23 April 1864: “…it was heartrending to listen to their piteous appeals for mercy and soliciting interference on their behalf.”

Item description: Letter, dated 23 April 1864, from Bryan Grimes to his wife, Charlotte Emily Bryan.  Grimes describes challenges with the Confederate mail system and the necessity of the death penalty for deserters.

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Item citation: From folder 10 in the Bryan Grimes Papers #292, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

My Dear Darling,

I feel sad and depressed to night for I fear something has occurred to you letters causing you to neglect to write to me I have received (and do have others) letters from Raleigh dated so late as the 20th. so evidently it is not the fault of the Mail unless your letters have been more unfortunate than others. Your last was dated the 16th since which time I should have received at least two letters if you had been as punctual as myself let alone to have written as frequently as I requested you should. Not hearing from you results in Sadness and at times a little more than sadness for the fear continually haunts me last year [deters] is due to Sickness for I love you too ardently to admit to myself for one instant love-sick [?] that it is indifference or neglect that prompts this seeming disregard of what I consider to be due me, for God’s sake, if you love me do write me often, if I behind that you had let seven days elapse without writing it would engender the ? indifference in my ? and I should then ? myself to a letter a month however much violence I might do to my own feeling and adopting fresh a course so please write me I am getting really nervous about it. This afternoon at their request I visited three men of  my Regiment at Division HdQuarters and under sentence of death for desertion it was heartrending to listen to their piteous appeals for mercy and soliciting interference on their behalf. if not for a pardon at least for a suspension of their executions for a while which will take place next Thursday. It was with a heavy heart that I informed them that I could not make application for a remission of their sentences for I [?] behind that the good of the service absolutely demands the implication of the severest penalties of the law to prevent desertion. though it is trying to the stoutest hearts and [?] principles to turn a deaf ear to the pleadings of Nations and the institutions of the [?] at home and if so trying to [?] capable of reasoning in the Subject and who voluntarily undertake to undergo the hardship and deprivation of a Soldier’s life, and the [?] if that Cataloges is the [?] [?] the land was at home how much more [fortitude?] and patience does it require in the regiment, who contrary to their [instructions?] and in [opportune?] to their [perennial?] opinions to be [forward?] to quit the wife of their [bosom?] and the due pledges of [? 0ppertunes?] and brings all the pleasures of domestic bliss and content to which they have always been accustomed and to come out here among in unsympathizing [?] and unwilling to the a [Market?] and found in opposition to them will to him a point in the quiet struggle.  I believe Presumption to be just and right but at the same time [terribly?] hard [?] and desertions among conscripts should be viewed with as much leniency as the [?] of the line will permit.  I have [opened?] that [?] in what will not interest you.  If I [pul?] well tomorrow I may visit you home [?] cheering news but I want you to write me. Devotedly your husband.

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22 April 1864: “. . . the principles enunciated by him, accord with the true spirit of our institutions, and constitute, in fact, the very ‘foundation stone’ of all liberty.”

Item Description: “Speech of Hon. A. H. Brown” (editorial), The Daily Conservative (Raleigh, N. C.), 22 April 1864, page 2, column 1.

References:

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Citation: “Speech of Hon. A. H. Stephens,” The Daily Conservative (Raleigh, N. C.), 22 April 1864, page 2, column 1. North Carolina Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; call number call number C071 Z.

Transcription:

THE DAILY CONSERVATIVE.
RALEIGH, N. C., APRIL 22, 1864
JOHN D. HYMAN, Editor.

FOR GOVERNOR:
Z. B. VANCE,
OF BUNCOMBE

Speech of Hon. A. H. Stephens.

At the earliest practicable moment we hasten to republish the speech of the Hon. A H  STEPHENS, of Georgia, on the subject of habeas corpus.

It will be found an able and patriotic production, breathing the most unwavering devotion to the cause of Southern independence, and replete with true conservative sentiments.

While all loyal men deplore the slightest variance between those in authority, and deeply regret the circumstances which have placed the Vice-President in a position of open antagonism to the government ; but few in this State will deny that the principles enunciated by him, accord with the true spirit of our institutions, and constitute, in fact, the very “foundation stone” of all real liberty.

In a mode less calculated perhaps, to produce popular excitement, and to publish our internal dissentions to the world, GOV. VANCE anticipated Mr. Stephens in the expression of the very sentiments which now find such ardent advocates in those who oppose him and favor the election of another.

Long in advance of Mr. STEPHENS or GOV. BROWN, it is a matter of official record, and no man can deny the fact, that GOV. VANCE, in the name of liberty, law and the chartered rights of our people, protested against the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, as a [measure] fraught with the most direful results to the country ; and that he subsequently insisted that the President should not exercise the dangerous power so unwisely placed in his hands, within the limits of this State, or to the detriment of its citizens, because neither justice, necessity nor the interest of the Confederacy demanded such a course of conduct.

It is incontestably true, also, that he has always favored the speedy repeal of this obnoxious law; and that his personal and official influence have been freely and constantly exerted to the attainment of that most desirable end.

His whole administration has been devoted to the patriotic task of maintaining the supremacy of civil law, and in opposing the encroachments of military authority, as can be established by the records of the Executive department, which constitute a portion of the history of the State, and are public property.

In a word, hating despotism in all its forms, and sincerely desirous of preserving the institutions of his country in their purity and perfection, even amid the contaminations of a revolutionary era, he has never [failed] to resist the slightest aggression on the part of those in authority, or faltered in his advocacy of that independence of thought, liberty of speech, freedom of the press, and jealousy of chartered rights which constitute the chief glory and attraction of a Republican form of government.

[All the] praise, therefore, which has been so freely lavished upon the positions assumed by Mr STEPHENS in his recent speech, belongs, as a matter of right, to GOV. VANCE, since he had taken them—though in a less ostentatious manner—months in advance, and has persistently adhered to them ever since.

Let the people remember, then, that our excellent Governor is the pioneer in that honored path which others are now attempting to appropriate—that the platform upon which his political opponents are endeavoring to stand for partisan ends, was first constructed by him in an honest effort to serve his country; and that the commendations that certain parties have so liberally bestowed upon Mr. STEPHENS are really tributes to the wisdom, the patriotism and the true conservatism of GOV. VANCE, since the principles of these two great statesmen are identical.

 

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21 April 1864: “…to complete the victory and capture the enemy now badly whipped and scattered.”

Item description: Letter, dated 21 April 1864, from Brigadier General John S. Marmaduke to Lieutenant Colonel J. F. Belton, Assistant Adjutant General under Brigadier General S. B. Maxey.  The letter gives and account of recent military engagements, including the Battle of Poison Springs, Arkansas.

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Item citation: From folder 39 in the Edmund Kirby-Smith Papers, #404, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

Head quarters Marmaduke’s Div

In the field April 21st 1864

Colonel.

On the 17th inst. I received information from Col. Colton Greene, Comd’g Brigade, saying that a Federal train of some two Hundred (200) wagons, guarded by one regiment of Cavalry, two Regts of negroe Infantry and two pieces of Artillery had left Camden, taking the Washington road (Old Military road), presumed to be after forage.  I immediately wrote Genl. Fagan reques-ting him to furnish me Cabell’s Brigade which with my troops (500 men of Marmaduke’s Brigade) marched at sun set to attack their force and train. After proceeding some two miles I learned that the guard had been reinforced by one regiment of Cavalry, a Battalion of White Infantry and two pieces of Artillery.  Deeming my force too small to proceed I ordered my troops back to camp and wrote to Genl Price stating that two hundred Federal wagons with a guard of some 2500 men with 5 pieces of artillery were en route on the road above mentioned to obtain forage and I would encamp that night some sixteen (16) miles from Camden and could be intercepted and destroyed, by con-centrating all his available force on the same road some fourteen miles from Camden by 8 a.m. the next day.

The order was given. At sunrise my command, 500 men and Harris’ Battery of four (4) small pieces of Artillery, under Col. Greene 300 men, under Col. Crawford; and about 1200 men and Hughey’s Battery of four field pieces, under Brig. Gen. Cabell, marched for the point indi-cated.  In nearing this place my scouts reported the enemy in front and returning to Camden.  Findin that the enemy’s [indrance?] had occupied an important position on the road (at Poison Springs) I ordered my escort to press forward and drive them from the hill which was handsomely done – Crawford’s troops were promptly brought forward to hold the hill, whilst Gen. Cabell was ordered to dismount his Brigade, and bring it forward with his artillery to the position occupied by Cran-ford.  Cranford’s troops were dismounted, and put in position, except a battalion under Major McMurty which was ordered to my extreme right to guard and watch the enemy’s movements in that direction. These dispositions were promptly made.  At this juncture Brig. Gen. Maxey arrived with his Division, a Texas and Indian Brigade, some 1200 or 1500 men with a Texas Battery of 4 small pieces of artillery, as Genl. Maxey was my senior in rank I reported to him for orders. He replied that as I had put on foot the expedition and knew the position of affairs I would make the disposition of the troops and the flight. I then suggested that his whole force be dismounted and placed on the left, his division forming a line nearby at a right angle with my line, which was perpendicular to and across the main road to Camden.  Maxey’s Div was put in position accordingly, his Texas Brigade on his right with his Batty. of Artillery. Major Wood with his Battalion (about 300 men, Genl Price’s escort) soon came up. I ordered it to be dismounted and put in line on my extreme infantry right.  Col. Greene soon reported his command near at hand.  I ordered it to remain mounted about one mile to the rear whilst the whole force was getting into position.

My plan of battle was for Maxey’s Division to move forward (his extreme left moving up rapidly) to engage and turn the enemy’s right flank and when this force was warm-ly engaged to open rapidly with the artillery in front (Harris’ Battery, Greene’s Brigade having been brought up), 8 pieces, and under cover of this fire to charge the enemy’s line in front.

As soon as Maxey’s troops were put in motion I ordered up Greene’s command dismounted as a close support for Cabell’s left or Maxey’s right.

This plan of battle was accordingly executed – in fifteen minutes after the whole force was put in motion the enemy were routed making but slight resistance afterwards.  The conduct of both officers and men was admirable, without bayonets, many of them badly armed, most of them indifferently drilled they charged in splendid style through open field (some 600 yards) and drove the enemy from their own (and a strong) position.

I ordered Major Wood with his Batton. (dismounted) and Major McMurty (mounted) to hold their positions as a protection to my right in case the enemy should attempt to turn it and also as a reserve in case I should be repulsed. In a few moments, however, I saw that there was no danger of a repulse or flank attack and accordingly ordered Wood’s Battalion and two pieces of artillery forward, all fresh troops, to complete the victory and capture the enemy now badly whipped and scattered. General Maxey, however, fearing an attack from the rear or the loss of the train, countermanded my orders to Wood and put his men to getting off the train, likewise gave me orders to withdraw and collect the troops who, though much scattered and tired was pursuing the enemy. I am unable to give an entirely correct report of the killed and wounded in my command, as Brig Gen. Cabell and Colonel Crawford were ordered to make their reports direct the General Maxey. I enclose Col.Greene’s report – the whole confe-derate loss will not much exceed 20 killed and 60 wounded, Federal loss about 400 negroes killed, some 60 white killed & about 125 prisoners, captured four pieces of Artillery & four caissons and about 200 wagons (6 mules each) and ambulances.
The prompt and resolute spirit of Brig. Genl. Cabell did much toward giving up the cheap and quick victory. Lieut. Col. Campbell commd’g Greene’s regiment deserves special mention; though painfully wounded he did not quit his regiment until the engagement was over.

Maj. Ewing, Capt. Price, Capt. Moore, Surgeon Smith, Capt. [Haymaker?] and Lieut. Wright of my staff were with me during the fight, rendered valuable services in bearing orders and directing the troops during the engagement.

Very respectfully,

(Signed) J. S. Marmaduke

Brig Genl.

To.

Lieut. Col. J. F. Belton

A. A. Genl.

Dist. Arks. [thro'?] Brig. Genl. Maxey. P.A.C.S.

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19 April 1864: “Our position is considered by all to be a permanent one as they have sent all the white troops to Virginia & left us here to guard the place, so if the Rebels don’t attack us we will no doubt remain here undisturbed for a long time.”

Item Description:  Last part of a multi-day letter that started on 11 April 1864.  In this letter, dated 19 April 1864, Jonathan L. Whitaker writes to his wife, Julia A. Wells Whitaker, about making it to camp in Beaufort, S.C., cost of rations, weather, and produce growing in the area.  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.13April1864213April18643Item Citation:  Letter dated 19 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:

Camp near Beaufort, S.C. Apr, 19th 1864,
I will now try, my dear, to finish and send off this paper. We have made out to get fixed up quite comfortable, although as usual I have had so much to do, that I have got considerable fixing to do in my tent before I consider myself settled. We are encamped in an open plain, behind fortification, in an old cotton field, and have a Fort and several Batteries to guard & command. Our position is considered by all to be a permanent one as they have sent all the white troops to Virginia & left us here to guard the place, so if the Rebels don’t attack us we will no doubt remain here undisturbed for a long time. Our great trouble here will be bad water, flies & insects. Flies now are much thicker than I ever saw them in New York. Prices of living here are but little if any greater than in New York. Eggs are 50 cents a dozen & butter 50 cts pr pound. I find I have here great need of a horse. I have all the work to do as we have no other assistant yet, & I have to walk about 6 miles every day, & often more. Today I have walked about ten miles. This comes from our Regiment being scattered at different points which I have to visit every day. But it is most impossible to buy a horse, as nothing can be has less than $200, and a decent horse will cost 250 or $300, So you see me going on foot for a long time yet. We have got rather ahead of you in gardening, I think. Our peaches are as large as your thumb, early peas are ready to blossom, corn, potatoes, beans etc. are up & growing, which things, you will have to be smarter than common if you beat. We have had a heavy rain here to day, but it is impossible to have mud here, it is so sandy the water runs through immediately & leaves the ground dry. When the wind blows hard it drives the sand, until it sounds against the tent like a heavy shower of fine hail. I send you enclosed some cotton seed which you may plant for curiosity as soon as it gets warm enough. I have again found old acquaintances. Drs. Van Etten, & Young Hardenburgh of Port Jervis are here. I met them the day I landed and was very glad to see them & they me. I walked down to the Village to meeting last night, but was so far I became very tired. It was the first sermon I had heard since the last day of January at Port Jervis. Write often dear wife. I dreamed of Frank the other night, but don’t you be jealous. God bless & keep you all.
 
Louis
 
Direct to 26th Regt. U.S.C.T.
Department of the South, Beaufort, S.C.

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18 April 1864: “We can buy peas and other things of that sort from the sutler and in that way make out very well.”

Item description: Letter, dated 18 April 1864, from James Augustus Graham to his mother.  He describes camp life around Orange Court House, Virginia, specifically the availability of food and the frequency of packages deliveries.

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Item citation: From folder 3 in the James A. Graham Papers, #283, Southern Historical Collection, the Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

Camp 27th N.C. Infy.

April 18th 1864

My dear Mother,
I received your very welcome letter of 7th inst last Friday. I expected a box by Walter Thompson; but when it did not come, I con-cluded that you did not know the time of his starting or you would have sent it and made myself contented.  We get along pretty well now with regard to something to eat, about as well as we did when we were allowed to purchase from the commissary, for we draw sugar, coffee, and molasses and we were not allowed to purchase them.  We are allowed 4 cooks to each company and I draw rations for Alex as one of these cooks.  We draw now meal, bacon, coffee, sugar, and molasses and get a plenty of all except meat. We get only 1/4 lb of meat per day, but I expect will get more in a short while. We can buy peas and other things of that sort from the sutler and in that way make out very well.  You wished to know if it was true that Thompson lost a good many of his boxes when he came up in February.  I do not know as I was at home at that time.  He lost none this time and only one when he came at Christmas.

I understood that Mr. Troy will start Jim Salisbury on the 28th and you might send me a small box by him. It would not do to send much for we may be on the march by that time. A ham, a little hominy etc. would suit very nice.

I wish you would send my shoes by Tom Whitted.  He will start about the 27th or 28th.  Also please send one 1/2 doz white collars as I will need some white collars wen I get the position on Gen. Cooke’s staff as Inspector.

I sent a coat and and pr of boots home in a box by Walter Thompson.

We still have preaching every night and a good many are being converted.  Twenty two have joined the Baptist church. They were baptized by Mr. Howerton Chaplain of the 15th North Carolina Regt yesterday evening.

I must close as Webb is waiting for my letter.  Love to all

Write soon to

Your affectionate son

James A. Graham

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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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16 April 1864: “All the big guns in Fort are worked by negroes & belong to the 3rd U.S. Heavy Artillery. They have heard of the massacre at Fort Pillow & are terribly incensed at the rebels & will, no doubt, fight till death, for they know the consequences if taken alive.”

Item description: Letter, 16 April 1864, from Edward W. Allen to his parents.Edward W. Allen of Eau Claire, Wis., was a sergeant and then second lieutenant in Company H of the 16th Regiment, Wisconsin Infantry Volunteers, during the Civil War. He was the son of James and Emily Allen. He had several siblings, including James F. (Fred) Allen who served in Company K, 36th Regiment of Wisconsin Volunteers.

The letter mentions the Union soldiers’ strong position near Fort Halleck in Columbus, Kentucky, and includes a description of African Americans in the 3rd U.S. Heavy Artillery and their reaction to the Fort Pillow Massacre.

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Item citation: From folder 1 of the Edward W. Allen Papers (#3737-z), Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item description:

Fort Halleck, Columbus, Ky.
April 16th, 1864

Dear Parents,

Two days more & still no enemy. Anxiously we have watched & waited but they won’t come. We feel entirely safe against 10 times our number so strong is the position we hold. Yesterday the garrison was on fatigue a part of the day filling sacks with sand to lay on top of the fort to protect the men & gunners from the enemy’s sharp shooters. Also in burning buildings between the guns of the fort & the woods back of it. A part of a New Jersey Regt. that were camped out side the Fort moved in & today their quarters are being pulled down. This is done to prevent the enemy’s sharpshooters from secreting them selves & picking of the gunners. All the big guns in Fort are worked by negroes & belong to the 3rd U.S. Heavy Artillery. They have heard of the massacre at Fort Pillow & are terribly incensed at the rebels & will, no doubt, fight till death, for they know the consequences if taken alive. Today Tinker (Lt.), orderly of Co. G. & myself went down to the city & had a good cup of coffee with milk & sugar bread & butter & cake, something I have not had since leaving Madison. I bought a pound of butter 40 cents only. Tell Mary Ann I think almost daily of her turkies (Christmas) but if I had one here I should hardly dare eat it for fear of the diarrhea. When northern men come south, it’s a long time before they can eat meat right hearty.

Yesterday I wrote to Miss Roworth I am still anxiously waiting letters from home. I am sure there are letters on their way but moving round as we do it is hard for them to keep track of us. Tomorrow we expect our tents back from Cairo & we may have to stay here 2 or 3 months which would suit us well as we are in a good healthy peace on high ground & I don’t think the Rebs will ever trouble us at all. We are too far north for that. We expect the Old Regt. with us now in a week or so.

Columbus is a small peace about the size of west E.C. not including anything back of the Church or below Mr. Parkers’. There are but few good houses in it & are all on one street mostly the other Fort here is called Fort Siegel. This is the principle one. It is strange indeed I have not heard a syllable from Susan & Charly neither from Levi or Mary Ann. Wm. or Elizabeth except what you have written in four letters. I hardly think that it can be that they do not want to hear from me. Give my love to all also [C?] Charlie & Willy & yourselves. Direct to Columbus, Ky.

From your affectionate son Edward

I must enclose this soon or I shall [daub?] it all over as my conveniences for writing are few, we have a boat daily between here & Cairo.

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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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