Tag Archives: The Charleston Mercury
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Spain and the Confederate States (1861)

(The Charleston Mercury for September 12, 1861) Our readers will be pleased to see that the Captain-General of Cuba, acting on the authority of the Proclamation of the Queen of Spain, has declared that vessels, occupied in legitimate commerce, proceeding from ports of the Southern Confederate States of America, shall be entered and cleared under the Confederate States flag, and shall be duly protected by the authorities of the Island; and further, that foreign Consuls be notified that no interference on their part can be tolerated.

It will also be gratifying to learn that the Spanish Consul at Charleston, Senor Moncada, will, in a day or two, clear a vessel from this port as from the Confederate States.

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.
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The Capture of the California Steamer Ariel by the Alabama (1863 Report)

This report appeared in The Charleston Mercury on January 6, 1863. Accessible Archives The Civil War – Part 1: A Newspaper Perspective contains major 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. The event recounted here occurred off the East tip of Cuba on December 7,1862.

The following is the full account of the recent capture of the California steamer Ariel, as given in the Northern papers:

As the passengers of the Ariel were seated at their dinner on Sunday, December 7th, Captain Jones was informed that a war steamer was bearing down upon them, and although he made light of the fact, still he left the dinner table and ascended to the deck. The war vessel was descried about four miles off, sailing under the Stars and Stripes; but Captain Jones soon discovered that the build and rigging were English, and suspecting mischief, ordered the Ariel to be put under a full head of steam, intending, if possible, to leave the suspicious craft far behind. But his efforts were unavailing; for shortly after a blank cartridge was fired, closely followed by two shells, one of which, a common round shell, cut a fearful piece from out of the foremast. The other shell, which fortunately passed over the vessel, the passengers were informed, was a stell pointed one hundred pound projectile, so constructed as to cause a destructive explosion immediately as it strikes an object. Had this shell burst over or against the Ariel, there is no knowing what loss of life might have been caused. The marines, who were one hundred and forty strong, under Major Garland, were ordered on deck to resist any attempt to board the Ariel by the crew of the pursuing vessel; but when the character of the craft was fully ascertained, it was considered entirely useless to make any resistance, and the marines were ordered below. Captain Jones, whose bravery is well known, insisted that his flag should not be lowered under any circumstances, but that he would fight it out. The marines, however, being disarmed, he had to give way, very reluctantly, and the Ariel was surrendered to the Alabama. At this time the Ariel was going about eight and a half knots, and the Alabama eleven knots, under only eleven pounds of steam.

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.
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Reports from New Orleans (April 28, 1862)

(The Charleston Mercury) MOBILE, April 26, 1862  – A dispatch, just received from Jackson, Mississippi, says: ‘Thirteen of the enemy gunboats have anchored in the river opposite the city of New Orleans . A proposition made by the Confederates to evacuate the place is now pending. Various exciting rumors are afloat. The foregoing, however, is reliable. As telegraphic communication with New Orleans is closed, the above information must have been brought to Jackson by railroad.

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.
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The Yankee Prisoners at Andersonville (1864)

This item appeared in the August 26, 1864 issue of The Charleston Mercury. This newspaper is part of our Civil War Collection, Part I: A Newspaper Perspective. A Newspaper Perspective contains major 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.

A correspondent of the Atlanta Confederacy says:

Andersonville was an interesting and novel spectacle to me. The Yankee prisoners within the stockade, about 30,000 in number, when closely viewed, resemble more in their motions a hive of bees seen through a glass opening that anything else I can think of. The area of the stockade is being rapidly increased by General Winder, who is evidently desirous of doing all in his power to make them comfortable.

Detailed plan of Andersonville Prison Camp, showing Sweetwater Lick to the north, and the Southwestern & Enfaula Railroad to the east. Shows the main forts, stockade and cemetery by Robert Knox Sneden (1832-1918).

Detailed plan of Andersonville Prison Camp, showing Sweetwater Lick to the north, and the Southwestern & Enfaula Railroad to the east. Shows the main forts, stockade and cemetery by Robert Knox Sneden (1832-1918).

They have thousands of little huts and tents, variously constructed, which seem to protect them from the scorching rays of the sun and the inclemency of the weather generally. Gen. W. informed me that very soon the lumber would be procurable to put up temporary shanties for their comfort.

A fine but small stream of water runs through the stockade, supplying them with water for bathing and other purposes. I saw hundreds of them bathing in this stream at once. Others, not engaged in bathing, were walking about among their fellows, each, in the language of the famous ballad of Young Tamerlane, ‘mother naked man.’ I learn that many of them have bartered away nearly all their clothing for tobacco. On the whole, their condition, bad as it is, and bad as it deserves to be, seemed better than could have been expected.

In spite, however, of every effort to treat them with humanity, their mortality is great, averaging about one hundred per day. About 2000 are in hospital. Over 36,000 have been received since the establishment of Andersonville as a military prison.

The prisoners are said to be very docile, but greatly exasperated at the Royal Ape (President Lincoln) for not exchanging them. They were greatly elated last evening at finding a paragraph in one of our newspapers stating that a general exchange of prisoners would soon be resumed.

The defences of Andersonville are admirably planned by the skillful veteran, General Winder. Formidable batteries of artillery bear directly on the prisoners, in the event of an emeute; and strong works, with artillery, defend the place against hostilities from without. A strong force of infantry is there also. Raiders would find themselves woefully mistaken if they were to attempt the liberation of the prisoners.’

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.

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Confederate Conscription Exemptions in April 1862

The first general American military draft was enacted by the Confederate government on April 16, 1862, more than a year before the federal government did the same. The Confederacy took this step because it had to; its territory was being assailed on every front by overwhelming numbers, and the defending armies needed men to fill the ranks.

The compulsory-service law was very unpopular in the South because it was viewed as a usurpation of the rights of individuals by the central government, one of the reasons the South went to war in the first place.

Under the Conscription Act, all healthy white men between the ages of 18 and 35 were liable for a three-year term of service. The act also extended the terms of enlistment for all one-year soldiers to three years.

These are the original exemptions included in that first conscription law.  Additional exemptions were added later.

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.

Exemptions Under the Conscription Law of Congress

The following exemption bill was passed by Congress, and signed by the President just before the adjournment:

A bill to be entitled ‘An act to exempt certain persons from enrollment for service in the armies of the Confederate States:

SECTION 1. The Congress of the Confederate States of America do enact, That all persons who shall be held to be unfit for military service under the rules to be prescribed by the Secretary of War…

  • all in the service or employ of the Confederate States
  • all judicial and executive officers of Confederate or State Governments
  • the members of both Houses of Congress, and of the Legislatures of the several States and their respective officers
  • all clerks of the officers of the State and Confederate Governments allowed by law
  • all engaged in carrying the mails
  • all ferrymen on post routes
  • all pilots and persons engaged in the marine service, and in actual service on river and railroad routes of transportation
  • telegraphic operatives and ministers of religion in the regular discharge of ministerial duties
  • all engaged in working iron mines, furnaces and foundries
  • all journeymen printers actually employed in printing newspapers
  • all presidents and professors of colleges and academies, and all teachers having as many as twenty scholars
  • superintendents of the public hospitals, lunatic asylums, and the regular nurses and attendants therein, and the teachers employed in the institutions for the deaf and dumb and blind
  • in each apothecary store now established one apothecary in good standing, who is a practical druggist
  • superintendents and operatives in wool and other factories, who may be exempted by the Secretary of War, shall be, and are hereby, exempted from military service in the armies of the Confederate States.

Collection: The Civil War – Part I: A Newspaper Perspective
Publication: The Charleston Mercury
Date: April 26, 1862
Top Image: Southern “Volunteers” by Currier & Ives ca. 1862


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