Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

YANKEE SCOUT -- CONFEDERATE CHRISTMAS !!

140 views

Published on

Following the stalemate called the MINE RUN CAMPAIGN of late November, 1863, the warring armies of the Confederacy and the United States have encamped for the Winter in Culpeper and Orange counties, Va., respectively, and Pvts Drew and Denbo been assigned to roving duty. Drew wrote: “[ Pvt. Henry C.] Denbow [ a Pleasant Point Passamoquody Indian ] and Drew were on detail for extry duty and was on the move around the enemies camps and army most-all the time. “We were given the Spencer seven-shots carbine it was the first gun using the metallic cartridge I had ever seen, we tried them out – a .50 calibre, lever-action it would do in close quarters – not to be depended on over 150 yards the powder charge could not be increased. We preferred the old Springfield for all purposes. THEN I WAS CAPTURED:

“I think it was on the 18th of Dec. while on a reconnoriter [sic] with Comp’s. C. and K. down toards the Alexander and Richmond RR. I was captured by a band of Johnny’s holding a observation post into which I ran during a thick snow squall.
“They had [seen] our forces, and counted it two large for them to attack – and was on the move to avoid us in the squall when we meet. When they saw the red and green cross on my cap they shure did treat me fine- gave me a horse to ride, four of them guarded – two of them went to Richmond with me on a flat-car where we arrived in good shape ….”
FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS NEXT, when Pvt. Drew is declared a PRISONER OF WAR in Richmond !!

Published in: Leadership & Management
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

YANKEE SCOUT -- CONFEDERATE CHRISTMAS !!

  1. 1. In the last of YANKEE SCOUT -- Winter Quarters: The Battle of Mine Run !! you may recall that with November drawing toward a close, both armies –- Confederate General Robert E. Lee, leading the Army of Northern Virginia, and General George Meade with the Grand Army of the Potomac --- were making preparations to move into their Winter Quarters. But Meade had been hoping for one last definitive engagement with Lee, to follow up on the crushing defeat delivered to the Rebel General at Rappahannock Station. See below. In the wake of Gen. Meade’s huge victory at Gettysburg, and Sedgwick’s followup at Rappahannock Station, President Lincoln is now seeking to end the war immediately … Such an opportunity appeared to arise in late November, when, on the morning of November 30, 1863, Meade moved the army into attack formation around Lee’s winter camp at Mine Run – only to suspend the offensive at the last minute, when one of his scouts returned declaring Lee’s defenses “utterly impregnable”. This ended Meade’s efforts for the season … Winter has now set in. General Lee is safely checked – on a hill in a swamp – but must be carefully watched by other eager Union scouts, such as DENBO & DREW !! “[ P. 132 ] Gen’l Mead went home to spend the holly days and Gen’l Sedgewick had command of the Army: – MAN OF THE HOUR On November 7, 1863, Sedgwick’s 6th Corps had triumphed so powerfully over the Confederate forces under Gens. Jubal Early and Brig. Gen. Hays, holding Rappahannock Station & Kelly’s Ford, that the implication of his surprise strategic victory are still being absorbed – both in the North and the South. Gen. Lee of course has been obliged to change his position, and relocate far south of the Rappahannock River, rather than on it, taking up new Winter Quarters at Mine Run: it is a huge setback, and he must now make new plans for the Spring Campaign. U.S. Army Gen. Meade now shows no reservations about leaving the bitter weather of the Army’s Winter Quarters at Brandy Station in Culpeper County, and doubling back to the comforts of Washington, D.C. – and his loving wife. Gen Meade, for his part, is only too happy to advance Sedgwick, in recognition of his coup. Gen. Sedgwick has been placed de facto in command of the entire Union Army … with President Lincoln’s approval, of course !!
  2. 2. Scouting “And Unkle John -- we all of the 6TH Corps called him that Unkle John -- kept his scouts and reconnoitering parties on the move all the time. I was called to Army headquarters, was given a roving commission, and a statement to the commanding officer of the regiment: “ Gen. Sedgwick’s field advancement to Union Army Commander was in recognition of the signal victory at Rappahannock Station – but it was not his sole achievement, but due largely to the fighting prowess of the 6th Maine and 5th Wisc. infantry reg’ts, and especially their handiwork with musket-butts in close-in and hand-to-hand fighting. But this success was further dependent on accurate intelligence gathered by Pvt. Drew, single-handedly reconnoitering the enemy and reporting back to Gen. Wright with a solid estimate of Confederate troop strength – in the number of 2,500 men, Drew had said. This estimate, coupled with Sedgwick’s own brilliant generalling, and in particular his confidence in the fighting capacities of “Hancock’s old first brigade,” to tackle enemy entrenched works by surprise, had secured a smashing upset victory. NOW, SEDGWICK RETURNS THE FAVOR, and in recognition of Pvt. Drew’s scouting work at Rappahannock Station, and to reward his service, Drew is now given “a roving commission” equivalent to permanent field assignment, and includes a permission slip to his regimental commander, Brig. Gen. Calvin E. Pratt. “[ Pvt. Henry C.] Denbow [ a Pleasant Point Passamoquody Indian ] and Drew were on detail for extry duty and was on the move around the enemies camps and army most-all the time. “We were given the Spencer seven-shots carbine it was the first gun using the metallic cartridge I had ever seen, we tried them out – a .50 calibre, lever- action it would do in close quarters – not to be depended on over 150 yards the powder charge could not be increased. We preferred the old Springfield for all purposes. Captured -- “I think it was on the 18th of Dec. while on a reconnoriter [sic] with Comp’s. C. and K. down toards the Alexander and Richmond RR. I was captured by a band of Johnny’s holding a observation post into which I ran during a thick snow squall. “They had [seen] our forces, and counted it two large for them to attack – and was on the move to avoid us in the squall when we meet. When they saw the red and green cross on my cap1 they shure did treat me fine- gave me a horse to ride, four of them guarded – two of them went to Richmond with me on a flat-car where we arrived in good shape ….” 1 The 6th Corps badge was a Greek Cross. The Light Division of the 6th Corps had been assigned a Dark Green Greek Cross (see YANKEE SCOUT -- Charge of the Light Brigade ! However, I have not been able to confirm this reference to a new badge, both red and green – much suited to wearing over this Christmas in Richmond.
  3. 3. EDITOR’S NOTE There is no record of a railroad called “Alexander & Richmond” – as Drew records. Certainly he meant the Orange & Alexandria RR, the line of which ran directly from Brandy Station south-by-south-west, almost directly to General Lee’s Winter Quarters at Mine Run. As noted, the 6th Corps under General Meade last drew up in battle lines at Mine Run, Virginia, here in Orange County during the last week of November, 1863, after which they had withdrawn across the Rapidan River into Culpeper County, to take up Winter Quarters at Brandy Station. This places the 6th Corps camp under Sedgwick, north of the Rapidan but south of the Rappahannock. This area was also served by the Richmond Fredericksburg and Potomac: the only direct line from Richmond into this part of Northern Virginia. Pvt. Drew was moved to the RF&P line and placed aboard a flatcar for the ride …. Under guard, but treated royally well, Pvt. Drew is now on a “downbound train” to … [Images: Van Nostrand , Map of Richmond, Virginia, and Surrounding Countryside (1864) Library of Congress ]
  4. 4. In Richmond at Last – but as a Prisoner
  5. 5. “In due time and I was delivered to provost guards head-quarters. The captain and several others entertained me quite a while with many questions.. …” Much of the action in this issue of YANKEE SCOUT in the Civil War, takes place in the heart of the City of Richmond, seat of the Confederate Government, after removal from Montgomery, during a few days about Christmas in 1863. After capture and escort into Richmond, Drew was taken to the office of the Confederate Provost Guard -- or Provost Marshall sometimes – the C.S.A. military police responsible for maintaining military discipline among the Confederate troops, and executing the decisions of C.S.A. Courts Martial. The Provost Marshall also had charge of Union prisoners – for their conduct and execution of sentence. A compilation of decisions of courts martial conducted at Richmond, during the year of Drew’s capture, is Communication from Secretary of War : [enclosing copies of the findings of the general court martial, held at headquarters, Richmond, for the month of January, in the cases of persons charged with desertion and absence without leave (1863) https://archive.org/details/communicationfro23conf Here, the Provost guard is routinely responsible for execution of sentence, usually forced labor with a 12# ball & chain, but sometimes a death sentence – and this is for the Confederate soldiers. Yankee Prisoners of war did not fare so well …. The City of Richmond, the capital of the State of Virginia, had been re-organized for the war, to accommodate the makeshift administrative seat of the Confederacy, in all its major or central departments. There was no time for construction of imposing marble edifices with Corinthian columns – although the C.S.A. War Office had been housed in former Mechanics Institute, on 9th and Clay, and had the benefit of a “new building” named “Winder’s Building” for the General who kept his office there. Instead, hotels were commandeered, and existing rooms in downtown business offices were co-opted entirely, or shared with owners or tenants, sometimes with a door to the street, sometimes evidently down alleyways now long-forgotten or non-existent. Often they were crammed into second floor rooms in neighborhood boarding houses. In addition, offices occasionally moved from room to room within a building, or from building to building. The effect on one trying to procure government action, must have been something beyond befuddling…. Maybe like existing in a Kafka novel with illustrations by Escher! Meanwhile, business owners, and Virginia State and Henrico County government offices also had to make do with the congestion, continuing as best they could to maintain a semblance effective functioning. Fortunately, the V & C Intelligencer & Stranger’s Guide from 1862, does reference the Provost Guard headquarters …. According to this directory, the Provost Marshall was none other than Major Elias Griswold. In 1862 his offices were at the corner of 9th and Broad Street: A few months after meeting and sentencing Drew, in March 1864, this same Maj. Griswold was ordered by C.S.A. Gen. John Henry Winder to take command of the new C.S.A. “overflow” prison Camp Sumter … also known as Andersonville. However, at the same time, Gen. Winder issued a conflicting order to another officer, Capt. Henry Wirz, to take command thereof. Major E. Griswold was recalled to Richmond and continued his office as Provost Marshall in Richmond -- presumably again at his offices are on corner of 9th and Broad Streets. However, that was in 1862: Drew was captured at the close of 1863, almost 1864, and so this requires us to peruse an even stranger Stranger’s Guide …..
  6. 6. The 1863 Stranger’s Guide to Richmond In the original documentation surviving from this period, there is nothing stranger, than the Stranger’s Guide and Official Directory to the City of Richmond (1863) -- a publication of the Geo P. Evans Co., at the Whig Press (oddly enough), in Richmond. Evans also published the Richmond Whig newspaper. This pamphlet must have been irreplaceable to the C.S.A. officers themselves – to say nothing of the Confederate citizens -- as a directory of the whereabouts of nearly all the various offices which had been pigeon-holed about downtown Richmond. Here: https://archive.org/details/strangersguideof02rich is the first issue, printed with bright yellow cover. The introduction to this exemplary piece of organizational work, states: “The object of this publication is to supply a want which has been long felt, not only by strangers arriving in the city, but by numbers of our own citizens. The immense amount of business arising from the prosecution of the war has been distributed among a large number of departments, bureaux, etc., which are located in so many different places that persons having business at some of them are unable to find them, except by persistent inquiry. This little book will tell them where the various offices are situated.” And that’s not so strange. On page 12, of the Evans Stranger’s Guide, the identity of the Provost Marshall is confirmed, as still being Major Elias Griswold. The location of the “Head Quarters” is also given this way: “Office in room No. 7, fronting Broad st. The “Passport Office” is in charge of Lieut Kirk.” And then there is a parenthetical note, which is strange: [ NOTE – When this Directory was prepared the P.M.’s office had not been removed from the corner of Broad and 9th sts. The Provost Guard’s offices were removed ? To where? And … When ? Is there an anachronism here? This is actually relevant, because the Stranger’s Guide Vol. 1 No. 1, is dated October, 1863: a short two months before Drew was taken captive to Richmond. And what’s the “Passport Office” italicized and in quotation marks? Wink wink.
  7. 7. It is the Editor’s opinion that this yellow-covered issue of the Stranger’s Guide must be the first – not of course, simply because it is marked Volume 1. No 1., but rather because at only 31 pages long, it is the SHORTEST printing of Volume 1 No. 1 -- and contains only a single page of advertisements. Some elucidation may be in order: Indeed, as the introductory statement excerpted above illustrates, Geo. Evans the printer, naturally intended to correct and update the entries in his Stranger’s Guide. And his introductory remarks in the booklet do promise to produce improved editions in the months following publication of this first Vol. 1 No. 1 from October 1863. “It may be that we have omitted several offices which should be inserted, but our design is to publish successive editions, from time to time, with corrections and additions, until we have rendered the DIRECTORY as complete and valuable as we desire to make it. We ask our friends to apprise us of any errors or omissions they may discover.” “We also request heads of departments, bureaux, etc., to furnish us with copies of such regulations concerning the modus operandi and routine of business, etc., in their respective offices, as may serve, by the publicity thereof, to lessen the interruptions and inquiries to which they are now subject in consequence of the lack of this information, in a form available to the public.” Stranger and Stranger and … Stranger Good luck. We can only imagine the kind of “cooperation” offered by the C.S.A. operatives, to the Whig editor… Or can we? Gen. Winder, whose office was responsible for detecting spies and deserters, may have found Geo H. Evan’s Stranger’s Guides to be … “passing strange” thus explaining its abbreviated publication history. While the Strangers Guide may not have made it to the next revised issue, either paper was very scarce in Richmond, or this first issue was popular enough to go through at least three more printings -- represented here by three different colored covers – green, gold and grey (grey on next page). Although these issues are also numbered Vol 1 No. 1, and dated October, 1863, they have three (3) full pages of advertisements at the back – so we have reason to be confident, that they were printed later. Nevertheless, despite the improved revenue and circulation, the same entry regarding the offices of Provost Marshal Griswold, appears on page twelve, along with the bracketed “NOTE” with brackets UNCLOSED – to wit:
  8. 8. Etc. Except for the addition of two more pages of advertisements these three printings (if such they are) are identical to the first printing, with it’s single page of advertising. In other words, the typesetting and pagination is/are identical from copy to copy, and so the table of contents in the front of each copy, does NOT change, and corresponds correctly to the contents as printed: Nevertheless the effectiveness of the Stranger’s Guide compendium was compromised by the lack of a map of Richmond – and again, this feature may have been restricted by General Winder in the C.S.A. War Department. Instead of a map, the authors included (at p. 2) this very helpful topographical description of the street system in the heart of Richmond – which, since it may still be helpful today, in understanding the movements of Pvt. Drew, I reproduce: “In the absence of a map it may be proper to remark for the information of strangers, that the streets of Richmond are laid off at right angles to each other, with one or two exceptions. The principal streets are those extending from east to west. The "cross streets" extend from the river to the northern boundary line of the city, and are numbered in regular order from west to east. North of and parallel with Main street, in the order mentioned, are Franklin, Grace, Broad, Marshall, Clay, and Leigh streets; South of Main, and also parallel with it, are Cary, Canal and Byrd streets. The Capitol Square, which is situated near the centre of the city, is bounded on the north by Capitol street, which is parallel with and near to Broad street; on the south by Bank street; on the west by 9th street, and on the east by Governor street, and a part by 12th. Governor street (formerly a county road,) is irregular. It is 13th street south of Main, but by its inclination to the west ascending the hill, its continuation becomes 12th street north of Broad street. A stranger can readily find any place, whose situation is described in the DIRECTORY, by bearing in mind that the numbers of the "cross streets" diminish as he goes "up town" or west, and increase when he goes in the opposite direction. The names and numbers of streets are (or should be ) inscribed on boards attached to the corner houses. The Capitol Square breaks the continuity of two streets, Franklin and Grace.” With this description as a ready reference, the “Stranger” could then easily access directions to almost any Confederate official in town.
  9. 9. Almost -- for as an additional helpful finding aid, Evans included, on p. 3, a list of the “Situation of Public Buildings” in Richmond – q.v. in any edition, e.g. https://archive.org/details/strangersguideof111863 Knowing these landmarks might prove indispensable …. Stranger Still … There WAS a second printing. Indeed, in case the wayfaring stranger Yankee Scout wandering at large in Richmond on a stormy December night, was still feeling at a loss consulting the various first printings of the Stranger’s Guide, printer Evans did indeed issue a second revised printing. While it is still numbered Vol. 1 No. 1, and still dated October, 1863, the issue has been entirely reset throughout, in a different font with “expanded graphics” gracing the cover. This new and expanded Volume 1, No. 1 of the October, 1863 Stranger’s Guide is shown at right and available at the Boston Atheneum website. CAVEAT: Be careful not to confuse it with the Stranger’s Guide Vol 1 No 1 (October, 1863) first printing with the gray cover (see preceding page) also available from the same collection. http://cdm.bostonathenaeum.org As we shall see below, in discussing the office of the Quartermaster, while there are a number of changes and updates in this new issue, by and large the C.S.A. offices had remained stable between October, 1863, and October, 1863. However, the offices of the Provost Marshall appears still to have “not been removed from the corner of Broad and 9th sts.” at the time this issue was prepared – hence the familiar [ NOTE: as if frozen in time ….. only this time the brackets on the NOTE have finally been closed.]  So, while not entirely up-to-date, the Editor will run with that address. The Provost Marshall was none other than Major Elias Griswold. A few months after meeting and sentencing Drew, this same Maj. Griswold was ordered by C.S.A. Gen. John Henry Winder to take command of the new C.S.A. prison Camp Sumpter … at Andersonville. However, at the same time, Gen. Winder issued a conflicting order to Capt. Henry Wirz to take command thereof. So Major Griswold was recalled to Richmond and continued his work there as Provost Marshall – obviously NO LONGER at these old offices are on corner of 9th and Broad Streets.
  10. 10. The terminal of the Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac RR line was at the corner of 7th or 8th and Broad Streets. Following the last issue of the Stranger’s Guide, Vol. 1, No. 1 (October, 1863) [2nd printing], from there Pvt. Drew was marched to the Provost Marshall H.Q. at the corner of 9th and Broad – presumably located within the Broad Street Hotel …. just a block from the terminal. The Confederate Capitol building was just another couple blocks. “Finly I was declared a prisoner of war.”
  11. 11. [ P. 133 ] “…. and sentenced to dig sand on Belle Island till the end of the war or exchanged – “2 Richmond Va, and its Vicinity 1863. J. Wells, del by R. Hinshelwood NOTE: The beautiful birds-eye view here is looking west, with downtown Richmond on the north bank of the James River. The city of Manchester is along the south shore, and the river is flowing towards the viewer. The two bridges in the distance are railroad bridges, the one downriver is Mayo’s Bridge – a carriage bridge. 2But exchange was unlikely for Pvt. Drew! Most prisoner exchanges were suspended effective July 30, 1863, when – in a dispute of Confederate treatment over black Union prisoners –- Pres. Lincoln issued his General Orders 252. It was only later General Ulysses S. Grant elevated this de facto suspension to the level of a Union Army strategy.
  12. 12. “Libbey Prison was full and I was to go to the island with some twenty or more prisoners…. ” Union Troops Prisoners on Belle Island – Harper’s Weekly, July 1863 Although Libby Prison is “better” known, at this time, Belle Island was the largest of the Confederate encampments for prisoners of war. In addition, to these prisons, Richmond also hosted the more ferociously named “Castle Thunder” and “Castle Lightning” prisons in the heart of the city. Castle Thunder was located downtown, on the corner of Carey and 19th Sts., very near Libby Prison and the James River waterfront. [ For more – read on! ] Conditions in all Southern prison-camps were make-shift and generally brutal, and guards were often gratuitously cruel to men in their custody. The literature on these camps and their conduct is abundant. At left is just one first-person account that is not often cited, Boggs, “Eighteen Months a Prisoner under the Rebel Flag,” (1866) https://archive.org/details/eighteenmonthspr00bogg But the situation was not much better in the Federal prisons to the north.
  13. 13. The Civil War was not fought on any foreign front, but local corn-rows & farmlands were borrowed and bloodied as battlefields, and commercial railroads were commandeered as strategic supply lines. By the same token, when the C.S.A. Congress chose to relocate the Confederate Government Seat from Montgomery to Richmond, it imparted a predominantly strategic military aspect to Richmond, this age-old Capitol City of the State of Virginia, theretofore an exclusively civilian center of American civilization. So Richmond became a prime strategic objective for the Union, and military blockade by the Union Army was inevitable. President Lincoln declared the blockade of Southern States in April, 1861 – and Richmond felt these effects – both in terms of military operations, and as privations among the civilian population. Shortages began soon, and persisted. Two years into it, on April 1863, bread riots broke out in downtown Richmond. But what was in scarce supply for the Southern citizens, was sometimes completely denied to Union prisoners of war. And this was certainly true on Belle Island, in the heart of Richmond – -- The rhythmic engraving below shows the Union prisoners tent city on the south side of Belle Island, upstream from the rapids. Few prisoners, ever attempted to escape from Belle Island, and fewer survived their attempt. The inclusion in this picture, of another railroad bridge upriver from Belle Island and west of Richmond itself, appears to be in error.
  14. 14. “It was near 10 o’clock P.M. a dark stormy night when we was ordered to get ready to travel I took my place at the end of the line as we left the office, as I was the last capture. I don’t think we was counted. We went across a bridge …. “ Image: detail, Map of the City of Richmond, from a survey by I.H. Adams, U.S.C.S., pub. by C. Bohn (1865) NOTE -- The arrows indicate a route from the only Provost Marshall’s H.Q. referenced in the Stranger’s Guide - - at the Broad Hotel, 9th and Broad Sts. near the Capitol -- to the foot of Mayo’s Bridge – now 14th St. Bridge. Mayo’s bridge was the only carriage bridge from the north side of the James River, to Manchester, and thence to Belle Island upriver. Libby Prison is at the far right, between Carey & Water Sts. at 19th , cater-corner from Castle Thunder, which was the Provost Marshall’s prison – for Confederate deserters and other ne’er-do-wells.
  15. 15. “I slipped the line at the bridge without being noticed by the guard [&] was soon among the citizens.” After a day or perhaps two days in the C. S. Provost Guard’s custody, Pvt. Drew is a free man again at about the corner of Water and South 14th Sts. at the foot of Mayo’s Bridge. Eastward, downriver lie not only Libbey Prison and “Castle Thunder,” – but the old city Gas Works , within just two blocks. This area would have been under regular guard. It seems probable that Pvt. Drew would have moved QUICKLY away from this heavily patrolled or militarized district, and gone west, taking himself upriver along the docks into Richmond’s old Warehouse District …. …. near the Shockoe Tobacco Warehouse, the Public Tobacco Warehouse, among others ….. ( In fact, Libby Prison itself was a former tobacco warehouse.)
  16. 16. This detail shows that Pvt. Drew is now at large in the old Shockoe Slip district of Richmond, on the downriver edge of one of the most improved & industrialized sections of the old City, w/ docks, mill race & many warehouses. Upriver between the river and canal, the famous Tredegar Iron Works -- one of the three largest iron works in the nation, and the largest in the South – was easily the single most significant factor in relocating the Confederate seat from Montgomery, Alabama, to Richmond. Tredegar’s state of the art facilities and body of skilled labor with slave labor, turned out product which included the plate for the Confederate ironclad warship, the CSS Virginia, steel rail for railroads, and caissons, weaponry and munitions including shell, shot, gunpowder, and 1,000 cannons …. The owner of Tredegar, Joseph Reid Anderson, was a strong advocate of Southern Secession, and the single manufacturer most involved in production of armaments and munitions for the C.S.A. South. He supplied the Confederate attack on Fort Sumpter. Early in the war, he was made a major of the “Tredegar battallion” – which by design saw no action; he then took an “early retirement” and went back to TIW to oversee production. When General Lee ordered the Evacuation of Richmond, and had the industrial district torched to “prevent it from falling into enemy hands,” Anderson privately paid a group of armed guards, said to number over 50, to remain on site and guard the Tredegar facility “against arson.” Meanwhile he had converted his financial assets from Confederate scrip into foreign currency, and fled to Europe with his fortunes-of-war intact. He returned to Richmond in 1867 and took up operations at Tredegar once more. Did Anderson finance the splinter campaigns of John C. Breckinridge and John Bell who split the Democratic and Southern vote in the 1860 election, and thus insured Lincoln’s election – triggering Secession? While there are numberless books written on the Civil War, so that you need a bibliography before you can even begin, with dozens of biographies for the glamorous figures like Generals Lee and “Stonewall” Jackson, and at least one book for every battle fought (but a bookshelf on Gettysburg), the number of books on Confederate war administration and logistics can be counted on one hand, and there remains to this day just one biography on this arms dealer war profiteer, Joseph Reid Anderson. See, “Ironmaker to the Confederacy” (1966) by Charles Dew.
  17. 17. For Drew, this is perfect district to get himself lost in – especially on a rainy night. Now, if he could only get his hand on some ordnance he could sabotage the works at Tredegar, and deliver a crippling blow to the Rebel State ! “I had the good fortune to meet a young negro with a fiddle and a banjo. I asked him could he play boath instruments at the same time: “No I am in want of a fiddler,’ said he. Said I, “I am one.” “All right, come down to the hall and we’ll play at a ball.” It is useless to say I was in a hurry to get in out of the wet. He played the banjo and called; as we entered the Hall I threw my cap under the stoop, and asked the negro what his name was. “George,” he answered, “What’s yours?” “Sam,” says I. We took our station on a platform at the back end of the hall, played the opening march & waltz there was about 50 couples on the floor all colored but me – no other Whites allowed. At 1 o’cl A.M. we had a supper – it was not fancy but substantial; at daylight it broak up. “George took me to his lodgings where I slept 24 hours – it was time to go to breakfast. He took me to his boarding place: meals two dollars confed’te I got some old cloathes and blacked up and cruised around the city all day. J.R. Hamilton -- The James River & Kanawha Canal, Richmond, ca 1865
  18. 18. “That evening George told me he was a slave, his master hired him out to work for the Confederate Quarter-master3 and always took [his] wages as soon as they were due, but let him have what money he could make on the outside. “He wanted to know all about the proclamation of freedom to the slaves.4 He was [ P. 134] a Lincoln man and wanted to get with the Union Army.” “ I told him then who I was and I wanted to get back to our army as soon as possible. “George said he could get a permit to go down the river fishing but [the Quartermaster] wouldn’t let any one go below Fort Darling5 [.] and he would have to put all his fish in the City market. “We agreed to help each other and he thought Christmas morning would be the best time to go. “There was to be a big time in the city Christmas Eve and the next [day] everybody would be tired and sleepy. 3 The Confederate Congress created the position of Quartermaster-General on 26 Feb 1861 and the Secretary of War was allowed one Colonel and six Majors to serve as Quartermasters. It’s purpose was to provide for the “quartering and transport” including provisioning and supply, of Confederate forces, and it’s duties included conscription and enlistment of soldiers, payroll, hiring of manual labor, and ensuring production and distribution of manufactures essential to the Confederate cause, as well as overseeing blockade-running. The first incumbent was Col. Abraham C. Myers [ see 2nd page following ] who remained in office until July, 1863, and whose tenure was a “casualty” of the failed Gettysburg campaign. (Recall that Lee also complained of “miserable mismanagement” following the rebel defeat at Rappahannock Station.) Myers was replaced in office by Brig. Gen. Alexander R. Lawton, who would be the Quartermaster referred to here. 4 The Emancipation Proclamation had been signed by Lincoln on January 1, 1863: about one year earlier. 5 Fort Darling, on Drewry’s Bluff, was the Confederate fortification on the James River – about 8 miles south of Richmond. For more, see the next issue, YANKEE SCOUT – Fugitive Slave.
  19. 19. In May, 1861 when the Confederate government moved to Richmond, Virginia, the headquarters of the Quartermaster General were located on the corner of Ninth and Main Street – now the location of the Richmond City Hall and the Virginia Archives. The Stranger’s Guide confirms the Q. M’s office here, with Lawton in charge, when George’s “Massa” was proffering George’s employment. The Stranger’s Guide notes that Lawton’s offices were on the second floor, and the entrance was by the stairs in the rear of the building only. See, Stranger’s Guide, Vol. 1 No. 1, p. 7 ff. (1863). George’s “massa” had evidently responded to an advertisement like this one, which ran in the Richmond Daily Dispatch for December 30, 1864 ….. ( Maybe they were trying to find a replacement for George ! ) :
  20. 20. “The Peculiar Institution” While Drew reports that George said his “massa” had “hired him out to the Quartermaster,” African-American slaves in the South were often simply impressed into CSA labor, either individually or as slave “teams” -- as evidenced by the circular below, issued by the first Confederate Quartermaster General , A. C. Myers. Note, however, per No. 4 below, that while slaves or slave teams could be impressed into work for the Confederate States, nevertheless, per No. 5 below, they could not by purchased by the rebel Confederate government! This strange provision of the Quartermaster General’s office, suggests the central, almost sacrosanct character of the “master- slave relationship” in the view of the Confederate Government -- with slaves being the one form of individual “super-property” that was untouchable -- even by the Rebel State itself.  [Image: Circular of Confederate Quartermaster A.C. Myers, re Impressment ; November,1861, from Bloomfield’s Quartermaster’s Guide, pp. 102-3 (Richmond, 1862)]
  21. 21. African-American slave fisherman looking over the James River to Richmond, from the Manchester side. Drew stated earlier (p. 1 above, and p. 132 of his Memoir ) that he believed he was captured by that band of Johnnies, while scouting on December 18th, 1863 -- a Friday. Under armed escort, and taken into Richmond on a rail flatcar, it’s fair to assume he arrived at the Provost Guard H.Q. on the same day, the 18th , or at latest the next following, the 19th, -- a Saturday. His martial “processing” including interviews and sentencing, could occur the same day or the next. So it seems reasonable to suppose that by December 19th or 20th – a Sunday -- he was being marched with twenty other Union Army prisoners, to Belle Island by way of Mayo Bridge, when he slipped the line, at around 10:00 P.M., he says. Drew meets George the slave the same night of his escape, only shortly after slipping the prisoners’ line, because he says “I was in a hurry to get out of the wet.” So the encounter would likely be in the same Shockoe Slip district referenced earlier. Once the two decide they can form a musical duo, they manage to play a Negro dance at “ a Hall” that same night – so this suggests a Saturday dance, likely the night of Saturday, the 19th . Thereafter, they retire to George’s lodgings, where Drew says he sleeps a full 24 hours -- probably through Sunday the 20th . Then, after breakfast, Pvt. Drew gets “blacked up” by George, and as of Monday is at large on the Richmond waterfront – or anywhere else in town, for that matter. George and Drew now have four full days within which to complete the preparations for their escape …
  22. 22. Blacked Up “We had got a skiff from a negro at the lower end of town – pretty poor but we had worked on it got it tight, had made a couple paddles. “ “George had got the permit from his owner to fish but he must have another to go with him. George had cut my hair so short you couldn’t see it, and done a fine job at black[ing] me up. We had hard work to get our fishing tackle togeather there was none for sale. On the forenoon we spent a little time practicing our music – then we got grub and outfit ready to go fishing. “We began at 8 o’cl. P.M. to play at a big ware house on the dock – there was over 200 dancers there, a supper at 1 o’cl. A.M. – Contraband Ball at Vicksburg, Mississippi, During the Siege – from a sketch by P. E. Schell from Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Image, New York, Saturday, January 30, 1864 Like George and “Sam” playing Christmas in Richmond, another fiddle and banjo duo played this ball about a year later, during the siege of Vicksburg – but probably the musicians were not in blackface. The precise location of George & Sam’s exclusive Christmas concert performance is uncertain. Was it ….
  23. 23. “Stoped at sunrise, left our instruments in the hall, took a basket of grub we [had] stowed away at supper time…
  24. 24. “…. and went to and got into the skiff, started down the James River to fish for the Richmond market.” I KNOW !!! I don’t know if I believe it either ….. but …. Not very far I’ll bet …. they’ll NEVER make it out … Not out of RICHMOND !! Seat of the CONFEDERACY !! AT LEAST, they’ll never get beyond Fort Darling …..

×