Saturday, April 30, 2016

Diary of Corporal Charles H. Lynch: September 5, 1864

Cold cloudy morning. All is quiet. We have a long line of earthworks near Berryville, facing south. This seems to be another case of waiting and watching. Guarding the wagon train which remains parked. Nothing special has taken place today, only a cold rain tonight, making us uncomfortable.

SOURCE: Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary, 1862-1865, of Charles H. Lynch 18th Conn. Vol's, p. 122

Diary of Corporal Charles H. Lynch: September 6, 1864

A cold rain storm set in last night. Relieved from guarding the wagon train. Orders for us to proceed to the front. Company A ordered out on the skirmish line, under command of Lieutenant Robert Kerr. Regiment in line in the rifle pits. Rations issued. Cold storm continues. No tents up. Out in the open. Clothes wet through. Late this P. M. our company, C, detailed for picket duty. Picket fires not allowed as it might draw the enemy's fire, by sending shells over our way.

SOURCE: Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary, 1862-1865, of Charles H. Lynch 18th Conn. Vol's, p. 122

Diary of Corporal Charles H. Lynch: September 7, 1864

Storm cleared up this morning, for which we are very thankful. Relieved from picket by a company from the 12th West Virginia Regiment. Wrote a few letters. Weather clear and cool. Trying to get rest and sleep. When off duty call on members of other regiments. Very pleasant to become acquainted with soldiers from the different states.

SOURCE: Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary, 1862-1865, of Charles H. Lynch 18th Conn. Vol's, p. 122

Diary of Luman Harris Tenney: Monday, June 16, 1862

Issued rations to several companies. Stayed at the Commissary most of the day.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 18

Diary of Luman Harris Tenney: June 17, 1862

Wrote to Brockway. Part of the Missouri expedition returned with a load of bacon. Tired horses and men. Issued some.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 18

Diary of Luman Harris Tenney: Wednesday, June 18, 1862

Grazed my horse. Did little more. Read some. Paymaster came from Leavenworth.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 18

Diary of Luman Harris Tenney: Thursday, June 19, 1862

Went to the Commissary as usual at 9 A. M. Archie got thrown from his horse. Wrote to Fannie. Went bathing with Nettleton and Brownell. Talked Minnie and Professor. Two letters. Home and Fannie.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 18

Diary of Luman Harris Tenney: Friday, June 20, 1862

Attended to my usual duties. Read papers.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 18

Friday, April 29, 2016

Diary of Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle: Monday, April 27, 1863

Colonel Bankhead has given me letters of introduction to General Bragg, to General Leonidas Polk, and several others.

At 2 P.M. I called on Mrs Bankhead to say good-bye. She told me that her husband had two brothers in the Northern service — one in the army and the other in the navy. The two army brothers were both in the battles of Shiloh and Perryville, on opposite sides. The naval Bankhead commanded the Monitor when she sank.

——— introduced me to a German militia General in a beer-house this afternoon. These two had a slight dispute, as the latter spoke strongly in disapproval of “secret or night lynching.

The recent escapade of Captain Peñaloso seems to have been much condemned in San Antonio. This individual (formerly a butcher) hanged one of his soldiers a short time ago, on his own responsibility, for desertion and stealing a musket. This event came off at 12 o'clock noon, in the principal plaça of the city. The tree has been cut down, to show the feelings of the citizens.

There can be no doubt that the enforcement of the conscription has, as a general rule, been extremely easy throughout the Confederacy (except among the Germans); but I hear of many persons evading it, by getting into some sort of government employment — such as contractors, agents, or teamsters to the Rio Grande. To my extreme regret I took leave of my friend M'Carthy this evening, whose hospitality and kindness I shall never forget.

I left San Antonio by stage for Alleyton at 9 P.M. The stage was an old coach, into the interior of which nine persons were crammed on three transverse seats, besides many others on the roof. I was placed on the centre seat, which was extremely narrow, and I had nothing but a strap to support my back. An enormously fat German was my vis-à-vis, and a long-legged Confederate officer was in my rear.

Our first team consisted of four mules; we afterwards got horses.

My fellow-travellers were all either military men, or connected with the Government.

Only five out of nine chewed tobacco during the night; but they aimed at the windows with great accuracy, and didn't splash me. The amount of sleep I got, however, was naturally very trifling.

SOURCE: Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle, Three months in the southern states: April-June, 1863, p. 53-5

Diary of Judith Brockenbrough McGuire: Thursday Night, April 13, 1865

Fearful rumours are reaching us from sources which it is hard to doubt, that it is all too true, and that General Lee surrendered on Sunday last, the 9th of April. The news came to the enemy by telegram during the day, and to us at night by the hoarse and pitiless voice of the cannon. We know, of course, that circumstances forced it upon our great commander and his gallant army. How all this happened — how Grant's hundreds of thousands overcame our little band, history, not I, must tell my children's children. It is enough for me to tell them that all that bravery and self-denial could do has been done. We do not yet give up all hope. General Johnston is in the field, but there are thousands of the enemy to his tens. The citizens are quiet. The calmness of despair is written on every countenance. Private sorrows are now coming upon us. We know of but few casualties.

SOURCE: Judith W. McGuire, Diary of a Southern Refugee, During the War, p. 353-4

Diary of Sarah Morgan: Monday, November 30, 1863

Our distress about Gibbes has been somewhat relieved by good news from Jimmy. The jolliest sailor letter from him came this morning, dated only the 4th instant from Cherbourg, detailing his cruise on the Georgia from leaving England, to Bahia, Trinidad, Cape of Good Hope, to France again. Such a bright, dashing letter! We laughed extravagantly over it when he told how they readily evaded the Vanderbilt, knowing she would knock them into “pie”; how he and the French Captain quarreled when he ordered him to show his papers, and how he did not know French abuse enough to enter into competition with him, so went back a first and second time to Maury when the man would not let him come aboard, whereupon Maury brought the ship to with two or three shots and Jimmy made a third attempt, and forced the Frenchman to show his papers. He tells it in such a matter-of-fact way! No extravagance, no idea of having been in a dangerous situation, he a boy of eighteen, on a French ship in spite of the Captain's rage. What a jolly life it must be! Now dashing in storms and danger, now floating in sunshine and fun! Wish I was a midshipman! Then how he changes, in describing the prize with an assorted cargo that they took, which contained all things from a needle to pianos, from the reckless spurt in which he speaks of the plundering, to where he tells of how the Captain, having died several days before, was brought on the Georgia while Maury read the service over the body and consigned it to the deep by the flames of the dead man's own vessel. What noble, tender, manly hearts it shows, those rough seamen stopping in their work of destruction to perform the last rites over their dead enemy. One can fancy their bare heads and sunburned faces standing in solemn silence around the poor dead man when he dropped into his immense grave. God bless the “pirates”!

SOURCE: Sarah Morgan Dawson, A Confederate Girl's Diary, p. 422-3

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: September 1, 1862

Official dispatches from Lee, announcing a “signal victory,” by the blessing of God, “over the combined forces of the enemy.” That is glory enough for a week. When Lee says “signal victory,” we know exactly what it means, and we breathe freely. Our generals never modify their reports of victories. They see and know the extent of what has been done before they speak of it, and they never mislead by exaggerated accounts of successes.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 151

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: September 2, 1862

Winchester is evacuated! The enemy fled, and left enough ordnance stores for a campaign! It was one of their principal depots.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 151

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: September 3, 1862

We lament the fall of Ewell — not killed, but his leg has been amputated. The enemy themselves report the loss, in killed and wounded, of eight generals! And Lee says, up to the time of writing, he had paroled 7000 prisoners, taken 10,000 stand of small arms, 50 odd cannon, and immense stores!

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 151

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: September 4, 1862

The enemy's loss in the series of battles, in killed, wounded, and prisoners, is estimated at 30,000. Where is the braggart Pope now? Disgraced eternally, deprived of his command by his own government, and sent to Minnesota to fight the Indians! Savage in his nature, he is only fit to fight with savages!

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 151-2

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: September 5, 1862

Our army knows no rest. But I fear this incessant marching and fighting may prove too much for many of the tender boys.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 152

Diary of Colonel William F. Bartlett: March 15, 1863

At two in the morning, I was ordered to get the regiment under arms and into line. It was now Sunday morning, 15th. We expected we were going straight to the front. The cannonading was still going on, but was on the river, down nearer to us. Colonel Chapin came to me and told me that we had been repulsed with great loss. He ordered me to take the advance, to clear the road back, with two regiments of infantry and a section of artillery. They were afraid that our passage back would be disputed at the bridge across the Bayou Montesino, by the enemy's coming down on the Clinton Road, to cut us off.

I was told to make for that bridge as fast as possible, and hold it.

Just after we started, I saw an aide of General Emory's, who told me that we hadn't “got a gunboat left, and the army was all cut to pieces.” I knew this was impossible, for we should have been ordered to the front if there had been any fighting of the land force.

At this time a tremendous report came from the river, a quarter of a mile on our right, and several shells seemed to burst directly over our heads. It was the Mississippi when she blew up, a magnificent sight. Everything seemed to give indication of a panic. Teamsters were frightened, and were rushing and crowding with their teams, blocking up the road.

I sent ahead and ordered the wagon train to be stopped, as there were gaps of a mile in some places, which I had to close up. At last I got the troops and artillery to the front. The Forty-eighth had been ordered to start ahead, and they were in such a hurry that I, not overtaking them, sent Ben ahead to stop them till we came up. When we got to the Bayou we found it all clear, the two bridges still there. The plank bridge needed some repair, and I left the Major with two companies to put it in order and make it safe for the teams. I sent one company across on to the Clinton Road to guard against any attack of cavalry on our flank. After the wagon train was well up, I kept on, intending to feel the way into Baton Rouge. After we had marched a mile or two, an order came from Banks to halt until further orders. I waited two hours, and then had orders to go on to Baton Rouge and go into camp. Meantime I heard from an aide-de-camp that, as I supposed, the report of a repulse was false. That two of our gunboats had succeeded in passing the fort. The Mississippi had got aground, been set on fire, floated down, and blown up. We had got within a few rods of our old camp, the men were tired, having been marching since three A. M., when an order came to me to turn round and march back to the Bayou again.

This was rather discouraging, but there was no help for it. I let the men rest an hour, the artillery feed their horses, etc. We got back to the Bayou about hall past four. We met Banks and his staff going into Baton Rouge as we were coming out. Charley Sargent stopped and told me that they had done what they intended to; get the gunboats by. Banks had sent despatches by Farragut to Grant at Vicksburg. The plan had been to draw the enemy out to fight us at Port Hudson, but he had refused offer. I know however that Banks was frightened in the morning, for I saw the order from him himself, ordering the trains to the rear, and back to Baton Rouge as soon as possible. I felt safe from the first, for Banks has made so many good retreats that he must understand it pretty well. We went into camp on the south side of the Bayou, in a large cornfield. I didn't get off my horse till after five; in the saddle nearly fourteen hours the second day. It began to rain now, and the field was soon two or three inches deep with water and mud. I had just got off my horse when I received an order, saying that the Forty-ninth and Fiftieth Massachusetts regiments would be in readiness to march to-night or to-morrow morning on an important expedition, under command of Colonel Bartlett. I was to report immediately to Banks at Baton Rouge, for instructions. I knew that it was absolutely impossible for the men to march in the condition they were, all used up; no chance for sleep in the night on account of the rain, etc.

I also thought it was rather “rubbing it in,” to make me ride all the way back to Baton Rouge in the rain, for instructions, after I had been on the go since three that morning, and it was by this time dark, and thence back here again, and by the time I got here, start off on this new tramp.

So I sent Ben over to Augur's Headquarters, from whence the order came, to explain that my regiment had just got in, had been marching all day, having been to Baton Bouge and back. He said certainly they need not go, that he “did not know they had been marching.” He “had designated Colonel Bartlett to go in command of the expedition as a compliment,” etc. This of course was all very pleasant, and if it had been at any other time I should have liked nothing better. But the regiment was too much exhausted, and I was tired, to say the least. I got some rails to keep us out of the water, which was two or three inches deep in the tent, and slept on these, like a log, till reveille.

I could hardly realize it when some one mentioned that it was Sunday. So different from the quiet day a week before.

SOURCE: Francis Winthrop Palfrey, Memoir of William Francis Bartlett, p. 75-8

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Lemuel A. Abbott: Thursday, February 25, 1864

Pleasant but windy. General French reviewed our division to-day — the Third of the Third Corps; muster and payrolls have come; after review spent three hours with my class at the chapel; reported the ladies will have to leave camp next week; hope it isn't so.

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 21-2

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Lemuel A. Abbott: Friday, February 26, 1864

Cloudy, high north wind but fair; air full of dust all day; had brigade drill this afternoon; dance in chapel this evening; General W. H. Morris present: Governor Smith has arrived in the army.

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 22

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Lemuel A. Abbott: Saturday, February 27, 1864

Pleasant but chilly. The Sixth Corps is on the move this morning for Madison Court House —  probably a reconnoissance. Governor Smith arrived in camp this forenoon. I started for picket about 4 p. m. to relieve the First Division of our Corps which is to accompany the Sixth Corps to Madison Court House; arrived on picket line at 2 a. m. Feb. 28.

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 22

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Lemuel A. Abbott: Sunday, February 28, 1864

Did not get up till 9 a. m.; night march very fatiguing; not feeling well; cloudy and threatening rain. Captain P. D. Blodgett visited the line this morning; several Johnnies came into our lines this forenoon; everything quiet this evening.

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 22

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Lemuel A. Abbott: Monday, February 29, 1864

Am feeling better this morning; weather gloomy; chilly south wind; considerable cannonading to-day towards Madison Court House; reported General Kilpatrick has captured a portion of Lee's picket line and penetrated to Orange Court House; pickets ordered to be vigilant, etc.

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 22

Diary of Corporal Charles H. Lynch: September 4, 1864

About midnight last night I was called up by the Adjutant to take a detail of ten men, go to the rear, find the ammunition train, obtain five thousand rounds of cartridges, five boxes. It was estimated the train was about a mile in the rear, owing to the enemy's firing from field guns very late in the night. The boxes were very heavy. The detail ought to have been twenty men, as we had so far to carry the boxes. It was a fearful dark night. Going back we lost our reckoning. Began to think we were approaching the enemy's line. I ordered a halt. Told the boys I would go forward and investigate and locate the regiment if I could. Going forward carefully, listening, looking in all directions, believed I was approaching the enemy's line. I knew when darkness came on both lines were very close to each other. To the right I could see the outline of trees. Approaching them I saw horses, and men sleeping on the ground. Owing to the darkness I could not see who they were. Putting on a bold front I called out “What regiment?” For answer I received a glorious reply, “The 18th Connecticut.” Overjoyed I near dropped to the ground. I ran back to the boys and the ammunition was delivered to headquarters in safety, for which I was very thankful. On our return from the ammunition train we had worked off to the left, approached the regiment from the south instead of from the north side, where we left. Lay down for a rest. Had a talk with some prisoners captured last night on the charge. They were from Mississippi. Claimed they did not know we were in their front. They were on their way to cross Snicker's Ford and the Gap. It seemed to be a surprise all around. We are now under the command of General Sheridan. The enemy won't fool him. At daylight the ammunition was given out and the line of battle was changed. Ordered to fall back and change our position. Passed the 12th Connecticut, in the 19th Corps. We are under the command of Captain Tiffany. Owing to severe service for the past eight months our regiment greatly reduced in numbers. Less than one hundred men fit for duty and not a field officer except the Adjutant. Our regiment detailed to guard the wagon train. Don't like that kind of duty. Must take our turn at it. Guerillas keep us busy. As many of them dress in blue uniforms we cannot tell them from our own men. Sometimes they manage to cut out of a train three or four wagons loaded with supplies. The drivers will most generally obey orders, whether from friend or foes, when they see a gun pointed at their heads. Sometimes it is most impossible to keep the teams close together, but at this time the train is parked, so we stand guard around it. All is quiet at this time along our lines at Berryville.

SOURCE: Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary, 1862-1865, of Charles H. Lynch 18th Conn. Vol's, p. 120-2

Diary of Luman Harris Tenney: Monday, June 9, 1862

Did very little save rest and graze my horse. Letters from Fannie, home and Sarah.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 18

Diary of Luman Harris Tenney: Tuesday, June 10, 1862

Great false alarm in camp. Major with Co. "I" went out seven miles. We saw nothing.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 18

Diary of Luman Harris Tenney: June 11, 1862

Moved camp nearer the river on the edge of the woods on account of water. Issued rations to eight companies. Rather tired at night. Went fishing after supper with Major and Brownell. Caught no fish, pleasant time.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 18

Diary of Luman Harris Tenney: June 12, 1862

Another false alarm. Whole brigade in arms. Scouted about some. Nothing unusual. Grazed my horse.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 18

Diary of Luman Harris Tenney: June 13, 1862

Issued rations in the morning. Moved camp over the river west. Pitched our tent in a splendid grove in a secesh corn field. Found some mulberries.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 18

Diary of Luman Harris Tenney: June 14, 1862

Wrote a letter home. Mail came bringing home letters and Independent. Issued rations to four companies, to go the next morning on expedition five days. Moved the Second Battalion again half a mile. After work had a gay time finding our tent. Wandered all through the woods.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 18

Diary of Luman Harris Tenney: Sunday, June 15, 1862

A beautiful Sabbath morning. Would love to be at home or somewhere to enjoy peaceful rest. Read the Independent. Wrote to Emma McWade.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 18

Thursday, April 28, 2016

In the Review Queue: The Tennessee Campaign of 1864

Edited by Steven E. Woodworth and Charles D. Grear

Contributors include Stewart Bennett, Andrew S. Bledsoe, John J. Gaines, John R. Lundberg, Jennifer M. Murray, Paul L. Schmelzer, Brooks D. Simpson, Timothy B. Smith, Scott L. Stabler, Jonathan M. Steplyk, D. L. Turner, and William Lee White.

Few American Civil War operations matched the controversy, intensity, and bloodshed of Confederate general John Bell Hood’s ill-fated 1864 campaign against Union forces in Tennessee. In the first-ever anthology on the subject, The Tennessee Campaign of 1864, edited by Steven E. Woodworth and Charles D. Grear, fourteen prominent historians and emerging scholars examine the three-month operation, covering the battles of Allatoona, Spring Hill, and Franklin, as well as the decimation of Hood’s army at Nashville.

Contributors explore the campaign’s battlefield action, including how Major General Andrew J. Smith’s three aggressive divisions of the Army of Tennessee became the most successful Federal unit at Nashville, how vastly outnumbered Union troops held the Allatoona Pass, why Hood failed at Spring Hill and how the event has been perceived, and why so many of the Army of Tennessee’s officer corps died at the Battle of Franklin, where the Confederacy suffered a disastrous blow. An exciting inclusion is the diary of Confederate major general Patrick R. Cleburne, which covers the first phase of the campaign. Essays on the strained relationship between Ulysses S. Grant and George H. Thomas and on Thomas’s approach to warfare reveal much about the personalities involved, and chapters about civilians in the campaign’s path and those miles away show how the war affected people not involved in the fighting. An innovative case study of the fighting at Franklin investigates the emotional and psychological impact of killing on the battlefield, and other implications of the campaign include how the courageous actions of the U.S. Colored Troops at Nashville made a lasting impact on the African American community and how preservation efforts met with differing results at Franklin and Nashville.

Canvassing both military and social history, this well-researched volume offers new, illuminating perspectives while furthering long-running debates on more familiar topics. These in-depth essays provide an expert appraisal of one of the most brutal and notorious campaigns in Civil War history.

ISBN 978-0809334520, Southern Illinois University Press, © 2016, Hardcover, 280 pages, Photographs, Maps, Notes at the end of each essay & Index. $34.50.  To purchase this book click HERE.

Diary of Judith Brockenbrough McGuire: Wednesday Night, April 12, 1865

We have heard nothing new to-day confirming the report of the surrender, which is perhaps the reason my spirit feels a little more light. We must hope, though our prospects should be as dark as the sky of this stormy night. Our wounded are doing well — those who remain in our hospital and the convalescents have been ordered to “Camp Jackson.” Indeed, all the patients were included in the same order; but Miss T. having represented that several of them were not in a condition to be removed, they have been allowed to remain where they are.

Colonel R. is improving, for which we are most thankful.

SOURCE: Judith W. McGuire, Diary of a Southern Refugee, During the War, p. 353

Diary of Sarah Morgan: Sunday, November 22, 1863

A report has just reached us that my poor dear Gibbes has been taken prisoner along with the rest of Hayes's brigade.

SOURCE: Sarah Morgan Dawson, A Confederate Girl's Diary, p. 422

Diary of Sarah Morgan: November 26, 1863

Yes! It is so, if his own handwriting is any proof. Mr. Appleton has just sent Brother a letter he had received from Gibbes, asking him to let Brother know he was a prisoner, and we have heard, through some one else, that he had been sent to Sandusky. Brother has applied to have him paroled and sent here, or even imprisoned here, if he cannot be paroled.

SOURCE: Sarah Morgan Dawson, A Confederate Girl's Diary, p. 422

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

In The Review Queue: A Self-Made Man


By Sidney Blumenthal

The first of a multi-volume history of Lincoln as a political genius—from his obscure beginnings to his presidency, assassination, and the overthrow of his post-Civil War dreams of Reconstruction. This first volume traces Lincoln from his painful youth, describing himself as “a slave,” to his emergence as the man we recognize as Abraham Lincoln.

From his youth as a “newsboy,” a voracious newspaper reader, Lincoln became a free thinker, reading Tom Paine, as well as Shakespeare and the Bible, and studying Euclid to sharpen his arguments as a lawyer.

Lincoln’s anti-slavery thinking began in his childhood amidst the Primitive Baptist antislavery dissidents in backwoods Kentucky and Indiana, the roots of his repudiation of Southern Christian pro-slavery theology. Intensely ambitious, he held political aspirations from his earliest years. Obsessed with Stephen Douglas, his political rival, he battled him for decades. Successful as a circuit lawyer, Lincoln built his team of loyalists. Blumenthal reveals how Douglas and Jefferson Davis acting together made possible Lincoln’s rise.

Blumenthal describes a socially awkward suitor who had a nervous breakdown over his inability to deal with the opposite sex. His marriage to the upper class Mary Todd was crucial to his social aspirations and his political career. Blumenthal portrays Mary as an asset to her husband, a rare woman of her day with strong political opinions.

Blumenthal’s robust portrayal is based on prodigious research of Lincoln’s record and of the period and its main players. It reflects both Lincoln’s time and the struggle that consumes our own political debate.

ISBN 978-1476777252, Simon & Schuster, © 2016, Hardcover, 576 pages, Photographs, Illustrations, End Notes, Bibliography & Index. $35.00.  To purchase this book click HERE.

Diary of Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle: Sunday, April 26, 1863

At 11.30 A.M., M'Carthy drove me in his buggy to see the San Pedro spring, which is inferior in beauty to the San Antonio spring. A troop of Texan cavalry was bivouacked there.

We afterwards drove to the “missions” of San José and San Juan, six and nine miles from the town. These were fortified convents for the conversion of the Indians, and were built by the Jesuits about one hundred and seventy years ago. They are now ruins, and the architecture is of the heavy Castilian style, elaborately ornamented. These missions are very interesting, and there are two more of them, which I did not see.

In the afternoon I saw many negroes and negresses parading about in their Sunday clothes — silks and crinolines — much smarter than their mistresses.

At 5 P.M. I dined with Colonel Bankhead, who gave an entertainment, which in these hard times must have cost a mint of money. About fourteen of the principal officers were invited; one of them was Captain Mason (cousin to the London commissioner), who had served under Stonewall Jackson in Virginia. He said that officer was by no means popular at first. I spent a very agreeable evening, and heard many anecdotes of the war. One of the officers sang the Abolition song, “John Brown,” together with its parody, “I'm bound to be a soldier in the army of the South,” a Confederate marching – song, and another parody, which is a Yankee marching-song, “We'll hang Jeff Davis on a sour-apple tree.”

Whenever I have dined with Confederate officers they have nearly always proposed the Queen's health, and never failed to pass the highest eulogiums upon Her Majesty.

SOURCE: Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle, Three months in the southern states: April-June, 1863, p. 52-3

Diary of Judith Brockenbrough McGuire: Tuesday Night, April 11, 1865

No light on our sorrow — still gloomy, dark, and uncertain.

I went to-day to the hospital, as was my duty. My dear friend S. T. cheers me, by being utterly incredulous about the reported surrender. As usual, she is cheerfully devoting her powers of mind and body to her hospital. For four years she has never thought of her own comfort, when by sacrificing it she could alleviate a soldier's sorrow. Miss E. D., who has shared with her every duty, every self-sacrificing effort in behalf of our sick and wounded soldiers, is now enduring the keenest pangs of sorrow from the untimely death of her venerable father. On the day of the evacuation, while walking too near a burning house, he was struck by a piece of falling timber, and the blow soon closed his long life. Alas! the devoted daughter, who had done so much for other wounded, could do nothing for the restoration of one so dear to her.

SOURCE: Judith W. McGuire, Diary of a Southern Refugee, During the War, p. 352-3

Diary of Sarah Morgan: Monday, November 9, 1863

Another odd link of the old, stale story has come to me, all the way from New York. A friend of mine, who went on the same boat with the prisoners, wrote to her mother to tell her that she had formed the acquaintance of the most charming, fascinating gentleman among them, no other than my once friend. Of course, she would have been less than a woman if she had not gossiped when she discovered who he was. So she sends me word that he told her he had been made to believe, as long as he was on parole in New Orleans, that we were all Unionists now, and that Brother would not allow a Confederate to enter the house. (O my little lisper, was I unjust to you?) He told her that I had been very kind to him when he was in prison, and he would have forgotten the rest and gladly have called to thank me in person for the kindness he so gratefully remembered, if I alone had been concerned; but he felt he could not force himself unasked into my
brother's house. . . .

She told him how false it was.

SOURCE: Sarah Morgan Dawson, A Confederate Girl's Diary, p. 421-2

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: August 27, 1862

Huzza for Gen. Stuart! He has made another circumvention of the enemy, getting completely in Pope's rear, and destroying many millions worth of stores, etc.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 150

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: August 28, 1862


Pope's coat was captured, and all his papers. The braggart is near his end.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 150

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: August 29, 1862

Bloody fighting is going on at Manassas. All the news is good for us. It appears that Pope, in his consummate egotism, refused to believe that he had been outwitted, and “pitched into” our corps and divisions, believing them to be merely brigades and regiments. He has been terribly cut up.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 150-1

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: August 30, 1862


Banks, by the order of Pope, has burnt 400 Yankee cars loaded with quartermaster's and commissary stores. But our soldiers have fared sumptuously on the enemy's provisions, and captured clothing enough for half the army.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 151

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: August 31, 1862

Fighting every day at Manassas.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 151

Diary of Colonel William F. Bartlett: Saturday, March 14, 1863

Got the order at midnight to start at three A. M. It made a wild picture in the dark morning, the camp fires blazing high, surrounded by dark forms. A little piece of the old moon just rising in the east. We bade good-by to the camp, marched through the town, and about daylight struck the Bayou Sara road towards Port Hudson. We knew then for the first time in which direction we were going.

It was very pleasant marching in the cool of the morning through the heavy woods. The road was perfectly straight, and we could see it narrowing until the trees on each side seemed to meet, miles ahead. About nine A. M. we reached the river, Bayou Montesino. Two bridges crossed it, a pontoon and a plank. At this time, General Banks passed through the lines to the front. All was silence. I could not help thinking of the time, nearly a year ago, when we were marching in the same way, on a road very similar, towards Yorktown, when McClellan passed along through the army, and for miles and miles the cheers were deafening. We halted at the bridge some time for the wagons to get over. At noon we halted near a farm-house, fourteen miles from Port Hudson. The men made sad work with the poultry and stock. This army will be demoralized, if this pillaging is allowed to go on. My regiment think it hard that I won't let them go in and plunder when every body else is doing it. These marauders not only steal poultry and other live meat, but in some cases even go into the houses, and take the food off the table, steal jewelry, and other valuables. I believe in “living on the enemy's country,” but the beef and other food should be taken by the proper officers and issued to the troops as it is required, not slaughtered recklessly and left untouched to waste. Besides, it is the moral effect on troops, if they are allowed to steal and kill, each one for himself. They soon become lawless and ungovernable, — an armed mob.

My regiment shall not pillage in this way, if every other regiment in this army does.

These people will be likely to favor the advance of a federal army, if their houses are to be ransacked, furniture broken, etc., by a mob of soldiers, every time a brigade passes their door. Banks must publish some severe order to stop this thing, or I wouldn't give much for his army in a month's time.

(Since writing the above a week ago, an order has been issued to remedy this evil. It is not severe enough yet.)

We marched a few miles farther and went into bivouac, in a large open field, and pitched the shelter tents.

I had been in the saddle since three in the morning, twelve hours, but it made me laugh to myself, at hearing other mounted officers complain of “being all tired out,” etc. I found a good place for the horses in a barn near by, and then lay down on the grass and fell asleep, waiting for the wagon with my tent and food to come up. Got the tent pitched about sundown. Some hay made a luxurious bed, into which I crawled as soon as I had attended to everything, which was near nine P. M. Grover's advance is within four or five miles of the enemy's works; Emory's between us and Grover. I went to sleep the moment I touched the ground. Was awakened at eleven by heavy cannonading at the front, towards the river. It was the gunboats. We slept after this with one eye open, hearing the terrific roar of artillery.

SOURCE: Francis Winthrop Palfrey, Memoir of William Francis Bartlett, p. 73-5

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Lemuel A. Abbott: Saturday, February 20, 1864


A very pleasant day but not warm. The men have been playing ball this afternoon; very dull otherwise; paymaster has come; have been very busy having men sign pay rolls. There is a detail for picket tomorrow, but I am not going.

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 20

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Lemuel A. Abbott: Sunday, February 21, 1864

Cloudy, but no wind, threatening rain before night; regiment left for picket at 9 a. m.; very quiet in camp; religious services were held in the chapel at 4 p. m. by Rev. Mr. Parker of Waterbury, Vt. and a prayer service this evening, but I have not attended either. All's quiet.

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 20-1

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Lemuel A. Abbott: Monday, February 22, 1864

Cloudy and warm. The Second Brigade was out drilling this forenoon as well as a battery; very busy this afternoon; paymaster paying off the regiment; rained a little this evening; got a paper from Vermont but don't know who sent it. There is a ball at First Corps headquarters to-night.

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 21

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Lemuel A. Abbott: Tuesday, February 23, 1864

A very pleasant day, but lonely in camp; dancing in the chapel this evening; moon shining brightly, and not a breath of air stirring, but for all this I can't study; no letters from home; all's quiet as midnight save the music in the chapel.

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 21

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Lemuel A. Abbott: Wednesday, February 24, 1864

Pleasant day with northwest wind. Col. A. B. Jewett and a select party have gone to Pony Mountain; picket guard came in about 4 p. m. First Corps had a review to-day, as well as the Second Corps; no letters from home; fine evening.

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 21

Diary of Corporal Charles H. Lynch: September 2, 1864

A very pleasant morning. Now wondering why we still remain in the woods. Believe the enemy must be in this vicinity in a strong force. Wrote several letters to friends at home. Later a surprise came when orders came to fall in for pay, the Paymaster having shown up in our camp. Too much money for a fellow to carry while in front of the enemy. The Confeds liked to get hold of greenbacks. We usually sent money home by the Adams Express Company. The men with families were very anxious to send money home. All I send home is banked for me. Men of families often worry and wonder how they are getting along at home, as they must wait for the money, which comes very slow and not very much of it for men with families.

SOURCE: Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary, 1862-1865, of Charles H. Lynch 18th Conn. Vol's, p. 119

Diary of Corporal Charles H. Lynch: September 3, 1864

Routed out very early this morning. On the march by daylight, moving slowly on towards Berryville. Reached the town at noon. Stop for rations. Sharp cannonading to the west, in the direction of Winchester. While waiting, orders came to camp on the west side of the town. Put up our shelter tents. Weather very cloudy and windy. While preparing rations orders came suddenly to strike tents immediately and get into line. Our pickets on the advance were attacked. A hot skirmish was on. After a hard run for about a mile, line was formed and we were in a hot engagement. Making a charge, orders came to halt. The battle continued until darkness, when we ceased firing, but the artillery kept up their work long after dark. Both lines are very near each other, while we are under arms, ready for a call at any moment. When the firing ceased it did not take us very long to drop off to sleep.

SOURCE: Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary, 1862-1865, of Charles H. Lynch 18th Conn. Vol's, p. 120

Diary of Luman Harris Tenney: June 7, 1862

In saddle at 4 A. M. Went into the timber for breakfast. Ate with Co. “E.” Good appetite, having eaten nothing of consequence since the morning before. Reconnoitering party was sent south to learn the position and force of the enemy supposed to be encamped 15 miles south. The command encamped in favorable positions in and near Round Grove, the former camp of Col. Coffee. The women in the grove reported that he moved at sundown. One sick man of Coffee's left behind, reported that he had 600 and Standwaite 1,000. Raines' unknown. Variously estimated from 500 to 2000. At night the First Battalion went out on picket. Some Co. H men fired on our patrol. Slept with Delos in No. 3.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 17

Diary of Luman Harris Tenney: Sunday, June 8, 1862

Started on our return at 8 o'clock, with drove of cattle and horses. Major and Purps went ahead, and a few miles from the road, to a deserted camp and got a secesh wagon, old style, hitched in four horses and had a gay time. Lead horses whirled after a time and broke the tongue, fixed it and with two horses drove through the camp. Horses balked several times, once in the river. Hadley and I undressed and helped across. Command stopped at Hudson's. Jayhawked the people badly. (“Purps”— nickname for noncommissioned staff.)

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 18

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

In The Review Queue: The Peace That Almost Was


By Mark Tooley

A narrative history of the 1861 Washington Peace Conference, the bipartisan, last-ditch effort to prevent the Civil War, an effort that nearly averted the carnage that followed.

In February 1861, most of America’s great statesmen—including a former president, dozens of current and former senators, Supreme Court justices, governors, and congressmen—came together at the historic Willard Hotel in a desperate attempt to stave off Civil War.

Seven southern states had already seceded, and the conferees battled against time to craft a compromise to protect slavery and thus preserve the union and prevent war. Participants included former President John Tyler, General William Sherman’s Catholic step-father, General Winfield Scott, and Lincoln’s future Treasury Secretary, Salmon Chase—and from a room upstairs at the hotel, Lincoln himself. Revelatory and definitive, The Peace That Almost Was demonstrates that slavery was the main issue of the conference—and thus of the war itself—and that no matter the shared faith, family, and friendships of the participants, ultimately no compromise could be reached.

ISBN 978-0718022235, Thomas Nelson Books, © 2015, Hardcover, 320 pages, Photographs, Illustrations, End Notes,& Index. $26.99.  To purchase this book click HERE.

Diary of Judith Brockenbrough McGuire: April 10, 1865

Another gloomy Sabbath-day and harrowing night. We went to St. Paul's in the morning, and heard a very fine sermon from Dr. Minnegerode — at least so said my companions. My attention, which is generally riveted by his sermons, wandered continually. I could not listen; I felt so strangely, as if in a vivid, horrible dream. Neither President was prayed for; in compliance with some arrangement with the Federal authorities, the prayer was used as for all in authority! How fervently did we all pray for our own President! Thank God, our silent prayers are free from Federal authority. “The oppressor keeps the body bound, but knows not what a range the spirit takes.” Last night, (it seems strange that we have lived to speak or write of it,) between nine and ten o'clock, as some of the ladies of the house were collected in our room, we were startled by the rapid firing of cannon. At first we thought that there must be an attack upon the city; bright thoughts of the return of our army darted through my brain; but the firing was too regular. We began to think it must be a salute for some great event. We threw up the windows, and saw the flashes and smoke of cannon towards Camp Jackson. Some one present counted one hundred guns. What could it be? We called to passers-by: “What do those guns mean?” Sad voices answered several times: “I do not know.” At last a voice pertly, wickedly replied: “General Lee has surrendered, thank God!” Of course we did not believe him, though the very sound was a knell. Again we called out: “What is the matter?” A voice answered, as if from a broken heart: “They say General Lee has surrendered.” We cannot believe it, but my heart became dull and heavy, and every nerve and muscle of my frame seems heavy too. I cannot even now shake it off. We passed the night, I cannot tell how — I know not how we live at all. At daybreak the dreadful salute commenced again. Another hundred guns at twelve to-day. Another hundred — can it be so? No, we do not believe it, but how can we bear such a doubt? Where are all our dear ones, our beloved soldiers, and our noble chief to-night, while the rain falls pitilessly? Are they lying on the cold, hard ground, sleeping for sorrow? or are they moving southward triumphantly, to join General Johnston, still able and willing — ah, far more than willing — to avenge their country's wrongs? God help us! — we must take refuge in unbelief.

SOURCE: Judith W. McGuire, Diary of a Southern Refugee, During the War, p. 351-2

Diary of Sarah Morgan: Tuesday, October 6, 1863

I hope this will be the last occasion on which I shall refer to the topic to which this unfortunate book seems to have been devoted. But it gives me a grim pleasure to add a link to the broken chain of the curious story, now and then. Maybe some day the missing links will be supplied me, and then I can read the little humdrum romance of What might have been, or What I'm glad never was, as easily as Marie tells her rosary.

Well! the prisoners have gone at last, to my unspeakable satisfaction. Day before yesterday they left. Now I can go out as I please, without fear of meeting him face to face. How odd that I should feel like a culprit! But that is in accordance with my usual judgment and consistency. Friday, I had a severe fright. Coming up Camp Street with Ada, after a ramble on Canal, we met two Confederates. Everywhere that morning we had met gray coats, but none that I recognized. Still, without looking, I saw through my eyelids, as it were, two hands timidly touch two gray caps, as though the question “May I?” had not yet been answered. In vain I endeavored to meet their eyes, or give the faintest token of greeting. I was too frightened and embarrassed to speak, and only by a desperate effort succeeded in bending my head in a doubtful bow, that would have disgraced a dairy maid, after we had passed. Then, disgusted with myself, I endeavored to be comforted with the idea that they had perhaps mistaken me for some one else; that having known me at a time when I was unable to walk, they could have no idea of my height and figure, or walk. So I reasoned, turning down a side street. Lo! at a respectable distance they were following! We had occasion to go into a daguerreau salon. While standing in the light, two gray uniforms, watching us from the dark recess at the door, attracted my attention. Pointing them out to Ada, I hurried her past them downstairs to the street. Faster and faster we walked, until at the corner I turned to look.

There they were again, sauntering leisurely along. We turned into another street, mingled in the crowd, and finally lost sight of them. That fright lasted me an hour or two. Whose purse have I stolen, that I am afraid to look these men in the face?

But what has this to do with what I meant to tell? How loosely and disconnectedly my ideas run out with the ink from my pen! I meant to say how sorry I am for my dear little lisper that she failed in her efforts to conquer the “Hero”; and here I have drifted off in a page of trash that does not concern her in the least. Well! she did not succeed, and whatever she told him was told in vain, as far as she was concerned. He was not to be caught! What an extraordinary man! Dozens fighting for the preference, and he in real, or pretended ignorance.

I must do him the justice to say he is the most guileless, as well as the most honest of mortals. He told the mother of a rich and pretty daughter what he thought of me; that my superior did not exist on earth, and my equal he had never met. Ha! ha! this pathetic story makes me laugh in spite of myself. Is it excess of innocence, or just a role he adopted? Stop! His idle word is as good as an oath. He could not pretend to what he did not believe. He told her of his earnest and sincere admiration — words! words! hurry on! She asked how it was then—? Here he confessed, with a mixture of pride and penitence, that he had written me letters which absolutely required answers, and to which I had never deigned to reply by even a word. That, mortified beyond measure at my silent contempt, he had tried every means of ascertaining the cause of my coldness, but I had never vouchsafed an answer, but had left him to feel the full force of my harsh treatment without one word of explanation. That when he was paroled, he had hoped that I would see him to tell him wherein he had forfeited my esteem; but I had not invited him to call, and mortified and repulsed as he had been, it was impossible for him to call without my permission. . . . Did my little lisper change the message when the little midshipman told her it had been intercepted because too friendly? I know she met this martyred Lion frequently after that and had many opportunities of telling him the simple truth, but she evidently did not.

He has gone away with sorely wounded feelings, to say nothing more; for that I am sincerely sorry; but I trust to his newly acquired freedom, and his life of danger and excitement, to make him forget the wrongs he believes himself to have suffered at my hands. If it was all to be gone through again (which thank Heaven, I will never be called upon to endure again), I would follow Brother's advice as implicitly then as I did before. He is right, and without seeing, I believe. They tell me of his altered looks, and of his forced, reckless gaiety which, so strangely out of keeping with his natural character, but makes his assumed part more conspicuous. No matter! He will recover! Nothing like a sea voyage for disorders of all kinds. And we will never meet again; that is another consolation.

“Notice: The public are hereby informed through Mrs. –––, Chief Manager of the Theatre of High Tragedy, that Miss Sarah M., having been proved unworthy and incompetent to play the role of Ariadne, said part will hereafter be filled by Miss Blank, of Blank Street, who plays it with a fidelity so true to nature that she could hardly be surpassed by the original.”

SOURCE: Sarah Morgan Dawson, A Confederate Girl's Diary, p. 417-21

Diary of Colonel William F. Bartlett: Friday, March 13, 1863

Howard Dwight called to see me this afternoon. Grover's Division has started. We shall start to-morrow.

SOURCE: Francis Winthrop Palfrey, Memoir of William Francis Bartlett, p. 73

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: August 26, 1862

Mr. Russell's bill will not pass. The machinery of legislation works too slowly.

Fredericksburg has been evacuated by the enemy! It is said the Jews rushed in and bought boots for $7.00, which they now demand $25.00 for, and so with various other articles of merchandise. They are now investing money in real estate for the first time, which is evidence that they have no faith in the ultimate redemption of Confederate money.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 150

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Lemuel A. Abbott: Friday, February 19, 1864

Cold as ever but no wind to mention. Lieut E. P. Farr left for Vermont this morning; spent three hours this afternoon in the chapel with a class of non-commissioned officers who desire commissions in colored troops, and have requested me to hear them recite in tactics, etc., daily, before going before a board for examination in Washington, D. C. Received a letter from home; all well there. Carl Wilson is about entering a drug store in Montpelier, Vt.

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 20

Diary of Corporal Charles H. Lynch: Thursday, September 1, 1864

A very hot morning. Our regiment relieved from picket. Marched back to our camping place in the woods. A good bath in cold spring water coming out of the ground clear as crystal. There are many fine springs in the Shenandoah Valley. After my bath had a good sleep. Ready to eat and sleep at most any time. All sorts of rumors are passed along the lines. One report comes that we are to receive a visit from the paymaster. A poor place for us to receive six months' pay, which is more than due. The families at home are in need of the money.

SOURCE: Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary, 1862-1865, of Charles H. Lynch 18th Conn. Vol's, p. 119

Diary of Luman Harris Tenney: June 6, 1862

Eight companies of the Second Ohio, Majors Miner and Burnett, four Ninth Wisconsin Infantry, three Tenth Infantry Kansas, one Sixth Kansas Cavalry were on the march at 8 A. M. Major P. was going independently. He had refused me several times, but after all the troops were gone, he consented. Left in a hurry with little provisions. Crossed Spring River and the Neosho. After marching fast 35 miles, came upon the camps of Standwaite and Coffee. Major P. conversed with pickets. Shelled the position of Standwaite, but probably too late, having escaped with Coffee south to Col. Rains. The shelling was splendid. The shells would bound from tree to tree and burst with a thundering noise. First Battalion took position between the two camps, if possible to prevent a junction of forces. Also went out as skirmishers. Third Battalion deployed along the woods to prevent escape and watch the movements of the enemy. The Battery took a position on the hill favorable for shelling the enemy. Was supported by the Kansas Infantry. Ninth Wisconsin deployed as skirmishers and entered the woods. Scouts went near Coffee's camp and represented them leaving. “General” (Col. Doubleday) immediately marched to the south of the camp and ceased operations for the night. It was now 1 o'clock A. M. Bivouacked with few blankets in the open air. Slept soundly till 3 A. M. I enjoyed all the doings very much, acted as carrier for the “General.” Accompanied Major Purington. Saw large herds of horses and cattle. Took many prisoners. Some Coffee's men and some not.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 17

Monday, April 25, 2016

Diary of Judith Brockenbrough McGuire: April 6, 1865

Mr. Lincoln has visited our devoted city to-day. His reception was any thing but complimentary. Our people were in nothing rude or disrespectful; they only kept themselves away from a scene so painful. There are very few Unionists of the least respectability here; these met them (he was attended by Stanton and others) with cringing loyalty, I hear, but the rest of the small collection were of the low, lower, lowest of creation. They drove through several streets, but the greeting was so feeble from the motley crew of vulgar men and women, that the Federal officers themselves, I suppose, were ashamed of it, for they very soon escaped from the disgraceful association. It is said that they took a collation at General Ord's — our President's house!! Ah! it is a bitter pill. I would that dear old house, with all its associations, so sacred to the Southerners, so sweet to us as a family, had shared in the general conflagration. Then its history would have been unsullied, though sad. Oh, how gladly would I have seen it burn! I have been nowhere since Monday, except to see my dear old friend Mrs. R., and to the hospital. There I am not much subjected to the harrowing sights and sounds by which we are surrounded. The wounded must be nursed; poor fellows, they are so sorrowful! Our poor old Irishman died on Sunday. The son of a very old acquaintance was brought to our hospital a few days ago, most severely wounded — Colonel Charles Richardson, of the artillery. We feared at first that he must die, but now there is a little more hope. It is so sad that after four years of bravery and devotion to the cause, he should be brought to his native city, for the defence of which he would have gladly given his life, dangerously if not mortally wounded, when its sad fate is just decided. I love to sit by his bedside and try to cheer him; his friends seem to vie with each other in kind attentions to him.

We hear rumours of battles, and of victories gained by our troops, but we have no certain information beyond the city lines.

SOURCE: Judith W. McGuire, Diary of a Southern Refugee, During the War, p. 350-1

Diary of Sarah Morgan: Friday, September 25, 1863

Write me down a witch, a prophetess, or what you will. I am certainly something! All has come to pass on that very disagreeable subject very much as I feared. Perhaps no one in my position would speak freely on the subject; for that very reason I shall not hesitate to discuss it.

Know, then, that this morning, He went North along with many other Confederate prisoners, to be exchanged. And he left — he who has written so incessantly and so imploringly for me to visit his prison — he left without seeing me. Bon! Wonder what happened?

SOURCE: Sarah Morgan Dawson, A Confederate Girl's Diary, p. 415-6

Diary of Sarah Morgan: Friday Evening, September 25, 1863

I have learned more. He has not yet left; part of the mystery is unraveled, only I have neither patience nor desire to seek for more. These women —! Hush! to slander is too much like them; be yourself.

My sweet little lisper informed a select circle of friends the other night, when questioned, that the individual had not called on me, and, what was more, would not do so. “Pray, how do you happen to be so intimately acquainted with the affairs of two who are strangers to you?” asked a lady present. She declined saying how she had obtained her information, only asserting that it was so. “In fact, you cannot expect any Confederate gentleman to call at the house of Judge Morgan, a professed Unionist,” she continued. So that is the story she told to keep him from seeing me. She has told him that we had turned Yankees! All her arts would not grieve me as much as one word against Brother. My wrongs I can forget; but one word of contempt for Brother I never forgive! White with passion I said to my in formant, “Will you inform the young lady that her visit will never be returned, that she is requested not to repeat hers, and that I decline knowing any one who dares cast the slightest reflection on the name of one who has been both father and brother to me!” This evening I was at a house where she was announced. Miriam and I bade our hostess good-evening and left without speaking to her. Anybody but Brother! No one shall utter his name before me save with respect and regard.

This young woman's father is a Captain in the Yankee navy, and her brother is a Captain in the Yankee army, while three other brothers are in the Confederate. Like herself, I have three brothers fighting for the South; unlike her, the only brother who avows himself a Unionist has too much regard for his family to take up arms against his own flesh and blood.

SOURCE: Sarah Morgan Dawson, A Confederate Girl's Diary, p. 416-7

Autobiography Of Alexander G. Downing.

I first saw daylight early on Monday morning, the 15th day of August, 1842, in a log house of one room, on the northeast corner of block 14, in the town of Bloomfield, Green county, Indiana. My father at that time had a small tanyard on said block of land, but had to give up the tanning business finally, on account of quicksand in the well from which he drew the water to fill his tanning vats. My father and his twin brother came from West Virginia1 in their boyhood days and located at Salem, Indiana. While living there they learned the tanner's trade. Their father, my grandfather, came from Ireland when a young lad and later served his adopted country in the Revolutionary War. After the war he settled in Virginia. My mother was from North Carolina and was of English ancestry. She died when I was almost two years old, and my only sister died six months later. In 1846 my father married again and moved upon an eighty-acre farm two miles east of Bloomfield, which became the first family homestead. There my five half-brothers were born. Our combined ages are, on this 14th day of June, 1914, 396 years, while our combined time in Iowa is three hundred and sixty years.

I attended school two summers, during the last two years we lived in Indiana. It was in a log schoolhouse, located in heavy timber. It had no floor, nor even a window, though there was a small hole in one side of the building to give light when the door was shut. The door was made of split staves, and hung by wooden hinges; the accustomed latch-string was on the outside. There was not a nail in the entire building. I attended my first Sunday School at this schoolhouse, my cousin being the superintendent. He gave me a Sunday School book, the reading of which at that time of my boyhood days has guided me to this day in living the better life.

In May, 1854, father pulled up stakes and left for Iowa. We had one team of horses and three yoke of oxen, with two wagons loaded with the family bedding, clothes and utensils, besides enough dried fruit to last two years. We also took along a small herd of young cows and heifers.

It was my lot to drive those cattle. I was in my twelfth year and with the one hired man walked the whole way, driving the herd. I had just received from my uncle a new pair of boots for the journey; but those boots almost proved my undoing. My uncle had bought our eighty-acre farm, upon which was a ten-acre field of fall wheat, having been sown in the standing corn. He told me that if I would cut the stalks he would buy me a new pair of boots for our journey. That spring I went at the job with father's old iron hoe, which had a dogwood handle, and whacked down that ten acres of cornstalks, earning my boots. On our way to Iowa we encountered so much rain and water that the boots became so shrunken and stiff I could scarcely get them on and off; I had to leave them on for days at a time. The result was that my feet became very sore and calloused, and to this day I have a callous place on the bottom of one foot caused by the pegs in those boots.

We crossed the Mississippi river at Davenport, Iowa, on Sunday morning, June 11, 1854. It was a hot, foggy morning, but soon clouded over and by the next day we had to travel in a cold, all day, northeastern rainstorm. In all we were on the road twenty-two days, and we had rain at some time during the day for eighteen of those days.

Father had come to Iowa in the fall of 1852 and had entered two hundred and forty acres of land eight miles east of Tipton, the county seat of Cedar county. After he had the land surveyed he bought forty acres more, of timber land, four miles distant. Here he cut forks and poles for the frame and then went to Davenport for the lumber with which to build our shanty to live in during the summer. Davenport was thirty miles distant, and it took him three days with an ox team to make the trip.

In the latter part of the summer I had to drive the three yoke of oxen hitched to a breaking plow while the hired man held the plow handles, to break twenty acres of prairie. The grass and blue stem were so high and always so wet that I never thought of being dry until in the afternoon. There were so many rattlesnakes that I had to wear those “store” boots all that summer, to protect my feet. While the hired man and I were breaking prairie, father was building our house, a one and one-fourth story building, into which we moved some time in November. He also built a sod stable, covering it with slough grass. Besides this, he with the help of two hired men cut and stacked about sixty tons of the blue stem for hay. We built a rail fence around the stacks and then during the winter, we threw the hay over the fence to feed the cattle.

The two hired men we had were both from Indiana and late in the fall they went back, as they were afraid of freezing to death in Iowa. Our first winter, though, was not bad; in fact, it was one of the finest winters I have ever seen in Iowa, and I have now (1914) seen sixty of them in the State. The nearest schoolhouse was four miles away and overcrowded at that, so I received no schooling that winter. Father would go to the timber every day with Ben and Head, a faithful yoke of oxen, to make rails and posts, bringing home a load at night. He would reach the timber usually by daylight and very often would not get home till long after dark. I thus, with some help from my younger brothers, had to do the chores, cut the stove wood, and carry it into the house. The fine, dry winter was a great blessing to father, as he had to work every day in getting out the material with which to fence the farm the next spring.

That spring, 1855, we put in a crop on the twenty acres which we broke the summer before, sowing twelve acres to wheat and planting eight acres to corn. It was my task to harrow and smooth down that tough sod. Father had made a forty-tooth, “A-harrow,” and with Ben and Head hitched to it, I harrowed that twenty-acre field over and over. It seemed as if I walked several thousand miles in getting the twelve acres of wheat covered. Father had told me to lap the harrow about one-half each time, and in my anxiety to do so I kept calling whoa-haw to the oxen almost continuously. One day father said to me, “Bud” (for that was my nickname then), “if I had a dollar for every time you said whoa-haw, I could retire for life a rich man.”

After putting in the wheat I helped father fence in sixty acres of land with a two-rail fence, building in all one mile and sixty rods of fence. I dug the post holes and father set the posts, and then nailed on the rails while I held them in place.

The old stage road from Davenport to Cedar Rapids ran across our farm right where we had fenced it in, but the stage route had not yet been changed. One day the stage from Davenport, heavily loaded with passengers, came through and the driver, following the old road, drove right up to the new fence to find his way blocked; and in place of following the new road about twenty rods up around the corner, he with the help of some of his passengers was going to tear down the fence. Father was at work a short distance away and seeing the move they were making, simply called out to them to be careful what they were doing. That settled the matter; the driver uttered a few “damns” and then went up the new road around the corner. The first railroad engine had just entered Iowa, having been brought across the Mississippi river on the ice by the piece and then put together at Davenport. Soon thereafter the old stage route was abandoned altogether.

At that time there were few houses to be seen on all that vast prairie. From our home we could count but four or five small homes, and we could see for miles in all directions without anything to break the view. It was a mile to our nearest neighbor.

That summer father cut our first crop of wheat in Iowa with a cradle. I raked the swathes into bundles with a hand rake, while the hired man bound them into sheaves. In the fall before father had broken up a large hazel patch for a garden, and I planted a part of it in watermelons. They did well, and late in the season I sold in all $6.00 worth of melons to the “movers” going west on the old territorial road which was now turned to run close by our house. I counted that $6.00 over a great many times, and each dollar then looked as big as a base drum head does today. But alas! The six silver dollars went to a local shoemaker for making six pairs of cowhide shoes for us six boys, and that was the last I saw of the $6.00.

Our second winter in Iowa was spent in the same way as the first. There was no schoolhouse near, and for the second time I got no winter's schooling. Instead, I remained at home to do chores and “smash up” the stove wood. Father again went to the timber every day with the same yoke of oxen to make a load of rails, or posts, or to cut a load of firewood, as occasion required.

During the summer of 1856 we farmed on a larger scale than the year before, and we bought a reaper to cut our grain. Then came the cold winter of '56 and '57, with six to eight feet of snow on the level. This “winter of the deep snow” was followed by the “wet summer of '57.” Our wheat crop was so badly blighted that we took none of it to mill. We had to use old wheat for food as well as for seed the following spring. The years of 1858 and 1859 were uneventful years. The times were hard, money was very scarce, and what little there was to be had was wild-cat money in the bargain.

The year of 1860 was another rather dull year, though in the late summer the political excitement ran high, the main topic being the South and slavery. I united with the church in November, 1860, becoming a member of the Disciples' Church.

In 1861 there was no improvement over the past three years, and the finest wheat ever grown would not bring over thirty cents a bushel, while corn was only ten cents a bushel. That spring the Civil War broke out, and after I helped father through with the harvest, I enlisted in the army and was away from home in the war for four long years. While in the army I participated in thirty-eight battles and skirmishes, and was mustered out in July, 1865.

When I came home from the war, I helped finish the harvest and then in the fall worked with a threshing outfit. I went through the winter without any occupation and then in the spring of 1866 I decided to put in a crop. I farmed eighty acres and cleared above all expenses $600.00 in six months.

In the fall of 1866 I thought that my occupation for life should be that of a merchant and decided to go into business. I went to London, Iowa, and bought an interest in a general store. After six months of experience I found out that merchandising was not my calling and sold out, losing in the whole transaction $1,200.00, or $200.00 per month. I decided then to make farming my calling and in the spring of 1867 broke up one hundred and twenty acres of prairie. I bought the best team of horses I could find, paying $400.00 cash for them, and went to breaking prairie.

On the 9th of May, 1867, I was married to Miss Mary E. Stanton, daughter of J. W. Stanton, a prosperous farmer of my home neighborhood. In 1868 we built a house on York Prairie, two miles north of Bennett, Iowa. Here for a period of seventeen years, I was engaged in general farming and stock raising. My father died in 1877 and I settled up his estate, which was worth about $50,000.00. He owned over five hundred acres of land, all well improved, besides a large amount of personal property. In 1881 I built one of the largest barns in Cedar county at that time, requiring over one hundred thousand feet of lumber. It would stable one hundred head of cattle, had bins to hold five thousand bushels of grain, and the hayloft would hold one hundred tons of hay. In the fall of 1885 I sold my farm of two hundred acres and bought a badly run down farm of one hundred and sixty acres. My old farm was all in grass, and at my sale in September of that year I sold over one hundred head of cattle, high-grade Durhams. I rented out the new farm I had bought for a term of ten years and quit farming for good.

Being somewhat broken in health, we moved to Colfax, Iowa, that same year for the benefit of my health. We remained there until the 1st of March, 1887, when we moved to Des Moines, Iowa, where we have made our home ever since. Having no living children we decided to endow a medical chair in Drake University and gave for that purpose $25,000.00. Later we gave $5,000.00 to the Medical Library of the University, and since have given $2,000.00 to establish the Downing Prizes in Drake University.

Signed this 11th day of June, 1914, by Alexander G. Downing, in his seventy-second year and his sixtieth year in the State of Iowa.
_______________

1 Then western Virginia.—Ed.

Source: Alexander G. Downing, Edited by Olynthus B., Clark, Downing’s Civil War Diary, p. 292-7

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Diary of Laura M. Towne: Friday, April 21, 1862

Pope's Plantation, St. Helena Island, April 21, 1862.

You do not know what perfect delight your letter gave me, when I got it after I had done hoping for it. Everybody else got their letters two days before and I thought I should have to go to the plantation without hearing, and once there I should never be sure of a letter again, gentlemen's pockets being our only post. But it was handed to me while I was packing at Mrs. Forbes', and later in the evening when I was being driven by Mr. Hooper in about half a buggy, with a skin-and-bone horse, across cotton-fields, a voice from the roadside hailed us — “Have you got Miss Towne there? Here's a letter for her. Came up with the groceries. Don't know why or where from. Don't know when.” It was from Ellen, and Mr. Eustis1 had rescued it from the groceries accidentally. In the dark there Mr. Eustis welcomed me to Secesh Land, and I have seen him once or twice since. He and his son are both well and in the highest spirits. Indeed, everybody here is well as possible, better than ever in their lives before, and most of them in excellent spirits. And as for safety, you may be sure we feel pretty secure when I tell you that we sleep with the doors unlocked below, just as we used to think it so wonderful to do at Jasper's. But I shall put the padlock on my door, and as soon as there is any way of locking the doors below, I shall do it. Now there are no keys and no bolts.

In Beaufort — “Befit” the negroes call it, or “Bufed” — there is less security, or folks think there is, for they lock up, and Mr. F. was always getting up reports of rebel boats stealing by, but they, all turned out to be fishermen. Stories of danger are always being circulated, but they come from waggish soldiers, I think. They said that on one island the rebels had landed and carried away a lady. There was not a word of truth in it, and just before we came here two regiments were ordered out to receive the Michigan regiment which had been fighting at Wilmington Island. Some one asked what they were called out for and they said the rebels had landed in force at Ladies' Island, — Mr. Eustis', where we were going that afternoon. I drove that very evening over across part of Mr. Eustis' place in the dark with one little darky, Cupid by name, and I never saw a more peaceful place, and never was safer.

I think from the accounts of the negroes that this plantation is a healthy one. Salt water nearly encircles it at high tide. On the left are pines, in front a cotton-field just planted, to the right the negro quarters, a nice little street of huts which have recently been whitewashed, shaded by a row of the “Pride of China” trees. These trees are just in bloom and have very large clusters of purple flowers — a little like lilacs, only much more scattering. There is a vegetable garden also to the right and plenty of fig trees, one or two orange trees, but no other fruit. We have green peas, though, and I have had strawberries. Behind the house there are all kinds of stables, pig-pens, etc.

The number of little darkies tumbling about at all hours is marvellous. They swarm on the front porch and in the front hall. If a carriage stops it is instantly surrounded by a dozen or more woolly heads. They are all very civil, but full of mischief and fun. The night we arrived Mr. Pierce had gone about five miles to marry a couple. One of the party wore a white silk skirt trimmed with lace. They had about half a dozen kinds of cake and all sorts of good things. But the cake was horrid stuff, heavy as lead.

But I am going on too irregularly. I will first describe the family and then tell you, if I have time, about my coming and my future prospects.

Miss Donelson and Mrs. Johnson are going home tomorrow. I shall be very sorry to miss them, for I have shared their room and found them very pleasant friends. I have got really attached to Miss Donelson, whom I have seen most of, and I beg her to stay and go with Ellen and me to another plantation. But she, after being very undecided, has just determined to go home. You know, of course, that Ellen is coming. Mr. Pierce said he wrote for us to come together, but so as to make sure, he has given me another pass which I shall forward by Miss Johnson, and then, if Ellen still perseveres, we shall be together here after all.

It is not very warm here, I can tell you. To-day the thermometer is only 63, and I have worn my black cloth vest and zouave jacket every day, being too cold the only day I put on my black silk.

Miss Susan Walker is a very capable person, I think, and she proposes taking charge of the plantation hands and the distribution of the clothing. Miss Winsor is quite pretty and very sensible. She has the school-children to teach and is most efficient and reliable. Ellen will teach the adults on this plantation. I shall — just think of it! — I shall keep house! Mr. Pierce needs a person to do this for him. The gentlemen of the company are always coming here for consultation and there will be a large family at any rate — Mr. Pierce, Miss Walker, and we three younger ones, with young Mr. Hooper, who is Mr. Pierce's right-hand man. We shall have visitors dropping in to meals at all hours, and the kitchen is about as far off as Mrs. Lambert's from you; the servants untrained field hands, — and worse, very young girls, except the cook, — and so I shall have a time of it. I am also to do copying or be a kind of clerk to Mr. Pierce, and to be inspector of the huts. I shall begin by inculcating gardens.

This is not a pretty place, but the house is new and clean, about as nice as country-houses in Philadelphia, without carpets, though, and with few of the civilized conveniences. We shall have no ice all through the summer, and the water is so thick that it must be filtered, which will make it warm. That is the worst inconvenience I see. We are at no expense at all here. The hands on the place are obliged to work. All who can be are kept busy with the cotton, but there are some women and young girls unfit for the field, and these are made to do their share in housework and washing, so that they may draw pay like the others — or rations — for Government must support them all whether they work or not, for this summer. So far as I have seen, they are eager to get a chance to do housework or washing, because the Northerners can't help giving extra pay for service that is done them, even if it is paid for otherwise, or by policy. One old man — Uncle Robert — makes butter, and we shall have plenty of it as well as milk. Eggs are scarce. These things belong to the plantation and are necessary to it. We do not pay for them. Robert brought in a tally stick this morning, grinning, to Miss Walker and showed how many days' work he had done — rather wanting pay, I think. Miss Walker said, “We have paid part in clothes, you know, Uncle Robert, and the Government will take care you have the rest some day.” “Oh, I know it, ma'am,” he said, and he explained that he only wanted her to see how many days he had worked. He is very old, but should certainly be paid, for he takes care of all the stock on the place, if he does not work the cotton. Neither is he our servant; he only makes the butter for us and for sale (which goes to the support of the company expenses), and this is a small part of his work.

So matters are mixed up. Mr. Pierce has no salary and Government gives him only subsistence and pays all his expenses — nothing more. So he is entitled to comfortable living, and this we shall profit by. I suppose he is determined to do as Anna Loring asked — take especial care of me, for he has established me where I shall have the fewest hardships. When I say that we shall profit by it, I mean that we must necessarily share his comforts. For instance, our ration of candles is one-half a candle a week. Now, Mr. Pierce must have more than this, and we, downstairs in the parlor, see by his light. That is, we have common soldiers' rations, and he, officers', or something equivalent. I could not be more fortunately placed, it seems now, but if I find I cannot do what I came for in this position, that is, influence the negroes directly, I shall go somewhere else, for I find we can choose. Mr Eustis cannot have any lady there, the house being only a larger sort of cabin, with only three rooms in all. Many of the ladies will go home in summer, but not because the place is unhealthy. They only came, like Mrs. Johnson, to stay awhile so as to start this place, and others came who were not suitable. Mrs. French's object was to write a book and she thinks she has material enough now.

All the people here say it is healthy on these islands, but the plantations inland are deadly. I am on an island in a nice new house, and I do not think there will be any necessity for leaving. But if it should begin to get sickly here, we have only to go to St. Helena's village on this same island (but higher and in pine trees; more to the sea also) to be at one of their “watering-places” and in an undoubtedly healthy situation. There are no negroes there, though, and so we shall have no work there.

The reason why soldiers are more likely to suffer is that they have to live in tents. Just think of the heat in a tent! I was at the Cavalry Camp at Beaufort and in the tent of Mrs. Forbes' son. It was a pretty warm day, but there was a charming sea breeze. The tent did not face towards the wind, and the heat was insufferable in it — and the flies as bad as at Easton, I should fancy.

Mr. Pierce has just brought me some copying and so maybe I shall not be able to finish this letter.

It is one o'clock and I have been scribbling all the evening for Secretary Chase's benefit, and so have to neglect my own family. I have had no time to write in my journal for several days, which I regret very much.
_______________

1 F. A. Eustis, of Milton, Massachusetts, part owner of a plantation on Ladies' Island.

Rupert Sargent Holland, Editor, Letters and Diary of Laura M. Towne: Written from the Sea Islands of South Carolina 1862-1864, p. 9