January 26, 1865: Leaving South Carolina

Refugees leaving Atlanta

The Richmond Daily Dispatch reprints an item from the Augusta Constitutionalist. [White] South Carolinians are fleeing to Georgia to escape Sherman. The whole spectacle “exemplifies at once the self sacrificing spirit of our people, and the dastardly and uncivilized mode of warfare conducted by the Yankees.”

South Carolina Moving.

–For several days past the streets of our city have been thronged with fugitives from South Carolina, accompanied by their families, flocks, herds, cattle, servants and stock of all kinds. There seems to be a general exodus from the old Palmetto State, and the planters in the neighboring district of Barnwell, especially, are fleeing from what they conceive to be “the wrath to come.” Safety and security from the inroads of the Yankees are being sought in the interior of the State.

This movements is not predicated upon slavish fear, but it is in accordance with the orders of Governor Magrath, who was directed by the Legislature of South Carolina to remove all property from a certain section of the State most liable to interruption by the enemy. As a matter of precaution, it is very commendable; and the deserted country that will be presented to General Sherman will at once embarrass his movements and attest the self-denying patriotism of the Carolinian.

There is something painful, however, in this daily spectacle of fleeing families, accustomed as we have been to all the terrible scenes of the war. It is a desertion of home, a rude snapping of old and familiar ties, a venture upon the wide, wide world by those who have never before quitted the shadow of the household roof-tree, and exemplifies at once the self sacrificing spirit of our people, and the dastardly and uncivilized mode of warfare conducted by the Yankees.

–Augusta Constitutionalist.

From <>

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January 25, 1865: Sherman heading to Sister’s Ferry

Sherman in Atlanta, 1864

Sherman sends order’s to the wing under Slocum to move on into South Carolina. He’ll meet them at Sister’s Ferry.

Official Records:

Savannah, Ga., January 25, 1865.
Major-General SHERMAN,
Commanding Military Division of the Mississippi:

DEAR GENERAL: Your letter of yesterday has just come to hand. I ordered Davis yesterday to resume his march this morning at daylight, and directed Williams to push a division, if possible, from Purysburg toward the ferry. These orders are now being executed. Davis had gone with Morgan’s division. I shall order Geary forward to-morrow, and shall advise Corse to move at the same time on one of the other roads. I shall send my headquarters teams with Geary division and go up the river on one of the transports. This will give me an opportunity to stop at Purysburg and give whatever new orders may be necessary; also to see the gun-boat and send it above the ferry. I shall probably arrive as Sister’s ferry as soon as the head of Davis’ column can reach there. I shall hear from Davis this evening as to the progress made to-day, and will write you again before leaving here.

Very respectfully, &c.,

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January 24, 1865: The 15-slave exemption

rich man's war, poor man's fight

The Richmond Daily Dispatch notes that the Confederate House of Representatives has voted to repeal the exemption for one white overseer for every 15 slaves — a sore point with the “rich man’s war, poor man’s fight” crowd. But the Senate won’t go for it anyway.

On the same day, they ran a poem by Leigh Hunt that was a favorite of my late father’s so I include it here out of sentiment.

The exemption bill.

The House of Representatives, on yesterday, passed an exemption bill, which provides radical changes in the present exemption law. It repeals absolutely the fifteen-negro law; provides that no mail contractor under forty-five years of age shall be exempt, and limits the power of detail hitherto rested in the hands of the President and Secretary of War. We have no reason to believe the bill, in its present form, will pass the Senate. The sense of the Senate, as recently incidentally expressed in debate, is in favor of leaving untouched the exemption law now in force.


AbouBen Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel; writing in a book of gold;
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold:
And to the presence in the room he said,
“What writest thou?” The vision raised its head,
And, with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered, “The names of those who love the Lord.”
“And is mine one?” said Abou. “Nay, not so;”
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerily still; and said. “I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow-men.”
The angel wrote and vanished. The next night
It came again, with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God hath blessed,
And lo! Ben Adhem’s name led all the rest.

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January 23, 1865: South won’t really arm slaves

Andrew and Silas Chandler
Ever wonder why it’s always the same picture of a “Black Confederate”?


The New York Times points out that, although the South is finally talking about arming slaves, they can’t seriously hope to have a significant number of them ready to fight before the spring campaign gets going. With no real source of new troops, the south is doomed, and the editor worries that the fight will degenerate into “partizans and brigands” by summer.

The Rebel Proposition to Arm the Negroes.
Published: January 23, 1865

There are now only three months at the very most before the opening of what is called “the Spring campaign;” that is before it becomes feasible for armies to move in Virginia, and until military operations on a great scale become possible throughout all the Border States; until, in short, the period of the year at which the South has always hitherto found itself assailed at all points, and its strength subjected to the severest strain; and yet we do not perceive the slightest sign of the adoption of any plan by the rebels for arming and enlisting the negroes. There are vague reports that Gen. LEE favors it, and that DAVIS and his Secretary of War are prepared to resort to it, whenever there is clearly no other mode of saving the Confederacy, but there must be and certainly is also a vast deal of opposition to it, latent as well as expressed, and of which we shall only know the full strength when an attempt is made to put the scheme into legal shape.

But if it is ever to be resorted to, it ought to be done now; and the fact that it is not being done, seems to prove pretty clearly that the idea is not seriously entertained by the Confederate leaders. Three months is too short a time in which to perfect the details of a measure involving nothing less than a social revolution, to secure first what is absolutely necessary — the approval or support of the planters, and to make arrangements for catching the slaves, after it has been decided that they are to be caught. We see by the Richmond papers that the mere talk of putting them in the army is causing a general panic amongst them in that city and the neighborhood, and that they are making their way North as fast as circumstances will permit. We may guess from this what the effect on them would be of the actual preparation of the measure in Congress. And it must not be forgotten that the difficulty of getting at them, even after it had been decided to arm them, has been enormously increased by SHERMAN’s presence in South Carolina. Communication with Georgia, or at least regular communication, may now be said to be at an end; the mails only come in now and then; SHERMAN’s cavalry and bands of Anti-Confederate guerrillas are swarming over the country, breaking the railroad lines and rendering the systematic execution of the orders of the Richmond Government impossible. The same thing may be said of the state of affairs in Alabama and Mississippi; so that a regular conscription throughout the Confederacy is no longer possible. If it were possible, it is certain that it would be useless to try to get together an army of negroes large enough to be worth anything, and arm, drill and organize them, and issue the needful supply of cowhide to the officers between now and the first of May.

So that it is fair to conclude that the plan is given up, and that the chiefs of the Confederacy intend to fight it out, with such white men as they can lay their hands on, or have already got in the ranks. If so, it may be safely asserted that the contest will not be protracted far into the Summer, and that by next Fall we shall have simply the great “guerrilla” difficulty to deal with. The fact that the Confederate advocates in London already begin to descant upon the magnitude and gravity of this, warrants the presumption that the Confederate agents abroad are expecting to see the conflict degenerate on their side into a war of partizans and brigands at an early date.

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January 22, 1865: Have supplies ready at Wilmington

Sherman in Atlanta, 1864

Sherman plans to get back to the sea at Wilmington, NC, so he asks for supplies to be stocked up there. Assuming they manage to take Wilmington.

Hilton Head, S. C., January 21, 1865.
Confidential instructions to Major General A. H. Terry, or the Commanding Officer U. S. Forces, Wilmington, N. C.

General Sherman’s plans contemplated a devastating march through South Carolina and into North Carolina. He will draw his supplies from the coast, receiving them by different rivers in South Carolina, and when he arrives in North Carolina, from Wilmington and from New Berne. His army has now commenced moving. Full and definite instructions have been given to general Palmer, at New Berne. Less definite instructions are given to you, because it is not certain that Wilmington may be taken at the time General Sherman arrives in North Carolina, and also that you be prepared to take efficient independent action. What I wish attained by this information is a vigilant watch for General Sherman’s appearance in your vicinity about the 15th of February, and as great a preparation on your part for the purpose of aiding him. The supplies for his army will come from here in transports loaded for the purpose. There are many things, however, which you can do to facilitate the transmission of these supplies to his army when it arrives. These preparations should have in view the fact that his army numbers 70,000 men and 40,000 animals. If Wilmington be taken you will occupy as much of the railroad toward Manchester as possible, and guard as many of the bridges in that direction as you can. In fact, the same order holds good in regard to the Goldsborough railroad and the railroad through Lumberton and Rockingham toward Charlotte. If Wilmington be not taken of course you can do nothing of this kind, but must be on the watch and ready to act when required. The utmost secrecy must be observed in regard to this. The enemy may suspect the locality of General Sherman’s route, but nothing should transpire to lead themon as to his real objects or the points at which he is to get supplies.
Relying upon your discretion in this matter, I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Major-General, Commanding.

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January 22, 1865: And here are the mules

William Tecumseh Sherman

As we’ve seen, Sherman ordered land to be divided among the freed slaves, and today he orders that livestock not needed for the army be distributed among them as well.

Official Records:

Hilton Head, S. C., January 22, 1865.
Bvt. Major General R. SAXTON, U. S. Volunteers,
Beaufort, S. C.:

GENERAL: I am directed by the Major-general commanding to inclose you Major-General Sherman’s Special Field Orders, Numbers 15,* appointing you inspector of negro settlements and plantations in this department; also General Orders, Numbers 8,+ current series, from these headquarters, placing Brigadier General E. E. Potter in command of the District of Beaufort. Major-General Sherman has placed at the disposal of General Foster a large number of animals, partially broken down, that will be loaned to the negroes to be used by them on the plantations until they are sufficiently recuperated for active service, when they will be called for.

Please send word to these headquarters about how many of these animals you desire, and they will be sent at once.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

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January 21, 1865: Sherman aiming for the heart

Sherman destroying railroads

The New York Times is maybe a little defensive about its right to speculate on Sherman’s next movement, but clearly he’s going through the Carolinas.

Now that the knotty case of Wilmington may be considered as successfully settled, the eager attention of the whole country is directed to the new campaign of General SHERMAN, the first step in which has just been taken. We give an important letter this morning from the Department of the South, by which it will be seen that at the very moment when our army and navy appeared before Wilmington, and commenced the operations which resulted in the capture of Fort Fisher, SHERMAN’s army was put in motion — the right wing marching upon the Charleston Railroad, where it quickly achieved a handsome and most valuable victory at Pocotaligo, and the left wing moving almost simultaneously from Savannah, on a line which the enemy may possibly ascertain for himself.

The enthusiastic spirit with which this veteran army moves, and the confidence in its own prowess and invincibility with which it is possessed, may be judged by the letter of our correspondent. The skillful veteran soldier who leads this army — of whom the Lieutenant-General says that the “world’s history gives no record of his superiors, and shows few equals” — is possessed of the same heroic spirit and invincible resolution as his troops; and he is as proud of them as they are of him. He has fought and marched all over the Southwest, during the last four years, from the day on which his abilities shone forth at Shiloh, onward through his two Vicksburgh campaigns — his great march across Mississippi — his subsequent marvelous march from Memphis to Chattanooga, or rather to Knoxville, engaging in a great battle on his way — his Atlanta campaign, with its twenty battles — his late march across Georgia, ending in McAllister and Savannah; — and when a soldier with this vast experience declares that he can carry his army anywhere through the Southern States, he speaks according to the record.

Though this is the case, we have the best reasons for believing that Gen. SHERMAN does not commence his new campaign without exhibiting a due appreciation of its conditions, its difficulties and its necessities. The fact that the Lieutenant-General has sent him reinforcements from the West, has been published in every newspaper on the continent; and if the South Carolina rebels can draw any consolation or strength of spirit from the fact, they will doubtless draw it. SHERMAN, too, as appears from the news, has begun his movement very cautiously and adroitly; and the rebels are doubtless as much puzzled now to learn whether his first objective will be Augusta, Branchville or Charleston, as on his leaving Atlanta in November, they were puzzled to discover whether his objective was Lynchburgh or Beaufort or Pensacola. We may also repeat a remark we made a few days since, that our success at Wilmington greatly simplifies his new campaign, be furnishing him, as it were, a halfway house on his onward march.

It is absurd to say that it is giving contraband news to prognosticate that SHERMAN’s present campaign must be northward through the Carolinas. Where else could it be? It is preposterous to say that the enemy derives information by our speculating whether he will march toward Branchville, or Charleston, or Augusta. The probability is that at this moment he is threatening all three of these places; and as military science and the conditions of success require that he shall march only upon some strategical point, natural or artificial, every man must see that he necessarily aims at one of those mentioned.

In the meantime, the whole country will watch the successive steps of SHERMAN’s veteran army through the Carolinas, with an interest even intenser than it watched his progress through Georgia. The sweep of his sword, in the former campaign, dislocated the enemy’s members; the plunge of his blade now is directly into the enemy’s heart.

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January 21, 1865: “… not more than forty acres of tillable ground…”

Brig. Gen. Rufus Saxton

Sherman allocates abandoned plantations to the freedmen; the original order is dated Jan. 16, but the one actually putting the order into practice is dated Jan. 21; both are below. Abolitionist and medal of honor recipient general Rufus Saxton was designated to take charge of the program.

New York Times:

Gen. Sherman’s Order Providing Homes for the Freed Negroes.

SPECIAL FIELD ORDERS, No. 15. — I. The islands from Charleston south, the abandoned rice fields along the rivers for thirty miles back from the sea and the county bordering the St. John River. Florida, are reserved and set apart for the settlement of the negroes now made free by the acts of war and the proclamation of the President of the Untied States.

II. At Beaufort, Hilton Head, Savannah, Fernandina, St. Augustine and Jacksonville, the blacks may remain in their chosen or accustomed vocations; but on the Islands and in the settlements hereafter to be established, no white person whatever, unless military officers and soldiers detailed for duty, will be permitted to reside; and the sole and exclusive management of affairs will be left to the freed people themselves, subject only to the United States military authority and the acts of Congress. By the laws of war, and orders of the President of the United States, the negro is free, and must be dealt with as such. He cannot be subjected to conscription or forced military service, save by the written orders of the highest military authority of the department, under such regulations as the President or Congress may prescribe. Domestic servants, carpenters, blacksmiths and other mechanics will be free to select their own work and residence; but the young and able-bodied negroes must be encouraged to enlist as soldiers in the service of the United States, to contribute their share toward maintaining their own freedom and securing their rights as citizens of the United States. Negroes so enlisted will be organized into companies, battalions and regiments, under the orders of the United States military authorities, and will be paid, fed and clothed according to law. The bounties paid on enlistment may, with the consent of the recruit, go to assist his family and settlement in procuring agricultural implements, seed, tools, boats, clothing and other articles necessary for their livelihood.

III. Whenever three respectable negroes, heads of families, shall desire to settle on land, and shall have selected for that purpose an island or a locality clearly defined, within the limits above designated, the Inspector of Settlements and Plantations will himself, or by such subordinate officer as he may appoint, give them a license to settle such island or district, and afford them such assistance as he can to enable them to establish a peaceable agricultural settlement, The three parties named will subdivide the land, under the supervision of the inspector, among themselves, and such others as may choose to settle near them, so that each family shall have a plot of not more than forty acres of tillable ground, and when it borders on some water channel, with not more than eight hundred feet front, in the possession of which land the military authorities will afford them protection until such time as they can protect themselves, or until Congress shall regulate their title. The Quartermaster may, on the requisition of the Inspector of Settlements and Plantations, place at the disposal of the Inspector one or more of the captured steamers, to ply between the settlements and one or more of the commercial points heretofore named in orders, to afford the settlers the opportunity to supply their necessary wants, and to sell the products of their land and labor.

IV. Whenever a negro has enlisted in the military service of the United States he may locate his family in any one of the settlements at pleasure, and acquire a homestead and all other rights and privileges of a settler as though present in person. In like manner negroes may settle their families and engage on board the gunboats, or in fishing, or in the navigation of the inland waters, without losing any claim to land or other advantages derived from this system. But no one, unless an actual settler as above defined, or unless absent on Government service, will be entitled to claim any right to land or property in any settlement, by virtue of those orders.

V. In order to carry out this system of settlements a general officer will be detailed as Inspector of Settlements and Plantations, whose duty it shall be to visit the settlements, to regulate their police and general management, and who will furnish personally to each head of a family, subject to the approval of the President of the United States, a possessory title in writing, giving as near as possible the description of boundaries, and who shall adjust all claims or conflicts that may arise under the same, subject to the like approval, treating such titles altogether as possessory. The same general officer will also be charged with the enlistment and organization of the negro recruits, and protecting their interests while so absent from their settlements, and will be governed by the rules and regulations prescribed by the War Department for such purpose.

VI. Brig.-Gen. R. SAXTON is hereby appointed Inspector of Settlements and Plantations, and will at once enter on the performance of his duties. No change is intended or desired in the settlement now on Beaufort Island, nor will any rights to property heretofore acquired be affected thereby.
By order of Maj.-Gen. W.T. SHERMAN.

L.M. DAYTON, Major and Assistant Adjt.-General.



GENERAL ORDERS, No. 8 — Brig.-Gen. R. SAXTON, having been assigned by the Major-General Commanding the Military Division of the Mississippi, in Special Field Orders, No. 15, current series, dated “In the Field, Savannah, Ga., Jan. 16, 1865,” to the duties of providing for the well-being of the negroes, and their location upon the plantations, as ” Inspector of Settlements and Plantations,” is hereby announced as such, and will be respected accordingly.

District Commanders are hereby directed to afford the necessary military protection, in accordance with the above-named Special Field Orders, copies of which are furnished.

The limits of the districts, within which this protection is to be afforded, are defined as follows:
The Commandant of the Northern District, to settlements on the Islands and coast, as far South as the North Edisto River.

The Commandant of the District of Beaufort, from the North Edisto River to Broad River.

The Commandant of the District of Hilton Head, to the islands lying between Broad and the Savannah Rivers.

The Commandant of the District of Savannah, to the islands between the Savannah River and St. Mary’s Sound.

The Commandant of the District of Florida, to the settlements from St. Mary’s Sound, southward to Jupiter Inlet, including those upon the St. John’s River.

The points at which the negro settlers will have the opportunity of supplying their necessary wants and selling the products of their lands and labor, as prescribed in the above-mentioned Special Field Order, will be Hilton Head, S.C., Fernandina, Fla., and such other points as may hereafter be designated.

Brig.-Gen. E.E. POTTER will relieve Brig.-Gen. SAXTON, of the Military Command of the District of Beaufort, which is hereby enlarged to include the intrenched camp near Pocotaligo, S.C.

By command of Major-General J.G. FOSTER,
Assistant Adjutant-General,

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January 20, 1865: Send the carpetbaggers!

The Carpetbagger

The New York Times describes the great economic potential of the south, which can be unleashed by the infusion of northern capital and know-how. Northerners will indeed travel south in Reconstruction, to be known as “carpetbaggers.”

The Resurrection of the South.
Published: January 20, 1865

One hears every day, from the refugees and others, who come North from those portions of the South which have been the scene of active operations, of the terrible devastation and ruin wrought by the war, of the desolation which broods over farms and plantations and seaports, and of the poverty and suffering which large numbers, of persons, who never before knew what want was, are now undergoing; and so vividly has the imagination of a large part of the Southern people been impressed by spectacles of decay which meets them on every side, that most of them are persuaded that it will take half a century of peace and order to restore the South to what it once was.

And if the rebellion were successful, we have no doubt that their most dismal apprehensions would be realized. The working force of slaves, the only supply of labor known at the South, has been greatly reduced by the war, and what remains of it has, of course, been more or less demoralized, and has had its old habits of submission and industry, if industry it could be called, more or less broken up by the rumors of emancipation and freedom which have for four years been borne on every breeze from the North. And in addition to this, there have been great destruction of machinery and railroads and rolling stock, and enormous loss of capital by the partial abandonment of the culture of cotton, and the immense expenditure of labor and money on munitions of war, which has been going on ever since 1861; and nothing or next to nothing has been done to repair this loss. At the North we are sinking immense sums in carrying on military operations and in providing implements of destruction; but over and above the army, and those who are engaged in the supply of its wants, there is a great and increasing multitude of laborers engaged in developing the national resources, reclaiming lands, and working mines, and thus not only meeting the waste of war, but every year adding to the national capital.

In the South no such reparative process is going on. The whole energies of the whole people are absorbed in the work of feeding and clothing the army, and keeping themselves alive; and there is, consequently, a steady decline in every direction, less rapid, perhaps, in some places than in others, and perhaps in no place so rapid as some sanguine people at the North have fancied, but still rapid and dreadful to those who witness it. But it is a great mistake to suppose that the triumph of the North would be followed by any long period of stagnation or poverty. The real source of wealth at the South is, after all, the fertility of the soil, and the mildness of the climate, and these are things on which neither fire nor sword can leave any trace.

There is probably no civilized country in which there was less “fixed” capital, that is, capital invested in machinery, buildings, roads, bridges, &c., than in the Slave States, and it is on this that war always works most havoc. So that it may be safely said, that there is no region in Christendom, excepting the Spanish American republics, in which the march of armies, or the suspension of industry, does less damage. Such a movement as SHERMAN’s through the North, or France or England, would probably be attended with tenfold greater material destruction, to say nothing of the loss caused by the paralysis it would bring upon production, the shock it would give to credit, and the total stoppage which it would cause in vast and complicated commercial relations.

It follows from all this that the work of restoration in the South will be unusually easy, if the rebellion be suppressed. There will be comparatively little damage to repair. All that will be needed will be to apply capital to a teeming soil; and though the Southerners themselves may be unable to do this, there will be found, we were going to say, hundreds of thousands of Northerners and Europeans only too glad to get the chance of doing it. And the eradication of slavery, which seems now almost certain to be one of the consequences of the war, will immensely facilitate the work, by greatly reducing the amount of capital that will be necessary to restore the old state of things; for no farmer being forced to spend money in buying laborers, he will have ten thousand dollars to spend in hiring them, and in making improvements, for the one thousand which he could, under the old slavery system, apply to actual production. It makes all the difference in life to a small settler, whether he has to invest ten thousand dollars, at the very beginning of his venture, in ten negroes, or to pay each of them a dollar a day for as many days as he may hire them.

In fact it is safe to predict that we shall see at the South, after this struggle is over, such industrial progress as has never yet been witnessed in any country in the world. It is hardly possible to overestimate the results which will be produced in the rich cotton and rice fields of South Carolina and Georgia, and the river bottoms of Mississippi and Louisiana, by the application to them of the skill, energy, enterprise and industry which have made the stony hills of Massachusetts bloom like a garden, and converted the storm-driven plains of the Northwest into the granaries of the world. And we think that, extraordinary as the assertion may seem, that there could be probably no better investment found at this moment than real estate in Savannah, or Charleston, whenever SHERMAN gets into it.

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January 19, 1865: Southern discomfort

Jefferson Davis

The New York Times runs a collection of items from Southern papers critical of Confederate leadership. There’s a very pointed critique of Jefferson Davis. As usual, the Charleston Mercury is appalled at the thought of arming slaves — the editor makes the quite reasonable point that they’re not likely to choose to fight for their own slavery against those who would free them. The problem, according to this source, is that there are so many deserters. Just force them back into the ranks, and the south would have plenty of troops to win.

The Southern papers, the receipt of which we acknowledged yesterday, contain the following interesting matter:



From the Charlotteville (Va.) Chronicle.

If Mr. DAVIS and the court were only going to dash their own brains out, we might rally from the calamity; but they are dragging the whole secession fleet after them. We know that we are told that we must hold up the hands of the Government. We have been told so for nearly four years. And if ever press and people did lend an unquestioning confidence to their rulers — if ever a whole country did place itself implicitly in the hands of the Executive — if ever men and treasures were laid at the feet of one man — if ever ship was surrendered to helmsman — it has been done right here in these Confederate States. The Government is (and has been properly) all in all. Our whole male population was freely tendered. We have permitted it to issue Treasury notes, bonds, certificates of indebtedness, to over $1,500,000,000. We have this year paid 6 per cent. of our whole property in taxes.

We have allowed it to impress horses, wagons, cattle, grain, at nominal prices, until it has left the country almost bare. We have seen Congress laid at its feet without spirit or will of its own. We have seen the constitutional advisers of the President so totally ignored that we have never had a solitary cabinet meeting. We have seen the higher appointments in the army all entirely regulated by the will of Mr. DAVIS. We have seen Gen. PEMBERTON made a Lieutenant-General without a single achievement. We have seen him, under instructions from Richmond, sacrifice the Mississippi Valley and an army of thirty thousand veterans. We have seen New-Orleans fall from incompetent measures to defend it.

We have seen Gen. BRAGG defeated at Missionary Ridge from an untimely division of his army in a fruitless expedition against Knoxville. We have seen this officer, after he had lost the confidence of the country, and was driven from his command by public sentiment, made a sort of director-general of our armies in Richmond. We have seen Gen. JOHNSTON abruptly dismissed from the army in Georgia just when his services were most needed. We have seen Gen. HOOD — a plain, untried young man — advanced to the command in this State, merely to lose Atlanta, after several ill-advised and fearful massacres. We have seen the President repair in person to theatre of his disaster only to inaugurate under the same General a campaign which startled the country in its inception and which has terminated in the investment of Savannah and its garrison, and the bloody victory (?) and defeats of Franklin and Nashville.

We now await with the most painful suspense every breath from Savannah; we hear (through Northern official dispatches certainly) that HOOD has lost sixteen pieces of artillery on one occasion and forty on another, with we know not now many prisoners. We hear from Gen. HOOD’s own lips that in his “victory” at Franklin, he lost thirteen generals, killed, wounded or captured. He has ceased to advance, he has begun to retreat. In the Valley here we have opposed a force of cavalry, armed with nothing but a single-barreled musket, to a superior force of the finest cavalry in the world, armed with sabres, pistols and the seven-shooting Spencer gun.

In the Trans-Mississippi TAYLOR was removed for his Spring campaign, and Gen. KIRBY SMITH, who has not done the first solitary thing, has been buried ingloriously in Northwestern Louisiana during the whole of this eventful year. FORREST, whose military genius fitted him for the most important enterprises has been [command]ing a small body of raiding cavalry. Gen. BRAGO, it is true, was dispatched to check Gen. SHERMAN; it appears so far has not met with no success.

Our chances, our river and harbor defences, our international negotiations, our domestic politics, have been managed in precisely the same extraordinary way. For the first, we have never derived any material benefit from our commanding staples of cotton and tobacco. For the second, the proposition to construct gunboats in the beginning of the war was rejected. For the third, we have not applied to European Powers in the only way that we could reach then, and we have encouraged at the North the Republican politicians against their opponents. For the last, we have, as far as it has been possible under the circumstances, systematically offended one of the great original parties in our midst.

Nearly all things have been done in malign, perverted way; we have been breathing an impure air; we have been nourishing a vicious blood; we have seen with a refracted light; we have prophesied with stammering lips. Oar leader is afflicted with proud-flesh; he [sees] with an oblique eye; his ear has no sense of harmony; he has no idea of proportions. No idea of relation; he is affected with color-blindness; he combines like the kaleidoscope; he sees with the vividness of the madman, but there is a villainous demon within that wrests things out of their places; like some fine instrument in its conception, a chord or a string has been broken, and what should have discourse eloquent music, utters harsh, discordant sounds.


From the Charleston Mercury, Jan. 9.

The Confederacy at this moment is in much the condition of a man who, having more than once got his enemy under him, with his knee upon his breast, and his hand upon his throat, is, while in the act of dealing him his death blow, assailed from behind by one whom he had supposed to be his best friend, whilst the enemy is released from his grasp for the third or fourth time. Staggering upon his legs from repeated blows from behind, confronting his released and enraged antagonist — weakened in strength, shaken in nerve, sick at heart — his efforts all vain, his skill all vain, his success all vain, exhausted by his long struggle, stunned by the foul blows, reeling, he still bears up and endeavors to summon back his ebbing energies. If conquered, he falls not by the force of the enemy in front, but by the unlocked for blows from behind. Yet, had he expected this foul play, could he at any time by one effort have felled this puny creature in his rear. Even yet he might free himself of his presence, and, retreating slowly before his antagonist in front, gradually collect his strength and hurl him back to the ground.

Will he do it? or will he suffer himself to perish by this foul play?


From the Charleeton Mercury.

Remedies are sought for the discouraging effects of repeated mismanagement in the employment of our military resources — in the plans of campaign chosen in Richmond, and the officers appointed to execute them. Remedies are sought for the effects of a systematic failure to exercise discipline and execute military law toward deserters from our armies. Nobody doubts there being men enough in these Confederate States to carry on this war to a successful termination, if the men can be got out, kept out, and properly fought. But men who ought to be in the army, and others who ought to go into the army at this time, are at home, and not in the army. Patent follies and their disastrous consequences have brought despondency upon the people, and license has thinned the ranks of the defenders of the country.

Instead of aiming at radical changes in the causes of the effects under which we suffer and are endangered, men are found who propose the mad remedy of driving our best negro producers into the war, and forcing them to fight. They are to understand that the Yankees are getting the upper hand of us, and that their time of immunity from war is over; they are to choose between fighting with us, the weaker party, or with the stronger party, our enemy. They are are to fight for slavery (or for individual freedom) on our side, or on the side of our enemy, for total and general emancipation of their families, race and people allured by all the fancied luxuries of nothing to do. Independent of law, independent of principle, independent of our institutions, the proposition appear to us as desperate in its absurdity as it is the reckless of everything else. Can Congress find no remedy for the incompetency and mismanagement which is riding us down to ruin. That is the evil from which we must and can escape.


From the Charleston Mercury, Jan. 28.

It is stated that there are one hundred thousand absentees from the armies of the Confederate States. In this Department, we are credibly informed, there is a single corps of twenty-seven thousand on the rolls, which does not turn out seven thousand effective men. These facts support the statement of President DAVIS, made in his Macon speech, upon his return from a review of the sullen Army of the West, after his removal at Gen. JOHNSTON, the bloody repulses of HOOD, and the fall of Atlanta. Why is it that men are not in the ranks and at the front? Will any one say that the people of these Confederate States are not patriotic?

History tells of no struggle for independence in which more general and heroic devotion was ever displayed. Our people have made great exertions in behalf of a great cause. It is the people of these States who, over and over, have lifted out of the perils ensuing from incompetent mal-administration the affairs of the country. It is the incorrigible inter-meddling, mischievous dictation, malignant prejudices and petty partizanship which make sacrifices apparently endless and useless. It is these things which weigh like a pall upon the heart of the country. It is these things which infuse inefficiency every where, and inspire selfishness and indifference. It is these things which are destroying us, and which must be eradicated by the action of Congress.

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