Sherman's Occupation of Savannah

 

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Civil War Harper's Weekly, January 28, 1865

This Harper's Weekly newspaper from the Civil War features unique news of the war, and fascinating illustrations. It covers some important events that occurred during the closing days of the War. This site features our entire collection of newspapers from the war for your perusal and study.

 (Scroll Down to See Entire Page, or Newspaper Thumbnails below will take you to the page of interest)

 

Slocum

General Slocum

Freedmen

Sherman's Freedmen

Fort Fisher

Capture of Fort Fisher

Savannah Holidays

Savannah Holidays

Savannah Occupied

Occupied Savannah

Howlett House

Howlett House Battery

Chicago Waterworks

Chicago Waterworks

Butler Command

General Butler Removed from Command

Sailors Reading

Sailors Reading Newspaper

Federal Point

Bombardment of Federal Point

Old Ads

Old Ads

 

 

 

 

 

HARPER'S WEEKLY.

[JANUARY 28, 1865.

54

(Previous Page) rehabilitation of Savannah. One or two of the insurance companies of that city are considering a project for establishing a National Bank for the issue of greenbacks. The Custom-house and Post-office are being cleaned out preparatory to a recommencement of business. One store with goods from the North has already been opened. The churches on Sunday are well filled with ladies. A majority of the male population have remained in the city, and those who have left have left their families behind them. There is at present no great want of provisions ; but there is a scarcity of wood, which General SHERMAN proposes to relieve by getting wood by way of the Gulf Railway and hauling it to the citizens. Eleven hundred loaves of good baker's bread had been turned over by him to the Poor Association and distributed, which the Chronicle considers a " truly kind and providential gift."

The Georgia papers, too, now very strenuously deny that SHERMAN'S army, in its march through the State, was guilty of any of the outrages which had been charged upon it. This denial is based upon the statements of highly respectable citizens who were acquainted with the circumstances.

From the Savannah Republican we learn that, since the occupation of Savannah, elections have been held in Berrien, Thomas, Brooks, Lowndes, Clinch, Montgomery, Appling, and Tatnall Counties, comprising a good portion of Southeastern Georgia, and overwhelming majorities have been given in favor of the restoration of the United States Government. The people have been arming to resist Secessionists, and the most intense excitement prevails in this region. The population of the counties above named, according to the census of 1850, was upward of 20,000.

The Special Correspondent of the Tribune, writing from Montreal, under date of December 26, makes some very important statements, the truth of which can not be doubted without a direct impeachment of the correspondent's veracity.

He states that on the 17th of December THOMAS B. MURRAY, of Milledgeville, Georgia, left that place November 24, and Augusta three days later, arriving at Montreal December 17. He is the proprietor of a large plantation near Milledgeville, is " a man after JEFF DAVIS'S own heart, and heaps upon Governor BROWN, and the Georgians in general, maledictions which would do credit to a pirate." He represents the people of his State as greatly disaffected with the Davis Government, and ready to accept the most humiliating terms of peace; and the sin of all this he charges upon ''that dd baby faced cripple (STEPHENS) and his cabbage head satellite" (BROWN). He estimates that nearly half the Georgians in the army are traitors, but thinks they are surrounded by patriotic officers and soldiers, who will compel them to do their duty. Mr. MURRAY states that the most valuable government property and machinery was removed from Augusta, on SHERMAN'S approach, to Branchville and Kingsville, S. C., but will probably be returned, as the Augusta Canal affords a water power equaled no where else in the Confederacy. He states that, during the past year and a half, Augusta has produced more munitions and enginery of war than any three towns in the Confederacy combined, and that the number of negroes that joined SHERMAN'S army was Immense, he himself losing forty.

But the most important of Mr. MURRAY'S statements is in regard to two petitions, one signed by 12,000 citizens of the State, to be offered in the Rebel Senate, and the other, signed by 15,000 women, to be presented to JEFF DAVIS. The former Senator HILL was requested to offer in the Senate, but declined to do so. This petition set forth the hopelessness of the rebellion, and prayed for peace.

The Tribune correspondent saw a verbatim copy of the women's petition. " It begins : ' The undersigned mothers, sisters, wives, and widows of officers and soldiers of the Commonwealth of Georgia, who are living or have died in the military service of their country, respectfully submit to your Excellency and pray,' etc. It then recounts the manifold sacrifices they have, without murmuring, made ; the privations they have patiently endured, and the encouragement they have heroically given their loved ones in the field, etc. Next, it depicts the horrors of war, and attempts to show that all efforts on the part of the Confederacy to achieve its independence must in the end prove futile. It then fervently appeals to his Excellency, in the name of reason, humanity, and Christianity, to terminate the murderous contest; and assures him that, if that result can only be attained by sacrificing his personal pride and ambition, he may, by making the sacrifice while he has yet powerful armies at his command, obtain a place in history as the greatest patriot of modern times."

Mr. DAVIS denied that he had been actuated by a desire for power or personal aggrandizement, and that as soon as he saw that the peace and welfare of his country would be promoted by his retirement from office he would follow the example of NAPOLEON I., "and leave the craven people who demanded the sacrifice at his hands to repent of their ingratitude and folly." He begged of these women to continue their efforts for one year longer, "assuring them that if by that time peace did not smile upon the country, or its independence be recognized by foreign powers, he would no longer be President."

There is much in this report in regard to DAVIS'S statements that is hard to believe ; but, according to this correspondent, MURRAY said that his statement was confirmed by an interview which he himself had with DAVIS the day before he left Richmond. MURRAY stated, moreover, that DAVIS, when he said that in the contingency alluded to he would no longer be President, meant that he would be King.

But the fact of the petitions, signed by about 27,000 people of Georgia, is that to which we draw attention. If it is a fact, then we may easily infer what the result will be if Governor BROWN follows the suggestion urged by the citizens of Savannah in their meeting of December 28, and allows the citizens of Georgia to vote on the question of the continuance of the war.

TWO.

Two buds plucked from the tree; Two birdies flown from the nest; Two little babies snatched

From a fond mother's breast; Two little snow-white lambs

Gone from the sheltering fold ; Two little narrow graves

Down in the church-yard cold.

Two little drooping flowers,

Growing in a purer air,

Blooming fragrant and bright In the great Gardener's care; Two little tender birds,

Flown far from fear and harm ; Two little snow-white lambs

In the good Shepherd's arm.

Two little angels more,

Singing with voices sweet, Flinging their crowns of gold

Down at their Saviour's feet. Free from all earthly care,

Pure from all earthly stain---Oh, who could wish them back

In this drear world again?

HANNAH GNELDT'S DOOR-STEP.

HANNAH GNELDT leaned upon her broom, and looked out from the low kitchen door across the win-try fields and the ice glazed streamlet which lay between her home and the little village of Greennook, with its one tapering spire and sloping roofs and blank white walls, bare now of the summer verdure. She had done her household work, polished every article capable of polish, and soaped and sanded all the rest. At the last she had swept clean her door stone, and now felt free to do what she chose, to rest, or gossip, or sit down to needle work a thing impossible to her while a spot beneath her roof was out of order. Just now she felt neither like gossiping nor sewing ; her heart was very full, and she found it necessary to stand still and think a while. Only that she was not used to it, she would have cried, she was so very sad. It seemed to her that the happiest people were those who lay in their green graves in the church yard, with crossed hands upon their bosoms, and feet quiet from all earthly going to and fro for evermore.

Not that Hannah Gneldt was tired in body, or weary with the toil of household duty ; for she was strong of frame, and her health was perfect, as her bands were willing. It was on her humble heart the burden lay, her spirit that was worn with earthly travail.

" Twenty-three years today I've been his wife," she muttered, " and I've loved him well, and worked hard and faithful to keep things decent, and it's come to this at last ! `Things had been better,' says he, ' if he'd married Miss Lester !' "

Yes, that was what Farmer Gneldt, harassed by toil and debt, had said to her that very morning ; and it seemed to Hannah like the confession of a long repentance, forced from her husband's lips at last.

" Poor man ! I wish I could help him," she sighed, leaning on her broom beside the door. " I doubt he's right about Miss Lester."

With that her eyes fell and rested by chance on the door step.

"I can mend that, any how," she said; "and I have time, for work is done."

So she hung the broom up, and peeped into her oven, and set the kettle on, and then, hooded and shawled, crossed the fields to where the farm joined that of Simeon Gray.

On one spot were men at work, and stones lying about.

Hannah Gneldt nodded to the old farmer, and he came to meet her.

" I want a stone," she said. " May I have one ?"

"I wish you'd take 'em all," said the farmer; " a lot o' rubbish. You see I'm clearing away what they call the old grave-yard at last. Wife talks to me o' sacrilege and disturbin' bones. Bless you, there ain't been none for years and years ; and these hard times a man can't let land go to waste. I tell wife she don't know nothin' about it. What d'ye want to do ? Pave a bit around the well ?"

"No, I want a step," said Hannah. " That great white one is just the thing." And she pointed to a slab hard by.

"Ike shall bring it over tonight," said the farmer.

"No," said Hannah, " I can roll it along."

And her arms, strong as most men's, went to work at once, and the slab was rolled, and pushed, and lifted on its way. It was toil for a laborer, but it did Hannah good. She tugged away, pushing, and lifting, and adding woman's ingenuity to man's strength ; so that at last it was at her own door. There she let it rest, and dug the old stone out, and afterward brought water to wash the slab with; white as driven snow, for the most part, with some little yellow weather stains about the edge, and on one side the black inscription a name, a line of eulogy, and dates. Hannah stared with the curiosity of one who can not read.

"I wish I could tell what that was," she said. "Some one's name and age. Ah, there were sore hearts when that was new. I hope when I die Oliver will have written over me that I was a good wife. I've tried to be. I ought to know that big letter wait a bit, I believe it is Z."

Then she turned the inscription downward, and washed the other side, clear and white, and fitted it into its place.

She received little credit for her work. Oliver only muttered,

" You needn't have published the fact that I couldn't afford a porch to all the place." And no one noticed the step afterward save Hannah when she scrubbed it.

Matters were very bad at the Gneldts'. Oliver brooded over the fire in speechless sorrow. and grew

grayer and balder with each passing day. Hannah kept ruin off a little by making a home of the poor house, and a feast of the humble fare, by her house-wife's skill. She might even have been cheerful but for the memory of that luckless speech.

Working in her garden one day, when the first spring grass was growing green, Hannah heard footsteps, and lifting her head, saw two gentlemen beside her, and arose precipitately with womanly anxiety about her ankles, not strictly covered perhaps by her cotton gown. The nearest gentleman, an elderly man with bright dark eyes, addressed her,

" Mrs. Gneldt, I presume."

" Yes, Sir."

She asked him to walk in, and he did so, the other following.

In the little parlor they sat down.

"You are Mrs. Hannah Gneldt, Oliver Gneldt's wife ?"

"Yes, Sir. Is it about about excuse me, you look like a lawyer, and I fear it's more trouble for Oliver."

" Reassure yourself," said the gentleman. " Reassure yourself, madame. Your husband is not concerned, save through you, and that I hope pleasantly. Your name was Burns before you were married ?"

"Yes, Sir. Hannah Burns."

" Do you remember dates well ?"

No, Sir."

" You have, perhaps, records. of family events your own birth, your parent's marriage, your grand father's death?"

Hannah Gneldt wonderingly replied, "I have mother's Bible, and they tell me it's all there." "How far back?"

"To grandfather's birth, I believe grandfather Burns. He had one child, and I am the only one my parents ever had. Oliver set down our wedding day, and our two boys' birthdays."

"And your great-grandfather. The record of his death is there ?"

I don't know ; you may see. Wait, I'll call Oliver."

Going to the door Hannah took down a horn, used for that purpose, and uttered a call, which brought Oliver Gneldt home from the field at once.

He also felt alarm, but explanations quieted him. Almost as much astonished as his wife he brought out the old Bible.

"The death of my wife's great-grandfather, Zebulon Burns, is not here," he said. " The first record is in his hand, I believe. It is the birth of his eldest child."

So it proved, and the lawyer looked disappointed. " You can not remember the day of his death?" he said. " I mean the date of it."

"He died long before I was born," said Hannah, and, though rich, left nothing to grandfather. They had quarreled, I believe. She told odd stories of him. He must have been very eccentric, and a servant or housekeeper had great influence over him. She had the property, I think. Margery Margery "

" Margery Wilber, I think," said the lawyer.

" Yes," said Hannah, " I remember now."

" You are quiet people, not likely to talk too much," said the lawyer. "I will tell you something. We have found a will among the effects of a legal gentleman who died very suddenly in a fit of apoplexy. Don't hope too much, mind. A will in your favor that is, now in your favor, as your father's only child."

Hannah clutched her husband's hand.

" It is written by one upon his death bed, dated the 10th of March, 17, and leaves all his property to your father, his grandson, then a boy. Hush ! don't hope too much. Margery Wilber or her heirs now hold this property under a will dated March 15,17."

" A later will," said Oliver. " Then, of course, they are the rightful possessors. What need of all this ? the latest will must stand."

"Not if it is a forgery," said the lawyer.

Oliver laughed, the bitter laugh of care and disappointment.

" Who can prove that ?" he said.

"No one, perhaps. Yet the record of the old man's death might."

" A man whose dying hand signed a will on the 10th of March would scarcely make another on the 15th. We believe the will a forgery, written on old parchment, since the discovery of the one I have spoken of. Margery Wilber took possession with no legal forms, for no one appeared to contest her title. Where was your great-grandfather buried?"

" Here," said Hannah. " They say he was brought down at his request Mrs. Wilber as chief mourner, and his son grandfather not even sent for. An old grave yard somewhere. Oh, Oliver ! Oliver !"

She turned quite white, and uttered a cry. "Oliver, that must be the grave-yard on Gray's place that he dug over last winter in the warm spell."

"Then it is gone," said Oliver. " And our last hope with it. No, gentlemen, good luck could never come to us. Poverty means to cling to us to the last. I wish you better clients."

" Oliver, Oliver !" gasped Hannah Gneldt, " tell me one thing. Zebulon was great-grandfather's name. Zebulon is spelled with a Z, isn't it ? Oh, do Speak !"

" I think you are going mad, Hannah ; of course it is."

" Oh, the big Z, I remember it so well ! I knew it was Z ; and it would have been broken to pieces before now. Oliver, don't you remember my door step that you were so angry at ? I believe it's my poor old great-grandfather's tombstone. And I not to know it, when I stared at the great Z !"

Oliver Gneldt said nothing. He feared his wife's brain was turned, and that made him faint and cold as he followed her into the garden, and there watched while the three others lifted the flat slab.

It lay before them on the green spring grass, black letters on its whiteness, and, bending over it, they read aloud;

" Zebulon Burns. Born May . Died March 14, 17," with eulogistic verses, with long s's underneath, as in duty bound.

" It's poor great-grandfather !" said Hannah. And the lawyer extended his hands, grasping those of Oliver and his wife.

"The proof is found ! " he said. " The latest will is a forgery, for it is dated the day after the old man's death. Mrs. Gneldt is heiress to a large property. I congratulate you."

And Hannah, with her head upon her husband's shoulder, whispered, " Oliver, it wouldn't have been better to have married Miss Lester after all !"

" A LITTLE BOX FOR YOU, SIR."

KATE COURTOWN was the bishop's only child beautiful, accomplished, clever, and an heiress. Therefore it was quite a natural conclusion that we (I speak advisedly) we, I say, were all in love with her ; from the youngest ensign, who innocently told us he liked her best because she was something like his mother, to the brazen faced old reprobate, our lieutenant-colonel, who actually grew virtuous for the six months we remained in the pleasant old city, and not only got inside the cathedral in time for service, but kept awake until the sermon began, when he took his revenge by snoring behind his red curtain, publicly reprimanding a newly joined sub for the same delinquency, adding, that if he did sleep he ought to do so in a reverent way.

I believe most regiments have at least one lady killer on their list one, I mean par excellence the acknowledged Adonis. Ours was a certain Captain Hetherston, who rejoiced in the nickname of Box, owing to the efficient manner in which he came out as that well known character in the jolly old comedy. Although a popular man with the mess, he was not individually a favorite. That was not any thing particular, you may remark. But it was not jealousy; his good locks had nothing to do with the feeling, It was the " take all but give nothing" sort of way he had that did the mischief. None of us could have said we knew where he came from, or where the friends he talked so big about lived how much he had to live upon, or where it came from. We saw him as he was an uncommonly handsome, well dressed, and well off fellow; but we saw, too, that he never spent a dollar he could screw out of another man, and sponged cleverly upon any of us for a seat in a carriage, to a dinner or ball, a cigar or a drink ; that he had always an excuse ready to meet any chance demand for a like civility ; and what perhaps riled some of us most was that, upon the strength of a pretty little house in B, he kept clear of the little expensive peccadilloes which beset our paths, and kept his divinity so quiet that a whisper stole among us to the effect that the lady in B was a delusion.

He had affected indifference toward the heiress at first, and then had quietly concentrated his forces and taken up his position in a manner that would have done him infinite credit in the field of war as well as love. At first he made but little ground ; but the summer came, bringing with it reviews, chance rides, and sketching parties.

The heiress looked amiable. The captain grew sentimental, talked of giving up smoking and the house in town. Our fellows began to prick up their ears, and the odds in his favor were freely offered. The match, from being the talk of the mess, of course crept out and got into the gossips' mouths in the town, and soon conjecture and scandal were at their height.

Meantime Box ate as many dinners as the bishop offered him, called regularly, paid court to the maiden aunts who superintended the housekeeping department, and took all the credit he could get.

Things were at this pass when a lieutenant from the th Regiment exchanged into our corps not a prepossessing youth at first sight, very young and boyish looking, but blessed with a quiet, unimpressible sort of temper, that seemed proof against all the sarcasms, innuendoes, and even insults, freely lavished under the cover of practical jokes.

He seemed to have got his first step very quickly, and though with all the makings of a fine soldier like man, he was just at that period an over grown, loose limbed boy ; with a propensity to blush when a woman spoke to him, and a quiet manner of getting out of the way if any thing not altogether strictly decorous was going on or being canvassed. He was laughed at, of course, and many a trap laid to bring him to the test ; but all to no effect. The laugh made no impression ; he went on, quietly and consistently keeping his own course with a good natured but perfectly firm indifference, and ere long, somehow, most of us began to have a respect for the young hand, and just enough modesty left to feel a little bit ashamed of the scenes he avoided.

Box seemed to have taken an antipathy to the new lieutenant since the beginning, and the consequence was a constant sparring and repetition of jokes perpetrated by the captain, who made a heavy wager he would make the regiment too hot to hold Vincent before the year was out. Vincent heard of it somehow, and only laughed in his quiet way, offering ten to one he would be in the corps longer than Box. Still, through all this affected carelessness, we who watched closest could see how the spirit rebelled, and how the boy's temper boiled. under the persecutions of the captain, who divided his time pretty equally between tormenting Vincent and love making.

The townsfolk were already deciding the settlements ; young ladies were speculating who would be asked to be bridemaids ; and not a few ill natured remarks were being raked up as to flirtations, and, after the manner of our dear friends, not a little was hinted about the petty peccadilloes of the past.

September, with its turnip fields and partridges; October, with its red woods, pheasants, and long evenings, worked up the country hospitality to a pitch there was no withstanding. Dinner invitations flowed in galore. The messman's office was well nigh a sinecure, and his pockets profiting accordingly. The engagement was not yet complet-


 

 

  

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