more or less on Sherman

Georgia 1864 map (Lloyd's topographical map of Georgia from state surveys before the war showing railways, stations, villages, mills, &c. ; LOC:

he’s somewhere in here and maybe being resisted (1864 map from surveys before the war; Library of Congress)

A pretty subdued Monday morning editorial from Richmond. The paper isn’t sure where Union General Sherman and his army are headed in Georgia, but the editors “should not be surprised if they met some resistance in this march.”

From the Richmond Daily Dispatch November 28, 1864:

Monday morning…November 28, 1864.

We do not know where Sherman is, nor do we pretend to know. The Yankees know all about him, and they make no mystery of their knowledge. How they got it, seeing that he is cut off from all telegraphic communication, we are not to inquire. We presume, however, that he has a corps of carrier-pigeons, drilled for the occasion — knowing birds, that can distinguish between a Yankee and a rebel, and never make the mistake of lighting in a camp of enemies when bound for a camp of friends. To some such method of communication the knowledge acquired by the Nashville correspondent of the Chicago Times, who dates on the 16th from Nashville, must be ascribed. He could have obtained it in no other way, unless he be gifted with the “second sight.”

He tells the Times that the design of moving through Georgia originated with General Sherman, and that the Secretary of War approves of it; that he takes with him the Fourteenth, Fifteenth, Sixteenth and Twentieth corps, and eight thousand cavalry–fifty or sixty thousand men in all; that this force is amply sufficient for any purpose — that the rebels have three thousand men at Savannah, and about the same number at Charleston, besides militia, which he does not value highly; that there are no others to meet him without weakening Lee, as Hood could not overtake him if he were to try. Besides, the latter has as much as he can attend to, watching Thomas. Sherman is to move in two columns, one by way of Macon, and the other direct for Augusta, at which latter place the two will concentrate. Three points, then, present themselves, all equally at the mercy of the irresistible Sherman: Savannah, Beaufort and Charleston. Sherman will select Savannah — the correspondent is certain of it, and he gives his reasons. Savannah, cut off from all communication, will be useless to the rebels. Charleston can be cut off by moving down the road to Branchville, twenty or thirty miles to the west. Beaufort is already in Yankee possession, and there are supplies and shipping there in any quantity.–Circumstances may intervene to change Sherman’s intention; but that he now means Beaufort is certain. He will not go there, however, until he has completely isolated Charleston and Savannah.

The correspondent then points out the immense advantages of this route. Macon and Augusta are both manufacturing towns. Jeff. Davis, in his speech at Macon, said Augusta furnished powder enough for the whole Confederacy. But the chief advantage consists in the destruction of communications, whereby it is expected to isolate the army of General Hood, separated as thoroughly from Lee as the troops west of the Mississippi are. Savannah will be no longer valuable as a blockade-running port, Charleston will be cut off, and Sherman’s army of 55,000 men will be on the seacoast, so that they can be transferred to Grant or Sheridan, or, after recruiting, they may be moved through Central South and North Carolina, “utterly annihilating every railroad by the way, and thus making Virginia the grave of the rebellion. “

A very splendid programme this, but not half so splendid as Grant’s of last spring. There is one element which the Yankees never take in when they make paper campaigns. They always sketch marches in which there is to be no resistance. Now, we should not be surprised if they met some resistance in this march.

Posted in 150 Years Ago This Week, Confederate States of America, Southern Society | Tagged , | Leave a comment

“the eager, hungry glare”

nyt 11-26-1864 headline

New York Times 11-26-1864

A local paper reprinted part of a very long report in the November 26, 1864 issue of The New-York Times that detailed the bad condition of exchanged Union soldiers.

From a Seneca County, New York newspaper on December 8, 1864:


Terrible Condition of the Returned Union Prisoners.

The exchange of prisoners of war, recently agreed upon, is now in active progress. Several hundreds of Union officers have been released from captivity at Andersonville and other points in the far South, and put on board of transport steamers at Savannah, whence they are conveyed to Fortress Monroe. The exchanges are to continue until the Union prisoners held by the rebels are released, with the equivalent number of rebels in the hands of our Government.

ny times 11-26-1864 story

NY Times 11-26-1864

A correspondent of the New York Times, who has had opportunities of conversation with the released prisoners, and has obtained access to the official documents of the rebel authorities who had them in charge during their long period of captivity, writes a long account of their sufferings to which they were subjected. With few exceptions the captives experienced outrageous barbarities at the hands of the rebels. They were shelterless, starved and half naked; crowded like cattle into small and filthy enclosures; deprived alike of the necessary comforts of life and the means of communicating with their friends; and, as the natural result of this inhuman treatment, a fearful mortality raged among them.

The Times correspondent thus describes the condition of our soldiers immediately after their transfer to the exchange boat at Venus Point, in the Savannah River: -

Serving out rations (coffee, bread & meat) to the exchanged prisoners on board the New York (by William Waud, Harper's Weekly 12-10-1864; LOC: LC-DIG-ppmsca-21716)

“Serving out rations (coffee, bread & meat) to the exchanged prisoners on board the New York” (Library of Congress)

“As soon as possible, barrels of hot coffee are prepared, and hams are cooked, and boxes of hard bread opened, for the refreshment of these men, to whom decent food has been for a long time unknown. It is a touching sight to see them, each with his quart can, file by the steaming coffee barrels, and receive their refreshing draught whose taste has long been unfamiliar. It seems scarcely possible that men should feel such childish joy as they express in once more receiving this common stimulant. And then, the eager, hungry glare which their glassy eyes cast upon the chunks of ham as they clutch and devour their allowance with a wolf-like avidity! These facts can only be understood by the spectator in remembering that for months they have been deprived of a sufficient quantity of palatable food, and that the little they have received has been rarely cooked, because, in a country abounding with fuel, and gloomy with intense pine forests, their jailors forbade the poor privilege of adequate fires. At the prison-pen near Millen, Georgia, for some weeks ther [sic] has been no meal or flour given to the prisoners, and the sweet potatoes issued in lieu thereof have been eaten raw, because there was no opportunity of getting fuel for cooking purposes.

Returned prisoners of war exchanging their rags for new clothing on board Flag of Truce boat New York (by William Waud, Harper's Weekly 1-14-1865; LOC: LC-DIG-ppmsca-21722)

“Returned prisoners of war exchanging their rags for new clothing on board Flag of Truce boat New York” (Library of Congress)

“Such is the condition of the men whom we are now receiving out of chivalrous Dixie. These are the sons, brothers, husbands [?] fathers of the North. Men reduced to living skeletons; men almost naked; shoeless men, shirtless men; men with no other garment than an overcoat; men whose skins are blackened by dirt and hang on their protruding bones loosely as bark on a tree; men whose very presence is simply disgusting, exhaling an odor so fetid that it almost stops the breath of those unaccustomed to it, and causes an involuntary brushing of the garments if with them there is an accidental contact.

“Remember, too, that the men thus returned are the best specimens of the suffering. Only those are forwarded to us whom the rebel medical authorities decide to be strong enough to bear the fatigue of transportation. If those whose wretchedness I have vainly endeavored to portray are the best specimens of our sick and wounded, is it not awful to contemplate what must be the woe of the remainder?

Andersonville Prison, Ga., August 17, 1864. South-east view of stockade ( photographed 1864, [printed between 1880 and 1889]; LOC: C-DIG-ppmsca-33768)

“Andersonville Prison, Ga., August 17, 1864. South-east view of stockade” (Library of Congress)

“Men in the last stages of emaciation from chronic diarrhea received no nourishment whatever while in captivity, and starved to death on the coarse rations which the stomach of a strong man would reject. – Others, suffering from gangrene and ulcers, were compelled to fester in putridity without even sufficient water to cleanse their loathsome sores. Week after week the diseased and dying were kept without shelter, and many of them without clothing, on the bare ground, exposed to a torrid sun by day and to heavy rains at all times, in total disregard of the earnest and almost despairing of kind-hearted physicians for their relief. It is very easy to understand how much of this terrible wretchedness was unavoidable, particularly that part of it which proceeded from a scarcity of medicines, but it requires a very ingenious mind to palliate in any degree the heartlessness which allowed the sufferers to remain shelterless in a country where the materials for shelter are so abundant as in the South, and where thousands of willing hands from the prisoners in the stockade would have furnished all the labor. [“?]

Copies of thirty-six official rebel documents are given, from which it appears that some of the rebel surgeons, moved by feelings of humanity, repeatedly remonstrated with the authorities against the ill-treatment of the prisoners, but apparently without effect. The reports of these physicians, to whom is due the credit of an effort to relieve the sufferers, go to convict the rebels of inhuman barbarities, even if there were no corroborative evidence.

Exchanged (Union) Prisoners on board the liza Hancox [sic] (Colonel Mulford) Despatch boat--Cheering the Stars & Stripes (by Alfred R. Waud. November 18, 1864; LOC: LC-DIG-ppmsca-21412)

“Exchanged (Union) Prisoners on board the liza Hancox [sic] (Colonel Mulford) Despatch boat–Cheering the Stars & Stripes” (11-18-1864) (Library of Congress)

The Times devoted the entire first page on November 26th to the prisoner article (even on the day after some Confederates tried to burn New York). It appears from the upper right column in this post that the excerpts in the Seneca County newspaper were accurate.

You can read more about the returned prisoners in the December 10, 1864 issue of Harper’s Weekly at Son of the South.

from  ANDERSONVILLE, By John McElroy, v2 (

from ANDERSONVILLE, By John McElroy, v2 (at Project Gutenberg)

Georgia Monument to Prisoners of War, Andersonville Prison (by Carol M. Highsmith; LOC: LC-DIG-highsm-12595)

“Monument to Prisoners of War, Andersonville Prison, Georgia” (Library of Congress)


Castle Garden--their first Thanksgiving dinner (by W. St. John Harper, Illus. in: Harper's weekly, 1884 Nov. 29, p. 783.; LOC:  LC-USZ62-99401)

Their First Thanksgiving (Harper’s Weekly, 11-20-1884)

Posted in 150 Years Ago This Week, Civil War prisons, Confederate States of America, Military Matters, Northern Society | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

laughing gassed?

keeping his teeth about him

From the Richmond Daily Dispatch November 26, 1864:

A “convention of the dentists of the Confederacy” is called, to meet at Augusta, Georgia, on the 28th instant–to pull Sherman’s teeth, probably.

You can keep up with the progress of the Union army through Georgia at Seven Score and Ten, where it looks like Augusta managed to stay out of Sherman’s way.

Posted in 150 Years Ago This Week, Confederate States of America, Southern Society | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

“insurrectionists cried out for mercy”

Salisbury prison camp 1864 (LOC:

a peaceful Salisbury in 1864 (1886 image)

A Richmond newspaper admired the effectiveness and restraint of the Confederate garrison that thwarted an attempted mass escape by Union prisoners at Salisbury, North Carolina.

From a Seneca County, New York newspaper in December 1864:

Attempt of the Union Prisoners at Salisbury, N.C., to Escape

On Thursday last a serious attempt was made by the federal prisoners confined at Salisbury, N.C., to escape, which was rapidly and effectually quieted at the expense of considerable Yankee blood. It appears the plot had been formed among the prisoners (of whom there are at Salisbury some thirteen thousand) to overpower the interior guard of the encampment, then break through the line of parapet guard, and after securing all the arms they could, to march through Western North Carolina into Tennessee, and make good their escape. In the first part of their programme they succeeded. The interior guard were soon overpowered and two of the unfortunate men were killed while resisting. They then attacked the parapet guard, who fought bravely against the terrible odds until the alarm had been fully communicated to the garrison, and two pieces of artillery were thrown into position bearing upon the encampment. Two of the parapet guard were killed in their gallant defense. In good time the artillery opened, and after a few raking discharges of grape and cannister, the insurrectionists cried out for mercy, and declared they would make no further effort to get away. By this time they were completely surrounded with artillery and infantry, and it is well for them that they ceased their demonstration, and sued for mercy. In ten minutes more the whole camp would have been one scene of slaughter. As it was, about forty were killed, and a large number wounded. Thus a very foolish attempt to escape from a confederate durance has ended. It will prove, no doubt, a lesson to prisoners in the South. But for the coolness, and, it may be added, the consideration of the officers commanding the garrison, the punishment inflicted upon these misguided captives would have been far more serious, if indeed it had not amounted to the annihilation of the entire body, – Richmond Enquirer, Nov. 28.

It looks like the Richmond article had the date on November 24th. According to NCpedia there was an attempted mass escape at Salisbury on November 25, 1864. About 200 Yankees were killed.

Things had gotten worse at Salisbury during October 1864 as 5,000 extra prisoners were crowded into the camp.

Posted in 150 Years Ago This Week, Civil War prisons, Confederate States of America, Southern Society | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

“From Maine to California”

William Tecumseh Sherman, full-length portrait, facing front, right hand holding hat on back of chair (c. 1868; LOC: LC-USZ62-92344)

thanks for grasping the “vitals of the Confederacy”

150 years ago today was the day President Lincoln proclaimed as a day of Thanksgiving. The New-York Times saw it as a day that helped unite the states and parties and hoped it would remain a grand national holiday.

From The New-York Times November 25, 1864:

THANKSGIVING.; General Observance of the Day. ENTERTAINMENT TO THE SOLDIERS. Dinners at the Charitable Institutions. Sermons by Rev. Dr. Tyng, Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, Rev. Dr. Chapin, Rev. Dr. Mc-Clintock, Rev. Dr. Vermilye, Rev. Dr. Frothingham, Rev. Dr. Adams, Rev. Dr. Cox, and Others. Sermon by the Rev. Dr. Tyng. Sermon by Rev. Henry Ward Beecher. Sermon of Rev. Dr. Chapin. Sermon by Rev. Dr. McClintock. Sermon by Rev. Dr. Vermilye. Sermon by Rev. Mr. Frothingham. Sermon by Rev. Dr. Adams. Twenty-Fifth-Street Baptist Church. Sermon of Rev. Dr. Coxe. Sermon by Rev. Dr. Osgood. St. Patrick’s Cathedral. St. Joseph’s Church. St. Peter’s Church. Israelites. Soldiers’ Dinner at the New-England Rooms. The Battery Barracks. The Willet’s Point Hospital The New-York State Soldiers’ Home. Observance of Thanksgiving in Brooklyn Thanksgiving at the Brooklyn Navy-yard. Thanksgiving in Jersey City.

Yesterday was more generally observed as a national holiday than any preceding Thanksgiving day we remember. Stores were universally closed. The churches were opened and filled with devout worshipers. The charity of the citizens of New-York provided for the unfortunate poor a bountiful supply of those comforts which make the day a joyful one to them. The people of this city felt that it was a day of thankfulness and gratitude, not merely for the fatness of the annual turkey which graced the family table, but for comparative prosperity in all things. An exciting political contest has passed away and not left in its track the devastating effects of bloody strile, as many feared and a few hoped.

fat-soldiers (Harper's Weekly, December 3, 1864)


Victor and vanquished having buried their animosities, united in thanking God for the material prosperity of the country in the midst of a destructive war. Last Thanksgiving morning, the glorious victory of Chattanooga delighted loyal hearts. Yesterday the news that SHERMAN had grasped the vitals of the Confederacy, was an additional cause of gratitude to true men. President LINCOLN, by his proclamation, for the first time unites the States upon one general day of Thanksgiving. From Maine to California the day was kept as a festival, and around the reunion of families and friends, bright hopes were entertained that the next occasion of the kind might witness a united country returning thanks for freedom and peace. And those who gathered yesterday around their firesides, enjoying the comforts of home, after the luxuries of a good dinner, could not but feel happier at the thought that upon this day the brave defenders of those homes, in camps and fleets, had not been forgotten, but were also feasting upon the bounty of their friends. The day itself was fair and sunny, the extreme cold moderated to the bracing temperature of the Indian Summer, and the heavens smiled upon the happiness, the charities and the festal pleasures of the nation’s Thanksgiving. This custom of the New-England Pilgrims, at first confined to a few States, gradually spreading as it was adopted by others, has at last, in 1864, assumed the scope and standing of a grand national holiday, which, it is hoped, will be permanent and universally observed.

We give below our usual summary of the sermons delivered, and the observance of the day among the poor. …

The cartoon of the well-fed Union soldiers was published in the December 3, 1864 issue of Harper’s Weekly, which you can see at Son of the South, along with a Thomas Nast overview of the day that also promotes the idea of a more united nation (“United We Stand”) and a drawing by Winslow Homer of Union soldiers partaking in the wish-bone tradition.

James River, Va. Butler's dredge-boat, sunk by a Confederate shell on Thanksgiving Day, 1864 (LOC: LC-DIG-cwpb-01923)

“James River, Va. Butler’s dredge-boat, sunk by a Confederate shell on Thanksgiving Day, 1864″ (Library of Congress)

11-28-2014: There’s information that General Butler’s dispatch ship, the Greyhound, caught fire on the James and was destroyed on November 27, 1864. Not sure if the above photo is related.

Posted in 150 Years Ago This Week, American Culture, American Society, Northern Society | Tagged , , | Leave a comment


From the Richmond Daily Dispatch November 22, 1864:

Killed in Bed by a shell.

–During Sunday night, forty-one shots were fired at the city of Charleston, and on Monday, thirty-one, up to 6 P. M. A man and wife, named John and Mary Mullany, were killed, about half-past 11 o’clock Sunday night, by a fragment of shell, which entered the room where they were sleeping, inflicting mortal wounds in the abdomens of the unfortunate couple. It is supposed they were killed almost instantly, but were not discovered until Monday morning, when they were found dead, locked together in each other’s arms.

Charleston December 1864 (by Robert Knox Sneden; LOC:

December 1864

View of Charleston, South Carolina (photographed between 1861 and 1865, printed between 1880 and 1889]; LOC: LC-DIG-ppmsca-34950)

an unscathed part of Charleston (sometime between 1861 and 1865)

Civil War envelope showing American flag flying high over a burning Fort Sumter with message "Remember Fort Sumter! (between 1861 and 1865]; LOC:  LC-DIG-ppmsca-31709)


Posted in 150 Years Ago This Week, Confederate States of America, Military Matters | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

“Our pits are in an awful condition”

A young man from Seneca County enlisted for one year in August 1864. Instead of the regiment he signed up for, he was sent to the “Orange Blossoms” from downstate. He was finding picket duty in front of Petersburg pretty disagreeable work.

From a Seneca County, New York newspaper on December 8,1864:

Letter from a Soldier.

NEAR PETERSBURGH, Nov. 21, 1864.

Petersburg, Va. View from center of Fort Sedgwick looking south (1865; LOC: LC-DIG-cwpb-04092)

inside Fort Sedgwick (1865)

FRIEND FULLER: – Thinking that perhaps you would be glad to hear from a soldier, one who lived in Seneca County when this cruel war first broke out, and intends to live there again if his life is spared that long, I thought I would give you a description of how things look in this part of the country. Our Corps (the 2d,) is guarding the front line of works in front of Petersburgh, and I can assure you that it is not very agreeable work. My regiment, the 124th, lies in the rear of Fort Sedgwick, and we do picket duty in front of the fort. The picket pits are about three hundred yards in front of the fort, and about two hundred and fifty yards from the Rebel picket line, but a little further to the right. Our picket line and theirs are not over twenty five yards apart. Where the 40th and 8th N.Y. are doing picket duty, our men talk to the Rebs, and sometimes they exchange papers with them, at the same time keeping their heads below the bank of dirt. The way they do it is by tying a piece of dirt up in the paper and then throwing it over, and they are generally honest enough to do the same. I have been told that before I came here and before we advanced our picket line, that the pickets were on very good terms. Our men would go half way to meet the Rebs, and trade coffee for tobacco, and one thing for another, and talk for an hour or two at a time; but since we advanced our picket line and captured about two hundred and fifty of them, there has been a constant firing on both sides, so much so that it is not safe for a man to show any part of his body above the works. Our pits are in an awful condition, now we are having so much rain, that it makes the mud about a foot deep in them. When a man goes on picket here, he does not expect much sleep. If he does sleep, he will have to do it standing up. It is not very agreeable standing there in the mud for twenty-four hours, I can assure you, for I tried it yesterday and night before last, and it must have been a great deal worse last night, for it has been raining for the past three days. I have been lucky so far in dodging the balls, but a young man by the name of John Anderson, from Seneca Falls, got wounded in his right hand. He was in the same pit with me. It was a very lucky shot, for his hand was not over three inches from his head when he got hit. He will probably lose his two fore fingers on his right hand.

124thInfPersonFlag (

battle-worn flag

There are only four in this Regiment that come from old Seneca, that I know of: C.B. Brusie, E. Bateman, Mr. Trent, and myself. None of us enlisted for this regiment, but for some unknown reason we were sent here. We are all suited, though, as well as if we had went to the regiments that we enlisted for. We have a very good lot of officers. Our Col. Wygant [Weygant] has just returned to his regiment. He got wounded the 27th of last month, in the battle that we had up on the left. Our Major was also wounded and taken prisoner at the same time. Our loss was very heavy in officers. Besides Col. Wygant and Major Murry [Murray], we had one Captain killed and two Lieutenants wounded. I believe that the regiment numbers now about three hundred and fifty men, all told. It was raised in Orange County. It has been through all the battles that the army of the Potomac has since the battle of Antietam, and in all probability would have participated in another, had it not been for this rain, for we received marching orders the day it commenced to rain, and we would have moved that night, but the least bit of rain in this State makes it very mean traveling on foot, and Gen. Grant is not going to make a move unless he can carry it through. He does not want to get stuck in the mud. The report around camp is that we were going to Weldon, North Carolina, but the army don’t know now-a-days where they are going until they get there.

I am very respectfully, your obedient servant, CHARLES O. GOODYEAR

Charles O Goodyear

Charles O Goodyear


Speaking of “if his life is spared that long”, 150 years ago today President Lincoln wrote a woman in Boston who lost five sons who were killed while fighting for the Union. From The Papers And Writings Of Abraham Lincoln, Volume Seven:



MRS. BIXBY, Boston, Massachusetts.

DEAR MADAM:—I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant-General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

Yours very sincerely and respectfully,


Posted in 150 Years Ago This Week, Military Matters, Siege of Petersburg | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

between God and the people

NY Times 11-20-1864

NY Times 11-20-1864

150 years ago today The New-York Times wasn’t sure where Sherman’s army was headed, but it knew he was sweeping and destroying. It published a table of distances for possible destinations and reprinted an article from the November 18th Cincinnati Gazette that hoped Sherman could eventually drive through North Carolina “thus making Eastern Virginia a prison and a grave for Lee’s army and the rebel Government.”

That same front page included news from the South, including an impassioned Richmond editorial that pleaded with the rebel Government not to detail newspapers editors for military service. The editorial claimed it would be better to draft editors for the trenches than to have them at the whim of the government detailing them for temporary service.

From The New-York Times November 20, 1864:

FROM THE SOUTH.; The Southern “Peace Party” Conscription of Editors The War in Georgia Richmond Gossip Enlistment Negroes.

Our files of Southern papers furnish us the following additional extracts: …

From the Richmond Enquirer, Nov. 9.

The Constitution of the Confederate States extends to the Press the ???gi of ils??? protection, and, selecting it out from all other professions, gives it an honorable security against even the Congress of the Confederacy. Coupling it with the free worship of Almighty God the Constitution connects it also with the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Its place in the Constitution is between the Vox Del and the Vox Populi, subordinate to the one, superior to the other. This could not have been mere accident; there must have existed some reason for this protection and for the immediate conjunction with religion and popular petition.

We find this same importance given to the press in the 16th section of the Bill of Rights, reported by Mr. WYTHE. of the Virginta Convention, to the Federal Constitution, as follows: “That the freedom of the press is one of the greatest bulwarks of liberty, and ought not to be violated.” What sort of a bulwark of liberty would the press be with detailed editors — the underlings of an underling? It is to this degraded position that the President has deliberately recommended the Congress to reduce the press. He does not say that the army needs their services, but that the exemption by law should be repeated, and that “a discretion be vested in the military authorities” to detail the editors, whensoever and wheresoever those authorities may regard them as “essential to the public service.”

Editors, as individuals, deserve no more consideration from the Congress than “shoemakers, tanners, blacksmiths, printers, millers, miners, physicians and telegraph operators,” but as the Press, without editors, would be playing Hamlet with the part of Hamlet omitted, there is something due to the intelligence of the people, which demands at the hands of Congress that the Press of the country be not wholly prostrated at the foot of the Executive power, and forced to petition for existence, and to receive it upon such conditions as the Executive, or his detailing subordinates, may choose to impose.

Exemption by law gave an honorable position to the Press, secured its independence, and left no red suspended over its head, but such as the people raised by their support or rejection. But an editor emerging from that cesspool of corruption, the detail system, would be an object of offence to the virtuous people of these States, and the paper he conducted cease to be an organ of public opinion, and become the miserable conduit of those to whose favor be owed his exemption from the ranks.

No! for God’s sake put us in the army, the trenches, anywhere; but save us from the degraded position of a detailed editor. …

For sixty years the Richmond Enquirer has existed a newspaper, free, unbought, unpurchaseable, and never shall it exist other wise with our consent. The support we have heretofore given the President and the cause, has been conscientious and free; no other support can we ever give it. If the Congress considers that the bone and muscle of the press are worth more than its brains to the cause, send us all to the ranks, there we may do some service to the country, but as detailed editors, we may become the tools, the minions of power, but we should cease to be the agencies of expression for a free people. …

The first step toward despotism will have been taken when the press of the country is put under the control of the Executive details. The army will not receive one hundred retruits from this recommendation to subititute detail for exemption of the press, but the world will soon learn what value to set upon the voice of a press whose conductors owe their exemption from service to the favor of a detail. …

Under the Virginia Bill of Rights, the freedom of the press is guaranteed. We do not believe that the State of Virginia will quietly permit her press to be wholly destroyed. The only pleasure yet left to conductors of the press is the kind and cheerful support given them by the people. They have uncomplainingly borne with all the embarras???ments that have beset the press, and aided and sustained us in all our difficulties. We do not believe they will permit this last disgrace to be visited upon the press.

Once again the theme is the squeeze on the South’s resources.

Posted in 150 Years Ago This Month, 150 Years Ago This Week, Confederate States of America, Military Matters, Southern Society | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

blockade: tweaking and evading

approaches to Wilmington NC 1864 ( Map of the coast of North Carolina from Cape Lookout to Cape Fear. ; LOC:

last (CSA) port standing?

150 years ago today President Lincoln lifted the blockade of Norfolk, Fernandina and Pensacola because those ports had “for some time past been in the military possession of the United States, [and] it is deeemd advisable that they should be opened to domestic and foreign commerce”.

On that same day, “The Confederate raider CSS Chickamauga under Lieutenant John Wilkinson runs the Union blockade off Wilmington, North Carolina, covered by a fog, and anchors under the guns of Fort Fisher.” High tide lifted the ship over a bar and the Chickamauga escaped from the fire of Union ships up the Cape Fear River.[1]

CSS Chickamauga (1864-65)  Wash drawing by Clary Ray, 25 June 1897. This ship was originally the blockade running steamer Edith.  Courtesy of the Navy Art Collection, Washington, D.C.  U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

evaded blockade off Wilmington

  1. [1] Fredriksen, John C. Civil War Almanac. New York: Checkmark Books, 2008. Print. page 521-522.
Posted in 150 Years Ago This Week, Lincoln Administration, Naval Matters | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

flag presented

A widow gave a regiment’s flag to a local Masonic Lodge.

From a Seneca County, New York newspaper in November 1864:

FLAG PRESENTATION. – The Observer says the beautiful Silk Flag, made and presented, fresh and new, by the ladies of Waterloo, to Co. C., of the old 33d. Regiment, and carried by them through their eventful and glorious two years’ campaign by Capt. Brett, has been presented to Seneca Lodge F.&A.M., by Mrs. Brett.

33d New York Infantry (photographed between 1861 and 1863, printed between 1880 and 1889; LOC: LC-DIG-ppmsca-34386)

some members of old the 33d New York Infantry

Posted in 150 Years Ago This Month, Military Matters | Tagged , , | Comments Off