Posts Tagged ‘Mason & Slidell’

 The Confederate Steamer Nashville, entered the harbor of Beaufort, N. C., on Friday morning last.  She sailed from Southampton England, on the 3rd of February, and made the run in 25 days including stoppages.  Her cargo is valued at two million dollars, of such things as are needed by the Departments at Richmond and the people of the Confederacy.  Capt. Robt. B. Pegram, her commander, deserves the thanks of the whole country for showing the inefficiency of the blockade.

 When nearing the Carolina coast, Capt. Pegram overhauled a merchant ship owned in Philadelphia, captured the crew and fired the ship.  Near Beaufort harbor the Nashville was fired upon 20 or 30 times by the blockading fleet but without harm.  He displayed his flag and run in under the guns of Fort Macon.

 Capt. Pegram says in England he met with a warm reception from all except the Exeter Hall Abolitionists.  Messrs. Macon and Slidell he says received a very cordial reception.  He thinks at no distant day, Belgium, France and England will recognize the independence of the Confederacy.  The Nashville brought National courtesy for her to have done after the Queen’s proclamation.  The arrival of the Nashville in safety, has been hailed with joy throughout the land.

 Source: Suffolk Christian Sun, March 7, 1862 as found in Confederate Newspaper Project


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January 27, 1862


 I am sorry that I intermitted the practice of keeping a Diary!  This year of all the years of my past life I ought to have been most faithful in keeping my Record, for it is not, I hope, probable that I shall never pass through so stirring a time again; and so I who have all my life been sighing for something to write about and who have burnt up so many Diaries, because on a re perusal I have found them hopelessly inane & insipid, have like the woman in the Fairy tale who lost her chance of Wealth & honour by an indiscreet wish for a “yard of Black Pudding,” lost the desire of my heart not by a silly gratification of my palate but from mere inattention to my own wishes.  There is the less excuse for me too, for if I remember rightly I left off in July not long before the Battle of Manassas when life was as full of incident as a pudding of Plums.  Heigh ho! It is no use lamenting it, but as we are just entering on a New Year I will try & be more punctual and as I faithfully recorded the gradual steps by which we were led into War I will now, I hope, have the agreeable task of tracing our way out to the glorious goal Peace, even tho I lost a portion—may it be a large one—of the progress of the War itself.  I am inRaleigh, but I had better retrace a little so as to commence with the first of the year.

            The 1st of Jan found us with War staring us directly in the face!  War, obstinate, bloody & cruel, brought to our very hearthstones!  But blessed be God, our hearts are still strong and we shall yet prevail, even tho all hopes of Foreign aid are put to an end by the rendition of Messrs Mason &Slidell.  Patrick and I lived almost as usual, as “in piping times of Peace,” disturbed, however, with a terrible sense of insecurity on my part as to how long it would last, he chafing terribly at inaction and mentally turning over every stone by which he thought he possibly could get into active service, but as the Secretary was organizing no more troops, acting in fact as tho Peace was a “fait accompli,” there was nothing for it but “to bide his time” with what patience he might.

            Since the middle of Dec we had heard continual rumours, in fact read in our papers minute accounts of a magnificent Armada which was being fitted out in the Northern cities, destined for some point on the Southern Coast.  It was to rendezvous at Fortress Monro under the command of Gen Burnside.  Some maintained that it was to reinforce Gen Sherman at Port Royal, others that it was aimed atSavannah.  Others again sent it to N O orMobile, but the best informed & sagacious contended that it was destined for the Coast ofN Carolinawith the intention of takingNorfolkin the rear.  Where the blow was to fall none knew, but all sat expectant.

            We had, as I said before, fallen into our usual habits—we read, rode, talked & walked together as usual—when on the night of the 17th of Jan, on coming in from a visit in Hascosea, Mr. E found a letter from brother awaiting him, telling him that authentic information had been received in Raleigh telling the Governor that the Fleet was intended to attack Roanoke Island; that in the event of its landing the Governor would order out the militia, 10,000 strong under the command of Gen Martin; that he (Brother) had volunteered Mr E’s services on Gen Martin’s Staff (Brother himself, already being a member of it with the rank & pay of major); that he must come up without delay and tender his services in person and winding up by urging him to bring me up with him to remain with Margaret during their joint absences.

            Mr E. lost not a moment, but hastily making his preparations for an indefinite absence from home, the next afternoon saw us on our road to Raleigh, where we arrived on Sunday the 19th of January.

            We found all well & much surprised at the rapidity of our motions.  Margaret had a sweet little infant about a fortnight old, the rest of the children as lovely and as attractive as ever.  Nelly, the most delightful little girl I have ever seen—that child always seems so happy to see one—has so affectionate and child like way of envincing her pleasure in your society that she goes direct to your heart.

            On Monday Mr E waited on Gen Martin & renewed the offer of his services which were accepted.

            The weather which had been for some days bad, foggy and disagreeable, now to our great thankfulness became worse, terrible in fact—Rain, Wind, & Fog, by turns & sometimes all three together.  Earnestly did we wish that Gen Burnside might have the full benefit of it, & no one remarked on it without an expression of thankfulness, but still no authentic accounts of him save that he was supposed to be at Hatteras Inlet.

            On Wednesday I went up toHillsboroto see Sophia & found her fairly taken to her bed, having fretted herself almost sick with the thousand rumours which represented Burnside as landing at New Berne where her husband was stationed with his Company.  Sister Frances & I cheered her up as we best could & next day came down again in spite of the weather which was desperate.  It rained, snowed, sleeted, hailed & blew by turns & sometimes did all together, but as Burnside was getting it, we took it with greater equanimity.

            Sophia is much afflicted at the death of her little girl & her husband being absent she broods over her grief too much.  She will I hope be more cheerful soon.

            Friday the weather was but little better.  “No news,” was the answer to our anxious inquiries each day.  It even began to be douted that the fleet seen at Hatteras was Burnside’s at all, many contending that it was only transient vessels put in for shelter, that Burnside had passed down the Coast, treated us in fact as the Ghost that frequented Lincoln’s Inn did that dingy abode when reminded by the student that he was free to roam at will & inhabit King’s Palaces if it so pleased him whereupon the Ghost made a polite bow, thanked him for the suggestion, & was never afterwards seen in that locality.  Ah Mr Burnside, we like well to be treated with the same neglect.  Go to the orange groves of the South, where cotton & Contrabands abound; and, if you can, revel in their abundance.

            So passed the week.  Rain, fog and “No News” until Saturday when Patrick received a letter from the Hon Mr Davis our Senator in Congress in reply to one which he had addressed the President through him –laying before him some ideas which he had the most efficient manner of arming a body of Cavalry & asking his authority to raise one.The President in reply stated through Senator Davis, that he desired “a personal interview” with Mr Edmondston.  So, in accordance with that desire, this morning before daylight Patrick set off forRichmond.  He wished me to accompany him, but I thinking only of the expense, like a good for nothing long-headed calculating creature, did not think best to go.  I never repented anything so heartily in all my life, but I must say in my own defense that I did not know how much he was bent on my going until it was too late to recall my decision & so this morning in the cold, cheerless, grey light of the early dawn, & that damp foggy & disagreeable, he set off alone for Richmond leaving me here with Brother.

            Margaret is still confined to her Chamber, and as brother is kept all day closely at his business in the Qr Masters office, the children at school, Nannie on household thoughts intent, Margaret & I have nice long mornings together & sit & talk as we have not had the opportunity of doing for some years.  The baby, Laura, John & Meta divide our attention & cause an agreeable devision with their childish wants & pleasant prattle.

            I have been reading to her some of the “Recreations of a Country Parson” and she is as much pleased with them as I am.  I read today the one on “Giving up and Coming Down” & take home some of its lessons to myself.  How many of my youthful aspirations have I “come down” from & yet never “given up” my endeavors after something yet in the future.  Like a child who when crying for one object is directed by the nurse to another perhaps equally unattainable, but which serves the purpose of quieting it for the moment.  Blessed Hope which has never yet deserted me.  The strongest desire of my heart when I first began to reason on life, to aim at anything, was to be a companion, help, a friend to my father.  For how many years was it the dream, the hope, the main stay of my life, & when I gradually found out that I was not & never could be what I desired and hoped to be to him, how for a time utterly wretched & unhappy I was!  Then Came [_____], but what is the use of retrospect?  I am lonely enough without Patrick not to encourage sad thoughts this gloomy day.  So a truce to moralizing.

            The household is divided about a name for the baby & Grandmothers are sought out & their names brought down from the dim past & every thing ever heard of them, every anecdote handed down by tradition, retold—their names, their descent, discussed in the hope of finding an euphonious & family name for the little Lady.  Martha Cullen, Mary Livingstone, Mary Bayard, Rosamond Bouchier, Sarah Sanderson, Frances Pollock, Sarah Pierrepont, & more than I can enumerate here, are conned over; but as the father seems to prefer Mary Livingstone, Mary I suppose it will be.

            I dined today with Ellen Mordecai.  How tenderly time touches her, how like herself she is, how gentle, how earnest, how true.  Mr Rayner and Susan were there.  Susan does not give on the idea of a happy woman.  She before whom life was spread out all bright, all prosperous, who had her own way in every thing, despite her property, her position, her children, seems to have some thing which one cannot define present with her.  Is it greif for the sad death of her eldest son?  I think not, for she spoke wit ha sad chastened feeling of afflictions & loss of relatives which, tho she made no personal allusion to her own sorrow, yet it was easy to see that they were present with her & her grief was that of a Christian.  What it is one cannot define, but there is a shadow there.  Mr Rayner is one of the Croakers about the war, abuses every body from the impersonal “Government” down to the private soldiers, stopping to have an especial fling at Gov Clark & Gen Martin.  He sees all manner of ill in Burnside’s expedition, thinks he certainly will ascend theRoanoke& seize our Cotton & Corn—in short “we are kilt interly.”  I am glad I do not live with such a Raven!  But it is bed time, near the “wee sma hours ayout the twal.”

            Patrick makes me keep better hours than this, but I am always better with him.  So to dream of him.

Source: Edmondston, Catherine Ann Devereux, 1823-1875, Journal of a Secesh Lady: The Diary of Catherine Ann Devereux Edmondston 1860-1866. Crabtree, Beth G and Patton, James W., (Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1979). http://nc-historical-publications.stores.yahoo.net/478.html

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Monday January 12th 1862

I have been at home for the last week sick with the ear ache.  The new year opened rather gloomily for us for the American eagle, hearing the roar of the British Lion has humiliated itself before it has agreed to give up the two ambassadors but Seward, the yankee secretary has done it in such a manner that the English cannot think of receiving it. He never admits once that they are in the wrong but even goes so far as to imply that they should have taken the vessel, also, Lord Russel’s letter to Lord Lyons which he was requested to hand to Mr. Seward states the incidents of the capture & calls it “an act of violence” which as an affront to the British flag & a violation of international law & he adds “Her majesty’s government, bearing in mind, the friendly relations which have long subsided between the US and Great Britain, are willing to believe the US officers, who committed the aggression, was not acting in compliance with any authority from his government, or if he conceived himself to be so authorized the greatly misunderstood the instructions which he had received. For the government of the US must be fully aware that the British government would not allow such an affront to the national honor to pop without full reparation & her Majesty’s government trust, therefore, that, when this matter shall have been brought before the US government, that government will of its own accord offer to the British government such redress as alone can satisfy a British government namely, the liberation of the four gentlemen & the delivery to your lordship, in order that they may again be placed under British protection & a suitable apology for the aggression which has been committee.” Seward writes a very long reply which would fill 7 or 8 fools cap. He says neither Capt Wilkes or any other Naval Officer had any instruction to capture the four persons named (he never once calls their names) on board any neutral vessel. But after this he maintains at length that they & their dispatches were contraband of war and that Capt Wilkes could have fully stop the Trent & search it for them & they found that having found them he had a right to capture them. That is if he did it in the manner recognized by the law of nations and therefore the British government had no claim for reparation. He then goes on with a long argument to show that Capt Wilkes right to have captured the Trent and brought her in as a prize! And then he suddenly discovers that the surrender of Mason & Slidell is in accordance with the most cherished principles of the US. He then tells Lord Lyons that the surrender is in conflict with the claim which Great Britain has heretofore maintained with the US & all other nations even to war. Yet he abruptly ends. “The four persons in question are now held in military custody at Fort Warren in the State of Massachusetts.  They will be cheerfully liberated. Your lordship will please indicate a time & place, for recovering them.” But in all this long harange it will be observed not one word is said about the suitable apology demanded by Earl Brussel. It is general thought at the north that this mission & the threat of war in case of the recognition of the Southern Confederacy combined will leave the parties as far as ever from a friendly settlement. Gen McClellan the Commander in Chief of the Federal Army is very ill his recovery is doubtful.* Col Lee, formerly Col of the 1st regiment NC volunteers was in town part of last week.** Mary Pearce is very sick she was very sick saturday evening. It seems the Yankees have got themselves in another bad scrape. Last Monday a French man of war approached Ship Island for the purpose of transacting some business with French General at New Orleans. She sailed under a neutral flag. She was fired into by the Federal fleet & some what crippled. She did not return the fire. The Yankees apologize but the French Captain refused to accept that apology.


* At this point, McClellan was more in danger of being removed from command moreso as a result of politics than sickness.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_B._McClellan

** for information on Col. Charles C. Lee, see Michael Hardy’s blog: http://michaelchardy.blogspot.com/2012/01/two-colonels.html

 Source: Malinda Ray Diary, Anna Sutton Sherman Papers, North Carolina State Archives.  See also David A. Ray Papers, Southern Historical Collection, UNC-Chapel Hill


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Jan. 9, 1862

 From the Twelfth Regiment.

Camp Holmes, Evansport, Va., Dec. 27, 1861.

Mr. Editor:–Perhaps it would be a source of some little pleasure to give your readers a short sketch of Christmas as we spent it in camp; so as it is almost over, I will spend a short time for their special benefit.  On the morning of the 24th an order from our much beloved Colonel was sent around recommending that every company in the regiment should decorate their respective streets with evergreens of such other things as suit their fancy; and as there is a great amount of cedar, pine, holly, &c. growing here, every man, perfectly willing to do with alacrity anything that Col. Pettigrew should even hint at, commenced taxing their ingenuity to invent some little trick of fancy which could be constructed from such material.  Some made beautiful arches over their streets and hung numerous little fancies around them; while others fabricated large letters representing their companies.  Others set their streets with hedges in labyrinthian order, while many of the individual tents were beautifully ornamented.  One of company A, I will mention as being the most fantastically wrought ornament I ever saw.  It was constructed on the plan of a windmill, though its beauty I cannot describe.  By night everything in and around this regiment was beautifully set off.  Everything was arranged in beauty, taste and order, and every man was in fine spirits, while in this harmless but pleasant work we spent Christmas Eve.  The dawn of Christmas morning was beautiful and we were only disturbed in its solemn quietness by being saluted about day with harmless shells from the Yankee battery.

            At guard mounting the Orderly Sergeants of each company were informed by the Adjutant that the Colonel had determined to have a little amusement that day, and for this purpose had purchased a nice pig, which would be shot for at 10 o’clock, and that the whole regiment should be marched out in full uniform, with every man a bunch of evergreen on his cap, and one in the muzzle of his gun, to witness the shooting, the marksmen—five from each company—to be marched on the left.  The shooting was to be at the distance of one hundred and fifty paces without rest.  Lieut. Col. Long and Major Galloway were to decide who was the victor, and after firing two rounds, fifty shots each round, it was decided that Oliver Pike of company L, commanded by Capt. R. L. Gray, of Randolph, was the man who had won the prize, he having made the best shot.  The target was an elliptical circle in the centre of a square.  The shooting was as follows: Shots in the square, co. A none, B 1, E 5, F 3, G 1, H none, I 1, K 1, L 2, and M 2.  L, E, M and F were the only companies which struck the circle, one shot from company L being nearly a centre shot won the pig which weighed 239 pounds net.  The sports being thus ended, the regiment was formed in line of battle and marched to an open place, where it was formed into a hollow square.  The Colonel then called for the Captain of company I, when Captain Gray came forward and was addressed in a humorous and witty little speech from Col. Long who formally delivered “his majesty” to company I.

            Col. Pettigrew, after wishing the boys a merry Christmas, dismissed the regiment, when they all returned to camp, and spent the remainder of the day in singing merry songs, music, long yarns, dinners, egg nog, &c.; but in honor to the boys may it be said that very few of them were made limber in the knees that day.

            But the best part is to come yet.  At night, the whole regiment formed in procession and marched down to the Colonel’s tent to serenade the Colonel, and after playing several popular airs, closed with Dixie, and called for the Colonel, who immediately came forth and addressed the soldiers in a manner that was truly eloquent pathetic and sublime.  And when he was through, we were not only satisfied of the fact that he is one of the best and wisest commanders, but in the true sense of the term an orator.  In the course of his remarks, Col. Pettigrew said: “Fellow Soldiers, when I received the intelligence of my election to the command of the Twelfth N. C. Volunteers, I hesitated not one moment in accepting it.  I had then never seen one of your faces, neither had you ever seen mine.  I knew it was from no party feeling or party prejudice that caused my election, but that your sole motive was to serve your oppressed country, and for this purpose, and this alone, we came together.  And I am proud to say that I believe there is no regiment in the service more willing and more capable of doing their full duty than the one that now stands around me.”  And again he said, “I regard a war between Great Britain and the United States as inevitable and though the present Mason and Slidell affair may pass off for the present, yet it will come, and perhaps upon an event of much less importance than that.  Then the blockade of Southern ports must be raised; then forty thousand soldiers now on our coast can be sent here;  then the invading tyrants shall be driven from Maryland, and the Maryland Artillery, now our comrades in battle, shall be our brothers in State, and there will be nothing to stop our onward course this side of Pennsylvania.”  The Colonel through, and a tune, when Col. Long, Major Galloway, the Adjutant and Quartermaster were called who made a few brief and appropriate remarks.  So ended our sports on Christmas day, which every one admits was spent very pleasantly.  There is nothing new here.  We have no fighting as yet, nor do I suppose we will soon.

Source: The Greensborough Patriot January 9, 1862 as found on Confederate Newspaper Project

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Sunday 5th [January 1862]

Jinnie got us very soon before 5 this morning & Willie woke soon after.  I called Atheline just after 5, also Fannie.  We eat by candle light this morning. A wonder for the cloudy & misty rain today. Mr. Reynolds preached to the negroes today at the Academy. I shall not go. 10 o’clock I must see about dinner soon. Pinck going to church with Jinnie. Cool & misty rain all day. Pinck & Jinnie went to church but few out. It has been a long tiresome day for me. Mr. Henry came this evening, did but little trading in Augusta as everything was up so high. Salt $16.20 for each. He was offered twenty five dollars per sack in Greenville.  Very dear, I think. He got not coffee at all as it was selling at 70 & 75 cts. per lb. I think people should quit now & drink rye. We will soon be out of coffee & then we try the pure rye till it gets down. Mason & Slidell have been given up. I wish old Abe had kept them & then perhaps we could have had peace or England would have given the North a decent thrashing. The children were rejoiced to see him. I was as glad as they were. No one suits me like him. Mrs. Knight came up after dinner. I was down there this morning & Mrs. Fanning & Obazena came up with me.

Source: Diary of Cornelia Henry in Fear in North Carolina: The Civil War Journal and Letters of the Henry Family. Clinard, Karen L. and Russell, Richard, eds. (Asheville, NC: Reminiscing Books, 2008).

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Tuesday Dec. 31st 1861

The last day of the old year dawned fair & frosty, warm when the sun got up, balmy like Spring.  There has many a promising youth began this year full of life & vigour, that have not lived to see the old year out. God grant them peace is my prayer. No prospect of peace soon.  England is kicking up a pompus  about the capture of Mason & Slidell.  I hope Lincoln may hold on to them & then woe be to the North.

I cut Pinck a jean coat but did not make it all today. Hanes nursed Willie. He attends to him now every day. Atheline works out. Fannie does the cooking.

 Source: Diary of Cornelia Henry in Fear in North Carolina: The Civil War Journal and Letters of the Henry Family. Clinard, Karen L. and Russell, Richard, eds. (Asheville, NC: Reminiscing Books, 2008).

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 Saturday December 28th [1861]

We had to go to school Monday & Tuesday, I think Mr Cooper might have given use those two days. Tuesday night Sister, Buddy Lina & I went to the tableaux. They were very pretty they had the Southern Confederacy, the bridge morning & Evening star & a great many others, 20 I think. The next morning Lina & I got up early & came down stairs & caught everybody. I got a book & a beautiful reticule green velvet & yellow leather. Lina got a purple velvet & black leather. We went to the Catholic church. I could not understand anything the priest said. Aunts Peggie & Jane & Cousin Jane & Uncle Edward dined with us. Aunt Jane, Lina & I went to walk for the evening. Sarah Goodman, a girl about 18 was very badly burnt Christmas morning & died that night. Thursday Emily, Eliza & Lina spent the day with me. I went over & spent the day at Aunt Jane’s Friday. Today Ma & Sister were both sick. Miss Ann Warren spent the morning here. Aunt Jane has been over all day. Gen Scott of the Federal Army, went to Europe soon after his resignation as returned. He came back in the same vessel he sailed in so he could have only stayed two or three days. The papers seem to think that war is inevitable since he has returned. Prince Albert husband of Victoria, Queen of England died on the 18 of this month aged 41 he was three months younger than his wife. Mr. McLean boys had a party Thursday night but I was not invited. Some think that the Yankees now that they hear the roar of the British lion will back out of the scrape & on their knees give up Mssers Mason & Slidell but if they do they will lower themselves as a nation, in the eyes of the world. Lord Lyons the minister of the Eli L has detained a vessel a mail steamer & he has orders if they refuse to deliver up Mason & Slidell to demand his passports, France takes England’s side. Seward wants war with England, I suppose the Yankees have found they cannot “subjugate the South” & they think they can say if there is war with England that they could have subdued the rebellion in the south if England had not interfered.


Source: Malinda Ray Diary, Anna Sutton Sherman Papers, North Carolina State Archives.  See also David A. Ray Papers, Southern Historical Collection, UNC-Chapel Hill

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