Four Years in Rebel Capitals - An Inside View of Life in the Southern Confederacy from Birth to Death
287 Pages

Four Years in Rebel Capitals - An Inside View of Life in the Southern Confederacy from Birth to Death


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Title: Four Years in Rebel Capitals  An Inside View of Life in the Southern Confederacy from Birth to Death
Author: T. C. DeLeon
Release Date: September 12, 2007 [EBook #22584]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
Produced by Suzanne Shell and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at
"In the land where we were dreaming!" D. B. Lucas.
"I leave it to men's charitable speeches, to foreign, nations and to the next ages." Francis Bacon.
Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1890, By THE GOSSIP PRINTING COMPANY, In the office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington.
Transcriber's Note: The advertisement and press comments for the author's bookJuny: or Only One Girl's Storyhas been moved to the end of this text.
Fortunate, indeed, is the reader who takes up a volume without preface; of which the persons are left to enact their own drama and the author does not come before the curtain, like the chorus of Greek tragedy, to speak for them.
But, in printing the pages that follow, it may seem needful to ask that they be taken for what they are; simple sketches of the inner life of "Rebeldom" —behind its Chinese wall of wood and steel—during those unexampled four years of its existence.
Written almost immediately after the war, from notes and recollections gathered during its most trying scenes, these papers are now revised, condensed and formulated for the first time. In years past, some of their crude predecessors have appeared—as random articles—in the columns of the MobileSunday Times, Appleton'sJournal, the LouisvilleCourier-Journal, the PhiladelphiaTimesand other publications.
Even in their present condensation and revision, they claim only to be simple memoranda of the result of great events; and of their reaction upon the mental and moral tone of the southern people, rather than a record of those events themselves.
This volume aspires neither to the height of history, nor to the depths of political analysis; for it may still be too early for either, or for both, of these. Equally has it resisted temptation to touch on many topics—not strictly belonging inside the Southern Capitals—still vexed by political agitation, or personal interest. These, if unsettled by dire arbitrament of the sword, must be left to Time and his best coadjutor, "sober second-thought."
Campaigns and battles have already surfeited most readers; and their details—usually so incorrectly stated by the inexpert—have little to do with a relation of things within the Confederacy, as they then appeared to the masses of her people. Such, therefore, are simply touched upon in outline, where necessary to show their reaction upon the pop ular pulse, or to correct some flagrant error regarding that.
To the vast majority of those without her boundarie s—to very many, indeed, within them—realities of the South, during the war, were a sealed book. False impressions, on many important points, were disseminated; and these, because unnoted, have grown to proportions of accepted truth. A few of them, it may not yet be too late to correct.
While the pages that follow fail not to record some weaknesses in our people, or some flagrant errors of their leaders, they yet endeavor to chronicle faithfully heroic constancy of men, and s elfless devotion of women, whose peers the student of History may chall enge that vaunting Muse to show.
Toprejudicedprovincialism,the one side on , they may appear too
Toprejudicedprovincialism,ontheoneside,theymayappeartoo lukewarm; by stupid fanaticism on the other, they m ay be called treasonable. But—written without prejudice, and equally without fear, or favor—they have aimed only at impartial truth, and at nearest possible correctness of narration.
Indubitably the war proved that there were great men, on both the sides to it; and, to-day, the little men on either—"May profit by their example. If thisbe treason, make the most of it!"
The sole object kept in view was to paint honestly the inner life of the South; the general tone of her people, under strain and privation unparalleled; the gradual changes of society and character in the struggling nation—in a clear, unshaded outline ofthings as they were.
Should this volume at all succeed in giving this; should it uproot one false impression, to plant a single true one in its place, then has it fully equaled the aspiration of
MO BILE, ALA., June 25, 1890.
CHAPTER I.—THEFO REHEADO FTHESTO RM11-20 Washington City in 1861. Her two Social Circles. Wa s she a new Sodom? Lobbyists and Diplomats. Eve of the Storm. Echo from Charleston Harbor. A Dinner and a Ball. Popular Views of the Situation. Buchanan's Policy and the "Peace Congres s". Separation a Certainty. Preparations for the Hejira. Precautions for Lincoln's Inauguration. Off for Dixie.
CHAPTER II.—THECRADLEO FTHECO NFEDERACY21-29 Through Richmond, the Carolinas and Georgia. Wayside Notes. The Masses Willing but Unprepared. Where were the L eaders? The First Capital. A New Flag. Hotels and their Patrons. Jefferson Davis. The Man and the Government. Social Matters. The Curbstone Congress. Early Views of the Struggle. A Notable "Mess."
CHAPTER III.—CO NG RESSANDCABINET30-35 Bloodless Revolution. Glances at the Congress. Its Personnel and its Work. Party Hacks in Place. Wind vs. Work. What People said of the Solons. The New Cabinet. Heads of Depar tments Sketched. The President's Advisers. Popular Opinion. The First Gun at Sumter.
CHAPTER IV.—"THEAWAKENINGO FTHELIO N."36-41 Sumter's Effect on Public Feeling. Would There be a LongWar
Sumter'sEffectonPublicFeeling.WouldTherebeaLongWar —or any? Organizing an Army. The Will of the People . How Women Worked. The Camps a Novel Show. Mr. Davis han dles Congress. His Energy and Industry. Society and the Strangers. Joy over Virginia's Secession.
CHAPTER V.—A SO UTHERNRIVERBO ATRACE42-48 An Alabama Steamer. General Van Dorn. What River Travel is. A Calliope and its Master. Banter for a Race. Excitement of all on Board. A Close Shave. Neck and Neck. How a Race is Won. A Unique Toast.
CHAPTER VI.—BO ATLIFEAFLO ATANDAG RO UND49-53 Time-killers on the River. Negro Boat-hands. Cotton Loading from Slides. Overboard! "Fighting the Tiger". Hard Aground! Delay and Depression. Admiral Raphael Semmes. News of the Baltimore Riot. Speculation as to its Results.
CHAPTER VII.—MO BILE,THEGULFCITY54-58 Echo from Maryland. Alabama's Preparation. Mobile's Crack Corps. John Forsyth on the Peace Commissioners. Mob ile Society. Pleasure-lovers and Their Pleasures. A Vic tim of the Tiger. Two Moral Axioms.
CHAPTER VIII—NEWORLEANS,THECRESCENTCITY59-68 Location and Commercial Importance. Old Methods of Business. Relations of Planter and Factor. A typical Brokerag e House. Secure Reliance on European Recognition and the Kin gship of Cotton. Yellow Jack and his Treatment. French Town and America. Hotels of the day. Home Society and "The H eathen". Social Customs. Creole Women's Taste. Cuffee and Cant. Early Regiments and Crack Companies. Judges of Wine. A Champion Diner.
CHAPTER IX.—A CHANG EO FBASE69-74 The Pensacola Army. Review by President Davis. Orde rs for Virginia. Breaking Camp on the Gulf. The Start of the Zouaves. They Capture a Train and a City. Pursuit and Recapture. The Riot and its Lesson. Early Ideas of Discipline.
CHAPTER X.—ENRO UTEFO RTHEBO RDER75-83 Decision to Move the Capital. Lax Precautions. The New York "Tribune" Dispatch. Montgomery Murmurs. Troopsen route, and their Feelings. The Government on Wheels. Kingsville Misnomer. Profanity and Diplomacy. Grimes' Brother-in-law. Wi th the C.S. Mail-bags.
CHAPTER XI.—ONTORICHMO ND84-92 A Typical Southron. Sentiment in the Ranks. Glimpse of the new Capital. The Inflowing Caravans. Hotels and Boardin g-houses. City and Surroundings. A Southern Poet. A Warning i n Statuary. Hollywood Cemetery. The Tredegar Works. Their Importance in
HollywoodCemetery.TheTredegarWorks.TheirImportancein the War. 'T'other Consarn!
CHAPTER XII.—SETTLINGTOTHEREALWO RK93-101 Regulars of the States. Virginia Sentiment. Unanimi ty of Purpose. Lee and Johnston. Esprit de Corps. Centeri ng on Virginia. Varied Types of Different States. The Marylanders at the South. Mixed Equipments and "Properties". Doubtful Points. Norfolk to Manassas. Where the Battle Ground would be. Missouri's First Move.
CHAPTER XIII.—THELEADERSANDTHELED102-110 General Lee comes to the Front. Mr. Davis' Labors a nd Responsibilities. His Personal Popularity. Social F eeling at the new Capital. "Pawnee Sunday" Panic. Richmond Society. An After-dinner Object Lesson. How Good Blood did not Lie. Western Virginia. Society's Pets go to the Front. "The Brave at Home."
CHAPTER XIV.—THEBAPTISMO FBLO O D111-121 The First War Bulletin. How Richmond received It. P ractical Result of Bethel. Earnest Work in Government Bureaux. Thunder from a Clear Sky. Shadows follow Rich Mountain.Carthago delenda!Popular Comparison of Fighting Qualities. The "On-to-Richmond!" Clangor. The Southern Pulse. "Beware of Johnston's Retreats!" Bull Run. The Day before Manassas. Waiting!
CHAPTER XV.—AFTERMANASSAS122-128 How Rumors came. Jubilation and Revulsion. Anxiety for News. The Decisive Charge. An Austrian View. The President's Return. His Speech to the People. The First Train of Wounde d. Sorrow and Consolation. How Women Worked. Material and Mor al Results of Manassas. Spoils and Overconfidence. Singular Errors in Public Mind. General Belief in Advance. The Sies ta and its Dreams.
CHAPTER XVI.—THESPAWNO FLETHARG Y129-138 Reaction of Sentiment. Conflicting Ideas about Inaction. Popular Wish for Aggressive War. Sentiment settles to Fact. Mr. Davis' Attitude to Johnston and Beauregard. After-battle C onfusion. Strategic Reasons. Inaction breeds grave Discontent. Effect on the Army. Sober Second Thought. Government Use of the L ull. Bombast and Sense. A Glance North. The Western Outlook. John B. Floyd.
CHAPTER XVII.—FRO MCO URTTOCAMP139-146 A Winter's Inaction and Effects. Comforts and Homesickness. Unseen Foes and Their Victory. Care and Cleanliness.Nostalgia. Camp Morality. Record of the "Cracks". In a Maryland Mess. Mud and Memories. Has History a Parallel? Old Cavaliers and New.
CHAPTER XVIII.—SO CIETYATTHECAPITAL147-157 Richmond Overflowing. VarietyGrowth ofVisitors. Gradual  of
RichmondOverflowing.VarietyofVisitors.GradualGrowthof Gayety. "Danceable Teas". Amateur Benefits. "Youth at the Helm". A Society Woman's View. Social Theories and Practice. Virginian Hospitality. Quieter Sociability. The Presidential Household. Mr. and Mrs. Davis. Formal Levees. Social Ethics. Dissi pation. Disappointing Solons.
CHAPTER XIX.—DAYSO FDEPRESSIO N158-165 Reverses on All Lines. Zollicoffer's Death. Mr. Ben jamin, Secretary of War. Transportation Dangers. The Tennessee River Forts. Forrest, and Morgan. Gloom follows Nashville 's Fall. Government Blamed by People. The Permanent Government. Mr. Davis' Typical Inaugural. Its Effect and Its Sequen ce. Cabinet Changes.
CHAPTER XX.—FRO MSHILO HTONEWORLEANS166-173 Sunshine and Shadow. Clouds gather in the West. Isl and No. 10. Shiloh. Illustrative Valor. Deep Depression. Wa s Johnston hounded to His Death? Fall of New Orleans. Odd Situation of Her Captors. Butler in Command. His Place in Southern O pinion. Strategic Results. Popular Discontent. Effect on th e Fighters. Butler and the Women. Louisiana Soldiers.
CHAPTER XXI.—THECO NSCRIPTIO NANDITSCO NSEQ UENCES174-188 The "More Men!" cry. Passage of the Act. State Troops Turned Over. Appointment of Generals. Longings for Home. E xemptions and "Details". The Substitute Law. Mr. Davis' Wisdom Vindicated. Governor Joe Brown kicks. State Traits of the Consc ripts. Kentucky's Attitude. Tennessee's "Buffaloes". The "Union Feeling" Fallacy. Conscript Camps. Morals of the "New Ish". Food and Money Scarcer. Constancy of the Soldiers. The Extension Law. Repeal of the Substitute Act. Home-Guards. "The Cradle and the Grave."
CHAPTER XXII.—WAITINGTHEORDEALBYCO MBAT189-197 The North Prepares a New "On to Richmond.". Joe Johnston's Strategy. From Manassas to Richmond. Magruder's Lively Tactics. The Defenders Come. Scenes of the March Through. A Young Veteran. Public Feeling. Williamsburg's Echo. The A rmy of Specters. Ready! Drewry's Bluff. The Geese Fly South. Stern Resolve!
CHAPTER XXIII.—ARO UNDRICHMO ND198-206 Seven Pines. War at the Very Gates. Harrowing Scene s. Woman's Heroism. Crowded Hospitals. A Lull. Jackson's Meteor Campaign. Ashby Dead! The Week of Blood. Southern Estimate of McClellan. What "Might Have Been". Richmond Under Ordeal. "The Battle Rainbow". Sad Sequelæ. Real Sisters of Mercy. Beautiful Self-sacrifice.
CHAPTER XXIV.—ECHO ESO FSEVENDAYS, NO RTHANDSO UTH207-214 Confederates Hopeful, but Not Overconfident. The Cost to the North. McClellan Sacrificed. General Pope and His Methods. He
North.McClellanSacrificed.GeneralPopeandHisMethods.He "Finds" Jackson at Cedar Mountain. A Glance Trans-A llegheny. Well-Conceived Federal Programme. General Bragg's Unpopularity. To the Ohio and Back. Would-be Critics. Flashes illumine the Clouds. Kentucky Misrepresented.
CHAPTER XXV.—THEWARINTHEWEST215-222 A Gloomy Outlook. Lone Jack. "The Butcher, McNeil". Corinth and Murfreesboro. Their Bloody Cost. The Cry Wrung from the People. Mr. Davis stands Firm. Johnston relieves Bragg. The Emancipation Proclamation. Magruder's Galveston Amp hiboid. The Atlantic Seaboard. Popular Estimate of the Status. Hope for the New Year.
CHAPTER XXVI.—THEFAILUREO FFINANCE223-229 Was Cotton really King? How it Might have been Made So. Government's Policy. Comparison with Northern Finance. Why the South believed in her Advantage. How the North buoyed up her Credit. Contractors and Bondholders. Feeling at the South on the Money Question. Supply and Demand for Paper. Distrust creeps In. Rapid Depreciation.
CHAPTER XXVII.—DO LLARS, CENTSANDLESS230-240 Results of Inflation. Comparative Cost of Living North and South. How Army and Officials were Paid. Suffering enhances Distrust. Barter Currency. Speculation's Vultures. The Auctio n Craze. Hoarding Supplies. Gambling. Richmond Faro-banks. Men met There. Death of Confederate Credit. The President and Secretary held to Account. Nothing but Mismanagement.
CHAPTER XXVIII—ACRO SSTHEPO TO MACANDBACK241-250 Precedents of the First Maryland Campaign. Jackson strikes Pope. Second Manassas. Why was Victory not Pushed? The People demand Aggressive Warfare. Over the River. H arper's Ferry falls. Elation at the South. Rosy Prophecies. Sharpsburg. The River Recrossed. Gloom in Richmond. Fredericksburg and its Effect on the People. Why on Pursuit? Hooker replaces Burnside. Death of Stonewall Jackson.
CHAPTER XXIX.—OVERAG AINTOGETTYSBURG251-258 Popular Grief for Jackson. Again to the River. Winchester and her Women. The People Rejoice at the Advance. Public Belief in its Result. Washington to Fall; the War to End. The Prelude to Disaster. Second Day at Gettysburg. Pickett's Wonderful Charge. Some one has Blundered? How the Story came South. R evulsion and Discontent. Lee not Blamed. Strictures on Non-retaliation. The Marylanders.
CHAPTER XXX.—THECO NFEDERACYAFLO AT259-271 Who the Southern Sailors were. Regular and Provisional Navy-bills. Popular Estimate of Mr. Mallory. Iron-clads vs. Cruisers. The Parole of "Pirate Semmes". What Iron-clads might ha ve done. TreasuryNav and y. The "Merrimac". Virginia Fight i n Hampton
TreasuryandNavy.The"Merrimac".VirginiaFighti nHampton Roads. The White-flag Violation. Those wonderful Wooden Shells. Other flashing Achievements. Comparison of the two Navies. Doubtful Torpedo Results. Summing up the Hue-and-Cr y. Nashville and New Orleans. The Tatnall-"Virginia" C ourt-martial. Who did More than They?
CHAPTER XXXI.—THECHINESEWALLBLO CKADE, ABRO ADAND2A7T2H-2O8M7E Foundation Errors. Lost Opportunity. The Treaty of Paris View. First Southern Commissioners. Doubts. The Mason-Sli dell Incident. Mr. Benjamin's Foreign Policy. DeLeon's C aptured Despatches. Murmurs Loud and Deep. England's Attitude. Other Great Powers. Mr. Davis' View. "If". Interest of the Powers. The Optimist View. Production and Speculation. Blockade Companies. Sumptuary Laws. Growth of Evil Power. Charleston an d Savannah. Running the Fleet at Wilmington. Demorali zation and Disgust. The Mississippi Closed. Vicksburg. "Running the Bloc." on the Border. The Spy System. Female Agents.
CHAPTER XXXII.—PRESS, LITERATUREANDART288-301 Newspapers North and South. Ability Differently Used. Reasons Therefor. Criticism of Affairs; its Effect. Magazin es and their Clientele. Prose Writers ante bellum. Rebel War Rhymes. Origin and Characteristics. The Northern "National Hymn". Famous Poets and Their Work. Dirge Poetry and Prison Songs. Father Ryan and the Catholic Church. "Furled Forever!" Musical Taste. How Songs were Utilized. Military Bands. Painters and Paintings. No Southern Art. A Few Noted Pictures.
CHAPTER XXXIII.—WITANDHUMO RO FTHEWAR302-315 Strange Laughter. The Confederate "Mother Goose". T ravesty and Satire. The "Charles Lamb" of Richmond. Camp Wi t. Novel Marriage. A "Skirmisher". Prison Humor. Even in Vicksburg! Sad Bill-of-Fare. Northern Misconception. Richmond Society Wit. The "Mosaic Club" and its Components. Innes Randolph's Forfeit. The Colonel's Breakfast Horror. Post-surrender Humor. E ven the Emancipated.
CHAPTER XXXIV.—THEBEG INNINGO FTHEEND316-326 Gradual Weakening of the South. The Wearing-out Pro cess. Sequelæ of Vicksburg and Gettysburg. Congressvs.President. Mr. Foote and his Following. Drain of Men and Material. Home Guards. The "Speculator Squad". Dire Straits in Camp and Home. Carpet Blankets. Raids and their Results. Breaking down of Cavalry Mounts. Echoes of Morgan's Ohio Dash. His Bold Escape. Cumberland Gap. A Glance at Chickamauga. "The Might Have Been" Once More. Popular Discontent. General Grant Judged by his Compeers. Longstreet at Knoxville. Missionary R idge. President's Views and People's. Again the Virginia Lines. Skirmish Depletion. Desertions. "Kir-by-Smithdom."
CHAPTER XXXV.—THEUPPERANDNETHERMILLSTO NES327-335 "Crushingthe Spine of Rebellion". Grant's Quadruple Plan. The
"CrushingtheSpineofRebellion".Grant'sQuadruplePlan.The Western Giant. Why its Back Broke.Delenda est Atlanta!Grant becomes the Upper Millstone. Men and Means Unstinte d. Dahlgren's Raid. The South's Feeling. The Three Uni on Corps. War in the Wilderness. Rumors North and South. Spottsylvania. Still to the Left! Cold Harbor Again. The "Open Doo r" Closed. Glance at Grant's Campaign. Cost of Reaching McClellan's Base. Sledge-Hammer Strategy. Solemn Joy in Richmond.
CHAPTER XXXVI.—"THELANDO FDARKNESSANDTHESHADO WO F DEATH"336-346 Comparison of Numbers. The Ratio of Loss. The Proce ss of Attrition. Stuart's Last Fight. The River Approaches. Beauregard "bottles" Butler. Grant sits down Before Petersburg. "Swapping with Boot". Feeling of the Southern People. The Lines in Georgia. Military Chess. Different Methods of Sherman and Grant. Southern View. Public Confidence in Johnston. Hood relieves Him. How Received by the People. The Army Divided. "The Back Door" Opened at Last! Mr. Davis visits Hood's Army. The Truce and the Chances. On the Rack.
CHAPTER XXXVII.—DIESI—DIESILLA!347-359 The Lull at Petersburg. Strain on Army and People. North and South Waiting. Fears for Richmond. After Atlanta. P eace Propositions. Mr. Davis' Attitude. Mr. Stephens' Failure at Fortress Monroe. Hood's Fatal Move. Results of Franklin. Strange Gayeties in Richmond. From the Dance to the Grave. "Starvati ons" and Theatricals. Evacuation Rumors. Only Richmond Left. Joe Johnston Reinstated. Near Desperation. Grant Strikes. The News in Church. Evacuation Scenes. The Mob and the Store s. Firing Warehouses. The Last Reb Leaves. Fearful Farewells. Dead!
CHAPTER XXXVIII.—AFTERTHEDEATH-BLO WWASDEALT360-372 The Form of Surrender. Federals march In. Richmond in Flames. Blue-Coats fight the Fire. Sad Scenes. Automatic Sh elling. Discipline Wins. At the Provost-Marshal's. A City o f the Dead. Starvation plus Suspense. The Tin-Can Brigade. Drawing Rations. Rumors and Reality. The First Gray Jacket returns. General Lee re-enters Richmond. Woman, the Comforter. Lincoln's Assassination. Resulting Rigors. Baits for Sociability. How Ladies acted. Lectures by Old Friends. The Emigration Mania. Fortunate Col lapse of Agreement. The Negro's Status. To Work, or Starve. Woman's Aid. Dropping the Curtain.
The cloud no bigger than a man's hand had risen.
It became visible to all in Washington over the sou thern horizon. All around to East and West was but the dull, dingy line of the storm that was soon to burst in wild fury over that section, leaving only seared desolation in its wake. Already the timid and wary began to take in sail and think of a port; while the most reckless looked from the horizon to each other's faces, with restless and uneasy glances.
In the days of 1860, as everybody knows, the society of Washington city was composed of two distinct circles, tangent at no one point. The larger, outer circle whirled around with crash and fury several months in each year; then, spinning out its centrifugal force, flew into minute fragments and scattered to extreme ends of the land. The smaller one—the inner circle —revolved sedately in its accustomed grooves, moving no whit faster for the buzz of the monster that surrounded and half hi d it for so long; and when that spun itself to pieces moved on as undistu rbed as Werther's Charlotte.
The outer circle drew with it all the outside population, all the "dwellers in tents," from the busiest lobbyman to the laziest looker-on. All the "hotel people"—those caravans that yearly poured unceasing into the not too comfortablecaravanseraidown town—stretched eager hands toward this circle; for, to them, it meant Washington. Having clutched an insecure grasp upon its rim, away they went with a fizz and a spin , dizzy and delighted —devil take the hindmost! Therein did the thousand lobbyists, who yearly came to roll logs, pull wires and juggle through bi lls, find their congenial prey.
Who shall rise up and write the secret history of that wonderful committee and of the ways and means it used to prey impartial ly upon government and client? Who shall record the "deeds without a name," hatched out of eggs from the midnight terrapin; the strange secrets drawn out by the post-prandial corkscrew? Who shall justly calculate the influence the lobby and its workings had in hastening that inevitable, the war between the states?
Into this outer circle whirled that smaller element which came to the Capital to spend money—not to make it. Diamonds fla sh, point lace flounces flaunt! Who will stop that mighty whirligig to inspect whether the champagne is real, or the turtle is prime?
Allons! le jeu est fait!