was looking more like an enraged lioness than anything else, roaring that her baby's neck was broken, and howling cries of vengeance. The poor little careless nurse's dark face had an ashen tinge of gray terror. She was crouching near the ground like an animal trying to hide, and her mother striking at her as she rolled away. All this was my welcome as I entered the gate. It takes these half-Africans but a moment to go back to their naked savage animal nature. Mrs. Izard is a charming person. She tried so to make me forget it all and rest.

SOURCE: Mary Boykin Chesnut, Edited by Isabella D. Martin and Myrta Lockett Avary, A Diary From Dixie, p. 324-6

Diary of Judith Brockenbrough McGuire: May 16, 1863

We were aroused this morning before daylight, by reports that the Yankees were making a raid, and were very near this place. We all dressed hastily, and the gentlemen went out to devise means to stop the trains which were to pass through. Though within five miles of us, they became aware that notice had been given of their purpose, and they immediately turned their steps to some more private place, where they might rob and plunder without molestation. The miserable poltroons, when on one of their raids, will become frightened by the sudden rising of a covey of partridges, and be diverted from their course; then they will ride bravely to a house, where they know they will only find women and children; order meals to be prepared; search the house; take the valuables; feed their horses at the barns; take off the horses from the stables; shoot the pigs, sheep, and other stock, and leave them dead in the fields; rob the poultry-yards; then, after regaling themselves on the meals which have been prepared by force, with the threats of bayonets and pistols, they ride off, having pocketed the silver spoons and forks, which may have unwittingly been left in their way.

I have been in Richmond for two days past, nursing the wounded of our little hospital. Some of them are very severely injured, yet they are the most cheerful invalids I ever saw. It is remarked in all the hospitals that the cheerfulness of the wounded in proportion to their suffering is much greater than that of the sick. Under my care, yesterday, was one poor fellow, with a ball embedded in his neck; another with an amputated leg; one with a hole in his breast, through which a bullet had passed; another with a shattered arm; and others with slighter wounds; yet all showed indomitable spirit; evinced a readiness to be amused or interested in every thing around them; asked that the morning papers might be read to them, and gloried in their late victory; and expressed an anxiety to get well, that they may have another “chance at them fellows. The Yankees are said to have landed at West Point, and are thence sending out raiding parties over the country. Colonel Davis, who led the party here on the third, has been severely wounded by a scouting party, sent out by General Wise towards Tunstall's Station. It is said he has lost his leg. So may it be!

SOURCE: Judith W. McGuire, Diary of a Southern Refugee, During the War, p. 213-4

General Joseph E. Johnston to Senator Louis T. Wigfall, February 14, 1863

knoxville, Tenn.,
Feb. 14th, 1863.
My dear Wigfall:

I have several times taken the liberty of asking you by telegraph to try to get R. A. Howard made Brig. Genl., Schleicher made a Capt. of Engineers and the McLean, of Bull Run, in whom you and Mr. Clay were so much interested, put into the Qr. Mrs. dept. As these things were all for the benefit of the military service, in which you take as much interest as any soldier or citizen of the Confederacy, it is unnecessary for me to apologize. Let me now ask you to consider the services of the Army of Tennessee. Our principal officers and the most intelligent of our friends in Nashville estimate the loss of the enemy in the battle of Murfreesboro' at not less than 20,000 — the force which inflicted that loss could not have been much more than 30,000. More effective fighting is not to be found in the history of modern battles. The enemy fell back to a very strong position, where he received reinforcements, on account of which our army abandoned the ground; the general being urged to do so by those under him of high rank. This Army of Tennessee has had a hard time of it and a thankless one. My object now is to persuade that in the neighborhood of Murfreesboro' it was well commanded and fought most gallantly, inflicting upon the enemy more harm in proportion to its members, if my memory is not at fault, than any army of modern times. So if you thank any troops for fighting well, these, it seems to me, should be included. I desired Gen. Harris, of Missouri, to say so to you. I am especially interested in this matter because the thanks of Congress would have a good effect upon the troops who feel that others have received the compliment for far less marching and fighting. Bragg has commanded admirably in Tennessee and made the best use of his troops of all arms.

I have been very busy for some time looking for something to do — to little purpose, but with much travelling. Each of the three departments assigned to me has its general and as there is no room for two, and I can't remove him appointed by the Prest. for the precise place, nothing but the post of Inspector General is left to me. I wrote to the President on the subject — trying to explain that I am virtually laid upon the shelf with the responsibility of command, but he has not replied, perhaps because he has no better place for me. I should much prefer the command of fifty men.

Very truly yours.
J. E. Johnston.

SOURCE: Louise Wigfall Wright, A Southern Girl in ’61, p. 123-5

Diary of Sarah Morgan: Sunday, July 13, 1862

A profitable way to spend such a day! Being forced to dispense with church-going, I have occupied myself in reading a great deal, and writing a little, which latter duty is a favorite task of mine after church on Sundays. But this evening, the mosquitoes are so savage that writing became impossible, until Miriam and I instituted a grand extermination process, which we partly accomplished by extraordinary efforts. She lay on the bed with the bar half-drawn over her, and half-looped up, while I was commissioned to fan the wretches from all corners into the pen. It was rather fatiguing, and in spite of the numbers slain, hardly recompensed me for the trouble of hunting them around the room; but still, Miriam says exercise is good for me, and she ought to know.

I have been reading that old disguster, Boswell. Bah! I have no patience with the toady! I suppose “my mind is not yet thoroughly impregnated with the Johnsonian ether,” and that is the reason why I cannot appreciate him, or his work. I admire him for his patience and minuteness in compiling such trivial details. He must have been an amiable man, to bear Johnson's brutal, ill-humored remarks; but seems to me if I had not spirit enough to resent the indignity, I would at least not publish it to the world! Briefly, my opinion, which this book has only tended to confirm, is that Boswell was a vain, conceited prig, a fool of a jackanape, an insupportable sycophant, a — whatever mean thing you please; there is no word small enough to suit him. As to Johnson, he is a surly old bear; in short, an old brute of a tyrant. All his knowledge and attainments could not have made me tolerate him, I am sure. I could have no respect for a man who was so coarse in speech and manners, and who eat like an animal. Fact is, I am not a Boswellian, or a Johnsonian, either. I do not think him such an extraordinary man. I have heard many conversations as worthy of being recorded as nineteen-twentieths of his. In spite of his learning, he was narrow-minded and bigoted, which I despise above all earthly failings. Witness his tirades against Americans, calling us Rascals, Robbers, Pirates, and saying he would like to burn us! Now I have railed at many of these ordinary women here, for using like epithets for the Yankees, and have felt the greatest contempt for their absurd abuse. These poor women do not aspire to Johnsonian wisdom, and their ignorance may serve as an excuse for their narrow-mindedness; but the wondrous Johnson to rave and bellow like any Billingsgate nymph! Bah! He is an old disguster!

SOURCE: Sarah Morgan Dawson, A Confederate Girl's Diary, p. 114-6

Diary of Corporal Alexander G. Downing: Sunday, November 6, 1864

Our division was moved in close to town today and went into camp. We received orders to remain here a few days, to draw clothing and receive our pay. This was glorious news. We pulled down vacant houses and proceeded to build bunks and “ranches” with the lumber, covering them with our rubber ponchos. The Sixteenth Iowa went out with the regimental teams for forage. Nine trains came in over the railroad from the north, loaded with provisions for the army stationed at the different points along the line, and at Atlanta. Things are quite lively in town today.

Source: Alexander G. Downing, Edited by Olynthus B., Clark, Downing’s Civil War Diary, p. 226

Diary of Corporal Alexander G. Downing: Monday, November 7, 1864

It is cloudy and quite cool. The Eleventh Iowa received six months' pay this afternoon, besides another installment of the bounty. I got $148.00 in pay and $100.00 of bounty money. Our army is preparing to evacuate Atlanta. The general quartermaster is loading every train going north with the surplus commissariat and all extra army baggage. It is reported that our army is going to fall back as far as Chattanooga, and that we are to destroy the railroad as we go. There is a report that the army of the Tennessee is going on a long expedition further south.1

1 This was through Georgia, but as yet the men knew nothing definite. — Ed.

Source: Alexander G. Downing, Edited by Olynthus B., Clark, Downing’s Civil War Diary, p. 227

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Lieutenant William Thompson Lusk to Elizabeth Adams Lusk, October 21, 1861

October 21st, 1861.
My dear Mother:

We are sailing rapidly down the Chesapeake, still in doubt as to our ultimate destination, but expecting soon to reach Fortress Monroe where possibly there may be a chance of mailing a letter. We feel as though we were leaving the scene of old triumphs, and old disasters — of the latter we are mindful of many; so it was delicate sarcasm upon the part of our Bandmaster which induced him to strike up “Carry me back to old Virginny!” as we were crossing the Chain Bridge (which spans the Potomac), leaving the “sacred soil” behind us. And now we are embarked on the “Vanderbilt,” bound, this much we know, for “Dixie.” I am hoping to exchange salutations with some of my old friends in Charleston. What fun it would be to be playing the magnanimous to a captive Prince Hugo, or Whalley despising Yankees much, or any other of the royal youth who live in the Kingdom of South Carolina. It may be we are to visit Mobile. If so, tell Hunt I will try and collect his rents with interest. But why speculate?

Let us pray for laurels and victory! Much is expected of the 79th Regiment, I find. “My Highlanders!” as Gen. Stevens calls them. “They are equal to Regulars,” the General is reported to have said to Gen. Sherman' commanding our expedition. "Send for them!" says Sherman. They are sent for, and arrive on shipboard in a horrible state of intoxication, with bloody faces and soiled clothes. The Chaplain of the 8th Michigan Regiment is horrified. He preaches to his men, and says: “I wish to make no invidious comparisons, but after what I've seen of late, I'm proud of you for your excellent conduct!” Well, we must hope that “My Highlanders” will silence invidious comparison when facing the foe. You tell me Ellis thinks I ought to boast of my Graham blood, and gently urge the same yourself, but the fact is, nothing has caused more amusement than Ellis' own pretensions to his descent from the King of the Hebrides. Indeed, on one occasion, up at Sunbury — a country town of Pennsylvania — when he was introduced on a public occasion to the worthy citizens of the place as a lineal descendant of Donald, King of the Hebrides, a man in the audience forgot himself so far as to call out, “Damn Donald, King of the Hebrides!” which was highly improper, and wholly irrelevant, yet very entertaining to those who heard it. I am awaiting an official announcement of the birth of Walter's boy, and mean to write congratulations as soon as I can find time. Hall will soon be married, he tells me. All my friends are getting settled, but I am a Nomad, fit, I fancy, for my present mode of life, which I find healthy and by no means disagreeable. Indeed, were my brother officers of a more agreeable character, I would take to soldiering with a relish, and with a reasonable amount of success might cry, “Vive la guerre!” However all dreams of the future terminate in dreams of peace, of home, and honorable repose in advancing years, all of which, dear mother, may we enjoy together, loving our country better, for having proved that it was so dear that we were willing even to give up our life for its preservation.

Well, the blessings of peace be upon all at home. Kiss the little ones for me. Give love to all and

Believe me,

1 Thomas W. Sherman.

SOURCE: William Chittenden Lusk, Editor, War Letters of William Thompson Lusk, p. 91-2

Colonel William F. Bartlett to Harriett Plummer Bartlett, Saturday, March 7, 1863

Saturday, March 7.

Order came this morning before I was up, to go out with my regiment as escort and guard to wagon train outside the lines. There reported to me quite a little force for the expedition, which I disposed of as follows: In advance I sent a troop of cavalry, McGee's Massachusetts, armed with carbines and sabres. Next, seven companies of the Forty-ninth Regiment, under Lieutenant-colonel Sumner. Next, a section of a battery of regulars, Glosson's Battery, twelve-pounders, rifled. Then came the train of seventy-five wagons, reaching half a mile. In rear of these, three companies of the Forty-ninth, under Major Plunkett, as rear guard. The whole command extended nearly a mile. I rode ahead with the cavalry advance guard. It was quite a pretty little force. Captain Hodge, Assistant Quartermaster, U. S. A., had immediate charge of the wagon train. We marched about three miles beyond the outposts, fairly into the enemy's country. The plantation where we were going for wood, dried and corded, belonged to a Dr. Laycock. It covers about a thousand acres. He raises splendid sugar, molasses, and cotton.

Just before we got to the place, the Clay Cut road, which we were on, turns to the right, and you approach the plantation through a thick belt of woods by a narrow avenue.

I sent half a dozen troopers up the Clay Cut road half a mile, to halt and keep on the look out. I sent one company of the Forty-ninth up the same road quarter of a mile, to support them, give alarm, and resist attack. I then rode through the woods with the cavalry, and found everything clear. The house stands in the middle of a large clearing of fifty acres of perfectly level land, a fine mansion, newer and in better repair than most of the southern houses I have seen. The owner was on the verandah when we rode up. He is a professed Union man, has a safeguard from the General, etc. While waiting for the column to come up, he invited me and the officers who were with me, two of General Augur's staff, Ben and Dr. Rice, to go in and take some whiskey.

The others went in; I went on with the cavalry to the other side of the clearing, where the wood of many years' seasoning was piled. It was near the sugar-house, which was filled with sugar and molasses. Here I posted the infantry and artillery, and went with a few of the cavalry to the farther sides to reconnoitre. An old darkey told me that five rebel cavalry men stopped him in the morning, a little while before we got there, and asked him if there had been any Federal pickets there lately. I divided the cavalry into three parts, guarding the three approaches to the place, and kept one squad with me. I posted the artillery where it could hold two roads, and let the men rest on their arms, while the teams were being loaded. This took about an hour and a half. When we were ready to return, I started the rear guard, now become the advance, then the teams, then the artillery and infantry, and after they were well off, I drew in the outposts and videttes and followed with the cavalry. I dare say the enemy was watching us all the time, but wisely determined not to molest us. I was rather hoping they would, for I was all prepared for it, and had a very pretty little force under my command. We got back to camp about four P. M., after a very pleasant little trip into the country, accomplishing all we went out for, and returning without loss. The men got their canteens filled with rich New Orleans syrup, and sugar enough to sweeten their coffee .for many days.

SOURCE: Francis Winthrop Palfrey, Memoir of William Francis Bartlett, p. 68-70

Diary of Gideon Welles: Tuesday, September 30, 1862

Little of importance at the Cabinet-meeting. The President laid before us the address of the loyal Governors who lately met at Altoona. Its publication has been delayed in expectation that Governor Bradford of Maryland would sign it, but nothing has been heard from him. His wife was here yesterday to get a pass to visit her son, who is a Rebel officer and cannot come to her. She therefore desires to go to him. Seward kindly procured the document for her. I am for exercising the gentle virtues when it can consistently and properly be done, but favor no social visitations like this. Let the Rebel perish away from the parents whom he has abandoned by deserting his country and fighting against his government. The President informed us of his interview with Key, one of Halleck's staff, who said it was not the game of the army to capture the Rebels at Antietam, for that would give the North advantage and end slavery; it was the policy of the army officers to exhaust both sides and then enforce a compromise which would save slavery.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 1: 1861 – March 30, 1864, p. 156

Diary of Salmon P. Chase: Tuesday, September 30, 1862

The papers this morning confirm the news of Nelson's death. He died as the fool dieth. How sad! His early services to the Union cause in Kentucky — his generous and manly nature—his fine talents and great energy — compelled my admiration and esteem; while his cruelty and passion and tyranny, especially when excited by drink, often excited my indignation. Nothing from any quarter of much importance in a military point of view.

Genl. Garfield, at breakfast, related this: When Genl. Buell's army was on the march to Nashville, a regiment passed in front of the house of Genl. Pillow's brother, where was a spring of good water and a little stream issuing from it. As the soldiers quenched their thirst and filled their canteens and watered their horses at the stream, Pillow came out and cursed the men, forbidding them to take water and saying that if he were younger he would fight against the Yankees until the last man of them was killed or driven home. A Lieutenant commanding the Company then having expostulated with him without effect and finding the army likely to be delayed by his interference, directed him to be put under arrest, and sent him to the Colonel. It happened that this Colonel was an admirer of Miss Stevenson — a young lady of Nashville, a niece of Pillow and a violent Secessionist — and had been in the habit of sending the Regimental Band to serenade her with “Dixie” and the like, not playing any National airs. As soon as he understood who Pillow was, therefore, he discharged him from arrest and apologized for it; and at the same time arrested the young Lieutenant. Pillow returned to his house, mounted his horse and rode to Genl. Buell's Headquarters and complained that a slave of his had escaped and was somewhere in the army. Buell gave him leave to hunt for him and with this warrant he rode where he pleased. After fully satisfying himself he went on to Corinth and gave Beauregard a full account of Buell's force and rate of advance. This information led to an attack on Grant's division, which Beauregard hoped to destroy before Buell should come—and he almost succeeded in doing it.

At Department received a note from Seward, with memorandum by Stuart, Acting British Minister, of conversations with Seward about cotton. From this memorandum, it appears that Butler's order of August, authorizing free purchases even from Slidell, and Grant's order annulling Sherman's prohibition of payments in Gold, were, if not motived by Seward, fully approved by him and made the basis of assurances that no hindrance to purchase and payment on cotton for rebels would be interposed by this government. Afterwards, or about the time of these orders, Seward proposed the same policy of substantially unrestricted purchase for money, to me; and I was at first, in view of the importance of a supply of cotton, inclined to adopt it; but reflection and information from Special Agents in the Mississippi Valley changed my views. The subject was also brought up in Cabinet, and Seward proposed liberty to purchase 500,000 bales. Stanton and I opposed this, and the President sided with us and the subject was dropped. I then proposed to frame Regulations for trade to and from Insurrectionary Districts, in which was included prohibitions of payments in gold.

To this prohibition Stuart now objects as in contravention to Seward's assurances connected with Butler's and Grant's orders.

After considering the whole subject, I addressed a letter to Seward declining to change the existing Regulation as to payments in gold.

Received letter from himself, stating difficulty between himself and Agent Gallagher as to Confiscation. — Mellen thinking that antecedents of cotton, as to liability to confiscation in prior hands and notice to present holders, should not be investigated; Gallagher contra. Wrote Mellen that his view is approved — thinking this may relieve Seward.

SOURCE: Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1902, Vol. 2, p. 98-100

Count Adam Gurowski to James S. Pike, Friday, July 13, 1860

Friday, July 13, 1860.

My Dear Yankee: My book is nearly finished, but, as of old, the Tribune played me false. My self-respect makes it imperative to avoid any contact with the Tribune, and certainly I shall not ask any favor, any notice. Mercantile speculation was scarcely a secondary view in my labor, and, poor as I am, I shall try if a conscientious and (I can say it without conceit, such as few would have done) intellectual production cannot reach the people without the to-be-begged support of an arrogant press.


SOURCE: James Shepherd Pike, First Blows of the Civil War: The Ten Years of Preliminary Conflict in the United States from 1850 to 1860, p. 524

John Tyler to Governor Francis W. Pickens, February 7, 1861

Washington, 7th February.

To Governor Pickens: Can my voice reach you? If so, do not attack Fort Sumter. You know my sincerity. The Virginia delegates here earnestly unite.

john Tyler.

SOURCE: Samuel Wylie Crawford, The Genesis of the Civil War: The Story of Sumter, 1860-1861, p. 246

Diary of William Howard Russell: April 21, 1861

In the afternoon I went with Mr. Porcher Miles to visit a small farm and plantation, some miles from the city, belonging to Mr. Crafts. Our arrival was unexpected, but the planter's welcome was warm. Mrs. Crafts showed us round the place, of which the beauties were due to nature rather than to art, and so far the lady was the fitting mistress of the farm.

We wandered through tangled brakes and thick Indian-like jungle, filled with disagreeable insects, down to the edge of a small lagoon. The beach was perforated with small holes, in which Mrs. Crafts said little crabs, called “fiddlers” from their resemblance in petto to a performer on the fiddle make their abode; but neither them nor “spotted snakes” did we see. And so to dinner, for which our hostess made needless excuses. “I am afraid I shall have to ask you to eke out your dinner with potted meats, but I can answer for Mr. Crafts giving you a bottle of good old wine.” “And what better, madam,” quoth Mr. Miles, “what better can you offer a soldier? What do we expect but grape and canister?”

Mr. Miles, who was formerly member of the United States Congress, and who has now migrated to the Confederate States of America, rendered himself conspicuous a few years ago when a dreadful visitation of yellow fever came upon Norfolk and destroyed one half of the inhabitants. At that terrible time, when all who could move were flying from the plague-stricken spot, Mr. Porcher Miles flew to it, visited the hospitals, tended the sick; and although a weakly, delicate man, gave an example of such energy and courage as materially tended to save those who were left. I never heard him say a word to indicate that he had been at Norfolk at all.

At the rear of the cottage-like residence (to the best of my belief built of wood), in which the planter's family lived, was a small enclosure, surrounded by a palisade, containing a number of wooden sheds, which were the negro quarters; and after dinner, as we sat on the steps, the children were sent for to sing for us. They came very shyly, and by degrees; first peeping round the corners and from behind trees, oftentimes running away in spite of the orders of their haggard mammies, till they were chased, captured, and brought back by their elder brethren. They were ragged, dirty, shoeless urchins of both sexes; the younger ones abdominous as infant Hindoos, and wild as if just caught. With much difficulty the elder children were dressed into line; then they began to shuffle their flat feet, to clap their hands, and to drawl out in a monotonous sort of chant something about the “River Jawdam,” after which Mrs. Crafts rewarded them with lumps of sugar, which were as fruitful of disputes as the apple of discord. A few fathers and mothers gazed at the scene from a distance.

As we sat listening to the wonderful song of the mockingbirds, when these young Sybarites had retired, a great, big, burly red-faced gentleman, as like a Yorkshire farmer in high perfection as any man I ever saw in the old country, rode up to the door, and, after the usual ceremony of introduction and the collating of news, and the customary assurance “They can't whip us, sir!” invited me then and there to attend a féte champétre at his residence, where there is a lawn famous for trees dating from the first settlement of the colony, and planted by this gentleman's ancestor.

Trees are objects of great veneration in America if they are of any size. There are perhaps two reasons for this. In the first place, the indigenous forest trees are rarely of any great magnitude. In the second place, it is natural to Americans to admire dimension and antiquity; and a big tree gratifies both organs — size and veneration.

I must record an astonishing feat of this noble Carolinian. The heat of the evening was indubitably thirst-compelling, and we went in to “have a drink.” Among other things on the table were a decanter of cognac and a flask of white curaçoa. The planter filled a tumbler half full of brandy. “What's in that flat bottle, Crafts?” “That's white curaçoa.” The planter tasted a little, and having smacked his lips and exclaimed “first-rate stuff,” proceeded to water his brandy with it, and tossed off a full brimmer of the mixture without any remarkable ulterior results. They are a hard-headed race. I doubt if cavalier or puritan ever drank a more potent bumper than our friend the big planter.

SOURCE: William Howard Russell, My Diary North and South, p. 125-7

Lord Wensleydale to John L. Motley, February 7, 1862

February 7, 1862.

My Dear Motley: My dear wife and myself have had for weeks past a great longing to hear something about you and your belongings. As I do not know how to gain information on that not uninteresting subject from any other quarter, I must ask you myself how you are all going on. I did hear, some month or two ago, that Mrs. Motley and your daughters were going to spend a part of the winter at Pau; two or three weeks since I was told this was inaccurate, and that you are now all at Vienna together, which is much more satisfactory, no doubt, to you and your friends.

I hope you all found it as agreeable as we did on two different occasions when we spent some days there in 1835 and 1853. To be sure, you do not live among a free people, as you and I have been accustomed to do, but you live, as I have found, among a people full of bonhomie and kindness, well disposed and quiet, with a fair admixture of intelligence, brave and loyal; and it sometimes happens that our freedom prevents our being so agreeable. We found abundant civility from Esterhazy, whom I dare say you know. I was in great anxiety at the time of the unfortunate affair of the Trent. How I should have hated to be at war with your free and great country! How unfeignedly I rejoiced to hear the almost unexpected news that the dispute was settled, and how sincerely I hope that no other event will occur to prevent us remaining at peace with each other forever! Your immediate fellow-countrymen, the Northerners, have much too strong a feeling that we do not wish them well. The “Times” and other papers have dealt so much and so long in abuse and insolent remarks, and are in such circulation here, that your fellow-countrymen assume they express the public feeling, which I think is far from being the case. No doubt we were provoked by the proceeding of Captain Wilkes. The sentiment was unanimous and intense, but as the act has been disavowed (and it could not possibly have been justified), the feeling is rapidly dying away, and I hope we shall continue good friends, and I am sure we shall endeavor to act with perfect neutrality between the belligerents; for such they must be considered to be, though you were, in my opinion, perfectly right in those two letters you published in the early part of the summer, when you proved the Southerners then to be rebels. We lawyers feel rather inclined to be surprised that so much bad international law should be laid down by such authorities as Messrs. Everett, Seward, G. and C. Sumner. There is but one opinion on that subject among us. Most of them relied upon a dictum of Lord Stowell, not fully explained in our treatises on international law, viz., that ambassadors were seizable whilst proceeding from a belligerent to a neutral country. All that was meant was that an ambassador was seizable in passing through the country of a belligerent — that his diplomatic character would not protect him there.

The last despatches of Earl Russell, stating the legal argument, are very good — all the legal parts the Solicitor-General's, Roundell Palmer. This was mentioned last night in the House of Lords.

I hope what the noble earl and also Lord Granville said as to future conduct on our part may not be unacceptable in America.

My lady is a great sufferer from gout, having been since Saturday in bed. I began the New Year with a week of bed from the same cause. I am now well.

She desires her kindest remembrances to your ladies and yourself, and sincere good wishes for your prosperity. I agree most truly.

Believe me
Yours very sincerely,

SOURCE: George William Curtis, editor, The Correspondence of John Lothrop Motley in Two Volumes, Library Edition, Volume 2, p. 234-7

Congressman Charles B. Sedgwick to John M. Forbes, June 28, 1862

Washington, 28th June, 1862.

My Dear Mr. Forbes, — Well, by Jove, if this isn't the luckiest escape I ever had! I have been swearing at myself the last fortnight for abusing you like a pickpocket, taking no notice of your friendly letters which by way of penance I have kept on my table where I should see them on coming in or going out, on lying down and rising up, expecting every day to hear that you had denied on ’Change having ever seen me, and now comes your letter offering an apology. Good! make it! it shall be accepted, although your last letter was abusive. The truth is I vowed never to write you until I had settled for you the inclosed account,1 which you sent me just twenty-seven days ago. They tried to send it back, but I said no, I wanted it paid, and I have only just got it, although it appears to have been made out several days. Please sign it in all the places where you see room for your name and return it to me, and I will hand over the money to the Sanitary, if you still remain charitably inclined.

. . . I showed H. your letter about generals giving certificates to loyal blacks who had served the government, which would serve as manumission deeds to them and their families. It seemed to go through his feathers as a good practical idea, and he has taken the letter home to Ohio to consider of it and sit on it!

I have yet some hopes; I think the tone of Congress is improving, but very slowly. If Mallory don't succeed in hanging me, as he proposes, I may bring them up to something practical yet.

Grimes is crowding the principle of your suggestion in the Senate and says he shall pass it. There is a scriptural objection, however, to success; it is written that “you may bray an ass in a mortar, she will not be wise.” How would firing them out of Porter's mortar answer? After we have been whipped a few times, as we were on James Island, I think our ideas on the subject of natural allies will be improved. Do you see that your friend Fremont has been kicking out of the traces again? I fear J. has been putting him up to this folly. You will have to give him up as one of the impracticables, and go in for some more steady and less mercurial general.

About Naushon; I should like to swing a hammock under a beech in the forests there about 15th August and sleep for two weeks. I am tired out; we have pretty much reorganized the whole Navy Department. I have worked hard upon it and am fatigued. After making it all over new, would it not be well enough to give it a new head?  . . . After being home three or four weeks I want to come down to your kingdom by the sea to rest. I will bring my wife down to talk. Please let me know what time in the last half of August it will be convenient for you to see us.

I am very sorry for that reverse in Charleston. I shall try and make a row about it, but I suppose it will do no good until Richmond is taken. If you find money hard to be got let us know and we will get out another batch of greenbacks. The next bill will make provision for a large government paper-mill, and so we will save all the profits. With kind regards to Mrs. F. and the children.

1 Of expenses incurred on the Ship Commission.

SOURCE: Sarah Forbes Hughes, Letters and Recollections of John Murray Forbes, Volume 1, p. 320-2

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Amos A. Lawrence to John Brown, March 20, 1857

Boston, March 20, 1857.

My Dear Sir, — Your letter from New Haven is received. I have just sent to Kansas near fourteen thousand dollars to establish a fund to be used, first, to secure the best system of common schools for Kansas that exists in this country; second, to establish Sunday-schools.

The property is held by two trustees in Kansas, and cannot return to me. On this account, and because I am always short of money, I have not the cash to use for the purpose you name. But in case anything should occur, while you are engaged in a great and good cause, to shorten your life, you may be assured that your wife and children shall be cared for more liberally than you now propose. The family of “Captain John Brown of Osawatomie” will not be turned out to starve in this country, until Liberty herself is driven out.

Yours with regard,

Amos A. Lawrence.

I hope you will not run the risk of arrest.

I never saw the offer to which you refer, in the “Telegraph,” and have now forgotten what it was. Come and see me when you have time.

A. A. Lawrence.

SOURCE: Franklin B. Sanborn, The Life and Letters of John Brown, p. 374

Captain Charles Fessenden Morse, August 19, 1862

Near Culpepper, Va., August 19, 1862.

Yesterday afternoon came orders to our corps, directing wagons to be instantly packed and sent to the rear, and our men to be provided with three days' rations, and to be ready to march at a minute's notice. We were bereft of our tent and all other luxuries, but no movement commenced until about half-past eleven P. M., when we started and marched about a mile, then halted and are still halting, for what purpose Pope only knows. Last night, for the weather was fearfully cold, we kept as close around the fires as we would in winter. I have just had some bread and butter and peaches for breakfast, and am now enjoying a good cigar, so I shall be fortified against whatever may turn up to-day. From what I can learn, this is the nature of our movement: Pope has found that his army is not quite large enough to take Richmond, and is going to let the enemy once see his “back,” and find out that a "line of retreat" may be very useful by falling back as far as Warrenton and concentrating with McClellan.

Orders to “fall in” and “march.”

SOURCE: Charles Fessenden Morse, Letters Written During the Civil War, 1861-1865, p. 81-2

Major Wilder Dwight to Elizabeth White Dwight, October 9, 1861

pleasant Hill, Camp Near Darnestown,
October 9, 1861.

Dear Mother, — I wish I could give you a vivid picture of our excursion the other day on the board of survey. Lieutenant-Colonel Batchelder, of the Thirteenth Massachusetts, and myself went off to Hyattstown to estimate damages done by the army there. The Quartermaster Department gave us a light wagon. We put off our care as we crossed the lines, and left the sentinels behind. We drove to Hyattstown through a pleasant country. The heavy rain had swelled the runs or brooks which cross the road, and in our passage over the last one we broke down. So we left our wagon and took another. On our way back we met the —— regiment, Colonel ——. The Colonel is a lawyer and member of Congress, not a soldier. We saw the beauties of moralsuasive discipline. His men on the march during the storm of the night previous had broken their lines. The roadside taverns had sold them whiskey. The whole regiment was drunk. A perfect Pandemonium was the scene they presented. We did what we could to help him, but when one soldier, in quarrelsome or pleasant vein, shot another through the body, and a third broke the head of a fourth with the butt of his musket, we thought discretion the better part of valor, and did not wait to see what the fifth would do. General Banks has ordered the regiment back, I believe, and is going to send off another with more discipline and less whiskey. The regiment had been detailed to go to Williamsport on special duty.

We drove on, and coming near the plantation of Mr. Desellum, whom you recollect I have spoken of, we stopped to dinner. His sister, she who sent me the big bouquet, was at home. She welcomed us cordially, and we were surrounded speedily by a dozen little darkies all of a size. The maiden lady showed us her flower-garden, and her family of negroes, and her spinning-room, in which three spinning-wheels were busily twisting the yarn which she was to weave into clothes for her negroes. She showed us also her old family linen, woven by her mother; and, in fact, introduced us to all the details of farm life. Then she took us into the best room, whose oak floor shone with scrubbing, and whose bright wood-fire felt good. There we had a dinner, and she talked patriotism; the Colonel and myself listening, and concluding, as we drove away, that we had had an adventure, and found material loyalty in Maryland.

A drive through the wood, across a swollen stream whose bridge had gone, and whose depth made the crossing an experiment of very doubtful success, brought us to camp just as the new moon and evening star had come brightly out of the glow of twilight. There we found Colonel Andrews returned from Washington, having declined the appointment of Adjutant-General, to the great joy of all the regiment.

We are rigging up very clever fireplaces in our tents, and preparing for winter; — learning how to be comfortable, which is, after all, the great problem with which my mind engages itself in this military campaigning. It is half the battle. I hope we shall have the other half soon.

SOURCE: Elizabeth Amelia Dwight, Editor, Life and Letters of Wilder Dwight: Lieut.-Col. Second Mass. Inf. Vols., p. 113-4

Major-General John Sedgwick to Colonel Edward Davis Townsend, December 16, 1863

Headquarters 6th Army Corps,
Welford's Ford, Virginia,
December 16, 1863.
My dear Townsend:

There is a change proposed in the organization of this army, reducing the number of corps to three. Whether I am to be retained as one of the commanders, I do not know or care a straw, but I write this to ask you, when the matter is brought up in Washington, to retain the number of this corps, viz., the 6th.

It is entirely harmonious, and there is a great deal of esprit de corps in it. I do not believe there is a regiment in it that would leave willingly. Another reason is, since its organization there has never been a regiment added or detached; this is not the case with the other corps.

I am afraid the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd will be retained, when I should like to see the 2nd, 3rd, and 6th.
I am sure you will assist me in this matter, if in your power. At all events, I rely upon you in letting me know when the subject comes up.

Yours very truly,
John Sedgwick.
Colonel E. D. Townsend,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

SOURCE: George William Curtis, Correspondence of John Sedgwick, Major-General, Volume 2, p. 168

Diary of Lieutenant-Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes: Monday, January 27, 1862

Snow, sleet, finally rain. Rumors of “Secesh” cavalry and troops in various directions. Six hundred crossing Packs Ferry, threatening Raleigh. A like number of cavalry crossing to Princeton, ditto. Colonel Tompkins and a regiment above Camp Lookout, etc., etc. All probably with very slight foundation in fact. Two howitzers sent to Camp Hayes. Houses prepared to resist an attack by Major Comly. The major is plucky beyond question. All safe in that quarter.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 194

Diary of Lieutenant-Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes: Tuesday, January 28, 1862

Dr. Jim left this morning for home, taking letters to Lute, Mother, Uncle, Platt, and others. Warm and bright all day, but oh, so muddy! Called on by two really good-looking ladies — Mrs. Thurman (husband Secesh soldier) and Miss Mary Mars.

General Rosecrans replies to my application for thirty days' leave: “Ask Hayes if thirty days isn't too long for these times?” I construe this as friendly, but the colonel thinks it is another instance of injustice to him. He thinks after he has recommended it, and in view of the fact that Colonel Ewing has over sixty days, Colonel Fyffe ditto, Lieutenant-Colonel Eckley about the same, Majors Ferguson and Degenfeld and Lieutenant-Colonel Jones, all of this brigade, and all our company officers, it looks unfair.

“Ah, but,” said I, “circumstances may have changed.” “Yes,” said he, “but I have judged of that in asking the leave, and he don't take my judgment.”

Well, well, I have made up my mind to do my duty and do it cheerfully in this war, and if orders don't suit me I shall obey them without demur.

Captain Gunckle, ordnance officer, Gauley, will furnish new bright muskets, shoulder-straps and plates, and ball and buck cartridge.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 195