1862 August Soldier's dummies and quakers, left in the works at Harrison's landing

Library of Congress image.

Title: Soldier’s dummies and quakers, left in the works at Harrison’s landing.

Alfred Waud, the artist, wrote on the back, “The soldiers tell me there was a number of these bogus guns and figures, and their appearance kept the enemy from the camp for some time after it was evacuated. The photographer has a picture of these sham guns, but it was taken before the figures were set up.”

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August 17th.

Another Sunday. Strange that the time, which should seem so endless, flies so rapidly! Miriam complains that Sunday comes every day; but though that seems a little too much, I insist that it comes twice a week. Let time fly, though; for each day brings us so much nearer our destiny, which I long to know.

Thursday, we heard from a lady just from town that our house was standing the day before, which somewhat consoled us for the loss of our silver and clothing; but yesterday came the tidings of new afflictions. I declare we have acted out the first chapter of Job, all except that verse about the death of his sons and daughters. God shield us from that! I do not mind the rest. “While he was yet speaking, another came in and said, ‘Thy brethren and kinsmen gathered together to wrest thine abode from the hand of the Philistines which pressed sore upon thee; when lo! the Philistines sallied forth with fire and sword, and laid thine habitation waste and desolate, and I only am escaped to tell thee.’” Yes! the Yankees, fearing the Confederates might slip in unseen, resolved to have full view of their movements, so put the torch to all eastward, from Colonel Matta’s to the Advocate. That would lay open a fine tract of country, alone; but unfortunately, it is said that once started, it was not so easy to control the flames, which spread considerably beyond their appointed limits. Some say it went as far as Florida Street; if so, we are lost, as that is a half-square below us. For several days the fire has been burning, but very little can be learned of the particulars. I am sorry for Colonel Matta. Such a fine brown stone front, the finest in town. Poor Minna! poverty will hardly agree with her. As for our home, I hope against hope. I will not believe it is burnt, until somebody declares having been present on that occasion. Yet so many frame houses on that square must have readily caught fire from the sparks.

Wicked as it may seem, I would rather have all I own burned, than in the possession of the negroes. Fancy my magenta organdie on a dark beauty! Bah! I think the sight would enrage me! Miss Jones’s trials are enough to drive her crazy. She had the pleasure of having four officers in her house, men who sported epaulets and red sashes, accompanied by a negro woman, at whose disposal all articles were placed. The worthy companion of these “gentlemen” walked around selecting things with the most natural airs and graces. “This,” she would say, “we must have. And some of these books, you know; and all the preserves, and these chairs and tables, and all the clothes, of course; and yes! the rest of these things.” So she would go on, the “gentlemen” assuring her she had only to choose what she wanted, and that they would have them removed immediately. Madame thought they really must have the wine, and those handsome cut-glass goblets. I hardly think I could have endured such a scene; to see all I owned given to negroes, without even an accusation being brought against me of disloyalty.[1] One officer departed with a fine velvet cloak on his arm; another took such a bundle of Miss Jones’s clothes, that he had to have it lifted by some one else on his horse, and rode off holding it with difficulty. This I heard from herself, yesterday, as I spent the day with Lilly and mother at Mr. Elder’s, where she is now staying. Can anything more disgraceful be imagined? They all console me by saying there is no one in Baton Rouge who could possibly wear my dresses without adding a considerable piece to the belt. But that is nonsense. Another pull at the corset strings would bring them easily to the size I have been reduced by nature and bones. Besides, O horror! Suppose, instead, they should let in a piece of another color? That would annihilate me! Pshaw! I do not care for the dresses, if they had only left me those little articles of father’s and Harry’s. But that is hard to forgive.


[1] The Act of July 16th, 1862, authorized the confiscation of property only in the cases of rebels whose disloyalty was established. — W. D.

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August 17, Sunday. Called this morning on General Halleck, who had forgotten or was not aware there was a naval force in the James River cooperating with the army. He said the army was withdrawn and there was no necessity for the naval vessels to remain. I remarked that I took a different view of the question, and, had I been consulted, I should have advised that the naval and some army forces should hold on and menace Richmond, in order to compel the Rebels to retain part of their army there while our forces in front of Washington were getting in position. He began to rub his elbows, and, without thanking me or acknowledgment of any kind, said he wished the vessels could remain. Telegraphed Wilkes to that effect. Strange that this change of military operations should have been made without Cabinet consultation, and especially without communicating the fact to the Secretary of the Navy, who had established a naval flotilla on the James River by special request to cooperate with and assist the army. But Stanton is so absorbed in his scheme to get rid of McClellan that other and more important matters are neglected.

A difficulty has existed from the beginning in the military, and I may say general, management of the War. At a very early day, before even the firing on Sumter and the abandonment of Norfolk, I made repeated applications to General Scott for one or two regiments to be stationed there. Anticipating the trouble that subsequently took place, and confident that, with one regiment well commanded and a good engineer to construct batteries, with the cooperation of the frigate Cumberland and such small additional naval force as we could collect, the place might be held at least until the public property and ships could be removed, I urged the importance of such aid. The reply on each occasion was that he not only had no troops to spare from Washington or Fortress Monroe, both of which places he considered in great danger, but that if he had, he would not send a detachment in what he considered enemy’s country, especially as there were no intrenchments. I deferred to his military character and position, but remonstrated against this view of the case, for I was assured, and, I believe, truly, that a majority of the people in the navy yard and in the vicinity of Norfolk were loyal, friends of the Union and opposed to Secession. He said that might be the political, but was not the military, aspect, and he must be governed by military considerations in disposing of his troops.

There was but one way of overcoming these objections and that was by peremptory orders, which I could not, and the President would not, give, in opposition to the opinions of General Scott. The consequence was the loss of the navy yard and of Norfolk, and the almost total extinguishment of the Union sentiment in that quarter. Our friends there became cool and were soon alienated by our abandonment. While I received no assistance from the military in that emergency, I was thwarted and embarrassed by the secret interference of the Secretary of State in my operations. General Scott was for a defensive policy, and the same causes which influenced him in that matter, and the line of policy which he marked out, have governed the educated officers of the army and to a great extent shaped the war measures of the Government. “We must erect our batteries on the eminences in the vicinity of Washington,” said General Mansfield to me, “and establish our military lines; frontiers between the belligerents, as between the countries of Continental Europe, are requisite.” They were necessary in order to adapt and reconcile the theory and instruction of West Point to the war that was being prosecuted. We should, however, by this process become rapidly two hostile nations. All beyond the frontiers must be considered and treated as enemies, although large sections, and in some instances whole States, have a Union majority, occasionally in some sections approximating unanimity.

Instead of halting on the borders, building intrenchments, and repelling indiscriminately and treating as Rebels — enemies — all, Union as well as disunion, men in the insurrectionary region, we should, I thought, penetrate their territory, nourish and protect the Union sentiment, and create and strengthen a national feeling counter to Secession. This we might have done in North Carolina, western Virginia, northern Alabama and Georgia, Arkansas, Texas, and in fact in large sections of nearly every seceding State. Instead of holding back, we should be aggressive and enter their territory. Our generals act on the defensive. It is not and has not been the policy of the country to be aggressive towards others, therefore defensive tactics, rather than offensive have been taught, and the effect upon our educated commanders in this civil war is perceptible. The best material for commanders in this civil strife may have never seen West Point. There is something in the remark that a good general is “born to command.” We have experienced that some of our best-educated officers have no faculty to govern, control, and direct an army in offensive warfare. We have many talented and capable engineers, good officers in some respects, but without audacity, desire for fierce encounter, and in that respect almost utterly deficient as commanders. Courage and learning are essential, but something more is wanted for a good general, — talent, intuition, magnetic power, which West Point cannot give. Men who would have made the best generals and who possess innately the best and highest qualities to command may not have been so fortunate as to be selected by a Member of Congress to be a cadet.

Jackson and Taylor were excellent generals, but they were not educated engineers, nor were they what would be considered in these days accomplished and educated military men. They detailed and availed themselves of engineers, and searched out and found the needed qualities in others.

We were unused to war when these present difficulties commenced, and have often permitted men of the army to decide questions that were more political than military. There is still the same misfortune, — for I deem it such.

From the beginning there was a persistent determination to treat the Rebels as alien belligerents, — as a hostile and distinct people, — to blockade, instead of closing, their ports. The men “duly accredited by the Confederate States of America” held back-door intercourse with the Secretary of State, and lived and moved in ostentatious style in Washington for some weeks. Thus commencing, other governments had reason to claim that we had initiated them into the belief that the Federal Government and its opponents were two nations; and the Union people of the South were, by this policy of our Government and that of the army, driven, compelled against their wishes, to be our antagonists.

No man in the South could avow himself a friend of the Union without forfeiting his estate, his liberty, and perhaps his life under State laws of the Confederates. The Federal Government not only afforded him no protection, but under the military system of frontiers he was treated as a public enemy because he resided in his own home at the South.

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17th.—Left Charles City at 5 1-2 o’clock this A. M. Beautiful day; clear, windy and cool, but terribly dusty. At 3 P. M., crossed the Chickahominy near the mouth, on a pontoon bridge.[1] * Pontoon bridges are a success. To-night we lie at the mouth of the Chickahominy, under protection of our gun boats. What a commercial world this State of Virginia should be. Its navigable waters are nearly equal to that of all the Free States combined; yet there are single cities in the North which have a larger commerce than the whole of the Slave States. Why is this? Has the peculiar institution any thing to do with it? If so, God, nature— everything speaks aloud against it as a curse. The ground which we now occupy is one of the most beautiful, as well as one of the most desirable sites for a city in America, high and dry, with an easy ascent from the water, presenting three fronts to the navigable rivers, with fine water views in all directions, as extensive as the range of vision, with business amounting to one house and a few cords of dry pine wood, which seems to be the article of export from this part of the State.

There is no longer a doubt that we are leaving the Peninsula. What now becomes of the statement that our retreat was only “a change of base?”


[1]A pontoon bridge is thus built: Narrow, flat-bottomed boats, about twenty-five feet long, are anchored in the stream. They lie side by side, from ten to fifteen feet apart, so as to make a row of boats from one bank to the other. From one to the other, clear across the stream are tied stringers, on which are laid down heavy planks, about sixteen feet long, which makes the bridge, and which is sufficient to bear up any number of teams which can be crowded on it.

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17th. Sunday. Breakfasted and under way at 5 A. M. Passed through Rose Hill, a very pretty little town. Hugh Watson and I went ahead and got apples, watermelons, plums and wild grapes. Had a good time. Passed through “Index,” another little town. Major rode with us in the wagon all day, good time. Reached “Lone Jack,” where the enemy were, at sundown an hour before. A man came up and reported 1500 enemy in our rear. Major Purington with rear guard, watched them and kept near them. Fired a good deal and tried to detain them. Proved to be the enemy retreating the way we had come. Major sent word for reinforcements. Some went but did not follow fast enough till dark set in. Commenced to rain. Command moved. Baggage soon could not go, it was so dark. So the enemy escaped us, so slickly through the gap. General Salomon had advised and entreated Blunt to keep flankers and scouts out through the woods near “Lone Jack.” They had intelligence from Warren that they were surely there, and we were passing within a mile. The ground was favorable for their retreat from the town—unseen. They kept a large picket about town and thus fooled our men. Warren could not believe that they had gone. So they left us, as a mouse from a trap. All the officers were enraged and disgusted with Blunt’s mistake, still hoped to overtake them. I went out a mile and got an old mare to ride. The history of the fight of the day previous was as follows: The day before, Quantrell, with 1200 men burned Independence and then skedaddled; Capt. Burns from Kansas City, with two companies of cavalry, four of infantry and two pieces of artillery, followed; at night overtook them and shelled their camp. They ran. The next morning Quantrell met Coffee and turned back. Lay in the brush and waited for them, coming through a lane. When the Feds came along they rose up and poured volley after volley into them. They hurried back to the village and there fought desperately. Finally overpowered, spiked one of the guns, destroyed the ammunition and ran. Warren, who had followed Coffee from Butler, watched them here that and the next day, till we came up confident that they would stand a fight. About 60 killed and many wounded on each side. Rebels burned ten of our wounded men in a house used as a hospital.

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August 17th. Reveille at daybreak, and immediately after breakfast about five o’clock the column fell in and continued the march, at first very slowly, on account of the troops ahead. At 9 A. M., we halted for half an hour, then continued the march to Charles City court house, where we halted for dinner; the heat very oppressive and dust frightful; no one would have guessed our clothing was originally blue, for we certainly looked more like a division of graybacks. The lieutenant-colonel and I rode over to the court house, which is a small, antique building, and found it deserted and dismantled, the floor strewn with public and private deeds, wills, and miscellaneous documents, many of them very ancient and very curious. We spent over an hour in examining them, in company with dozens of other officers, all of whom carried off something. Some of the papers were more than one hundred and fifty years old, and it seems a great pity they should be so summarily destroyed. However, it’s the fortune of war, and we did not begin it.

At 11:30 o’clock we fell in, and having a clear road marched steadily for four hours, passing many fine houses, most of them deserted; others left in charge of ladies, who showed no fear, but in every instance claimed protection. Some of them were attractive and got what they asked for, others had to contribute somewhat to the supplies for the evening meal. We halted about half-past three o’clock for an hour, then continued the march to the Chickahominy, the historic bete noir of our spring campaign. The river here is nearly half a mile wide, I think, quite a formidable stream, and only passable by boats; we found a magnificent pontoon bridge laid across, as straight as an arrow and very beautiful to look upon; no one would imagine these little canvas boats would make so fine a support as they do; the wagons and artillery were crossing in a continuous stream, yet the oscillations and vibrations were almost nil. The engineers had covered the planking lightly with earth, so there was no noise or abrasion of the bridge flooring, and it answered the purpose just as well as a permanent bridge could have done. When we arrived, heavy masses of troops were halted near the bridge approach, so we closed up, stacked arms, and rested till eight o’clock, then passed rapidly over, formed in close column of division, and halted for the night; marched altogether twenty-two miles during the day, and were well tired out, owing more to delays and the intense heat and dust than to the distance covered. Heard to-night that Lee’s army has certainly gone north, and that our destination is the capital.

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August 17.—The office of the Constitutional Gazetteer, a newspaper published at Marysville, Kansas, was demolished this morning at an early hour by a party of National soldiers belonging to the company of Captain Bowen.—The One Hundred and Twenty-ninth regiment of Pennsylvania volunteers arrived at Washington, D. C.

— At New-York, Archbishop Hughes delivered a most important and patriotic sermon in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. After reciting his course of action in Europe, he called upon the whole North to come out in its strength, for “volunteering to continue and for a draft to be made.” He said that if three hundred thousand men were not enough, to call out another three hundred thousand. “The people should insist on being drafted, and so bring this unnatural strife to a close” by strength of might alone.

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August 16 — This morning at daylight we moved out to the Rapidan. When we arrived there the pickets were firing at each other across the river. The Sixth Virginia Cavalry crossed the Rapidan and captured seven of the Yanks’ cavalry that were on picket, and drove the rest back to their camp. After our cavalry drove in their pickets we heard their infantry drums beating the long roll, which was a certain indication that the Yank infantry camp was not far away, and slightly stirred up. The Sixth Virginia fell back and recrossed the river, and soon afterwards I saw a skirmish line march out of a woods about a mile from us. We held a splendid position with a first-class command of all the fields over which they would have to advance in attempting to drive us away or force a passage of the river.

We opened fire on their skirmishers with two of our rifled guns and drove their line back in the woods whence it had come. Soon after we settled their skirmishers we moved back to the Court House and remained there under marching orders till night, then moved to the southern edge of town and camped near the railroad.

This evening a train came in from Gordonsville, filled with conscripts from North Carolina.

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August 16, Saturday. With the President an hour or two this A.M., selecting candidates from a large number recommended for midshipmen at the naval school.

Finished a set of instructions for our naval officers in matters relating to prize captures and enforcing the blockade. Mr. Seward sent me a few days since in the name of the President some restraining points on which he wished the officers to be instructed, but I was convinced they would work injury. Have toned down and modified his paper, relieved it of its illegal features, added one or two precautionary points and sent the document to the State Department for criticism and suggestions.

Mem. It may be well, if I can find time, to get up a complete set of instructions, defining the points of international and statute law which are disputed or not well understood.

Have a long telegram from Wilkes, who informs me that the army has left, and asking for instructions what to do now that McClellan has gone. I have not been advised of army movements by either the Secretary of War or General Halleck. Both are ready at all times to call for naval aid, but are almost wholly neglectful of the Navy and of their own duties in regard to it, as in this instance.

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16th.—Morning came, and found us still waiting orders, whilst immense trains of teams and masses of soldiery, sick and well, are pushing past us. Our division are again to bring up the rear, and receive the attack, if one is made. j This is said to be the post of honor; but we are beginning to feel that we may be ” honored over-much.”

At 5 P. M. came the expected and anxiously looked-for order, and we are on the road down James River. Not being a military man, I may be hypercritical, but it does seem to me that it should not require the forty-eight hours which we have taken for that purpose, to get out of camp with an army no larger than ours; or, that if so much time is required, the leaders should adopt some system in leaving, so as to call the divisions successively to get ready; not to call all at once, and wear out the rear guard with watching and with expectation, whilst the-advance is passing. Two days ago our division was ordered to be ready to march at an hour fixed, and to have two days’ rations to march on. The two days expired without further order to prepare rations, and the hour of starting found our rear guard, which is to stand the brunt of battle, worn out, and without rations to march on! “Shiftless.”

At 11 p. M. we reached Charles City, an extensive capital of of one of the oldest and richest counties in Virginia. This Charles City contains one dwelling house, with three or four , buildings for “negro quarters,” and a court house of about 20×35 feet, and one story high. In Virginia, they must have very little legal justice or very little need of it. From the direction of our march so far, I judge we go to Fort Monroe, and that we shall cross the Chickahominy at its main junction with the James.

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Norwich, August 16th, 1862.

My own dear Son:

After having received intimations from various sources of the almost certainty of your appointment to the Lt. Colonelcy of the Eighteenth, you may imagine the crushing disappointment produced by the order from the War Department forbidding the removal of all officers from their present positions. Col. Ely is very anxious to have you with him. Ned Tyler told me that Ely said to the Gov.: “If you will appoint the officers I wish, I will be responsible for the reputation of the Regiment. If, however, you put in mere politicians I cannot.” I feel the sickness of “hope deferred” this morning, and my heart is very heavy. Well, I cannot resist all influences, and though I have brave hours, I have times of bitter struggling. Well, this is useless as well as discouraging to you. Pardon me, my son. I shall soon recover from this unworthy despondency. I am much gratified by the interest shown by your friends here. Mr. Johnson (Charlie’s father) told Lillie the pressure upon the Gov. from Norwich people on your behalf had been very great, the matter was now decided, and you would probably be with us next week, still, he said, we must not be too sure, for “there’s many a slip ‘twixt the cup and the lip.” For Gen. Tyler’s affectionate interest, I must always be very grateful. He has returned to Connecticut to take charge of the Regiments now preparing in the State. He has taken great interest in you always. Perhaps I am unreasonable in my disappointment at not seeing you, but I do feel you might have been appointed earlier, before these orders were issued.

We are all well, and anxiously watching for news from Burnside. I have sent to New-York for a flag to wave from our old home, the home of your childhood. I intended it to greet your return. I shall place it over the front entrance so that all who pass in or out must walk under its folds. Hunt just passing the door called out, “give my love to Will.” All are interested and excited about the new Regiments. The Twenty-second goes into camp in Norwich, on the Fair Grounds. Eating, drinking, or sleeping, our thoughts are on the war and the precious lives at stake, as well as the great issue involved. Bromley is Captain of a Company, and young Merwin his first Lieutenant. Morton Hale is a Lieutenant in one of the companies; he is to be married next Tuesday to Emily Huntington. Her sister Hannah was engaged to Charlie Breed.

Good-bye, my own dear, dear son. My whole trust is placed in the mercy of God, to whom I earnestly pray for your deliverance from all evil. God bless you wherever you may be is the cry of my anxious, loving heart.

Always lovingly,

Mother.

New London has furnished one private and an Adjutant —wants a field officer besides. They have sent four hundred men to the Fourteenth. I have just heard that perhaps the staff officers are not included in this order from the Department. Gen. Tyler will be at home this evening, when I shall learn.

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16th. Saturday. Kept up our march till morning at nine. Crossed the Osage. At nine A. M. stopped to feed and breakfast. Marched on through Johnstown. All the day the boys made for every melon patch, orchard or beehive to be seen. Had a good eat from melons and apples. Saw very few people. Encamped at sundown. For the first time had a night’s sleep. Very little water. Expected somewhat an attack before morning. Ordered to sleep on our arms. 1 slept soundly, as I usually do. Johnnie Devlin and I devoured a nice large watermelon. Enemy supposed to be six miles away.

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August 16th. We remained on duty all night, but at 7 A. M. withdrew the picket line and joined the brigade, which was in rear of the division. At 9 A. M. the whole division fell in and marched northerly, following the troops, which, together with the trains, had preceded us; our line of march lay through splendid fields of corn, now quite fit to eat, some of it so remarkably high that I could only just touch the waving plumes with the point of my drawn sword, on horseback. It afforded a grand feast for the men, who were not slow to fill up their haversacks; it is easily roasted by throwing it into burning embers, with the covering intact; this partially steams it, and gives a delicious flavor; marched until evening, making only two short halts for rest, and went into bivouac in a beautiful spot near a large house, which Sumner occupied as headquarters. The country we marched over is much in advance of anything we have seen heretofore, and has not been campaigned over; consequently, our larder contains many delicacies, and within an hour after we arrived, en bivouac, the mess was bountifully served with fricasse chicken, roasted corn, etc.; all are in buoyant spirits at the prospect of active service again. During the night Franklin’s corps passed by.

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August 16.—An enthusiastic war meeting was this day held at Lake Mahopac, N. Y.—The One Hundred and Twenty-second regiment of Pennsylvania volunteers arrived at Washington, D. C. —Colonels Corcoran and Wilcox, Lieutenant-Col. Brown, and Major Rogers, reached Fortress Monroe, having been exchanged at Richmond, Va. Great joy was manifested at the release of Col. Corcoran and his fellow-soldiers.

—The United States gunboat Pocahontas, one of the blockading squadron off Charleston, proceeded up the Black River, S. C, on a reconnoitring expedition, and in search of a rebel steamer reported to be in the river. When about twenty-five miles up, it was discovered that the rebels had sunk the vessel. In returning, the Pocahontas was fired into by bands of rebel guerrillas all along the banks of the river for a distance of twenty miles, but she sustained no injury, and but one person was wounded.

—Hopkinsville, Ky., was this day captured by a force of rebel guerrilla cavalry, under the command of Colonel A. R. Johnson. A quantity of ammunition and a number of rifles fell into their hands. Colonel Johnson issued a notice to the inhabitants of the town and its vicinity, informing them that he occupied the town and had taken the arms, etc., as a confederate soldier; and that if any Southern man or his property should be molested on account of his visit, he would retaliate on the Union men of the place.

—A company of rebel cavalry dashed across the Rapidan River, Va., near Crooked Run, and captured Lieutenant Black, and five men of the Union army encamped in the vicinity.

—An expedition consisting of the Union gunboats Benton, Mound City and General Bragg, under command of Captain Phelps; the rams Switzerland, Monarch, Lioness and Sampson, under command of Colonel Ellet, and transports Rockctt and McDowell, with the Fifty-seventh Ohio, the Thirty-third Indiana, fifty cavalrymen, and two pieces of artillery on board, under command of Colonel Wood of the Fifty-seventh Ohio, left Helena, Arkansas, this day and proceeded down the Mississippi. On the eighteenth, when near the mouth of the Yazoo River, at Millikins’s Bend, they captured the rebel steamer Fairplay, laden with an entire equipment of arms, accoutrements and ammunition for an army of six thousand men. At Haines’s Bluff they captured four pieces of artillery, and a large quantity of ammunition. At Richmond, La., they destroyed the railway depot, together with its contents, a large quantity of sugar, commissary stores, ammunition, etc., and engaged a force of rebels whom they put to flight. On the twenty-fifth instant the expedition returned to Helena, without losing a man.—(Doc. 183.)

—The Richmond (Va.) Examiner of this date, speaking editorially of the approaching session of the rebel Congress, among other things, said: “It will be for Congress to repair, as it best can, the mischief done the public service by a weak and impracticable executive; to look at the reduction of our forces in the field; the decay of military discipline; the demoralization of our armies, and the jeopardy to which our cause has been put by a long course of trifling conduct, childish pride of opinion, unworthy obstinacy, official obtuseness, conceit, defiance of public opinion, imperiousness and despotic affectation on the part of those intrusted with the execution of the war.”

—The evacuation of Harrison’s Landing, on the James River, Va., by the army of the Potomac, which commenced on the eleventh instant, was this day completed.—(Doc. 184.)

—A fight took place near Lone Jack, Mo., between a force of about eight hundred Missouri State militia, under the command of Major Foster, and a body of rebel guerrillas under Colonel Coffee, numbering between three and four thousand men, resulting, after an engagement of four hours, in the defeat of the Nationals with a loss of sixty men killed and one hundred wounded and missing. The rebel loss was one hundred and ten killed and wounded.—(Doc. 185.)

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August 15, Friday. Received yesterday a note from Chase that the President proposed to change two of the nominees under the new tax law in Connecticut. Called on the President, and stated to him I did it as a duty, that duty alone impelled me. He said he fully believed it, and was glad to do me the justice to say that in matters of appointments, patronage, I had never given him any trouble.

Having an appointment this Friday morning at 9 with the President, I met there Babcock[1] and Platt[2] of Connecticut. They had called and stated their case, which was extremely unjust to Mr. Howard, and, turning to me, Mr. B. said H. claimed he had procured or secured my appointment. The President said he had a slight acquaintance with Mr. H. himself. Had met him in Illinois and knew him as a friend of mine. Had received letters from him expressing regard for me, and one signed jointly by H. and Senator Dixon. But these gentlemen did not originate his action in relation to my appointment. “The truth is,” said he, — “and I may as well state the facts to you, for others know them,—on the day of the Presidential election, the operator of the telegraph in Springfield placed his instrument at my disposal. I was there without leaving, after the returns began to come in, until we had enough to satisfy us how the election had gone. This was about two in the morning of Wednesday. I went home, but not to get much sleep, for I then felt, as I never had before, the responsibility that was upon me. I began at once to feel that I needed support, — others to share with me the burden. This was on Wednesday morning, and before the sun went down I had made up my Cabinet. It was almost the same that I finally appointed. One or two changes were made, and the particular position of one or two was unsettled. My mind was fixed on Mr. Welles as the member from New England on that Wednesday. Some other names passed through my thoughts, and some persons were afterwards pressed upon me, but the man and the place were fixed in my mind then, as it now is. My choice was confirmed by Mr. H., by Senator Dixon, Preston King, Vice-President Hamlin, Governor Morgan, and others, but the selection was my own, and not theirs, and Mr. H. is under a mistake in what he says.”


[1] James F. Babcock, editor of the New Haven Palladium. Lincoln appointed him Collector at New Haven.

[2] O. H. Platt, subsequently United States Senator.

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