Monday, December 26, 2011

70 or 80 Pairs of Mittens

The entry is from Blue-Eyed Child of Fortune, The Civil War Letters of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, edited by Russell Duncan.  Later in the war Shaw would become the colonel in command of the all-black 54th Regiment,  but that was still a couple of years off.  Christmas time 1861 he was  second lieutenant with the 2nd Massachusetts Infantry.

Shaw was from a privileged background, which helps explain this entry..

Camp Hicks, near Frederick Maryland, 3 1/2 o’clock
December 25, 1861

. . . Also, tell the girls that Harry would be very much obliged if they would send him seventy or eighty pairs of mittens.  I heard him say he would like to have some.   The men were all glad to get them, though, as usual, they didn’t express their thanks.  They get so many things that they are spoilt, and think thy have a right to all these extras.  Thirteen dollars per month, with board, lodging, and clothes, is more than nine men out of ten could make at home.  Poor soldiers!  Poor drumsticks!  But this is not the sort of language for me to use, who am supposed to stand in the light of half  mother to the men of my company. I should like about fifteen more pairs mittens; and some warm flannel shirts and drawers would be very useful, if there are any spare ones.  “Uncle Sam’s” are miserable things.  “Merry Christmas” and love to all  . . .
Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, May 1863, photograph, Boston Athenaeum

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas 1861 with the Kosciusko, Indiana Guards

This entry is from the Journal of the Kosciusko Guards [Indiana] • Company E • 12th Regiment, written by William S. Hemphill, Transcribed by Marjorie Priser as found at Kosciusko County Indiana Yesteryear in Print website (

It is Christmas Eve! The cold wind sweeps in fitful gusts around the lowly cot of the poor, and piles the snow in mimic mountains at the door of the rich. The inmates draw close to the bright fireside and laugh and chat merrily over the return of the day so anxiously looked for in childhood, as each succeeding year brings its "Merry Christmas", its friendly greetings, and its tokens of love and friendship to each one in the home circle. But, in how many homes is there a vacant chair to-night? In how many beaming faces is there a shadow of sadness, stealing in between the smiles? And why? A father, a husband, a brother, or a son is not there. Why is that chair vacant tonight of all nights! Come with me to the banks of the Potomac, to the fields of Kentucky, or to the broad prairies of Missouri, and you shall have your answer.

"A Merry Christmas!" Tis the old familiar greeting! Echoed from tent to tent, throughout the camp. It passes around the guard line. The sentinel on duty, whose unceasing tramp tramp tramp was keeping time to his thoughts, looks around him while a bright smile illuminates his face, which is bronzed by exposure to the sun and the elements, he passes the magic words to his comrades, and resumes his wearying walk and watch, while his thoughts, at a bound, go back to the cheerful cottage so far away, where he knows his loved ones are assembled, and in his heart he greets their wish "A Merry Christmas". Look at him now, as he calls up fond recollections of home, and you would think his heart had never known a care; that the face, now so cheerful and bright, had never worn the fierce look of determination; that the eye, now so gentle in its expression, that perchance you may detect a truant tear, rolling slowly down the brown cheek, had never blazed with the fire of passion as he glanced along the trusty rifle, now held so lovingly to his bosom, (as though it were one of the loved ones, of whom he is thinking) with the determination to send its death-dealing contents to the heart of some luckless foe-man.

Those cheering words, which brought such bright visions of happiness in childhood, still wield a magic influence over the heart of the soldier, and place him once more, in imagination, within the walls of home. But it is only the reflected joys of former years that causes his heart to beat quicker, and causes the smile to linger upon his lips. Lay aside the ideal and look at the real. All is changed. Christmas brings to the soldier none of the festivities, or unions and merrymakings that it brings to the citizens at home. He only enjoys in imagination the bright scenes, the memories of the past; while they, greeted by loved ones at every step, forget the cares of life for the time being, and mingle in scenes of mirth and pleasure.

Instead of the holiday they enjoy, the soldier has the same weary routine of duty to perform. Whilst the citizen is looking for a cherished friend, a loved brother or sister, to spend the day with him in pleasant festivities, the soldier is watching for the approach of a subtle enemy, whose appearance would probably mean the approach of the "grim monster" to one, or both. Whilst the one is watching to guard against a pleasant susprise by some loved one, which would only call forth a happy laugh, the other is watching to guard against a surprise which would call forth all the fierce elements in man's nature strife, bloodshed and death.

The one takes his place at the festal board and partakes of the luxuries of the season; while the other has the poor pittance of coarse food that is doled out to him by the government he is defending, and on which he is expected to subsist, month after month without uttering a complaint. And yet there are those who spend their lives in ease, enjoying the blessings and privileges, the soldier has sacrificed so much to secure to those, who will say "A soldier's life is a life of pleasure." It is; and the man is unworthy [of] the name of soldier, or the proud title of American Citizen, who does not take pleasure in discharging the duties assigned him; though those duties should require him to face storms and danger, and even death. It is a proud pleasure to know that he is doing his whole duty; but it is not the kind of pleasure that is found by the home fireside.

In camp, the holiday passes slowly away. Perhaps some lucky one has procured some little luxury, which is shared with all, so far as it will reach, and while the loved ones are gathered around the cheerful hearthstone, in the cozy room at home, the soldier draws his blanket about him, and whilst a comrade keeps up the weary watch and tramp tramp tramp he sits down by the camp fire to think of, and talk of the loved ones at home; of the happy hours he has spent with them, and of their probable enjoyment of "Merry Christmas". And deep down in his heart he sighs and wonders if they are thinking of him, if they regret his absence. But time passes; "Taps" have sounded. All is quiet in camp save that unceasing tramp tramp tramp of the sentinel on his lonely beat.

Let us look into this tent. There lies a soldier, with his coarse blanket drawn around him, resting his wearied form on the cold, damp ground, with nothing but this thin bit of canvas to shelter him from the storm. He sleeps. Yes, just as soundly and sweetly as those who are resting upon beds of down, at home. Watch his features and read his thoughts. A bright smile steals over his bronzed features. He mingles again with his loved ones around the festal board. Hears again the old, familiar voices, as they ring out with their "Merry Christmas" greeting. Again he sits by the fireside and joins in the innocent amusements of the occasion. But see! The smile is gone, the scene has changed. The bright visions of home have fled. A step or the challenge of the sentinel falls on the ear that is always open to detect the sound of approaching danger. Look again. Would you recognize those features now? A look of defiance, of hatred, of stern determination rests now where you so lately found a bright smile. See! His hand grasps his trusty rifle which is always by his side and with a start he awakes and finds 'tis but a dream!

Don't go yet. Wait. Again he sleeps, and again he dreams of home and loved ones. Hark! What sound is that? Like a flash he springs to his feet and as the "long-roll" swells out on the midnight air, with rifle in hand he rushes forth to join his comrades in repelling a night attack. The commands are given in a low firm voice; a cautious movement is made; a whispered "there they are" is heard; then, "Steady men!" and then - the rifles are pouring forth their deadly contents! The splintering fire; the hoarse commands; the shouts and cheers of the combatants; the shrieks and groans of the wounded and dying; the roar of artillery; the bursting of shells, and the clashing of arms, all mingle together in an indescribable roar, which once heard can never be forgotten. See there! Would you recognize in that powder blackened image the features of the loved and loving one we were gazing upon but a moment ago?

"Charge!" The effect is like that produced by a current of electricity as it passes through the ranks. With a shout of defiance to the foe he rushes forward unmindful of danger. The bright flash is seen, the sharp report of the rifle is heard; he staggers forward a few steps, reels and falls! His life blood is turning the snow to a bright crimson. Again he essays to go forward; but Death orders him to "halt". With a last effort his rifle is raised to his cheek; a wild light gleams from his eyes as his last leaden messenger speeds on its mission of death.

The rifle falls from his hands; his eyes are turned toward Heaven; his lips move; Listen! He breathes a prayer. The name of some loved one lingers on his lips. Now he catches the sound of familiar voices. They call him back from the land of shadows. With a last effort he raises his hand as they approach and with his fast failing strength he joins in the glad shout of "Victory!" a triumphant smile playing upon his features. His men-mates gather around. Gently they bear him back to camp. Tenderly they gaze upon his face and minister to his wants. Sadly they bend over him to catch from his lips the last message to the loved ones at home. A moment more and the soldier's Merry Christmas is closed in death. He has gone on his last march. Has stood his last guard. Has fought his last battle, and spoken for the last time of home and loved ones. While those dear ones at home are perhaps speaking his name and indulging the fond hope that he will soon return. Tears roll down their manly cheeks. All his faults are carried with him; his virtues only are remembered. Sadly his name is spoken as they linger around the camp fire; and often do they speak of the vacant seat in that far off home, which will never again be filled and of the cheerful voice which greeted them with "Mery Christmas!" now forever hushed.

Time rolls along and while the "Home Guard" speaks with enthusiasm of the pleasures of a soldier's life, he has the weary, monotonous duties to perform, cheered occasionally by a letter from home, a token by which he knows that he is not forgotten. Cheered at all times by the knowledge that loving hearts yearn for his safe return; that a mother's, a sister's, a wife's, or a sweetheart's prayers go up to the throne of Grace by day and by night, in his behalf. But above all things cheered by the knowledge that he is discharging his duty to his God and his country. With the bright dreams of the future and of fame ever before him, he goes steadily forward in the discharge of duty, expecting a safe return to home and loved ones, where he can fight his battles over by the fireside, surrounded by their dear familiar faces, when Time again brings in his train the "Merry Christmas" greetings.

January 3, 1863 cover of Harper's Weekly, one of the first depictions of Santa Claus

Long and Loose In The Joints

This entry is from Diary of a Union Lady 1861 - 1865 edited by Harold Earl Hammond.

This is from the diary of Maria Lydig Daly, wife of a justice of the Court of Common Pleas in New York City.  She is not a fan of Lincoln, as you will see by this quote, which was a common opinion in New York City at the time.

December 19, 1861

Lincoln is mentally what he is physically, long and loose in the joints.  He cannot gather himself up easily for an effort, but all agree he is a conscientious, honest fellow, most unfit for his high position, not realizing the peril of the country, content to be President and have Mrs. Lincoln dress herself up and hold levees. . . . She is not a young woman by any means, but dresses like one and rather bullies her husband, which they say accounts for his meekness.  The people of Springfield say that she was often heard crying from her doorstep:  "Abraham, Abraham, we want a bushel of potatoes."

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Life of a Book that Survived Two Wars and a Great Lake

Sometimes the history of a book can be as interesting as the book itself. I recently came across such a book --  a book that reveals its story through names, dates and places written inside and placed on labels.  There is even an interesting piece of paper stuck between the pages -- but I will get to that later.. The name of the book?  Arctic Explorations in the Years 1853, ’54 ‘55 by Elisha Kent Kane, Volume II copyright 1857.

The first owner of the book could have been the U. S. Government, and if not, then likely John James Abert, Chief of the Topographical Bureau at Washington, and colonel in command of that branch of engineers.  Abert is associated in the supervision of many earlier national engineering works and map making projects.  It would be appropriate that he would have a copy of Elisha Kent Kane’s book.

John James Abert

Inside the front of book a light yellow label has been adhered, most likely being the label used when this book was shipped from Washington where Abert was.  In the right upper right hand corner:  “On Official Business , Bureau Topopgraphy,” then in different handwriting J. J. Abert., Col. Corps. T E. (Colonel of the Corps of Topographical Engineers).   This yellow label has a postmark dated Feb. 9, 1857 and says “Washington Free”.

Close-up of the postmark

It appears to be the actual handwriting of Abert on this envelope when compared to a sample of Abert’s signature found online in a couple of places.  Here is one I found in the Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution, 1897. 

Abert may have even known Elisha Kent Kane. After all, they were both explorers in their own fields.   An interesting aside is that Kane died seven days after the postmark found in this book, on February 16, 1857, at the age of 36, while in Havana traveling for his health.

Now we come to the second owner of this book, Joseph Adams Potter
Joseph Adams Potter

The yellow label is addressed to Adjutant  J.A. Potter, Survey of the N W Lakes, Detroit Michigan.  J A Potter’s name is also written on the title page of the book, along with the date, 1857.  At the time Potter received the book he was working as a surveyor on Lake Superior, under then Captain George Meade, a name with which you may be familiar, because he later was a Major General during the Civil War.   And this surveyor would also became an officer  -- a brevet general --  and a quartermaster in the Union army during the Civil War.  Possibly Abert sent Potter this book since his bore similarities to Potter’s own work as a surveyor in the north waters.

The Civil War arrived, and during the war the now quartermaster Potter moved around as soldiers are apt to do. Did the book go with him?  

When the war ended Potter continued to act in the capacity of a quartermaster, and in 1867 found himself stationed in Galveston, Texas.  Much to his bad luck, there was a yellow fever epidemic while he was there, and he was not spared. One day he was attacked by the fever and on the evening of the third day he was pronounced dying.  He had a young wife and an infant son, and they both caught the fever, too.  The night Potter was pronounced dying the fever took a favorable turn, and he lived.  When he was well enough to leave his bed twelve day later, he found that his wife, his commanding general, and his two body servants were all dead, and no one left but his little boy.  His house was in the hands of servants and strangers, and every trunk and drawer ransacked, and many valuables gone.  But not the book.

Was the book with Potter in Galveston?  We’ll never know for sure, but we can surmise the next and third owner, is Potter’s son H. W. Potter (Howard), the little boy who survived the Yellow Fever.  His label is in the front of the book.  H. W. grew up, married, and had two daughters who were born in Streator Illinois.  And when H.W. came to Streator the book must have come with him, some time in the late 1800’s.

Now we come to the fourth owner.  This is F. L. (Frank) Angier.  Just how did he get it? My guess is that he bought it as a used book, or perhaps even was given it.  A bookplate in the front of the book shows that Angier lived or worked in Kangley, Illinois, which is not far away from Streator, Illinois, where H W Potter lived.

Angier was also in the army, a Colonel during the Spanish American War, and his name is written in the book, along with Major General Matthew Calbraith Butler’s name.

My speculation is that during the Spanish American War Angier worked for Major General Matthew Calbraith Buter.  Butler’s name is in the same handwriting as Angier’s and it doesn’t appear to be Butler’s handwriting, and so was probably written there by Angier.

Butler has an interesting past, too. From South Carolina, he is a famous Civil War Confederate cavalry officer, related to prominent people of the south, has Revoluntary War heroes as ancestors, and married the daughter of Governor F. W. Pickens.  After the Civil War he was elected to the United State Senate, and later appointed a major-general in the volunteer army of the United States, for the war with Spain.  That’s when this book must have been in his hands, when  he was at Camp Alger, Virginia.

Matthew Calbraith Butler

After the Spanish American war Angier must have retained the book for some time.  Inside the book I found a little slip of paper, a campaign advertisement if you will, for the 24th Annual Encampment of the U. S. W. V. (United Spanish War Veterans).  It says . “F.L. Angier, Let us vote for ‘Friday’ on Saturday.  Angier ran for some office during this encampment that probably took place in 1923.  This means Angier owned the book for at least 25 years, and maybe longer.

So there you have it.  A book with ties to one great lake and at least two wars, and some people of note in America’s past.

You may ask, how is it that I have this book.  Serendipity I suppose. It was a part of a group of books that sat in an old railroad depot in the Midwest, not far from Streator, untouched, for many years, and finally sold at auction a few months back.  Will the book’s history revealed end here?  I don’t know, but it has come a long way already.

A Confederate Woman's Rights Considered

This appeared in the Clarksville Chronicle, December 20, 1861, regarding the consideration of the woman's right to vote and a fine on women for entrapping men.
In the legislature of Tennessee, upon the consideration of bill No. 94; to protect the property of femes covert:

Mr. Fleming offered the following amendment to the bill:
Be it further enacted, That in all popular elections in this State, every unmarried woman, being the owner of taxable property, shall be entitled to vote as male citizens are now authorized by law to vote; and every married woman, having separate property, whose husband may be insolvent, shall, in like manner, be entitled to vote, and the husband of such woman is hereby disfranchised.

Mr. Rankin offered the following amendment to the amendment:
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee, That all women, of whatever age, rank, profession, or degree, whether virgin, maid, or widow, that shall, from and after the passage of this act, impose upon, seduce, or betray into marriage any male subject in the Confederate States of America, and particularly in the State of Tennessee, by the means of scents, paints, cosmetics, washes, artificial teeth, false hair, Spanish wool, iron stays, high-heeled shoes, or bolstered hips, shall be guilty of misdemeanor, and upon conviction, shall be fined in the sum of $100, and imprisoned at the discretion of the court trying the cause.|

On motion of Mr. Speaker Keeble, (Mr. Estes in the chair,) the amendments were laid upon the table.

The newspaper's comments on this second paragraph: 
Now wouldn't it create a flutteration among the women if that bill were to pass! But it didn't, ladies. You can go on taking the boys in.

 Farm Women take a moment from their sewing at Cedar Mountain, Georgia (from Library of Congress)           

Monday, December 19, 2011

Father and Sons Become Enemies

This contents of this entry can be found at the Wisconsin Historical Society's Website ( , and is called "Father and Sons Become Enemies."  It is from a diary entry dated December 18, 1861.

"In the fall of 1861, blacksmith William Moore of Black River Falls was chosen captain of Company G, 10th Wisconsin Infantry. It left for Louisville, Kentucky, on October 8. Near Leesville, Kentucky, Moore learned about the sad realities of a divided Southern family. On December 18, 1861, he writes in his diary about a Kentucky father and his sons who chose to fight on opposite sides of the war."
Here I learned from a citizen the history of a family who present a sad picture of the deplorable effects of civil war. The Father and two sons, each feeling a desire to do something for their country according to their individual notions of right, enlisted; the two sons in the Union army, and the Father in the Rebel army. The two sons expostulated with the Father, but to no purpose, when one of the sons addressed his father in the following language.
"Father, if we meet in battle and you get your gun to your face to shoot, and find that you got sight on one [of us], don't take it down until you have pulled the trigger. For as I live, I shall know no man as a friend who is an enemy to my country, and the cause I am fighting for."
Shaking hands they parted, to meet perhaps in the deadly conflict. Such are the deplorable consequences of one Brother going to war with another.
 Source: Moore, William P. "Civil War Diary, 1861-1862," pages 13-14.

Two unidentified soldiers in Union artillery shell jackets, photo from the Library of Congress

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Confederate Flag of 1861

This entry is from the Richmond Dispatch from December 7, 1861, (as found in the Rebellion Record by Frank Moore), concerning the Confederate flag. Interestingly, this article is not referring to the flag we are accustomed to seeing and is commonly known as the Confederate flag ("the Stainless banner"), but an earlier version ("the Stars and Bars.")  The Stainless banner wasn't adopted as the official Confederate flag until 1863.
The adoption of our present flag was a natural, but most pernicious blunder.  As the old flag itself was not the author of our wrongs, we tore off a piece of the dear old rag and set it up as a standard.  We took it for granted a flag was a divisible thing, and proceeded to set off our proportion. So we took, at a rough calculation, our share of the stars and our fraction of the stripes, and put them together, and called them the ' Confederate flag.'   Even as Aaron of old put the gold into the fire, and then came out this calf, so certain stars and stripes went into committee, and then came out this flag. All this was honest and fair to a fault. We were clearly entitled to from seven to eleven of the stars, and three or four of the stripes.
Indeed, as we were maintaining the principles it was intended to represent, and the North had abandoned them, we were honestly entitled to the whole flag. Had we kept it, and fought for it and under it, and conquered it from the North, it would have been no robbery, but all right and fair.   And we should either have done this, i.e. kept the flag as a whole, or else we should have abandoned it as a whole and adopted another.  But if we did not choose to assert our title to the whole, was it politic or judicious to split the flag and claim one of the fractions?  We had an equal right, also, to ' Hail Columbia' and' Yankee Doodle.'  We might have adopted a part of ' Yankee Doodle' (say every third stanza), or else 'Yankee Doodle' with variations, as our national air. In the choice of an air we were not guilty of this absurdity, but we have perpetrated one exactly parallel to it in the choice of a national flag. There is no exaggeration in the illustration. It seems supremely ridiculous, yet it scarcely does our folly justice.

There is but one feature essential to a flag, and that is distinctness. Beauty, appropriateness, good taste, are all desirable; but the only thing indispensable is distinctness, — wide, plain, unmistakable distinction from other flags. Unfortunately, this indispensable thing is just the thing which the Confederate flag lacks; and failing in this, it is a lamentable and total failure, absolute and irredeemable.
The failure is in a matter of essence. It is as complete as that of writing which cannot be read, of a gun which cannot be shot, of a coat which cannot be worn. It is the play of Hamlet with the part of Hamlet left out. A flag which does not distinguish may be a very nice piece of bunting; it may be handsomely executed, tasteful, expressive, and a thousand other things, but it has no title at all to bear the name of ' flag.'

We knew the flag we had to fight; yet, instead of getting as far from it, we were guilty of the huge mistake of getting as near to it as possible. We sought similarity, adopting a principle diametrically wrong, we made a flag as nearly like theirs as could only under favorable circumstances, be distinguished from it.  Under unfavorable circumstances (such as constantly occur in practice), the two flags are indistinguishable. In the wars of the Roses in Great Britain, one side adopted the white and the other the red rose. Suppose that one side had adopted milk white and the other flesh white, or one a deep pink and the other a lighter shade of pink, would there have been any end to the confusion?
When a body of men is approaching in time of war, it is rather an important matter to ascertain, if practicable, whether they are friends or foes. Certainly no question could well be more radical in its influence upon our actions, plans, and movements. To solve this important question is the object of a flag. When they get near us, there may be other means of information; but to distinguish friends from enemies at a distance is the specific purpose of a flag. Human ingenuity is great, and may conceive some other small purposes, presentations, toasts, speeches, &c.: but that this is the great end of a flag will not be denied; and it is in this that the Confederate flag fails.
There is no case in history in which broad distinction in the symbols of the combatants was more necessary than it has been in the present war. Our enemies are of the same race with ourselves, of the same color and even shade of complexion; they speak the same language, wear like clothing, and are of like form and stature. (The more shame that they should make war upon us !)
Our general appearance being the same, we must rely solely upon symbols for distinction. The danger of mistake is great, after all possible precautions have been taken; sufficient attention has never been paid to this important matter, involving life or death, victory or defeat. Our badges, uniforms, flags, should be perfectly distinguishable from those of the enemy. Our first and distant information is dependent solely on the flag."

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Black Flag is Raised

This entry is from the Memphis Daily Appeal, December 4, 1861.  This was one approach towards the war that was being advocated by some Confederates.

A call to raise the "black flag" in Memphis; the rhetoric and logic of war  We unhesitatingly say that the cause of justice and the cause of humanity itself, demands that the black flag shall be unfurled on every battlefield-that extermination and death shall be proclaimed against the hellish miscreants who persist in polluting our soil with their crimes. We will stop the effusion of blood, we will arrest the horrors of war, by terrific slaughter of the foe, by examples of overwhelming and unsparing vengeance. When Olive Cromwell massacred the garrison at Drogheda, suffering not a man to escape, he justified it on the ground that his object was to bring the war to a close-to stop the effusion of blood-and, that it was, therefore, a merciful act on his part. The South can afford no longer to trifle-she must strike the most fearful blows-the war-cry of extermination must be raised.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Putting It Down in Black and White

This entry comes from Vanity Fair, July 18, 1861, and concerns an slave woman disguised as a soldier.

. .. An exchange, published somewhere in the country, fills out a column with this sublime statement::  A slave woman has been discovered in one of the Ohio regiments.  She was discharged.  

That is all.  Clear, Quiet, and simple in language, thrilling in meaning, and totally incomprehensible of understanding, we present it to our readers just as we find it.  Our eyes do not deceive us. 

A black woman has passed herself off for a white soldier.  Shade of Jasper!  What a metamorphosis.  Was she whitewashed?  Did she "paint an inch thick" to come "to that complexion?"  How did she pass the medical examination unsuspected?  What was her object?  Did she wear a beard?  The more questions we ask, the more profound our mystification grows.  Is it an enigma, a conundrum?  What Is It?  We give it up.  But, if this sort of thing is prevalent, what regiment is safe from these female ethiopan Jaspers?   How do we know that our army, which we have loved and esteemed so much, is not largely composed of negro wenches!  Can anybody swear the Brigadier-General Pierce is not a colored maiden in disguise?  If he is, let him also be discharged, and speedily.

Seriously, it doesn't seem likely that this can be a very common case. Jasper's was not and Munchausen's adventures were unique.  Let us hope that the Ohio regiment is the only one in whose ranks a Chloe or a Phyllis has found even a temporary asylum, and let us rejoice that in that case "she was discharged."  It is probably that McAhone's (?) army alone boasts of an organization of "light quadroons;" and that we can put down rebellion better than by Putting it Down in Black and White.

Brigadier-General Byron Root Pierce

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Like a Festering Wound

This entry is from a speech made by James Mitchell Ashley on November 26, 1861, The Rebellion : its causes and consequences : a speech delivered by Hon. J.M. Ashley at College Hall in the city of Toledo, Tuesday evening, November 26, 1861, as found at Cornell University's Samuel J. May Anti-Slavery Collection.

Ashley was  was a U.S. congressman, territorial governor and railroad president  He was an active abolitionist who traveled with John Brown's widow on the date of Brown's execution.  In this speech Ashely attempts to show that the "conflict" was festering for a good thirty years before coming to the surface.
. . . .I have shown that the election of Mr. Lincoln was not the cause of this rebellion, but only a pretext for it ; that for thirty years the traitors have been fomenting treason and have only been awaiting  a favorable opportunity to inaugurate it.  I have shown that but for the fatal folly and wicked indifference of the North this rebellion would never have come upon us.  That we have fed and fostered the viper which is now at our throats, every candid, reflecting Northern man must admit ; when it was an infant, or even when it was but half-grown, the nation might easily have destroyed it, but now by our own fault and guilt it has grown until it has become formidable and terrible. For years we nursed it most tenderly and gave it all the succor and food it demanded.  Now outraged justice demands either that we shall destroy it, or be ourselves destroyed by it.  There is a law of compensations, a law which is above all human enactments, irrepealable because Divine, which proclaims that "the nation or people who do not rule in righteousness shall perish from the earth," and I believe we are now passing through the trying ordeal which will either establish us as a nation of freemen, ruling in righteousness, or destroy us.
James Mitchell Ashley from Wikimedia Commons (form the Library of Congress Collection), a Mathew Brady Photo

Thursday, November 24, 2011


This entry is from Mary Chesnut's Civil War, edited by C. Vann Woodward. Mary Chesnut was married to James Chesnut, United States Senator from South Carolina, 1859-1861, and afterward an Aide to Jefferson Davis, and a Brigadier General in the Confederate Army.   The sentiments she describes in her diary entry for November 24 were probably shared by many.

November 24, 1861

Hymn at Church:

Save us Lord, or we perish
When through the torn sail the wild tempest is howling
When o'er the dark wave the dread lightning is gleaming*

I could have rested my head on that cushion and sobbed and shrieked like a new convert at a revival camp meeting.  But not an eyelash moved. So much for civilized self-control.

*Lines slightly misquoted from a hymn by Reginald Heber appearing in Hymns Written and Adapted to the Weekly Service of the Year (1827)
Mary Chesnut

Sunday, November 20, 2011

I Survived The Wildcat Stampede

This entry comes from The Rebellion Record:  A Diary of American Events edited by Frank Moore, Third Volume, 1862.

Details are given by an unnamed correspondent in Kentucky of an event dubbed by the Confederates as the Wildcat Stampede.  It was a rushed and forced march by Union forces.   The retreat was ordered by General Sherman, and the logistics executed by Generals Carter and Schoepf, when Sherman erroneously became convinced that certain Union forces would be cut off by the Confederates.  One account of this situation can be found at The Civil War Daily Gazette blog.  

November 14, 1861 was an epic day for the marchers:
A heavy storm of rain roused the bivouackers from sleep. Their blankets and clothing were saturated with water. The morning was most dismal. Wildcat Heights, crowned with a heavy coronal of mist, frowned in dreary and discouraging altitude before us. The roads were already worked into a tough muck, the pathway on the edges where the troops walked, were slimy and slippery. Beyond was Rockcastle River, swift and reported unfordable. But the word was en avant. The lads partook of their cold rations and hot coffee, and took up the toilsome march. Every step was laborious to the sturdy, agonizing to the feeble. Knapsacks almost too heavy under fairest auspices, were now doubly burthensome, and the pack-horse load was increased by the aggravating weight of water which soaked blankets and heavy army overcoats, and the nasty slime which splashed and plastered each man's breeches as high as his knees in front and rear, and filled his shoes until they overflowed with slush.

During the first mile we passed one baggage wagon, capsized in a creek. Its load of commissary stores and baggage was lost. The desolate teamster and jaded horses, bedaubed with mud, gazed at it dismally and hopelessly as we moved forward. Farther up the hill a half-dozen wagons were stuck, and the poor animals could not move them. A few hundred yards further, barrels of bread were tossed out of wagons and left to destruction in the forests. A stranger to the facts, passing now, would have said, Here is a terrified army fleeing from a pursuing enemy.

Going up the mountain, we pass Tennesseeans; some are still pushing on desperately. Yonder is one prone on a bed of wet forest leaves; his head is bolstered on a rotten stump. Exhaustion is graphically pictured on his livid complexion and in his silent form. He is unconscious while he sleeps the sleep of distress, that the driving rain is beating mercilessly upon him. My comrade startles me—"Is he dead?" Oh, no; he's only an exhausted soldier! Ho wears no shoulder straps, with a silver star on each. But it is yet early in the day; surely it is not time for soldiers to yield to fatigue. They have marched only one night, and have slept the whole of one or two hours on the damp, frosted soil.

At last the ascent is accomplished by a few. We look back with a sigh of relief, and turn away again with emotions of regret and disgust at the sorrowful and weary file of men, still toiling through the mire, and gazing wistfully to the top.  But here is a picture.  On the top of a rock on the crest of the hill, there sits a Toledo lad, writing a letter.  He protects the precious page from the rain with his hat, and the big drops patter on his bare head. He looks careworn and wayworn; but his eye is bright, his hand steady. From head to foot, he is incased in a thick plastering of clay, and moisture drips from his sleeves. He replies to my comrade, "No, colonel, I've not given out; I'm a little tired though. I'll make it, colonel; I'll never give up."

Why in the name of humanity does not the commander send back messengers to halt this column? Is there imminent danger ahead? Cannot these failing men be halted a day for rest? At least let messengers be despatched from head-quarters to inspire them to march, march, to resist the foe. Any thing to renew their spirit. But look at these wagon loads of sick soldiers. See them shivering in saturated blankets, seated in pools of water which drip from their clothing as it pours from the clouds. Hear their unceasing, discordant, and harrowing chorus of coughing. Here are candidates for the grave. But the order is stern—" Bring all your sick." "Oh," said one of the surgeons to me, "that was the cruelest order officer ever gave. I protested in vain. I urged that it would kill my patients. But come they must. I shall lose perhaps thirty or forty of my regiment, and it will plant consumption in the lungs of two hundred more.. . . ."
Brigadier General Albin F. Schoepf, one of the officers commanding the "Wildcat Stampede" from Wikipedia

Monday, November 14, 2011

Ladies' Curiosity Gratified

This entry comes from the Memphis Daily Appeal, November 14, 1861.

Ladies Curiosity Gratified.
            The war correspondent of the Charleston Courier tells the following good one:
            Frequently the ladies are in the habit of visiting the prisoners, but oftener from curiosity than sympathy.  Another incident is told of an encounter between several of them and an Irishman:

            It had become a matter of habit with the fair ones to open conversation with the very natural inquiry, "Where are you wounded?" and accordingly when a party of three or four the other day approached our cell, they launched out in the usual way.  Paddy made believe that he didn't hear distinctly and replied, "Pretty well, I thank yez."  "Where were you wounded?" again fired away one of the ladies.  "Faith, I'm not badly hurt at all.  I'll be thravelling to Richmond in a wake," replied Pat, with a peculiarly distressing look, as if he was in a tight place.  Thinking that he was deaf, one of the old ladies in the background put her mouth down to his ear and shouted again, "We want to know where you are hurt."
            Pat evidently finding that if the bombardment continued much longer he would have to strike his flag anyhow, concluded to do so at once, and accordingly, with a face as rosy as a boiled lobster, and with an angry kind of energy, he replied:  "Sure, leddies, it's not deaf that I am, but since ye are determined to know where I've been wounded, its in my sate.  The bullet entered behind of my breeches.  Please to excuse my feelings and ax me no more questions."

          I leave it to you to imagine the blushing consternation of the inquisitors and sudden locomotion of the crinoline out of the front door.

Seated soldier wearing four button sack with kepi, patriotic matte, from Library of Congress Collection

Friday, November 11, 2011

How I Was Almost Captured by the Confederates

Today's entry is from The Life-Story and Personal Reminiscences of Col John Sobieski, written by himself.

Sobieski was a Polish native descended from royalty who was banished from his own country, and so came to America.  He entered the American army in the 1850's, and fought on the Union side during the Civil war.  In this excerpt he writes about an experience he had shortly after the Battle of Antietam.

I was very nearly captured while we were near New Baltimore, after the battle of Antietam. I took charge of some teams one day, to go out and get some forage. Our orders were very strict not to enter into any private house, and if any of my men did so, or attempted in any way to molest the inhabitants, to report them on return to the camp. After getting some distance out into the country, and being some little distance in the rear of my teams, I noticed that they had halted in front of a farm-house. I put the spur to my horse, and as I approached the house heard the cackling of hens and the gobbling of turkeys, and knew some fowl (foul) proceedings were going on at the front. I rode up to the house just in time to meet the men on the way out to their wagons, with their hands full of fowls. I halted them and ordered them to drop their plunder, and threatened to report them on returning to camp. A very handsome lady, apparently about thirty-five, who was standing on the porch of the house, thanked me for my protection, and calling me captain, asked me how soon it would be before I would return. I told her in a couple of hours. She said if I would call, she would show her appreciation of my services by having a good dinner for me.

On my return she met me at the door, and a darky received my horse and led it away.

As I was entering the hall, she said: "Captain, you can lay your belts upon this table, and I'll promise you that they shall not be interfered with."

I hesitated for a moment, questioning in my mind the wisdom of the act; but I took them off and threw them on the table. She led the way into the parlor, where she introduced me to an exceedingly handsome young lady, who was her sister.

She said, "Sister, this is the young captain who protected our house this morning."

The young lady bowed and smiled. I was at that time twenty years of age, a very susceptible time in one's life, so the smile was more than I could stand, and I was gone in a minute.

She said, "Yes, sister told me about the event of this morning, and that shows that all the chivalry is not on our side."

The lady of the house said: "Now, I will hurry up my servants with the dinner, and my sister will entertain you;" which she did charmingly.

Soon dinner was announced, and when I entered the dining room, I saw there were several extra plates. I was assigned to a place at the table, and while waiting for the ladies to be seated, a door opened to my right, and in walked two Confederate officers, a captain and a major. They were introduced to me as Captain and Major Grayson. They extended their hands, and I shook hands with them and said I was glad to meet them. I reckon I never told a bigger lie.

The lady of the house said: "Now, I will put the major on the right of our friend, and the captain on the left. There, you don't know how nice you warriors look."

I thought I might look nice, but I didn't feel that way. It was some minutes before I dared look in the face of my hostess. I cannot describe my feelings in those minutes, though I tried to conceal them. I thought, after I had protected her house, she had laid a trap to take me prisoner. I was afraid, if I looked at her, I would say something that wasn't nice; so I waited until my emotions were conquered, and everything went as pleasantly as though we were old friends.

After dinner we went into the parlor. All around the parlor walls there were pictures of distinguished Virginians: Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Tyler, Marshall, Zachary Taylor, and others. I thought all this time that I was a prisoner, though not the slightest reference had been made to the subject, or to my peculiar position. As we walked around the room we talked about the great men whose pictures we looked upon, and they complimented me that one so young as I was, and a foreigner, too, should be so well acquainted with the lives of these great men. Soon the ladies came in and we got to talking about my native country. As I told them of the struggle of our country for liberty and the part my family had taken in the struggle, and as I described the Russian prison, the death of my father, the banishment of my mother and myself, I saw the tears standing in the eyes of the two fair Virginians.

I now told my hostess that I must go. They all begged of me to remain longer, as they had enjoyed my visit so well; but I assured them that I must go. I thought they were going to say that they would keep me anyway; but soon my horse was announced, and we proceeded out into the hallway, followed by the ladies. The gentlemen assisted me in adjusting my belts, and when we arrived at the porch the little darky stood ready with my horse. When the bridle was placed in my hands, I turned around and confronted them for the first time. Up to this time not a single word had been said in regard to our peculiar relations.

As I extended my hand, both of the gentlemen stepped forward to receive it. The major said he was glad to have met me, and hoped to meet me again under more favorable circumstances. And the captain said, ''And above all, we hope you may go through the rest of the war unscathed."

I thanked them for their kind wishes, tipped my hat to the ladies, mounted my horse, and was gone. My relief was great when I found that I was a free man.

Still, I have often since pondered upon my strange adventure that afternoon. I have rather concluded that the major was the lady's husband, that the captain was his brother, of course, and that they had come there that day after we had left, and the lady had told them of the events of the morning, and, under the circumstances, they could not avail themselves of their opportunity for my capture. I wonder if they did go through the rest of the storm of war unscathed! I hope they did; and I have often hoped since then, that if they did come through alive, that I might meet one or both and have a talk with them over the events of that afternoon. I have given up that hope now, but trust in the great Beyond we shall meet and have a talk and laugh over the peculiar dinner on that November day, when we met together, and, forgetting the bitter passions of war, passed the hour so pleasantly.
John Sobieski, a photograph from his autobiography

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Slave Trader Sentenced to Hang

This entry is what the Judge Shipman said when he passed sentence on Nathanial Gordon on November 9th, 1861.  

Nathaniel Gordon was the only American slave trader to be tried, convicted and executed "for being engaged in the Slave Trade" in accordance with the Piracy Law of 1820. He loaded 897 slaves aboard his ship Erie in West Africa on August 7, 1860, "of whom only 172 were men and 162 grown women. Gordon was known for preferring to carry children because they were easier to control  The Erie was captured 50 miles from port on August 8, 1860. After one hung jury and a new trial, Gordon was finally convicted on November 9, 1861 and sentenced to death by hanging.  

Here is what the judge, said:

Let me implore you to seek the spiritual guidance of the ministers of religion; and let your repentance be as humble and thorough as your crime was great. Do not attempt to hide its enormity from yourself; think of the cruelty and wickedness of seizing nearly a thousand fellow beings, who never did you harm, and thrusting them beneath the decks of a small ship, beneath a burning tropical sun, to die in of disease or suffocation, or be transported to distant lands, and be consigned, they and their posterity, to a fate far more cruel than death.
Think of the sufferings of the unhappy beings whom you crowded on the Erie; of their helpless agony and terror as you took them from their native land; and especially of their miseries on the ---- ----- place of your capture to Monrovia! Remember that you showed mercy to none, carrying off as you did not only those of your own sex, but women and helpless children.
Do not flatter yourself that because they belonged to a different race from yourself, your guilt is therefore lessened – rather fear that it is increased. In the just and generous heart, the humble and the weak inspire compassion, and call for pity and forbearance. As you are soon to pass into the presence of that God of the black man as well as the white man, who is no respecter of persons, do not indulge for a moment the thought that he hears with indifference the cry of the humblest of his children. Do not imagine that because others shared in the guilt of this enterprise, yours, is thereby diminished; but remember the awful admonition of your Bible, “Though hand joined in hand, the wicked shall not go unpunished." 
—Worcester Aegis and Transcript; December 7, 1861; pg. 1, col. 6.

Description of a slave ship," by an anonymous artist, wood engraving. The woodcut was first produced in 1786 to illustrate various works by Thomas Clarkson, and was then distributed separately by abolitionists. from the British Museum, London, this image is from Wikimedia

Monday, November 7, 2011

Pick Me! Pick Me!

This entry comes from The War Within the Union High Command: Politics and Generalship During the Civil War, by Thomas J. Goss.  It concerns Benjamin Butler, a prominent Massachusetts politician turned General, who has a reputation of being an ineffectual Civil War leader.  But apparently it wasn't for lack of ambition.
In his diary on November 8, 1861, Lincoln aid John Hay recorded a letter from Benjamin Butler to the President.

Gen’l Wool has resigned. Gen’l Fremont must. Gen’l Scott has retired.
I have an ambition, and I trust a laudable one, to be Major-General of the United States Army.
Has anybody done more to deserve it? No one will do more. May I rely upon you, as you may have confidence in me, to take this matter into consideration?
I will not disgrace the position. I may fail in its duties.
P.S. I have made the same suggestion to other of my friends.

General Benjamin Butler from Library of Congress via Wikimedia

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Lady as Loyal as Steel

This entry comes from My Diary North and South by William Howard Russell.
Russell was an Irish reporter with The Times and is considered to have been one of the first modern war correspondents. Here he comments on Mary Todd Lincoln.

November 3rd. [1861] —For some reason or another, a certain set of papers have lately taken to flatter Mrs. Lincoln in the most noisome manner, whilst others deal in dark insinuations against her loyalty, Union principles, and honesty. The poor lady is loyal as steel to her family and to Lincoln the first; but she is accessible to the influence of flattery, and has permitted her society to be infested by men who would not be received in any respectable private house in New York.

Mary Todd Lincoln, from the Library of Congress Collection

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Socks for Soldiers

This entry comes from My Story of the War by Mary Aston Rice Livermore. Livermore was a journalist, and an advocate for woman's rights.  During the war she was involved with the United States Sanitary Commission, organized many aid societies and visited army posts and hospitals.

Various aid societies in Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois and Indiana would send boxes of supplies  they made to the Sanitary Commission for use in hospitals.  Many came with notes.  Here are a few that came with socks.

 Dear Soldier, —If these socks had language they would tell you that many a kind wish for you has been knit into them, and many a tear of pity for you has bedewed them. We all think of you, and want to do everything we can for you; for we feel that we owe you unlimited love and gratitude, and that you deserve the very best at our hands.

Here is another, of a different character: — My Dear Boy, — I have knit these socks expressly for you. How do you like them ? How do you look, and where do you live when you are at home? I am nineteen years old, of medium height, of slight build, with blue eyes, fair complexion, light hair, and a good deal of it. Write and tell me all about yourself, and how you get on in the hospitals. Direct to . P. S. If the recipient of these socks has a wife, will he please exchange socks with some poor fellow not so fortunate?

And here is yet another: — My Brave Friend — I have learned to knit on purpose to knit socks for the soldiers. This is my fourth pair. My name is ______ and I live in ______. Write to me, and tell me how you like the foot-gear and what we can do for you. Keep up good courage, and by and by you will come home to us. Won't that be a grand time, though? And won't we all turn out to meet you, with flowers and music, and cheers and embraces?  There's a good time coming, boys!
Mar Rice Livermore (from Wikipedia)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Nostradamus Predicts

This entry come from the Memphis Daily Appeal, October 27, 1861

. . . .many of the predictions made by Nostradamus . . . have been completely verified, they are generally discredited in our times.  But in the Prophecies of Vatcinations, of that great man, vol. 2d (edition of 1609) we find the following:

"About that time (1861) a great quarrel and contest will arise in a country beyond the seas (America).  Many poor devils will be hung, and many poor wretches killed . . .. The war will not cease for four years, at which none should be astonished or surprised, for there will be no want of hatred and obstinacy in it.  At the end of that time, prostrate and almost ruined, the people will embrace each other in great joy and love."

The period of four years . . . comprise the exact term of Lincoln's administration.  At the close, a new era, it seems, will commence of harmony and peace.  Well, if we are to go through this fiery ordeal we must make up our minds to bear up manfully through the conflict, and acquit ourselves like men. . . .
Nostradamus from Wikimedia

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My One Hope Is Now On McClellan

This entry is from A Cycle of Adams Letters 1861-1865 edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford. 

This is a letter from Henry Adams to Charles Frances Adams, Jr.  dated October 25, 1861.  

Henry Adams was in London acting as secretary to his father, Charles Francis Adams Sr., when he wrote this letter to his brother, who was back in the states.  It gives us an idea of the English perspective of the Union at that time. 

You know how much encouragement we have had from your side. Every post has taken away on one hand what it brought of good on the other. It has by regular steps sapped the foundations of all confidence in us, in our institutions, our rulers and our honor. How do you suppose we can overcome the effects of the New York press? How do you suppose we can conciliate men whom our tariff is ruining? How do you suppose we can shut people's eyes to the incompetence of Lincoln or the disgusting behavior of many of our volunteers and officers. I tell you we are in a false position and I am sick of it.
My one hope is now on McClellan and if he fails us, then as I say I give it up. Here we are dying by inches. Every day our authority, prestige and influence sink lower in this country, and we have the mournful task of trying to bolster up a failing cause. Do you suppose I can go among the newspapers here and maintain our cause with any face, with such backing? Can I pretend to a faith which I did once feel, but feel no longer? I feel not seldom sorry in these days that I didn't follow my first impulse, and go into the army with the other fellows. Our side wants spirit. It doesn't ring as it ought,  these little ups and downs, this guerilla war in Missouri and Kentucky, amount to nothing but vexation. Oh, for one spark of genius! I have hopes of McClellan for he doesn't seem to have made any great blunders, but I don't know.

Henry Adams

Monday, October 24, 2011

Battalions Strengthened by Ideas

This entry is from Lucy Larcom:  Life, Letter and Diary edited by Daniel Dulany Addison.

Larcom was a former mill worker, poet, teacher and abolitionist.  Here is any entry from her diary wherein she discusses a lecture she heard by Charles Sumner, who was known as a powerful orator and the leader of the antislavery forces in Massachusetts.

October 22. [1861] I heard Charles Sumner on the Rebellion : my first sight and hearing of the great anti-slavery statesman. He was greeted with tremendous applause, and every expression of opposition to slavery was met with new cheers. . . . .

One idea which he presented seemed to me to be worth all the rest, and worth all the frothy spoutings for "Union" that we hear every day; it was that our battalions must be strengthened by ideas, by the idea of freedom. That is it. Our men do not know what they are fighting for; freedom is greater than the Union, and a Union, old or new, with slavery, no true patriot will now ask for. May we be saved from that, whatever calamities we may endure!
Charles Sumner, photograph by Brady from Library of Congress Collection

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Why I Enlisted

This entry is from Brother of Mine, The Civil War Letters of Thomas and William Christie, edited by Hampton Smith.

William and Thomas Christie were half brothers, 13 years apart in age.  They served in the same Regiment,  the 1st Minnesota.

Soldiers must have had various reasons for enlisting.  In this entry, Thomas, the elder of the two brothers, writes home shortly after enlisting explaining to his family why.

October 21, 1861
. . . .I shall not deny that motives other than strictly patriotic have had an influence upon me; but I don't think these other motives are wrong.  I  do want to 'see the world,' to get out of the narrow circle inwhich I have always lied, to 'make a man of myself,' and to have it to say in days to come that I, too, had a part in this great struggle. I lay all these workings of my mind frankly before you; it is for you to say if they are wrong.  You know, my dear father, that I have never concealed anything from you.  Do forgive me, and have Mother forgive me, for acting now in a way to pain you. I feel sure, even as I write, that  you will not only give me your blessings -- but that you will even be glad to have your son enrolled among the Defenders of the Union.  But whether that be so or not, I must go. . . .

2 unidentified soldiers in Union shell jackets, from Library of Congress collection.

Friday, October 21, 2011

By Odd Circumstances

This entry us from Elisha Frank Paxton, Brigadier-General, C.S.A, Composed of His Letters from Camp and Field While an Officer in the Confederate Army, with an Introductory and Connecting Narrative collected and Arranged b his Son, John Gallatin Paxton, and can be found on the the Documenting the South website.  Paxton eventually become a general, but at the time he wrote this letter he had just been promoted to a major. Paxton died in combat leading the famed Stonewall Brigade during the Battle of Chancellorsville.  Here is an excerpt from a touching letter he wrote to his wife.

Centreville, Va., October 20, 1861.

. . . Our separation must continue until this sad war runs its course and terminates, as it must some day, in peace. Then I trust we may pass what remains of life together, loving each other all the better from a recollection of the sadness we have felt from the separation. I am sometimes reminded of you, and the strong tie which binds me to you, by odd circumstances. The other day I saw an officer, who, like myself, has left wife and children at home, riding by the camp, with another woman on horse-back, from a pleasure excursion up the road; and I could not help feeling that in seeking pleasure in such a source he was proving himself false to the holiest feeling and the highest obligation which is known on earth. I thought if I had acted thus faithless to you and our marriage vow, I should feel through life a sense of baseness and degradation from which no repentance or reparation could bring relief. If I know myself, I would not exchange the sweet communion with my absent wife, enjoyed through the recollections of the past and the hopes of the future, for any temporary pleasure which another might offer. I would rather live over again in memory the scenes of seven long years, when we talked of our love and our future, our ride to Staunton on our wedding-day, and our association since then, chequered here and there with events of sadness and sorrow, than accept any enjoyment which ill-timed passion might prompt me to seek from another. I trust, Love, this feeling may grow with every day which passes, and that I may always have the satisfaction of knowing my devotion and fidelity merit the affection which your warm heart lavishes upon me.

Elisha Franklin Paxton, from Wikimedia Commons