1864: In Their Words

This page is an archive of blog posts from the series 1864: In Their Words.

The series begins in January 2019 and continued for the entire year. Exploring the thoughts, feelings, actions, and consequences of real people caught in the turmoil of civil war, 1864: In Their Words provides a quote with contextual background regarding the author, location, or event.

(Please note that the the posts are ordered “backward” in this archive. To begin with January, start at the end of the page.)

1864: “Lincoln Is Reelected”

VICTORIA! Te Deum laudamus. Te Dominum confitemur. November 9. Laus Deo! The crisis has been past, and the most momentous popular election ever held since ballots were invented has decided against treason and disunion. My contempt for democracy and extended suffrage is mitigated. The American people can be trusted to take care of the national […]

1864: “We Must Yet A While Live On Hope”

30th Novemeber 1864, Vaucluse To tell you all that has happened since June, my own dear Cousin, would take long to write & long to read, but I will give you many items, along with the assurance that we have, in comparison with others, been truly blessed, God has cared for us & we adore […]

1864: “Our Terrible Civil War”

Near Wilmington, 13 Oct. 1864 …You refer to our terrible civil war. I wish so much we could talk it over together—the subject is too vast to attempt even to allude to it in the brief space of a letter. We feel here how little the subject is understood in Europe, because our political institutions […]

1864: “I Can Make The March”

Allatoona 7:30 P.M. Oct. 9th 1864 Lt. Gen. Grant, City Point It will be a physical impossibility to protect this road now that Hood, Forrest, Wheeler and the whole batch of Devils are turned loose without home or habitation. I think Hoods movements indicate a direction to the end of the Selma and Talladega road […]

1864: “My Heart Was Sad”

Oct. 2/64 Today Captain Bowen, Surgeon Smith and myself attended the Episcopal Church, it being the only one in use, the others having been taken for hospitals. This church has a fine organ and choir. The music was good, and we enjoyed it, but the sermon was a little rebellious….

1864: “Are You Coming Home To Vote?

Balto. Sept. 26th 1864 Dearest Emma ….The news are very encouraging this evening. It is reported that Mobile has surrendered unconditionally to Admiral Farragut. I hope it may prove true. Gold is falling very fast and everything is of an encouraging nature….

1864: “To Continue Our Journey”

Hd. Qr. 1st Divis. D.K. Prestonburg KY Friday 23d Sept/64 My dear We arrived here all in good shape and fine spirits at 10 O.C. a.m. to day and will probably stay here during to morrow and start for Pound Gap Sunday distants 46 miles. We are 95 miles from Mt. Sterling over mountains and […]

1864: “This Miserable Day”

September 19, 1864 ….Heard news this evening of the falling back of our army. Oh! me I feel so very very sad this evening. Uncle John is here and a Mr. Taylor stayed all night.

1864: “The Object Of Our Campaign Was Accomplished”

Atlanta, Sunday, September 11, 1864. Dear wife: It is a pleasant, breezy afternoon in September, and as I sit here in my tent, on a beautiful grassy hill in the suburbs of the fall city, and watch our National colors floating gaily from its spires, I feel profoundly thankful that God has permitted me to […]

1864: “A General and Warrior on a Peace Platform”

September 3, Saturday. New York City is shouting for McClellan, and there is a forced effort elsewhere to get a favorable response to the proceeding at Chicago. As usual some timid men are alarmed, and there are some like Raymond, Chairman of the National Committee who have no fixed and reliable principles that are without […]

1864: “Equally Unable To Hold The Place”

Atlanta, Geo., 30th Aug., 1864 ….I have been very closely engaged here since the enemy began shelling the city. He hauled off a few days ago and the army seemed as much elated as tho’ we had gained a great victory, whereas it was simply changing his mode of attack. Our works were formidable; he […]

1864: “This Administration Will Not Be Elected”

Executive MansionWashington, Aug. 23, 1864. This morning, as for some days past, it seems exceedingly probable that this Administration will not be reelected. Then it will be my duty to so cooperate with the President elect, as to save the Union between the election and inauguration; as he will have secured his election on such […]

1864: “Being An Invalid”

Our latest 1864 blog post (as we play “catch up” to share more history)! This one is about the Invalid Corps, Courtship Letters, and Ice Cream – a summer combination… #1864words

1864: “Exaggerated Harshness”

August 7, 1864 The war is taking on features of exaggerated harshness. Hunter when he re-entered the Valley caused a number of private residences of the finest character to be burned… Early burned Chambersburg to enforce a refractory town into paying a requisition. The Yankees have had the unutterable meanness to make an expedition up […]

1864: “Blew Up A Fortification In Front Of Petersburg”

Sunday, August 7 ….The Rebs. are still raiding around up in Maryland and Pa. Grant blew up a fortification in front of Petersburg last Saturday (a week) &, but for the bungling way it which it was done, the result might have been glorious. As it was, it was a failure. The engineer had a […]

1864: “A Game They Call Base-Ball”

25th July. Today the order for the removal of Gen. Johnston and the appointment of Gen. Hood to the command of the Georgia army is read in our room. Grief and indignation fill nearly every breast. Probably no General of any war has been so continually unsuccessful (or, if you please, so devoid of victories) […]

1864: “My Company”

July 21st [1864] Made breastworks of logs, and by nine Oclock A.M. the Yanks artillery opened on us from our left, their shell enfalading our lines. They have heard us chopping down trees and building our works and have our range – and the woods are so thick we can’t see them. Their artillery are […]

1864: “No Force Here Fit To Go To The Field”

Cypher War Department – Washington City July 10 – 2 P.M. 1864 Lieut. Gen. Grant – City Point, Va. Your dispatch to Gen. Halleck, referring to what I may think in the present emergency, is shown to me. Gen. Halleck says we have absolutely no force here fit to go to the field. He thinks […]

1864: “Our Sick & Wounded Will Be Back Here”

Sunday night [July 3, 1864] Soon after four o-clock this morning I was roused by the sound of bands, & I thought at first I would get up; but I felt that I must see the last of our soldiers as they left us for their grand invasion. I threw on my skirts, a shawl, […]

1864: “Lying Mortally Wounded The Doctors Think”

[June 19, 1864] My darling wife I am lying mortally wounded the doctors think, but my mind & heart are at peace[.] Jesus Christ is my all-sufficient savior. I go to him. God bless & keep & comfort you, precious one, you have been a precious wife to me. To know & love you makes […]

1864: “That’s The Alabama”

June 19th: 1864: Battle Off the land twelve miles. The morning is thick and hazy. The shore is scarcely distinguishable. There is all the preparations being made for our Sabbath Day devotions. Inspection at quarters at ten o’clock after which we are all waiting to hear the Church bell till. At ten minutes after ten […]

1864: “The Work Of Death Goes On”

In Camp near Atlanta, Georgia June 9, 1864 When the enemy first made his appearance at Resaca, there was only one brigade of Cantey’s Division consisting of three regiments and one battery there, though there were some guns placed in batteries on the heights overlooking the town. This force succeeded in checking  the Yankees until […]

1864: “We Have Been In Line Of Battle”

In line of battle near Cold Harbor Monday Morning June 6th 64 My own Darling Sister & father & mother Last night after being relieved from outpost duty on my arrival in camp a letter from you was handed to me. I asked how it came & was told it had come down from the […]

1864: “Not So Miserable A World After All”

Thursday, May 12 ….Yesterday I took Fannie to the Arsenal in the buggy. We went all through the workshops and saw all that was to be seen. She was very much pleased and carried home with her as trophies, a loaded and unloaded fuse, and a minnie bullet, of the sort she saw them making […]

1864: “Checked The Progress Of The Enemy Towards Richmond”

The Commanding Gen takes pleasure in announcing to the Army the series of successes which by the blessing of God, have recently been achieved by our arms. A part of the enemy’s force threatening the [Valley] of Virginia has been[illegible] by Gen Imboden’s and driven back by the Potomac, with the loss of their wagon […]

1864: “A Case of Mismanagement”

May [15th] Rain. Rain. On picket, wondering why we do not get relieved. It is past time for the relief to show up. Lieutenant Kerr sends a detail to camp to learn the cause. Returned in a short time, reported the regiment had left for parts unknown. The Lieutenant called in the pickets to the […]

1864: “Grant Seems Determined To Keep On Fighting”

May 3, 1864 At last orders have come to move, and now commences the campaign of 1864 under Grant. How will it end? It has begun, at least in secrecy, for no one seems to know what is to be done beyond marching, and that marching under Grant means moving toward the enemy… The Wilderness, […]

1864: “May Be Relied Upon For Active Duty”

May 2, 1864 HQ, VMIMaj. Gen. John C. BreckinridgeComd. Dept. of Western Va. Dublin Depot General,I have the honor to enclose herewith a letter from General R.E. Lee, Commanding Army of N. Virginia, addressed to the Adjutant General of Virginia–also–a copy of instructions from the Governor of Virginia communicated by the Adjutant General defining my […]

1864: “Our Preparations For The Spring Campaign”

April 18/64 Chaplain Beugless has gone to Washington to meet his wife. Surgeon Carr is to take a lot of sick soldiers to Washington tomorrow and will be gone ten days. Yesterday the 18th, the 6th Corps was reviewed by Lieut. Gen. U.S. Grant, and the display was fine and the weather delightful. The lines […]

1864: “No Quarter…”

Camp near Brownville April 14th 1864 My Dear Sisters, I write you a few hurried lines to inform you that I am quite well and have just passed safely through the most terrible ordeal of my whole life. I guess that you know what I mean as you doubtless have before this heard of the […]

1864: “There Has Been No Review”

April 9/64 Saturday 8 p.m. My dear Mother I wrote a short letter last night. We had just recd orders for a Review today by Gen. Grant. But it has rained violently all day + there has been no Review. I am glad of it for now the mud will prevent it for several days […]

1864: “My Oath To Preserve The Constitution”

Washington, April 4, 1864.My dear Sir: You ask me to put in writing the substance of what I verbally said the other day, in your presence, to Governor Bramlette and Senator Dixon. It was about as follows: “I am naturally anti-slavery. If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong. I can not remember when I […]

1864: “I Run Off From Him”

My name is Jim; I have been living on Bull run, with a man by the name of Pierce; they call him Cromwell Pierce. I run off from him nearly two months ago, because he treated me so mean: he half-starved and whipped me. I was whipped three or four times a week, sometimes with […]

1864: “The Fair For The Sanitary Commission Is A Good Excuse…”

March 17, 1864 I went today to the Knickerbocker Kitchen Committee for the benefit of the Sanitary Fair. Mrs. Judge Roosevelt is chairman. she wants us to wear the old Dutch costume. Hers is already being made, she said. It is too far from the Fair, being in Union Square, and too few, I thought […]

1864: “Do Not Stay In Washington”

(Private and confidential) Near Memphis, March 10, 1864 General Grant Dear General: I have your more than kind and characteristic letter of the 4th, and will send a copy of it to General McPherson at once. You do yourself injustice and us too much honor in assigning to us so large a share of the […]

1864: “Am I The Same Poor Soul…?”

March 3, 1864. …After they left I sat down to Romola – and I was absorbed in it. How hardened we grow “to war and war’s alarms.” The enemies’ cannon or our own are thundering in my ears – and I was dreadfully afraid some infatuated and frightened friend would come in to cheer, to […]

1864: “We Celebrated The 22nd”

Feb. 15th Receive a letter from Father. He says everything is bright and cheerful in the South and whatever suffering there may be it is not perceptible, but everyone appears to enjoy himself as though there was no war. (I suppose this is putting a good face over our misfortunes.) Every week a rumor is […]

1864: “Civilization To Our Headquarters”

Jany 23/64 …Tonight we dedicated our new chapel and in remembrance of R.I. [Rhode Island] and in recognition of God’s goodness to use we have named it “Hope” Chapel. The building is made of logs hewn smooth on one side and built up cob fashion. Most of the hewing was done by Chaplain Beugless and […]

1864: “Took Place June 6th 1862”

Camp near Orange C.H. Va 10th Feb’y 1864 Capt. John Esten Cooke Dear Sir, The skirmish in which Gen. Ashby was killed took place June 6th 1862. My Division, acting as rear-guard, had encamped on the evening of the 5th, two and a half miles from Harrisonburg on the road to Port Republic, and Ashby’s […]

1864: “The Most Difficult Business Of Our Army”

Headquarters Dept. of the Tenn. Vicksburg, Jan. 31, 1864. Dear Sawyer, In my former letters I have answered all your questions save one, and that relates to the treatment of inhabitants known or suspected to be hostile or “Secesh.” This is in truth the most difficult business of our Army as it advances and occupies […]

1864: “I Am 21 Today! Of Age!”

Wednesday, Jan. 20th, 1864 On Sunday we all went to hear Mr. Grasty preach. He gave us a very severe sermon against dancing. Willie Lewis came and brought us a letter from George. Bob Saunders was shipped. Willie has a furlough of ten days. Mr. Miller and Beverly Whittle came. On Monday Brother James and […]

1864: “Three Hundred Pairs of Stockings, Knitted By Yourself”

Executive Mansion Washington, Jany. 8, 1864 Mrs. Esther Stockton. Madam: Learning that you who have passed the eighty-fourth year of life, have given to the soldiers, some three hundred pairs of stockings, knitted by yourself, I wish to offer you my thanks. Will you also convey my thanks to those young ladies who have done […]

1864: “We Must Make Free Men Of Them Beyond All Question”

Confederate Army of Tennessee – January 2, 1864 …Like past years, 1864 will diminish our ranks by the casualties of war, and what source of repair is there left for us? We therefore see in the recommendations of the President only a temporary expedient, which at the best will leave us twelve months hence in […]