October 20th.—I saw General McClellan to-day, who gave me to understand that some small movement might take place on the right. I rode up to the Chain Bridge and across it for some miles into Virginia, but all was quiet. The sergeant at the post on the south side of the bridge had some doubts of the genuineness of my pass, or rather of its bearer.

“I heard you were gone back to London, where I am coming to see you some fine day with the boys here.”

“No, sergeant, I am not gone yet, but when will your visit take place?”

“Oh, as soon as we have finished with the gentlemen across there.”

“Have you any notion when that will be?”

“Just as soon as they tell us to go on and prevent the blackguard Germans running away.”

“But the Germans did not run away at Bull Run?

Faith, because they did not get a chance—sure they put them in the rear, away out of the fighting.”

“And why do you not go on now?”

“Well, that’s the question we are asking every day.”

“And can anyone answer it?”

“Not one of us can tell; but my belief is if we had one of the old 50th among us at the head of affairs we would soon be at them. I belonged to the old regiment once, but I got off and took up with shoemaking again, and faith if I sted in it I might have been sergeant-major by this time, only they hated the poor Roman Catholics.”

“And do you think, sergeant, you would get many of your countrymen who had served in the old army to fight the old familiar red jackets?” “Well, sir, I tell you I hope my arm would rot before I would pull a trigger against the old 50th; but we would wear the red jacket too—we have as good a right to it as the others, and then it would be man against man, you know; but if I saw any of them cursed Germans interfering I’d soon let daylight into them.” The hazy dreams of this poor man’s mind would form an excellent article for a New York newspaper, which on matters relating to England are rarely so lucid and logical. Next day was devoted to writing and heavy rain, through both of which, notwithstanding, I was assailed by many visitors and some scurrilous letters, and in the evening there was a Washington gathering of Englishry, Irishry, Scotchry, Yankees, and Canadians.

Judith White Brockenbrough McGuire

Sunday Night.—To-day went to church, and heard an admirable sermon from Mr. J. As we returned, we called at the post-office, and received a newspaper from Dr. Drane, of Tennessee, in which is recorded the death of his son James. He belonged to the army in Western Virginia, and died there of typhoid fever. He was one of the late pupils of the E. H. S., a most amiable, gentlemanly youth; and it seems but as yesterday that I saw him, light-hearted and buoyant, among his young companions. He is constantly before my mind’s eye. His parents and young sister—how my heart bleeds for them! Our poor boys! What may not each battle bring forth? Scarcely a battalion of the army, in any part of the Confederacy, where they are not.

Elisha Franklin Paxton

Centreville, Va., October 20, 1861.

Letters prompted by an affectionate anxiety for my fate, bringing intelligence that wife and children are happy in the enjoyment of every necessary comfort at home, furnish in their perusal the happiest moments of the strange life I am leading. Such interchanges of letters are a poor substitute for the happiness which we have found in each other in times past; but it is all we can have now. Our separation must continue until this sad war runs its course and terminates, as it must some day, in peace. Then I trust we may pass what remains of life together, loving each other all the better from a recollection of the sadness we have felt from the separation. I am sometimes reminded of you, and the strong tie which binds me to you, by odd circumstances. The other day I saw an officer, who, like myself, has left wife and children at home, riding by the camp, with another woman on horseback, from a pleasure excursion up the road; and I could not help feeling that in seeking pleasure in such a source he was proving himself false to the holiest feeling and the highest obligation which is known on earth. I thought if I had acted thus faithless to you and our marriage vow, I should feel through life a sense of baseness and degradation from which no repentance or reparation could bring relief. If I know myself, I would not exchange the sweet communion with my absent wife, enjoyed through the recollections of the past and the hopes of the future, for any temporary pleasure which another might offer. I would rather live over again in memory the scenes of seven long years, when we talked of our love and our future, our ride to Staunton on our wedding-day, and our association since then, chequered here and there with events of sadness and sorrow, than accept any enjoyment which ill-timed passion might prompt me to seek from another. I trust, Love, this feeling may grow with every day which passes, and that I may always have the satisfaction of knowing my devotion and fidelity merit the affection which your warm heart lavishes upon me.

I have received a commission as Major in the 27th Regiment, and expect to change my quarters to-morrow. I leave my present position with much reluctance.


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

OCTOBER 20TH.—A lady, just from Washington, after striving in vain to procure an interview with the Secretary of War, left with me the programme of the enemy’s contemplated movements. She was present with the family of Gen. Dix at a party, and heard their purposes disclosed. They meditate an advance immediately, with 200,000 men. The head of Banks’s column is to cross near Leesburg; and when over, a movement upon our flank is intended from the vicinity of Arlington Heights. This is truly a formidable enterprise, if true. We have not 70,000 effective men in Northern Virginia. The lady is in earnest—and remains here.

I wrote down the above information and sent it to the President; and understood that dispatches were transmitted immediately to Gen. Johnston, by telegraph.

The lady likewise spoke of a contemplated movement by sea with gun-boats, to be commanded by Burnside, Butler, etc.

In the evening I met Mr. Hunter, and told him the substance of the information brought by the lady. He seemed much interested, for he knows the calm we have been enjoying bodes no good ; and he apprehends that evil will grow out of the order of the Secretary of War, permitting all who choose to call themselves alien enemies to leave the Confederacy. While we were speaking (in the street) Mr. Benjamin came up, and told me he had seen the letter I sent to the President. He said, moreover, that he did not doubt the enemy intended to advance as set forth in the programme.

Samuel Ryan Curtis.

Head-Quarters Camp of Instruction,
Benton Barracks, (near St. Louis, Mo.,) Oct 20, 1861

His Ecy Abraham Lincoln President

In further response to your letter Concerning affairs in this Department I feel it my duty to present, that orders from the Commanding General are draining the Northern and Eastern portions of this State, and pressing them west, so out of the way, I fear they will be lost to actual necessities that grow out of the weakness of this section. Every Cavalier is removed from Rolla where mounted Scouts are of the greatest necessity. All the armed Cavalry is removed from here and all the infantry that is properly arrived also. Regiments are drawn from the Hannibal and St Joseph Rail Road and sent forward to Augment the Western Column which was fled from by the rebels when it had not a tithe of its present strength.

I regret also to see the forces being much divided in small and great Columns scattering and consuming the momentum they should carry with them, and offering occasion for more rebel victories such as the past has painfully witnessed.

Seven Companies (Infantry and Cavalry) are 90 miles South of Rolla with no support.

Also called Brigr General Harding1 is gathering troops to lead a similar expedition.

At the same time here is a force of irregular rascals under Thompson forty or fifty miles below me who could be driven to Arkansas or caught in the swamp of New Madrid, if I could arm and move the Cavalry now here under special orders to go west just as fast as Squadrons can be armed.

I am sorry to trouble your Excellency about matters which ought to be otherwise disposed of but the anxiety expressed in your letter induces me to keep you advised.

[no signature]

Chester Harding Jr., Lt. Col. Asst. Adjt. Gen. Missouri Vols., May, 1861, Col. 10th Mo. Inf., and later of the 25th Mo. Inf., was one of those who held a brig. gen.’s commission from Fremont. Harding held such rank when he led an expedition to Fulton. Mo., in October, 1861.

rebellion record

October 20.—Two or three companies of the Forty-third Indiana regiment, stationed at Camp Vigo, in Terre Haute, under command of their colonel, proceeded quietly this evening to the office of the Journal and Democrat, and in a short time demolished every thing it contained. They then proceeded to several private houses, and served them in the same manner.—New York Times, October 22.

—This morning a heavy detachment from General Smith’s division made a reconnoissance to Flint Hill, Va., which is about two miles and a half from Fairfax Court House, and from which there is a good view of the village. A strong picket was observed there, and indications that a large or reserve force was in the vicinity. The reconnoitring party consisted of portions of Mott’s and Ayres’ batteries, and companies from the Fifth (regular) and from Col. Friedman’s regiment of cavalry. Generals McClellan, Porter, Smith, and Hancock accompanied the expedition.—National Intelligencer, October 21.

—The Sixth regiment of Vermont Volunteers, under the command of Colonel Nathaniel Lord, Jr., passed through Jersey City, N. J., en route for Washington. The regiment numbered one thousand and fifty men.

clarksville texas standard

Standard [Clarksville], Tx, October 19, 1861

In Northern Texas we have the fruits of the earth in abundance. Corn rates at 25 cents per bushel. Immense quantities could be contracted for at that rate, to be delivered in any of our Country Towns. Wheat can be purchased at 50 cents per bushel in large quantity. The best flour made in Northern Texas, and not excelled in quality anywhere can be purchased in Paris, Lamar County, and probably throughout several counties, at $2 per hundred pounds. Sweet Potatoes are plentiful, and are sold in the County Towns at 50 cents per bushel. Apples of excellent quality, are offered upon the Streets of Clarksville, every two or three days at one dollar per bushel. Beef is abundant, fat and cheap. Pork will be worth about $5 per hundred at Christmas. Hogs are not in excess, but there is Mast, and Corn is a drug, consequently Pork cannot be at a high price. Now is the time for migration to Northern Texas, and emigrants are daily coming in, many of them from Kentucky, accompanied by trains of dark colored followers. Their force migration will not prove a hardship, but will result in great blessings to them, cheap and fertile lands, health, plenty, freedom from political cares, as members of an undivided body politic.


Saturday, October 19. — Nothing of any interest occurred to-day. We expected our regiment to come on board and waited all day in vain. Finally, about eight o’clock P.M. they came, and to my disappointment I found they were the 4th New Hampshire regiment, as I hoped to see some Massachusetts troops. Church, the reporter of the New York Sun, and Green of the Boston Journal came on board.


Letter from Captain Lyon to Mrs. Lyon.

“Pilot Knob, Saturday, Oct, 19, 1861.—We arrived here on Thursday afternoon. This place is ninety miles southwest of St. Louis. Ironton is only two miles from here. The country is rough, wild and mountainous. Pilot Knob is a conical hill, rising some eight hundred feet above us. There are also extensive lead mines in the vicinity. I wrote you at De Soto, forty miles from here. We came on to where the bridge across Big River was burned, and my company and another were sent on here in advance of the rest of the regiment. Col. Murphy, who was with us, had a telegram from here saying the rebels were advancing on this place. We hurried up, the train running with frightful velocity, and when we got here the inhabitants were running from the place to the hills and everybody said a battle was being fought three or four miles out. We expected to be sent right on. It was concluded, however, that we should wait for the balance of the regiment, which had been sent for in great haste. Before they arrived we learned the facts about the fight. It was a mere skirmish, some twenty miles from here, between three hundred Indiana cavalry stationed here and a detachment of cavalry from the rebel army. Five or six men wounded on our side, none killed. Several reported killed on the other side.

“There are about four thousand troops here. The men are all anxious to fight. It is impossible to foretell our future movements. Do not be disturbed by any newspaper reports about us. One of the St. Louis papers yesterday puts us in a battle here and has us badly cut up. That is a fair specimen of their accuracy. I was in more danger on the cars Thursday than I shall be in any battle. When I see the misery and suffering which I see this war causes here, I thank God that you are all in peaceful homes and that the trials and perils of the contest, so far as you are concerned, can be borne by me alone.”

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A dense fog all over the City this morning and it has been a misty damp day. I have not been out today yet do not feel very bad, had a restless night and some fever but feel better tonight. A great deal of heavy firing all day over the river, some fighting down with the Batteries last night and this morning. No particular news afloat. Everybody seem to be waiting like Mr “Micawber” for “something to turn up.”


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.

Richard R. Hancock

Saturday, 19th.—The head of the column advanced to a point some six or seven miles beyond London, on the road leading to Wildcat, but, for want of water, subsistence and forage, had to return to the wagon train, about four miles beyond London.

Zollicoffer’s advance had another skirmish with the enemy’s picket, resulting in the killing of one man on each side.

After marching in the rear of the wagon train to within eight miles of London, Colonel McNairy was ordered to move his battalion to the front. On reaching our General’s headquarters, about nightfall, encamped, as above named, some four miles from town, McNairy was ordered to send out scouting parties on both sides of the London-Wildcat road. Accordingly, a part of our battalion went southwest in the direction, of Somerset, while Allison’s Company went back to London, and thence about nine miles north-east in the direction of Booneville, capturing two men, two muskets and three horses on the way. Finding no organized force in that direction, Allison returned, by the way of London, to camp, some three miles from town, about daybreak next morning. Here the road forked—the left, leading by the way of Wildcat, Mount Vernon and Crab Orchard, to Camp Dick Robinson, and the right, to Richmond. We were now within ten miles of Wildcat.


October 19th— Lord Lyons and Mr. Seward were driving and dining together yesterday en ami. To-day, Mr. Seward is engaged demolishing Lord Lyons, or at all events the British Government, in a despatch, wherein he vindicates the proceedings of the United States Government in certain arrests of British subjects which had been complained of, and repudiates the doctrine that the United States Government can be bound by the opinion of the law officers of the Crown respecting the spirit and letter of the American constitution. This is published as a set-off to Mr. Seward’s circular on the seacoast defences which created so much depression and alarm in the Northern States, where it was at the time considered as a warning that a foreign war was imminent, and which has since been generally condemned as feeble and injudicious.

rebellion record

October 19.—Colonel Morgan, with two hundred and twenty men of the Eighteenth Missouri regiment, with two pieces of artillery, had a fight with some four hundred rebels, on Big Hurricane Creek, in Carroll County, Mo., killing fourteen, taking eight prisoners, and putting the balance to flight. Colonel Morgan had fourteen men wounded, two mortally.—(Doc. 98.)

—The Leavenworth (Kansas) Conservative of this date gives an account of the surrender of Fort Fillmore, New Mexico, as follows:—

On the 6th of July, Major Lynde had command of seven companies of infantry and two of cavalry, in all about seven hundred men. The next officers in rank were Captains Poster and Stevenson and Lieut. McAnnelly. On the 24th of July, at three o’clock p.m,, four hundred and eighty men, with four pieces of artillery, started for Mesilla; arrived there at dark; were drawn up in line of battle between two cornfields; there were no flankers and no skirmishers out; the cavalry were within eighty-five yards of the ambuscade laid by the Texans, who numbered less than two hundred, and were poorly armed. Shots were fired out of the cornfield, one of them taking effect on Lieut. McAnnelly, a true Union man. Major Lynde was behind a wagon. A perfect cross fire was opened on the cavalry, and, no officer now being in command of them, they retreated. No order had been given them to dismount, fire, or charge, and they retreated “on their own hook” to the rear of the infantry, in order to give the artillery a chance to fire. Our own infantry opened a perfect volley on our own cavalry— by mistake, it was said. A few shots were fired by the artillery, when the whole command was ordered to retreat back on the post. Arrived there at nine o’clock. Next day all were engaged in fortifying. At half-past ten an order was given to evacuate that night. The commissary was ordered to roll out the whiskey, and the infantry were allowed to drink it and fill their canteens. No water was furnished for the hot march before them. The march was undertaken in the most irregular manner, and before we had gone ten miles men were dropping from the ranks and falling down drunk. At two in the morning Texan troops were seen advancing on the Los Crusas road. Our adjutant, on being informed of it, made no preparations to resist an attack, but said:—”They have nothing to fear from us.” Of the seven companies, so many had been left drunk and captured that no more than two companies went into camp. The officers left the men, and held a long council of war. The men of the rifle command decided among themselves to fight. Just as they were ready Captain Gibbs came up, ordered a retreat upon camp, saying:—“We will fight them there.” As soon as they reached there, they were formed into line, and told to dismount for the last time. “You are turned over as prisoners of war,” was all they heard. All the arms and supplies were given up, the oath was administered, and next day the men were released on parole.

—The schooner Fairfax, of Georgetown, D. C., bound up the Potomac with 1,100 bales of hay and 500 barrels cement, was captured by the rebels off Shipping Point. This schooner and another vessel, in tow of the steam-tug Resolute, were fired upon when passing the rebel batteries, and at that critical moment the hawser by which the Fairfax was attached to the steamer broke. The vessel had necessarily to be left to her fate. She drifted toward the batteries, from which several boats started and took possession of her. The Resolute, with the other vessel in tow, proceeded up the river. This is the first serious disaster that has happened to any vessel in passing these batteries. —National Intelligencer, October 21.

—Twenty rebel prisoners, selected from among the North Carolinians on Bedloe’s Island, were sent to Fortress Monroe, there to be released upon taking the oath not to bear arms against the United States Government. This is done in response to the recent release of fifty-seven wounded soldiers at Richmond. As nearly all the persons released by the rebel authorities are disabled by wounds and disease, more than half of them having had a limb amputated, Col. Burke made a selection in the same manner from among the common soldiers, and these were taken who appeared to be most disabled and weakened by disease. Their names are not given. This action of the Government was an agreeable surprise to the prisoners, and the fortunate ones hailed their deliverance with unfeigned delight.—Baltimore American, October 21.

—Abel Smith, colonel of the Thirteenth regiment of New York Volunteers, died this morning, at Mechanicsville, N. Y., from injuries sustained on the railroad, at that place.— Gen. Heintzleman made a reconnoissance in considerable force along the telegraph road as far as Pohick Church and Acotink Creek, in Virginia, when some of the rebel pickets were met and driven back. It was ascertained that the rebel forces were posted between the telegraph road and Occoquan.— Washington Star, October 21.

—General Wool, at Fortress Monroe, issued an order, giving every male contraband employed in the department, eight dollars per month, and every female four dollars per month. —New York Tribune, October 21.

Rutherford B. Hayes

Camp Tompkins, Near Gauley Bridge, October 19, 1861.

Dear Uncle: — It is late Saturday night. I am away from my regiment at General Rosecrans’ headquarters and feel lonesome. The weather is warm, threatening rain. We are waiting events, not yet knowing whether we are to stay here or go to some other quarters for the winter. I can’t help suspecting that important events are looked for near Washington which may determine our course for the winter. All things in that direction have, to my eye, a hopeful look. A victory there if decisive will set things moving all over. We know the enemy we have been after is heartily sick of this whole business, and only needs a good excuse to give it up. A party of our men, bearing a flag of truce, spent a night with a party of Lee’s men a few days ago, and the conversations they report tell the story.

Matthews has gone home for a fortnight. It is quite probable that I shall go home during the fall or winter for a short visit.

We have done no fortifying yet. We occasionally hear of a little guerrilla party and scamper after them, but no important movements are likely to occur here, unless a road should be opened from Washington to Richmond.

I see that Buckland is in the war. That is right. The noticeable difference between North and South in this war is, that South, the leading citizens, the lawyers and public men of all sorts, go into the fight themselves. This has not been so with us in the same degree. I am less disposed to think of a West Point education as requisite for this business than I was at first. Good sense and energy are the qualities required. . . .


R. B. Hayes.

S. Birchard.

Rutherford B. Hayes

Camp Tompkins, October 19, 1861.

Dearest: — I got your letter of last Sunday yesterday. You can’t be happier in reading my letters than I am m reading yours. Very glad our little Ruddy is no worse.

Don’t worry about suffering soldiers, and don’t be too ready to give up President Lincoln. More men are sick in camps than at home. Sick [men] are not comfortable anywhere, and less so in armies than in good homes. Transportation fails, roads are bad, contractors are faithless, officials negligent or fraudulent, but notwithstanding all this, I am satisfied that our army is better fed, better clad, and better sheltered than any other army in the world. And, moreover, where there is want, it is not due to the general or state Government half as much as to officers and soldiers. The two regiments I have happened to know most about and to care most about — McCook’s Ninth and our Twenty-third — have no cause of complaint. Their clothing is better than when they left Ohio and better than most men wear at home. I am now dressed as a private, and I am well dressed. I live habitually on soldiers’ rations, and I live well.

No, Lucy, the newspapers mislead you. It is the poor families at home, not the soldiers, who can justly claim sympathy. I except of course the regiments who have mad officers, but you can’t help their case with your spare blankets. Officers at home begging better be with their regiments doing their appropriate duties. Government is sending enough if colonels, etc., would only do their part. McCook could feed, clothe, or blanket half a regiment more any time, while alongside of him is a regiment, ragged, hungry, and blanketless, full of correspondents writing home complaints about somebody. It is here as elsewhere. The thrifty and energetic get along, and the lazy and thoughtless send emissaries to the cities to beg. Don’t be fooled with this stuff.

I feel for the poor women and children in Cincinnati. The men out here have sufferings, but no more than men of sense expected, and were prepared for, and can bear.

I see Dr. S— wants blankets for the Eighth Regiment. Why isn’t he with it, attending to its sick? If its colonel and quartermaster do their duties as he does his, five hundred miles off, they can’t expect to get blankets. I have seen the stores sent into this State, and the Government has provided abundantly for all. It vexes me to see how good people are imposed on. I have been through the camps of eight thousand men today, and I tell you they are better fed and clothed than the people of half the wards in Cincinnati. We have sickness which is bad enough, but it is due to causes inseparable from our condition. Living in open air, exposed to changes of weather, will break down one man in every four or five, even if he was “clad in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day.”

As for Washington, McClellan and so on, I believe they are doing the thing well. I think it will come out right. Wars are not finished in a day. Lincoln is, perhaps, not all that we could wish, but he is honest, patriotic, cool-headed, and safe. I don’t know any man that the Nation could say is under all the circumstances to be preferred in his place.

As for the new governor, I like the change as much as you do. He comes in a little over two months from now.

A big dish of politics. I feared you were among croakers and grumblers, people who do more mischief than avowed enemies to the country.

It is lovely weather again. I hope this letter will find you as well as it leaves me. Love and kisses for the dear ones. Affectionately, ever,

R. B. Hayes.

Mrs. Hayes.


Friday, October 18. — We reached Annapolis about 11 o’clock in the morning, and had to anchor in the stream about 4 miles from the city. I went ashore in the afternoon, and took a look at the city. We landed at the Naval School, and found the grounds full of troops, etc. The 21st Massachusetts, Colonel Morse, is stationed here, but I had no chance to see any of the officers. The grounds of the Naval School are quite spacious, and face the Chesapeake on one side, and the river Severn on the other. The buildings are of brick and quite substantial, though by no means handsome. Right on the water is a round building with guns mounted, which was used for the middies to practice in. On the right of this battery a long pier runs out into the river, and at the end of it, the Constitution was anchored. Uncle Oliver told me that when he came here last April, the rebels were erecting a battery on the other side of the river, and about an eighth of a mile distant, to destroy the Constitution. His timely arrival, however, put an end to their villainous schemes, by taking the ship and school away. The professors’ houses were built in a row on the right side of the ground.

Having procured a pass, we got outside the grounds, and into the city, the capital of Maryland. The streets were in a terrible state from the rain, which made a horrible clayey sort of mud, much to the detriment of our shoes, which were soon covered with a good coat of this Maryland blacking. We finally came out on a street which was roughly paved and which led us to the post-office and the hotel. I inquired for letters, but found none, and was consequently much disappointed. The next place I visited was the State House. It stands on a hill, the highest one in the town, and has a green around it. From this green the streets all diverge, making a sort of cobweb. On entering the State House, I was saluted by a young boy about ten years old, who was smoking a cigar, and who seemed to think himself the owner of the place. Accepting his services as an escort, we were shown into the Senate and House of Representatives. They were both of them ordinary-looking rooms with very common-looking pine chairs and desks. On first entering the House, the visitor sees the arms of the State staring him in the face, and the motto, “Crescite et multiplicamini,” written under them. The city, however, belies the motto as far as I could see, for it looks as if it had not increased for a century, but had stood still, and as if all its inhabitants and buildings had been enjoying a century’s rest. From the cupola I had a most magnificent view, and one which well repaid me for the trouble I had in getting ashore. Close around me was the town, with its quaint, old-fashioned houses, with gables and over-hanging roofs, many covered with moss, and, in some cases, plants growing from the eaves. It was more like a view of an old-fashioned English town which one often sees painted on canvas in stage-scenery. Then beyond the town were fertile fields, with crops ready for gathering, and every little way, a beautiful hillock rising up, with splendid trees growing there, and the river winding among them, now sparkling like a silver cord, and now hidden from the sight. Then again, the white tents of the soldiers would peep out from the dark green of the trees, and what at first sight seemed a long fence, but on closer inspection proved to be the troops going through their dress-parade, would meet one’s view. The sight was a most beautiful one, and one which I cannot describe. The rivers on both sides of the city, with their steep banks thickly wooded, and winding so prettily among the hills, were in themselves a sufficient compensation for the climb up to the cupola. Then looking out on the Chesapeake and seeing over twenty steamers, in addition to a large number of small craft quietly at anchor in the bay, and the long blue shore of Virginia opposite, made one wish to stay forever almost, and enjoy the beautiful sight. I could hardly tear myself away; but as I had little time to waste, I soon descended.

I saw here a cannon which Lord Baltimore brought over in 1624, and which had fallen into the river and had lately been fished up. I saw Captain Eldridge and went on board the Baltic with him.

Richard R. Hancock

Friday, 18th.—After a march of about eight miles, our battalion bivouacked, still in rear of everything.

The cavalry in advance, some of Branner’s or Brazelton’s men, had a skirmish with the enemy’s picket about four miles beyond London on the road leading to Camp Wildcat, in which one of the enemy was killed and one captured.

The Federal commander at Wildcat sent the following dispatch to Thomas:

Camp Wildcat, October 18, 1861, 1 P. M.

General George H. Thomas:

I have information now beyond doubt that Zollicoffer is coming on with a large force and six pieces artillery. …..

I am now making arrangements to move my sick and commissary’s stores across the river, and intend, if I do not receive more troops, to abandon this place and retreat toward Camp (Dick) Robinson.

I have no idea of having my men butchered up here, where they have a force of six or seven to one, with artillery. I would like to hear from you immediately. Very respectfully,

T. T. Garrard,
Colonel Third Regiment, Kentucky Volunteers

The above dispatch shows very clearly what would have been the result if our General could have attacked the next day, the 19th, for Brigadier-General Alvin Schoepf did not reach Wildcat with reinforcements from Camp Dick Robinson until late in the afternoon of the 20th, and in fact some of the reinforcements did not arrive until the 21st.



Wrote a note to Maj Watt this morning, sent it by “Bud.” He returned with a fine Boquet from Mrs Lincoln for the Sec’y of the Interior, C B Smith. Bud took it down to him when I called upon him about noon. He said he would confer with the Comr of Pats and see what could be done for my restoration to the office. I heartily despise the whole of them and would ask no favors in ordinary times.


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.

William Thompson Lusk.

October 18th, 1861.

My dear Mother:

I can only write you a few hasty lines. We have suddenly been summoned to Annapolis, and are now on board ship, bound I know not whither. This is so far pleasant, as there is a chance of relief from the wearisome picket duties which devolve upon Regiments on the advanced outposts; and we have likewise an opportunity for distinction, as well as to do the country good service. It is so far a disappointment, in that I had a leave of absence granted me, and hoped yesterday to be spending to-day with my dear Mother. I am very tired, as I marched all last night, and have been hard at work all this morning. Health and spirits are excellent. Gen. Stevens will most likely command our expedition, which is almost a guarantee of success. At any rate we will trust it will prove more brilliant even than the affair at Hatteras. At any rate let us pray, come what will, God grant us peace in the life hereafter. A thousand times love for all.

In haste, Affec’y.,



Fording of the Osage River at Warsaw, Mo, by the Fremont Hussars, October 18th, 1861

The Confederate general Price, when retreating before General Fremont, rightly believed that if he could put the Osage River between him and the Federal commander, and destroy the bridge across it, he could so delay pursuit as to make an easy escape into Arkansas. But he did not rightly judge the resources or vigor of General Fremont. When Fremont approached the river at Warsaw he rode forward through mud and rain twenty-five miles, viewed the stream and gave prompt orders for bridging it; which were carried out so rapidly that within four days his entire force was able to cross and follow up the pursuit.

(from Frank Leslie’s Illustrated History of the Civil War…, edited by Louis Shepheard Moat, Published by Mrs. Frank Leslie, New York, 1895)


October 18th.—To-day Lord Lyons drove out with Mr. Seward to inspect the Federal camps, which are now in such order as to be worthy of a visit. It is reported in all the papers that I am going to England, but I have not the smallest intention of giving my enemies here such a treat at present. As Monsieur de Beaumont of the French Legation said, “I presume you are going to remain in Washington for the rest of your life, because I see it stated in the New York journals that you are leaving us in a day or two.”

Francis Bacon to Georgeanna Muirson Howland (his future wife).

Camp Walton, Annapolis, Oct. 18th, ‘61.

Pardon a wretched notelet, written on camp stationery with the very dregs of the day’s ration of nervous energy. Everybody is both tired and busy to-night with this embarkation business. . . .

You will readily believe they are sober enough, these long, undulating files of honest brown faces, as they pour down upon the wharves, but there are good, rousing cheers, too, as the tenders swing out into the stream and go scuttling away to the great motionless ships in the roads.

I notice with surprise, and with some apprehension as well, that the 6th and 7th Connecticut, green as I have thought them, are farther advanced in the military art than any other troops I have seen here. This is not brag, you will please consider, it is very reluctant conviction. But still, as for me, turning more sadly than ever before from the loyal North, I feel an exultation in helping to strike, as we are hoping, the heaviest blow at the great crime that it has yet felt.

Your basket is such a miracle of packing that I have hesitated to thoroughly ransack it, fearing that the attempt to restore its contents to their normal condition might reduce me to a state of hopeless idiocy, like a Chinese puzzle, or a book on political economy.

Moritz delicately hinted at French rolls as being the only things that could not defy the ravages of time, and so, one terribly stormy evening, being the second after the arrival of the basket, Chaplain Wayland, my brother the Captain and I, having our rival teapots all in a row, each singing over her own spirit-lamp, I removed the stratum of rolls and disposed of them to the immense satisfaction of the tea-party. This gave me a glimpse of the blue and gold Tennyson lying lapped among the balmy bolognas. Ever since, I have been longing for the golden moment to come when I could sit, or, more properly, lie down to my own individual, personal, particular, blue and gold Tennyson. This may probably be when every soul in the regiment except myself is helplessly, hopelessly seasick, and nobody can “come a botherin’ me.”