This Week in Georgia Civil War History
This Week in Georgia Civil War History
July 19, 1863: Below is the discharge order for a Georgia soldier suffering from an incipient illness.
Courtesy of the Georgia Archives
July 20, 1863: A Georgia soldier wrote to his wife telling her he was leaving a hospital to return to his regiment - the best medicine in his opinion.
"...I shall leave tonight for my Regt. ... My health is very good, but I do not believe that I would ever fully regain my strength in a hospital. I think marching and the excitement of change will be an advantage to me. ... We have some pretty weather now which is a rarity to us. I hope it will continue till I get hardened to Camp life again. Our prospects are not so bright as they were a few weeks past and I expect the people in Ga. are pretty low spirited. This should be avoided as much as possible. It just fires me up to fight the harder, and I am told by those just from the army that the soldiers are in fine spirits and ready for another fight. ..."
Source: Jeffrey C. Lowe and Sam Hodges (eds.), Letters to Amanda: The Civil War Letters of Marion Hill Fitzpatrick, Army of Northern Virginia (Macon: Mercer University Press, 1998), pp. 78-79.
A Georgia soldier wrote to his father from South Carolina, describing an encounter with African-American soldiers fighting for the Union.
"...We commenced the attack just at daybreak and fought them for two hours. We succeeded in whipping the land force, but the gunboats whipped us, I thought, as we left the field. There were six gunboats throwing grape and canister and shell at us all the time. We had not a single white man in all the Federal forces to fight, nothing but Negroes. ... Poor wretches, their white officers left them at the first fire, and they had to stand and fight as best they could. ..."
Source: Mills Lane (ed.),"Dear Mother: Don't grieve about me. If I get killed, I'll only be dead.": Letters from Georgia Soldiers in the Civil War (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1990), p. 253.
The Southern Confederacy of Atlanta printed an item on the suffering endured in the city of Vicksburg before its capitulation.
The same newspaper also printed the speech delivered by President Abraham Lincoln (derisively referred to as The Ape), to a crowd gathered to celebrate the victory at Vicksburg. The seeds of the Gettysburg Address can clearly be seen in this speech.
The Richmond Times Dispatch printed an article on Georgia native and Confederate Vice-President Alexander Stephens visiting hospitals and encouraging all to remain positive.
July 21, 1863: The Southern Recorder of Milledgeville printed an editorial which shows how the South still felt they held the moral high ground in the conduct of the war.
The Confederate Union of Milledgeville printed an editorial which acknowledged the recent defeats, and admitted the country was in a crisis, needing every able bodied man to step up and fight.
The Richmond Times Dispatch printed an article on the large numbers volunteering for home defense in Georgia.
July 22, 1863: The Southern Banner of Athens printed an article on the best way of preserving dried fruits and vegetables for sending to troops.
From advance sheets of the July and August No. of Southern Cultivator.
Drying Vegetables and Fruits.
Editor of Southern Cultivator: The importance of providing an abundant supply of Vegetables for the troops in the field and the hospitals is so great that the following suggestions are offered, in the hope that they may conduce to that end: The great distroyer [sic] of animal and vegetable substance is the oxygen of the air, aided by heat and moisture.--Dry oxygen will not produce decomposition. The process of hermetically sealing consists in excluding the air. Tomatoes and all similar fruits may be preserved for any length of time by stewing them, removing the skins and introducing the pulp and juice, while boiling, into bottles or jugs of convenient size. The vessels must be perfectly clean, heated to the boiling point before the fruit is introduced, and corked tightly, while the steam is issuing from them. Common stone jugs or ale bottles answer perfectly well. Glass requires care in heating, or it will crack. The cork should be well coated with sealing wax, a mixture of five parts rosin with one of beeswax.
Almost every kind of vegetables may be preserved by the simple process of drying at a low temperature. Peas and beans require no preparation. Okra and tomatoes should be sliced thin and dried thoroughly in the sun. Fleshy roots such as beets, carrots, potatoes, parsnips and even cabbage, may be preserved in the following way:
Wash the roots clean, and grate them on a coarse grater, such as is used for horse-radish. Spread the pulp thinly on trays and dry in the sun, or in an oven heated to a temperature not above 125 to 130 deg. F. H. greater heat will injure the result.--When perfectly dry, the mass should be compressed into as small a space as possible, and packed in paper like smoking tobacco. A coat of varnish would render the paper water proof. Green corn could probably be kept in the same way, though the writer has never tried it. Vegetables thus preserved, lose none of their nutritious properties, and make an excellent ingredient in soups. Everything depends on the entire exclusion of moisture. Frequent exposure to the sun is very desirable.
In the preservation of all animal and vegetable substance, it is of prime importance that they be perfectly fresh. Decay once begun can hardly bee arrested.
The want of vegetable food produces a tendency to scurvy, rendering very trifling sores or wounds liable to result in dangerous ulcers. Many valuable lives are thus lost which might otherwise be saved.
These who have abundance of vegetables cannot render a better service to the country than by thus preparing them for the use of the army.
J. D. Easter, Ph.D.
Rome, Ga., June 1863.
The suggestions of the above article are very valuable, and we hope they will be promptly acted upon throughout the country generally.--The drying of all kinds of Fruit should, also, receive special attention; and kilns of drying-houses must be constructed without delay. The ordinary method of drying on roofs and scaffolds in the sun, is so well understood that no description is necessary, but extensive fruit growers will find it of great advantage to have a regular Fruit Drying House, for the purpose of preparing large quantities. An oblong room, with a brick flue, furnace or iron stove in the centre, and open slatted drawers or shelves arranged on each side, will answer; and the ingenuity of our readers will enable each to adopt such a plan as is best suited to his own requirements.--Peeled fruit always commands a higher price than unpeeled; and great care should be taken in packing and storing away after drying. The remark of Dr. Easter respecting the thorough drying and careful packing of vegetables, applies equally to fruits. If dried in the sun, the fruits should be taken into the house at 4 or 5 o'clock P.M., to prevent the attacks of the worm producing moth, which is said to lay its eggs late in the afternoon; and, when packed away, a small quantity of China berries or leaves may be mixed with the fruit in keeping out insects. It is, also, a great advantage to expose the bags of dried fruit occasionally in a sunny place, and to avoid placing them in any close or damp situation. The demand for fruit is certain to be large, and the price highly remunerative; and both patriotism and interest should impel our good people--especially the ladies--to enter upon the good work earnestly and extensively.--Editor of Cultivator.
July 23, 1863: A Georgia soldier writing to his wife from Mississippi told her of the stress an army could put on a countryside, much to his chagrin. He also confessed he was worried about where the war might be headed, and that he was tired of it.
"...I never knew how mean the army could do in a country. I believe our troops are doing as much harm in this country as the Yankees would do with the exception of burning houses. But our men steal all the fruit, kill all the hogs and burn all the fence and eat all the mutton corn they can camp in reach of. Our army have destroyed as much as 200 acres of corn in one night. We carry ahead of us all the cattle we find and at night they are turned on to some of the finest fields of corn I ever saw. And in fact where this army goes the people is ruined. I am disgusted with such conduct and feel that we will never be successful while our troops are so ungrateful. I dread to see our state invaded, but I hope this war will cease soon. But yet I have no grounds to build my hopes upon, but I and every Southern soldier should be like the rebel flame which flamed more and shined brighter the more it was trampled on. And I believe this scientific warfare will have to cease and we will have to fight like Washington did. But I hope our people will never be reduced to distress and poverty as the people of that day was. But if nothing else will gain us our liberties, I am willing for the time to come. I am truly tired of this unholy war. ..."
Source: Mills Lane (ed.),"Dear Mother: Don't grieve about me. If I get killed, I'll only be dead.": Letters from Georgia Soldiers in the Civil War (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1990), p. 257.
A Georgia woman writing to a relative told of brother and other family members in the service, and the troubles they had experienced, none of which had to do with fighting.
"...Brother Samuel went to a company near Servannah in a gun boat and staid there til he took the mesles and they sent him to Sarvannah to a hospittle and he staid there 3 or 4 weeks and then they sent him home and he is not able to do back yet.
James went to Verginna near Fedricksburg and staid there til he tuck the cronic dierrear and was sent to Stanton hospittle and staid there about three weeks, then he was sent home and he is at home yet and I don't think he ever will be able to do back.
John first went to Madison Morgan and then to a camp near, named Griswould Wains, and from there to Servannah and from there to Charlston and from there back to Servannah and from there to Atlanta and from there to Kingston, Georgia and he is there yet. We got a letter from him last Tuesday. He has bin verry sick but he has got able to do duty again. ..."
Source: Hugh McKee (ed.), The McKee Letters 1859-1880. Second Edition. (Milledgeville, Boyd Publishing Company, 2001), p. 117.
The Southern Confederacy printed a brief note, simply titled "Be Ready" as the Union forces in near Chattanooga prepared for an invasion of Georgia.
The Richmond Times Dispatch reported on Alexander Stephens speaking in Charlotte, NC.
July 24, 1863: The Richmond Times Dispatch reported on the death of native Georgian John S. Bowen.
Death of Gen. Bowen.
Gainesville, July 23
--To Gen. S. Cooper:
Major Gen. J. S. Bowen died of [dyden]tery on the 16th, between Raymond and Clinton. The service has loss one of the ablest and gallant officers.
(Signed,) J. C. Pemberton, Lt. Gen.
General John S. Bowen
July 25, 1863: A Georgia soldier writing home to his sister told her of the hard times the army had been enduring, and then of an unpleasant sight he had experienced in Pennsylvania.
"...We had a pretty sever march of it. I was up all night one cooking and until midnight the two next, On Thursday waded two rivers and two creeks. Right tight it is now. Ask some of your Western soldiers if they know anything about hard times. If they do not and want to know anything about it, just tell them to come up and join the Army of Northern Virginia and we will give them a few lessons. One good thing, we had plenty while in Pennsylvania. such as chickens, sheep and apple butter in abundance. We have plenty of dewberries and blackberries, which we find to be of great advantage to us. I believe I never told you anything about the girls of Pennsylvania. Neither is it that I should, for they are the ugliest set of mortals I ever saw - long-faced, barefooted, big-nose and everything else that it takes to constitute an ugly woman. I do not say this out of any disrespect, but because it is the truth. You can tell the girls of Whitefield they need have no fear of losing their sweethearts on that score. ..."
Source: Mills Lane (ed.),"Dear Mother: Don't grieve about me. If I get killed, I'll only be dead.": Letters from Georgia Soldiers in the Civil War (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1990), p. 258.
This week edition of Harper's Weekly carried another review of Fanny Kemble's Journal of a Residence on a Georgia Plantation.
Image Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library / University of Georgia Libraries
Harper's Weekly also printed images from the Battle of Gettysburg.
Images Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library / University of Georgia Libraries
And an image of the siege of Vicksburg.
Image Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library / University of Georgia Libraries
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