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The South’s Colored Troops Problem [1864]

This article was reproduced in The Liberator on September 9, 1864. The report from Richmond sheds light on the feelings of many Southern supporters of the Confederacy to how to handle black combatants and prisoners of war.

Richmond Dispatch, Aug. 5th, 1864:

Among the eleven hundred prisoners taken by our forces last Saturday, before Petersburg, two hundred were negroes, many of them, perhaps all of them, stolen or runaway slaves. If any advertisement has yet been published in the papers, calling upon persons who have lost slaves to come forward and identify their property and take it away, we have not observed such advertisement.

Lately, there were many negroes recovered from the raiding party of Kautz and Wilson;, their names were very properly published, and their owners informed where they could come and take them. The two hundred black rascals taken alive in the Petersburg trenches, (most improperly taken alive, as they proclaimed “No quarter,”) now that they are in our hands, are worth half a million. It may be hoped that, strict examination will be made among them, and due notice given to such as have lately, been robbed of such property, with a view of making restitution of such of them as are slaves.

The right of the Yankee Government is undoubted to enlist, or to draft , or to procure how they can, free negroes whose residence is at the North.

They would have a perfect right to make war upon us with elephants, or to stampede us with wild cattle, or to set dogs upon us—and our men an equal right to kill them; a perfect right, therefore, to employ negroes as soldiers.  (more…)


Charleston under Fire

As many Southern port cities had been closed off by the Union blockade, Charleston became an important center for blockade running. Repeated attempts by the Union Navy to take Charleston proved fruitless. The city resisted military occupation for the majority of the war’s four years.

With the development of newer, longer-range artillery, and as Union forces were able to place batteries even closer to the city. The bombardment that began in late 1863 continued on and off for 587 days.

This bombardment would destroy much of the city. The defenders were finally beaten back and the Union was able to capture the city, only a month and a half before the war ended.

Charleston under Fire

From the Columbia Carolinian:

We take the liberty of presenting to our readers the following extract of a private letter just received. Its genial description of the present aspect of the city and bay of Charleston will repay perusal. The brief sentences which allude to General Ripley assert nothing more of that bold, ardent and able soldier than we know he deserves. We hope, with all heart, that the hour of his long merited promotion has arrived at last:

Can you come and see us? The city is very safe and interesting now. A visit to the ‘district excites the most varied and strangest emotions. The dreariness of winter has passed away, and the vivifying touch of spring has brought out the green glories of our trees and crowded our gardens with flowers of all hues. They were never more beautiful. The silent air is rich with perfume. But the solitude seems in strange contrast with this lavish infusion of beauty. The rose especially seems to solicit the presence of the man, and crave a witness for its charms. Other flowers may properly grace the solitudes of the wilderness and decorate the pathless prairie, but the rose, the ‘rose, asks for human companionship, and when blooming unseen, suggests the idea of utter desolation and abandonment. Our gardens are sad in their solitude, and in the absence of those more graceful and beautiful flowers, their proper companions, which gave them life and cheerfulness, and all their value, their bloom and perfume is wasted. What is the rose, what the japonica, without the maidens to add to their beauty and sweetness, and to give and take beauty from the fellowship.

Part I of our Civil War collection, A Newspaper Perspective, contains articles gleaned from over 2,500 issues of The New York Herald, The Charleston Mercury and the Richmond Enquirer, published between November 1, 1860 and April 15, 1865.

Germany countryside, rural marriage, XIX century engraving

Newlywed Advice: A Whisper to the Husband on Expenditure

This advice to newly married men on the management of household expenses appeared in Godey’s Lady’s Book in the December 1860 issue.

In pecuniary matters, do not be penurious, or too particular. Your wife has an equal right with yourself to all your worldly possessions. “With all my worldly goods I thee endow,” was one of the most solemn vows that ever escaped your lips; and if she be a woman of prudence, she will in all her expenses be reasonable and economical; what more can you desire? Besides, really, a woman has innumerable trifling demands on her purse, innumerable little wants, which it is not necessary for a man to be informed of, and which, if he even went to the trouble of investigating, he would hardly understand.

You give your wife a certain sum of money. If she be a woman of prudence, if your table be comfortably kept, and your household managed with economy and regularity, I really cannot see the necessity of obliging her to account to you for the exact manner in which she has laid it out. Pray, do allow her the power of buying a yard of muslin, or a few pennyworth of pins, without consulting the august tribunal of your judgment whether they shall be quaker-pins or minikins.

I have often with wonder remarked the indifference with which some men regard the amiable and superior qualities of their wives! I by no means intend to say that every wife possesses those qualities; I only speak of a description of females who are, in truth, an ornament to their sex— women who would go the world over with the husband they love, and endure, without shrinking, every hardship that world could inflict.

Godey’s Lady’s Book— Louis Antoine Godey began publishing Godey’s Lady’s Book in 1830. He designed his monthly magazine specifically to attract the growing audience of literate American women. The magazine was intended to entertain, inform, and educate the women of America.



A Warning to Drinkers of Intoxicating Liquors (1854)

These warnings about contaminated alcohol appeared in the May 6, 1854 issue of the Provincial Freeman.

The Provincial Freeman was devoted to Anti-Slavery, Temperance, and General Literature, and was affiliated with no particular Political Party. Its prospectus stated, “it will open its columns to the views of men of different political opinions, reserving the right, as an independent Journal, of full expression on all questions or projects affecting the people in a political way; and reserving, also, the right to express emphatic condemnation of all projects, having for their object in a great or remote degree, the subversion of the principles of the British Constitution, or of British rule in the Provinces.”

To be Meditated upon by Drinkers of Intoxicating Liquors

ADULTERATION OF ALE – If any additional arguments were needed why people ought to abstain from ale and porter surely a sufficient reason would be found in the drugs with which the liquors are so adulterated. In the essay on Brewing, published in the Library of Useful Knowledge, we find, that in the manufacture of beer, sugar, molasses, honey and liquorice, are used for malt. Broom, opium, gentian, quassia, aloes, marsh, trefoil, coculus indicus, tobacco, nux vomica, are used for hops, and the last mentioned are known to be highly poisonous. Saltpetre, common salt, mixed with flour, jalap, the fiery liquid called spirit of maranta, bruised green copperas, live eggshells, hartshorn shaving, nutgalls, potash, and soda, are used to prevent acidity. Coriander seeds, carraways, orange peel, long pepper, casisum, grains of paradise, have been employed for flavour. Coculus indicus, bitter bean, nux vomica, and opium, which are strong poisons, are used for the purpose of producing intoxication. Here the reader will perceive how avarice has studied to enrich itself at the expense of the health, and lives, and morals of the people. – English Publication.

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s African American Newspapers Collection. This enormous collection of African American newspapers contains a wealth of information about cultural life and history during the 1800s and is rich with first-hand reports of the major events and issues of the day.

womens rights 3

Women’s Rights in The Lily (1856)

I ask if the laws are right, in case a married woman possess real estate, (for of course she can possess no personal property,) and dies, leaving a husband; according to the laws of Ohio, (if I mistake not,) he is entitled to the whole amount. But if a man possesses property and dies, leaving a widow, she is entitled to none of his personal property, and only allowed the use of the third of his real estate; the surplus is to be divided equally among the children, if they have any, when the youngest is twenty-one years of age; also the remaining third, after the death of the widow. But if she has no children, it will go to the deceased husband’s relatives.

I would like to know if a woman does not need as much property to support a family of children as a man, who gets higher wages for labor?

But no; they deprive her of property, reduce her wages, and then compel her to wear away her life in unremitting toil, for a mere pittance, to provide for herself and her helpless children. Now, I ask, what justice is there in this? It is no wonder that people blush at the name of Slavery!

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s Newspapers Collection. We can provide access to fully searchable newspapers by and for women including The Lily, The Revolution, and the National Citizen and Ballot Box.