2 November 1864: “More serious than even this is the fall of Plymouth itself . . .”



Item Description: “Gone Up” and “Sinking of the Albernarle.”  The Daily Journal (Wilmington), page 2, column 1 (editorial column).



GONE UP.—Our readers will be sorry to see the news from Plymouth, N. C., received yesterday by telegraph. We are in hopes that our people lost few prisoners and little material. We looked for the fall of Plymouth after the Yankees had succeeded in blowing up the Albemarle. Our force there was no doubt small on land, and of course perfectly insignificant on water. Somehow, we doubt whether the people of that section of the State have felt any confidence in our abiity to hold Plymouth and the lower Roanoke country, and hence their indisposition to take any active part in favour of the Confederate cause. We may expect at any day to hear of an attack being made upon the town of Washington, Beaufort co , on the Pamlico. In truth, that unfortunate town is pretty much ruined already, and can’t be much more injured even by Yankee barbarism and spite.

Sinking of the Albernarle.

A few days since a report reached here that the Roanoke iron-clad gunboat, the Albemarle, which played quite an important part in the capture of Plymouth. had sunk at her station in the river. Although we had this report, however, it came in such a “questionable shape” that we felt unwilling to use it without more definite information. The Goldsboro’ State Journal of Tuesday morning contains a statement of the affair, from which we learn that about 2 o’clock on Friday morning, the weather being very dark and stormy, eleven officers of the Yankee Navy, in a torpedo boat, run against the Albemarle, then lying at her wharf at Plymouth ; the second attempt was successful—the torpedo exploded against the Albemarle’s bow, staving it in, and causing the ship to go down in a few minutes as far as the depth or shallowness of the water would permit.

The Yankees on their way up the river had captured a Confederate picket on board the Yankee steamer Southfield, partially sunk by the Albemarle during the attack on Plymouth some months ago. The Yankee party was also captured.

More serious than even this is the fall of Plymouth itself, which will be found in our telegraphic column. It is not impossible that some of the fleet of which a good deal has been said as likely to come here, have gone up the Eastern Sounds of the State with the view of re-establishing Yankee superiority in Albemarle, Pamlico and Roanoke Sounds. Their large double-enders could not come through the Albemarle and Chesapeake Navigation from Norfolk, more on account of their length than their depth. They would have to go in at Hatteras Inlet. Plymouth is 150 miles north-east of Raleigh, and probably had twelve to fifteen hundred inhabitants at the outbreak of hostilities.

Item citation: The Daily Journal (Wilmington, N. C.), 2 November 1864, page 2, column 1. Call Number: C071 Z. North Carolina Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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1 November 1864: “Camp on the Appomattox”

Item Description: Sketch of a camp on the Appomattox near Petersburg, VA.


Item Citation: From Folder 36 of the John S. Henderson Papers, #327, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

Camp on the Appomattox near Petersburg Va

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31 October 1864: “After Ram had been sunk.”

Item Description:  A photograph of a sketch of the naval attack at Plymouth, N.C. on 31 October 1864. Inscription on the back describes the moment the sketch depicts. 18641031_01 18641031_02Item Citation: From Unit 3, in the Confederate Papers #172, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription: (on the reverse of the sketch)

Sketch of Naval attack on Plymouth, N.C. 31 Oct. 1864. 

After Ram had been sunk, fleet is coming down the Roanoke, having gone up the Middle River, and turned down. 

Sketch by A. C. Shrant. U.S.- N. 1864.  

Photo at New Bern, N.C. 


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30 October 1864: “every cloud no matter how dark has a silver lining”

Item Description: Letter from Abram M. Allen, an Ellison slave who was freed before the Civil War, to Eliza Ellison.  He offers his condolences on the loss of her husband.



Item Citation: Folder 2 of the Henry Alderson Ellison Papers, #1432-z, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

Washington Oct 30th 1864

Mis Eliza Ellison

Dear Madam. I Rcevd yur letter and would of answerd it before now but I had a Riseing on my hand and could not write. I hope this may find you and the family will please to give my best respects to the family. Tell Mis Harris her House is Empty and I have taken care of it.  The young Lady Mis Harris that came from Wilson a few days ago told me that you wish me to take your grates out of the chimneys.  I have done so and will take care of them till I see you I have taken the lighting Rod and brought it home to keep the people from carrying it of.  It has been very sickly here this summer but the people are getting more Healthy there is new.  I hope madam your you are getting more reconciled than you were.  Nuthing but Divine grace can sustane us under affliction and if we ask for it, it will be given. I would advise you to Read the scriptures Read the psalms of david and pray to god and he will give you grace to hear all your trials. You have affectionate children and friends and the Lord has promised to provide for the fatherless and widow his word is firmer than the pillars of the Univese. Remember Madam for your consolation that every cloud no matter how dark has a silver lining. I hope Heaven may keep you and yours.

Pray your Humble servant

Abram M. Allen

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29 October 1864: “To leave this God cursed soil behind”

Item Description: Poem written by Maj. McKnight. Oroon Alston Hanner copied this poem into his autograph album while in prison on Johnson Island. He was given this autograph album by a local women’s society. While in prison, he collected autographs of his fellow prisoners as well as copied down poems and other prose such as this poem.


Item Citation: Folder 1, Oroon Alston Hanner album, #04853-z, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

Maj McKnight’s Farewell Address To Johnston Island Ohio

Oct 29th 1864

I leave thy shores of hated isle,

Where misery mocked my days,

And seek the Land where Lovely ones Smiles,

And Summer seasons the heart beguiles,

In jovial blooming rays.


I quit thy Loathsome prison walls,

With joyous sounding heart,

To think again dear Southern halls

To go where e’er my duty calls,

And hear my ? part.


No more! thy sorrows God grant no more

Will save my prison cell,

For ill winds beat against my door,

For storm blasts sound my prison roar,

Within this Northern Hell


No more! Mine ear will hear the cry

Of Suffering braves for bread

For Scenes of Sorrow meet mine eye

Where those fair noise who cannot lie

Than those already dead


But soft All drops a parting tear

In memory of those

Who lost to Loving hearts for e’er

After rest on dreamless slumbers here

Secure from heartless foes


Then haste the storm & friendly winds

To bear me from the storm

To leave this God cursed soil behind

To bear me when my heart shall find

Freedom forever more.



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28 October 1864: “even as I would that of a brother, for such he ever seemed to me”

Item Description: Letter dated 28 October 1864 written by John Francis Shaffner. He gives extensive description of his love for Carrie Fries, who he became engaged to in September 1863. Shaffner also mourns the loss of a close friend in battle. He also provides a description of the evacuation of an infirmary after the Battle of Cedar Creek.


Item Citation: Folder 39, Fries and Shaffner Family Papers, #04046, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

Bivonore [?] New Market Va

28th October 1864

My darling Carrie, Under rather awkward circumstances do I now undertake writing you a reply to your most kind and affectionate letter of the 20th.- It is a cool, windy day- our tent has been thrown down by the violence of the gale, and outside writing in the wind is by no means agreeable.- But as I am at leisure, and cannot employ myself half as pleasantly at anything else, I have determined to give you an additional letter to read- I say additional because I fear I have writing too many latterly- well aware however that you my darling will excuse this my weakness, if such it may be termed.- Your last letter afforded me infinite pleasure and I cannot express you the thanks I would gladly extend you.- You know however how highly I prize these missives of love from your hand.- Truly those who have felt the bewitching power of “true love” and the pangs of a bitter separation, can fully appreciate the value- the priceless value of a letter from the hand of the beloved subject. Love belongs to these invisible things which cannot be described, but which must be felt, and felt rightly to be understood; that is felt in such a manner that its key note, if it may be so termed shall strike upon and awaken your pathetic vibrations in the heart of another out of which combined shall sound forth the perfect harmony of the perfect chord.- Whenever this harmony is heard-its perfection is acknowledged, its victims lie prostrate captives.– But I must not allow myself to speculate in this manner. I was much pleased to learn that your united efforts had succeeded in prevailing upon your Mother to visit Greensboro in company with Mary. — You have well remarked that such a visit is rarely indulged in by her and therefore you anticipated I would be surprised. I did feel an agreeable surprise when I read your letter for I am sure your Mother’s health aside of other considerations requires recreation. — Incessant mental anxieties for years not to speak of the physical wear + tear incident to faithful + tender nursing, require some new and different stimuli. Such we have every reason to hope can be best supplied by free + pleasant recreation. I can readily believe that you have neatly enjoyed yourself in the grief of your sister after a separation and my darling, I heartily sympathize with you in your joy.

I will confess I feel a little uneasy until I may hear from you again although I really have no apprehension that “the 110 Yankees at Old Town,” even did exist or will exist so long as we hold possession in this state. And even if they were there is not our Home Guard sufficient to  the entire squad or send them all to “that ?, etc, etc!” ? probably the whole report had its origin from a few escaped prisoners on a squad of struggling deserters + new servant conscripts. I was glad to learn that Capt. H. Wheeler was “cheerful + lively as ever” bearing up mercifully under his afflictions. I feel thankful to have been remembered to him and should convenience allow it, please return the compliment. Perhaps I will write him a letter.–

I write you a short note on the 20th, merely mentioning that a severe battle had been fought the previous day, – a victory won- but subsequently lost.– Then I did not have the time to enter into particulars.- The death, or supposed death of my particular friend Maj. Pfhol staggered me and made me feel very sad indeed. — I cannot well realize that he is no more, yet such is alas too true.– The wound he received was too severe to allow us a reasonable hope.– Sgt. Barrow called to see me several days ago, and told me that it was rumored he had died of his injuries.– I sincerely mourn his loss- even as I would that of a brother, for such he ever seemed to me.- His bereaved family deserves much sympathy- which no doubt is freely extended it. I have written a brief obituary notice of Maj. Pfohl + sent it to our home paper. I intend sending a copy to one of the Raleigh papers likewise. — But let me now say something of the battle. Our army commenced moving at sundown on the evening of the 18th, the larger junction under command of Genl Gordon, making an immense circuit to gain the enemy’s flank and rear. The other portion had orders to advance ? in front and ? attack at the earliest dawn. – Everything progressed admirably- the surprise was thorough and complete. – Two corps were routed and driven pellmell for five or six miles. – Some 20 pieces of Artillery were taken beside many prisoners, and some fifty or more wagons and ambulances. The enemy’s camp was exceedingly rich in spoils, and this was the cause of our subsequent disaster. The enemy rallied, brought forward his remaining corps of infantry, and Calvary and succeeded in pressing back our attenuated line. Our Infirmary was well to the rear + we dreamt of no harm, until the shells of the enemy brought us warning.- These passed well over + beyond us. Quickly I had my wagon loaded- and my wounded placed in the Ambulances.- They were all started + gone when the hostile line of skirmishes appeared on the scene. It did not take me many minutes to leave.- Our entire force had passed in disorder along another road, leaving our Artillery, Medical Wagons, + Ambulances, and Ordnance wagons to shift for their selves on the turnpike.– When I reached Strasburg, the Calvary of the enemy was already in town, having reached it by a detour to our right, and were playing sad havoc with our artillery and other trains. By avoiding the town, I succeeded in getting out with my Medical wagon + five Ambulances with wounded- losing however three ambulances. — The other Brigades of this Division were less fortunate.- Two lost their wagons, and all their ambulances + the third- saved its wagon and three ambulances- losing five of the latter.- The whole affair was very diseneditable[sic]- and to us decidedly unfortunate.– We lost less provisions than we brought away but in Artillery + Wagons we are largely loser.– The papers however have given you abundant information regarding this fight and I will say no more.–

Soon we will try the foe again, + what is more, we expect to whip the next battle. I must haste to a close.- Please give my love to your Mother, and Mary + Emma + Julie- Remember me fondly to all the family. — I am anxious to have another letter from you darling and I trust it will be here soon with news that you are well and doing well. I long very much to see you- but we must have patience. – The times are gloomy- but be of good cheer- a better one will come- perhaps much sooner than we anticipate. – With an offer of all the love I possess, and a fervent wish for your heath + happiness, I beg to remain as every Youts only + truly + fondly, J.


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27 October 1864: “the very idea of “reconstruction” sends a thrill of horror and disgust through my veins.”

Item Description: Sarah Lois Wadley, a Louisiana woman, discusses in her diary the events of the preceding two weeks. She describes a trip into town, the behavior of her children, and how they are taking care of a wounded soldier.

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Item Citation: From volume 4 (folder 5) in the Sarah Lois Wadley Papers, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

Thursday, Oct. 27th. 1864.

It has been more than two weeks since I wrote in my journal, I have been watching for a leisure hour, but have had none till this evening.

Miss Mary and I went in town a week ago last Saturday to attend a rehearsal of the famous, oft delayed tableaux; spent the day at Mrs. Stevens’, Mary was not at home, had gone up to see her Uncle about John, who is one of the conscripts lately ordered out, he is extremely deaf and has the disease of the heart besides, but has not succeeded in getting an exemption. We met Mrs. Willson for about five minutes in the morning and afterwards at the meeting; I was very glad to see her, she looks just as neat and pleasant and has as sweet a smile as ever, though I fancied a few unknown wrinkles had planted themselves about her eyes and mouth. She invited us to come out and spend the next week with her, nothing was done about the tableaux that day, but we made an appointment to come in the following Wednesday and remain until after the tableaux on Friday. As we were going to town in the morning we met Mr. Beck and Miss Mary on their way to Homer for Mrs. Barr, we only saw them a moment as they were coming out of the flat. When we returned home we found that Willie had had a chill, we came up stairs immediately to see him, while I was up here Dr. Furness and Dr. Melton came in; I had some curiosity to see the latter, had been sick whenever he had come over before; I dislike him extremely, but I fear I am not quite justifiable in this as the only real cause I have for it is that he openly avows himself a “reconstructionist.” He may be in other respects a good man, but I cannot like one who cherishes these opinions, the very word, the very idea of “reconstruction” sends a thrill of horror and disgust through my veins. Oh! what a shame to our principles, what a wrong to those who have nobly fought and died for our cause; and to the thousands of brave men now in arms, to admit such an idea, if our grievances were so great in time of peace that we could not bear them, what hope of honourable union can we now have! honourable union! I scout the words, there is none such, there is only shame for us, subjugation and national death in the idea of reconstruction. I feel humbled when the word passes my lips.

Poor Willie had a chill again Monday, I had no school either Monday or Tuesday but was busy attending on Willie and preparing to go to town. Tuesday on Father’s return from Monroe he told us that he had met Dr. Needlett at the ferry and that he told him Mrs. Oliver was very dangerously ill. Mother and I went down that evening, we found that she had been quite sick for several days previous, her disease is that distressing affection of the bowels which prevails here so much. I sat up with her part of the night. It is such a solemn thing to sit up by the bedside of one who seems to lie between life and death, the silent hours of the night passed swiftly away. I employed them in all those deep involuntary thoughts which crowd upon us at such a time. Wednesday morning we went to Monroe, spent the day at Mrs. Stevens. Mrs. Willson sent in for us that evening and we went out, Mrs. Copley accompanied us. We found Julia at home, spent a very pleasant evening with her looking over some engravings and discussing tableaux in general and our tableaux in particular, while Mrs. Copley and Capt. Pilcher had a tête à tête in the adjoining room. This Captain Pilcher is a family connection of the Willson’s, and is I think engaged to be married to Julia; I have not, in a long time, met with a gentleman I like so much, his frank engaging manner and pleasant and intelligent conversation win the regard at once, he is so perfectly polite without stiffness, so easy and witty without the slightest familiarity, and so gay without frivolity; at the same time his clear forehead and pure, soft eye bespeak a freedom from the vices which so often tarnish the character of our young men. In truth Julia has made a happy choice, I hope she will marry him, she both deserves and needs a good husband, one to appreciate her sterling qualities and correct her faults. I wish I could reckon Capt. Pilcher among my friends, but I have no idea that our acquaintance will ever progress.

Our visit at Mrs. Willson’s was very delightful but quite short, we spent both Thursday and Friday in town preparing for the tableaux; dined both days with Mrs. Judge Bry, Mrs. Leighton’s Mother, she is such a nice kind old lady, and has such a funny old fashioned house and garden, and Oh such a beautiful little graveyard, there are the gravestones of many of the family, all covered with ivy, and the large, beautiful wild olive tress cast a solemn, tremulous shadow over them. We heard not a sound but our own hushed voices, and the place was so shut in that we saw nothing but the quiet garden through the gate.

There was a great deal of hurry and confusion Friday, but at last everything was ready, and really the tableaux were very pretty, in one scene Mary Stevens looked so beautiful, ordinarily she is a pretty girl but that night it delighted my eyes to look on her. We were obliged to stay at the hall untill all the curtains and things were taken down and put away, I then experienced that feeling described in “Hyperion” in an empty theatre. Miss Mary and Eva stayed at Mrs. Bry’s that night with Julia Willson, but Mrs. Willson, Agnes and I went home, it was late when we reached Limerick, and I was glad indeed to lay my wearied head upon the pillow. I left Mrs. Willson’s soon after breakfast Saturday morning and came into town, spent a few hours very pleasantly with Mary Stevens, and then went up to the Trenton ferry where we found the flat just ready to leave, and passing quickly over stepped into the carriage, which was waiting on this side. The evening was delightful and the roads good so that we felt in good spirits as we rolled on homeward after such a pleasant visit. We found Willie just up, he had been sick ever since we left, and Mother said had missed us sorely, he looks very pale and thin. I hope so much that he will not be sick again, his furlough is almost out and I want him to be well before he leaves home, he got a fine mare yesterday, “swapped” two mules and one old buggy for her, she is not very large, but a pretty form and dark bay color, with a small head and spirited glance, her stoutly formed limbs look like endurance was one of her qualities. Father is away now. He left home last Friday to take the railroad negroes out to Texas; it was this that he wished Willie to come home for, but Willie was too sick to go. Father thought he could not any longer keep the railroad negroes here on his own responsibility, and had no means of feeding and clothing them, so he is going to carry them out to the iron works in Texas, he took a guard of soldiers with him but dismissed them the second day. We were all astounded Sunday evening by the apparition of Father driving up, we soon learned the cause of his coming, eight of the negroes had run away, and he had come back to offer a reward and take measures for their apprehension; five of them have been caught thus far. Father went on immediately to Millhaven and on his return on Monday delayed only to get dinner and then went on again. It was unexpected that the negroes should run away, one of them was one in whom Father placed great confidence, and he had sacrificed so much time and care to them all, that it sems very ungrateful.

I have been very busy all this week. Tuesday just as we were at dinner Mrs. Barr electrified us by coming in with her baby in her arms, we were so glad to see them. Mrs. Barr looks far from well, and feels sad at the idea of leaving her husband, unworthy as he is she feels a strong affection for him, and shows it in her constant attention to him. I thought Miss Mary too looked quietly sad, she is very much devoted to Mrs. Barr’s baby. We had quite a house full that night, Johnny Stone came just before dark, is come to take his sister home. I went down to sit up with Mrs. Oliver Tuesday night, came back in time to breakfast with them all and tell them goodbye; they left immediately after breakfast. Mrs. Oliver is no better; this is the third day that Mother has been with her all day. Johnny and Jimmy Stone came to see us yesterday evening and stayed all night. Jimmy is such a nice boy, I like him exceedingly in spite of his ugly face, it is positively good looking when it is lighted up in conversation by honest good humour and sense. Johnny is, as Mrs. Staunton would say, going through the “puppy state.”

 We have a sick soldier here now, his wife and her Mother came here a little more than a week ago to stay all night; he was very sick and at last they succeeded in getting him over here, we were very sorry for his wife, she stayed with him several days, but was obliged to leave as she was very near her confinement; her Mother stayed with him several days, but as he was improving and she was anxious about her daughter, she left him yesterday. His name is Wallace, he was one of Dr. Furness’ patients, but he did not like their moving him against his advice, and gave him up. Dr. Bluebecker attends him now, he comes over every day to see him, Mother says she thinks he is very kind to him, he has consented that Mr. Wallace shall go home as soon as he is strong enough.

Major Mason dined with Mother Saturday, he was on his way to Alexandria. I should have liked to have seen him.

I am very tired this evening, I have had a fatigueing day; the children have been out of sorts this whole week; Eva was tired and excited by her visit to Limerick and has scarcely recovered from it, while Loring was unfitted for study by his holiday. I was very much tried by Eva’s sullen determined disobedience yesterday, and by Loring’s inattention and passion today, was obliged to make him learn several of his lessons over after dinner. Oh how hard it is to wait patiently, to bear the cruel disappointment I feel on those days when they seem to have gone back and forgotten all I have striven to teach them, but my experience is, sometimes a day when I can see advancement and feel happy and then another to take away all my elation, I must try and remember “Line upon line, precept upon precept,” I must try at every opportunity to sow “Here a little and there a little” good.


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26 October 1864: “Have you been down the factory to see the prisoners?”


Item Description: A letter from John Henderson while he was at the University of North Carolina to his young siblings. He went on to become a member of Congress.

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Item Citation: From Folder 36, in the John S. Henderson Papers #327, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Item Transcription:

Chapel Hill. October 26, 1864

Richard and Mary,

Brother John is very sorry to hear that mama has been sick and also that Father has received such a severe injury but he was still very glad to hear from his little brother and sister, who he hopes, will always endeavor to be good little children. Don’t make a bit of noise while mama is sick, it makes her restless and peevish. Aren’t you both mighty sorry mama is sick; what would  you little children do if she were to leave us now. Bubber John is most a man, but he had to cry a little when he read your little letter the first you ever wrote him. You must try to be good little children in order to please Papa and Mama for you are very dear to them even more so than your bubber John and I am mighty glad to hear you are going to have a school teacher at home. You must study hard and try to be good; for learning and piety is what makes people truly great. I think mima soon will come; he would not have waited so long to answer mama’s letter if he had not been thinking about it. You say mama will write to me in a few days; I hope she will; I like to read her letters so dearly. You must learn how to write and to write well. When I was a little boy I thought it made no matter whether I learned how to write a pretty hand or not so it was a plain one. But I see my error now and if ever I have an opportunity I mean to go to one of these commercial schools (you don’t know what they are but papa will tell you) in order learn how to write a new and better hand. I am getting along very well or as Cicero the great Roman orator whom you will read about one of these days, has it “If you are well, it is well, I indeed am well.” You heard bubber John was a great ladies man, that’s a mistake, he went to see them at one time very frequently, but they soon disgusted him. They are not as truthful, and of as spotless character in thought, word and action as I want my little sister to be. I know more about them than I could wish to know. You may rest assured that I will never lose my heart among the “college lasses.” They fall below bubber John’s standard of female propriety. He has not been to see anybody in several weeks and does not go at all, unless he is unable to borrow or to buy a candle. He is not afraid either to the ladies whom he visits that his only object in coming is to keep out  of the dark. Have you been down the factory to see the prisoners? I am mighty sorry they sent so many of the rascals to Salisbury. They will eat out the bread and meat in the country. I hear they don’t give them any meat over molasses. I hope so. See my neckties are worn out. I was thinking about buying one and giving ten dollars for it but if my cousins have made me one I wont do any such thing. Where is it and where am I to get it. I would like to know all about it. I will be very thankful to my cousins for their kindness. Bubber John is out of candles; can’t buy any here; can’t get any from home. What is he to do. I reckon he will have to go and mix with the ladies again. However much he may dislike such a step. He much  prefers the companionship of Cicero. Love to mama and papa – Brother John

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25 October 1864: “Each man will carry 10 rounds of ammunition on his person and four day full rations”

Item Description: Hand written United States Army document, containing General orders for troop movement.

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Item Citation: From Folder 1, in the Martha Vandever Papers, #1679-z, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.Hand Written United States Army documents.

Item Transcription:

Head Quarters 5th A. Corps
Oct 25, 1864

Genl Order 
No. 51

I. The command will move at dawn on Thursday, 27th inat.(?)
Each man will carry 10 rounds of ammunition on his person and four day full rations, from 27th inat. (?) 
II. Wagon to carry 40 rounds of ammunition per man, two days forage for the horses of the mounted officers and the spring wagons allowed to the several Head Quarters One half the ambulances with all the stretchers, will be prepared to accompany the troops. No baggage on Head Quarters wagons will be allowed, but instead, such pack animals will be needs as will be necessary for carrying rations and tents of officers. All other trains & wagons, than just specified, will be sent during the night of the 26th, within the entrenchment at City Point, under the direction of the chief Quartermaster of the Army. The vehicles not sent to City Point and pack animals will not march with the troops, but remain parked by Divisions, in secund positions near their present encampment, to be sent for as occasion may require.

III. Every man on detached service, special, extra or daily duty, that can be temporarily placed in the ranks for an emergency, will be armed and equipped and sent to the ranks for his operation.

By comman of
Maj. Genl.  Warren
Fred O. Locke Aaj.  

C. E. Laittotte (?)
Leiut. Col. Aaaj.   


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24 October 1864: “The arming of a portion of negroes and making a regular military organization of them. “

Item Description: William Porcher Miles consulted Robert E. Lee regarding the use of slaves as soldiers in the Confederate Army, as well as the organization of the army. He represented Charleston, S.C. in the Confederate congress.

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Item Citation: From Folder 52, in the William Porcher Miles Papers #508, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription: 

Richmond. Oct. 24, 1864

Genl. Robert E. Lee, 

Dear Sir, 

Congress meets the 7th of next month and the increase of our army and the improvement of its organization, discipline and efficiency are questions which will immediately and largely occupy our time and attention. As Chairman of the Military Committee of the House. I would be very glad to have your opinion on various points. I am aware that any suggestions or recommendations which you might desire legislation upon would officially, be addressed to the War Department, but I have thought a free interchange of views and opinions on Army Matters (so far as they may depend upon or the affected by the action of Congress) and the eliciting of your opinioned teaching sundry mooted points, would be of the greatest service to my Committee. I state the simple truth when I say, as our experience on several occasions has abundantly proved, that in engaging any measure upon the House the strongest argument we can offer in its support is that “Gen. R. Lee thinks it very desirable.” 

I would like to have your opinion on the three following points particularly.

1st The arming of a portion of negroes and making a regular military organization of them. 

2nd The dispersing altogether with the principle of promotion by seniority for and during the war, and promoting to all ranks for merit and capacity alone. Seniority to decide only where other things are equal. 

3rd The reorganization of the Cavalry on the basis of the Government and not the privates owning the horses, and (a point hardly however requiring legislation) the supplying this important arm of the service with more efficient weapons. There are other matters such as, “Consolidation of Regiments.” Artillery organization de upon which there are very opposite views entertained and upon which it is not unlikely we may be called upon to act, but the three points above indicated will certainly be brought forward at an early day of the session.  Should you not feel disposed. Formally to express yourself upon all, or any of these matters. I should still be greatly obliged to you for any news which you might think proper to communicate to me, under such restrictions, (as to quoting you as authority in the premises), as might be most agreeable to yourself.

The time has come which we must all work together frankly, heartily and harmoniously to insure the success of the great- cause in which we are all engaged and in everything affecting the interests of the army all eyes naturally turn to you with anxious inquiry and earnest-confidence should you prefer communicating with me personally I shall be happy to wait upon you at any time that you will indicate. 

Very Respectfully, 

(signed) Wm. Porcher Miles

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