January 17

It has been a cold and disagreeable day; had Company inspection this forenoon; have written home to-night; received a letter from Carl Wilson and one from Pert; wind blew hard this forenoon, but it is calm to-night; band played this evening. Five more recruits arrived this afternoon for Company B. It's cloudy and looks like rain.

January 17, 1863

Saturday. On account of my cough, which is worse when I lie down, I have walked about evenings or sat and chatted with others about the camp fire until tired enough to sleep, and last night crawled in near midnight where my two bedfellows were asleep. Soon after I got into a drowse from which I was awakened by a coughing spell and saw Walt standing by the help of the tent pole and groaning in agony. Soon I heard him say "I'll end it all right now," and with that he pitched over towards his knapsack and by the noise Ithought he was after his revolver. I jumped across Jim, who lay asleep in the middle, and snatched the gun out of his hand before he had it out of the case. Out in the company street I threw the three revolvers and then grabbed for a sheath knife which I knew was there, getting hold of the handle just as he grabbed the sheath. By this time Story was in the game and we both had our hands full getting him down and quiet. I went for Dr. Andrus, who after lighting a candle and looking in Walt's eyes, told us to take him over to the hospital. The struggle had put him in agony and it was pitiful to see how he suffered. We staid with him the rest of the night and by morning he was helpless. Every joint seemed as stiff as if no joint was there. For the next five days I did little but watch him and help in any way I could to make him more comfortable. Then he and others were taken to the general hospital in the city, where they will at least be warm. We have had a cold rain and the camp is a bed of mud. The wind sifts through the cracks in this old shed and although a stove was kept running, it was too cold for comfort. I have slept but little in the last five nights, but the doctor has kept dosing me and I feel better than when this time with Walter began. Letters from home have made the world seem brighter and the men in it better.

January Seventeenth


Starvation, literal starvation, was doing its deadly work. So depleted and poisoned was the blood of many of Lee's men from insufficient and unsound food that a slight wound which would probably not have been reported at the beginning of the war would often cause blood-poison, gangrene, and death. Yet the spirits of these brave men seemed to rise as their condition grew more desperate.... It was a harrowing but not uncommon sight to see those hungry men gather the wasted corn from under the feet of half-fed horses, and wash and parch and eat it to satisfy in some measure their craving for food.

General John B. Gordon


Tarleton routed at the battle of the Cowpens, S. C., 1781



January 17, 1864

Sunday. Yesterday I did not write. I had other business to attend to. Friday night I went below, thinking I might the better escape an attack of seasickness, which I felt coming on. But I did not. After a night as full of misery as one night can be, I found myself alive at daylight, but perfectly willing to die, if I only could. The stateroom was first swinging around in a circle, and then going end over end. First I would go up, as if I was never going to stop, and then sink down until it seemed as if I must strike bottom. My clothes, hanging across from me, were going through the same motions. I was soon gazing at my breakfast, dinner and supper of the day before, and I think I saw traces of my New Year's dinner. Life or death, York State or Louisiana, peace or war were all the same to me then. Whether the ship was on its way to New York or to the bottom didn't interest me a particle. Anything would suit me. After a while of this I fell asleep, and about 3 p. m. I came to life again, and began to take stock, as Sol says. I felt like a dishrag, thrown downwithout being wrung out. Soon a knock came at the door, and I was surprised to find I could say "come in." A colored individual with the boat's uniform on came in, and after a look at me and then at the floor went after the necessary tools for house-cleaning. There were two berths, one above the other, and I was in the lower one. He helped me into the upper berth and began operations on the one I had occupied. After a while he claimed things were once more shipshape, and left me saying I would soon be all right. I soon after got out on the floor and managed to get into my clothes. From that I ventured into the cabin, where I sat down in a chair I could not possibly fall out of, and soon got into conversation with a man, whom I found to be a sea captain, on his way to New York to take out another vessel. He didn't seem to be worried about me, and said there were many others on board that had been sick and had not yet showed up. He got me a cracker, which I ate, more to see if my stomach was still there than because I was hungry. This helped me wonderfully, and after visiting a while I went back and slept sound all night.

To-day I have been on deck almost all day. The water is not smooth, but it is nothing to what it was night before last. I looked up Henry Holmes, and found he had been as sick as I, and that he was not over it yet. His color had changed to a gray, which did not improve his looks at all. All I could do was to tell him how sorry I was for him, and that he would soon feel well again. But he said he would "never live to see the Noff, he just knew he couldn't." The day was perfect, almost everyone was on deck, and though some were rather pale, all seemed to enjoy themselves.

Cannes Jan. 17, 1882

In London I saw everybody I had designed to look for, except John Morley.... Sir Henry Maine got me to criticise the proof of a lecture on the King and his Successor, which you will see in the February Nineteenth Century. I hope he accepted some of my amendments; but he was obdurate about the most important. He says that Primogeniture has been of very great political service. I admitted this, but objected that there is another side to the question, that Primogeniture embodies the confusion between authority and property which constitutes modern Legitimacy, that Legitimacy has, in this century, acted as an obstacle to free institutions, and that a one-sided judgment thrown off as that sentence is, gives a Tory tinge to the entire paper. He answered: "You seem to use Tory as a term of reproach."

I was much struck by this answer—much struck to find a philosopher, entirely outside party politics, who does not think Toryism a reproach, and still more, to find a friend of mine ignorant of my sentiments about it. And I am much tempted to have it out with him, and discover what he really means. Besides which, I spent some hours in Mark Pattison's company; found Reay desponding, but eager to speak; May,[158 ] very much depressed; H——, pottering feebly, as I thought, over Montlosier,[159 ] whom he does not understand, in the Quarterly, and Junius, whom he does not discover, in the "Encyclopædia"; Monck[160 ] remarkable as the one happy Irishman.


I should like to impress one thought on your mind: Much will depend on your success in making the work of the Session sit lightly on the P.M. in getting him to yield to distractions, even to amusements, and no longer to consider change of work an equivalent to rest. A house near town, the play, I had almost said the opera, might be a help. If he would be unprincipled enough to refuse tiresome dinners, however far off, and then to accept pleasant ones, at short notice, it would be worth a great deal. In short, a little demoralisation is the best security I can see for the supreme perfecting of his career.

By-the-bye, you condemn me for my indefinite answers to some very searching questions; and I find you are right. At least I have read a paper on the Revised Version which satisfies me that I ought to have joined more heartily in Mr. Gladstone's censure of it. But I have been reading it to my children, and it had got associated with very sweet moments. Once more, I perceive that my letter is full of everything except yourself....

[158 ] Sir Erskine May.

[159 ] The Comte de Montlosier, a French emigrant, Royalist, historian, antiquary, feudalist, and Liberal Catholic.

[160 ] Lord Monck, first Governor-General of Federated Canada.

Sunday, January 17th.—We didn't unload at Boulogne last night, and are still (11 a.m.) taking them on to Êtretat, a lovely place on the coast, about ten miles north of Havre. The hospital there is my old No.— General Hospital, that I mobilised with, so it will be very jolly to see them all again.

We are going through most lovely country on a clear sunny morning, and none of the patients are causing any anxiety, so it is an extremely pleasant journey, and we shall have a good rest on the way back.

p.m.—Just as I was beginning to forget there were such things as trenches and shrapnel and snipers, they told me a horrible story of two Camerons who got stuck in the mud and sucked down to their shoulders. They took an hour and a half getting one out, and just as they said to the other, "All right, Jock, we'll have you out in a minute," he threw back his head and laughed, and in doing so got sucked right under, and is there still. They said there was no sort of possibility of getting him out; it was like a quicksand.

One told me—not as such a very sensational fact—that he went for eleven weeks without taking off his clothes, or a wash, and then he had a hot bath and a change of everything. He remarked that he had to scrape himself with a knife.

We have been travelling all day, and shan't get to Êtretat till about 7 p.m. It is a mercy we got our bad cases off at Boulogne—pneumonias, enterics, two s.f.'s, and some badly wounded, including the officer dressed in bandages all over. He was such a nice boy. When he was put into clean pyjamas, and had a clean hanky with eau-de-Cologne, he said, "By Jove, it's worth getting hit for this, after the smells of dead horses, dead men, and dead everything." He said no one could get into Messines, where there is only one house left standing, because of the unburied dead lying about. He couldn't move his arms, but he loved being fed with pigs of tangerine orange, and, like so many, he was chiefly concerned with "giving so much trouble." He looked awfully ill, but seldom stopped smiling. Of such are the Kingdom of Heaven.

Later. On way to Havre.—These are all bound for home and have been in hospital some time. They are clean, shaved, clothed, fed, and convalescent. Most of the lying-downs are recovering from severe wounds of weeks back. It is quite new even to see them at that stage, instead of the condition we usually get them in. Some are the same ones we brought down from Béthune three weeks ago.

One man was in a dug-out going about twenty feet back from the trench, with sixteen others, taking cover from our howitzers and also from the enemy's. The cultivated ground is so soft with the wet that it easily gives, and the bursting of one of our shells close by drove the roof in and buried these seventeen—four were killed and eleven injured by it, but only two were got out alive, and they were abandoned as dead. However, a rescue party of six faced the enemy shells above ground and tried to get them out. In doing this two were killed and two wounded. The other two went on with it. My man and another man were pinned down by beams—the other had his face clear, but mine hadn't, though he could hear the picks above him. He gave up all hopes of getting out, but the other man when rescued said he thought this one was still alive, and then got him out unconscious. When he came to he was in hospital in a chapel, and it took him a long time to realise he was alive. "They generally take you into chapel before they bury you," he said, "but I told 'em they done it the wrong way round with me. That was the worst mess ever I got into in this War," he finished up.