June 1863. The Civil War has been going on for over two years now, with no end in sight. Benjamin H. Ellicott, watching it all from his home in Baltimore, has written an amazing diary of events.1 His skepticism about official reports and his access to both southern and northern newspapers makes him a valuable observer. And it doesn’t hurt that he was very articulate.
Why did Ellicott write this diary? Who was he writing for? His detailed and insightful narrative of reports about the war seem to be meant for posterity. No doubt he understood he was living through a remarkable time in American history. He might have been writing the diary for his father-in-law, Elisha Warford, who was living in Hunterdon County, but I suspect this was more for himself, to read over in the future when the war might finally be over. Ellicott would never get that chance.
Wednesday June 3rd 1863. A small Shower of rain came over last night which has just varied a little the monotony of the spell of dry weather which has prevailed for so many days in succession, but without much benefit to the suffering vegetation – The Temperature is pleasantly warm.
The Reports made public as to the operation before Vicksburg indicate that the dreadful losses of the Feds under Grant, in their efforts to take that stronghold by assaults made on the 19th May and on Friday and Saturday 22nd and 23rd May also on Monday 25th and Tuesday 26th May has deterred him from any further trial of that Kind, and Grant is attempting to reduce it by regular approaches and by Starvation – We have reports also of Genl Bank, having crossed the Mississippi with a large force, and with the intention of operating from Bayou Sara either upon the rear of Port Hudson, or of reinforcing Genl Grant’s left wing. Between the operations of his own Forces in Louisiana and Raids of his Cavalry in Mississippi, the destruction or capture of an immense amount of Property has been accomplished – As his movements have been made in a rich planting region abounding in Cotton and Sugar Plantations these Reports may be verified The wholesale destruction of Property in all this region during the progress of the Fed. forces must insure retaliation by the Rebs. whenever they may make any invasion of the Fed. States.
Vallandingham was sent through the Federal lines according to the sentence passed upon him by the D__[?] Head Court Martial at Cincinnati and modified by the order of President Lincoln. He was taken to Murfreesboro whence Rosencranz sent him under escort towards Shelbyville, where he was left on neutral ground to the care of Reb. pickets to whom he wished to surrender himself as a Prisoner, but Genl Bragg denied his claim to do so as he was not in the service of the Fed. Government. Since the arrest of V. many demonstrations of sympathy have been made in his behalf by the Democrats of Ohio, N. York, Penna & N. Jersey – On Monday last a large meeting of this Kind was held at Newark N. J.; before the Meeting assembled detachments of Troops took possession of the Entrances of the Square where it was to be held, and others were posted between the Two stands prepared for the Speakers. The assemblage of the People was so large that this latter party of Soldiers was completely surrounded and hemmed in, and the the [sic] Mayor of the City, or the Sheriff of the County informed the Commander of these Troops that if they were not removed, he would order the armed Militia and drive them away whereupon the Soldiers were withdrawn. Some of these appear to have attempted to take a Vallandingham [sic] banner from some Country Delegation coming into the meeting when the Soldier was Knocked down and 4 or 5 of his companions shared the same fate. A similar Meeting was also held in Phila on Tuesday evening which was saved from disturbance most probably only by the presence of a very large Police force under direction of the Mayo. all the Depots of Army supplies & belonging to Government throughout the City, being strictly guarded by a large force of Troops, to prevent them from being taken or molested by Any Mob – After the adjournment of this Meeting several fights and collisions occurred between Citizens cheering for Hooker, or for Mc Clean, and many arrests had to be made before order was restored for the night.
The Premium on Gold to-day is 46 3/4 pr. ct.
June 4th . Clear and pleasant this forenoon becoming cloudy towards evening.
No later intelligence from Vicksburg but the accounts the repulses of the Feds before reported with all the terrible losses thereof with the loss of one or more and the disabling of several of Porter’s Gunboats, are confirmed Sent letter of this date and Newspapers to Elisha Warford and Newspapers to A. B. C.
Saturday June 6th 1863. The clear and pleasant weather of the last week has been varied by a small shower last evening – so light however as to have but little effect on vegetation or Impression upon the Temperature.
The reports from Vicksburg comes up to last Sunday but no further fighting appears to have taken place except the cannonading of the Reb. Works by numerous pieces of artillery put into position by Grant, and the bombardment which was Kept up from Porter’s fleet on The River – The siege operations seem to be going on satisfactorily –
Genl Burnside issued an order recently directing the suppression of the “Chicago Times”, and interdicting the circulation of “The World” newspaper of N York, within his Military Department – Accordingly the Office of the Chicago Times was occupied by Soldiers and the issue of that Paper was stopped. This proceeding caused intense excitement there especially on behalf of the Democrats, and the Representatives in the Illinois Legislature passed Resolutions condemnatory of the whole proceeding & order, and a large meeting of the Citizens was held at Chicago denouncing Burnside and all such tyrannical Acts – On the 4th Inst. Burnside informed the Editors of the Chicago Times that his order suppressing that Paper had been revoked by the President and that they could continue the publication of their Paper. The Editor of The World received the following
Lexington Ky. May 4th 1863
Editor of the N York World.
Having been directed by the President of the United States to revoke that part of my order suppressing the Chicago Times, I have revoked the entire order, and your Paper will be allowed [‘to’ crossed out] circulation in this Department. [signed] A. E. Burnside. Major General
A large crowd supposed to number 25 or 30 Thousand People assembled at the Peace Meeting in N York on the 4th Inst. the Speeches made thereat were of an Ultra character denouncing the War as a failure – demanding a cessation of hostilities and calling for a Convention of the People to be held both North and South Fernando Wood, Ex-Mayor – appeared as the chief Speaker and Promotor of the Resolutions which were passed in accordance with the Sentiments above noted – By the Paper of this morning Wood is reported as being in Washington and conferring with the President there last evening – The Premium on Gold has changed but a fraction for several days past at 46 and 47 pr. ct.
Wednesday June 10th 1863– The weather for several days past has been clear and pleasantly cool, with but the smallest sprinkles of Rain, for which this section of country is suffering much just now –
War news seems to be in abeyance from all quarters ; Either the great Armies, of “The Potomac” – of “The Cumberland” – of “The Mississippi” before Vicksburg – and of “The Gulf,” before Port Hudson must be all in status quo, or else the Official or outside Reports therefrom must be suppressed – Some Reports of minor operations are made public, and the announcement is made that the operations everywhere are progressing satisfactorily – Further depredations upon Fed. shipping by the Reb. steamer Alabama are announced by the latest accounts from England – Upon the faith of the fall of Vicksburg, which report had just reached there, mediation and intervention by the European Powers is strongly advocated in England – Great respect is paid to the memory, and the highest encomiums are lavished by the English Journals upon the late Stonewall Jackson – The Confederate Scrip has fell[?] 1-1/2 to 2% discount when his death was announced The Premium on Gold to day is 40 1/2 %
Friday June 12th. For two days past the Temperature has been warmer and almost oppressive with some slight showers of Rain which fell on yesterday ; being the first that we have had for several weeks past, and all vegetation has suffered accordingly.
The leakings out of the war news are becoming interesting and fuller reports of the great operations that must soon transpire will be more satisfactory – On last Monday morning before daylight a large Cavalry force with Artillery & Infantry supports under the Fed. General Pleasanton crossed the Rappahannock at Beverly’s and Kelly’s Fords with but little if any opposition from the Rebs. who were found, however, posted from half to a mile from the River where the action commenced, the Rebs. retiring until they joined their supports of Infantry and Artillery. The engagement is said to have continued for 14 Hours, during which time there were many furious charges made by both sides, and hand to hand encounters were fought, where the Fed. Commander considered it most prudent to retire with his forces across the River, followed closely by the Rebs. The losses are said to be heavy on both sides. Gen. Jeb. Stuart commanded the Rebs. The Fed. forces are estimated at 5 to 6 Thousand; no official report being made public – The Rebs. being estimated as [‘have’ crossed out] being more numerous and to have lost 200 Prisoners. No estimate, even, of the Feds killed and wounded is given, but from the [‘large’ crossed out] number of Officers named, as such, the whole loss must be large – The Authorities at Washington are said to have received advices from Vicksburg to 6th Inst. also several days later intelligence from Port Hudson, none of which have been made public. Several cases of forcible and Serious opposition to the conscription of Citizens are stated as having occurred in Pennsylvania and in Indiana. The Illinois Legislature met recently, but by the withdrawal therefrom of the Republican Members it was left without a quorum for the transaction of business and the Democratic Members after waiting until the afternoon informally left their seats after entering a protest on the Journal arraigning the Governor for “usurpation of his duties, and unconstitutional acts-“
Tuesday, June 14th. Easterly winds have prevailed for the past two days – with some falls of Rain but not sufficient to restore the full life of plants although they are improved thereby.
The War News is becoming more definite as we have advices from Vicksburg to the 8th Inst. both from Fed and Reb. sources – by these we learn that the Rebs had made an attack both upon the Fed forces at Milliken Bend and at Young’s Point, above Vicksburg and important stations of supplies for the Fed. forces under Grant. As the reports conflict we do not known whether the Rebs. retained possession of either or both of those points after their successful attack. If they have done so however Genl Grants operations may be considerably impeded thereby. Grant is reported as saying that he can maintain his position, and Pemberton is said to have informed Joe [?] Johnson that ample stores of Provisions, Munitions &c are in Vicksburg, and that he can hold that stronghold against Grant, and Johnston need be in no hurry, but to take all the time necessary to accumulate [?] a sufficient force to drill and organize the same before attempting to relieve the place by raising the siege – The Rebel losses, in the assaults made upon them by Grant, is stated at 5 to 6 hundred Killed, wounded, and missing whilst the loss of the Feds is said to have been enormous, only to be conjectured in the absence of official statements. The Feds. admit a loss of 7000 men in the fights preliminary to the assault upon Vicksburg, made on the 19th and 20th May –
In the reconnaissance and the fight consequent thereupon on Tuesday 9th Inst. near Kelly and Beverly Fords the Feds forces are now said to have numbered 12 or 15 Thousand Men [‘and’ crossed out] from the large number of Officers named as having been wounded or Killed, and the very large numbers of wounded men brought to the Hospitals at Washington, Alexan., &c. the Fed. loss is stated to be not less than 5000 men – About the time of this fight a Reb cavalry force, 250 strong, crossed the Potomac near to the mouth of Seneca? routed the Fed Pickets stationed there, and pursued them to Poolesville in Montgomery County In-d. after stopping there 2 or 3 Hours, but without molesting anybody or anything, as we are informed, they returned across the River-
The Democratic State Convention which met at Columbus Ohio on Thursday last was very numerously attended and enthusiastic. Vallandingham was nominated for Governor by acclamation and a committee of 20 appointed to wait upon the President, and to demand his release – the latest intelligence of Vallandingham’s movements that we have from Southern accounts states that he was about to embark for Nassau –
Genl Kirby Smith with a considerable force is said to be on the West bank of the Mississippi somewhere – cooperating either in the defense of Vicksburg or of Port Hudson – Further destruction of Shipping by the Reb steamer Alabama is announced by late accounts from Europe – like the Florida she is cruising near to the Equator in the track of Vessels bound to India, California &c.
In anticipation of a Reb Raid Pennsylvania has been divided into Two Military Departments All East of Laural[?] Hill Mountain to be called Depart. of The Susquahanna. Gene Couch[?] Com’t All West of Laurel Hill to be called Department of The Monongahala – Genl Brooks Comman’t Genl Couch has issued a Gen order to ___[?] all citizens between 18 and 60 years of age in his Department, to enroll for Military duty and for the defense of their homes & fireside and Gov. Curtin enjoins the same –
The Premium on Gold was 43% yesterday Various reports are in circulation to-day as to Reb. movements. One is that a large force has crossed the Potomac above Washington City – somewhere.
Monday 15th June – Clear and very warm to-day, no rain having fallen everything is drying up in this section – So far as the Authorities will permit the news to be published we now learn that on Friday last a Reb. force made its appearance in the neighbourhood of Winchester which was attacked on Saturday by Genl Milroy, in command there, and repulsed – but the Rebs renewed the engagement on that night when Milroy was compelled to evacuate as he is said to have got to Harpers Ferry with all his forces, bag and baggage, stores, cannon &c Simultaneously with their appearance before Winchester, a Reb. force also appeared at Perryville [?] 10 Miles to the S. East and at Martinsburg 25 or 30 Miles to the North East of the former place. The Fed forces are said to have escaped therefrom and reached Harbers Ferry. As the Rebs fought with them until they were compelled to make their escape and pursued them afterwards for many miles , the Fed losses must have been large – all these detachments that have escaped are now at Harpers Ferry, where they will be looked after by the Rebs. — We learn also that the Army of the Potomac has been withdrawn from the Rappahannock and that Genl Hooker is closely watching Genl Lee’s movements in his advance Northward – whereto nobody seems to be informed. Genl Ewell, successor to Stonewall Jackson, is said to be in command of the Rebs. now operating in the Valley of Virginia, and an indefinite number of men is reported as under his command – A portion of these have crossed the Potomac and passing through Williamsport and Hagerstown M-d. have proceeded into Pennsylvania by way of Chambersburg – Greencastle, Mercersburg and so on towards Harrisburg, causing an immense deal of alarm and terror throughout the State. Insomuch that The President has issued a Proclamation calling out 100 Thousand of the Militia from the States of Maryland, Penn’a West Virginia, and Ohio – and Gov. Curtin of Pa as well as Genl Couch Command’t of the Department of the Susquehanna are using strenuous exertions to embody a Volunteer force to repel this innovation – Some Regiments from Phila & elsewhere are said to have offered their services, and amongst these are the N. York Seventh Regiments of famous renown. The loss of Genl Milroy is admitted to have been 2000 men, and Genl Tyler is who commanded the Feds. at Martinsburg is said [to] have lost very heavily in man & means. The Premium on Gold is 48 pr. cent to day being an advance of 4 1/2 per cent.
Wednesday 16th June. The temperate is more pleasant with a clear sky yesterday and to-day — The excitement and alarm consequent upon the Reb. Raid into Penna appear to have extended to Ohio N. York, N. Jersey, and even to N. England and it is not probable that the Rebs will proceed East of the Susquehanna owing to the large forces that will be there concentrated – Especially in the vicinity of Harrisburg – unless their movements have been more rapid than reported by this morning’s Papers. The latest advices to them are that the Rebs were a few miles East of Chambersburg – some reports say at Carlisle – We have to await further intelligence on this point. They were expected surely at Harrisburg last night, and the State Officers there are busily engaged in Jacking up and sending off all the valuable Public Property, Papers &c as well as were the Banks and Citizens – Hooker & Lee are said to have had a fight before Washington City, some where, on yesterday The Feds are said to have advance up the Peninsula towards Richmond in some force, as well as on the Blackwater, with Gunboats on the James, and Chickahoming. The suspension of all but Government Trains upon the Balto & Ohio and N. Central Rail Roads, indicates the dangers to those Roads, apprehended – It is believed to be the design of the Rebs to “break the Penn” Rail Road, also, West of Harrisbg The Premium on Gold declined to 46 pr. ct.
Thursday June 17th – No rain nor is there any appearance thereof – yesterday was the warmest day since the middle of May.
War News is abundant and unreliable as it is plenty. The advance of the Rebs seems to have stayed at Chambersburg Pa, for some reason ; Private property excepting Horses and Cattle, is said to have [been] unmolested, and Genl Jenkin, who is in command, had ordered the Stores to be opened that his men might purchase what they wanted for which they paid in Confederate and Virginia Bank Notes. The whole force there is said to be but 2000 and they informed the citizens that they are waiting for infantry reinforcements Hooker is said to be at Centerville, Va closely followed up if not outflanked by Lee – and his case is deemed somewhat critical. The extent and intent of this Reb. Raid appear to have been exaggerated so as to cause the utmost excitement and for the purpose of arousing a military furor in the North, preliminary to the conscription levy – Some Regiments have volunteered to go from N. York to Penna and some had actually left for Harrisburg. The Premium on Gold is 43 1/2 pr. ct. today.
Friday June 19th – The clouds of yesterday have afforded some rain during last night which may be continued from present appearances, with infinite benefit to all vegetation in this section –
So little reliance can be placed in the Reports permitted to be published that it is impossible to learn the true position of the Reb. Raid in Penna Some persons here, who profess to have reliable information, go so far as to discredit the fact of any Raid whatever and say that “The Scare” and consequent excitement and hubbub, have originated from the pell mell flight of a wagon train and refugees from the recent defeats at Winchester and Martinsburg of Milroy and Tyler forces, which appear to have been flying all over that section of country from the victorious Rebs. A large portion of Genl Ewell’ Corps are said to have crossed the Potomac, and it is probably that foraging parties have been sent into Penna for provender &c We hear little or no reliable intelligence of of the movements of Hooker & Lee or from Vicksburg. The Censorship is too rigid — If the evident exaggeration of this so-called “Invasion” of Penna has been devised for the purpose of arousing the fears, and, at the same time an active military fever amongst the People of this City, Phila and N. York, that purpose has been accomplished The Councils of Baltimore have voted 400 Thousand Dollars for Bounties ; a Sum sufficient to pay to each of the 4000 men requisite to fill up the quota of the City under the call for 100 Thousand men by the Presidents Proclamation, a Bounty of 50 Dolls. in hand and $10. pr. month every month thereafter during the other 5 months of Enlistment under that Call, and recruiting Stations having been opened in all sections of the City, many men are enlisting. The Seventh N. York Volunteers has arrived here and are performing such Military duty as they can find to do, in the absence of any Enemy The Counsels of Phila also have voted the Sum of 500 Thousand Dolls for a like purpose and a number of men, both black and white, have been enlisted there and sent to Harrisburg. If these recruits are not competent to contend with the Rebs, they may suffice to coerce those who shall be conscripted – And to show the insane pitch to which excitement, or folly, has carried away the senses of somebody in authority here, several Thousands Hogsheads of Tobacco were taken from the State Warehouses to form Barricades on Charles Street Avenue and other thoroughfares during yesterday and last night — when it was well known, too, that no enemy was approaching or any where near to the City. During today this Tobacco, together with many Blhs of Lard Pork &c taken for the same use, are standing in the streets Lanes & alleys [crossed out six words] The rain to which these Goods have been exposed will damage them to some extent – which will have to be paid for by some one – the responsibility therefor being shifted from Genl Schenck to the Police to the Police Commissioners who in turn disavow the charge, and put it upon Marshall Vanostrand, or the Mayor, or Governor Bradford. This evening eighty Sugar and Bacon Hogsheads have been rained across almost every street, at some point or other — more fro and obstruction to the travel thereupon, apparently, than for any real defense against an attack by the Rebs. – Some streets have been barricaded by means of Wagons, Carts &c, which have been taken from their owners, and overturned in the Streets. Under the excitement caused by these operations, and construction of entrenchments upon the Western side of the City, enlistments are being made quite rapidly at the different rendezvous, chiefly of half grown Lads and young men, who get the $50. Bounty Money, and are thereby easily persuaded to join by the young men who have undertaken the enlistments with the expectation of getting up the quota for a Company when they will be made a Captain, and a Lieutenant for half that number. Wherefore it is believed by many Persons that this whole disturbance has been created and fostered by the Authorities for the purpose of getting the quota of men necessary to fill the enrollment and conscription in Baltimore.
Sunday June 21st. To day has been cloudy with occasional sprinkles of Rain – The barricades in the Streets and the Fortifications on the Heights around the City have been in progress of construction up to the present time, and gangs of the Negroes have been constantly supplied by the Police to perform the Work under Guard of the Military. The chief work which I have seen is located upon the high point of Ground directly out Baltimore St. near to the City Boundary Its form is circular on the Western front which is all that is now developed The Rebs are said to have been in Frederick City last evening, but to have left but a small force there, and proceeded on to some other point toward Washington as it is supposed. The excitement is much less in this City than would be believed under the circumstances – Enlistments are not so brisk as was anticipated – It is said now that the Barricades in the streets have been placed there to prevent any sudden cavalry Raid by the Rebs. whereby the Peace of the Citizens might be disturbed. The Premium on Gold yesterday was 44 1/2 pr ct.
Monday June 22nd One or more fierce showers of Rain fell last night refreshing the Earth, and freshening the Air – to day – Rumors of the movements of the Rebs in Md and in Penna are current but too vague and unsatisfactory to be recorded – also of Battles said to have been fought between Hooker and Lee in Va – All of these m__[?] be developed in a few days, in spite of any Censorship and restrictions – But in the meantime, the excitement of the People in this City, and elsewhere, is kept up to Fever Heat thereby and the endeavor to stimulate enlistments is so great that entrenchments and fortifications all around Town are being constructed in addition to the Barricades before mentioned – Governor Bradford has issued another appeal to his “Countrymen and Fellow Citizens” to come forward and enlist in defense of their county against the Invaders &c &c and that Genl Schenck requires 2000 Volunteers, in addition to the Negroes already impressed for that purpose, to work upon the trenches and fortifications &c &c Some scouting Parties from the Rev force at Hagerstown or Sharpsburg are said to have been in Frederick City, and this side of it as far as Poplar Springs on the Balto and Frederickstown turnpike Road. The Premium on Gold remains at 44 pr cent.
Tuesday June 23rd The weather is very pleasant indeed for the Season – clear and not too warm — The armaments for the City in the way of additional Forts and Barricades are construct[ed] in all the Streets and around the Town with all the vigor that money and the impressment of Laborers can diffuse into the work — Forts or entrenched Batteries are under way East of the City as well as to the Westward ; no further movements of the Rebs in this direction are reported, and many think that there is no likelihood of their coming here at this time and these do not see the necessity for all this preparation – Instead of the troops from N. York going to Harrisburg, or stopping in Penna where the Rebs are said to be in considerable force, several of these have come or are coming hither — We have more detailed accounts of the recent engagment and the utter route of Genl Milroy’s forces at Winchester, both from Fed. & Reb sources and we learn from these that with a loss of 200 men Killed and wounded Genl Ewell had not only completed routed Milroy out of fortifications there, but had captured 6000 of his men, all his Stores and munitions, several Thousands Store of Arms, over and above those in the hands of the Prisoners, all of his Artillery – 60 Guns – both siege and field – 2800 Horses and Mules and 230 – other accounts say 5 to 600 – Wagons, with their contents, besides the Wives of the Officers who remained in the Town – We have accounts also of several fights as between the Cavalry of Hooker’s Army under Genl Pleasanton, and of the Rebs commanded by Genl Stuart near Aldie and Middleburg on Saturday and Sunday last – The result of these fights is not Known positively. The latest accounts from Port Hudson are from Southern Papers which claim important successes for the besieged Rebs, who, besides repulsing a succession of attacks, had captured 4000 prisoners and Spiked the siege Guns of the Feds – besides destroying the Essex and one or two other Gunboats – The Reb ironclad Ram Atlanta, in endeavoring to run out from Savanna, was captured by Two Fed Gunboats – Vicksburg is said by the Feds to be upon the point of surrender – but the Rebs say that Genl Kirby Smith, or Genl Marmaduke, are in communication with the Garrison from the other side of the River, and that Genl Johnston is operating is operating [sic] upon the rear of the Feds — If the position of the main body of Lee’s Army is Known to Fed Authorities the Public are entirely uninformed thereof – As a further precaution against the Reb Cavalry – high fences of scantling are being added to the Hogshead barricades in the streets of the City. Se we go — Genl Schenck with his Staff and Governor Bradford and his Aides are adding to the excitement by their parading through the Streets on Horseback to-day – No Rebs are near or to be expected here by those who should be cognizant of the fact – as they appear to have located their main force near to HagarsTown from whence foraging Parties have been sent out into Penna and hitherward below Frederick City – Premium on Gold 44 3/4 pr ct. to-day.
Saturday June 27th – The weather has been very pleasant until yesterday, when the continuance of the rain that commenced to fall on the previous night has made it so damp and wet, as to be highly beneficial to all vegetation – On Wednesday 24th Inst. I went to N. Jersey staying there on Thursday last and coming back last evening : found Elisha Warford and all of our friends there in good health ; All the crops there appear to be in the most flourishing condition, excepting the Corn which is backward from the lateness of the Spring – Wheat is more promising than usual, and fruit of all Kinds is coming forward rapidly — The 30th and 31st Regiments N. Jersey just returned from their 9 months service, occupied Flemington in so large force that all the Hotel accommodations were filled up so that I was indebted to E. Perry Esq. for my Lodging, entertainment, and carriage to Croton – This hospitable reception of me by Mrs Perry as well as himself will be remembered as a pleasing event.2
Ellicott failed to explain why he made the trip to New Jersey. I assume it had to do with business transactions with Elisha Warford, or consultations regarding the lawsuit over the estate of Rachel Colvin.
Since Monday last the Rebs. appear to have proceeded in their arrangements for the occupation of Western Maryland and the Invasion of Penna without much if any serious interruption from any quarter – [interlined:] Genl Hooker being either incompetent or afraid to restrain his movements — and there seems to be but a dilatory and lukewarm response to the urgent Call of the Governor upon the Militia of Penna and some companies of these after they had marched near to the invading Rebs, are said to have returned to their homes after depredating and maltreating their fellow citizens in and outrageous manner, especially at Bedford and “The Springs” there.
Sunday 28th June — The cloudy weather continued up to this morning, without much rain, however, and it is warm — Last night we had advices from Port Hudson that another vigorous assault had been made upon the Fortifications there by Genl Banks on the 14th Inst and he was repulsed with terrible loss – Five Colonels are named as Killed but the Authorities would not furnish any list of the Killed and wounded for publication. The defense are deemed impregnable to assault and can only be reduced by the starvation process as at Vicksburg – Advices of Reb movements show that since the Raid of Genl Jenkins with his Guerrillas, into Pennsylvania through the Cumberland Valley, He was followed by Genl Ewell Corps of the “Army of the Old Dominion” – After crossing the Potomac this force, said to number 35,000 men appear to have been unmolested by any Fed. forces, and to have halted at HagersTown and the vicinity for several days, sending out detachments of Cavalry and mounted Infantry until many of the Towns in the Valley were visited by them in succession. Upon upon [sic] the approach of Genl Lee, who crossed the Potomac last Tuesday 22nd Inst. with Longstreet’s and Hill’s Corps of his grand Army, Ewell made way for them by moving his forces into Pennsylvania and he has leisurely but steadily advanced till he has possession of the Northern Central Railway from Hanover Junction to a point North of York Pa, which was also occupied to day by a detachment under Genl Gordon – Of course all the intermediate Bridges were burned and some of the Track torn up – Scouting and foraging parties of Rebs. have come down or across the Country to Westminster, MarisoUn_ell [?] &c The City to-day is unusually quiet altho the entrenchments are being constructed
Tuesday 30th June – With a S. East wind and occasional showers of Rain, it was quite warm during yesterday. The exciting News and flying Reports thicken upon us from every direction. The 3 Grand Corps of Genl Lee’s Army are said now to be at Penna at, or proceeding towards, Harrisburg – Slight skirmishing only has occurred between his forces, and the Feds – Fitz Lee and Stuart seem to be operating in the rear of Hooker’s Army in Md. having followed after him with a strong force of Cavalry and Artillery. These have succeeded in capturing a very large amount of Government Stores &c &c at Edwards Ferry, and several Barges loaded with rations for Hookers Army, all of which were destroyed. One or Two Wagon Trains also have been captured within a few miles of Washington, loaded with Army and Sutlers Stores, and 1000 Mules have been Captured, also – A large portion of this force rested at or near Sandy Spring and R?ockeville in Montgomery County, seizing all the good Horses in the vicinity, and by and by [sic] means of these, as is supposed, parties of Reb Cavalry succeeded in cutting the Balto & Ohio Rail Road at Marriottsville, Sykersville &c during yesterday – All but 12 men and Officers of 104 Feb Cavalry at ReisterTown[?] were Captured or Killed yesterday, and the Rebs came within 7 Miles of this City in pursuit of these, causing so much alarm that all the Bells were run[g] at 11 O’clock last night, to the terror of many Citizens The Union Leagues and Volunteer as well as Regular Soldiery marched out towards ReisterTown at 1 Oclk this morning – The advance of Lee’s Army into Penna has caused the greatest consternation and turmoil in Phila The cutting of the Phila and Balto and the Washington Branch Rail Roads by the Rebs as reported yesterday was premature, as Trains are still running upon both Roads – although they have been near the line of Each.
Various reports are in circulation as to the movements of Genl Meade the new Commander of the Army of the Potomac whether he will follow up Lee’s movement into Pa with the N. Central R. R. as his base for supplies, thus leaving Washington City exposed to the attacks of Stuart and Fitz Lee’s forces, who are now operating in his rear ; or will he fall back upon Washington “on to Richmond &c” and leave Penna to the tender mercies of the Rebs — In the midst of all this excitement and Whirl of events the Regiments of Fed Volunteers are returning to their homes as their Terms of Enlistment expires The 33rd Maine passed through here to-day from Harpers Ferry – expressing much exasperation & dissatisfaction with their treatment and with the object, mode, and issue, of the War — Martial Law has been declared this day by Proclamation of Robert C. Schenck Maj. Genl commanding over and in the City of Baltimore and all the Counties of the Western Shore of Maryland. He gives “an assurance that this suspension of the civil Government within the limits defined shall not extend beyond the necessities of the occasion. All the civil Courts tribunal, and political functionaries of the State, county or City authority are to continue in the discharge of their duties, as in the time of peace ; on in no way interfering with the exercise of the predominant power assumed and asserted by the military authority. All peaceable citizens are required to remain quietly at their homes, and in pursuit of their ordinary avocations as they may be possibly subject to call for personal services, or other necessary requisitions for military purposes or uses hereafter.”
“All seditious language or mischievous practices tending to the encourage [sic] encouragement of Rebellion are especially prohibited and will promptly be made the subject of of [sic] observation and treatment. Traitorous and and [sic] dangerous persons must expect to be dealt with as the public safety may seem to require; “to save the country is paramount to all other considerations.” —
End of June 1863.
- The month of June begins on page 131 of the third volume of Ellicott’s diary. For previous articles on the Civil War Diary of Benjamin H. Ellicott, click on the tag in the right column for “Civil War.” These entries come from the four volumes of diaries, held by the Hunterdon County Historical Society in Collection 110, Box 2. Note that I have tried to preserve both Ellicott’s spelling and his somewhat haphazard punctuation. There are several illegible words in this volume. ↩
- The encampment at Flemington is described in the Hunterdon Historical Newsletter, vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 446-450, “”Camp” Flemington, 1862” by John W. Kuhl. Edmund Perry, Esq. was active in Democratic politics in Flemington during this time. ↩