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

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Written from the Sea islands of South Carolina.

St. Helena’s Island, Pope’s Plantation.
April 24, 1862.


Mr. Pierce’s Head Quarters—

Family — Mrs. Johnson and her sister;

Miss Donelson;

Miss Susan Walker;

Miss Winsor;

Miss Laura Towne;

Rina, Rebecca, Susannah, Lucy, Jane, Harry, Joe, Dagus, and others, being outside and inside members of the household.

Miss Donelson goes home only because she is not so situated that she can work.

The question of to-day is how to dispose of the clothing to the poor people. They are willing to buy generally, but the supply is too small to admit of selling all they want. . . .

They say, “Gov’ment is fighting for us and we will work for Gov’ment. We don’t ask money; we only ask clothes and salt and sweetins.” They express the greatest love for the Yankees.

We ladies are borrowed, to go talk to the negroes, from one plantation to another, and we do good, great good. If I only had time to tell all they say to me! Or how they come thronging here for clothes and go away “too satisfied — too thank,” one woman said, at receiving some few things — generally, too, second-hand — some of it miserable. Too thankful, indeed, if you will only let them buy. We go again to-morrow upon a visit of cheering to the poor, anxious people who have lived on promises and are starving for clothes and food while patiently “working for Gov’ment.”

The cotton agents promised last year and now are just paying for the cotton picked on their promise, one dollar in four — the rest in orders on their stores, where they sell molasses at fifteen cents a pint and soap and salt in proportion. The negroes take it hard that they must work at cotton again this year, especially as it must be to the neglect of their corn, upon which they have the sense to feel that their next winter’s food depends….

Farragut’s Fleet passing the Forts before the Capture of New Orleans

(click on image for larger version)

Pang & Company Catalog Description:

“Capture of New Orleans.”
Farragut’s Fleet passing the Forts.
This naval scene is a brilliant representation of that famous battle by night, showing the Mississippi squadron, under Commodore Farragut,  passing Forts Philip and Jackson, and the engagement with them and with the Confederate gunboats in the early morning of April 24, 1S62. The terrific fire belched forth from the heavy guns and mortars, the flash of the bursting shells, and the light from blazing fire-rafts, turned adrift to destroy the Union fleet, form a lurid and exciting spectacle, and represent one of the most hotly contested naval battles of the war.
The final victory of the fleet secured the opening of the Lower Mississippi and the surrender of the city of New Orleans to the Union forces.

Image was digitally enhanced for fade correction, contrast, brightness, and color.

Capture of New Orleans by Julian Oliver Davidson; Fac-simile Print by L. Prang and Company; Copyright 1886 by L. Prang & Co., Boston

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

This drawing is located here on the Library of Congress website.

Price’s Farm, four miles south of Raleigh, Virginia, April 24, 1862. Thursday. — Left camp at Beckley’s at 10:30 A. M. with Twenty-third, a section of McMullen’s Battery under Lieutenant Crome, twenty horse under Captain Gilmore and his first lieutenant, Abraham. Reached here at 1.30 P. M. A short march but crossed two streams somewhat difficult. Broke one whiffletree. All right, with this exception. Camp on fine ground, sandy, rolling and near to Beaver Creek. Floyd camped here on his retreat from Cotton Hill. The men carried their knapsacks; shall try to accustom them to it by easy marches at first. They are in fine spirits; looked well.

A hostile feeling exists toward the Twenty-third by the Thirtieth. Had a talk with Colonel Jones, Major Hildt, and Colonel Ewing. All agree that Major Comly and myself have treated them well, but the company officers of the Twenty-third have not behaved fraternally towards them. The immediate trouble now is some defilement of the quarters we left for the Thirtieth in Raleigh. This must be looked into and punished if possible.

This is one of the finest camping spots I have seen. Soil sandy, surface undulating, in the forks of two beautiful mountain streams; space enough for a brigade and very defensible. It began to rain within half an hour after our tents were pitched and was “falling weather” (west Virginia phrase for rainy weather) the rest of the day. This is the sixth day of falling weather, with only a few streaks of sunshine between.

APRIL 24TH —Webster has been tried, condemned, and hung.

Is it not shameful that martial law should be playing such fantastic tricks before high heaven, when the enemy’s guns are booming within hearing of the capital?

Thursday, 24th—No news of importance.

24th. In the morning early, Companies “A” and “G” came in with Major Burnett and staff. At noon fifty men from each of the four companies of Burnett’s battalion left camp, marched twenty miles. Our ride was through a rich country, over Gen. Siegel’s first battle field. Many pretty flowers. Passed a little deserted village. Encamped by a clear stream and occupied some vacant houses. After supper made our bed out of doors and had a good night’s rest.

April 24.—Mr. Isaac Fuquet, the young man who had his arm cut off, died to-day. He lived only a few hours after the amputation. The operation was performed by Surgeon Chaupin of New Orleans, whose professional abilities are very highly commended. Dr. Hereford was well acquainted with Mr. F., and intends to inform his mother of his death.

It is reported that an engagement is going on at Monterey. A wounded man has just been brought in.

The amputating table for this ward is at the end of the hall, near the landing of the stairs. When an operation is to be performed, I keep as far away from it as possible. To-day, just as they had got through with Mr. Fuquet, I was compelled to pass the place, and the sight I there beheld made me shudder and sick at heart. A stream of blood ran from the table into a tub in which was the arm. It had been taken off at the socket, and the hand, which but a short time before grasped the musket and battled for the right, was hanging over the edge of the tub, a lifeless thing. I often wish I could become as callous as many seem to be, for there is no end to these horrors.

The passage to the kitchen leads directly past the amputating room below stairs, and many a time I have seen the blood running in streams from it.

There is a Mr. Pinkerton from Georgia shot through the head. A curtain is drawn across a corner where he is lying to hide the hideous spectacle, as his brains are oozing out.

24th.—Comparatively quiet to-day, with only occasional skirmishing along the lines. Sickness rapidly increasing; yet government furnishes no medicines, no appliances for comfort of sick and wounded!

April 24th.—Volunteered at Chattanooga, Tenn., in Company F, 39th Georgia Regiment of Infantry. Privileged to stay at home until May 10th.

(Note: picture is of an unidentified Confederate soldier.)

April 24th. This morning was destined to be recorded in history as the day on which occurred the most brilliant naval feat ever accomplished. It had been decided to run past the forts without stopping, and accordingly, at two o’clock A. M., all hands were quietly turned out, hammocks lashed, and everything put in order, while two red lights from our peak gave the signal for the squadron to get under way.

The squadron was divided into three divisions under the commands of Flag Officer Farragut, Capt. Bailey, and Capt. Bell. The night was pleasant and starlight, and as we moved away the morning moon came looming up from behind the trees. Twenty minutes brought us within range of the enemy’s guns, which were immediately opened upon us. Our men lay down on the decks till our guns could be brought to bear. The forts, mounting in the aggregate some two hundred and twenty guns, were soon in full blast upon us, and we returned the fire with decision and effect, making the action general and terrible. The forts, only three quarters of a mile apart, gave our ships shot and shell on both sides at once, while our ships sent back grape, canister, shrapnel, and shells, besides using our howitzers from our tops, where they had been mounted. On reaching the forts we were assailed by twenty of the enemy’s gunboats and rams, but we made short work of them, sinking some, and burning nearly all of them.

A shell entered our starboard beam, cutting off our cable passing through eighteen inches of oak, and after tearing the armory down, exploded at the main hatch, killing one man instantly, and severely wounding three or four others; another entered the muzzle of a gun, breaking the lip, which killed the sponger, who was in the act of ramming home a cartridge. At this time we ran aground, when the ram Manassas forced a fire raft against our port quarter for the purpose of destroying us, but owing to the superhumane fforts of the officers and crew it was cast off and sent floating down the river. Our mizzen rigging was burnt, and the ship considerably charred, but we providentially escaped, and in a few minutes got afloat by backing down towards the enemy’s forts, while they played away upon us beautifully.

After an hour and twenty minutes action we passed beyond reach of the rebel guns, and ceased firing. We came to our anchor at the quarantine grounds at about five o’clock, the river banks being lined on either side with burning steamers.

The ram Manassas had followed us up some distance, and now the old frigate Mississippi turned about to run her down, but the ram ran her nose into the mud, and the Mississippi in three broadsides crippled her, and she drifted down the river, while her crew escaped. One of our gunboats, the Varuna, after destroying five or six of the enemy’s steamers was herself sunk, and was run aground with some loss of life. Our loss was some thirty in killed and one hundred wounded. The enemy’s loss was five or six hundred, while their dead and wounded were burned in their steamers. Two of our gunboats were obliged to put back, one with a shot through her boilers, and the other disabled. Among the ships which passed the forts were the following: Flag ship Hartford, Brooklyn, Pensacola, Richmond, and the old frigate Mississippi, Iroquois, and Oneida. Gunboats Varuna, Wissahickon, Cayuga, Katadin, and Pinola. After taking prisoners from Camp Chalmette we started for New Orleans. White flags were waving in all directions, and as we proceeded the plantations and river banks presented a scene truly beautiful, being at a time of year when nature puts on her best attire. Some of the dwellings looked like castles, and bore evidence of age, being usually surrounded by large trees; each had attached its double row of negro dwellings, regularly laid out and interspersed with trees. We ran up near the English Turn, and anchored for the night unmolested.