Rebellion Record

—A mass meeting of leading members of the Baptist Church was held at Brooklyn, N. Y., for the purpose of giving formal expression to their feelings, as a religious community in the present crisis, and to record their attachment to the Union, and their determination to uphold the efforts of the Federal Government, in behalf of the Constitution.—(Doc. 211.)

—The Brooklyn, Capt. Poore, entered the Mississippi River, below New Orleans, and sent out a number of boats, strongly manned with armed men, to board the ships lying on the bar, to acquaint them of the terms of the blockade. After some discussion, it was agreed that the ships on the bar should have fourteen days to go out. Capt. Poore also made a full survey and soundings of the river.—N. O. Delta, May 31.

—A statement of the Geographical arrangements of the army of the United States, corrected to date, is published.—(Doc. 212.)

—President Davis reached Richmond this morning, accompanied by his nephew, Mr. Joseph Davis, Col. Northrop, of the Confederate Army, and Col. Wigfall. Gov. Letcher and the Executive Council met and received the President at Petersburg. An immense assemblage welcomed his arrival at Richmond, with the most enthusiastic demonstrations of delight. The President, in a brief address, thanked the multitude for the hearty reception given him.—N. O. Delta, May 30.

—To-day the American flag was raised over the late residence of Lieutenant-General Scott, at Elizabethtown, N. J., in the presence of about five thousand people. When the flag was given to the breeze, the “Star-Spangled Banner” was sung, the vast concourse of people joining the chorus, producing a fine effect. Mayor Burnett presided, and speeches were made by William F. Day and Rev. Hobart Chetwood, which were received with great applause.—N. Y. Commercial, May 30.

—The correspondence in relation to the establishment of a department of nurses, and the acceptance of the services of Miss Dix, by the Secretary of War, is published.—(Doc. 213.)

—The New Orleans True Delta of this day contains the following:—”We have again and again received information of the motions and sentiments of vagabond free persons of color, upon whom it would be well that the police should keep an eye. These men are without ostensible means of earning a livelihood, and are, by many degrees, too familiar with our slave population, instilling into their minds sanguine notions of the ‘good time’ to be experienced in the event of Lincoln’s hoped-for success over the Southern people. The lake end of the Pontchartrain Railroad is infested with persons of this character, who exhibit a remarkable shrewdness in broaching their pestiferous hints and suggestions. The city also affords rendezvous, at which there are gathered knots of these vagabonds at unseasonable hours. Of course the localities are selected with a view to privacy and remoteness from the inquisitive eyes of the watchman. Careful espionage may bring to light the object of these nocturnal consultations.”

—The Twentieth, Twenty-first, and Twenty-fourth Regiments of Pennsylvania militia left Philadelphia for Chambersburg.—N. Y. Commercial, May 30.

—Colonel Mann’s Regiment of Pennsylvania militia, arrived at Easton, Pa., and went into camp.—(Doc. 214.)

—The American citizens in Paris favorable to the Union breakfasted together in the Hotel du Louvre. About one hundred and fifty attended, of whom one-third were ladies, including the wife of General Scott. Mr. Cowdin presided. Resolutions were adopted, pledging the meeting to maintain the Union under any circumstances. Mr. Dayton, the U. S. Minister, said that, since his arrival in France, be could detect no unfriendly feeling on the part of France to the United States, and certainly no French citizen would be found among the privateersmen. He expressed the conviction that the rebellion would be put down. Cassius M. Clay spoke at length, and was emphatic in his comments on the conduct of England in recognizing Southern belligerent rights. He declared that if ever the flag of England was associated with the black flag of the South, the Star-Spangled Banner of the United States and the tricolor of France would be seen together against her, for France had not forgotten St. Helena. Hon. Anson Burlingame spoke on the same topic. Col. Fremont was next called upon, and was received with enthusiasm. He made a quiet and moderate speech. He regretted the fanatical war, and felt confident it would end in the triumph of truth and justice. He had been called back to America, and would lose no time in responding. He was ready to give his best services to his country. Rev. Dr. McClintock followed. He said he did not attach any importance to the mutterings of the English press. The people of England had not yet spoken, and when they did speak, their voices would not be found on the side of piracy and slavery. Capt. Simons, of the U. S. Army, said he was on his way home, in obedience to the summons of Gen. Scott. Mr. Haldeman, Minister to Vienna, and Rev. Mr. Thayer, also spoke. All the speakers evinced not the slightest doubt of the final triumph of the North.— Galignani’s Messenger, May 30.

—The London News, of this date, contains a remarkable article on the “War in America.” —(Doc. 214½.)


May 28th.—On dropping in at the Consulate to-day, I found the skippers of several English vessels who are anxious to clear out, lest they be detained by the Federal cruisers. The United States steam frigates Brooklyn and Niagara have been for some days past blockading Pass á l’outre. One citizen made a remarkable proposition to Mr. Mure. He came in to borrow an ensign of the Royal Yacht Squadron for the purpose, he said, of hoisting it on board his yacht, and running down to have a look at the Yankee ships. Mr. Mure had no flag to lend; whereupon he asked for a description by which he could get one made. On being applied to, I asked “whether the gentleman was a member of the Squadron?” “Oh, no,” said he, “but my yacht was built in England, and I wrote over some time ago to say I would join the squadron.” I ventured to tell him that it by no means followed he was a member, and that if he went out with the flag and could not show by his papers he had a right to carry it, the yacht would be seized. However, he was quite satisfied that he had an English yacht, and a right to hoist an English flag, and went off to an outfitter’s to order a facsimile of the Squadron ensign, and subsequently cruised among the blockading vessels.

We hear Mr. Ewell was attacked by an Union mob in Tennessee, his luggage was broken open and plundered, and he narrowly escaped personal injury. Per contra, “charges of abolitionism” continue to multiply here, and are almost as numerous as the coroner’s inquests, not to speak of the difficulties which sometimes attain the magnitude of murder.

I dined with a large party at the Lake, who had invited me as their guest, among whom were Mr. Slidell, Governor Hebert, Mr. Hunt, Mr. Norton, Mr. Fellows, and others. I observed in New York that every man had his own solution of the cause of the present difficulty, and contradicted plumply his neighbor the moment he attempted to propound his own theory. Here I found every one agreed as to the righteousness of the quarrel, but all differed as to the best mode of action for the South to pursue. Nor was there any approach to unanimity as the evening waxed older. Incidentally we had wild tales of Southern life, some good songs, curiously intermingled with political discussions, and what the Northerns call hyphileutin talk.

When I was in the Consulate to-day, a tall and well-dressed, but not very prepossessing-looking man, entered to speak to Mr. Mure on business, and was introduced to me at his own request. His name was mentioned incidentally to-night, and I heard a passage in his life not of an agreeable character, to say the least of it. A good many years ago there was a ball at New Orleans, at which this gentleman was present; he paid particular attention to a lady who, however, preferred the society of one of the company, and in the course of the evening an altercation occurred respecting an engagement to dance, in which violent language was exchanged, and a push or blow given by the favored partner to his rival, who left the room, and, as it is stated, proceeded to a cutler’s shop, where he procured a powerful dagger-knife. Armed with this, he returned, and sent in a message to the gentleman with whom he had quarreled. Suspecting nothing, the latter came into the antechamber, the assassin rushed upon him, stabbed him to the heart, and left him weltering in his blood. Another version of the story was, that he waited for his victim till he came into the cloak-room, and struck him as he was in the act of putting on his overcoat. After a long delay, the criminal was tried. The defence put forward on his behalf was that he had seized a knife in the heat of the moment when the quarrel took place, and had slain his adversary in a moment of passion; but evidence, as I understand, went strongly to prove that a considerable interval elapsed between the time of the dispute and the commission of the murder. The prisoner had the assistance of able and ingenious counsel; he was acquitted. His acquittal was mainly due to the judicious disposition of a large sum of money; each juror, when he retired to dinner previous to consulting over the verdict, was enabled to find the sum of 1000 dollars under his plate; nor was it clear that the judge and sheriff had not participated in the bounty; in fact, I heard a dispute as to the exact amount which it is supposed the murderer had to pay. He now occupies, under the Confederate Government, the post at New Orleans which he lately held as representative of the Government of the United States.

After dinner I went in company of some of my hosts to the Boston Club, which has, I need not say, no connection with the city of that name. More fires, the tocsin sounding, and so to bed.


TUESDAY, MAY 28, 1861.

The weather Continues very cool, a fire in the house to sit by is necessary mornings. The Heights opposite here in Virginia are now thoroughly occupied by some 15000 soldiers. More are going over every day, and more are coming from the North. 3000 came today, 1000 from N.H. and 2000 from Ohio. Walked up to see the NY 7th parade after dinner and at 9 o’ck went to the Prests Levee with Juliet and Saml Androus. Not much of a crowd there and quite pleasant. The officers of the military were out in force. Mr Seward was there and some other notables. Got Home at 10 1/2 .


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.


—The forty-seventh annual meeting of the American Baptist Missionary Union, was held in the Pierrepont Street Baptist Church, Brooklyn, Ex-Gov. Briggs, of Massachusetts, in the chair. The exercises were opened with prayer by the Rev. Dr. Welch. The Chairman then addressed the meeting at some length, setting forth the object for which they had assembled. In reference to the present state of the country, he said that soldiers were now to be seen in every direction, flags were floating from every window in every street, old and young were rallying round the standard of the Government to sustain order and law, but amid all this outburst of enthusiasm the Prince of Peace must not be deserted. He was sure that the cause of all our difference with the South was owing to their misapprehension of the sentiments of the North, and he believed that if the heart of the North could be unveiled to their brethren of the South, all our national troubles would cease at once. Speaking of the charge made against the North by the Rev. Dr. Fuller of Baltimore—that the bad men of the North, the pastors, the churches, and the politicians, all united in crying for blood—for the blood of the Southern people, he inquired if this was the case? The congregation at once responded a vigorous “No.” “No,” said he, a more cruel, more unfounded charge never issued from the mouth of man. He denied that any such sentiments as Dr. Fuller had imputed to the North were entertained by Northern Christians. He hoped that the Union would place their sentiments on this subject on record, that the world might judge between truth and error.—N. Y. Tribune, May 29.

—The Ninth New York Regiment, which was the first to offer their services to the Government, arrived at Washington. Having enlisted for three years, they lose their identity as State militia, and at once enter service as United States troops. Eight hundred of them are fully uniformed, and will prove a valuable acquisition to the regular army.—(Doc. 206.)—National Intelligencer, May 29.

—A new military department is formed by Gen. Scott, out of that portion of Virginia lying east of the Alleghenies and north of James River, exclusive of Fortress Monroe and vicinity, and Brigadier General McDowell is appointed to its command. His staff consists of Colonel P. Stone, Fourteenth Infantry, who has recently rendered inestimable services in organizing the District of Columbia Militia; Captain B. O. Tyler, Brevet Captain James B. Fry, and Lieutenant Putnam, of the Topographical Engineers. —N. Y. Herald, May 29.

—The blockade of the port of Savannah was initiated by the U. S. gunboat Union.—Savannah Republican, May 31.

—Brigadier-General Pierce, Massachusetts Militia, was appointed to succeed Gen. Butler, promoted. He left for Washington immediately. Col. Waite, Major Sprague, and the other officers who were captured in Texas, and liberated on parole not to serve against the Confederate States, reached Washington, and reported to the War Department. Col. Lefferts, at Battalion Drill, took the sentiment of the Seventh N. Y. S. M., about remaining until ordered home by Government, their time having expired. Furloughs were offered to all who wished, but only five out of 1,225 asked for them.—N. Y. Times, May 29.

—In the case of Gen. Cadwallader, whose arrest for contempt of Court was ordered, the Marshal reported that, on going to Fort McHenry, he was refused admittance.—(Doc. 207.)

—The Chautauqua Volunteers, under the command of Capt. James M. Brown, left Jamestown, New York, for active service.—Chautauqua Democrat, May 29.

—In the English House of Commons, a debate on British relations with America took place, being opened by a communication from Lord John Russell concerning the blockade. Lord John stated that Lord Lyons had properly said to Admiral Milne that the blockade, if sufficient, must be respected. Mr. T. Duncombe spoke with some warmth on the treatment which British subjects received in the Southern States, and commented with great severity on the piratical offer of $20 per head offered by the rebels for every person killed on board an American vessel. The debate was further continued by Mr. B. Osborne, Mr. Bright, Mr. Gregory, and Mr. Bouverie. Mr. Gregory treated the reported offer spoken of as a newspaper rumor, and declared that he should, on the 7th, press his motion for the acknowledgment of the “Confederate States.”—(Doc. 207½.)

—Judge Hall’s charge to the grand jury at Rochester, N. Y., on the law of treason, was published.—N. Y. World, May 28.

—Two letters from Edward Bates, Attorney-General of the United States, to John Minor Botts of Virginia, were made public.—(Doc. 208.)

—The assertion of the Governor of Georgia, that property of citizens of that State found in the State of New York is forcibly taken from its owners, is denied in a letter published this day, signed by the officers of seven New York banks.—(Doc. 209.)

—The Rochester Regiment, Colonel Quimby, and the Syracuse Regiment, Colonel Walrath, left Elmira, N. Y., for the seat of war.—Buffalo Courier, May 31.

—The Garibaldi Guard, under the command of Colonel D’Utassy, left New York for the seat of war.—(Doc. 210.)

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New York, May 28

Dear Baron,—Since my letter by the Africa steamer we have received the proclamation of the Queen, commanding a strict neutrality to her subjects in the struggle in which the government of the United States is now engaged against a portion of its citizens, now in rebellion against their constituted authorities.

It would be difficult for me to convey to you an idea of the general feeling of disappointment and irritation produced in this country, by this manifesto of the British government, by which a few revolted States are placed, in their relations with Great Britain, upon the same footing as the government of the United States.

People naturally compare the position which England takes now against us, to her stand during the Carlist war in Spain. The rebellion in the South has not the same chances of success as there existed certainly at one time for the cause of the Spanish pretender. Yet it certainly never occurred to the British crown for one moment to acknowledge Don Carlos in the light of a belligerent. On the contrary, we saw a British legion, armed and equipped in England, and commanded by an English general officer, fight for the cause of the constitutional and rightful sovereignty.

When Hungary, some years later, made an heroic effort to reconquer her nationality and independence, England did not cease to consider her as a revolted province, although the sympathies of the majority of the English people were on the side of the rebels, and though nothing but the powerful intervention of Russia prevented a success of that revolution.

Recently, again, on the other hand, we have seen men and arms equipped by British subjects, leave the English ports to assist the cause of Italian independence under Garibaldi.

The people of the United States had certainly a right to hope and expect the same support in their struggle for their national existence against the unjust and unwarrantable revolt of an unprincipled oligarchy, based upon the most odious domestic institution, and against which no government has heretofore taken so decided a stand as Great Britain herself.

If not an actual violation of international law, it must certainly be considered an act of extreme unfriendliness on the part of any government to place itself on a footing of neutrality between a power with which it entertains intimate diplomatic and commercial relations, and a revolted portion of that nation, unrecognized by any civilized government, and having so far in no way shown any evidence that it will be able to maintain the position which it has assumed against its legitimate government.

I fear that the very cordial good-feeling which, notwithstanding the delicate questions arising, from time to time, between the two governments, has pervaded all classes of our people toward the British nation, and of which, as well as of their deep-felt veneration for the Queen, they have given such a unanimous and striking evidence on the occasion of the laying of the Atlantic telegraph cable, and the recent visit of the Prince of Wales, will make room to sentiments of bitter resentment and animosity if the British government should persist in its present attitude.

Even upon the point of strict neutrality the proclamation goes further than international law and comity would seem to require. While the prohibition of equipment and enlistment of armaments and troops by British subjects in British ports is a measure of neutrality, it is certainly stretching the point to prevent British merchant vessels from carrying arms, military stores, etc., etc., to our ports or those of the Confederate States. The ports of the latter being blockaded by our navy, this restriction is entirely aimed against us, and is, therefore, an actual assistance to the rebels.

During the Crimean war, notwithstanding the strict neutrality of our government, which forbade enlistments, etc., etc., our vessels carried troops, arms, and military stores from English and French ports into the Crimea. The American ship-owners did this at their own peril in case of capture by Russian vessels of war, but our government did not prohibit it, notwithstanding that, as in the present case, it only was done to the advantage of one of the belligerent parties, Russia being blockaded then as the South is now.

My fears that the position of England would only complicate matters, are, unfortunately, very likely to be realized. The sympathy of the British government for the South, so far from lessening the determination of our government and people, has only increased their ardor. It is now a question of national existence and commercial prosperity, and the choice can, of course, not be doubtful.

I have, within the last few days, seen the best informed and most influential men in our administration, and I am more than ever convinced that the war will be carried on with energy and vigor. Large numbers of troops are concentrating around Virginia and Maryland, and our navy is at once to be increased by the building of fifty steam gun-boats and several large vessels of war. The only chance for the peace of the world and the immense interests which are at stake in this struggle, is its early termination by the overshadowing power of the North.

England’s position threatens to prolong the war by giving hope and comfort to the rebels. The requirements of the cotton-spinners in Lancashire have, of course, a good deal to do with the unexpected attitude assumed by your government, but my conviction is, that if the North should be pushed to the wall by these hostile influences, and the war last more than a year, it will end in the complete destruction of the South, because what is now a war for the reconstruction of the Union, in which all the Constitutional rights of the South would be secured, would then lead to the utter annihilation of the slavery interest. The short-sighted policy of the gentlemen in Manchester, who now allow cotton to outweigh their anti-slavery professions, may therefore end in much worse consequences for them than the short supplies of one or two years.

The Morrill tariff would most assuredly have been modified, if not entirely repealed, at the next session of Congress, which is to assemble on the 4th of July next. The requirements of our revenue and the general feeling of the North called for it. I am, however, very much afraid that the unfriendly position assumed by England will produce a revulsion here, and that no modification can be obtained, unless preceded by a change in the tone and policy of your press and government.

I hope your influence and that of all those who wish to see a speedy end of our present calamities, will be exerted toward bringing about such a change.

Charles Francis Adams, Jr., To His Father

Quincy, May 27, 1861. I got out here last Saturday evening, having that day been relieved at Fort Independence by the 4th Battalion of rifles. We would like to have stayed there longer, and were certainly arriving at a state of very considerable proficiency in drill, but our being kept there was beginning to create some hard feeling and the Governor was obliged to yield to the pressure. What will be done with us now, if any thing, no one seems to know. I hardly think they will leave such an efficient body of men alone just now, and yet I do not see how we can be profitably employed. That we shall not be sent out of the State is certain; but the rumors seem to tend towards our being sent to the State camp to serve as a model and to furnish instructors, and ultimately to be used as a supply of officers. Meanwhile I find that I have not returned a day too early, and that my presence is necessary in Boston for some time to come. To me things look pretty bad. Money is plenty, but lenders are very timid. Business is wholly dead and the business community seems to be calculating as to whether they can live out the war or had better go down now. For myself, I see little to change the views I have entertained all along. We are going into this war too heavily to have it last long, but it will be an awful drag while it does last, and all who are not under short sail must go down. I do not believe in getting alarmed or in the eternal ruin of the country; but a great deal of money has got to be lost and all who have, have got to lose some, be it more or less. . . .

Of course all this does not at all add to the pleasure of a reluctant return. I have become fond of military life and I feel ashamed that I am here at home when so many of my friends have already gone, and gone in such a way. I do not wish to boast of what I should do under other circumstances, but I feel, as I look at these tedious and repulsive details [of business], that I should tonight sleep perfectly happy if tomorrow I could hand them all over to anyone who would take them, and for myself go and join my friends in camp. I could get a commission and a good one, for only today Dana evidently wanted to advise me to go and told me I ought to have a majority if I wished it. . . .


May 27th.—I visited several of the local companies, their drill-grounds and parades; but few of the men were present, as nearly all are under orders to proceed to the Camp at Tangipao or to march to Richmond. Privates and officers are busy in the sweltering streets purchasing necessaries for their journey. As one looks at the resolute, quick, angry faces around him, and hears but the single theme, he must feel the South will never yield to the North, unless as a nation which is beaten beneath the feet of a victorious enemy.

In every state there is only one voice audible. Hereafter, indeed, state jealousies may work their own way; but if words mean anything, all the Southern people are determined to resist Mr. Lincoln’s invasion as long as they have a man or a dollar. Still, there are certain hard facts which militate against the truth of their own assertions, “that they are united to a man, and prepared to fight to a man.” Only 15,000 are under arms out of the 50,000 men in the state of Louisiana liable to military service.

“Charges of abolitionism” appear in the reports of police cases in the papers every morning; and persons found guilty not of expressing opinions against slavery, but of stating their belief that the Northerners will be successful, are sent to prison for six months. The accused are generally foreigners, or belong to the lower orders, who have got no interest in the support of slavery. The moral suasion of the lasso, of tarring and feathering, head-shaving, ducking, and horseponds, deportation on rails, and similar ethical processes are highly in favor. As yet the North have not arrived at such an elevated view of the necessities of their position.

The New Orleans papers are facetious over their new mode of securing unanimity, and highly laud what they call “the course of instruction in the humane institution for the amelioration of the condition of northern barbarians and abolition fanatics, presided over by Professor Henry Mitchell,” who, in other words, is the jailer of the workhouse reformatory.

I dined at the Lake with Mr. Mure, General Lewis, Major Ranney, Mr. Duncan Kenner a Mississippi planter, Mr. Claiborne, &c., and visited the club in the evening. Every night since I have been in New Orleans there have been one or two fires; tonight there were three—one a tremendous conflagration. When I inquired to what they were attributable, a gentleman who sat near, bent over, and looking me straight in the face, said, in a low voice, “The slaves.” The flues, perhaps, and the system of stoves, may also bear some of the blame. There is great enthusiasm among the townspeople in consequence of the Washington artillery, a crack corps, furnished by the first people in New Orleans, being ordered off for Virginia.



Another hot morning but a terrible tempest of wind and rain came on before noon and raged for an hour or two after which it was cool and pleasant. Went down to the “National” after dinner with Saml and called upon Judge Grey & Lady from Coldwater Mich. Went down to Willards again in the evening, quite a crowd there but not many officers. All are anxiously waiting for news, and surmising what it will be. Came home at 9, read the papers, bed at 11.


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.

A likeness of Jones when he was editor  and majority owner of the Daily Madisonian during President John Tyler's administration.

A likeness of Jones when he was editor and majority owner of the Daily Madisonian during President John Tyler’s administration.

MAY 27TH. —We leave Montgomery day after to-morrow. The President goes to-day—but quietly—no one, not connected with the Government, to have information of the fact until his arrival in Richmond. It is understood that the Minister of Justice (Attorney-General) accompanies him. There are a great number of spies and emissaries in the country—sufficient, if it were known when the train would pass, to throw it off the track. This precaution is taken by the friends of the President.

The day is pretty much occupied in the packing of boxes. It is astonishing how vast a volume of papers accumulates in a short space of time—but when we consider the number of applications for office, the wonder ceases.


May 27, 1861.—This has been a scenic Sabbath. Various companies about to depart for Virginia occupied the prominent churches to have their flags consecrated. The streets were resonant with the clangor of drums and trumpets. E. and myself went to Christ Church because the Washington Artillery were to be there.


Note: To protect Mrs. Miller’s job as a teacher in New Orleans, the diary was published anonymously, edited by G. W. Cable, names were changed and initials were often used instead of full names — and even the initials differed from the real person’s initials.

CINCINNATI, [May 27, 1861.]

DEAR UNCLE:—I have nothing in particular you to write. I heard a good war sermon today on the subject, “The Horrors of Peace”!

The weather is very unfavorable for troops in camp—wet and chilly. The tents leak and the ground is low and flat. These things will gradually mend themselves. We shall have precious little business this summer, judging by present appearances. Come down when you feel like it.





May 27th.—They look for a fight at Norfolk. Beauregard is there. I think if I were a man I’d be there, too. Also Harper’s Ferry is to be attacked. The Confederate flag has been cut down at Alexandria by a man named Ellsworth,¹ who was in command of Zouaves. Jackson was the name of the person who shot Ellsworth in the act. Sixty of our cavalry have been taken by Sherman’s brigade. Deeper and deeper we go in.

Thirty of Tom Boykin’s company have come home from Richmond. They went as a rifle company, armed with muskets. They were sandhill tackeys—those fastidious ones, not very anxious to fight with anything, or in any way, I fancy. Richmond ladies had come for them in carriages, feted them, waved handkerchiefs to them, brought them dainties with their own hands, in the faith that every Carolinian was a gentleman, and every man south of Mason and Dixon’s line a hero. But these are not exactly descendants of the Scotch Hay, who fought the Danes with his plowshare, or the oxen’s yoke, or something that could hit hard and that came handy.

Johnny has gone as a private in Gregg’s regiment. He could not stand it at home any longer. Mr. Chesnut was willing for him to go, because those sandhill men said “this was a rich man’s war,” and the rich men would be the officers and have an easy time and the poor ones would be privates. So he said: “Let the gentlemen set the example; let them go in the ranks.” So John Chesnut is a gentleman private. He took his servant with him all the same.

Johnny reproved me for saying, “If I were a man, I would not sit here and dole and drink and drivel and forget the fight going on in Virginia.” He said it was my duty not to talk so rashly and make enemies. He “had the money in his pocket to raise a company last fall, but it has slipped through his fingers, and now he is a common soldier.” “You wasted it or spent it foolishly,” said I. “I do not know where it has gone,” said he. “There was too much consulting over me, too much good counsel was given to me, and everybody gave me different advice.” “Don’t you ever know your own mind?” “We will do very well in the ranks; men and officers all alike; we know everybody.”

So I repeated Mrs. Lowndes’s solemn words when she heard that South Carolina had seceded alone: “As thy days so shall thy strength be.” Don’t know exactly what I meant, but thought I must be impressive as he was going away. Saw him off at the train. Forgot to say anything there, but cried my eyes out.

Sent Mrs. Wigfall a telegram—”Where shrieks the wild sea-mew?” She answered: “Sea-mew at the Spotswood Hotel. Will shriek soon. I will remain here.”


¹ Ephraim Elmer Ellsworth was a native of Saratoga County, New York. In 1860 he organized a regiment of Zouaves and became its Colonel. He accompanied Lincoln to Washington in 1861 and was soon sent with his regiment to Alexandria, where, on seeing a Confederate flag floating from a hotel, he personally rushed to the roof and tore it down. The owner of the hotel, a man named Jackson, met him as he was descending and shot him dead. Frank E. Brownell, one of Ellsworth’s men, then killed Jackson.


—Emerson Etheridge, of Tennessee, addressed the citizens of Louisville, Ky., on the great questions which are dividing the South at the present time. He commenced his address with an allusion to the distracted condition of the country, congratulating himself and his audience that he stood upon Kentucky soil, a State that was yet loyal to the Union. He clearly proclaimed himself for his country, first, last, and forever. Having but recently come from a State in which anarchy reigned supreme, he could the better appreciate the blessings of political liberty which were yet vouchsafed to Kentuckians, and which he felt Kentuckians had the patriotism, the gallantry, and the power to perpetuate. He drew a picture of Kentucky in her proud position as a sister in the Union of the States, of her wealth, of her usefulness as an asylum for the oppressed of both sections of our unhappy and divided country, and of her grandeur in after days when she has safely outridden the storm which wrecked the frailer sisterhood around her. While he dealt deadly blows to the apologists of dissolution, he spoke cheering words of comfort and assurance to the friends of the Union. He was withering in his denunciation of rebellion, powerful in argument, ready and illustrative in anecdote, and fervid and glowing in eloquence.—Louisville Journal, May 28.

—General Beauregard issued orders in Charleston, relinquishing command of the forces around Charleston to Col. R. H. Anderson.—Augusta Chronicle, May 28.

—In the case of John Merryman, a secessionist arrested in Baltimore and detained a prisoner in Fort McHenry, a writ of habeas corpus was issued by Judge Taney, made returnable this day in the United States District Court. Gen. Cadwallader declined surrendering the prisoner till he heard from Washington, and an attachment was issued for Gem Cadwallader.—N. Y. Times, May 28.

—The United States steamer Brooklyn arrived off the Pass L’Outre bar at the mouth of the Mississippi, and commenced the blockade of that river.—N. O. Picayune, May 28.

—Brigadier-General McDowell, U. S. army, took command of the Union forces in Virginia, and relieved Major-General Sandford, N. Y. State Militia.—N. Y. Herald, May 28.

—George W. Thompson, one of the judges of the Circuit Court of the State of Virginia, issued a proclamation ordering the rebels in the western part of that State to disperse. Peculiar interest attaches to the document from the fact that one of Judge Thompson’s sons, W. P. Thompson, a young lawyer, resident at Fairmont, is aide-de-camp to Gem Thomas S. Haymond, commander of the confederate forces in Western Virginia, and the leader of the first company which marched on Grafton. Another of his sons is also a secessionist, and a private in the same company.—(Doc. 201.)

—The blockade of Mobile (Ala.) harbor was commenced. The Natchez Courier of to-day says:—”Fort Morgan welcomed the blockading fleet by displaying the U. S. flag, with the Union down, from the same staff, and below the confederate flag.”

—Col. A. Duryea. was placed in command of the camp near Fortress Monroe, by Major-General Butler.—(Doc. 202.)

—The Twentieth N. Y. Volunteer Regiment left New York city for the seat of war.—(Doc. 203.)

—The First Regiment of Virginia Volunteers, Col. Kelly, stationed at Wheeling, Va., left that place at 7 A. M., and moved towards Grafton. After their departure, the Sixteenth Ohio Regiment, 1,000 strong, stationed at Bellaire, Ohio, under command of Col. Irvine, crossed the Ohio and followed Col. Kelly’s command. The Fourteenth Ohio Regiment, Col. Steadman, crossed the Ohio, at Marietta, about the same time, and occupied Parkersburg. At midnight the rebels evacuated Grafton in great haste.—(Doc. 104.)

—The Washington Artillery of New Orleans, La., left that city for Virginia. Previous to their departure, they were addressed by the Rev. Dr. Palmer.—(Doc. 205.)


May 26th.—The heat to-day was so great, that I felt a return of my old Indian experiences, and was unable to go, as I intended, to hear a very eminent preacher discourse on the war at one of the principal chapels.

All disposable regiments are on the march to Virginia. It was bad policy for Mr. Jefferson Davis to menace Washington before he could seriously carry out his threats, because the North was excited by the speech of his Secretary at War to take extraordinary measures for the defence of their capital; and General Scott was enabled by their enthusiasm not only to provide for its defence, but to effect a lodgment at Alexandria, as a base of operations against the enemy.

When the Congress at Montgomery adjourned, the other day, they resolved to meet on the 20th of July at Richmond, which thus becomes the capital of the Confederacy. The city is not much more than one hundred miles south of Washington, with which it was in communication by rail and river; and the selection must cause a collision between the two armies in front of the rival capitals. The seizure of the Norfolk navy yard by the Confederates rendered it necessary to reinforce Fortress Monroe; and for the present the Potomac and the Chesapeake are out of danger.

The military precautions taken by General Scott, and the movements attributed to him to hold Baltimore and to maintain his communications between Washington and the North, afford evidence of judgment and military skill. The Northern papers are clamoring for an immediate advance of their raw levies to Richmond, which General Scott resists.

In one respect the South has shown greater sagacity than the North. Mr. Jefferson Davis having seen service in the field, and having been Secretary of War, perceived the dangers and inefficiency of irregular levies, and therefore induced the Montgomery Congress to pass a bill which binds volunteers to serve during the war, unless sooner discharged, and reserves to the President of the Southern Confederacy the appointment of staff and field officers, the right of veto to battalion officers elected by each company, and the power of organizing companies of volunteers into squadrons, battalions, and regiments. Writing to the Times at this date, I observed: “Although immense levies of men may be got together for purposes of local defence or aggressive operations, it will be very difficult to move these masses like regular armies. There is an utter want of field-trains, equipage, and commissariat, which cannot be made good in a day, a week, or a month. The absence of cavalry, and the utter deficiency of artillery, may prevent either side obtaining any decisive result in one engagement; but there can be no doubt large losses will be incurred whenever these masses of men are fairly opposed to each other in the open field.”



Warm today, went to church with family. Chas and young Saml Androus are both with us, came up last night. Saml is somewhat sick, is geting better. His Regt is at Alexandria. The excitement of yesterday has passed off but troops are passing over the River today and the large Govt Wagons are taking over stores, tents, implements, &c., and the soldiers there are busy throwing up breastworks at “Arlington.” The rebels had the stakes all stuck for the entrenchment and would have had possession in a day or two more.


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.

Eliza Woolsey Howland to Joseph Howland at Albany.

Sunday (between churches), May 26.

I am going over to the Dutch Church at the Corners more, I confess, to hear the news from Washington than for the sermon’s sake. The rumor by telegraph this morning was that Washington was on fire. I am restless and anxious. There must be important movements on one side or the other before long, now that we have advanced beyond the Potomac.

In yesterday’s papers the great camp preparing on Staten Island is described — 10,000 acres on the southeast slope of the island, with room for the tents and evolutions of an army of 60,000 men. Is it likely that you will be ordered there?

Mr. Masters told me this morning to tell you you were not forgotten in the village, for the boys have organized a company and are drilling under the name of the “Howland Guard.” Mother thinks it should be called Mrs. Howland’s Guard. . . . .

May 27. This morning I deposited Mother with the papers at the old chestnut tree seat and helped Thomson and Mechie get a good line for the turf on the carriage road. It is not right yet, but shall be made so. Thomson says: “We’ll na gie it up, ma’am, till you say it’s right.” The sodding round the door and kitchen end[1] is a great improvement and gives quite a finished look. We all took a turn in the wagon after dinner, stopping for me to get some cut-out work from the Women’s Army Association, which is fairly under way now, with Mrs. David Davis as President, Mrs. James Kent Secretary and Miss Rankin Treasurer. Five or six dozen shirts were given out today. . . . I have a note this morning from L. H. H. asking me to make them a visit at Newport and saying Mr. H. would come on for me and bring me back. It is very kind, but I shall stand by my post here this summer. . . .

Mr. Masters told us an anecdote of old R_______ who was in a tavern barroom the other day with a party of rough fellows discussing the war, when one of them declared that “any man who would refuse to go now that Mr. Howland had gone ought to be drummed out of the community.”

[1] Where the rhododendrons are now twelve to fifteen feet high.



CINCINNATI, May 26, 1861.

DEAR UNCLE:—. . . I have been watching the enlistments for the war during the last week with much interest, as the chance of our enterprise for the present depends on it. If twenty regiments enlist out of the twenty-six now on foot in the State, there will be no room for ours. If less than twenty go in for three years, we are safe. Until the news of the advance into Virginia arrived, and the death of Colonel Ellsworth, there was a good deal of hesitation in the various camps. The natural dissatisfaction and disgust which many felt, some with and some without adequate cause, were likely to prevent the quota from being filled out of the three-months men. But now all is enthusiasm again. Of course I like to see it, but for the present it probably cuts us out. Well, we shall be ready for next time. If all immediate interest in this quarter is gone, I shall likely enough come up and spend next Sunday with you.





MAY 26TH.—The President is sick to-day—having a chill, I believe. Adjutant-General Cooper was in, comparing notes with the Secretary as to the number of regiments in the field. The Secretary has a most astonishing memory, and could easily number the forces without referring to his notes. The amount is not large, it is true; but, from the eagerness to volunteer, I believe if we had the arms there might soon be organized an army of three or four hundred thousand men. And yet it would seem that no one dreams of armies of such magnitude. Wait till we sleep a little longer! A great many separate companies are accepted; all indeed that offer for three years or the war, provided they have arms—even double-barreled shot-guns and hunting rifles. What a deal of annoyance and labor it will be to organize these into battalions, regiments, brigades, and divisions! And then comes the appointment of staff and field officers. This will be labor for the President. But he works incessantly, sick or well.

We have an agent in Europe purchasing arms. This was well thought on. And Capt. Huse is thought to be a good selection. It will be impossible for Lincoln to keep all our ports hermetically sealed. Hitherto improvident, it is to be hoped the South will now go to work upon her own resources. We have plunged into the sea of revolution, and must, unaided, sink or swim. The Yankees say they are going to subdue us in six months. What fools!

I tasted green corn to-day, and, although very fond of it, I touched it lightly, because it seemed so much out of season. The country around is beautiful, and the birds are singing as merrily as if we were about to enter upon a perennial Sabbath-day, instead of a desolating war. But the gunpowder will be used to destroy the destroyer, man, and why should not the birds sing? The china-trees are beautiful, and abundant about the dwellings.


MAY 26TH.—Was called on by the Episcopal minister to-day, Dr. Sawyer having informed him that I was a member of the church—the doctor being one also. He is an enthusiastic young man, and though a native of the North, seems to sympathize with us very heartily. He prays for the President of the Confederate States. The President himself attends very regularly, and some intimate that he intends to become a candidate for membership.

I have not learned whether he has been baptized. Gen. Cooper, the first on our list of generals in the regular army, is a member of the church. The general was, I think, adjutant-general at Washington. He is Northern born. Major Gorgas is likewise a native of the North. He is Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance. The Quartermaster-General, Major Myers, is said to be a Jew; while the Commissary-General is almost a Jesuit, so zealous is he in the advocacy of the Pope.

Mr. Mallory, the Secretary of the Navy, I have seen but once; but I have heard him soundly abused for not accepting some propositions and plans from Mobile and elsewhere, to build iron-clad steam rams to sink the enemy’s navy. Some say Mr. M. is an Irishman born. He was in the United States Senate, and embraced secession with the rest of the “conspirators” at Washington.

I saw the Vice-President to-day. I first saw Mr. Stephens at Washington in 1843. I was behind him as he sat in the House of Representatives, and thought him a boy, for he was sitting beside large members. But when I got in front of him, it was apparent he was a man—every inch a man.

There is some excitement in official circles here against Mr. Browne, the Assistant Secretary of State, on the ground that he interfered in behalf of a Mr. Hurlbut, a Northern man (probably arrested), a writer in the English Reviews against slavery in the South, and a correspondent for the New York Tribune. Mr. B. is an Englishman, who came from Washington on the invitation of Mr. Toombs, and through his influence was appointed Assistant Secretary of State, and the Southern gorge rises at it. I doubt whether he will be molested.

I saw Major Tochman to-day, also a foreigner. He is authorized to enlist a regiment or two of Polanders in New Orleans, where I am told there are none.

And there are several Northern men here wanting to be generals. This does not look much like Southern homogeneity. God save us, if we are not to save ourselves!

How hot it is! But I like hot weather better than cold, and would soon become accustomed to this climate. This morning Mr. Hunter really seemed distressed; but he has four inches on his ribs, and I not the eighth of an inch.

Since writing the foregoing, I have seen Mr. Hunter again, and although there is no diminution of heat, he is quite cheerful. Congress has again passed the resolution to remove the seat of government to Richmond, and it is said the President will not veto it this time. The President himself came into our office to-day and sat some time conversing with Secretary Walker. He did not appear vexed at the determination of Congress, which he must have been apprised of.


—A letter from Major Sprague, U. S. A., giving an account of affairs in Texas, since the arrest of the federal troops in that locality, was published in the Albany (N. Y.) Argus.— (Doc. 197.)

—The privateer Calhoun, Capt. Wilson, arrived at New Orleans, La., having in tow the following prizes: schooners John Adams and Mermaid, of Provincetown, Mass., and the brig Panama, of Boston, Mass.; all these are whalers, and have on board about 215 bbls. of sperm and black whale oil. They were taken about 10 miles from the passes; their crews number 63 men; and all of them told that these vessels had been whaling for some time and cruising in the Gulf —Natchez Courier, May 30.

—The Mobile Register of yesterday, after announcing the invasion of Virginia by the Federal troops, observes: “Servile insurrection is a part of their programme, but they expect no great amount of practical good to result therefrom—consequently, it is contended that it would be a far better course of policy for the Abolitionists to murder the slaves and thus exterminate slavery. A more monstrous proposition could not emanate from the most incarnate fiend among the damned. But infamous as it is it finds an advocate in the abolition press. The slaves are to be indiscriminately slaughtered, and when the last one is butchered, then it it is thought the institution will cease to exist. The soul recoils in horror at the idea of an unscrupulous war upon the innocent and defenseless slave. The Syrian massacre of the Christians and all the crimes of its bloody participants pale before the proposed atrocities of the Black Republicans. Their masters, however, in this, as all other instances, will be their protectors and saviors. With this much of their published programme, we must not be surprised at any act or threat as the campaign advances.”

—A correspondent writes from Montgomery to the New Orleans Delta:—”The startling intelligence of the invasion of the soil of Virginia, and the actual occupation of Alexandria by United States forces, was received here last evening. The Cabinet, I am informed, immediately went into a procrastinated session. No event since the initiation of this revolution has ever created a sensation so profound, and so sorrowful. The mere taking of a deserted and exposed village, is in itself nothing; but when regarded as indicative of the future policy of the old Government, it at once becomes a question pregnant with great importance. Mr. Lincoln has declared in his proclamation, and at various other times reiterated the expression, that the only object his Government had in view, was the retaking and the reoccupation of what he asserted to be Government property; but now, in the face of this promise, which has gone before the world, he converts his Abolition horde into an army of invasion, and now occupies a city within the boundaries of our Republic. This Government has no longer an election. Its duty is now manifest to all. The nation must rise as a man and drive the hireling miscreants from a soil polluted by the foulness of their tramp. Virginia alone could speedily perform the work of expurgation, but her cause is now our cause, her battles our battles, and let the Government at large pour a continuous stream of men into Virginia, and preserve from dishonor that patriotic mother of States.”

—The rebel Congress passed an act to prohibit the exportation of cotton, except through Southern seaports.—(Doc. 198.)

—This afternoon at about 4 o’clock, Gen. McClellan, commanding the military department of Ohio, received information that two bridges had been burned near Farmington, on the B. & O. R. R., and that arrangements had been made to burn the others between that point and Wheeling. The general had been making arrangements to move on Grafton in force, but this intelligence caused him to hasten his movements. He returned at once to Cincinnati and issued telegraphic orders for an advance. One column was directed to move from Wheeling and Bellaire, under command of Col. B. F. Kelly, 1st Virginia Volunteers; another from Marietta, on Parkersburg, under Col. Steedman, 14th Ohio Volunteers. These officers were directed to move with caution, and to occupy all the bridges, etc., as they advanced. A proclamation to Virginians, and address to the troops, were issued by Gen. McClellan simultaneously with the advance.—(Doc. 199.)

—The First Regiment of New Hampshire Volunteers, Colonel Tappan, passed through New York on their way to the seat of war. The regiment left Camp Union, at Concord, yesterday morning. Its progress through Massachusetts and Connecticut was an ovation, crowds assembling at all the stations to give them a greeting.—(Doc. 200.)

—Postmaster-General Blair issued the following order:—”All postal service in the States of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas, will be suspended from and after the 31st inst. Letters for offices temporarily closed by this order, will be forwarded to the dead letter office, except those for Western Virginia, which will be sent to Wheeling.”—Boston Transcript, May 27.


May 25th.—Virginia has indeed been invaded by the Federals. Alexandria has been seized. It is impossible to describe the excitement and rage of the people; they take, however, some consolation in the fact that Colonel Ellsworth, in command of a regiment of New York Zouaves, was shot by J. T. Jackson, the landlord of an inn in the city, called the Marshal House. Ellsworth, on the arrival of his regiment in Alexandria, proceeded to take down the secession flag, which had been long seen from the President’s windows. He went out upon the roof, cut it from the staff, and was proceeding with it down stairs, when a man rushed out of a room, leveling a double-barreled gun, shot Colonel Ellsworth dead, and fired the other barrel at one of his men, who had struck at the piece, when the murderer presented it at the Colonel. Almost instantaneously, the Zouave shot Jackson in the head, and as he was falling dead thrust his sabre bayonet through his body. Strange to say, the people of New Orleans, consider Jackson was completely right, in shooting the Federal colonel, and maintain that the Zouave, who shot Jackson, was guilty of murder. Their theory is that Ellsworth had come over with a horde of ruffianly abolitionists or, as the Richmond Examiner has it “the band of thieves, robbers and assassins, in the pay of Abraham Lincoln, commonly known as the United States’ Army,” to violate the territory of a sovereign state, in order to execute their bloody and brutal purposes, and that he was in the act of committing a robbery, by taking a flag which did not belong to him, when he met his righteous fate.

It is curious to observe how passion blinds man’s reason, in this quarrel. More curious still to see, by the light of this event, how differently the same occurrence is viewed by Northerners and Southerners respectively. Jackson is depicted in the Northern papers as a fiend and an assassin; even his face in death is declared to have worn a revolting expression of rage and hate. The Confederate flag which was the cause of the fatal affray, is described by one writer, as having been purified of its baseness, by contact with Ellsworth’s blood. The invasion of Virginia is hailed on all sides of the North with the utmost enthusiasm. “Ellsworth is a martyr hero, whose name is to be held sacred for ever.”

On the other hand, the Southern papers declare that the invasion of Virginia, is “an act of the Washington tyrants, which indicates their bloody and brutal purpose to exterminate the Southern people. The Virginians will give the world another proof, like that of Moscow, that a free people, fighting on a free soil, are invincible when contending for all that is dear to man.” Again—”A band of execrable cut throats and jail birds, known as the Zouaves of New York, under that chief of all scoundrels, Ellsworth, broke open the door of a citizen, to tear down the flag of the house—the courageous owner met the favorite hero of the Yankees in his own hall, alone, against thousands, and shot him through the heart—he died a death which emperors might envy, and his memory will live through endless generations.” Desperate, indeed, must have been the passion and anger of the man who, in the fullest certainty that immediate death must be its penalty, committed such a deed. As it seems to me, Colonel Ellsworth, however injudicious he may have been, was actually in the performance of his duty when taking down the flag of an enemy.

In the evening I visited Mr. Slidell, whom I found at home, with his family, Mrs. Slidell and her sister Madame Beauregard, wife of the general, two very charming young ladies, daughters of the house, and a parlor full of fair companions, engaged, as hard as they could, in carding lint with their fair hands. Among the company was Mr. Slidell’s son, who had just travelled from school at the North, under a feigned name, in order to escape violence at the hands of the Union mobs which are said to be insulting and outraging every Southern man. The conversation, as is the case in most Creole domestic circles, was carried on in French. I rarely met a man whose features have a greater finesse and firmness of purpose than Mr. Slidell’s; his keen grey eye is full of life, his thin, firmly-set lips indicate resolution and passion. Mr. Slidell, though born in a Northern state, is perhaps one of the most determined disunionists in the Southern confederacy; he is not a speaker of note, nor a ready stump orator, nor an able writer; but he is an excellent judge of mankind, adroit, persevering, and subtle, full of device, and fond of intrigue; one of those men, who, unknown almost to the outer world, organizes and sustains a faction, and exalts it into the position of a party—what is called here a “wire-puller.” Mr. Slidell is to the South something greater than Mr. Thurlow Weed has been to his party in the North. He, like every one else, is convinced that recognition must come soon; but, under any circumstances, he is quite satisfied, the government and independence of the Southern confederacy are as completely established as those of any power in the world. Mr. Slidell and the members of his family possess naivete, good sense, and agreeable manners; and the regrets I heard expressed in Washington society, at their absence, had every justification.

I supped at the club, which I visited every day since I was made an honorary member, as all the journals are there, and a great number of planters and merchants, well acquainted with the state of affairs in the South. There were two Englishmen present, Mr. Lingam and another, the most determined secessionists and the most devoted advocates of slavery I have yet met in the course of my travels.


SATURDAY, MAY 25, 1861.

Another most exciting day. Rumours of fighting on the other side of the river were rife all over the City the middle of the day but were without foundation. The Funeral of Col Ellsworth took place from the Prests House. His remains were in the East room where thousands passed through and saw them, among the rest myself, wife, Julia, and the two elder boys. Genl Scott was there in Uniform. (Willie will not be tempted to go into a crowd for anything). During the middle of the day soldiers were seen running with muskets in hand to join their companies, many being ordered out today.


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.


Fairfax C. H., May 25.—The day of suspense is at an end. Alexandria and its environs, including, I greatly fear, our home, are in the hands of the enemy. Yesterday morning, at an early hour, as I was in my pantry, putting up refreshments for the barracks preparatory to a ride to Alexandria, the door was suddenly thrown open by a servant, looking wild with excitement, exclaiming, “Oh, madam, do you know?” “Know what, Henry?” Alexandria is filled with Yankees.” “Are you sure, Henry?” said I, trembling in every limb. “Sure, madam! I saw them myself. Before I got up I heard soldiers rushing by the door; went out, and saw our men going to the cars.” “Did they get off?” I asked, afraid to hear the answer. “Oh, yes, the cars went off full of them, and some marched out; and then I went to King Street, and saw such crowds of Yankees coming in! They came down the turnpike, and some came down the river; and presently I heard such noise and confusion, and they said they were fighting, so I came home as fast as I could.” I lost no time in seeking Mr. _____, who hurried out to hear the truth of the story. He soon met Dr. _____, who was bearing off one of the editors in his buggy. He more than confirmed Henry’s report, and gave an account of the tragedy at the Marshall House. Poor Jackson (the proprietor) had always said that the Confederate flag which floated from the top of his house should never be taken down but over his dead body. It was known that he was a devoted patriot, but his friends had amused themselves at this rash speech. He was suddenly aroused by the noise of men rushing by his room-door, ran to the window, and seeing at once what was going on, he seized his gun, his wife trying in vain to stop him; as he reached the passage he saw Colonel Ellsworth coming from the third story, waving the flag. As he passed Jackson he said, “I have a trophy.” Jackson immediately raised his gun, and in an instant Ellsworth fell dead. One of the party immediately killed poor Jackson. The Federals then proceeded down the street, taking possession of public houses, etc. I am mortified to write that a party of our cavalry, thirty-five in number, was captured. It can scarcely be accounted for. It is said that the Federals notified the authorities in Alexandria that they would enter the city at eight, and the captain was so credulous as to believe them. Poor fellow, he is now a prisoner, but it will be a lesson to him and to our troops generally. Jackson leaves a wife and children. I know the country will take care of them. He is the first martyr. I shudder to think how many more there may be.

The question with us was, what was next to be done? Mr. _____ had voted for secession, and there were Union people enough around us to communicate every thing of the sort to the Federals; the few neighbours who were left were preparing to be off, and we thought it most prudent to come off too. Pickets were already thrown out beyond Shuter’s Hill, and they were threatening to arrest all secessionists. With a heavy heart I packed trunks and boxes, as many as our little carriage would hold; had packing boxes fixed in my room for the purpose of bringing off valuables of various sorts, when I go down on Monday; locked up every thing; gave the keys to the cook, enjoining upon the servants to take care of the cows, “Old Rock,” the garden, the flowers, and last, but not least, J ‘s splendid Newfoundland. Poor dog, as we got into the carriage how I did long to take him! When we took leave of the servants they looked sorrowful, and we felt so. I promised them to return to-day, but Mr. _____ was so sick this morning that I could not leave him, and have deferred it until day after to-morrow. Mr. _____ said, as he looked out upon the green lawn just before we set off, that he thought he had never seen the place so attractive; and as we drove off the bright flowers we had planted seemed in full glory; every flower-bed seemed to glow with the “Giant of Battles” and other brilliant roses. In bitterness of heart I exclaimed, “Why must we leave thee, Paradise !” and for the first time my tears streamed. As we drove by “The Seminary,” the few students who remained came out to say “Good-by.” One of them had just returned from Alexandria, where he had seen the bodies of Ellsworth and Jackson, and another, of which we had heard through one of our servants who went to town in the morning. When the Federal troops arrived, a man being ordered to take down the secession flag from above the markethouse, and run up the “stars and stripes,” got nearly to the flag, missed his foothold, fell, and broke his neck. This remarkable circumstance was told me by two persons who saw the body. Is it ominous? I trust and pray that it may be.

When we got to Bailey’s Cross Roads, Mr. _____ said to me that we were obliged to leave our home, and as far as we have a right to any other, it makes not the slightest difference which road we take—we might as well drive to the right hand as to the left—nothing remains to us but the barren, beaten track. It was a sorrowful thought; but we have kind relations and friends whose doors are open to us, and we hope to get home again before very long. The South did not bring on the war, and I believe that God will provide for the homeless.

About sunset we drove up to the door of this, the house of our relative, the Rev. Mr. B., and were received with the warmest welcome. As we drove through the village we saw the carriage of Commodore F. standing at the hotel door, and were soon followed by the C.’s of our neighbourhood and many others. They told us that the Union men of the town were pointing out the houses of the Secessionists, and that some of them had already been taken by Federal officers. When I think of all this my heart quails within me. Our future is so dark and shadowy, so much may, nay must, happen before we again become quiet, and get back, that I feel sad and dreary. I have no fear for the country—that must and will succeed; but our dear ones!—the representatives of every State, almost every family, from the Potomac to the Gulf of Mexico—how must they suffer, and how must we at home suffer in their behalf!

This little village has two or three companies quartered in it. It seems thoroughly aroused from the quiescent state which it was wont to indulge. Drums are beating, colours flying, and ever and anon we are startled by the sound of a gun. At Fairfax Station there are a good many troops, a South Carolina regiment at Centreville, and quite an army is collecting at Manassas Station. We shall be greatly outnumbered, I know, but numbers cannot make up for the zeal and patriotism of our Southern men fighting for home and liberty.


CHARLESTON, S. C, May 25, 1861.—We have come back to South Carolina from the Montgomery Congress, stopping over at Mulberry. We came with R. M. T. Hunter and Mr. Barnwell. Mr. Barnwell has excellent reasons for keeping cotton at home, but I forget what they are. Generally, people take what he says, also Mr. Hunter’s wisdom, as unanswerable. Not so Mr. Chesnut, who growls at both, much as he likes them. We also had Tom Lang and his wife, and Doctor Boykin. Surely there never was a more congenial party. The younger men had been in the South Carolina College while Mr. Barnwell was President. Their love and respect for him were immeasurable and he benignly received it, smiling behind those spectacles.

Met John Darby at Atlanta and told him he was Surgeon of the Hampton Legion, which delighted him. He had had adventures. With only a few moments on the platform to interchange confidences, he said he had remained a little too long in the Medical College in Philadelphia, where he was some kind of a professor, and they had been within an ace of hanging him as a Southern spy. “Rope was ready,” he sniggered. At Atlanta when he unguardedly said he was fresh from Philadelphia, he barely escaped lynching, being taken for a Northern spy. “Lively life I am having among you, on both sides,” he said, hurrying away. And I moaned, “Here was John Darby like to have been killed by both sides, and no time to tell me the curious coincidences.” What marvelous experiences a little war begins to produce.

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