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Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 1. (ed. Reverend J. William Jones), The treatment of prisoners during the war between the States. (search)
e not able to secure testimony upon which even Holt and his military court dared to go into the trial. It may be well, before discussing the question in its full details, to introduce the Testimony of leading Confederates who are implicated in this charge of cruel treatment to prisoners And first we give a recent letter of ex-President Davis in reply to Mr. Blaine's charges: New Orleans, January 27, 1876. Hon. James Lyons: My Dear Friend — Your very kind letter of the 14th instant was forwarded from Memphis, and has been received at this place. I have been so long the object of malignant slander and the subject of unscrupulous falsehood by partisans of the class of Mr. Blaine, that, though I cannot say it has become to me matter of indifference; it has ceased to excite my surprise even in this instance, when it reaches the extremity of accusing me of cruelty to prisoners. What matters it to one whose object is personal and party advantage that the records, both
fore the 9th of May. In the mean time emissaries had been sent to the Winnebagoes, and other measures taken to secure the peace of the frontier. On May 10th the movement up Rock River was begun. The mounted volunteers, under General Whitesides, marched for Dixon's Ferry. The United States and Illinois infantry moved by water to the same point, under the command of Colonel Taylor, First Infantry. The provisions, etc., for the troops were transported in keels by the infantry. On the 14th the troops arrived at and burned the Prophet's and Witticoe's villages, and on the next day received the news of Stillman's defeat at Kishwarkee (or Sycamore) Creek. It appears that Major Stillman, with his battalion of mounted volunteers from the command of General Whitesides, who was in advance, had volunteered for a scouting expedition. This battalion presented the unfortunate combination of an incompetent leader and an armed, disorderly mob. Proceeding without due caution about thirty m
County. During this distant tour he paid a visit to Mrs. Edmonia Preston, at Lexington. The writer then visited a house which forty years later he occupied as a residence for a time. Lieutenant Johnston visited the Peaks of Otter with John T. L. Preston, who later in life was of Stonewall Jackson's staff. Leaving Cherry Grove, the residence of Colonel McDowell, on the 8th of September, they traveled by carriage, passing through Fredericksburg on the 11th, and reaching Baltimore on the 14th. They spent several days in Philadelphia, in order to consult the eminent Dr. Physick; and, after visiting New York, returned to Louisville, where they arrived on the 21st of October. During their absence their youngest child had died. Mrs. Johnston says: After much traveling and fatigue I am here again. My babe is in her place of rest, and my dear grandmother Mrs. Margaret Strother Hancook, who died about this time, at a very advanced age. living long enough to bless us once more-and
n reference to six months volunteers. Soon after, General Taylor offered me the appointment of inspector-general of the field division of volunteers under Major-General Butler, which I accepted, as I was desirous of participating in the campaign which was about to commence. The army moved from Camargo, and was concentrated at Ceralvo on the 12th; and marched thence to Monterey, successively in divisions, on the 13th, 14th, and 15th, as follows: Twiggs's division on the 13th, Worth's on the 14th, and Butler's on the 15th. They were again united at Marin on the 17th, and arrived together at the forest of St. Domingo, three miles from Monterey, on the 19th. The 19th and 20th were passed in reconnoitring the position of the enemy's defenses and making the necessary disposition for the attack. These arrangements having been made, and General Worth's division having occupied the gorge of the mountain above the city on the Saltillo road, the attack was commenced by General Worth, who ha
endured isolation, hunger, pain, and exhaustion, so that death brought a blessed relief. These are some of the horrors of war; and yet it is to the sentimental philanthropists that the occasions of war are oftenest due. During the evening of the 13th Commodore Foote's flotilla arrived, with the reinforcements, 10,000 strong or more. These were assigned to General Lew Wallace, who had also brought over the troops from Fort Henry. Part of them were landed before daylight; and Friday, the 14th, was spent in putting them in position on the centre, between Smith and McClernand. These arrangements occupied the whole day. The snow lay more than two inches deep, and the north wind still blew with chilly breath. The torpor of cold and fatigue seemed to cling to both antagonists. Nevertheless, though no assault was made, a rambling and ineffective fire was kept up. But, though the land-forces were thus paralyzed by the rigor of the season, Donelson was not permitted to enjoy a day of
stores without destroying the city, do it. Thus, in the hour of his own deepest distress, he was vigilant and solicitous for the welfare of citizens and non-combatants. The following extract is from General Johnston's letter to the Secretary of War: headquarters, Western Department, Nashville, February 18, 1862. sir: In conformity with the intention announced to the department, the corps under the command of Major-General Hardee completed the evacuation of Bowling Green on the 14th inst., and the rear-guard passed the Cumberland at this point yesterday morning in good order. I have ordered the army to encamp to-night midway between this place and Murfreesboro. My purpose is, to place the force in such a position that the enemy cannot concentrate his superior strength against the command, and to enable me to assemble as rapidly as possible such other troops in addition as it may be in my power to collect. The complete command which their gunboats and transports give t
my army nearly 50,000 strong. This must be destroyed before the enemy can attain his object. I have given you this sketch, so that you may appreciate the embarrassments which surrounded me in my attempts to avert or remedy the disaster of Donelson, before alluding to the conduct of the generals. When the force was detached, I was in hopes that such dispositions would have been made as would have enabled the forces to defend the fort or withdraw without sacrificing the army. On the 14th I ordered General Floyd, by telegram, if he lost the fort to get his troops back to Nashville. It is possible this might have been done; but justice requires to look at events as they appeared at the time, and not alone by the light of subsequent information. All the facts in relation to the surrender will be transmitted to the Secretary of War as soon as they can be collected in obedience to his order. It appears from the information received, that General Buckner, being the junior office
ly officer of note among the Confederates who fell at South Mountain. McClellan admitted the Federal loss to be some twenty-five hundred killed and wounded. Major-General Reno was killed there just as the action closed. Hill's obstinate defence of the mountain-passes had, however, delayed McClellan from marching directly to the relief of Harper's Ferry; and thus gained a day's time for Jackson, who, as we have seen, was on the eve of accomplishing the conquest of Harper's Ferry on the fourteenth. Yet Jackson was in a critical position; he was fully aware that McClellan was now west of the South Mountains, and pushing after Longstreet and Hill in the direction of Sharpsburgh. Time was more precious then than ever; hence it was that Jackson opened his bombardment on the fifteenth so early in the morning. Our various army corps and divisions were very much scattered, and as the enemy were rapidly following Lee, the greatest expedition was necessary to form a junction with him befo
soldier. February, 19 Spent the forenoon at the river assisting somewhat in getting our transportation over. It is a rainy day, and I got wet to the skin and thoroughly chilled. After dinner I went to bed while William, my servant, put a few necessary stitches in my apparel, and dried my underclothing and boots. I am badly off for clothing; my coat is out at the elbows, and my pantaloons are in a revolutionary condition, the seat having seceded. The Cincinnati Gazette of the 14th instant reports that I have been promoted. Thanks. February, 20 We learn from a reliable source that Nashville has been evacuated. The enemy is said to be concentrating at Murfreesboro, twenty or thirty miles beyond. The river has risen fifteen feet, and many of our teams are still on the other side. The water swelled so rapidly that two teams of six mules each, parked on the river bank last night so as to be in readiness to cross on the ferry this morning, were swept away. Capta
with which they intend to close the night appear more forcible. The signal lights are waving to and fro from the dome of the court-house. The hungry mules of the Pioneer Corps are making the night hideous with howls. So, and amid such scenes, the tedious hours pass by. April, 10 A soldier of the Fortieth Indiana, who, during the battle of Stone river, abandoned his company and regiment, and remained away until the fight ended, was shot this afternoon. Another will be shot on the 14th instant for deserting last fall. A man in our division who was sentenced to be shot, made his escape. It seems these cases were not affected by the new law, and the President's proclamation to deserters. Hitherto deserters have been seldom punished, and, as a rule, never as severely as the law allowed. My parchment arrived to-day, and I have written the necessary letter of acceptance and taken the oath, and henceforth shall subscribe myself yours, very respectfully, B. G., which, in my
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