Diary of Horatio Nelson Taft.

Diary of US patent clerk Horatio Nelson Taft.

Saturday March 15th

The River is full of Steam Boats for transporting troops down the River, probably to “Old Point”. It has rained incessantly and this evening it pours. Col D. is well (he says). We went down to “Browns,” saw Maj Williams, Maj Fletcher & other officers. Col Durkee came in about 8 o’clock and is to stay all night. Our House for the time being seems to be the Head Quarters. Col Dutton is acting Brigadier Genl.

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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.

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Journal of Surgeon Alfred L. Castleman.

Journal of Surgeon Alfred L Castleman.

Vienna, March 15th.—Did not lie down last night, but worked in separating and disposing of my sick. Most of them I have brought to this place to embark such as cannot march to Alexandria, by rail. The Brigade did not meet me here, as I expected, and I got to it at Flint Hill (where I left it) last night. I cannot look upon our possession of this place and the railroad without deeply feeling how much we have been outwitted. Here we have been held still with 150,000 to 200,000 men, since July last, by a little village mounting wooden guns. Poor McClellan, I fear a wooden gun will be the death of him yet, though his failure here may be attributable to the interference of others. I will not hastily condemn him.

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Rebel War Clerk

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

MARCH 15TH.-For several days troops have been pouring through the city, marching down the Peninsula. The enemy are making demonstrations against Yorktown.

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

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

Saturday, 15th—It rained all day. It seems so dark and gloomy. We lay on the boats all day, but we are expecting to receive orders to go on up the river. Boats loaded with troops are passing us and going on up to Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee.

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Cruise of the U.S. Flag-Ship Hartford – From the Personal Journal of Wm. C. Holton

Cruise of the U.S. Flag-Ship Hartford–Wm. C. Holton

March 15th. Went up to the head of the Passes, which is eighteen miles from the mouth. The rumor prevails that we here wait for Capt. Porter’s mortar fleet. This is a dreary place, but somewhat pleasanter than below; where nothing was to be seen but mud, muddy water, and huge fog banks.

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War Diary of Luman Harris Tenney.

War Diary of Luman Harris Tenney.

March 15th. Wrote to Sarah Felton and was on duty at the commissary.

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Diary of David L. Day.

David L Day–My diary of rambles with the 25th Mass

March 15. The boys came out this morning, looking a little the worse for wear, lame, sore and stiff; but with a good bumper of whiskey to lubricate their stiffened joints, and a little stirring around to take the kinks out of their legs, a good breakfast, hot coffee, etc., they soon resumed their normal condition. There is not much doing today except lying around in quarters or looking over the town. Negroes are coming in by the hundred, and the city is full of soldiers and marines traveling about and having things pretty much their own way. Guards are sent out to patrol the streets and assist Capt. Dan, the provost marshal, in preserving order preparatory to putting on a provost guard and bringing the city under law and order. Some enterprising party has hoisted the old flag on the spire of the church on Pollock street. There let it proudly wave; let it catch the first beams of the morning, and let the last rays of the setting sun linger and play amid its folds; let it gladden the hearts of every lover of liberty and loyalty, and let it be a notice to these deluded and ill-advised people around here, that it will never again give place to their traitorous rag of secession.

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Diary and Letters of Rutherford B. Hayes.

Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes

Saturday, March 15. — Changed the manner of scouting. Hereafter the cavalry are to scout at irregular intervals on routes changed daily, and an infantry scouting party of twenty-five to a full company will be sent in the general direction of apprehended danger to skirmish the woods and by-roads. Lieutenant Hastings with twenty-five men of Company I does this duty today.

P. M. Rained and cleared up half a dozen times during the . day; a heavy thunder-storm. April weather. Lieutenant Hastings with a man he found four or five miles out on the Princeton Road, named Hull, scoured the country near the scene of the attack on the cavalry patrol; found where about twelve to fifteen of the bushwhackers staid during the night after the affair at an empty house owned by Saulsbury; burned it, also burned two other houses owned by bushwhackers. Captain Drake burned three. James Noble buried yesterday.

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Henry Adams, private secretary of the US Minister to the UK, to his brother, Charles.

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

London, March 15, 1862

Times have so decidedly changed since my last letter to you, which was, as I conceive, about three weeks or a month ago, that I hardly know what to write about. My main doubt is about your prospects. I see no reason why Davis and his whole army should n’t be shut up and forced to capitulate in Virginia. If so, you will be spared a summer campaign. But if he is allowed to escape, I shall be disgusted, and God only knows what work may be before you.

Henry Adams 1862Meanwhile it worries me all the time to be leading this thoroughly useless life abroad while you are acting such grand parts at home. You would be astonished at the change of opinion which has taken place here already. Even the Times only this morning says: “The very idea of such a war is American, multitudinous, vast, and as much an appeal to the imagination as the actual brunt of arms.” And again in speaking of the tone of the Southern papers it says in a striking way: “Some of their expressions recall those in which the Roman historians of the later Empire spoke of the Northern tribes.” The truth is, as our swarm of armies strike deeper and deeper into the South, the contest is beginning to take to Europeans proportions of grandeur and perfection like nothing of which they ever heard or read. They call us insane to attempt what, when achieved, they are almost afraid to appreciate. A few brilliant victories, a short campaign of ten days or a fortnight, rivalling in its vigor and results those of Napoleon, has positively startled this country into utter confusion. It reminds me of my old host in Dresden, who, when he heard of the battle of Magenta, rushed into my room, newspaper in hand, and began measuring on the map the distance from the Ticino to Vienna. The English on hearing of Fort Donnelson and the fall of Nashville, seem to think our dozen armies are already over the St. Lawrence and at the gates of Quebec. They don’t conceal their apprehensions and if we go on in this way, they will be as humiliated as the South itself. The talk of intervention, only two months ago so loud as to take a semiofficial tone, is now out of the minds of everyone. I heard Gregory make his long-expected speech in the House of Commons, and it was listened to as you would listen to a funeral eulogy. His attacks on us, on Seward and on our blockade were cheered with just enough energy to show the animus that existed in a large proportion of the members, but his motion, a simple and harmless request for papers, was tossed aside without a division. I saw our friend Mason on the opposite side of the House to where I was sitting with Thurlow Weed. He is unlucky. One of the Bishops who happened to have come in and was seated near the door, heard a “Hear! hear!” behind him, and looking round saw Mason. For a stranger to cheer is a breach of privilege, and the story went all over town creating quite a row. Mr. Mason now denies it, I am told, and says it was some one else who cheered. He maintains now that the South always expected to lose the border States and that now that they are retiring to the cotton region the war has just begun. He coolly talks this stuff to the English people as if they had n’t always asserted that the border States were a vital point with them. We on the other hand, no longer descend to argue such stories, or to answer the new class of lies; but smile blandly and compassionately on those who swallow them and remark that so far as advised, the nation whom we have the honor to represent is satisfied with the progress thus far made, and sees no reason to doubt that the Union will be maintained in its fullest and most comprehensive meaning.

The blockade is now universally acknowledged to be unobjectionable. Recognition, intervention, is an old song. No one whispers it. But the navy that captured Port Royal, Roanoke and Fort Henry, and that is flying about with its big guns up all the rivers and creeks of the South, is talked of with respect. And the legion of armies that are winning victory after victory on every side, until we have begun to complain if a steamer arrives without announcing the defeat of some enemy, or the occupation of some city, or the capture of some stronghold, are a cause of study to the English such as they ‘ve not had since Napoleon entered Milan some seventy years ago. I feel like a King now. I assert my nationality with a quiet pugnacity that tells. No one treads on our coattails any longer, and I do not expect ever to see again the old days of anxiety and humiliation….

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Faith in McClellan shaken.

Woolsey family letters during the War for the Union
Eliza’s Journal.

March 14.

One of General Franklin’s aids has been in to say that his Division is now marching into Alexandria and is to embark on Saturday or Sunday, down the Potomac. . . . We went down to Alexandria and took lodgings at Mrs. Dyson’s, on Water street, for over Sunday, and two more wretched or longer days I never passed. Through a drenching storm McDowell’s corps was marched back from Centreville, 35 miles, and arrived at dusk, cold, hungry, wet to the skin, to find no transports ready and no provision made for their shelter or comfort. The city was filled with the wretched men, many crowded into the market stalls and empty churches, others finding shelter in lofts or under sheds and porches, and some, we know, sleeping in the open streets. In the market they had large fires, but with soaking knapsacks, no dry clothing to put on. In one place, the loft of a foundry, where Chaplain Hopkins found shelter for one company, the steam which rushed out as he opened the door was as that of a laundry on washing day. The poor fellows suffered from hunger as well as cold and fatigue, for on Sunday all the stores were closed. Whiskey could be had, which Moritz and G. and H. distributed among tired and wet volunteers on cellar doors. Some of them actually begged for bread or offered to sell their rings and trinkets for food. It was a wretched and heart-sickening day and shook our confidence in McClellan or McDowell, or whoever the responsible person may be. We sent Moritz up to Washington for a half barrel of socks Aunt E. had just sent on and took them to the churches where the soldiers were quartered, and distributed them among the eager and grateful men. The men were lying on the benches and floors, and in the baptistry of the “Beulah Particular Baptist” and the Presbyterian secesh churches, and we stumbled about, holding the end of a candle for light, distributing socks. All ours were soon gone, and Chaplain Hopkins went back to the hospital, and telling the steward to protest, so that he might be shielded from blame, deliberately took ten dozen pairs from the store-closet and distributed them. The two long useless marches with nothing accomplished, no shelter and no food, have shaken the unbounded faith in McClellan. Congress has been debating a bill displacing him; the Star says it was withdrawn to-day. Our soldier, Joe, and the 16th, were not in that wretched plight but were kept in bivouac out of the town. Joe took final command of the regiment that Sunday morning.

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A Diary From Dixie

A Diary From Dixie by Mary Boykin Miller Chesnut.

March 15th.—When we came home from Richmond, there stood Warren Nelson, propped up against my door, lazily waiting for me, the handsome creature. He said he meant to be heard, so I walked back with him to the drawing-room. They are wasting their time dancing attendance on me. I can not help them. Let them shoulder their musket and go to the wars like men.

After tea came “Mars Kit”—he said for a talk, but that Mr. Preston would not let him have, for Mr. Preston had arrived some time before him. Mr. Preston said “Mars Kit” thought it “bad form” to laugh. After that you may be sure a laugh from “Mars Kit” was secured. Again and again, he was forced to laugh with a will. I reversed Oliver Wendell Holmes’s good resolution—never to be as funny as he could. I did my very utmost.

Mr. Venable interrupted the fun, which was fast and furious, with the very best of bad news! Newbern shelled and burned, cotton, turpentine—everything. There were 5,000 North Carolinians in the fray, 12,000 Yankees. Now there stands Goldsboro. One more step and we are cut in two. The railroad is our backbone, like the Blue Ridge and the Alleghanies, with which it runs parallel. So many discomforts, no wonder we are down-hearted.

Mr. Venable thinks as we do—Garnett is our most thorough scholar; Lamar the most original, and the cleverest of our men—L. Q. C. Lamar—time fails me to write all his name. Then, there is R. M. T. Hunter. Muscoe Russell Garnett and his Northern wife: that match was made at my house in Washington when Garnett was a member of the United States Congress.

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Through Some Eventful Years

Through Some Eventful Years by Susan Bradford Eppes

March 15th, 1862.—Sister Mag has a daughter, born this morning. Poor little girl. She will, in all probability, never see her father’s face. I do not believe the war is going to end in even ninety days. Sister Mag is very ill tonight and I have Eddie upstairs with me, that he may not disturb his mother. He is as sweet and good as can be. When I told him about his baby sister he said, “Don’t bring her upstairs, let her be Aunt Pat’s baby, I is yours.” I certainly love him.

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A Diary of American Events.

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

March 15.—This day a reconnoitring party started from the north side of Quantico Creek, and occupied Dumfries, Va. From the river to the village the road was strewn with dead horses. Some were in harness attached to wagons. The rebel force in and around Dumfries was composed of Texans, Alabamians, South-Carolinians, under the command of Wigfall, of Texas. About thirty cartridge and cap-boxes, some blankets, flour, etc., were found in the house used as Wigfall’s headquarters. A large quantity of shells and cartridges were also stowed away in a barn, and seventy-five boxes of ammunition were found near the creek.—N. Y. Commercial, March 17.

—The United States frigate Cumberland, which was sunk by the attack of the Merrimac, rebel steamer, still keeps her masts above water, and the Stars and Stripes are yet flying at her masthead.

—A Naval expedition, composed of the gunboats Benton, Louisville, Cincinnati, Carondelet and Conestoga, under Flag-Officer Foote, left Cairo, Ill., at seven o’clock this morning.

At Columbus they were joined by the Pittsburgh, St Louis and Mound City, and were overtaken by eight mortar-boats, in tow of four steamers, with transports and ordnance-boats. They arrived at Hickman, Ky., at half-past four o’clock this afternoon.

The mounted pickets of the enemy were in sight on the bluff, when two companies of the Twenty-seventh Illinois regiment were sent after them, but they escaped.—N. Y. Herald, March 10.

—Early yesterday morning the Island Belle entered Aquia Creek, Va., near the pier and commenced shelling the battery on the hill, the battery on the water – line having been abandoned. The fire was returned from the hill-battery. No harm was done to the Island Belle, save the carrying away of a piece of joiner’s work from the engine-room by a fragment of a shell. Later in the day the Anacostia and the Yankee shelled the field-battery at Boyd’s Hole, and, after a lively interchange of iron compliments, which did no harm to the vessels, they both retired.

The steamer Yankee visited the Navy-Yard at Washington, took on board a quantity of shell, and to-day, with the Anacostia, she proceeded to shell the rebel batteries at Aquia Creek. The enemy replied briskly with their guns, but failed to reach the Yankee, although they made several excellent line-shots. One shell struck but a short distance from the Yankee, in direct range with her wheel-house. Most of the shots were too high for the Anacostia, many of them passing over to a great distance. The heavy guns of the Yankee enabled her to lie off out of range, and drop her shells with precision into the batteries. After firing some time the Yankee and Anacostia hauled off, without being struck.

—Gen. Lew. Wallace’s division went to Purdy, McNair County, Tenn., burned the bridge, and took up the track, on the railroad leading from Humboldt to Corinth, Miss., cutting off a train heavily laden with troops, which arrived while the bridge was burning. — N. Y. World, March 17.

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Bishop Meade dead.—Diary of a Southern Refugee, Judith White McGuire.

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

March 14th.—Our beloved Bishop Meade is dead! His spirit returned to the God who gave, redeemed, and sanctified it, this morning about seven o’clock. The Church in Virginia mourns in sackcloth for her great earthly head. We knew that he must die, but this morning, when we had assembled for early prayers, it was announced to us from the pulpit, a thrill of anguish pervaded the congregation, which was evident from the death-like stillness. A hymn was read, but who could then sing? A subdued effort was at last made, and the services proceeded. Like bereaved children we mingled our prayers and tears, and on receiving the benediction, we went silently out, as in the pressure of some great public calamity, and some bitter, heartfelt sorrow. Thus, just one week after the solemn public services in which he had been engaged, it pleased Almighty God to remove him from his work on earth to his rest in heaven. During his last illness, though often suffering intensely, he never forgot his interest in public affairs. The blessed Bible was first read to him, each morning, and then the news of the day. He had an eye for every thing; every movement of Government, every march of the troops, the aspect of Europe, and the Northern States, every thing civil and military, and all that belonged to God’s Church upon earth— dying as he had lived, true to Virginia, true to the South, true to the Church, and true to the Lord his God.

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

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

March 14 — Went on picket at same post as yesterday.

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War Diary and Letters of Stephen Minot Weld.

War diary and letters of Stephen Minot Weld

Friday, March 14. — We started for here last Monday morning, and have been here ever since.

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Diary of Horatio Nelson Taft.

Diary of US patent clerk Horatio Nelson Taft.

Friday March 14th

Col Dutton is better today. Lieut Col Durkee and nearly all the officers of the Regt have been here to see the Col. The Regt has rcd marching orders and the Col is very uneasy. Mr Short called on me today. He is going down to Fortress Monroe, an attack is to be made upon Norfolk it is supposed. Troops are returning from Virginia to embark down the River.

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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.

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Journal of Surgeon Alfred L. Castleman.

Journal of Surgeon Alfred L Castleman.

March 14th.—Received orders early last night to hold ourselves ready to move at a moment’s notice. A few minutes after receiving the above notice, I was ordered to return immediately to Camp Griffin, to look after my sick there—to send such as could not be moved with the Brigade to General Hospital, and the rest to camp, and then to rejoin my Regiment. Our destination is still unknown to us, but we expect that we go either to Norfolk or to join Burnside in the Carolinas. We have been outwitted here, and the rebel army which should have been captured has escaped us.

I fear that my mission here is a failure. My friends expected me to be useful to the Regiment, and if I have had one predominant wish, it was that the expectation might not be disappointed. “The setting of a great hope is like the setting of the sun.” I am in its deep, dark shadows, and fear it will be a long night before I can emerge from the darkness which envelopes the hope. I shall go on and do the best I can in the face of the interference of the military department, but must not be held responsible for consequences, as I am but a subordinate.

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Rebel War Clerk

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

MARCH 14TH.—The Provost Marshal, Col. Porter, has had new passports printed, to which his own name is to be appended. I am requested to sign it for him, and to instruct the clerks generally.

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

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

Friday, 14th—We left Fort Henry at dark last night, going on up the river, and arrived at Savannah, Tennessee, this afternoon. The river seems to be lined with transports loaded with troops going up-stream. There are two gunboats in our fleet, also two tugboats and several barges.

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War Diary of Luman Harris Tenney.

War Diary of Luman Harris Tenney.

14th. Mail came. Letters from Fannie and home for me. Numerous papers came, Independent and Lorain News. Girls at Amherst.

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The Battle.–Diary of David L. Day.

David L Day–My diary of rambles with the 25th Mass

We fellows who do the shooting are not counted as any great shakes ordinarily, but yesterday morning we seemed to be regarded as of very great importance, and it took a great amount of swearing and hurrying to and fro of aids and hoarse shoutings of officers to get us around where we were wanted. We were within a half mile of the enemy’s line, and Reno’s and Parke’s brigades were deploying in front of them, on the centre and left of our line. Foster’s brigade was to take the right, and the 25th led off up the road, followed by the 24th Massachusetts and the other regiments of the brigade. We soon came in sight of the enemy’s works, which were only a short rifle-shot from us. Reno’s and Parke’s brigades had already opened the ball along the center and left. We filed out of the road to the right, moving towards the river. As we moved out we were honored with a salute from one of the enemy’s batteries, but the shots passed harmlessly over our heads. The boys looked a little wild, but with steady step moved on until the 25th and 24th Massachusetts were in line on the right of the road; the 27th and 23d Massachusetts and the 10th Connecticut regiments were on the left. Foster’s brigade was now in line of battle and moving forward towards the edge of the woods next to the clearing. The howitzer battery now came up, took position in the road, between the 24th and 27th Massachusetts, and commenced firing. With the exception of the 25th, Foster’s brigade then opened fire. We were on the extreme right and well towards the river, seeing nothing in front of us to draw our fire. The 24th Massachusetts kept up a scattering fire that kept the enemy well down behind their works.

We were ordered, if possible, to turn the enemy’s left. We advanced nearly to the edge of the woods, and only a short distance from the enemy’s line. I was running my eye along it to see where and how it ended, expecting every moment to hear the order to charge, but just then the boats commenced throwing shell over us, towards the Confederate line. They had got a low range and their shells were coming dangerously near, splintering and cutting off the trees, and ploughing great furrows in the ground directly in front of us. In this condition of affairs we were compelled to fall back. The boats, however, were soon notified of their mistake and ceased firing. We again advanced, going over and beyond from where we fell back, when all at once we received a galling flank fire from an unseen battery. We again fell back a few rods, dressing the line and again cautiously advanced. We now discovered that their works curved and connected with a large water battery, situated just in the edge of the woods and concealed by the trees. In the rear of this battery were mounted old 32-pounder marine guns, which gave them an enfilading fire of the clearing in front of their works. From these guns they fired grape shot, which weighed about four pounds each. To charge was hopeless, and in falling back we received another fire from this battery. From these we lost quite a number of men, killed and wounded. I had the honor of stopping one ball myself; it struck a tree, however, before it did me. Having got back from under the guns of this battery, Col. Upton reported the situation to Gen. Foster, who ordered him to move his regiment to the left of the 24th Massachusetts and support the howitzer battery.

During all this time, however, the battle was raging furiously along the centre and left. While we were bothering around on the right, a little incident occurred, which perhaps is worthy of mention. Lieut. Draper of my company (B), but now attached to the signal corps, reported to Capt. Clark for duty. He said there was nothing more for the signal corps to do and he would like to take his place in the line. The captain told him he could do as he liked; he thereupon joined his company, and did duty with it the rest of the day. Although a young man of only 20 years of age, he has got the stuff in him of which soldiers are made.

In front of our battery the enemy had a large gun which commanded the road, and which proved rather troublesome. This gun after each discharge was hauled around, and again back into position, by a pair of mules. After each discharge a young dare-devil of a marine lieutenant would run down the road almost to the gun, to see what they were up to. On one of these excursions he discovered one of the mules down, probably from a stray shot. He came running back up the road like a wild man, swinging his cap, and shouting at the top of his voice “Come on, come on! for God’s sake, come on. Now is your time!”

The 25th, without any other order, sprang forward, followed by the 24th Massachusetts and all the line. On the charge they received a heavy fire from the enfilading battery, but on they went, scaling the ditch and parapet like blackbirds, but no enemy was there. Seeing us coming, they took that as a notice to leave, and acted on it immediately. Inside the works, I heard Gen. Burnside ask Gen. Foster who gave the order to charge. Foster replied he didn’t know, but it made no difference so long as it was done.

The 25th reformed, and, marching a short distance to the rear, charged across the railroad, into the swamp, capturing Col. Avery and his South Carolina regiment, who were covering the retreat. Thus, after five hours’ hard fighting, ended the battle of Newbern. Victory had again perched upon our banners, and the cheers of the victors were ringing out on every side. Although the battle resulted as I wished, I certainly did not feel like glorying for who can compute the woe, anguish and sorrow of this day’s work? I cannot get over my horror of a battle,

“Where the death angel flaps his broad wing o’er the field,
And human souls go out in agony.”

Our Entrance into Newbern.

Foster’s brigade starts up the railroad for town, leaving Reno’s and Parke’s, brigades to take care of the field. Cautiously we moved along, thinking, perhaps, the enemy may have formed a second line and are awaiting our approach. It soon became apparent, however, that they were making the distance between them and us as long as possible. We then hurried along, arriving at the river where the railroad bridge was burned which crossed into town. The view from here was an appalling one. The railroad bridge, a fine structure upwards of 1500 feet in length, was in ruins and the town was on fire in several places. Dense clouds of smoke of inky blackness settled like a pall over the town, while every few moments the lurid flames, with their forked tongues, would leap above the clouds, and the bellowing of the gunboats on the river, throwing their large shells over the town after the retreating enemy, conspired to make a most hideous scene.

It was near the middle of the afternoon when the old ferry boat Curlew (which a few weeks before I had wished sunk) arrived. On board this, Major McCafferty, with a mixed company of about 100 men, with the colors, crossed the river and landed on the wharf at the foot of Craven street. These were the first troops and colors in the city. After landing we marched up Craven nearly to Pollock street, when we halted. The major did not appear to have any business on hand or instructions to make any, so we waited for further orders or for the regiment to join us.

Here was presented an indescribable scene. A town on fire, an invading army entering its gates, the terror-stricken inhabitants fleeing in every direction. The negroes were holding a grand jubilee, some of them praying and in their rude way thanking God for their deliverance; others, in their wild delight, were dancing and singing, while others, with an eye to the main chance, were pillaging the stores and dwellings. But in the midst of all this appalling tumult and confusion, the boys, true to the natural instincts of the soldier, were looking around to see what could be found in the line of trophies and fresh rations. They soon began to come in with their plunder, which the major told them to carry back, as he should allow no pillaging while he was in command. Presently Stokes comes along bringing a little package. The major asked, “What have you there?” “Sausages, sir!” “Go, carry them back where you got them from.” “I reckon not,” replied Stokes, “a lady out here gave them to me.” The major was incredulous, but Stokes offered to show him the lady and let her tell it, whereupon the former subsides, and Stokes, with a roguish twinkle of his eye, jams the package into my haversack, saying, “Sausage for breakfast.” I was proud of the boy, to see how well he was observing instructions, as I have told him from the start that to stand any sort of a chance as a soldier, he must learn to do a right smart job of stealing, and be able to lie the hair right off a man’s head. He has certainly shown some smartness, and I doubt if a commissioned officer could have done any better.

The regiment landed at the north side of the city, and about night rejoined us. Our hard day’s work was at last finished, the regiment was dismissed and the companies quartered in any unoccupied buildings they might find. Generals Burnside and Foster, with soldiers, citizens and negroes, were putting out the fires and bringing order out of confusion. Company B was quartered in a small house on Craven street, and the boys, although hungry, tired and worn down by the fatigues of the day, made frolic of the evening and celebrated their victory.

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Diary and Letters of Rutherford B. Hayes.

Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes

 

Headquarters, Camp Hayes, Raleigh, Virginia,

March 14, 1862.

Sir: — A scouting party consisting of Sergeant A. H. Bixler, and seven men belonging to Captain George W. Gilmore’s Company C, First Virginia Cavalry, was this morning attacked about seven miles from Raleigh on the pike leading to Princeton, by about fifty bushwhackers. Sergeant Bixler and Private James Noble were killed. Privates Jacob McCann and Johnson Mallory were dangerously wounded, and Private Thomas B. Phillips was taken prisoner. Three escaped unhurt. The attacking party rendezvous on Flat Top Mountain. Major Hildt will, perhaps, recognize the names of some of them. Christ Lilley, Daniel Meadows, and Joshua Rowls were certainly of the party.

On hearing of the affair I dispatched Captain Gilmore with his cavalry, and Captain Drake with three companies of infantry to the scene of the occurrence. They found that the bushwhackers had instantly fled to their fastnesses in the hills, barely stopping long enough to get the arms of the dead and to rob them of their money. Captain Drake followed them until they were found to have scattered. Two horses were killed, one captured, one wounded, and one lost. Vigilant efforts will be made to ascertain the hiding-places of the bushwhackers and when found, unless orders to the contrary shall be received, all houses and property in the neighborhood which can be destroyed by fire, will be burned, and all men who can be identified as of the party will be killed, whether found in arms or not.

Will you direct the brigade quartermaster to procure tents enough for Captain McIlrath’s Company A, Twenty-third Regiment O. V. I., as soon as practicable, and send that company here as soon as the tents arrive. There will be no quarters for them until the tents are obtained.

I desire to have your views in the premises.

Respectfully,

R. B. Hayes,

Lieutenant-colonel Twenty-third Regiment O. V. I.,
Commanding.

[General J. D. Cox (?) ]

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Diary and Letters of Rutherford B. Hayes.

Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes

Camp Hayes, Raleigh, Virginia, Friday, March 14, 1862.— A fine pleasant morning. About 11 A. M. Captain Gilmore of Company [C, First] Pennsylvania [Virginia] Cavalry, came in, saying, “My scouts sent out this morning have all been killed or captured”; two only returned. It turned out that eight cavalry patrols of his company, who left here about 8:30 A. M., this morning, were fired upon by a gang of men concealed in the woods about seven miles from here on the Princeton Road near Hunly’s. Two were killed, two wounded, one taken prisoner. One of the wounded men and two unhurt galloped into camp, having taken a circuitous route over the hills and through the woods. At this writing our loss is two killed and one taken prisoner.

I think the manner of this scouting or patrolling very objectionable. Six to ten men every morning about the same hour have been in the habit of riding out six to ten miles on this road. Nothing was easier than to lay an ambush for them. I suspect that the enemy fled instantly, that they are bushwhackers or militia. I sent out the whole cavalry company under Captain Gilmore and Companies B, H, and K, under Captain Drake, to get the bodies of the dead and the wounded man. Hunly is suspected to communicate intelligence to the enemy. None of these people are perfectly reliable. They will do what is necessary to protect their property.

Henderson, of Company H, taken prisoner last January, returned last night. He was exchanged and left Richmond February 23. He is called “Cleveland” by his company from the place of his enlistment. Others call him the “Pet Lamb,” from his delicate and youthful appearance. He is a quiet, observing, enterprising youngster; slender, sickly-looking, amiable; runs all risks, endures all hardships, and seems to enjoy it. A scout in fact, he is in constant danger of being taken for a spy. I must watch him. I suspect he is a genius. His father and mother died when he was a child.

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“This morning the fort and town were found to be evacuated.”–Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, Charles Wright Wills.

Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, Charles Wright Wills, (8th Illinois Infantry)

New Madrid, “by Jingo;” March 14, 1863.

Charles Wright WillsNight before last we received four heavy guns from Cairo and two or three of these infantry regiments planted them during the night within a half mile of the enemy’s main fort and within three-fourths of a mile where their gunboats lay. The seceshers discovered it at daylight and then the fun commenced. Their gunboats and forts, about 30 or 40 pieces in all, put in their best licks all day. We had two regiments lying right in front of our guns to support them against a sortie, and several other regiments behind ready for a field fight The enemy kept in their works though and it was altogether an artillery fight. Our regiment was in the saddle all the a.m., but in the p.m. we lay around our quarters as usual with not a particle more of excitement perceptible than the quietest day in Cairo showed. In the evening the colonel and Major Case and myself went out in the country for our regular little mush, and milk, but that hasn’t anything to do with the story. The firing ceased about an hour after sunset and we turned in for the night with all quiet in camp. About 2 o’clock this morning three Rebel regiments made a little sortie with the intention of doing some devilment, but they ran against a field battery of ours that sent them back kiting. This morning the fort and town were found to be evacuated. I rode down, through what is left of the town, for the Rebels burned many houses to give their guns a better chance at the approaches, and cut down nearly all of the shade trees. There was not an inhabitant left in town, they all moved out before we came here, and every door was open. The Rebels I think plundered the town after the citizens left; anyway our boys grumbled a good deal about the people’s leaving nothing in their houses. They went away very badly scared and in an awful hurry, for there were tables with wine on, and cards and beds that had been used last night and blankets, and they left all their heavy artillery. They must have had all of their light artillery with the horses hitched to it and harnessed, and a lot of horses saddled and tied, for the halters cut with the ties left on the posts, showed that they were in too much of a hurry to untie. They also left all their tents, some 500, standing, most all of them as good as the best of ours, and barracks for several regiments, quarters in all for probably 10,000 men, the generals say, but I don’t think they will hold so many. I think we got 40 guns, 24’s and larger, besides some field pieces. We also get a big lot of amunition, lots of mules and wagons, and the boys are now fishing out of the river whole boxes of quartermaster’s goods—clothing, blankets, etc., that the secesh rolled in as they ran. The general is better satisfied than if he had taken them prisoners. Coming back from the town and fort I rode over the ground where the balls lit thickest yesterday. They had scratched things around considerably—barked trees, knocked fences, busted a house or two, plowed ground like everything, and by the way, knocked six of our men for keeps, and wounded horribly about 15 more. That was all that was done yesterday. ‘Tis astonishing that no more of our men were killed but you must recollect that these infantrymen that were supporting our batteries lay in trenches and were all killed while well covered, comparatively. One ball struck square in the trench and relieved one man of two legs and another man of one. I saw one man who had been struck by a falling 25-pound solid shot in the centre of his breast and went down and out at the small of his back. That was a pretty hard sight. While they were firing the hottest our boys would jump on their little dirt piles in front of the rifle pits and trenches and swing their hats and cheer and drop back into their ditches very rapidly. A shell 18 pounds fell about 20 feet in front of the ditches, and a boy of 12 or 14 years jumped out and grabbed it up while the fuse was still burning. A soldier saw it and hollered at him to drop it and scoot, but he hadn’t time to get away, so he dropped it and threw himself flat with his feet toward it and almost then it burst, but harmlessly. Well, we’ve got Madrid and enough to pay us for our trouble. I think that our loss will be covered by 20 killed and 35 or 40 wounded in the whole two weeks. That’s a large estimate. What the next move will be have no idea, but some say that we’ll cross the river and operate with Grant in a southerly direction of course. I’d rather be in this down-the-river movement than any other part of the army. Have thought so ever since I joined the army. This cavalry business is bully. We have all the running around and fun and little skirmishing without much of the heavy work and tall fighting. The loss of the enemy we don’t know but there are about 40 fresh graves at the fort and we found several dead bodies there this morning. Also found a half dozen men that were left by some means.

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