I Make No Plans For The Future ~ March 1865 ~ 28th to 30th

I Make No Plans for the Future


Much gloom pervades Southern civilians and soldiers, mourning dead family and friends.


March 28– Tuesday– Petersburg, Virginia– “While I was gone the Regiment got into a severe fight. It was on the 25th and like to have all got killed or captured. The loss of the Regiment is 6 killed, 25 wounded, 118 captured. From what I can gather about the fight is this. Above here in front of Petersburg our forces attacked the yanks taking a number of prisoners and a good portion of their works. To retaliate they attacked our picket line, in front of this place capturing many but never got to our main line, and in trying to reestablish our picket line our Regiment got so badly cut up and failed to do it that day which was the 25th. Yesterday they reestablished the line with little loss. All is quiet now again but it is sad and heart sickening to look at our Regiment now. It seems that Providence ordained that I should miss it, or else I might now have been captured or killed. I feel sad and lonesome now, all my mess is gone, and I am alone again, but I can get along about that. The weather is pleasant now but it is uncertain about its continuing so long.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.

March 28– Tuesday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “You must let me off with a few lines to-night, because I have some little packing yet to do and would like a good modicum of slumber; for to-morrow we are up and moving betimes in light order. I do not look for any grand action from this (taking the liberty of guessing where I am in the dark). I fancy a heavy infantry force will move to our left and rear, to mask and protect a great movement of cavalry with Sheridan at its head, directed at the South Side Rail Roadand other communications; all of which the enemy must be fully aware of; but I don’t think he can have one half our force in cavalry. The amount of fighting will depend on the moves of the enemy ; but I do not ever expect to see more than one such field-day as we used to have in the ever memorable campaign of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania perhaps not even one. Meantime I will not recklessly run against bullets. It isn’t my style; not exactly.” ~ Letter from Union officer Theodore Lyman to his wife Elizabeth.

Army Potomac-US-AHNN

March 28– Tuesday– Albany, Georgia– “Misses Caro and Lou Bacon spent the day with us, but I could not enjoy their visit for thinking of the poor boy, Anderson [a slave youth], who has been sent to jail. He implored me to beg ‘missis’ to forgive him, and I couldn’t help taking his part, though I know he deserved punishment. He refused to obey the overseer, and ran away four times. A soldier caught him and brought him in this morning with his hands tied behind him. Such sights sicken me, and I couldn’t help crying when I saw the poor wretch, though I know discipline is necessary, especially in these turbulent times, and sister is sending him to jail more as an example to the others than to hurt him. She has sent strict orders to the sheriff not to be too severe with him, but there is no telling what brutal men who never had any Negroes of their own will do; they don’t know how to feel for the poor creatures.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

March 29– Wednesday– New York City– “I almost hope this war may last till it becomes a war of extermination. Southrons who could endure the knowledge that human creatures were undergoing this torture [the treatment of Union prisoners in Confederate prison camps] within their own borders, and who did not actively protest against it, deserve to be killed.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

March 29– Wednesday– Petersburg, Virginia– Union General Grant begins a pincer-like operation in an attempt to prevent Confederate General Lee from evacuating the area.

cabin at City Point used as General Grant's headquarters

cabin at City Point used as General Grant’s headquarters

March 29– Wednesday– Headquarters of Confederate General Johnston, North Carolina– “I thought My duty as the friend & bother officer of your deceased husband to write you, giving the particulars of his death. Colonel King Returned to the Command from the Hospital at Charlotte, N.C. (where he had been for a few days with slight illness) on the 9th instant. On the morning of the 10th our brigade was ordered to charge the camp of the Yankee General Kilpatrick. The Cobb Legion under Colonel King led the charge which was entirely Successful until the enemy rallied & the Cobb Legion again charged the Yankee Battery in which charge the Colonel Received a mortal wound while most gallantly leading his men in the fight. When I first met him he was speechless therefore, I did not hear his last words. I learned from those who were very near him at the time that his last Remark was, (Say to My wife I die willingly defending My country). I trust Madam that you will accept My Sincere Sympathy in your great very great bereavement. You have lost a Kind good husband, I a true & tried friend, and our common country a staunch & noble patriot. I trust Madam that you May have the fortitude to bear your loss as becomes the wife of So brave & noble a man. Again I tender you My heart felt Sympathies.” ~ Letter from a fellow officer to Bessie King, the widow of Barrington Simeral King.


March 29– Wednesday– Augusta, Georgia– “At times I feel as I was drifting on, on, ever onward to be at last dashed against some rock and I shut my eyes– almost wish it was over, the shock encountered and I prepared to know what destiny awaits me. I am tired, oh so tired, of this war. I feel the restraint of the blockade and as port after port becomes blockaded, I feel shut up, pent up and am irresistibly reminded of the old story of the iron shroud contracting more and more each hour, each moment. I may perhaps be glad hereafter that I have lived through this war but now the height of my ambition is to be quiet, to have no distracting cares, the time to read, leisure to think and write and study. Country, glory, and patriotism are great things but to the bereaved hearts of Mrs. Stovall and Mrs. Clayton, each moaning for the death of their first born, what bitter mockery there must be in the words. Thus it is I strive to get away, to forget in reading or in writing or in talking the ever present, the one absorbing theme of war and thus it is thrust upon me. I make no plans for the future.” ~ Journal of Ella Gertrude Clanton Thomas.

March 30– Thursday– Augusta County, Virginia– “I take this opportunity of thanking you for the excellent selection of tracts you sent me. I have read many of them and think them excellent. The soldiers appear glad to get them. I hope they will be read by many and be the means of doing good. I always request those to whom I give tracts to give them to others when they have read them. I have some of them yet perhaps as many as I may be able to distribute for a month that will depend very much on the movements of the army near us. I again ask the favor of another bundle when it may be convenient for you to send them. I send you $400 which I place at your disposal to be used in the way you think will do most good. There is one thing I must tell you. Some of our returned prisoners complain of the treatment they met with in Richmond. They say they came there destitute of money and could procure nothing to eat without it. If this is true it is discouraging to our soldiers who have suffered so much in Yankee prisons to meet with such neglect at home. I suppose Government has made provision for our prisoners But it may be through some neglect some are left to suffer. If you are situated so near the Landing as to have an opportunity of observing our prisoners and see such, please relieve them. We are now looking for some of our Providence and Shemariah boys– T Smiley, H Wright, of Beard, F Meatcheon. If you should see any of the above named destitute please furnish them with the means of procuring such things as they need. If you have not funds in your hands at the time they may come and you expend any thing for their comfort, Let me know and I will refund it. I do not wish you to keep this money waiting to see if they will need it But use it in any way you wish for doing good.” ~ Letter from Mr E. Martin to Reverend H. Brown.


March 30– Thursday– Headquarters First Army Corps, Virginia– “Your letter expressing the views of the commander-in-chief in reference to the policy to be pursued in raising Negro troops is received. I am apprehensive that we shall have applications and evidence enough to take from us more men than we can well spare at this critical moment in our affairs. It seems to me that any person who has the influence to raise a company or a regiment by going home could do so as well by letters to his friends at home. If I am right in this opinion, an order announcing that the officers of the companies and regiments of colored troops would be appointed from the officers, non-commissioned officers, and privates on duty with our armies would have the effect of bringing back more absentees than we should lose by making the appointments. If we may judge of our future success in getting up new organizations by the past, we may rely upon it that many will furnish the necessary evidence, and go home and there remain for eight and ten and twelve months. I think it would be well to publish a general order, explaining more clearly the policy indicated in your letter, in order that a better general understanding may exist amongst the parties who may desire to furnish evidence of their ability to get up new organizations. Otherwise I may adopt rules which would not be as favorable to the officers and men of this command as those of other commands.” ~ Letter from Confederate General James Longstreet to Colonel W. H. Taylor.

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