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 4

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

Wednesday Feb 19th, 1862

           Very hot again today. The gun-boats continue flocking in very rapidly.

Thursday Feb 20th

            Did not sleep much last night and have not felt well today. The Col gradually increases the length of time for drill, and now they drill the men five and a half hours per day, while the non-commissioned officers drill an hour extra. Wrote to A Nye today.

Friday Feb 21st

           This morning we arose early and drilled from 4 o'clock until 7; as we prefer this to drilling in the hot sun. The Philadelphia arrived today bringing the commanding general. His name is Brennon, Brandon or Brannan; I don't know which. A mail came in the steamer in which were 2 papers for me but no letters.

Saturday Feb 22nd

            This is the anniversary of the birth of our reverenced Washington, the father of our great country; and in consequence of this we had a sort of gala day. There has been no drill, but at 9 o'clock the 3 regiments together formed a hollow square, and after prayer the farewell address of Washington was read. Then we marched down through the city, and passing the fort received a salute. The stars and stripes were floating from the housetops and masts of the numerous vessels in harbor and everything was in holiday array. I had never seen so many men marching together before, so regularly and simultaneously, and I could compare it to nothing else than an immense serpent trailing its voluminous fold along the road. In the afternoon the 41st had great sport, foot-racing, bag-racing, chasing a greased pig, etc. Of course the 90th had nothing of the kind. I am feeling well although I did not sleep well last night.

Sunday Feb 23rd

            As dull as ever today. Received a paper from GJS. Have not been to church. Feel well.

Monday Feb 24th

            We had general inspection today carried on by the Brig Gen commanding. It commenced at 9 o'clock, and we stood until half past twelve equipped in heavy marching order, and part of the time with rain pouring down copiously. In the afternoon we simply had a dress parade.

Tuesday Feb 25th

            I have been on guard today, the central guard. There are, besides the regimental guards, a provost guard or patrol, posted throughout the city, and a central guard at the garrison where the officers quarter. I have it very easy as there are 2 corporals besides myself, and each of us has a relief.

Thursday Feb 27th

            Last evening at about 9 o'clock a very severe storm swept over the island. The wind blew a perfect hurricane; and when I took the relief around I could hardly keep my feet. I slept some but this morning had a headache. Came off at 9 o'clock and have felt very well all day.

Friday Feb 28th

            This morning we mustered for pay. We had but little drill. I am in first rate spirits. A vessel arrived today bringing some recruits and deserters.

Saturday Mar 1st

            A mail arrived last night and this morning I received 4 letters; also 4 papers. The papers contained the glorious news of the capture of Fort Donelson with Generals Johnston, Buckner, Bushrod, and 1500 prisoners. My letters were from Childs, Rice, Nye and Mackie. Answered Rice's letter.

Sunday Mar 2nd

            Received this morning a letter from GJS and inclosed in that one from Frank. Answered this and also Childs'. It has been a beautiful day and I have felt very well until near evening, when I was attacked very severely with a sort of colic, and now I feel very unwell. This has prevented me from going to church this evening.

Monday Mar 3rd

            Have not felt very well today. We drilled as usual, only this afternoon as we were preparing for battalion drill the sky began to darken and just as we were marching out the storm broke upon us in great fury. The wind blew a hard gale, whirling the dust in the air so that you could hardly see; soon it began to rain and as the drops came against the tent they made a sound like the crackling of a rifle. After the storm it was quite cool, more so than I have seen it since I have been here.

Tuesday Mar 4th

            Was put on guard again today. Am Corp of the 3rd relief on the provost. Do not feel well as I did not sleep well during the night.

Wednesday Mar 5th

            Had it pretty easy on guard last night and got some sleep. Came off about 9. Feel well only pretty tired. This afternoon at battalion drill the Col drilled us in skirmishing.

Thursday Mar 6th

            The gun-boats, which have been collecting here for some time past, left today for Ship Island. After joining the boats already there they will probably go on an expedition against New Orleans or Mobile. We had considerable drill today. Feel first rate. Yesterday the Brooklyn arrived bringing in the rebel steamer Magnolia which was taken trying to run the blockade. She is a large vessel and was loaded down with cotton.

Friday Mar 7th

            We had no drill today on account of there being so much police duty for the men. There is so much guard and fatigue duty now that the men must be on guard or fatigue every day. It is colder than it has been since we have been on the island. I have not felt well, having had a headache nearly all day.

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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 ©