1863: “Learn To Know The Hearts Of My Abused And Suffering People!”

Alexandria, March 18.

Since I last wrote to you, the condition of the poor refugees has improved. During the winter months, the small pox carried them off by hundreds; but now it has somewhat abated. At present, we have one hundred and forty patients in the hospital. The misery I have witness must be seen to be believed. The Quakers of Philadelphia, who sent me here, have done nobly for my people. They have indeed proved themselves a Society of Friends. Had it not been for their timely relief, many more must have died. They have sent thousands and tens of thousands of dollars to different sections of the country, wherever these poor sufferers came within our lines. But, notwithstanding all that has been done, very many have died from destitution. It is impossible to reach them all. Government has erected here barracks for the accommodations of five hundred. We have fifteen hundred on the list. Continue reading

1862: “Poor Fredericksburg!”

November 23.

Poor Fredericksburg! The enemy on the Stafford side of the river in force; their cannon planted on the hills. Day before yesterday they demanded the surrender of the town, which was declined by General Lee. They then threatened to shell it, at nine o’clock this morning, but it is now night and it has not been done. It is hourly expected, however, and women and children are being hurried off, leaving every thing behind, except what they can get off in bundles, boxes, etc. There is no transportation for heavy articles. The Vandals threw a shell at a train of cars filled with women and children. It burst very near them, but they were providentially protected. A battle is daily expected. In the mean time the sufferings of the wandering women and children are very great. Continue reading

1862: “I Must Save This Government If Possible”

Private

Executive Mansion,

Washington, July 26, 1862.

Hon Reverdy Johnson

My Dear Sir.

Yours of the 16th. by the hand of Governor Shepley is received. It seems the Union feeling in Louisiana is being crushed out by the course of General Phelps. Please pardon me for believing that is a false pretense. The people of Louisiana – all intelligent people every where – know full well, that I never had a wish to touch the foundations of their society, or any right of theirs. With perfect knowledge of this, they forced a necessity upon me to send armies among them, and it is their own fault, not mine, that they are so annoyed by the presence of General Phelps. They also know the remedy – know how to be cured of General Phelps. Remove the necessity of his presence… They very well know the way to avert all this is simply to take their place in the Union upon the old terms. If they will not do this, should they not receive harder blows rather than lighter ones? Continue reading

1862: “General Johnston Brought In Wounded”

29th [May]

No official accounts from “Stonewall” and his glorious army, but private accounts are most cheering. In the mean time, the hospitals in and around Richmond are being cleaned, aired, etc., preparatory to the anticipated battles. Oh, it is sickening to know that these preparations are necessary! Every man who is able has gone to his regiment…

It is said that General Johnston, by an admirable series of maneuvers, is managing to retreat from Williamsburg, all the time concealing the comparative weakness of his troops, and is retarding the advance of the enemy, until troops from other points can be concentrated here. Continue reading

1862: “A Week Of Intense Excitement”

Danville, Va. May 17th, 1862

Saturday Morning

…This has been a week of intense excitement all over our state & not the less so in this quiet town, for it has become so much of a rendezvous for refugees & depot for government stores that we are kept in a state of perpetual excitement – ladies & children have been pouring in from Richmond the past few days – the cars instead of arriving at three or four in the afternoon, do not come till eleven at night & then the poor refugees who come in them have to go all over town to find a shelter for their heads & the town is already full – I can’t imagine where all the people do go to – numbers of ladies sleep on mattresses on the parlour [parlor] floor here every night… Continue reading