The Horrors of War~November, 1864~22nd & 23rd

The Horrors of War ~ Dolly Sumner Lunt Burge.

One after another, Georgia plantations in the path of Sherman’s advancing troops experience the horrors of war. At Griswoldville, Georgia, a group of inexperienced militia and new recruits tangle with Sherman’s veterans and suffer a costly defeat. Sherman takes personal delight in ordering the plundering of the estate of Confederate General Cobb. There is a report that slaves are escaping to the North to avoid conscription in the Confederate army. Some in Nashville complain of an increase of crime. Andersonville, Georgia, and Johnson’s Island, Ohio, present a contrast in the condition of prisoners.

Federal troops marching through Georgia

Federal troops marching through Georgia

November 22– Tuesday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “The agitation down in Dixie, of ‘drafting’ the Negroes into the army is beginning to have its effect. The first installment of five able bodied men arrived here from Augusta County, Virginia, this afternoon. They have been employed on Governmental works of various kinds; but upon learning that there was a proposition to put them into the army, they determined to make tracks for the dominions of ‘Massa Lincoln.’ This is a fact which needs no comment and goes far towards answering the question—Will the Negroes fight for the South? Deserters from the rebel army are also pouring in along our entire front. The arrivals at this place average five per day. Early’s army has lost for the last two months, by desertions along at least a company per day. Many of them are in bad condition to begin the winter. The Chivalry must shiver these cold nights. They say that [Confederate General] Early’s army is also very poorly fed – nothing being issued but flour and meat, and short rations of that. The deserters state the they are never followed, with a view to recapture; as the authorities are afraid to send guards for them – the guards themselves usually deserting in a body when so sent.” ~ Letter from a man in New Creek, West Virginia, to the editor of the Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

runaway slaves

runaway slaves

November 22– Tuesday– Springfield, Illinois– Elizabeth Todd Grimsley, a cousin of the First Lady, sends a note to President Lincoln seeking appointment for herself as postmaster in the President’s hometown.

Elizabeth Todd Grimsley

Elizabeth Todd Grimsley

November 22– Tuesday– Staunton, Virginia– “I seat my self to answer yours of the 16th which is just [arrived]. I was very sorry to hear you was suffering with your old disease. I was in hopes it had got well. I hope this will reach you in due time [and] find you well [and] hearty. This leaves me well– only my bowels is not right yet. I am as hearty as a pig, I have no news of interest to write. I wrote to you the other day and give you all the news– it is very cold weather here– we have Snow at this time though I don’t feel the affects [sic] of it. I suppose the boys is seeing a very bad time– they are about 40 miles below here near New Market. I understand they are furloughing all that is not able for service – you wanted me to come home– I wold be glader than you if possible there is no one would be glader to see their family than I would at this time though my heavenly father will send me when he sees proper for I put my hole trust in him not in man. I feel but little hopes of coming home before I go to my command unless I take relapse which I think there is no danger with care.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier John Jarrett to Mary, his wife.

November 22– Tuesday– Nashville, Tennessee– “We believe the fact that our city is infested with gangs of desperate men, robbers and murderers, is generally conceded. The question now is, what ought to be done by the civil and military authorities under the circumstances? One ofour contemporaries suggests an increase in the police and the arrest of all personfound upon the streets without passes after nine o’clock at night. The pass system has been tried and proved to be one of the best arrangements for burglars ever invented. . . . Experience has proved that burglars and robbers can not only obtain passes in abundance, but the countersign also. We made a suggestion about two years ago, which was adopted, and worked admirably, making the city as quiet and safe as any city could be; it was this: That the military detail fifty or sixty men, and place them under the control of the Mayor. Detail one policeman to accompany two soldiers in patrolling the city during the night. Make the districts small, so that patrols will be within call of each other by a given signal. Arrest all suspicious characters, and all found without viable passes of existence let the strong arm of the military or civil law be laid upon him, also as to give him to understand that it might benefit his health to find honest employment or another city to ply his avocations. Hundreds of soldiers and government employees are pounced upon and robbed before they have their hard earned pay six hours in their possession. These are matters of daily occurrence and well known to our police authorities. A special guard ought to be detailed to patrol certain dangerous places, where robberies are of frequent occurrence. We respectfully submit the above for considerations of those in authority, believing their adoption would be productive of much good to the community.” ~ Nashville Dispatch.

destruction of Atanta

destruction of Atanta

November 22– Tuesday– ten miles northeast of Milledgeville, Georgia– Recognizing that the plantation here belongs to Confederate General Howell Cobb, Union General Sherman issues orders. “Of course, we confiscated his property. I sent word back to General Davis to explain whose plantation it was and instructed him to spare nothing. That night huge bonfires consumed the fence-rails, kept our soldiers warm, and the teamsters and men, as well as the slaves, carried off an immense quantity of corn and provisions of all sorts.” ~ Memoirs of William Tecumseh Sherman.

November 22– Tuesday– following one of Sherman’s columns in Georgia– “To-day we followed on and whipped about 1,000 Negroes, who were on their way to the enemy. We camped at dark.” ~ Diary of Texas Ranger Enoch John, part of a small contingent of Texas Rangers shadowing and reporting on General Sherman’s movements.

November 22– Tuesday– near Clinton, Georgia– “Ordered to march at 7.AM. but it was 10 before we left camp. Our Brigade had the rear of the Division, A very, very cold morning and continues cold and windy throughout the day. We enjoyed a snow storm in Central Georgia this morning. Roads still very heavy. Pontoon train delayed us very much. Had to halt an hour three or four different times to allow them to get out of our way. & as it was very Cold, the fences along the road had to suffer. We passed the place where General Stoneman was captured last summer. It was the intention to reach Clinton today, but the Pontoons got stuck & froze in the mud and it was impossible to go any farther. So we had to halt and go in camp 3 mile from Clinton. It was nine o’clock when we went in camp – very dark, ground frozen and very rough.” ~ Diary of Cornelius C. Platter.

November 22– Tuesday– Covington, Georgia– “After breakfast this morning I went over to my grave-yard to see what had befallen that. To my joy, I found it had not been disturbed. As I stood by my dead, I felt rejoiced that they were at rest. Never have I felt so perfectly reconciled to the death of my husband as I do to-day, while looking upon the ruin of his lifelong labor. How it would have grieved him to see such destruction! Yes, theirs is the lot to be envied. At rest, rest from care, rest from heartaches, from trouble. Found one of my large hogs killed just outside the grave-yard. Walked down to the swamp, looking for the wagon and gear that Henry [one of her slaves] hid before he was taken off. Found some of my sheep; came home very much wearied, having walked over four miles. Mr. and Mrs. Rockmore called. Major Lee came down again after some cattle, and while he was here the alarm was given that more Yankees were coming. I was terribly alarmed and packed my trunks with clothing, feeling assured that we should be burned out now. Major Lee swore that he would shoot, which frightened me, for he was intoxicated enough to make him ambitious. He rode off in the direction whence it was said they were coming. Soon after, however, he returned, saying it was a false alarm, that it was some of our own men. Oh, dear! Are we to be always living in fear and dread! Oh, the horrors, the horrors of war!” ~ Diary of Dolly Sumner Lunt Burge.

November 22– Tuesday– Griswoldville, Georgia– A division of the Georgia Militia, a force of about 3,000 irregulars, mostly young boys and old men, by chance encounter a brigade of waiting Union troops. Though instructed to avoid a direct battle, the militia leaders decide to attack. The Union force is initially outnumbered; however, the battle is not an even match. The Federals are veterans, entrenched, and equipped with repeating rifles. Near the close of combat, the Union position is reenforced by one additional regiment of infantry and two regiments of cavalry. The militia retreat. Total Confederate casualties– dead, wounded, missing– are 650 while the Federal total reaches 62. A Union officer notes afterward, “Old, gray-haired men and weakly looking men and little boys not over 15 years old lay dead or writhing in pain. I did pity those boys.”

ravine where many Confederate dead and wounded fell on top of one another

ravine where many Confederate dead and wounded fell on top of one another

November 22– Tuesday– Andersonville, Georgia– At the Andersonville prison camp the inmate population is now down to around 1500, with escapes by prisoners and desertions by guards occurring regularly. However, conditions remain quite bad, as noted by a Confederate official who visits the prison and reports that he saw the inmates scavenging and digging for roots inside the stockade in an attempt to find things to eat.

November 23– Wednesday– Johnson’s Island, Ohio– “Indeed since Hood’s evacuation of Atlanta I have had no direct intelligence from Monroe. I fear my recent letters may not have reached you. Cousin Carrie Cleveland wrote me recently that early in the Fall she and others of my friends expected me home through special exchange. I have heard nothing of the matter save in her letter. In fact exchange is a subject on which we rarely suffer our minds to dwell, we have been disappointed so often. Not that we are without hope; we merely consider speculations upon that contingency as unprofitable. In this way we strive to cheat our life of its despondent monotony. I am fortunate in being associated (in a small room) with educated men who are fond of reading. We employ our time as far as possible in study. It is not very enlivening, to be sure, but it is our best. Tonight (as usual once a week) a prayer-meeting was held in our room. The singing of familiar hymns recalled vividly to mind home scenes, the happiest of my life. It is a never failing source of pleasure and interest to think of home, of the dear one that await our coming. It is particularly pleasing to me to recall memories of you. That these are tender and true, you may rest assured.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Henry Mc Daniel to his sweetheart Hester Felker.

November 23– Wednesday– Detroit, Michigan– Birth of Henry Bourne Joy, automotive executive, social activist and early advocate for the Lincoln Highway system. [Dies November 6, 1936.]

Henry Bourne Joy

Henry Bourne Joy

November 23– Wednesday– Augusta County, Virginia– “I seat myself this evening to drop you a few lines to let you know that we are preparing a box to send you. We expect to send it to Staunton tomorrow to go down [to Richmond on] Friday. We send your overcoat, socks, flannel shirt, gloves, one chicken, some pies and ginger cakes, biscuit butter and some apple butter rolled in paper & a bottle of molasses. We could not send you a blanket this time but if you still want it let us know and we will send it to you the first opportunity. We did not know we could send a box this week or I would have send over to Pa’s and got some apples but we did not know it until this morning. Mr Spencer said he would take it down on one of his wagons for us.” ~ Letter from Ginnie Ott to Enos, her husband.

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