Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

Tuesday, 20th.—Passed through Palmetto and formed in line of battle three miles from town. Throwing up breastworks.


September 20th. Great excitement and talk among our boys over Sheridan’s great victory. It is now our gallant Phil Sheridan who is master of the Shenandoah Valley. Early has run up against a good soldier who has the men at his command. Too small a force has been in the valley for the past three years. Sheridan has a good cavalry corps, just what is needed here. We cheer and sing for our gallant Phil Sheridan. Keep a good watch for the large number of wagons, horses, and mules parked at this point. That’s our duty, to care for them.


Tuesday, 20th—Rain most all day. More of the wounded from the field hospital out east of town started home today on thirty-day furloughs. The sick here are being transferred to temporary hospitals down town, while the remainder of the wounded from the field hospital are taking the places vacated by them.


Etowah Bridge, Tuesday, Sept. 20. Drew hard-tack again. Orders received to prepare pay rolls. 6th Battery minstrels made their first appearance in public this evening. The troupe was taken to the old hall in town where the 1st Platoon is. Curiosity prompted me to go and see what they could do, so I fell in with a large squad of the Battery boys. Found the room well filled, a large stage erected, an old tent-fly for curtain, red horse blankets for scenery. Troupe consisted of eight players, and Corporal Dziewanowski manager. They appeared blackened and dressed in imposing style. They sang, played and danced with desperate efforts at the nigger, but their songs were stale old jokes, still the execution not bad. They need more originality; however, they did well for “green ‘uns” and it pleased soldiers.


Richland Jail, Columbia, S. C., Sept. 20, 1864.

Dear Hannah, —I send this letter by Lieutenant Barclay who is going to Richmond to-morrow to be exchanged with the sick and wounded. For the last few days I have had a good many visitors. First Dr. Marks came and lent me $200, and afterwards sent me books, writing paper, etc. Then a Mr. Saunders came with a pair of blankets for Captain Amory and a pair for me. He furnishes me anything I want, at Mr. Kidder’s request. Then last Sunday an officer called to see me, but was not admitted as the officer of the day was not present. This officer came to see if I was comfortable, at the request of General Ripley of Charleston. To-day a Mr. Eastby came at Mr. K.’s request to see if I had everything I wanted. So you may feel certain that I am as comfortable as a prisoner can be.

None of the money that Father sent has as yet reached me. I can obtain what I want from Mr. Saunders.

We spend our time here reading and playing cards. It is rather stupid and dull at times. Next door to us is the city lock-up and the City Hall. At night we are amused by concerts, etc., from bands and glee clubs in the hall, and also by drunkards in the lock-up.

Ask Father to let me know what the prospect of a general exchange is. If it is not good, I wish to try for a special exchange.

Captain Amory and I are both well. Love to all the family. Write as often as possible.


Tuesday, September 20. — Sent a letter to Alice to Mr. Kidder at Wilmington. A Mr. Eastby (?), mentioned in Father’s letter, called to see me. He is going to send me some underclothing. Had a drunken Frenchman singing to us all night in the lock-up next door. Had a fearful noise all night from the prisoners in the third story. Lieutenant Barclay spent the night here. He leaves for Richmond in the morning. Sent a letter to Hannah by him.


Tuesday, September 20. — Marched fifteen miles to Cedar Creek (near Strasburg). Early badly beaten yesterday; twenty-six hundred prisoners taken, swords, guns, and flags. Rebels halt at Fisher’s Hill. We hide in the woods after dark.


20th. Followed up, picking up stragglers. Halted near Front Royal.


by John Beauchamp Jones

            SEPTEMBER 20TH.—Bright and pleasant.

            An order has been given to impress all the supplies (wheat and meat) in the State, and Gen. Kemper has been instructed to lend military aid if necessary. This is right, so that speculation may be suppressed. But, then, Commissary-General Northrop says it is all for the army, and the people—non-producers—may starve, for what he cares. If this unfeeling and despotic policy be adopted by the government, it will strangle the Confederacy—strangle it with red-tape.

            I learned, to-day, that Gen. Preston, Superintendent of the Bureau of Conscription, resigned upon seeing Gen. Bragg’s and the President’s indorsements on the bureau papers; but the Secretary and the President persuaded him to recall the resignation. He is very rich.

            A practical railroad man has sent to the Secretary a simple plan, by which twenty-five men with crowbars can keepSherman’s communications cut.

            There is a rumor that Sherman has invited Vice-President Stephens, Senator H. V. Johnson, and Gov. Brown to a meeting with him, to confer on terms of peace—i.e. the return of Georgia to the Union. The government has called for a list of all the Georgians who have sailed from our ports this summer.

            A letter from Hon. R. W. Barnwell shows that he is opposed to any conference with the enemy on terms of peace, except unconditional independence. He thinks Hood hardly competent to command the army, but approves the removal ofJohnston. He thinksSherman will go on toAugusta, etc.

            The raid toward Gordonsville is now represented as a small affair, and to have returned as it came, after burning some mills, bridges, etc.

            I saw a letter, to-day, written to the President by L. P. Walker, first Secretary of War, full of praise. It was dated in August, before the fall ofAtlanta, and warmly congratulated him upon the removal of Gen. Johnston.

            Gov. Bonham sent a telegram to the Secretary of War, to-day, from Columbia, asking if the President would not soon pass through that city; if such were his intentions, he would remain there, being very anxious to see him.

            Beauregard is atWilmington, while the whole country is calling for his appointment to the command of the army inGeorgia. Unless some great success crowns our arms before Congress reassembles, the President will be assailed with great bitterness, and the consequences may be fatal.


Monday, 19th.—Marched seventeen miles and camped four miles from Palmetto.