November 5

Have been to see Jo Watson to-day; weather cold and blustering all day; am with Dr. J. H. Jones tonight; he's visiting a patient; am alone.

November Fifth

It came to pass that I was one of the few who witnessed the last descending glory of this attempted Republic, projected by men who considered that the only true and natural foundation of society was “the wants and fears of individuals,” but which was decided adversely to their  interpretation of that natural law, by the God of battles.

Cornelius E. Hunt
(Of “The Shenandoah”)

[Learning Aug. 2, 1865, in the course of her cruising in the Pacific, that the Confederate government no longer existed, and knowing that they had been rated as “pirates” by Federal officials, the captain and crew determined to surrender their flag and commission in a foreign port, setting out forthwith for Liverpool, England.—Editor]

 

 

November 5, 1863

Thursday. Tony was waiting for me when I woke up, and was feeling badly because I had to go to the neighbors to sleep. After our hard-tack and coffee were safely stowed away, I got my tent out and we soon had it up. Then Tony began skirmishing for furnishings. He had seen what the others had and set out to beat them all. He got hold of a board wide enough and long enough for me to sleep on, and soon had legs driven in the ground to hold it up. My modest belongings were put under it, and the deed was done. Colonel Parker gave a few parting orders and then took boat for New Iberia to join Colonel B., leaving Captain Merritt, in command. Captain Laird not yet having joined the command, I am curious to know what sort of a man I am to serve under. Company D is as yet made up of raw recruits, not yet having passed through the medical mill, so I have only to keep them within bounds until they are examined and sworn in as soldiers, when their education will begin.

At night Dr. Warren and Lieutenant John Mathers came from New Orleans. A cold drizzling rain began about that time and we were driven into our tents, where the hungry mosquitoes awaited us and war was at once declared. If I had a brigade of men as determined as these Brashear City mosquitoes, I believe I could sweep the Rebellion off its feet in a month's time. They make no threats as our home mosquitoes do, but pounce right on and the first notice you get is a stab that brings the blood. I have had at least one bite for every word I have written about them, and all in the same time I have been writing it. The only escape from them is in the hot sun, or under a blanket so thick they cannot reach through it.

November 5, 1862

Something has happened. Last night, just as we were settling down for the night, orders came for a move. Dr. Andrus came round looking us over and ordered me to the hospital, as well as several others. Where the regiment is going is a secret from us yet. While the tents were coming down and packing up was going on, an ambulance drove in and with others I did not know I was carted to what I understand is called "Stewart's Mansion Hospital." It is in the city, and I think near the place of our first night's stay in Baltimore. I was assigned a bed and for the first time since leaving home took off my clothes for the night. It seemed so strange I was a long time getting sleepy.

I am in a large room full of clean cots, each one with a man in it more or less sick. Not being as bad off as many others, I have written some letters for myself and some for others who wished me to do so. The room is warmed by two big stoves and if I knew where the regiment was, I would be willing to put in the winter right here. Nurses, men detailed for that purpose, are here just to wait on us and ladies are coming and going nearly all the time. They bring us flowers and are just as kind as they can be. I am up and dressed and have been out seeing the grounds about the place. One building is called the dead house, and in it were two men who died during the night. As none were missing from the room I was in, I judge there are other rooms, and that the one I was in is for those who are not really sick, but sickish. John Wooden of our company is probably the sickest man in the ward. John Van Alstyne came in just at night to see how I came on. Snow is falling and the natives call it very unusual weather for the time of year.

77. Abigail Adams

5 November, 1775.

I hope you have received several letters from me in this fortnight past. I wrote by Mr. Lynch and by Dr. Franklin, the latter of whom I had the pleasure of dining with, and of admiring him, whose character from my infancy I had been taught to venerate. I found him social, but not talkative, and when he spoke, something useful dropped from his tongue. He was grave, yet pleasant and affable. You know I make some pretensions to physiognomy, and I thought I could read in his countenance the virtues of his heart, among which patriotism shone in its full lustre, and with that is blended every virtue of a Christian: for a true patriot must be a religious man. I have been led to think from a late defection,[113] that he who neglects his duty to his Maker may well be expected to be deficient and insincere in his duty towards the public. Even suppose him to possess a large share of what is called honor and public spirit, yet do not these men, by their bad example, by a loose, immoral conduct, corrupt the minds of youth and vitiate the morals of the age, and thus injure the public more than they can compensate by intrepidity, generosity, and honor? Let revenge or ambition, pride, lust, or profit, tempt these men to a base and vile action, you may as well hope to bind up a hungry tiger with a cobweb, as to hold such debauched patriots in the visionary chains of decency, or to charm them with the intellectual beauty of truth and reason.

But where am I running? I mean to thank you for all your obliging favors lately received; and, though some of them are very laconic, yet, were they to contain only two lines to tell me that you were well, they would be acceptable to me. I think, however, you are more apprehensive than you need be; the gentleman to whose care they have always been directed has been very kind in his conveyance, and very careful. I hope that it will not now be long before we shall have nearer interviews. You must tell me that you will return next month; a late appointment [114] will make it inconvenient (provided you accept) for you to go again to Congress.

It seems human nature is the same in all ages and countries. Ambition and avarice reign everywhere, and where they predominate, there will be bickerings after places of honor and profit. There is an old adage, "Kissing goes by favor," that is daily verified. I inclose to you the paper you sent for. Your business in collecting facts will be very difficult, and the sufferings of this people cannot be described with pen, ink, and paper. Besides, these ministers of Satan are rendering it every day more and more difficult, by their ravages and devastation, to tell a tale which will freeze the young blood of succeeding generations, as well as harrow up the souls of the present.

Nothing new has transpired since I wrote you last. I have not heard of one person's escape out of town, nor of any manœuvre of any kind.

I will only ask you to measure by your own the affectionate regard of your nearest friend.

Footnotes:

[113]Of Dr. Church.

[114]Of Chief Justice.