Saturday, April 30, 2011

Where to Go

Recollections and Letters of General Robert E. Lee, by Captain Robert E Lee, his Son
On April 30th, 1861
On going to my room last night  I found my trunk and sword there, and opening them this morning discovered the package of letters and was very glad to learn you were all well and as yet peaceful.  I fear the latter state will not continue long.....  I think therefore you had better prepare all things for removal, that is, the late, pictures, etc. and be prepared at any moment.  Where to go is the difficulty.  When the war commences no place will be exempt, in my opinion, and indeed all the avenues into the State will be the scenes of military operations.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Grievous Reproach

This entry is from A Soldier's Recollections:  Leaves from the Diary of a Young Confederate with an Oration on the Motives and Aims of Soldiers of the South  by Randolph Harrison McKim, Late 1st Lieutenant and A. C. D. 3d Brigade, Johnston's Division, Army of Northern Virginia.

McKim was first as a private soldier, then as a staff officer, and finally a chaplain in the field during the conflict.

Not written on today's calendar day, but it was towards the beginning of his memoir which started with April 1861.   He expresses the Southern viewpoint quite well, in my opinion.

 And now I turn to the consideration of a grievous reproach often directed against the men who fought in the armies of the South in the Civil War. When we claim for them the crown of patriotism, when we aver that they drew their swords in what they believed to be the cause of liberty and self-government, it is answered that the corner-stone of the Southern Confederacy was slavery, and that the soldiers who fought under the banner of the Southern Cross were fighting for the perpetuation of the institution of slavery.

That is a statement which I wish to repudiate with all the earnestness of which I am capable. It does a grievous injustice to half a million patriot soldiers who were animated by as pure a love of liberty as ever throbbed in the bosom of man, and who made as splendid an exhibition of self-sacrifice on her behalf as any soldiers who ever fought on any field since history began.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I Vow I Will Not Move One Step

Today's entry is from a Confederate Girl's Diary by Sarah Morgan Dawson.  The author, a daughter of a prominent judge, lived in New Orleans at the time.

April 26, 1862
There is no word in the English language that can express the state in which we are, and have been these last three days.  Day before yesterday, news came early in the morning of three of the enemy's boats passing the Forts, and then the excitement began.  It increased rapidly on hearing of the sinking of eight of our gunboats in the engagement, the capture of the Forts, and last night, of the burning of the wharves and cotton in the city while the Yankees were taking possession.  To-day, the excitement has reached the point of delirium.

. . .We only know we had best be prepared for anything.  So Lilly and I sewed up our jewelry, which may be of use if we have to fly.  I vow I will not move one step, unless carried away.  Come what will, here I remain.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Let The Servants Go

From the Diary of a Union Lady 1861 - 1865 edited by Harold Earl Hammond.

This is the diary of Maria Lydig Daly , wife of a justice of the Court of Common Pleas in New York City. She and her husband were acquainted with many politicians and lawmakers.

April 25, 1865 diary entry
Today President Lincoln's funeral procession passes through the city.  The body lies in state in City Hall and some three hundred thousand people, they say, have visited it.  I shall not go out to see the show, as the Judge is not at home.  I will let the servants go instead; I am sick of pageants.  Both yesterday and today all business has been suspended and I read that the 25th of May is to be another fast day.  Poor Mrs. Lincoln!  Circumstances, verily, make the man.  A house  a few doors nearer Fifth Avenue opposite to us, having not been put in mourning, was tarred and for two days men have been at work at it.  Tomorrow the theaters reopen and then, I suppose all will be over.
Lincoln's funeral - removal of the body from the City Hall to the funeral car, New York
From Harper's Weekly, 1865, from Library of Congress Collection

Friday, April 22, 2011

They will learn how to fight, and will not be afraid to fight

Today's entry is from A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital by
 John Beauchamp Jones 
April, 22nd, 1861 
 Early a few mornings since, I called on Gov. Wise, and informed him that Lincoln had called out 70,000 men. He opened his eyes very widely and said, emphatically, "I don't believe it." The greatest statesmen of the South have no conception of the real purposes of the men now in power in the United States. They cannot be made to believe that the Government at Washington are going to wage war immediately. But when I placed the President's proclamation in his hand, he read it with deep emotion, and uttered a fierce " Hah I" Nevertheless, when I told him that these 70,000 were designed to be merely the videttes and outposts of an army of 700,000, he was quite incredulous. He had not witnessed the Wide-Awake gatherings the preceding fall, as I had done, and listened to the pledges they made to subjugate the South, free the negroes, and hang Gov. Wise. I next told him they would blockade our ports, and endeavor to cut off our supplies. To this he uttered a most positive negative. He said it would be contrary to the laws of nations, as had been decided often in the Courts of Admiralty, and would be moreover a violation of the Constitution.  Of course I admitted all this; but maintained that such was the intention of the Washington Cabinet. Laws and Courts and Constitutions would not be impediments in the way of Yankees resolved upon our subjugation.  Presuming upon their superior numbers, and under the pretest of saving the Union and annihilating slavery, they would invade us like the army-worm, which enters the green fields in countless numbers. The real object was to enjoy our soil and climate by means of confiscation. He poohed me into silence with an indignant frown.  He had no idea that the Yankees would dare to enter upon such enterprises in the face of an enlightened world. But I know them better. And it will be found that they will learn how to fight, and will not be afraid to fight.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

War, War ! Is the One Idea

Today’s entry comes from  Famous Adventures and Prison Escapes of the Civil War. This is from A War Diary of Union Woman in the South, by Dora Richards Miller, edited by G. W. Cable.  The diary was originally published anonymously to protect the writer's identity.  She was a teacher in New Orleans.   

The entry is from April 20, 1861.

The last few days have glided away in a halo of beauty. But nobody has time or will to enjoy  it. War, war ! is the one idea. The children play only with toy cannons and soldiers; the oldest inhabitant  goes by every day with his rifle to practice; the public squares are full of companies drilling, and are now the  fashionable resorts. We have been told that it is best for women to learn how to shoot too, so as to protect  themselves when the men have all gone to battle. Every evening after dinner we adjourn to the back lot and fire at a target with pistols. Yesterday I dined at Uncle Ralph's. Some members of the bar were present,  and were jubilant about their brand-new Confederacy. It would soon be the grandest government ever known.  Uncle Ralph said solemnly, " No, gentlemen ; the day we seceded the star of our glory set." The words sunk  into my mind like a knell, and made me wonder at the mind that could recognize that and yet adhere to the  doctrine of secession.

In the evening I attended a farewell gathering at a friend's whose brothers are to leave this week for  Richmond. There was music. No minor chord was permitted.


Monday, April 18, 2011

War Fever

Today’s entry comes from the Civil  War Diary 1862 - 1865 of Charles H. Lynch, 18th Conn, Vol’s.

During the spring and summer of 1862 the war fever was running very high.  Great excitement prevailed. Darkness and gloom seemed to cover the country.  Men were urged to enlist, go to the war, and help save the country.  It was preached from the pulpits, printed by the press, talked about at great war meetings that were held by day and nights.  Business at times was suspended.  Drums and fifes were heard continuously being paraded through the streets and followed by men and boys.  Churches were open in country towns, giving men and opportunity to enlist.

This is how Lynch began his diary.  It sets the tone, excitement, anticipation . . .