The Intercepted Epistles.
It is well known that a great many letters were found at Manassas
, written to or by the soldiers, and a mail bag for a Connecticut regiment was found at Fairfax Court-House. --The Whig
says that all these letters have been examined, and in the whole lot there were not more than half a dozen which were not too vulgar and obscene for publication.
This statement is confirmed by an English gentleman who was permitted to examine the letters, and who informs us that it is impossible for those who have not read them to form any adequate conception of their beastliness and depravity.
Well did Mr. Jefferson
pronounce great cities great sores upon the body politic.
The bloated wealth which the North
has wrong from Southern commerce has entailed curses, compared with which the lowest ills of poverty are blessings.
An aristocracy made up chiefly of illiterate and vicious men, who have acquired wealth suddenly by unscrupulous arts of money-getting, and a working class whose lives are passed in crowded factories or in other occupations in cities which are favorable to anything but moral advancement, there has been developed, especially in the Puritan
stock, an amount of unmitigated devilism which it is perfectly frightful to contemplate.
If the letters referred to by the Whig
could be printed — if decency, if civilization permitted such a thing — the world would be struck dumb with amazement.
Language could not be found to express the sensation which such a lifting up of the top from the pit of darkness would cause.
We challenge the Northern
press to produce a single letter or diary found upon a dead soldier of the South
which he or his friends would blush to see in print.
Here is a diary found upon the body of a Southern soldier, and published in a Black Republican journal, the Cincinnati Commercial
, with its own comments.
That this is a specimen of the high, and often religious, tone of our noble defenders, we do not expect Black Republicans to credit, because vile natures cannot believe in virtue.
But many a Southern mother will see in the following only what her own son might have written:
The diary of A Secession soldier.
Some of the incidents of the civil war are extremely touching.
We have before us the diary of a young soldier of Huntsville, Alabama
, who was killed at Bull Run
, which was taken from his pocket by a member of the New York 71st Regiment.
His name was G. T. Anderson
, and we learn from his posthumous record that on the 29th of April, with his brother Stephen, he ‘ "left home with a company of volunteers."’ He describes the parting with home, family and friends, and admits that he ‘"hated to leave most awfully;"’ but justifies himself by stating that his country was in danger.
He mentions all that transpired next day at Dalton, Ga.
, and tells us that the regiment to which his company was attached elected E. J. Jones
, of Huntsville
, and E. M. Law
, Lieutenant Colonel
. May 5, he ‘"woke up in Jones-borough, Tennessee, about sunrise, saw lots of beautiful women, received a bouquet from a very nice girl, with a soul-stirring inscription fastened to it."’
This incident reminded him of home, and his sister Pauline, concerning whom he has much to say. May 8, he ‘"wrote home for the seventh or eighth time, and was mustered into the service of the Confederate States
."’ Now the reality of his situation opened to him. He ‘"felt homesick,"’ he says, ‘"because he could not hear from home."’ At length he had two letters from home.
He has passed through Lynchburg
, and in due time reaches Harper's Ferry
Here is his account of his first Sabbath at the Ferry
‘"Sunday, May 19--What a cold day for the 19th of May; everybody is acting as if it were Monday; all firing guns; cooking, playing cards, &c.; had a dress parade, Colonel Jackson
inspecting us; he is a large, fat old fellow, looks very much like an old Virginia
farmer; returned to camp, prepared and ate a scanty dinner; had Episcopal service, and then a good old-fashioned sermon from our pastor, Chadwick
; oh, how I loved to listen to him; wrote a letter hom; had another dress parade in the evening; rained all night"’
This is not a bad fellow.
All through his diary we find evidences of goodness.
On another occasion we find that he has ‘"finished the last chapter of the Acts,"’ and that he has done little else than ‘"read the Testament."’ May 21, he ‘"received two letters from sister Pauline"’ and replied to them next day. We have a full view of this lad, for he records of himself now and then that he ‘ "feels very bad and unwell"’ He was greatly edified with Rev. Mr. Chadwicks
discourse, Sunday, 27th, whose text was ‘"Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth."’ The duties of the camp now called him forth, and he tells us he ‘"don't like to drill on Sunday a bit."’ His brother Stephen is attacked with what proved to be a fever.
May 29--I woke up and found it raining; Stephen has fever; cold day; drilled one hour, and I am now waiting for my breakfast; Stephen took the measles to- day; I moved him to a private house, and stayed with him at night; ate my supper with Mrs Jordan
; I intend to eat there all the time that she stays, if possible.
Two companies of Virginians
ordered off this evening for a fight somewhere."
We have him afterwards in various moods.
He is himself sick occasionally; but what with letters from home and the ‘"prospect of a fight,"’ and the recovery of Stephen, he becomes more cheerful.
June 19--Received a box of cake and a pistol from home, with more letters; glad to get them at any time.
The regiment is withdrawn from Harper's Ferry
What follows will help to show at what time the reinforcements reached Manassas Junction
Sunday, July 7.--We were ordered to fall back to our old position near Winchester
; some of the men thought it was a retreat, and began to grumble; the General
ordered a note to be read to his command, in explanation of his conduct; we started in an awful hot day; I fell out of the ranks, went off the road some distance, and got a splendid dinner from an old lady and two young ones — splendid milk, butter, and bread, and I did ample justice to it; she upbraided us for leaving her to the mercy of the Yankees
; I straggled into camp about sun set, completely exhausted, and went off to bed without supper.
July 10--Received a letter from home, all well; have struck our tents, and are lying around here waiting for orders; don't know what it means; a huge columbiad came up a few moments since to be planted upon this hill; that looks as if we were going to fight here; the militia and prisoners are engaged in throwing up breastworks and planting cannon for the defence of this place; the Yankees
are advancing and seem determined to make an effort to drive us from here, but I think they will fall; they outnumber us — can't out-fight us; received orders to strike our tents this evening, which we did, but a train coming up, we pitched them again for shelter; expected all day for the enemy to advance upon us.
July 11.--Struck tents again this morning at daylight — I suppose to deceive the enemy as to our force, &c; drilled two and a half hours on battalion drill.
Sunday, July 14--Read twenty psalms; helped draw provisions; cleaned up my pistol, loaded it, and looked over a new paper; have now just completed writing a letter for home; I wonder why ‘"Chadwick
"’ did not preach.
July 18.--Received orders to strike tents and cook two days provisions preparatory for a march; this was done, and we lay around till evening before receiving orders — received them at last and went through Winchester
; stop in town until late, and bid farewell, I suppose for the last time, to Winchester
, about 5 o'clock; marched nearly all night; slept about two hours; found ourselves on the road at daylight, the 19th, weary indeed; rested a while and then marched to the Shenandoah
; rested there about five hours, waded the stream and pitched out again to the relief of Beauregard
, who they said was pressed by over whelming odds; arrived at Piedmont station
about one hour after dark, completely worn out; went to sleep, but was aroused by a rain in a few minutes; crept under a shelter of wheat, but got wet, having left my coat in the wagon; dried myself, procured a shawl from Uncle Washington, and slept until after midnight; was roused up by orders to ‘"fall in;" ’ did so, and crowded on board the cars for Manassas
, where we arrived about 10 o'clock A. M. of the 20th, rested a while, bought some butter and prepared to eat, having done without for two days; received orders to march again and said we were going right into the fight; heard a good deal of bragging about the fight of the 17th, though it was not much of a fight; moved about two miles and bivouacked in the woods, where some bread and meat soon reached us, and we walked right into it, like starved hounds eat, now and then, all day; slept a little, and slept well at night; got up a little after sunrise on the 21st, broiled my meat, and ate it with some old crackers full of bugs; expecting orders to march every moment; will get them, I think, for it is Sunday; we will fight, I suppose, before another week.
This closed the diary, and a few hours later the writer lay a corpse upon the battle field, Cin.