1865

January 1865 Saturday 21st

Went to work on the guns at daylight, raining and cold. Worked about 2 hours and got breakfast, turned to again and got the guns to the battery. Knocked off at 11 ½ AM, raining and cold all day. I was on guard at night. This is pretty hard to work all day and stand guard at night. Had another false alarm at night.

Sunday 22nd

Came off guard at 8 AM and went to work getting another gun from the beach to the battery and dismounted two guns in the battery. Worked all day, rained all night.

Monday 23rd

On guard, washed some of my clothes. Have to pull part of what I have on and wash them and after they dry wash the others for I have but one suit. Raining all night. The sentinel on post fired his gun and the guard turned out, fake alarm. The fool heard a coon and thought it was a man crawling up to him. He was very much frightened, he is a N.C. conscript.

Tuesday 24th

Came off guard at 8 AM, pleasant day, not much to do, washed clothes in forenoon. The negroes are at work making an earthwork for a 30 pound parrot gun. Cannonading down the river.

Wednesday 25th

Cold and clear and plenty of work.

Thursday 26th

On guard, very cold and clear. Yankees reported landing below. Quiet through the night.

February Wednesday 8th

Very cold all day. In the morning Seth Cleveland who had been our purser’s steward and who has held that position ever since the war began was triced up with his hands behind him. He fought manfully and it took three men and two officers to do it. He did nothing worthy of such punishment. It seems that he had to go down yesterday to get provisions. There is an ambulance here for that purpose but when it started a lot of officers half drunk jumped in and ordered Seth to walk. It was raining very hard at the time and he had the itch very bad and would not go, so the comdg. officer asked him why he did not. He told him that he would put another man in his place in the morning, so this morning he appointed a man who declined [torn] Seth was then ordered to keep his old place and refused to take it back, consequently he was tied up. I mention this to show how we are treated. The officers are intoxicated all the time and put more airs than a commodore would. A foraging party went across the river and killed 3 hogs, 1 sheep, and 5 geese. Our men got some of the pork which was an old boar. Drill with small arms in the afternoon.

Thursday 9th

I went to town today and sold 15 undershirts and drawers for $18.00 and bought 100 lbs. Corn meal at $1.00 per lb. And 1 lb. Of soda for $15.00. There are 15 men in our mess and each man put in a garment for we are short of breadstuff. Got back to camp at five o’clock PM.

Friday 10th

On guard today. Cold and clear.

Saturday 11th

Came off guard at 8 AM. Target practice in battery in the afternoon. Fired three shots from each gun. Enemy shelling our forces below.

Monday [sic] 12th

Pleasant day, not much to do.

Monday 13th

On guard and very cold. At 1 AM while I was on post I heard something coming through the woods and when it came in sight it looked like two men. I hailed three times and was about to fire my gun when I discovered it was a mule. The officer of the guard came running to find out what I was hailing about and in crossing the ditch the plank broke and he fell in. This amused me for the balance of my watch.

February 14th Tuesday

Came off guard at 8 AM. Cold and windy all day. Battalion drill in afternoon. Rain through the night.

Wednesday 15th

Raining all the forenoon, our quarters leek like a sieve.

Thursday 16th

On guard, pleasant weather. In the afternoon Tom King was put under guard for refusing to whip a boy. The boy refused to black one of the officer’s shoes and he ordered him to be whipped, but Tom refused to whip him he was put under arrest also.

Friday 17th

Came off guard at 8 AM. Worked all the afternoon carrying lumber to build a house. Blowing very hard all day and part of the night. At 9 PM just as I fell asleep the alarm was given that the Yankees were landing below us. All hands went to qrs. and 27 of us went out as pickets, remained there until 11 PM when we were relieved by some soldiers and we went to bed. Our officers did not know as much about posting us as a lot of old women, we were scattered all about in the woods and had the Yankees attacked us we would have shot our own men. All quiet the balance of the night.

March Thursday 9th

Raining most of the day, nothing worthy of note. Drill most of the time, twice.

Friday 10th

On guard. Sleet and a little snow during the day.

Saturday 11th

Came off guard at 9 AM. Busy cutting and carrying wood in afternoon. No drill today, all hands cleaning guns for inspection for tomorrow. At 12 Midnight men left for Chafine. 73 guns left.

Sunday 12th

Inspection and dress parade in morning. After parade marched to the battery and were stationed at the guns, drilled at them for ½ hour and returned to camps and turned in our guns.

Monday 13th

Drill in battery in the morning, got our guns in afternoon. Infantry drill in afternoon and dress parade.

Tuesday 14th

We were divided into four companies in afternoon, drill at battery in forenoon.

Wednesday 15th

On guard today. Our Co. and another Co. moved to other qrs. I went to work and built bunks for our mess, 16 men. Busy all day, moving our things and making ourselves comfortable.

Thursday 16th

Came off guard at 9 AM. Went to work in afternoon building bridges, I am now in carpenter’s gang and excused from all other duty except morning drill.



This part of the diary ends here. The next entries are written in pencil in a small book, on the cover of which appears the notation in ink: Mess No. 3 Mess cook’s account 1864 & 1865, Ram Savannah.



April(?) Wednesday 5th

Started at daylight and marched all day and night. I was so tired that I could scarcely walk.

Thursday 6th

At 2 AM was taken with a chill near the road. ALF. Lowe stopped with me. Turned out at daylight with a severe fever and headache, blankets wet for it had been raining on us all night. Marched on trying to come up with our command but could not. At 12 M heavy firing commenced ahead of us and we found ourselves cut off so we struck through the woods and marched all day in hopes of flanking the Yankees and getting to our command. Crossed the Appomattox River at 5 PM on trees that some of our men had felled across the river for there was no bridge. Stopped at an old tobacco house all night.

Friday 7th

Started at daylight and marched all day. Gave a pair of shoes to a negro for as much corn bread as we could eat for we were starving. Started again and marched till night when we stopped at a house and got a little corn bread and turned in at a barn. Heavy firing ahead of us all day, ceased at dark. Slept on some straw and rested well.

Saturday 8th

Started at sunrise and traveled about 3 hours when we fell in to the hands of some Yankees who treated us very kindly. Traveled with them until sunset when they turned us over to the P.M. Remained in lines with many more prisoners until about 8 PM when we started with a cavalry guard and marched and reached Farmville. Arrived there at Midnight, camped there for the night, tired, sore, and hungry for I had eat but one scant meal during the day.

Sunday 9th

Started at daylight and marched until nearly sunset when we arrived at Burkeville where we turned over to the P.M. at that place. Many of our men are here prisoners but I knew no one. No rations. Turned in but my back ached so badly that I could not sleep. Commenced raining about 11 PM, turned out and stood up with my blanket over me till morning. I thought of my dear old home with all its comforts and my mother, how it would make her fond heart bleed to see me standing in the rain a prisoner, hungry, tired, and worn out. But its no use fretting about such things now, too late.

Monday 10th

Raining all the morning. Drew some beef and some salt. Cooked it. Great cheering in the Yankees camps, official dispatch from Grant states that Lee has surrendered his whole army. I fear it is to true. Three train of cars came up today from Petersburg. Rain all day and night. Slept in a fly with some prisoners that I became chums with.

Tuesday 11th

Raining all day. Drew a little beef and some salt. No bread, have had none since I’ve been captured. Our men are exchanging tobacco and Confederate money with the Yankees, ½ bread for $10.00 and $20.00 bills. I was fortunate enough to get 6 small crackers for $2.50 all the money I had. The Yankees won’t give us any bread, can’t imagine the reason, their men have plenty. 500 more of our prisoners came in at dark.

Wednesday 12th

Pleasant morning, nothing to eat. Drew 2 days rations of bread and beef in the afternoon. Rain all night.

Thursday 13th

Hot and unpleasant. At 10 ½ AM all hands fell in and were counted off, for what purpose I can’t tell. All the troops from each state fell in separately and their names taken down. I and Alf. Lowe put ours with the Fla. troops. All to paroled to Va. and some N.C. troops were paroled and started for home. I am in hopes to get off tomorrow. Drew some bread and pork. Rain all night.

Friday 14th

Pleasant day. Was paroled at 2 PM, started and marched 8 miles, stopped at water station for cars, built a fire and turned in at an old field.

Saturday 15th

Commenced raining at 2 AM and rained all day. Got on a platform car at 9 AM and rode to City Point, arrived there at 4 ½ PM wet and hungry. Drew some bread, pork, and coffee. Slept in a shed and rested well.

Sunday 16th

Drew rations, went to P.M. and got paroles stamped, then to the transportation office and after waiting in line 3 hours got transportation and started for Fortress Monroe in a steamer. Arrived there at 4:30 PM, remained there about 15 minutes. Most of the paroled men went on shore. I remained on board at the str. is going to Washington. Arrived at Point Lookout in the night.

Monday 17th

Saw two of my old shipmates. They are not paroled yet, the went on shore at Point Lookout this morning. Quite cold. Left Point Lookout at 9 ½ AM and arrived at Washington, D.C. at 4 ½ PM/ Went to P.M. office but it was closed, then went to the Soldier’s rest and got supper. This place is crowded with negro and white soldiers all mixed together. There are also many Southern soldiers, the most of them deserters who have taken the oath and waiting for transportation. There was much noise that I have slept but little during the night.

Tuesday 18th

At 3 AM we were aroused and told to get up to make room for 12000 negro soldiers who were expected. Remained out doors in the cold till daylight. The niggers arrived at daylight, a very impudent sight. After they had got through their breakfast we got ours, a slice of bread, a thin slice of boiled pork, and a cup of coffee. I forgot to mention that President Lincoln and some of his cabinet were assassinated on Saturday night. On our arrival we saw all the houses decorated with crope [crepe?] and flafs [flags] half-masted, guns fired every half hour, etc. I am informed that we cannot go out of this place but will have to stay here [until] they bring us our transportation. No one got it today. Lincoln’s funeral will come off tomorrow and then we may get it. Everything is at standstill at present. Nearly every man here has taken the Oath of Allegiance and I am afraid that the paroled men will have some trouble to get away from here. I don’t want to take the Oath but if they send me to prison I will take it for I am satisfied that the South is gone up the spout and it is no use for me to linger for a long time in prison for no purpose.

Wed 19th

The President’s funeral took place today and all business suspended for the day. Minute guns fired all day. I am in hopes of going away tomorrow for I am sick and tired of this place. Can get no sleep for there are a lot of rowdies and penitentiary birds among us that go prowling around at night stealing whatever they can and making such a noise that it is impossible to sleep. I find a great difference between the officers and soldiers here and those that are in front. The latter treated us kindly and never insult us but those that have been in cities and all the war treat us like dogs, can’t speak civil to us, way we ought to be hanged, etc. The term Rebel son of b-tch is as gentle name as they can call us. Pleasant day.

Thursday 20th

Pleasant morning. The house that we are in is full of lice, counted five on me this morning, had none yesterday. If I have to remain here long will be eat up by them for I have but little suit of clothing that I have on. There are but 3 or 4 of us paroled prisoners in the house I am in, the balance are deserters who have taken the oath. Many of them went off yesterday. Raining all the afternoon and night. God only knows when we will get away from this place for I hear so many reports. Some say they will not allow paroled men to leave but keep them prisoner of war. But I will find out tomorrow.

Friday 21st

Damp and chilly day. At 9 AM went to P.M. office, were put in the yards in rear of the office under guard. Remained there until near sunset when they took our names and where we wanted to go and then sent under guard to the soldier’s Rest and put into a building with 1200 negro soldiers and a lot of white deserters and bounty jumpers and a few of our paroled men. Was very unwell all day and night, severe cold and light fever. Slept but little during the night.