March 21.—Yesterday an expedition was sent out to the vicinity of Indian Creek, west of Keitsville, Mo. Capt Stevens, with fifty-two men, and one of his mountain howitzers, were accompanied by thirteen home-guards. On the route, he was informed that a rebel force was to rendezvous at the house of one Boone the next night Capt Stevens approached the house early in the morning, and captured nine rebels who were in the house. Eight more, who arrived soon after, were also taken in. The prisoners thus taken, seventeen in number, who were all carried into the Union camp, include three rebel captains, to wit: James W. Bullard, George R. McMinn, and Jasper Moore. The men were all armed, and the arms fell into the hands of the Nationals. About one thousand pounds of bacon, which had been collected at the house for the use of the rebel army, was also taken possession of by the Union troops. —St. Louis Republican.

—Commodore Dc Pont, having received from the Mayor and inhabitants of St Augustine, Fla., an invitation to take possession of that place, several gunboats, with the battalion of marines, proceeded down and came to off the harbor, where they found that Com. Rodgers, of the Wabash, had taken quiet possession of the place, with his marines and some volunteer soldiers, under Gen. Sherman. The volunteers had possession of the fort, and the marine-guard were quartered in the towa—(Doc. 101.)

—Two new military departments were constituted by the President; the first, called the Department of the Gulf, which comprises all the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, west of Pensacola harbor, and so much of the Gulf States as might be occupied by the forces under Major-Gen. B. F. Butler, United States Volunteers; the headquarters to be wherever the General commanding was. The other was denominated the Department of the South, comprising the States of South-Carolina, Georgia and Florida, with the expedition and forces under Brig.-General T. W. Sherman, to be under the command of Gen. David Hunter.

—Secretary Welles, of the United States Navy Department, made the following acknowledgment of services rendered by Lieut. George U. Morris, and the men of the Cumberland:

“Sir: In the calamitous assault of the armed steamer Merrimac upon the sloop Cumberland, and frigate Congress, on the ninth inst, which were comparatively helpless, the Department has had occasion to admire the courage and determination of yourself, and the officers and men associated with you, who, under the most disastrous and appalling circumstances, boldly fought your formidable assailant, exposed, as you were, to an opponent secure in his armor, while attacking the Cumberland. To your honor, and that of those associated with you, the guns were coolly manned, loaded and discharged, while the vessel was in a sinking condition, and your good ship went down with the flag at the gaff, and its brave defenders proved themselves worthy of the renown which has immortalized the American navy. The gallant service of yourself and the brave men of the Cumberland, on the occasion, is justly appreciated by a grateful country, and the Department, in behalf of the Government, desires to thank you and them for the heroism displayed, and the fidelity with which the flag was defended.”

—At a meeting of the cashiers of the Associated Banks of Baltimore, to-day, all the Banks being represented, the following resolution was unanimously adopted, namely:

Resolved, That United States Demand Treasury Notes shall be received by the Associated Banks of Baltimore, on and after Saturday, the twenty-second inst, without limit, on deposit.

—This day a boat-fight took place at Mosquito Inlet, Florida, in which Lieut. Commanding T, A. Budd, and Acting Master Mather, together with three sailors of the United States Navy, were killed.— (Doc. 102.)

—The Norfolk Day-Book of this day complains that drunkenness is frightfully on the increase in Virginia. It firmly denounces the officers and soldiers, but censures the civilians less harshly. Here is a portion of its remarks:

“Whisky—Whisky—Whisky. — In the cars, at the shanties, at the groceries, in village taverns and city hotels—whisky. Officers with gold lace wound in astonishing involutions upon their arms, private soldiers in simple homespun, and civilians in broadcloth, all seem to drink whisky with persistent energy and perseverance. They drink it too, in quantities which would astonish the nerves of a cast-iron lamp-post, and of a quantity which would destroy the digestive organs of the ostrich. Truth is often unpleasant to tell, but the public safety demands that the vice in question should be rebuked and reformed; for it is a fact which the press should neither palliate nor conceal, that whisky which is no more akin to rye than rye is to coffee—whisky which is of the unadulterated tangle—first chain-lightning distillation is guzzled down in a manner alike revolting to public decency and the general good.”

—Washington, N. C, was occupied by the National forces under Gen. Burnside. The Unionists landed from their gunboats, and, headed by a band of music, marched through the town, playing Hail Columbia, and waving the Stars and Stripes at a lively rate. The few people who had remained in the place since the fall of Newbern, received them with marked coolness. Their music and their banners wholly failed to arouse any of that Union feeling which Marble Nash Taylor collected several thousand dollars in New-York to set free, so they left without disturbing cither persons or property.—Petersburg (Va.) Express, March 27.

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Twentieth. — To-day ’tis cloudy and we have fire in the tent and I wear my cloak besides. There are no news of any kind to-day. We are on a little piece of dry land here (some of the earthquake’s “get up” I suppose) entirely surrounded by swamps of the vilest kind, cane and cypress. We have dug wells all through camp. Find plenty of water at five feet. The Rebel battery across the river has been trying to shell us this morning. They sent some shell plenty far enough but they lit off to the right of our camp. General Plummer rides down along the river bank with his staff every day and the Rebels do their best to send him up. The colonel has just started out with him to give the Rebels another chance. There is considerable cane here and it looks as though the country might grow alligators to almost any extent. ‘Tis a grand country for a sporting man. The very paradise of geese and their kindred.

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Cloud’s Mills, March 20, 1862.

Dear Father, — I received your two letters containing the two photographs one of which I gave to General Porter, he asking for it first. I liked the full face better than the other, which General Porter took.

I saw Professor Low the aeronaut the other day. He is a very good-looking man and still enthusiastic about the balloon’s crossing the ocean.

Our staff gave General Porter quite a handsome sword last evening. Curiously enough it was the anniversary of his wedding, which together with this sword presentation were, he said, the two pleasantest occasions of his life.

I attended a review of General Franklin’s division with General Porter yesterday. The troops made a fine show, being well drilled and disciplined. Porter’s (Mass.) Battery is in this division. General McClellan was there and rode, of course, at the head of the reviewing column, which consisted of any amount of generals and their staffs. Generals Franklin, Porter, McDowell, Slocum, Heintzelman, who commands our corps d’ armee, Kearny, Barry and numerous others were there. The soldiers cheered McClellan heartily as he rode up and down the lines, followed by about fifty officers.

I think I was mistaken in what I wrote you about McClellan. It came from one of his enemies and I am confident was wrong. If you notice what Burnside says in his report of the battle at Newberne you will see what he says about following out the minute orders given him by McClellan. That will rather knock the N. Y. Tribune, which has been abusing McClellan abominably. I hope you never take the paper.

The whole force of the Army under McClellan is 257,000 men, including Burnside and Sherman, I suppose.

I hear that Sherman is to be superseded by General Hunter. The administration are not satisfied with him, and with good reason.

We are waiting here for our transports, which have already taken some troops, and landed them, and are on the way back for more. I don’t see how we can start before Monday. We shall probably go to the place I wrote you about, in a short note. Don’t speak of it until you hear we are there. . . .

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Thursday March 20th 1862

Wet drizzling day, as uncomfortable as need be. No news yet from Comodore Foot. I fear he has met with a repulse. Doct David & his Brother James were down and dined with us today. James is not attached to the Regt but is going down with it. It is expected to go tomorrow, but uncertain. Prof Sparks was here this evening hearing Julia recite her Spanish. He brought he[r] up a Spanish Dictionary & other books in the Spanish language. She seems to be making some progress. I have not been out of the house tonight, looked at the boys writing Books &c, & read the papers.

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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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Thursday, 20.— Cold; no rain falling this morning, but the storm not over. Fremont at the head of our department, the Mountain District, western Virginia and east Tennessee. Good! 1 admire the general. If he comes up to my anticipations, we shall have an active campaign.

Colonel Scammon returned, also Major Comly, to Fayetteville. They send no news and bring no newspapers. Thoughtless fellows! No, I must not call the colonel fellow. He put down a countryman who came in with, “Are you the feller what rents land?” Colonel Scammon: “In the first place I am not a feller; in the second place, take off your hat! and in the third place, I don’t rent land. There is the door”!

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March 20. Newbern, situated at the north confluence of the Trent and Neuse rivers, was, I think, first settled by colonists from Berne, in Switzerland, and in honor of the old town was named New Berne, but for short, is now pronounced as written. The chivalry, in their hasty flight, thought to make a Moscow of it, and fired it in several places, destroying the long and expensive railroad bridge across the Trent river, all the turpentine distilleries (save one) of which there was quite a number, and three squares of the town, in one of which was the large Planter’s hotel. The city has a fine water front on the south and east sides, furnishing ample wharfage for shipping and warehouses. It contains a population of about 8000. The streets cross at right angles, thus forming squares which are compactly built over. The area of the city is much less than many northern towns of 2000 inhabitants, but land is scarce here and it doesn’t do to waste it for building purposes. There are, however, several fine residences with ample surroundings. There are four churches, several halls, one academy, one hotel, court house, jail, post office, printing office, and many large wholesale stores and warehouses. There is a small cotton mill, manufacturing cotton yarn, a lumber mill, one turpentine distillery, tannery, gas works, and a large machine shop and foundry connected with the railroad depot, at the north side of the city. There are two banks here, but at present they do not seem to be doing a regular banking business. Capt. Dan, the provost marshal, occupies the Merchant’s, while the master of transportation occupies the bank of North Carolina. Whether the latter bank discounts or not, I am unable to say, but I know that Capt. Dan does, when there is anything in the bottle. The streets are wide and level, set on either side with handsome shade trees. Altogether it is rather a pretty city. This has been a town of some commercial importance, having had a large inland and coastwise trade, exporting shingles, staves and other lumber to the West Indies, cotton and naval stores to northern ports, and bringing return cargoes of such goods as the market here demanded.

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March 20, 1862.—A man professing to act by General Hindman’s orders is going through the country impressing horses and mules. The overseer of a certain estate came to inquire of H. if he had not a legal right to protect the property from seizure. Mr. L. said yes, unless the agent could show some better credentials than his bare word. This answer soon spread about, and the overseer returned to report that it excited great indignation, especially among the company of new volunteers. H. was pronounced a traitor, and they declared that no one so untrue to the Confederacy should live there. When H. related the circumstance at dinner, his partner, Mr. R., became very angry, being ignorant of H.’s real opinions. He jumped up in a rage and marched away to the village thoroughfare. There he met a batch of the volunteers, and said, “We know what you have said of us, and I have come to tell you that you are liars, and you know where to find us.”

Of course I expected a difficulty; but the evening passed, and we retired undisturbed. Not long afterward a series of indescribable sounds broke the stillness of the night, and the tramp of feet was heard outside the house. Mr. R. called out, “It’s a serenade, H. Get up and bring out all the wine you have.” Annie and I peeped through the parlor window, and lo! it was the company of volunteers and a diabolical band composed of bones and broken-winded brass instruments. They piped and clattered and whined for some time, and then swarmed in, while we ladies retreated and listened to the clink of glasses.

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

March 20.

We have been getting some stores to-day for Will Winthrop. They are at last delighted by the order to join Heintzelman. Twenty to thirty thousand men have gone in the transports already. Will’s black mess-boy came in to us and took out a basket with enough for the voyage. Have been up to see Charles Bradford, son of Captain Woolsey Hopkins’ sister, at Columbian Hospital, and have sent him jelly, oysters, etc. Nice young fellow and pleased to see us.

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March 20th.—The Merrimac is now called the Virginia. I think these changes of names so confusing and so senseless. Like the French “Royal Bengal Tiger,” “National Tiger,” etc. Rue this, and next day Rue that, the very days and months a symbol, and nothing signified.

I was lying on the sofa in my room, and two men slowly walking up and down the corridor talked aloud as if necessarily all rooms were unoccupied  at this midday hour. I asked Maum Mary who they were. “Yeadon and Barnwell Rhett, Jr.” They abused the Council roundly, and my husband’s name arrested my attention. Afterward, when Yeadon attacked Mr. Chesnut, Mr. Chesnut surprised him by knowing beforehand all he had to say. Naturally I had repeated the loud interchange of views I had overheard in the corridor.

First, Nathan Davis called. Then Gonzales, who presented a fine, soldierly appearance in his soldier clothes, and the likeness to Beauregard was greater than ever. Nathan, all the world knows, is by profession a handsome man.

General Gonzales told us what in the bitterness of his soul he had written to Jeff Davis. He regretted that he had not been his classmate; then he might have been as well treated as Northrop. In any case he would not have been refused a brigadiership, citing General Trapier and Tom Drayton. He had worked for it, had earned it; they had not. To his surprise, Mr. Davis answered him, and in a sharp note of four pages. Mr. Davis demanded from whom he quoted, “not his classmate.” General Gonzales responded, “from the public voice only.” Now he will fight for us all the same, but go on demanding justice from Jeff Davis until he get his dues—at least, until one of them gets his dues, for he means to go on hitting Jeff Davis over the head whenever he has a chance.

“I am afraid,” said I, “you will find it a hard head to crack.” He replied in his flowery Spanish way: “Jeff Davis will be the sun, radiating all light, heat, and patronage; he will not be a moon reflecting public opinion, for he has the soul of a despot; he delights to spite public opinion. See, people abused him for making Crittenden brigadier. Straightway he made him major-general, and just after a blundering, besotted defeat, too.” Also, he told the President in that letter: “Napoleon made his generals after great deeds on their part, and not for having been educated at St. Cyr, or Brie, or the Polytechnique,” etc., etc. Nathan Davis sat as still as a Sioux warrior, not an eyelash moved. And yet he said afterward that he was amused while the Spaniard railed at his great namesake.

Gonzales said: “Mrs. Slidell would proudly say that she was a Creole. They were such fools, they thought Creole meant——” Here Nathan interrupted pleasantly: “At the St. Charles, in New Orleans, on the bill of fare were ‘Creole eggs.’ When they were brought to a man who had ordered them, with perfect simplicity, he held them up, ‘ Why, they are only hens’ eggs, after all.’ What in Heaven’s name he expected them to be, who can say?” smiled Nathan the elegant.

One lady says (as I sit reading in the drawing-room window while Maum Mary puts my room to rights): “I clothe my negroes well. I could not bear to see them in dirt and rags; it would be unpleasant to me.” Another lady: “Yes. Well, so do I. But not fine clothes, you know. I feel—now—it was one of our sins as a nation, the way we indulged them in sinful finery. We will be punished for it.”

Last night, Mrs. Pickens met General Cooper. Madam knew General Cooper only as our adjutant-general, and Mr. Mason’s brother-in-law. In her slow, graceful, impressive way, her beautiful eyes eloquent with feeling, she inveighed against Mr. Davis’s wickedness in always sending men born at the North to command at Charleston. General Cooper is on his way to make a tour of inspection there now. The dear general settled his head on his cravat with the aid of his forefinger; he tugged rather more nervously with the something that is always wrong inside of his collar, and looked straight up through his spectacles. Some one crossed the room, stood back of Mrs. Pickens, and murmured in her ear, “General Cooper was born in New York.” Sudden silence.

Dined with General Cooper at the Prestons. General Hampton and Blanton Duncan were there also; the latter a thoroughly free-and-easy Western man, handsome and clever; more audacious than either, perhaps. He pointed to Buck—Sally Buchanan Campbell Preston. “What’s that girl laughing at?” Poor child, how amazed she looked. He bade them “not despair; all the nice young men would not be killed in the war; there would be a few left. For himself, he could give them no hope; Mrs. Duncan was uncommonly healthy.” Mrs. Duncan is also lovely. We have seen her.

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March 20.—Gov. Curtin issued a general order complimenting the Fifty-first regiment of Pennsylvania for gallantry at Roanoke and Newbern, N. C, at the latter engagement storming the enemy’s batteries at the point of the bayonet, and ordering the names of these battles to be inscribed on their colors. The regiment is commanded by Col. Hartrauft, and mainly composed of those who left Bull Run before the battle. They were the first to plant the flag at Newbern, and seem determined to recover their lost fame.— .N. Y. Herald, March 22.

—The One Hundred and Fourth regiment of New-York volunteers, under the command of Col. John Roorbach, left Albany for the seat of war. This regiment was organized by the consolidation of seven companies which were recruited in Genesee, and three companies in Troy, and numbers about nine hundred and fifty men, who are well uniformed, and give every indication of being a hardy set of fellows.—N. Y. Tribune, March 22.

—Seventy-seven citizens of Loudon County, Va., accused of loyalty to the Federal Government, were sent to Richmond on the central cars, and committed to one of the military prisons.— Lynchburgh Virginian.

—A Meeting of loyal citizens was held at Jacksonville, Fla., at which a declaration of rights and a protest and resolutions were unanimously adopted to the following effect:

That no State has a constitutional right to separate from the United States. That the act of secession adopted by the State Convention of Florida is void, being in conflict with the Constitution and never having been submitted to the people for ratification. That Florida is an integral part of the United States, subject to constitutional jurisdiction, and it is believed that thousands of her citizens hail with joy the restoration of the Government, bringing deliverance from the terrors of an unrestrained military despotism.

They protested against all the acts and ordinances of the convention, as depriving them of their rights as citizens of the United States; against the despotism which denied freedom of speech and of the press; against the contributions of money, property, and labor and military enlistments forced upon them; against the tyranny which demands the abandoment of their homes and property, and the exposure of their wives and children to sickness, destitution, and famine, and untold miseries; against the barbarous policy which sends brutal soldiers to pillage and burn property and destroy life as a punishment for remaining in their homes; and against the government who threatens to hang them because they will not tamely submit to such indignities.

Having been released from such dangers and indignities, and restored to the Government of the United States, and the reign of terror having passed, it now becomes them as loyal citizens to rise up and state that the State and Government demands that a convention of all loyal citizens be called forthwith to organize a State Government of the State of Florida. Also that the Chief of the Military Department of the United States be requested to retain sufficient force to maintain order and protect the people in their persons and property.—(Doc. 100.)

—The United States gunboat Juniata was launched at Philadelphia, Pa., this day.

—Six citizens of Sangamon County, Ill., were arrested by order of Gen. Halleck, and sent to Alton, to be placed in close confinement, for aiding the escape of rebel prisoners from Camp Butler.—Cincinnati Gazette, March 22.

Gen. Sherman issued a proclamation to the people of Florida, in which he stated that the troops of the United States had come to protect loyal citizens and their property, and enable them to resuscitate their government All loyal people who return or remain at their homes, in the quiet pursuit of their lawful avocations, shall be protected in all their constitutional rights. The sole desire and intention of the Government was to maintain the integrity of the Constitution and laws, and reclaim the States revolted from the national allegiance to their former prosperous condition.

He expresses great satisfaction at the evidence of loyalty, and recommends the citizens to assemble in their cities and towns and proscribe and throw off the sham government forced upon them, and swear true fidelity and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States, organize a State government, and elect officers in the good old ways of the past When this is done, he predicts a return of prosperous and happy times, immunity from want and suffering, and the enjoyment of honest labor, and the sweets of happy homes, and the consolation of living under wise and salutary laws, due only to an industrious and law-abiding people.

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Mount Jackson, March 19, 1862.

We left our encampment near Strasburg last Saturday, and reached this place on Monday, where appearances indicate that we are settled in peace and quiet for a while. There is some skirmishing between our pickets and those of the enemy about twenty miles from here, but I believe the enemy have not left Winchester in any force, and, I imagine, will not until the roads and weather will admit of an advance on the other side of the mountain on Johnston.

The time passes very dull with me, as I have nothing to do, the Colonel and Lieut.-Col. of the regiment both being here and doing what little there is to be done. Some days ago I met with your sister Martha, who had come down to the camp to see Mr. Williamson. She was much alarmed at the expected approach of the enemy, and in doubt what to do. My advice to her was to remain at home if they came, letting everything go on as usual. They would take such of her property as they needed, but, I believed, would do no further injury. Their policy, so far as I can learn, has been, in Winchester and the counties which they occupy, to conciliate the people. I doubt not it will be their principle everywhere. I am glad they indicate their purpose to carry on the war on the principles of civilized warfare, as it exempts the women and children left at home by our soldiers from the savage barbarities of their vengeance. If the fate of war brings my own home within their lines, it will be some consolation to know that you, my darling wife, and our dear little children are not subjected to insult and injury at the hands of the invaders. Whilst their occupancy may deprive me of the fond letters of a loving wife, giving the glad news that all are well at home, which is now my greatest source of happiness, I shall be comforted by the hope and belief that they are left to enjoy uninterrupted the necessary comforts of life. Whilst it is a sad thought to give up one’s home to the enemy, with many of us it is destined to be a necessity which will contribute more than all other causes to the ultimate achievement of our independence. It is utterly impossible to defend every section.

 

Just here, Love, I will change the subject to say that, whilst writing, I have received your letter of the 15th inst. We may never meet again, as you say, Love. We know nothing of the future, but I trust the day of our final separation is far distant. The obituaries which I find in the paper from home remind me that those who remain at home, as well as those who have joined the army, die. Of the thousand who have left our county for the army, I suppose not more than fifty have died from disease or in battle. Nearly as large a proportion of those at home, I expect, have died. Life is uncertain everywhere, Love, and you should not infer from my being in the army that you and I may not see much of life together yet. I am glad I can’t turn aside the dark veil which, covers the future and look at the good and evil in store for me.

 

I am sorry that Galla had the luck to break the likeness, but glad that I have a place in the dear little fellow’s memory and that he wanted to see his papa. I am glad, too, to learn that you have found in little Mary Fitzgerald a post-office messenger, and that you can get the papers and my letters without sending one of the hands and stopping work on the farm for the purpose. I have heretofore written so that my letters would reach you on Sunday when you went to church, but now I can write at any time. I felt gratified to learn that Fitz was exempt from the militia draft, although it was selfish and unpatriotic, as he would make a good soldier. I am very anxious that you should be comfortable and contented at home; and as he is so faithful and industrious, I am sure he will be of great service to you, and that you will feel much safer from his being there.

And now, Love, as I have some matters requiring my attention this evening, I will bid you good-bye and bring my letter to a close. Give a kiss to the dear little boys for me, and for yourself accept my best love.

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March 19 — Early this morning we moved to the top of Fisher’s Hill, two miles above Strasburg, put our battery in a good commanding position, and awaited the advance of the enemy. We did not have to wait long before their advance guard appeared over Hupp’s Hill, nearly a mile north of Strasburg. Close behind their advance guard came their artillery and infantry, with steady tread, in solid column, and in overwhelming numbers. We had nothing but one battery and Ashby’s regiment of cavalry to oppose the mighty host that was approaching with floating banners.

They marched in one body till they arrived in town. Then one column flanked out on their right and advanced up the railroad and the other one came up the pike. When the one on the pike came within range of our guns we opened fire on the head of the column, which checked, mixed, and muddled them, and they retired, not quite in as good dress parade order as they had advanced just a moment before. But in the meantime the column that came up the railroad was about flanking our position, and about a mile northeast of us they put an eight-gun battery in position at almost the same altitude as ours.

When they opened fire on us with eight guns,— and from the clear-cut whiz of the shell they were all rifled pieces at that,— with an infantry column advancing on our left and one in front,— eight rifled guns playing on two,— we quickly arrived at the conclusion that discretion being the better part of valor, we would retire without delay. We fell back about a mile and took another position. The enemy advanced their battery, and we opened on them again. They returned our fire, doubling the amount. We fell back to another position and opened again, and they also repeated their tactics, and so we kept on falling back, firing at them from every hilltop for six miles.

When we left our last position it was nearly night, and we came to Narrow Passage, three miles south of Woodstock, and camped for the night. The Yanks fell back to Strasburg, which is twelve miles from Woodstock.

At some of our positions to-day the cannonading was what a raw recruit considers severe and unwholesome. Their ten-pound Parrott shells exploded all around us and threw the fragments in every direction with a whiz and a ring that made music—of its kind— in the air.

Our cavalry burned three railroad bridges to-day — Tumbling Run, Tom’s Brook, and Narrow Passage.

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March 19th.—I applied at the Navy Department for a passage down to Fortress Monroe, as it was expected the Merrimac was coming out again, but I could not obtain leave to go in any of the vessels. Captain Hardman showed me a curious sketch of what he called the Turtle Thor, an iron-cased machine with a huge claw or grapnel, with which to secure the enemy whilst a steam hammer or a high iron fist, worked by the engine, cracks and smashes her iron armour. “For,” says he, “the days of gunpowder are over.”

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Wednesday March 19th 1862

No news today. Nothing from Foot yet. Troops are embarking down at the Arsenal to go down the River. It is supposed that an attack is to be made upon Norfolk. An overwhelming force is going down. This afternoon we rode up to the Camp of the 98th NY, Col Duttons Regt — Saw the Lyons officers. Saw two Batteries of Artillery and five Regiments on parade near by — Got home before sun down. The Regiments up on “Meridian hill” all have orders to be ready to leave in twenty minutes after orders are rcd. They all embark. A great many Regts from the other side of the River are embarking at Alexandria. The 27th is there & going.

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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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