The World Has Never Seen Their Like
Soldiers are seen everywhere, are topics of constant conversation and provide newspaper coverage. As the month closes, it is clear that Confederate forces are desperate to fill up the ranks and that Federal forces are closing in on most fronts. The remaining question: how soon will the end arrive?
February 27– Monday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “Last night we only got five deserters on our front, a smaller number than usual. We sent out a large number of circulars [encouraging Confederate soldiers to desert] last night. We use them as bait and some times catch our fish.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.
February 27– Monday– Richmond, Virginia– “Robert Tyler told me that it was feared Governor Brown, and probably Stephens and Toombs, were sowing disaffection among the Georgia troops, hoping to get them out of the army; but that if faction can be kept down thirty days, our cause would assume a new phase. . . . The President and General Lee were out at Camp Lee to-day, urging the returned soldiers (from captivity) to forego the usual furlough and enter upon the spring campaign now about to begin. The other day, when the President made a speech to them, he was often interrupted by cries of ‘furlough!’” ~ Diary of John Jones.
February 27– Monday– Macon, Georgia– “Mr. Gaulden moved to take up the resolutions, in relation to the enlistment of Slaves in the army– which was agreed to. Mr. Guerry moved to refer the same to the Committee on Confederate relations– which prevailed.” ~ Journal of the Senate of the Georgia General Assembly.
February 28– Tuesday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “Yesterday a soldier named Good, or Gooch, who had just received his bounty, was the victim of a most rascally transaction. As he was counting his money at a tavern on Water street, a pious looking individual approached him and offered him a hundred dollar Treasury note for some small bills, stating that it would be much more convenient to carry than such a large bulk, and that the soldier would not be so likely to spend it. The soldier at once counted out one hundred dollars in small notes, and passing the same to the harmless looking person, received in return a hundred dollar note. Sometime afterwards the soldier discovered that the note was a base counterfeit, but his friend had disappeared and was nowhere to be found.” ~ Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.
February 28– Tuesday– Staunton, Virginia– “We are all packing up & fixing for a move, as the enemy is reported advancing up the Valley – their advance having reached Mt. Jackson – their intentions are not fully developed yet, but the impression is that they will go across the Ridge from New Market. I should have sent William [a slave] out today but for that – if we have to go away, get Snyder to kill your pig. Mr Christian Bear told me yesterday he could spare me $200, so if you need any money call on him & tell him I want you to have it – do not get it unless you want it. He wants Webster’s Dictionary & said he would give you a barrel of flour for it – that is now ten dollars in specie. I told him I thought you would like the bargain – it is a good one & you can hide the flour & keep it – I think. I hope this will blow by & I get home & get you fixed better. Sandy will finish cutting your wood & I will pay him. I think you will find Christian Bear a good man to call on if you need any aid. I had a long talk with him. I have clothes enough to get along so do not be troubled about me. If I need any I will send for them but if any ones come tomorrow send my flannels & shirts – only by some safe way & I do not think you had better look much for a way for I can send after them. Be of good cheer & hope for the best & the Lord protect & defend you all.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Jedediah Hotchkiss to his wife Sara.
February 28– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– “The resolutions which have been passed by the various regiments of the Confederate army, and which they have published to the world, ring like inspiring trumpet tones on the air. Wherever else the paralyzing suggestions of despondency and doubt are heard, they cannot affect the iron nerves of those heroes who have borne the brunt of this war; who have endured the winter’s frosts and the summer’s heat; who have slept on the bare ground, have lived on the coarsest food, marched weary miles in bare feet, poured out their blood like summer rain, and stood like a living wall between their country and its enemies. These are the men who send forth words of hope and cheer and high resolve, and whose heroic souls, like the Aeolian harp, give forth stronger strains as the tempest increases. Whatever others may dream, subjugation is a word which is not found in their vocabulary, and which it would not be safe for friend or foe to utter in their presence. They proclaim their fixed and unchangeable determination to conquer or die; and it is the army which is the country. They have no thought of permitting all their labors, privations, perils, to go for naught, nor of suffering the blood of their fallen comrades to cry in vain from the ground. Whatever others may do, the heroes of the Confederacy neither intend nor desire to survive their country. They love her, and they believe in her also; their faith and hope are equal to their valor and devotion, and their trust in God is firm and unwavering. Noble men! The world has never seen their like.” ~ Richmond Times Dispatch.
February 28– Tuesday– Carthage, Tennessee– “A band of guerrillas pass quite often from a point on Obey River, some eight miles above Celina, going west. Their track is near the State line. How far they go west I am unable to say, but they generally pass beyond the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. The band numbers from fifteen to sixty men, or that has been the report for the last few months. They have different commanders. Sometimes Captain Benett, at others Major Jones or Magruder. For a long time they have not gone east of the point mentioned on Obey River. Generally on their return to Obey River they bring goods of various kinds and hide them away among the hills. Yesterday I had a long conversation with H. D. Johnson, of Overton. I know he is in communication with Hughes, Gatewood, and others. He has a son with the rebel Colonel Dibrell, formerly of Sparta. Johnson says the rebels will be in this section of country in considerable force late in the spring, or so soon as it shall seem the rivers will not rise suddenly and remain full any length of time. There is the same old evil disposition among the rebels, the same hate, but they fear more and hide. If any one doubts, let him become for a time a rebel and go among them, where he is not known to be other than what he seems.” ~ Report from J. D. Hale to Union General Whipple.
February 28– Tuesday– in the mountains, North Carolina– “The Yankees are in Lancaster District [South Carolina] & making their way toward Wilmington [North Carolina]. My precious one I have been thinking much of you & our precious little ones lately & have become very anxious to hear from you to know how you are getting along in Roswell [Georgia]. My mind is troubled to think that you may not be comfortable, or, actually suffering from want of necessaries of life. I wish so much I could hear from you. Nearly 4 weeks have gone by now since I left you in Roswell & it may be a long time yet before I can hear anything from you. Oh! that peace could be ours.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Barrington King to his wife Bessie.
February 28– Tuesday– Macon, Georgia– “Whereas, in the present crisis, more able bodied men are required in the field to arrest the progress of the foe who assails us, and whereas, it is necessary to arouse the indomitable spirit of our people by a return to the true spirit of the constitution; and whereas, the Conscript Law has accomplished all the good that can be expected therefrom, and in the judgment of the General Assembly of Georgia has for some time past tended to oppress and distract our people, therefore be it, 1st Resolved, That in the opinion of the General Assembly of Georgia, the further enforcement of the Conscript Law should be abandoned. 2nd, That the Government should resort to requisition on the States for such troops as may be needed for the further prosecution of the war. 3rd, That the adoption of the above course will add largely to our effective force in the field; will revive the spirit of 61 and 62 amongst our people and by so doing will enable us to conquer an early and honorable peace. 4th, That the Governor is hereby requested to furnish the President, members of Congress, and the Governors of the States constituting the Confederacy, a copy of these resolutions.”
February 28– Tuesday– Parkgate, England– Birth of Wilfred Grenfell, medical missionary to Newfoundland and Labrador. He will receive knighthood in recognition of his great service. [Dies October 9, 1940.]
February 28– Tuesday– Milford Haven, Wales, Great Britain– Birth of Arthur Symons, poet, literary critic and magazine editor. [Dies January 22, 1945.]