December 1.—Dr Carr is dead. He had a stroke of paralysis two weeks ago and for several days he has been unconscious. The choir of our church, of which he was leader for so long, and some of the young people came and stood around his bed and sang, “Jesus, Lover of My Soul.” They did not know whether he was conscious or not, but they thought so because the tears ran down his cheeks from his closed eyelids, though he could not speak or move. The funeral was from the church and Dr Daggett’s text was, “The Beloved Physician.”
Sunday, 1st—We had a big snowstorm last night. It came my turn to go on camp guard for the first time. It takes some five hundred men to go around the camp.
Dec. 1st. Sunday. Spent in camp and at Uncle’s. Was paid off.
Letter from Captain Lyon to Mrs. Lyon.
“Sulphur Springs, Mo., Dec. 1, 1861.—The arrangements are not completed yet, but progressing. There is every reasonable probability that I shall be detailed on this service. The service is very distasteful to me. The prospect of returning home atones for the irksomeness of the service. I see by your letters that you are worrying about me. Now I tell you that I am perfectly comfortable physically. I have a good boarding place, at $3.00 a week. I sleep in my tent and never slept better. I have a feather bed, given to me at Indian Ford by one of the teamsters, who, I presume, stole it. I have plenty of blankets and straw. I enjoy the company of the officers. I have never regretted for one moment that I entered the service; and had I not done so, with my present views of duty I would volunteer tomorrow. The idea of personal danger to me, which haunts you so much, does not disturb me at all. You must be brave. You must be a true woman, for remember you are a soldier’s wife. Let us both be willing to peril all, if necessary, in the discharge of our duty.”
December 1st, 1861,
Just completed another bundle of clothes for poor Claude, which we hope will reach him before Christmas, the other bundle having failed to reach him. Mrs. Brown (Mrs. Shepherd) went with me to Lyon’s to choose his coats and gloves. We have roasted some coffee and made some cake, which we have stuffed in his pillow. I wonder how long the poor boy’s head will lie peacefully on the latter. We have cut up our flannel double-gowns to make him shirts, as everything is so dreadfully high these blockade times. I have longed for money that I might send him many things to gladden both, his heart and those of his comrades, in their darksome little log huts at Manchac. We have done what we could, but have been cut off from further supplies, and have the troublesome spirit of proud people who will exist on a crust rather than ask help. I believe our friends would love us better if we were less proud. Went in Mrs. Brown’s carriage to the confectioner’s to-day for Claude’s cake—got out of sick bed to do so—called for Mrs. Brown, who went with us to the Southern Express office. There is a kind old man in there whom I love to hear speak of “Our Soldiers.” He refuses all freight except what is sent to our poor boys; he promises Claude shall have his things before Christmas. My heart turns so lovingly to our poor brother—shall I ever see him again? Will he die in battle, or will this wretched cough that keeps me awake at night and makes me feel so worn and weak in the morning, kill me before he can return a victorious soldier?
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 1
This has been a fine cool day, no frost but a fresh wind. Wife and the boys went to church. Julia went to the Episcopal church with Miss Hartly, it was Doct Pinckneys church. I have been in the house nearly all day reading &c. Went down town this evening, was at the “National” an hour or so, met several members of Congress who are here ready for the morrow. This will be a very important Session, the most important perhaps that has been convened for half a Century at least.
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.
December 1st.—A mixed party of American officers and English went to-day to the post at Great Falls, about sixteen or seventeen miles up the Potomac, and were well repaid by the charming scenery, and by a visit to an American military station in a state of nature. The captain in command told us over a drink that he was under arrest, because he had refused to do duty as lieutenant of the guard, he being a captain. “But I have written to McClellan about it,” said he, “and I’m d—d if I stay under arrest more than three days longer.” He was not aware that the General’s brother, who is a captain on his staff, was sitting beside him at the time. This worthy centurion further informed us he had shot a man dead a short time before for disobeying his orders. “That he did,” said his sympathising and enthusiastic orderly, “and there’s the weapon that done it.” The captain was a boot and shoe maker by trade, and had travelled across the isthmus before the railway was made to get orders for his boots. A hard, determined, fierce “sutor,” as near a savage as might be.
“And what will you do, captain,” asked I, “if they keep you in arrest?”
“Fight for it, sir. I’ll go straight away into Pennsylvania with my company, and we’ll whip any two companies they can send to stop us.”
Mr. Sumner paid me a visit on my return from our excursion, and seems to think everything is in the best possible state.
December 1.—The schooner Albion, of Nassau, N. P., formerly the Lucy E. Waring, of Baltimore, Md., arrived at New York, a prize to the U. S. gunboat Penguin, which captured her while attempting to run the blockade of Charleston. She was laden with arms, ammunition, salt, fruit, provisions, oils, tin, copper, saddles, bridles, and cavalry equipments, and valued at one hundred thousand dollars. On the morning of the 25th nit, she was observed endeavoring to work into the inlet near Edisto Island, and after a chase of three hours was overhauled and captured. The schooner was in command of Captains Christy and Stevens, who admitted that they were residents of Savannah, Ga. They were also part owners of the vessel. The captains and crew were put on board the U. S. steamer Penguin. Master’s mate George N. Hood was put on board the Albion with a prize crew, and ordered to proceed North.
—This morning, a party of Union men from Whitley County, Ky., headed by George W. Lyttle, marched into the town of Huntsville, Tennessee, after having travelled through the night from Williamsburg, Ky., a distance of near fifty miles, and about twenty-five miles into the Southern Confederacy; tore down the flag of rebellion, erected the Stars and Stripes, and captured five rebel troops, and bore them in triumph to Camp Calvert, with a number of good horses and rigging, also some splendid fire-arms, knives, &c
Those composing the little patriotic band, were R. Bird, Speed Faris, Samuel Freeman, J. W. Smith, Clint. Roe, Ples. Jones, Joe Cain, S. C. Cain, Wm. Ellison, Frank and Abel Bryant, G. W. Lyttle, S. Stanfield, Jeremiah Meadors, R. and J. Pemberton, and some others, making between twenty and thirty in number.—Frankfort (Ky.) Commonwealth, Dec. 9.
—A party of Unionists attacked the Confederate pickets at Morristown, East Tennessee, killing a large number of them, and putting the rest to flight.—Memphis Avalanche, Dec. 2.
—Simon Cameron, the Secretary of War, in his report, proposed that the limits of Virginia be so altered, as to make her boundaries consist of the Blue Ridge on the east, and Pennsylvania on the north, leaving those on the south and west as at present. Thus Alleghany and Washington counties, of Maryland, would be transferred to Virginia, while all that portion of Virginia lying between the Blue Ridge and Chesapeake Bay, could be added to Maryland, and that portion of the peninsula between the Chesapeake and the Atlantic, could be incorporated into the States of Delaware.
This morning a band of Lincolnites from Kentucky, assisted by a number of tories of Scott County, entered the village of Huntsville, Tenn., and seized the persons of John L Smith, John Catlin, Calvin Smith, Sterling Smith, Joe Smith, and five others, whose names we could not procure, and immediately started with them to Kentucky as prisoners of war, at the same time taking about a dozen head of horses. All the gentlemen abducted were quiet, unoffending citizens, belonging to no military organization in the Confederate service. Their only crime was that they were secessionists. John L. Smith is a clerk, and master of the Chancery Court at Huntsville, at least seventy years of age, and is respected by all who know him in the very slightest degree, and the others abducted are equally esteemed. The party from whom we derived this information, Mr. William Anderson, was likewise captured by the marauders, but made his escape. He says he could not ascertain the precise number of the enemy. He saw about forty or fifty, but they represented their number at several hundred. They were piloted in by the somewhat notorious John H. Smith, who was released by the Confederate Court at Nashville, some time ago, upon his taking the oath of allegiance, and who forfeited his recognizance some days ago in the Confederate Court at this place, upon a charge of counterfeiting; John Baxter, of this city, being his security. He was assisted in this infamous raid by other tory residents of Scott County, among whom was Riley Cecil, another individual who was released by Major Folkerson, at Jamestown, last summer, upon making the strongest promises of good behavior toward the Confederate States.
Bird’s Point, Mo., December 1, 1861.
This, the beginning of winter, is the warmest and altogether the most pleasant day we have had for several weeks. During our whole trip to Bloomfield and back we had splendid weather, but ever since our return it has been at least very unsplendid. The climax was reached day before yesterday and capped with several inches of snow. I was up the river 15 miles at the time with a party loading a flatboat with logs for our huts. We had a sweet time of it and lots of fun. The mud was from six inches to a foot deep, and by the time we got the logs to the boat they were coated with mud two inches thick, and before we got a dozen logs on the boat we had a second coat on us, from top to toe of mud. It snowed and rained all the time we worked but I heard no complaint from the men, and in fact I have never seen so much fun anywhere as we had that day. There is any amount of game where we were, the boys said that were out, and they brought to camp several skinned “deer.” I tried some of the “venison” but it tasted strangely like hog.
Of course drill is discontinued for the present, and as working on the quarters is almost impossible we sit and lie in the tent and gas and joke and eat and plan devilment. We have a barrel of apples now, lots of pecans and tobacco and not a thing to trouble us. The enemy have quit coming around here and we can stroll six or seven miles without danger if we get past our pickets safely. There was a great deal of firing down at Columbus yesterday and I heard some more this morning. I don’t know whether the gunboats are down or not. It may be the Rebels are practicing with their big guns; or maybe they are firing a salute over the fall of Fort Pickens. It will be a great joke if they take that, won’t it? I believe myself that they will take it. Two of our new gunboats came down day before yesterday. We will have in all 12 gunboats, 40 flatboats carrying one mortar each and 15 propellers for towing purposes, besides the steamboats for transporting troops. Makes quite a fleet and will fill the river between here and Columbus nearly full. There are not very many troops here now. Only five regiments of cavalry and four or five batteries of artillery. Not over 12,000 in all. We have nearly 1,000 sailors and marines here now and they are such cusses that they have to keep them on a steamboat anchored out in the river. We see by the papers this morning that the fleet has captured another sand bar. A good one on the bar. We are greatly puzzled to know if we really are going down the river this winter. We are preparing winter quarters here for only 12,000 men. Now all these troops they are running into St. Louis cannot be intended for up the Missouri river, for the troops are also returning from there. I don’t believe either that they intend to keep them in St. Louis this winter for they have only quarters provided there for a garrison force, so I guess it must mean down the river, but am sure they won’t be ready before six weeks or two months. We have a report here that Governor Yates is raising 60 day men to garrison these points while we “regulars” will be pushed forward. Jem Smith is down here trying to get information of his brother Frank who is a prisoner. There are a good many Rebels deserting now. Our pickets bring them into camp. They are mostly Northern men who pretend they were pressed in and are glad to escape. Frank Smith is in Company A, Captain Smith’s company, at Paducah. It was Company B, Captain Taylor’s, that was in the Belmont fight. You could see just as well as not why I can’t come home if you’ll take the trouble to read General Halleck’s General Order No. 5 or 6, that says, “Hereafter no furloughs will be granted to enlisted men,” etc.
We had a first rate lot of good things from Peoria yesterday. They were sent us for Thanksgiving but were a day late. Chickens, cranberries, cake, etc. The boys say that a Rebel gunboat has just showed his nose around the point and Fort Holt is firing away pretty heavily, but I guess the boat is all in some chap’s eye. Hollins is down at Columbus with about a dozen vessels of war. I have just been out to see what the boys said was the pickets coming in on the run, but some say its only a gunboat coming up through woods, so I guess I’ll not report a prospect of a fight.
DECEMBER 1ST.—The people here begin to murmur at the idea that they are questioned about their loyalty, and often arrested, by Baltimore petty larceny detectives, who, if they were patriotic themselves (as they are all able-bodied men), would be in the army, fighting for the redemption of Maryland.
L. came in a few evenings ago. He was at Conway last summer, and able to contradict an absurd story that was going the rounds,—that Charley and Joe having joined the army, Mother had given up housekeeping and gone into the hospitals, and all the daughters were children of the regiment!
Dr. Carmalt called too. He is very quiet, but good-looking, and ready to laugh at poor jokes, which is much in his favor. . . . I never told you what a nice dressing-gown the one you left for Abby was; and though she was immensely disgusted at your having given it, she wears it every night and looks comfortable and warm, which is what she did not look, with her flannel petticoat over her shoulders.
Ebbitt House, December 1, ‘61
We saw yesterday a nice dodge for enlarging your tent and making the back one more private. It is pitching the two tents three or four feet apart and spreading the fly over the intermediate vestibule. Chaplain Edward Walker of the 4th Connecticut, whom we went to see yesterday, had his two tents arranged so, and the effect was very pretty. In the front one he had the regimental library (a very nice one) and the back one was his own, and between them was the little vestibule floored like the others and boarded at the sides to keep out the cold, and in it he had his stove and washing apparatus, and from its ceiling hung a pretty wire basket filled with moss and wild flowers! a charming little bit of New England country life in the midst of civil war. He is a nice fellow, one of Dr. Leonard Bacon’s Congregational boys and just the one for an army Chaplain—so cheerful and strong, and honest and kind-hearted. . . . He went with us through the camp and to the hospital, where we left them some supplies, including a lot of hair pillows which we had made from Abby’s material.
G. lately drove Chaplain Wrage’s wife out to her husband’s camp, carrying socks, pillows, comforters, farina, etc. to the hospital. The camp was very German and dirty; no New England faculty shown in keeping it warm and clean, and the little German bowers looked dreary in the freezing weather. The Colonel, who addresses us as “my ladies” in a polite note, is under arrest for stealing; the Lieutenant-Colonel and Quartermaster are fools, and the men suffer in consequence.
Winchester, December 1, 1861.
I have received your last letter, and am sorry that you write so despondently of the future. It would be sad, indeed, for me to think that day would ever come when the dear wife and little ones whose happiness and comfort have been the chief aim of my life, should be dependent. You would not be more grieved, I am sure, than I would be at such a prospect, and its reality could not distress you more than it would me, if I should be alive to witness it. But, Love, it does not become either of us to harass ourselves with trouble which the future has in store for us. Mine at present is not blessed with as many comforts as I have seen in times past; but it is the case with many thousands who feel impelled with a sense of patriotism and duty to bear it in patience, and I shall try to follow their example. When I sent the message to your father I knew that what he would have to give you out of his estate would be abundant to furnish a comfortable support for you and your children, whatever misfortune may befall my life or my property, and I desired, if it had not been done, that it might be secured to you as your own. The widow and orphan of many a gallant man destined to fall before this struggle ends, though deserving, have not, I apprehend, such a prospect of a comfortable provision as you have. So, Love, the best consolation I can offer you is that there are others whose future is as dark as yours, and that yours is not so bad but that it might be worse. It grieves me, I am sure, as much as it does you, and we must both make up our minds, as the surest guaranty of happiness, to bear the present in patience and cheerfulness, and cherish a hope of another time, when we shall be together again, loving and happy as we used to be. If I survive this war, I have no fear of being unable to earn, by my own industry and energy, a comfortable support for my household. If fate determines that I must perish in the contest, then I trust that He whose supreme wisdom and goodness tempers the wind to the shorn, lamb will shield from want the widow and orphans left dependent upon His providence. This is the first day of winter, and as yet we have had no snow. It has for some time been quite cold, and the water often frozen over. I have not as yet suffered much from exposure, and think I shall stand the winter well. With the assistance of four or five blankets, and bed made of some hay and leaves laid on split timber raised off the ground, I sleep quite warm. I hear nothing said of winter quarters, and so far there seems to be no determination to provide them. I think it would be as well to go into winter quarters, for the weather and the roads will soon be such as to make active operations utterly impracticable.
Will Lewis and Annie left here Wednesday, I think, and, I suppose, have reached home before this time. I sent by her my likeness and some candy for the children. When he returns send me your likeness—that which was taken before we were married. I suppose you know where it is put away, for I don’t remember.
And now, Love, as I have written you quite a long letter compared with what I generally write, I will bid you goodbye till my next. You have my heartfelt sympathy in your approaching illness, and my sincere hope of your speedy and safe recovery. Kiss dear little Matthew and Galla for me, and tell them to be good boys. And now, dearest, again good-bye.
December 1st, 1861.—Father was reading what I had written about the Battle of Manassas and he said, “My baby has forgotten to write of school plans. They should be recorded by all means. In years to come you will read of it with great interest and it should have come before the account of the battle.” As he thinks it is not too late to tell of it I will write it here, though I do not like to think of it. I was so opposed to it at first and so disappointed when I had to give it up. In June, last, Grandpa wrote to Mother, urging her to send me to Raleigh to school. Mother was educated in that city and many of her old friends still live there. I would probably have their children as classmates. Grandpa, himself, would take me to Raleigh and see to all details necessary. His plan was for me to go on to Enfield with cousin Johnnie, who was then at home on a furlough and would see me safely in his hands. I could visit Grandma and himself until school opened. He said Raleigh was so far in the interior that there would be no danger of the enemy reaching it and he could think of no safer place in these days of war. He went on to say he thought the war would be over in sixty days; a great many people think so. Father was opposed to this but Mother thought well of it and though I hated the thought of leaving them, Mother told such entrancing tales of school life in Raleigh, that I soon became reconciled. Then, too, I dearly love to please Grandpa. Mother graduated with first honors and her father was so delighted that he gave her that lovely set of jet and gold, which I have always admired. I thought to myself, I, too, can study hard and perhaps I can get first honors and Father and Mother may be proud of their “ugly duckling” yet. Though the blockade is much more effective than we had any idea it would or could be, it was still an easy matter to fit out a school girl.
In the fall of 1860 uncle Arvah had bought an unusually large stock of goods and when, in the following January, Florida seceded, he wired his commission merchants in New York, to buy such goods as he was in the habit of supplying himself with, to the value of the cotton in his name, which they held in their possession. When these goods arrived, and they were shipped immediately, the bills of lading showed one hundred and forty-two thousand dollars worth of merchandise. So Mother had no difficulty in finding pretty materials; she and Lulu made my dresses and Mrs. Manning made my underwear. They were so beautifully made that I told sister Mag it was almost like her bridal trousseau. My traveling dress was brown, a soft, rough-surfaced material of wool, with small flecks of gold color woven in. There is a long cape, lined with satin of the same shade as the dress, quilted in small diamonds. My hat is of beaver felt, the color of the dress, three fluffy little ostrich tips are fastened in with a gold arrow. The cape, too, is fastened with three gold clasps. Such a pretty dress. But I will not wear it to North Carolina, for as soon as I had made up my mind to go things began to happen. The Battle of Manassas did not seem to alarm them but when the enemy attacked the coast of North Carolina, Father and Mother were quite positive that I must stay at home. So, war interferes with everything, even with education. It may be all for the best, I am sure it is, since Cousin Richard was killed. I believe what made Father and Mother change their minds is the discovery that the enemy are sending spies through the country to cut off telegraphic communication, when they get ready to attack. It would be dreadful to be cut off from your own home folks.
Fayetteville, Virginia, Saturday, 3. — Snow on the ground; not cold, but raw and disagreeable. Granting furloughs to four men from each company keeps me busy. A week or two ago the colonel sent a recommendation to appoint Sergeant Haven, of Company A, a captain, for services in connection with our naval expedition across New River. His services were probably important, but the jump over the heads of lieutenants is rather too big.
Saturday, 30th—We had our first general review today, including the infantry, cavalry and artillery. The parade ground was full of soldiers, most of them full-armed for active service. And thus ends the month of November at Benton Barracks, St. Louis, Missouri.
30th. Made several calls with Fannie—enjoyed them so much. Returned to Cleveland with Ma and Theodore.
Fayetteville, Camp Union, November 30, 1861.
Dearest: — We are now engaged in getting winter quarters fixed comfortably. There are not houses enough to lodge all the men without too much crowding. We hope soon to have elbow-room. We ease it off a little by being very liberal with furloughs. We allow four men — “men of family preferred —” to go from each company for twenty days. As a consequence, there must be daily some of our men going through Cincinnati. The bearer will bring (probably) besides this letter, the accoutrements which go with Birt’s Mississippi rifle, and a couple of gold pieces, one for a present for you and one for Grandma Webb.
We are doing well. Today is bright and warm after a threedays storm of rain and sleet. I had a letter from Laura. You may send my vest; also “Lucile.” All sorts of reading matter finds grabbers, but I think of nothing except any stray Atlantic or Harper’s of late date. I do not wish to go home for some weeks, but if necessary, I can now go home at any time. I prefer that every other officer should go before I do. Dr. Joe is now acting as brigade surgeon, Colonel Scammon as brigadier, and I as colonel; Dr. Jim, as temporary surgeon of the Thirtieth.
All the people hereabouts are crowding in to take the oath of allegiance. A narrow-chested, weakly, poverty-stricken, ignorant set. I don’t wonder they refuse to meet our hardy fellows on fair terms. Captain Sperry says: “They are too ignorant to have good health.”
Love to “all the boys,” to Mother Webb, and ever so much for your own dear self.
Nov. 30. According to the customs of our Puritan Fathers, last Thursday was observed in Massachusetts and other states as a day of thanksgiving to God, for his manifold mercies and bounties to the erring children of men. The day was observed here throughout all the camps as a holiday. All drills were suspended, and in our camp religious services were held, after which the boys engaged in ball playing and other amusements to which their inclinations might lead. Although deprived of joining our friends at home in their festivities and meeting them around the dear old board, it seems we were not forgotten. Our thanksgiving dinners are just beginning to arrive, and our camp is literally piled up with boxes and bales containing good things from the dear ones at home.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 1861.
This day (the last of Autumn) has passed off without any particular event happening. I was in the office all day recording Patent Deeds. We were paid off today, my pay not being a very heavy amount having been in the office only six days. Did not get so weary as I did yesterday. J. N. Granger returned today from a visit home to Ontario County NY. He called upon me in my room this morning. Bought groceries & marketing. Went down to fire on 10th St, bot the papers at Shepherds, called for Julia at Mr Hartleys.
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.
Thanksgiving Day on the 28th was celebrated by enormous drunkenness in the army. The weather varied between days of delicious summer—soft, bright, balmy, and beautiful beyond expression—and days of wintry storm, with torrents of rain.
Some excitement was caused at the end of the month by the report I had received information from England that the law officers of the Crown had given it as their opinion that a United States man-of-war would be justified by Lord Stowell’s decisions in taking Mason and Slidell even in the British Channel, if the Nashville transferred them to a British mail steamer. This opinion was called for in consequence of the Tuscarora appearing in Southampton Water; and, having heard of it, I repeated it in strict confidence to some one else, till at last Baron de Stoeckl came to ask me if it was true. Receiving passengers from the Nashville, however, would have been an act of direct intercourse with an enemy’s ship. In the case of the Trent the persons seized had come on board as lawful passengers at a neutral port.
The tide of success runs strongly in favour of the North at present, although they generally get the worst of it in the small affairs in the front of Washington. The entrance to Savannah has been occupied, and by degrees the fleets are biting into the Confederate lines along the coast, and establishing positions which will afford bases of operations to the Federals hereafter. The President and Cabinet seem in better spirits, and the former indulges in quaint speculations, which he transfers even to State papers. He calculates, for instance, there are human beings now alive who may ere they die behold the United States peopled by 250 millions of souls. Talking of a high mound on the prairie, in Illinois, he remarked, “that if all the nations of the earth were assembled there, a man standing on its top would see them all, for that the whole human race would fit on a space twelve miles square, which was about the extent of the plain.”
30th.—It is a great relief to my feelings that the difficulties heretofore existing between the Military and Medical Departments in our Regiment are to-day adjusted, and I hope removed by the rescinding the order of the 9th inst, that my directions about the sanitary police of the camps need not be obeyed, and by a substitution of a public order from which this is an extract: “The condition of the health of the regiment requires more than ordinary care. The sanitary regulations of the camp must be entrusted to the Surgeon of the regiment.” I have good reason to hope, too, that all personal feelings of an unpleasant character, which have grown out of this unhappy difference of opinion as to official rights, are removed, and that in future the relations of the two departments may be pleasant to the parties, and beneficial to the sick. I now determined that more than ever will I devote my energies to the removal of the causes of the recent severe sickness, and to counteract their results.
London, November 30, 1861
If I thought the state of things bad last week you may imagine what I think of them now.1 In fact I consider that we are dished, and that our position is hopeless. If the administration ordered the capture of those men, I am satisfied that our present authorities are very unsuitable persons to conduct a war like this or to remain in the direction of our affairs. It is our ruin. Do not deceive yourself about the position of England. We might have preserved our dignity in many ways without going to war with her, and our party in the Cabinet was always strong enough to maintain peace here and keep down the anti-blockaders. But now all the fat’s in the fire, and I feel like going off and taking up my old German life again as a permanency. It is devilish disagreeable to act the part of Sisyphus especially when it is our own friends who are trying to crush us under the rock.
What part it is reserved to us to play in this very tragical comedy I am utterly unable to tell. The Government has left us in the most awkward and unfair position. They have given no warning that such an act was thought of, and seem almost to have purposely encouraged us to waste our strength in trying to maintain the relations which it was itself intending to destroy. I am half mad with vexation and despair. If papa is ordered home I shall do as Fairfax did, and go into the war with “peace” on my mind and lips.
Our position here is of course very unpleasant just now. We were to have gone to Lord Hatherton’s on Monday, but now our visit is put off, and I am not without expectations that a very few weeks may see us either on our way home or on the continent. I think that the New Year will see the end.
This nation means to make war. Do not doubt it. What Seward means is more than I can guess. But if he means war also, or to run as close as he can without touching, then I say that Mr. Seward is the greatest criminal we ‘ve had yet.
We have friends here still, but very few. Bright dined with us last night, and is with us, but is evidently hopeless of seeing anything good. Besides, his assistance at such a time as this is evidently a disadvantage to us, for he is now wholly out of power and influence. Our friends are all very much cast down and my friends of the Spectator sent up to me in a dreadful state and asked me to come down to see them, which I did, and they complained bitterly of the position we were now in. I had of course the pleasure of returning the complaint to any extent, but after all this is poor consolation.
Our good father is cool but evidently of the same mind as I am. He has seen Lord Russell but could give him no information, and my Lord did not volunteer any on his side. You will know very soon what you are to expect. . ..
No news of importance has yet reached my ears, but you will see my views as usual in the Times. We are preparing for a departure, though as yet we have taken no positive steps towards making future arrangements.
Beaufort was good. It gave me one glowing day worth a large share of all the anxiety and trouble that preceded and have followed it. Our cry now must be emancipation and arming the slaves.
1 After the Trent affair.
NOVEMBER 30TH.—Mr. Benjamin has been defeated for the C. S. Senate. Mr. Hunter has been named as a candidate for the C. S. Senate from Virginia. I thought he would not remain in the cabinet, after his relative was arrested (with no reason assigned) by order of Mr. Benjamin. Besides, the office is a sinecure, and may remain so for a long time, if the powers at Washington should “stint, and say aye” to the demands of England.
November 30. — This morning a “suspicions” lady passenger appeared on board the steamer Mary Washington, at Baltimore, Md., and, as a matter of course, had to submit to a search; the result of which was that she was deprived of an underskirt which had been padded with heavy skeins of black sewing silk. Two bags containing a quantity of gloves, stockings, &c. were taken from her. There was also found in the saloon of the boat, secreted between the back and seat of the sofa, a number of letters directed to various persons in the Confederate States. A little boy was also on board, dressed in the uniform of a Zouave, and, as he appeared to be extraordinarily bulky about the back and breast, Deputy Marshal McPhail thought proper to strip him of his jacket, when he discovered that the young soldier Was encased in bags of quinine. He was relieved of his load and allowed to proceed. The lady was also permitted to pass. When asked what she intended to do with the articles taken from her and the boy, the replied that she wished to make a little money. The skirt taken from her weighed thirty-five pounds, and the silk is valued at eight dollars per pound. — Baltimore News, December 2.
— The Seventy-fifth regiment, New York Volunteers, Col. Dodge, being the second regiment from Cayuga County, left Auburn for Washington. — N. Y. Herald, December 2.
— General Price has issued a proclamation to the people of Missouri, dated at Neosho, in which he calls for fifty thousand troops, and states that the exigencies of the situation demand that they shall be promptly furnished, as the term of service—six months—for which his present force was enlisted, is closing, and many of his men are leaving for their homes. He complains of the apathy and inactivity of the wealthy secessionists, who have stood aloof, and refused to aid him, leaving the poor men to do the fighting.
His present army, he states, is composed of poor men, who have joined him at great sacrifice and risk; and as their term of service is drawing to a close, and others are needed to take their places, he calls on the rich men, who have thus far done nothing, to rally to his standard, with blankets, bed-quilts, clothing, wagons, shot-guns, rifles, and such other arms as they can bring. He pledges them that they shall be paid for their services, and promises to confiscate property belonging to Union men in Missouri, to reward his troops.—(Doc. 205.)
—The Richmond Examiner of to-day has the following: “The campaign of 1861 may be considered as over. In a fortnight the enemy can do nothing more. The early danger of the South, that it would be overwhelmed, before it could organize and prepare for defence, by superior numbers and transportation, is at an end. We have so much advantage. But in the straggle an unexpected feature has developed itself in the temper of the United States. Before the war began all sane men believed they would compromise the political quarrel with the South; and had the North offered the South the poorest terms, so corrupt was public sentiment in Virginia at least, these terms would have been accepted.
When the war began, but few thought it would last six months. The six months have gone. The United States have endured defeat after defeat, made sacrifice after sacrifice, and have closed an unsuccessful campaign without the slightest signs of an approach to reason. The peace party of the North, like the Union party of the South, has entirely disappeared. The whole people are completely under the hand of the Government, and all together, people and Government, are bent on the prosecution of this war, even if the consequence be a collision with England and national bankruptcy. Under this impulse they have steadily increased, and are still increasing, their vast regular force. Not less than five hundred thousand men are enlisted for an indefinite period, and equivalent in all its parts to a regular army.”
After enlarging upon the faults of all militia and volunteer systems, to which alone the South has hitherto resorted, the Examiner says that “the only way to meet the North with any prospect of success is to raise a regular army, by some means resembling the conscriptions of all other nations in the world except England and America,” claiming that by this means “five hundred thousand men could be put in the field.”
—The rebel schooner E. Wittington was captured by the U. S. steamer Ben Deford this morning off Savannah, Ga., while attempting to run the blockade. She was heavily laden with a variety of small stores.—(Doc. 206.)
—A Correspondent in Des Arc, Mo., writing under this date, says: “All is quiet in Kansas, with the exception of the demonstrations of the Indians, who, in the absence of the Federals, are securing all the property they can get belonging to our enemies. They are not, however, laying waste the country. Twelve hundred Creek warriors have rebelled, and called for assistance from the Federal Government. They are closely watched by our regiment of Texans and one of the Cherokee regiments.—Memphis Appeal, Dec. 2.
—The Norfolk Day Book of this date contains an elaborate article on the manufacture of salt, and insists that the “individual who supplies this great necessity to the armies of this country serves her as acceptably and as successfully as the glittering hosts who stand upon her border for defence.”—(Doc. 208.)
—At Boston, Mass., an interesting ceremony occurred on board the U. S. steamer San Jacinto, when the crew of that vessel presented a handsome silver goblet to Lieutenant Fairfax. The goblet was beautifully engraved with national, military, and naval devices, one design representing the meeting of the San Jacinto and the Trent. It bore the inscription, “Presented to Lieut. Fairfax, by the crew of the San Jacinto, as a slight token of their esteem and love.” The presentation speech was made by Rev. Phineas Stowe.—Boston Herald, Dec. 2.
—Colonel D. Leadbetter, of the C. S. A., issued a proclamation at Greenville, East Tennessee, to-day, addressed to the “Citizens of East Tennessee.” He tells the loyal people of that section that “so long as the question of Union or disunion was debatable,” they had a right to vote on the subject, but “when secession was established by the voice of the people,” it became their duty to submit to the authority of the “Confederate States,” of which their State was one. He therefore offers pardon to all who will deliver up their arms and take the “oath of allegiance” to the “Confederate States,” excepting bridge-burners and destroyers of railroad tracks, who will be tried by drumhead court-martial, and hung on the spot.— (Doc. 207.)
—The Norfolk Day Book of this date has the following from Memphis, Tenn.: General Pillow has information from a reliable source that the enemy will attack Columbus in twenty days with a force of seventy-five to one hundred thousand men. A large amount of ammunition and cannon, from St. Louis, has been sent to Cairo. The enemy has thirty-eight mortar boats and eight gunboats. The enemy’s plan is to surround Columbus, and starve them into submission. General Pillow says we should make every effort to meet the enemy with a strong force right away. There is no time to be lost.