of Colonel Eugene A. Kozlay,
Commanding 54th Regt.
New York Volunteers
From June 30th 1861 to April 23rd 1866
Part Two: 1863 - 1866
Transcribed and Donated by Janet Kozlay.
24th February 1863
I asked the Secretary of War to dismiss all the officers guilty in signing
false ration bills. Stating to him that I cannot serve with dishonest men.
The letter I sent into Stanton, and also the application for their dismissal.
I received orders from Mr. Watson, Asst. Secy of War, to be in Washington till
I have no answer from the War Department. It seems to me they don’t
care anything about the whole matter. There is no other way left for me, but
to keep my word; if the Department will not discharge these dishonest men,
I will most certainly resign; cannot live with such men. As Colonel, I am responsible
for the acts of my officers in regimental matters. How can I trust them, when
they have deceived me already many times. They will do the same again. If I
go back, I have to acquiesce in their rascallity, at least they will think
that they can defy me, because I am unable to punish them. And in fact, they
are right. The court martial in the German division is a mockery. Nearly all
the German officers are guilty of these acts; and consequently if any one is
placed before them for trial for such offence, they will acquit him. And the
Government will do nothing. I have made up my mind to resign rather than to
serve with such dishonest men, in whom I cannot place the least confidence.
Any officer who signs his name to a false statement once, he will do the same
March 19th 1863
I have fought the Dept, to get matters thro’, but it was of no avail.
I have been compelled to withdraw; because I must keep up my promise. The Government
does not do anything, what is but necessary to do, to establish good discipline.
I will be at least not more troubled. I tendered my resignation to the War
Dept direct, but they refused to accept it. Now I will resign, by the eternal!
And I will have it accepted too.
March 21 1863
I am very glad that at least I am thro’ with this trouble for the present.
Genl Stahel helped me to get my resignation accepted, by the Genl commanding
the Army Corps. This is all right. Now I will return to New York and see what
can I do with Col. Olcott, the Special Commissioner of the Department. I think
thro’ him I can have all these dishonest men dismissed the Service. I
am informed that the officers, excepting two or 3, are very glad that I resigned.
What a fools! They think they got rid of me? O! you fools! Well you will find
it out in what a deep delusion you have fallen. I have time now to displace
you, and I have no officers over me at present to counteract my wishes and
necessary acts. Wait!!
Prescott House March 10/64
I am here to see that the War Department shall revoke the order accepting
The investigations have been concluded by Col Olcott, who reported the facts
to the War Department, and says in his letters that it would be but an act
of justice to me if his request in my behalf is granted.
Nearly a year elapsed, that I resigned. All the officers guilty of dishonorable
acts towards the Government have been dismissed. Some of them knowing what
will follow, resigned in a hurry, and left for parts unknown. I told so last
year, that they will be mistaken if they thought that they got rid of me.
The Governor of the State, to whom I have related the whole transactions, has
given me new Commission as Colonel of the Regt. But the War Dept knowing that
the regiment is to small in numbers, hesitated to order me to be mustered in.
Anyhow I will see what effect will have the letters of recommendation.
If I think back at the past and the trouble and vexation which I have been
placed under, I am astonished how could I bear all these things. Yet, I showed
them what a man can do. Mr. Watson, the Asst. Secry of War, and Mr. Stanton
it seems to me are in my favor very strongly. I will see what will be done.
Col. Olcott will be here to morrow too.
What will Blau and others say now, who have paid Mr. Korn of Bowery notoriety
for procuring them commissions from the Governor. But they were very much mistaken
in the Governor. They thought that I have no influence over him. What a dream!!
The veterans of the Regiment are at present in New York; I am informed they
are very glad that I will return to the regiment for the 3d time.
New York March 21
I am home: It seems to me that the Department begins to acknowledge my services.
The Asst. Adjt. Genl, Major Vincent, made his report against me twice. But
of no avail. Mr. Dana is a just man and so is Mr. Watson and in the face of
all these reports made by Maj. Vincent, I was mustered into the U.S. Service,
by Captain Wood, by order of the Secry of War. Next week I am going to take
command of the Regt.
But, I have still troubles; the creditors molest me most shamfully. They have
not yet their money. I have done my best to get them their dues; but when they
will be paid, I hardly can think off. Col Olcott has done himself all what
he could for these poor men, and yet no result.
I have a letter from Lt. Col. Morgan, who commands the regt, at present, and
to whom I gave the commission at the request of Col. Olcott. Morgan is his
brother in law. Well, Col Olcott has done great deal for me. He protected me
from the assaults and persecution of my enemies, and even against the creditors,
who still persecute me for their money.
Captain Blau and Luttwitz were the only officers who came to me to day at
Bangs restaurant. Blau seems to be very much astonished that I was mustered
in. Well, he may have been an enemy of mine, yet he acts the part of an educated
man. True, I made him what he is; and yet in 1863 he paid me back very bad
for my protection to him. At that time he forgot in what a condition he was,
when I made him officer. However, let these matters rest.
The following letters must be recorded in my history to show what letters placed
me in command again, and by whom they were given.
Copy A Hd. Quart. District of Kentucky
Louisville Septemb 13 1864
I have the honor to inform you that Col. E. A. Kozlay, 54th Regt NYVols who
resigned his commission some months ago on account of the stupendous fraud
committed by his officers, has been reappointed by Governor Seymoure. He is
ready for duty, but as he is a most important witness for the Government against
Lieut Col Reeves and the officers of his own Regiment, whose cases will be
tried in New York next month, I wish that you would detail him for duty with
Maj. Genl. Dix until such time as he can be spared. He is a good officer and
has done most excellent service for us in the matter of these frauds. I have
reason to know that the grand jury were largely influenced in finding their
indictment against Col Reeves by the testimony of Col Kozlay. It would be no
more than an act of justice if the order of the Dept accepting his resignation
were recinded so as to enable him to keep his seniority in rank, and I should
be glad to hear of its being done.
Your obedt servant
/sig/ H. S. Olcott
Special Court of the War Dept.
Hon. P. H. Watson
Asst Secretary of War
Copy B 93 Franklyn Street
New York Feb 8 1864
Hon P. H. Watson
Asst Secretary of War
I beg to introduce to your acquaintance Col Eug. A. Kozlay of the 54th Regt
This officer you will recognize as the one who so materially aided the Government
in the exposure of Kohnstam’s frauds, and in the indictments of Reeves,
Larned, Kohnstam and their coconspirator. His Regiment is being filled up with
drafted men. It already numbers about six hundred strong. I have made application
to you in his behalf to have the order accepting his resignation revoked. In
few of what he has done, I consider that such action on the part of the War
Department would be simple justice.
Your obedt servant
/sig/ H. S. Olcott
Hon. P. H. Watson, My dear Sir.
The bearer Col. Kozlay desires an interview with you. I have known Col. Kozlay
for many years, and have reason to believe that he has been a faithfull and
Yours with respect
/sig’d/ Peter Cooper
Copy C 93 Franklyn Street
New York Feb 18, 1864
Hon. C. A. Dana
Asst Secretary of War
In my investigation into the frauds of S. Kohnstam and others in this city
Col. Eug. A. Kozlay 54th NYVols have been of very material assistance. The
officers of his own Regt were among the worst I have discovered, and I have
had his former Lieut Col locked up for about 8 month for want of bail. I have
laid all the facts before the Depart at various times, and stated that I considered
a great shame that the few thousand Dollars of just claims for the organization
of the regiment should be left unpaid after a lapse of nearly 3 years, while
scoundrels like Kohnstam, and Kozlay’s subofficers had collected four
times as much in false bills.
We owe a heavy debt of gratitude to Colonel Kozlay for what he has done. All
he asks in return is that he shall be restored to his old rank, by the recission
of the order accepting his resignation. I shall be very glad to hear that you
have done this much for him.
/sig/ H. S. Olcott
Copy D Hd. Quart. 1st Div N.Y.S.M.
New York Febry 18, 1864
Hon. E. D. Stanton
Secretary of War
Col E. A. Kozlay of the 54th Regt NYVols resigned his commission in April last,
in consequence of difficulties with his officers, or some of them, who were
implicated in the Kohnstam Frauds which Col Kozlay exposed. He has since again
been commissioned by the Governor of New York as Col of that Regt.
He now seeks a revocation of the order accepting his resignation, so as to
restore him to his original Rank, and continue him on the Rolls as if he had
Col Kozlay has letters from Col Olcott and others, who have known his services
in these matters, an recommand this as an act of justice for the services he
has rendered the Government in this affair.
It is a small favor he asks, and I should be much gratified if he can succeed.
I am very respectfully
Your obedt servant
/sig/ Chs W. Sandford
I heartily concur in the above.
/sig’d/ M. H. Grinnell
I concur with the within recommendation.
/sig’d/ Peter Cooper
I have confidence in the Colonel and have no doubt of his record, and hope
he may be restored as he desires.
/sig’d/ S. Draper
Hon. C. A. Dana
Asst Secretary of War
I beg to recommend Col E. A. Kozlay and his requests to your favorable consideration.
The 54th Regt was raised by him, while holding an office in the Custom House,
with the assistance of the officers and clerks in the collectors office. They
have connected my name with it and its history is one of which we are all proud.
These explanations will justify the special interest which I take in having
the Regiment filled up and the Colonel restored to his command.
I am truly yours
/sig’d/ Hiram Barney
These are the letters which helped me to be mustered in de novo, and for
the 3d time as Colonel of this regt.
I am satisfied with the result, tho’ I ought to have received more. I
think a man who has an instrument to save his government perhaps millions,
does deserve a little more.
[Due to E.A.K.s extended absence from his regiment, as explained above, he
was not with them during the Battle of Gettysburg. Following that battle the
regiment was transferred to the Department of the South and stationed in South
Carolina for the remainder of the war. Ed.]
April 2d 1864
Arrived safely at Folly Island. I took command of the regiment. Plenty to do,
and I am embarrassed where to begin. What a disorder. The pay of the comdg
officer stopped because the Adjt Genl’s office wished returns for 3
years past. How to furnish them, when there are no papers left from which
to make out. All vouchers &c have been burned on the 31st August 1862.
The duty is very heavy. Mostly consist of fatigue parties and picket.
No news of any kind on this Sandy Island.
Since I recorded the events, nothing new occurred in our position. Morgan
is detailed as Inspector Genl at Hilton Head.
I received orders from the War Department to go to New York, as witness in
the Kohnstam case. I start this evening. What a troublesome business to be
a witness. But can’t be helped. I disclosed these dishonest transactions
to the Government, wherefore it is my duty to bring the guilty ones to punishment.
I turned the command over to Capt Blau. We will see what will transpire.—
June 15th 1864
Folly Island S.C.
Returned from New York; Col. Olcott stated that I came to late. The trial
of Kohnstamm ended. He was sentenced to ten years imprisonment. Well, he deserved
such punishment. The creditors are not yet paid. I am still troubled by them;
and what is more astonishing, that Judge Advocate Turner sent all the claims
to the district attorney, to persecute the parties who made out the claims.
This is a very funny proceedings. They don’t prosecute the scoundrels,
but the men who claim honest dues. I have seen Mr. Smith, the district attorney,
who told me that he will recommend to the War Department to recommit all the
claims to Col. Olcott for further investigation. I left the whole matter in
the hands of General Sandford. The action of Maj Turner is an outrage anyhow.
He wants to prosecute me, because I claim for these parties just claims. I
know why is it. He is angry because thro’ my disclosure a few regular
officers came into a serious difficulty. Turner’s actions looks like
him and his name. He turns according his own notion. He puts me in the place
of a policeman who caught a thief in stealing; but he dont desire to punish
the robber or thief, but the policeman who disturbed the thief and brought
him before the justice. However, Judge Turner, in his turning, will not have
the best of me. I will most assuredly bring these matters before Congress;
but before all I will lay the whole matter before the President, and ask for
a Court Inquiry. I will see whether justice will be done to me, and to the
men who helped to organize a regiment with their means to crush out this rebellion.
I am sure that this matter has to come before the public now. And the opponents
of the Administration will be very glad and eager to use these documents for
electioneering purposes. That is what they want.
An expedition is in progress. We will see what the result will be. To attack
the enemy in front will be a very hard job. However we must do something.
But the heat is the greatest enemy we have.
A few days ago I sent away my application to the president for a Court of
Inquiry. Here is the copy of the letter, the thereto attached documents are
in my diary fully entered.
Headquarters 54th NYV.
Folly Island S.C. June 17 1864
To His Excellency
President and Comd in Chief
I have the honor to lay before you the enclosed copies of official documents,
marked A. B. C. D. & E. for your perusal, from which it can be seen,
that in 1862 large frauds have been committed upon the dispursing Department
and that I have been one of the service who brought this matter before the
Adjt Genl and the Secretary of War for investigation. I do not claim any
credit for my act, because it was my duty to do so; was and being a servant
of my Government.
However I beg to state that after the investigations by Col. Olcott having
been concluded, I asked the Hon. Secretary of War and the Adjt Genl at Washington
in March 1863, to dismiss from service all officers guilty of this fraud and
belonging to the 54th Regt NYVol. Of which I had the honor to [be] the Comdg
By an oversight perhaps, my request was overlooked, and stated in a letter
to the Hon. Secretary of War, that I could not serve with dishonest men, and
handing in my resignation, I urged its acceptance, which after much trouble
was accepted by the Genl Comdg A.C. on the 19th of March 1863.
Later however the Adjt. Genl and the War Dept dismissed many of the guilty
officers; and all obstacles were removed of my taking command of that regiment
again; which I had raised to help to crush this unholy rebellion against the
constitutional authority of the best Government on the Globe.
From the annexed documents, marked A. B. C. Your Excellency will please see
that Col Olcott approved my action not only, but asked the War Depart to cancell
the order accepting my resignation. This request was seconded by other influential
gentlemen, who have known me for many years past, as will be seen by letters
annexed marked D & E.
The Hon Sectry of War, who promptly acts on every occasion, were justice is
desired and deserved, ordered on the 18th of March 1864, that I should [be]
mustered into the service by the new Commission, I received from the Governor
of the state, and on the 19th of March 1864 I was by such order of the Department
duly mustered, and placed in command of my old Regiment, which I had the honor
to lead into the first fire, to fight for our just and noble cause.
From the Copy of Document marked “E” and fully proofed by Col Olcott,
You will discover that over 44000 Dollars, fraudulent papers were paid on account
of this Regiment, wheras the just claims for its organization are still unpaid,
after the laps of nearly three years.
Col Olcott received authority from Genl Ketchum to examine and report upon
these outstanding unpaid claims, and after they have been so examined, I approved
those claims, in the Office of the special Commissioner after examination.
Amongst these unpaid claims is one for Mrs. Rosalia Beer, the widow of Lieut
Adolf Beer, who was killed in the action by Bull Run. She is suffering at present,
and in need of that money justly due to her. I tried every means to get her
the money, made out her claim in 3 or 4 different forms, but to no purpose.
I beg further to state that on the 27th May I left this Port, by orders of
the War Depart. to report at New York to Col Olcott, where I was informed that
I was a witness for the Government, but arrived too late, and was ordered to
return to my Regiment at once.
While at New York I was informed by Col Olcott that the claims examined by
him and signed by me, were sent by Judge Advocate Turner to the Dist. Attorney
with directions to prosecute the parties who signed them. I at once went to
Mr. Smith, the Dist. Attorney, who asked me to make a written statement in
regard to these claims and that he will give due consideration to the matter.
However, the actions of Major Turner is such that it places me in as suspicious
light and position before my Government. It throws a shadow of dishonesty upon
my character, and being convinced that I have faithfully and honorably served
my country and my President, I cannot think of any reason why is this imputation
and accusation against my character as a soldier, gentleman and citizen.
Wherefore I most respectfully pray Your Excellency, that a Court of Inquiry
be granted to me, to be held at New York, where the attendance of witnesses
to the case most easily can be procured.
In order to investigate all cases, statements & facts in relation to the
organization of the 54th Regt N.Y.V.; its expenditures, reimbursements, and
to adjust its outstanding claims upon the Government. To ascertain how much
fraudulent claims have been paid, and why are the still unpaid claims not yet
settled. And also to asertain, whether I, the Comdg Officer of said Regt, had
or have committed any act, or acts, for which I could deserve the disapprobation,
censure and mistrust of my Government.
Your Exellencys well known love of truth and justice, I am sure are sufficient
reasons for me to hope that my humble application will be granted.
I have the honor to remain
Your obedt servant
E. A. K.
Colonel Comdg 54th Regt NYV
This is the letter sent to the President, asking him for a Court of Inquiry.
Whether it will be granted or not, I do not know at present; but I hope it
will be granted to me.
July 1st 1864
This afternoon, I received my instructions in regard to the expedition. I
have to go to Legareville, on John’s Island, & there to take the
enemy by the flank. The 21st Regt C.T. are given under my command, with four
pieces of artillery. At ten o’clock P.M. tonight I will embark on boats
for my destination.
My instructions are as follows: with my force to be at Stono Landing at ½ past
9 P.M. There to give Captn Luttwitz 100 men, who will embark with the artillery
and cavalry and superintend the landing of the same, in a little creek below
With my troops from Legareville, I have to proceed on the main road and to
surprise the enemy by the bridge, where they have rifle pits. Take these rifle
pits at all hazard. Then I have to give 200 men to one of my Captains, who
has to go down towards Havelet Cut, and report to Genl Hatch. Then I have to
give 2 guns, some cavalry and 200 men to Maj Kovacs, who has to go to Bugbee
bridge, take there the enemy’s rifle pits, and hold them, till Genl Hatch
comes up with his troops to that place. With the remaining of my forces I have
to go on the road nearest to Stono River as far as the bridge which connects
Johns & James Island, there to make believe the enemy, that I intend to
cross, and to make all kind of demonstrations to attract the enemy’s
attention to this point. I have 550 men in all. 4 pieces of artillery and 26
July 1st at 5 o’clock P.M.
The original instructions given to me are modified a little, viz, as soon
as I have taken the first rifle pits, I have to go with all my force towards
Bugbee Bridge, where the enemy has guns and very strong rifle pits, and to
hold this position till Genl Hatch arrives.
This order was brought to me by Captain Luttwitz, in the name of the Genl.
What a pity that such man as Luttwitz are employed by the Genl. This man is
a worthless individual in every respect. No discretionary powers were given
to me. But direct only.
July 12th at Folly Island
Returned from the expedition. Our right wing failed entirely under Col. Gurney.
There we lost about 150 prisoners. The centre at James Island was a little
more successful. The 55 Mass. took two guns from the enemy, about a mile in
front of Secessionville. The 103 regt behaved badly; so says Col. Hartwell.
Two companies of my regiment on the 5th went out in daylight in front of the
rebel rifle pits, to take some rebel pickets as prisoners. My men were under
the command of Blau. They were repulsed. The order to advance came from Capt.
Quintin. But what a folly again. To surprise rebel pickets, by daylight, and
in front of their rifle pits! What a stupidity. No wonder! Genl Schimmelfenig
has not got a single man around himself who understand anything.
I have done with my forces at John’s Island very little. I ought to have
been at my post by night, whereas I arrived with 300 men only at 8 A.M. to
Legareville, the 21st arrived at 11 ½ A.M. and the artillery, under
the superintendance of Luttwitz grounded in the creek, and was got off about
5 P.M. two pieces, the balance at 10 o’cl. P.M. What a disorder! I am
ordered to embark at 10 in the night, and they furnish me transportation at
6 A.M. in the morning. When I arrived at Legarville at 7 ½ o’clock,
all the demonstration and expedition at James and Morris Island was over. Who
is to be blamed for this gross neglect. Is this the way we are making the enemy
to suffer. And yet, the Genl wanted to hold me responsible for the delay. He
relieved me on the 2d. But I told him, in writing, how matters stand, and he
put me in command at once. What an outrage!! To hold me responsible for the
delay and for the neglect of Quartermasters and staff officers having in charge
On the evening of the second, when I was relieved, I was ordered by Judge Advocate
Captain Watton to go to James Island to see the General about the delay to
which my command was subjected. I took a boat, in which about 30 colored men
were transported to James Island. While in the middle of the Stono River, the
gun boat Iris took us in tow, and while turning, the last boat was capcised.
I jumped from the boat in order to escape the others. What a sight! What a
cry for help cut the air through. It was night. The tide came in very strong.
The waves were high. And the poor fellows swept away from the surface of the
water. In their last hope, clinging and pulling anything they could find. I
was pulled down twice. But, god almighty saved me however; I caught hold of
an orr, and on that I kept up myself, till assistance arrived from the Iris,
and from 30 about 10 of us were picked up.
Our total loss in this expedition will be about 300. Killed, wounded, and prisoners.
My regiment lost, in that unfortunate skirmish and trial to capture rebels,
about five, killed and wounded.
The man of sense will ask us, what have we gained by this expedition? And what
is our answer. Nothing more than we dont know! There is however, I presume
one point gained: viz the enemy was obliged to bring troops to this place,
to defend Charleston, thereby weakening his troops before Sherman. This can
be the only practical result obtained by this expedition. The greatest enemy
we had was the heat; we lost many man on account of the unsufferable warm weather;
bad water &c.
July 22d 1864
Nothing new. The news from North is very bad. We are to have, I am informed,
another expedition, to Sullivan Island. What a folly again. I wish, however,
that we shall succeed to capture that point.
Colonel Heine of the 103 is under arrest. Charges have been preferred against
him by Col. Hartwell. Col. Hartwell commands the post at present. He being
the oldest in rank. Col. Heine was sent home from the battle field by Genl
Schimmelfenig. Heine at present will have a Court Inquiry first. This was granted
to him by Genl Foster.
We have very heavy duty. Fatigue parties and picket without interruption. Three
days last I was even compelled to give a fatigue party to the Post Suttler
to unload a vessel of ice. I should like to know what is the meaning of this.
To compel the men to work for the Post Sutler, it is against the regulations.
But it is no wonder. They are doing here many things against regulations. Not
a single officer has a private servant, and yet he gets the money for it. He
uses the soldier as waiter, and yet he never musters him on the roll as waiter.
The Genl has about 20 men around himself, cooks, waiters &c all soldiers;
has no servant (I mean private) and yet they are never mustered as such. What
a humbug. And what a disorder in the face of regulations.
Yesterday I made charges against Ostenthal, as officer of day, for drunkenness
on duty. This fellow cannot abstain himself from liquor. He must drink and
drink. Well let him go.
Captain Seton is going to New York on 30 days furlough. The news from North
is very bad, tho’ encouraging because the rebels were obliged to leave
Washington. I sent home 110 dollars for my wife and to LeBaron 150 more. Captain
Seton has taken the money. Col. Heine’s trial will come off within a
few days. However Genl Foster gave him his request for a court of Inquiry.
We will see what the result of this quarrel will be. The German officers are
eating up each other. Let them quarrel.
Sunday July 24
Three days now that we have wind from north east and heavy rains. The weather
is very cold. I think it will be very injurious to our troops. Captain Seton
left to day.
I have not seen Genl Schim. Since the last expedition. He is always sick. I
am sure it would be well for the Service, as well for himself, if he would
resign. [In fact, he had contracted tuberculosis and died not long after the
war was over. Ed.] Astonishing that he has in his staff such men as Quintin
and Luttwitz. But de gustibus, non est dispudandum. Luttwitz is a worthless
dishonest fellows; and Quintin, I am informed by Lt. Col. Mitsell of the 74th
Penn that he was imprisoned for 6 months for robbery and other dishonorable
acts. And yet Schimmel had such men in his staff. Well, it is no wonder.
I should like to know what Schimmel will do with the parties who neglected
to furnish transportation to my command at Legareville? More than 20 days are
over since that delay took place, and yet nothing has been done to punish the
guilty ones. However he took good care to try to bring me in some trouble if
he could. But it seems to me I was wide awake for him. I am sure his object
was to catch me some way or other, but he missed his shot. I will wait yet
for a few days to see what he will do; and if I see that nothing has been done
by him, then I will bring this case to the notice of Genl Foster. He will settle
this matter I am sure. It is known that Foster does not like Schimmel. He never
visits him. If he comes to Folly Island, he stays on board of his vessels.
Sometimes, but seldom, sends words for Schimmel to go to see him. Only last
week he landed at Stono and took an ambulance, rode up to Morris Island, without
looking after Schimmel. Well Foster knows Schimmel very well. Better than I
August 1 1864
What a change. Schimmel moves his quarters to Morris Island. The reason is
known only to himself. There is a talk however that Sumter will be blown up.
At last we desire that the case should be such. There is great deal of arrangement
made; but I am afraid we can not keep that place, even if we take it. But best
thing could be done is to blow it up and leave the spot a neutral ground. Genl
Fosters object will be such, I have no doubt.
I sent in the resignation of Boyce. This young man can not be cured of his
chronic alcoholismus. I am sure it will be better for him to go home.
Rosenberg has to resign his position also. This man is very much addicted to
opium drinking. He cannot exist without it, and with it he is in stupor, unfit
Wertheimer’s case is very aggravated. He had money given to him by privates
for safe keeping, and he spent the money. Besides he borrowed great deal from
others, and now he cannot pay. The charges are by the Genl already; I do not
know when will his case come up.
Ostenthal’s case will be tried at the same time. He is also addicted
to drink. No improvement can take place in his behavior. I tried my best to
save him, but all to no purpose.
The Chaplain, Dr. Sarner, has also to go. He is a converted Jew. The men dont
like him, neither can they understand him. And the regiment is at present composed
mostly of English speaking soldiers, a Jew and a German is of no use to me.
Mr. Dewey, a private of Company I, I desire to appoint as Chaplain. He was
drafted in his county and is shouldering arms in the regiment at present. This
man had a congregation once. He is a regularly ordained minister and deserves
to fill the place of a chaplain. He served his country faithfully with the
musket in his hands. Whereas Dr. Sarner never done anything else but drew his
pay for his worthless services.
There is not much new from the North. We have heard many things, but whether
they are true or not. Our latest files are to the 23rd of last month.
We had a brigade drill. What a farce. I never seen such confusion in my life.
Not one of the commanding officers could execute the movements, because not
one of them understood the command of Colonel Hartwell, who commands the post
in the absence of Col. Haine. In fact, Col. Hartwell’s voice is not good
to give command.
I am informed that Col Haines case will be settled in a few days. The court
of Inquiry will settle even those charges brought against him by Col. Hartwell.
In this case, he will return to his command. I think Sch. knows the result.
That is the reason why he orders Heines regiment to Morris Island. That in
case he comes out of his scrape, that he cannot get the command of the Post.
There are also complaints against Blau. He had regimental fund not properly
accounted for. He borrowed money from Sergeants while at New York to buy drums
and bugles, whereas he had regimental money for that purpose. He also had the
money of corporal Rudrauf, which Wertheimer took away from Rudfauf in Alexandria.
Blau never reported to me this fact, and if by accident I dont find out, then
this fact would have never come to my knowledge. The amount of money is $108.
What a rascalities are coming to light amongst these officers. Well, who is
the next? Wait! We will see.
Augt 7th 1864
The mail arrived at last. But no news of any consequence; excepting however,
the Niagara peace farce. I presume it is a farce, and nothing else.
Last week while bathing in the sea with a few men, and at once discovered that
Captain Friedle of my regiment is in a great danger. The sea was very high,
and the tide going on very fast. I not loosing a single moment, swim to the
Captain and just arrived in time to save him; if I go only a few seconds later,
my Captain is gone. The waves have burried him most assuredly. I am glad that
I had an opportunity to save this young man.
Wertheimer I put under arrest. He will be however dismissed I presume without
my charges, because on James Island, he behaved himself very badly. I have
the affidavits of the men in my possession.
Ostenthal I cannot help, tho’ the officers in a letter ask me to withdraw
the charges against him.
Boyce’s resignation I sent in. I am sorry for this young man. Morgan
is to be blamed great deal for this young man. When he stole the whiskey from
the Doctors tent, and from Capt. Friedle’s tent and broke the trunk,
the whiskey was carried by him in Morgan’s tent, and they drunk there
till nearly two o’clock in the morning. This was the mistake committed
by Morgan on many occasions. He used to drink with the officers very late in
the night, and even get drunk himself, tho’ the officers say that he
can drink great deal till it has an effect upon him. At that time when Boyce
stole this whiskey from the Capt & Doctor, I would have placed him before
a Court; but I could not do so without compromising my Lt. Colonel Morgan,
and for the sake of Col Olcott, I could not bring such a disgrace upon his
brother in law.
I am informed that four regiments have left this department and went to the
Army of Potomac. Genl Birney is in command of that brigade. I wish very much
that they shall take away my regiment from this Island. I sincerely believe
that it is a punishment to have white troops here. And no time for drilling.
Very heavy fatigue duty. It will kill the men. They are compelled to work even
for the Post Suttler. In fact they are not soldiers, but laborers. And yet
they ask and demand that the men shall be well drilled as soldiers.
I was told yesterday that Col. Hartwell has withdrawn the charges against Col.
Heine. Well what is in the wind at present. I presume the court of Inquiry
granted by Genl Foster knocked the charges against Heine to the ground, and
to get out of the unpleasant consequences, Hartwell withdraws his charges.
Captain Luttwitz wanted me to get him out of trouble. This young scamp sells
his pay rolls five months ahead, and when the paymaster comes collect them
once more. He deserves to be dismissed at once. But the difficulty is at present
to attain the object of his dismissal, that he is at Genl Schim. Headquarters;
his chief Engineer!! What a humbug!!!
Another expedition is in project; but where, I do not know yet. I presume it
will be all right, if Genl Foster thinks proper to go ahead.
Captain Reed and Lt. Stevenson of the 3d Ohio Volunteers were my guest yesterday
and before. They escaped from Charleston. They went to New York with the to
day’s steamer. According [to] their statement about 60 other officers
escaped from the cars near Charleston, and an expedition was sent out to Kiawah
and John’s Island to see whether any are concealed there, and help them
to come into our lines.
August 19th 1864
Weeks and months past, this regiment was not able to drill in Battalion.
The men are doing very heavy fatigue duty, and about 200 are detached from
this small command in every direction. The district and Post Headquarters detache
men from here for special duties, and what are they doing there, at least one
portion of them? Well, serving upon the officers as waiters and in the officers
kitchen preparing the meals for the staff officers. This is the way we go ahead.
It is astonishing that measures are not taken to stop this misdeneamour. This
is verily nothing less than cheating the government in a skillfull manner.
The 103 Regt N.Y. and 74 Penn V. left yesterday for the North. They will I
presume join Genl Grant’s army there. I am very sorry that they have
not sent my regiment away. I wanted to go very much; because here is no chance
of doing anything for which credit could be got. We are here nothing more or
less than laborers and not soliders. There is no chance for promotion, because
no opportunity for distinction.
I sent away the report in the case of Lt. Loebel. I would not be astonished
if Captain Blau will come into a very serious difficulty for requesting the
mustering officer to muster back Loebel. And even Loebel and Srgt Koeher may
have troubles for the erasures made on the original discharge papers. Astonishing
that these officers put their fingers in such a dirty work.
I am going to Hilton Head to day to see whether this regiment will be acknowledged
as a veteran regiment or not?
Yesterday I have mustered the regiment for pay.
Boyce as I expected was dismissed the Service on the 21st August by Genl Foster,
subject to the approval of the President.
Returned from Hilton Head. The men whose term of service expires on or [about]
the 16 October will be mustered out on the 16 October. It is not yet decided
what will be with the regiment, whether is to be a veteran or not. However,
I think it will be acknowledged as such. Genl. Foster, however, recommended
that the regiment should be filled up from the next draft.
Genl Schimmelfenig is going home on furlough. I have seen him to day. He says
that if he feels better, he will come back, if not, than will not return anymore.
Gen Saxton took command of the district here. He has also his own staff officers.
I presume that Captain Luttwitz will be released from his heavy duty, and will
have a chance to command this company, which he never did since with the regiment.
Two new regiments arrived at Morris Island. The 157 and 56 New York.
My officers are very much troubled about the muster out of the regiment. Every
one should like to remain, tho’ they will be very much mistaken, because
I need officers who understand their duties, and my officers do not. I have
appointed at Hilton Head to be captain one of Genl Foster’s staff officers,
Lt. Robinson of the 21st C.T
Seen Col. Hartwell. Well he is the same. But I helped him at Hilton Head
anyhow, otherwise he would have been superseded. What thank will I receive,
I do not know; but I dont think he will forget it.
I am President of the Court Martial here. To day we met to adjourn. The Judge
Advocate was obliged to go to Morris Island to see Genl Saxton.
Received official notice to day that Genl Saxton has taken command of the district;
I am very glad of it.
Nothing new from the North. The Steamer Fulton, which was expected from New
York yesterday, I presume did not arrive at Hilton Head, otherwise we would
have received the mail to day.
The Court Martial of which I am the president adjourned to day till to morrow
morning at 9. One member of the court is sick, and another was appointed aid
to Genl. Saxton.
From the Charleston papers of the 3d we see that the Chicago convention has
nominated McClellan and Pendleton from Ohio for the presidency and Vice Pres
and also published a few extracts from the platform of the party assembled
at Chicago. It is a peace platform, and my friends, the democrats, will have
a very hard road to travel on such a peace platform. The military as of course
is for war. A large number of the soldiers have no other vocation, and desire
to remain in Service, consequently will vote, but for a man, for a president
who is for the war. It is true that McClellan has many friends in the army,
but he or his friends must know also very well that a soldier is nothing but
a machine; he works, and he does, and he acts as his superior tells him to
The presidential contest, however, will be a very interesting one. At present
Mr. Lincoln has the best chances to be elected. He has many friends, many contractors,
and many officials, and can make more yet if he chooses; he has the whole administrative
power in his hands, and most assuredly he will use it to his advantage. The
matter is for him very simple. If he desires to be elected, the immense influence
in his hands can accomplish it, if his friends will not betray him. But about
the politicians I have a very bad opinion. They generally sell out to the highest
bidder. Very few of them stick to principle, and to the real issues involved
in the contest. I know them tolerable well; I had experience in these matters.
However the opposition has also a very wide circle to work upon. Many things
occurred these last 3 years, which in the hands of a decided minded man, could
have been avoided. Corruption and despotism exist; and truly, the honest man
cannot get along among the corrupt ones, and has to leave the field of operation.
I have no doubt many things occurred of which Mr. Lincoln has no knowledge.
But the difficulty is that if matters are brought to his notice, they are hushed
up. I do not think that with the consent or knowledge of Mr. Lincoln. However
these things look very suspicious. The people it seems to me begin to think
about these matters; but the difficulty is that we are people who are too much
pecuniar, and everybody looks to his prospect and interest. In fact, the influence
of money is everywheres felt, and is the governing power. O patriotism! Where
are you? What would the noble fathers and founders of this republic say if
they were living and were spectators to the degeneration of their followers.
The contest will be by all means a very interesting one. McClellan’s
name and his popularity will have a great influence on those who are at present
shaking yet, and do not know exactly where to go, to which party they should
support; in short, the hungry politicians are anxious to know before hand which
party wins, and then to claim from that party a portion of their spoils.
In my opinion, (if the extracts from the Democratic party are true) Mr. Lincoln
has the inside track. Because even if the Northern people are dissatisfied
in some ways with Mr. Lincoln; they however have faith in him that he will
not conclude a peace to be to a disadvantage to the honor and majesty of the
U.S. Government. And I also think that Lincoln reelection will dishearten the
Rebels, and they will abandon their cherished project: the Southern Confederacy.
I am also pretty nearly sure that Mr. Lincoln means right. He made blunders;
that’s very true! But no man ever was placed in such a position as president,
as Mr. Lincoln. No president had such difficulty to solve; and if he made mistakes,
there was no intention on his part to commit any one.
I often thought about compromises. About convention of the different states,
to settle this unholy civil war. But I do not see how convention could be of
any use, when the Southerners do not mean to remain in the Union. And to frame
a Southern Confederacy, and to be two people, such a change, I am sure no true
hearted Americans can desire. And it can not be allowed under any consideration.
One people, one language and one country. Free and independent, under the old
flag, under old constitution, shall and must we forever live.
I wait for the Northern News, to say more on this subject.
September 9th 1864
The Court Martial organized to day, and we have also finished one case. This
will be a very tidious work. The Judge Advocate says that it may last 60 or
70 days to come.
There is no steamer from Hilton Head. Consequently no news from the North.
It was yesterday stated that the Fulton arrived yesterday to Hilton Head. But
I presume the statement is not correct, otherwise we would have the mail here.
I have no letters from Lt. Col. Morgan. It seems to me this young man has forgotten
entirely my kindness to him. I appointed him to his present position, and they
tell me that he is paying me with a very hard cash: otherwise, that he is working
against me, and should like to have my place as soon as possible. Well, such
is gratitude by some man. But if a man dugs a hole for another one, he generally
tumbles into it. Morgan was but Quartermaster and Lieutenant, I made him Lt.
Colonel; now it is very natural that he should be ambitious to be more. Well,
let him do his best. I am not afraid from anyone; because I have done and I
am doing my duty faithfully and honestly. Let these men, who desire to injury,
me work, and work along. They will be mistaken in their calculations.
At last I have news from home to the effect that Captain Seton has delivered
to my wife the money I sent by him. Anyhow it is a great carelessness on the
part of Seton to keep money in his possession for 22 days, whereas he could
have had delivered the same on the day he arrived home. He is absent at present
without leave; his furlough expired, and consequently, Seton is reported allready
as absent without leave. This is the case with Dr. Sarner. He is also absent
without leave, and reported as such.
This morning the court assembled. The first case was of Wertheimer, against
whom I preferred charges. When the question was put to him, whether he has
any objection to any of the members. He is I expected he objected to me on
that account, that I made the charges against him, and that I formed allready
opinion. I am sure he was right; excepting that I have not decided the matter,
because I have seen but few of the witnesses. However the objection is right
even on that account, that I made the charges. He was tolerable right. I would
have done the same thing if I were in his place. The court will not be delayed
on that account; there is quorum present to proceed with the trial.
We have news from the North up to the 5th. The most important is the occupation
of Atlanta by our troops. This is a very cheering news. I wish very much we
could do something here. But we have no forces to begin anything, the result
of which would be crowned with success. Why the navy does not make any demonstrations,
I can not comprehend. We have so many monitors, gunboats &c, and yet nothing
is done to make demonstrations against Charleston. I am informed that Dahlgreen
asked for more monitors and 20,000 land troops to take Charleston. He says
that it would be useless to silence any rebel battery unless it is occupied
by our troops. Because if not taken at once by us, the rebels rebuild and remount
the same through the night. I am sure he is right. The rebel batteries as soon
as silenced must be stormed and taken possession by land forces.
From the New York papers we received to day I can not find out whether McClellan
has accepted the nomination of the Chicago Convention. Some papers say that
with that peace platform he will not be satisfied. I think he is right. The
rebels have to succomb. They brought forward the evil and the war; it was pressed
upon our government; and the rebels have to return to their allegiance, or
Captains Grau and Appleton and also Lt. Wett came over from Morris Island to
investigate the case of Lt. Boyce, who was dismissed the Service and whose
dismissal was approved by the President. I am sorry for this young man. He
has some very good qualities; but the whiskey has turned his mind, and he is
but an useless individual to the Service. I tried my best to save him, for
the sake of his family, his aged mother; but my efforts were useless. Now this
investigation will do him more harm yet. His previous acts will be brought
up, which will damage him more than anything else.
Yesterday Wertheimer sent in a request to release him from arrest, on account
of his having been in confinement for 42 days. The case is however not such.
On last Saturday when he was noticed to appear for trial, and the Judge Advocate
was with him nearly one hour for consultation, only 39 days were elapsed. On
this 39th day, he was noticed before court to appear; consequently, he has
no claim to the benefit of that act of Congress which provides that when an
officer is not brought to trial for 40 days his arrest shall cease. This is
the opinion of Col. Hartwell also. Wertheimer therefore I can not release from
arrest before publication of his sentence.
Colonel Hartwell was here to day for a long time. He says that our camp and
soldiers are the best looking anyhow.
The resignation of Dr. Bott has been returned to day from Hilton Head. On my
recommendation it is accepted, and he can at present return to the bosom of
his family; where to be, he longed very much. Well I could not keep him. If
an officer wants to go, he shall; no good policy to keep him here.
I am informed that General Saxton will pay us a visit in a day or two. I wish
very much he shall come and see himself what a false reports have been made
about this and the other regiments. It can not be otherwise, if such man are
appointed Inspectors as Hoburg and Quintin. Hoburg is a good sort of man, but
sometimes he looks very hard in the whiskey bottle; and I have no doubt that
even then, when he made the report about my regiment, he was a little tipsy
and could not distinguish the numbers. Quintin is a hard customer. He was in
prison at hard labor, for six months, for rape, stealing and other disgracefull
acts. From such a man, no honorable act can be expected. That Schimmelfenig
has taken such notion to these foreign adventurers, well, this is not otherwise;
de gustibus non est dispudandum.
I am ordered to proceed to Hilton Head at once to give testimony in the case
of Lieutenant Halsted of the Navy, who was placed before Court Martial by Admiral
Dalhgreen, for carelessness on duty, and thereby causing the loss of life of
21 colored soldiers on the Second July last, at Stono River. This is the accident
when I was nearly drowned.
Arrived home safely from Hilton Head, where I was for a whole week. The trial
of Halsteds was finished last Tuesday. He trows all the responsibility on the
Pilot, which had charge of the Iris. Col. Van Wyck of the 56 Regt was his counsel
in the case.
I had the pleasure also to the Maj. General Foster and his lady, where I was
at dinner with them. Seton was present. I like the General very much. His lady
is a very amiable, refined, and educated lady.
In the same afternoon, I dined with Captain Burger, when Col. Wodford(?) was
Nothing was decided yet in regard to the regiment; but the decision cannot
be otherwise in my opinion than in favor of the regiment, because we justly
claim the title of veteran, having reenlisted more than ¾.
It seems to me that I will not be able to go to New York with the men who will
be mustered out. Col. Hartwell wants to go home very badly, and both of us
can not go home.
The Steamer Arago is expected home, at least to Hilton Head, to morrow or
to day; then we will have some news from the North. I sent from Hilton Head
to Charles for my wife four hundred dollars. Mr. McManus, the purser of the
Fulton, had the kindness to take it along with him. The Express would not take
the money with the promise that they will forward the same by the Fulton. I
am glad that McManus has taken charge of it.
To day we had another brigade drill, commencing at two, and ending at nearly
5. All went well, tho’ we hardly could understand Col. Hartwell’s
command, which in my opinion is very bad, especially for those who are not
accustomed to it.
Nothing new from the North. I understood that the Arago arrived at Hilton Head
The steamer from Hilton Head arrived to day. Mail is very small, but the
news about Sheridan’ battles in the Shenandoah very good. There is no
doubt of it, that the Confederacy is about played out. If Lincoln is elected,
the rebels will see that the North is determined to put them down, and then
they will be broken to pieces.
I am informed that Genl Saxton will leave us in a day or two. I am very sorry
to hear it. Genl Scammon, who was prisoner for a long time, will take command
of the district.
No information of any kind have we received from Headquarters in regard to
the regiment. I do not know whether we are to be considered as veterans or
My Major Kovacs, he should like to retain his position by all means in this
regiment. But I am sure that if I go, he will not be able to hold himself up.
He is a good fellow, but a very useless soldier. If the regiment is veteran,
the best he does will be, go home. I have no help, but not the least in him;
the men do not respect him, he does not understand how to drill them. He knows
tolerable well the command, but whether it is executed right or wrong, there
he has no judgment or knowledge to decide.
To day I was General field officer of the day. Genl Scammon paid us a visit.
I have visited with him the outposts at Long and Coles Island, and even at
Folly. I went first to Long Island, to the stockade, where a company of my
regiment was stationed, and the Genl was very well satisfied with their behavior.
From there we sailed down to No. 1 Fort at Coles Island.
In the afternoon about 4 o’clock we had a grand review at Folly Island.
The men appeared in good order, and the Genl complimented to them for their
To day Ostenthal sent in his resignation on account of disability.
I sent a request to the Adjt Genl to commission a surgeon, an American by birth,
as Surgeon in this regiment in place of Hagen, whose term of service expires
on the 28th of this month.
No news yet from New York.
The steamer Fulton is due to day.
Nothing new from the North. We have no notice whether the Steamer Fulton
has arrived at Hilton Head or not.
Two days ago I sent Capt Seton to Hilton Head to settle the case of the regt.
The War Dept does not decides the question submitted to them. They say that
it does not seem that the regiment is entitled to be called veteran. I knew
that the decision of Major Vincent will be such. He was always against me.
But I will try to show him again that I am right.
I sent away, under the command of Captain Friedle and Srgt Schuman, 66 men,
whose term of service expires on the 16th of this month. Forwarded also my
statement to the Adjutant General, and my reasons why this regiment should
be acknowledged as a veteran.
Lt. Col. Morgan was here. He says that he came to investigate some matters
for the Department. I am glad that he was here. At least he has seen how matters
stand here. However, I am assured that his object was quite different. He wanted
to take command of the regiment; but he has seen that the Adjt Genl at Morris
and H. Head acknowledged the truth of my statement, and forwarded the papers
to Washington for final decision, he thought, not to disclose his object proper.
He does not desire to serve under a foreigner, consequently he wants to come
back only if he can have the command. He is very ambitious to be commanding
officer, and does not care much whether he gets it on a true way or not. He
forget entirely that I made him what he is, from a 1st Lt. and Quartermaster.
When he arrived he put up his quarters with Blau.
Morgan left. Well if he does go ahead in that way, it is better that he shall
remain where he is. On the first evening by Blau, they gambled nearly till
morning. Then he took Blau away on a ride to Morris Island, without my permission.
When he came home, the gambling was resumed, and he lost his money, as I am
informed; and a few of the officers present were drunk. This is the discipline,
I presume, he desires to bring into the regiment. I am sorry to hear such matters
about Morgan. They are nevertheless true, and damaging.
Sarner’s papers came back for report and recommendation. Major Vincent
has shown himself always in opposition to me. This is another proof of his
feeling toward me. But I will get square with him as soon as I see Senator
Colonel Hartwell left this morning on his way North on 30 days furlough. I
told him to see Maj. Genl Foster and urge him to fill up the regiment. He promised
to do so.
I wrote yesterday a letter to Genl Foster, telling him my position, which I
have taken in regard to the recognition of the regt as veteran.
Lt. Robinson promised me to deliver safely this letter into the hands of the
I assumed the command of the Post, in the absence of Col. Hartwell. I have
requested the Adjt Genl to nominate somebody else, as I do not like to leave
and give the command of the regiment to any one. However my request was not
granted, and I am directed to take command whether I will or not. Well, I can’t
help it. A soldier has to obey orders.
My men take great interest in the voting. But the difficulty is that we have
no tickets or ballots; only the power of attorney was sent us without ballots.
Col. Van Wyck sent me a few, and if I do not receive them by the next mail,
I will send the Chaplain to Morris Island and have them printed. Now what a
carelessness is here of somebody’s; or it may be a political trick.
Ostenthal and Scholl resigned, and their resignation was accepted. They left
for home. Raven also put in his resignation. Meeker went to Hilton Head, but
why I do not know. I turned the command over to Maj. Kovacs.
We have information that the Arago arrived at Hilton Head last Sunday, and
yet we have received no mail by her. Astonishing what a post office system
Since the 18th, I am in command of the Post. Nothing to do but to see whether
is every thing in good order. I have visited the outposts; and I choosed to
day the new camping ground for my regiment. Genl Scammon gave me liberty to
place it where I think proper. I choosed a ground between Pawnee landing and
white house. It is a good place, and I can see the lookouts on Little and Large
Long Island on the right wing of Coles Island and the Pawnee landing; besides
I have in view the two creeks on which the enemy may attempt a landing; so
that I can throw my forces to any point with the promptness and velocity desired
by an alarm. The front of the camp is towards the enemy, as it should be, on
every occasion. Besides I will have the artillery to move towards the camp.
There are batteries at Stono, and a gunboat for protection. I need this section
of artillery there, in case the rebels approach on the creeks, we can make
a clean sweep of them before they could land.
I was on Morris Island yesterday. Genl Scammon is very sick. I could not see
him; he is in bed. Dr. Hagen was obliged to put up his headquarters with the
Genl; who it seems to me needs his services very much.
It is very strange that no ballotts for the next election were sent to this
regiment; and we are not even able to get any. Some few of the Union ticket
we have; but we have not from the Democratic side. And I desire to have. I
must have Mr. Dewey to have it printed at Morris Island.
Yesterday I made an expedition to Legareville. The object was to bring from
there 55 thousand bricks, which are needed for the use of the Bakery. I went
with the Gunboat McDonald Captain Thompson, and I placed Major Wales in command
of the 200 men.
Everything went off well. The enemy did not show their faces, excepting a few
cavalry men who are scouting John Island all along. At our approach, they withdrew.
We returned at Sunset, but brought only a few thousand because we were obliged
to build a new dock, and had only a few wheelbarrels to work with. Major Wales
placed his left wing of the pickets too far ahead, but I have ordered him to
bring them nearer to the town. If he would have left them in that position,
where he first placed them, the enemy would have very easely cut off from the
reserve. No misfortune or accident of any kind occurred.
The Steamer Fulton sailed down yesterday. I presume we will have the mail to
day and will know the result of the last weeks campaign in the Shenandoah and
before Richmond; also, we will ascertain how the elections turned out in the
different States for the October election.
I issued an order for my regiment to move to their new quarters.
I expect also the decision of the War Department in regard to the Regiment;
whether is to be acknowledged a veteran or not. I presume I have to go to Washington
yet in this case, because I do not expect anything good from Major Vincent.
He cannot forget the cut I gave him last March.
No change of any kind.
Genl Potter has assumed the command of the district yesterday, and he was here
paid us a visit. We went to Coles Island and visited the line of the pickets
on that Island. He seemed to be satisfied, yet he gave me orders to make
alterations in the line, tho’ they were made by Hartwell. It seems
to me he does not admire the dispositions which were made by Col. Hartwell.
On Coles Island we witnessed the dress parade of the 33 U. Colored troops,
and we returned to this Island about 5 ½ o’clock P.M. Colonel
Ames, who was with the Genl, nearly met with an accident; his horse run very
fast, and Col. Ames tumbled down over the head of the horse, in the camp
of the 55 Mass. Volunteers. However, I am very glad that Ames escaped without
the least injury.
This business of Comdg Post is a very tiresome business. I wish I could give
it over to somebody at once. I prefer to be with my regiment.
The Fulton left yesterday for New York.
I received an asst Surgeon, Dr. Pheiffer. I sent him to Hilton Head to be mustered
in at once. I got rid of Dr. Hagen; on the 28 his term of service expires.
He left before yesterday for H. Head, to be mustered out. I glad of it. I have
with one less in the regiment who was deceitfull and without character. I cannot
have faith in man who once deceived me. He wanted to remain, very much. I [he?]wanted
to be remustered. But I wont do any such thing. Let him go. A man without character,
I can not use. He was an unreliable subject. I will see what kind a man will
be the new assistant.
The Genl told me yesterday that he wishes to see me to morrow or a day thereafter
at Morris Island. I presume in the case of Blau and Wertheimer.
My Major, I have no doubt, will give me plenty to do as soon as I take command
of the regiment again. From appearances, matters are going on in a wrong way
in the regiment.
Nothing new. The 54th is mooving to its new place. The weather is very bad.
Strong winds from Northeast the whole day. I have no doubt that we will have
rainy days for a few days to come.
I wish very much that Hartwell will come back and take command of his post,
about which he is so proud. I do not know what the reason may be that he likes
to command the post. I presume he hates to return to his regiment where, as
I am informed, he is not liked by his officers and even the men of his regiment.
Adjutant Meeker left to day for Hilton Head, where he is to attend to the muster
out of 6 more men, whose term of service expired last month. I presume this
is the whole which is to be mustered out from the 54th. I have letters from
Captain Burger that he will send me some recruits as soon as he can do so.
Very small consolation for us.
Nothing new since yesterday. I am informed that the Arago passed down yesterday
evening to Hilton Head.
My men from the 54th voted mostly all. The majority is for Lincoln. And if
my Lt. Col. would have not interfered, the whole regiment would have voted
for Lincoln. But Morgan expressed to the men that he is not a politician, that
he is not a party man, then the men, at least about 50, begin to cry for McClellan;
and Morgan allowed with a smile the whole transaction However his feeble influence
could not do mischief. The regiment voted as I told them to do, viz: for Lincoln.
I am of the opinion that Morgan desires to do as much trouble as he can. If
I find out, only the least thing, that such is his object, then I will know
at once what to do. I am sure that if Col. Olcott would know what he has done
here last time, he would most assuredly stop his boasting ways.
The weather is very disagreeable. Raining slowly, and the eastern wind blows
The 54th is moving very slowly, because the transportation is not sufficient.
Hardly can we get 4 teams for a day, and even these make only two trips, instead
The new Doctor of the 54th did not come back yet from Hilton Head. I have however
a letter from Dr. Hagen in which he states that he must be mustered out first,
and then the new one mustered in. Dr. Hagen seems to be sorry to leave the
regiment. But it is better, let him go. He is unreliable in my eyes.
The new Camp of the 54th is progressing slowly to its completion. Great deal
of work is to be done yet, to make it look well and clean.
Nothing new from Headquarters of the Department. The Fulton sailed down to
Hilton Head yesterday afternoon, and I hope that the mail will be sent to us
to day or to morrow.
I ask yesterday the Comdg Genl to dismiss Major Wales of the 55. Mass. From
Service, for disrespect towards his Superior officers, for malicious and intended
disobedience and mutinious conduct. I will see to day what will be the answer
of the Comdg General.
I have no information from the War Department, what will be the fate of the
regiment. No decision arrived yet.
Two days ago an order was issued by General Foster, relieving Genl Potter,
and sending here Genl Hatch to take command of the district. Genl Potter assumes
command at Hilton Head. Genl Scammon goes to Florida in place of Genl Hatch.
No news from the North in regard to the election. We have however little doubt
that Mr. Lincoln is reelected. The news about the election will come to us,
we presume, from rebel sources first.
I have no letters from New York in regard to the muster out of the men whose
term of Service expired.
Col. Hartwell I expect back next week. I wish he is here now.
To day I received a telegram from Morris Island that Mr. Lincoln is elected
president. Only New Jersey and Kentucky voted for Mac [McClellan].
There is another news from Morris Isl., viz: the rebels are firing salutes
on the whole line. What can be the meaning of it? At present we dont know yet.
But I presume in a day or two we will.
Col. Hartwell it seems to me is not such a friend of mine as I thought him
to be. I received the inspection reports from last month, when he was himself
inspecting the troops. He reported that the officers and men are instructed
indifferently. That the Sutler sells articles not allowed by law. That officers
cannot speak both German and English languages, and that that fact is injurious
to the Service.
Now Col. Hartwell knew better than this. Well such is the world. He pretends
to be a friend, and in the back he injures as much as he can.
I am informed that Genl Hatch arrived at Morris Island this morning to relieve
Genl Potter. I will go to morrow morning and report myself by him as Commanding
officer of the Post.
There is a story going around that Genl Schimmelfenig arrived at Hilton head,
and that he will come here and assume command of the district.
To day and to morrow a general Inspection of the troops under my command will
take place. Captain Samson will inspect the troops as the acting Inspector
of the district.
I hope we will get a mail to day yet. So far I could not ascertain where we
got the news about the reelection of Mr. Lincoln. I think it was all right
that I made a speech for him.
Yesterday I received a letter from Major Vincent of the Adjutant Generals office
informing me that the Circular 36 from the War Department will decide whether
our regiment is a veteran or not. Well this is all right; we gained the point
which we needed. I am satisfied now. The papers in this case have to go to
Captain Leslie Smith, the Commissary of Musters, and that will settle this
Last night about 9 o’clock P.M. I came home from Genl Hatch. An expedition
is in project and I have my instructions to carry out.
To day is thanksgiving day over the whole Island as well as in Washington and
other places where the Presidents proclamation can reach.
I will review the troops on this and other Island. My order was issued 3 days
Nothing new from the North, excepting what I heard last night, viz: that Genl
Buttler is appointed Secretary of War, and Stanton Chief Justice, and that
Sherman is at Augusta. This last news is the best amongst all. However I must
confess that the appointment of Butler as Secretary of War is worth great deal.
Tho’ Stanton was as good as another man, but, had he been selected Chief
Justice long ago, the matter of controversy amongst politicians would have
been settled long ago. Stanton is in a good place anyhow, and forever.
Nov. 27th Sunday
I just left Genl Hatch. He is very much pleased that I have carried out his
instruction perfectly well, and without the least accident. He left about ½ hour
ago, with the Steamboat C. Houghton, which took him out to the bar, where a
naval vessel will take him on board. He had Lt. Col Ames with him and Dr. Burton
Chief Med. Director.
There is a great responsibility on my shoulders. I have but very little force
left on these 3 Islands; and in case the rebels would make an attempt to displace
me, I would have plenty to do. The 33d is at Coles, one portion of the 54th
at Long Island, and at Folly Island. The heavy duty is devolved on the 54th
which I could not send to Long Island.
Genl Hatch is at present in command of this separate Brigade, which goes on
He told me when I left him on board the Houghton that Genl Sherman is advancing
in two colums from Augusta, and that he hopes to be in Charleston in less than
15 days. I hope it will be so; but I am afraid it is too much to be hoped.
If I see that the rebels have a very small force at James Island, I may just
as well make an attack on this side; though I am not authorized to do so. But
in this hazard undertaking if I succeed I will have the glory of it myself;
if on the contrary I may fail, and bring my troops into some disaster, well,
then I am sure that I will be cashiered at once for disobedience of orders &c.
I will see however.
I have neglected my book, but can’t help it. I have much to do with
this Post business, and for public good I am compelled to neglect my own affairs.
There is nothing new yet from the expedition, but the main object is accomplished:
the railroad communication between Savannah and Charleston is cut, and Sherman
cannot be afraid that his line will be a difficult one to travel.
To day I have been on board the Steamer California, which sailed from here
direct to New York. I sent by the Captain of the Steamer Mr. Godfrey five hundred
dollars home, in the care of Meeker & Northrup. He was kind enough [to]
promise me that he will deliver himself the money to Charles. I am glad that
I got rid of this money. It was an annoyance to me.
To my little nephew, who is studying at Schemnitz(?) in Hungary, I sent a letter
and also twenty five dollars for curiosity’s sake. They I presume never
seen such a greenbacks as we have here.
I have visited Long Island also. The rebels are answering our fire from their
forts. We have had quite a little cannon skirmish to day.
No boat from Hilton Head, and I do not believe that we will have any till the
The Steamer California sailed to day for New York direct. Captain Godfrey
gave me a receipt for five hundred dollars to be given to Charles at New York.
Nothing new from any quarters, but I presume the steamer will be in from New
York to day or morrow.
A small steamboat came in this morning from Hilton Head, bringing the news
that our troops have no possession of the bridge yet between Savannah and Charleston;
that a great battle was fought, that we lost over 600 killed and wounded, but
whether we gained anything or not it not stated.
That Captain Crane of the 55 Mass. is killed, and Col Hartwell wounded and
also Lt. Boyton killed of the same regiment. I am sorry to hear this report
and I hope that is exaggerated too much.
We have news from the North as far as the 30 November. From Sherman it seems
to me they have no reliable news at all. I presume the report which we received
to day may be more correct; it is stated that Sherman had to attack Savannah
on the 4th or to day.
I have been very busy these last few days with forwarding troops to Genl
Hatch. Last night I sent away 500 men more; and with the next transport I have
to go myself, because nearly all my troops will be there. I for the sake of
keeping my present position, I cannot allow that my troops should be commanded
by someone else.
Genl Schimmelfenig arrived yesterday and took command of the district at once;
tho’ I have no official communication of his resuming command of the
district; but last night he sent me an order, wherefore I presume he is to
remain here. I am glad that he has come back.
The expedition which is at present in progress in Broad River near Port Royal
seems to me will be a very costly affair. We have lost over thousand men and
gained nothing, but nothing in all. Genl Hatch, I am informed, changed his
base of operations. Well, maybe he will do better next time. I hope, for the
country’s sake, that he will. It is said that our men stormed a battery
at least 10 times, and without success. I think that position could have been
taken by another road more easely; but our Genls think that they knew best
what they are doing.
About Sherman we have no news at all which could be reliable. The rebel papers
of Charleston dont say anything about him. There is a flag of truce at present,
to exchange prisoners in Charleston Bar. The firing is at present prohibited
on both sides. Our men who are exchanged are in the most deplorable condition.
They are dying off, poor fellows, like a little plant before a gale. What were
their sufferings can be easely imagined: nothing to eat, no clothing to cover
their bodies, exposed to the clemency of changeable weather, and having not
even good water [to] drink; as of course even the strongest constitution of
a man has to succomb, and its vitality forever impaired. How sad, how very
sad is it to hear their different stories about their sufferings. My opinion
is that the government ought to have given for each man 2 rebels, instead of
delaying their exchange, and allowing to fight with suffering worse than death,
these brave fellows who were so winglingly [willingly] laying down their lives
for the just and rightyous cause of our country.
I am informed that about 8000 will be released this week. At least so says
Colonel Mulford, Commissioner of Exchange.
January 1st 1865
The day we spent splendidly. God shall protect the Union and us henceforth.
Many things happened since I wrote my last report in this book. I made expedition
with our gunboats up to Stono and other places. Prepared my forts within
my Post against any demonstration the enemy may undertake against us. Established
signals to communicate not only by telegram with Morris Island but otherwise.
Genl Schim. thinks that the rebels will shortly evacuate Charleston. I think
he is right. They can not hold themselves if Sherman is advancing so fast against
A telegram from Morris Island informs me that the 54 Regt is acknowledged
and declared a veteran organization. All right.
The Genl sent me a dispatch that the Secretary of War may visit Morris and
also Folly Island, and wish me to prepare my troops accordingly for a review
Received orders and instructions to prepare my troops for an expedition to
James Island. Some other troops will also arrive. I am commanding this Post
still, tho’ I should like to be relieved at once; it is a troublesome
business and especially under Genl Schim. who is always troubling us with unimportant
matters. Hartwell is still absent. I wish he is here; but he don’t want
to come back.
Coles Island Febry 12th
On the 10th we had a little fight on James Island. I was ordered to conduct
the advance, and I had it complete and carried out to the point. My regiment
behaved most splendidly. We took the first rifle pits, which were never taken
before. I crossed with my regiment first to James Island, after me came the
other 3 companies of my regiment I sent ahead as skirmishers under Blau. About
3 ½ o’clock P.M. we charged the pits made many prisoners, amongst
them Major Manigault. At 6 Hartwell left, and the Genl gave me the command
of the troops. On that evening I withdrew my forces to Battery Island; and
next day the 11th crossed again from Battery to James Island and made another
demonstration against the enemy.
About 12 o’clock of the 11th the enemy came forward with a flag of truce.
The General did not wanted to communicate with them. Their object being to
get information in regard to Major Manigault, and refused to retire unless
they know the condition of Manigault, who is in our hands. Then the Genl sent
out Captain Walton to communicate with them, and after they received the information
they withdrew. About 3 o’clock they [illegible] their men in the rifle
pits, and I thought their object was to attack me, because I had a small force.
I informed the Genl of my opinion, and he at once directed me to withdraw my
forces to Battery and from there to Coles and wait for orders.
My retreat was accomplished very promptly by day light; the enemy discover
my withdrawal only when I was at Battery, and beyond their reach.
On the 14th I made another demonstration on James Island, being supported by
the Navy vessels on Stono and Secessionsville creek. The enemy did not molest
my advance. I withdraw my forces after dark from James and Battery Island to
Coles in a splendid order.
Received orders to cross with all my forces tonight to Coles, march and countermarch
them, make as much noise as we can, and also fire camps in every direction.
Fort Johnson Febry 18th
At 11 o’clock A.M.
On the 17th I crossed from Coles to James Island with all my troops to see
whether the enemy has left the Island or not. The General was right, that they
were evacuating. However on the 17th I could discover nothing in my front of
their movement, because the rifle pits were occupied by them. But about 12
o’clock P.M. I heard from my place on the nearest point to the enemy’s
line, that they are moving something. About 5 o’clock just before daybreak,
all was quite within their lines, and after dark and before sun rise, I could
not see any men on their line. At the same time a large explosion occurred
about 6 o’clock of this day. I sent words to the Genl, who was on the
Frazier on the right of Coles, and informed him of my opinion. He came over
with his staff and ordered an advance. The 21st served as skirmishers followed
by my regiment. We soon reached their rifle pits, where their pickets were
last night, and found them empty of any rebel. Then I knew that the Island
is evacuated. We soon reached their first line and planted the Stars and Stripes
on Pringle, Lamar and Johnson, and advanced very fast to this place, where
we are now waiting for transportation to Charleston.
There is an immense fire in the city; we thought first that the whole city
is on fire, but I am informed only the mills, cotton factories, vessels and
a few houses are burning.
All last we got Charleston. God shall help us further till all is settled,
and the laws executed.
At Charleston near the entrenchments
Crossed Ashley river last night about 10 o’clock. Could not get transportation
sooner. Marched to this place, thro’ the city, and made awfull noise
as tho’ a whole division would have marched in. I am commanding the entrenchments.
Deserters and contrabands are coming in by dozens. The fire in the city is
nearly put out. The city presents an awfull spectacle—ruins over ruins,
and desolation. The Boys are providing themselves, without the Quartermaster.—
Nothing but complaint about property taken.
Just received marching orders. I am directed to take command of the 2d Brigade
Potter’s Division. We march to day or to morrow, and follow up the
enemy, who is retreating as fast as they can.
What a short stay for us here. We as of course wanted to make us a little comfortable,
but I see their no help for us. Good soldiers the Genl needs and Potter has
choosen the brave 54th. So we go.
Charleston March 5th
Arrived here last night from St. Stevens, which is on the banks of Santee
We left this place on the 22d. Marched to Goose Creek on that day. Could see
no enemy excepting a few scouts.
On the 24th about 11 o’clock, near Home’s plantation I met the
enemy’s rear guard of cavalry. Deployed 2 comp. 54 and 1 comp. 52 as
skirmishers. Had a good skirmish. The enemy fled. They would not stand. Charged
the woods, and drove them out, and skirmishing with them as far as Monks Corner
and a little north of that town, where we halted.
On the 26th we arrived at St. Stevens, near the Santee River. No enemy. They
burned the bridge. All rebels left, excepting a few cavalry men.
To Pineville we arrived on the second of March, and on the 3d to Monks Corner
once more. Here I received orders to come back to Charleston and report to
On this little expedition, we had the worst roads I ever seen, and there was
not a day without rain. The men suffered a great deal because they were always
wett, being also compelled to cross creeks, in some places four feet deep.
I have turned in to the Government 112 animals, which I alone captured on
this expedition with my Brigade. Also carriages and an immense number of wagons.
I kept to horses for myself, which I will have appraised and buy it from the
Government. I am going to James Island with my forces.
On the 10th I relieved Colonel Hallowell’s Brigade of colored troops,
at the entrenchments, which I commanded for two days. I was relieved by Col.
Hartwell, and came over to James Island on the 12th.
To day I received orders to prepare my command for field duty. Also the 56
N.Y. and the 52d Penn. Now what was the use to bring us here for a day or two.
I am informed that I have to go now to Wilmington North Carolina and take the
To day Brig Genl Williams inspected my command, in a rainy day. I hope he
Sent away to day Major Kovac, with 100 men, and also the 52d to our new place
which as of course, I do not know exactly. With the balance of my forces, I
will follow as soon as I can get transportation. Kovacs left by the Steamer
New York to day. They were ordered to take 10 days rations along, which shows
that we have to go on a longer voyage than Wilmington; or that at that place
there is no subsistence to get and the men have to eat, otherwise the foraging
will go on, on a high scale.
Was in the city to day. Seen the Genl, but he says that we have to go. Well,
it is better to go than to stay on James Island, which I am informed is a very
sickly Island, especially thro’ the summer. My baggage I have to leave
behind. No transportation can be got for all what we have.
We have no mail. No news of any kind. However they say in the city that Sherman
has suffered any little weeping [whipping?] from the rebels, but I think that
I do not know when we leave. I have to wait till further orders.
We are still on James, waiting for transportation. I visited the city to
obtain permission to get my horses and take them away.
A few senators and members of Congress were in Charleston. They came down with
their wives and children even. No time settled when we go.
We have not started from James Island yet. What Genl Hatch told me this morning,
it is doubtfull whether we go out of the Department or not. However we are
going on an expedition, but where and to what place, I do not know. One thing
is certain, that we don’t go there when one portion of my forces are
under Major Kovacs.
I have been in the city nearly all day. Visited Genl Schimmelfenig. He says
he is better now. I am glad of it.
We have no mail. The weather is windy, but clear; tho’ I do not think
that this portion of the Island is good for us. I will change my place if we
have to stay.
We are stationed still at James Island, under orders to go away as soon as
transportation can be furnished to us. From Major Kovacs and his command I
have no information; I do not know when they gone.
For the articles I received from Major Hennesy, have nearly come into a trouble.
The provost Marshall visited my quarters and wanted the articles. I am glad
that I have given notice to Captain Appleton, otherwise I would have gone into
a trouble. Where Major Hennesy got the property, I do not know; any how he
made me present of them; but whereas I considered the articles not to be had
by officers, I gave notice of them. However I consider the action of the Provost
Marshall very ungentlemanly and insulting toward me; and if General Hatch does
not acquit me honorable, I most assuredly will carry the point to the highest
To day I was informed that we have to go out of this department anyhow.
I am told my detachment is stationed at Morehead North Carolina, not very far
from Beaufort; but what they are doing there I do not know. I have no letters
of any kind from Major Kovacs or anybody else in that region.
Nothing new from North. No mail of any kind. I have no information from home.
April 2d Sunday
Since the 27th I am in command of the defences of Charleston, in place of
Genl Schimmelfennig, who is reported sick.
Genl Hartwell as Brevet is ordered to take command of his regiment, and he
did so, about 3 days ago. Well this is a very funny proceeding; to send a General
to command his own regiment is very slight insult, and even too much insult
may be called.
Three days ago, I asked for a Court of Inquiry for the action of the Provost
Marshall visiting my quarters. I do not know what Genl Hatch intends to say
about it; but I must be satisfied. That’s all.
Received marching orders for an expedition. Seen Genl Hatch and complained
to him about the acts of the Provost Marshall.
April 6th 1865
Arrived to this place, 4 miles house yesterday evening. To day very early
started with 8 days rations.
Arrived at the North side of Goose Greek at about 3 ½ o’clock
Gen Hartwell in command of the 2 Regiments, and a Section of Artillery.
Arrived at Cane’s Farm very late. Chased the rebel till about 11 o’clock
P.M. They escaped however, by a road in the rear of the building. Myself commanded
the 3 companies. Chelises made a blunder with his firing upon the two rebel
pickets; which as of course started the others.
On the 8th we arrived at Pineville. Very heavy marches we have all the day.
Many contrabands are following our lines. If this business goes on on that
rate, we will collect a few thousand niggers.
The same day we arrived at Mr. Porcher’s farm and there we encamped.
Sunday the 9th about 8 ½ A.M. we left Mr. Porcher’s farm. Took
along with us all what we could. Silver plated wares &c. Mr. Porcher was
taken along with us as prisoner. The 55 Mass. destroyed everything on the farm.
Even plundered the very building in which Genl Hartwell was still staying.
I am astonished that he allowed the men to do this. After we left, even the
building was set to fire, and all property destroyed there. The colored soldiers
have done all the mischief.
About 4 o’clock P.M. on the 9th we arrived at Mrs. Sinclairs farm near
Eutaws Springs. A flag of truce was sent out to communicate with the rebel
cavalry; telling them not to molest the colored population, otherwise every
farm will be burned. This was the purport of the flag of truce, as I am informed.
However I do not know exactly because I did not ask Hartwell about it. Mr.
Porcher and the two Ravenells were placed under my charge, because there were
apprehensions that the colored men may massacre or otherwise misuse them.
At 4 o’clock P.M. on the 10th we left Nelson’s ferry and started
with the two miles long train of contrabands towards Ridgeville. Marched on
that day 12 miles and stopped about 12 P.M. in the evening. Great deal of trouble
we have with the contrabands. These fellows plunder and pillage every farm.
Yesterday about 4 P.M. arrived at the 4 mile house. Left the caravan of nigroes
at Goose Creek Station. We have been very little molested by the rebel cavalry.
They are but few. Four of them Friedle captured, but they were released at
once, because they pretended to have come into our lines under a flag of truce.
We have news about the Surrender of Lees army.
Just came in, and again I received orders to march somewhere on another expedition
with five days rations. Still I would like to go, but my men are worn out;
in seven days they marched about 130 miles, averaging about 18 miles per day.
Shoes, clothing &c are needed.
To day is a great celebration at Sumter. Anderson is here, and many Senators.
I have no invitation nor the other detachments outside the city, because we
are supposed to be in the field; in fact we are the fighting stock of this
April 19th 1865
At Four miles house
A very sad news we have. Mr. Lincoln was assassinated What a national calamity
is this, and even at the present time. We hope it may not be true the report.
The expedition, where we wanted to go, is blown up for the present. I think
I will go over to Fort Johnson.
These last two nights, I had an alarm. The colored men are coming in by dozens
and report the rebels 600 strong. I was prepared to receive them, but as I
expected, they would not come. These colored men if they see a dozen rebels,
they generally set their number at 500. Rev. W. Beecher visited my camp. I
brought him out in my carriage to see the contrabands.
I was ordered to come inside the entrenchments yesterday, and to day I am
field officer of the outposts.
My camping ground is very good. I am informed however that this portion of
the city is very unhealthy, especially in July, Aug & September.
To day I had a dress parade. General Hatch, with Mrs. Martell, came out to
witness the ceremony. I as soon as I discovered him, gave him the necessary
salute, which he acknowledged, saying that I surprised him. Folly.
I am informed that the cessation of hostilities will be resumed at once, so
General Hartwell told me yesterday afternoon. Sherman’s agreement with
Johson has been disapproved by the President.
I am glad to hear that Mr. Seward and his son Fred is improving. Indeed I am
very glad of this news.
The Arago’s mail, I presume, will be here to day or to morrow.
Orangeburg June 10th
On the 6th of May we left Charleston. 4 regiments and a Section of artillery.
We arrived at Sommerville on the 8th. Begin to build new camp, and at once
received orders for marching. A few days ago we arrived at this place, but
how long we have to stay here, we do not know; because the inhabitants of
the different towns desire very much our regiment to remain, and I am informed
Genl Hatch promised them to bring perhaps our regiment back to the place
where we started from. However everything is uncertain. We may stay here,
and we may go away within a few days.
I am informed that 4 white regiments will be sent to their homes to be mustered
out; the 127, 157, 144 New York and 107 Ohio are, I am informed, the regiments
to be sent home and mustered out.
Hartwell is at Orangeburg since 4 days. He is expected home to day or to morrow.
Orangeburg June 11th
We have different contradictory news in regard to the muster out of the regiments.
However, we will know something more in a day or two. The paymaster promised
to come out to pay us to morrow or Tuesday.
To day being Sunday, the Post chaplain Mr. Rev. Bolles, held an able sermon
to my men in the open air.
Since we are at this place, we had mostly always rain. But the country is very
The Paymaster is here. This is the newest and best news. The men need the
money very much.
Still we are stationed at Orangeburg. What will be done with the regiment,
we do not know. I sent 16 men to muster out; their term of service expires
before the 1st of October.
I received a stand of colors for the regiment from the Common Council of the
city of New York. The presentation will take place in a day or two.
Major Kovacs was mustered out on the 3d June. He left to day. I am sorry—he
ought to have been left on Service, and allowed to go home, where the regiment
is to be mustered out.
At present, it is very tiresome to be a soldier. Nothing to do but guard and
guard duty. Better to go home. In the meantime the white troops must be kept
here, otherwise the Negroes will play the devil with the white population.
There are complaints of serious character every day committed by the Negroes
and the colored soldiers.
I am informed that the 127, 144, & 157 Regts are to be mustered out. Col.
Gurney wanted to retain his regiment in the Service as a military necessity;
but he could not get the matter through. Well, well.
August 15th 1865
Since I wrote my memorandums in this book, many changes took place; but none
of such consequence as to change the position of myself or regiment.
Many regiments have been mustered out, and my regiment was filled up from the
127 & 157.
Blau was mustered out, tho’ he tried very hard to keep himself in command
of the regiment and in Service. Hartwell made separate application for him
to the War Department, but it was of no avail.
Hartwell will be also mustered out with his regiment in a day or two, and I
will succeed him in command. He is however trying very much to be retained.
I returned from my leave 3 days ago.
To morrow I am going to visit Aiken, Barnwell, Hamburg [i.e, Bamburg], and
other places in my districts; in order to find out what and when are improvements
I was relieved from the detail of General Court Martial, for which I was ordered
June 27th.From Hilton Head, I have positive information that the regiment has
to stay in the Service at least till the 1st of February next.
I have returned to day from my tour of observation from Bamburg, Barnwell
and Aiken, also the adjacent plantations.
No serious difficulties are at any place. I find however that the dissatisfaction
which prevails amongst the niggers was caused by the colored troops, who put
the ridiculous idea in the head of the Negroes that they are not obliged to
work, that the whole crop on the plantations, even with the firma terra, belongs
to them. They refuse to sign contracts, and if made one they, at least large
portion of them, does not abide by the stipulations of the same. A large number
of them are running around the country, having no home, stealing, robbing,
and doing as much mischief as they can. There is however a good prospect that
as soon as the colored troops are withdrawn, a better order will prevail. Some
of the planters are willing to acquiesce in the new order of things. Some of
them still retain their cruelty and prejudices.
The feeling towards the government, I think it to be best at Aiken. There the
people begin to feel better disposed in their support and maintainance of good
order, than at Bamburg and Aiken [sic]. As of course they all feel more or
less haughty and sore of their failure, and overpowering.
Hartwell is still here, tho’ his regiment left yesterday, and as Colonel
of the same he ought to have left. But it seems to me that he sticks very much
to the last ditch. Out of courtesy he ought to have turned the command over
to me; but he thinks it seems to me otherwise. He lost nothing of his arogance
and showy disposition. I have advised Col. Burger of the facts, stating that
I can manage my own affairs, without the assistance of Col. Hartwell, of whom
I never ask any advice, nor help; and if he is ordered to stay here, I have
to be put on special duty somewhere else. We see what will be the result.
Hartwell still here. He is waiting for something. Sticks to the last ditch
as fast as he can. He says he is going to morrow.
Eight companies of the 54th I sent to Charleston. The whole regiment was ordered
to that place, but to day from a message I am ordered to keep her 2 companies.
Four companies of the 25th Ohio are also here under my command. General Meade
visited Charleston & Columbia. He did not come to this place, it being
out of his reach or travel. I was ordered to take command of Orangeburg &c,
even if the whole of the 54th is gone to Charleston; which I think will not
be the case, because I am informed unofficially that the 25th is transferred
to Genl Ames command. Genl Devens took command of this district yesterday.
October 1st Sunday
All the companies of the 54 were sent back from Charleston, excepting two.
I am informed that the regiment will be the permanent garrison of the city.
Whether it will be so or not I do not know. I have no positive information
from Hilton Head.
The 102 Regiment Col. Chipman went down to Charleston to be mustered out. Also
the 33. Col. Bennett’s, but for what purpose, I do not know.
How long we have to stay here, no one knows.
The convention at Columbia adjourned. They repealed the secession ordinance &c
and I hope that they will not undertake anymore to frame such a paper. They
will elect members for the Legislature this month, and then will go on, to
bring the state to its proper state in the Union.
In my district, matters are better than they were before. The colored troops
made plenty of mischief. There is no doubt about this. However they began to
understand that the colored man have to work, for themselves, their families
and their employers.
The Provost Court is always in session, sometimes here, other time at Barnwell
and Aiken. I will also direct them to go to Branchville.
My promotion is not yet here. I wrote about it to Senator Morgan, Mr. Barney
and Genl Sandford. Kovacs left. He could not be mustered in. I told him as
much at the city of New York, but it seems to me he thought otherwise.
I sent home a few days ago one hundred & twenty five dollars in greenbacks,
and over 2000 dollars in worthless confederate notes, which I intend myself
to distribute amongst my friends.
December 31st 1865
This is the last day of this month. Nothing took place in our situation. The
regiment was ordered to be mustered out, but Genl Grant suspended the muster
out. How long we have to stay, there is no one could foresee.
Three officers resigned. Davis, Hohmann and Wily. They are sorry that they
I have been recommended for promotion by Genl Devens, Saxton, Lickler and Hartwell.
Whether it will be granted or not, I do not know. In fact, I do not care a
bit for it, because others have been promoted who dont deserve anything at
all, and I do not desire to be placed in a dubious light. Hartwell recommended
me for gallant and soldierly and meritorious conduct. This was endorsed by
Saxton, Devens and Lickler. This is enough for me. Whether the brevet will
come or not it makes little difference to me.
Received Orders for muster out, but on the same day they were countermanded.
The lodge room is pretty nearly done. Some of the expenses, I ordered to be
paid from the Post fund, collected from the inhabitants of this district.
Nothing new, except the official business to be transacted.
Received orders for muster out. Will be in Mount Pleasant about the 10th of
next month I presume.
Will leave Charleston to day in the Genl Barnes for New York. The muster out
rolls are all complete, and signed by the mustering officer. I received my
appointment as Genl of the Army.
Good bye South Carolina!!!
New York City
Arrived on the 18th from Charleston. Paid off on the 21st on Harts Island.
Men and officers disbanded. The officers, some of them, did not pay me for
the instruments, and I am sure I have to pay it myself. Well, I thought so.
I could not expect anything else from some of those officers, whom I made everything,
but who like dishonest fellows, thought proper that I may as well pay their
bills, because I promoted them. I am glad to see that my American officers
have done their duty, Except Cornell. Here I presume ends the 54th and its
Back to Part One
Back to 54th Regiment During
the Civil War
New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military History
March 27, 2006