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 have never been comprehended there. One sentiment across the water seems quite pervasive and I perceive you share in it, viz., that we cannot be a united people again. Why should we be an exception to the world’s history and to your own history in this respect? Is there bad blood between England and Scotland now? Is not Ireland united with you? How is it across the Channel? Has Louis Napoleon more devoted adherents than in Brittany? Your historians tell us there was a dead body or wounded man in every hamlet in La Vendee during the civil war that desolated in that country—where the forests were burned in order to extinguish the last haunts of the opposition…

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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 the fore top man at the mast head sang out – Steamer under the land! Standing out! That’s the Alabama, said the quarter master. We were all anxious to catch a glimpse of her before going into battle. The bell sounded fire quarters and the boys were to be seen tumbling down the forecastle ladders – fore rigging Jacob’s Ladders & c trying who could be first at their quarters. She was coming straight out for us and we were all ready for the conflict in just three minutes. Decks sanded down. Batteries cast loose and manned. Magazines opened & all reported ready. Go ahead fast, said the Captain. The Alabama was now about two miles distant and coming on fast. Lay down! Every man, said the Captain, and down we all lay flat on the deck. And now as I lay down not knowing how soon I might be killed or maimed for life I thought of home and how I had been neglected by those who should have been all in all to me…

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1861: “We Shall Depend On Ourselves”

Gazette665 Blog Series 1861: In Their Words

Richmond, November 18, 1861

…Feeling that such views must be taken by the neutral nations of the earth, I have caused the evidence to be collected which proves completely the utter inefficiency of the proclaimed blockade of our coast, and shall direct it to be laid before such governments as shall afford us the means of being heard. But, although we should be benefited by the enforcement for the successful prosecution of the war.

As long as hostilities continue the Confederate States will exhibit a steadily increasing capacity to furnish their troops with food, clothing, and arms. If they should be forced to forego many of the luxuries and some of the comforts of life, they will at least have the consolation of knowing that they are thus daily becoming more and more independent of the rest of the world. If in this process labor in the Confederate States should be gradually diverted from those great Southern staples which have given life to so much of the commerce of mankind into other channels, so as to make them rival producers instead of profitable customers, they will not be the only or even the chief losers by this change in the direction of their industry. Continue reading