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

March 2nd, 1865.—This is a sad day for all of us, dear Mother feels it most of all. When she was a child she had her little pony, “Winnie Wiggin”, to ride to school, and after that she always had a horse which was all her own. Grandpa loved fine horses and mother did, too. When mother married, she knew she was marrying a young doctor, who had his way to make in the world but he found he could provide her with all she needed. For five years now, she has been driving, to her especial carriage, a fine pair of glossy bays, “Tom” and “Charley.” These horses are the joy of Jordan’s life and he spends much time in brushing and currying his beautiful pets. At the beginning of the war there were horses a plenty for the army, but, as time wore on more and more were needed and all we had were given up to the Confederacy; that is, all but Mother’s carriage horses. We were spending the day at Live Oak and Jordan had brought the carriage to the door to carry us home, when Mr. Elkins came riding up and ordered the horses taken from the carriage. Jordan asked if he could not be allowed to take his mistress home? To this Mr. Elkins agreed but told him to have the horses ready for him at nine o’clock next morning.

They are gone now and of course it is right for our country to have them, but Mother will miss them very much. Since the other horses were impressed we have had Jordan to carry us to town twice a week for our music and French lessons, tomorrow is the day, I wonder if we can go? Father says we can have a pair of mules, that is if a gentle pair can be found.

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Left Bank Lynch’s Creek, March 1, 1865.

We have finally got across this deuced creek. It has delayed us fully four days, more than any three rivers did before. Our division train is yet to cross and may not get over in 24 hours. We are getting hungry for the first time, having foraged the country out for 15 miles around. The 4th division started to-day on the Cheraw road. Prisoners taken to-day report that Wilmington was being evacuated when Schofield with the 23d Corps, dropped in and took the town and a brigade of prisoners. I wish he’d organize an expedition and bring us some late papers. Everybody is speculating on a big time with the enemy crossing the Great Pedee, but I don’t believe they will trouble us as much as this confounded creek has.

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Chattanooga, Wednesday, March 1. Cloudy and looks like rain, but we moved camp and by night we were all fixed. Our pleasant camp commands a splendid view of the Tennessee River both above and below, which is now very high. It used to be occupied by general hospital. Teams out all day again.

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Wednesday, 1st—March came in with an all-day drizzling rain. We remained in bivouac all day. Large foraging parties were sent out, but did not succeed in getting anything, not even enough for the teams and the men that went out. The country is very thinly settled and the people here can hardly raise enough to live on. The soil is very sandy and the country is very heavily timbered, the trees being mostly pitch pine. There are some large turpentine camps about here.

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1st. Wednesday. By mistake up before daylight. Brigade in rear of column. Did not move out till 9 A. M. Advance captured the two bridges between Harrisburg and Staunton. Several prisoners captured. Camped six miles from Staunton. Wagons captured.

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March 1st. Since the last date we have been visited by a cold rain, hard wind, hail, snow, mud. Very disagreeable weather for army life, but it must all be endured by soldiers. On picket duty. Corporal in charge of the outpost, about one half of a mile from the reserve quarters. On duty twenty-four hours from 3 P. M. We like the change from 9 A. M., the old custom.

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March 1st.—Cloudy, cold, and dismal. We have no news, except from the North, whence we learn Lieut. Beall, one of our Canada raiders, has been hung; that some little cotton and turpentine were burnt at Wilmington; and that the enemy’s columns are approaching us from all directions. They say the rebellion will be crushed very soon, and really seem to have speedy and accurate information from Richmond not only of all movements of our army, but of the intentions of the government. They say Lynchburg and East Tennessee now occupy the mind of Gen. Lee; and they know every disposition of our forces from day to day sooner than our own people! What imbecile stolidity! Will we thus blunder on to the end?

Congress has passed an act organizing the artillery force of Lee’s army—submitted by Gen. Pendleton (Episcopal clergyman), who writes the Secretary that Col. Pemberton (Northern man and once lieutenant-general) is making efforts to induce the President to withhold his approval of the bill, which he deprecates and resents, as the bill is sanctioned by the judgment of Gen. Lee. From this letter I learn we have 330 guns and 90 mortars under Lee; enough to make a great noise yet!

Lieut.-Gen. Grant has directed Col. Mulford, Agent of Exchange, to say that some 200 prisoners escaped from us, when taken to Wilmington for exchange, and now in his lines, will be held as paroled, and credited in the general exchange. Moreover, all prisoners in transitu for any point of exchange, falling into their hands, will be held as paroled, and exchanged. He states also that all prisoners held by the United States, whether in close confinement, in irons, or under sentence, are to be exchanged. Surely Gen. Grant is trying to please us in this matter. Yet Lieut. Beall was executed!

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February 29th.1 —Trying to brave it out. They have plenty, yet let our men freeze and starve in their prisons. Would you be willing to be as wicked as they are? A thousand times, no! But we must feed our army first—if we can do so much as that. Our captives need not starve if Lincoln would consent to exchange prisoners; but men are nothing to the United States—things to throw away. If they send our men back they strengthen our army, and so again their policy is to keep everybody and everything here in order to help starve us out. That, too, is what Sherman’s destruction means—to starve us out.

Young Brevard asked me to play accompaniments for him. The guitar is my instrument, or was; so I sang and played, to my own great delight. It was a distraction. Then I made egg-nog for the soldier boys below and came home. Have spent a very pleasant evening. Begone, dull care; you and I never agree.

Ellen and I are shut up here. It is rain, rain, everlasting rain. As our money is worthless, are we not to starve? Heavens! how grateful I was to-day when Mrs. McLean sent me a piece of chicken. I think the emptiness of my larder has leaked out. To-day Mrs. Munroe sent me hot cakes and eggs for my breakfast.


1 While the date is given as February 29th in the book, it couldn’t have been as the leap year during the war was 1864. – Mike Goad, October 5, 2013

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March 1st, 1865.—We have a new lot of sick and wounded soldiers in this morning; two of them, wounded and sent here because they will probably never be fit for duty again, were completely worn out when they came. Father gave them a hot toddy and mother sent them some soup and such things as they could take and, after a while they slept and woke about bed-time and felt like talking.

Mr. Blount, the elder of the two, is from the Army of Northern Virginia and, singularly enough, Mr. Glendenning is from the army of the West. They had never met until they were helped into the ambulance to come here. Both of them give depressing accounts of the different commands they are from. “Pessimists” we would have called them once, but now we hesitate. I believe, I must believe that our cause will succeed, we pray to our God for help and surely He will hear our cry.

It is late and Mother and I are waiting for Father. He never rests while there is anything to do, which will make his patients more comfortable. Father is so hopeful, too, he never gets despondent, he never lets an opportunity pass to help our beloved South.

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February 28, 1865.

High water still keeps us here. We will probably get off to-morrow. It is thought we will cross the Great Peedee at Cheraw; there is so much swamp lower down that might trouble us.

A thousand rumors afloat to-day. The citizens have it that Grant has whipped Lee since the Hatcher Run affair. It rained some last night and is now—8 p.m.—sprinkling again. If it rains hard to-night we will have to give up crossing here and go higher up. The 17th is across. The left wing is reported near Charlotte, N. C., but don’t know that it is so. We have heard that Davis’ commissioners have returned to Washington.

We are having a time sure. They say now that we will not get across to-morrow. I heard some outrageous jokes to-day about a Golden Christ which was stolen by some of our thieves in Columbia, and in an inspection on the 26th it was found in a department headquarter’s wagon. They are too wicked to tell. This army has done some awful stealing. Inspectors pounce down on the trains every day or two now and search them. Everything imaginable is found in the wagons. The stuff is given to citizens or destroyed. Our last winter campaign ends to-day. Only five and one-half months more to serve.

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