Thursday, October 25, 2012

October 25, 1862

October 25, 1862: President Lincoln writes a brief note to Gen. McClellan in answer to Little Mac’s complaint that he cannot pursue the Confederates very soon because the horses of the army are fatigued. Lincoln’s response reveals his weakening presidential decorum and patience:
Washington City, D.C.
Majr. Genl. McClellan Oct. 24 [25]. 1862

I have just read your despatch about sore tongued and fatigued horses. Will you pardon me for asking what the horses of your army have done since the battle of Antietam that fatigue anything?

—The Richmond Daily Dispatch publishes an editorial about an "affair of honor"—that is, a duel, between two officers in the 1st South Carolina Artillery regiment, which was guarding the city of Charleston. The significant fact about this duel was that the son of noted fire-easter and secession advocate Barnwell Rhett shot and killed the nephew of the great Southern states’ rights champion Sen. John C. Calhoun:
The duel at Charleston.
–The late fatal duel at Charleston, S. C., resulting in the death of Col. W. R. Calhoun, of the 1st Reg’t S. C. Artillery, at the hands of Maj. Alfred Rhett, of the same regiment, did not obtain much publicity through the papers of that city. A correspondent of the Mobile Advertiser, writing from Charleston, says it is to be the subject of legal investigation, the first case of that kind in the city courts for twenty years. The letter says:
Besides the principals and their surgeons, it is said there were six gentlemen present at the meeting–three State Senators, the Speaker of the House of Representatives of North Carolina a leading member of the State Convention, and a Captain Two of the Senators also hold commissions as officers of the army. The arrangements of the meeting were conducted throughout with the nicest regard for the etiquette of the "code," and I have heard of several of those who were on the ground who express their belief that a more fairly-fought duel never occurred. Major Rhett, the challenged party, waived the "drop" shot, which he preferred, and shot the "rise." He was dressed in full uniform; Col. Calhoun in citizen’s dress. Both fired almost simultaneously, Major Rhett in an instant after Col. Calhoun. The latter missed, and fell with a ball through the middle of his body. He survived only about an hour.
It appears that Southern gentlemen who are allied in the rightness of secession were not immune to slaughtering each other in honorable Southern fashion.

—There appears an advertisement in the Dispatch also of a "large sale of negroes" in Columbia, South Carolina:

Large Sale of negroes.
–About one hundred negroes were sold at Columbia, S. C., on the 17th inst., at an average of $680 cash. The following is a list of prices:
One family of five, $415 each; a family of three $715 each; a family of six, $650 each; a family of five, $610 each; a family of nine, $840 one negro man $1,255, and another $1,365; two, $940 each; a family of six, $510 each; two, $700 each; one old negro, $100; negro girl, $530; a family of five, $670 each; a family of four, $750 each; three at $850 each; two at $510 each; two at $1,315 each; four at $625 each; one at $1,405; three at $310 each; one at $590; one at $575; a family of six at $790 each; four at $315 each; two at $750 each; three at $730 each, and one at $1,310.

—Corporal Zenas T. Haines of the 44th Masssachusetts Infantry Regiment is on board a transport as several regiments are being shipped from Fort Monroe to the inlets of North Carolina. But the young soldier notes the absence of any warships to protect the troop transports:
This morning we are supposed to be steaming along between Fortress Monroe and Cape Hatteras. The sea is smooth, and the genial breath of the South is upon us. We feel as if Spring-time had come upon us suddenly, and those not afflicted with sea-sickness feel good this morning. . . .

On board these two steamers are three thousand soldiers with arms and accoutrements. We are the same as defenceless. From our vast navy of war vessels not even one little gunboat has been spared to escort us to our destination, and this in the face and eyes of the fact that a number of formidable rebel privateers are scouring the seas and scattering destruction in their path. Is there any apology for such risk and negligence? We cannot see it.

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