Civil War History


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The Leaders:
The Politicians

Jefferson Davis

Above: Jefferson Davis of the Confederacy.
Below: Abraham Lincoln of the Union.

Abraham Lincoln

Charles Terry Saxton
The American Civil War

A War Diary

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page 10

Diary of Charles Terry Saxton, 90th N.Y. Volunteers, from January, 1862 to August, 1863.

Monday June 16th, 1862

              Well we are again settled in pretty good quarters. We have good bunks, tables, stools, etc and are altogether comfortably situated for soldiers. The 7th NH Volunteers left here this morning for Hilton Head, leaving us sole protectors of the fort. The 47th regulars at Key West accompanies them, which will leave there only the remainder of our regiment. This is a very large fort covering about 11 acres of land, more than nine tenths of the island. It is built of brick and intended to mount about 400 guns, although but few are now actually mounted. It is about 15 years since it was commenced but is not yet finished; and a large number of workmen are still employed on it. It does not appear to me to be of much importance in a strategical point of view, and is probably intended more for a sort of storehouse than anything else. Inside is a spacious enclosure containing several buildings; a sutler's shop, bakery, light house, a large brick house for officers, etc.

Tuesday June 17th

              Very pleasant here indeed. I like it better so far than I did at Key West. A cool breeze fans the island continually so it is not very hot. Wrote to mother and enclosed thirty-two dollars.

Wednesday June 18th

              Have been on police at the fort today. Some men of the Co went over to Loggerhead Island last night and brought back two enormous turtles, one of which would weigh over 300 pounds.

Thursday June 19th

              Am on guard today, Corp of the 3rd relief. Very warm, the thermometer standing at over 100 in the shade.

Friday June 20th

              I was out this morning with the Capt, Sgt, and 2 or 3 others in a row boat fishing. We went out 4 or 5 miles near the line of breakers where the swell was pretty high, and some of them caught a number of fish. We could see in the bottom as we went along some most beautiful specimens of coral; and the Capt brought in some sea eggs: the most curious things I ever saw. They were black, the body being of a globular shape about the size of an orange; and radiating from this in every direction were long, slender and brittle feelers (I call them) which are continually moving. We had our first drill this afternoon in light artillery. When the command 'Fire!' was given, one of the pieces went off, it having been left loaded; which caused some jumping, as they were merely going through the motions.

Saturday June 21st

              Have been on fatigue all day.

Sunday June 22nd

              Am on guard Corp of the 2nd relief.

Monday June 23rd

              We removed our quarters today to another part of the fort on account of the bed bugs which are very thick where we were. My bunk is now beside an old 8 inch Columbiad about 10 feet in length, a very pleasant room companion. While drilling tonight one of the guns not supposed to be loaded was discharged. Lt. Hill, who drills us, was standing right in front of it, and his face and hands were considerably disfigured by the powder; but he was not much hurt. I was sitting in front about 2 rods and was almost covered with the sand which was thrown up.

Tuesday June 24th

              Have been on police all day. Received letters from Joe Arnold and his mother and Rice, also a paper from Frank.

Friday June 27th

              Dull as the deuce.

Saturday June 28th

              Am on guard again. There is not another Corp in the Co doing duty except me, the rest being sick or under arrest, so they keep me going.

Sunday June 29th

              The sentences of court-martial on 9 or 10 of our Co were read on parade. Two Corps were reduced and one reprimanded before the battalion.

Monday June 30th

              We were mustered out again today and again Uncle Sam owes us 2 months' pay. Have been on police.

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Civil War History

Reasons for the Conflict:

     In 1860 slavery still existed in the southern states of the USA, even though it had been abolished in most of the rest of the world more than a generation before.

      Many Americans believed that it was time that it be abolished in the USA as well.

      This was the primary issue of the American Civil War, though there were other issues relating to how strong ties should be between individual states and the Federal government.

Key West, Florida, 1861:

      Located where the gulf of Mexico meets the Atlantic ocean, Key West was of enormous strategic importance in upholding the blockade against the southern states. It was also used to train new recruits.

an 8-inch columbiad gun

An 8-inch columbiad gun
of the type that was
Charles Terry Saxton's 'very
pleasant room companion'.

Mrs AH Wilcox of
Barrington Street.
Rochester, N.Y.

originally typed up the diary of
her father, Charles Terry Saxton,
and preserved it for posterity.

Trees of London        A James Wilkinson Publication ©