AUGUST 30TH.—Gen. Floyd has had a fight in the West, and defeated an Ohio regiment. I trust they were of the Puritan stock, and not the descendants of Virginians.
Friday, 30.—Last night Dr. Joe and I did our best to house in Mrs. Sea’s barn (a good Union lady, two sons in the army), the Germans of the Ninth, who lay in the mud, without shelter. Spent today in a jolly way, resting.
FRENCH CREEK, August 30, 1861, Friday Night.
DEAREST:—”The best laid schemes of mice and men,” etc., especially in war. That beautiful camp at the head of the valley, where we were to stay so long, had just been gotten into fine order, when the order to leave came: “Make a forced march to French Creek by a mountain path, leaving tents, baggage, and knapsacks to be sent you.” We obeyed, and are yet alive. A queer life. We are now as jolly as if we never saw trouble or hardship. Two nights ago and three nights ago we lay in the rain in the woods without shelter, blankets, and almost without food, and after such hard days’ toil that we slept on the mountains as soundly as logs. All the horses used up, Uncle Joe’s Birch among the rest, except my pretty little sorrel, Webby, which came through better than ever.
Let me describe my kit: Portmanteau containing two pair socks, one shirt, a towel containing bread and sugar, a tin cup, a pistol in one holster and ammunition in the other, a blanket wrapped in the India-rubber you fixed, and a blue (soldier’s) overcoat. Seven miles we made after 2:30 P. M. on a good road to Huttonsville, then by a bridle-path part of the way and no path the rest, following a guide six miles over a steep, muddy, rocky mountain. At the foot of the mountain I put Captain Sperry, who was footsore, on Webby, and pushed ahead afoot. I could see we would not get over the mountain to a stream we wished to camp on until after night, unless we pushed. I put on ahead of [the] guide and reached the top with Lieutenant Bottsford, the keen-eyed snare-drummer, Gillett (Birch remembers him, I guess), a soldier, and the guide alone in sight. We waited till the head of the column came in sight, got full instructions from the guide, directed him to wait for the column, and leaving him, re-enforced, however, by the silver cornet player, we hurried down. In half an hour it was dark as tar. I led the little party blundering sometimes, but in the main, right, until we could hear the river. Long before we reached it, all sound of the column was lost, and the way was so difficult that we agreed they could not get down until daylight. We got to the river at 9:15 with three matches and a Fremont Journal to kindle fire with, no overcoats and no food. It was a wet night. Didn’t we scratch about and whittle to get dry kindling, and weren’t we lucky to get it and start a great fire with the first precious match?
Now for the column: It reached almost over the mountain single file. 1st, Pioneers under a sergeant, ten men; 2nd, Lieutenant Smith with advance guard of thirty men; 3d, Colonel Scammon and the five companies, Twenty-third; 4th, Captain McMullen and his four mountain howitzers and mules and eighty men; 5th, Lieutenant-Colonel Sandershoff with five companies of McCook’s regiment. The head of the column got down to us to our surprise at 10 P. M. McMullen gave it up at 11 P. M. half-way up the mountain, and the Germans were below him. The next day we toiled on thirteen and a half hours’ actual marching over the hills to this place, thirty miles. About three hundred of our men reached here at 8 P.M.—dark, muddy, rainy, and dismal—hungry, no shelter, nothing. Three companies of the Fifth under Captain Remley (part of Colonel Dunning’s Continentals) were here. They took us in, fed us, piled hay, built fires, and worked for us until midnight like beavers, and we survived the night. Our men will always bless the Cincinnati Fifth. A friend of the doctor’s, Davis, named Culbertson, looked after [me] and Dick Wright and others took care of Joe. Those who seemed unable to keep up, I began to order into barns and farmhouses about 6:30 o’clock. The last six miles was somewhat settled and I took care of the rear.
In the morning we found ourselves in a warm-hearted Union settlement. We got into a Presbyterian church. We made headquarters at a Yankee lady’s and fared sumptuously; but McMullen and the Germans were still behind. They got in twenty-four hours after us in another dark wet night. Dr. Joe was in his glory. He and I took charge of the Germans. They were completely used up. The worst off we took into a barn of Mrs. Sea. I mention the old lady’s name for she has two sons and a son-in-law in the Union army of Virginia and gave us all she had for the Germans. We got through the night work about 12 M. [midnight] and today have enjoyed hugely the comparing notes, etc., etc. Our tents reached us just now, and I am writing in mine. The colonel was used up; Joe and I are the better for it. The move is supposed to be to meet the enemy coming in by a different route. We march on tomorrow but on good roads (reasonably so) and with tents and rations.
I love you so much. Kisses for all the boys and Grandma. Good night.
Tell Mother, Uncle, Laura, etc., that I get all letters, papers, Testament, etc., that are sent. I have lost nothing, I am sure. Such things are carefully forwarded from Clarksburg.
I am in command of the battalion and write this in the bustle of pitching tents preparatory to marching again as soon as fairly settled.
August 30.—General Fremont, at St. Louis, issued a proclamation declaring martial law throughout the State of Missouri; the disorganized condition of the State Government rendering it both proper and necessary that he should assume the administrative powers of the State. The lines of the army of occupation were declared to extend from Leavenworth, by way of the posts of Jefferson City, Rolla, and Ironton, to Cape Girardeau on the Mississippi River; and all persons who might be taken, with arms in their hands, within these lines should be tried by court-martial, and if found guilty of disloyalty to the Government, should be shot. General Fremont, in accordance with the law passed by Congress, declared that the property, real and personal, of all persons in the State of Missouri, who should take up arms against the United States, or be directly proven to have taken active part with their enemies in the field, should be confiscated to the public use, and their slaves, if any they have, shall be declared free men. This proclamation included in its provisions all persons proven to have destroyed railroad-tracks, bridges, etc., and all persons engaged in treasonable correspondence, or in any way giving “aid and comfort” to the enemy. It also promised immunity to all who would immediately return to their allegiance to the Government. The object of the proclamation was to place in the hands of the military authorities the power to give instantaneous effect to existing laws, and not to suspend the ordinary tribunals of the country, where the law could be administered by the civil officers in the usual manner.
Following the declaration of martial law in Missouri by General Fremont, Provost-marshal McKinstry issued an order forbidding any person passing beyond the limits of St. Louis without a special permit from his office; and railroad, steambeat, ferry, and other agents were prohibited from selling tickets to any one not holding a proper pass.—(Doc. 18.)
—This afternoon, at Baltimore, Md., the dwelling of Edward Phillips, in Sterling street near Mott, formerly a pelican police officer under Colonel Kane, was searched, and the following articles, contraband of war, were discovered secreted between the floor and ceiling of the second story of his house, viz.: Two carbines, one Minié musket, three Colt’s revolvers, engraved on the butts ” City Police,” thirty rounds of cartridges, and several espantoons. The above-named articles were stored away snugly, with a bed made of chairs over them so as to escape detection. The pelican was taken charge of by officers Scott, Hooper, and Owens, and conveyed to Fort McHenry. The arms were taken charge of, and placed in the keeping of the proper authorities.—Baltimore Clipper, August 31.
—Massachusetts has again maintained her reputation for patriotic promptness. A week ago to-day Mr. Cameron’s call appeared, asking for more men straightway ; and now six regiments, which were in Massachusetts last Monday, and nearly, if not quite, all of them unprepared to march, are either on the line of the Potomac, or are on their way there.—Providence Journal, August 30.
August 29th.—It is hard to bear such a fate as befalls an unpopular man in the United States, because in no other country, as De Tocqueville remarks (p. 200, Spencer’s American edition, New York, 1858), is the press so powerful when it is unanimous. And yet he says, too, “The journalist of the United States is usually placed in a very humble position, with a scanty education and a vulgar turn of mind. His characteristics consist of an open and coarse appeal to the passions of the populace, and he habitually abandons the principles of political science to assail the characters of individuals, to track them into private life, and disclose all their weaknesses and errors. The individuals who are already in possession of a high station in the esteem of their fellow citizens are afraid to write in the newspapers, and they are thus deprived of the most powerful instrument which they can use to excite the passions of the multitude to their advantage. The personal opinions of the editors have no kind of weight in the eyes of the public. The only use of a journal is that it imparts the knowledge of certain facts; and it is only by altering and distorting those facts that a journalist can contribute to the support of his own views.” When the whole of the press, without any exception in so far as I am aware, sets deliberately to work, in order to calumniate, vilify, insult, and abuse a man who is at once a stranger, a rival, and an Englishman, he may expect but one result, according to De Tocqueville.
The teeming anonymous letters I receive are filled with threats of assassination, tarring, feathering, and the like; and one of the most conspicuous of literary sbirri is in perfect rapture at the notion of a new “sensation” heading, for which he is working as hard as he can. I have no intention to add to the number of his castigations.
In the afternoon I drove to the waste grounds beyond the Capitol, in company with Mr. Olmsted and Captain Haworth, to see the 18th Massachusetts Regiment, who had just marched in, and were pitching their tents very probably for the first time. They arrived from their state with camp equipments, waggons, horses, harness, commissariat stores complete, and were clad in the blue uniform of the United States; for the volunteer fancies in greys and greens are dying out. The men were uncommonly stout young fellows, with an odd, slouching, lounging air about some of them, however, which I could not quite understand till I heard one sing out, “Hallo, sergeant, where am I to sling my hammock in this tent?” Many of them, in fact, are fishermen and sailors from Cape Cod, New Haven, and similar maritime places.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 29, 1861.
It has rained almost incessantly today and I have done but little but stay in the house. Mr Brownson and myself went down to the Pat office and found that the “knapsack” had passed. Mr B. left for home on the 21/2 train. I went to the Depot with him. The 18th 19th 20th & 21st Regts from Mass were arriving, all expected before tomorrow morning. Capt McCormick, who resides cor[ner] 40th St & 8th Ave NY, and Lieut Martin 12th Regt called today. A battle is expected soon over the River. Skirmishing yesterday and the guns heard by us nearly all day.
The three diary manuscript volumes, Washington during the Civil War: The Diary of Horatio Nelson Taft, 1861-1865, are available online at The Library of Congress.
Daily Times [Leavenworth, Ks],
August 29, 1861
A large number of Osages, in full war costume, came into town last Thursday to offer their services to their Father at Washington. They rode around the plaza several times singing their war song, and followed by large numbers of curious soldiers. In the evening they gave a war dance, in the Plaza, which was witnessed by a large concourse of soldiers and citizens. They offer their services on condition that they be furnished with “wabusca” (flour) and “pacheney” (whisky.)—Fort Scott Democrat.
AUGUST 29TH. —We have intelligence from the North that immense preparations are being made for our destruction; and some of our people begin to say, that inasmuch as we did not follow up the victory at Manassas, it was worse than a barren one, having only exasperated the enemy, and stimulated the Abolitionists to renewed efforts. I suppose these critics would have us forbear to injure the invader, for fear of maddening him. They are making this war; we must make it terrible. With them war is a new thing, and they will not cease from it till the novelty wears off, and all their fighting men are sated with blood and bullets. It must run its course, like the measles. We must both bleed them and deplete their pockets.
Thursday, 29.—Moved into the Presbyterian church to await our tents and train.
August 29th.—No more feminine gossip, but the licensed slanderer, the mighty Russell, of the Times. He says the battle of the 21st was fought at long range: 500 yards apart were the combatants. The Confederates were steadily retreating when some commotion in the wagon train frightened the “Yanks,” and they made tracks. In good English, they fled amain. And on our side we were too frightened to follow them—in high-flown English, to pursue the flying foe.
In spite of all this, there are glimpses of the truth sometimes, and the story leads to our credit with all the sneers and jeers. When he speaks of the Yankees’ cowardice, falsehood, dishonesty, and braggadocio, the best words are in his mouth. He repeats the thrice-told tale, so often refuted and denied, that we were harsh to wounded prisoners. Dr. Gibson told me that their surgeon-general has written to thank our surgeons: Yankee officers write very differently from Russell. I know that in that hospital with the Sisters of Charity they were better off than our men were at the other hospitals: that I saw with my own eyes. These poor souls are jealously guarded night and day. It is a hideous tale—what they tell of their sufferings.
Women who come before the public are in a bad box now. False hair is taken off and searched for papers. Bustles are “suspect.” All manner of things, they say, come over the border under the huge hoops now worn; so they are ruthlessly torn off. Not legs but arms are looked for under hoops, and, sad to say, found. Then women are used as detectives and searchers, to see that no men slip over in petticoats. So the poor creatures coming this way are humiliated to the deepest degree. To men, glory, honor, praise, and power, if they are patriots. To women, daughters of Eve, punishment comes still in some shape, do what they will.
Mary Hammy’s eyes were starting from her head with amazement, while a very large and handsome South Carolinian talked rapidly. “What is it? ” asked I after he had gone. “Oh, what a year can bring forth—one year! Last summer you remember how he swore he was in love with me? He told you, he told me, he told everybody, and if I did refuse to marry him I believed him. Now he says he has seen, fallen in love with, courted, and married another person, and he raves of his little daughter’s beauty. And they say time goes slowly” —thus spoke Mary Hammy, with a sigh of wonder at his wonderful cure.
“Time works wonders,” said the explainer-general. “What conclusion did you come to as to Southern men at the grand pow-wow, you know?” “They are nicer than the nicest—the gentlemen, you know. There are not too many of that kind anywhere. Ours are generous, truthful, brave, and—and—devoted to us, you know. A Southern husband is not a bad thing to have about the house.”
Mrs. Frank Hampton said: “For one thing, you could not flirt with these South Carolinians. They would not stay at the tepid degree of flirtation. They grow so horridly in earnest before you know where you are.” “Do you think two married people ever lived together without finding each other out? I mean, knowing exactly how good or how shabby, how weak or how strong, above all, how selfish each was?” “Yes; unless they are dolts, they know to a tittle; but you see if they have common sense they make believe and get on, so so.” Like the Marchioness’s orange-peel wine in Old Curiosity Shop.
A violent attack upon the North to-day in the Albion. They mean to let freedom slide a while until they subjugate us. The Albion says they use lettres de cachet, passports, and all the despotic apparatus of regal governments. Russell hears the tramp of the coming man—the king and kaiser tyrant that is to rule them. Is it McClellan?— “Little Mac?” We may tremble when he comes. We down here have only “the many-headed monster thing,” armed democracy. Our chiefs quarrel among themselves.
McClellan is of a forgiving spirit. He does not resent Russell’s slurs upon Yankees, but with good policy has Russell with him as a guest.
The Adonis of an aide avers, as one who knows, that “Sumter” Anderson’s heart is with us; that he will not fight the South. After all is said and done that sounds like nonsense. “Sumter” Anderson’s wife was a daughter of Governor Clinch, of Georgia. Does that explain it? He also told me something of Garnett (who was killed at Rich Mountain).¹ He had been an unlucky man clear through. In the army before the war, the aide had found him proud, reserved, and morose, cold as an icicle to all. But for his wife and child he was a different creature. He adored them and cared for nothing else.
One day he went off on an expedition and was gone six weeks. He was out in the Northwest, and the Indians were troublesome. When he came back, his wife and child were underground. He said not one word, but they found him more frozen, stern, and isolated than ever; that was all. The night before he left Richmond he said in his quiet way: “They have not given me an adequate force. I can do nothing. They have sent me to my death.” It is acknowledged that he threw away his life— “a dreary-hearted man,” said the aide, “and the unluckiest.”
On the front steps every evening we take our seats and discourse at our pleasure. A nicer or more agreeable set of people were never assembled than our present Arlington crowd. To-night it was Yancey² who occupied our tongues. Send a man to England who had killed his father-in-law in a street brawl! That was not knowing England or Englishmen, surely. Who wants eloquence? We want somebody who can hold his tongue. People avoid great talkers, men who orate, men given to monologue, as they would avoid fire, famine, or pestilence. Yancey will have no mobs to harangue. No stump speeches will be possible, superb as are his of their kind, but little quiet conversation is best with slow, solid, common-sense people, who begin to suspect as soon as any flourish of trumpets meets their ear. If Yancey should use his fine words, who would care for them over there?
Commodore Barron, when he was a middy, accompanied Phil Augustus Stockton to claim his bride. He, the said Stockton, had secretly wedded a fair heiress (Sally Cantey). She was married by a magistrate and returned to Mrs. Grillaud’s boarding-school until it was time to go home —that is, to Camden.
Lieutenant Stockton (a descendant of the Signer) was the handsomest man in the navy, and irresistible. The bride was barely sixteen. When he was to go down South among those fire-eaters and claim her, Commodore Barron, then his intimate friend, went as his backer. They were to announce the marriage and defy the guardians. Commodore Barron said he anticipated a rough job of it all, but they were prepared for all risks. “You expected to find us a horde of savages, no doubt,” said I. “We did not expect to get off under a half-dozen duels.” They looked for insults from every quarter and they found a polished and refined people who lived en prince, to say the least of it. They were received with a cold, stately, and faultless politeness, which made them feel as if they had been sheep-stealing.
The young lady had confessed to her guardians and they were for making the best of it; above all, for saving her name from all gossip or publicity. Colonel John Boykin, one of them, took Young Lochinvar to stay with him. His friend, Barron, was also a guest. Colonel Deas sent for a parson, and made assurance doubly sure by marrying them over again. Their wish was to keep things quiet and not to make a nine-days’ wonder of the young lady.
Then came balls, parties, and festivities without end. He was enchanted with the easy-going life of these people, with dinners the finest in the world, deer-hunting, and foxhunting, dancing, and pretty girls, in fact everything that heart could wish. But then, said Commodore Barron, “the better it was, and the kinder the treatment, the more ashamed I grew of my business down there. After all, it was stealing an heiress, you know.”
I told him how the same fate still haunted that estate in Camden. Mr. Stockton sold it to a gentleman, who later sold it to an old man who had married when near eighty, and who left it to the daughter born of that marriage. This pretty child of his old age was left an orphan quite young. At the age of fifteen, she ran away and married a boy of seventeen, a canny Scotchman. The young couple lived to grow up, and it proved after all a happy marriage. This last heiress left six children; so the estate will now be divided, and no longer tempt the fortune-hunters.
The Commodore said: “To think how we two youngsters in our blue uniforms went down there to bully those people.” He was much at Colonel Chesnut’s. Mrs. Chesnut being a Philadelphian, he was somewhat at ease with them. It was the most thoroughly appointed establishment he had then ever visited.
Went with our leviathan of loveliness to a ladies’ meeting. No scandal to-day, no wrangling, all harmonious, everybody knitting. Dare say that soothing occupation helped our perturbed spirits to be calm. Mrs. C is lovely, a perfect beauty. Said Brewster: “In Circassia, think what a price would be set upon her, for there beauty sells by the pound!”
Coming home the following conversation: “So Mrs. Blank thinks purgatory will hold its own—never be abolished while women and children have to live with drunken fathers and brothers.” “She knows.” “She is too bitter. She says worse than that. She says we have an institution worse than the Spanish Inquisition, worse than Torquemada, and all that sort of thing.” “What does she mean?” “You ask her. Her words are sharp arrows. I am a dull creature, and I should spoil all by repeating what she says.”
“It is your own family that she calls the familiars of the Inquisition. She declares that they set upon you, fall foul of you, watch and harass you from morn till dewy eve. They have a perfect right to your life, night and day, unto the fourth and fifth generation. They drop in at breakfast and say, ‘Are you not imprudent to eat that?’ ‘Take care now, don’t overdo it.’ ‘I think you eat too much so early in the day.’ And they help themselves to the only thing you care for on the table. They abuse your friends and tell you it is your duty to praise your enemies. They tell you of all your faults candidly, because they love you so; that gives them a right to speak. What family interest they take in you. You ought to do this; you ought to do that, and then the everlasting ‘you ought to have done,’ which comes near making you a murderer, at least in heart. ‘Blood’s thicker than water,’ they say, and there is where the longing to spill it comes in. No locks or bolts or bars can keep them out. Are they not your nearest family? They dine with you, dropping in after you are at soup. They come after you have gone to bed, when all the servants have gone away, and the man of the house, in his nightshirt, standing sternly at the door with the huge wooden bar in his hand, nearly scares them to death, and you are glad of it.”
“Private life, indeed!” She says her husband entered public life and they went off to live in a far-away city. Then for the first time in her life she knew privacy. She never will forget how she jumped for joy as she told her servant not to admit a soul until after two o’clock in the day. Afterward, she took a fixed day at home. Then she was free indeed. She could read and write, stay at home, go out at her own sweet will, no longer sitting for hours with her fingers between the leaves of a frantically interesting book, while her kin slowly driveled nonsense by the yard—waiting, waiting, yawning. Would they never go? Then for hurting you, who is like a relative? They do it from a sense of duty. For stinging you, for cutting you to the quick, who like one of your own household? In point of fact, they alone can do it. They know the sore, and how to hit it every time. You are in their power. She says, did you ever see a really respectable, responsible, revered and beloved head of a family who ever opened his mouth at home except to find fault? He really thinks that is his business in life and that all enjoyment is sinful. He is there to prevent the women from such frivolous things as pleasure, etc., etc.
I sat placidly rocking in my chair by the window, trying to hope all was for the best. Mary Hammy rushed in literally drowned in tears. I never saw so drenched a face in my life. My heart stopped still. “Commodore Barron is taken prisoner,” said she. “The Yankees have captured him and all his lieutenants. Poor Imogen—and there is my father scouting about, the Lord knows where. I only know he is in the advance guard. The Barron’s time has come. Mine may come any minute. Oh, Cousin Mary, when Mrs. Lee told Imogen, she fainted! Those poor girls; they are nearly dead with trouble and fright.”
“Go straight back to those children,” I said. “Nobody will touch a hair of their father’s head. Tell them I say so. They dare not. They are not savages quite. This is a civilized war, you know.”
Mrs. Lee said to Mrs. Eustis (Mr. Corcoran’s daughter) yesterday: “Have you seen those accounts of arrests in Washington?” Mrs. Eustis answered calmly: “Yes, I know all about it. I suppose you allude to the fact that my father has been imprisoned.” “No, no,” interrupted the explainer, “she means the incarceration of those mature Washington belles suspected as spies.” But Mrs. Eustis continued, “I have no fears for my father’s safety.”
¹ The battle of Rich Mountain, in Western Virginia, was fought July 11, 1861, and General Garnett, Commander of the Confederate forces, pursued by General McClellan, was killed at Carrick’s Ford, July 13th, while trying to rally his rear-guard.
² William Lowndes Yancey was a native of Virginia, who settled in Alabama, and in 1844 was elected to Congress, where he became a leader among the supporters of slavery and an advocate of secession. He was famous in his day as an effective public speaker.
August 29.—The joint expedition, commanded by General B. F. Butler and Commodore S. H. Stringham, after two days’ cannonading, succeeded in capturing Forts Clark and Hatteras, at Hatteras Inlet, N. C., with the garrison of the latter fort. Thirty pieces of cannon, one thousand stand of arms, and a quantity of provisions, fell into possession of the National forces. Also three prize vessels —one a brig, laden with coffee and provisions, another laden with cotton, and two United States life-boats, together with large quantities of ammunition and munitions of war.
There is an inlet across the sand bar at Hatteras, made by the sea within a few years, near which there have been erected two forts of earth and sand and other materials, and mounting a considerable number of guns. These forts were shelled by the National rifled cannon at a range of two-and-a-half miles. Into one of them there were thrown twenty-eight shells in eight minutes. One of the works surrendered, which was taken possession of and its guns directed against the other, which also soon surrendered. Their whole force was captured, and eight hundred of the Federal troops were left to garrison the forts and keep possession of them. At first Capt. Barren proposed to surrender if permitted to do so with the honors of war. This Gen. Butler refused, and demanded a surrender, at discretion, which was yielded, and the enemy marched out prisoners of war.—(Doc. 8.)
—The New Jersey Fifth regiment of Volunteers, fully equipped and numbering nearly a full complement of men, with wagons and horses, left Trenton this afternoon at three o’clock, and arrived safely in Philadelphia, en route for the seat of war.—N. Y. Herald, August 30.
—A monster meeting of the friends of the Sixty-ninth regiment, took place in New York in aid of a fund for the widows and orphans of these who have died in the ranks. Upward of fifty thousand people were present, and Mr. Thomas Francis Meagher delivered a stirring address.
—A skirmish took place at Lexington, Mo., between four thousand five hundred secessionists and four hundred and thirty Home Guards and United States troops, in the intrenchments around Lexington. The attack was made by the secessionists, who were repulsed with a loss of sixty killed in the battle, and three of their pickets. None of the Federal force was killed. During the engagement, Arcana Hall, occupied by the Masons, and a private residence opposite to the court house, owned by R. Anil, Esq., of St. Louis, and occupied by T. Crittenden, Esq., (temporarily absent in Kentucky,) were shelled and burned. The impression was that the former contained powder designed for the use of the Confederates. Another attack was threatened.—(Doc. 16.)
—This evening a ” peace meeting ” which was to have been held at Newtown, L. I., was “indefinitely postponed,” and in its place a spirited Union demonstration came off. Delegations from Jamaica, Flushing, Williamsburg, and the surrounding districts came in, until there was a very large concourse assembled, when a meeting was organized, the Hon. John D. Townsend in the chair. The proceedings were opened by a patriotic address by Richard Busteed, followed by Daniel Northup, of Brooklyn, and resolutions indorsing the Administration in the prosecution of the war, were passed. An effigy of Jeff. Davis was produced and hung on a tree; afterward it was cut down and placed in a large coffin, bearing the inscription, “Newtown Secession, died August 29th, 1861.” The “remains” were taken possession of by the Williamsburg delegation, who brought it home with them, and threw it in the river at the foot of Grand street. The proceedings, though not very orderly, were extremely enthusiastic and patriotic.
—Intelligence was received at Washington, from Independence, Mo., that the United States troops, seven hundred and fifty in number, who surrendered to three hundred Texan Rangers, eighteen miles from Fort Fillmore, had been released on parole, the Texans retaining their arms and the horses belonging to the Mounted Rifles.
Gen. Wm. Pelham, formerly Surveyor-General of New Mexico, and Col. Clements, were arrested at Santa Fe, and confined in the guardhouse, by order of Col. Canby, of the Department of New Mexico. They were suspected of giving improper information to the Texas troops of Fort Bliss, below El Paso. Col. Clements took the oath of allegiance, and was discharged. Gen. Pelham refused to take the oath, and is still confined in the guard-house. Col. Canby, by proclamation, bad suspended the writ of habeas corpus in New Mexico. Fort Stanton had been abandoned by the United States forces, and the fort afterward fired by order of Col. Canby.—National Intelligencer, September 2.
—At Middletown, New Jersey, a party of peace men attempted to hold a meeting, but were prevented by the presence of a large body of Unionists.—N. Y. Herald, August 30.
The following says a Montgomery (Ala.) paper, is an extract of a letter received by a gentleman in this city, written by a friend living in the vicinity of Martinsburg. Read it:
“As Cadwallader was passing through Martinsburg, Virginia, one of the officers seeing a handsome young lady, (a Miss Boyd1) standing at her window, saluted her with his sabre. She hissed him. She promptly replied, that if he dared enter she would shoot him. He heeded not her warning, but passed in. As soon as he entered the room, the lady, true to her threat, and the virtuous impulse of the moment, pulled trigger and the foul villain fell in his tracks. The lady was arrested, tried, and acquitted. At night the band serenaded her, and played Yankee Doodle. She called for “Dixie.”
Wednesday, 28th—There is nothing of importance. The camp looks as if it were deserted. There are just a few convalescents here, who were not able to go with the boys to Keokuk; there are also a few recruits coming in.
August 28th.—Raining. Sundry officers turned in to inquire of me, who was quietly in bed at Washington, concerning certain skirmishes reported to have taken place last night. Sold one horse and bought another; that is, I paid ready money in the latter transaction, and in the former, received an order from an officer on the paymaster of his regiment, on a certain day not yet arrived.
To-day, Lord A. V. Tempest is added to the number of English arrivals; he amused me by narrating his reception at Willard’s on the night of his arrival. When he came in with the usual ruck of passengers, he took his turn at the book, and wrote down Lord Adolphus Vane Tempest, with possibly M.P. after it. The clerk, who was busily engaged in showing that he was perfectly indifferent to the claims of the crowd who were waiting at the counter for their rooms, when the book was finished, commenced looking over the names of the various persons, such as Leonidas Buggs, Rome, N. Y.; Doctor Onesiphorous Bowells, D.D., Syracuse; Olynthus Craggs, Palmyra, Mo.; Washington Whilkes, Indianopolis, writing down the numbers of the rooms, and handing over the keys to the waiters at the same time. When he came to the name of the English nobleman, he said, “Vane Tempest, No. 125.” “But stop,” cried Lord Adolphus. “Lycurgus Siccles,” continued the clerk, “No. 23.” “I insist upon it, sir,”—broke in Lord Adolphus,—”you really must hear me. I protest against being put in 125. I can’t go up so high.” “Why,” said the clerk, with infinite contempt, “I can put you at twice as high—I’ll give you No. 250 if I like.” This was rather too much, and Lord Adolphus put his things into a cab, and drove about Washington until he got to earth in the two-pair back of a dentist’s, for which no doubt, tout vu, he paid as much as for an apartment at the Hotel Bristol.
A gathering of American officers and others, amongst whom was Mr. Olmsted, enabled him to form some idea of the young men’s society of Washington, which is a strange mixture of politics and fighting, gossip, gaiety, and a certain apprehension of a wrath to come for their dear republic. Here is Olmsted prepared to lay down his life for free speech over a united republic, in one part of which his freedom of speech would lead to irretrievable confusion and ruin; whilst Wise, on the other hand, seeks only to establish a union which shall have a large fleet, be powerful at sea, and be able to smash up abolitionists, newspaper people, and political agitators at home.
Bellville [Tx] Countryman, August 28, 1861
We, last Wednesday, visited the Foundry, and witnessed the process of making cannon. We saw one fine 6-pounder run—it was perfect in all its parts, and of beautiful shape. A large number of balls, six and twelve pound were also run. There is no telling what a people can do until they try—with material and machinery picked up around town, our enterprising citizens have shown that they can manufacture their own defensive projectiles.—Lavaca Gulf Key.
Bellville [Tx] Countryman, August 28, 1861
The Corpus Christi Ranchero extra, of the 10th inst., says a large number of wagons from Bastrop arrived there for salt, and were loaded without delay. The supply is inexhaustible, and Corpus is bound to enjoy an immense trade. The Ranchero says Clark is largely ahead in that district for Governor. The publication of the Ranchero is suspended for want of paper.
Went to the Patent office this morning with Brownson to help him along with his knapsack application. We got it before the Examr in an hour. Went then with him up to the War Dept to see the Qr Master Genl about knapsacks for the Army. Then went up to see the Washington Statue and the “Meigs Bridge” over Rock Creek. Got home to dinner at 2 o’clock. It rained all the afternoon, did not go out. Cap Fowler & Drum Majr Smith of the old 12th called.
The three diary manuscript volumes, Washington during the Civil War: The Diary of Horatio Nelson Taft, 1861-1865, are available online at The Library of Congress.
Wednesday, 28.—A long march over a bad path—thirty miles—to French Creek, or Scotchtown. Boarded with Mrs. Farrell. A fine Union settlement. Forty years ago a Massachusetts colony came here, and their thrift, morality, and patriotism are the salt of this region. Slept in tent of Culbertson and Lieutenant—of Captain Remley’s Fifth Regiment. Noble and generous treatment from them.
AUGUST 28TH.—Beauregard offers battle again on the plains of Manassas; but it is declined by the enemy, who retire behind their fortifications. Our banners are advanced to Munson’s Hill, in sight of Washington. The Northern President and his cabinet may see our army, with good glasses, from the roof of the White House. It is said they sleep in their boots; and that some of them leave the city every night, for fear of being captured before morning.
Generals Johnston, Wise, and Floyd are sending here, daily, the Union traitors they discover to be in communication with the enemy. We have a Yankee member of Congress, Ely, taken at Manassas; he rode out to witness the sport of killing rebels as terriers kill rats, but was caught in the trap himself. He says his people were badly whipped; and he hopes they will give up the job of subjugation as a speculation that won’t pay. Most of the prisoners speak thus while in confinement.
August 28.—A party of National troops under the command of Capt. Smith, detailed on the 24th ult. to break up a force of secessionists at Wayne Court House, Va., returned to Camp Pierpont, at Ceredo, having been successful in their expedition.—(Doc. 14.)
—President Lincoln to-day appointed as aides-de-camp to Gen. Wool, Alexander Hamilton, Jr., and Legrand B. Cannon of Now York, each with the rank of Major, and William Jay, of Bedford, N. Y., with the rank of Captain. These appointments were made at Gen. Wool’s request, and the official notification from the War Department instructs the aids to immediately report to him in person.—N. y. Tribune, August 29.
—The funeral ceremonies and military display in honor of Gen. Lyon took place at St. Louis, Mo., to-day. The procession which escorted the remains to the railroad depot consisted of Gen. Fremont’s body-guard, under Gen. Zagoni, Capt. Tillman’s company of cavalry; a section of Capt. Carlin’s battery; the First regiment of Missouri Volunteers, Col. Blair; Gen. Fremont and staff; a number of army and .volunteer officers; city officials; prominent citizens; and the Third regiment of United States Reserve Corps, Col. McNeil, all under command of Brigadier-General Siegel. The streets through which the procession passed were thronged with spectators, and the flags throughout the city were draped in mourning. —Louisville Journal, August 29.
—The Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle and Sentinel gives the following reasons to the Confederate States for organizing a coast defence:
“1. Because there are many places where the enemy might commit raids and do us damage before we could organize and drive them off. Beaufort District, opposite to Savannah, has several fine ports and inlets, navigable for large vessels, wholly unprotected. (See United States Coast Survey.) This district has five black to one white inhabitant. Several inlets on our coast, which our enemies know like a book, from surveys in their possession, are equally unprotected.
“2. In two months more they will not fear our climate. By that time they might be ready to make a sudden descent and find us unprepared.
“3. A small force might eject them if ready to go at once; when, if we have to wait, a much larger one will become necessary.
“4. By organizing and drilling infantry and guerillas at home, there will be no need to call upon the President for troops, and a feint from the enemy would not injure our Virginia operations.
“There are many who are so situated that they cannot enlist for the war who would willingly organize to go for a few months, if necessary, to defend the coast. We earnestly hope that the Governor will soon have companies organized for this purpose all over the State. Captain Cain has a company drilling for this purpose in this county, and we understand that Gov. Brown has accepted them as State troops to defend the coast, and is much pleased with the plan. Captain Harris has also a company of mounted rangers, with double-barrel shotguns, for home defence. If every county will imitate the example of Old Hancock we would lave 15,000 drilled troops in the field at the command of the Governor, ready to operate at any point on a brief warning. Will not the editors throughout the State urge this thing on the people?”
—The Nineteenth regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers, under the command of Col. Edward W. Hincks, of Lynn, left Beston for New York, on the way to the seat of war. The regiment has been in quarters for four weeks at Camp Schouler, Lynnfield. They are fully equipped and are armed with Enfield rifles. They have with them seventeen baggage wagons, seven ambulances and hospital wagons, and one hundred horses. Col. Hincks was formerly Lieut.-Col. of the Eighth Massachusetts Militia regiment, that held the Annapolis Railroad with the New York Seventh; and Lieut.-Col. Deveraux was Captain of the Salem Zouaves, who, with the Massachusetts sappers and miners, brought out the Constitution from the Annapolis navy yard. The Tiger Zouaves are a part of this regiment.
—Governor Dennison, of Ohio, issued a proclamation to the citizens of that State, calling upon them to rally to the defence of the Union, in accordance with the late call of the Executive at Washington.—(Doc. 15.)
—The National Intelligencer of this day gives the following on the mode in which the minor affairs of the South are managed: The lamentations which journals sympathizing with the secession cause express over the loss of “public and private liberty,” would perhaps carry some weight if their sincerity were believed to be equal to their unction, or if any recognition was made of the relation which such losses bear as the natural effects of the causes set in motion by the revolutionists. The vehement denouncers of “Federal usurpations,” which, in whatever degree they may exist, are but the inevitable incidents of a state of things precipitated by the secession movement, these journals, with a hypocrisy only equalled by their effrontery, continue to reserve all their virtuous indignation for the secondary, rather than the primary movers in these great transactions—for these who are acting on the defensive in the preservation of the National authority, rather than these who were the first to invoke the precedents of tyranny for its overthrow. As a sample of the maxims which pass current in the seceded States, without incurring a breath of censure from these sturdy defenders of the Constitution and of public liberty, we make the following selection from a Southern journal:—
The Charleston Mercury announces the passage of the following resolutions by a vigilance committee of that city:
Resolved, That this committee considers it highly inexpedient and impolitic for persons resident at the South to visit the free States of the Federal Government and return to our midst, and especially do we condemn visits of the same person.
Resolved, therefore, That in future any resident of Charleston and its vicinity who shall go to any of the Northern States, unless with previous knowledge and consent of the committee, shall not be permitted to return to our community under pain of such disabilities or punishment as the law may decree.
Such are the institutes of public opinion as now enforced in “the last home of constitutional liberty,” and it is from men who have no word of reproof for the authors of such usurpations that we are doomed to hear daily homilies on the rigorous proceedings of the National Government. These proceedings would indeed be most abnormal in a time of public peace, and it is quite possible that innocent parties may in some cases suffer from the unjust suspicions engendered in a day of great civil defection and official treachery. But it does not become the apologists of the men who have directly superinduced the public and private calamities which afflict the whole nation, to assume the championship of these who are the victims of a wrong which they seek to palliate and protect.
Tuesday, 27th—I went to Davenport today and returned to Camp McClellan. A force of about five hundred men was sent down the river by boat to Keokuk, for the purpose of reinforcing the troops at that place. It is expected that they will have a fight there. I was too late in returning to camp to go with them.
August 27th.—Fever and ague, which Gen. McDowell attributes to water-melons, of which he, however, had eaten three times as much as I had. Swallowed many grains of quinine, and lay panting in the heat in-doors. Two English visitors, Mr. Lamy and a Captain of the 17th, called on me; and, afterwards, I had a conversation with M. Mercier and M. Stoeckl on the aspect of affairs. They are inclined to look forward to a more speedy solution than I think the North is weak enough to accept. I believe that peace is possible in two years or so, but only by the concession to the South of a qualified independence. The naval operations of the Federals will test the Southern mettle to the utmost. Having a sincere regard and liking for many of the Southerners whom I have met, I cannot say their cause, or its origin, or its aim, recommends itself to my sympathies; and yet I am accused of aiding it by every means in my power, because I do not re-echo the arrogant and empty boasting and insolent outbursts of the people in the North, who threaten, as the first-fruits of their success, to invade the territories subject to the British crown, and to outrage and humiliate our flag.
It is melancholy enough to see this great republic tumbling to pieces; one would regret it all the more but for the fact that it re-echoed the voices of the obscene and filthy creatures which have been driven before the lash of the lictor from all the cities of Europe. Assuredly it was a great work, but all its greatness and the idea of its life was of man, not of God. The principle of veneration, of obedience, of subordination, and self-control did not exist within. Washington-worship could not save it. The elements of destruction lay equally sized, smooth, and black at its foundations, and a spark suffices to blow the structure into the air.
Boston, August 27, 1861
Your tone is too dull in your letters and I feel for you sincerely in your Bull-run panic in England. Here things certainly look much better and people feel much better. The money market is easy and our exportation of breadstuffs seems likely to continue. Finally, this steamer will advise you that at least the government is thoroughly in earnest and that spies and traitors can no longer enjoy immunity. Nor is this all. Last week we were in a terrible panic and Monday was the blackest day I ever saw; but now the Government is working for its life. McClellan has the complete confidence of the people, government securities are rising, money is plenty, and finally the indications are strong that the confederates are being ground to atoms by the very weight of their defensive preparations. Bull-run was a blessing to us, for it startled the people from the conceit, arrogance and pride which must have proved their ruin. There is a universal feeling of confidence abroad, and England may refuse our loan if she chooses to; but I don’t think she will for seven and three-tenths per cent is too much of the flesh-pots not to be longed for, and our securities must drift to England. . . .
A tent was pitched expressly for Julia which she occupied alone during the night with a sentinel pacing before her tent all night. I occupied a couch in Doct Barnes tent where we had taken tea. Julia was very much “lionized” by the officers while we staid in the camp. We took dinner with Col Bartlett, left the camp about 2 P.M., and rode to Fort Runyon, Fort Albany and to Arlington House, and from there to the “long Bridge.” Capt Albergen of Buffalo passed us over the Bridge. We got home before dark, had a pleasant trip.
The three diary manuscript volumes, Washington during the Civil War: The Diary of Horatio Nelson Taft, 1861-1865, are available online at The Library of Congress.
“Dr. Asch begs to inform Miss Woolsey that he has seen the officer in charge of the passes into Virginia. It will be impossible to procure them this evening as the office closes at 3 p. m., and in addition it will be necessary for the nurses to present themselves at General Porter’s office for the purpose of making affirmation as to their loyalty,—when, on presenting the accompanying note, Dr. Asch trusts that there will be no delay in the accomplishment of their object.”
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Surg.-General’s Office, Aug. 27, 1861.
Dr. Wood has requested Dr. Spencer to attend to the wishes of Miss Woolsey (in regard to the ambulances).
He very much regrets he is prevented from attending personally.