17 April 1864: “Tomorrow I shall have the opportunity of seeing a torpedo work.”

Item Description: Letter written 17 April 1864 by James “Jim” E. Gifford to his parents in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Gifford discusses blockade running, lack of any news on the ship, and the use of a torpedo to clear out a ship wreck.

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Item Citation: Folder 2, James E. Gifford Papers #04493-z, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

U.S. Ship Release

Off Beaufort, N.C.

April 17, 1864

Dear Parents,

                                        I write you a few lines to let you know I am well. I received a letter from you last monday and was glad to hear you were all well. Nothing to write about of any consequence. We remain here as usual and can see no prospect of any change in our location. The weather has been quite warm this week. Blockade running seems to be getting out of date for I have not heard of the capture of any one for some time now. There is a vessel here causes some suspicion of her being a blockade runner. The hails from Phil once bound to Lt Thomas she is loaded with rum and flour since she came in here she has painted a lead color. Tomorrow I shall have the opportunity of seeing a torpedo work. Yesterday two of the smallest torpedos was taken out of use for the purpose of blowing up a sunken schooner. There is a strong tide running all the time and this wreck so situated that it causes the sand to fill up the channel between here and Beaufort. The old doctor is lazy as usual. We have quite a  farm yard aboard having pigs hens dogs-cats and kittens I attended church to day in Beaufort I see some kind provisions are getting high at home. We serve out nice white sugar for fifteen cents per pound and butter at thirty cents per pound. I think the wages in the navy must increase by the way things are increasing. Our executive officer who took home a prize has got back again. In my last letter I sent you my picture and told you I had sent one to Mag and I expect so to do but I could not find any news to write in my letter and I did not send it. I have got it about half written and I guess during this week I shall find news enough to finish it. You cant imagine how  hard it is to find anything to write about. Now we are on ship and everything goes through the same routine everyday. Letters are great god sends out here now. The only letters I get now are the ones from you and once in a while from Lue and one in about every two months from Mag. I wish you would keep me informed how ? get along Singing. I can here them out here singing every day. I can’t think of any more to write to night and I will close

From,

Jim

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15 April 1864: “Before leaving town the Yankees burned the Court house, the railroad bridge over the Ouachita and one other small public office”

Item Description: Diary entry, 15 April 1864, by Sarah Lois Wadley, describing Union forces leaving Monroe and the liberation of slaves. Wadley was the daughter of William Morrill Wadley (1812?-1882) and Rebecca Barnard Everingham Wadley (fl. 1840-1884) and lived with her family in homes near Amite in Tangipahoa Parish, Monroe and Oakland in Ouachita Parish, La., and near Macon, Ga.

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Item Citation: From folder 5 of the Sarah Lois Wadley Papers # 1258Southern Historical CollectionThe Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

Friday night, April 15th.

I have allowed two days to pass without writing the news, the Yankees are gone, and I have been so busy that I have not been able before to chronicle this great event. We heard the news Tuesday evening and on Wednesday morning Father and Mother went to town, the Yankees had indeed gone, taking all the cotton they could get, and from five hundred to a thousand negroes, almost everyone in Monroe lost their house servants, and some lost all on their plantations. Mrs. Stevens had not one house servant left except her old carriage driver, Cuffy. Mrs. Tucker’s little servant girl did not go, but every one of Mrs. Stevens did. The day that Mother was there Mrs. Tucker and Mary prepared the dinner, their servants did not leave until Monday night and left everything prepared for breakfast. Scott was very honourable, she has her Misstresses Silver in her charge but took none of it away with her, I am so sorry for Mrs. Stevens, as I said before she has many companions in misfortune. Mrs. Garrett is the only lady who lost none. Five of the railroad negroes left, three of whom we thought the most faithful, Nate, Little Cuffy and Ike, who all, especially Nate, behaved so well on our way to Georgia. I believe he was promised a Captaincy, perhaps that allured him, we lost but one negro, Little Emmaline, who was hired in Monroe with her husband, a railroad boy, and left with him. Before leaving town the Yankees burned the Court house, the railroad bridge over the Ouachita and one other small public office, they did not trouble private property at all except to take all the cotton they could find. I was surprised to hear of so many negroes going, it is said that one woman killed her little baby, who was very sick, and she knew would keep her from going, many left their little babies on the plantation to go.

But let us leave this sad and sickening topic for one very dear and happy to me. Wednesday evening Eldridge came back from Homer and brought me two letters, one from Willie and one from Mrs. Morancy. Willie’s letter was very delightful to me, is so affectionate, he says he arrived in Homer about eleven o’clock Sunday morning and had gone to Church, then on the back of the envelope he says that he had been to Church that night and that he wishes that I could be there this week, they were going to have preaching every night. Oh, my dear Brother, are my long cherished hopes, my daily prayers to be realized, shall I see him happy in the way that I have desired for him with a great desire. God grant it may be so, I wish no better thing for him than that he may feel the love of Christ in his heart.

Mrs. Morancy’s letter was affectionate as ever, she tells me that Willie’s staying with them, says Mrs. Barr would take no excuse, she writes of the happiness of Mr. Bowmar Barr and his wife in their baby boy, I feel with them in this deepest, purest joy, it seems strange to think that Mr. Barr is no older than Willie.

Mrs. Mays spent the day with us yesterday, came for me to sew her hat. I was showing her about how to sew one for her little bay and had so many interruptions that I only finished the crown of her hat, have not worked any on it today, but shall try and finish it tomorrow. It has been disagreeably chilly today, fires were comfortable even at noon, Father and I took a ride this evening, saw such a beautiful haw tree in full bloom and gathered a quantity of the fragrant white wreaths, some of them are shedding their perfume through my room, combined with that of a rose that Mary sent me the other day, my little geranium is living and growing, my Valeria, it means so much to me as I look on its two delicate little leaves I am scarce refrain from caressing them, am only with held by the thought that my caress might hurt it. But my writing is becoming almost illegible, my eyes are tired and I must prepare for bed.

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14 April 1864: “There are about 100 Rebel prisoners here, to day they are out under guard (negroes) at work on the Fort.”

Item Description: Letter, written 14 April 1864 from Columbus, Kentucky, Fort Halleck. Edward Allen reports to his parents of a failed attempt of confederates to take the fort and African American union troops guarding Confederate prisoners of war.

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Item Citation: Folder 1, Edward W. Allen Papers #03737-z, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Fort Halleck, April 14th, 1864

Columbus Kentucky

Dear Parents,

You will be surprised probably to see that we are here a little over a week we received orders at Cairo immediately and were this far on our way when landing here we found the town in a great state of excitement the rebs had been in with a flag of truce giving the commander a few hours to surrender fortunately we landed just in time we marched up and entered Fort Halleck which has been garrison by the 3rd regular colored Regt as we marched up the cannons from the Forts were firing and we anticipated a battle right along on leaving Black River  I turned my gun over the be carried with others but on leaving the boat I left my knapsack with one of the boys on the boat. borrowed a gun of a sick boy and started we waited anxiously all day but “nary reb” There are a great many rumors circulating as to the rebs but can place no dependence upon any thing we hear in camp. There are about 100 Rebel prisoners here, to day they are out under guard (negroes) at work on the Fort

It gives these Darkies a great deal of satisfaction to stand over their former masters and compel them to work. One of them said to 2 or 3 of the rebs that were digging and seemed inclined to shirk a little. “Come,” he says, “get about something down dar”, “be doin somethin” and these once haughty chins had to come to time.

I had nearly finished you a long letter but left everything aboard. almost left my overcoat damn glad I did not for we find as we get north. the air is cooler. Lt Tinker? left everything and had been sick too but the negro’s let no occupy their quarters so we manage to get along pretty well with out our tents and blankets. It has a long time since I received a letter from home and it may be sometime longer get before I get one for your letters will go to Vicksburg and back again I hope in a day or two to get to Cairo for we go in to Camp here and wait for the Regt

My love to you all Direct immediately to Cairo Edward for we may not stay there long

 

 

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13 April 1864: “The most of the dwelling houses however are occupied by negroes, I suppose the slaves of their former masters who have run away.”

Item Description:  Continuation of a multi-day letter that started on 11 April 1864.  In this letter, dated 13 April 1864, Jonathan L. Whitaker writes to his wife, Julia A. Wells Whitaker, about traveling down to Hilton Head, S.C. and then Beaufort, S.C., about Union soldiers occupying houses of former plantation owners and using them for hospitals and headquarters, and how most houses are inhabited by formerly enslaved individuals.  Later that night, Jonathan recalls going ashore stating, “I have been on shore however, and stood on the soil of that hot-bed of treason South Carolina.”  Jonathan L. Whitaker, from Orange County, N.Y., was a physician serving as a United States Army surgeon at a hospital at Chester, Pa., and with the 26th United States Colored Troops near Beaufort, S.C.  12April1864212April1864313April18641Item Citation:  Letter dated 13 April 1864, found in Folder 2 of  the Jonathan Lewis Whitaker Papers, #3674-z, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

Wednesday, April 13th, 1864. Of[f] Hilton Head, S.C. On board ship

So we are here at last, but it seem we are not to land here. We go [?] miles up the river to Beaufort, and we are now on the way. It is as warm and pleasant as this morning. We see the shores on either side clothed in green, covered with trees & a sprinkling of houses here & there. Everything looks just as I always expected the South to look, warm, luxurious, low, sandy. I see many of what I take to be Palmetto trees, tall trees with naked trunks and a big bunch of foliage at the top, but we are not close enough to tell much about how the vegetation really looks. Hilton Head as near as I could see from the ship, consists of a collection of perhaps 50 large and newly built houses with many tents, camps etc, situated close upon the beach and with woods almost all around. The river as we go up is very woody & does not seem to be much settled. The other 5 boats all got here about the same time we did, & we are all going up the river together. I made quite a discovery this morning. You remember I thought I has lost some collars on Rikers Island. Did you ever suppose I should find them 1000 miles away, down in South Carolina? But I did. As I was packing up my valise preparing to land at Hilton Head I found them. The Colonel’s room was next to mine & he was packing at the same time. He called to me & handed me the collars which he happened to come across at that moment in his valise. It seems I has left them in his tent when I left there & he had taken care of them until now. There is a half dozen of them. It is now noon & tonight would make just 5 days we have been on board ship and it is not likely we will get off before night. I will stop now in order that I may go out on deck & enjoy the rich scenery up the river.

Wednesday night 8 P.M. Apr. 13th, 1864

Contrary to all expectations I am still on board ship. And alone at that. We got the troops off this afternoon, but as no way could be provided to transport the sick to camp tonight I have to stay here with them and get them off in the morning. I have been on shore however, and stood on the soil of that hot-bed of treason South Carolina. I would like to convey to you an idea of this place but I cannot. Imagine yourself (with me by your side if you are a mind to) sitting in the cool of the evening after one of the hottest days of New Yorks summer. So the air feels to me tonight. I am sitting in the cabin, a large room, with all the windows up, and the breeze as it plays through has that same cooling effect which a cool breeze has in a hot day. The town or village of Beaufort, is I should suppose about half as large as Middletown, & is quite a pleasant place. The town was captured I believe 2 years ago, when the Rebels all left, and the Union men now occupy their fine houses for Hospitals, Head Quarters, and other public buildings. The most of the dwelling houses are occupied by negroes, I suppose the slaves of their former masters who have run away. It must be a remarkably pleasant place to spend winter, they say they have had but one frost here this winter. So if by my usual good fortune I should have a prospect of spending next winter here, you may make your calculations to be one of my party. They say our camp is a mile & a half from the village. When we were ordered here we all expected it would be to go into fighting immediately, but we find that the white troops who were here are leaving to go north, and we are to take their place, from which we are quick to infer that our business will be simply to guard the place, an idea very acceptable of course to all of us. But then we may be wrong in our inference. I find that a mail for New York left here tonight & that it leaves once a week, so I cannot get this scrawl off until a week from today. In the meantime however I can find more news perhaps to tell you. The mail from New York here leaves New York every Saturday, so to come direct your letters should leave Susquehan[n]a by Thursday or at latest Friday (but the latter would not be sure). I will get them then about Wednesday following. My letter leaving here on Wednesday you will get the next morning or Tuesday. I will try & get off one a week and please by and do the same. I feel very well. I will now close, & finish up at some later day.

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12 April 1864:”About Sundown tonight we expect to pass in sight of the City of Charleston and Fort Sumpter, those two celebrated objects which have been familiar to us since the war broke out.”

Item Description:  Continuation of a multi-day letter that started on 11 April 1864.  In this letter, dated 12 April 1864, Jonathan L. Whitaker writes to his wife, Julia A. Wells Whitaker, while travelling down the coast of South Carolina.  As he passes by Fort Sumpter, Jonathan notes that he sincerely hopes that “before this short summer is over, the stars and stripes may proudly wave above them [Fort Sumpter and the city of Charleston, S.C.], and peace and plenty reign…”.  Jonathan L. Whitaker, from Orange County, N.Y., was a physician serving as a United States Army surgeon at a hospital at Chester, Pa., and with the 26th United States Colored Troops near Beaufort, S.C.  11April1864212April1864112April18642Item Citation:  Letter dated 12 April 1864, found in Folder 2 of  the Jonathan Lewis Whitaker Papers, #3674-z, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

Off the coast of South Carolina, April 12th, 1864, 2, P.M.

I am happy to say that I feel first rate today, as well as the rest of the officers. We cleared off the dinner table today in a hurry, 16 of us, & nearly all had not eat a comfortable mea for 3 days. The sea is quite smooth today which accounts for our feeling better. We are still out of sight of land, & have seen nothing of the other ships since we saw the “Sailor” night before last. We had quite a scare last night or rather 3 o’clock this morning, those of us who happened to be awake. We were fired upon by a strange vessel three times & ordered to lay too. We stopped of course while the other vessel did the same & sent a boat on board of us. After finding out who & what we were we were allowed to go on without being disturbed. It was one of the blockading vessels on the watch for rebel ships, & not being able to tell us in the night, it was their duty to do as they did. For a short time of course we did not know but she might be a rebel ship in which case we would have been in a bad fix, as our vessel is not armed. There is no danger however from rebel ships in these waters, I should suppose. We got below North Carolina before daylight this morning and are now going down the coast of South Carolina. We are still about 90 miles from Hilton Head our destination, Where we expect to get early tomorrow morning. About Sundown tonight we expect to pass in sight of the City of Charleston and Fort Sumpter, those two celebrated objects which have been familiar to us ever since the war broke out. It will be a great satisfaction to me to look upon these places even though they are still crowned by the flag of treason and Rebellion. I sincerely hope however that before this short summer is over, the stars and stripes may proudly wave above them, and peace and plenty reign throughout our great country, and those who are now necessarily absent from home and friends, may have the privileged opportunity of returning to them, no more to be separated on account of war. Time passes rather slowly on the ship, nothing to do so we read, play chess, cards, (not me the latter you know) etc. We have had a great change in the weather the last 24 hours. It is very warm. I have pulled off my jacket, which I have worn steadily since I left Rikers Island, but I could not stand it on here. We have had no fires yesterday or today. If it is so warm here on the waters it must be much more so on the land. I am now farther, much farther, from home that I ever was before 900 miles, am getting you see to be quite a traveler, & the only drawback to my enjoyment is the impossibility of having you with me, not for my comfort altogether, but for your satisfaction. For otherwise than the seasickness I know full well how you would be pleased with the trip. And then you would be able to pick oranges for yourself off the trees which I know you like better that paying for them. I am thinking though we shall have a hard time with the heat, not being used to it. But it is all in the distance as yet and we can guess nothing about it until we come to it. Tomorrow I will write more.

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11 April 1864: “Sea sickness must be felt to be described, so different from everything else, so harmless, and yet making one feel so intensely wretched.”

Item Description:  Multi-day letter dated 11 April 1864 from Jonathan L. Whitaker to his wife, Julia A. Wells Whitaker.  In this letter Jonathan writes to his wife from off the coast of North Carolina about travelling by ship to Beaufort, S.C.  Jonathan describes in great detail his voyage on the ship, sea sickness, meals, and travelling with a Colored Regiment.  Jonathan L. Whitaker, from Orange County, N.Y., was a physician serving as a United States Army surgeon at a hospital at Chester, Pa., and with the 26th United States Colored Troops near Beaufort, S.C. 11April1864111April18642Item Citation:  Letter dated 11 April 1864, found in Folder 2 of the Jonathan Lewis Whitaker Papers, #3674-z, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

Off the Coast of North Carolina, April 11th 1864
on board ship “City of Richmond.”

My dear Wife

I find it hard to pass the weary hours away. So I will endeavor to put my thought on paper from day to day for your perusal. We are having, for me, a long sea voyage. We got on board (as I told you in my letter yesterday) Friday night, and will not get off they say before Wednesday morning, making 4 days & 5 nights on board ship and all the time sick at that. I did hope that I would not be sick this time, but I have been ever since I started, yet not so deathly sick as I was before, just sick enough to feel very uncomfortable. I did not vomit any until this morning, when after eating my breakfast I went out and threw it up immediately, and now though the vessel rocks so I can scarcely write it does not affect me as bad as it did before. Sea sickness must be felt to be described, so different from everything else, so harmless, and yet making one feel so intensely wretched. It takes three boats to carry our Regiment, & as there is another Colored Regiment with us there are six boats in all. I am on this boat with the sick & the Colonel & 4 companies, 3 companies with the Lieut Colonel and Dr. Uglow are on the “Virginia” while 3 companies with the Major are on the “Sailor.” The “Virginia” we have not seen or heard from since we started, The “Sailor” is sometimes in sight. We stopped at Fortress Monroe where I sent the letter from yesterday morning, & I got a chance to go on shore a few moments, I saw at once we were a good ways south. Grass was growing, flowers were blooming, bees were bidding, & everything looked like spring. I wonder how it will look when we get three times as far south? Pleasant enough no doubt, but not so pleasant my dear but a little choice company might make it far pleasanter. We are running down today entirely out of sight of land and the waves roll & the vessel rocks enough to scare one who was not used to it, but I begin to feel quite safe, though too sick to enjoy the ride. I saw by chance before I left Annapolis, our old friend Sister Tyler. She was much surprised to see me there & inquire about wifey & babies. I told her part, but not all of course. She was very sorry on your account I had to go to the field, & was very glad she left Chester before the Rebels came there. O! how glad I will be when this sickening ride is over. One has to pay for his meals & can’t eat them or if he does eat them he throws them overboard to the fishes, and all the time feeling as though as though your stomach was coming up out of your mouth. I can write no more today. Tomorrow I will try again.

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10 April 1864: “rebel indeed, proud invaders, when shall we teach you the bitterness of that word again!”

Item Description: Diary entry, 15 April 1864, by Sarah Lois Wadley, describing the Union occupation of Monroe. Wadley was the daughter of William Morrill Wadley (1812?-1882) and Rebecca Barnard Everingham Wadley (fl. 1840-1884) and lived with her family in homes near Amite in Tangipahoa Parish, Monroe and Oakland in Ouachita Parish, La., and near Macon, Ga.

[Item transcription available below images]

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Item Citation: From folder 5 of the Sarah Lois Wadley Papers # 1258Southern Historical CollectionThe Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

Sunday evening, April 10th 1864

This has not been at all like Sunday; fatigued by the excitement and exertion of the past weeks, I slept until much later than usual this morning. Lieut. Pugh and his brother came to breakfast, which was quite late, his brother tolerably tall, with fair complexion and blue eyes and a pleasant modesty, open countenance, quite different from Lieut. Pugh who is quite small, black hair and eyes and a rather swarthy complexion, which however, does not give him a manly air, his manners are quite pert and somewhat affectedly careless, soon after breakfast Father had Prince make the ambulance ready to drive him in to Trenton with the gentleman who stayed here last night; his name is J. A. Roberts, he is going to Virginia where his friends are, had been living for a good many years in Arizona, but took refuge in Texas soon after the war commenced, his health is very bad, and he shows it. He had such a large, heavy blanket, woven by the Narvahoe indians, it is as thick as an ingrain carpet, and very prettily striped with white, black and blue, it was large enough for two blankets, being sewn in the middle, he said it was too heavy for him and gave half of it to Father, it is quite an acquisition, so good in travelling. The whole blanket before it was ripped weighed forty five pounds. Father asked the gentleman to write to Uncle David after he got into Mississippi or Georgia and tell him that we were well, he said he was not willing to take any letters, in case of being searched by the Yankees; wanted to try and get them to take him dawn in one of their transports.

We grew very impatient as the hours passed on to one o’clock, it was nearly two when Father came, accompanied by a strange man, and with his hands quite bloody, we were all excitement until he could sit down and tell us the story. He said he had gone on very quietly until he nearly reached Trenton, there Mr. Craig, who was very close behind, called out that he heard the Yankees were coming up to Trenton, and he turned round and came back home. Father however, thought he might as well go on and did so, when he arrived opposite Mrs. Seale’s he saw a party of Yankees, thirteen in number, with some uncommissioned officer at their head, they were talking to a knot of ladies, among whom were Mrs. Seale and Lucy. Father stopped then too, and the officer began to ask him if he had seen a Confederate officer mounted on a white horse pass up the road. Father told him he had not seen a white horse since he left home. It appears that a Captain Brigham, said to be a bravo sort of a man, had been “cavorting” round below Trenton in sight of the gunboats, had been seen from them, and was the cause of this party having come on shore. After speaking to the yankee a little while Father asked Mrs. Seale if she would not like to take a ride down to the Monroe ferry, she took her bonnet and went with him. Father did not go over to Monroe, left Mr. Roberts at the ferry and returned up to Trenton. When he got up into the town he found that this party of Yankees were going into the stores and houses, notprivate dwellings, searching for this Captain Brigham and for arms, they found some old muskets and some rusty swords and two kegs of powder, went into the post office and took out all the letters except those addressed to ladies, (a rare act of courtesy indeed).

Father stopped up in Trenton, sat there in the ambulance to see what was going to happen, them was a Mr. Turner in the post office who had come down to Trenton that morning with his buggy, they took his buggy to carry their arms and powder down to their gunboats with, Mr. Turner asked them to send it back, they said they would not, but if he chose he might ride down to the boat and bring it back himself, so he got in beside the young yankee who was driving. In the mean time one or two Yankees had gone up the road a little way, and as they returned Prince (who was walking up the street) overheard them say to the commander that there were some Confederates up the road, he said they would go down and gather some horses and then go after them. Prince also overheard one say to the officer, “Why don’t you take that ambulance to carry the arms down,” he replied that that gentleman was using it, and he would not trouble him. Well, having taken two horses from citizens who were there, they all went down towards Monroe, and Father and Prince faced slowly back towards home. They had advanced only a few yards when a loud report which they mistook for a gun from the boat arrested their progress, they waited for further developments, pretty soon the two horses the Yankees had taken came running back. Father thought they had been frightened and thrown their Yankee riders, pretty soon they heard another report, a real gun this time, and in a few moments here came one or two of our soldiers saying they had had a skirmish. At first Father did not believe it but Lieut. Pugh soon overtook him, and he found that it was really so. It happened thus, as the Yankees went on down with the buggy in front, our men, some dozen or so on horseback, dashed round the corner and the parties met, unexpectedly I reckon to both, perhaps our men might have taken the Yankees prisoners as the latter were on foot and taken by surprise, but the buggy with the citizen in it arrested their fire, in the words of Mr. Turner “The horse turned right round towards the river, the young Yankee either jumped or fell out of the buggy. Young Pugh called out ‘charge’, some of the men discharged their guns, the keg of powder exploded between my legs where it was sitting, the horse plunged and I jumped out. I thought I would light on my feet but came flat down on my face, and when I picked myself up and looked round I expected to see at least two or three lying dead on the ground, but not one either Yankee or Confederate was to be seen. I don’t know where the Yankees went to, some of them might have jumped over the bluff, but I didn’t think to look and see, and had I thought I wouldn’t have looked for fear they would shoot up at me!” how the powder came to explode no one knows, or how the horse got his leg broken, it appears that none of the Yankees were hurt. One of our men was severely wounded, he was supported on his horse out to a house about three miles from Trenton. Father laid him on a bed and examined his wound, it was just above the hip. We heard yesterday evening that Dr. Whyte said it, the ball, had passed through the liver and that his recovery was doubtful; it is sad to think of a life thus lost for worse than nothing. The only effect upon the Yankees after their fright was over was to exhasperate them, they threatened to shell the town but afterwards replied to the entreaties of some of the citizens that on reconsideration they would not do so unless our forces returned, that “if they saw a rebel soldier there again they would certainly shell the place,” rebel indeed, proud invaders, when shall we teach you the bitterness of that word again!

Mrs. Temple and Miss Anna Moore came over in the afternoon; about four o’clock we were surprised by seeing Major Waddill ride up, he had come to Monroe on business not expecting to meet the Yankees. I suppose his business is of a somewhat important and difficult sort, I don’t know what. Mother and Father invited him to spend the night, he went to meet an appointment but returned about dark. Is a very elegant and agreeable gentleman, my short acquaintance with him disposed me to like him very much, he is very fond of his family, and is a great money maker, looks quite jaded, probably from fatigue and anxiety combined.

We are preparing for quite a battle an Red River now, probably it has taken place before this, I scarcely dare to hope much. Oh, if we could but gain it, it would so reanimate the sinking spirits and revive the hope that is almost dead, I mean always on this side the river, from what we hear we have no right to distrust our troops on the other side. We hear that Forrest and Morgan are again doing brilliant things, Forrest has lately taken and destroyed Paducah, Columbus, Ken. and Union City.

It was nearly dark this evening when Lucy Seale and Mrs. Norriss rode up on horseback, I was alarmed, thought they were coming here for refuge from some impending evil. Lucy looked the picture of troubled alarm, wanted to know if Father had an ox wagon, or any kind of wagon here that he could send for their trunks, they were afraid that our men might go back there and that the town would be shelled. Father had nothing but a cart, and promised to send it in tomorrow morning. Mrs. Norris had been in to Monroe, that morning, said that the gunboats were not going to stay but a very few days, the river is falling so fast as to render a longer delay dangerous.

Capt. Frank Garrett and a Lieut. Hardy were taken prisoners, were about town in citizen’s dress and someone, I suppose, informed of them, it is a disgraceful thing they ought to be heartily ashamed, but Mrs. Norriss says they took it very pleasantly, probably they did not reflect that if the Yankees chose they might consider them as spies and hang them instead of parolling them an they promised, and as they very probably expected when they put themselves in the way. Father brought me a very cordial, sweet note from Miss Sallie Brantley in answer to one I wrote her inviting her to visit us, she was on the eve of starting for Minden on a visit of three months, said she would with pleasure accept the invitation when she returned home in July.

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9 April 1864: “My friends and every one intrusted in my election must work for me, & play “the agreeable”…

Item description: Letter, dated 9 April 1864, from Leonidas Polk to his wife, informing her that he has been nominated for election to the North Carolina state legislature.

[transcription available below images]

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Item citation: From the Leonidas Polk Papers, #2965, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

Camp 43d N.C.T.

April 9th 1864

My dear Wife,

As James Bullard starts home tomorrow morning I believe I will write you a note by him.  I wrote Father to-day and sent it by mail.  I sent you a message by him, & told him that a meeting would be held to nominate some one for the Legislature.  Well the meeting was held & your “old man” was almost unanimously nominated. I am now almost like “Major Louis” was in New York  when the woman gave him a baby to hold. I expect this will surprise many in Anson. Every one of the boys from my neighborhood stood up to me. Capt Beverly name was brought in but received such a small vote it was withdrawn. Also Major Jas. [Baggay?] & Col. Smith of the college but they were voted down immediately. I was sent for & made a speech. The boys are all for me here & if my friends at home will only work for me all will be well.  Of course what I tell you is confidential. You will see the proceedings in the Argus & Observer next week I hope. Tell S. Gillmon of it. My friends and every one intrusted in my election must work for me, & play “the agreeable” Hope to hear from you before long. Kiss our children for me, & God grant that I may be allowed to come back to you all.  I am in good health.Write Soon & often to your devoted husband

Leonidas

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8 April 1864: “A different spirit seems to be pervading our troops from what I have ever seen and I feel that this is the last year of the war and hope that by this time next year we will be blessed with peace and will be an independent nation.”

Item Description: Letter, 8 April 1864, from James Augustus Graham to his mother. In it, Graham describes a fasting day in the camp, along with the spiritual climate, detailing the church service schedule along with the creation of a Soldiers Christian Association in the camp. Graham also says he hopes peace will come soon and worries that he might not make it through the summer’s campaign. Graham would survive the war to return home to Hillsborough, NC.

18640408001 18640408002Item Citation: Folder 3, James A. Graham Papers #00283, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

Camp 27th NoCa Infy

Near Orange C.H. Va April 8th 1864

My dear Mother

As Lieut Strayhorn starts home to morrow morning and I can send a letter by him I will write to you tonight. Lieut Strayhorn as a 30 days sick furlough.

This is the day set apart by Congress for fasting and prayer and I don’t think I ever saw a day more strictly observed than this has been in our Brigade. All drills and duties of every sort have been suspended all day and Camp has been more quiet than I ever saw it before. Everybody seemed to be impressed with the solemnity of the occasion and you could hear none of the noise about Camp that you hear on every other day even on Sundays. The camp seemed almost deserted, for most of the men stayed in their tents and kept very quiet. I think there at least two thirds of our Reg’t fasted and I believe all of the Regts in our Brigade did equally as well.

We had preaching this morning and also tonight by Mr. Dodson Chaplain of the 4th Regt.

A different spirit seems to be pervading our troops from what I have ever seen and I feel that this is the last year of the war and hope that by this time next year we will be blessed with peace and will be an independent nation.

We have had preaching in the Chapel every night, for the past two or three weeks, when the weather would permit and the house is almost always full. We have prayer meeting also every day at half past 12 o ‘clock which is very well attended. We have but one chaplain present with our Brigade now, but he is assisted by Capt Landons of our Regt who is a Baptist preacher. 

We have organised a “Soldiers Christian Association” in our Brigade which now numbers over 100 members, though it was only started this week. Several persons who are not members of the church have joined our association, among them Capt Dickson of our Co. I hope that it may be the means of doing much good.

It will not be long before the campaign will open and active operations commence for the winds and sun will soon dry up the roads. I hope that I may escape as well in this campaign as I have done heretofore, but many a one will be lain low before the summer is over. I feel confident that our armies will be successful in this summer’s campaign and hope that it may convince the Yankees that it is useless continuing any longer.

I think our transportation will be down this summer and will therefore send my uniform coat and the pants home by the first opportunity for I don’t want any uniform coat for summer wear.

Walter Thompson has not arrived yet with his boxes, but I expect will be here tomorrow or Monday. 

I must close as it is about 11 o ‘clock. Good night. Love to all. Write soon to

Your affectionate son

James A. Graham

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7 April 1864: “It may be a belief entertained and justly founded, but I am persuaded expression would be severely criticised.”

Item Description: In this letter, dated 7 April 1864, William Brown at Richmond wrote to Robert Lewis Dabney regarding edits to the manuscript biography of Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson written by Dabney. Brown suggested that Dabney rewrite potentially controversial references to “uncultivated” Baptist and “itinerant” Methodist preachers Jackson would have heard and the comparison of crimes against the Confederacy to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

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Item Citation: From folder 61 in the Charles William Dabney Papers #1412, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

Richmond Ap. 7. 1864

Dear Brother:

Your telegram, and also one from Prof Schule De. Vere, announcing the safety of your MS. in his hands, were recd in due time. Meanwhile I have had two visits to Col. Bayue. The gentleman who is to take charge of the “life of Gen Jackson” will not start for Wilmington before Sunday. The whole will be deposited in his hands, carefully fixed up for the voyage, and properly directed. Dr Hoge will send a letter.

I have taken the liberty of giving the MS. a hurried reading. I greatly wish you could  have given it a careful one after it was copied. I suppose your hurry prevented. I have written plainly in pencil in a few places, (on the blank page of the MS) some proper names where the Copyist failed to write them plainly, and where it would be almost impossible to avoid mistakes unless the proof reader should happen to be a Virginian.

I candidly think you have written the work very ably, and hope it may be very successful. I will take the liberty of calling your attention to two passages which I think ought to be changed.

p. 4, Speaking of Gen. Jacksons Early religious advantage, and of the kind of preachers he heard, you say they were the “most uncultivated members of the Baptist Communion, or of the itinerant fraternity of the Methodist” I would have it worded in such a way as to leave out Baptist & Methodist by name: for though it is true, yet offense will be taken.

p.262 “Reciting all these aggravations, the people of the Confederate State believe that no blacker natinial crime has challenged the lighting of heavens wrath, since the crucifixion of Jesus Christ” I would certainly alter that. It may be a belief entertained and justly founded, but I am persuaded expression would be severely criticised. There is an unwillingness to allow any other crime to brought either into Comparison with, or proximity to the crucifixion of our Savr. Seward did the former, by comparing his sufferings on account of the rebellion to those of our Savior in the garden. Your statement, though far removed from his, will still not escape something of the same objective. The English journals lashed him unsparingly.

I mark the pages, & make these quotations, so that if you judge it proper to make any alterations, you can do it, when you send your “preface.”

We are as well as usual, and write in love to all.

Yours affectionately

William Brown

P.S. It probably did not occur to you that Rev Mr Chalmers would not be willing to join you in the publication, on account of teh discussion on slavery. I suggested the difficulty to Dr Hoge: he says he is sure he wd not, and that he wd have told you so, if he had been aware of that subject being introduced. he suggests the mae of James Sutter, formerly of Sufolk.

W.B.

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