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Title: Ball's Bluff - An Episode and its Consequences to some of us
Author: Peirson, Charles Lawrence, 1834-
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Libraries.)



[Illustration:

SURGEON HENRY BRYANT · LIEUTENANT COLONEL FRANCIS W. PALFREY ·
QUARTERMASTER CHARLES W. FOLSOM · MAJOR PAUL J. REVERE · ADJUTANT
CHARLES L. PEIRSON · COLONEL WILLIAM RAYMOND LEE · ASSISTANT SURGEON
NATHAN HAYWARD

FIELD AND STAFF OF TWENTIETH MASSACHUSETTS VOLUNTEER INFANTRY 1861.]



_A Monograph._


BALL'S BLUFF

AN EPISODE AND ITS
CONSEQUENCES TO
SOME OF US.


_A paper written for the
Military Historical Society of Massachusetts_



BY CHARLES LAWRENCE PEIRSON

_Colonel and Brevet Brigadier General._



Privately printed by The Salem Press Company
with permission from the
Military Historical Society of Massachusetts
for the information later on of
Charles Lawrence Peirson, of New York, and
Charles Peirson Lyman, of Massachusetts



THE SALEM PRESS COMPANY
SALEM, MASSACHUSETTS

MDCCCCXIII



THE EPISODE OF BALL'S BLUFF: AND ITS CONSEQUENCES TO SOME OF US.


This subject, like many of the periods of the Civil War, has been often
described, and is familiar to the passing generation, but has, I
believe, never before been placed upon your records, nor by an eye
witness. Therefore, I venture to present it here.

The Twentieth Massachusetts Regiment of Volunteer Infantry, in which I
had the honor to be a First Lieutenant and Adjutant, left Boston in the
Autumn of 1861, for active service with the army. It was commanded by
William Raymond Lee, as Colonel,--a West Point graduate. Paul J. Revere
was the Major. It had been, before the date of the Ball's Bluff
engagement, but a few weeks in the service, and was stationed first at
Washington, where I remember calling with Colonel Lee, who knew them,
upon General Scott, then commanding the Armies of the United States,
and upon General McClellan, then Commander of the Army of the Potomac.

The men of the Regiment, like all of the troops in the East at that
time, were untrained by battle, never having heard the sound of a
hostile bullet, and were of no more value as soldiers than were the
Militia Regiments. Soldiers are not soldiers until they have been long
enough together to have acquaintance with and respect for their
officers, and have learned obedience with a belief in discipline, with
a willingness to abide by it. The earlier Battle of Bull Run, which
became a rout for want of discipline, proved nothing and taught nothing
except the after-thought of the necessity of discipline.

Up to this time (1861), the important arms of Cavalry and Artillery had
been almost entirely neglected, most of the Cavalry not yet being armed
or equipped.

General McClellan, who was in command when we joined the Army of the
Potomac, was a thoroughly educated soldier. Soon after his graduation
from West Point, he was employed in the construction of the first
Pacific Railway. Later he was selected as one of a Commission to study
the Art of War in Europe. For a time he was with the Allied Armies in
the Crimean War, with every possibility of instructing himself in siege
operations, construction of military bridges and use of pontoons, and
the accepted order of battle for the different arms of the service.
Always occupied with matters of large importance, and with all these
military experiences, he became the best equipped man for the command
of the Union Army. General McClellan was the most popular Commander
that the Army ever had. The men thoroughly believed in him. Certainly
the country owed much to him for the thorough organization of the Army,
which enabled less qualified Commanders, (before the time of Meade and
Grant), to accomplish something with it.

The Twentieth Massachusetts Regiment was attached to General Stone's
Corps of Observation, and was encamped near Edward's Ferry on the
Potomac River, some three miles from Ball's Bluff. General Stone was an
accomplished soldier and we all respected him as such.

We were part of the Brigade of General F. W. Lander. I had known him
well in Salem, where our families resided. He had had a most
adventurous life as an explorer, having once crossed the continent from
San Francisco to the East, alone, his companion having died on the
journey. His courage was unquestioned, and he had military ability.

General Evans, who was the Confederate Commander of the enemy's forces
near Leesburg, expected General Stone to attack him from Edward's
Ferry, and was slow in moving troops to the vicinity of Ball's Bluff in
consequence. On October 20th, General McClellan received information
that the enemy had withdrawn from their advanced post at Leesburg, and
so advised General Stone, suggesting a demonstration to confirm this
fact, or to accomplish it.

General Stone ordered a reconnaissance by a few men from the force on
Harrison's Island, which was opposite the high bluff of Ball's Bluff.
They crossed in the moonlight, advanced a short distance, and retired,
reporting to General Stone that they had discovered a Rebel camp, which
afterwards proved to be merely openings in an orchard, which looked to
their excited eyes like tents. However, the camp was taken for granted,
and five Companies of the 15th, with two companies of the 20th
Massachusetts--about 450 men--were sent to capture it. They formed at
the top of the Bluff, afterwards moving forward on the right, where
they encountered the picket reserve of the enemy, who retreated after a
hot skirmish, and the Union force fell back to the Bluff. The companies
mentioned had crossed the swiftly moving river in three small boats,
whose carrying capacity was 28 persons per trip or 100 or more per
hour, from Harrison's Island. The transportation proved utterly
insufficient for moving the troops with any reasonable degree of
rapidity. There were no pontoons or bridge material, or engineers
capable of using them, provided or even thought of, and had not the
quick intelligence and resourcefulness of Major Paul Revere discovered
a scow, which was afterwards taken out of the canal and into the river,
the movement could not have proceeded, especially as there were two
howitzers to be taken across.

Colonel Baker, who commanded a Brigade in Landers Command (71st
Pennsylvania or so-called California Regiment, and the 42nd New York,
or Tammany Regiment), brought battalions of these regiments to
reinforce our line, and under direct orders from General Stone, assumed
command of the movement. Colonel Baker had some political reputation,
and was a brave man, but he had no military experience or knowledge. He
was shortly killed by a sharp-shooter from a tree between the
combatants. The sharp-shooter immediately met with an accident and fell
from the tree. A rush was made forward to bring back General Baker's
body, in which I joined, having for the moment no duties to prevent me.

By this time there were many dead and wounded, and we used the boats to
send them over to the Island. The cannons were useless,--since the
ammunition was exhausted, and the cannoneers killed or wounded. We had
seen but little of the enemy during the day, as they were in the woods
while our line was in the open, but they had, nevertheless, very
seriously made known their presence to us. We were too ignorant to
attempt any sort of cover. Later in the war the men learned to cover
themselves, while prone on the ground, by piling knapsacks, fence
rails, or any handy thing, throwing soil, or stones dug up with the
hands or in tin dippers, against the barrier. The strength of the
forces engaged was about 1600 Federals, against 3200 Confederates. Had
there been proper transportation, this difference could have been
remedied, but as it was, we felt our deficiency more particularly when
it was decided by Colonel Cogswell of the 42nd New York, who assumed
command by seniority after the death of General Baker, to try to force
our way through on the left.

He concluded to move to the left of Edward's Ferry, some three miles
down the river, where there was a chance of reinforcement, and gave
orders to that effect. He formed a column with the 42nd New York and
the 71st. Pennsylvania at its head, and moved in that direction, but
they were unable to make much progress, owing to the overwhelming fire
of the enemy, who threw their whole force against us, and we were
forced to fall back.

At this time I could not help observing the courage and gallant bearing
of Captain (afterwards Colonel) John Markoe, of the 71st Pennsylvania,
and when I met him that night, a fellow prisoner at the Headquarters of
Colonel Evans, I claimed his acquaintance. Captain Markoe formed one of
our mess at Libby Prison, and thus originated the friendship which
lasted through his life.

Meanwhile the wounded men were being slowly carried across the river.
Later the enemy threw forward their line, and ours gave way, falling
back at the Bluff at about 6 P.M., where we managed to hold on a while
longer with our line still intact, and finally under orders continued
the movement to the river bank. The men were permitted to save
themselves by swimming, if they could, and many attempted this feat. It
was not so very difficult for a strong man to cross in this way.

The Confederates could not come down to the Bluff without breaking up
their organization, being unable to see, owing to the trees and
darkness, what was in their front, and the firing by our men retarded
them for some hours. They kept up, however, a continued firing,
especially on the boats and the many swimmers. The scow, which had
already carried over many wounded, now started on her last trip, but
when starting, a number of uninjured men rushed forward, disturbing the
trim of the boat, so that half way across the river she rolled over,
and all were thrown out. Only one man is known to have escaped
drowning. The scow floated down the stream and was lost. The small
boats were riddled by bullets and disappeared, and all those who had
not escaped were taken prisoners during the night.

Colonel Lee of the Twentieth Regiment was a man over middle age,
therefore much beyond the rest of us in years, and could not swim the
river. He was urged to go in one of the boats, but refused to do so
while a single wounded man remained on the Virginia shore. Therefore,
some of us whose duty, as we saw it, lay in that direction, accompanied
him up the river, hoping if unmolested to reach some Union forces in
that quarter. Finding after a while a boat, for which we gave a colored
man our only ten dollar gold piece, we endeavored to use it, but a hole
in the bottom of it seemed, in the presence of hostile bullets, to make
it undesirable, so we proceeded along the bank to a more secure
position, where we made a raft of fence rails bound together with our
sword belts. It was successfully launched, but before we could use it
we were dismayed to see it slowly disappear to rest on the bottom of
the river.

Proceeding again, our party at this time being Major Revere, Doctor
Revere and Lieutenant Perry, besides Colonel Lee and myself, we came to
what we thought might be an outpost. While endeavoring to avoid it, we
found ourselves on the top of a farmer's gate, and at that moment we
were hailed with the remark, "Who goes there?" from a company of
Cavalry, whose carbines were pointed at us, and unpleasantly near our
faces. Replying that we would explain if the fire was delayed for a
moment, we completed our movement and surrendered to the inevitable.

Our captors politely accepted our pistols and swords, I being obliged
to give up the sword of Lieutenant William Putnam of the 20th Regiment,
a young Harvard student, from whom I had taken it as he lay mortally
wounded on the battle field. This sword, which I had in mistaken
kindness taken, was accidentally discovered in Philadelphia some years
since, and it being marked with the name, was returned to his mother,
who received it almost as a message from Heaven.

We were taken on foot to the Headquarters of the General in Command of
their forces in the Town of Leesburg, Virginia, where were gathered
other prisoners. By this time night had succeeded day. We were nearly
exhausted, and were not cheered by the thought that we were prisoners
of war about to begin our captivity.

At this date there was no Cartel of Exchange. Our imagination recalled
prisons of all sorts, among them Dartmoor, about which we had heard in
our childhood. The future seemed dim, but when the General in command
offered to restore us to our friends upon our agreement not to serve
again against the Confederacy, no one was found willing to accept the
offer. Indeed we were somewhat abusive in chiding him for offering such
terms to gentlemen, and suggested that he was hardly worthy of the
appellation. His patience was exhausted by the conversation that
followed and we were hurriedly started towards Richmond, without
waiting for rations.

We passed through the Battlefield of Bull Run, and halting there were
shown into a stone structure which had been the target for many cannon
balls from both sides during the battle. Here was given about midnight
a meal, the first for 24 hours, which we managed to slightly cook by
making fires upon the floor with laths wrenched from the ceiling.
Somewhat refreshed we took passage in open freight cars for Richmond
and Libby Prison.

Our march was over and we began, as prisoners of war, the long, weary
months in Libby Prison.

I have termed the affair of Ball's Bluff an Episode. It certainly
formed no part of a movement by other troops. It was only casually
directed by General McClellan, and only informally by General Stone.
The results astonished both of these gentlemen.

The action arose from a misunderstanding caused by a quartermaster's
excited imagination. The details of transportation were not thought out
beforehand by anyone, nor time given to their perfection.

General McCall, who had a force not far off, which was not called into
action, expresses himself as "unable to account for Stone's
movement,"--thought it injudicious. It proved afterwards that Stone had
not the means to cross the river. He could not have crossed in the face
of the "enemy."

General Lander says, "Stone was tripped up by circumstances. If we had
orders to cross that stream, we would have had them a week beforehand."

General McClellan says to the Committee on the Conduct of the War, who
(judged by the questions which they put), seemed to consider themselves
educated soldiers, competent to give orders in actual battle,--"Telegraphed
Stone after Baker fell. Intrench yourselves on the Virginia side and
await reinforcements if necessary. Telegraphed Banks to support him
with three brigades. On the 22nd inst. I went personally to the scene
of operation (probably to Edward's Ferry), and after ascertaining that
the enemy were strengthening themselves at Leesburg, and that the means
of crossing or recrossing were very insufficient, I withdrew our forces
to the Virginia side."

General Meade in his published letters, (he then commanded a Brigade in
McCall's Division), writes October 24th, "Regarding Ball's Bluff, as
far as I can gather, the whole affair was a bungle from beginning to
end. The worst part of the business is that at the very time our people
were contending against such odds, the advance of McCall's division was
only 10 miles off and had we been ordered forward instead of back, we
could have captured the whole of them."

Such is contemporary judgment and criticism.

The following stanzas were written by Brigadier General F. W. Lander on
hearing that the Confederate Troops said,--"Fewer of the Massachusetts
officers would have been killed, had they not been too proud to
surrender."

    Aye, deem us proud, for we are more
    Than proud of all our mighty dead;
    Proud of the bleak and rock-bound shore
    A crowned oppressor cannot tread.

    Proud of each rock, and wood and glen,
    Of every river, lake and plain;
    Proud of the calm and earnest men,
    Who claim the right and will to reign.

    Proud of the men who gave us birth,
    Who battled with the stormy wave,
    To sweep the Red Man from the Earth,
    And build their homes upon his grave.

    Proud of the holy summer morn
    They traced in blood upon its sod;
    The rights of freeman yet unborn;
    Proud of their language and their God.

    Proud that beneath our proudest dome,
    And round the cottage cradled hearth,
    There is a welcome and a home
    For every stricken race on earth.

    Proud that yon slowly sinking sun
    Saw drowning lips grow white in prayer,
    O'er such brief acts of duty done,
    As honor gathers from despair.

    _Pride_--'tis our watchword, "Clear the boats,"
    "Holmes, Putnam, Bartlett, Peirson--Here"
    And while this crazy wherry floats,
    "Let's save our wounded," cries Revere.

    Old State,--some souls are rudely sped--
    This record for thy Twentieth Corps,--
    Imprisoned, wounded, dying, dead,
    It only asks,--"Has Sparta more?"


The tobacco warehouse which we occupied, is on the main street of
Richmond. It was similar to several other buildings and they were all
used as Military Prisons, and all called Libby Prison. It is a large,
three-story building and built as it was, in a most substantial manner,
was well adapted for a Military Prison. The first floor was allotted to
the officers captured, some 70 in number, and the other stories filled
with the men, perhaps 250 of them. In the centre of the lower or
officers' floor is placed the heavy machinery for pressing and
preparing the tobacco, thus dividing the space into two equal sections,
and occupying one-half of the floor space, which was 65 x 45 feet.

The windows on the street floor are well protected by iron bars, while
those opposite are unprovided with bars, and open upon the yard, but
guarded by sentinels stationed there, with orders to shoot any
prisoners in either story who lean out of the windows. Seven men were
shot by these guardsmen while I was confined there. Those dying in the
nearby hospital were taken to this yard for shipment elsewhere in
wagons.

We had no inducement to peer inquisitively from the windows. The
windows on the street, however, afforded us some more interesting
views. Some of the towns-people were almost always outside-lookers-in,
and occasionally someone would, when unnoticed by the guard at the
entrance, show a sign of sympathy. We frequently saw Jeff Davis riding
by, and we always took pains to regale him with pertinent remarks
befitting his high rank, or with some applicable song. One song was
called the Prison Song, to the tune of,--"John Brown's Body lies
a-Slumbering in the Ground." The words, descriptive of our situation, I
do not remember, but the refrain ran,--"Roll on Sweet Moments, Roll on,
and let the poor prisoners go home, go home."

There were ten mess tables made of rough boards, and benches or stools.
The fare was meagre; the floor hard for sleeping, though later we
procured some cots; the covering insufficient, and the vermin
ineffaceable pests. We had almost no books, nothing to help pass the
time. We took daily walks by reliefs, up and down one side of our
scanty quarters. There was a daily roll call, when chaffing the Officer
of the Day gave slight amusement. At one time three or four of our
companions escaped from prison, passing the guard by a show of
authority. The wearing of Federal uniforms secured on the field of
battle was so common in the streets, that the guards could hardly tell
friends from foe.

At that time the whole Rebel Army was encamped near Richmond, and in
consequence it availed nothing to be outside the walls of the prison.
The escaped prisoners were in a day or two brought back and put in
irons. While they were gone we had with some success answered for their
names at Roll Call from a distant part of the room. We devised a way of
unlocking the irons, and by putting a detail of our men to give warning
of the approach of officials, were able to give some relief to the
sufferers.

The Commander of the Prison was the notorious Wirtz, afterwards hung
for cruelty to prisoners by the United States Government. One of his
juniors was a Lieutenant Todd, said to be a brother of Mrs. Abraham
Lincoln. He was always abusing Lincoln, and was especially strict and
disagreeable, even more so than his superior, Wirtz.

We formed a society, and held meetings, at which speeches were made and
stories told, more or less accurate. When any new officers, taken on
the various battlefields, came, we initiated them, and, in the openness
of their confidence, got from them the story of their early lives and
loves, which afforded us amusement, until they discovered a way to be
brief in their statements.

The privates, who were mostly intelligent volunteers, had similar
difficulty in passing time. They had, however, one successful thing
which interested them for a time. The money then in circulation in
Richmond consisted entirely of paper money, in the form of Corporation
notes, and those of business firms, plank roads, or private bankers,
etc.

Our men discovered in their quarters a half barrel of such material,
needing only to be signed and issued. This was readily accomplished,
and as they took care to have the issue in fractional amounts, it was
never questioned, and served its purpose of increasing the Currency of
the Realm. Through the kindness of one of the guards, this served to
supply them with tea and tobacco purchased for them in the city.

One day General Winder, a former member of the U.S.A., now commanding
the District of Richmond, came with the staff in full uniform to make
an official visit to the prison. He read an order of the Confederate
War Department, directing him to select Officers bearing the highest
rank, to be held as hostage for the lives of as many Privateer men who
were held in Federal Prisons under the charge of piracy on the High
Seas. The order required the hostages to be confined in the cells
reserved for prisoners accused of infamous crimes. The hostages
selected, seven in number, were under this order, taken to Henrico
County Jail, a stone building in Richmond, with high windows looking
out upon a stone wall not ten feet off, of equal height with the jail.

Colonel Lee and Major Revere were among the chosen seven who were taken
to the jail, where their hardships were more than ours were, who
remained in Libby Prison. Colonel Lee writes to the Adjutant, dated
Cell No.--, County Jail. "Dear C.,--We are all well. This is indeed a
prison. We have two meals a day. I will not dwell upon our situation.
Seven persons in one cell, 11 x 17 feet, in which all the duties of
life are met. Iron grated door and two high grated windows. Does the
sun shine? Is it pleasant to look on the sky? A County Jail is not a
fit place for men charged with constructive crimes. No despondent
thoughts cross our manhood. Come what may, that shall stand a rich
legacy to the dear ones who cluster about our home altars."

Moved by this recital, seven officers of those remaining in Libby
Prison petitioned General Winder for leave to take the place of the
hostages, but it was refused. In February the hostages were returned to
the warehouse, their former prison, and afterwards exchanged. In due
time, after much exertion on the part of the Union Officers, the
Privateers were released as pirates and turned over to the Navy
Department. Finally we were all exchanged for officers of equal rank
held in Northern prisons, and were able after a short vacation, of
which we stood in need, to return to our Regiments, then serving with
the Army of the Potomac on the Peninsula. We had lost so much weight
that our clothes were all a misfit and we needed a new supply.

When we exchanged in 1862, I was sent to Norfolk on my way to Fortress
Monroe. The Confederate steamer which carried us met the Federal
steamer half way. When we saw again the Stars and Stripes we were
overpowered with emotion, and fell with streaming eyes upon our knees
on the deck, raising our arms to Heaven and offering thanks to God for
all his mercies.



SUPPLEMENTARY



MILITARY RECORD OF WRITER.


Lieutenant and Adjutant, July 1, 1861

Lieutenant-Colonel, Aug. 30, 1862

Colonel, July 13, 1864

Colonel by Brevet for conduct in the battles of the Wilderness and
Spottsylvania, Virginia

Brigadier-General by Brevet for conduct in the battles on the Weldon,
Richmond Virginia



BATTLES IN WHICH THE WRITER PARTICIPATED.


_Names of battles as authorized by the War Department to be borne on
the Battle Flags of the regiments engaged._

    Ball's Bluff
    Yorktown
    West Point
    Seven Pines
    Fair Oaks
    Peach Orchard
    Savages Station
    White Oak Swamp
    Glendale
    Malvern Hill
    Mine Run
    Wilderness
    Spottsylvania
    Petersburg
    Weldon Railroad



SERVICE.


Twentieth Massachusetts Vol. Infantry

Thirty-ninth Mass. Volunteer Infantry

Second Corps, Second Division

First Corps, Second Division

Fifth Corps, Third Division

Army of the Potomac

Served on staff of Brigadier General N. J. T. Dana

Served on staff of Major General John Sedgwick



EXTRACTS FROM LETTERS OF THE TIME.


_In the Field, October 24, 1861_

General F. W. Lander writes to my mother: "It is with regret that I am
compelled to inform you that Charles is taken prisoner by the
Confederate Troops. Proper means of transportation not having been
provided our troops outnumbered five to one could not be reinforced.
Colonel Lee, 20th Massachusetts Regiment, refused to retreat until his
wounded were on board the boats. Your son, Major Revere, and Surgeon
Revere as gallant officers necessarily remained with their Colonel. Out
of the 480 men of the 20th Massachusetts in that action we have lost in
killed and missing 156 men aside from which brought off 45 wounded."


_Boston, October 25, 1861_

The Governor of Massachusetts writes to my mother: "I grieve to inform
you that your son, Adjutant Charles L. Peirson, was taken prisoner with
Colonel Lee, Major Revere, Doctor Revere and Lieut. Perry. The
newspapers say that these officers became prisoners through their
gallantry having given up their boat to the wounded soldiers. This act
of disinterestedness is exactly what I should have expected from these
brave and generous officers. I hope that an early exchange may restore
your son to the service."

Signed,

JOHN A. ANDREW, _Governor_.


_Richmond, November 11, 1861_

To my brother: "I avail myself of an offered opportunity of sending to
inform you of my continued health. Yesterday the Commander of the
Prison, General Winder, appeared with an imposing array of Colonels to
assist him and read an order of the Confederate War Department about
Hostages for the privateers held as pirates in New York with threatened
hanging. Of course we cannot comment upon such a proceeding but you can
be assured that the present privations that we all are subjected to are
borne uncomplainingly and that all future ones will be also. We will
never give them the satisfaction of seeing us flinch. It affords me no
pleasure to write when I know that my letter is to be read half a dozen
times in its passage."



EXTRACTS FROM A DIARY WRITTEN IN LIBBY PRISON


_Boston, April 13, 1861_

War began--Fort Sumter fired upon.


_Richmond, November 5, 1861_

Received letter from Wm. G. Saltonstall very kindly offering to send me
anything.


_Richmond, November 14, 1861_

Dr. Gibson, C.S. Army, sent for us and we met him in the office next
door. He stated that he had received a letter from Dr. J. Mason Warren
of Boston asking his assistance on my behalf and also that of my fellow
prisoners. Dr. Gibson offered in a general way to do anything in his
power--and I told him that when I was in want I should take the liberty
of calling upon him. There were many things that he might have offered
to do, but which I would not ask for.


_Richmond, December 21, 1861_

Received letter from W. G. Saltonstall informing me about his accident
on board the "Minnesota."


_Richmond, December 31, 1861_

The last of the year--1861--Probably the most momentous one since we
were a people. God grant the next may bring peace to our unhappy land.

The more I see of this terrible war, the more I deplore it and the more
I see the necessity of continuing it. Our cause is even more desperate
than theirs--we are fighting for liberty and against ignorance. These
people are being taught to hate with a bitter hate three quarters of
the people on this Continent.

The Southern Press teems with scurrilous editorials against the
Yankees, ridiculous to us who read them here, but I believe they are
believed by the common people of the South. Years will not dispel this
feeling, even if we come together again, which I fear will never be the
case. God grant that our rulers will act with reason and justice, that
the people may be brought to see that Slavery is not the object of this
War and should have no part in it whatever, that we may bring back our
Government to a firm basis of truth, justice and eternal right and that
Good Will toward men shall be our watch-word. These are my old year
prayers; may they be heard in Heaven.


_Richmond, January 1, 1862_

The year opens up on me yet a prisoner in Richmond. Well, I have much
to be grateful for. I hear from my friends at home who are well and do
not forget me. My own health remains, though not unimpaired, yet
comparatively good, nor am I suffering for want of food and clothing.

We are conscious of the fact that being here deprives us of experience,
rank and opportunity which those who were more fortunate enjoy, but we
are in strong hope that another month or two will end this imprisonment
and this useless aimless life.


_Richmond, January 7, 1862_

One day passes so much like another that there are but a few incidents
to take note of. In the morning we read the papers, talk about the
contents and walk about the apartment for exercise. In the evening we
often play at cards but oftener read or write. There is not one
redeeming quality about this life. The mind cannot be brought down to
study and is hardly interested in Dickens or Scott or in the one volume
of Shakespeare which we had before he went to Jail. Very many of our
associates are men of vulgar tastes or habits, so that their society is
anything but agreeable. Noise and confusion reign most of the time with
a constant jarring of one's sensibilities.


_Richmond, January 14, 1862_

Saw General Winder at his office at 4 P.M. and rode there on horseback
in company with Lieutenant Hartstone. The exercise was delightful--distance
1-1/2 miles.

General Winder received me with politeness and told me that his
Government refused to exchange me for a citizen. I then expressed to
him my belief that I could through the influence of my friends effect a
change in the treatment of the Privateers could I be sent with the
assurance of a willingness to reciprocate. By his advice I made the
application in writing through him to the Confederate Secretary of War.
I expect to hear the result of my application in a day or two. He also
gave me a pass to the Jail where the Hostages are confined, the first
time that any of us have had permission to enter.

Colonel Lee and Major Revere were delighted to see me but my heart sank
within me when I saw the hole that they were in. No prison in New
England is so miserable and uncomfortable. I believe that no seven
imprisoned men in the North are so illy cared for as these.


_Richmond, January 19, 1862_

Letter to Gen. J. H. Winder: "General:--The undersigned Commissioned
officers of the United States Army respectfully ask your attention to
the following proposition:

"Learning that there are at Fortress Monroe and at Norfolk officers of
the Confederate States Army including Col. Pegram and other field
officers part of whom are placed upon their parole and all seeking an
exchange--We propose that they be exchanged rank for rank with Col. Lee
and other officers now confined in Henrico County Jail and that we be
permitted to take their places to be held as hostages for the men
confined in New York. Our reasons for this application are the ill
health of the officers referred to, arising from the unwholesome place
in which they are confined. The fact that they have since their
confinement been treated more rigorously than the Privateers in New
York (in proof of which we refer you to the Hon. M. Faulkner of the
Confederacy), contrary as we believe to your own expressed intentions,
and because our own rank is sufficiently above that of the Privateers
to make the accomplishment of your object equally safe and more humane.
We ask your consideration of the fact that had you not held field
officers as prisoners of war we should have in all probability occupied
their places and that you would have considered the safety of the
privateers sufficiently guaranteed. Also if the officers lost their
characters as prisoners of war, when they were forced to assume that of
Hostages, should they not receive equal treatment with their
substitutes, and is rank a matter of moment? On the other hand if they
are still to be considered as Prisoners of War ought they not to be
treated as such, and do you not gain as much as ourselves in exchanging
them for officers of equal rank?

"Very respectfully your Obedient Servants,

"CHARLES L. PEIRSON, Adjutant 20th Mass. Regt. for Col. Lee
GEORGE B. PERRY, Lieut. 20th Mass. Regt. for Major Revere.
W. E. MERRILL, United States Engineers for Col. Cogswell.
J. E. GREEN, Lieut. 15th Mass. Regt. for Col. Wood.
J. H. HOOPER, Lieut. 15th Mass. Regt. for Capt. Bowman.
JOHN MARKOE, Capt. 71 Penn. Regt.
C. M. HOOPER, Lieut. 71 Penn. Regt."


_Richmond, January 19, 1862_

Visited the Jail and spent the morning there; my last day in prison.
Tomorrow I shall be again under the Stars and Stripes. So many pleasant
hopes and memories mingle with the plans for the release of my friends
that my mind is too full for definite thought or writing. I have
received a passport which reads thus:--"permission is granted C. L. P.
to visit Norfolk upon honor not to communicate in writing or verbally
for publication any fact ascertained which if known to the enemy might
be injurious to the Confederate States of America." I have also signed
a parole to take no part in the existing hostilities until released or
exchanged. Had an interview with General Winder who stated to me
officially for his Government that if the Privateers are placed as
prisoners of war the Hostages shall secure the same treatment. Hurrah
for the Stars and Stripes!


_Washington, January 30, 1862_

Waited before breakfast from 10 A.M. (at which time I had the day
before arranged an interview) until 4 P.M. to see General McClellan.
Saw Secretary Stanton and met General Stone at General McClellan's
office. Saw also Hon. H. M. Rice of Minnesota and Hon. A. H. Rice of
Massachusetts.


_January 31_

Waited all the morning at General McClellan's office. Wrote to Governor
Andrew, called on Hon. Charles Sumner--met Mr. John M. Forbes of Boston
who gave me much help in seeing influential people. Captains W. P.
Mason, R. B. Irwin, McMahon, Arthur McClellan (brother of the General),
Aides de Camp to the General were very polite to me. Secretary Stanton
gave me a copy of the order transferring the Privateers to the War
Department. This secures the release of my friends.





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