Monday, March 25, 2013

March 25, 1863

March 25, 1863

---The night before, the USS Lancaster and USS Switzerland, ironclad gunboats, try to run past Vicksburg’s guns in the dark.  The Switzerland suffers a shot through her boiler, and the Lancaster is so badly battered, with her bow shot off, that she takes on water and sinks.  Her crew escape to safety.

---Col. Robert Gould Shaw, commander of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment in training, writes home to his mother:


March 25 1863

Dear Mother,

I have received two notes from you, one about our course of conduct at Aunt Mary’s, and the other about shirts.  I agree with you entirely about what you said in the first, and shall do as you suggest.  I burned the note, as you requested, and will not say anything to Aunt Mary about it.  I have bought the shirts but will pay the bill myself, as I shall be happy to make Howard a present of the others.

If the success of the 54 Mass. gives you so much pleasure, I shall have no difficulty in giving you good news of it, whenever I write.  Everything goes on prosperously.  The intelligence of the men is a great surprise, to me.  They learn all the details of guard duty and Camp service, infinitely more readily than the Irish I have had under my command.  There is not the least doubt, that we shall leave the state, with as good a regiment, as any that has marched.  One trouble, which I anticipated, has begun-viz: complaints from outsiders of undue severity.  But I shall continue to do, what I know is right in that particular, and you may be perfectly certain, that any reports of cruelty, are entirely untrue.  I have treated them much more mildly, than we did the men of the 2d.

Tell Father I received his note, and would like very much to have him send me the horse he speaks of, if he is satisfied with him.  I want as handsome a horse as I can get & need it as soon as possible. . . .

Your loving son

---Sarah Morgan writes in her journal about some of the few social encounters that can occur amongst young people in wartime:

Those vile Yankees have been threatening Ponchatoula, and his battery, with a regiment of infantry, was on its way there to drive them back. The Captain sent me word of the distressing departure, with many assurances that he would take care of “my” John.

Scarcely had he departed, when lo! John arrives, and speaks for himself. Yes! he is going! Only a moment to say good-bye . . . sunset approaches. Well! he must say good-bye now! Chorus of young ladies: “Oh, will you not spend the evening with us? You can easily overtake the battery later.” Chorus of married ladies: “You must not think of going. Here is a comfortable room at your service, and after an early breakfast you can be on the road as soon as the others.” No necessity for prayers; he readily consents. And yet, as the evening wore on, when we laughed loudest I could not help but think of poor little Mrs. McPhaul sitting alone and crying over her brother’s departure, fancying his precious bones lying on the damp ground with only the soldier’s roof — the blue vault of heaven — above, while two miles away he sat in a comfortable parlor amusing himself.

---Leverett Bradley, a young soldier in the 1st Massachusetts Heavy Artillery Regiment, is writing home and speculating about how much longer the war might last, as do all soldiers:

What do you think the prospect is of our getting home? Of course you know it can not be till the war is over. The general opinion is that six months will see all the fighting over. One thing more, we must not give them peace, unless honorable to our arms: there must be no squeezeing out place, keep them until they submit to our terms. The end greatly depends upon our success at Vicksburg, port Hudson, and Charleston. If we whip them at these places I think Joe Hooker will start them and will drive them till they get some thing very strong to hide behind. About influence, I don’t urge my case hard, but just mention the thing, and if any thing should turn up, you might put it to use in my case, as I am in the army. I think not to use any bragadocio, that I am as capable as a great many others. Jere will write next Sunday. Much love to all.

Yours &c.

L. Bradley. Jr.

1 comment:

  1. It would have been interesting to read about the conduct of Aunt Mary instead of the soldier burning the note.