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 13

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

Thursday Sept 18th, 1862

           Have been quite sick for a few days with what they call intermittent fever. It ran through nearly the whole detachment but lasted but a short time.
*(Later: we have since discovered it to be nothing else than the formidable yellow jack itself.)

Thursday Sept 25th

            Mail arrived today in which were letters for me from father, mother, Frank, I Newlove and Miss Hendricks; also a paper from Cousin Fred Terry. They write that they have sent me a box of eatables. God speed it on its way, say I. Yellow jack has nearly ceased his ravages in Key West, after catching for his prey over a hundred of our gallant boys. The negroes there have taken it into their wooly pates that they are as good as Col Morgan or any other man, and consequently have met, made resolutions to hereafter do as they please, and have issued a sort of declaration of independence. Good for the darks.

Thursday Oct 2nd

            Union arrived today bringing me a letter from Mr Roberts of Key West, which I answered. She also brought us some potatoes which we needed very much, as we have not had any since we came here, and the scurvy has begun to break out to a considerable extent.

Saturday Oct 4th

           Received letter from Joe Arnold. Another of our Lts at Key West has died.

Tuesday Oct 7th

            Received letters from Frank, mother, Aunt Lib and Sam Briggs, and answered the first three. The 1st Lt and acting Capt of Co F, Wm R Hill, died this evening of typhus* fever after an illness of about a week. He died regretted by all who knew him, and no one could say aught against him, something which cannot be affirmed of many officers of our regiment.
*(Later: not typhus but yellow jack)

Friday Oct 10th

            We buried another of our men today; and the third one in our Co in less than a month. With 2 or 3 others, I hired a little schooner this morning and took a trip around, visiting some of the neighboring keys. We touched at Sand Key, about 5 miles distant, a small island with a few rushes at one end; at Middle Key some 2 miles beyond, on which there is but one green thing, a small bush; and at East key, some 2 miles beyond that, which is nearly covered with a sort of bush. The wind had been pretty high for a few days past and there was a pretty good sea on, but our boat danced merrily over the big waves and we had a pleasant sail until we got to within 3 miles of the fort on our way back. We saw that a squall was coming up when we started from Middle Key, but it did not strike us until we arrived, as I wrote, to within 3 miles of the fort, when it came upon us with considerable violence, striking the sails fair and square and nearly capsizing us. But we righted and were scudding through the water like the deuce when it began to rain in a wet-you-through-in-a-minute pace, and just then we ran aground. Well we got off in the water and shoved her off and soon arrived in port safe and sound only rather wet, as might be judged by the circumstances that we had been through all the rain in our shirtsleeves.

Tuesday Oct 21st

            Received letters from Rice and Joe Roberts. Answered the latter.

Sunday Oct 26th

            The tug arrived from Key West this morning with the Col, Dr, and other officers from that place. We just found out that we have the yellow fever in the fort. The fever that ran through the detachment a short time ago was nothing more nor less than this in a mild form owing to the lateness of the season. But lately 4 or 5 have died with it and tonight I learn that one of my most intimate friends, who was seized with black vomit, has gone to the land of spirits. Poor Jim Powers was one of the 4, of whom I was another, who came from Clyde nearly a year ago, to offer ourselves as champions of our insulted and bleeding country. Two of the 4 are now living; but the others - where are they? Gone, gone forever. They risked their lives in a good cause and lost them; and now they sleep the cold sleep of death on a sandy, desolate isle, many hundreds of miles from the home of their childhood. How many hundreds of kindred cases have occurred since the commencement of this cursed war! How many mothers, wives and sisters have been called upon to mourn for loved ones who have been untimely stricken by the hand of death! God help our poor country! God help the poor soldier who fights for it, and the friends who mourn him fallen.

Tuesday Nov 11th

            Received letters from mother, E Childs, GJ and TH Smith and Joe Roberts today. What will cheer one up more than letters from home? I get lonesome, down in the mouth, and utterly disgusted with this place sometimes, but a word from home always renews my courage. It brings to my mind that there are those, even though far away, who are anxiously wishing my welfare, and impatiently waiting to welcome me once again to their companionship. What a void there must be in the affections of that man who has no home. Wrote to father and mother.

Friday Nov 14th

           Received letters from mother and Joe Arnold. Salute fired on account of the death of our gallant Maj Gen AM Mitchell.

Thursday Nov 20th

           Several promotions have taken place lately on account of our losing so many of our officers. Two Sgts in this detachment have received commissions, among them our acting Sgt Major. Our Orderly has now taken that position, another Sgt was needed in our Co, consequently I now wear 3 stripes instead of 2.

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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.

the blockade of the South

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 ©