Anna Moffett's Civil War - 8
January - June 1863
What a New Year this has started out as.
The Emancipation Proclamation was issued by United States President Lincoln on January
1st using his war powers. It proclaimed the freedom of 3.1 million of the nation's 4 million slaves The Proclamation does not compensate us, the owners; nor does it make the ex-slaves, called
January 24, 1863
Speaking of Vicksburg, I give you an instance of female heroism recorded in a letter from a friend, who reached the City of the Hills too late to take an active part in its defense. He is an officer of high
character & undoubted veracity. He says: "I must tell you of a feat performed by a young girl, as told me by one who saw it, on the day of the hardest fight. Her brother belonged to one of the batteries & hearing that he was wounded, she started out alone & on foot for the battle field; and, against the remonstrances of all who saw her, walked along the line of entrenchments & across an
open field, swept by a murderous fire of musketry, grape & canister, as if she had been going to church to show her new bonnet, to the point where his battery was. You can imagine that the men whom she passed did not fight the worse for the sight."
I was asked by George to write to our relatives in Liverpool again. It will be taken by hand by our friend Mr. Fredrick Fanning & it means our relatives will have an update on the progress of the war, from out point of view. Mr. Fanning has just recently come out of the war & will not continue to try to get supplies for us from England.
Here is a copy of it.
From Mrs. Anna Moffett to R.C. Hall, 7 March, 1863
Spartanburg, 7 March, 1863
My dear cousin,
This letter will be handed you by Mr. Frederick Fanning, the son of a very dear friend of mine. Mr. F is the confidential clerk of John Fraser & Co. a house well known in Liverpool, he has fallen into bad health from close application to the desk & by the advice of his physician & his employers, goes to Europe in the hope of receiving benefit from the change of climate. Any attentions from you to him will be highly appreciated by me.
It is a year this day since we left our comfortable home in Charleston to seek a refuge from our malignant foes, our city then being threatened with an attack from the enemy. We are about two hundred miles from the city & near the mountains of North & South Carolina, a pleasant village
of considerable extent, has four churches, Episcopal, Presbyterian Methodist & Baptist & two Colleges & but for the circumstances that induced us to leave our home, we would enjoy
living in the country. Our hearts are full of sadness & anxiety for our dear loved ones in the camps.
I think you will like to hear of my sons, one of them you are acquainted with, he is Adjt. in the Eutan Regiment of which regt. his wife's brother (Mr. Charles Simonton) is Col. they have been stationed down on the coast about twelve months as Secessionville & was in the battle there last summer when the Yankees were repulsed with heavy loss; ours very trifling loss as regards numbers, but those were estimable young men & this alas is the case in all our conflicts.
Our army is composed chiefly of gentlemen, the Abolition Army is made up of the scum of Foreign Lands the prisons & Penitentiaries emptied to fill up the ranks of the Yankee Legions.
Dear George was in the above fight & came out unhurt. In January last the regiment was ordered into Wilmington, North Carolina, that city threatened with an attack. After being there in camp a month they were ordered back to the coast in this State, where they now are expecting daily the landing of the Yankees.
Alexander, my third son, after serving in Georgia (where he resided) in the Mason Light Artillery, was sent to Richmond, Virginia, then his command remained in Camp until the battle of Fredericksburg. He was in that battle & came through unhurt through the mercy of God. Now he is in North Carolina at Goldsborough, daily expecting an attack from the Yankees, who have a large force near that place.
My youngest son James has been in Virginia eighteen months; he joined a company of cavalry, the Kirkwood Rangers; they are in General Longstreet's division & the great army of the Potomac, commanded by General Lee. James has been in four or five battles & as many skirmishes. He too has been protected in the hour of danger by the Arm of our Heavenly Father. They all have had their turn of sickness, but soon recovered & now are in the enjoyment of good health.
James' last letter was from Petersburg; they had been stationed near Fredericksburg even since the battle at that place, when the Yankees were driven out with such great slaughter; from thence to Petersburg; at that place he writes, "we are under marching orders, but where to I know not." I since learn from PFd Genl Longstreet, Marshall & Forster (I think) are on the way to Lexington, Kentucky.
I have still another in the field. My Grandson, James Adger is on the coast, at Pocotallego where will be the next attempt to land troops on our coast, he is eighteen; his brother Andrew Moffett has enrolled his name with a company of Cadets that will leave Columbia, SC as soon as the expected attack is made. Andrew is sixteen & three months.
My dear cousin, I have inflected you by this letter but we are cruelly shut out from the World by the blockade & knowing how few papers or letters from the South reach our friends across the Water, I have given you the above history of my sons, believing your friendship for us is unabated & you would be pleased to learn how we are situated under our heavy load of distress. We have besides the trial of our loved ones exposed to the dangers of the battle & the sufferings involved there, but privations of numerous kind to endure from the Blockade, but great as these are, we are more than willing to have them fourfold sooner than ever to be reunited with the Yankees, I might say Demons. for as the acts they have committed & are still perpetrating are more like Devils than human kind.
Wherever they make an inroad they destroy & burn every vestige they lay their hands upon, not sparing the poorest widow or orphan. But I forecast History will bring their dark deeds to light. They are not desperate & their fate depends on their present success & they are doing their utmost now to crush out their "Rebellion" that Seward said in the beginning it would take only seventy thousand men in three months to accomplish, but my paper (mean as it is) warns me to stop.
Anna & Lizzie unite with me in love to your dear wife; we often speak of the very pleasant visit we enjoyed at your house with your dear family. Kind regards to your dear brother, Lindsey. A few lines from you assuring me the health of your family & self & continued regard will be most welcome by yours very sincerely
(signed) Anna Moffett
Lizzy sends much love & kisses to little Arty & Marion. L is grown a large girl, nearly as tall as her mother & a great deal stouter, her Mother's health very indifferent.
I didn't want to mention it in the letter, but Elizabeth hasn't been well since the birth of little Charles Simpson Moffett last August. Nor is he thriving. I am very pleased to deal with the other children while she is indisposed.
In the newspaper I found the following:
James Adger of the Charleston Light Dragoons describing the severe damage to Charleston from Union shelling; & his letter of 5 April from Pocotaligo described Federal raids at Mackeys Point where every house but one was destroyed. My nephew, also called James Adger, will have been involved in this skirmish. I hope he is all right. I am pleased his uncle is in the same unit. James came to see us between finishing at his training college & starting with his unit. He looked so smart in his uniform.
April 29, 1863
Resources of Our Fields & Forests.
In compliance with the suggestion of the Surgeon General, we begin to-day the publication of extracts from the valuable work of Dr. Porcher. We call the special attention of farmers & planters, of house-wives, gardeners & all who deal with herbs, to these extracts, in the hope that they will devote themselves with energy to the patriotic task of collecting & preparing medicinal plants for the use of
the soldiers in the field & in hospitals. A vast deal of good may be done & an immense stock of native medicines may be gathered before next winter sets in, if the hints here given are attended to.
Of course, a fair price will be paid for all medicines & a ready sale will be found for them:
Sassafras. - Whenever a soldier suffered from measles, pneumonia, bronchitis, or cold, his companion or nurse is directed to procure the roots & leaves of sassafras & provide a tea made with this.
Bene (Sesamum). - The planters & farmers throughout the Confederate States should save & cure all the leaves of the Bene now growing, to be used in camp dysentery, in colds, coughs, etc., among our soldiers, in place of gum arabic or flax seed. One or two leaves in a tumbler of water imparts their mucilaginous properties.
Dogwood (Cornus Florida) - Since the war, the bark has been employed with great advantage in place of quinine - by physicians in Sumter District, S. C. & elsewhere - particularly in cases of low forms of fever & in dysentery, on the river courses, of a typhoid character. It is given as a substitute for Peruvian bark. In fact, in almost any case where the Cinchona bark was used.
Wild Jalap (Podophyllum Peltatum). - This can be used as a laxative in place of rhubarb or jalap, or whenever a purgative is required. Every planter in the Confederate States can produce the opium, mustard & flax seed that is required, either for the army or home use.
Charles is still the commanding officer at Secessionville. Elizabeth gets letters from him on occasion telling bits of what is going on. Here is a bit from his letter of May 31st.
"A strong party of the enemy, say 150 strong, landed at Legare's this morning from Folly River in small boats & I fear have cut off the cavalry pickets. My dispositions were to drive them off or capture them.
“So far in the spring we managed to have 15 vessels enter the harbor & they took out 10,000 bales of cotton with the value of a million dollars."
George has written a bit about their camp. They are stationed at Orangeburg, about eighty miles from the city. I remember it as a very beautiful city, but now of course it will be taken over by the military. The center of the encampment is the main avenue - thirty feet wide - which leads
to the family mansion. At the entrance of it stands the “guard tent” & near the house the “marquee” for the officers. On either side are the tents, arranged in the order of a battalion encampment, in all twenty-four - twelve on the right & twelve on the left of the main street. The tents are arranged in rows of six each, which face each other on streets of convenient width.
The company carried with them the “Eutaw flag,” the only standard of the Revolution which is known to exist in the state & which was given to the corps by the widow of Col. William Washington.
James has written that he has been promoted. He is now a Sargent Major & I heard from Alex that 5000 troops from South Carolina are being sent to Vicksburg, Mississippi & he is one of them. He is now under the 23rd South Carolina Regiment. It sounded like they are having great difficulty in getting cross country. Such a long way from home.
Here is a report of what happened at Secessionville on May 31st which I copied from the
May 31, 1863.
U.S.S. Pawnee, Commander Balch, & U.S.S. E.B. Hale, Acting Lieutenant Edgar Brodhead, supported an Army reconnaissance to James Island, South Carolina, & covered the troop landing. Balch reported: ''The landing was successfully accomplished & the reconnaissance made, of forces meeting with no opposition & they were embarked at 9 a.m. & returned to their camps without a casualty of any kind."
Colonel Charles H. Simonton, CSA, commanding at James Island, warned: ''This expedition of the enemy removes all their fear of our supposed batteries on the Stono & no doubt we will have visits from them often.
“The enemy's vessels have left Stono Creek & reoccupied their former positions in Stono Bay. The picket lines have been re-established.
“A strong party of the enemy, say 150 strong, landed at Legare's this morning from Folly River in small boats & I fear have cut off the cavalry pickets. Our dispositions have been made to drive them off or capture them.
“The enemy did not capture any of the pickets. He landed at Legare's but now, to all appearances, is leaving; some by boats down Folly River & some by Battery Island. We are trying to come up with them. One gunboat came up Folly River to Legare's place & the large three-masted one is up Stono at Battery Island.”