Extract from the Letter of a Loyal Lady, the "Wife of a High Rebel Officer, to Her Mother."

Southern Confederacy (Atlanta, Georgia), November 6, 1862

The New York Times of the 28th October, has the following purporting to be a letter from a lady in Savannah. That journal declares it authority, and is very solicitous lest some one should doubt it. We suppose our friend Sneed of the Republican, if called on, could tell whether it is a forgery or not, as the letter alludes to him:

Savannah, Georgia }
U. S. of America, Oct. 11th, 1862. }

Dear MotherYour kind letter reached me, and would have given me an unmingled pleasure but for the announcement of poor Captain ____’s death. How terrible for his sisters, and for poor Miss _____, who, when I last saw her, showed me his carte de visite, and half confessed they were engaged, although neither the Commodore nor her aunt knew or suspected anything of the matter. Every person here is in mourning except myself, and I only so because I cannot find materials, and hope soon to be allowed to go North, as General _____ has half promised me passage under the next flag of truce, to some vessel of Admiral Dupont’s squadron. Our little darling is sadly in need of shoes, her only present foot covering being little carpet slippers, with carpet soles made by myself.They do very well while it is dry, but the least shower keeps her within doors, and she wears out nearly two pairs each week, so that I am constantly busy. Of tea and other comforts we have only vague remembrances; but food, thank God, is becoming plentiful again, such as it iswheat, chickens, corn, and pigs; and, although it is admitted here by all, that the rebellion has yet a sharp struggle before it, there is no longer any hope, as I sincerely wish there was, of its being starved into submission.

You cannot think how bitterly the North is ridiculed here, and all my efforts to defend it only end in mortification and consciousness that those who think otherwise have the best of the argument. It is now the regular habit to send so-called “deserters” into the Union lines along the Potomac, whenever we want to get a mail carried North. These “deserters,” who are generally the bravest, sharpest and most unscrupulous, enfants perdus, in the rebel army, enter McClellan’s lines tell him just such stories as they have been told to, take the oath and they are immediately dismissed. They then go to Baltimore, post their letters there, get a return mail and are back in Richmond in three or four days from the time of leaving the managers of this mail line of Baltimore. It is thus that the _____ and _____ (Two papers are mentioned here, one published in New York and one in Baltimore,) get their “late Southern news,” and I can assure you that this mail runs regularlythe carriers many times getting across the Potomac and into Maryland without being once challenged; while, if they are challenged, they announce themselves as “deserters,” take the oaththough even this is not always asked of themand then hurry on to Baltimore which is our chief Postoffice.

They have here in private circulationthough it may be a forgerya phrenological chart of General McClellan’s character, made by Fowler & Wells, New York, and which was given, they say, by McClellan to his friend, Major General G. W. Smith, whose health is now quite recovered, though at the expense of his mind, which will never be again what it was. This written chartsuch, dearest mother, as you had made of me when I came back, last summer, five years ago, from Miss _____’s schoolmakes McClellan’s lump of “caution” outbalance all the other qualities of his head, and they are making fun of it all the time, and of course most activelythose who wish to annoy mewhen I am present. They have had this “chart” printed for private circulation, and while the papers here all seem in a conspiracy to praise Gen. McClellan, he is the most bitterly ridiculed man I ever knew, in private. The editor of the Savannah Republican was at Cousin Mary’s last Tuesday evening, and had the “greatest fun” as he called it, (horrid old creature that he is,) trying to make me angry. But cousin Mary stopped him, and even Senator _____, said that I was an avowed “enemy of the South,” (though Heaven knows I am not), and had only come here to nurse _____, (her husband). I was entitled to be treated at least with the courtesy due to a “prisoner of war!” and not vexed and ridiculed.

But I assure you you can have no idea what confidence the people here have that this “chart” is correct, and so whenever Lee or Jackson want to make McClellan stop anywhere, or avoid a battle, they send off some “deserters,” first tell him they are in immense force, and any other odious lies they please; and then they get significant hints to the same effect, published in the Richmond rebel papers; and these papers are actually carried to McClellan, and even sold to him at a high price, the two men passing themselves off as Union farmers, who gave him the information which stopped him ten days after the battle of Sharpsburg, when he was thinking of advancing, and quite ready, having received sixty dollars between them for their trouble and expense of bringing the information. George says they are non-commissioned officerssergeants or corporals, I forget whichand are to be commissioned as second lieutenants when they get back from Baltimore. You may fancy how these things annoy me. But I have nothing but annoyance now, though people here say there is no chance of another battle on the Potomac before next Spring.

Civil War

Comments on this entry are closed.