Negro Train-Wrecking?

Alexandria Gazette, Volume 102, Number 15, 17 January 1901

Barely a day passes in Alexandria without some racist article being printed in the Alexandria Gazette, to wit:

“Now that the negroes in the South have gone to train-wrecking, the perils of railroad travel in the sparsely settled regions of this section will be greatly increased.  Freedom and free schools and suffrage may be great things, but it has been demonstrated in this country that the farther removed the negroes are from the supervision of the white man, the worse they become and the worse it is for everybody else.

General Sherman’s Army Was Huge!

Wagon Train

AN ARMY’S MARCH — General Sherman’s army, in it’s last march to meet Johnston, would, if it occupied a single road, require 125 miles of road to stretch itself upon.  The wagon trains of this army cannot march on less than forty miles of road. Its batteries will cover seven miles, its ambulances five. It carries 1,800,000 rations of bread, the same amount of sugar, and the same of salt.  Eight hundred wagon loads bread, and 3,600,000 rations of coffee are provided for the trip, and for a few days rations of salt meat, 375,000 pounds are deemed a fair allowance. The single item of ammunition requires one thousand wagons — a train of itself nearly twenty miles long. The men, in fours, could not march when well closed up on less than twenty five miles of road. Two thousand five hundred pack mules follow its regiments.  And these calculations do not include the intervals between different commands nor allow anything for the great gaps which any slight delay will make in a moving column.

Alexandria Gazette, Volume 66, Number 102, May 5, 1865

Alexandrians Killed and Wounded

Alexandria Gazette, Volume 63, Number 149, 12 June 1862

Alexandrians Killed and Wounded

The Seventeeth Virginia Regiment sustained severe losses in the battles near Richmond, on the 31st of May and 1st of June. We give below a list of such casualties as are published in Richmond papers of the 6th inst:

KILLED — Sergeant Major Francis.
Old Dominion Rifles – Wm. Lunt, shot in breast;  Monroe Whittington, shot in head; J.H. Higdon and John Murray.
Mt. Vernon Guards – James Molair.
Emmett Guards – Lt. Wm. Gray.

WOUNDED
Major Arthur Herbert, shot in the foot.
Old Dominion Rifles – Capt. W.H. Fowle, jr., arm amputated; Lieut. Thomas Fitzhugh, arm amputated; James Godwin, in foot; Jonah W. Baldwin, thigh fractured; Edwin Baldwin, in head slightly; Wm. J. Hall, in head slightly; Robert Young, in right arm slightly; F. August Calmus, slightly; E.W. Burgess; Hallie Appich, in head slightly.

Alexandria Rifles — Color Sergeant William T. Morrell, wounded in arm, side and foot — foot amputated; W.E.H. Clagett, in shoulder, seriously; Richard W. Avery, in top of head; A Carlisle Fairfax, in thigh.

Mt. Vernon Guards — R.H. Roland, seriously; Albert Hicks and ________ Gerecke.

Emmett Guards — Lieut. Adie; Patrick H. Suddoth, Company D.

Loudoun Guards — Chas. Fadley, in arm; C.H. Bradfield.

Other Companies — Thos. W. Lynn, Robert Steele, James M. Jenkins, D.M. Wallace, G.F. Jenkins, J.W. Cromwell.

Col. Wm. Smith, of the 49th Virginia,  was wounded slightly, and Lieut. Col. Gibson, of the same regiment, badly.

Most of the wounded Alexandrians are represented to be at Chew’s Factory Hospital, Richmond.  The Enquirer says; “The building is spacious and airy, and admirably kept. The patients are clean and comfortable, and have every want attended to.  A large number of ladies were yesterday in attendance, ministering to the stricken sufferers as only a woman can.”

Qualification of Voters – Virginia

Alexandria Gazette, Volume 66, Number 101, 4 May 1865

The following is the Third Article of the Constitution of the State of Virginia adopted by the Convention which assembled in Alexandria on the 13th of February, 1864, and which prescribes the qualifications of voters in the State:

Every white male citizen of the Commonwealth, of the age of twenty-one years, who has been a resident of the State for one year, and of the county, city or town where he offers to vote for six months next preceding an election, and has paid all taxes assessed to him, after the adoption of this constitution, under the laws of the Commonwealth after the reorganization of the county, city or town where he offers to vote, shall be qualified to vote for members of the general assembly, and all officers elective by the people.  Provided, however, that no one shall be allowed to vote who, when he offers to vote, shall not thereupon take, or shall not before have taken, the following oath: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the laws made in pursuance thereof, as the supreme law of the land, anything in the Constitution and laws of the State of Virginia, or in the ordinances of the Convention which assembled at Richmond on the thirteenth day of February, eighteen hundred and sixty-one, to the contrary notwithstanding; and that I will uphold and defend the government of Virginia as restored by the Convention which assembled at Wheeling on the eleventh day of June, eighteen hundred and sixty-one, and that I have not since the first day of January, eighteen hundred and sixty-four, voluntarily given aid or assistance, in any way, to those in rebellion against the Government of the United States for the purpose of promoting the same. ” But the Legislature shall have power to pass an act or acts prescribing means which persons who have been disfranchised by this provision shall or may be restored to the rights of voters when in their opinion it will be safe to do so.  Any person falsely so swearing shall be subject to the penalties of perjury.

No person shall hold any office under this Constitution who shall not have taken and subscribed the oath aforesaid.  But no person shall vote or hold office under the constitution who has held office under the so called confederate government, or under any rebellious State government, or has been a member of the so called confederate congress, or a member of any State Legislature in rebellion against the authority of the United States, excepting therefrom county officers.

Tenor of the Times in Alexandria (and elsewhere) – May 25,1889

From the leading newspaper of the city, The Alexandria Gazette, one day after the dedication of the confederate monument on May 24,1889.

“Ex-President Cleveland is a civil service reformer; so is President Harrison. And yet the former appointed negroes to office, not for honesty and competency, but “to recognize the colored element of the country’s population,” and the latter has appointed his brother to office, because “his plans of  life were broken up by the war.”  Charlatans in the olden times used to smile when they passed each other on the streets. The two conspicuous personages referred to, don’t do so, but that is probably because they never pass each other, and then, too, it is said Mr. Harrison never smiles, and his predecessor, only in the presence of those bound to him by hooks of favors.

General Hancock’s Appeal to the Colored People

Alexandria Gazette, Volume 66, Number 92, 24 April 1865

Washington, D.C., April 24

To the colored people of the District of Columbia and of Maryland, of Alexandria and the border counties of Virginia:

Your president has been murdered! He has fallen by the assassin and without a moment’s warning, simply and solely because he was your friend and the friend of our country. Had he been unfaithful to you and the great cause of human freedom he might have lived. The pistol from which he met his death, though held by Booth, was fired by the hands of treason and slavery.  Think of this! remember how long and how anxiously this good man labored to break your chains and to make you happy.  I now appeal to you by every consideration which can move loyal and grateful hearts, to aid in discovering and arresting this murderer.  Concealed by traitors, he is believed to be lurking somewhere within the limits of the District of Columbia, of the State of Maryland, or Virginia. Go forth, then, and watch, and listen, and inquire, and search, and pray, by day and by night, until you shall have succeeded in dragging this monstrous and bloody criminal from his hiding-place. You can do much; even the humblest and feeblest among you, by patience and unwearied vigilance, may render the most important assistance. Large rewards have been offered by the Government, and by municipal authorities, and they will be paid for the apprehension of this murderer, or for any information which will aid in his arrest.  But I feel you need no such stimulus as this.  You will hunt down this cowardly assassin of your best friend, as you would the murderer of your own father. Do this, and God, whose servant has been slain, and the country which has given you freedom, will bless you for this noble act of duty.

All information which will lead to the arrest of Booth, or Suratt, or Herold, should be communicated to these headquarters, or to General Holt, Judge Advocate General,  at Washington, or, if immediate action is required,  then to the nearest military authorities.

All officers and soldiers in this command, and all loyal people, are enjoined to increased vigilance.

W.S. Hancock
Major Gen’l U.S. Vols.
Comm’g Middle Military Division

Were Free Negroes Enslaved to Confederate Service?

From a claim made to the Southern Claims Commission by Exum White, a free “colored” man of Nansemond County, Virginia, the following statement:

“White was a colored man.  The Magistrate of Nansemond Co. in Jany ’62 sentenced him & 100 other colored men to work on the rebel works on railroad near Manassas for 60 days worked by compulsion and got no pay, taken sick & sent home on sick leave. He afterwards worked for the Union army on works around Suffolk for 2 or 3 months. Daniel White and Benjamin Turner attest his loyalty which we find proven.”

Is it possible that 101 free negro men were guilty of crimes that warranted sentencing at the same time?  Was the magistrate at Nansemond technically enslaving free negroes to perform work on behalf of the Confederate military?

This is likely nothing new to historians, but it’s the first time I’ve read that “free” people were used in this way by southern courts.

From Wikipedia –

The Southern Claims Commission (SCC) was an organization of the executive branch of the United States government from 1871-1873 under President Ulysses S. Grant. Its purpose was to allow Union sympathizers who had lived in the Southern states during the American Civil War, 1861–1865, to apply for reimbursements for property losses due to U.S. Army confiscations during the war.

City Mourns Lincoln

Alexandria Gazette, Volume 66, Number 89, 20 April 1865

Local News

Large numbers of our citizens attended the funeral of President Lincoln, yesterday.  All business in this place was entirely suspended, and the whole city clothed in mourning — Minute guns were fired throughout the day, at the batteries and forts in and around this place, and the bells were tolled at intervals.  Everything wore an air of deep sorrow.