Louisa May Alcott

Louisa May Alcott in War Time

Louisa May Alcott (1862)(December) On the 11th I received a note from Miss H. M. Stevenson telling me to start for Georgetown next day to fill a place in the Union Hotel Hospital. Mrs. Ropes of Boston was matron, and Miss Kendall of Plymouth was a nurse there, and though a hard place, help was needed. I was ready, and when my commander said “March!” I marched. Packed my trunk, and reported in B. that same evening.

We had all been full of courage till the last moment came; then we all broke down. I realized that I had taken my life in my hand, and might never see them all again. I said, “Shall I stay, Mother?” as I hugged her close. “No, go! and the Lord be with you!” answered the Spartan woman; and till I turned the corner she bravely smiled and waved her wet handkerchief on the door-step. Shall I ever see that dear old face again?

So I set forth in the December twilight, with May and Julian Hawthorne as escort, feeling as if I was the son of the house going to war.


To Colonel E. G. W. Butler

A Few Letters and Speeches of the Late Civil War by August Belmont (DNC Chairman)

New Orleans, La.

New York, December 6, 1862.

My Dear Sir,— Our mutual friend, Mr. Butler Duncan, has given me your kind message contained in your recent letter to him.

Allow me to thank you most cordially for it in Mrs. Belmont’s name and my own, and to assure you that it was very grateful to our feelings to hear that your lamented son remembered us kindly before his sad and premature death. These sentiments were most sincerely reciprocated by us.

We sympathize deeply with your bereavement, the extent of which we can fully appreciate by the rare qualities of heart and mind of the deceased which have endeared him to all who knew him.

I unite my prayers with yours, that it may please the Almighty to put a stop to this fratricidal war, which has desolated our once so happy country for the last eighteen months.

Unfortunately, designing and selfish politicians have, in both sections of the country, been allowed to falsify public opinion. I know that the vast majority of the Northern people are not Abolitionists, and that they are willing and ready to secure to the South all her Constitutional rights within the Union, under a most liberal construction. Our recent elections are a clear evidence of this, and I hope that the conservative men of the South will so view it. To a separation they will never consent, because they feel that a separation does not mean the formation of two powerful confederacies living alongside each other in peace and amity, but that it would be followed ere long by a total disintegration, and by the creation of half a dozen republics, swayed by military despotism, and soon destined to the same fate as Mexico and Central America.

One has only to look at the map of what two years ago constituted the United States, then the happiest and most prosperous country on the face of the globe, in order to be convinced of the utter impossibility of a separation.

It is true the war which has been raging with so much fury on both sides, has inflicted much woe and suffering both North and South. Nobody deplores this more deeply than I do, and nobody worked harder to avert it.

Cannot the conservative men in both sections prevent a further duration of all this misery ? There have been faults and errors on both sides, and the bitter fruits which they have borne are a sure guaranty against their recurrence.

Both sides have been taught to appreciate each other’s patriotism, endurance, and courage. With all its miseries, this war has revealed to us and to the world the immense power and the inexhaustible resources of our country. We could, if reunited, confidently look forward to a destiny as a nation such as history has not yet witnessed and the brightness of which dazzles the wildest imagination.

And is all this to be sacrificed to sectional passion and prejudice, fanned by designing politicians for their own selfish ends!

Excuse me, I pray, for having allowed myself to be carried away on this topic, but I feel so deeply for our common country that I could not resist the impulse.


The Madison Guards.

Civil War

American Citizen (Canton, MS), December 5, 1862

We have received the following letter from Capt. Dudley, of the above company, which we lay before our readers. l It speaks a language in behalf of his company more eloquent than we could use:

Culpeper C. H., Va., Nov. 14th, 1862.
Mr. John F. Bosworth:

Dear Sir: You will do the “Madison Guards” a great kindness by stating in your paper that in about one month from this time, some one will be sent to Mississippi for the purpose of procuring articles of clothing for the company, which may be donated by benevolent parties, or sent in by the parents of the members, to any one who would volunteer to take charge of them until the agent applies. Shoes, socks and pants, are the articles mostly needed. Not less than ten are barefooted and some have only soles straped (sic) to their feet. It is painful to see them thus when snow is upon the ground, with stony turnpikes over which to march, and still more painful to contemplate the coming winter. The Government can do nothing. Private contributions alone can aid them. Forty-one of the bravest and best of those who bade farewell to Canton, on the 12th of July, 1861, now have their names entered on the rolls as “killed,” “wounded,” or “dead.” They have been in three bloody conflicts—a heavy mortality attending each one—and have never flinched. This is their record to the present time. Recruits have joined us, and there are eighty-eight of us still left—food for death, hunger and privations. They determined when they left you, in those hours of their vexations and troubles, when so much cordial sympathy was given them, never to disappoint you in any expectations. The success of their efforts are yet to be seen.

Will not the beautiful girls and tender hearted ladies of Madison, whom we have never forgotten, remember us now in these hours of our greatest suffering? The clothing agent will discover when he comes to lift the heap.

Most respectfully, your friend,
Wm. Hal. Dudley, Captain


Dear Courier

Civil War

December 4, 1862, Rome Courier (Gerogia)

Camp 22D Georgia Regiment,

Near Orange Court House, Va.,

Nov. 15th, 1862

Dear Courier: There has been nothing of great importance occurred in this vicinity, since my last communication. On Thursday, October 30th, we left our camp near Winchester and arrived at this place on Sunday, Nov 2d, making the trip in less than four days, at distance of 65 miles. The march was very fatiguing, more so perhaps than any we have taken since leaving Richmond. The roads were so extremely hard and the first day we marched too rapidly, making 24 miles in ten hours. The weather is, and has been quite cool for sometime. There was a considerable fall of snow here on the 7th inst., enough to almost completely cover the ground to a depth of half an inch in thickness.

Our regiment is still without tents, which is very disagreeable. Some of the boys have those small Yankee tents, which they found in the Yankee camps, and which they carry on their back, when on a march. These little tents afford considerable comfort.

Their are a good many soldiers of this regiment without shoes and several quite destitute of clothing. The government has furnished some shoes, and clothing, but not near enough to sup- ply the wants. Lieut. Gen. Longstreet issued an order a few days ago for the soldiers who were without shoes to make moccasins of raw hides. The Fireside Defenders met with good fortune the other day. Col. Jones, who is now at home wounded, had a lot of shoes made, and sent them to the company. The boys are now all well shod, “all honor our gallant Colonel.”

Our regiment went out last Tuesday, (the 11th inst.,) near Hazel Run, six miles from camp, to do picket duty.– The Yankees fell back and our men pursued them to the Rappahannock, where they still remain, (said to be) in large force. Our regiment pursued the Yankees some six or seven miles, and advanced as far as Jefferson, thirteen miles from this place.

One very remkable instance occurred while we were out. Two South Carolinians, belonging to Stewart’s Cavalry, having been informed by a lad where there were some Yankees taking breakfast, at a neighboring house, went and captured the whole party. Consisting of a colonel, adjutant and four privates. We returned to camp last evening.

Yesterday morning Stewart’s Cavalry captured forty Yankees at Jefferson.– There has been some canonading going on in that direction to-day. A regular engagement is expected in a short time.

The health of the regiment is generally good, considerating the exposures the men are subjected to.

There are about twenty-two members of our company absent, sick and wounded, at different hospitals and some at home. I have not the time to give their names.

We received a few days ago, the sad news of the death of our much beloved Captain W. F. Jones. He died in Baltimore, Md., Oct 24th. It will be remembered that he was wounded and taken prisoner at the battle of Sharpsburg. He was never found wanting.– He was brave and energetic, and but few men surpassed him, though young, as a military commander, he was much beloved and esteemed by all who knew him. Those who were under his command sadly mourn his loss. Never had any captain, more the entire approbatgion of his company than he. He was a young man in the bloom of life, bid fair to make a useful and prominent citizen; but alas! death leaves a “shining Mark.”



Ephraim Shelby Dodd

Diary of Ephraim Shelby Dodd, Co. D of Terry’s Texas Rangers

In his history of “Terry’s Texas Rangers,” Mr. L. B. Giles narrates the following tragic incident of the East Tennessee campaign:

“It was during this winter that one of the saddest events in all our career happened: the hanging of E. S. Dodd by the enemy. He was a member of Company D. He was of a good family and well educated. For many years he kept a diary, setting down at night the happenings of the day. He was taken prisoner with this diary in his pocket. On that evidence alone he was condemned and executed as a spy.”

In January, 1914, the State Librarian received a letter from a resident of New York State, informing him that she had in her possession a diary found on the body of a Texas Ranger hung as a spy. Negotiations for its acquisition by the State Library were opened at once, and terminated successfully. The only information about the diary this person could give was that it “was found by a lieutenant from a N. H. regiment, who for years was a friend of our family, and some time before his death (which occurred six years ago) he gave it to me.”

E. S. Dodd came to Texas from Kentucky late in 1860 or early in 1861. After visiting an uncle, James L. L. McCall, at Waco, he made his home with another uncle, Dr. John R. McCall, at Austin. He was teaching school near Austin, and was not yet out of his teens, when he enlisted in Terry’s Rangers.

Ernest William Winkler

Texas State Library
November 5, 1914


Journal of Surgeon Alfred L. Castleman.

Journal of Surgeon Alfred L Castleman.

1st—To day I rode over a mile from camp, to see—right in the woods, with but a little settlement surrounding it— the most aristocratic pile I have yet seen in Virginia. ‘Tis a large brick church, built in the form of a cross. As I approached it the first thing which attracted my attention, after I had wondered what it was doing there, was a black panel over the main entrance door, with this inscription :

“Built A. D., 1751; destroyed by fire, 1754,
and rebuilt
A. D., 1757, by Mourning Richards.

William Copen, Mason.”

I entered, and found two broad aisles crossing each other at right angles. The pulpit is built after the fashion of Trinity Church, New York, or somewhat in the style of that in the large Cathedral in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; but the the work is more elaborate than either of them, the minister having to pass into the third story of his pulpit before he has approached near enough to the Divine presence to catch his inspiration. The two lower stories are occupied severally by the Register and the Parish Clerk. The floor is of fine marble; the pews are square, with seats on all sides, and large enough to have seated, before the advent of crinoline, about twenty persons to each pew. At the end of one of the main aisles is a semi-circular enclosure, a resting place for the dead. On the beautiful marble floor which covers the mortal relics is deeply inscribed, and inlaid with gold:

Of the race of the House

Ah! and must the “memory of the race of the House of Monclure” be preserved only in gold? Could not he, the Vice-gerent of God—have written on hearts stony enough to retain the impression, the memory which he would have to live forever? Could he not have inscribed on tablets of memory, to pass as an heir-loom from generation to generation, an appreciation of that great precept which he professed—” Peace on Earth, and good will to man?”Then he might have gone, triumphantly exclaiming—

” Exegi monumentum perennius auro.”

But having entrusted the preservation of his memory more to gold than to Godliness, he is likely to be remembered in a manner which he little expected, for our soldiers have broken in, have torn up this marble floor, and are carrying away this golden momento “of the race of the house of Monclure,” as trophies of this unholy war. “The house,” at least, will be remembered. I have asked permission tonight, to occupy this church as a hospital, my chief object being to protect it from further vandalism.

In the wall, over this little enclosure which I have described, are four large black panels, the first and second containing part of the XXth Chap, of Exodus, the third, the Creed of the Church of England, and the fourth, the Lord’s Prayer, all in silvered letters—bright silvered letters on a black ground! How fitly emblematic of the spirit of the inscriptions to the darkness of the minds on which the living principles were to be impressed.

At the other end of this aisle is a high gallery, Another large black panel in this gallery bears the names of the (leadi)ng actors here, more than a hundred years ago. Let me help to imortalize those names :


May their names be recorded as plainly, and more durably, in a house not built with hands, as in the ephemeral pile now threatened with destruction.


Arrest and Sentence.

Civil War

Charleston Mercury, December 1, 1862

A negro woman, named Phillis Stuart, was arrested by officer Hicks on Wednesday last, for sending a mulatto child to a school for white children. The Mayor sentenced her to thirty days’ solitary confinement. We understand that there are some other cases of this character, which will soon be looked after.


Rebel War Clerk

A Rebel War Clerk’s Diary at the Confederate States Capital, By John Beauchamp Jones

DECEMBER 1ST, MONDAY.—There is a rumor to-day that we are upon the eve of a great battle on the Rappahannock. I doubt it not.

I am sorry to see that Col. McRae, a gallant officer, has resigned his commission, charging the President with partiality in appointing junior officers, and even his subordinates, brigadiers over his head. Nevertheless, he tenders his services to the Governor of his State, and will be made a general. But where will this end? I fear in an issue between the State and Confederate authorities.
The news from Europe is not encouraging. France is willing to interfere, and Russia is ready to participate in friendly mediation to stay the effusion of blood—but England seems afraid of giving offense to the United States. They refer to the then approaching elections in the North, and lay some stress on the anticipated change in public opinion. Popular opinion! What is it worth in the eyes of European powers? If it be of any value, and if the voice of the people should be allowed to determine such contests, why not leave it to a vote of the Southern people to decide under which government they will live? But why make such an appeal to monarchies, while the Republican or Democratic government of the North refuses to permit 8,000,000 of people to have the government they unanimously prefer? Can it be possible that the United States are ignorant of popular sentiment here? I fear so; I fear a few traitors in our midst contrive to deceive even the Government at Washington. Else why a prolongation of the war? They ought to know that, under almost any conceivable adverse circumstances, we can maintain the war twenty years. And if our lines should be everywhere broken, and our country [click to continue…]


Downing’s Civil War Diary.–Alexander G. Downing.

Diary of Alexander G. Downing; Company E, Eleventh Iowa Infantry

Monday, 1st—We lay at this place, Waterford, until about 6 o’clock in the evening, when we struck our tents and started on a night march.


Diary and Letters of Rutherford B. Hayes.

Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes

Camp Maskell, Gauley Bridge, December 1, 1862.

Dearest Lu: — We are on the south side of the Kanawha — same side as the Eighty-ninth — at the ferry below and in sight of the falls, two miles below Gauley Bridge. There, do you know where we are? It is a muddy — bad slippery mud — place, and as it rains or sleets here all winter, that is a serious objection. Now you have the worst of it. In all other respects, it is a capital place. Beautiful scenery — don’t be alarmed, I won’t describe; no guard or picket duty, scarcely; good water and wood; convenient to navigation; no other folks near enough to bother, and many other advantages. The men are building cabins without tools or lumber (sawed lumber, I mean,) and will be at it some weeks yet before we look like living.

It was jolly enough to get back with the men — all healthy and contented, glad to be back in western Virginia by themselves. They greeted me most cordially. It was like getting home after a long absence. The officers all came in, twenty-four in number, and around the wine, etc., you saw packed, talked over the funny and sad things of the campaign — a few sad, many funny. We resolved to build a five-hundred-dollar monument to the killed, etc., to be put in cemetery ground at Cleveland.

A story or two. Bill Brown, as he rushed forward in the bayonet charge at South Mountain, said to his lieutenant behind him: “I’ll toss the graybacks over my head to you, and you must wring their necks.” In Washington a lady asked Bill if he wouldn’t have his handkerchief scented: “Yes, yes,” said he and tore off about four inches square of his shirt and handed it to her. She took the hint and gave him a fine handkerchief.

In Maryland, Colonel Scammon dressed up in a splinter-new unform. He met a fellow hauling into camp a load of rails to burn. Colonel Scammon said: “Where did you get those rails?” “On a fence down by the creek.” “Who authorized you to take them?” “I took them on my own hook.” “Well, sir,” said the colonel, “just haul them back and put them where you got them.” The fellow looked at the colonel from head to heel and drove ahead merely remarking: “A bran’ new colonel by G—d!” The doctor asked Bill Brown where he was wounded: “Oh, in the place where I’m always ailing.” . . .

Comly is urged by leading officers in this brigade to be made colonel of the Eighty-ninth. He would be a capital man for the place.

My mess are eating up the good things with a relish. It consists of Comly, Doctor Joe, McIlrath, and myself. We have Company A’s fine tenor singer for cook — a good cook and a nice gentleman he is. My orderly, Carrington, and Doctor’s ditto are the only servants, all soldiers — contrary to law, but much better than having darkies. Dr. Joe has built a bed today wide enough to have Webb and Birch both sleep with him! He really thinks of it.

Dr. Jim resigned today on a surgeon’s certificate. Joe thought it best and I concurred. He is not in danger, but was evidently breaking down in this climate. Old Gray is with his company. Dr. Joe saw him today carrying mud to a couple of men building a chimney, and asked him what he was doing now. Gray replied: “I am clark to these gentlemen!”

The Eighty-ninth were camped on this ground. When the Twenty-third moved up alongside of them, the officer of the day in the Eighty-ninth was heard by some of our men telling in his camp that they were near an old regiment now and they must be watchful at night or the Twenty-third would steal whatever they wanted! That night cook-stoves, blankets, a tent from over the sleepers’ heads, and a quantity of other property mysteriously disappeared from the Eighty-ninth notwithstanding their vigilance. Our men sympathized, our camp was searched, but, of course, nothing was found. After the Eighty-ninth moved, men were seen pulling out of the river stoves and other plunder by the quantity. The Eighty-ninth’s surgeon was a friend of Captain Canby. He called on the captain a few days ago and was surprised to find his cooking stove doing duty in Captain Canby’s tent. The best of it was the Eighty-ninth appeared to take it in good part.

Bottsford and Kennedy, both captains and A. A. G’s — Bottsford for General Scammon and Kennedy for General Crook. Hood came up with me from Gallipolis. . . .

Affectionately ever,


Mrs. Hayes.


War Diary of Luman Harris Tenney.

War Diary of Luman Harris Tenney.


Letter From L. H. Tenney To His Mother And Sisters

Camp at Ray’s Mills, Arkansas, Dec. 1, 1862.

My Dear Friends:

I guess you wonder a little why you don’t hear from your soldier boy. Well, 1 presume you will wonder often if we stay in the field and keep up our scouts and marches. Since last Tuesday, my regular day for writing and the day I intended to write, I haven’t had a minute’s opportunity for writing until yesterday, and then I was busy till night, when I was too tired to write.

Tomorrow another train leaves for the Fort. Several sick boys return. I should have liked to go back for comfort, but after all as long as there is a man in the Regiment in the field, I want to be there, too, though there must be some suffering and sacrifices.

Today I had an opportunity to go into the Brigade Commissary as clerk and get $12 a month extra. Lt. Shattuck, brother of Nina, is acting Brigade Commissary and wanted me to help him. N. thought I hadn’t better go. I don’t care much. Should have liked the little spondulics though.

Sunday night when we arrived here I found six letters, three from home, two from Fannie, and one from Will. I guess I was happy that night and as usual dreamed of home. Thede, I thank you very much for your good long letter. You did me proud. Please do so more.

I see by the papers that Col. Ford has received his just deserts. I enjoy all the particulars of the home circle visits, calls and town gossip. It is always my Thanksgiving Day when my letters come. My letters both received and written have been quite irregular of late and I presume will be in future.

During the last week we have been on our horses most of the time. My ague left me just in time. Tuesday and Wednesday our detachment was out on a scout down below here a little. We had the pleasure of overtaking 400 of Quantrell’s men Tuesday night and turned their course from the north southward on double quick. The Major had 115 men. I had the pleasure of being in the advance and had two or three little skirmishes with the rear guard. None of us, how I don’t know, was hurt. Afterwards some of the 3rd Wis. were sent ahead of us and when a few rods in advance were fired into from the bushes and two of the men wounded.

I suppose you have heard by this time of the fight at Cane Hill and beyond.

Thursday our detachment went in advance of the whole division but Friday we were rear guard and the Brigade was left at Cane Hill as a reserve. It was aggravating to hear the roar of artillery and not partake. There will be some hard fighting if we go over the mountains.

I have no ambition to die immediately or anything of that sort. I guess life, real life, is precious to the most wicked, but I do long to have our armies hasten on to victory or defeat. If Schofield’s forces join ours, I believe our success will be sure, though earned by a good deal of sacrifice.

Lt. Shattuck has been acting Adj. but has gone now. So I have enough to do his duties and those of Sergt. Major.

I have just been out doors and I could see the “fire on the mountains” along our line of march over the hills from the North.

Tonight the air is cold and the fire in our little stove is comfortable and cozy enough. We are getting well used to bivouacking in the open air with few blankets and no fires. When out scouting we go without fires so as not to let the enemy know our movements. Sometimes we can’t get much sleep, though. Don’t you believe I occasionally long to creep into that soft bed at home and to sit down at our little supper table? Oh no, never!

Please excuse another hasty letter. The Independents have come as usual. I presume we will remain here a few days and then go over the mountains. I hope so.

The boys are all talking as loudly as can be and I can’t think overmuch straight.

With much love,



The Color Guard, A Corporal’s Notes, James Kendall Hosmer.

The Color Guard, A Corporal’s Notes, James Kendall Hosmer

Dec. 1.—Each man now has his place for the voyage assigned him: so, if you can climb well, let us go down, and see the men below. It is right through the damp, crowded passage at the side of the paddle-wheel first. Here is a fence and a gate, impervious to the private; but in his badge the corporal possesses the potent golden bough which gains him ingress through here into Hades. Just amidships, we go in through a door from the upper deck. This first large space is the hospital; already with thirty or forty in its rough, unplaned bunks. From this, what is half-stairway and half-ladder leads down the hatch. A lantern is burning here; and we see that the whole space between decks, not very great, is filled with bunks, —three rows of them between floor and ceiling, — stretching away into darkness on every hand, with two-feet passages winding among them. “Hullo!” from a familiar voice. I look up and down, and off into the darkness. “Hullo!” again. It is from overhead. Sile Dibble, sure.

Here is another corner, behind a post, where is the pock-marked face of little Hines. (The business of Hines has been that of a “gigger:” puzzle over that, as I did.) I hear the salutes of men, but cannot see their faces; for it is beyond the utmost efforts of the little lantern to show them up. Presently I go on through the narrow passage, with populous bunks, humming with men, on each side,—three layers between deck and deck. I can only hear them, and once in a while dimly see a face. At length we come to a railing, over which we climb, and descend another ladder, into regions still darker, — submarine, I believe, or, at any rate, on a level with the sea. Here swings another lantern. Up overhead, through deck after deck, is a skylight, which admits light, and wet too, from above. It is like looking from the bottom of a well; and pretty uncomfortable is the truth that lies at the bottom of this well.

As above, so here again, there are three tiers of bunks, with the narrow passages among them. The men lie side by side, with but two feet or so of space; but are in good spirits, though sepulchred after this fashion. I should know this gray, knit cap, with its blue button, —McGill, in the top row, his toes within easy reach of the beams above; and Silloway comes crawling over, from regions more remote, to shake hands. Gottlieb, our small German, is in the centre tier; and in the lower row, just above the bolts of the deck, is Gunn, the old campaigner. The air seems not bad. It is dark in the day-time, except right under the skylight. A fortnight or so from now, a poor, emaciated crowd, I fear, it will be proceeding from these lower deeps of the “Illinois.” I go back with an uneasy conscience to our six feet by eight up above, so infinitely preferable to these quarters of the privates, though five big sergeants with their luggage share it with me, and two waiters have no other home; so that we overflow through door and window, on to the deck and floor outside.

Ed. and I turn in at half-past eight, lying on our sides, and interrupting one another’s sleep with, “Look out for your elbow!” “I am going over the edge!” “You will press me through into the Company C bunks!” This morning I took breakfast in the berth, — dining-room, study, and parlor, as well. There is room enough, sitting Turk-fashion, and bending over. Sergt. Hannum carves the lump of boiled beef with my dirk. “Jest the thing, I van!” December spits at us with miserable rain, like a secession lady. The steam of the officers’ soup comes up; but the gong does not mean us.


An Artilleryman’s Diary–Jenkin Lloyd Jones.

An Artilleryman’s Diary–Jenkin Lloyd Jones, 6th Battery, Wisconsin Artillery.

Lumpkin’s Mill, Monday, Dec. 1. Awoke to find it a muddy morning, it having rained very hard in the night, blowing the fifth tent to the ground. Our tent leaked considerably. Laid quiet all day. No firing heard. Evie went foraging, gone nearly all day. In the evening ordered to have two days’ rations ready to march at sunrise.


‘Instructer’ of infantry tactics. –Diary of Josiah Marshall Favill.

Diary of a Young Officer–Josiah Marshall Favill (57th New York Infantry)

December 1st, 1862. Several new regiments have been assigned to us, among them the Twenty-seventh Connecticut Volunteers, a very large, nine-month regiment excellent material, but from the colonel down wholly inexperienced. The Second Delaware, a very well-drilled regiment, is a valuable addition. The Twenty-seventh is commanded by Colonel Bostwick, and the Second Delaware by Colonel Bailey. As the Twenty-seventh is entirely without drill officers, the colonel issued an order appointing me instructer of infantry tactics of the brigade, and I am now daily drilling the officers and sergeants. I find my staff duties have made me decidedly rusty on tactics, and so have to read up again.


Through Some Eventful Years

Through Some Eventful Years by Susan Bradford Eppes

December 1st, 1862.—It seems strange to think of fun and gaiety again, when we have been through so much of grief and horror. So much nursing, too, watching through sleepless nights, trying to soothe through the days of wild delirium, making one cooling poultice after another and wondering all the while if anything would ever help the poor sufferer.


A Diary of American Events.

The Rebellion Record—A Diary of American Events; by Frank Moore

December 1.—Both Houses of the Congress of the United States met at Washington. The message of President Lincoln was received and read. Among the recommendations offered for adoption in the message, were the following resolution and articles emendatory to the Constitution of the United States:

Resolved, By the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, two thirds of both houses concurring, that the following articles be proposed to the Legislatures or Conventions of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all or any of which articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures or Conventions, to be valid as part or parts of the said Constitution, namely:

Article —. Every State wherein slavery now exists, which shall abolish the same therein at anytime or times before the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred, shall receive compensation from the United States as follows, to wit:

The President of the United States shall deliver to every such State, bonds of the United States, bearing interest at the rate of —, for each slave shown to have been therein, by the eighth census of the United States; said bonds to be delivered to such State by instalments, or in one parcel at the completion of the abolishment, according as the same shall have been gradual or at one time within such State; and interest shall begin to run upon any such bond only from the proper time of its delivery as aforesaid, and afterward. Any State having received bonds as aforesaid, and afterward introducing or tolerating slavery therein, shall refund to the United States the bonds so received, or the value thereof, and all interest paid thereon.

Article—. All slaves who shall have enjoyed actual freedom, by the chances of the war at any time, before the end of the rebellion, shall be forever free; but all owners of such, who shall not have been disloyal, shall be compensated for them at the same rates as is provided for States adopting abolishment of slavery—but in such a way that no slave shall be twice accounted for.

Article —. Congress may appropriate money, and otherwise provide for colonizing free colored persons with their own consent, at any place or places without the United States.

—William W. Lunt, lately a private belonging to the Ninth regiment of Maine volunteers, was executed at Hilton Head, S. C, for desertion.— The National cavalry, belonging to the army of General Grant, under the command of Colonel Lee, took possession of the rebel forts on the Tallahatchie River. By a sudden descent, early in the morning, Colonel Lee captured a battery of six guns, with the horses attached thereto, on the north side of the river.—A slight skirmish took place in the vicinity of Horse Creek, Dade County, Mo., between a detachment of the Fourth Missouri cavalry, under the command of Major Kelly, and a small band of guerrillas, in which the rebels were routed, leaving five of their number in the hands of the Unionists.—Springfield Missourian.

—A Detachment of the Third Virginia National cavalry, under the command of Captain S. B. Cruger, entered Warrenton, Va., to-day, after routing the rebel cavalry, and capturing one prisoner, nine horses, and a wagon, without any Union loss.—T. R. Cressy, Chaplain Minnesota Second regiment, made a report of the operations of the regiment, from the first of August to this date.—(Doc. 56.)

—The British schooner George, from Nassau, K. P., laden with coffee, salt, etc., was captured off Indian River, Florida, by the United States gunboat Sagamore, Lieutenant Commanding Earle English.—Official confirmation of the hostile plans of “Little Crow,” and a portion of the northern Indians, was this day received by W. P. Dole, Commissioner of Indian Affairs for the United States.—St. Paul Press, January 1, 1863.

—A Union boat expedition, under the command of Acting Master Gordon, proceeded up Bell River, La., and captured an armed rebel launch, mounting a twelve-pounder brass howitzer.—This morning, Gen. Slocum, with a body of National troops, had a skirmish with the rebel cavalry, under White, Henderson, and Baylor, near Charlestown, Va., and succeeded in routing them. This evening he again attacked them at Berryville, killing five and wounding eighteen.— General Slocum’s Report.


Diary of a Southern Refugee, Judith White McGuire.

Diary of a Southern Refugee During the War by Judith White McGuire

30th.—The Yankee army ravaging Stafford County dreadfully, but they do not cross the river. Burnside, with the “greatest army on the planet,” is quietly waiting and watching our little band on the opposite side. Is he afraid to venture over? His “On to Richmond” seems slow.


Three Years in the Confederate Horse Artillery — George Michael Neese.

Three Years in the Confederate Horse Artillery — George Michael Neese.

November 30 — This afternoon I went through the fortifications, or rather earthworks, situated on the hills west and northwest of Winchester. The earthworks were constructed by the Yankees and are about half a mile from town, and thoroughly command the town and all the surrounding country. There are five or six separate works, all of an octagonal form, surrounded by a ditch ten feet wide and twelve feet deep. One of the works is constructed of bags filled with clay, and I suppose that there are about two hundred thousand bags in the one work. The walls are thick and built with a careful precision as to proportions and angles, and all of them are perfectly shell-proof — at least against field guns. In the center of each work is an earth-covered magazine for ammunition storage, and in one of the works is a cistern for water.


Downing’s Civil War Diary.–Alexander G. Downing.

Diary of Alexander G. Downing; Company E, Eleventh Iowa Infantry

Sunday, 30th—We lay in camp here at Waterford all day and I wrote a letter to John Moore. I was on picket last night, but was relieved this morning. There was some skirmishing and cannonading out on the Tallahatchie river today. Several troops passed here going out to the front. The land in this part of the country is very rough and very poor. The soil is sandy and is easily worked.


Reminiscences of the Civil War by William and Adelia Lyon.

Reminiscences of the Civil War, William and Adelia Lyon

To Mrs. Lyon.

Fort Henry, Sunday evening, Nov. 30, 1862.—The last day of each month is inspection day in the army, so I have been engaged all day in making a minute and thorough inspection of my command—not only of the dress, arms, accoutrements and appearance of the men, but of their tents, kitchens, cook-houses, shanties, cooking utensils, dishes, etc. Fancy me examining tin plates, dish kettles, coffee pots, knives, forks, spoons, tin cups, and the like; threatening to send dirty cooks to the guard house, praising the clean ones, ordering alterations, suggesting improvements, etc.; in which duty I was accompanied and assisted by the Major, Adjutant and two of the surgeons; and you will have a very good idea of inspection day. I give special and constant attention to the cleanliness of the camp, and it is now one of the cleanest I ever saw and is constantly improving, for the officers and men enter most cordially into the spirit of the thing.

I am still on a general Court-Martial. It is a great bore, too, much like practicing law. The day has been warm and cloudy. This evening it rains copiously, but my tent is warm and dry and as cozy as you could wish were you here to enjoy it with me, as I trust you will be before many weeks elapse. We shall live in the most approved style. Colonel Lowe still intends an expedition after Napier.


War Diary of Luman Harris Tenney.

War Diary of Luman Harris Tenney.

Sunday, 30th. Had to make out morning report and field report and details. Was kept quite busy all day. In the evening wrote to Fannie A.


An Artilleryman’s Diary–Jenkin Lloyd Jones.

An Artilleryman’s Diary–Jenkin Lloyd Jones, 6th Battery, Wisconsin Artillery.

Lumpkin’s Mill, Miss., Sunday, Nov. 30. This was a dark and sultry morning, and about 8 A. M. while sitting upon the ground, I felt the earth shake a kind of a dull roll, which was felt by many. Firing with siege guns was commenced at about nine o’clock and kept up briskly through most of the day. While listening to the firing, expecting momentarily to be called upon, the orders came to hitch up, get two days’ rations in haversacks, and ready to march in half an hour. 11 A. M. At this time L. N. Keeler rode up for one man to go foraging. Sergeant Hamilton detailed me. We started with two teams and three men, Bowman, Leffart and myself. We went to the northeast one and one fourth miles, crossed the railroad, found our corn in an old log barn. We had to turn around before loading in order to be ready to leave in case of necessity, as the pickets close by were expecting an attack. We loaded our corn got three quarters of a barrel of salt from the smoke house and returned in a hurry. Found the Battery still there, unharnessed and cooled down. The firing gradually ceased, and by night was heard no more. We went to bed without knowing anything of the result in the front.

P. S. This place represented as Waterford proved to be called Lumpkin’s Mill.


The Color Guard, A Corporal’s Notes, James Kendall Hosmer.

The Color Guard, A Corporal’s Notes, James Kendall Hosmer

Nov. 30. —We woke up the morning after we came aboard, — Warriner, Bias, and I. Company D woke up generally on the cabin-floor. Poor Companies H and F woke up down in the hold. What to do for breakfast? Through the hatchway opposite our stateroom-door, we could see the waiters in the lower cabin setting tables for the commissioned officers. Presently there was a steam of coffee and steaks; then a long row of shoulder-straps, and a clatter of knives and forks; we, meanwhile, breakfastless, and undergoing the torments of Tantalus.

But we cannot make out a very strong case of hardship. Beef, hard-bread, and coffee were soon ready. Bill Hilson, in a marvellous cap of pink and blue, cut up the big joints on a gun-box. The “non-coms,” whose chevrons take them past the guard amidships, went out loaded with the tin cups of the men to Hen. Hilson, — out through cabin-door, through greasy, crowded passage-way, behind the wheel, to the galley, where, over a mammoth, steaming caldron, Hen., through the vapor, pours out coffee by the pailful. Hen. looks like a beneficent genius, — one of the “Arabian Nights” sort,—just being condensed from the smoke and mist of these blessed hot kettles. He drips, and almost simmers, with perspiration, as if he had hardly gone half-way yet from vapor to flesh.

I have been down the brass-plated staircase, into the splendors of the commissioned-officers’ cabin,—really nothing great at all; but luxurious as compared with our quarters, already greasy from rations, and stained with tobacco-juice; and sumptuous beyond words, as compared with the unplaned boards and tarry odors of the quarters of the privates. Have I mentioned that now our places are assigned? The “non-coms”— noncommissioned, meaning, not non compos; though evil-minded high privates declare it might well mean that — have assigned to them an upper cabin, with staterooms, over the quarters of the officers, in the after-part of the ship. The privates are in front, on the lower decks, and in the hold. I promise, in a day or two, to play Virgil, and conduct you through the dismal circles of this Malebolge. Now I speak of the cabin of the officers. The hatches are open above and below, to the upper deck and into the hold. Down the hatch goes a dirty stream of commissary-stores, gun-carriages, rifled-cannon, and pressed hay, within an inch or two of cut-glass, gilt-mouldings, and mahogany. The third mate, with voice coarse and deep as the grating of ten-ton packages along the skids, orders this and that, or bays inarticulately in a growl at a shirking sailor.

Five sergeants of our company, and two corporals of us, have a stateroom together,—perhaps six feet by eight. Besides us, two officers’ servants consider that they have a right here. Did any one say, “Elbowroom”?


“…a decaying country finally ruined by war.”–Adams Family Letters, Charles Francis Adams, Jr., to his father.

Adams Family Civil War letters; US Minister to the UK and his sons.

Potomac Bridge, near Falmouth, Va.
November 30, 1862

Here we are once more with the army, but not on the move. We passed six days in Washington and it stormed the whole time, varying from a heavy Scotch mist to a drenching rain. Our camp was deep in mud, at times a brook was running through my tent, and altogether we were most unfortunate as regarded weather. Still we succeeded in completing our equipment and I started out on our new campaign tolerably prepared to be comfortable in future. Nor did I, I am glad to say, waste my time while there, but I fed on the fat of the land, feasting daily, without regard to expense, at Buhler’s. I no longer wonder at sailors’ runs on shore. Months of abstinence and coarse fare, cooked anyhow and eaten anywhere off anything, certainly lead to an acute appreciation of the luxuries of city life. It seems to me now as if I could n’t enjoy them enough. While here I saw Aunt Mary repeatedly and she seems much the same as ever. She was very kind and hospitable. I also saw Governor Seward for an instant. He invited me to dinner and was very cordial; but he looks pale, old and careworn, and it distressed me to see him.

Here we remained till Friday evening, on which day the two Majors and myself succeeded in getting paid off, after immense exertion and many refusals, when we had our last dinner at Buhler’s and on Saturday, when we saw the sun for the first time for a week, we struck camp and moved over to Alexandria, on our way to join the brigade. We got into Alexandria by two o’clock and went into camp on a cold, windy hill-side. We were under orders to join our brigade at Manassas, but when we got to Alexandria we found Manassas in the possession of the enemy and we did not care to report to them. Accordingly we sent back for orders and passed Sunday in camp, a cold, blustering, raw November day, overcast and disagreeable. The damp and wet, combined with the high living at Washington, had started my previous health, and now I not only was n’t well, but was decidedly sick and lived on opium and brandy. In fact I am hardly well yet and my disorder followed me all through our coming march. Sunday afternoon we got our orders to press on and join the brigade at the earliest possible moment near Falmouth, so Monday morning we again struck camp and set forth for Falmouth. It was a very fine day indeed, but the weather is not what it was and the country through which we passed is sadly war-smitten. The sun was bright, but the long rains had reduced the roads almost to a mire and a sharp cold wind all day made overcoats pleasant and reminded us how near we were to winter. Our road lay along in sight of Mt. Vernon and was a picture of desolation — the inhabitants few, primitive and ignorant, houses deserted and going to ruin, fences down, plantations overgrown, and everything indicating a decaying country finally ruined by war. On our second day’s march we passed through Dumfries, once a flourishing town and port of entry, now the most God-forsaken village I ever saw. There were large houses with tumbled down stairways, public buildings completely in ruins, more than half the houses deserted and tumbling to pieces, not one in repair and even the inhabitants, as dirty, lazy and rough they stared at us with a sort of apathetic hate, seemed relapsing into barbarism. It maybe the season, or it may be the war; but for some reason this part of Virginia impresses me with a sense of hopeless decadence, a spiritless decay both of land and people, such as I never experienced before. The very dogs are curs and the women and children, with their long, blousy, uncombed hair, seem the proper inmates of the delapidated log cabins which they hold in common with the long-nosed, lank Virginia swine.

To go back to our march however. Our wagons toiled wearily along and sunset found us only sixteen miles from Alexandria, and there we camped. During the latter part of the day I was all alone riding to and fro between the baggage train and the column. I felt by no means well and cross with opium. It was a cold, clear, November evening, with a cold, red, western sky and, chilled through, with a prospect of only a supperless bivouac, a stronger home feeling came over me than I have often felt before, and I did sadly dwell in my imagination on the intense comfort there is in a thoroughly warm, well-lighted room and well-spread table after a long cold ride. However I got into camp before it was dark and here things were not so bad. The wind was all down, the fires were blazing and we had the elements of comfort. The soup Lou sent me supplied me with a hot supper — in fact I don’t know what I should have done if it had not been for that, through this dreary march; and after that I spread my blankets on a bed of fir-branches close to the fire and slept as serenely as man could desire to sleep.

The next morning the weather changed and it gradually grew warmer and more cloudy all day. Our road lay through Dumfries and became worse and worse as we pushed along, until after making only eight miles, we despaired of our train getting along and turned into an orchard in front of a deserted plantation house and there camped. Our wagons in fact did get stuck and passed the night two miles back on the road, while we built our fires and made haste to stretch our blankets against the rain. It rained hard all night, but we had firewood and straw in plenty, and again I slept as well as I wish to. Next day the wagons did not get up until noon and it was two o’clock before we started. Then we pushed forward until nearly dark. An hour before sunset we came up with the flank of the army resting on Acquia Creek. We floundered along through the deep red-mud roads till nearly dark and then, having made some five miles, turned into a beautiful camping ground, where we once more bivouacked. One thing surprises me very much and that is the very slight hardship and exposure of the bivouac. Except in rains tents are wholly unnecessary — articles of luxury. Here, the night before Thanksgiving and cold at that, I slept as soundly and warmly before our fire as I could have done in bed at home. The reason is plain. In a tent one, more or less, tries to undress; in the bivouac one rolls himself, boots, overcoat and all, with the cape thrown over his head, in his blankets with his feet to the fire, which keeps them warm and dry, and then the rest will not trouble him. A tent is usually equally cold and also very damp.

The next day was Thanksgiving Day — 27th November. It was a fine clear day, with a sharp chill in the little wind which was stirring. I left the column and rode forward to General Hooker’s Head Quarters through the worst roads I ever saw, in which our empty wagons could hardly make two miles an hour. I saw General Hooker and learnt the situation of our brigade, and here too we came up with our other battalion. We passed them however and came over here to our present camp, where we have pitched our tents and made ourselves as comfortable as we can while we await the course of events.

As to the future, you can judge better than I. I have no idea that a winter campaign is possible in Virginia. The mud is measured already by feet, and the rains have hardly begun. The country is thoroughly exhausted and while horses can scarcely get along alone, they can hardly succeed in drawing the immense supply and ammunition trains necessary for so large an army, to say nothing of the artillery which will be stuck fast. The country may demand activity on our part, but mud is more obdurate than popular opinion, and active operations here I cannot but consider as closed for the season. As to the army, I see little of my part of it but my own regiment. I think myself it is tired of motion and wants to go to sleep until the spring. The autumn is depressing and winter hardships are severe enough in the most comfortable of camps. Winter campaigns may be possible in Europe, a thickly peopled country of fine roads, but in this region of mud, desolation and immense distances, it is another matter.


Rebel War Clerk

A Rebel War Clerk’s Diary at the Confederate States Capital, By John Beauchamp Jones

NOVEMBER 30TH.—It is said there is more concern manifested in the government here on the indications that the States mean to organize armies of non-conscripts for their own defense, than for any demonstration of the enemy. The election of Graham Confederate States Senator in North Carolina, and of H. V. Johnson in Georgia, causes some uneasiness. These men were not original secessionists, and have been the objects of aversion, if not of proscription, by the men who secured position in the Confederate States Government. Nevertheless, they are able men, and as true to Southern independence as any. But they are opposed to despotic usurpation—and their election seems like a rebuke and condemnation of military usurpation.

From all sections of the Confederacy complaints are coming in that the military agents of the bureaus are oppressing the people; and the belief is expressed by many, that a sentiment is prevailing inimical to the government itself.