Civil War History


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The Leaders:
The Politicians

Jefferson Davis

Above: Jefferson Davis of the Confederacy.
Below: Abraham Lincoln of the Union.

Abraham Lincoln

Charles Terry Saxton
The American Civil War

A War Diary

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Diary of Charles Terry Saxton, 90th N.Y. Volunteers, from:

            June 1865 - January 1866 (cont.)

Savannah, Ga, January 31, 1866

            Let me see, I left myself at Hawkinsville. We had quite a sojourn in that sequestered place. One regiment after another left us, until about 2 months after we arrived we were left alone in our glory. Hawkinsville is a curious place. Religion and morality are at a decided discount. I could almost say with truth, 'There is no righteous man in it - no, not one'. Pandemonium isn't a circumstance to it. Gambling is one of the prominent vices. I was taking a walk one day and came across some young damsels. I entered into conversation and, thinking of course the ladies were religious, began speaking about the churches, how poorly they were attended, etc, when, during a pause in my discourse, one of the young ladies casually remarked that, 'before the war her father was one of the best faro dealers in Pulaski county.' I immediately changed the subject.

            Drinking is another one of their little faults. All drink. The air is impregnated with the odor of 'sorghum'. I believe that the children suck it in with their mothers' milk. Whiskey flows as naturally down the throats of the Hawkinsvillains as do the turbid waters of the Ocmulgee down their clayey channel. They seem to be afflicted with a kind of hydrophobia, and I fear it would severely shock the nervous system of an old settler if by mistake he should happen to take a drink of water. I believe, however, that they do use it for cooking and washing.

            The ladies, too - the darlings - have their little faults. I don't like to blame them, but really I can't help disliking the practice of snuff-taking. A fellow can't weave a charming romance about a beautiful damsel, when he sees her with a mop in her mouth covered with the vile powder, and squirting filthy juice out of her rose-bud mouth into the fireplace. I tell you he can't do it. They are not so bad here however as they are in some of the neighboring counties. A young lady was telling me 'once upon a time' of her experience in a place about 40 miles distant from H---. She said that the young ladies' favorite pastime Sundays was to jump astride a horse and, bareheaded and barefooted, with a rifle on their shoulders, to ride out in the woods and hunt wild hogs. Such as went to church would go 10 miles to reach one, carrying their shoes in their hands until nearly there and then they would stop and put them on. When she came out of church she saw quite a number of youths of both sexes sitting on the fence, chatting and chewing tobacco. One girl pulls out a large plug and says, handing it to her neighbor, 'Here, Jim, take a chew of my baccy. It is better'n yourn. My baccy comes from Hawkinsville.' I think she must have been the same one they tell about who was at a ball and wanted 'Sue to hold her tater while she trotted a reel with the feller with the store-bought clothes.'

            But I cannot in truth condemn them all. I found some pleasing exceptions to this general rule. I found several acquaintances there that were very pleasant ones indeed. One family in particular I shall always remember with the liveliest feelings of gratitude. My own folks could not have treated me better than I was treated by Mrs B--- and her daughters. And they were ladies, too. They brightened my life. They almost made a paradise of the Pandemonium. It was almost the first rift in the dark clouds that had obscured my life for four years, and it let the bright sunshine in and warmed my benumbed heart with renewed life. I shall ever hold them 'in memorium'. Long may they wave.

           The place itself is a poor affair. It is a little scattering village of 400 or 500 inhabitants, but the number of gin mills is out of all proportion to its size. A great deal of cotton is shipped down the river. They are an enterprising people. There is a great deal of travel across the river, but no one appears to have enough vim and ingenuity to construct a better vehicle for crossing than a flat, which is generally carried down when a freshet comes, and then batteaux - and deuced poor ones - are used. One sunk once and drowned one of our boys, a negress, and some children. The river is swollen by every little rain into a rushing, foaming torrent, but it rapidly falls to its former level when fair weather re-appears. The high water mark is 50 or 60 feet above the ordinary level.

           About the 1st of December we received orders for our muster-out. We were gay, jubilant, ecstatic. We were on the pinnacle of happiness. We were in the Seventh heaven of delight. In short we felt - yes, that's the word - we felt 'bully'. But alas all sublunary affairs are liable to change, and military affairs are the most uncertain of all uncertainties. We discovered this to our sorrow. Another order came with some A.A.A.G.'s name affixed and we were doomed to suffer the pangs of bitter disappointment. However, I again commenced the old routine. But the powers that be were only trying us, and after about a month and a half longer struggling against the tide, another order came. 'A' company of the 12th Me volunteers soon followed and on the 19th of January 1866 we crossed the ferry and took the cars for Savannah. We arrived here on the evening of the 23rd inst., after a very disagreeable journey. We reached Macon (a scattering place but containing many fine buildings) at 3 o'clock P.M. on the 19th. Remained here all day and I travelled around some. Sherman played the deuce with it but it is fast recovering from the blow. At 5:30 P.M. we left Atlanta behind and arrived in Augusta at 10 the next morning. Augusta is a very pretty city. I was up in the bell tower and took a look over it. Was also down to the river and took a short stare at South Carolina. We left our baggage here to come by steamer, and the next morning started by rail for Savannah. Rode 60 or 70 miles to the break in the road, marched about 18 miles in less than 5 hours with a knapsack, and after all missed the train on the other side. The next day we were more fortunate and after another ride of 70 miles arrived in Savannah in the evening. We are now encamped in the ----nd of the city near the park awaiting the arrival of our p---. - was down to the theatre a couple of times and, night before last, went down to hear Artemus Ward 'speak a piece' on the mormon. I laffed muchly.

                    The End.

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Civil War History

Reasons for the Conflict:

     In 1860 slavery still existed in the southern states of the USA, even though it had been abolished in most of the rest of the world more than a generation before.

      Many Americans believed that it was time that it be abolished in the USA as well.

      This was the primary issue of the American Civil War, though there were other issues relating to how strong ties should be between individual states and the Federal government.

Key West, Florida, 1861:

      Located where the gulf of Mexico meets the Atlantic ocean, Key West was of enormous strategic importance in upholding the blockade against the southern states. It was also used to train new recruits.

the blockade of the South

Mrs AH Wilcox of
Barrington Street.
Rochester, N.Y.

originally typed up the diary of
her father, Charles Terry Saxton,
and preserved it for posterity.

Trees of London        A James Wilkinson Publication ©